I will be humbled this week. Not humiliated. Just shown how little I know about something I should know a lot about. A colleague will be in DC to interview me and others for a project a leading British funder with ties to the British government has asked him to do on best practices for restoring democratic legitimacy in countries emerging from war, including places like Iraq, Syria, Libya, and the like.I’m writing this post to prepare myself so that I don’t waste his time. The ideas in it will also find their way into the peace and conflict studies textbook I’m finishing. As a result, this post will be a bit longer than usual.
A Republic, If We Can Keep It Last week, I was lucky to be invited to a conference, A Republic If We Can Keep It organized by Cornell University’s Center for the Study of Inequality and the New America Foundation. There were only about fifty people in the room at any one time, so we had plenty of time to discuss many of the tough issues that some think are putting American democracy in danger. And, we had quite a crew, including some top academics, journalists, and some anti-Trump republicans. The organizers hoped that adding insights from comparative politics experts could help Americanists understand our turbulent times, which is why I was invited. But, as we dug into [...]
Peacebuilding and Democracy Until last Thursday afternoon, I was planning to write about what comparative politics research can do to help peacebuilders. Then, I ran into my friend Jim Pfiffner of George Mason University's Schar School of Policy and Government. Jim is a scholar of the presidency who has written books on judging the character of our chief executive--among many other things. Jim is also one of the most thoughtful people I know. And since we hadn't seen each other in ages and since we are both political scientists, our discussion immediately turned to the Trump presidency--even before we mentioned our grandkids. I had just finished reviewing Steven Levitsky and Danie Ziblatt's How Democracies Die. As we discussed [...]