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MA of International Studies holder, policy wonk, futurist, and matcha-lover.

CYBERSECURITY

As the age of cyber-conflict dawns, the U.S. is wholly unprepared to respond to emerging threats.

Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

The cyberwarfare sphere only emerged two decades ago, but it has already had a significant effect on the security of nations. The United States’ information systems vulnerabilities have made its government and private sector daily targets of hacks at different levels of severity. As technological innovations rapidly occur, cyber-attacks will become even more sophisticated and state and non-state actors may be able to hide their actions. And although the U.S. successfully implemented the largest known cyber-attack against a nation-state, its defensive capabilities are sorely lacking. The U.S. has not developed cyber-weapons as quickly as its adversaries, nor established a consistent…


The US can avoid war with China by pursuing cooperation on climate, furthering communication, and easing sanctions.

U.S. Department of State from United States, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

A little more than three years ago, the Trump administration announced that it was applying tariffs to Chinese imports, officially kicking off the US-China trade war. Since then, Sino-American relations have become frosty, characterized by distrust and misinformation. If both countries continue down this path, a Cold War — or even a “hot” one — is inevitable. Aggression is unsustainable.

As the Biden administration retools its China policy, it must incorporate more cooperation into its approach. At a minimum, the US and China should work together to identify areas of collaboration on global issues and make these the relationship’s foundations…


Even during a global pandemic, one of the most insidious forms of sexual harassment is still omnipresent.

Photo by Natasha Kasim on Unsplash

During the COVID-19 pandemic, our conception of “safe spaces” has altered. Indoor spaces, except for our own homes, are to be avoided. We are asked to avoid large group activities, no matter whether they take place indoors or outdoors. Ironically, one of the safest things one can now do in public is walking or running alone outdoors. In the “before times,” many people feared going outside alone. And they still do.

I have never been assaulted on the street. However, I have been catcalled and harassed numerous times, doing rather mundane things — like walking to or from work or…


The swift passage of a second stimulus package is essential to American economic recovery.

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

During a year in which millions of Americans face food insecurity, evictions, and periods without health insurance during a global pandemic, Congress and the White House have portrayed the passage of another stimulus package (after March’s CARES Act) as an incredibly contentious and impossible endeavor. While people are suffering because of circumstances outside of their control, our leaders have been unable to compromise on a bill that would demonstrate that they put people’s well-being ahead of accumulating political leverage.

This stalemate might seem surprising if it wasn’t representative of several political and economic trends that have permeated American policymaking for…


More executions occurred during the last 3 months than over the last 57 years, the ACLU reports.

Photo by Florida Department of Corrections/Doug Smith

According to American federal death penalty statutes, it takes at least 314 people to kill one person.

In addition to the prisoner, federal law requires several different groups of people to be present at an execution. 24 designated witnesses must be in attendance, along with 40 Bureau of Prisons (BOP) staff, 50 national BOP staff with “special operations” training, as well as 200 local prison staff (i.e., contractors). The prison usually requests that US Marshals and local law enforcement attend the proceedings, although there isn’t a stipulation that a certain number of officials from those groups are represented.

When Trump…


ECONOMICS

The rich are finding ways to accumulate a larger share of wealth even though the global middle class is growing.

Photo by bongkarn thanyakij from Pexels

The narrative we have been sold about capitalism — that wealth from the top trickles down to everyone — is verifiably untrue. We have four decades of data to dispute the idea.

Simply put, capitalism can bring people out of poverty, particularly in large global markets, but cannot expand the international middle class.

Businesses look for the cheapest places around the world to situate themselves. There, they use local labor to produce goods or pay local taxes, even if that location is not where they do most of their business. They export products or services to the rest of the…


And why isn’t believing others’ lived experiences enough?

Photo by niklas_hamann on Unsplash

When I was 12 years old, I was groped and kissed without my consent by a male classmate on a school bus. Other male classmates goaded him on. I told my male soccer coach, who was the only adult on the bus, about it after it happened, and he told me that it wasn’t a big deal. He didn’t confront the classmate about it either.

A few years later, that coach ended up being fired from the school because he openly flirted with his underage, female students (he was also a Bible teacher). Big surprise.

I was embarrassed and ashamed…


Improve your language proficiency and study other cultures.

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

International relations (IR) is a tough field to get into. In fact, it is considered an “elitist” field by some, as most IR jobs are based in large, cosmopolitan cities. Organizations frequently recruit employees from universities with the world’s top international affairs programs, like Georgetown University and Johns Hopkins University.

However, you don’t need a fancy degree to work in this space. I graduated in 2016 with a bachelor’s from American University’s School of International Studies, one of the world’s highest-ranked IR professional schools. Yet, I couldn’t get an IR-related job directly after graduation, while some of my peers did…


We cannot judge others’ opinions based on their use of ambiguous political terminology.

Photo by Rosemary Ketchum from Pexels

A Facebook friend posted a meme on a black background. It said: “Liberals can’t be anti-racist.” The message puzzled me for a couple of reasons.

First, because the word “liberal” is frequently used in different contexts. Some people believe it applies to everyone on the left side of the political spectrum. Others believe that it only applies to the center-left crowd.

Second, I wasn’t sure how complicit they were implying liberals were in systems that they considered racist. I was somewhat familiar with the term “anti-racist” after it gained popularity following the George Floyd protests but I hadn’t read Ibram…


The impetus is on citizens to ensure that elections are conducted fairly.

Photo by Santeri Viinamäki / CC BY-SA

Over the past few months, I’ve noticed that some writers have stated that the US election system is the last fragment of American democracy. They are saying this as American elected leaders continue to sow doubts about the validity of the November election results. Some political theorists stand by these writers’ line of thinking. They believe that elections, even flawed ones, can lead to a transition to democratic leadership in authoritarian countries and backsliding democracies alike.

Elections can be a result of democratization, but they do not create more democracy. We can look at an American example to demonstrate this…

Savannah Wallace

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