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Brownstone Institute

Medicine in the Wilderness


10 minute read

From the Brownstone Institute


I once was proud of my profession. I spent over 40 years as a clinician, educator, and researcher and for most of that time thought I was engaged in a noble calling. But all that has changed in the last 3 years. Medicine is lost in The Wilderness.

There were warning signals, to be sure. For many years I was heavily involved in medical associations on the local, state, and national levels. Gradually I became disillusioned when I saw that many of my colleagues who gravitated to this activity did not share my views. They enjoyed the politics of medicine. In fact, they enjoyed it too much. I lost interest. Perhaps in retrospect that was part of the problem. The policy of medicine gradually became the politics of medicine. And as is often the case, where there is politics there is also corruption.

Twenty years ago I was appointed as a technical advisor to a panel of the federal government. I was flown to Washington, housed in an upscale hotel and dined on fancy meals. I saw how intoxicating power can be. I began to somehow consider that I was special. The problem was I was expected to use my technical expertise to advise in a certain way. I realized, almost too late, what was going on. But I did realize it and was not reappointed to that position.

Looking back on it, this experience gave me a taste of how the events of the past three years came to be. I saw how money, power and flattery could cause physicians to shade their recommendations. It happened oh so gradually until one day, integrity was completely lost. The tragedy is that many times, those who lost it did not miss it.

I have come to realize that ethics and medicine have parted ways for many physicians, myself included. Things we once took for granted are gone…evaporated. We reached a point where, relating to COVID, attempts to treat disease were not just ignored but penalized. As a surgeon, I had operated under the obligation of giving Informed Consent to all my patients. I was expected to clearly explain the risks, benefits, and alternatives of my proposed course of action and allow the patient to make the decisions regarding their response to those recommendations. I could be sanctioned for failing in this obligation. However, in COVID, Informed Consent was criminalized…but only for that disease. Those who still felt an obligation to their patients were, and continue to be, vilified, slandered, fired from their position, and in some cases, prosecuted.

One would have thought that organized medicine, and academic medicine in particular, would have rallied to their defense, but that was not the case. They were the primary prosecutors. I shake my head when I think back to the days that I taught medical ethics to residents and medical students. One of the case studies involved discussing how accepting a lunch, or even a pen, from a drug company was unethical. Somehow, individuals who made life and death decisions were suspected of being bribed by a pen! And owning stock in a company and prescribing medications manufactured by that company were absolutely forbidden!

Now where are we? A good deal past the use of pens, for sure!

If a physician from even 10 years ago would look at the contents of most of our medical journals today, I am sure he or she would think they were reading fiction. These are the four articles that make up the Viewpoint section of the September 19, 2023 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In order to truly understand the departure from what was the norm a mere 10 years ago, this is a link to the contents of the Viewpoint section in the September 18, 2013 issue:

The difference in the tenor of the articles is striking, at least to me. In the current articles, the author’s primary focus seems to be finding ways to circumvent the rule of law. In 2013, the two articles that deal with a legislative focus explore how to comply with the rule of law. While some may claim that is a distinction without a difference, I would disagree. Something has changed! Change is inevitable, but is it always positive? Looking back on history, many nations have changed in response to internal and external pressure. Unfortunately, the majority of those changes have been negative.

Back in 2019, before the Great COVID disaster, Baffy and associates warned us of a change that was occurring in medical and scientific publishing. They observed the concentration of medical and scientific publishing in the hands of a few very large corporations which answered to stakeholders with conflicting interests:

Because the use of complex digital tools and rapidly growing electronic databases require advanced computing skills, Internet-based mega-companies such as Google (Mountainview, Calif), Amazon (Seattle, Wash), Facebook (Menlo Park, Calif), and Apple (Cupertino, Calif) may become interested in spearheading further transformation and outcompete current stakeholders in scholarly communication and develop more user-friendly tools. Such developments could potentially lead to a few large entities controlling the gateways to scientific knowledge, a sobering thought…

Scientific publishing has been a highly profitable industry, and there is little doubt that financial interests will continue to drive its transformation. However, the academic community has a fundamental stake in this process and should understand the trajectories of change to protect enduring values, embrace promising developments, and make scholarly communication increasingly inclusive and efficient.

