Research Spotlights

Ask the Author with Associate Professor Paul D. Williams

Russia's Domestic Security Wars

Dr. Paul D. Williams (third from the left) on a research trip to Mogadishu.

In his August 2018 publication, Fighting for Peace in Somalia: A History and Analysis of the African Union Mission (AMISOM), 2007-2017, author and Elliott School Associate Professor Paul D. Williams offers the first comprehensive analysis of the African Union's longest running mission. In advance of his book launch, Professor Williams reviewed research incentives, insights, and implications:

"AMISOM is now the world’s largest and most dangerous peace operation. I wanted to understand how it could stabilize one of the world’s most failed states and whether it could defeat one of the world’s most deadly insurgent groups, Harakat al-Shabaab. As well as being the African Union’s longest, largest, and most costly operation, AMISOM also exemplifies the complex challenges of 'partnership peacekeeping,' the process by which multiple international organizations and states try and work together to stabilize the host country.

In doing the research, I was most surprised by the intensity and brutality of the war against al-Shabaab as well as by the continual sacrifices made and hardships endured by the peacekeepers. I was also struck by the large gap between the capabilities given to AMISOM and the expectations placed upon it to deliver peace in Somalia.

The key takeaway is that politicians should not expect peacekeepers to deliver peace in Somalia in the absence of a viable political strategy to resolve the country’s multiple armed conflicts."

Paul D. Williams

Associate Professor of International Affairs


GWToday: Putin Uses ‘Divide and Rule’ Tactics against His Hardline Allies

Al Teich

Elliott School Professor Peter Reddaway’s new book explores how the Russian President Vladimir Putin has maintained power for almost two decades. (Colette Kent/Elliott School of International Affairs)

Elliott School Professor Peter Reddaway’s new book explores how the Russian president has maintained power for almost two decades.

September 10, 2018

By Tatyana Hopkins

Though Russian President Vladimir Putin may find his exercise of power gratifying in some ways, he probably also finds it “increasingly exhausting” but fears what would happen to him if he steps down, said George Washington University Professor Emeritus of Political Science and International Affairs Peter Reddaway.

“I think he has similar feelings about retirement to what a lot of us have—that it's time to do different things,” Mr. Reddaway said. “But I think it is very difficult for him to resign or to retire at the end of a term in office because he doesn't feel safe doing it.”

Full article


Jonathan Chaves on Poetry Spoken Here

Jonathan Chaves

Dr. Jonathan Chaves

Professor of Chinese

Elliott School of International Affairs

George Washington University

Congratulations to poet, Elliott School professor, and master translator of classical Chinese poetry Jonathan Chaves for his recent two-part feature on the Poetry Spoken Here podcast. Host and poet Charlie Rossiter interviews Chaves in episodes 72 and 73 of this bi-monthly poetry discussion. To explore more, check out Jonathan Chaves' latest book: Cave of the Immortals: The Poetry and Prose of Bamboo Painter Wen Tong (1019-1079).


Dr. Albert Teich: In Search of Evidence-Based Science Policy

Al Teich

Dr. Albert H. Teich

Research Professor of Science, Technology,

and International Affairs

Elliott School of International Affairs

George Washington University

With the publication of his latest monograph, In Search of Evidence-Based Science Policy: From the Endless Frontier to SciSIP, Dr. Albert Teich tracks the evolution of US science policy research largely as it has been conducted in universities and supported by the National Science Foundation, from its beginnings in the early 1960s to the present time, from reliance on expert opinion to more systematic, empirical studies. It examines how a community developed, the growth and decline of federal support, the emergence of the SciSIP (Science of Science and Innovation Policy) program and the ways in which that program has fostered new approaches to science policy. It concludes that the tools and data sets being created by program researchers can have significant impacts on policy, not just in science and technology, but in other fields as well.

Dr. Teich is a research professor of science, technology, and international affairs with the Elliott School's Institute for International Science & Technology Policy. He came to the Elliott School in February 2012, following a distinguished 32 year career with the American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS).


Ask the Author with Professor Emeritus Peter Reddaway

Russia's Domestic Security Wars


In his latest publication, Russia's Domestic Security Wars: Putin's Use of Divide and Rule Against His Hardline Allies, Peter Reddaway draws on extensive research to construct a detailed study of Russian President Putin's methods of staying in power. Reviewers herald the book as, "gripping," "brilliant," and, "a must read." In conjunction with his book launch, Professor Reddaway took the time to discuss research ideas, surprises, and takeaways:

“I was led to this topic by President Putin's chronic instinct for secrecy and deception. He assiduously promotes an image of the ruling Russian elite as being, with rare exceptions, united and harmonious. So I dug into his relations with his support groups and found a very different picture: in fact, he encourages and secretively promotes feuds between them, so that they will use their spare energies on these and not on devising ways to gain influence and limit his power (and ultimately perhaps take his power away from him).

In doing the research, I was most surprised by the intensity of the warfare between the two hardline groups I chose to focus on. They hardly hesitated to murder key supporters of the other side, nor to attack each other viciously in the media.

The key takeaway is that Putin has to resort to such measures because he is much less powerful, and potentially more vulnerable, than he pretends to be.”

Peter Reddaway

Professor Emeritus of Political Science and International Affairs