Nov. 25, 2022

What We Are Learning This Week with Dr. Tareq Ismael!

Engaging with two student research projects.

November 28, 2022 in POLI 683 Advanced Studies in Foreign Policy

Dr. Tareq Ismael’s seminar is engaged in student presentations!


Dr. Ismael, can you give us an overview of the course?

The durability of the post–Cold War international order, variously identified as ‘liberal’ and a period of ‘American hegemony’, has been revealed to be far more brittle than commonly assumed. This course critically examines the most significant shocks that have beset the global order as we enter the third decade of the Twenty-First Century.

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As part of the learning process, students have been tasked with presenting an integrated literature review. The Integrated Literature Review is used to evaluate the strength of social science/scientific evidence, identify gaps in current research, and bridge between related areas of work. The identification of central issues on a topic, the theoretical or conceptual frameworks applied, and the research methods used successfully, are basic elements of the integrative literature review as a central tool for the analysis of a body of knowledge.

The students have been tasked with presenting a proposal to specify their chosen research question to be addressed in their final integrated literature review. This provides students with an opportunity to benefit from the feedback provided by their peers.

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Gershon Adela’s Presentation

“How far will China go? China’s Geopolitical and Economic Interests in South Asia, and its relationship with the New Taliban regime of Afghanistan”


The United States ended its 20-year war in Afghanistan on August 30, 2021, ushering in a new era of Taliban control in the war-torn country. As the New Taliban seeks international support to rebuild Afghanistan, it has recognized the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as a vital ally. By examining China’s geopolitical and economic interests in South Asia and Afghanistan, this paper explores some key variables that are likely to dominate the relationship between the PRC and the Taliban as Beijing assertively pursues global economic, political, and military influence. The paper argues that contrary to its long-standing Westphalian foreign policy principle of non-interference, China’s relations with the new Taliban regime will see Beijing’s direct involvement in Afghanistan’s internal affairs to effect reforms that will help ensure China’s domestic security and protect its investments in the South Asian region. Furthermore, Beijing’s relationship with the new Taliban will, for the foreseeable future, focus on the building of trust. This will primarily depend on the Taliban's determination to prevent foreign terrorist organizations from utilizing Afghanistan as a safe haven, as well as its commitment to sustaining good ties between the governing “centre” (the Taliban) and the decentralized “tribal” leadership around the country.



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Carter Brust’s Presentation Project Title 

“Of Sticks and Carrots: A Review of American Policy Towards North Korea in the Post-Cold War Era” 


Since the mid-1990s, there have been a number of efforts led by the United States to de-nuclearize North Korea or undermine the regime’s ability to obtain such weapons. In spite of these efforts, North Korean nuclear capability has increased rather decreased since the state’s first nuclear test in 2006. Why have all efforts failed? How should the United States deal with a rogue state such as North Korea? To answer these questions, this analysis reviews the relevant literature shedding light on how scholars, academics, and key policy makers have understood the situation. Before considering the literature, the first section provides some background information on North Korean nuclear weapons, ideology, and overall strategy. Key factors discussed are the regime’s longevity, security, and relationship with the outside world. The rest of the review is broken down into three themes over six mini sub-sections that each consider a key debate in the literature. The first two focus on the ways of American policy, looking at debates surrounding integrative and multiparty approaches respectively. The next two consider how scholars view the utility and efficacy two the most popular means employed: sanctions and negotiations. The final two sections examine the ends of American policy, specifically denuclearization and regime change. The review concludes with a brief recap of the literature discussed and offers some questions and directions for future research.  


Our Thanks to Dr. Tareq Ismael for sharing your course with us!