Tower Center for Political Studies, Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center name new executive director, Luisa Del Rosal

SMU News

Originally Posted: August 10, 2016

Luisa-Del-RosalThe Tower Center for Political Studies and the recently announced Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center found a new executive director in a familiar face at SMU – Luisa Del Rosal, currently the director of strategy and international affairs with the Cox School of Business’ Latino Leadership Initiative.

“The centers will help shape important regional and national conversations on topics such as education, trade and energy – topics that impact our communities every day,” Del Rosal says. “As research policy centers, they’ll be places not of rhetoric, but of facts and idea sharing. The unique missions of each will influence policy questions and carry out the critical goals of engaging and mentoring the students who will become our next generation of leaders.”

Del Rosal will assume her new leadership role at the helm of the two centers on Aug. 10.

“I am honored to return to the Tower Center for Political Studies as its executive director and to serve as the founding executive director of the newly established Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center,” Del Rosal says. “Leading these centers enables me to contribute to the regional, national and global reach of SMU.”

In this new position, Del Rosal will have strategic and operational responsibility for both centers, including staff oversight, programming strategy and execution, board coordination and ensuring all activities are aligned with the centers’ missions.

“Luisa will add a great deal to the knowledge base of those two centers,” says Thomas DiPiero, Dean of SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. “She has tremendous international experience, she’s worked a great deal with people in public policy and in Mexico, and she has the diplomaticskill setthat will allow the two centers to thrive under her leadership.”

The primary mission of the Tower Center is to promote the study of politics and international affairs and to stimulate an interest in ethical public service among undergraduates.

Announced earlier this year, the Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center is an action-oriented, research policy center looking to understand and explore the dynamic political, cultural, economic and business relationship between Texas and Mexico. The center focuses on the following key areas of research and policy: border issues, energy, human capital and education, immigration and trade.

“Luisa del Rosal is a leader in higher education with the ideal background and combination of skills to build the Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center,” says Jim Hollifield, director of the Tower Center. “An SMU graduate and dual national, Luisa has a deep and intuitive understanding of the vital relationship between Texas and Mexico in all of its dimensions and complexities. We are delighted that she has returned to the Tower Center and Dedman College to assume this critical leadership role.”

Prior to working for the Cox School, Luisa was director of programs and external relations for the Tower Center. READ MORE

Jeffrey Kahn: At SMU visit, Trump’s foreign policy adviser was a modern-day Joe McCarthy

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: July 25, 2016

Tower Center Fellow Jeffrey Kahn wrote an opinion piece for the Dallas Morning News July 25. Kahn teaches and writes about American constitutional law, Russian law, human rights, and counterterrorism in SMU’s Dedman School of Law.

By Jeffrey Kahn
SMU law professor

Sen. Joe McCarthy built his name, and ruined it, by destroying the reputations of others. His M.O. was to insinuate guilt by linking his victims to people he had already brought down.

I had the misfortune to hear a practitioner of the new McCarthyism when Joseph Schmitz — foreign policy adviser to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump — spoke at Southern Methodist University a year before Trump tapped him for his current position.

The encounter left me chilled. I had witnessed a ghost from McCarthy’s staff.

Law students who organized Schmitz’s talk had asked me to be the responding speaker for an event addressing the “impact of the communist worldview and the current state of affairs geopolitically with the west.”

In planning the match-up, I doubt the students looked past Schmitz’s brightest credential: a stint as inspector general at the U.S. Department of Defense that ended with his resignation under mounting criticism led by Sen. Charles Grassley.

My scholarship, focused on American and Russian law, likely explained my invitation. Schmitz, a student organizer said, could offer “an insider’s opinions” though also conceding, “this is a new topic area of presentation for him.”

Despite my unfamiliarity with Schmitz, and a seemingly muddled event taking shape, I agreed to participate. The clash of ideas, after all, is the heart of a university.

I was stunned by what I heard.

Early in his rambling presentation, Schmitz held up a book, The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis — The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor, that would form the basis of his attack on President Obama. Soon, another book was raised: Marx and Satan. The poet Langston Hughes came in for smearing, his communist credentials duly noted. At one point, Schmitz declared that President Barack Obama was the second-most-revered person in China (after Mao, apparently).

Schmitz revealed himself an unrepentant McCarthyite. And not just in his obvious, if inarticulate, hatred of communism. His methods were similar, too. Recollecting his remarks, a single startling feature shines through. Schmitz never attacked a single specific policy advanced by Obama, nor a single presidential decision, action or statement. Only the president’s connections to other people, often in the distant past, were his targets.

