Israel: A Novel Wedge Issue in Canadian Electoral Politics

This article investigates the relationship between partisan foreign policy positions on Israel and the voting behavior of religious minorities in Canada. It discusses Stephen Harper’s strong pro-Israeli stance in foreign policy when the Conservatives were in power and focuses on two main explanations accounting for such politicization of Israel, namely moral obligations and political clientelism. These hypotheses are tested using the 1968-2015 Canadian Election Study (CES) surveys and the 2011-2015 Vox Pop Labs election data. The results suggest that the Israeli issue had an impact on the support for the Conservatives among voters from religious minorities. Considering the effect of this foreign policy positions, Jewish Canadians are shown to be more supportive of the Conservatives, while the opposite pattern is observed among Muslim Canadians. The implications of these findings are then discussed.

Co-authored with Yannick Dufresne, Jonathan Paquin, and Marc-Antoine Rancourt

Published in the Politics and Religion. (2023): 1-18.

Israel Causing A Wedge Issue In Canadian Electoral Politics

Both the Liberals and Conservatives have worked hard to convey a pro-Israel stance, but considering the Jewish Canadian community makes up only 1.1 per cent of the country’s population, one question remains — why? New research is suggesting that Israel is a wedge issue in Canadian electoral politics. “There’s a sharp polarization between Jewish and Muslim Canadians on the Israeli issue, and it’s reflected in their vote choice,” said Marc-Antoine Rancourt, a PhD student at the University of Toronto who co-authored the study. “If you know someone’s stance on Israel, you most likely know who they’re going to vote for.” . . .

Written by Davis Legree

Published in iPolitics

Nomad-State Relationships in International Relations: Before and After Borders

This edited volume explores non-state actors that are or have been migratory, crossing borders as a matter of practice and identity. Where non-state actors have received considerable attention amongst political scientists in recent years, those that predate the state―nomads―have not. States, however, tend to take nomads quite seriously both as a material and ideational threat.  Through this volume, the authors rectify this by introducing nomads as a distinct topic of study. It examines why states treat nomads as a threat and it looks particularly at how nomads push back against state intrusions. Ultimately, this exciting volume introduces a new topic of study to IR theory and politics, presenting a detailed study of nomads as non-state actors.

Published by Palgrave Macmillan, 2020.

Introduction in Nomad-State Relationships in International Relations

State consolidation has commonly been understood as depending on the coercive power of governments. Nomads are less easily coerced than settled populations, are difficult to track or otherwise administratively document, tax or conscript. Nomads, therefore, undermine or stand outside of core features of the modern international order. However, they also present a challenge to the legitimacy of the state. Nomadic societies are not just non-state actors. They are non-state political communities, independent, or potentially so, in their modes of social ordering. Fixed and monopolistic territoriality is important not only to the efficiency of modern states, but it is also a defining element of their identity. As such, nomads challenge the legitimacy of modern statehood. Furthermore, their lack of fixity stands at odds with the project of modern nationalism. The movement of a cohesive group across, and their presence within, national borders is contrary to the notion that a particular geographically bounded area (i.e., a state) is the exclusive home to one people who share a common language, culture, and history (i.e., a nation). Among premodern states, migratory peoples were commonly derided as uncivilized, barbarian, or archaic. These biases seem to have persisted even in the context of scant material threats.

Co-authored with Joseph MacKay

Published by Palgrave Macmillan, 2020.

Before and After Borders in Nomad-State Relationships in International Relations

While non-state actors have recently proliferated, nomads we argue nomads challenge sovereignty in ways others do not. Nomadism undermines states’ capacity to tax, conscript, and otherwise regulate population. However, nomadism constitutes an additional non-material threat to the modern territorial state. By disrupting states’ claims to territorial exclusivity, nomadism undermines the ideational foundations of statehood. States have responded to nomadism in three ways. Many forcibly settle nomads. Weak states, unable to secure borders, may allow nomads to migrate relatively freely. Others voluntarily facilitate freer migration by reducing the salience of borders.

