Steve Saideman is Professor and the Paterson Chair in International Affairs at Carleton University’s Norman Paterson School of International Affairs. He has written The Ties That Divide: Ethnic Politics, Foreign Policy and International Conflict; For Kin or Country: Xenophobia, Nationalism and War (with R. William Ayres); and NATO in Afghanistan: Fighting Together, Fighting Alone (with David Auerswald), and elsewhere on nationalism, ethnic conflict, civil war, and civil-military relations.

Making Sense of Afghanistan

This is a guest post by Erik Goepner, a Phd student at George Mason University.  He commanded units in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

American and international expertise, money, and blood have flowed into Afghanistan for 14 years, yet stability appears more elusive today than it did in 2002. High rates of civil conflict continue with record numbers of civilian deaths, corruption that plagues the government, and transnational terror groups such as the Islamic State appearing to grab power.

The first stop in America’s war on terror has not gone as planned.

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Civilian? Not an Insult

Over the past week, in reaction to the reports about the gender-integrated Marine study, I have seen plenty of pushback mostly against women who tweet but also some male tweeps that basically say: “civ? Of course.”  Which basically says that if you are civilian, you will have dumb opinions about the military.  Kind of like today’s NYPD message to the media that they cannot understand policing because they are not police.

This is so wrong in so many ways.  I will focus on the military side of things, but the problem is the same for police and other folks who think that only members of the particular profession can understand their profession:

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Friday Nerd Blogging: The End of Summer Movie Season

As the summer movie season ends, it makes sense to bring back Friday Nerd Blogging after spending most Fridays at the theatre.  This week’s invokes all kinds of IR, including resource conflicts, gender dynamics, and Tom Hardy:

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APSA Tweet Up: Ducks Like Beer


Once again, those poli sci types on twitter (Marc Lynch, Dan Drezner, me, and the other usual suspects) will be meeting up at the APSA on Friday, August 4th from 5:30-7pm at the Parc 55 hotel bar (which I believe is on the second floor) which is across the street from the Hilton.

Note that the regular Hilton is undergoing renovation so the usual bar/lobby meeting arrangements will not work this time around.

Challenges to Academic Freedom Above the Wall

Why Worry About Online Media and Academic Freedom?  Um, because academic administrations have lousy instincts?  I have gotten involved in this whole online media intersecting with academic freedom mostly by accident–the ISA mess last year.  I am not an expert on academic freedom, nor am I an expert on the use of online media.  So, I could imagine a university representative being upset at me as an employee trashing their academic freedom/social media politicies and it not being entirely illegitimate (however, I would still do it and expect to be tolerated…).

On the other hand, observing a university that hired someone who specializes in the organizational dynamics of diversity and gender that then tried to silence that person who happened to comment on that university’s organizational dynamics of diversity and gender does make me want to comment about academic freedom and be glad that I am involved in an organized effort (the ISA’s Online Media Caucus) that aims to improve the climate for those who use online media.

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Viva La In-Text Tables and Figures Revolution!

I try to save paper these days by reviewing manuscripts via PDFs on my computer or my tablet.  It also makes it easier to read stuff while traveling–both to read on a plane and to carry less paper around.

The biggest challenge in doing this is the habit/standard of people putting their tables/figures at the back of the document and having endnotes and not footnotes.  I know most of the blame for this goes to journals which require such formatting, although that is changing (thanks Dan at ISQ).  To be clear, the requirement is for submission of the final draft for many journals and not for the reviewing stage, but for whatever reason (path dependence, laziness, perceptions of what is required), people put heaps of relevant stuff at the back of a document.  Please stop.

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Sexism in Political Science, part II: The Very Least One Can Do

Last night, I posted this about sexism in political science.  It has gotten a pretty strong response getting 10x as many hits (so far) as my usual post, lots of retweets by female political scientists, and some sharing on facebook.  The sharing on facebook came with props as my female political science friends were happy to see a senior male political scientist talk bluntly about this.  

These props/kudos made me feel squishy because it is not that hard to blog and notice on occasion that there is sexism in the poli sci business (as it is everywhere as one FB friend noted).  My female friends and former students (who I also consider to be friends) have put up with all kinds of crap over the years.  Indeed, the conversations sparked by last night’s post as revealed a bit more of that stuff.  

So, besides from regularly posting about this stuff, which is pretty much the definition of the least one can do (unless one is doing nothing at all), what can a male political scientist do? 

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Sexism in Political Science

There is a discussion on PSR about sexism in political science, with most folks concurring that it is still an issue with some deniers pointing out that support groups for women are exclusive, too.  Um, yeah.  How to address such discussions?  I go to my standard operating procedure: what have I seen over the years?  The answer: a heap of sexism which has not gone away.

