Hampshire College Student Maximilian Beauchene

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Div III Profile: Maximilian Beauchene Explores U.S. Interventions and Global Conflicts

In collaboration with Professors Michael Klare and Uditi Sen,  Beauchene analyzed the relationship between U.S. intervention and the spread of global terror

Maximilian Beauchene’s Division III thesis digs deep into military conflicts in three nations — Libya, Yemen, and Somalia — where the U.S. military has been involved in active campaigns. These countries have all undergone periods of instability and civil war, creating an environment ideal for terrorist cells such as al-Qaeda, ISIS, and al-Shabaab. Through his research, he found that American military intervention in each instance further destabilized the country and enabled random militias to evolve into sophisticated terrorist cells. Rather than providing stability, the U.S. presence delegitimizes the government in place, he found, leaving its citizens more likely to rely on militias to provide security amid the chaos. 

As Beauchene details in his thesis, as the terrorist cells proliferate, they require additional response from the U.S. military, thus creating a perpetual cycle of violence. Although a freeze on intervention might not be feasible, his research suggests that a more nuanced and strategic approach could help. “There could be a drastic restructuring of whom the U.S. military deems worthy of targeting,” he says. “The U.S. special forces deployed to more than a hundred 100 countries last year — that’s ridiculous. It’s creating enemies.”
 
Beauchene says he wanted a challenge for his project, and researching covert U.S. military operations “is difficult if you’re doing it right.” He utilized targeted LexisNexis searches to initiate his work. Still, information about the American presence in these countries isn’t easy to uncover. “This stuff is found in the gray area between classified and unclassified,” he says. “It’s not classified, but it’s hidden. If you look in the right places, it exists — it’s hiding in plain sight.” 
 
Professors Michael Klare and Uditi Sen made up Beauchene’s faculty committee. Klare is a Five College professor of peace and world security studies, a defense correspondent for the Nation, and the author of 16 books on global conflicts and resources; Sen is a professor of South Asian studies and history and the author of the forthcoming Citizen Refugee: Forging the Indian Nation after Partition
 
Klare is quick to praise Beauchene’s intensive research. “The specialized knowledge and analysis Max has acquired of these countries is atypical for your ordinary undergraduate — or even graduate — student,” he says. “That’s what makes Hampshire so extraordinary: that Max was able to devote a full year to this investigation.”
 
Beauchene continued his collaboration with Klare after graduation, serving as an editorial assistant over the summer for the professor’s next book. He plans to augment the work he began in his Div III, possibly in grad school, developing his research into a dissertation and then a book.
 
Beauchene used his Div III studies as the basis for two blog posts, one displaying a grim view of the U.S. turf war with ISIS and the other on the rebranding of Al Qaeda.
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