Co-authored with Gustavo de Carvalho, Kristin Cavoukian, and Ross Cuthbert

Published by Palgrave Macmillan, 2020.

Review of Nomad-State Relationships in International Relations: Before and After Borders

Throughout history, nomads have been considered to be out on the frontier, wandering aimlessly around the far borders of civilisation. Nomadic people were usually described as backward and uncivilised. Even today, nomads are still misunderstood, marginalised and often treated with disdain by settled peo- ples. Fortunately, there is now increasing recognition of the value of nomad’s traditional ecological knowledge and the efficacy of many of the livestock and grazing management practices that nomads still use. . .

Written by Daniel J. Miller

Published in Nomadic Peoples

A Test of the Democratic Peacekeeping Hypothesis: Coups, Democracy, and Foreign Military Deployments

The effects of peacekeeping on the durability of peace (c.f., Fortna, 2004), democratization (Fortna, 2008), and economic development (Doyle and Sambanis 2000) in receiving states are well documented. However, to date no comprehensive statistical analysis has been undertaken of the effects of peacekeeping on sending states. We assess the impact of peacekeeping on undemocratic and weakly democratic states, which increasingly contribute disproportionately to peacekeeping in the post-Cold War era. Does peacekeeping encourage democratization? Recent research arrives at conflicting conclusions about how contributing troops to international peacekeeping missions impacts the process of democratization in contributing states. Given these competing views, and the relatively broad range of causal mechanisms proffered to explain it, we narrow our scope of inquiry. We investigate whether contributing troops to peacekeeping missions abroad increases the likelihood of a military intervention in politics at home. We find that following deployments, non-democratic and weakly democratic troop contributing states become more prone to military coups. This effect is specific to non- or weak democracies, however. In contrast, established democratic states instead appear to become less coup-prone after contributing troops to peacekeeping missions. Our findings have implications both for how we understand the impact of participation in peacekeeping, and for the potential international determinants of domestic autocracy.

Co-authored with Joseph MacKay Abouzar Nasirzadeh, and Anthony Sealey

Findings presented at the International Studies Association Conference. San Francisco, CA. 2018.

Published in The Journal of Peace Research. 58.3 (2021): 355-367.

Domestic entanglements: Family, state, hierarchy, and the Hobbesian state of nature

This article revisits the Hobbesian account of the state of nature and the formation of states, paying close attention to Hobbes’ account of the family. Drawing on feminist readings, we find in the Leviathan an account of the family as a natural political community. We contend specifically that a focus on conceptions of family life in the Leviathan, and secondary works by Hobbes’ early modern peers, points to the role of the family as a site of socialization in the prelude to early state formation and in the formation of political hierarchies more generally—including, we suggest, the formation of international hierarchies. These accounts have thus far been missing from IR theory. Contra conventional IR theoretic readings of the Leviathan, the Hobbesian state of nature contains the seeds of both anarchy and hierarchy, as overlapping social configurations. While anarchy emerges clearly in the famous condition of “war of all against all”, hierarchy also exists in Hobbes’ depiction of family life as a naturally occurring proto-state setting. On the basis of this contemporary feminist analysis of a classic test, we consider implications for the emerging “new hierarchy studies” in IR.

Co-authored with Joseph MacKay

Findings presented at the International Studies Association Conference, 2010; Canadian Political Science Association Conference, 2010.

Published in The Review of International Studies. 45.2 (2019): 221-238.

