[Note: This is a guest post by Sean Kay, Robson Professor of Politics at Ohio Wesleyan University and Mershon Associate at the Mershon Center for International Security Studies at the Ohio State University. He has long-researched and written on NATO policy and worked in the US Department of Defense during the first round of NATO enlargement planning. His forthcoming book is America’s Search for Security: The Triumph of Idealism and the Return of Realism (Rowman and Littlefield, 2014).]
Russia’s incursion into Ukraine presents the United States with a dilemma. The cries to “do something” are loud. The situation in Ukraine is, nonetheless, complicated and there is as much possibility that our efforts to do something can be well-intended but inadvertently make the situation worse.
Political scientists and historians have warned for over 20 years, since the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union, of the deep ties that Russia has to its relationship to Crimea. Scholars and significant policy figures like George Kennan and former Sen. Sam Nunn repeatedly warned against the risks of NATO enlargement – especially expanding too proximate to vital Russian interests. No less a Cold War hawk than former Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, writes in his recent memoir:
Thanks to all of you who voted over the past month for this year's OAIS Blogging Awards finalists. And a very special thanks to all of the nominees for transforming this platform into a strong and vital part of the IR intellectual community. We had an outstanding class of nominees this year -- a real testimony to the impressive talent and intellectual contribution that blogging makes to the IR profession. We had a great turn-out and some very close votes, and we're pleased to announce this year's finalists. Finalists will now be reviewed by a panel of judges that includes last year's winners and Duck of Minerva permanent contributors. We will announce the winners at the OAIS Blogging Awards and Reception on March 27, at the ISA Conference in Toronto. Congratulations to the finalists!
2014 OAIS Blogging Award Finalists
(Listed in alphabetic order)
Voting closes tomorrow at 5pm EST for this year's OAIS Blogging Awards. If you haven't already done so, now is the time to cast your ballot. You can review the nominees and get more information here. Once the votes are in, we'll identify the finalists for each category and turn the process over to our panel of judges. We'll announce the winners at the OAIS Blogging Awards and Reception at ISA Annual Convention on Thursday, March 27.
One of the best ways to respond to the ISA Executive Committee proposal is to demonstrate the professionalism and the significant intellectual and scholarly contribution that blogging makes to the IR profession. We've assembled a slate of impressive nominees in four categories for outstanding On-line Achievements in International Studies (OAIS) Awards for this year. If you haven't already done so, please take a moment to cast your ballot. If you haven't received one or would like one, please email us for a ballot. We've had an impressive response thus far and we'd like to do better.
We ask voters to choose three (3) finalists for the Best Blog category, six (6) for the Best Individual Blog category, (2) for the Most Promising New Blog, and five (5) for Best Post. As with last year, we will use a Borda-count process to create a list of finalists and then proceed to a second round in which a panel of judges (last year's winners and Duck permanent contributors) will determine the winners in each category.
Voting closes on February 7. We will be announcing (and celebrating) this year's winners at the ISA Annual Convention in Toronto at reception sponsored by SAGE on Thursday, March 27 at 7:15pm. Charli is lining up a great program featuring a number of Ignite talks. More details to follow.
Here are the final nominees by category:
Steve has a nice roundup of many of the central concerns with ISA's misguided policy proposal to limit those involved in editing ISA journals from blogging. I'd like to focus on one additional element.
For many of us located principally in the teaching side of the profession, we realize and appreciate the significance and utility of blogs for pedagogical purposes. Here in the Five Colleges, a key part of communicating with students is through various forms of social media. My department has a Twitter feed and a Facebook page that features a fantastic daily blog by my colleague Vinnie Ferraro. Vinnie's blog provides daily content and opinion to support his courses in World Politics and American Foreign Policy. I have a blog for my course on International Human Rights Advocacy in Theory and Practice and I routinely assign a number of readings from IR and human rights blogs as a key part of the course. I do this because there is some fantastic content out there that presents and synthesizes materials quickly and more effectively than many peer-reviewed journals can. This semester my students will watch Kony 2012 and then read several blog posts on Opinio-Juris debating multiple angles of the video. These posts are an excellent format for undergraduate students -- there are multiple views expressed with links to a variety of academic and advocacy literatures. Given the natural 18-month to two-year delay from an event to peer-review publication, I'm still waiting for some decent peer-reviewed content that provides the range views and analysis conveyed in these posts.
