RSG Newsletter – February 2019
Robertson School of Government Dean’s Corner
It has been a mild winter in Virginia Beach, but a stormy ride in our government. President Donald Trump has declared another National Emergency (yes, there are many current national emergency declarations that are still ongoing from past presidents), and the Congress is not happy about it.
On the other hand, individual members of the new Democratic Congress have called for the United States to abandon all use of fossil fuels, provide lots of services like education for free, and even to stop giving birth to so many children, all concepts that create lots of press but have little chance of becoming law – at least in the near term.
But the storm extends overseas with Trump and Kim Jong Un of North Korea failing to reach an agreement after their summit. Catholic bishops in South Sudan say human rights abuses are prevalent with rebel looting, sexual violence and rape, and even murder of civilians happening with impunity in the civil conflict, according to reports from the Voice of America. And Thailand’s legislature has passed a law allowing state officials to seize, search, infiltrate, and make copies of computer systems without a warrant in the name of a Cybersecurity Act that many fear.
U.S. ships are challenging China’s claims in what are supposed to be international waters in the South China Sea in an attempt to keep navigation lanes open. Also, the United States won a World Trade Organization ruling against China in Geneva when they charged Beijing with paying farmers an unfair subsidy ($100 Billion more than allowed) that enabled them to undercut the prices of US farmers in selling things like wheat, a challenge filed during the Barack Obama Administration.
With all of these domestic and global challenges, as the interim dean of the Robertson School of Government (RSG) I’d say it is a good time for people to join students like new MA student Robert Kaneiss, featured in this newsletter, to ratchet up their education. We need good people trained in both Government and principles of ethics and Christian character to be able to lead the organizations and governments of the world through these turbulent times.
As Regent University has been undergoing our 10 year re-accreditation visits, I’ve been proud of RSG and our accomplishments in preparing students for careers in government, national security, and public administration. And I’m proud of the great accomplishments of this growing university and the many dedicated faculty and staff that make this a great place to earn your next degree. Thanks for reading!
Interim Dean and Professor
For more details as well as our calendar of events, please see our website.
Former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft Hosts Dinner for Robertson School of Government Students
Former U.S. Attorney General and Robertson School of Government (RSG) Distinguished Professor John Ashcroft and his wife Janet, hosted a barbeque dinner at their beach residence for students and faculty. This event illustrates one way that Regent University students benefit from gaining insight from General Ashcroft and building relationships with their professors. It is a great time for School of Government students to unwind and get to know each other better in the midst of a busy semester. Student, Tony Riley, commented, “One of the main highlights each semester is the face-to-face interactions that RSG students have available to them with Attorney General John Ashcroft as well as the RSG professors at this marquis event. These intimate conversations with such an esteemed public figure are a rare opportunity that distinguishes Regent’s Government program from any other. I look forward to coming back to this event as an alumni.”
General Ashcroft, who is in his fourteenth year of teaching at Regent, and Dean Stephen Perry, served barbecue and dessert to faculty and students alike. The evening included current events-related discussion of government affairs and principles of leadership from a Christian perspective. The General also offered valuable insight to the students based on his time as governor, U.S. Senator and U.S. Attorney General. The night concluded with numerous songs including Regent’s official school hymn, “Regent, Host of Faith and Learning” (text written by General Ashcroft). The lyrics remind Regent students that they are called to a lifetime of service as Christian leaders.
General Ashcroft teaches two classes at Regent, Case Studies in the Development and Implementation of National Legal Policy and Human Rights, Civil Liberties & National Security. Beyond his time in the classroom, he hosts up to ten events a year like the government dinner which allow him more time with students. Both in classroom and informal settings, General Ashcroft is always eager to take and answer questions.
A Call to Public Service
Kurt Bahr, a ’08 graduate, was recently elected as the Director of Elections in St. Charles County. Bahr ended his time, as the Representative for District 102, Missouri, which he served for eight years. Missouri Right to Life and the NRA ranked him number one, as one of the most conservative of Missouri’s legislators. During his service, Bahr passed a bill to eradicate Missouri from Common Core Standards and to create Missouri’s own state-based education standards.
Bahr’s desire for public service began with his grandfather, Leo Bahr, who worked with the St. Charles City’s parks and recreation board. He volunteered with a number of candidates over the years. Later, Bahr earned a B.S. in History/Political Science from Oklahoma Wesleyan University and his M.A. in Government from Regent University.
Kurt Bahr stated, “One of the life lesson’s I learned while attending Regent was that learning isn’t done in a class room that stops when you get a certificate. Learning happens when you think about the information you take in. Your understanding deepens with the quality of the information and the more you think about it. Regent taught me the truth in the proverb that as iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another and this can happen by reading a good book as well as by talking with a wise friend.”
A Commitment to Protect
“Do not underestimate the value of education,” are words first semester MA student Robert Kaneiss strongly believes and is putting into practice while working as an International Business Development Manager.
Kaneiss has returned to acquire more education, pursuing a degree in National Security Studies and Middle East Politics, despite years of practical experience from serving in the military to running his own LLC. Even though he has worked for NGOs, done projects for the State Department, and worked in the private sector, Kaneiss is seeking to further his education at the MA level.
