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.
  • 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.”

  • Brexit blues

    “There is a lesson here for Americans,”writes Columnist Marvin Ott this week. “Brexit is the product of inept government and a populace animated by illusions, division and diminished self-confidence. None of this was necessary or inevitable; it is a self-inflicted wound.”

  • Biden’s damaged inheritance

    When President Biden takes the oath of office, he will confront a daunting foreign policy agenda — much of it dictated by the need to repair the wreckage left behind by Donald Trump. Meanwhile, the current White House is doing everything it can to further poison the well between now and Jan. 20. We know

  • New world

    The most urgent and immediate issues facing the President-elect will be domestic — including efforts by a raging, demented Donald Trump to destroy anything and everything that comes after him. [Mainers may be interested to learn that Roger Stone, longtime political confidant of Trump, announced on TV that he had “absolute incontrovertible evidence” that the

  • The men who would destroy America

    We are living in dangerous and unprecedented times. Republican Sen. Mitt Romney captured the moment as well as anyone: “Having failed to make even a plausible case of widespread fraud or conspiracy before any court of law, the President has now resorted to overt pressure on state and local officials to subvert the will of

  • Back from the abyss

    “Welcome back, America.”  — Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris It was a near-run thing. Choose your favorite metaphor: “dodged a bullet,” “near death experience.” It all adds up to the fact that the 240-year-old experiment that we call American democracy hung in the balance on Nov. 3. After four years of control by an utterly

  • Democracy in Asia

    Over the last several weeks the streets of Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, have been engulfed by thousands of demonstrators, most of them young, demanding one basic thing — democracy. This follows months, even years, of similar demonstrations in Hong Kong. These are the latest scenes in a profoundly important drama that has been playing out in

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