The signatories of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or Iran Nuclear Deal as it is colloquially known in the United States, are slowly moving toward revival of the ill-fated agreement. Almost 10 years after negotiations began for the JCPOA, lines of communication have been reopened in order to update and adjust the agreement so it may once again enter into force. However, there are significant roadblocks standing in the way of the JCPOA’s revival, and the resolution of these challenges is far from certain.
When picturing a protracted armed conflict between two sovereign nations in the 21st century, one may conjure to mind images of tanks rolling through villages, or perhaps fighter jets flying menacingly overhead. Clamoring crowds around empty shelves at a grocery store, however, is a far less likely picture.
Since Russia’s unprecedented invasion of Ukraine in February of 2022, global markets for countless goods have faced major upsets and disruptions, carrying far-reaching effects on many different sectors. In particular, this has had extremely consequential effects on the production, prices, and availability of food worldwide.
Since the 1979 revolution, Iran has been expanding its network of proxy groups across the Middle East and using them as a major strategy to expand its regional influence (Lane). As cyber space emerges more prominently as a new battlefield in the recent decade, Iran has become one of the most active actors in cyber warfares. The state actor carries on its tradition of utilizing proxies as part of its tactics in the cyber domain.
The current COVID-19 vaccine distribution efforts are no exception to the division in access to resources between higher income countries and lower and middle-income countries. As of March 19, high income countries have purchased over 4.6 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine, which is more than the amount of vaccines purchased by countries classified as upper-middle income (1.5 billion doses purchased), middle income (700 million doses purchased), and lower income (670 million doses purchased) combined.  Higher income countries have purchased enough vaccine doses so that even groups not at risk for severe COVID-19 symptoms are able to get vaccinated. This unequal distribution means that health workers and elderly and immunocompromised people living in lower and middle-income countries would be less likely to receive vaccines than young, healthy citizens of high-income countries.
Israel has stood as a unique example of a stable democracy in the Middle East for decades. However, in the last several years, political science scholarship has begun to raise questions as to whether Israeli democracy is under threat. Given the evidence that Israel is experiencing democratic backsliding, in what manner is this occurring, and what implications does it have for the country’s future?
Just as Mitch McConnell said, Jim Mattis’s departure from the Department of Defense more than a year ago was distressing. He was confirmed by a 98-1 vote after gaining a waiver from the National Security Act of 1947 that required a seven year waiting period between a retired military personnel could seek the Secretary of Defense spot. Kirsten Gillibrand was the sole no vote, not on the basis of Mattis’s nomination but on her objection to the waiver–a rare bipartisan support in the contentious confirmation process. The only nominee to get less opposition was former VA Secretary David Shulkin, an Obama-era VA Under Secretary.
In his 1980 State of the Union address, President Jimmy Carter announced a new doctrine for American foreign policy, saying, “…let our position be absolutely clear: An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.”