PIPS Fellows 2013-2014

Tyler Bembenek

Tyler Bembenek
Reclaiming the Urban Jungle: Empowering Local Communities to Foster Security

White Paper (pdf)

Much of the developing world is experiencing rapid population growth and urbanization, which threatens to overwhelm local governments that may lack the resources necessary to provide security and services.  The result is the likely proliferation of urban and peri-urban “no-go zones” that could serve as havens for criminality and extremism.  This paper attempts to find a low cost method for resource deficient states to establish control over ungoverned urban areas.

Phoebe Benich

Phoebe Benich
Championing U.S. Conditionality: A Strategy to Counter Chinese Economic Influence in Africa

White Paper (pdf)

China has contributed significant resources through official development assistance and investment toward African development.  Conventional wisdom holds that Chinese foreign aid and investment in Africa generates public good will, which could translate into greater influence.  However, there is growing evidence that China’s failure to take into account the economic needs of locals and the human rights practices of governments has led to growing popular discontent.  This paper examines the possibility for the United States to capitalize on this growing discontent against China in Africa by actively contrasting US values and Chinese malpractices in its public diplomacy.

Samuel Dunham

Samuel Dunham
Legitimizing Cryptocurrencies: Making the Virtual Economy Work for the United States

White Paper (pdf)

Virtual currencies, such as Bitcoin, are not sanctioned or produced by any state entity. They often exist solely online, making them easy to trade and difficult to trace. Criminal and terrorist groups exploit these currencies to launder funds and transfer assets across state borders. This project compares potential methods to regulate trade in these currencies and reduce their utility for criminal and terrorist organizations.

Andrew Hashim

Andrew Hashim
The Curse of Plenty: Countering Saudi Arabia’s Emerging Oil Crisis through Energy Diplomacy

White Paper (pdf)

Saudi Arabia is a longstanding U.S. ally in the Middle East.  However, current domestic demographic and social trends will likely threaten the kingdom’s stability in the coming decades.  This white paper examines the policy alternatives for the United States of a destabilized and weakened Saudi Arabia.



Dylan Kolhoff

Dylan Kolhoff
A Soft Pivot to Asia: Managing the Strategic Dilemma in Sino-American Relations

White Paper (pdf)

The Obama administration’s Rebalance to Asia is a defining feature of its foreign policy; however, the exact nature of this pivot is unclear. This white paper analyzes different approaches to an Asia pivot in light of U.S. geostrategic interests of in the region—in particular, its goal of minimizing tensions with China while maintaining a strong military, economic, and diplomatic presence in East Asia.

Grace Perkins

Grace Perkins
Mapping Foreign Aid and Militancy: The Promise of GIS Technology

White Paper (pdf)

U.S. foreign aid is often seen as a valuable tool for promoting economic development and political stability in the developing world. However, there is a lack of systematic studies examining the relationship between foreign aid and terrorist or insurgent activity. This brief proposes that, by using geographic information systems (GIS) technology to map foreign aid allocations and incidents of terrorism, policymakers can develop a more accessible and versatile means of communicating and sharing information. Policymakers and researchers also can better understand the links between the nature of foreign aid allocations and terrorist and insurgent violence.