Credible Commitments and the Right to Bear Arms: The Second Amendment from a Game Theoretic Perspective

For most of its existence, the Second Amendment was largely ignored by constitutional scholars. Recently, a veritable cottage industry has developed in which two distinct camps have surfaced: so-called “Standard Modelers,” who argue that individuals have a right to bear arms for self-defense, the defense of the state, and, in the most extreme examples, to overthrow the government should it become tyrannical, and those who view the Second Amendment as a collective right vested in the state militias for the purposes of law enforcement, to protect against foreign aggression, quell domestic insurrection, and as a check against federal overreach. Despite the enormous gulf between them, both sides agree that the right to bear arms provides a counterbalance against the federal government. This paper uses insights from game theory to shed new light on the adoption of the Second Amendment. The states suffered a commitment problem. They wished to cooperate with each other by founding a new republic, but feared the consequences of doing so: losing their freedom to a powerful government. The Second Amendment militated against the need for a large federal army, acted to counterbalance federal forces, and created the offensive means with which to confront a tyrannical government.

Published in The Journal of American Studies. 53.4 (2018): 1024-1045.

The European origins of the Israeli–Palestinian economic union: A genealogical approach

The Oslo peace process established a modified economic union between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Economic unions require extensive collaboration and are generally found between states that enjoy pacific relations and are looking to deepen integration and political ties. The choice of an economic union between these adversaries is puzzling given the aim of the peace process was to disentangle Israelis and Palestinians by establishing two separate states. Today, after the optimism surrounding the process has faded, it is easy to see the arrangement as a perpetuation of Israeli control over Palestinian life. However, such assessments fail to consider: a) the depth of the negotiations, b) the significant differences between the outcome of the negotiations and what was previously imposed by Israel, and c) the gap between what was negotiated and what was later implemented. This paper traces the genealogy of the economic union by exploring all three factors. While the negotiators did not start with a tabula rasa, they attempted to alter the existing economic arrangement along the European neo-functionalist model of integration. However, this was later largely abandoned; what followed bore little resemblance to the positive spillover effects in Europe.

Published in The Economics of Peace and Security Journal. 13.1 (2018): 21-31.

Exploring Palestinian Weapons Proliferation During the Oslo Peace Process

The Oslo peace process created a Palestinian police force for the purposes of law enforcement and preventing terrorism. However, Israel soon accused the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) of creating a paramilitary force as a means to spoil the peace process and achieve by force what it could not through negotiations. Others argued that PLO chair Yasir Arafat was engaged in coup- proofing the fledgling Palestinian Authority (PA). This article proposes that the PLO’s weapons proliferation was meant as an insurance policy to deter Israel from reoccupying the Palestinian Territories.

Published in The Middle East Journal. 72.1 (Winter 2018): 48-65.

A Hegelian Realist Constructivist Account of War, Identity, and State Formation

This article offers a realist constructivist account of armed conflict, based on the work of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Hegel has received relatively little attention in mainstream IR theory. When he has been read, four readings have predominated: realist, liberal, critical, and normative. Instead, we link his thought to both realism and constructivism. For Hegel, a persistent struggle for recognition and identity between individuals and groups drives much of human interaction. In his account of the causes of war in Philosophy of Right, Hegel relates international violence not only to realist international-structural pressures, but also to nationalism, and to the internal socioeconomic imperfections of the modern state. The result is broadly realist constructivist, linking a major international phenomenon — armed conflict — to interactions between power and ideas. Previous readings of Hegel in IR have deemphasised some or all of these features. Recovering them furnishes realist constructivism with theoretical tools for explaining the processes linking ideas and power politics — tools it has lacked thus far — in the context of a substantive phenomenon: armed conflict.

Co-authored with Joseph MacKay

Findings presented at Canadian Political Science Association Conference, 2010; Midwestern Political Science Association Conference, 2010.

Published in The Journal of International Relations and Development. 21.1 (2018): 75-100.

Immersive Politics and the Ethnographic Encounter: Anthropology and Political Science

This chapter surveys the use of anthropological findings and, especially, ethnographic methods, in political science. We show that immersive inquiry is increasingly used to study politics. Indeed, the use of these methods is rapidly expanding across a wide variety of topics and geographical areas. Nonetheless, we find in this area of inquiry a central tension: On the one hand, use of immersion to study power has proven strikingly fruitful, opening a range of new avenues of inquiry for the discipline. On the other, this method, and its attendant theoretical ethos, remains somewhat marginal in a discipline widely influenced by statistical and formal or rational choice methods. We also find some practical limitations on how politics can be studied ethnographically, owing to problems of access (because political institutions may be closed to immersive study) and aggregation (because political science so often deals with large-scale phenomena).We conclude that political scientists using ethnographic methods have nonetheless tended to convert these limitations into strengths, using ethnographic methodology to open new areas for inquiry.

