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?

Incorporating Blog Consumption into the Classroom

There is currently a proposal before ISA to prevent blogging by the editorial members of ISA journals.  While there are a few posts discussing how this is professionally problematic and limits some real discussion that is happening via blog, there is one other arena such a mandate would also hurt: My classroom.   During the 2013-2014 academic year, I have been part of a teaching program at Boise State (Boise State Teaching Scholars) that aims to help early-career professors develop a more robust classroom while incorporating what we know from the scholarship on teaching and learning.  Part of my work through Continue reading Incorporating Blog Consumption into the Classroom

Gifts for Political Scientists, 2013

It is a week before the American tradition of "Black Friday" starting on Thursday, and I have not done an updated list on "Gifts for Political Scientists" since 2010, so here is my proposed list for 2013.  Trying to find gifts for that special poltiical scientist in your life can be quite difficult.  Given the existing list from 2010 (that is, I am avoiding repeats) and inspiration from the source I originally stole the idea from, here is the supplement to the 2010 list.  Board Games The games on my 2010 list are still my go-to suggestions for people considering Continue reading Gifts for Political Scientists, 2013

On Hegemons and Trade (Part I): Origins

I am currently in the process of entirely rewriting and redesigning one of my earliest academic papers that I want to update with the context of better data and methods in evaluating the hypotheses I initially proposed. That is, I am writing the same paper a second time.  As part of this process, I am revisiting some classic works on the topic of Hegemonic Stability Theory. Consequently, this is part one of a multi-stage blog post series.  Part 1 of the project deals with the origins of Hegemonic Stability Theory, Part 2 will dig into the advancements in the theory Continue reading On Hegemons and Trade (Part I): Origins

Updating the Introduction to International Relations Syllabus to 2.0

Note: We are returning to a weekly blogging schedule. As such, if you still have us on your RSS reader, new content will be regular! ___ I am about to begin my fifth semester teaching introduction to international relations and it will be my third such offering at Boise State.  We are elevating the course to serve more advanced political science students and we now offer it at the 300 level instead of the 200.  Given this elevation in designation, prerequisites, and a new year of teaching the course, I am working to revamp my syllabus as well as make Continue reading Updating the Introduction to International Relations Syllabus to 2.0

Of QP Publications and International Relations

Two new pieces from QP authors.  First, Michael Flynn has a solo-authored piece in an upcoming Foreign Policy Analysis that has an early view avaible. Abstract:  How does political competition among domestic actors influence foreign policy choice? Studies examining these questions often focus on the role of economic or partisan interests, and how they influence the preferences of decision makers who are subject to electoral institutions and pressures of their constituents. Less attention has been paid to how the preferences of other influential but unelected actors influence state behavior. I examine the influence of one such group by looking at Continue reading Of QP Publications and International Relations

ISA panels

While I am not attending ISA physically this year, I have two different papers being presented by co-authors.  As such, a bit of shameless self-promotion.   The first paper is being presented by Matt DiGiuseppe on Tuesday (4/3) at 8:15 AM in Hospitality Suite 2201 on the Economics in International Processes panel. Our paper, "Austere Alliances: Sovereign Credit and Asymmetric Alliance Formation," is a continuation of a research project that we had accepted at ISQ  recently (expected 12/2013) and seeks to understand how sovereign credit relates to defense budgets and alliance formation.  The abstract: The funding of military ventures through borrowed money has Continue reading ISA panels

Wikistrat Competition

I received an email this afternoon from Wikistrat inviting political scientist graduate students to participate in a competition for $10,000.  Before this email, I have heard nothing about this program/website and I am still relatively ignorant about their presence and history, but it seems, at the very least, worth getting a bit more information about. The actual competition is for a team of 5-10 political science graduate students from the same university to: 1. Forecast their team’s national trajectory;2. Develop scenario pathways and national policy options for specific strategic issues;3. Articulate national grand strategies;4. Brainstorm future regional security environments (alternate Continue reading Wikistrat Competition

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

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