Listen: Political Scientist Dominic Tierney on "A World on Fire: Barack Obama and the Crisis of Global Order"

The Second Tuesday Social Sciences Cafe series opened its 2014-15 run this month with a riveting talk from Associate Professor of Political Science Dominic Tierney, who presented “A World on Fire: Barack Obama and the Crisis of Global Order” to a standing-room only crowd in Kohlberg's Scheuer Room.

In his lecture, Tierney takes a look at the multiple (and interconnected) international crises taking place in Ukraine, Gaza, Syria, and Iraq. He explains the characteristics of the "Obama Doctrine" and asks how effectively President Obama has handled each crisis in the face of mounting pressure to act. Tierney also touched on President Obama's proposed plan to defeat ISIS, which came following calls from critics that he has been overly passive and cautious in his response.

“There is no quick fix for defeating ISIS, since they are well-established, well-trained, and can move easily between two civil wars,” says Tierney. “With the right strategy, the U.S. can defeat ISIS over time, but this will require U.S. leadership and President Obama to think long-term – what happens when ISIS retreats? What is the end game?”

An expert in international relations, Tierney recently discussed ISIS, Syria, and President Obama's strategy with MSNBC's Morning Joe and the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Tierney, a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, is an official correspondent at The Atlantic and the author of three books, including How We Fight: Crusades, Quagmires, and the American Way of WarHe completed his Ph.D. in international politics at Oxford University in 2003 and was a post-doctoral fellow at the Mershon Center at Ohio State University and the Olin Institute at Harvard University before coming to Swarthmore in 2005. In 2008-2009, he was a research fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

Second Tuesday Social Sciences Cafes are monthly events that encourage faculty and staff to come together for a light lunch and learning. The 2014-15 series features presentations by faculty members on topics ranging from the economics of MOOCs to motivation. Events are geared for individuals with no formal background in the social sciences. The only requirement is curiosity. Talks last about 35 minutes, allowing plenty of time for Q&A.

The remaining Cafes for the semester include: 

Oct 7: Barry Schwartz (Psychology): "Why?" Some Puzzles of Motivation 
Nov 11: Mark Kuperberg (Economics): Economics and the Future of Elite Colleges
Dec 9: Cheryl Jones-Walker (Educational Studies): Putting the Public Back into Public Education