Former Senator Hutchison speaks at women’s symposium

This news story first appeared on February 1, 2013. For more information click here.

By Katelyn Gough, SMU Daily Campus; February 1, 2013

Former U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison called attention to the need for greater presence of women in politics Wednesday during the SMU Tower Center’s ‘Women in Politics’ symposium.

Sophomore Jenna Hannum said Hutchison’s keynote address covered far more than straight politics, though. This was not a speech delivered to those admiring Hutchison’s political positions.

“My desire to hear the senator speak stemmed less from her political associations and more from her perspective as a successful woman in a largely male-dominated profession,” Hannum said. “Regardless of whether we agree with her beliefs or not, we can certainly learn from her experiences.”

Hutchison discussed the importance of women taking a leap of “confidence and trusting that they can adapt to whatever situation presents itself,” Hannum said.

“I found [Hutchison’s] discussion of the tendency of women to hold back until they feel they are one-hundred percent prepared for every possible outcome [to be particularly significant].”

When asked her views on the recent Pentagon decision to lift the ban on women in combat positions, Hutchison carried on her call to women to rise to whatever challenge or occasion presents itself. She stated her belief that because combat experience is imperative to building and advancing a military career, such bans should not be in place, in most cases. As paraphrased by the SMU Live Blog following the event, “If the woman is able to meet the physical expectations and wants to take that risk, then she should be allowed.”

Hutchison addressed her audience rooted none the less in her assertion that the political atmosphere, and active women within it, must “keep a patriotic spirit, a zeal for freedom” so as to never “sink into mediocrity.”

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Prof. James Hollifield: Special talk on “The Euro Crisis: Challenges and Implications”

Economic Insights: Conversations with the Dallas Fed Video – Professor James Hollifield, Director of the Tower Center for Political Studies, gave a special talk on “The Euro Crisis: Challenges and Implications” at Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and discussed the following questions:

  • Why did ‘Europeans’ come together to create a European Community/Union?
  • Why were they compelled to create a single currency – the Euro?
  • Why is the Euro in crisis today?
  • What can be done to fix it?

Click here to watch the video.



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North Texans React To Cease Fire In Middle East

This news story first appeared on November 21, 2012. For more information click here.

DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – Even though Israel is thousands of miles away, 200 people gathered at the Jewish Community Center in Dallas to show how close they are to the people of that country.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas organized the rally.

Rabbi Andrew Paley of Temple Shalom told the crowd, “Our being here today is a loud and powerful commitment to not only the land and people of Israel, but to the values of freedom, of hope, and of peace.”


He and those of Palestinian decent say they are hopeful a newly announced cease fire will stand.

The terrorist group Hamas recently escalated its rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel.

In response, Israel struck back.

Khalid Hamideh, a former spokesman for the Islamic Association of North Texas, believes a lasting peace will come when Israel leaves the West Bank.

He says, “Obviously we have to solve the root problem in all this which is the occupation, the Israeli occupied lands. It just has to be solved.”

Israeli Consul General to the Southwestern U-S, Meir Shlomo flew from Houston to address the rally and disagrees.

“It’s not about territory. We’re out of the Gaza strip. There’s no Israeli soldier or civilian in Gaza strip altogether, what did we get in return? 852 rockets since the beginning of this year.”

So will the cease fire lead to a lasting peace?

SMU Tower Center Fellow Jeffrey Engel doubts it. “There’s a way to think about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as on-going. Every truce is merely an intermission between the next conflict.”

Many at the Dallas rally believe as long as Hamas continues to try to destroy Israel, there will never be a lasting peace.

But people locally we spoke with on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict agree there needs to be a peaceful two state solution for Israel and Palestine.

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Professor, fellow call for action on fiscal cliff

This news story first appeared on November 30, 2012. For more information click here.

By Katelyn Gough, SMU Daily Campus; December 5, 2012

The phrase “fiscal cliff” has dominated much of the nation’s political news recently, and so have talks surrounding the defense budget in light of international conflict.

