Here is your Thursday Morning Linkage, starting with some energy and environment links:
- Illegal fish trade costs $10 billion to $23 billion in global losses each eyar
- China's coal mining companies and coal burning power plants accounted for 15% of the country's total freshwater withdrawals
- China leading the United States on climate change?
- Charles Mann on the perils of petro-energy abundance (Drezner dissents)
In other news, Syria is heating up in the news with Israel's strikes over the weekend putting pressure on the Obama administration to do more:
e-International Relations asked me to write a piece about doing policy-relevant research. I thought I'd cross-post it here, especially timely given recent posts on this blog along with Ronald Rogowski's screed that our work is too policy-relevant but policymakers just don't want to hear what we are saying (HT: The Monkey Cage). Here is the full post:
During graduate school, the community of up and coming scholars who wanted to do policy-relevant research seemed a bit like Fight Club. It was something each of us secretly wanted to pursue but were reluctant to talk about in public. We found each other at those few conferences and workshops that were designed for folks like us such as SMAMOS, New Era, and even IQMR. More recently, as junior faculty, like-minded academics would come across each other at IPSI, the Next Generation Project, and Term Member gatherings of CFR.
Does it get better? For years, we have seen warnings and lamentations by some of our senior colleagues about the policy-academic divide (see here, here, here, here, here, here). Some attribute it to a rise in statistics and later game theory, others suggesting it has to do with the professional incentives that encourage scholars to eschew grand theory for more targeted, esoteric work in semi-obscure peer-reviewed outlets.
If last's week Thursday morning linkage was Africa-themed, this week's links are China-related and inevitably harken back to the events in Boston:
- Laurie Garrett, as she is wont to do, wonders if this recent bird flu outbreak in China is "the big one"
- Beijing air is so bad they are canceling recess, kids at grave risk
- Oh, and Shanghai air sucks too
- China's shale gas revolution has yet to begin (Armond Cohen thinks it will take too long to take off)
- Japanese tree die-off blamed on air pollution from China
- New bilateral effort between U.S. and China to address climate change
- Chinese demand for fish bladder for soup
Robert Farley's post last week about how long the journal publication process is struck a chord. One of my journal articles took three years from submission to appearance and was gated (I had to get my own piece through inter-library loan since it came out and the library didn't have a subscription for the most recent issues). I have often felt as Farley does:
- Manta rays and sharks get new protections, CITES closes on a hopeful note
- Yet new slaughter of elephants in Chad
- Black market for sea cucumbers in Mexico, driven by demand in China
- Oh yeah, Senate passes measures restricting NSF funding for study of democracy (cuz that's not important), NSF can only fund study of issues germane to national security so we're okay (just kidding)
Naazneen Barma, one of the authors of the "Mythical Liberal Order," responded to my post of last week with a reply to my critique. With her permission, I'm posting her message here and my response. Readers, we'd love for you to weigh in with your views.
Last week, Naazneen Barma, Ely Ratner, and Steven Weber offered "The Mythical Liberal Order," a provocative update to their earlier article on the world without the West. They sought to puncture certain mythologies about the strength of the liberal order, that it never was a strong as defenders thought: its decline is much exaggerated since there was not much to begin with. Moreover, they seek to offer more convincing and significant evidence that non-Western countries are "routing around" the West through currency swaps and discussion of a new multilateral bank and other actions.
Both that article and their earlier one are part of a liberal order pessimism that captures the current zeitgeist but may look dated in a few years. I'd put in that category Charlie Kupchan's book No One's World, Ian Bremmer's G-Zero world in Every Nation for Itself, and perhaps Kishore Mahbubani's new book The Great Convergence, if his past writings are any indication [though the first chapter is surprisingly supportive of making the current global order better].
While there is a lot about this piece I like, especially the focus on problem-solving through "coalitions of the relevant," I wonder if Barma, Ratner, and Weber are underestimating the resilience of the liberal order and created a straw man version of it as well.
My frequent collaborator Jon Monten and I have a guest post on the new Chicago Council on Global Affairs blog Running Numbers. As our readers likely know, the Chicago Council runs periodic surveys about public attitudes towards foreign affairs and has historically run a number of important surveys of elite opinion. I'm cross-posting our piece here.
With the Oscars fast approaching, one documentary How to Survive a Plague is a likely winner (though may lose out to my second favorite documentary of the year Searching for Sugar Man). How to Survive a Plague is, as I described in my earlier review, an emotionally redolent account of ACT UP's mobilization to move the U.S. government and the pharmaceuticals industry to bring life-extending AIDS drugs from the labs to market and into bodies. Josh Barro makes the case that the reason why ACT UP succeeded is because they made concrete demands, which echoes the argument Ethan Kapstein and I make in our forthcoming book on global AIDS treatment advocacy, AIDS Drugs for All: Social Movements and Market Transformations, available this fall from Cambridge University Press.
Among our main contentions is that movements need to unite around a common "ask" and that divided movements tend to dissipate their efforts and influence (for a couple of chapters from the book, go here. Comments most welcome!). Barro's comments struck a chord and he drew some parallels with the relative failure of the Occupy Wall Street movement:
I gave a guest lecture for undergraduates on the state of global climate negotiations yesterday for a law school colleague here at the University of Texas. In light of the president's strong but ambiguous comments in the State of the Union last night threatening executive action if the Congress doesn't act, I thought I'd share my notes here and would welcome comments from others about whether I've done justice to the arc of negotiations. My aim was to bring a group of 20 year olds up to speed so that they could understand how we got from the 1992 Framework Convention to last year's negotiations in Doha.