Month: March 2016 (Page 1 of 3)

GUEST POST: What to Look for In a Publisher (and a Contract) – Dr Laura Sjoberg

From the Editor: We at Bombs and Dollars were planning for a while to have academics and policy mavens write guest posts, which we thought will be good for early career researchers.

We present the first post, by Dr Laura Sjoberg, Associate Professor, at the Dept. of Political Science, University of Florida. You can follow her on Twitter @DrLauraEsq


What to Look for In a Publisher (and a Contract)

About a week ago, I posted about book publishing in academia. I’ve gotten responses from a number of people, both interested in more information and happy for the first post. If its useful to even one person, I want to answer as many questions as I can with the information that I have – so I’m making this a follow-up post. I’ll focus it around two main question that I got in response to the first post – what should I look for in a book publisher, and what should I look for in a contract.

The bad news is that there’s not one answer to either question. The good news is that there are both some strategic things that it is useful to know and some shortcuts to finding out your answers to the questions.

So, first, what do you want in a publisher? This, of course, depends. Like I talked about briefly in the last post, there are some universals about this. You never want a publisher you have to pay to publish your book, and you always want a publisher that has a genuine interest in your project as a project and you as an author. But beyond that, it depends on where you are, what options you have, and what you need from it.

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Honor politics is still big in the Republican Party

Is Trump a Republican? Many Anti-Trump conservatives have been arguing that he isn’t because of his liberal views on some issues or his huge donations to Democrats.

But in one way Donald Trump is very conservative/Republican. In fact, he’s the “toughest” most Republicany Republican tough guy when it comes to the defense of national honor. (Or, as Trump spells it, “honer.”)

Trump constantly says America “isn’t winning” and that other countries are defeating America. He also says that America is being humiliated by trivial things. For example:
Donald Trump accuses Cuban dictator Raul Castro of ‘disrespecting’ Obama by not meeting president on Havana runway at beginning of historic visit

That might sound like a comically over-the-top thing to get offended about—and indeed Trump is comically over-the-top about everything—but it is only a matter of degrees. Here’s Townhall’s Katie Pavlich, one of the contributors to National Review’s #AgainstTrump issue, taking issue with a statement the close-to-death Fidel Castro wrote in response to Obama’s visit:
Embarrassment: Fidel Castro Publishes Scathing Letter Slamming The United States and Obama

Not only did the retired leader criticize America (including with a reference to the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, which arguably says more about his inability to let go of the past than it does about U.S. policy in 2016), at the joint press conference, “Castro openly criticized the United States on human rights issues.” The humanity!

One can imagine an Iranian nationalist shouting about how President Bush called his country part of the “axis of evil.”

Of course, Obama made it even worse by admitting that he is sympathetic to the view that social welfare like universal healthcare could be a human right. It brings to mind Obama’s supposed “apology tour,” which was even criticized by 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney. The idea was that Obama should never admit, in his capacity of president of the United States, that the United States had ever done anything wrong.

The Heritage Foundation, in 2009, helpfully summarized 10 “apologies” that they thought “humiliated a superpower”:

[In France:] So we must be honest with ourselves. In recent years we’ve allowed our Alliance to drift. … [In Egypt:] My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy. We sometimes make mistakes. We have not been perfect. … [In Spain:] While the United States has done much to promote peace and prosperity in the hemisphere, we have at times been disengaged, and at times we sought to dictate our terms. … [In Washington, DC:] Unfortunately, faced with an uncertain threat, our government made a series of hasty decisions.

How dare he say America isn’t perfect! How humiliating!

(Some Republicans also attacked Obama for bowing, as is tradition, to the Japanese emperor, and Trump actually attacked Michelle Obama for not bowing to the traditions of Saudi Arabia and “refus[ing] to wear a scarf.” )

It bears a certain logic with Trump to never apologize. Even after his staffer Corey Lewandowski was accused of grabbing a reporter, even after lied that he had never seen the reporter, and even after he was then charged with battery, he continued to stand behind him and not apologize once or force Corey to apologize. “Trump never backs down,” Slate explained with its front page headline of an article.

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No, Trump’s not a Realist. He’s not anything, because he has no ideas.

After Donald Trump’s foreign policy interview with the New York Times, foreign policy analysts, including coeditor Maitra, Tom Wright, and Stephen Walt, began discussing whether or not Trump was a neo-Realist, as Dan Drezner argued in his February 2 WaPo blog piece, “So when will realists endorse Donald Trump?”

