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.

http://www.stevesaideman.com

The Kurdish Conundrum

Now that Canada has decided to continue to train and support the Kurds in Iraq along with the Iraqi government, the question of the future of the Kurds is being questioned.  Indeed, yesterday, I received a phone call from a magazine in Kurdistan asking me about referendums and why some secessionist movements get to become states and others do not.  My short answer: “fair ain’t got nothing to do with it” which could probably use a bit of nuance.  This is not just a Canadian issue but one for all of the countries intervening (or not intervening) in Iraq and Syria.

The one thing I do know and am very confident about is this: vulnerability to secession does not deter other countries from recognizing an independent Kurdish state.  Sorry, I know this is the conventional wisdom (as presented in this piece), but the conventional wisdom has always been wrong and always will be wrong.  How do I know that?  Well, see my first book, see this article, and this one, too.  Perhaps notice which countries recognized Kosovo (hint: Canada).  Oh, and check out Russia’s foreign policy, given that it is vulnerable to secession yet have been sponsoring separatists frequently and enthusiastically.  And yes, countries can be irredentist even as they face separatist movements at home.

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Why Isn’t There More Public Scrutiny of the U.S. Military?

This is a guest post by Risa Brooks, Associate Professor at Marquette University

Americans’ relationship with the military exhibits an odd paradox: the country’s citizens profess to hold deep regard for the military, while in fact knowing little about it and paying minimal attention to its activities at home or abroad. Analysts of U.S. civil-military relations remain seriously concerned about this peculiar mix of societal reverence and indifference toward the military.

Less clear is why Americans remain so disengaged from an institution that has such a profound role in the country’s political and economic life. The greater than $500 billion defense budget consumes more than half of the federal government’s discretionary spending. Although the Obama administration has officially declared an end to combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, sizable forces remain deployed in both countries and more may soon be sent. If ever there was an institution that would seem a natural magnet for public attention, it is the United States military.

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Duckies 2016: Vote To Select the Finalists

cmc-viking-toy-duck_listinglargeThe Duckies have moved from Duck of Minerva to the ISA’s Online Media Caucus, but the process is mostly the same.  Vote for your favorite examples of outstanding Online Achievement in International Studies here.

Duckies, nomination period extended

The new deadline is January 11th, so nominate away!

The Rule of Three

While it is hard to do and particularly hard to do while starting out, the general conventional wisdom (and wise it is) is that one should try to have three pieces under review at most/all times.  Why? Because academic review is a capricious enterprise that often takes much time.

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Friday Nerd Blogging: Early But Sans Spoilers

We have not Friday Nerd Blogged in a while, and we are reluctant to do anything that might spoil the Force Awakens.  Yet, my grading is done and my enthusiasm is making the Kessel Run in record time, so here’s a non-spoilery bit of joy that is early and excessive.  May the Force Be With You as you grade and travel over the holidays.

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Duck, Duck, Nominate!

The Duckies have moved from here to the Online Media Caucus, but that does not mean that readers of the Duck should not participate.  Indeed, it means that the DoM is now eligible for nominations.  So, wander over to the OMC and nominate for a variety of categories, including best blog, best visual post, best podcast, best twitter account and more!

Beyond “Rejection”

The following is a guest post by Jeffrey C. Isaac, who is James H. Rudy Professor of Political Science at Indiana University and editor in chief of Perspectives on Politics: A Political Science Public Sphere.

“I reject this paper.”

“I recommend that this paper be rejected.”

“I am sorry to inform you that your paper has been rejected for publication.”

Social practices are constituted in large part by the words we regularly use and the meanings these words typically convey. Political science is a social practice. And variations of the sentences above are commonly employed by political scientists in ways that shape what we do and who we are.

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Duckies Keep Quacking But In A Different Nest: Nominate

The new ISA caucus, the Online Media Caucus, has taken over the Duckies, and it is now nomination season (much safer than Duck Season).  So, head over to the new OMC blog and nominate your favorite blogs, posts, tweets, and other online media for the next round of the Duckies, to be awarded in Atlanta in March at the next ISA meeting.    As always, the Duckies will be sponsored by SAGE.  The big difference for Duck of Minerva fans is that now that the DoM is not running it, it will now be eligible for the competition (officers of the OMC are not eligible).

 

Rejection Is The Name of the Game

Much discussion lately about how much rejection is in this academic game.  I had a conversation yesterday with a pal who was finding it much harder, it seemed, to get work published after tenure than before. “I thought I knew how to do this.”

Folks have been calling for the true CVs of people–where rejections would be listed.  Not sure that is going to happen.  However, in this week where I received news of receiving a fellowship to supplement my sabbatical, I thought I would list many of the rejections of my work along the way (my spreadsheet for tracking my work is pretty good but incomplete, just like my training in the Force):*

*  I have already enumerated my many rejections in the academic job market.

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Killing the Occupation Analogy

I have spent much time here at the Spew discussing various analogies and kinds of analogies, including how IR can be like tacos and how to make a good IR pop culture analogy.  I love using analogies, and have often used them in my teaching, even as I know that they have their limits (thanks, Robert Jervis).

But if I had to nominate one analogy to kill, to kill with fire, to destroy utterly, it would be the use of the occupations of Germany and Japan to discuss 21st century state-building/nation-building/post-war reconstruction.  I was inspired/depressed by this chain of tweets: Continue reading

Academic Freedom Has a (mostly) Good Day

Today, the Hon. Lynn Smith issued her report on the UBC academic freedom controversy that I discussed here.  Jennifer Berdahl issued her response at her blog.

The key pieces of the report are: Continue reading

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

westmalle-rubber-duck

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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