Scariest News Today: China Edition

by Stephen M. Saideman

I am tempted to make this a daily feature: what have we learned about the Trump Administration on each day that scares us the most?  But that will be exhausting as Jon Stewart suggested on the Colbert Show.  Still, I think this might be a regular feature.  So, which is it for the last 24 hours?

Is it the spat with Australia?  No.  That is just stunning, since it is incredibly hard to screw up that relationship.  The Aussies are perhaps the people on the planet most like the Americans for a variety of reasons, and they still feel a keen debt for that World War II thing.  They have showed up in every American war, no matter how misguided, even when other allies will not (Vietnam, Iraq 2003).  But this does not quite scare me the most.

What does?  Learning that President Bannon, oh, I mean, Rasputin, oh I mean the Trump Whisperer believes that the US will be at war with China in the next ten years.  Why does this bother me so?  Holy self-fulfilling prophecy, Batman!  If one believes that war is inevitable, then one begins to behave in ways that make war more likely.  Instead of trying to avoid war, one tries to find the right moment, the most opportune time for oneself.  Oh, and since this is international relations, where the other side is aware and reacts, they start doing the same thing–making moves to put themselves in the best position to win.  Usually, this means figuring out how to land a decisive first blow.  Which means in a crisis, the US and China would be looking for opportunities to strike first and also fearing the first strikes of the other side, making it hard to manage the crisis.  Neither side would be as willing to play for time to figure a way out because, hey, war’s gonna happen.

Whether it is the US launching a preemptive attack to hit Chinese forces before they hit American bases in the region or China launches first to hit American bases and ships in the area (sorry, Japan),  it is easy to imagine the fears of first strikes and how exaggerated they become when war is seen as inevitable.

Yes, this screams to the IR scholar World War I.  There is much controversy about the historiography of that war, but one thing that did operate at the time–the sense that war was inevitable, which encouraged all kinds of behavior that led to the war.  So, yes, IR scholars are extremely nervous right now.  The informal discussion revolves around the question of which war comes first: Mexico, Iran, or China.  As it stands, I would prefer the first two wars to the third, which again reminds me of how low our expectations have become, thanks to Donnie Trump.

Returning to Bannon, he probably doesn’t mind a war or two, perhaps would not even mind the US losing a war with China, as his main goal is to break the United States in pretty much every way so that he can usher forth a New Order with white nationalists running everything (into the ground).

So, yeah, I am scared.  How are you doing?

Sad News for NPSIA and MIPIS

We received this announcement today:

The Carleton University community is saddened to learn of the death of Edgar Wayne Boone, who was one of two individuals killed in a multi-vehicle car/motorcycle crash near Belleville on Saturday afternoon.

“Professor Boone was instrumental in helping to establish the Master’s in Infrastructure Protection and International Security, a joint initiative of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton,” said Dr. Peter Ricketts, provost and vice-president (Academic). “After his retirement, Wayne made valuable contributions to the program as an adjunct research professor in NPSIA.”

Wayne joined Carleton on July 1, 2009 and retired from his position on June 30, 2014.

The university extends its condolences to his spouse Sherain Boone and their two children. Funeral service details will be shared once confirmed by the family.

It is with heavy heart that we post this news here.  While Wayne just recently left our program, he still was viewed as a core member of the NPSIA community.  He will be missed.

*DEADLINE EXTENSION* Call for Papers: The Paterson Review

The Paterson Review of International Affairs is issuing a call for papers for its 14th Volume. The submission deadline is now September 31, 2013.

The Paterson Review of International Affairs is a scholarly journal exclusively showcasing the work of graduate students in the field of international affairs. Managed by students from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, the Paterson Review is dedicated to publishing exceptional articles on a wide range of emerging issues in the theory and practice of international affairs.

Please see the attached poster for specific details, guidelines, and criteria. Submissions may be sent to

We invite you to submit your papers for the opportunity to be published in the 14th volume of the Paterson Review.



Carleton’s Canadian Foreign Policy Journal’s Best Paper Prize Awarded to Mary Young and Susan Henders

Carleton University’s Canadian Foreign Policy Journal (CFPJ) awarded the Maureen Appel Molot Best Paper Prize to Mary Young and Susan Henders of York University.  Henders and Young won the 2012 installment of the prize for their piece, Other diplomacies and the making of Canada­Asia relations.

