Like so much else in international relations, the answer to this question seems “obvious.” But, like so much else, it gets trickier when we really investigate the situation, and it reveals nuances to international relations that many scholars and policy analysts overlook.
About a week ago, Egypt sent medical equipment to the United States to help in the fight against Covid-19. The packages were printed with “From the Egyptian People to the American People.” This prompted many dark jokes, as Egypt is currently suffering a major Covid-19 outbreak it is struggling to contain. Then Turkey followed suit. Turkey sent a plane with medical equipment to the United States, despite also suffering a Covid-19 outbreak.
The “obvious” explanation is economic: Egypt depends on US aid, so they want to keep us happy. Turkey doesn’t, but its economy is struggling so maybe they want to ensure the United States will help them if needed.
Is it a mistake to push back on a senior scholar (whose work you admire) right before ISA? Maybe. Is it overkill to post twice in one week? Probably (sorry Duck superiors). But I had to say something about this Christian Reus-Smit piece in Foreign Policy–based on his new book—claiming IR doesn’t understand culture. It’s an example of the sort of well-meaning critique that fails to really engage with work being done in IR, which can divide and undermine scholars who should be working together.
Reus-Smit argues IR sees culture in an outdated manner, approaching cultures “as tightly integrated, neatly bounded, and clearly differentiated” entities that are “causally powerful.” He argues this misrepresents reality, ignores advances in other fields, and is a common failing across realist, rationalist and constructivist theories.
This World Politics in a Time of Populist Nationalism (WPTPN) guest post is written by Ahsan Butt, an Assistant Professor at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. His book, Secession and Security: Explaining State Strategy against Separatists, will be published next year by Cornell University Press.
The future of a U.S.-led liberal order in Europe and East Asia has attracted considerable attention in the wake of Donald Trump’s election, given his distaste for internationalism signaled by heavy criticism of NATO and the TPP. Much of the post-election conjecture has focused on whether China will step into this anticipated breach, with its maneuvering on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the Asia-Pacific alternative to TPP, taken as a portentous sign that China will seek to displace US leadership in the region (it bears remembering that China was not behind RCEP, but an addition to it). In this post, however, I will focus on the prospect of a Chinese order in less-developed regions of the world, a concern that would have existed even for a President H.R. Clinton.
A new version of maneuver warfare is being utilized mainly by Islamic fundamentalist forces to seize territory from government forces trained, equipped and organized along the Western model.
This “new blitzkrieg” relies on lightly armed fighters mounted on “technicals” – 4×4 trucks with heavy machine-guns, light cannons, or automatic grenade launchers mounted on the vehicle. Here are some key factors we should be thinking about in order to potentially combat these forces in the future. Continue reading
Most of my public comments on Snowden have focused on how to evaluate his actions as a US citizen and someone entrusted with a high-level security clearance. Here I want to focus on an analytical concern–that of international hierarchy.
I don’t have a strong sense of the degree that other scholars associate me with the “new hierarchy studies,” but a major theme of my work is that we are better off understanding crticial aspects of international relations as structured by patterns of super- and subordination than as anarchical. Indeed, my sense is that two of the most prominent advocates of this view–Krasner and Lake—overestimate the importance of anarchical relations in world politics. Still, both correctly note that de jure state sovereignty serves to deflect attention from the prevalence of hierarchical control among and across states. Continue reading
The eleventh episode of the Duck of Minerva Podcast just went live. In it, I interview Janice Bially Mattern of the National University of Singapore. Her first monograph is Ordering International Politics: Identity, Crisis, and Representational Force (Routledge, 2005).
- Front Matter
- An Intellectual Introduction
- Ordering International Politics
- Transnational Organized Crime
- Hierarchy, Emotion, and Transnational Criminals
- The Multivocality of Mattern’s Work
- Styles of Reasoning in IR
- Taking Over the International Studies Review
- International Theory Redux
- Working in Singapore
- End Matter
Note: podcasts now seem to be appearing every Friday, give or take. We’ll see how long we can sustain it.