(Mis)Understanding Political Science and Some Other Stuff

Let me preface this by saying that I started writing this post a little while ago, so some of the content is a bit dated at this point. That said, over at the Duck, Steve Saideman has a post up that continues the ongoing discussion on political science, its utility, and its relationship with the broader public. Steve* also links to some research on the subject done by fellow Binghamton University PhD, Conor Dowling.  You can check out either post for more details on the content/findings of the research. For now, I wanted to focus on a couple of points. Continue reading (Mis)Understanding Political Science and Some Other Stuff

The War We Don’t See

This is a topic that I’ll probably expand on later, but I was just reading an article discussing the role of Hamid Karzai’s brother in the present Afghan conflict.  This article gets at an issue that I’ve thought about before.  From the FP article cited above: But he could not exist without the support of coalition forces. AWK has long worked closely with, and perhaps been paid by, the CIA, for whom he helps operate a paramilitary force, according to press reports.   As some of my research interests deal with the role of bureaucratic agencies in foreign policy, I find this particular chunk Continue reading The War We Don’t See

Economy of Force and Asymmetric Conflicts

Joshua Keating at Foreign Policy had a piece posted a couple of days ago that just caught my eye.  It basically talks about the current status of terrorist training camps and what the itinerary for the typical attendee entails.  It's pretty brief, but I think it covers some interesting subject matter.  And let me preface the rest of my comments by also saying that I am no expert on terrorism.  The following passage is the one that I focused on: Typically recruits are given lessons on how to handle small arms such as AK-47s and PK machine guns as well as Continue reading Economy of Force and Asymmetric Conflicts

Bargaining with Your Right Brain

A friend outside of political science linked me this post asking if we deal with bargaining models in political science.  For those of you who are not in the know, one of the mainstays of contemporary International Relations game theory treats war as a bargaining process between states.  As such, the author argues that traditional bargaining models in economics are too simplistic to truly capture the moves that exist in a negotiation between two actors in the market (the two examples he provides deals with bargaining over small purchase).   While scholars of the Cuban Missile crisis may vehemently obejct Continue reading Bargaining with Your Right Brain

End of the week blogging

The summer is rapidly approaching its end as many of us are preparing for the classes we are teaching, quickly completing those papers for the upcoming APSA conference, and finishing up any summer projects (or finding ways to push back those deadlines).  As such, the blogging here has slowed down a bit while the Dark Knight post continues to draw hundreds of new hits daily from Google, blogs, and some random message boards – but normal posting should resume once people re-settle into the semester swing.  The International relations dispute of interest for the week has been the continued conflict Continue reading End of the week blogging

Pax Corleone

I could not pass up this article posted on The Monkey Cage yesterday.  Hulsman and Mitchell use the movie The Godfather as an analogy for post-9/11 America and each one of the Vito’s potential heirs represents a different theoretical path for America.  The article is an interesting treatment of the subject, though not entirely novel.  My advisor, for example, has assigned it in the past as intro to international relations course to dissect these similar themes.  However, it is good to have it as a formal analysis of the topic and offers a decent bridge between popular media and academic Continue reading Pax Corleone