Tag: guest post

America’s Strategic Dilemma in Ukraine

images-1[Note: This is a guest post by Sean Kay, Robson Professor of Politics at Ohio Wesleyan University and Mershon Associate at the Mershon Center for International Security Studies at the Ohio State University. He has long-researched and written on NATO policy and worked in the US Department of Defense during the first round of NATO enlargement planning. His forthcoming book is America’s Search for Security: The Triumph of Idealism and the Return of Realism (Rowman and Littlefield, 2014).]

Russia’s incursion into Ukraine presents the United States with a dilemma. The cries to “do something” are loud. The situation in Ukraine is, nonetheless, complicated and there is as much possibility that our efforts to do something can be well-intended but inadvertently make the situation worse.

Political scientists and historians have warned for over 20 years, since the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union, of the deep ties that Russia has to its relationship to Crimea. Scholars and significant policy figures like George Kennan and former Sen. Sam Nunn repeatedly warned against the risks of NATO enlargement – especially expanding too proximate to vital Russian interests. No less a Cold War hawk than former Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, writes in his recent memoir: Continue reading

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Advancing Global Environmental Governance

93552865-environmental-pollution[Note: This is a guest post by Peter M. Haas of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst]

Transboundary and global environmental threats require collection action.  Concretely, this means developing forms of governance that apply common rules, norms and decision making procedures.  Ideally, such governance should be resilient in the sense that it is able to persist over time and respond quickly and accurately to new threats.

Yet the record of international environmental governance is mixed, at best. According to a recent UNEP overview of global environmental governance, some regimes have effectively addressed the problems at hand, many haven’t, and we still don’t know about the effectiveness of a surprisingly large number of regimes. 

A recent collective project on international environmental governance (here and here) raises the questions of what configurations of actors can constructively promote better environmental management.

This post reports on some of the findings. Continue reading

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Duck Forum on Teaching US Foreign Policy #4

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[Note:  This is a guest post by Jerel A.Rosati of the University of South Carolina and James M. Scott of Texas Christian University.  It is the final installment in our forum on Teaching US Foreign Policy.  You can follow more of the conversation at #TeachForPol.]

Teaching US Foreign Policy with The Politics of United States Foreign Policy (6th ed, Cengage: 2014). By Jerel A. Rosati and James M. Scott

Using The Politics of United States Foreign Policy, we engage our students to consider the players, processes, and politics that drive U.S. decisions and involvement in the global political system. Our emphasis on the “politics” of U.S. foreign policy leads us to focus our efforts, on examining and explaining the struggle that occurs to define problems, formulate options, choose policies, and implement them in the context of a highly political process. In this endeavor, we emphasize that a variety of players play a role, and that the struggle over competing values, purposes, meanings, and interests is never far from the surface for both national security and foreign economic policy. Continue reading

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Duck Forum on Teaching US Foreign Policy #3

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[Note:  This is a guest post by James M. McCormick of Iowa State University and is the third post on the Duck Forum on Teaching US Foreign Policy]

“Teaching American Foreign Policy in the 21st Century” by James M. McCormick, Iowa State University 

In teaching the American foreign policy making course over the past several decades, I have always had three major goals.  First, I want students to become familiar with the values and beliefs that have influenced and shaped American foreign policy from its beginning to the present, albeit with a particular emphasis since World War II.  Second, I expect students to identify and analyze the principal governmental and non-governmental actors that shape America’s foreign policy choices, and how the role of those actors has changed over time.  Third, I expect students to develop a sufficient conceptual framework so that they are prepared to analyze the role and issues facing the United States in the future.  In essence, I adopt a “continuous learner” model toward teaching the course, since my ultimate aim is to equip students with sufficient information and analytic tools to assess future foreign policy questions, long after the class is finished. Continue reading

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Duck Forum on Teaching US Foreign Policy #2

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[Note:  This is a guest post by Steven W. Hook from Kent State University and is the second post on the Duck Forum on Teaching US Foreign Policy]

“Teaching U.S. Foreign Policy in an Age of Uncertainty,” by Steven W. Hook (Kent State University)

Students of U.S. foreign policy face a unique intellectual challenge: to understand state policy making at the intersection of domestic and global governance. Their instructors, who face the same task, need to integrate the two domains in their lectures and assignments. Along the way, they confront the added burdens of making some sense of the heightened turbulence of recent world politics while also grappling with paradigmatic shifts in the field of international relations that have led some scholars to declare “the end of IR theory.” Teaching U.S. foreign policy today is more complex, but also more compelling, than ever.

