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Rob made a brief introduction in his official “welcome” post. Thanks, Rob! And thanks to the LGM community, which has already thrown down the gauntlet. Still, tradition—and a dose of caution—suggests that I should write some words to introduce myself.

You can find my academic biography at my Georgetown University faculty page. There you will see that I’m an associate professor in the Department of Government and in the School of Foreign Service, that I spent 2009-2010 working the Russia, Ukraine, Eurasia (RUE) unit of the OSD(P), and that I have an unfortunate fondness for Kangol 504s. That is, there’s nothing unusual about my recent appearance with Rob on Foreign Entanglements.

I’m also the lead editor for International Studies Quarterly (see also). This is why I am now compelled to note that the opinions that I express here should in no way be construed to represent those of the International Studies Association, its officers, or its membership.

What you won’t find at my official academic biography is that I helped establish and coordinate the unofficial foreign-policy cell for the Sanders campaign. This is, if that’s possible, even more unimpressive than it sounds. But it reflects my deep commitment to developing and forwarding progressive foreign policy.

As Rob already noted, I founded the Duck of Minerva, although my status there is now that of a “permanent guest.” I do expect to do some cross-posting and cross-fertilization—which continues a older tradition of dense network ties between the Duck and LGM. But there’s a very specific reason that I asked the LGM team about coming on as an occasional contributor. While no one would ever confuse the politics of my blogging at the Duck as anything other than left-liberal, much of that blog’s identity is oriented toward international-relations scholarship. In my view, the election of 2016 is an “all hands” moment for liberals, progressives, and leftists. For much of what I expect to write about in the coming years—that is, more nakedly political material—LGM provides a more appropriate outlet.

Indeed, I started blogging in 2005, too late to make the ‘big time’ of the first wave, but long enough ago to watch the blogsphere’s explosive growth, peak, and decline in relevance—particularly on the left-hand side of the political spectrum. It will be interesting to see how much of that is tied to larger trends—the rise of alternative platforms, the professionalization of former bloggers, and so forth—and how much of that might be reversed by the coming political climate. It seems to me that, given the state of things, progressive blogs may once again have an important role to play.

Regardless, what else might you know about me?

  • I love ketchup. I put it on potatoes, eggs, veggie burgers, tofu dogs (I don’t generally eat meat)… whatever. Erik Loomis is a culinary philistine when it comes to this great condiment. Tomato ketchup is an ingenious means of combining umami and sweet, and it compliments—nay, enhances!—the flavor of many foods. I also have warm feelings toward Siriacha—although even I recognize that the fad may have gone too far—and hot sauces of many other varieties. You know what else I really like? Russian hot mustard.
  • I have four cats. Three of them are orange tabbies. Because orange tabbies are the best. One of these—Ifrit—likes to take showers. You can see him (pre-diet) drinking from within the shower steam starting at the 1.10 mark in this Buzzfeed video. Be wary lest I start posting #codeorange cat photos.
  • My teaching rotation includes a class called “Interstellar Relations: The Politics of Speculative Fiction.” I do write on such matters once in a while. But I am in neither Steve’s nor SEK’s league.
  • I am currently working on projects—a surprising number funded by the Norwegian government in one way or another—on hegemony, international order, and power politics. And yes, Trump’s election both makes my research feel both more urgent and more at risk of being Overtaken by Events.

I really have no idea how much I’ll be posting here. Editorial work takes up a lot of my time. But expect my own post on SEK in the near future—a variation of something you might have seen on Facebook.

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  • MilitantlyAardvark

    I also have warm feelings toward Siriacha

    You.. you..made Siri into ketchup?

    Welcome aboard, you heartless brute!

  • Mudge

    Orange tabbies? Heavens no..tortoiseshells (which are not a breed, of course) are the best..there is an intersection at tortoiseshell orange tabby that may make the most excellent of all cats.

    • MilitantlyAardvark

      Silver tabbies are clearly the superior feline option. Of course, there are some perfectly acceptable mackerel tabbies too.

      • Backers of non-orange tabbies may, if they demonstrate appropriate self-reflection concerning the errors of their ways, play a productive role in the movement. But only counter-revolutionaries prefer tortoiseshells.

