Day: October 1, 2013

Syria and US’ Commitments Under the Arms Trade Treaty

Secretary of State John Kerry signed the Arms Trade Treaty last week, which can be read here in its entirety. Humanitarian disarmament groups hail this as a victory. Guns rights groups call it a travesty.

Signing the treaty probably won’t matter much in legal terms for the United States. NYT editorial opinion aside, ratification is highly unlikely. The US is known for signing and not ratifying humanitarian treaties: international agreements to which it is (or was once) party in the dreams of the Executive Branch alone include the 1977 Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions, the Rome Treaty of the International Criminal Court, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women.

Yet signing a treaty is not a pointless exercise. Continue reading


ISA Working Groups

Registration is now open for the two ISA Working Groups scheduled for ISA Toronto.

I am coordinating one of them with my colleague Kavita Khory on Global Trends in War, Conflict and Political Violence.  The Working Group is sponsored by the International Security Studies Section.  Here’s a brief description:

The year 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I. Over the past century, we have witnessed episodes of extreme interstate and intrastate violence as well as a more recent period of relative stability. This working group will bring together a group of scholars from a diverse set of theoretical, methodological, and geographical approaches to look at the broad trends in interstate war, intrastate war, and political violence over the past century, where we are today, and what the future trends might look like.

Included in the list of speakers is Debra Avant, Bruce Jentleson, Neta Crawford, Nils Petter Gleditsch, Pamela Aall, John Mueller, Lise Howard, and Joshua Goldstein.

The other Working Group titled Forecasting International Events is organized by Curtis S. Signorino and Jeffrey Arnold and is sponsored by The Scientific Study of International Processes Section.  Here’s the description:

Interest has been rapidly growing in forecasting international events. This growing interest is part of a wider societal interest in predictive analytics, itself driven by the ‘big data’ revolution. While the questions of interest in international relations are complex and fundamentally difficult to predict, international relations researchers now have dramatically more data and computational power than at any time in the past, and this ability is growing exponentially. Given these dramatic changes in the technology available to researchers, we propose bringing together leading international relations scholars with a wide variety of interests and a wide variety of methodological approaches but with a common interest in prediction.

If you are interested, the application process for both Working Groups is open until 12:00pm PST this Friday, October 4 at the ISA designated website.  More details and the schedules are listed there as well.  Continue reading


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