September 29, 2008

Vol. 24 , No. 02   

The Future of America's Preeminence in Asia

As the Bush administration enters its final months in office, the salient question on the minds of most Asians and many policy studies experts and academics is what sort of Asia will this administration leave to the next one, whether Democrat or Republican? Do the Beijing Olympics finally mark the point at which the United States has lost its preeminent postwar position in Asia? Is America's "Eastern Sunset" on the horizon? How has the United States handled relations with China? Have the alliance relationships with Japan and South Korea suffered? Where will the North Korea nuclear negotiations be when Obama or McCain take office? And what of America's position in Southeast Asia?

Helping us to answer these and other questions is Victor Cha, Director of Asian Studies and D.S. Song Chair in the Department of Government and School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He left the White House in May 2007 after serving since 2004 as Director for Asian Affairs at the National Security Council. At the White House, he was responsible primarily for Japan, the Korean peninsula, Australia/New Zealand and Pacific Island nation affairs. Dr. Cha was also the Deputy Head of Delegation for the United States at the Six Party Talks in Beijing, and received two Outstanding Service commendations during his tenure at the NSC.
He is the award-winning author of Alignment Despite Antagonism: The United States-Korea-Japan Security Triangle (Stanford University Press, 2000) (winner of the 2000 Ohira Book Prize) and co-author of Nuclear North Korea: A Debate on Engagement Strategies (Columbia University Press, 2004). He has written articles on international relations and East Asia in journals including Foreign Affairs, International Security, Political Science Quarterly, Survival, International Studies Quarterly, and Asian Survey. Professor Cha received a doctoral degree from Columbia University. He is a former John M. Olin National Security Fellow at Harvard University, two-time Fulbright Scholar, and Hoover National Fellow and CISAC Fellow at Stanford University. His new book Beyond the Final Score: The Politics of Sport in Asia (Columbia University Press) will be released in 2008.
The Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies at CMC is honored to sponsor Victor Cha as the Freeman Foundation Visiting Professor of Asian Affairs.

To Drill or Not to Drill? Lessons from Brazil for the U.S. Alternative Energy Debate

In the current election cycle, both political parties are talking about the United States’ addiction to foreign oil, and possible ways to end this dependence. Some suggest encouraging alternative energy, while others suggest drilling off the coast of the United States. Yet, despite all this talk about the dangerous dependence on foreign oil, nothing has changed. The United States still imports over 10 million barrels of oil a day. Maybe it’s time for the United States to take a hint from Brazil. Why Brazil? Brazil is the only economically advanced country which has slashed its dependence on foreign oil. In only a number of years, Brazil has gone from importing almost 80% of its oil to currently importing only 10% of its oil, a feat accomplished through increasing domestic oil production and creating the most advanced alternative energy policy in the world. In fact, 60% of Brazil’s demand for fuel comes from sugar cane ethanol. Professor Marc Weidenmier has dedicated time to determining what the United States can learn from Brazil when it comes to energy policy.
Weidenmier is the inaugural William F. Podlich '66 Associate Professor of Economics, George R. Roberts Fellow, and the director of the Lowe Institute of Political Economy at CMC. A research associate for the National Bureau of Economic Research, he is also a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Economic History, and the Journal of Monetary and Financial History. Professor Weidenmier has published in a vast array of scholarly journals including the American Economic Review, the Quarterly Journal of Economics and the Journal of Financial Economics. He received his B.A. from the College of William and Mary and received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois.

The Strange and Wonderful in Medieval Persian and Arabic Literature and Art

Roy P. Mottahedeh is the Gurney Professor of History in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program at Harvard University. A major Islamic social historian, Roy Mottahedeh focuses his scholarship on the premodern social and intellectual history of the Islamic Middle East.
Professor Mottahedeh's books include: Loyalty and Leadership in an Early Islamic Society (2001), The Mantle of the Prophet: Religion and Politics in Iran (1985), and Lessons in Islamic Jurisprudence (2003). He has also written numerous articles and serves as the faculty adviser for the Harvard Middle Eastern and Islamic Review and is currently working on a history of southern Iraq from the end of monarchy to the American-led invasion. In June 2006, the University of Lund in Sweden awarded him an honorary doctorate.
After completing his undergraduate studies in history at Harvard, Mottahedeh studied Persian and Arabic at Cambridge University in England. He continued his graduate studies at Harvard and was elected to the Harvard Society of Fellows, receiving his Ph.D. in 1970. Mottahedeh joined Harvard's History Department faculty as professor of Islamic history in 1986. From 1987 to 1990, he served as director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies. Mottahedeh was among the first MacArthur Prize Fellows and has also received a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Financial Crisis Panel Discussion
S. BROCK BLOMBERG, moderator
LUNCH 12:00 p.m. LECTURE 12:30 p.m.