We're a week behind, but the nominees are in and voting is now open. We sent out ballots today to those who registered for voting. If you did not receive one or if you haven't registered yet, please email us for a ballot. Voting runs through February 7.
As with last year, we will use a Borda-count process to create a list of finalists and then proceed to a second round in which a panel of judges (last year's winners and Duck permanent contributors) will determine the winners in each category.
We ask voters to choose three (3) finalists for the Best Blog category, six (6) for the Best Individual Blog category, (2) for the Most Promising New Blog, and five (5) for Best Post.
Here are the final nominees by category:
One week left for nominations. Please send us your nominations -- you can email us a nomination directly or post in the Comments thread below. Here's what we have so far for each category:
The semester is over, the papers are graded, and the departmental meetings are over (for a while). The shopping is done, the house is clean, the presents are wrapped, the relatives are here, and the kids are bouncing off the walls. All that is left to do is relax, reflect, and enjoy. Wishing all of you a very happy, restful, and peaceful holiday season.
There's a Slate article titled "The End of the College Essay" circulating in various Facebook and Twitter circles critical of assigning long essays to undergraduates. The gist of the complaint mirrors the complaints I've heard over the years from students and colleagues (and others outside the academy) about assigning long research papers. Last summer, I attended a conference in Toronto on the future of liberal education in which a number of participants criticized the long-form research paper by noting that, unless students go into Ph.D programs, most will never write a long paper again in their lives. I heard from quite a few people who argued that faculty should give students assignments that reflect the new communication technologies and skills associated with those technologies -- and, failure to do so, will only exacerbate the increasing irrelevance of the liberal arts.
I really disagree with all of this.
The nominations are trickling in, but there's more work to be done. We had some major IR blogging events this year -- Snowden, Egypt, Syria, Russia, etc.... and we're looking for nominations for the best work out there in 2013. We're still taking nominations through the end of the month. Sage is co-sponsoring the Awards and the Awards Reception at ISA in Toronto in March -- here's their press release.
Here's what we have so far for each category -- we don't have a single nomination for best new IR blog and only a handful of nominations for best blog post. Please send us your nominations -- you can email us a nomination directly or post in the Comments thread below.
Best Blog (Individual)
- Deborah Brautigam at China in Africa
- Jay Ulfelder at Dart Throwing Chimp
- Kan Opalo at An Africanist Perspective
- Tom Pepinsky Blog
- Lawrence Haddad at Development Horizons
- Michael Levi, at Energy, Security and Climate at CFR
- Bruce Whitehouse at Bridges from Bamako
- Ari Kohen at Running Chicken
- Daniel Serwer at Peacefare.net
- Stephen Walt at Foreign Policy
- Gerard Toal at Critical Geopolitics
- Micah Zenko at Politics, Power and Preventive Action at CFR
- Patrick Meier at iRevolution
- Emmanuel Yujuico at IPE Zone
Best Blog (Group)
- Political Violence at a Glance
- The Disorder of Things
- The Monkey Cage
- Kings of War
- Participation, Power and Social Change
- Africa is a Country
- China FAQs
- Democracy Arsenal
- The Arabist
- Syria Comment
Best Blog Post
- “Growing Anger with Western Opinion” by Mariz Tadros at Open Democracy
- "The Fine Line Between Critique and Bigotry When Evaluating Islam and Egypt" by Mira Sucharov, in Haaretz
- “Why Apologize?” by Brent Sasley in Mideast Matrix
- “History’s Seven Dumbest Self-Inflicted Political Disasters” by Philip Schrodt at asecondmouse
- “Going Feral! or “So long, and thanks for all the fish.” by Philip Schrodt at asecondmouse
- "'Credibility' is not everything, but it's not nothing either," by James Fearon at the Monkey Cage
- "Researching While Black: Why Conflict Research Needs More African Americans (Maybe)," at Political Violence at a Glance
We're a few weeks into the call for nominations for the 2014 OAIS Awards. It's time to get serious. We've had a number of impressive nominations, but given the excellent content out there, we're looking for a much larger pool of nominees. We want to hear your suggestions. Post your nominations in the comments section below -- you may also email us a nomination directly. Please specify the award in the body of the text, provide the name of the blog, and a URL. Nominations close on 1 January 2014.
