The Effects of Populism on the Transatlantic Alliance – from Friend to Business Partner

On the issue of countering populist parties and regaining votes from those who defected to extreme candidates in the 2016 U.S. elections and 2017 German elections, there is a silver lining. The biggest challenge for German political parties is to bring in younger members and revamp their message. The stress test on democratic values and norms seems to be playing out differently in the U.S., but there is a silver lining here as well. This surge in populism on both sides of the Atlantic forces both partners to step back and reassess priorities and positions within the international political arena. [April 2018]

Evaluation of State-Mandated Immigrant Integration Courses in Germany

This research addresses the role of sociopolitical discourse, legislative reform, administrative implementation, and policy evaluation for integration course policy in Germany and analyses its effects on the Turkish female migrant participant, a key target group for this policy area. In the process of unfolding this I seek to also illuminate how interactions between political administrative levels and various sectors of society have contributed to reform of this policy. The methodology is qualitative in scope and utilizes biographical narrative interview excerpts with migrant participants and supporting external studies on integration policy. Results show women benefit greatly from these courses on a practical level and courses do contribute positively to inclusion in society, though obstacles in the larger sociopolitical sphere remain. Increased marketization trends show a potential weakening of integration course quality long-term, and administrative complexity is still the greatest challenge to implementation overall. While some aspects of the Residence Act have benefited female course participants, intentionally vague legal definitions on the "obligation versus right" to attend a course and proof of "proficiency in German" allows for possible arbitrary application of the law which may have unintended negative consequences for those whose visa status is tied to participation in a language course. Appendix and bibliography included. [September 2016]

Doha, the BRICS, and Debt are the Main Motives for TTIP

Free trade is not the central motive for TTIP; tariffs are already relatively low within the transatlantic community. But neither is deregulation the primary goal, as is feared by some. Instead, to understand the motivating forces behind TTIP, one should examine the negotiations within the context provided by factors such as the stalling of the Doha Round of WTO negotiations, the rise of the BRIC economies, and the need to create growth without increasing public debt. [April 2015]

Where There's a Plan, There's a Way

“Want to get away for a weekend? Try Greenville, SC.” When pondering the rhetorical “get away from what?”, it is perhaps clear from scanning the list of daily news that whatever “it” is, it might be more than just the usual 9-5 grind at the office. One walk along downtown Greenville’s perfectly manicured and shady green main street will remind you that the idea of an oasis is not always so unattainable. If you follow the plan that is. In my interview with Mayor Knox White, we discuss Greenville's transformation over the years and his success building the "institutional memory" of Falls Park so that future projects remain focused on benefiting the city and its residents long-term. [May 2017]

Analysis of AfD and its Rise in German Politics and the European Parliament

This essay analyzes the rise of the far-right AfD party (Alternativ für Deutschland) in Germany. It addresses the following: key leaders and their policy positions, 2013 election results in Germany and the EU Parliament results in 2014, changes in voter preferences, controversies surrounding the party, and the responses from German leaders since AfD's emergence onto the political scene in 2013. The question remains whether the AfD represents only temporary resentment with the current political and economic climate, or if this is indicative of a sustainable move away from established EU democratic institutions and norms. This research was conducted in the Fall of 2014, before the AfD gained additional seats in state and local parliaments across Germany. [December 2014]

Cyprus Still an Issue for Egemen Bağiş, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan, and Turkey-EU Negotiations

Turkey applied for association to the European Economic Community in 1959, and in 1999 the Helsinki European Council officially recognized Turkey for enlargement candidacy status. Unfortunately, little progress has been made since the Helsinki European Council decision in 1999. Through all of this, one of the main obstacles to accession into the EU has been the recurring issues between Turkey and Cyprus. The partnership between Turkey and the EU is an important one. Today more than half of Turkey’s trade is with the EU. In exchange, EU FDI to Turkey reached almost 9 billion Euros in 2007. [June 2011]

How Immigration Law Poses a Challenge to the Quality of Democracy

Germany is often regarded as one of the highest quality democracies in the world. Its institutions and laws are admired by its neighbors, with the legal system rooted in the German Rechtsstaat and civil law tradition. This essay analyzes how immigration policy reflects an ongoing challenge for Germany's relatively robust system of a democratic rule of law. Indicators for quality of democracy are included and based on definitions from Guillermo O'Donnell and legal scholar Joseph Raz. This essay finds that though quality of democracy in Germany is high overall, immigration policy does pose a continual practical challenge. In particular, necessary security concerns compete with humanitarian goals and this may create a dissonance between application of law and its theoretical ideal. [February 2017]

Amazonian Deforestation and the Brazilian Rainforest: Agent Orange Exacerbates Deforestation Issues in the Region

The Brazilian Amazon isn’t just important to Brazil. A benchmark study published in the journal Science and reported by AFP showed that forests soak up 1/3 of greenhouse gas CO2 released into the atmosphere each year from burning fossil fuels. The Brazilian Amazon faces many issues, but with the country's increased economic success, protecting the Amazon Rainforest is vital to its long-term growth. [July 2011]

Alternatives to the EU Asylum System

How EU member states receive, process, and grant asylum to those seeking international protection within its borders is a matter of serious political debate. It raises some serious questions about the existing Common European Asylum System (CEAS), commonly referred to as the Dublin System. This essay analyzes three alternatives to the Dublin System which have been addressed by scholars and argues that a mixed-solution approach is best to achieving sustainable reform. The analysis concludes with short examples from Brazil and Uganda on innovative refugee policies and notes the ways in which the EU could learn from this should it decide to seriously reform its asylum policy in the future. [February 2017]