Fighting Terrorism - and the urge to ignore our basic American principles
Alberto Mora. 8/5/2016. “Fighting Terrorism - and the urge to ignore our basic American principles.” The Washington Post. See full text.Abstract
Op-Ed by Carr Center Senior Fellow Alberto Mora.

In late 2002, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service uncovered evidence that detainees were being abused during interrogations at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. Concerned about the lawlessness and the professional incompetence of the interrogators, they sought out a senior attorney in the Defense Department’s office of general counsel. Nothing could be done, the attorney blandly informed them. “The decision has been taken,” he said, “and, anyway, if the public were to find out, no one would care.”

The Strategic Cost of Torture: How “Enhanced Interrogation” Hurt America
Douglas A. Johnson, Alberto Mora, and Averell Schmidt. 9/2016. “The Strategic Cost of Torture: How “Enhanced Interrogation” Hurt America.” Foreign Affairs, no. September/ October 9/2016. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The Carr Center's "Strategic Consequences of Torture" project was recently featured in Foreign Affairs Magazine.

In the article, Carr Center's research team, Douglas A. Johnson, Alberto Mora, and Averell Schmidt argue that "a truly comprehensive assessment (of torture) would also explore the policy’s broader implications, including how it shaped the trajectory of the so-called war on terror, altered the relationship between the United States and its allies, and affected Washington’s pursuit of other key goals, such as the promotion of democracy and human rights abroad."

Read the full article. 

Classroom technologies narrow education gap in developing countries
Steven Livingston. 8/23/2016. “Classroom technologies narrow education gap in developing countries.” Brookings. See full text.Abstract
Classroom technologies narrow education gap in developing countries by Steven Livingston

Well before the invention of laptops and the World Wide Web, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology mathematician, computer scientist, and education visionary Seymour Papertrealized that connected electronic devices could improve the educational experience of students, even for those who face poverty and geographical isolation. His recent death has a particular poignancy in Kenya where the extreme disparities in educational opportunities among different schools and students exacerbate already serious social and economic tensions. Several weeks ago, I traveled to Nairobi to gain some perspective on Papert’s vision.

On Where We Differ: Sites Versus Grounds of Justice, and Some Other Reflections on Michael Blake’s Justice and Foreign Policy
Mathias Risse. 2/29/2016. “On Where We Differ: Sites Versus Grounds of Justice, and Some Other Reflections on Michael Blake’s Justice and Foreign Policy.” Law and Philosophy, 35, 3, Pp. 251-270. See full text.Abstract

Mathias Risse examines Michael Blake's Justice and Foreign Policy.


Blake’s book conveys a straightforward directive: the foreign policy of liberal states should be guided and constrained by the goal of helping other states to become liberal democracies as well.

This much is what we owe to people in other countries—this much but nothing more. The primary addressees are wealthier democracies, whose foreign policy ought to be guided by the idea of equality of all human beings. My approach in On Global Justice bears important similarities to Blake’s, but with those similarities also come equally important differences. The purpose of this piece is to bring out these similarities and differences and in the process articulate some objections to Blake.

US needs to help the EU end the refugee crisis
John Shattuck. 4/26/2016. “US needs to help the EU end the refugee crisis.” The Boston Globe. See full text.Abstract

US needs to help the EU end the refugee crisis an op/ed by John Shattuck:


The refugee crisis is at the center of Europe’s political war. Some European countries are building walls to exclude people seeking refuge from the deadly conflicts in the Middle East, while others — notably Greece, Germany, and the Nordics — are working to reinforce EU values of openness and tolerance. The United States should do more to promote these values by increasing its support for relief efforts and opening its doors to refugees from the Middle East. European governments this year are contributing four times more money than the United States to the financially strapped United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Meanwhile, the United States will resettle a minuscule 10,000 Syrian refugees, compared with more than 500,000 in Germany.

Rape Myths and the Cross-Cultural Adaptation of the Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance Scale in China
Jia Xue. 6/5/2016. “Rape Myths and the Cross-Cultural Adaptation of the Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance Scale in China.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence. See full text.Abstract
The study examines the similarities and differences between China and the United States with regard to rape myths.


We assessed the individual level of rape myth acceptance among Chinese university students by adapting and translating a widely used measure of rape myth endorsement in the United States, the Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance (IRMA) scale. We assessed whether the IRMA scale would be an appropriate assessment of attitudes toward rape among young adults in China. The sample consisted of 975 Chinese university students enrolled in seven Chinese universities. We used explorative factor analysis to examine the factor structure of the Chinese translation of the IRMA scale. Results suggest that the IRMA scale requires some modification to be employed with young adults in China. Our analyses indicate that 20 items should be deleted, and a five-factor model is generated. We discuss relevant similarities and differences in the factor structure and item loadings between the Chinese Rape Myth Acceptance (CRMA) and the IRMA scales. A revised version of the IRMA, the CRMA, can be used as a resource in rape prevention services and rape victim support services. Future research in China that employs CRMA will allow researchers to examine whether individual’s response to rape myth acceptance can predict rape potential and judgments of victim blaming and community members’ acceptance of marital rape.

Response to Arneson, de Bres, and Stilz
Mathias Risse. 12/12/2014. “Response to Arneson, de Bres, and Stilz.” Ethics & International Affairs, 28, 4, Pp. 511-522. See full text.Abstract
Common humanity is one ground of justice.