Remember, finalists will be selected by popular vote, which will run from 5 January-31 January 2014. We will conduct the vote via online survey. In order to register as a voter, email us. Last year's winners will judge the finalists and select the winners. We want to make this as difficult as possible for them. Winners will be announced at the ISA Blogging Awards Reception co-sponsored by our friends SAGE at ISA in Toronto next March.
Here are the categories again:
- Best Blog (Group) in International Studies;
- Best Blog (Individual) in International Studies;
- Best Blog Post in International Studies; and
- Most Promising New Blog (Group or Individual) in International Studies
Duck of Minerva is pleased to announce the second annual Online Achievement in International Studies (OAIS) Blogging Awards -- better known as the Duckie Awards -- and the second annual International Studies Blogging Reception at ISA in Toronto.
We are asking Duck readers to submit nominations for the awards and later to vote for the three finalists in each category. Last year's winners have generously agreed to judge the finalists and select the 2014 winners.
Once again, we are thrilled that with the support of SAGE and the efforts of SAGE editor David Mainwaring and the Sage staff, we will be hosting an IR Blogging Reception at the 2014 International Studies Association Annual Convention in Toronto. The reception is scheduled for the night of Thursday, March 27, 2014. Charli is again coordinating the program for the Awards ceremony and we'll have details on the program soon.
At this point, we need Duck readers to submit nominations -- we'll ask you all to vote on the finalists in January. Here are the rules and nomination and judging procedures for the 2014 awards:
[Note: This is a guest post from Mira Sucharov and Brent E. Sasley. Mira Sucharov is Associate Professor of Political Science at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. She blogs at Haaretz.com and at Open Zion. Follow her on Twitter. Brent Sasley is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Texas at Arlington. He blogs at Mideast Matrix. Follow him on Twitter.]
Changes to our technology and to our scholarly norms present new challenges to scholars who engage in the public sphere. More and more academics in Political Science, and especially International Relations, are blogging, tweeting, and writing for online magazines like Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, and The National Interest, while many with specialization in a specific region or issue-area contribute to region- or issue-specific media.
There is a small but expanding literature on how these changes do and should affect the scholarly enterprise. Often hidden beneath such discussions is how all this affects the scholar herself. There is an inherent assumption that scholars are just that—dispassionate analysts who can look at a set of evidence and draw objective conclusions from it.
OK, so it's not exactly Ali vs. Frazier, but NSA and the State Department are not happy with each other. From this morning's Cable at Foreign Policy, Yochi Dreazen reports:
Secretary of State John Kerry touched off the furor when he said some of the NSA's overseas surveillance efforts -- which also included tapping into tens of millions of calls in France and Spain -- had been carried out without the Obama administration's knowledge or explicit approval. The remarks highlighted what appears to the White House's emerging strategy for dealing with widespread public fury over the programs: blame it on the NSA.
The Guardian article this week that disclosed the story of U.S. eavesdropping on the leaders of several US allies said that the surveillance produced "little reportable intelligence." This isn't really a surprise -- I can't really imagine that listening to German Chancellor Merkel's phone conversations are going to give US analysts and policymakers a whole lot more than they get from open source and normal diplomatic channels. So why does the US do it? The cheap answer to this question is that it comes from that sinister NSA organization. From this morning's NYTimes:
In Washington, the reaction has set off a debate over whether it is time to put the brakes on the N.S.A., whose capabilities, Mr. Obama has hinted, have expanded faster than its judgment. There are now two groups looking at the N.S.A.’s activities: one inside the National Security Council, another with outside advisers. The president all but told Ms. Merkel that “we don’t have the balance right,” according to one official.
“Sure, everyone does it, but that’s been an N.S.A. excuse for too long,” one former senior official who talks to Mr. Obama often on intelligence matters said Friday. “Obama has said, publicly and privately, that just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should do it. But everyone has moved too slowly in moving that from a slogan to a policy.”