The John Goodwin Tower Center’s National Security Conference held on campus several weeks ago, zeroed in on the close relations between the two. Professor James Hollifield said that since the conference, talk surrounding the defense budget and its dependence on the issues regarding the fiscal cliff has continued and escalated.

“If we go off this so-called fiscal cliff, are there going to be deep cuts in the defense budget?”

Hollifield said it’s that question that is dominating many negotiations between “the president and the Republican Party.”

“The fear is that budgets are going to overwhelm stratedy,” Hollifield said.

Admiral Patrick Walsh, keynote speaker at the conference and a Tower Center fellow, said that the key factors in having the defense the country needs are forces, strategy and budget.

“All three have to work together,” Walsh said.

According to Walsh, changes in international relations over the past few decades currently drives much of what is required of the country’s defense. With the rise of nation-states and groups like al-Qaeda, he said the U.S. must take a proactive role in preparing defense.

“It is very important as we look at potential threats and risks in the future that we encapsulate the same framework,” Walsh said of keeping what works and developing new strategies for what doesn’t.

He explained that international tensions created by things like “the association with radical Islam” and other terrorist groups “is a problem that continues to linger,” and it requires far more devotion and commitment than many are willing to provide.

“It is not going to go away because we make changes to the budget or strategy,” he said. “It is a problem we are going to need to continue to pace ourselves for with a sustainable approach.”

He emphasized “the rise of the nation state,” which Walsh said stems from “an unresolved sense of national identity, integrity, and wholeness”. Cases of civil issues internationally now come with “the rise of armies and navies” thus creating an entirely new challenge to the U.S. defense plan.

“We do have to be prepared strategically for a surprise,” Walsh said.

Taking a proactive role comes back to the need for a resolved, effective defense budget and strategy Hollifield said.

He said solving the budget questions is something of immediate importance. Walsh asserted that “if we don’t have a plan to get across the fiscal cliff,” then the country is at risk of damaging “either the economy or the industrial base.” He said that would be nearly impossible to bounce back from.

“We have to do this now,” Walsh said. “We cannot afford to allow ourselves to get to the point that you cannot recover.”

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Bush Library, Tower Center commemorate JFK assassination

This news story first appeared on November 30, 2012. For more information click here.

By Basma Raza, SMU Daily Campus; November 30, 2012

The John Goodwin Tower Center and George W. Bush Library announced their partnership with the Sixth Floor Museum to observe and commemorate the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. The partnership will include a series of programs over the course of the year to remember the tragic event.

The assassination of President Kennedy during a motorcade on Dallas’ Dealey Plaza marked a significant and tragic event in the city’s history. Other programs will be held throughout the year dealing with the legacy of Kennedy’s presidency and its impact on American domestic and foreign policy.

SMU political science professor James Hollifield, director of the Tower Center and chair of the Sixth Floor Museum Board, was instrumental in designing the collaboration.

“SMU next year will be home to the newest Presidential library in the country, and thinking about Presidential history and politics suits the occasion especially when reflecting on the life of President Kennedy,” Hollifield said.

SMU has designated a special committee of distinguished faculty members and guests known as the Tower Center Working Group on Remembrance and Commemoration: The Life and Legacy of JFK. The committee is led by Dennis Simon, an SMU political science professor and Tower Center fellow.

“SMU is looking forward to bringing an academic and scholarly orientation to the observance of this somber anniversary,” Simon said. “The Tower Center has a history of productive partnerships with the National Archives and Records Administration and presidential libraries, as well as with the Sixth Floor Museum. We are excited about the opportunity to re-examine the life and legacy of JFK and to help commemorate this tragic event.”

The Bush library brings with it many prospects for SMU students, as this partnership shows. Through the course of the programs, SMU students will be able to surround themselves with powerful speakers from all around the country with great expertise on various subjects. SMU senior Alex Munoz, an economics major, is eager for the opportunities.

“I think it is a great opportunity for us students, not only will it bring great speakers to our campus but we will get to be part of the conversation on a topic which is so rarely discussed,” Munoz said.

Nicola Longford, executive director at the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza described the partnerships as beneficial to the whole Dallas community, not just students and faculty.

