Security

FSI scholars produce research aimed at creating a safer world and examing the consequences of security policies on institutions and society. They look at longstanding issues including nuclear nonproliferation and the conflicts between countries like North and South Korea. But their research also examines new and emerging areas that transcend traditional borders – the drug war in Mexico and expanding terrorism networks. FSI researchers look at the changing methods of warfare with a focus on biosecurity and nuclear risk. They tackle cybersecurity with an eye toward privacy concerns and explore the implications of new actors like hackers.

Along with the changing face of conflict, terrorism and crime, FSI researchers study food security. They tackle the global problems of hunger, poverty and environmental degradation by generating knowledge and policy-relevant solutions. 

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* Please note all CISAC events are scheduled using the Pacific Time Zone.

 

Register in advance for this webinar: https://stanford.zoom.us/webinar/register/8416226562432/WN_WLYcdRa6T5Cs1MMdmM0Mug

 

About the Event: Is there a place for illegal or nonconsensual evidence in security studies research, such as leaked classified documents? What is at stake, and who bears the responsibility, for determining source legitimacy? Although massive unauthorized disclosures by WikiLeaks and its kindred may excite qualitative scholars with policy revelations, and quantitative researchers with big-data suitability, they are fraught with methodological and ethical dilemmas that the discipline has yet to resolve. I argue that the hazards from this research—from national security harms, to eroding human-subjects protections, to scholarly complicity with rogue actors—generally outweigh the benefits, and that exceptions and justifications need to be articulated much more explicitly and forcefully than is customary in existing work. This paper demonstrates that the use of apparently leaked documents has proliferated over the past decade, and appeared in every leading journal, without being explicitly disclosed and defended in research design and citation practices. The paper critiques incomplete and inconsistent guidance from leading political science and international relations journals and associations; considers how other disciplines from journalism to statistics to paleontology address the origins of their sources; and elaborates a set of normative and evidentiary criteria for researchers and readers to assess documentary source legitimacy and utility. Fundamentally, it contends that the scholarly community (researchers, peer reviewers, editors, thesis advisors, professional associations, and institutions) needs to practice deeper reflection on sources’ provenance, greater humility about whether to access leaked materials and what inferences to draw from them, and more transparency in citation and research strategies.

View Written Draft Paper

 

About the Speaker: Christopher Darnton is a CISAC affiliate and an associate professor of national security affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School. He previously taught at Reed College and the Catholic University of America, and holds a Ph.D. in Politics from Princeton University. He is the author of Rivalry and Alliance Politics in Cold War Latin America (Johns Hopkins, 2014) and of journal articles on US foreign policy, Latin American security, and qualitative research methods. His International Security article, “Archives and Inference: Documentary Evidence in Case Study Research and the Debate over U.S. Entry into World War II,” won the 2019 APSA International History and Politics Section Outstanding Article Award. He is writing a book on the history of US security cooperation in Latin America, based on declassified military documents.

Virtual Seminar

Christopher Darnton Associate Professor of National Security Affairs Naval Postgraduate School
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Riana Pfefferkorn
Riana Pfefferkorn
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When we’re faced with a video recording of an event—such as an incident of police brutality—we can generally trust that the event happened as shown in the video. But that may soon change, thanks to the advent of so-called “deepfake” videos that use machine learning technology to show a real person saying and doing things they haven’t.

This technology poses a particular threat to marginalized communities. If deepfakes cause society to move away from the current “seeing is believing” paradigm for video footage, that shift may negatively impact individuals whose stories society is already less likely to believe. The proliferation of video recording technology has fueled a reckoning with police violence in the United States, recorded by bystanders and body-cameras. But in a world of pervasive, compelling deepfakes, the burden of proof to verify authenticity of videos may shift onto the videographer, a development that would further undermine attempts to seek justice for police violence. To counter deepfakes, high-tech tools meant to increase trust in videos are in development, but these technologies, though well-intentioned, could end up being used to discredit already marginalized voices. 

(Content Note: Some of the links in this piece lead to graphic videos of incidents of police violence. Those links are denoted in bold.)