Even if Trump was a dyed-in-the-wool Realist, one could still choose not to endorse him if they wanted a president who was the least bit dignified, or one who knew anything about foreign policy. Moreover, as Maitra argued, Trump is not in the least a Realist.

I second Maitra’s argument for the simple reason that Trump doesn’t know enough about foreign policy to qualify as an adherent to any ideology. Asking whether or not he’s a Realist is not even a valid question in the first place. It’s like debating whether Kim Kardashian is a Keynesian or an Austrian.

This is the candidate who doesn’t know who the leader of ISIS is or what Hamas and Hezbollah are.

The response in particular that got a lot of attention in the Times interview was that he would consider letting Japan and South Korea develop nuclear weapons. Let’s talk about his views on nuclear: He doesn’t even know what the nuclear triad is, he admitted at a debate, and “I think, for me, nuclear is just the power, the devastation is very important to me.”

Here’s what he said about nuclear in his other disastrous recent interview, the one with the Washington Post editorial board:

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So, is Donald Trump a Neo-Realist?

I guess this was inevitable.

After the debate about Obama being a Realist, (he’s ofcourse not) it was inevitable the Neorealist tag would be on Donald Trump after his interminable dross for New York Times. It is an incoherent mess, with talking points which will make, Hayek to Say to Ricardo to Morgenthau to Waltz, all cringe in shame, but it had some interesting moments.

But not as interesting as this debate which started right after.

If you click on the above images, you will get the crux of the argument. Is Trump a Neorealist or not? The argument for, is that he wants Japan and South Korea to have independent deterrence, and rid United States of carrying the security burden in Asia. The counter argument is, well…he is insane.

Here’re my points.

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Struggling northeastern China cuts down on steel production, faces labor protests and mass firings

Going into China’s 2016 National People’s Congress, which concluded earlier this month, one of the issues facing the economy was the slowdown of northeastern China, which has been a leader in coal production and steel production.

Southern Weekend, a nationally-distributed Guangzhou-based newspaper, reported that week on the struggles facing China’s rust belt, which saw among the slowest growth in the country last year. Liaoning province, the southernmost of the three provinces referred to collectively as “Northeastern China” (Dongbei), grew at a rate of 3.0%, the slowest in the country, and fell three places from seventh to tenth in total GDP numbers. Heilongjiang, the northernmost of Dongbei, grew at 5.7%, third worst, and Jilin was fourth worst at 6.5%.

Other steel producing northern provinces didn’t do well either. Hebei, which borders Beijing, grew at 6.8%, just better than Jilin. In January, Hebei’s governor announced plans to cut steel output, which is dominated by state-owned companies, in order “to ease pollution and help curb oversupply.” While China does produce about half the steel in the world and exported a record, 112 million tons, in 2015, Chinese steel companies are generally not very profitable, due to overproduction and heavy competition.

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Brussels Attacks: 2 posts you need to read, regardless of your political ideology


Slavoj Zizek: In the Wake of Paris Attacks the Left Must Embrace Its Radical Western Roots (Nov, 2015) – Read the full piece here

”  It is a fact that most of the refugees come from a culture that is incompatible with Western European notions of human rights. Tolerance as a solution (mutual respect of each other’s sensitivities) obviously doesn’t work: fundamentalist Muslims find it impossible to bear our blasphemous images and reckless humor, which we consider a part of our freedoms. Western liberals, likewise, find it impossible to bear many practices of Muslim culture…

Did we already forget that the entire idea of Communist emancipation as envisaged by Marx is a thoroughly “Eurocentric” one?

In a gloomy prophecy made before his death, Col. Muammar Gaddafi said: “Now listen you, people of NATO. You’re bombing a wall, which stood in the way of African migration to Europe and in the way of al Qaeda terrorists. This wall was Libya. You’re breaking it. You’re idiots, and you will burn in Hell for thousands of migrants from Africa.” Was he not stating the obvious? “

CeKikDxWIAAjUFoTom Nichols: Terrorists Kill Because They Hate Themselves For Loving The West (Jan, 2016) – Read the full piece here

” Even if we wanted to surrender completely, there’d be no way to do it. Insofar as their demand is to convert to their religion, we can’t meet that demand because, on any given day, they can’t meet it. If the way European jihadis live day to day is “Islam,” and the terrorists want me to convert to that, then all I can say is that I’ll have to stick to Christianity because I’m too old for that much partying.