“Our collaboration in observance of the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination in 2013 will benefit SMU students and the entire Dallas community by raising awareness of Dallas’ world-class archival and scholarly resources on American politics and presidential history,” Longford said.

“We look forward to expanding this partnership to include the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, as well as SMU’s Center for Presidential History.”

Programs begin on Presidents Day, Feb. 19, 2013 with “Politics of Memory” and end a year later on President’s Day, Feb. 17, 2014 with “Coping with Crises: How Presidents Manage National Crises.” Details on additional programs will be announced as planning is finalized.For more information visit

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SMU’s Tower Center and George W. Bush Presidential Library partner with Sixth Floor Museum in observance of JFK anniversary

This news story first appeared on November 21, 2012. For more information click here.

DALLAS (SMU) – SMU will work in concert with the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum and the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza to commemorate the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination with a yearlong series of public programs in 2013-14.

JFK motorcade in Dallas

The series will begin with “The Politics of Memory” on President’s Day 2013 (Feb. 18, 2013) and end on President’s Day 2014 (Feb. 17, 2014) with “Coping With Crises: How Presidents Manage National Crises,” a program sponsored with the Sixth Floor Museum and the Bush Library and Museum.

Other programs examining the legacies of the Kennedy presidency and its impact on American domestic and foreign policy are planned for the months leading up to Nov. 22, 2013– the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination while traveling by motorcade through Dallas’ Dealey Plaza.

SMU is working through a special committee of distinguished SMU faculty members and guests known as the Tower Center Working Group on Remembrance and Commemoration:  The Life and Legacy of JFK.  The John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies is part of SMU’s Dedman College of the Humanities and Sciences.

The committee is led by Dennis Simon, SMU political science associate professor, a fellow in the Tower Center and director of the Tower Center program on American Politics. George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum Director Alan Lowe is a member of the committee, as is Jeffrey Engel, founding director of SMU’s new Center for Presidential History and associate professor in the Williams P. Clements Department of History.

The working group includes:

  • William Bridge, SMU associate professor in the Dedman School of Law
  • Lee Cullum, journalist and Tower Center fellow
  • Kenneth Hamilton, SMU associate professor in the William P. Clements Department of History and director of ethnic studies in Dedman College
  • James Hollifield, SMU professor of political science and Arnold Fellow of International Political Economy, director of the Tower Center and chair of the Sixth Floor Museum Board
  • Rita Kirk, director of the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility at SMU and a professor in the Division of Communication Studies
  • Thomas Knock, SMU associate professor of history and member of the board of trustees of the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library
  • Ruth Morgan, former SMU provost and professor emerita of political science
  • Daniel Orlovsky, SMU professor of history and SMU’s George A. Bouhe Research Fellow in Russian Studies
  • Tom Stone, SMU senior English lecturer who teaches courses that view the assassination through the works of writers, artists and scholars.

“SMU is looking forward to bringing an academic and scholarly orientation to the observance of this somber anniversary,” Simon said.  “The Tower Center has a history of productive partnerships with the National Archives and Records Administration and presidential libraries, as well as with the Sixth Floor Museum. We are excited about the opportunity to reexamine the life and legacy of JFK and to help commemorate this tragic event.”

The George W. Bush Presidential Center, which houses the Presidential Library and Museum, will be dedicated in late April 2013.

Details of the JFK-related series will be released as they become available.

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Admiral Walsh talks man, state and war

This news story first appeared on November 16, 2012. For more information click here.

By Katelyn Gough, SMU Daily Campus; November 16, 2012

“What you have here for the next 24 hours is a ringside seat.”

Adm. Patrick Walsh addressed attendees of SMU’s Tower Center’s two-day National Security Conference Wednesday night with a keynote address that zeroed in on one of the “most thorneous problems we could ever imagine.”

Walsh spent the next hour analyzing the country’s defense program as it pertains to both national and international levels on the basis of three categories: “man, the state and war.”

“Nations are watching with keen interest our ability to remain forward, engaged and ready,” Walsh said of the current state of defense.