It would seem the authors were amazingly prescient, as their world has come to pass. Medicine seems, at least to me, to have become the Willing Servant of an Unholy Trinity of Big Pharma, Big Tech and Big Politics. Medical publication and medical education have become more interested in ideology and propaganda than healing, more interested in class than the individual. It is the very antithesis of the concepts contained in the Hippocratic Oath. Although the proponents of the transformation may claim it is being done for a “greater good,” that excuse has been used before in medicine of some nations of the last century. When sanity returned, that excuse was repudiated.

Society now finds itself a passenger on a ship which has been taken over by ideologues. The ship is heading for the rocks. Lookouts stationed high above can see the disaster unfolding and urgently inform the captain of the ship. The captain solves the problem by throwing the lookouts overboard.

This is the dystopian world in which we now live.


  • Russ Gonnering

    Russ S. Gonnering is Adjunct Professor of Ophthalmology, Medical College of Wisconsin.

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Brownstone Institute

Why is Everyone Concerned About the WHO?

Published on

From the Brownstone Institute


Over the past two years you’ve probably heard about the attempted WHO power grab. Here’s everything you need to know to understand the status today:


  • The build-out of a massive and expensive global biosecurity system is underway, allegedly to improve our preparedness for future pandemics or biological terrorism. In aid of this agenda two documents are being prepared through the WHO: a broad series of amendments to the existing International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR) and a proposed, entirely new pandemic treaty.
  • Pandemic Fund a.k.a. financial intermediary fund to aid preparedness worldwide has been established by the World Bank and WHO.
  • Multiple names have been used for the new treaty as new drafts are produced, such as: Pandemic Treaty, WHO CA+, Bureau Text, Pandemic Accord, and Pandemic Agreement.
  • Negotiations for these documents are being held in secret. The latest available draft of the IHR amendments is from February 6th, 2023.
  • The latest Pandemic Treaty draft is from October 30th, 2023.
  • Both the amendments and treaty are on a deadline to be considered for adoption at the 77th annual World Health Assembly meeting in May 2024.
  • WHO’s principal attorney Steven Solomon has announced that he crafted a legal fig leaf to avoid making the draft amendments public by January 2024, as required by the WHO Constitution.

How Would these Drafts Become International Law?

  • A treaty requires a two-thirds vote of the World Health Assembly’s 194 member states to be adopted and is binding only for States that have ratified or accepted it (Article 19 and 20, WHO Constitution). However, it could be enacted into force in the US by a simple signature, without Senate ratification. [See CRS report, “US proposals to Amend the International Health Regulations.”]
  • The IHRs and any amendments thereto are adopted by simple majority, and become binding to all WHO Member States, unless a state has rejected or made reservations to them within predefined timeframes (Articles 21 and 22, WHO Constitution; Rule 72, Rules of procedures of the World Health Assembly).
  • Last year, however, amendments to 5 articles of the IHRs were considered in opaque committee meetings during the 75th annual meeting, and then adopted by consensus without a formal vote. This process makes it harder to blame individual diplomats for their votes.
  • The current draft of the IHR Amendments would allow the Director-General of WHO or Regional Directors to declare a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), or the potential for one, without meeting any specific criteria (Article 12). The WHO would then assume management of the PHEIC and issue binding directives to concerned States.
    • PHEICS and potential PHEICs could be declared without the agreement of the concerned State or States.
    • WHO’s unelected officials (Director-General, Regional Directors, technical staff) could dictate measures including quarantines, testing and vaccination requirements, lockdowns, border closures, etc.
  • WHO officials would not be accountable for their decisions and have diplomatic immunity.


What are Some Specific Problems with the WHO’s Proposed Amendments?

