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 oil curse

    In the 20th century, petroleum (oil and natural gas) emerged as an absolutely vital component of any modern economy. You simply can’t run a modern transportation system (vehicles, ships, planes) without it — not to mention power plants and petrochemicals (plastics). Those countries that by accident of geography were sitting on large petroleum deposits were

  • Decoding China

    From the earliest times world history has been shaped by contests for primacy between and among the great powers of the era — from Carthage and Rome to England, Prussia, and France to the United States and the Soviet Union. It is increasingly clear that the international politics of this century will be characterized by

  • Coping with terror

    It has gotten to the point where we almost expect the world news to include yet another mass casualty attack — terrorism, if you like — against innocent populations somewhere. The awful roll call of recent days/weeks has included Orlando, Dhaka, Nice, Kabul, Munich and Ansbach. The hard reality is that such atrocities will continue,

  • NATO 2.0

    If you are working at North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Headquarters in Brussels, these are heady and daunting times. If you are Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, NATO’s military commander, your adrenaline is up, there is urgency in your step, but you may not be getting much sleep. Last week, the 28-member grouping convened for a biennial

  • Brexit aftershocks

    The victory of the Brexit campaign in Britain’s referendum on European Union (EU) membership is at once understandable and deplorable. It’s understandable because many in Britain, as in the United States, are feeling the pressures of a fast changing, increasingly globalized world — and they don’t like it. Once familiar and comfortable economic and cultural

  • Brexit

    By Marvin Ott In a week, British voters will go to the polls to determine whether their country will, or will not, remain a member of the European Union (EU). The June 23 referendum is the consequence of a pledge made by Prime Minister David Cameron in his recent campaign for re-election. In his promise

  • Nuclear scenarios past and future

    President Barack Obama’s recently completed trip to Asia received modest media coverage in the United States, but in the region, it was a big deal and it touched on some big issues. Perhaps the biggest of these involved nuclear weapons — past, present and future. In Japan, Obama became the first U.S. president to visit

  • America and Vietnam

    In a few days, President Obama will travel to Asia, his favorite overseas destination. This trip will include just two countries: Japan and Vietnam. The Japanese portion will have its share of theater with the first visit by a U.S. president to Hiroshima, site of the atomic bombing. But it will be the Vietnam leg

  • Donald Trump and the world

    After months of campaigning, Donald Trump gave his first formal speech (complete with teleprompter) on foreign policy. It was a pretty shaky, which is not surprising considering his unfamiliarity with the subject and his dearth of expert advisors and speech writers. The dominant theme was “America first…. My foreign policy will always put the interest

  • The cancer of corruption

    With vast numbers of migrants on the move fleeing conflict, poverty and abuse, it is worth noting where these people aspire to go. The magnet that draws these warm weather populations is not some tropical paradise; it is the cold, foggy climes of northern Europe (Sweden, Germany, Denmark) and, if they somehow can get there,

  • The insoluble Middle East

    Like his predecessors, President Obama has embraced an active schedule of foreign travel and international diplomacy in the final months of his presidency. In recent weeks, we have seen a path-breaking visit to Cuba followed by Argentina. Last week, he hosted an annual summit of world leaders to address safeguards against the spread of nuclear

  • China’s tainted economy

    For more than three decades, the Chinese economy has been a wonder of the world. During that period the Chinese Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew over 10 percent per year — this with a population of well over 1 billion. Nothing like it had occurred in all of human history. China went from being extremely