        Fun fact (that you likely know): both orange and tortoiseshell coloration are sex-linked traits, but in the opposite direction.

        • Aardvark Cheeselog

          I have this gray tiger (what I think you’re calling a tabby) male, who clearly was thinking of being orange at some point judging from his undercoat. Do I productively contribute, or shall I restrict myself to peanut-throwing and heckling?

    • Warren Terra

      On Twitter Adam Serwer also regularly shows pictures of his three orange tabbies. Three orange tabbies and blogging seems too much of a coincidence. I assume Nexon is Serwer. I’ve certainly never seen the two of them in the same place (or, indeed, separately).

      • MilitantlyAardvark

        Well, you know who else loves orange furry creatures and takes an intense interest in American foreign policy?

        • R. Johnston

          Vladimir Putin. Who, as of January 20, actually sets American foreign policy because of his love of orange creatures with strange fur.

      • Warren Terra
        • MilitantlyAardvark

          The First Triumvirate Triumfelinate is always the worst.

    • Tortoiseshells are not a breed because they are all female. Coat colour is carried by the X or Ychromosome. Females are XX, and one of the two chromosomes is switched off randomly at the blastocyst stage. This can’t happen with XY males. This comment will doubtless bring out of the woodwork some lurker who really understands this stuff.

      • Origami Isopod

        Not a genetics expert, but yeah – coat color != breed.

    • Anna in PDX

      Here to make a plug for tuxedo cats as my favorite coat color. I have two, plus an older lady dowager black cat.

      So glad to see Dan Nexon here. Foreign policy is my favorite topic and I’m not an expert on military history so I always wanted someone like Dan to join. Welcome!

      Eta, also neat he teaches at my alma mater!

  • Downpuppy

    Georgetown, eh? Does that mean you’ll be dishing the inside scoop on the Village?

    • Perhaps there was an era in which ordinary Georgetown professors could afford to live in the Village. But certainly that period is past.

      However, I do see Villagers strolling through the campus from time to time.

  • NeonTrotsky

    Well, welcome from a fellow cat lover!

    • Our first cat—also an orange tabby—was named for the source of your handle.

  • (((Hogan)))

    Ifrit is a marvelous cat name.

  • Warren Terra


  • wjts

    Tomato ketchup is an ingenious means of combining umami and sweet, and it compliments—nay, enhances!—the flavor of many foods.

    To welcome the new front-pager, we will now sing a rousing chorus of the official anthem of the Comment Section’s Loyal Condiment Opposition:

    The people’s sauce is deepest red
    It’s slathered oft on buns and bread
    With tomato tang and spices bold
    It enhances foodstuffs hot and cold.

    So raise the ketchup bottle high
    For its delicious taste we’ll live and die.
    Let mayo flinch and mustard sneer
    We’ll keep the red sauce flowing here.

    • q-tip
      • DocAmazing

        For our Freedom Fries?

    • Calming Influence

      Hearing a rousing chorus of the ancient and revered official anthem of the Comment Section’s Loyal Condiment Opposition, sung with the lusty voices of the tried and true comment section, always brings a tear to my eye.

      By the way, wjts, did you just write this anthem?

      • wjts

        No, our ancient and revered anthem is far more ancient than that!

        (A Google site-search suggests I wrote it in that distant epoch of last summer.)

        • Calming Influence

          You’ve forced me to admit that I was a conscientious objector and sat safely at home during the terrible LGM Condiment Wars of last summer. I hang my head in shame.

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        I always put a bottle of ketchup on the table and sit at attention when the anthem plays

    • MilitantlyAardvark

      The People’s Sauce is scary red
      It lurks beneath Paul Ryan’s bed….

      • wjts

        …and makes his sheets grow damp and cold
        With craven’s piss in every fold.

    • keta

      … and it compliments…

      “Your golden hue is really hip,
      You’re the pomme in all my frites.

      And know this baby, it ain’t false praise,
      Like you’d hear from that phony, mayonnaise.”

      Ket Chup

  • Calming Influence

    “I have four cats.”

    OK, now we’re getting somewhere. But I’ll admit I’m still only cautiously optimistic about this, and will warn you – you better be fucking funny.

    • I’m f-ing hilarious. It’s the rest of the world which has no sense of humor.