  • Article 3 of the proposed IHR amendments removes protections for human rights:
    • Struck from the IHR is the crucial guarantee of human rights as a foundation of public health: “The implementation of these Regulations shall be with full respect for the dignity, human rights and fundamental freedoms of persons…”
    • This has been replaced with the following legally meaningless phrase: “based on the principles of equity, inclusivity, coherence…” 
  • Proposed article 43.4 of the IHR notes that the WHO could ban the use of certain medications or other measures during a pandemic, since its ‘recommendations’ would be binding:
    • “WHO shall make recommendations to the State Party concerned to modify or rescind the application of the additional health measures in case of finding such measures as disproportionate or excessive. The Director General shall convene an Emergency Committee for the purposes of this paragraph.”
  • States’ obligations in the proposed IHR Amendments would include:
  • Conducting extensive biological surveillance of microorganisms and people (Article 5);
  • Monitoring mainstream and social media and to censor “false and unreliable information” regarding WHO-designated public health threats (Article 44.1(h)(new));
  • Taking medical supplies from one State for use by other States as determined by the WHO (New Article 13A);
  • Giving up intellectual property for use by other States or third parties (New Article 13A);
  • Transferring genetic sequence data for “pathogens capable of causing pandemics and epidemics or other high-risk situations” to other Nations or third parties, despite the risks this entails (Article 44.1(f) (new)).

What are Problems with the Proposed Pandemic Treaty?

All the Pandemic Treaty drafts (as well as the proposed Amendments to the IHR) produced so far are based on a set of false assumptions. These include the following:

  • The WHO Constitution states that, “The WHO is the directing and coordinating authority on international health work.” Recently, to justify becoming the global director of health, the WHO disingenuously dropped the last word–and began claiming it already was “the directing and coordinating authority on international health.” But it is not and never has been. The WHO has always been an advisory body, responding to requests for help from member states. It has never previously been a directing or governing body with authority to govern member states. Here is the relevant part of its Constitution, on page 2:
  • The WHO claims that “international spread of disease demands the widest international cooperation,” which ignores the fact that international spread may be quite limited and able to be managed by local or national authorities; ignores that the most appropriate responses will be determined by the specific circumstances, and not by a WHO algorithm; and ignores that the WHO has limited infectious disease expertise relative to large nation states.
  • The claim made by WHO is that nations will be able to retain national sovereignty through their ability to pass and enforce health laws, while they will simultaneously be bound and accountable to obey the directives from the WHO on health. This is contradictory and designed to confuse: if the WHO can impose its public health decisions on member states, it and not the states will have sovereignty over health.
  • The tremendous cost and suffering from COVID are being blamed on lack of preparedness. However, the US was spending about $10 billion yearly on pandemic preparedness before the pandemic. Yet we had few masks, gloves, gowns, drugs, etc. when the pandemic struck. Why would we expect a central WHO authority, which relies on vested interests for 85 percent of its funding, to do any better?
  • The claim is that lack of equity led to failure to share drugs, vaccines, and personal protective equipment (PPE)–ignoring the fact that no nation had sufficient PPE or tests early in the pandemic, and that it was nations withholding generic drugs from their populations that caused important treatment shortages. Furthermore, now that we know the COVID vaccines result in negative efficacy several months post-vaccination (making recipients more susceptible to developing COVID), it is apparent that nations that were last in line for COVID vaccines and whose populations are mostly unvaccinated have fared better overall than those who received vaccines for their populations. The so-called lack of equity was fortuitous for them!
  • The claim is that pandemics invariably arise at the animal-human interface and that they are natural in origin. Neither is true for COVID or monkeypox, the last two declared public health emergencies of international concern, which came from laboratories.
  • The claim is that the vaguely defined “One Health approach” can prevent or detect pandemics and ameliorate them. Yet it remains unclear what this strategy is, and there is no evidence to support the claim that One Health offers any public health advantages whatsoever.
  • The claim is that increasing the capture and study of “potential pandemic pathogens” will be accomplished safely and yield useful pandemic products, when neither is true. The CDC’s Select Agent Program receives 200 reports yearly of accidents, losses or thefts of potential pandemic pathogens from high containment labs within the United States: 4 reports (and 4 potential pandemics) per week! And this is only within the US.
  • Drafts of the treaty and amendments assume that pharmaceutical manufacturers will agree to give up certain intellectual property rights.  In factneither developing nations nor pharmaceutical manufacturers are happy with the recent treaty proposal on intellectual property.
  • The claim is that the UN adopted a Declaration on pandemic preparedness supporting the WHO plan on September 20, 2023. In fact, 11 countries rejected the Declaration procedure and it was only signed by the UN General Assembly president, representing himself and not the UN General Assembly.
  • The claim is that the WHO has the legal right to require nations to censor “infodemics” and only allow the WHO’s public health narratives to be shared, yet this violates our First Amendment’s freedom of speech.
  • The claim is that health “coverage” (insurance) will automatically provide the world’s citizens access to a broad range of health care, while the primary reason for lack of access to healthcare is the lack of practitioners and facilities, not lack of “coverage.”