In his discussion of what many are calling a security “crisis” for the U.S., Walsh presented the audience with a comparative look at the country’s defense system pre- and post-9/11. With the event that “moved our country into unprecedented global conflict,” Walsh said that the 2001 terrorist attacks by al-Qaeda made perfectly clear “the impact of the individual for war and for peace.”

“The investment requirement now is something extraordinarily different,” Walsh said, referring to the budgetary tie-in to the defense program.

The Sept. 11 attacks put the U.S. back into a prominent, deeply woven international involvement that needs infinitely more funding than more “inactive” years prior.

“The biggest challenge by far to our security structure is its sustainability,” Walsh said.

He emphasized the need to “make wise investments” in the country’s military health so as confine and limit the diversity of “barbarous acts” of terrorism growing on nearly every continent.

“The real possibility exists for conflict that is not at the time or place of our choosing,” Walsh said.

Walsh explained that preparedness and accepting the fact that the U.S. doesn’t “have the force of [pre-9/11] because we don’t have that world anymore” was essential in being able to combat any and all security threats beyond the anticipation and watch of the country’s military.

He used past American military tactics, organization and actions as evidence of a knowledge base the country has and can use to its advantage even in a post-9/11 world.

“[We need to] understand how to unlock what we’ve already invested,” Walsh said. “We have an immediate challenge to handle short-term issues.”

One of his key points of the evening was the need for education reform in the context of the “U.S. security narrative.”

“The public school system is now recognized as a national security issue,” Walsh said. “The current education system has consequences for economic competitiveness and innovation.”

Walsh cited the need for future generations “to be engaged in the foreign arena” so that the next wave of those running the country’s defense program can “demonstrate commitment, leadership and resolve of U.S. government.”

“We must continue to recruit and maintain the highest [caliber of people],” Walsh said.

Junior Austin Moorman, who works with the Tower Center and was involved at the banquet, said that the conference was “one of the better turnouts” he’s seen.

“[Walsh] related well the impact resources must have upon tactics,” Moorman said. “The audience seemed very engaged.”

As for its pertinence to the SMU academic community, Moorman shared his belief that “it’s important to have students educated on issues of defense.”

“With today’s politics and how interconnected the world is, people should know the issues concerning our country and others,” Moorman said.

Walsh closed the dinner with what he determined to be the essential, communing point of the country’s immediate future.

“How to pivot forward,” Walsh said. “That is the question we need to answer.”

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Experienced Tower Center fellow offers economic advice

This news story first appeared on October 17, 2012. For more information click here.

By Rahfin Faruk, SMU Daily Campus; October 17, 2012

Kathleen Cooper has been a chief economist at ExxonMobil, a banker, the dean of UNT’s business school and the under secretary for economic affairs at the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Now, she calls SMU’s John G. Tower Center for Political Studies home. As a senior fellow and head of international political economy at the center, her unique insights and career experiences have landed her a role as an economic adviser with Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.

A doctorate in economics, Cooper’s career path was not originally focused on politics.

“I was a business economist. When I first went to Washington to work for George W. Bush, it was a new experience for me,” Cooper said.

Cooper, after spending four years in the Bush administration, is no longer a stranger to politics.

Cooper’s role in the Romney campaign involves offering advice on critical issues for almost every voter — lower unemployment rates and economic growth.

Cooper stresses two issues — tax reform and regulatory clarity — in discussing how the U.S. economy can rebound.

“I think tax reform would be a very good idea. Simplifying the tax code and being especially careful about the types of regulations we put into place are important,” Cooper said.

She also warned against short-term regulation and its impact on business decisions.

“I am very concerned with all the ups and downs with regards to policy. Short term policies don’t do a good job of encouraging businesses to make long term investment decisions,” she said.

She singled out the Affordable Care Act — Barack Obama’s landmark health care reform legislation — as a piece of new regulation that is impacting business-hiring decisions.

“The addition of healthcare requirements on companies of a moderate size is a factor in reducing job growth,” she said.

According to Cooper, however, tax reform and regulatory changes are not the only parts of the equation.

She warned against painting reforms in terms of rich and poor and majority and minority — a recent trend in American politics.

“The best thing we can do is to not get into so much discussion of rich versus poor. There has been way too much of that,” Cooper said.