Recent police killings of Black Americans caught on camera have inspired massive protests that have filled U.S. streets in the past year. Those protests endured for months in Minneapolis, where former police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted this week in the murder of George Floyd, a Black man. During Chauvin’s trial, another police officer killed Daunte Wright just outside Minneapolis, prompting additional protests as well as the officer’s resignation and arrest on second-degree manslaughter charges. She supposedly mistook her gun for her Taser—the same mistake alleged in the fatal shooting of Oscar Grant in 2009, by an officer whom a jury later found guilty of involuntary manslaughter (but not guilty of a more serious charge). All three of these tragic deaths—George Floyd, Daunte Wright, Oscar Grant—were documented in videos that were later used (or, in Wright’s case, seem likely to be used) as evidence at the trials of the police officers responsible. Both Floyd’s and Wright’s deaths were captured by the respective officers’ body-worn cameras, and multiple bystanders with cell phones recorded the Floyd and Grant incidents. Some commentators credit a 17-year-old Black girl’s video recording of Floyd’s death for making Chauvin’s trial happen at all.

The growth of the movement for Black lives in the years since Grant’s death in 2009 owes much to the rise in the availability, quality, and virality of bystander videos documenting police violence, but this video evidence hasn’t always been enough to secure convictions. From Rodney King’s assailants in 1992 to Philando Castile’s shooter 25 years later, juries have often declined to convict police officers even in cases where wanton police violence or killings are documented on video. Despite their growing prevalence, police bodycams have had mixed results in deterring excessive force or impelling accountability. That said, bodycam videos do sometimes make a difference, helping to convict officers in the killings of Jordan Edwards in Texas and Laquan McDonald in Chicago. Chauvin’s defense team pitted bodycam footage against the bystander videos employed by the prosecution, and lost.

What makes video so powerful? Why does it spur crowds to take to the streets and lawyers to showcase it in trials? It’s because seeing is believing. Shot at differing angles from officers’ point of view, bystander footage paints a fuller picture of what happened. Two people (on a jury, say, or watching a viral video online) might interpret a video two different ways. But they’ve generally been able to take for granted that the footage is a true, accurate record of something that really happened. 

That might not be the case for much longer. It’s now possible to use artificial intelligence to generate highly realistic “deepfake” videos showing real people saying and doing things they never said or did, such as the recent viral TikTok videos depicting an ersatz Tom Cruise. You can also find realistic headshots of people who don’t exist at all on the creatively-named website thispersondoesnotexist.com. (There’s even a cat version.) 

While using deepfake technology to invent cats or impersonate movie stars might be cute, the technology has more sinister uses as well. In March, the Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a warning that malicious actors are “almost certain” to use “synthetic content” in disinformation campaigns against the American public and in criminal schemes to defraud U.S. businesses. The breakneck pace of deepfake technology’s development has prompted concerns that techniques for detecting such imagery will be unable to keep up. If so, the high-tech cat-and-mouse game between creators and debunkers might end in a stalemate at best. 

If it becomes impossible to reliably prove that a fake video isn’t real, a more feasible alternative might be to focus instead on proving that a real video isn’t fake. So-called “verified at capture” or “controlled-capture” technologies attach additional metadata to imagery at the moment it’s taken, to verify when and where the footage was recorded and reveal any attempt to tamper with the data. The goal of these technologies, which are still in their infancy, is to ensure that an image’s integrity will stand up to scrutiny. 

Photo and video verification technology holds promise for confirming what’s real in the age of “fake news.” But it’s also cause for concern. In a society where guilty verdicts for police officers remain elusive despite ample video evidence, is even more technology the answer? Or will it simply reinforce existing inequities? 

The “ambitious goal” of adding verification technology to smartphone chipsets necessarily entails increasing the cost of production. Once such phones start to come onto the market, they will be more expensive than lower-end devices that lack this functionality. And not everyone will be able to afford them. Black Americans and poor Americans have lower rates of smartphone ownership than whites and high earners, and are more likely to own a “dumb” cell phone. (The same pattern holds true with regard to educational attainment and urban versus rural residence.) Unless and until verification technology is baked into even the most affordable phones, it risks replicating existing disparities in digital access. 

