[Best way to track my activities, since I update this page infrequently, is
to follow my blog at
- Spoke at Model UN meeting in
- Received heaps of very
insightful and useful comments and suggestions from folks at USC and William
and Mary on the NATO and Afghanistan book.
- Officially signed the
paperwork so that I can hold the Paterson Chair of International Affairs at
Carleton University, starting in July 2012.
- Heaps of trips to come: APSA
in Seattle, military adaptation workshop in the Cotswolds, and then an early
October talk at USC. Plus the start of classes.
- Australia!!! Two days
of interesting workshop with some very sharp folks, and then one day of
diving at the Great Barrier Reef.
- Spent much of month driving
to Ottawa and back, interviewing various folks about the civilian effort in
Kandahar for the Australian edited volume workshop in July.
- I have been sucked into the
project as one of the Canadian researchers. Holy identity crisis!
- Became a regular columnist
Current Intelligence web-magazine.
- Presented paper at CIGI
conference on Afghanisan.
- Gave talks on the
international effort in Afghanistan at Bridgewater State Univ and Grove City
College. Got invites to conferences in May in Waterloo, ON and in July
in ... Australia.
- Theme of the month was
conferences at home: International Studies Assn meeting followed by a
workshop organized by John Hall on nationalism and war.
- Traveled to The Hague to
interview Dutch officers and politicians about their mission in Afghanistan,
and then to NATO HQ's in Brunssum, Mons, and Brussels to get the NATO story.
- Ora Szekely accepted
tenure-track position at Clark University. Last fall, Suranjan
Weeraratne gained a similar position at Southern Illinois University at
- Went to Konstanz, Germany via
Zurich to take part in a workshop on military adataption and Afghanistan.
I was presenting the Canadian case, got very helpful contacts for next step
of the project--The Netherlands.
- Presented research at a
conference at Mt. Holyoke on multilateral peace-building and as part of a
series at Northwestern.
- Enjoyed the APSA in
Washington, DC. Enjoyed even more coming home as an acceptance letter
was waiting for me. My project with Dave Auerswald on NATO and
Afghanistan will have a piece published in International Studies
Quarterly although it will have to wait until 2012!
- Received a Special Project
grant from the DND's Security and Defence Forum to go to the Netherlands and
NATO HQ in Brussels to continue the NATO in Afghanistan project.
- Traveled to Copenhagen to
learn why the Danes are so exceptional in Afghanistan--despite a coalition
government, they have had few caveats and have been taking the most
casualties per capita.
- Prepared several of my
students for this fall's job market (see their CV links on my
Research Team page).
- Received a NATO grant to go
to Denmark to understand why it is fighting so hard in Southern Afghanistan
when most of its neighbors are in safer places.
- Presented "State Capacity:
The Cure or the Disease" at the Kingston Conference on International
Security, June 21-23rd, 2010, Kingston, Ontario.
- Appeared on CBC Montreal to
discuss 9/11 conspiracy theorists who were appearing at the University of
Quebec at Montreal. My take: they have a right to speak, but there is
little point in arguing with such folks (I grouped them with Holocaust
deniers, those who think the manned moon landing was faked, and the like).
an op-ed piece in the Globe and Mail, arguing that Canada has more
choices in Afghanistan than all or nothing.
- Received new SSHRC grant
to study diasporas over the next three or four years. The idea is that
our understanding of diasporas is biased, as we tend to focus only on the
most mobilized, most chock full of impact (I hate the world impactful).
This project, with Kathleen Gallagher Cunningham (Iowa State U.) and Erin
Jenne (Central European U.), seeks to gather data on all émigré groups to
figure out why some mobilize and whether mobilization makes a difference.
- Spent two weeks in Australia
and New Zealand talking over forty people: members of parliament, officers
in each military, civilians in their Ministries of Defence, experts,
academics and others. Very productive. Sneaked in some tourism,
- Participated in a McGill poli
sci panel on the divisions among the fields. Twas a fun conversation.
