ISSF article: Trump and Latin America: Asymmetry and the Problem of Influence

penaneto-trump17577I have a new, general audience article with Max Paul Friedman on the International Security Studies Forum. They have been running a policy series on different aspects of U.S. foreign and security policy today.


Here’s a taste below, or read the full article at ISSF.

“Despite its proximity and importance, Latin America usually does not receive a lot of attention in U.S. elections. After Donald Trump’s shocking and ultimately successful campaign for the presidency, the region may miss being out of the limelight. Somewhat atypically, many of Trump’s campaign promises related to Latin America. Mexico was, and remains, Trump’s villain of choice from the first day of his unlikely campaign. Mexico supposedly sent criminals as immigrants and bested the United States in the countries’ deep trade relationship; Trump granted the Mexican government a level of astuteness and competence that must have surprised many Mexican citizens. Central American migrants, whose remittances are more important to their home states in relative terms, also came under fire. In recent days, Trump has aimed his Twitter feed at transnational, and U.S.-born, street gangs, casting all the blame on neighbors to the south. Trump’s initially pacific tone toward Cuba soured as the campaign progressed. His anti-trade proposals go beyond renegotiating or threatening to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and abandonment of the Transpacific Partnership (TPP), and would cut to the core many Latin American countries’ economic strategies, in which access to the U.S. market is the lynchpin.”

Continue reading the full article at ISSF.

Evento: Política exterior colombiana en el “posconflicto”: Desafíos fronterizos y internacionales

Amigos en Colombia, les comparto una invitación para un evento con Sebastian Bitar, Michael Penfold, y Martha Ardila sobre la política exterior colombiana actual, el 3 de mayo en Universidad de los Andes.

La idea es hablar un poco de como el acuerdo de paz podría o no cambiar la política exterior colombiana, y también como los retos internacionales (Trump, crisis de Venezuela, Brexit, etc) podrían influir en el proceso y implementación de paz con las FARC y las negociaciones con el ELN.


poster evento polit ext col

H-Diplo review of Karl’s “Reading the Cuban revolution from Bogotá, 1957–62”

voteI reviewed Princeton historian Robert Karl’s very good article on the intersection of the Cuban Revolution and Colombian domestic politics. The review was published today on the H-Diplo forum. In the review, I write:

“In his recent article, Robert Karl addresses that question from a Colombian perspective. In doing so, Karl sounds a note of caution about the growing trend toward a Latin Americanization of the Cold War—or perhaps a Cold War-ization of Latin American history. Local dynamics and historical interpretations dominated early Colombian impressions of Cuba’s revolution; the Cold War took a bit longer to arrive. Though Fidel Castro was a ‘ghost’ haunting Colombian politics from 1957-1962, his spectre was not initially one of Soviet-backed intervention. Instead, Karl shows how the Cuban revolution was a mirror for Colombia’s own incipient democratization rather than a refraction of the Cold War. Recent Colombian experiences, notably La Violencia, the toppling of Colombian dictator Gustavo Rojas Pinilla, and Colombia’s own democratic pact, were the most important factors that shaped how political elites and the press viewed events in Cuba.”

The full review is available here.

Karl’s original article, published in Cold War History, is available here.

Después de la victoria compartida

Thanks to the Seminario de la Escuela de Gobierno at UniAndes for the invitation to present my work in progress at their seminar on April 25. I appreciate the turnout for the 8 am start!

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Colombia updates

Los Andes visitI am keeping busy in Bogotá while on a British Council Researcher Links grant. With my colleage at Universidad de los Andes, Sebastian Bitar, we held a workshop/lunch with some of Colombia’s top scholars on foreign policy, the Colombian conflict, and the peace process. I have been lining up some interviews, meeting with other scholars, getting ready to give a graduate seminar and speak with a class of government officials, planning a public event, and co-drafting an article on Colombian foreign policy.

The School of Government, which is generously hosting me and providing me with an office and coffee, posted a nice piece on my visit.(Spanish).

They also released sign-ups for the talk I will be giving next week.


CIDE talk

CIDE - after shared victory

New job: Warwick University

university-of-warwick-new-007In September 2017, I will start a new position in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick. The post is a permanent assistant professorship in Rising World Powers. I will be teaching a graduate seminar on rising world powers and an advanced undergraduate course on Latin American politics, development, and international relations. My research focus will continue much as before, though I think I will have some great opportunities to collaborate with colleagues around questions of regionalism and the dynamics of shifting power balances. The department is usually referred to as PAIS, which I plan to continually mispronounce as país.

Warwick is a relatively young university, but it is consistently recognized as one of the UK’s best research institutions. The whole university is generally in the top 10 overall, and PAIS is one of the standout departments. It is currently rated fourth by The Guardian for places to study politics and IR in the UK. In the last national survey (REF), the department tied Oxford for best research environment and was ranked 4th in research intensity. It has very large and active doctoral and postdoctoral programs. I’m also excited about the possibilities for working with colleagues from across Warwick. In particular, the History department has long been a place for great research on Latin America as well as in transnational Atlantic history. The university is very international; in fact, the new chancellor is Rt. Hon. Catherine Ashton, recently the European Union’s high commissioner for foreign policy and previously EU trade minister.

Warwick is located near Coventry, which is north of London (50 minutes by train to Euston) and quite close to Birmingham.

Here is some general information about the department.

Here my hiring announcement from PAÍS.

Article online: Foro Internacional

foro-internacional-coverA new article is now out in Spanish in Foro Internacional, which most consider Mexico’s top academic International Relations journal. My piece, “Coloso fragmentado: la agenda ‘interméstica’ y la política exterior latinoamericana,” is the first piece in the January issue. The English title would be roughly “A fragmented colossus: The ‘intermestic’ agenda and Latin American foreign policy.” The official text is in Spanish, but I have included links to both Spanish and English versions and abstracts below.

La versión del artículo en español se encuentra aquí.

An unofficial, pre-translation English-language version is available here.

Abstracts below the jump.


Research grant: Colombian foreign policy in the post-conflict era

colombian-president-juan-manuel-santos-awarded-nobel-peace-prizeIn collaboration with my friend and colleague Sebastián Bitar of Universidad de los Andes in Bogota, I have been awarded a “Researcher Links” grant from the British Council. The grant will fund research and workshops in Colombia over the next year to explore how the end of the conflict with the FARC (though of course tremendous challenges remain) might affect Colombia’s international role.

The plan for the project (from the application summary) is below:


Article online: Small States, Great Power?

3-cover-sourceI am glad that my new article, “Small States, Great Power? Gaining Influence Through Intrinsic, Derivative, and Collective Power” is now available for online, full-text  advance access at International Studies Review.

Abstract: In recent years, scholars have devoted increased attention to the agency of small states in International Relations. However, the conventional wisdom remains that while not completely powerless, small states are unlikely to achieve much of significance when faced by great power opposition. This argument, however, implicitly rests on resource-based and compulsory understandings of power. This article explores the implicit connections between the concept of “small states” and diverse concepts of power, asking how we should understand these states’ attempts to gain influence and achieve their international political objectives. By connecting the study of small states with more diverse understandings of power, the article elaborates the broader avenues for influence that are open to many states but are particularly relevant for small states. The article argues that small states’ power can be best understood as originating in three categories: “derivative,” collective, and particular-intrinsic. Derivative power, coined by Michael Handel, relies upon the relationship with a great power. Collective power involves building coalitions of supportive states, often through institutions. Particular-intrinsic power relies on the assets of the small state trying to do the influencing. Small states specialize in the bases and means of these types of power, which may have unconventional compulsory, institutional, structural, and productive aspects.