That has implications for police accountability, and, by extension, for Black lives. Primed by societal concerns about deepfakes and “fake news,” juries may start expecting high-tech proof that a video is real. That might lead them to doubt the veracity of bystander videos of police brutality if they were captured on lower-end phones that lack verification technology. Extrapolating from current trends in phone ownership, such bystanders are more likely to be members of marginalized racial and socioeconomic groups. Those are the very people who, as witnesses in court, face an uphill battle in being afforded credibility by juries. That bias, which reared its ugly head again in the Chauvin trial, has long outlived the 19th-century rules that explicitly barred Black (and other non-white) people from testifying for or against white people on the grounds that their race rendered them inherently unreliable witnesses. 

In short, skepticism of “unverified” phone videos may compound existing prejudices against the owners of those phones. That may matter less in situations where a diverse group of numerous eyewitnesses record a police brutality incident on a range of devices. But if there is only a single bystander witness to the scene, the kind of phone they own could prove significant.

The advent of mobile devices empowered Black Americans to force a national reckoning with police brutality. Ubiquitous, pocket-sized video recorders allow average bystanders to document the pandemic of police violence. And because seeing is believing, those videos make it harder for others to continue denying the problem exists. Even with the evidence thrust under their noses, juries keep acquitting police officers who kill Black people. Chauvin’s conviction this week represents an exception to recent history: Between 2005 and 2019, of the 104 law enforcement officers charged with murder or manslaughter in connection with a shooting while on duty, 35 were convicted

The fight against fake videos will complicate the fight for Black lives. Unless it is equally available to everyone, video verification technology may not help the movement for police accountability, and could even set it back. Technological guarantees of videos’ trustworthiness will make little difference if they are accessible only to the privileged, whose stories society already tends to believe. We might be able to tech our way out of the deepfakes threat, but we can’t tech our way out of America’s systemic racism. 

Riana Pfefferkorn is a research scholar at the Stanford Internet Observatory

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Riana Pfefferkorn
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Q&A with Riana Pfefferkorn, Stanford Internet Observatory Research Scholar

Riana Pfefferkorn joined the Stanford Internet Observatory as a research scholar in December. She comes from Stanford’s Center for Internet and Society, where she was the Associate Director of Surveillance and Cybersecurity.
Q&A with Riana Pfefferkorn, Stanford Internet Observatory Research Scholar
A member of the All India Student Federation teaches farmers about social media and how to use such tools as part of ongoing protests against the government. (Pradeep Gaur / SOPA Images / Sipa via Reuters Connect)
Blogs

New Intermediary Rules Jeopardize the Security of Indian Internet Users

New Intermediary Rules Jeopardize the Security of Indian Internet Users
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Daphne Keller
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I am a huge fan of transparency about platform content moderation. I’ve considered it a top policy priority for years, and written about it in detail (with Paddy Leerssen, who also wrote this great piece about recommendation algorithms and transparency). I sincerely believe that without it, we are unlikely to correctly diagnose current problems or arrive at wise legal solutions.

So it pains me to admit that I don’t really know what “transparency” I’m asking for. I don’t think many other people do, either. Researchers and public interest advocates around the world can agree that more transparency is better. But, aside from people with very particular areas of interest (like political advertising), almost no one has a clear wish list. What information is really important? What information is merely nice to have? What are the trade-offs involved?

That imprecision is about to become a problem, though it’s a good kind of problem to have. A moment of real political opportunity is at hand. Lawmakers in the USEurope, and elsewhere are ready to make some form of transparency mandatory. Whatever specific legal requirements they create will have huge consequences. The data, content, or explanations they require platforms to produce will shape our future understanding of platform operations, and our ability to respond — as consumers, as advocates, or as democracies. Whatever disclosures the laws don’t require, may never happen.

It’s easy to respond to this by saying “platforms should track all the possible data, we’ll see what’s useful later!” Some version of this approach might be justified for the very biggest “gatekeeper” or “systemically important” platforms. Of course, making Facebook or Google save all that data would be somewhat ironic, given the trouble they’ve landed in by storing similar not-clearly-needed data about their users in the past. (And the more detailed data we store about particular takedowns, the likelier it is to be personally identifiable.)

