As part of my job every Monday I scour some of the political science blogs to disseminate to my students interesting pieces of academic writing. My three go to sources are The Duck of Minerva, The Monkey Cage, and Relations International .
I see no reason to use it to also bring to attention some interesting posts by academic on current topics. This week four posts caught my attention.
Monday, October 26, 2015
Sunday, October 25, 2015
In Part I of this discussion I did a small review of the book "The Reactionary Mind". In Part II I developed the ideas that the book engendered in me. In this part I sum it up.
In the previous post I reviewed my reaction to the book The Reactionary Mind, and discussed how despite its problems it planted fertile seeds in my mid. Here I explore them. This is long people.
(This is a piece of opinion, written on the moment of inspiration. It is thus one that is not scientific, nor well edited, not well structured. Much of what I write here might be wrong-headed. Opinion often is. I once more remind readers that I am terrible at orthography)
Part I: A Bad Review of a Bad Book
Sometimes reading a really bad book can engender in one good ideas. Corey Robin’s “The Reactionary Mind” is a bad book. It is not a bad book because of its central thesis, that what we call “Conservatism” is a deeply radical ideology committed to hierarchy that arose in reaction to the egalitarian demands unleashed by the French Revolution. It is not a bad book because from what I can glean from the author’s writings Robin is a committed Marxist. It’s a bad book because a brilliant thesis is badly serviced by a pastiche of articles that masquerade as chapters. However, exactly because there is brilliance in it, it is one of those bad books that cannot help but lead you to some fruitful thinking.
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Spoiling Termination: Renewed US-Russian Rivalry and Rivalry Termination
by Konstantinos Travlos
Russian direct intervention in the Syrian civil war in support of the government of President Assad is just the newest in a series of military and diplomatic moves by President Vladimir Putin in his pursuit of “strategic security” against the USA and the liberal democratic ideal they stand for in the world. While it is an open question how much these moves can really be called a new Cold War, or how much they actually challenge the predominance of the US in material capabilities or US interests (see here and here), I feel few would question that we are seeing a resurgence of the US-USSR positional strategic rivalry. May-haps at a smaller scale, but still one that covers large areas of the globe (Middle East, Eastern Europe, potential East Asia).
Some have welcomed this Russian challenge to the US as a corrective counter-balance to the aggressive foreign policy of the administration of President G.W. Bush. They see it as a potential force for peace. This narrative of course ignores the multiple qualitative and quantitative findings that balance of power systems foster conflict and war, as opposed to inhibiting them. It also does not fit the timeline.