The Wall Street Journal has pronounced the financial crisis that began 13 months ago as “The Worst Crisis Since the 30s, with No End Yet in Sight.” The Robert Day School of Economics and Finance will host a timely panel discussion on the current financial situation on Thursday, October 2nd at noon at the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum.

The recent turmoil in the financial sector has led to significant changes in the landscape of the markets. As government intervention and consolidation activity increases, new problems are arising seemingly every day. In order to gain different perspectives on the various issues, a group of panelists featuring CMC faculty members and practitioners will share their views on the unfolding crisis.

During the discussion, the panel will reflect on the causes and consequences of the unraveling of the financial sector. Specific topics may also include comparisons to other historical financial crises, moral hazard issues associated with bailouts, the role of credit default swaps, the involvement of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the role of regulation in creating the crisis, the outlook for the industry and economy, and implications for the job market.

The panelists’ background information can be found on the Robert Day School website at

Peace and Excitement: A Sitar Concert


How Mongol Was the Mongol Empire?

The gigantic Mongol Empire built by Genghis Khan and his descendants became the largest contiguous empire in the history of the world. At its peak as a unified empire under a single khan, it stretched from China, Korea, and Southeast Asia across all of Central Asia and westward into Russia, Persia and the Middle East. Even after the unified empire fragmented into five rival khanates, they still were ruled by descendants of Genghis khan.

The traditional view of the Mongols' own contribution to the establishment of their empire in the 13th century is that it was essentially military. They were supremely effective cavalrymen, but in other respects were uncouth, even brutal. They had little interest in the active administration of their vast empire, which they were content to leave in the hands of non-Mongols such as the Persians and the Chinese, so long as the tax revenue came in. Recent research has suggested that this impression is in part a result of the nature of much of the surviving source material, and that in fact we have gravely underestimated the Mongols. Their initial conquests were indeed brutal, but thereafter they played a major and active role in both cultural transmission across Eurasia and in the actual government of the territories over which they ruled.

How was it possible for a small number of nomads to build a formidable war machine capable of world conquest and then govern a heterogeneous empire inhabited by peoples of divergent ethnicities, religions, and cultures? Is it appropriate to speak of a “Mongol” empire or was the reality something very different? These are some of the questions to be addressed by David O. Morgan, professor of history at the University of Wisconsin. Professor Morgan is a specialist on the Mongols and the Middle East. His publications include The Mongols (1986), Medieval Persia 1040-1797 (1988), and numerous articles including “The Mongol Empire in World History.”

David Morgan’s lecture at the Athenaeum is jointly sponsored by the Athenaeum, the department of history at CMC, and the Pacific Basin Institute at Pomona College.

Straight Talk: What Are the Presidential Candidates Really Trying to Say?
RECEPTION 5:15 p.m. DINNER 5:45 p.m.

In an election where so much is at stake, we need to step back from the day-to-day political cycle and look at this election from a different perspective. It’s time to stop thinking about the best attack ads, and whose 527 or PAC group is the most effective at smearing the other candidate. It’s time we start thinking about why this election is so important. Why is the world watching this election with such great fascination? In this special Athenaeum event, we will televise the second presidential debate and hear analysis and thoughts from special guest Ta-Nehisi Coates. In addition to discussing this debate, Mr. Coates will also reflect on the vice presidential debate and the fascinating dynamics of the fall election.

Mr. Coates is a well-known social and political commentator who has written for the Atlantic Monthly, O Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, the New York Times, Time, the Village Voice, and Washington Monthly. He recently published his memoir, The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood (2008), to rave reviews. Mr. Coates’ blog at contains his thoughts on everything from politics to race, to sports. As he puts it best: “Originally from West Baltimore, Ta-Nehisi Coates was educated in the city’s public school system and became a notoriously bad student. His mother was a teacher; his father was a book publisher. So naturally Coates was often punished by being forced to write essays explaining his wayward behavior. He has since credited these essays as his first introduction to writing as a way of expression.” Coates graduated from Howard University, and in 1998 won the Washington Area Society of Professional Journalists’ award for outstanding arts criticism.
In order to allow sufficient time to watch the debate, which begins at 6:00 p.m. PST, dinner will start earlier than usual. The reception starts at 5:15 p.m., dinner begins at 5:45 p.m.