- Served on a panel organized
by McGill's Debating Union on Canada and Afghanistan. The other
panelist was Major General Fraser, who ran both Canadian and NATO operations
in Southern Afghanistan in 2006 when things got interesting. It was
nice to catch up with him as he was among my first interviews for the
project that took me to Australia and New Zealand.
- ISA went well, got elected to
the Foreign Policy Analysis section's board of officers. Main
responsibilities: chair the grad student paper competition and start a
- Appearing at a forum "A New
Way Forward: Public Forum on Afghanistan," organized by a Sauvé scholar: Feb
10th, 6-8pm at the Moot Court, Faculty of Law, McGill .
- Preparation for ISA
continues, as the conference is in New Orleans from Mardi Gras onwards.
I am presenting two co-authored papers and participating in a panel that
honors Pat James for his keep poker skills and also that publication record
- Continued my conversations
with Canadian officers, as I got a chance to interview the relatively new
Commander of CEFCOM: Canadian Expeditionary Forces Command (commands all CF
outside of North America) and formerly the NATO commander of RC-South
LtGeneral Marc Lessard.
- Preparation for the trip down
under continued with meetings with Australian and New Zealand Defense
- Was on seven radio stations
across Canada over the course of three hours via CBC syndicated to talk
about Canada and Afghanistan post-2011.
- Second speaker dropped out
due to illness from REGIS workshop, so I subbed in. Got some good
comments on my caveats project.
- Large undergrad intro class
got hit badly by H1N1 just at the time the second paper was due.
- See more news and such at
- Had a very successful
American Political Science Association meeting that was, ironically, in
Toronto this year. Presented the summer's research in Europe and
received some good feedback. Now revising for publication.
- Now appearing, it seems,
twice a month on the local CTV news program about Afghanistan.
- Found out that the Security
and Defence Forum of Canada's Department of National Defence is going to
fund my research in Australia and New Zealand to understand how and why
British-style parliaments vary in their oversight over their respective
- Spent nearly a week in London
for the purpose of presenting the caveats stuff at workshop. Had a
great time (see ye olde blog).
- Spent a week in Paris and
then a week in Berlin to interview military and civilian officials about
French and German efforts in Afghanistan. Got a chance to present my
findings at the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik [German Institute
for International and Security Affairs. See my blog for what I learned
both for the project and about the respective cities/countries.
- April 24th at the Association
of Studies of Nationalities--a book panel dedicated to For Kin or For
Country. It should be an interesting experience.
- Classes end and then I take
off for Ottawa to celebrate. Actually, Lt. General Gauthier hosted a
handful of nearby scholars to talk about Canada and Afghanistan. Very
useful for meeting some folks with converging research agendas. And
then I spent an hour with France's Defense Attaché, as I prepare for my June
trip to Paris and Berlin to continue the project on the civil-military
relations of participants in ISAF. Hopefully, I can get some $$ to ask
the down under folks about their participation as well.
- MRGEC Event: March 29th
(Leacock429, 3pm): Marie-Eve Desrosiers spoke on "Ideology and
Conflict in Rwanda: Historical and Contemporary Trends," based on her trip
- March 29th was also the day
for prospective PhD students to visit McGill and for us to persuade them how
wonderful we are.
- On March 25th, we had
Brigadier General Denis Thompson, who commanded Canada's troops in
Afghanistan from May 08 to Feb 09 and all of NATO's forces in Kandahar in my
civil-military relations class.
- On March 12th, I gave a talk based on "For Kin or For Country" to the Collaborative
Graduate Program in Migration and Ethnic Relations at the University of
Western Ontario. I enjoyed meeting the MER-people--nice to get
feedback from a more inter-disciplinary crowd. I drove directly
from the airport back to Ottawa to see the civilian and military leaders of
the Dutch mission in Uruzgan. Interesting to see the similarities and
the differences between their effort and the Canadian one.
