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.
  • The end of the Iran deal

    Early last week, President Trump announced that the United States would cease to observe its obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, better known as the Iran deal. His public statement — replete with untruths, half-truths and distortions — amounted to a declaration that Iran was violating the agreement and could not be trusted.

  • North Korea rethinking assumptions

    Over recent weeks, events involving North Korea have been dramatic, to say the least. In rapid succession, we have gone from Pyongyang’s surprise participation in the Winter Olympics to a highly choreographed and visually compelling meeting between the leaders of the two Koreas. This is all prelude to an imminent summit between Kim Jong Un

  • Japan in doubt

    Japan has long been the linchpin of the U.S. security strategy in Asia. The current Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, is deeply invested personally and politically in nurturing the U.S.-Japan alliance. But no country and no prime minister views the rapidly changing developments in U.S.-North Korean relations with more doubt and angst that Mr. Abe. As

  • The new autocrats

    When the Cold War ended and the Soviet Union disintegrated, it seemed that the triumph of Western democratic values was complete. If communism represented autocratic state/party control of political and economic life, the West represented limited government devoted to facilitating individual choice, not suppressing it. In Russia, a parliamentary democracy replaced the dictatorship of the

  • Enter Mr. Bolton

    The Trump presidency has been a singular phenomenon to put it mildly — and some of its key characteristics were prefigured in the campaign. Any attentive observer could have anticipated that this President would be a disruptor of established norms and ways of doing business in Washington. He also would be the unrelenting center of

  • China’s new emperor

    Over a very long history, governance has been China’s greatest achievement — and its greatest failure. Every Chinese, whether a senior official in Beijing or a farmer in a remote village, will tell you with certainty that China has the oldest (“five thousand years”) and greatest civilization on the planet. It is a point of

  • A strategic future takes shape

    Secretary of State Tillerson has returned from a five-nation tour of the Middle East designed to shore up American influence. The results were underwhelming. When military hostilities flared up between Israel and Iran, it was Russia’s Putin, not Tillerson, who stepped in and calmed things down. However, the bigger picture is more nuanced. After years

  • Serving the Russian interests

    Imagine an alternative reality, one that actually existed within the memory of most readers of The Ellsworth American. A Republican has just been elected President. His name is Ronald Reagan (or Dwight Eisenhower). The glow of victory is shadowed by persistent reports emanating from U.S. and foreign intelligence sources that the Russian KGB had conducted

  • The Pakistan cauldron

    Last Friday, the State Department announced the suspension of $2 billion in military assistance intended for Pakistan — this after President Trump accused Islamabad of “lies and deceit” in its dealings with the United States. The core issue involves Islamic militants who, for years, have mounted attacks into Afghanistan from safe havens in Pakistan. Their

  • A Trump security strategy

    The law requires that every administration produce a “national security strategy” that will serve as a blueprint for how to respond to challenges to U.S. global leadership. The Trump administration published its version last week. As such, it is an interesting document because it marks the first time this administration has formally articulated its perceptions