For any platform, though, we should recognize that the new practices required for transparency reporting comes at a cost. That cost might include driving platforms to adopt simpler, blunter content rules in their Terms of Service. That would reduce their expenses in classifying or explaining decisions, but presumably lead to overly broad or narrow content prohibitions. It might raise the cost of adding “social features” like user comments enough that some online businesses, like retailers or news sites, just give up on them. That would reduce some forms of innovation, and eliminate useful information for Internet users. For small and midsized platforms, transparency obligations (like other expenses related to content moderation) might add yet another reason to give up on competing with today’s giants, and accept an acquisition offer from an incumbent that already has moderation and transparency tools. Highly prescriptive transparency obligations might also drive de facto standardization and homogeneity in platform rules, moderation practices, and features.

None of these costs provides a reason to give up on transparency — or even to greatly reduce our expectations. But all of them are reasons to be thoughtful about what we ask for. It would be helpful if we could better quantify these costs, or get a handle on what transparency reporting is easier and harder to do in practice.

I’ve made a (very in the weeds) list of operational questions about transparency reporting, to illustrate some issues that are likely to arise in practice. I think detailed examples like these are helpful in thinking through both which kinds of data matter most, and how much precision we need within particular categories. For example, I personally want to know with great precision how many government orders a platform received, how it responded, and whether any orders led to later judicial review. But to me it seems OK to allow some margin of error for platforms that don’t have standardized tracking and queuing tools, and that as a result might modestly mis-count TOS takedowns (either by absolute numbers or percent).

I’ll list that and some other recommendations below. But these “recommendations” are very tentative. I don’t know enough to have a really clear set of preferences yet. There are things I wish I could learn from technologists, activists, and researchers first. The venues where those conversations would ordinarily happen — and, importantly, where observers from very different backgrounds and perspectives could have compared the issues they see, and the data they most want — have been sadly reduced for the past year.

So here is my very preliminary list:

  • Transparency mandates should be flexible enough to accommodate widely varying platform practices and policies. Any de facto push toward standardization should be limited to the very most essential data.
  • The most important categories of data are probably the main ones listed in the DSA: number of takedowns, number of appeals, number of successful appeals. But as my list demonstrates, those all can become complicated in practice.
  • It’s worth taking the time to get legal transparency mandates right. That may mean delegating exact transparency rules to regulatory agencies in some countries, or conducting studies prior to lawmaking in others.
  • Once rules are set, lawmakers should be very reluctant to move the goalposts. If a platform (especially a smaller one) invests in rebuilding its content moderation tools to track certain categories of data, it should not have to overhaul those tools soon because of changed legal requirements.
  • We should insist on precise data in some cases, and tolerate more imprecision in others (based on the importance of the issue, platform capacity, etc.). And we should take the time to figure out which is which.
  • Numbers aren’t everything. Aggregate data in transparency reports ultimately just tell us what platforms themselves think is going on. To understand what mistakes they make, or what biases they may exhibit, independent researchers need to see the actual content involved in takedown decisions. (This in turn raises a slough of issues about storing potentially unlawful content, user privacy and data protection, and more.)

It’s time to prioritize. Researchers and civil society should assume we are operating with a limited transparency “budget,” which we must spend wisely — asking for the information we can best put to use, and factoring in the cost. We need better understanding of both research needs and platform capabilities to do this cost-benefit analysis well. I hope that the window of political opportunity does not close before we manage to do that.

Daphne Keller

Daphne Keller

Director of the Program on Platform Regulation
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Cover of the EIP report "The Long Fuse: Misinformation and the 2020 Election"
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Election Integrity Partnership Releases Final Report on Mis- and Disinformation in 2020 U.S. Election

Researchers from Stanford University, the University of Washington, Graphika and Atlantic Council’s DFRLab released their findings in ‘The Long Fuse: Misinformation and the 2020 Election.’
Election Integrity Partnership Releases Final Report on Mis- and Disinformation in 2020 U.S. Election
Daphne Keller QA
Q&As

Q&A with Daphne Keller of the Program on Platform Regulation

Keller explains some of the issues currently surrounding platform regulation
Q&A with Daphne Keller of the Program on Platform Regulation
twitter takedown headliner
Blogs

Analysis of February 2021 Twitter Takedowns

In this post and in the attached reports we investigate a Twitter network attributed to actors in Armenia, Iran, and Russia.
Analysis of February 2021 Twitter Takedowns
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In a new blog post, Daphne Keller, Director of the Program on Platform Regulation at the Cyber Policy Center, looks at the need for transparency when it comes to content moderation and asks, what kind of transparency do we really want?

