China’s Rise in British Politics

I have a new article forthcoming in The Chinese Journal of International Politics, which examines the impact of China’s rise upon party politics in Britain. The broader point is that the coming shift toward multipolarity in world politics is going to have dramatic implications for domestic and local politics, not just in the so-called periphery but also in the traditional “core” of the international system.

How is the rise of China affecting world politics? Among Western International Relations scholars, most studies of China’s rise have focused on international-level implications—the balance of power between leading states, the future of regional and global orders, prospects for hegemonic war, and so forth—or the domestic politics of states along the periphery of the international system, especially in Central Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. In this article, I draw attention to the impact of China’s rise on the domestic politics of developed countries. In particular, I offer a case study of British politics between 2010 and 2016—a period during which politicians from both of Britain’s major political parties ‘weaponized’ China, so making it a significant feature of the domestic political topography. The overarching point is that momentous geopolitical shifts such as the rise of China are capable of reorienting domestic politics in developed (Western) countries just as much as they are in developing (non-Western) countries.

Access the article here; or here, for free access.

Picking a major: a plug for political science

Picking a major can be a difficult task, and is certainly an important one. It’s a decision that all students should take seriously. Even so, it is possible to overstate the enormity of choosing a major. The stakes are not quite as high as some students imagine them to be, and so you should always try to keep the decision in perspective.

To be sure, your choice of major will help to define you as a young professional once you graduate from college. But it is only ever going to be one part of your overall professional profile—and not necessarily the most important part. You should think of your major as a stepping stone or gateway; a qualification that will enable you to pursue certain avenues but should never box you in or trap you.

First, however, a disclaimer: I’m not an academic adviser! Universities and colleges employ professionals to help students make choices about majors and minors, and those people are always going to be the best resources available to you when it comes to getting advice on such topics. What follows are merely my own thoughts about picking a major—and, of course, a shameless plug for political science as a strong choice.

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Asking for letters of recommendation

In academia, letters of recommendation make the world go ’round. That might be a bit of an exaggeration, but not much of one. As a student, you’ll need people to write letters on your behalf when it comes to applying for most jobs, fellowships, scholarships, prizes, awards, honors programs, graduate schools, law schools, and so forth.

So how should you go about asking for a letter of recommendation? And how do you ensure that you’ll get good ones?

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American Pendulum: Recurring Debates in U.S. Grand Strategy

My book review of American Pendulum: Recurring Debates in U.S. Grand Strategy by Christopher Hemmer is now free to view online.

It is impossible to understand contemporary or future international politics without a firm comprehension of U.S. foreign policy. Even in a supposed era of relative decline, the United States remains the wealthiest, most militarily powerful, and most influential country in the world. Simply put, how the United States chooses to discharge itself is of enduring relevance for all inhabitants of planet Earth.

In American Pendulum: Recurring Debates in U.S. Grand Strategy, Christopher Hemmer offers a schema of U.S. foreign policy intended to delineate the realm of the possible when it comes to America’s actions on the world stage. Hemmer’s approach is to catalog and scrutinize some critical dimensions along which U.S. grand strategy has varied in the past and over which national leaders have clashed. He points to four areas of disagreement in particular: the divide between unilateralists and multilateralists, the debate over how best to spread U.S. values, disagreements over the proper extent of U.S. interests, and the question of whether time is “on the side” of the United States or its adversaries. To grasp the contours of these four debates, Hemmer submits, is to know how U.S. leaders think and, by extension, to apprehend the broad range of options that exist for America as a global power—now and in the future…

Click here to read the full review on the Political Science Quarterly website.

Tolerance on campus

I have a short piece on tolerance included in today’s Rocky Mountain Collegian, CSU’s excellent student newspaper. It’s a follow-up to an article I wrote last year about the need to celebrate political diversity on campus.

Last year I wrote in The Collegian that the diversity of political views at Colorado State is a major strength of our campus community. “CSU Rams should be proud of their oasis of pluralism,” I urged.“And they should be jealous guardians of its future.”

My point was that students can learn a lot from others with whom they disagree, and that we should acknowledge the value of a campus community where the free exchange of political ideas is truly fostered.

Few people would openly disagree with this sentiment. Indeed, there is a prevalent belief today that diversity of every sort—racial, ethnic, gender and so on—is an intrinsic good that needs to be promoted, protected, and celebrated. I agree. But despite the overwhelming social pressure for people to show an outward commitment to toleration in all its forms, the truth is that tolerance can be an obnoxiously difficult principle to put into practice when it counts…

Read the full piece here.

Extra-curricular activities: Are they worth it?

People enroll in college to become more educated and to receive an academic qualification, usually with a view to improving their career prospects. But once they arrive on campus, all students quickly discover that there is more to college than just taking classes. Especially for undergraduate students, there are a host of extracurricular opportunities on offer: clubs, societies, sports teams, political parties, campaigning organizations, internship opportunities, and more.

Are any of these extracurricular activities worth the time and attention? And if so, how much effort should be devoted to them?

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Avoiding plagiarism

Plagiarism is a serious academic offense and can result in your expulsion from college. It’s crucial, then, that students understand what constitutes plagiarism and how to avoid it.

First, it’s important to note that every student has an individual responsibility to do some research into plagiarism and to understand the limits of what is acceptable. As always, ignorance of the rules is no excuse for breaking them.

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