Greetings and Salutations!!
If you are reading this message then I must be dead and it’s time to settle my affairs and reveal who I think killed me— whoops, sorry, wrong document!
Let’s try again: hi, and thanks for coming to my Substack and wanting to know more about its author. For those of you familiar with my past public writings, welcome to more of the same — only with less editing and more profanity! What you will read here are will bear more than a passing resemblance to what I wrote for six years at Foreign Policy and then eight years at the Washington Post.
For those of you unfamiliar with me, thanks for visiting! Beyond FP and WaPo I have written for a lot of general interest outlets, including the Chronicle of Higher Education, Foreign Affairs, the Guardian, Los Angeles Times, New Republic, New York Times, Politico, Reason, Slate, and the Wall Street Journal. I also co-host the podcast Space the Nation with Ana Marie Cox, which covers the intersection of science fiction and political science.
By day, however. I am a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a nonresident senior fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. I am also the co-director of Fletcher’s Russia and Eurasia program. Before I came to Fletcher, I taught in the political science departments at the University of Chicago and the University of Colorado at Boulder. At various times I also held positions at Civic Education Project, the RAND Corporation, and the U.S. Department of the Treasury. I had to study pretty hard to do all of this — I earned a B.A. in political economy from Williams College, an M.A. in economics from Stanford University, and an M.A. and a Ph.D. in political science from Stanford as well. I have a lot of degrees, but not as many as my father, who also has an M.D. I’m not in any way compensating for that fact, however.
So what do I know? I’ve written seven books and edited three others on topics ranging from economic sanctions to international regulatory coordination to shifts in the marketplace of ideas. Some of my books, like The Toddler in Chief and Theories of International Politics and Zombies, are intended to be informative and also irreverent. Most of my books, including The Ideas Industry, The System Worked, All Politics is Global, and The Sanctions Paradox, are intended for an audience of policymakers and scholars. Don’t blame me if you’re surprised about how wonky those books are is all I’m saying.
Think of my expertise as a series of concentric circles, in which I go from expert to interested amateur. Here is how those circles play out:
EXPERT (I know an awful damn lot about the topic and am up on the latest research): Economic statecraft, global political economy, great power politics, international relations theory, marketplace of foreign policy ideas, politics of U.S. foreign policy, and the Boston Red Sox.
PROFESSIONAL (I have a lot of knowledge and/or experience but am not writing about the topic and so might not be completely up to date): International relations, American political development, Russia and Eurasia, political economy of higher education, popular culture, trade policy, and the Boston Celtics.
VERY INTERESTED AMATEUR (Some knowledge and/or experience and staying on top of latest developments): Electoral politics, populism, business cycle fluctuations, tech trends, American history, and Mindy Kaling comedies.
So, you’ve been warned. Some of what I write here will be grounded in longstanding expertise. Some of it will be me using this intellectual sketchpad in a more contingent way. A lot of it will responding to news events or, more likely, emerging but erroneous pundit responses to those news events. Oh, and there will be a healthy dollop of book recommendations, pop culture musings, and assessments of other writing by others that was really good but flew under the radar.