Here are some Specific Examples of What is Wrong with the Treaty:

Article 3, #2. Sovereignty

“States have, in accordance with the charter of the United Nations and the general principles of international law, the sovereign right to legislate and to implement legislation in pursuance of their health policies.”

This language fails to address the issue of the WHO assuming sovereignty for health matters over states through this treaty. It is a disingenuous attempt to grab sovereignty while claiming otherwise.

Article 3, #3. Equity

“Equity includes the unhindered, fair, equitable and timely access to safe, effective, quality and affordable pandemic – related products and services, information, pandemic – related technologies and social protection.”

However, Article 9, #2 (d) states that parties shall promote “infodemic management,” and infodemic is defined in Article 1(c) as false or misleading information. Article 18, #1 instructs the Parties to “combat false, misleading, misinformation or disinformation…” In earlier drafts the WHO spelled out that only the WHO’s public health narrative would be allowed to spread.

Article 4, #3. Pandemic Prevention and Public Health Surveillance

“The Parties shall cooperate with the support of the WHO Secretariat to strengthen and maintain public health laboratory and diagnostic capacities, especially with respect to the capacity to perform genetic sequencing, data science to assess the risk of detected pathogens and to safely handle samples containing pathogens and the use of related digital tools.”

While this section omits incentivizing Gain-of-Function laboratory research (which was included in the earlier Bureau draft) it does direct nations to perform genetic sequencing of potential pandemic pathogens (i.e., biological warfare agents) they find and to safely handle them, which requires high containment (BSL3/4) laboratories. Also in Article 4 is the need to “develop, strengthen and maintain the capacity to (i) detect, identify and characterize pathogens presenting significant risks…” indicating the directive for nations to perform surveillance to seek out such pathogens and study them.

Article 6, #4. Preparedness, Readiness, and Resilience

“The Parties shall establish, building on existing arrangements as appropriate, genomics, risk assessment, and laboratory networks in order to conduct surveillance and sharing of emerging pathogens with pandemic potential, with such sharing pursuant to the terms and modalities established in Article 12.” Article 1 (h) defined ‘ “pathogen with pandemic potential” as any pathogen that has been identified to infect humans and that is potentially highly transmissible and capable of wide, uncontrollable spread in human populations and highly virulent, making it likely to cause significant morbidity and/or mortality in humans.”

Why does the WHO require nations to go out and find potential pandemic pathogens (a.k.a. biological warfare agents) and supply both biologic samples and pathogens’ genetic sequences to the WHO, where they will be shared with pharmaceutical companies, research centers and academic institutions, as well as possible others? They are also to share the genetic sequences online, where hackers could obtain the sequences and produce biological warfare agents. Yet this behavior is prohibited by Security Council Resolution 1540.

Article 8, #3. Preparedness Monitoring and Functional Reviews

The parties shall, building on existing tools, develop and implement an inclusive, transparent, effective and efficient pandemic prevention, preparedness and response monitoring and evaluation system.”

Yet 4 different monitoring systems (“tools”–see graphic below) have been used to gauge nations’ readiness for pandemics and all 4 failed to predict how well they would do when COVID appeared. There is no acknowledgement of the failures of our assessment tools, nor discussion of whether there exist any useful assessment tools. And this begs the question why, if our means of assessing progress against pandemics failed, do we think that similar efforts are likely to be successful in future?

Article 10, #1 (d). Sustainable Production

“The Parties encourage entities, including manufacturers within their respective jurisdictions, in particular those that receive significant public financing, to grant, subject to any existing licensing restrictions, on mutually agreed terms, non-exclusive royalty-free licenses to any manufacturers, particularly from developing countries, to use their intellectual property and other protected substances, products, technology, know-how, information and knowledge used in the process of pandemic – related product development and production, in particular for pre-pandemic and pandemic diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics for use in agreed developing countries.”

This and related sections are probably what make the pharma organization so upset with the current Treaty draft.

