US-ROK Burden Sharing: You Want Us to Pay What Now?

Since the beginning of the Trump Administration US allies have been walking something of a tightrope. Given the President’s Trumps strange relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, South Korea in particular has been in an especially strange place over the past three years. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump threatened to pull US forces out of South Korea if that country did not increase its funding for the US presence. More recently, the Trump Administration announced the cancellation of a series of large-scale military exercises with South Korea. The most recent dust-up involves demands by president Trump that Continue reading US-ROK Burden Sharing: You Want Us to Pay What Now?

Graduate student, nominate thyself

This is a quick post that was inspired by some thinking I was doing yesterday while finishing up a project and a resulting tweet that seemed to garner a bit of attention (relative standards here, people). You can find it below. The punch line is this: You should probably nominate your own work for awards, whether they be papers, conference presentations, or (eventually) book awards. Even as a graduate student. This is something I really only realized you could do a couple of years ago. I came into graduate school knowing next to nothing about how the academic profession actually Continue reading Graduate student, nominate thyself

The whistleblower story is going to get a lot worse

A copy of the whistleblower’s report to the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community was released this morning. I don’t have a lot to add beyond the analyses that are circulating around various media outlets, but there is one point that I think is worth highlighting that maybe isn’t yet getting the attention it deserves. The bulk of the story focuses on President Trump’s apparent efforts to leverage access and US military aid to get Ukrainian officials to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. The report itself is impressive insofar as it details a more protracted, and broader, effort Continue reading The whistleblower story is going to get a lot worse

Democratic Presidential Candidates and Iran

Much of the Democratic Presidential debates have not focused on foreign policy, but the United States’ policy towards Iran has pivotal implications for Iran, the Middle East generally, European foreign policy, as well as the choices Russia and China make in the region. As such, knowing the candidates’ positions towards Iran allows us to understand their goals, likely choices in a similar crisis, and the shape of their overall foreign policy agenda. To better understand that, I have collected a summary of the top ten Democratic candidates’ stated positions towards Iran. Continue reading Democratic Presidential Candidates and Iran

Natural (base) selection: The potential costs of a U.S. military base in the Galapagos

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Charmaine Willis, Andrew Stravers, and Carla Martinez Machain. Environmental activists were shocked to learn over the summer that the U.S. military will soon be deploying counternarcotics forces to an airfield on the island of San Cristóbal, in the Galápagos Islands of Ecuador. The Galápagos, known for inspiring Darwin’s theory of evolution, are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The presence of military aircraft that come with significant pollution and noise concerns could threaten their fragile ecosystem, which is already strained by excessive tourism. Beyond the aircraft’s environmental impact, our research shows that such a Continue reading Natural (base) selection: The potential costs of a U.S. military base in the Galapagos

Development-Oriented Deployments in Latin America: Soft Power or Politicized Instrument?

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Carla Martinez Machain, Michael E. Flynn, and Alissandra Stoyan . They are all faculty in the Department of Political Science at Kansas State University. Can the U.S. military be an effective soft power instrument? Unlike the more traditional instruments of hard power (military force, sanctions, etc), soft power involves using persuasion to shape the preferences of other actors so that they will do what you want them to out of their own will. Soft power tools are usually thought of as emphasizing diplomacy, culture, and education. This matters because while coercing or Continue reading Development-Oriented Deployments in Latin America: Soft Power or Politicized Instrument?

Politics and Peer Review in AMLO’s Mexico

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Alissandra Stoyan and Carla Martinez Machain. They are, respectively, an assistant and an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at Kansas State University. On February 21st, Mexico’s Fondo de Cultura Económica (a not-for-profit publisher partially funded by the Mexican Government that is often referred to as “El Fondo”) disbanded the editorial team of the Economics peer-reviewed journal El Trimestre Económico.  The journal’s editorial team had been composed of researchers representing Mexico’s top research universities, including CIDE, ITAM, UNAM, and the Universidad Iberoamericana. As of writing, the journal’s editorial team page on Continue reading Politics and Peer Review in AMLO’s Mexico

A global analysis of how losing an election affects voter satisfaction with democracy

How easily do people turn against democracy? In a recent paper, we asked whether losing one election is enough to sour voters on the whole idea of democracy. We find that indeed it can be – if their democracy is relatively new. In addition to this difference between established and emerging democracies, we also find another important pattern: among the established democracies, the type of electoral system affects loser satisfaction, but in newer democracies, it matters much less. These two findings suggest that we need to considerably expand our understanding of “loser’s consent”.

Is Fracking A Purely Partisan Issue? At Least For Landowners, The Answer Is No

Since “fracking” — a drilling technique that extracts fuels from subterranean rocks by injecting liquid at high pressure — took off a decade ago, U.S. natural gas production has hit record levels and oil production has more than doubled. By some estimates, fracking has injected as much as US$3 trillion into the U.S. economy. But fracking also comes with many environmental dangers that can put peoples’ health at risk. Those concerns are leaving Americans divided about whether it’s good for the country, despite the economic boost. As with other hot-button issues, national opinion polls consistently point to an emphatic partisan conflict. However, Continue reading Is Fracking A Purely Partisan Issue? At Least For Landowners, The Answer Is No

The strategic use of restraint in internet arguments

Sometimes, I like to argue. I spent eight years engaged in competitive debate in high school and college and the activity prepared me for scholarly research in ways that my classes in both of those settings could not. Early on, in the early frontier days of the internet in the 1990s and early 2000s, it was only natural for me to take my co-curricular skills and use them in earlier versions of social media—IRC, messaging services, public forums, listservs, and other budding spaces. Of course, conversations and heated debates online were a much different beast than academic debate (even when Continue reading The strategic use of restraint in internet arguments