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End-to-end encrypted (E2EE) communications have been around for decades, but the deployment of default E2EE on billion-user platforms has new impacts for user privacy and safety. The deployment comes with benefits to both individuals and society but it also creates new risks, as long-existing models of messenger abuse can now flourish in an environment where automated or human review cannot reach. New E2EE products raise the prospect of less understood risks by adding discoverability to encrypted platforms, allowing contact from strangers and increasing the risk of certain types of abuse. This workshop will place a particular focus on platform benefits and risks that impact civil society organizations, with a specific focus on the global south. Through a series of workshops and policy papers, the Stanford Internet Observatory is facilitating open and productive dialogue on this contentious topic to find common ground. 

An important defining principle behind this workshop series is the explicit assumption that E2EE is here to stay. To that end, our workshops have set aside any discussion of exceptional access (aka backdoor) designs. This debate has raged between industry, academic cryptographers and law enforcement for decades and little progress has been made. We focus instead on interventions that can be used to reduce the harm of E2E encrypted communication products that have been less widely explored or implemented. 

Submissions for working papers and requests to attend will be accepted up to 10 days before the event. Accepted submitters will be invited to present or attend our upcoming workshops. 

SUBMIT HERE

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Steve Fyffe
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Three CISAC scientists have joined 26 of the nation’s top nuclear experts to send an open letter to President Obama in support of the Iran deal struck in July.

“The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) the United States and its partners negotiated with Iran will advance the cause of peace and security in the Middle East and can serve as a guidepost for future non-proliferation agreements,” the group of renowned scientists, academics and former government officials wrote in the letter dated August 8, 2015.

“This is an innovative agreement, with much more stringent constraints than any previously negotiated non-proliferation framework.”

CISAC senior fellow and former Los Alamos National Laboratory director Sig Hecker is a signatory to the letter, along with CISAC co-founder Sid Drell, and cybersecurity expert and CISAC affiliate Martin Hellman.

Six Nobel laureates also signed, including FSI senior fellow by courtesy and former Stanford Linear Accelerator director Burton Richter.

The letter arrives at a crucial time for the Obama administration as it rallies public opinion and lobbies Congress to support the Iran agreement.

You can read the full letter along with analysis from the New York Times at this link.

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Hate speech is a contextual phenomenon. What offends or inflames in one context may differ from what incites violence in a different time, place, and cultural landscape. Theories of hate speech, especially Susan Benesch’s concept of “dangerous speech” (hateful speech that incites violence), have focused on the factors that cut across these paradigms. However, the existing scholarship is narrowly focused on situations of mass violence or societal unrest in America or Europe.

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The Tel Aviv skyline
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Join the new Visiting Fellow in Israel Studies program for a panel discussion on democracy in Israel as the country marks its 75th Independence Day. Since its founding in 1948, Israel has established itself as a vibrant democracy and a powerful geopolitical actor on the regional and global stage.

Moderated by Larry Diamond, the Mosbacher Senior Fellow in Global Studies at FSI, the panelists, including Associate Professors Amichai Magen and Or Rabinowitz, and the Jewish Agency Israel Fellow at Stanford Yonatan Eyov, will reflect on Israel’s many notable achievements as well as the challenges to its democratic nature.
 

Meet the Panelists


Yonatan Eyov is the current Jewish Agency Israel Fellow at Stanford University. The fellows program is a partnership between the Jewish Agency and Hillel which brings Israeli young adults to college and university campuses around the world to help these environments’ fulfill their role as safe spaces for education, tolerance, and diversity. Eyov hols a bachelor's degree in Communication and Media Studies from Reichman University.

