North America news

Over the last several years, I have been involved in a few projects related to North American cooperation. These will be leading to a number of publications and other activities in the months and year ahead.

First, I’ve had a brief published yesterday on “North America and the World.” The paper is part of the Woodrow Wilson Center’s series Strengthening North American Ties, edited by former US Ambassador to Mexico Tony Wayne. North America is often overlooked as a world region, especially compared to those with more active regional organizations. However, there is an important reason for giving North America a greater global profile, in my view.

Second, also with the Wilson Center, I have been coordinating and co-editing a book on policy issues for North America today. It’s called North America 2.0: Forging a Continental Future. I’ve been working closely with Alan Bersin, who has worn many different policy hats in the past. The volume will include sixteen substantive chapters from some three dozen contributors. Those authors include a wide range of experts, academics, former diplomats, military officials, private sector representatives, and policymakers. The book should be published in October by the Wilson Center Press, so more updates soon!

Finally, I continue my role as chair, co-coordinator and co-editor (all with Eric Hershberg) of a more academically focused research network: the Robert A. Pastor North American Research Initiative. We have just finished the text for an editing volume resulting from this collaboration, which will be published next year by the University of New Mexico Press. It will be called, North America: Stagnation, Decline, or Renewal? You can see the Table of Contents below. The initiative also led to my recent article in Global Studies Quarterly on public attitudes on regional cooperation in Canada, Mexico, and the United States.

Atlantic Council: Ukraine and the Global South

Yesterday, I joined an online panel at The Atlantic Council to discuss the diverse responses from small states, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Global South more broadly to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. There has been much comment, and some derision, regarding the ambiguity or lack of condemnation of the invasion from the world beyond NATO. In this panel, we discuss why that might be the case, and how US foreign policymakers should respond.

More information on the panel and panelists is available here, or you can watch the panel on YouTube above.

If you find the panel of interest, you might want to check out A Small State’s Guide to Influence (Oxford University Press, 2022). It’s available from OUP directly, with the discount code ASFLY06, via Amazon on Kindle or hard copies in the US, or via many fine booksellers.

Promotion to Reader

In the last few days, I’ve received the formal announcement that I’ve been promoted to Reader!

For those in North America, that’s probably rather cryptic. After all, those who know me also know that I’ve been doing a lot of reading for quite a long time. At Warwick, though, Reader is a title between associate professor and full professor (or “chair”); it’s something of a half-step like “senior associate professor.” Unlike in the US, in the UK, I still am not permitted to use the title “professor”!

In the traditional UK academic hierarchy, the career path went Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Reader, Professor. Many British universities, Warwick included, have changed from “lecturer” to assistant professor and associate professor. A few, again including Warwick, have retained Reader as a legacy; it’s a non-required half-step between associate and full professor.

(I’m not entirely sure about why these changes have happened, but I suspect that as the academic job market became increasingly global, North American applicants shunned “lecturer” positions because that term is associated with a lower, non-permanent rank in many US universities. Just a guess.)

Anyhow, I am looking forward to the new business cards. A big thanks to my colleagues at PAIS for their support in the process, to my friends and mentors at American University, to the six anonymous professors who provided external references, to friends, coauthors, and colleagues around the world. And a big thanks to Marta, Sophie, Mom and Dad.

New America event recording: Small States in IR

Thanks to the teams at New America and Bridging the Gap for hosting a great discussion on small states in International Relations. The conversation featured discussion of my new book, A Small State’s Guide to Influence in World Politics, with scholars and practitioners. Thank you to Professor Jim Goldgeier of American University, Dr Emily Wilkinson of ODI, and Wazim Mowla of the Atlantic Council for joining.

The book is available in the Western Hemisphere in paperback via Oxford University Press and as an ebook on Kindle via Amazon worldwide. The hard copies in the UK and EU have been delayed due to issues at the printer, but they should be out soon!

Online book panel

New America, a Washington-based think tank, has organized a panel discussion on small states in international relations framed around my new book, A Small State’s Guide to Influence in World Politics.

The event is 1:30-2:30 Eastern Time, May 4, 2022. It includes some stellar speakers: moderator Professor Jim Goldgeier, Wazim Mowla of the Atlantic Council, and Dr Emily Wilkinson of London-based ODI. And I’ll be joining, too.

You can register for the event here.

Book discount: Small State’s Guide to Influence in World Politics

Oxford University Press is offering a special discount on my new book, A Small State’s Guide to Influence in World Politics. You can order direct here, through OUP, and add the discount code.

The book shows why small states matter to International Relations theory and practice, offers an account of when and how small states can gain influence, and includes a global range of cases regarding small states and international security, international political economy, and institutions, laws, and norms.

First book talk! Ashoka University

I’m very pleased to be giving my first book talk for A Small State’s Guide to Influence in World Politics at the Department of International Relations at Ashoka University, outside of Delhi, India. Thanks to Dr. Deep Pal and Dr. Quintijn Kat for the virtual invitation–though I would have enjoyed joining you in Delhi!