My approach to U.S. foreign policy is founded upon a normative claim that citizens should be informed and engaged in public affairs, especially global politics. Continue reading

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Duck Forum on Teaching US Foreign Policy

replace-a-us-passport-main_FullDuck of Minerva is pleased to announce the start of a four-part series of posts on teaching US Foreign Policy.  The forum includes contributions from the authors of major undergraduate textbooks on U.S. foreign policy:  Bruce Jentleson (Duke University), Steven Hook  (Kent State), Jim McCormick (Iowa State), and James Scott (Texas Christian) and Jerel Rosati (University of South Carolina).

Bruce Jentleson initiated and coordinated the forum — as you can see below he has also set up a Twitter hashtag #TeachForPol to continue this discussion.  In setting up the forum, Continue reading

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Duck Forum on Teaching US Foreign Policy #1

replace-a-us-passport-main_Full[Note:  This is a guest post by Bruce Jentleson from Duke University.  It is the first in a four-part forum on teaching US Foreign Policy.]

Six Concepts in Teaching American Foreign Policy by Bruce Jentleson

As the Cold War went on, among scholars and teachers of American foreign policy there was some settling in to a sense that we knew the questions – containment? nuclear deterrence? Bretton Woods stability? —- and were mostly debating the answers. Since the end of the Cold War there’s been renewed debate over what the questions themselves are. While this bears broadly on IR, it has been especially true for American foreign policy – making the subject as intellectually invigorating as it has been policy challenging.

This was the context in which I wrote the first edition of my American Foreign Policy: The Dynamics of Choice in the 21st Century (W.W. Norton, 5th edition 2013). The intent has been to serve courses which are more focused on U.S. foreign policy than Intro to IR ones, and broader than ones with regional foci. While the world is not as US-centric as it used to be, how the US handles its 21st century transition has been having and will continue to have broad impact on the rest of IR. And while courses like US-China relations and US-Middle East delve into depth on particular areas, general survey AFP courses provide broad context and framework.

I characterize my AFP teaching approach in six respects: Continue reading

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ICC Victory over Immunity in Recent Clash with al-Bashir

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[Note:  This is a guest post by Andrew G. Reiter, Assistant Professor of Politics at Mount Holyoke College]

In 2009, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir on charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Darfur and expanded those charges to include genocide in 2010.  Yet al-Bashir recently claimed immunity as a head of state and requested a visa from the United States to travel freely to New York to participate in the UN General Assembly and return safely to the comfort of his palace in Khartoum.  In a “Marbury v. Madison” moment for the ICC, the battle between immunity and the reach of international criminal law was in the hands of the US.  A strong position by the US that it could not guarantee al-Bashir would not be arrested forced him to cancel his trip; a move that significantly advances international justice and helps the ICC come of age. Continue reading

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Clarifying Punitive Intervention

[Editor’s Note:  This is a guest post from Professor Anthony F. Lang, chair in International Political Theory and  Director of the Centre for Global Constitutionalism at the University of St. Andrews.]

Since I wrote my short defence of punitive air strikes against Syria last week in a post at Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs , a number of commentators have given their own, more critical, accounts of this use of military force (see, for instance lots on Duck itself, such as Charli Carpenter; Stephanie Carvin on Opinio Juris ;  , and Dan Kenealy and Sean Molloy in The Scotsman.  I wanted to respond to some of the points made in these posts and elsewhere, not to end discussion, but to continue it. The following are specific issues that have been raised with my thoughts on them: Continue reading

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Don’t Stress About Networking

Editor’s Note:  This is a guest post from Professor Peter M. Haas of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Finding myself on the grey haired side of the academic divide and having experienced both sides of the process, let me reiterate David Lake’s points about networking with senior faculty.  While networking to make friends is a lovely idea, it doesn’t always work at a large professional event, nor with senior people who aren’t necessarily looking for junior friends.  The point at major international conferences, like APSA or ISA, is that networking isn’t really a social activity. It is an instrumental activity aimed at establishing name recognition for later interaction.  As they say, it is what it is.  I have found more specialized workshops and conferences a better place to network and meet, such as the annual Earth Systems Governance conferences.  They are more laid back and welcoming and they have far fewer distractions (fewer colleagues with whom to catch up, fewer publishers, fewer concurrent panels, and generally more time with less to do in more isolated venues).

Senior scholars do value the ideas of, and interactions with, junior scholars.  Indeed the source of change in the discipline comes from new ideas.  So the interaction is healthy and necessary.   Yet, everyone tends to be too busy at the large conferences.  The vast size and overbooking is actually a lamentable thing, and truly counterproductive for facilitating serendipitous contacts.

What you can hope for from networking at ISA or APSA is probably rather limited. Continue reading

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