Cooper, the former chief economist of Exxon Mobil, one of the world’s largest oil companies, also stressed the potential for the energy sector to create new jobs.

“Projects like the Keystone Pipeline should be approved and put into place,” she said.

President Obama rejected the construction of the Keystone Pipeline, which planned to connect the oil sands of Alberta, Canada to multiple United States destinations in early 2012.

While Cooper sees the potential in renewable energy sources, she remains a realist when it comes to the current state of alternative energy technologies.

“We haven’t found a replacement yet that is cost effective. It’s fine for us to continue to look at solar and try wind but they really can’t take the place of fossil fuels yet,” she said.

“We should also pursue cleaner sources of energy like natural gas when given the chance.”

While Cooper has carved out an area of expertise in energy, her true passion remains international political economy.

Cooper, with a spark in her voice, admitted, “International political economy is my real interest.”

International political economy, a fusion of political and economic analysis, is a critical area of study for trade, finance and migration.

Cooper pointed to two critical issues that the United States must solve if it is too continue to experience growth and stability.

“We need to get the world back on track in accepting improvements in our world trading regime and ensuring that financial institutions, some 50 years old, meet today’s needs,” Cooper said.

She is not optimistic about quick changes in international trade and finance.

She believes that the weak American economy is partially to blame for slow changes in America’s trade outlook.

“Americans are very afraid of trade. They don’t see the positives,” Cooper said. “They see much more when jobs are lost from imports than when jobs are gained from exports.”

Cooper, a Dallas native, is grateful for her career opportunities.

Now, back in Dallas, she appreciates what life at SMU offers.

“I’ve been privileged to have a rich career in the business world and government,” Cooper said.

“And to now be involved with a good group of people and students, I’m very pleased.”

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James A. Baker III to receive 2012 Tower Center Medal of Freedom

John Goodwin Tower Center presents the Medal of Freedom to James A. Baker, III, a senior statesmen and former Secretary of State (1989-1992).   VideoClick here to watch the ceremony

By Christina Voss, SMU News & Communications; October 16, 2012

Former U.S. Secretary of State James A. Baker III, will receive the Medal of Freedom from SMU’s John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies during formal ceremonies at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012in McFarlin Auditorium. The Tower Center Medal of Freedom is presented every two years to an individual, or individuals, who have furthered the cause of freedom throughout the world.

This event is free to all SMU students, faculty and staff, but tickets are required. Students, faculty and staff should come to the McFarlin basement at 5 p.m. to receive two complimentary tickets per SMU ID. Business casual attire is suggested.

“James Baker is one of our country’s most accomplished statesmen and has provided strong, diplomatic leadership and a collaborative approach to politics throughout his career,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner.  “He led policies and progress that secured our nation’s presence on the world stage. We are proud to present him with the Tower Center Medal of Freedom.”

Baker’s public service and scholarship extend from the Cold War through the Arab Spring. He served in senior government positions under three different American presidents – Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. Baker is honorary chairman of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University and a senior partner in the law firm of Baker Botts.

Baker continues to wield influence on various national and international issues. At a recent conference at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Baker commented on America’s national debt crisis:

“A broad bipartisan agreement is going to be necessary if we’re going to be able to stabilize our debt,” Baker said. “It is critical that Americans of goodwill, Republicans, Democrats and independents alike push our elected officials to make the compromises necessary to get on a sustainable economic track. The alternative of political gridlock and a diminished place for the United States in the global economic arena is unacceptable.”

The Tower Center, located within SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, supports teaching and research programs in international and domestic politics with an emphasis on global studies and national security policy. Additionally, it educates undergraduates in international relations, comparative politics and political institutions.

The Tower Center Medal of Freedom recognizes individuals who have contributed to the advancement of democratic ideals and to the security, prosperity and welfare of humanity. This year’s event chairs are Gene Jones, Linda Gibbons and Nancy Halbreich.


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Robert Jordan: Interview with WFAA

WFAA: The perils of being a diplomat  Video – Robert Jordan of SMU, former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, talks about the perils of being a diplomat following the September 11 death of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens. (9/14/2012)

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