Introducing the Winners of the 2023 Student Foreign Policy Essay Contest

The John Quincy Adams Society and The National Interest are pleased to announce the winners of our 2023 Student Foreign Policy Essay Contest. This contest, the seventh, gave postsecondary students across the United States the opportunity to offer their views on how foreign countries’ defense policies align (or don’t align) with U.S. interests, and how U.S. choices can improve things.

The winners are:

WINNER: Benjamin Giltner, Texas A&M Bush School

RUNNERS-UP: Zoraiz Zafar, Colorado College; Gerard Neumann, Columbia University

HONORABLE MENTIONS: Lake Dodson, University of Mississippi; Xiomara Jean-Louis, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Dylan Waste, University of California, Santa Cruz; Aiden Zhang, Tufts University

The winner and runners-up will appear in The National Interest and will receive a cash prize. Honorable mentions appear in the Realist Review. We will add links to published articles as they appear. You can read about the winners of previous contests here: 20222021, 2020201920182017. You may find the original contest announcement here.

Despite critics pointing out Germany’s lack of ammunition stockpiles, and that Germany’s rearmament plans are lagging behind schedule, there remains hope and reason for United States to encourage German rearmament.  

Benjamin Giltner, winning essay

As Pakistan continued to adhere to its strategy of double-facedness, the United States kept bestowing its former ally with political and financial accolades.

Zoraiz Zafar, runner-up essay

On paper, the [U.S.-Saudi] partnership was an exceptional triumph of realpolitik in a period of idealistic geopolitics. However, as America wraps up its interventions in the region, it no longer requires a forward outpost. Nor does it need a military ally in the region with whom to exchange intelligence. The only things keeping the partnership alive is Saudi Arabia’s vast oil deposits and leadership in OPEC. Yet Saudi oil policy has run contrary to U.S. interests.

Gerard Neumann, runner-up essay

For the United States to best acclimate and bring its old ally back to its side, more joint ventures such as Project Scorpion must be proposed to keep French-American relations healthy and reliable. If cooperative actions cannot be agreed upon, America risks losing France to its own ambition.

Lake Dodson, honorable mention

Rather than wipe its hands of involvement after having contributed to Haiti’s squalor, the United States should shift from an interventionist view to a introspective one and reflect on how its policies create the conditions for harm outside its borders—intentionally or not.

Xiomara Jean-Louis, honorable mention

Unlike other European states that have neglected geopolitical and defense considerations, Poland has developed strong institutional and public support for active foreign and security policies.

Dylan Waste, honorable mention

American and Turkish interests have diverged such that the scope of feasible cooperation between the two has become severely limited. Given its detrimental effects on NATO’s ability to operate, Washington would be wise to recognize this shift in Turkish strategic thought and to reassess and deinstitutionalize the relationship accordingly.

Aiden Zhang, honorable mention

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