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Ambrose Bierce, an American journalist (1842-1914) said that “War was God’s way of teaching Americans geography.” Well, here’s another war and another geography lesson.

Nagorno Karabakh is an enclave entirely within the territory of Azerbaijan but inhabited by some 150,000 Armenians. Azerbaijan has exercised no control over the region since 1988 and the onrushing collapse of the Soviet Union. The two countries fought a war in 1994 and have been engaged in endless peace talks ever since.

Fighting broke out again in September 2020 — this time with far graver consequences. Cities in the enclave have been shelled and outside powers have been drawn in.

Turkey has come to the aid of Azerbaijan with militias flown in from Syria and with weaponry, specially drones produced by a Turkish firm owned and run by President Erdogan’s son-in-law. Erdogan’s newly aggressive stance in the Caucasus marks a new level of Turkish engagement in countries formerly the exclusive prerogative of President Putin. Turkey’s entering the conflict on the side of Armenia’s enemies raises the specter of the murder of 1.5 million Armenians carried out in Turkey at the end off WWI. Globally recognized as a genocide, Turkey refuses to accept that term.

Israel has also come to the aid of Azerbaijan, restocking its drones and other modern weapons. Azerbaijan and Iran have been uneasy geographic neighbors since Azerbaijan achieved its independence in 1991. Northwest Iran is inhabited by Azeris and each country fears the other will use that group to seize each other's territory. Israel has managed to establish deep ties with Azerbaijan which has allowed Israel to use its territory as a base against Iran.

President Putin has responded to the conflict by warning that Russia would come to the aid of Armenia if fighting reached Armenian territory and by trying to establish a cease fire.

A cease fire was worked out in Moscow but quickly collapsed. Fighting has broken out again with both sides now shelling civilians.

The U.S. has no presence in the conflict and has not brought diplomacy to bear.
--Marvin Zonis


A widespread fear suggests that because of the vast increase in absentee ballots, the results of the presidential election will not be know for days — or even weeks — after the polls close. Here is an analysis that suggests those fears are completely misplaced.
——Marvin Zonis


October 05, 2020

President Trump, who describes himself as a great dealmaker, characterized his “phase one” trade deal with China as “the biggest deal ever seen.” The consequences of that deal are now available for all to see: the largest U.S. trade deficit in goods and services in recent memory.

As Ryan Hass and Abraham Denmark reported in a recent study of Trump’s trade war with China:

A September 2019 study by Moody’s Analytics found that the trade war had already cost the U.S. economy nearly 300,000 jobs and an estimated 0.3% of real GDP. Other studies put the cost to U.S. GDP at about 0.7%. A 2019 report from Bloomberg Economics estimated that the trade war would cost the U.S. economy $316 billion by the end of 2020, while more recent research from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Columbia University found that U.S. companies lost at least $1.7 trillion in the price of their stocks as a result of U.S. tariffs imposed on imports from China.

[Ryan Hass and Abraham Denmark, "More Pain Than Gain: How the US-China Trade War Hurt America,” https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2020/08/07/more-pain-than-gain-how-the-us-china-trade-war-hurt-america/]
——Marvin Zonis


September 22, 2020

In a conversation with David Axelrod today, he said the following:


September 11, 2020

By David E. Sanger, Helene Cooper And Eric Schmitt


September 03, 2020

An American graduate student imprisoned for three years in Iran while doing PhD thesis research on Iranian history explains why no improvement in U.S.-Iran relation should be expected — no matter who wins the coming presidential elections in the U.S. and Iran.
--Marvin Zonis


September 01, 2020

By Marvin Zonis

Writing in the New York Times, Dwight Garner had these thoughts about Isabel Wilkerson’s, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, “that strikes me as an instant American classic and almost certainly the keynote nonfiction book of the American century thus far. It made the back of my neck prickle from its first pages, and that feeling never went away. . . I told more than one person, as I moved through my days this past week, that I was reading one of the most powerful nonfiction books I’d ever encountered.”[1]


August 25, 2020

Although not intended by the Founding Fathers, the U.S. Senate has become a “racist” institution. By providing two Senators for each state and by the policies its members have adopted for requiring super majorities and by the difficulty of ending filibusters, the Senate has turned out to effectively deny equal representation to African-Americans. The chances for change are zero.
——Marvin Zonis


August 17, 2020

By Isabel Wilkerson


August 04, 2020

The United States has widely recognized problems: growing income inequality, stagnant wages, decreasing social mobility, diminishing life expectancy, failing health delivery systems and many, many others. Elites have taken it upon themselves to find solutions. The result, it is argued here, will be solutions that preserve the existing system of power without altering the basic realities of the U.S. Instead, the author calls for the government to implement laws that will make meaningful change.
——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