Yonatan Eyov

Yonatan Eyov

Jewish Agency Israel Fellow at Stanford University
Full Profile


Dr. Amichai Magen is a Senior Lecturer and Director of the Program on Democratic Resilience and Development (PDRD) at the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy at Reichman University. He is the inaugural Visiting Fellow in Israel Studies at the Freeman Spogli Institute, where he is continuing his research on limited statehood, governance failures, and political violence in the international system.

Amichai Magen

Amichai Magen

Visiting Fellow in Israel Studies
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Dr. Or Rabinowitz is an associate professor at the International Relations Department of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. During the academic year of 2022-2023 she holds the post of visiting associate professor at Stanford’s CISAC. Her research interests include nuclear proliferation, intelligence studies, and Israel-U.S. relations.

Ori Rabinowitz

Or Rabinowitz

Visiting Scholar at CISAC
Full Profile
Larry Diamond
Larry Diamond
Yonatan Eyov Jewish Agency Israel Fellow at Stanford University
Amichai Magen Visiting Fellow in Israel Studies
Ori Rabinowitz Visiting Associate Professor
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Noa Ronkin
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Amid escalating tensions between the United States and China and as the U.S. government is exploring how to further limit China's access to U.S. technology, discussions about the possibility of decoupling between the two countries have intensified. As businesses operating in China grapple with the potential consequences of decoupling, APARC’s China Program hosted a panel of executives across industries from tech, retail, and finance currently engaged in reshaping their China businesses to provide a view from the ground and consider the future of decoupling with China.

The event was the second installment in a special series celebrating APARC’s 40th anniversary. Titled Asia in 2030, APARC@40, the series highlights core areas of the center’s expertise, examines Asia’s transformation over the past four decades, and considers the drivers and shapers of the region’s future.

The panel featured Dan Brody, the managing director of Tencent Investments, who is responsible for the company’s overseas investments; Frits Van Paasschen, a change management expert, former CEO of Starwood Hotels and Resorts, and former president of EMEA at Nike; and Stuart Schonberger, a founding partner of CDH Investments, one of the leading China-focused alternative asset managers. China Program Director Jean Oi chaired the panel.


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There is a need for cognitive empathy between the United States and China and understanding the motivation behind China's actions.
Stuart Schonberger

Risks and Opportunities

Van Paasschen described his extensive experience developing strategies for expanding licensing and retail in China, which involved navigating the country's infrastructure and legal framework and, as CEO of Starwood Hotels, overseeing the construction of over 100 hotels. He ascribed his success in the country to his recognition of China’s strengths and weaknesses and his finding ways to interact positively with Chinese stakeholders.

The term decoupling is an oversimplification of the relationship between the complex Chinese and U.S. economies, said Van Paasschen. He noted that retailers in many cases are looking to sources from alternative markets to China, but that he believes there are still opportunities for investment in and co-development with China that remain unaffected by current frictions. He highlighted in this context the interplay between the U.S. and Chinese travel and tourism industries before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Schonberger, who also challenged the notion of decoupling as a misleading shorthand, emphasized the need for cognitive empathy between the world’s two great powers and understanding the motivation behind China's actions. He noted that the challenges facing China today are complex, including debt problems, real estate slowdown, and productivity stagnation, but said these are "known knowns" that the Chinese government is actively working to correct.

Schonberger sees two distinct issues facing institutional equity investors worried about China: government policies that negatively affect growth and corporate prospects, and longer-term risks arising from China's geopolitical position. For private investors who are focused on total return and can tolerate overt political pressures, China remains investable, as Chinese stocks have been some of the best performers on the public markets recently, said Schonberger. The challenges are greater, however, for public entities and bond investors who are more affected by political risk in their decisions. While the risks are higher, Schonberger's firm continues to invest in Chinese companies in multiple sectors.

By decoupling with China, the United States would miss out on a generational opportunity for development.
Frits Van Paasschen

Changes Underway

Brody said that China remains a key player in the global economy. As a personal anecdote, he noted that, while he makes fewer trips to the United States, he is traveling more frequently to Europe, India, Japan, and Southeast Asia. According to Brody, the extent to which the Chinese economy would be affected by international fluctuations is unclear, but he expects the country to continue its economic growth and attract foreign investors. He stated that a huge amount of value in the tech sector is still being created in America, so economically driven foreign investors in the tech sector still pay close attention to developments in Silicon Valley.

