Analysis & Opinions

Rethinking Diplomacy: Analysis&Opinions

The Rethinking Diplomacy Analysis & Opinions column features analyses, policy briefs, and commentaries on the future of diplomacy in relation to science, technology, environment, health, space, energy, infrastructure, debt, trade, supply chains, and other disciplines/areas/topics of interest to the program.  

Featured articles

Space Diplomacy

The Future of Space Diplomacy: Interview with Dr. Benjamin L. Schmitt

June 17, 2022

Dr. Benjamin L. Schmitt (DUCIGS/Rethinking Diplomacy Fellow) spoke to Harvard International Review about the future of Space Diplomacy and the need of international norms to regulate the use of space by nation states and private-sector entities.

Anticipatory Diplomacy. By Amb. W.Robert Pearson. Duke Center for International and Global Studies

Anticipatory Diplomacy: A Modern Diplomacy for a Dangerous and Uncertain World

May 31, 2022

In this paper, Ambassador (ret.) W. Robert Pearson examines the principles and the methodology of "Anticipatory Diplomacy", an approach to diplomacy seeking "to anticipate issues that will be crises if we don’t act." Amb. Pearson is the founder of the Rethinking Diplomacy Program at Duke University Center for International & Global Studies.


male face

Turkey Back at the Barricades

May 20, 2022

In a NATO meeting in Brussels, Turkey has blocked a consensus on moving forward with potential NATO membership of Finland and Sweden. Ambassador (ret.) Robert Pearson (DUCIGS' Rethinking Diplomacy fellow) shares how the spring in Turkey's diplomacy may now be reverting to winter. 



NATO Must Decide European Security beyond the Ukraine War

April 18, 2022

Ambassador (ret.) Robert Pearson (DUCIGS' Rethinking Diplomacy fellow and Space Diplomacy Lab member) writes on The Hill that "NATO now must do more than focus on how it is helping the Ukrainians and defending every inch of NATO territory." (...) Not to do so invites further Russian efforts to intimidate and threaten all the NATO frontline states plus Moldova." Read the op-ed.


Piotr Plewa: Haitian Migration to Mexico_Duke University Center for International and Global Studies

Recent Trends in Haitian Migration to Mexico

February 7, 2022

Applications for refugee status in Mexico skyrocketed over the past decade, with a growing number of Haitians seeking protection in Mexico. In this brief, Duke Visiting Research Scholar Piotr Plewa explains the history of this trend and the migration policies put in place by Mexican authorities.


Russia's Soyuz MS-07 spacecraft, carrying people to the International Space Station, blasts off at the Russian-leased Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Dec. 17, 2017. KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES
Kirill Kudryavtsev /Afp

2022 Is the Year for a Space Summit

January 1, 2022

DUCIGS' W. Robert Pearson and Benjamin L. Schmitt write in the Foreign Policy Magazine that the Nov. 15 Russian test that blew a derelict spy satellite into more than 1,500 pieces of space debris shows—once more—that new international rules are needed to regulate space activities.


Denis Simon_China Innovation Series-Duke University

US-China Cooperation Key to Tackle Global Problems

November 4, 2021

In an interview, Duke University Senior Advisor to the President for China Affairs, Denis Simon, explains why engagement with China is strategic for the US and why it is in the US interest to maintain a research ecosystem open to foreign students.


Piotr-Plewa-card_Climate Change and Migration_Duke Center for International and Global Studies

Piotr Plewa: Climate Change and Migration

October 29, 2021

In this brief, Ducigs fellow Piotr Plewa analyzes causes, possible scenarios and policy recommendations related to climate migration, drawing--among other sources--from the recent World Bank report: "Groundswell II".


Gary Gereffi_US Senate Hearing
Gary Gereffi at the US Senate hearing

Gary Gereffi: How Research on Global Value Chains Can Help U.S. Competitiveness

August 9, 2021

Duke's Gary Gereffi testified before the U.S. Congress on "Implementing Supply Chain Resiliency." In this interview, he expands on the topics of his hearing and explains how the value-chain framework can enhance U.S. competitiveness, promote a sustainable economy and a large number of good-quality jobs.


