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.
  • Cyberwar

    National defense strategy has traditionally focused on the role of military forces (air, land and sea) supplemented by intelligence operations (espionage and covert disruptions of an adversary’s economy and government). With the launch of Russia’s Sputnik in 1957 a new arena opened up — space. Intercontinental ballistic missiles and surveillance satellites became integral to American

  • The Islamic State decapitated

    President Trump announced on Sunday that a daring U.S. commando raid in Syria resulted in the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State and the world’s most wanted terrorist. The longer-term implications of this event will become clear over time, but there is much we already know. (1) Baghdadi was the architect

  • Betrayal

    The minimum requirements for an effective foreign policy can be summed up in two points: (1) it must be guided by and serve the national interest and (2) it must be informed, i.e. based on knowledge and expertise. Grounding in the national interest should be almost second nature for any policymaker. As for knowledge, the

  • Impeachment

    As this is written, the House of Representatives has begun the formal process to determine whether the President should be impeached, i.e. removed from office. Even if the House does vote for articles of impeachment — in effect, an indictment — the President will not be removed unless the Senate, sitting as a court in

  • Afghanistan: Pick your poison

    The war in Afghanistan has lasted for 18 years and is the longest in U.S. history. It has cost over 4,000 American deaths — military and civilian. It began with an American military response to the 9/11 attacks directed by Osama bin Laden from Afghanistan. The initial objective of the G.W. Bush administration was clear:

  • How to wreck the global economy

    The good news is that today more people in the world live better than ever before. The global economy is more productive and creates more wealth than at any time in human history. This is no accident; it is the result of unceasing effort by governments, businesses and private citizens over many decades. During that

  • Putin’s world

    When the USSR collapsed in 1991, the leaders of post-Soviet Russia faced herculean challenges and fundamental questions of national strategy and direction. Would Russia continue on the Soviet path of hostility toward the West — or would it take a very different course? For Mikhail Gorbachev, the first president of Russia’s new era, the answer

  • Turkey and America: what next?

    It was not long ago — say the 1990s — that Turkey was a good news story on several dimensions. As a key member of NATO, Turkey guarded the eastern border between Europe and Russia. Turkey had the largest military in NATO except for the United States and ties between the Turkish and American armed

  • China’s Hong Kong problem

    Over recent weeks, Hong Kong has been repeatedly rocked by mass demonstrations protesting the actions of its governing authorities. Public protests — somewhere — are a fixture of the international news. What makes these demonstrations noteworthy and very important are their scale and their location. Credible observers estimated the crowds at one point at nearly

  • Crises trifecta

    Tomorrow, President Trump will travel to Japan for an annual meeting of 20 government leaders (G-20) with three international crises at a near boil. Two of these, Iran and China, are the result of measures initiated by the White House. North Korea, by contrast, was set in motion by actions taken by Pyongyang. Each of

  • National security and climate change

    Anyone who has spent time in and around the armed forces and/or the intelligence agencies of the United States will agree — whether you always like what they do or not — that these are serious institutions staffed by serious people. The contrast with the political arena can be stark. In politics, there is plenty

  • America vs. China

    China has long occupied a special place in the American imagination. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Americans envisioned a Christianized China that would become an Asian counterpart to the United States. That and other dreams were dashed by the triumph of Mao Zedong and the communists. However, with the death of Mao