Had we time-warped to the Red Scare of the 1950s? I had never seen anyone paint with as broad a brush or with as careless a hand.

When my turn came, I took time to describe the dangerous history we had just seen re-enacted. I asked the students to examine actual ideas – not accept smears of people with implied associations. And as for learning more about Langston Hughes, I suggested a good start would be to read some of his poetry (which Schmitz’s talk gave no evidence that he had).

Schmitz was all about insinuation and dark connections. He had little time for hard thinking, just cheap shots — a quality he evidently shares with his current boss. Trump has smeared Muslims and Mexicans. He has attacked Sen. John McCain and a federal judge he called a hater and falsely labeled foreign.

Another Trump adviser, channeling McCarthy, claimed Hillary Clinton’s State Department was “permeated at the highest levels” by Saudi spies and disloyal Americans, and attacked one of Clinton’s aides with factless, fear-drenched defamation. Aspirants to Trump’s entourage shout for return of the House Un-American Affairs Committee.

I never discuss my personal politics with students. It gets in the way of prying open difficult legal puzzles and evaluating arguments. I keep my conclusions out of view so that students can engage each other in an open forum.

But at this turning point for our country, I want to be on record about where I stand. And who I stand against.

I’m not surprised Trump would turn to a person like Schmitz, or that Schmitz would be attracted to Trump’s obscene cult of personality.

What foreign policy advice will Schmitz whisper into Trump’s ear? I shudder to think what he might do in such a position of power.

report he co-authored declared, “The United States has been infiltrated and deeply influenced by an enemy within that is openly determined to replace the U.S. Constitution with shariah.”

But for the very last word, Joe McCarthy could have penned that himself.

# # #


Did Trump win GOP nod because of the way he talks?

Christian Science Monitor

Originally Posted: July 20, 2016

Cleveland — Suddenly Donald Trump’s face loomed over the delegates, tanned, jaw set, and a story high.

From the giant video screen on the Republican National Convention stage Mr. Trump thanked everyone for nominating him as the GOP presidential pick. The film – shown Tuesday in Cleveland after the official roll call vote – was short. Parts were clearly ad-libbed. When Trump began to speak, his sentences were looping and repetitive.

“The party seal, I mean, what we did, getting the party’s nomination, I’ll never forget it. It’s something I will never, ever forget,” he said. . .

Here’s a thought sparked by watching this presentation and its rapturous response: It’s not just the border proposal or the possible Muslim ban. Donald Trump’s extraordinary victory in the Republican presidential primaries was due in part to the way he communicates. His words, his gestures, his expressions, his emphasis – all are uniquely suited to the pace and attention span of our social-media saturated age. . .

“Trump is brilliant in manipulating – and I mean ‘manipulating’ as a positive – the new media, the social media of the day,” says Jeffrey Engel, director of the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. “There is no discussion on Twitter. The way you win an argument on Twitter is, you say it again, and you say it in capital letters.” READ MORE

Tower Center Chair Joshua Rovner discusses U.S. strategy and the Middle East in new book

Georgetown University Press

Originally Posted: July 26, 2016

Crude Strategy
Rethinking the US Military Commitment to Defend Persian Gulf Oil
Charles L. Glaser and Rosemary A. Kelanic, Editors

Should the United States ask its military to guarantee the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf? If the US security commitment is in fact strategically sound, what posture should the military adopt to protect Persian Gulf oil?

Charles L. Glaser and Rosemary A. Kelanic present a collection of new essays from a multidisciplinary team of political scientists, historians, and economists that provide answers to these questions. Contributors delve into a range of vital economic and security issues: the economic costs of a petroleum supply disruption, whether or not an American withdrawal increases the chances of oil-related turmoil, the internal stability of Saudi Arabia, budgetary costs of the forward deployment of US forces, and the possibility of blunting the effects of disruptions with investment in alternative energy resources. The result is a series of bold arguments toward a much-needed revision of US policy toward the Persian Gulf during an era of profound change in oil markets and the balance of power in the Middle East. READ MORE

Tower Center Associate Edward Rincón’s research featured in the Dallas Morning News


Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: July 20, 2016

Tower Center Associate Edward T. Rincón was featured in the Dallas Morning News discussing his research company’s recent study about the affects of the growing Latino population in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  READ MORE

Tower Center Associate Edward Rincón finds Latino Growth will lead to Market Disruption in Dallas-Fort Worth

PR Web

Originally Posted: July 13, 2016

Tower Center Associate Edward Rincón, president of the research company Rincón & Associates LLC, published his recent findings in a press release detailing how Latino growth in Dallas- Fort Worth will disrupt several consumer markets including legal services and healthcare. READ MORE

James Hollifield, Tower Center, DFW could become the business capital of NAFTA

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: July 8, 2016

Could Dallas-Fort Worth become the business capital of NAFTA?