Increasing Resilience of Medical Supply Chains During the COVID-19 Pandemic_Gary Gereffi
(Image: Anna Shvets via Pexels)

Increasing Resilience of Medical Supply Chains During the COVID-19 Pandemic

June 24, 2021

In an article for the United Nations Industrial Development Organization's Industrial Analytics Platform, Duke's global value chains expert Gary Gereffi writes that the COVID pandemic "highlighted the fact that many global value chains are optimized for profit maximization and efficiency instead of resilience."


space-diplomacy. BILL INGALLS/NASA VIA GETTY IMAGES. Foreign Policy, MAY 15, 2021
Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images 

The Crisis in Space

May 15, 2021

DUCIGS/Rethinking Diplomacy fellows W. Robert Pearson and Benjamin Schmitt write in Foreign Policy that the uncontrolled reentry of a Chinese rocket earlier last May shows the need for an update of space diplomacy. Now is the time for building out international norms around space activities. (Photo credit in original publication: Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images.)


RethinkingDiplomacy, NSPN "Bridge the Gap Between American Science and Diplomacy"

Bridge the Gap Between U.S. Science and Diplomacy

May 11, 2021

This report authored by our Rethinking Diplomacy/National Science Network team expands on the concepts expressed in the recent letter to Science Magazine and outlines five concrete steps to bring science into U.S. diplomacy.


Photo: Science , 07 May 2021: Vol. 372, Issue 6542
Science, 07/05/21: Vol. 372, Issue 6542

Integrate US Science and Diplomacy 

May 7, 2021

In a letter to Science Magazine, the Rethinking Diplomacy team and our partners at the National Science Policy Network invite the Biden-Harris administration to create a new position of Undersecretary for Scientific Affairs within the State Department.


Duddy-Schoenfeld Duke University

Duddy, Schoenfeld's op-ed: Biden's Facing a Diplomacy Deficit Going Back Decades

February 1, 2021

Duke’s Patrick Duddy and Michael Schoenfeld write on that rebuilding international trust in the United States requires “a vigorous and creative campaign of soft power,” including the need to boost US's public diplomacy apparatus.


Former U.S. Ambassador for Venezuela, Patrick Duddy

As U.S. influence on Latin America Wanes, the SOA Summit Is a Chance to Reset

January 19, 2021

The 9th Summit of the Americas (SOA), “will be the Biden administration’s first opportunity to reset U.S. relations with the Latin America,” writes Rethinking Diplomacy's Patrick Duddy in an op-ed for The Hill. “These days,’ he adds, “China has become nearly as important to Latin America’s economies as the U.S.”

Benjamin Schmitt_Atlantic Council
Credit: USAF/Cover Image

How Critical Science Infrastructure Investments Help Put Arctic Security Challenges on Ice

December 27, 2020 
Op-ed originally published on by the DUCIGS/Rethinking Diplomacy fellow Benjamin L.Schmitt. (Photo credit in original publication: USAF/Cover Image)


State Department Building. Photo by: U.S. Department of State (IIP Bureau)

The State Department Needs More Scientists

December 15, 2020 
Op-ed originally published on The Hill by the DUCIGS/Rethinking Diplomacy team. (Photo credit: U.S. Department of State (IIP Bureau), , Creative Commons, Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic)
Don't Politicize Water, by Erika Weinthal and Neda Zawahri
 Jalaa Marey/AFP via Getty Images

Don’t Politicize Water

September 18, 2020

The recent peace deals between Israel, UAE and Bahrain stopped short of addressing the damage inflicted on a crucial area of cooperation in the Middle East—water management of the small Jordan basin. Rethinking Diplomacy affiliate Dr. Erika Weinthal co-wrote this op-ed for Foreign Policy (Photo credit in the original publication: Jalaa Marey/AFP via Getty Images)


What Diplomacy Can Do for You_Ambassador W. Robert Pearson_ SSRN Paper, May 20, 2020

What Diplomacy Can Do for You

May 20, 2020

This paper is based on Ambassador W. Robert Pearson’s inaugural lecture of the DUCIGS/Rethinking Diplomacy Program at Duke University. Here he explains how the combination of the disciplines of diplomacy and science plays an important role in facilitating the solution of complex issues.