Article 12, #4 (a) i (2) Access and Benefit-Sharing

“Upload the genetic sequence of such WHO PABS (Pathogen Access and Benefits System) material to one or more publicly accessible databases of its choice, provided that the database has put in place an appropriate arrangement with respect to WHO PABS material.”

The treaty requires the sharing of pathogens and the need to identify and upload their genetic sequences online, where they will be accessible. This could also be called proliferation of biological weapons agents, which is generally considered a crime. In the US, “Select Agents” are those designated to have pandemic potential, and the select agent program is managed by CDC and USDA. For safety, CDC must give permission to transfer select agents. Yet the select agent rules are ignored in this WHO Treaty, which demands transfer of agents that could cause a worldwide pandemic. And in an apparent effort to handwave over existing rules, the draft states in Article 12, #8.

“The Parties shall ensure that such a system is consistent with, supportive of, and does not run counter to, the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Nagoya Protocol thereto. The WHO PABS system will provide certainty and legal clarity to the providers and users of WHO PABS materials.”

Article 13, #3 (e). Global Supply Chain and Logistics (SCL)

“The terms of the WHO SCL Network shall include: facilitating the negotiation and agreement of advance purchase commitments and procurement contracts for pandemic-related products.”

Advance purchase commitments are contracts that obligate nations to buy products for pandemics in advance, sight unseen. Neither the manufacturer nor the state party knows what is coming, but once WHO issues a pandemic declaration, the contracts are activated and the US government will have to buy what the manufacturer produces. The 2009 swine flu pandemic provides a useful example. Advance purchase commitments led to tens of billions in vaccine purchases in North America and Europe for a flu that was less severe than normal. The GSK Pandemrix brand of vaccine led to over 1,300 cases of severe narcolepsy, primarily in adolescents. Rapid production of vaccines for which profits are guaranteed and liability is waived has never once been a win for the consumer.

Article 14. Regulatory Strengthening

Nations are to harmonize their regulatory requirements, expedite approvals and authorizations and ensure that legal frameworks are in place to support emergency approvals. This incentivizes a race to the bottom for drug and vaccine approval standards, particularly during emergencies.

Republished from the author’s Substack

Further Reading:

The WHO’s Proposed Treaty Will Increase Man-Made Pandemics, by Meryl Nass M.D.

What Can Countries Do Right Now to Slow Down the WHO? (PDF Download)

Collected IHR Amendment Drafts

Collected Pandemic Treaty Drafts


  • Meryl Nass

    Dr. Meryl Nass, MD is an internal medicine specialist in Ellsworth, ME, and has over 42 years of experience in the medical field. She graduated from University of Mississippi School of Medicine in 1980.

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Brownstone Institute

Europe’s New Digital Identity Wallet: Security or Tyranny?

Published on

From the Brownstone Institute


Last Wednesday, Thierry Breton, EU’s Internal Market Commissioner, proudly announced on Twitter/X that he had struck a deal with MEPs to create a European “digital identity wallet,” which would permit all EU citizens to have “a secured e-identity for their lifetime.”

According to the European Commission’s own website, the European Digital Identity can be used for a whole range of transactions, including providing personal identification on and offline, showing birth certificates and medical certificates, opening a bank account, filing tax returns, applying for a university, storing a medical prescription, renting a car, or checking into a hotel.

Several people, including Dutch MEP Rob Roos, have raised concerns that a centralised digital ID could put Europeans’ privacy and mobility rights in jeopardy. A letter signed by over 500 “cybersecurity experts, researchers, and civil society organisations from across the globe,” warns that the proposed digital ID regulations will reduce rather than enhance citizens digital security.

But one of its leading architects, Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton, maintains that “the wallet has the highest level of both security & privacy,” while EU President Ursula von der Leyen insists that this is “a technology where we can control ourselves what data is used and how.” So either critics are overplaying civil liberty and privacy concerns, or the technology’s defenders are downplaying them. They cannot both be right.

In theory, a universal European digital ID could be programmed on a permanent basis in such a way that the citizen has full control over which parts of his or her “digital wallet” he shares at any given moment, and which he or she does not share. We might have little to worry about if a European digital ID was programmed now and forever by people who took privacy seriously and were not inclined to exploit the technology at their fingertips to “nudge” – or even “shove” – citizens into complying with their policies concerning disease control, non-discrimination, war propaganda, or climate change.

