27 December 2018   Leave a comment

The Teaching, Research and International Policy (TRIP) Project at the College of William and Mary conducted a poll of 1,157 international relations scholars in October 2018 on their perception of how respected the United States is in the world. The poll indicates that “93% say the U.S. is less respected by other countries today compared with the past.”

Interestingly, the poll found no significant differences in the perception of respect between realist and non-realist scholars in IR:

“Among the IR experts, about eight-in-ten (82%) self-described adherents to the realist school of IR theory – which stresses constant competition between states in pursuit of power – believe the U.S. is less respected than in the past, compared with 18% of realists who say there is as much or more respect for America abroad. Meanwhile, about 95% or more of those who subscribe to constructivism or liberalism – which focus less on power politics in favor of shared ideas or mutual international cooperation – and those who identify with no particular school of IR thought think the U.S. is less respected. “

There were also differences between Republicans and Democrats on the level of respect, but that finding is not at all surprising.


The Syrian Kurds, abandoned by the US, are turning to Russia and the Assad government of Syria for protection against a likely Turkish attack. The Kurds currently occupy much of Syria east of the Euphrates River and have been trying to establish Kurdish control over the region. US troops had been protecting the Kurds against both Russian and Turkish attacks, but their departure leaves them vulnerable. The Turks are more concerned about Kurdish control of the region since they fear that a Kurdish enclave in Syria would encourage Kurds in Turkey to demand greater autonomy. The Russians only care that Assad remain in power, and now that US troops have left, the Kurds lack the ability to overthrow Assad. The Kurds fear Assad less than they fear Turkey.


Russia is claiming that it has successfully developed a hypersonic missile that can fly 20 times the speed of sound. Russia also claims that the missile is maneuverable and can avoid an anti-ballistic missile system. The missile system, called Avangard, was developed in response to the US decision to leave the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty in June 2002. Both the US and China are also developing hypersonic missiles, but their development is based on the assumption that ABM systems can be effective, an assumption that has never been proven to be true. But a hypersonic arms race is all but inevitable even if they are not necessary.

Posted December 28, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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