About Michael Flynn

Michael Flynn is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at Kansas State University. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Binghamton University in 2013. His research focuses on the political and economic determinants of foreign economic and security policy, security issues, and state repression.

The “academics don’t have real world experience!” argument is really, really, dumb

Some variant of this is line comes up from time to time, and it’s always irritating, but I think it’s something that strikes me as dumber the more time goes by. Whether it’s stated implicitly or explicitly, this remark is almost always uttered in the context of dismissing academic expertise or research. The logic here is never clearly stated, but presumably it has something to do with academics not being able to understand the things they study because they haven’t “lived it”. Insert appropriate hand-waving here. First, it’s just descriptively wrong. There are a lot of academics who get into Continue reading The “academics don’t have real world experience!” argument is really, really, dumb

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

On H.R. McMaster’s Tenure as National Security Adviser

Last week President Trump tweeted that his National Security Adviser, Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, would be leaving the administration and would be replaced by John Bolton. McMaster is Trump’s second National Security Adviser since taking office, replacing former Lieutenant General Michael Flynn after the latter’s departure. As I noted in a previous post on Rex Tillerson’s departure as Secretary of State, McMaster’s exit only furthers the narrative that the Trump administration is rife with conflict and chaos, as it comes on the heels of both Tillerson’s exit as Secretary of State, Gary Cohn’s exit as Director of the National Economic Continue reading On H.R. McMaster’s Tenure as National Security Adviser

On Rex Tillerson’s Tenure as Secretary of State

On Tuesday, President Trump issued a tweet announcing that Rex Tillerson would be replaced as Secretary of State by current CIA Director Mike Pompeo. That Tillerson would be replaced as Secretary was not exactly news—reports of the tense relationship between Tillerson and the President date back several months at this point. What was surprising was the exact timing and manner of the announcement, with Tillerson apparently learning of his own departure from said tweet. Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Continue reading On Rex Tillerson’s Tenure as Secretary of State

Aid in space: Regional conflict and US aid allocation

This post is based on the article “Before the dominos fall: Regional conflict, donor interests, and US foreign aid“, forthcoming at Conflict Management and Peace Science. From the initial uprisings in 2011 through the present, the civil conflict in Syria has been one of the most complex and pressing international crises in recent memory. The United Nations estimates there are 13.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, with recent reports indicating that over 5 million people have fled Syria, with another 6.3 million internally displaced people. Ultimately much of the media coverage of the conflict has focused largely on 1) violence within Continue reading Aid in space: Regional conflict and US aid allocation

The Trump Administration’s Ban on Transgender Soldiers

On Wednesday, July 26, the President Trump issued the following series of tweets announcing a ban on transgender individuals from serving in the military: After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow…… — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017 ….Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming….. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017 ….victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Continue reading The Trump Administration’s Ban on Transgender Soldiers

The 2018 Budget Proposal: Less State, More Defense

News outlets have been reviewing the Trump administration’s proposed budget for FY 2018. The proposal makes deep cuts to several federal agencies and spending categories, while also increasing funding to a select few agencies. The article linked above discusses the budget breakdown in greater depth, comparing different programs and agencies to see where the cuts fall. Notably, some programs and agencies associated with foreign policymaking receive deep cuts. Here’s a quick breakdown of the Post’s report concerning some of the key agencies and programs that deal with foreign affairs. The State Department, USAID, and various international programs housed within Treasury receive Continue reading The 2018 Budget Proposal: Less State, More Defense

On Michael Flynn’s Tenure as National Security Advisor

News broke late last night that President Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor (NSA), retired Lt. General Michael Flynn, resigned his position amidst mounting concerns that he had improper and possibly illegal exchanges with Russia’s ambassador, and concerns that he was possibly compromised and vulnerable to blackmail. I’m not going to wade into these weightier issues. Flynn’s appointment to be President Trump’s NSA has long been controversial for a number of reasons, and I doubt that we’ve heard the last of this particular case as investigations into his relations with Russian officials appear to be ongoing. Instead, I was curious as to Continue reading On Michael Flynn’s Tenure as National Security Advisor