Van Paasschen, by contrast, pointed out that by decoupling with China, the United States would miss out on a generational opportunity for development and could potentially lose out to other countries. China still presents an enormous opportunity for businesses, he said, particularly in the hotel industry, given the country’s rate of urbanization. He reminded the audience that every country and region presents its own set of challenges and risks for investors. The imperative is to ensure Beijing and Washington maintain a dialogue and businesses are willing to take risks to invest in China.

Van Paasschen went on to describe how the U.S.-China political tensions are affecting business operations in various sectors. For instance, in the biotechnology sector, companies might consider protecting intellectual property and ensuring sustainability in their supply chain. In the apparel business, there is a growing concern about human rights and the opacity of the cotton supply chain. Overall, Van Paasschen sees a transition underway from a bilateral and straightforward approach to trade to a much more nuanced and complicated approach.

When asked if political tensions would affect some sectors more than others, Van Paasschen responded affirmatively. He gave the example of a sovereign wealth fund that refused to support investments in Chinese hotels because of the uncertainty zero-COVID policies had created. He also said that further uncertainty could arise from countries' reactions to China’s foreign policy stance, such as China's support of Russia in Ukraine.

Whatever your political position as an American is on China, you would want more people-to-people ties, which have always been a net positive.
Dan Brody

What advice would the three business experts give Washington?

Van Paasschen expressed his hope the United States finds ways to avoid being reactive. Schonberger, urging policymakers to keep working towards peaceful coexistence, emphasized it would be counter-productive to frame China as an enemy. He also highlighted the importance of redundancy and efficiency in trade relationships and cautioned against overlooking the cost of decoupling, reminding the audience that engagement with China has boosted global trade, lifted millions out of poverty, and created a vibrant society.

From Brody’s perspective, predictability is crucial for business, regardless of the country one is conducting business in. He also stressed that, from a personal perspective and regardless of one’s political stance on China, the reduction in people-to-people ties between China and the United States due to recent travel restrictions is unfortunate. Ultimately, these ties have always been a net positive, and it is important to recognize their value even in the midst of tensions between the two nations. While political leaders may grapple with complex geopolitical issues, the connections between ordinary citizens remain a vital foundation for maintaining a constructive relationship. By fostering personal exchanges, the United States and China can build bridges and promote mutual understanding, even in the face of challenging circumstances.

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Gi-Wook Shin, Amb. Jung-Seung Shin, and Oriana Skylar Mastro at the Winter Payne Lecture
News

Payne Distinguished Fellow Examines South Korea’s Strategic Path Amid U.S.-China Competition

Ambassador Jung-Seung Shin, the Winter 2023 Payne Distinguished Fellow, offered insights into the dynamics of the trilateral U.S.-China-South Korea relationship, the impacts of the great power competition between the United States and China on South Korea, and the prospects for enhanced Korea-U.S. collaboration.
Payne Distinguished Fellow Examines South Korea’s Strategic Path Amid U.S.-China Competition
U.S. and Japanese forces conduct a maritime partnership exercise in the South China Sea.
Commentary

Japan Must Do More, and Faster, to Avert War Over Taiwan

Tokyo must make clear at home and abroad that defending Taiwan is no longer off the table.
Japan Must Do More, and Faster, to Avert War Over Taiwan
YOSHIKI and Ichiro Fujisaki at The Future of Social Tech conference.
News

Japanese and American Innovators Gather at Stanford to Examine the Future of Social Tech

Kicking off a special event series celebrating the 40th anniversary of Stanford’s Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, the Japan Program convened eminent entrepreneurs, investors, educators, and content creators, including global rock star YOSHIKI, to explore pathways for social impact innovation.
Japanese and American Innovators Gather at Stanford to Examine the Future of Social Tech
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In the second installment of a series recognizing the 40th anniversary of Stanford’s Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, the China Program gathered cross-sector executives currently engaged in reshaping their China businesses to shine a light on what U.S.-China tensions and potential decoupling between the two powers look like on the ground.

