Greenwashing the garrison state

I have a short blog post on the OUP Academic website, summarizing an argument made in my 2015 article for International Political Sociology (“Militarism in Environmental Disguise: The Greenwashing of an Overseas Military Base“):

Across the globe, the garrison state has “gone green” as national militaries have become partly involved in stewardship of the natural environment. On the face of it, this is a puzzling development. After all, protecting plants and animals from the depredations of humankind is not a job that most people expect from women and men in uniform. Yet the co-existence of militarized sites with environmental protection zones is now commonplace, with military organizations increasingly taking a role in conserving the natural world—at least nominally. How and why has this shift come about? And for whose benefit and expense?

Click here to read the full blog post.


Why China Will Divide British Politics, Before and After Brexit

I have a short piece on China as an issue in British politics appearing in World Politics Review:

When he was British prime minister, David Cameron promised that his country would become China’s “best partner” in the West. His recent decision to accept a leadership role in a new joint Sino-British investment fund—part of China’s ambitious Belt and Road development initiative, no less—shows that, even after his retirement from frontline politics, Cameron is still dedicated to making good on that commitment…

Read the full piece here.

It complements a longer article for the Chinese Journal of International Politics, which you can find here.

Power and Restraint: The Rise of the United States, 1898-1941

My book review of Jeffrey Meiser’s Power and Restraint: The Rise of the United States, 1898-1941 is now available in the latest issue of Perspectives on Politics. It’s a great book, chock full of interesting and well-researched case studies of US expansionism and non-expansion.

World politics in the twenty-first century looks set to unfold in the context of major shifts in the distribution of power between leading states. How rising states act on the world stage is thus a pressing concern of International Relations theorists and foreign-policy practitioners alike. Under what circumstances do rising powers implement revisionist grand strategies to upend the international status quo? When will rising powers adopt predatory behavior, perhaps pursuing territorial expansionism at the expense of the weaker neighbors? And is it ever possible for the leaders of rising powers to exercise restraint on the world stage?

In his book, Jeffrey W. Meiser addresses these and related questions through a detailed study of US grand strategy between 1898 and 1941. Meiser argues that the US exhibited a remarkable disinclination for territorial expansion during this period—albeit with some notable exceptions—and that the country’s domestic institutions were largely responsible for its under-expansion. The lesson, then, is that burgeoning material power does not inevitably lead to expansionism on behalf of rising states: with the “right” sort of domestic configuration, rising powers can be expected to abnegate the potential fruits of their newfound strength…

Click here to read the full review.

What does Brexit mean for the Arab Gulf states?

I have a new piece included in the July edition of the Gulf State Analytics Monthly Monitor, which looks at Brexit and the future of UK relations with the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

In June 2016, the British people voted to exit the European Union—a momentous choice that took the political establishment by almost complete surprise, and which continues to reverberate through British politics. For a brief moment during April-May 2017, it seemed as though Prime Minister Theresa May’s decision to call a snap election over the issue of Brexit might offer an opportunity for the country to rally around a common vision of what future relations with the EU should look like. Yet the unexpected result of that election was to strip May’s Conservative party of its parliamentary majority, thus enfeebling the government and calling into question its ability to handle contentious negotiations with the EU. In short, Brexit has thrown Britain’s domestic politics into a state of turmoil and—as of now, at least—there is precious little indication that the tumult and uncertainty will lessen in the months and years to come…

Click here to read the full piece on the GSA website.

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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