But, is there something more here? Why does the US eavesdrop on its allies? The problem here isn't simply the NSA run amok and NSA "excuses."
Transboundary and global environmental threats require collection action. Concretely, this means developing forms of governance that apply common rules, norms and decision making procedures. Ideally, such governance should be resilient in the sense that it is able to persist over time and respond quickly and accurately to new threats.
Yet the record of international environmental governance is mixed, at best. According to a recent UNEP overview of global environmental governance, some regimes have effectively addressed the problems at hand, many haven’t, and we still don’t know about the effectiveness of a surprisingly large number of regimes.
This post reports on some of the findings.
[Note: This is a guest post by Jerel A.Rosati of the University of South Carolina and James M. Scott of Texas Christian University. It is the final installment in our forum on Teaching US Foreign Policy. You can follow more of the conversation at #TeachForPol.]
Teaching US Foreign Policy with The Politics of United States Foreign Policy (6th ed, Cengage: 2014). By Jerel A. Rosati and James M. Scott
Using The Politics of United States Foreign Policy, we engage our students to consider the players, processes, and politics that drive U.S. decisions and involvement in the global political system. Our emphasis on the “politics” of U.S. foreign policy leads us to focus our efforts, on examining and explaining the struggle that occurs to define problems, formulate options, choose policies, and implement them in the context of a highly political process. In this endeavor, we emphasize that a variety of players play a role, and that the struggle over competing values, purposes, meanings, and interests is never far from the surface for both national security and foreign economic policy.
[Note: This is a guest post by James M. McCormick of Iowa State University and is the third post on the Duck Forum on Teaching US Foreign Policy]
"Teaching American Foreign Policy in the 21st Century" by James M. McCormick, Iowa State University
In teaching the American foreign policy making course over the past several decades, I have always had three major goals. First, I want students to become familiar with the values and beliefs that have influenced and shaped American foreign policy from its beginning to the present, albeit with a particular emphasis since World War II. Second, I expect students to identify and analyze the principal governmental and non-governmental actors that shape America’s foreign policy choices, and how the role of those actors has changed over time. Third, I expect students to develop a sufficient conceptual framework so that they are prepared to analyze the role and issues facing the United States in the future. In essence, I adopt a “continuous learner” model toward teaching the course, since my ultimate aim is to equip students with sufficient information and analytic tools to assess future foreign policy questions, long after the class is finished.
I attended a celebration of the life of Kenneth Waltz held at Columbia University last weekend. The service was organized and hosted by Robert Jervis, Robert Art, and Richard Betts and included sixteen speakers -- family members, scholars, and former students who gave wonderful tributes based on their own personal reflections on his life, research, and teaching.
It was clear that Waltz was gifted intellectually. His book Man, the State, and War was written in just over a year in 1959 and transformed the field. But this was only the start, he made major intellectual contributions in each of the next five decades -- remarkable staying power for a scholar. Yet, as Jervis pointed out, Waltz was not really that prolific -- only three solo authored books and the two major books (Man, the State and War and Theory of International Politics) were rather short. As one speaker noted, he wrote slowly and with few words, but because his did so, his words will last for a very long time.
In listening to the tributes, I jotted down notes on what people thought might have given Waltz the insights to make such a contribution to IR -- and wondered more broadly, what makes a great scholar, one with the insights to transform and keep pressing the field for decades?
Here are a few thoughts from the tributes:
[Note: This is a guest post by Steven W. Hook from Kent State University and is the second post on the Duck Forum on Teaching US Foreign Policy]
“Teaching U.S. Foreign Policy in an Age of Uncertainty,” by Steven W. Hook (Kent State University)
Students of U.S. foreign policy face a unique intellectual challenge: to understand state policy making at the intersection of domestic and global governance. Their instructors, who face the same task, need to integrate the two domains in their lectures and assignments. Along the way, they confront the added burdens of making some sense of the heightened turbulence of recent world politics while also grappling with paradigmatic shifts in the field of international relations that have led some scholars to declare “the end of IR theory.” Teaching U.S. foreign policy today is more complex, but also more compelling, than ever.
My approach to U.S. foreign policy is founded upon a normative claim that citizens should be informed and engaged in public affairs, especially global politics.