The Brief, December 2016


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December 12, 2016

Italy's Referendum 

Italian voters rejected a constitutional reform package supported by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, a move that suggests divisiveness in Italian society and a pathway for the populist movement.

Director of European and Eurasian Studies Erik Jones told The Telegraph "Italians revealed a deep cleavage about how the country should be governed that cuts across mainstream parties and political elites." Read more

Jones told The New Yorker that the vote resulted in a win for the Five Star Movement, a populist wave that seeks to "delegitimize Renzi’s Democratic Party." Read more

In Foreign Affairs, Jones outlined challenges that Italy's next government must address: "a worsening sovereign debt problem, an unstable banking system, tangled public finances, immigration, and the disillusionment of the country’s youth." Read more

U.S. Political Transitions

As President-elect Donald Trump appoints cabinet-level positions and advisers to complete his administration, experts weigh in on his campaign rhetoric and promises that may alter U.S. domestic and foreign policy.

Director of Strategic Studies Eliot Cohen wrote in The Wall Street Journal that "Mr. Trump’s challenge is harder because he has no foreign-policy experience and no clear worldview." Read more

Dean Vali Nasr wrote in The Atlantic that the Middle East "region's conflagrations, its array of power-brokers, old alliances, and new coalitions, will test Donald Trump, and demand that his administration clearly define America’s priorities and interests there."  Read more

Distinguished Practitioner-in-Residence at the Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies John McLaughlin told, that National Security Advisor nominee retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn's "talk on Islam is tougher than what we hear from mainline conservatives." While CIA Director nominee Rep. Mike Pompeo "has a reputation among colleagues for working hard to really understand the issues." Read more

Reacting to criticism of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani as too aggressive to be considered for secretary of state, Professor of International Law and Diplomacy Ruth Wedgwood told NPR’s Morning Edition "a certain degree of menace can at times by a useful deterrent." Hear more

On Trump's business interests, Senior Research Professor of International Economics Anne Krueger told Bloomberg that "the rule of law is what prevents crony capitalism, and the minute you have the president-elect, politicians or bureaucrats meeting with business owners to dispense special favors it unlevels the playing field." Read more

The Brief highlights Johns Hopkins SAIS expertise on current events and is produced monthly by the Office of Marketing, Communications, and Strategic Initiatives. Like The Brief? Share it on Facebook and Twitter, forward to a friend, or subscribe