International Relations

What Makes a Great Scholar? » Duck of Minerva






This is an article drawing on the lessons we can learn from the work and life of Kenneth Waltz, one of the most influential IR theorists of the last century. What Makes a Great Scholar? » Duck of Minerva. Some highlights: First, ask big and important questions. Start with the question and the puzzle to…

Our diplomatic fortresses: An Op-Ed on Benghazi by Boduszyński






An op-ed from a good friend and colleague. As the quote below suggests, our reaction to the Benghazi attacks has had some unfortunate consequences. The Road from Benghazi by Mieczysław Boduszyński – Project Syndicate. After the Benghazi attacks, I grieved not only for my fallen colleagues, but also for the loss of the chance to…

Major conflict could become a regional war






Over the past week or so we have all seen a major conflict erupt that includes a devastating human toll. This is a conflict that has a long history and which, despite the efforts of mediators and peacekeepers, has not found a solution. It is a regionalized conflict and threatens to draw those countries and…

Course Planning for Students of Foreign Policy: Walt’s advice






Top ten things that would-be foreign policy wonks should study | Stephen M. Walt. I’m not convinced that “wonk” is what most students aspire to. But Walt has some decent advice on what kinds of classes to take for those interested in careers in foreign affairs more generally. #2: Statistics!  I keep telling my students…

Africa Notes: Regional Trade and Integration






There has been some interesting online commentary on intra-regional trade in Africa. Trade between African states may be increasing. It is commonly observed that trade between African states is below what is typically seen in other regions of the world. However, as noted over at tralac, this might be changing. They quote Aileen Kwa: In…

Noted: BRICS roundup






The BRICS have been very active in recent weeks. The significance of an alliance of Brazil, India, and China is not lost on many. But occasionally some have wondered whether Russia deserves to be in the group and South Africa’s entry last year raised a few eyebrows (and still does). The Summit Their summit in…

Research Resources: KOF Index of Globalization






KOF Index of Globalization. This might be useful. They describe their data: The KOF Index of Globalization measures the three main dimensions of globalization: economic social and political. In addition to three indices measuring these dimensions, we calculate an overall index of globalization and sub-indices referring to actual economic flows economic restrictions data on information…

Wandering and rambling






I can tell the academic year is approaching partly because the academic blogosphere seems to be getting busier. Or perhaps I am just starting to pay more attention again. My Wesleyan colleague, Erica Chenoweth, has been making some fantastic posts in her new blog, Rational Insurgents. Chris Blattman has an interesting piece on an experiment…

Recommended Reading: Chenoweth on Nonviolent Resistance






Give Peaceful Resistance a Chance – NYTimes.com. I especially like the last lines: The good guys don’t always win, but their chances increase greatly when they play their cards well. Nonviolent resistance is about finding and exploiting points of leverage in one’s own society. Every dictatorship has vulnerabilities, and every society can find them.