These young men are fueled by the most intense kind of hatred there is: self-hatred. There is no accommodation with self-hatred. Would-be jihadis lash out at Western society not because they hate it so much, but because they love it so much. They hate us for who we are, and hate themselves for their addiction to a culture and all of its pleasures—sex, drugs, music—they’ve been told are the basest of sins. Too weak to resist the temptations of life among us, they hope that by destroying the source of the sins that tempt them, they will find redemption. “

Je suis Bruxelles



Trump denies that he is obsessed with Megyn Kelly after boycotting Fox News debate

Shortly after announcing he was boycotting an upcoming Fox News debate and calling for a boycott of Megyn Kelly’s show, candidate for Republican nomination for president Donald Trump denied on Twitter that he was obsessed with Megyn Kelly.

Donald Trump has previously sent press clippings to Kelly, said that Kelly had “blood coming out of her wherever,” called Kelly a “bimbo” on Twitter, called her “the most overrated anchor at @FoxNews,” called for Kelly to be pulled from the Fox News debate, and then boycotted the January 26 debate after complaining about Kelly.

In one instance he tweeted about Kelly 5 times in 20 minutes.
bimbo copy

But he’s not obsessed with Kelly.

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Weekly Reading List: All about foreign policy Realism.

Hi everyone, been long we had a Weekly Reading List! Not weekly anymore, unfortunately, as I am busy with my work and research, but as Easter break is approaching, and I will be immersed full time in my PhD thesis, here’re a few articles which I want to leave you guys with, which I wrote in the last one month.

JIR2016_1First, the big one.

My research paper got published, titled “Was Putin Ever Friendly to the West?”: An Expository Study of the First Two Terms of President Vladimir Putin, In Light of the Theories of Realism. (Journal of International Relations, Faculty of International Relations, University of Economics in Bratislava 2016, Volume XIV, Issue 1, Pages 58-92. ISSN 1336-1562 (print), ISSN 1339-2751 (online) Published 15. 3. 2016)

You can download the full paper here.

Aurangzeb_in_old_age_2Secondly, most of you would remember I wrote a comparative piece on how modern Russia is like seventeenth century India under the Mughals? I went a bit further and compared Putin and the medieval Indian emperor Aurangzeb. (Which, incidentally got a nice review here!)

I wrote two articles on Russia-Direct, the first one on how unlikely it is for Russia to actually invade the Baltics, and the second one on the fact that Russia and US is not in any New Cold war, but just a usual Great power rivalry with competition and cooperation happening simultaneously.

I also wrote one long essay for The Interpreter Magazine, on how contrary to popular belief, Obama is not a Realist…infact he doesn’t seem to understand what Realism in foreign policy means.

With regards to my weekly columns, here are they. 

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The shadow of 1968: My Lai Massacre and American Exceptionalism in the 2016 race

Protesters beaten. Clashes outside of a political event in Chicago. It was inevitable that the demonstration that caused Donald Trump to cancel a rally inspired a flood of pieces comparing 2016 with 1968.

Back then a fiercely contested primary splintered one party and led to a chaotic convention. The opposition ran a candidate with years of experience in Washington, who had already lost one presidential election. Trump has even adopted Nixon’s “Silent Majority” slogan. Others have compared Trump to George Wallace, whose anti-establishment third-party campaign preyed on xenophobia and cultural fears in much the same way as Trump’s.

Much has changed since then, when only 14 states held primary in the Democratic race. 48 years ago March 12, incumbent president Lyndon Johnson, facing backlash over the Vietnam War, barely eked out an eight point victory over Eugene McCarthy in the first primary, New Hampshire. It wouldn’t be until the end of the month that he withdrew.

John McCain had just been transferred to solitary confinement after having been shot down over Hanoi the previous October. Donald Trump had just taken his fourth student deferment in January while studying economics at Wharton. Michael Bernhardt had just been sent to Vietnam, after dropping out of the University of Miami to volunteer and “test his courage,” assigned to Charlie Company in Quang Ngai Province.

There’s one event, however, I want to key in on that happened exactly to this date—March 16th local time—48 years ago. It’s a date that should live in infamy. A date that contributed to turning the Vietnamese even more against the U.S. and would, when it was exposed a year later, cause scandal in America. A brigade of the United States military murdered over 300 civilians in My Lai. 

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New Paper : “Was Putin Ever Friendly to the West?” March, 2016.

“Was Putin Ever Friendly to the West?” : An Expository Study
Of the First Two Terms of President Vladimir Putin, In
Light of the Theories of Realism

(Journal of International Relations. 2016, Vol XIV, Issue 1, Pgs 58–92.)

Download the whole paper HERE.


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