“This year’s winner is especially important because the authors are emerging scholars whose work was featured in a special issue on Canada-Asia relations funded by the Government of Canada and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC),” said David Carment, professor of International Affairs, Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute (CDFAI) fellow and editor of the Canadian Foreign Policy Journal. “These papers represent some of the best policy research on Asia.”

The paper is available for a limited time at:

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Call for Papers: Canadian Foreign Policy Journal

Sub-National Influences on Foreign Policy: the Canada-US Context

Canadian Foreign Policy Journal  in Partnership with Fulbright Canada is pleased to announce a  call for papers requesting submissions on the topic of  sub national influences on foreign policy in the Canada-US context. Whether it is issues related to the environment, the far North, energy  trade or security, sub-national processes,  actors and interests  are becoming increasingly important influences in shaping and defining Canada-US relations. Whereas the Canada and US politics  of the past  was largely the purview of states, now the politics of globalization and power diffusion highlight equally important    influences such as the foreign policy and lobbying activities of Quebec and Alberta in Washington, emerging  relations between provinces and states, and municipalities, the evolving roles of provinces and states in bilateral relations.

Sub-national influences  have now  become a  new front line in  strengthening Canada-US relations, creating  challenges and opportunities brought on by new trends and developments in how foreign policy is influenced and made. The challenges mostly take the  shape of the range of different actors and their impact on foreign policy outcomes. The opportunities are driven by increasingly confident  parastatal, regional,  local and provincial actors who shape these  policies. Examples include   the Keystone Pipeline, freshwater sharing, border security, Hydro Quebec, ideological organisations and the influence of NAFTA on sub national relations.

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Guidelines for Thematic Issue Proposals: Canadian Foreign Policy Journal

Canadian Foreign Policy Journal (CFPJ) publishes thematic issues regularly. The theme may be approached from a particular or, preferably, interdisciplinary social science perspective.

Issues normally consist of an introductory review article (approximately 5-7,000 words) and 5-7 articles (approximately 6,000-8,000 words). Each issue is normally overseen by a special guest editor. The title of the thematic issue and the name of the guest editor(s) are printed on the front cover. All papers in each of the thematic issues are subject to peer review and benefit from comments and editorial guidance from the guest editor and the CFPJ editor.

Thematic issues should address the aims and scope of CFPJ by exploring issues of importance to Canada. The Journal welcomes original submissions that review issues on the state of the field. The Journal’s goal is give our readers research and commentary on Canada’s place in the world. Key themes include the history of Canada in international affairs, the policy process, changing global priorities, Canada-US relations, development, trade and security, and emerging
trends in health, the environment, and the new diplomacy. Over the next several years we will examine linkages both internal, such as domestic and provincial politics, and external, including Canada’s relationship with multilateral and regional organizations. The varied sources of policy including domestic politics, paradiplomacy and diasporas are also considered. Contributions are drawn from Canada and around the world. Essays are fully referenced, peer-reviewed, authoritative yet written for the specialist and non-specialist alike. Our readers include government officials, academics, students of international affairs, journalists, NGOs, and the private sector.

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Call for Papers: Canadian Foreign Policy Journal

The Seven Year Itch: Canadian Foreign Policy Under the Harper Government, Looking Forward, Turning Back?

A lot has been written recently about the elemental changes the current government is taking in regards to transforming Canada’s approach to development, defence and diplomacy. The decision to fold CIDA into DFAIT, the establishment of an Office of Religious Freedom, the failure to secure a seat on the UN Security Council as well controversies surrounding  the purchase of the F35 stand out as examples of these changes. In terms of environmental policy and international law, the recent move to quietly pull out of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, making Canada the only country in the world to do so, mirrors the government’s 2011 decision to formally withdraw from the Kyoto protocol. At the same time the government has been persistent in its pursuit of free trade agreements, achieving success both bilaterally and regionally.

To what extent are these and other changes fundamental shifts in Canadian foreign policy? Are they more than just rebranding? What are the implications for Canada’s standing and its status as a Middle Power?  Is multilateralism still the reference point for understanding Canada’s engagement in the world?

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