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The College of Arts and Sciences' communications office works closely with Cornell's Media Relations Office. As the College's representatives to media, we connect faculty experts and thought leaders to local, regional, national and international media organizations.
Linda Glaser, Publicist
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Tricia Barry, Communications Director
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Current press statements from Arts & Sciences faculty:
Trump and Erdogan
Trump-Erdogan is an oft-repeated summit between rivals - May 16, 2017
Today’s scheduled meeting between Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Trump at the White House will take place amid a general chilling of relations between the two countries. Barry Strauss, professor of history at Cornell University and author of the several books about military strategy and leadership, likens the occasion to many summits between rivals in history, when leaders put disagreements aside to focus on potential rewards.
“When U.S. President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meet in Washington later today they will be playing one of history’s oldest and most dramatic games – a summit between rivals.
“Trump recently outraged Turkey by deciding to arm Kurdish soldiers in Syria, troops the Turks consider terrorists and a threat to their homeland. Nor is Trump likely to yield to Turkey’s request to extradite a political opponent now sheltered in the U.S.
“Yet from Hannibal’s pre-battle meeting with his Roman foe Scipio to Cold War summits, leaders who vehemently disagree have been delighted to meet anyhow to reap rewards in intelligence, future deals and domestic political prestige.
“Today’s meeting is just the latest in a long tradition. In spite of or maybe because of various disputes, Erdogan and Trump each expects to come out ahead.”
WannaCry cyber attack
WannaCry attack reveals vulnerability and resilience - May 15, 2017
Rebecca Slayton, assistant professor at Cornell University’s Science & Technology Studies Department and an expert on international security and cooperation, comments on the WannaCry cyber-attacks that have spread across 150 countries since Friday. Slayton says the attack shows both the vulnerabilities and resilience of our computer systems.
“The largest ransomware attack in history reveals both vulnerabilities and resilience. It is a sober reminder that it only takes one mistaken click to compromise an entire organization; that computer systems, like all infrastructures, become unreliable without constant maintenance; and that human lives often depend on the reliable functioning of computers.
“On the other hand, we also see signs of resilience.
“Hundreds of thousands of computers were compromised, but vastly more were protected by automated patching programs; many systems were restored from backups; doctors resorted to pen and paper as necessary; and no human lives were lost – yet.
“Nonetheless, the fact that the attack was a rip-off from the National Security Agency suggests the need to put resources into developing resilience rather than focusing on devising new cyberattacks. What comes around goes around.”
Le Pen lost, but opposition to French establishment lives on - May 8, 2017
Mabel Berezin is professor of sociology at Cornell University and author of “Illiberal Politics in Neoliberal Times: Cultures, Security, and Populism in a New Europe” and “Europe Without Borders.” Berezin says Marine Le Pen – who lost the race for the French presidency yesterday – has established the Front National as France’s opposition party, pitting French against each other.
"Marine Le Pen lost the French Presidential election that she was not expected to win. But make no mistake about it: Le Pen is not departing the political scene.
“In her polite concession speech, she threw down the gauntlet and said that the National Front would be the party of opposition – not a bad point as none of the traditional parties had made it into the second round run off. Her attack against ‘savage globalization’ has now been refined into plan of action that pits the ‘patriots against the globalists.’
“Such populist worldview is here to stay unless European leaders take on its major issues – austerity, migration and security.”
Trump's border wall
Trump wall with Mexico provides illusion of a solution - April 25, 2017
Adam T. Smith, professor of anthropology at Cornell University says that the archaeological record is clear: President Trump’s proposed wall on the Mexico-U.S. border offers only the illusion of security – just as similar walls have throughout history.
“Large-scale barrier walls established in antiquity were created in order to guard boundaries, regulate commerce, and deflect invasions. But rarely were they effective in realizing strategic goals.
“Despite their many failures, large walls continue to lure politicians across the globe into spending vast public resources not because they work, but because they are potent symbols. They appear to be resolute and impassable, grand forms of architectural intimidation.
“In truth, walls are notoriously porous and easily circumventable. Trump’s wall, the past shows, will not address the frustrations and aspirations that drive migration across the U.S. - Mexico border. But it will offer the illusion of a solution.”
French election: First round out of the way, second round will be a yawner - April 24, 2017
Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, two non-traditional candidates who campaigned on opposite electoral platforms, advanced to the second and final round of the French presidential race. Cornell experts offer their views on the election so far, and what we should expect come May 7.
Christopher Way, professor of government and director of the Cornell Institute for European Studies, says that the most surprising thing about this election is how unsurprising the result was.
“Given the twists and turns of the campaign, a last-minute terrorist attack, and the historic inaccuracy of French polls, it is a remarkable that the four top candidates ended up within a point of their polling averages. Now with the first round out of the way, the second round will be a yawner – it is hard to see any path to victory for Le Pen."
Mabel Berezin, professor of sociology and author of several books about nationalism in Europe, says the first-round results bring the tension between globalism and nationalism to the forefront.
“Macron is the quintessential cosmopolitan globalist. He is the candidate that the rest of Europe wants and is supported by the educated mobile young who pursue opportunities in a global arena.
Marine Le Pen, on the other hand, wants to tighten borders against terrorists and illegal immigrants, is fervently anti-European Union and preaches a form of ‘economic protectionism.’ She is the candidate of the rust belts of France as well as the rural areas. If Marine Le Pen were elected President of France, the EU would be seriously weakened as well as NATO.”