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June 04, 2019

The U.S. continually sounds out mixed signals on its policy towards Iran — from President Trump, Secretary of State Pompeo and National Security Adviser Bolton. Arab leaders are befuddled as are Iran’s leaders.
——Marvin Zonis


May 24, 2019

The following is a speech delivered to the annual benefit of World Chicago, May 14, 2019


May 20, 2019

There’s a new way to get tickets - for concerts, sporting events, theater — for any event that requires a ticket. And this new way can get you tickets in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles — across the United States — as well as London.
——Marvin Zonis


May 13, 2019

The President’s son-in-law seems close to issuing his long awaited plan to settle all the issues outstanding between Israel and the Palestinians. Yet the best bet is that the plan will fail. Kushner does not appear to recognize the lasting consequences of all the history and all the earlier peace negotiations and all the refusals by the Palestinians and the Israelis to make peace. Those consequences make it nearly impossible for either the Israelis and the Palestinians to accept any new thinking.
—Marvin Zonis


May 01, 2019

Robert Bianchi has lived and worked in China and the Islamic World for the past two decades. He has a PhD in Political Science and a Law degree, both from the University of Chicago. His new book focuses on how the new “Silk Road” is transforming global politics. Bianchi has a discerning vision which neither excuses nor vilifies his subject. He is especially insightful on how the One Belt One Road initiative will have blowback into China. Here is an excerpt from the book.
——Marvin Zonis


April 18, 2019

City Elementary, a diverse learning school located in Hyde Park, is celebrating its fifth anniversary. Please join us for this celebration and help us continue the good work of the school. Please go to https://city-elementary-benefit19.eventbrite.com to purchase tickets or make a contribution. If you cannot join us in person, please do make a contribution to City Elementary.


April 05, 2019

The simple line on the Middle East is that the Shi’a — as embodied in Iran, which is the world’s only official Shi’a state — is pushing an aggressive foreign policy that leaves the region in turmoil. In fact, Iran’s foreign policy is only a minor contribution to the chaos of the Middle East. Instead, it is important to focus squarely on the multiple dysfunctions of the Sunni states — the Arab world plus Turkey and Pakistan. Something is dramatically wrong in those countries and the consequences are poverty and political turmoil.
——Marvin Zonis


March 19, 2019

An avid China watcher argues that the travails of American companies in China, particularly Apple and GM, owe less to internal China conditions and more to the companies and their product offerings themselves.
——Marvin Zonis


March 13, 2019

Germany’s current account surplus — the balance of all its transactions with the rest of the world — is the highest in the world. In 2018 it was $294 billion. Japan’s surplus was $173 billion. China’s was a paltry $49.1 billion in the same year (although non-official estimates put the actual number $1 billion higher). Meanwhile, the U.S. ran up a current account deficit of $478.6 billion. Germany’s staggering surplus reflects a basic truth about the country. Germans like to save. They don’t like to spend. Here is an explanation for why that is true….
——Marvin Zonis


March 05, 2019

The DSM is basically the ‘Bible’ of mental health professionals in the United States. "The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5) is the product of more than 10 years of effort by hundreds of international experts in all aspects of mental health. Their dedication and hard work have yielded an authoritative volume that defines and classifies mental disorders in order to improve diagnoses.” (https://www.psychiatry.org/psychiatrists/practice/dsm) Here, an MD takes the components of the DSM definition of an “Anti-Social Personality Disorder” and applies them to the long personal history of what we know about President Trump. The result produces the shocking realization that our President is emotionally impaired and a text book example of a DSM mental disorder. This diagnosis was made during the 2016 Presidential campaign. Nothing that characterizes the President since that campaign changes this diagnosis. The value of the diagnosis is that it helps us understand more of his behavior and contributes to better forecasts of what he is likely to to do in the future.
——Marvin Zonis