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Nora Fisher-Onar seminar

Nora Fisher-Onar will present an original and timely key to (Turkey’s) politics as driven not by any perineal conflict between “Islamist vs. secularist,” “Turk vs. Kurd,” or “Sunni vs. Alevi.” Rather, she argues, the driving force of political contestation is shifting coalitions of moderates across camps who seek to pluralize public life, versus coalitions of those who champion ethno- and ethno-religious nationalism. Using the key to retell Turkey’s political history from the late Ottoman empire through to the present, she concludes with insights for coalition dynamics today. The talk emanates from her book, Contesting Pluralism(s): Islam, Liberalism, and Nationalism in Turkey and Beyond (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming).

This talk is hosted in partnership with CDDRL's Program on Turkey.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER


Nora Fisher-Onar is Associate Professor and Director of the Masters of Arts in International Studies at the University of San Francisco, as well as coordinator of Middle East Studies. Her research interests include IR and social theory, comparative politics (Turkey, Middle East, Europe), foreign policy analysis, political ideologies, gender, and history/memory.

She received a doctorate in IR from Oxford and holds master's and undergraduate degrees in international affairs from Johns Hopkins (SAIS) and Georgetown universities, respectively.

Fisher-Onar is the lead editor of the volume, Istanbul: Living With Difference in a Global City (Rutgers University Press, 2018) and author of Contesting Pluralism(s): Islam, Liberalism and Nationalism in Turkey (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming).

She has published extensively in academic journals like the Journal of Common Market Studies (JCMS), Conflict and Cooperation, Global Studies Quarterly, Millennium, Theory and Society, Women’s Studies International Forum, and Turkish Studies.

Fisher-Onar also contributes policy commentary to platforms like the Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, the Guardian, and OpenDemocracy, and fora like Brookings, Carnegie, and the German Marshall Fund (GMF). At the GMF, she has served as a Ronald Asmus Fellow, a Transatlantic Academy Fellow, and a Non-Residential Fellow.

Virtual to Public. Only those with an active Stanford ID with access to E008 in Encina Hall may attend in person.

Ayça Alemdaroğlu
Ayça Alemdaroğlu

Virtual to Public. Only those with an active Stanford ID with access to E008 in Encina Hall may attend in person.

Nora Fisher-Onar
Seminars
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Chagai Weiss seminar

Research on remedies for affective polarization has primarily focused on psychological interventions, and limited studies consider how state institutions might depolarize voters. I argue that compulsory military service—a central state institution—can depolarize voters because it prevents early partisan sorting and increases the likelihood of contact between partisans during their impressionable years.

Leveraging the staggered abolition of mandatory conscription laws in fifteen European countries and employing a regression discontinuity design, I show that men exempt from mandatory conscription report higher levels of affective polarization than men who were subject to mass conscription. This effect is mainly driven by partisan parochialism among men exempt from service and is unrelated to ideological change. My findings emphasize the potential depolarizing effects of state institutions and illustrate how the abolition of mandatory service contributed to intensified patterns of affective polarization in Europe, contributing to the literature on the institutional origins of affective polarization.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER


Chagai M. Weiss is a postdoctoral fellow at the Conflict and Polarization Initiative at the King Center on Global Development at Stanford University. After spending two years as a research fellow at Harvard University's Middle East Initiative, Chagai received a Ph.D. from the Department of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Chagai's primary interest is in understanding the potential role of institutions in reducing prejudice and conflict in divided societies. Chagai's work has been published or is forthcoming in multiple venues, including Cambridge University Press (Elements in Experimental Political Science), the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Journal of Political Science, the American Political Science Review, and Comparative Political Studies.

Virtual to Public. Only those with an active Stanford ID with access to E008 in Encina Hall may attend in person.

Didi Kuo
Didi Kuo

Virtual to Public. Only those with an active Stanford ID with access to E008 in Encina Hall may attend in person.

Chagai Weiss Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford King Center Conflict and Polarization Initiative Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford King Center Conflict and Polarization Initiative Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford King Center Conflict and Polarization Initiative
Seminars
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