- ISA was a bit
different with the family joining me in NYC. Also strange to be the
senior scholar there at a workshop. Finally the gray in my beard is
matching my status!
- We are holding the jobtalks
for our IPE position this month!
- More decision-making--we reviewed files for PhD admissions!!
In the middle of the MA files now.
- Second MRGEC event: Feb 20th: Eric Kaufman of U of London (Leacock429, 3pm) on The Lenses of
Nationhood: A Grand Theory of National Identity.
- First MRGEC event of the new
January 9th, at 3pm (Leacock 429), Dr. Sandrine Perrot will speak on "Who's
The Bull In The Kraal? Militiarisation Of Security And Strengthening Of The
- On November 5th, at 4:45pm,
Suranjan Weeraratne presented on “Degrees of 'Scapegoatability':
Assessing Spatial Variations In Violence Against The Ethnic Chinese In
- Went to Salt Lake City
for a forum at the University of Utah, with most of the discussion on
terrorism, including keynote speaker Rep (ret) Lee Hamilton. A very
interesting time--too early to go skiing unfortunately.
- Spoke at Queen's University
as well on the Caveats paper. Received some very useful feedback and
it was good to see some friends.
- On November 19th at the McGill Bookstore, I launched my book, For Kin
or Country: Xenophobia, Nationalism and War, written with R. William
Ayres. Got a good crowd, plenty of desserts, but not enough spring
rolls! Maybe for the next book.
- I went to the US Army War
College in Carlisle, PA at the end of the month to present our work on
Caveats in Afghanistan. Got some good feedback, including from some
Canadians currently working there.Was interesting to see TV ads in a "swing"
state in the last days of the campaign.
- Important lesson
learned--when someone writes a press release for you, double and triple
decided to publicize the piece with David Steinberg on government
involvement in the economy and its impact on ethnic conflict. We found
that, contrary to the conventional wisdom, the greater the involvement of
governments in the allocation of economic outcomes, the worse ethnic
conflict is likely to be. David was my undergraduate student, not my
Master's Student. Oh well, the important thing is that the press
release gets the argument and findings right. For an example, see
- Start of classes--new grad
course on Civil War is very interesting, but requires heaps of work, not a
good idea when I am writing a SSHRC grant at the same time.
- Work for Associate Director
of Graduate Studies seems to be more intense this year. Just one more
year of it, and then someone else's turn.
- Looks like some media time on
CTV as Afghanistan is looking worse than Iraq, something I would have bet
against after my 10 day tour last December.
- Highlights of the month were the Montreal
Comedy Festival (Just for Laughs) and the family trip to the beach in
Delaware. Not much in the way of professional news, except for much
media stuff at the end of the month to the arrest of the most notable PIFWC
- For Kin or
Country is now published, officially. Available at
Amazon and the other usual outlets.
- The spring of travel ended with the 40th Anniversary
of the Council on Foreign Relations' International Affairs Fellowship.
I am most grateful for the Pentagon experience made possible by the CFR's
IAF program. At the meeting, I had the chance to shake the hand of the
previous IAF who had worked in the Joint Staff--Secretary of State (and
former NSA) Rice. Despite my somewhat strong opinions about the
Bush Administration, I think I was polite in suggesting a problem with one
of her points in her talk when explaining Iraq.
- Dartmouth was beautiful. Went for a
book workshop, stayed for the food.
- The CPSA was wet, to be expected in Vancouver.
- The trip to Oberlin for the reunion went
well, including stops at Niagara Falls and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Got burned badly on defense at the alumni vs. seniors game, but was able to
get a few passes down the field. And Jessica joined the action.
Oberlin has not changed too much except for a very new big science building.
- The spring road trip continues. Spent a
couple of days at a conference on Federalism/Territorial Pluralism, as a
member of the audience. My work on institutions and ethnic conflict
has been on the back burner while the Maryland folks work on the dataset.
