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

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

How Do U.S. Troop Deployments Affect Respect for Human Rights?

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Carla Martinez Machain. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Kansas State University. Can U.S. troops abroad improve respect for human rights? A recent conversation with a U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who had deployed to Guinea as part of a series of U.S. military training exercises for military personnel in sub-Saharan Africa revealed that much of the training local troops receive involves human rights training, both theoretical and practical.  In a particularly amusing anecdote, he recounted going as far as having long conversations with local soldiers on why Continue reading How Do U.S. Troop Deployments Affect Respect for Human Rights?

It’s not always the Prisoner’s Dilemma: Military Deployments Edition

During the Russian invasion of Crimea, I previously mentioned that I, Julie VanDusky-Allen, and Michael Flynn, were working on a research project that examined the effect that hosting varying amounts of foreign (i.e. US) troops has on the defense spending of local and regional governments. Earlier this week, that article became available in Foreign Policy Analysis’ Early View. If you have taught game theory long enough, or if you have read enough anecdotes by people who have, one thing that you learn is that students, once they have learned and consumed the lessons from the Prisoner’s Dilemma (PD), seem to see it everywhere—even when it Continue reading It’s not always the Prisoner’s Dilemma: Military Deployments Edition

Calling All Martyrs: Recruitment Incentives & Terror Attack Casualties

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Graig R. Klein. Graig is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Political Science at Binghamton University. His research focuses on domestic conflict, protest, and terrorism. This post is based on his article entitled “Ideology Isn’t Everything: Transnational Terrorism, Recruitment Incentives & Attack Casualties,” which is forthcoming in Terrorism and Political Violence. Since the al-Qaeda attacks on September 11th, 2001 and the subsequent War on Terror, much of the media, policy makers’, and, academics’ attention has focused on the increase in religious motivated terror groups and attacks since the 1990s. Prior to 1993, there Continue reading Calling All Martyrs: Recruitment Incentives & Terror Attack Casualties

Relative Asymmetry

null0  Power is often the go-to solution for many puzzles in international relations, but it also presents as many questions as it seems to answer, if not more.  One of the enduring puzzles in international relations deals with the relationship between powerful actors in the international system and weak actors; for many of our theories, this power asymmetry drives the stock of international behavior. Scholars and instructors alike often trace back the pivotal lesson of power asymmetry to Thucydides with the idea that the powerful do what they want and the weak suffer what they must.  This is the realist lesson Continue reading Relative Asymmetry

Military Deployments, Human Development, and Growth

The deployment of US military forces has received a bump in attention over the past year or two. Most recently, as Michael Allen has discussed, US military forces were deployed to Poland in response to the deteriorating situation in Ukraine. In 2011 President Obama sent 100 US military personnel to Uganda to help track Joseph Kony, bolstering forces that were already deployed to the region. Obama recently moved to strengthen the presence of US forces in Uganda, sending aircraft and an additional 150 Air Force personnel in mid-March. According to the Washington Post article linked above, the total number of Continue reading Military Deployments, Human Development, and Growth