Funding the Judiciary: The Neglected Branch

Chief Justice John Roberts is on record as saying that the low level of judicial pay in the United States is reaching a “constitutional crisis.” He may be right — in 2008 the Chief Justice of the New York State Supreme Court sued the New York Legislature and Governor David Paterson to force the first judicial salary increase in New York since 1999. Low pay makes judges unhappy, but what real impact does low judicial pay have on those who serve? Do less qualified people hold these positions? Do the good ones stay for a shorter amount of time? According to previous studies, the answer is no to all these questions. There is no impact of the low salary on the quality of judges who serve in our nation’s judiciary.
However, all the previous studies that have been done on judicial pay only focus on the federal courts. Professor Eric Helland has set out to discover if there is an impact of low judicial pay on the quality of judges in state appellate and supreme courts. This ambitious project has not been attempted before because there was no comprehensive set of data on state judges. Professor Helland created this large database of information on judges and the salaries they receive. From this data he was able to determine the effect of low judicial pay on the quality of state judges. In his talk, Helland will analyze the impact of low salaries on state courts.

Professor Eric Helland is the inaugural Robert J. Lowe Professor of Economics at Claremont McKenna College. In addition to his position at CMC, Professor Helland is the Senior Economist at RAND Corporation’s Institute for Civil Justice. From 2003-2004 he served as the Senior Staff Economist at the President’s Council of Economic Advisors. Professor Helland received his B.A. from the University of Missouri and received his Ph.D. from Washington University.

WordsWorth Society Lunch
LUNCH 12:00 p.m.

CMC's Founding Trustee Donald McKenna delighted in coming to the Athenaeum; and one of his favorite activities was attending the regular WordsWorth Society lunches. The Athenaeum is reviving the spirit of the WordsWorth Society by hosting a lunch to commemorate Donald McKenna's 101st birthday. Please join professor Ward Elliott in exploring the joy of a rich vocabulary.

Ward Elliott is a charter menber of the WordsWorth Society. The Burnet C. Wohlford Professor of American Political Institutions at CMC, Professor Elliott was awarded the Roy C. Crocker Prize for Merit in 1984 and a Presidential Award for Merit in 1999 by Claremont McKenna College. A wordsmith also known for the singing parties at his home, Ward, as keeper of the flame, looks forward to learning some new words.

The only requirement for the lunch is that you bring along an interesting word that you have researched: history, derivation, meaning, and usage. Come by for lunch and celebrate a true McKenna tradition!

Hazing, Harassment, Alcohol, and the Internet

Many surveys suggest that over 80% of college athletes are hazed at some point in their athletic career. Examples of hazing range from members of the Los Angeles Dodgers shredding the clothes of rookie pitcher Chan Ho Park to individuals dying of alcohol poisoning. Hazing and athletic initiations have received more scrutiny lately with photos of these events being easily found online at sites including MySpace and Facebook. These photos have shut down some athletic programs and led to the firing of athletic coaches. Janet P. Judge, Esq. is an expert on sports and employment law. She uses her experience as an attorney to discuss social websites, drug and alcohol use, hazing and harassment, and the potential legal consequences of student-athlete conduct. In addition, Ms. Judge discusses the future employment implications for those who are involved in college athletic infractions, and those who post damaging personal information online.

Attorney Janet Judge focuses her practice on collegiate sports law and employment counseling at Sports Law Associates, LLC. She is the co-author of the newly released NCAA Manual on Title IX. She co-writes a bi-weekly column “Gender Equity Q & As” for NCAA News. Her work has been published in many journals including: Tort & Insurance Law Journal and the Seton Hall Journal of Sport Law. Ms. Judge also serves as the Vice-Chair of the Committee to Visit the Department of Athletics at Harvard College and is a member of Harvard’s NCAA Division I Athletics Certification Steering Committee. She is a graduate of Harvard/ Radcliffe College where she was an eight-time varsity letter winner in soccer, basketball and track & field. She received her law degree from Boston University and clerked for the Honorable Norman H. Stahl of the United State Court of Appeals.
Janet Judge’s appearance on the CMC campus is jointly sponsored by the CMS Athletic Department, the Kravis Leadership Institute, and the Athenaeum.

Robert Day School Distinguished Speaker Series

Lunch with a Leader: The Asset Management Industry
LUNCH 12:00 p.m. LECTURE 12:30 p.m.

Robert D. Beyer is Chief Executive Officer and a director of The TCW Group, Inc. (TCW), a Los Angeles-based investment advisory firm with approximately $130 billion of equities, fixed income and alternative assets under management. He is also a member of the Executive Committee and a director of Société Générale Asset Management, S.A., the parent company of TCW.

Prior to its acquisition by TCW in 1995, Mr. Beyer was a founder and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Crescent Capital Corporation, a registered investment advisor specializing in fixed income and alternative investment strategies. Previously, Mr. Beyer was an investment banker with Drexel Burnham Lambert Incorporated and Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc.

