Articles by: Marvin Ott

Marvin Ott

Marvin Ott

Columnist at The Ellsworth American
Marvin Ott is a professor at Johns Hopkins University and a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center of the Smithsonian Institution. He is a summer resident of Cranberry Isles.
  • Afghanistan: echoes of Vietnam?

    The U.S. military has completed the withdrawal of nearly all combat forces from Afghanistan — quickly, almost secretly, and ahead of schedule. After 20 years of high-intensity conflict, America’s longest war is suddenly over. A few hundred soldiers will stay behind to help guard the U.S. Embassy (the diplomats are staying) and a small number

  • Democracy: America’s purpose

    History may record that the first few months of the Biden administration marked a key moment in world history — one comparable to, but different from, the early months of the Truman administration. Truman and the remarkable group of senior officials around him crafted a strategic response to Stalin’s campaign to subjugate Europe and Asia.

  • A new Cold War?

    President Biden has been in Europe for his first foreign trip since taking office. He arrived with an ambitious, even daunting, agenda. That to-do-list has at least three parts. First, rebuild America’s damaged relationship with key allies and partners, including the G-7, NATO and the European Union. Second, achieve a working consensus with Europe and

  • “A terrible awakening”

    It has been 73 years since the British mandate for Palestine ended and the new state of Israel was born in an armed conflict that uprooted and displaced much of the long-established Palestinian population. Two subsequent wars brought further population displacement and the extension of Israeli occupation and control over east Jerusalem, the West Bank

  • Putin: strategic failure

    Over the 20-plus years Vladimir Putin has been in power, numerous commentators in the U.S. and abroad have proclaimed the Russian autocrat a “strategic genius” running rings around successive American presidents. It is an easy case to make. The former KGB operative came into the Russian presidency with a mindset that was both ruthless and

  • Securing the future

    Every four years the U.S. intelligence community produces a “Global Trends” report — a predictive look at the next 20 years from a security perspective. Typically, these reports have not made for comfortable reading and the new one released last week is no exception. The New York Times summed up the future as seen by

  • Biden and China

    “On my watch … [China will not reach its goal] … to become the leading country in the world, the wealthiest country in the world and the most powerful country in the world.” — President Biden Future historians may well consider President Biden’s comments last week on China as a pivotal moment in the history

  • Afghanistan: graveyard for good intentions

    The war in Afghanistan — the foreign policy problem from hell — is moving center stage for the Biden administration. This is already America’s longest war — 20 years and counting — and one of its costliest ($2 trillion spent, nearly 2,500 dead and over 20,000 wounded). No one likes this war, and everyone wants

  • Ideals and self-interest

    American foreign policy has long exhibited a certain schizophrenia — a tension between two often opposing imperatives. One calls for a policy that embodies American values including democracy, human rights and liberty. The other advocates a policy based solely on calculations of national interest — economic benefits and national security ultimately sustained by military power.

  • Burma: Land of ballots and blood

         An unlikely country has made international headlines over recent days, but the events there sound eerily familiar. A democratic political party won an election, only to have the commander of the armed forces declare that the results were invalid because of “fraud.” The National Election Commission insisted there was no significant fraud. The army commander

  • America and Europe together

    “We must hang together or surely we will hang separately” — Ben Franklin President Biden is an Atlanticist. He believes in trans-Atlantic relations as foundational to U.S. foreign policy. NATO is, in his words, “sacred.” The contrast with his predecessor in the Oval Office is stark. Donald Trump, from the outset, treated America’s European allies

  • Between the dark and the dawn

    COMMENTARY: “Before we turn to the global arena, we need a clear recognition of just what happened on Jan. 6,” writes Columnist Marvin Ott this week. “This was an attempted coup conceived and set in motion by the President of the United States. Trump refused to accept the result of the best run, most transparent, most secure and most accurately tabulated presidential election in U.S. history — one he lost by over 7 million votes. Instead, he claimed fraud (like every tinpot dictator faced with negative election results) and tried every possible maneuver from threatening local election officials to a blizzard of lawsuits to overturn the results.”

Weekly Bulletin

local news, dad jokes and community events, delivered to your inbox every week.

want to see what you're getting into? check out the archives.