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Surfing the Cesspool: Political Science Rumors and the LaCour Scandal

This is a guest post submitted by Chris Barker, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Southwestern College

For the past three weeks, “Political Science Rumors” (PSR) has been on fire over a falsified data scandal involving Michael LaCour’s research showing that the presence of a gay canvasser changes how respondents report feeling about gays. The scandal has achieved national prominence, with stories running in the New York Mag, NPR, the Chronicle of Higher Education, New York Times, and Buzzfeed. UCLA graduate student David Broockman (posting as “Reannon”) first broke the story on the PSR board in mid-December 2014, according to Jesse Singal. The moderator who runs PSR pulled the original Broockman post for undisclosed reasons; it has since been reposted to PSR. Through their initial reaction to the story, and through their continuing efforts to reconstruct what happened, PSR and its posters have become part of this story.

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Friday Nerd Blogging: Jumping the Shark

A friend of mine mis-typed Sharknado and found this:

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Blogging the Gap

Yesterday, I had the chance to participate in the Bridging the Gap workshop led by Bruce Jentleson.  It is an effort every summer to help younger scholars figure out how to engage the policy world in a variety of ways, including figuring out how to write and publish op-eds, how to get into government for short periods of time (like the Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellowship that changed my career/life), how to engage think tanks and more.

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The Latest in the Data Fraud Scandal

This blog mostly focuses on IR, but this story has implications for all doing social science, as the accuser at the center of the conversation asserts quite clearly.    So, I am posting the latest and most thorough account of how this played out thus far here.

There are many questions to ask, but the one asked directly in the piece is: how does one deal with flawed work?  Attacking the quality of research is one thing–that is what lit reviews are all about–but the integrity of scholars?  As the piece suggests, that is tricky business indeed.

This is not the end of the story by any means, but I think it is a bit clearer now.

your thoughts?

Thinking about Responsibilities of Co-Authors and Mentors

Political science exploded in the news as a grad student and senior prof wrote a piece that made big news and then was revealed (allegedly, apparently, insert legal modifier here) to be fradulent.*

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Online Media Caucus Call for Papers for ISA 2016 Reminder

Our new caucus seeks to promote the use of online media in our teaching, research, policy engagement and service. We have a broad imagination both about what we mean by online media and what kinds of papers/panels would be of interest. Online media include social media such as twitter, blogging, facebook, tumblr, and the like, but also the use of the internet for surveys, simulations, data repositories, virtual meetings, and more. We are in interested in papers/panels that are research-oriented (using the internet in one’s research), pedagogical (internet in the classroom, online simulations, the value of MOOC’s, etc.) and/or analytical (what impact has twitter made on dissent?).

Given our small allotment of panels (3), we suggest that those aspiring to be on the ISA program submit not just to us but to relevant sections such as, but not exclusive to, Active Learning in International Affairs, Comparative Interdisciplinary Studies, International Communication, International Education, Science, Technology and Art in IR.

Not All Alarms are False

This piece raises the question I have been asking for the past week in Brussels: can we credibly commit to the defense of the Baltics?  Without a permanent NATO (or at least American) presence, is our Article V commitment (an attack upon one is an attack upon all) believable?

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Comparing World Crises

On my second day in Belgium, the Atlantik-Brücke conference, a Canada-Germany conversation, got underway and was immediately quite interesting.  The opening session had two speakers that provided broad surveys of the world’s crises, and I was struck that there seemed to be some comparisons that did not work for me.  Why? Because some crises are harder than others and that we can focus on three dimensions of each crisis so that we can compare apples and oranges: the degree of difficulty of the actual policy problem, the stakes, and the level of consensus among the key players.

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Friday Nerd Blogging: Game of Thrones Returns

To celebrate the return of Game of Thrones, which is chock full of IR, I am posting a cartoon and a video (spoilers and NSFW language lurk below the break):

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Memories of Rumsfeld’s Snowflakes

I have written before about my Rummy experiences, but wanted tor revisit after seeing this post yesterday at vox.  I was able to dig through Rummy’s website and found the document that spawned a heap of paperwork at my desk on the Joint Staff.

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Friday Nerd Blogging: The Future Will Be 3-D Printed

I have been scoffing at the 3D printing revolution mostly out of ignorance and a concern about what the machines must eat to produce stuff, but no more.

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Online Media Caucus: News and Contact Info

The Online Media Caucus was ratified at the ISA in New Orleans.  The question is: now what?

First, we now have a variety of online media outlets to publicize:

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