  • BGinCHI

    I extend to you this laurel, and hearty handshake. Welcome.

    Also, just back from a year in Bergen, Norway (Mrs. BG on a Fulbright, me writing but mostly hiking). So if you get over that way, I have recs for eating, drinking, and long walks that will blow your mind.

  • Mark Centz

    All very well, but what colors do you support? Where do you stand on the open threads?

  • wengler

    What’s your position on vodka? Or ketchup-flavored vodka?

    • Calming Influence

      I had a position on vodka once. I found it irritated my tushy.

  • Cheerful

    For the record I am one of those who likes ketchup and cats and think the latter are best kept inside.

    Welcome! Also!

    Something I would be curious about whether it’s in your bailiwick and up your alley. Now that Trump has pretty much ruined any remaining reputation of the U.S. as a serious country and is apparently on planning to disengage significantly from Nato and general European alliances, what hope is there for European democracies being able to work together to withstand autocratic illiberalism – from Russia and elsewhere, without much U.S. help?

    I am moved in part by reading that Francois Fillon on the verge of becoming the French Republican candidate. I didn’t know much about him, but apparently he shares a fair amount of Trump’s views regarding rapprochment with Russia without Trump’s blithering incompetence. If France becomes pro-Russia, I assume Germany will not be standing alone and England is off on its island somewhere.

    How do you see this playing out?

    • Hog Fuckin Wild

      troll comment delete

      • BGinCHI


    • Umm. Subject for a later post?

      The difficulty is that there are two ways of playing nicer with Russia. One resolves a bunch of underlying issues without throwing eastern NATO members under the bus. The other other throws them under the bus. It’s not clear to me which way the wind is blowing on this, and it makes a huge difference.

  • Hog Fuckin Wild


    • Calming Influence

      Moran? Is that you???

      • Hog Fuckin Wild

        troll comment deleted

        • Calming Influence

          Ooohhhhh! Sorry, I get it now! Jeez, Hog Fucker, next time don’t be so subtle!

    • Calming Influence

      Is “Hog Fucking Wild” the new twitter handle for Fuckface Von Clownstick?

      • MilitantlyAardvark

        I always assumed it was Gruden’s nom de plumage.

    • Calming Influence

      Note: I don’t normally respond to trolls, but shit, that was some low-hanging fruit…

      • Downpuppy

        Who the fuck would troll a “Howdy” post? I mean, sure, a guy who wears a flying saucer on his head on his faculty page deserves a bit of mockery, but that’s expected.

    • I sometimes get phishing emails purporting to be from my university’s IT department. Except the spoofed email address is from a completely different university, often in California. That’s about how on point this exercise in trolling was.

  • jim, some guy in iowa

    welcome. glad to see the Norskis (one of the many lands my ancestors were no doubt chased out of) funding research type stuff. Probably more slack to pick up as the US gets out of even trying to understand the world

  • Cheerful

    Troll Alert

  • DrDick

    Welcome! We share a passion for hot sauces and hot mustard, though I am a bit more dubious as to the virtues ketchup (though I am not a hater like Loomis). I am also a cat lover, though grey and white kitties obviously rule. I really look forward to some posts on the shape of possible progressive foreign policy initiatives.

  • ThrottleJockey

    Welcome! And Happy Holidays!!

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      man, you gotta get with the program- a year from now it’s going to be “merry christmas- or else!”

      • Warren Terra

        And don’t forget to capitalize the “C” in “Christmas” or it’s off to the re-evangelization camps.

  • Murc

    What you won’t find at my official academic biography is that I helped establish and coordinate the unofficial foreign-policy cell for the Sanders campaign. This is, if that’s possible, even more unimpressive than it sounds.

    Yeah, I’m a pretty die-hard Sandernista but Bernie’s foreign policy shop was… I’m going to be kind here and say it seemed really troubled.

    I have four cats.

    Do you at least have a sig-other so people think you’re less weird?

    In my experience, the cat logic usually works like this: you can have one cat, and you’re just “that guy has a cat.” You can have two cats, and its like “Oh, they keep each other company.” If you have more than two, suddenly you’re “that guy has a lot of cats; it’s a bit weird”… unless you follow it up with “Oh, I had a couple cats, and my partner also did, and well…” and people will be like “Oh! Okay then.”