Co-authored with Joseph MacKay

Published in In Coleman Simon, Susan Hyatt, and Ann Kingsolver eds. Routledge Companion to Contemporary Anthropology. Taylor & Francis, 2016.

The Imperative to Explore the Impact of Disarmament on Peacemaking Efforts and Conflict Recurrence

There is today a well-established consensus that belligerents must be disarmed in order to reconstruct shattered states and establish a robust and durable peace in the wake of internal armed conflict. Indeed, nearly every UN peacekeeping intervention since the end of the Cold War has included disarma- ment provisions in its mandate. Disarmament is guided by the arrestingly simple premise that weapons cause conflict and, therefore, must be eradicated for a civil conflict to end. If the means by which combatants fight are eliminated, it is thought, actors will have little choice but to commit to peace. Disarmament is, therefore, considered a necessary condition for establishing the lasting conditions for peace. To date, however, no systematic quantitative analysis has been undertaken of the practice of disarmament and the causal mechanisms remain underspecified. This paper is a preliminary attempt to fill that gap. In it we outline a series of hypotheses with which to run future statistical analyses on the effects of disarmament programs. The success of negotiations and the durability of peace are, perhaps, the single most salient issues concerning those engaged in conflict termination efforts. We therefore focus the bulk of this paper on a review of the supposed effects of disarmament on negotiating outcomes and war recurrence.

Co-authored by Dan Miodownik.

Published in Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy. 22.4 (2016): 347-356.

Selectorate Theory and the Democratic Peacekeeping Hypothesis: Evidence from Fiji and Bangladesh

UN peacekeeping has undergone two major shifts since the end of the cold war. The first is a move away from limited efforts to maintain peace in post-conflict environments towards more robust efforts at peace enforcement. Second, the composition of peacekeepers has changed. In 1990, the leading contributors of personnel to UN peacekeeping missions were notable supporters of multilateral cooperation and other liberal-democratic norms with extensive peacekeeping experience. As of 2012, however, the top contributors to UN peacekeeping missions had changed dramatically: Bangladesh, Pakistan, Ethiopia and Nigeria have replaced traditional peacekeepers Canada, Finland, Austria and Norway. While liberal-democratic nations continue to bear most of the costs, they have all but disappeared on the ground, leading to a precipitous decline in the quality of peacekeeping. The consequences of the latter shift are the subject of considerable debate. Some argue that peacekeeping facilitates the transmission of democratic norms and institutions to sending states. Others increasingly argue that the so-called ‘democratic peacekeeping’ hypothesis is a ‘myth’. We go further, suggesting that autocratic states may take on peacekeeping duties as a way of maintaining costly security apparatuses for the purposes of domestic repression. Peacekeeping – a feature of liberal post-cold war global governance – risks becoming a means to facilitate illiberal domestic governance in the developing world. We demonstrate this in two tentative but cautionary cases: Fiji and Bangladesh.

Co-authored with Joseph MacKay and Abouzar Nasirzadeh.

Findings presented at the International Studies Association Conference, 2014; the Midwestern Political Science Association Conference, 2014

Published in International Peacekeeping. 23.1 (2016): 107-132.