The talk is open to external attendees, though you need to email the address on the poster above to register. (Posting a link to a talk seems to inevitably attract zoom-bombers and other miscreants.)

I am happy to give book talks, online and in-person, now that the book is out in the US and as an ebook. The book will be out in print in the UK, Europe, and (hopefully) other countries (including India!) after May 5. If you are interested in having me discuss the book in a seminar, class, or other forum, just send me an email.

New article: Public views of North America

The North American Leaders Summit resumed after a five-year hiatus in November 2021.

Our new research article, “Issue-Areas, Sovereignty Costs, and North Americans’ Attitudes Toward Regional Cooperation,” has been published in the open-access journal Global Studies Quarterly.

The article results from a long-running collaboration with Malcolm Fairbrother of Umea University in Sweden (formerly of Bristol University in the UK) and Clarisa Pérez-Armendáriz of Bates College in Maine. We met and started working together through the Robert A. Pastor North American Research Initiative at American University, which I have been co-coordinating since 2015.

Our article examines public opinion in Canada, Mexico, and the United States regarding cooperation in North America. Normally, studies of public opinion on regionalism either ask for people’s views of trade integration or of a specific regional agreement or organization (NAFTA, the EU, Mercosur, etc.). But we assessed polling data that do something different, also asking people about their views of cooperation on six different issue-areas: energy, border security, economics, currency, environment, and defense. The surveys ran in 2013 and were overseen by Miguel Basáñez, Frank Graves, and Robert Pastor, who I was assisting at the time. Thanks to Miguel and Frank for generously sharing the full datasets! Given the rather dated nature of the survey, we’re not aiming to provide breaking news about levels of support today (generally, support for trade and other cooperation in North America is high unless you say “NAFTA” in which case it drops and polarizes … though this effect was most pronounced in 2016-2017). Instead, we are trying to understand specific features of how people view regional cooperation more generally.

What the survey shows is quite interesting. People’s opinions of where they would like more regional cooperation differ quite a lot depending on the issue, and the differences are bigger than cross-national differences on trade. Generally, there is not a big difference in whether people prefer bilateral or trilateral cooperation. We go into different possible explanations for this in the paper, including individual-level correlates. But we think there are national-level patterns that result from assessments of whether one’s country is likely to benefit from cooperation. Those calculations take into account risks and benefits caused by divergent national capabilities. There are also some really interesting, issue-specific patterns. For example, Mexicans are supportive of cooperation on currency; US and Canadian respondents, not at all.

The abstract is below, and the paper is at the link.

Studies of public opinion toward regionalism tend to rely on questions regarding trade integration and specific regional organizations. This narrow focus overlooks dimensions of regionalism that sit at the heart of international relations research on regions today. Instead, we argue that research should explore public preferences with respect to regional cooperation in different issue-areas. We find that people’s views of regional cooperation in North America diverge from their attitudes toward trade integration alone. Using data from Rethinking North America, an untapped public opinion survey conducted in Mexico, Canada, and the United States in 2013, we show that although country-level attitudes toward trade integration in North America were similar, preferences for regional cooperation varied by country depending on the issue at hand. We propose that attitudes are shaped by citizens’ perceptions of the asymmetric patterns of national-level benefits and vulnerabilities created by regional cooperation. Generally, respondents favor cooperation where their state stands to gain greater capacity benefits and oppose it where cooperation imposes greater costs on national autonomy. For policymakers, this multifaceted approach to regionalism sheds light on areas where public preferences for regional cooperation might converge. Future research that disaggregates various aspects of support for regional cooperation should help integrate the study of public opinion with “new” and comparative regional approaches that emphasize the aspects of regionalism beyond trade and formal institutions.

Ukraine and Latin American diplomacy

With a few notable exceptions, most Latin American diplomats sharply condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This might seem obvious given the outcry in the United States and Europe. But amidst Russian outreach (vaccines, military kit, propaganda, and some cash) and the fraying of ties with the United States, having only four Western Hemisphere countries abstain in the UN reflected substantial support for Ukraine’s position.

Why was this support so wide and, often, vociferous? In a new policy essay in Global Americans, Carsten-Andreas Schulz and I argue that the invasion contravened some of the region’s most fundamental diplomatic norms and practices–what we call republican internationalism.

Comments welcome!

Publication day!

Early reviews of A Small State’s Guide to Influence in World Politics

March 4 is the official US publication day for my new book! The book has been available for Kindle for a few days. Now it should start shipping in hardcover and paperback in the United States. Due to printing delays, the UK and European release is set for May.

In the meantime, I am happy to share some kind comments for folks who reviewed advance copies of the book, in the gif above.

You can find the book…
Via Oxford University Press
Via Amazon
Via Bookshop
Or order from your local bookseller!