Celebration of Learning Theses Presentations
President Obama and Syria: Constraints on the Imperial Presidency
Since the 1960’s, many scholars have used the notion of the “imperial presidency” to characterize the modern presidency of the United States. Coined by the influential Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., this term is based on the argument that the scope and powers of the U.S. Presidency have grown increasingly broad, often exceeding constitutional limits. Moreover, particularly in matters of foreign policy and war powers, the U.S. Presidency has assumed a much broader interpretation of Constitutional limits than ever before, giving presidents the power to act unilaterally in some instances. Despite this widely acknowledged expansion of power, President Obama suffered an interesting high profile blunder toward the end of 2013 when he stepped back from his earlier claim that the U.S. would use military force in Syria if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons. My thesis explores the various policy options and competing forces that played out in this scenario, highlighting the roles of Congress and public opinion in President Obama’s decision not to use a military strike in Syria. After evaluating the factors that weighed into this decision, I also examine the implications of this decision on President Obama’s foreign policy agenda and the remainder of his second term.
The Status of Post-Soviet Women: The Role of International Organizations in Gender Equality Program Sustainability
Through my research, I examine three post-Soviet countries (Ukraine, Georgia, and Kyrgyzstan) and the status of gender equality in each state. I also examine the roles of international bodies and NGOs in implementing and sustaining gender equality programs in each state. While each state has an abundance of programs in place, many monitored by various international organizations and institutions, I conclude that the problem does not lie with the implementation of such programs, but rather, the sustainability. Is the gender equality in post-Soviet states being accepted at face value? Are the proper monitoring systems in place to not only ensure the implementation of gender equality programs, but also the success? Various states in transition are in need of Western assistance when it comes to applying international goals and norms to their own domestic politics, but they are not receiving the means to properly do so.
"The End of Unipolarity: Then End of U.S. Primacy and its Impact on the International System"
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States has found itself in an unprecedented position of power and primacy in the world, dominating the new unipolar world order that emerged in the early 1990’s. This is all changing, though, as the United States’ primacy has begun to erode and new poles of power are beginning to emerge in both traditional and new forms. This paper seeks to analyze these changes in the international order and look at what the future of the international system may look like. Whatever this future may hold, it is clear that the United States will continue to play a decisive role in global affairs, and as important as other powers and entities may be in the emergence of the next global system, the United States’ handling of this important transition time in the world will have a monumental impact on international relations and global affairs. Turning away from the United States, this project also assesses the emerging poles of power that will have a significant role in the future of the international system, including a look at both state and non-state actors.