Beyer is a director of two Fortune 100 companies, The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) and The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR). He is Chair of the Board of Trustees of Harvard-Westlake School, a member of The Board of Visitors at UCLA Anderson School of Management, and a member of The Board of Councilors at the USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. He is a former Commissioner of the Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System.

Mr. Beyer received his B.S. (Business Administration) from the University of Southern California in 1981 and his MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management in 1983. During his presentation, Mr. Beyer will discuss the asset management industry while explaining the role of TCW within the industry. He will also share some of his strategies for success.

Sisyphus and Leviathan Meet Goldilocks and the Three Bears: The Dilemmas of Presidential Leadership

Professor Michael Genovese’s work on the American Presidency has particular relevance in this election year, and the Kravis Leadership Institute at Claremont McKenna College has invited him to participate in the series “Power and Persuasion” hosted by the Athenaeum.

Genovese currently holds the Loyola Chair of Leadership Studies and is Professor of Political Science, and director of the Institute for Leadership Studies at Loyola Marymount University. In 2006, he was made a Fellow at the Queens College, Oxford University. Professor Genovese has written seventeen books, including The Paradoxes of the American Presidency, (co-authored by Thomas E. Cronin), Oxford University Press, 2nd ed 2004; The Presidency and the Challenges of Democracy (co-edited with Lori Cox Han), Palgrave, 2006; The Power of the American Presidency 1789-2000, Oxford University Press, 2001, The Presidential Dilemma, Longman, 2nd ed 2003, The Encyclopedia of the American Presidency, Facts-on File, 2004 (winner of the New York Public Library, “Best of Reference” work of 2004), and Memo to a New President: The Art and Science of Presidential Leadership, Oxford University Press, 2007.
Professor Genovese has won over a dozen university and national teaching awards, including the Fritz B. Burns Distinguished Teaching Award (1995). Professor Genovese frequently appears as a political commentator on local and national television. He is also Associate Editor of the journal, White House Studies, is on the Editorial Board of the journal, Rhetoric & Public Affairs, has lectured for the United States Embassy abroad, and is editor of Palgrave Macmillan Publishing’s, “The Evolving American Presidency” book series. Professor Genovese has been The Washington Center’s “scholar-in-residence” at three national political conventions. In 2004-05, Professor Genovese served as President of the Presidency Research Group of the American Political Science Association.

An Evening of Arabic Poetry Reading and Recitation

Bassam Frangieh is a self-described lover of poetry. “Poetry reflects the identity, culture and history of Arabs,” he said. Moreover, “repeated verse changes consciousness and views, as it is the rejection of everything ugly in life.” For his reading at the Athenaeum, he will include the modern poetry of Nizar Kabbani, Abdul Wahab Al-Bayati, Mahmoud Darwish and Adunis. He will read in Arabic and two students will provide the English translation.

Bassam Frangieh came to CMC as Professor of Arabic in the Modern Languages Department this fall to start up a new program in Arabic language. Raised in Syria, he graduated from Damascus University in Syria with a degree in Arabic Language and Literature. He received his Ph.D. from Georgetown University and also taught there. He most recently taught for fourteen years at Yale University where he was a Senior Lecturer and Director of the Modern Languages Program. Professor Frangieh has translated many poems and novels and has also written literary criticism.

Repeated Injuries and Usurpations: Women’s Struggles for Civil Rights from 1848-1970

Jean H. Baker, a native of Baltimore, is a professor of history at Goucher College. She is the author of ten books on American political history and biography, including The Stevensons of Illinois: A Biography of an American Family (1997); Affairs of Party: The Political Culture of Northern Democrats in Mid-Century America (1983); and James Buchanan (2004), as well as numerous articles and essays on topics such as republicanism and democracy, the Civil War and Reconstruction, and the battle for women’s suffrage. Baker is well known for her book Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography (1987), widely considered the finest study of this First Lady. She is currently at work on a book about birth control activist Margaret Sanger.

Professor Baker’s recent book Sisters: The Lives of America's Suffragists (Hill and Wang, 2005) interweaves the private lives of five suffrage leaders—Lucy Stone, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Frances Willard, and Alice Paul — with their public achievements as it narrates the long struggle for the rights of citizenship. Baker points out that while most Americans venerate the public and private lives of our founding fathers, we know only the public lives — if that—of our founding mothers. She uses biography as a means of telling the story of the suffrage movement.

Professor Baker lives on a farm, likes to swim, play tennis, and ride horseback, and names all her animals after figures whom she admires and writes about in her books. She has a golden retriever named Maggie after Margaret Sanger and a horse, named by one of her eight grandchildren, called Bama. Her talk at the Athenaeum is part of the history department series “Critical Topics in World History.”