- Next stop: Oberlin for my reunion. June
will begin with Vancouver for the Canadian Political Science Association
meeting, then Dartmouth for a book workshop and then New York for the 40th
anniversary of the International Affairs Fellowship. Good thing gas
prices are low these days!
- Much time on the road to Ottawa at the end of
the month, but to present rather than interview: on caveats at Centre for
International Policy Studies
University of Ottawa on April 30th, and then on "The Future of the Balkans"
at the Conference of Defence Associations on May 5th.
- TA's are on strike so I am late with
everything: reviews, grades, papers. Sorry.
- See the cover of Kin or
Country on my main page!
- It is only the 8th day of April, and the
month continues to be good to me: for the second time, I have received the
McGill Political Science Student Association
Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.
- Participated in a roundtable in Ottawa hosted
by the Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Rick Hillier with Gen. Craddock, Supreme Allied
Commander Europe (SACEUR). The audience was most of the CA command
staff, several retired officers who had just participated in a trip to
Afghanistan, and five scholars. A very interesting morning, followed
up by a lunch at the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) who
wanted to know what we learned during our trip to Afghanistan.
- Survived the International Studies
Association meeting in San Francisco. Had co-authors present three
different papers, learned that a monkey bite killed a King in the early part
of the 20th century and that the Egyptians (circa 1000 BC) are responsible
for xenophobia in today's Europe.
- February and March have seen more media
appearances (Radio, TV, newspapers) to discuss the recognition of Kosovo,
including its implications (largely
non-existent) for Quebec independence.
- The Double Hats projects continues, with an
interview of the Canadian Chief of the Defense Staff Rick Hillier, with
presentations at the UdeMontreal on the mission and at the International
Studies Association on the larger project with David Auerswald and Michael
- Sarah-Myriam Martin-Brûlé made it back from
Africa and France, conducting research for her dissertation (the Africa
portions) and my project on civil-military relations and the intervention in
Afghanistan. She even made it to Somalia to talk to some refugees.
- More Media appearances to talk about the
Manley Report, including a short bit on CTV, a BC call in show on January
27th, and a co-authored piece with Stéphane Roussel in
- Will be talking about
what I learned on the
trip to Afghanistan on Jan. 21st, as part of the MRGEC workshop series, at
3:30 in Leacock 517.
Just came back from a two-week trip to
Brussels and Afghanistan. Was part of DND/NATO team of scholars
(opinion leaders?) to visit the operations in Kabul, Kandahar and at the
Provincial Reconstruction Team base in Kandahar. More than 30
briefings/meetings with Afghani officials, NATO officers, members of the
international community, and Canadian Armed Forces. A fascinating trip
that will shape my research and courses in the next few years. For
pictures, see my
- Will be traveling in the US and Afghanistan for
most of the month, so if you need to get in touch, email would work best.
- Got to be part of a group of Quebec IR
scholars to meet with American and Canadian officials, led by the head of
the Policy Planning Staff at the State Dept and his CA equivalent.
Basically, we got to ask pesky questions of policy-makers. And it held
in a prominent (well, very well-funded) law firm with great views of
- Finished revising Insecurity in
Intra-State conflicts and mailed it off to Routledge. Now will have to
remember what is the next project.
- My students managed to
contribute more than $400, so I came to class as Che Guevara (the week's
lectures were focused on the Cold War). Way to go, students of 244!
I will post pictures if anybody sends me any.
- A paper by Bill Ayres and myself
reviewed in the Wilson Quarterly--so it might actually reach the eyes
and minds of policy-makers!
- Students working for UNICEF have dared my
students in 244 (all 600 of them) to donate and if the donations exceed
$400, then I must wear a costume on Halloween. And I have agreed that
if the donations greatly exceed $400, then the costume will be sillier.
But that seems unlikely since the logic of collective action applies.
- I participated in a conference on Canada and
Afghanistan organized by the Ude Montreal side of the Research Group on
International Security, including a speech by the new Canadian Foreign
Minister that made news due to the protests. See my new
media page for more.
