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.
  • Germany turns the page

    Next week an era will end in Europe. Angela Merkel, Germany’s long-serving (16 years) chancellor, will retire; a new coalition government will take office. Merkel was an unlikely giant on the international stage. Born behind the Iron Curtain in East Germany, she studied physics, learned Russian and acquired a keen understanding of the pathologies of

  • A European cancer

    Twentieth century Europe was nearly destroyed by dictators who tried to subjugate the entire continent to their own megalomania. The instrument of Europe’s rebirth has been the European Union — an economic common market politically committed to democracy. There is nothing automatic or guaranteed about the ascendance of democracy in Europe. On Europe’s eastern flank,

  • Climate change and national security

    Some of the earliest and most insistent alarms regarding the impacts of climate change have come from the national security components of the U.S. government — the Department of Defense (DOD) and the intelligence community. The most recent reports issued this year include DOD’s Climate Risk Analysis and the National Intelligence Estimate, Climate Change and

  • Iran unconstrained

    On the list of foreign policy headaches facing the Biden administration, Iran’s nuclear program ranks near the top. The Obama administration negotiated at least an interim solution to the problem, but the Trump White House blew it up. President Biden was and is committed to restoring the previous agreement (the Joint Comprehensive Program of Action

  • Australia “bets the house”

    The unexpected announcement last week that the U.S. and Britain had agreed to supply technologies that would allow Australia to build at least eight nuclear-powered submarines sent geopolitical shockwaves across both Asia and Europe. Most of the headlines actually focused on France, which had a prior agreement to supply Australia with diesel/electric submarines — a

  • Afghanistan in perspective

    “We’ve been a country too long at war.”  — President Biden Headlines have been dominated by the cataclysmic events in Afghanistan — the sudden Taliban takeover followed by the precipitous U.S. withdrawal from the country. A blizzard of expert commentary along with statements from members of Congress have produced an unusually clear consensus narrative. It

  • The CIA in the 21st century

    For those who work at the Central Intelligence Agency, this is a time to look forward with a certain uneasy optimism. First, there is relief that the agency survived a commander-in-chief who coupled overt hostility toward the CIA with slavish devotion to the Kremlin. It was something beyond the intelligence community’s worst nightmare — a

  • Economic power

    It was not that long ago — 20 years or so — when it was generally believed that the dominant position of the established economies of North America and Europe would be eclipsed over time by more rapid growth in the youthful, more energetic, countries of the “Global South” — AfroAsia, Latin America and the

  • 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