Blog Update: April 2021

Followers of this blog may note that it has been several months since I have published a new essay or book review—I published my last article in mid-July 2020, to be exact.  During the time that has passed since then, I have kept busy with my job and with various readings, as well as by writing for a handful of other online publications that similarly examine IR and geopolitical issues. I’ve been lucky enough to write about Xinjiang’s controversial cotton, review a few IR books for Realist Review, and co-author a piece on Taiwan via Georgetown’s The Diplomatic Pouch.

I am excited to write that it has been approximately a year since I began this blog, primarily to catalogue my existing writings, keep track of various security developments I found interesting, remain up-to-date with security studies books and literature, and maintain my analysis skills after Notre Dame closed down amidst the pandemic. Since then, I have been fortunate enough to publish a handful of articles with other websites, some individually authored and others coauthored. This blog served as the starting point that enabled the past year of independent study and writing to take place, and I will always be grateful that I had this opportunity to begin my writings here. Although I primarily write for other websites now (some of which are linked on my older articles), I hope to maintain this blog on the side for all of the aforementioned reasons.

A lot has changed over the past year, but I still like to rep Notre Dame’s history department whenever possible!

Since I created this blog as a creative project and not as a monetary one, the following is the closest I will ever come to “promoting” books.  As an official disclaimer, I make no money off of the books or other sources I review or cite on this website.  That being said, I believe there is value in the exchange of knowledge for its own sake, which is why I would like to take the opportunity to list the books that have shaped my thinking over the past few months.  Below is a list of IR-related books (both novels and nonfiction) I’ve enjoyed over the past half-year, some of which I may eventually “officially” review on the blog:

Security Studies Nonfiction

  • The Emperor’s New Road: China and the Project of the Century by Jonathan E. Hillman
  • The China-Pakistan Axis: Asia’s New Geopolitics by Andrew Small
  • Rivers of Iron: Railroads and Chinese Power in Southeast Asia by Cheng-Chwee Kuik, David M. Lampton, and Selina Ho
  • The New Rules of War: Victory in the Age of Durable Disorder by Sean McFate
  • Black Gold and Blackmail: Oil and Great Power Politics by Rosemary A. Kelanic (Kelanic was a former professor of mine at Notre Dame, and a major influence on my thinking about geopolitics and energy security.)
  • Twilight of the Titans: Great Power Decline and Retrenchment by Joseph M. Parent and Paul K. MacDonald (Parent was also a former professor of mine; he taught me the “nuts and bolts” of IR theory and first inspired me to think about political science through an empirical lens.)

IR Novels

  • The Heart of War: Misadventures in the Pentagon by Kathleen J. McInnis
  • Who is Vera Kelly? by Rosalie Knecht

If all goes according to plan, I have a couple of articles slated for publication in coming months, either on this blog or one of the other publications for which I write. As always, all credit for my writings goes to the many sources that have inspired me: my family and friends, especially my foreign policy “co-conspirators” within the Political Science major, and of course my Notre Dame professors with whom I remain in contact. It is these many contacts, in addition to the material itself, that makes IR such a stimulating topic to pursue. Foreign policy interests me on its own, of course, but my friendships within the IR world have given a depth and meaning to the subject that solitary study alone cannot accomplish. Thank you as always for your guidance and inspiration and, as the saying goes, “Onwards and upwards.”

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