But in practice, it would be highly naive to assume that a programmable Europe-wide digital ID, controlled by a centralised bureaucracy would not, sooner or later, be exploited to “nudge” (or shove) people into complying with the policies that happen to be favoured by the “powers that be.”

And it does not require a wild leap of imagination to envisage the sorts of ways a European digital ID could be leveraged to erode the equality and freedom of Europeans, since the very same individuals that are the public face of this digital ID initiative were the ones who set in motion the most pervasive system of bio-surveillance in the history of Europe, namely the so-called “Covid digital certificates.”

The operation of the Covid digital certificates, which was approved by both the European Commission (the same one now pushing for a digital ID system) and the European Parliament, can give us a fairly clear idea of the uses to which European technocrats are likely to put a digital ID system, if given the chance.

The Covid digital certificate was used to compel citizens who had not received a Covid vaccine within a certain time period to obtain a costly and inconvenient Covid test every time they crossed a European border, and was even used to deny entry to unvaccinated citizens at cultural and recreational venues across Europe. In other words, the Covid digital certificate served as a mechanism for coercing citizens into injecting a certain medication into their bloodstream, and created a two-tier society, in which the unvaccinated were treated as a new social and political underclass.

Now, imagine if a centrally controlled European digital certificate was offered to all European citizens as a tool for accessing a wide range of services, from banking, air travel and hotel stays to car rentals, access to recreational venues, and access to online digital services. Initially, presumably the certificate would be optional and citizens could use other methods for validating their identity. Then, under the pretext of enhancing citizens’ “security,” the certificate might very well become obligatory for an increasing number of transactions.

The next step would be to gradually expand the information contained on the certificate, and use the certificate as a way to deny or approve citizens’ access to certain services based on their spending habits, their vaccination status, or their “social credit” score. Of course, this is not something we can be 100% certain will happen. But the recent implementation of vaccine apartheid in Europe should disabuse us of any illusion that Europe’s political leadership are committed to respecting and defending our civil liberties or our equal access to public amenities and services.

Politicans like Thierry Breton and Ursula von der Leyen, and those MEPs and member state goverments that cheered them on during the pandemic, were prepared to treat citizens like cattle or disease vectors to be vaccinated and tested en masse, with scant regard for their personal medical history and risk factors. It is surely only a matter of time before people with this sort of contempt for individual liberty would be inclined to take advantage of a technology like a universal digital ID as a lever to control people’s private choices with a view to advancing their own careers and policy goals.

Quite a few citizens said “no” to an experimental vaccine, and quite a few citizens still question the scientific and political rationale for imposing burdensome carbon taxes, forcibly expropriating farmland based on climate directives, living in “15 minute cities,” making space for transgender ideology in their hospitals and classrooms, or abstaining from whatever the powers that be deem to be “hate speech.”

What better method to induce public compliance with unpopular or controversial public policies and laws than to reward compliance with enhanced mobility and enhanced access to social amenities and services, and punish non-compliance with reduced mobility and reduced access to services and amenities? Isn’t that exactly what the digital Covid certificate, a brainchild of the same Commission, did?

Obviously, advocates of a European digital ID will publicly claim they are only interested in promoting the security of our transactions and protecting our privacy. But since these are the very same people who dare to claim that medical segregation and coercion via vaccine passports “reassures us of (the) spirit of an open Europe, a Europe without barriers,” their assurances regarding citizens’ privacy and liberties have no credibility whatsoever.

Republished from the author’s Substack


  • David Thunder

    David Thunder is a researcher and lecturer at the University of Navarra’s Institute for Culture and Society in Pamplona, Spain, and a recipient of the prestigious Ramón y Cajal research grant (2017-2021, extended through 2023), awarded by the Spanish government to support outstanding research activities. Prior to his appointment to the University of Navarra, he held several research and teaching positions in the United States, including visiting assistant professor at Bucknell and Villanova, and Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Princeton University’s James Madison Program. Dr Thunder earned his BA and MA in philosophy at University College Dublin, and his Ph.D. in political science at the University of Notre Dame.

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