The metro area is already a major exporter to Mexico and Canada, the U.S. partners in the North American Free Trade Agreement.

D-FW has a huge transportation network and distribution hub, which are heavily invested in trade that’s often tied to NAFTA. Dozens of companies from the two countries have operations here, and D-FW is a popular target for international home buyers, especially from Mexico.

Dallas is also a leader in finance and business services, part of a growing export sector. Nationwide, service exports to Canada and Mexico rose 38 percent in the five years after the recession, and it’s a good bet that D-FW got its share.

“Many times, I’ve called Dallas the capital of NAFTA,” said James Hollifield, a professor and director of the Tower Center at Southern Methodist University. “Look at trade levels, investment, migration, companies basing their operations in D-FW. It’s all just growing constantly.” READ MORE

Tower Center Fellow writes op-ed for NY Times, “A ‘No Buy’ List for Guns Is a Bad Idea”

New York Times

Originally Posted: July 1, 2016

AFTER the mass shooting in Orlando, Fla., some legislators are seeking to create a “no buy” list to block certain people from purchasing guns. Last month the Senate considered (but voted down) measures that would have prevented gun sales to anyone in the federal Terrorist Screening Database, a.k.a. the terrorist watch list. And while a proposal by Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, to deny sales to anyone on the government’s no-fly list did not pass last week, it was not voted down either, offering supporters hope. READ MORE

Tower Center Associate Harold Clarke interviewed by the National Post

National Post

Originally Posted: June 24, 2016

Of all the demographics that were torn apart by the Brexit vote — old/young, rural/urban, rich/poor — one of the most dramatic was between voters who consider themselves English first, and those who identify as British.

People who see themselves as British, that is as part of a commonwealth in a single United Kingdom, were more likely to vote with the losing side to Remain in the wider European Union. Self-identified Welsh were about evenly split, leaning more Remain the further they live from Cardiff and the English border. And a majority of Scots, having already rejected secession from the U.K. in 2014, likewise voted to Remain.

But people who identify primarily as English were overwhelmingly more likely to vote to Leave, at 72%. They were the great winners of the referendum, and an analysis of voting intention surveys shows how their three main motivators — economy, security and culture — were expressed in attitudes that ranged from narrow, self-interested xenophobia to romantic, nostalgic English nationalism.

“A lot of people perceive that immigration has produced a huge cultural threat to the English traditions, way of life, Judeo-Christian religious traditions, and all those things. It’s not politically correct to talk about it, but they are really concerned. Immigration was huge in this referendum,” said Harold Clarke, author of Affluence, Austerity & Electoral Change in Britain, and professor of political economy at the University of Texas at Dallas. “Negative attitudes towards immigration were a huge driver of Leave voting. That’s something that’s been building for years.” READ MORE

Brexit De-Brief: 10 Things Learned at Tower Center ‘Populism’ Talk

Overheard @SMU

Originally Posted: June 24, 2016

European political insider Sergey Lagodinsky was guest speaker for the recent “Populism in Europe and Germany” event sponsored by SMU’s John G. Tower Center for Political Studies. Lagodinsky, a Berlin-based attorney/author/political commentator who heads the EU/North America Department of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, was introduced by Tower Center Director James Hollifield. (Photo credit: Flickr)

1) “Reactive populism is on the rise in Europe and the U.S.,” Hollifield said before the talk. “Until recently Germany has escaped this trend. The bitter experience of Nazism seems to have inoculated Germany from radical-right politics. But will Germany continue to buck the trend?”

2) “Welcome to the Age of Populism.” Opening his discussion with this remark, Lagodinsky explained that while populism in America traditionally has been viewed as a positive reinforcement of democracy, “in Europe it carries a negative connotation of nationalism, distrust of government, anger over a stagnant economy and, chiefly, the growing migrant crisis.”

3) Populist parties vary, but share one “zero point”: “The European Union represents everything they dislike,” Lagodinsky said.