Kaneiss is in his third year working for O-Gara Training and Services. He became their International Business Development Manager after he closed down his own company that he ran for four years. His business, MAGNI International Operations, LLC, was a consulting firm that served allied foreign governments, NGOs, and the private sector. In particular, the company worked on Somalia counterterrorism strategy and policy issues. As government priorities and contracts shifted, his company was closed down.
Of course it took significant experience already to run MAGNI International Operations. Kaneiss had served in the military until 2003 and then worked in areas of business development, technical writing, and as Operations Manager for Seaward Marine Corp, a government contracting company. In this capacity, he worked on all facets of government by planning, directing, and coordinating the operations, local municipalities, and private sector jobs.
Six years later, Kaneiss transitioned to DynCorp International, a division of the Department of State Worldwide Protective Services, in Diplomatic Security. While in the role, he “professionally trained DynCorp International PSD team member candidates to perform low profile and conventional personnel protective service detail assignments, within strict U.S. Department of State requirements under the Worldwide Personal Protective Services (WPPS) program.” He simultaneously, served with the U.S. Department of State’s Global Antiterrorism Assistance Program, as an Independent. Kaneiss “deployed all over continental North, East and South[ern] Africa supporting United States Government requirements for critical infrastructure threat, vulnerability and risk assessments.”
In deciding to return to school for more education, Regent stood out to him for the curriculum. Kaneiss wanted the faith-based approach Regent offers within an outstanding curricula. He offers two pieces of advice. First, “Pay attention to the value of every single class. The classes are applicable in real life.” Second, “Stick with it and finish what you start. Employers want to know you are committed to your education and job.”
Eric Patterson, Regent University professor and author of Just American Wars: Ethical Dilemmas in U.S. Military History and Politics in a Religious World, discussed the relationship between religion and U.S. foreign policy at Faith & Law. Patterson argued that we live in a highly religious world and, even if we were a totally secular society, because religion matters elsewhere, it must matter to U.S. diplomats, aid workers, and all those in this realm.
Faith & Law is a volunteer, nonprofit organization that helps congressional staff better understand the implications of the Christian worldview for their calling to the public square, through monthly lectures, bi-monthly reading groups, retreat, and the semi-annual “Great Objects Day” conference. Over the past 30 years, Faith & Law has brought before congressional staff a wide variety of distinguished speakers to address contemporary political and cultural issues.
Dr. A. J. Nolte spoke at the Great Decisions 2019 Series hosted by the World Affairs Council of Hampton Roads. The day’s topic was the future security of the Middle East. Dr. Nolte focused on the ideological conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia in the region, and the ways in which Turkey and Qatar have sought to triangulate
Dr. Nolte would like to thank the Hampton Roads World Affairs Council for the opportunity; the Regent staff, faculty and members of the student body who attended the talk; and his Graduate Assistant, Kylen, for creating and operating the powerpoint. between the two sides in recent years, and might do so in the future. Following Dr. Nolte’s presentation, the audience participated in a lively and substantive Q&A session.
The Great Decisions Series is a program developed by the Foreign Policy Association that provides the local community with a unique opportunity to learn about issues of global importance in an engaging and interactive format. Lectures are delivered by well-respected experts in the foreign policy field. The Great Decisions Series begins in January and continues for eight consecutive Saturday mornings on an annual basis.
The World Affairs Council of Greater Hampton Roads, founded in 1969, is one of nearly 100 chapters of the World Affairs Council of America (WACA), dedicated to promoting an understanding of global issues through education and public discussion, believing that a well-informed public is essential for the conduct of foreign policy to a democracy. Based on this belief, the attendance of high school students and full-time college students is subsidized at the majority of Council programs.
Professor Eric Patterson’s short essay on “religion and populism in Europe” was recently published in France. Sciences-Po, one of France’s elite universities, publishes a semi-annual bulletin on religion and world affairs that is supported financially by the French Ministry of Defense. The latest edition of the bulletin, Observatoire international du religieux, includes an article by Professor Patterson on social science approaches to the study of left- and right-wing populisms, with a focus on those gaining mass support in Spain, Italy, and Greece. All three countries, like Venezuela and elsewhere, have had major left-leaning populist parties take power during times of economic distress and social unrest.
Professor Patterson’s expertise and writing is on religion and international affairs and the ethics of war, and he is the author or editor of more than a dozen books, including Politics in a Religious World: Toward a Religiously Literate U.S. Foreign Policy. His article can be found here: http://www.sciencespo.fr/enjeumondial/en/odr/conclusion
Professor Eric Patterson’s short recap of the President Trump’s State of the Union address was recently published in Providence: A Journal of Christianity & American Foreign Policy. Dr. Patterson is a contributing author for Providence which is published by the Institute on Religion & Democracy and The Philos Project, a community of mostly Protestants and Evangelicals addressing national security and global statecraft through the lens of historic Christian thinking.
Follow this link to read the entire article, https://providencemag.com/2019/02/donald-trump-state-of-the-union-address-inspired/.
- Just American Wars Book Launch – March 8, 2019
- Afghan War Game Simulation – March 21, 2019
- Almost Human? Robots, Aliens, Trans-humanism and the Image of God – April 2, 2019
- Analyzing Israel’s Elections: A Roundtable – April 16, 2019
- Defense Against the Dark Arts – April 25, 2019