Hanging Out in International Politics: Two Kinds of Explanatory Political Ethnography for IR

The use of ethnographic methods is on the rise in International Relations. However, research in this area has largely been constrained to critical or interpretive analysis of nontraditional objects of study. This has been driven in part by two practical problems that limit ethnographic analysis: that of aggregation, as international phenomena are necessarily large in scale, and that of access, as institutional settings are often closed or secretive. While we commend critical and nontraditional research for driving much-needed expansion of the disciplinary agenda, we offer a complementary account, arguing that scholars can also use ethnographic methods in explanatory research. To do so, we draw on two methodological literatures in anthropology. The first approximates ethnographic research through historical immersion. The second applies ethnographic methods at multiple research sites, tracking trans- national phenomena across them. The paper sketches prospective studies of each kind, concerning the creation and implementation of the United Nations. While neither method is entirely new to IR, the methodological literatures in question have yet to receive systematic treatment in the field.

Co-authored with Joseph MacKay

Findings presented at the International Studies Association Conference, 2010; International Studies Association Conference, 2013.

Published in International Studies Review. 17.2 (2015): 163-188.

Before and After Borders: The Nomadic Challenge to Westphalia

Although non-state actors have recently proliferated, many predate the modern state system itself. Among these, traditional nomads uniquely challenge sovereignty. Nomadism undermines states’ capacity to tax, conscript and otherwise regulate population. However, nomadism constitutes an ideational as well as material threat to states. By disrupting states’ territorial configuration, nomadism undermines the ideational foundations of statehood. States have responded to nomadism in three ways. Many forcibly settle nomads. Weak states, unable to secure borders, allow nomads to migrate relatively freely. Others voluntarily facilitate freer migration by reducing the salience of borders. We offer three examples: Bedouins, often forcibly settled; African pastoralists, permitted to migrate through porous borders; and Roma, permitted to migrate transnationally within the European Union. While the Bedouin and African instances suggest a necessary conflict between the role of state and the culture of nomadism, the European experience suggests border relaxation can permit states and nomads to coexist.

Co-authored with Joseph MacKay, Gustavo Calvalho, Kristen Kavoukian, and Ross Cuthbert.

Findings presented at the American Political Science Association Conference, 2009.

Published in International Politics. 51.1 (2014).

Peace and Pollution: The Political Economy of Toxic Waste in the Case of the Israeli Palestinian Peace Process

As part of the Oslo Accords, Israel and the Palestinian Authority agreed to jointly manage issues of environmental concern according to internationally recognised standards. The purpose of this paper is to qualitatively evaluate the outcomes of the Palestinian – Israeli Oslo environmental peace agreements regarding trans-boundary hazardous waste management. Hazardous waste is an area of particular importance given the potential for inefficient management to impact on public health and shared ecological resources. Although the environmental negotiations that took place within the framework of the Oslo Accords can be seen as a significant milestone for environmental cooperation, many objectives were never achieved. Ultimately, both parties were left with suboptimal trans-boundary management, in practice, because broader political disputes derailed cooperation in many technical spheres. This outcome can be attributed to four main factors: Israeli security concerns, territorial disputes, logistical ambiguities and Palestinian institutional constraints. The outcomes of the environmental agreements challenge neo-functionalist approaches to peacebuilding at the inter-state level. Given the risks environmental concerns pose to both sides, new models are needed that disentangle the management of immediately shared environmental challenges from the ongoing conflict.

Co-authored with Ilan Alleson, Shmuel Brenner, and Mohammad Said Al Hmaidi.

Published in The Journal of Peace, Conflict and Development. 8.1 (2013): 15-29.

Accord to Discord: A Political Economy Approach to the Oslo Process

The Paris Protocol, signed in April 1994 as part of the Oslo Accords, set out the economic relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA). Unlike the “unilaterally imposed customs union” (CU) that followed the 1967 Six Day War, the Paris Protocol specified almost every form of daily (non-security) interactions, covering cooperation in water, electricity, energy, finance, transport, communications, trade, industry, labor relations and social welfare issues. The Protocol was predicated on cooperation with the aim of “strengthening the economic base of the Palestinian side and for exercising its right of economic decision-making in accordance with its own development plan and priorities.” It specifically granted the PA autonomy over “the exchange of goods, fiscal policy, currency arrangements, and labor services

Published in The Palestine Israel Journal. 14.3 (2007): 62-68.