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.
This is a guest post by Christopher Gelpi and Elias Assaf. Christopher Gelpi is Chair of Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution at the Mershon Center for International Security Studies and Professor of Political Science and Elias Assaf is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at The Ohio State University, both at The Ohio State University
President Donald Trump adopted a variety of controversial and unorthodox foreign policy stances during the 2016 presidential campaign. Since taking office, Mr. Trump has moved quickly to begin implementing many of these policies – including a border wall with Mexico, a ban on immigration from certain majority-Muslim countries, and withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. While Mr. Trump was very clear about his intentions during the campaign, public reaction to his implementation of these policies has nonetheless been quite negative. Protests among left-leaning progressives in response to the anti-Muslim travel restriction are not surprising, but even prominent Republican leaders have been critical of Trump’s foreign policy actions since taking office. Moreover, according to Gallup’s tracking poll, President Trump’s disapproval rating rose sharply during his first week in office. Within eight days of taking office, a majority of the public already disapproved of the job he was doing as President.
I was reminded on twitter that international relations professors have trained students for generations to focus on the third and second levels of analysis and dismiss the first–that individuals and their characteristics matter much less than the constraining impact of institutions and the incentives provided by the international system.
So, should we just apologize as Trump sells out the postWWII order and ends American hegemony by whim or fiat? No, we need to drink heavily. Seriously, there are a few real responses to this question of agency and structure.
In conversations with friends, I quickly realized that the International Studies Association faces some significant problems ahead. The advent of the Trump administration is likely to lead to two kinds of complications:
it may be hard for foreign scholars to get visas to attend the conference
that scholars may want to boycott conferences that take place in the US if Trump follows through on a variety of things he promised/threatened/tweeted during the campaign.
The President-Elect has called for expanding the US nuclear arsenal, not just modernizing it (old warheads may not be good warheads). And when asked about whether this might lead to an arms race, he said woot!
This is a guest post by Eric Grynaviski, an Associate Professor of Political Science at International Affairs at George Washington University. He is the author of Constructive Illusions (Cornell, 2014) .He studies sociological approaches to cooperation and conflict, and international ethics.
Over the last few days, protestors have taken to the streets to combat what they believe is an evil power that will soon occupy the White House. The problem of evil has featured in rhetoric about this election, in fact, for months, as featured in the Washington Postcommentaryontheelection. The tropes “politics is evil,” “Hillary is evil,” and “Trump is evil” have a new significance when people are confused and disoriented by Trump’s surprising win.
There is a lot to think about in the aftermath of Trump’s win. Lots of early hot talks will be wrong. One of the first reactions has been to wonder about the value of political science (which is not the most important thing to think about but we have plenty of time and bandwidth to cover this and everything else):
“Should we just bury political science as a discipline?” Some of this week’s best reactions to Trump’s win: https://t.co/OD707adPkR
The joy of blogging is that one can come up with whatever title one wants. An agony of academic publishing is that one cannot do the same for articles published in academic journals. However, getting published is the thing, so I am mighty pleased that the first piece of the Phil/Dave/Steve project on legislatures and oversight over the armed forces of the world’s democracies is now published: “Public critic or secretive monitor: party objectives and legislative oversight of the military in Canada.”* The big question, of course, is how did a paper on Canada get into West European Politics? The answer: tis part of a special issue on executive-legislative relations and foreign/defence policy.
Today, Dan Drezner pulled on my chain more effectively than damn near any other scholar I respect. I should keep quiet (not my strength) as I have an article* I am revising for resubmission that addresses this very argument–that big IR theory has gone away somehow. But I cannot help but respond, partly because this article may not make it past the next stage and partly because by the time it does, people will have moved on (or not, as this argument keeps coming up).
Seems to be the time of year when folks post their advice for aspiring professors on how to succeed at the job talk. While there are other parts of the process–being interviewed one on one by various members of the department or getting grilled by a committee (something that happens far more in Canada than in the US), the most important (and probably not deservedly so)* part of the “fly-out” is giving a talk based on one’s research and responding in the Q&A.
As has become a tradition, political scientists who are active on twitter are meeting up at the APSA: Thursday, 7pm at Pennsylvania 6, a nearby bar. The idea is to get a chance to chat with people you may “know” online but have not met in person. I hope to see you there.
LTG (retired) Mike Flynn has become a Trump advocate and appeared at the Republican National Convention. General (retired) John Allen surprised many by not just speaking at the Democratic National Convention but giving such enthusiastic support to Clinton. The big question is: is this problematic to have recently retired military officers take such public positions in the middle of a national election? Yes. But what can you do?
We will have much, much time to ponder and study what happened yesterday… whether it was the weather that made the difference in London, why Cameron was such an idiot, and on and on. I have a few quick reactions guided by and due to my faith in confirmation bias!
As I was chatting with my dissertation adviser yesterday while in DC (yes, my dissertation was completed in 1993 but the relationship goes on), I had an epiphany that had been on the edges of my thinking but finally popped: the Brexit folks are secessionists.
I was on twitter talking with some folks about what Canada might promise at the Warsaw Summit, with the focus on who is going to provide the troops for the four battalions that will be based in the Baltics and Poland. The conversation went into a bunch of directions, so I had an epiphany while shopping–it is not about proximity or folks who have ties to the Baltics–it is about whose corpses would have the greatest international political relevance.