Author: Kelsey Ritchie

Young, Scrappy, Hungry, and Waiting: The Case for Reforming Security Clearances

Last December, I was offered my dream internship – working with the U.S. Department of State – after a two-month application and interview process. As a master’s student in global policy studies, the opportunity to work for a summer at the U.S. Mission to the UN in Geneva would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It would also complete my degree’s internship requirement. It seemed too good to be true. Unfortunately, it was. Each prospective state department intern must receive a security clearance. I filled out my SF-86, the detailed, thorough security background form, on December 9, the day after I...

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Men Without Chests: Reflections on the Death of a Great Hero and the America he Loved

In his book The Abolition of Man, the great British thinker C.S. Lewis contemplates the demise of universal values and moral leadership. From a young age, children are taught that only objective reality is universal, Lewis writes. The dismissal of a common standard of morality results in a society led by individuals with “heads no bigger than the ordinary; it is the atrophy of the chest beneath that makes them so… we make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.” I can’t help...

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Q&A with Bob Schieffer, Legendary American Newsman

Bob Schieffer has covered politics for over half a century, from the White House to the Pentagon to Foggy Bottom and Capitol Hill. The host of CBS’s “Face the Nation” for 24 years, he has interviewed every president since Richard Nixon. Despite the thousands of high-level interviews he’s conducted over this career, he enthusiastically set aside an afternoon to speak with an overly caffeinated and highly curious graduate student. If I took one thing from my conversation with Mr. Schieffer, it was this: there is a place for and a need for young, fresh perspectives in our current political...

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The Turks vs. the Kurds: a New Dimension in Syrian Conflict?

This month marks the seven-year anniversary of the Syrian Civil War. The country, an arena of catastrophic destruction since March 2011, has witnessed a reign of terror from ISIS, proxy wars between major powers, and an incomprehensibly large-scale humanitarian crisis. Last fall, the international community celebrated the liberation of Raqqa, the self-designated capitol of the ISIS caliphate. With the fall of the caliphate began a new era of reconstruction in Syria. Now, reconstruction efforts have encountered a new obstacle: growing tensions in northern Syria between U.S.-backed Syrian Kurds and the neighboring Turks. Also known as the Euphrates River Valley,...

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Rohingya, Religion, Response: Part Two

Some of the most devastating wars in history have been fought in the name of religion. It is undeniable that differences in belief systems and ways of worship can cause irreconcilable disputes. Though religion plays a role in causing many conflicts, it also has the unique power to resolve them. In part one, I examined the core beliefs and the history of the two religious groups at odds in Myanmar: the Buddhist majority and the Rohingya Muslim minority. As tensions continue to escalate and more Rohingya flee to surrounding countries, there is a growing need for international action. It...

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