February 27, 2019

Past Saudi policies in Yemen are the most likely explanation for the slow rise of the Houthis and their anti-Saudi stance. For the last four years, the Saudis have waged war against them to diminish their control over much of the country. The war has accomplished at least three things. First, it has demonstrated the total incompetence of the Saudi military. The Saudi goal of becoming a major Middle Eastern power is now obviously an absurdity. Second, the Saudi bombing campaign has utterly pulverized Yemen while its blockade of the major port of Hodeidah has inflicted a humanitarian disaster by preventing food and medicine imports. Third, by ginning up what is basically a non-existent Iranian threat, the Saudis have managed to keep President Trump committed to the Saudi cause. All in all a disaster of the first order.
——Marvin Zonis


February 22, 2019

The Trump administration has just concluded a global conference held in Warsaw meant to ratchet up pressure on Iran. More than 60 nations attended although several major countries — particularly the Europeans -- refused to send their top diplomats. Vice President Pence set the conference tone by referring to the Iranian regime as “evil” and accusing them of planning a new Holocaust. While the conference was going on, another conference was being held in the same city, a conference organized by the Iranian opposition group, the Mujahedin-e Khalq or MEK. The MEK, apparently funded by the Saudis, is committed to the overthrow of Iran’s clerical regime. The highlight of their conference was a speech by President Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. While President Trump claims regime change is not his goal in Iran, Giuliani’s speech signals otherwise.
——--Marvin Zonis


February 18, 2019

There are many ways in which government policies decrease inequality. Unfortunately, for those who believe America’s skyrocketing inequality is not only bad but even dangerous for the country, government tax policies actually increase inequality.
——Marvin Zonis


Publications

Books

The Kimchi Matters: Global Business and Local Politics in a Crisis Driven World,
co-authors Daniel Lefkovitz and Sam Wilkin, Chicago: Agate Press, 2003

The Eastern European Opportunity, A Complete Guide and Sourcebook,
co-author Dwight Semler, New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1992

Majestic Failure: The Fall of the Shah,
Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1991

Khomeini and the Islamic Republic of Iran,
co-author Daniel Brumberg, Cambridge: Harvard Middle East Papers
, 1987

The Political Elite of Iran.
Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976
 

Press


Chicago Tribune
"Russian Protests Will Keep Haunting Putin"
April 3, 2017
 
Chicago Tribune
"Mission Creep and the Islamic State"
September 30, 2014
 
Chicago Tribune
"Plenty of Reasons for Ukraine's Grim Future"
March 5, 2014
 
Chicago Tribune
"Iran's New Leaders and the American Response"
August 5, 2013
 
EconoMonitor
"A Beheading in London; A Bombing in Boston: The Transformations of the al-Qaeda Threat"
May 24th, 2013
 
Chicago Tribune
"Realistic Optimism on Nuclear Talks with Iran"
May 22, 2012
 
International Business Times
"Austerity Push in Greece Leaves Citizens Hungry for Alternatives"
February 23, 2012
 
Advisor.ca
"US Economy Poised for Growth"
February 3, 2012
 
Chicago Tribune
"Will Israel Bomb Iran?"
November 13, 2011
 
Chicago Tribune
"MidEast Rulers of a Certain Age" [PDF]
March 6, 2011
 
Chicago Tribune
"Are We Going to Miss Mubarak?"
[PDF]
February 4, 2011
 
 
Archive

Les Echos
"Washington Risque de Regretter Le Depart d'Hosni Moubarak"
[PDF]
February 2, 2011
(French version)
 
Les Echos
"Washington Risque de Regretter Le Depart d'Hosni Moubarak"
 [PDF]
February 2, 2011
(English version)

Credit Suisse
"Middle East and Africa - Regulation Will Influence the
Future of Banking"
[PDF]
June 1, 2010

ROOZ, 1116
"The Iranian People Are Entitled to More Freedom"
[PDF]
February, 2010

The Wall Street Journal
"Russian Ripples Hit U.S. Firms - Sharp Slowdown in Consumer
Spending Is Felt From Cigarettes to Copier"
[PDF]
August 2009

The Mind of a Mullah
June 17, 2009

Focus Trends (Dutch)
"Obama Is Jezus Christus"
[PDF]
February 2009

GSB Magazine
"Faculty Smackdown with Marvin Zonis: From HBS Dropout
to Iran, Nightline, and the GSB"
Part One [PDF]
Part Two [PDF]
January, 2006