    • Calming Influence

      The way I justify 5 cats is to say “I have 5 cats. You got a problem with that, asshole?” I find that in general, people don’t have a problem with me having 5 cats.

      • My partner sets the crazy cat people threshold at five—at least when telling my daughter that we are NOT getting another cat. My calculations are purely utilitarian: I invariably wind up with the job of scooping the litter. As I see it, four produce more than enough shit for any household.

  • cpinva

    “And thanks to the LGM community, which has already thrown down the gauntlet.”

    Christ! is that what wacked my foot earlier today? damn gauntlets all over the place! will someone (I’m looking at you, headliners.) please police this place. got trash and effing gauntlets strewn all over the damn floor.

    oh, right, welcome Mr. Nexon. Yes, I know it’s odd that I refer to you by your honorific. I’m an (semi. ef has me beat) old guy, and was raised to not call people I did not know by their first names, as it is considered rude.

    • Calming Influence

      I’m starting a gauntlet recycling business.

  • Simple Desultory Philip

    my late orange tabby, Catface, who was indeed the Very Best Catface Evar, wants me to relay from beyond the catgrave that you are most welcome to LGM.

  • Simple Desultory Philip

    also: just realized: not in time to edit previous comment: Very Important: what kind of cat is the cat that is NOT an orange tabby?

  • Peterr

    I really have no idea how much I’ll be posting here. Editorial work takes up a lot of my time.

    Think of LGM as a First Draft Site. You’ve got a whole bunch of folks around here who are willing to proofread your spelling, criticize your punctuation (“why are you not using a semicolon, as God intended?”), and offer wholesale objections to your basic thesis. In short, we’ll take over the editorial work for you around these parts.

    Now that the basics are out of the way, pass the siracha.

  • Glad to see you here!

    Perhaps this is as good a time as any to start commenting, instead of just constantly lurking….

    • Calming Influence

      Yes. Speak up and be targeted by the Trump States of America NSA. Good timing, faineg :) We’ll reminisce about fun times in the gulag in our old age…

  • Coconinoite


  • Mike in DC

    Fidel Castro has died.

    • IM

      He was no Leonard Cohen, you know.

    • Ronan

      ..and Prof Nexon has a first post

  • IM

    First challenge: Instant comment on the death of Fidel Castro.

    Quick! Or it will be outsourced to Otto J. Pohl!

    • Ronan

      Prof Pohl could really go either way on this one, or (perhaps more likely) off on a tangent.

      • IM

        Should be straight in his bailiwick. And even if he goes on to the PKK – still almost topical.

      • LFC


        Can’t imagine Prof Pohl wd have much of anything good to say about Fidel.

        p.s. Almost didn’t turn on my computer this a.m., but weakness prevailed, I turned it on, WaPo comes up, and banner headline re Castro. (“sh*t, good move to turn on computer this a.m.”)

        • Ronan

          no, you’re probably right re Fidel and J Otto….

    • J. Otto Pohl

      I could do a guest post on how Cuba became a bridge between the Second and Third Worlds (especially Africa) following the 1966 Tricontinental Congress in Havana. Or I could do one on how Cuba managed to socialize its economy without the massive violence that characterized agricultural collectivization in the USSR, PRC, and DRV. Or I could do one on how Cuba remained primarily dependent upon sugar exports under socialism for decades just like it did under capitalism.

      • bender

        I would be interested in the second topic, about which I know nothing.

        Another topic, if you choose, would be Cuba’s public health system under socialism, which has often been lauded by defenders of the regime.

  • keta

    Jesus. Not even inaugurated yet and already has Fidel Castro’s scalp on his belt. All Hail! etc…

  • Calming Influence

    Fidel: a huge thorn on a tiny bush.

  • sibusisodan


  • Welcome.

  • JR in WV

    Hi, How’r ya doin’?

    Glad to see ya.

    Enjoy arguin with folks here. Easy to rile them up!

  • Aardvark Cheeselog

    TIL that “Russian hot mustard” is a thing, a thing I wanted to know about.

  • Late to this but welcome. This is a very good addition to the blog.

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