Common Sense Immigration: Let’s Talk Facts and Distinguish between Good Politics and Bad Policy

 October 23, 2018

 Todd Greentree

The flow of migrants from Central America is a serious issue, but the United States is not suffering a general crisis of illegal immigration.  Let’s talk facts and distinguish between good politics and bad policy. Much of this is common sense. Other nations do not “send” their worst people to the United States, rather the U.S. remains a beacon for citizens of other nations who are seeking better lives for many reasons. The total number of unauthorized immigrants in the U.S.has actually declined from its peak of 12.2 million in 2007.More Mexicans are returning home than are coming into to the U.S, a trend that began in 2009 and which job growth from NAFTA has reinforced. MS-13, the gang that Trump loves to hate, spawned in the jails of Los Angeles, not the streets of San Salvador.

The surge of people fleeing violence in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras has its roots in the U.S.-backed civil wars of the 1980s, the “low quality” democracies that have resulted in the succeeding decades, and drug trafficking that transits Central America on the way to the U.S. Research generally shows that the crime rate among illegal immigrants is lower than the general population, and is even lower among legal immigrants. The principal implication is that solutions will come not by building a wall or draconian enforcement, but rather though a combination of effective border security, foreign assistance, and legislation that regularizes the flow of human beings into the country as well as the status of those who are here now.

Todd GreentreeA former U.S. Foreign Service Officer, Todd Greentree has served in five wars, from El Salvador in the early 1980s to Afghanistan between 2008 and 2012. 

Mr. Greentree graduated from the University of California Santa Cruz, received his master’s degree in International Studies from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and his doctorate in history from Oxford University. He has taught Strategy and Policy at the Naval War College and the University of New Mexico and was a Visiting Scholar at the SAIS Merrill Center for Strategic Studies. Currently, he is a Research Associate with the Oxford Changing Character of War Centre, conducts programs in Latin America with the U.S. Center for Civil -Military Relations, and teaches international relations at UNM. He is writing a book titled The Blood of Others, about the origins and consequences of the wars at the end of the Cold War in Angola, Central America, and Afghanistan.

Location at Santa Fe Community College Board Room (#223).

Iran and North Korea: A Status Report

Sold Out!

December 4, 2017

Arvid Lundy and Cheryl Rofer

Iran’s and North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs have been much in the news lately, with continuing testing of missiles and, in North Korea’s case, a nuclear explosive. President Donald Trump has responded with threatening tweets, stoking fears of nuclear war. The two countries’ histories are very different, but both feel they have reason to fear the United States. One response is to develop nuclear weapons, deliverable by missile. Iran’s progress toward nuclear weapons was stopped by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, negotiated in 2015. North Korea currently moves ahead without restriction.

We’ll discuss the motivations of both countries, where they are now, the response from the United States, and what the future might bring.

Cheryl Rofer was a chemist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory for 35 years. She now writes scientific and political commentary for the web publications Nuclear Diner and Balloon Juice. She has over 9000 followers on Twitter. She regularly provides background information on nuclear topics to reporters and has been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Vox. Her work at Los Alamos included projects in fossil fuels, laser development, and the nuclear fuel cycle. She is past president of the Los Alamos Committee on Arms Control and International Security and a founding member of SFWAF. She has published in scientific and political science journals and edited a book. She holds an A.B. from Ripon College and an M.S. from the University of California at Berkeley.

Arvid Lundy has extensive experience in nuclear export controls, nuclear proliferation intelligence, electronic instrumentation design, and clinical medical physics. Arvid spent thirty one years at Los Alamos National Laboratory as project engineer, group leader, and program manager. His career included over 100 foreign trips for the US government on nuclear issues, especially international nuclear export control.
This program will be in the Santa Fe Community College Board Room (room #223).

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The Origins and Consequences of the “Reagan Doctrine” Wars in Angola, Central America and Afghanistan

November 13, 2017

Todd Greentree

There were three active fighting fronts during the final phase of the Cold War: Angola, Central America, and Afghanistan. Rather than mere small wars on the Third World periphery, these were complex civil wars and regional conflicts provoked and protracted by global superpower confrontation. They lasted for decades and casualties were in the millions. U.S. involvement began during the Ford Administration in Angola just four months after the fall of Saigon in April 1975, and continued in Central America and Afghanistan through the Carter and Reagan administrations. Vaguely remembered as proxy wars of dubious importance, these conflicts were in fact integral to the U.S. experience of limited war since World War II. They outlasted the Cold War itself, and, although little understood, their consequences persist today.

Todd Greentree is a Research Associate with the Changing Character of War Centre at Oxford University. A former U.S. Foreign Service Officer, he has served in five wars, from El Salvador in the early 1980s through Afghanistan in 2012. Recently, he has conducted programs with the U.S. Center for Civil-Military Relations in Chile, Honduras, and Colombia. Dr. Greentree was a professor of Strategy and Policy at the Naval War College, a Visiting Scholar in the Merrill Center for Strategic Studies at Johns Hopkins SAIS, and taught foreign policy at the University of New Mexico. The author of numerous publications, he is currently writing a book about the “Reagan Doctrine” Wars.

Todd and his wife Marjolaine, a senior humanitarian official formerly with the International Red Cross (ICRC) and United Nations, recently moved back to Santa Fe after a two-year sojourn in Monterey, California.

This program will be in the Santa Fe Community College Board Room (room #223).

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Bureaucracy Does its Thing: US Performance in Afghanistan

June 15, 2012

Todd Greentree, former political/military advisor US forces in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Angola and Afghanistan

Most Americans are relieved that the international intervention in Afghanistan is winding down more than a decade after 9/11. Can the absence of clear cut victory despite a considerable investment of blood and treasure be attributed to Afghanistan’s reputation as the “graveyard of empires?” Meanwhile, Afghans have suffered 34 years of instability and war. How do they feel about the departure of foreign troops?  Are they prepared to assume their own defense?    Despite differences in scale, are there clear parallels with the experience of the US in Vietnam nearly 50 years ago?  What lessons have we learned from the handling of these these conflicts?  Finally, will  historians judge the Afghan intervention to have been a success or failure? (more…)

The US and Afghanistan: a View from the Field

June 29, 2009

Todd Greentree, Brigade Political Adviser and State Department Representative at Task Force Warrior, Afghanistan

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Afghanistan: Crossroads of Intervention

March 19, 2007

Todd Greentree, Foreign Service Officer and former professor, U.S. Naval War College

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