- I have been renewed as a
Canada Research Chair, which is quite handy for
funding a series of smaller projects and expediting some of the larger ones.
- The book manuscript has been delivered to
Columbia U Press--look for "For Kin or Country: Xenophobia, Nationalism and
War" to be available next spring/summer!! Next is polishing up the
edited volume for Routledge, not to mention getting the FQRSC grant ready.
- After a week in Anaheim
and San Diego, my daughter concurs with
Disney's marketing slogans: happiest place on Earth, Magical Kingdom, etc.
And San Diego was again America's Finest City. Great beaches, great
Mexican food, great weather.
- The sabbatical comes to a crashing end....
- Routledge has accepted
Insecurity in Intra-State Conflicts: Governments,
Rebels, and Outsiders, edited with
Marie-Joëlle Zahar, to be published in 2008.
- ISQ has accepted a piece written
by my first undergrad RA at McGill. David Steinberg is now a
PhD student at Northwestern, and carried the load for “Laissez Fear?
Assessing the Impact of State Intervention in the Economy on Ethnic
Conflict.” We argue that greater government in the economy
is likely to exacerbate ethnic conflict since the stakes of controlling the
state are higher and the stats bear out our expectations.
- Poli Sci 440: Civil-Military
Relations has been opened for registration.
- Columbia U Press has agreed to publish my
next book with Bill Ayres, For Kin or For Country: Xenophobia, Nationalism
and War After Communism (title is subject to change--suggestions?).
- I had a conversation lasting 1.5 hours or so
with former Prime Minister Paul Martin.
While we focused on Canada's role in Afghanistan, we did talk a bit about
other issues, including the recent provincial elections.
- I spent three days at a workshop on
Secession, Autonomy and Liberty, which including political scientists,
philosophers and a couple of secessionists--who seek
Vermont's independence. This job gets more
and more interesting!
- My new course on Civil-Military Relations
(440) is not yet listed but will be taught next winter (2008). If you
are interested, keep a look out for it.
- The multilateral military intervention
project gets more and more interesting, with additional conversations with
military officers and soon conversations with members of parliament,
including past Ministers of Defense. I also hope to interview the current Minister of Defense.
- The sabbatical is nearly over, with only the
usual summer left. The book is still under review, but I do have three
articles coming out in the next several months (CJPS, JPR, FPA). Much
progress on the multilateral military intervention project, but that project
is still at its early stages. The focus right now is on the civilian
side, talking with the past and hopefully present Ministers of National
- I am spending time in Edmonton, Kingston, and
Ottawa interviewing Canadian officers, particularly those who have or are
overseeing operations in Afghanistan.
- Jonathan Paquin, one of my first students at
McGill, has successfully defended his dissertation and has accepted a tenure
track position at King's College.
- Brent Sasley, the other early victim, defended his
dissertation recently, and he moves to Texas next fall to take a tenure track position
at U of Texas at Arlington.
- I have been doing heaps of media lately, discussing the war on terrorism,
Iraq, and most recently (and most joyously) the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld.
- I am reaching some kind of new status in
Canada--not only did I just become a permanent resident (more complicated
perhaps but less expensive than getting a green card in the US, I think),
but I have recently had a piece accepted in the Canadian Journal of
Political Science. See my research page on this website for more
info on that. Maybe now, my credit rating will exceed those of my
- This spring, two of my students, Sam Stanton from Texas Tech and
Jonathan Paquin found academic positions. Sam will be teaching for
the foreseeable future at Grove City College in eastern Pennsylvania while
Jonathan will be at King's College in London, Ontario.
- In April, I received the McGill Political Science Students' Association Award
for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.
- At almost the same time, I received a Social Sciences Humanities Research
Grant to study the problem of delegation in multilateral military operations
with Dave Auerswald and Mike Tierney.
(Last updated, May 31, 2007)