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

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

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

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

Why an Economically Conservative Republican Party is No Longer Tenable

Donald Trump is not is an economic conservative. He sometimes pays lip service to conservative ideas and has come out in favor of cutting taxes, but these are not the central tenets of his campaign. This is both a stark departure from previous Republican presidential candidates and a large part of why Trump was able to defeat the 16 other candidates during the primary. The Republican Party rode a platform based on cutting taxes and government expenditures as far as they could, but electorally this strategy is played out. It no longer works and the reason why it no longer works is Continue reading Why an Economically Conservative Republican Party is No Longer Tenable

How the US military’s overseas troop deployments affect global defense spending

This post is based on the article “Regions of Hierarchy and Security: US Troop Deployments, Spatial Relations, and Defense Burdens”, by Michael Allen (Boise State University), Michael Flynn (Kansas State University), and Julie VanDusky–Allen (Boise State University), which is forthcoming in International Interactions. Since the end of World War II, the United States has deployed tens-of-thousands of military personnel overseas. In spite of their importance to foreign policy, relatively little research has focused on understanding the effects of these deployments. However, recent years have seen an increase in research on the effects of such deployments on a wide range of Continue reading How the US military’s overseas troop deployments affect global defense spending