The distinctively human life generates claims, and their form is that of natural rights. However, explorations of how the distinctively human life generates obligations lead only to a rather limited set of rights—basic security and subsistence rights. Inquiries into another nonrelational ground also produce rather limited results. That ground is humanity's collective ownership of the earth. The principle of justice associated with it merely requires an equal opportunity to use natural spaces and resources for the satisfaction of basic needs. In particular, this result is incompatible with any kind of welfarist commitment. The sheer fact that anybody's welfare as such would be lowered or raised is not a matter of justice. If people share associations with each other (membership in a state, or being connected by trade, say) we can derive obligations from their shared involvement with these associations. But unless people do indeed share such associations, the obligations that hold among them will be rather limited.

Three Images of Trade: On the Place of Trade in a Theory of Global Justice
Mathias Risse. 2014. “Three Images of Trade: On the Place of Trade in a Theory of Global Justice.” Moral Philosophy and Politics, 1, 2. See full text.Abstract
Economic theory teaches us that it is in every country’s own best interest to engage in trade.


Trade therefore is a voluntary activity among consenting parties. On this view, considerations of justice have little bearing on trade, and political philosophers concerned with matters of global justice should stay largely silent on trade. According to a very different view that has recently gained some prominence, international trade can only occur before the background of an existing international market reliance practice that is shaped by states. On this view, trade is a shared activity among states, and all participating states have in principle equal claims to the gains from trade. Trade then becomes a central topic for political philosophers concerned with global justice. The authors find fault with both of those views and argue instead for a third view about the role of a trade in a theory of global justice. That view gives pride of place to a (non- Marxian) notion of exploitation, which is developed here in some detail.

In India, Dying to Go: Why Access to Toilets is a Women’s Rights Issue
Sharmila Murthy. 2014. “In India, Dying to Go: Why Access to Toilets is a Women’s Rights Issue.” WBUR Cognoscenti. See full text.Abstract
Access to clean, safe and private toilets is a women’s issue.

In May, two young women in rural India left their modest homes in the middle of the night to relieve themselves outside. Like millions in India, their homes had no bathrooms. The next morning, their bodies were found hanging from a mango tree. They had been attacked, gang-raped and strung up by their own scarves. Eighteen months after a gang-rape on a Delhi bus, this incident and others since have galvanized nationwide protests to end violence against women and highlighted caste-related discrimination. The tragic story also underscores the need to talk about another taboo topic: open defecation.

Jus ad bellum in Syria: The Meaning of the US Airpower Campaign
Federica D’Alessandra. 3/2015. “Jus ad bellum in Syria: The Meaning of the US Airpower Campaign.” International Bar Association: Human Rights Law Newsletter, Pp. 37-41. See full text.Abstract
Jus ad bellum in Syria: The Meaning of the US Airpower Campaign:


Operation Inherent Resolve is the name of the air campaign carried out by a Combined Joint Task Force of US-led coalition forces against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIS/ISIL/Daesh.1 Repeatedly, the campaign has been engaged to ‘degrade and ultimately destroy’ Daesh. The group is a terrorist-designated organisation3responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity – arguably even genocide (against the Yazidis minority of Iraq) – underthe Rome Statute. The group is at war with more than 60 nations or groups: coalition nations conducting airstrikes in Iraq includeAustralia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States; coalition nations conducting airstrikes in Syria include Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.

The Human Right to Water and Common Ownership of the Earth
Mathias Risse. 2014. “The Human Right to Water and Common Ownership of the Earth.” Journal of Political Philosophy, Pp. 178-203. See full text.Abstract

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), each human being requires at least 20 liters of clean water for daily consumption and basic hygiene.2 However, many countries in Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East lack sufficient water resources or have so far failed to develop these resources or the necessary infrastructure.

Thousands have lived without love, not one without water,” so W. H. Auden finished his poem “First Things First." And right he was. Only oxygen is needed more urgently than water at most times. But a key difference that makes water a more immediate subject for theorists of justice is that, for now, oxygen is normally amply available where humans live. Historically, the same was true of water since humans would not settle in places without clean water. Nowadays, however, water treatment plants and delivery infrastructure have vastly extended the regions where humans can live permanently. Population increases have prompted people to settle in locations where access to clean water is precarious.

Israel’s Associated Regime: Exceptionalism, Human Rights and Alternative Legality
Federica D’Alessandra. 2014. “Israel’s Associated Regime: Exceptionalism, Human Rights and Alternative Legality.” Utrecht Journal of International and European Law. See full text.Abstract
In the context of Israel’s declared permanent state of exception, this article focuses on the legal protection awarded to the Palestinian populations under Israeli control.

To broaden the discussion over Palestinian people’s rights, which generally focuses on the confiscation of land and the right to return, the author consciously focuses on anti-terrorism and security measures, which contribute to the creation of what the International Court of Justice has defined as an ‘associated regime’ of occupation. The article is divided into three parts. In the first part, the author discusses Israel’s domestic obligations towards Palestinians (arguing the case of both Palestinian citizens of Israel, and Palestinian residents) and their de jure and de facto discrimination. The second part discusses the applicability of humanitarian law, specifically the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention. This section discusses the applicability of the Convention to both territories and people under Israeli control. The third part discusses the applicability of international human rights law to all territories under Israeli control and delves into the issue of the mutual relationship between the two international legal regimes in the territories under occupation. The article posits that Israel’s rationale for the non-applicability of such legislation to the Palestinian territories and populations it controls constitutes a form of ‘alternative legality’. The article concludes that Israel’s disproportionate application of security practices and anti-terrorism measures to the Palestinian segment of its population violates Palestinian rights protected under Israel’s domestic and international legal obligations.