RA Posts Summer 2019

The Swan Song of Hong Kong: U.S. Regional Strategic Military Bases in Asia

By Marc Dion
June 11th, 2019

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf moored in Hong Kong in April 2019

In September of 2018, China denied USS Wasp a port visit in Hong Kong. While U.S. presence in Hong Kong is strong; the U.S. Navy alone normally visits between 60-80 times a year, this refusal of entry signals tensions between the U.S. and China. The Chinese Communist Party carried out the action, but it may have some traction within the American International Relations academy.

Data used from TRIP Faculty Survey fielded in November 2017; questions 27, 31, 32, and 35

A TRIP survey fielded in November 2017 asked respondents “Should the United States have long-term military bases in the following countries?” and gave a list of 17 different countries in Europe, Latin America, and Asia. In Asia, respondents examined the U.S. military presence in Korea, Japan, the Philippines, and Hong Kong. Hong Kong stands out as the only Asian country where the majority of respondents said no. There are many motivations behind why American International Relations scholars push for withdrawal from Hong Kong.

Popularity of Military Strategy

Military strategy has always been the lynchpin of U.S. foreign policy. However, scholars are less enthused about the use of military intervention. There is much more support for non-military strategies, such as making international agreements. The popularity of non-military based strategies does not always translate into success of non-military strategies, though. Military strategy in Hong Kong likewise comes with many problems.

Hong Kong is a Catch-22 for U.S. grand strategy: not involve itself in Hong Kong and leave Chinese influence in the South China Sea unmitigated, or provoke China and risk confrontation by remaining there with a military presence.

Hong Kong is a prime location to contain the Chinese sphere of influence. Hong Kong’s geostrategic importance for shipping in the South China Sea, as well as its long political history of being unique from the mainland make it an impactful place to limit influence from the source. Having a large military presence there would be offensive to the Chinese, allowing them to retaliate in par. However, not being there means leaving China’s influence unlimited, spreading further across the South China Sea. This is only further complicated by the history of Hong Kong and current movements in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong as a Political Hot Bed

The shift in interest in having a base in Hong Kong comes at a time where Hong Kong-Chinese relations are at a boiling point. Relations between the Special Administrative Region and the Mainland have been at their worst since 2014, when the student-led Umbrella Movement championed democracy against an ever-encroaching Chinese administration. While there have been steps by Hong Kong’s Legislative Council to quell these movements, there remains growing dissent towards the continued integration of Hong Kong back into China. The history behind this dissent is a story for another time, but here’s a link to a summary video by Vox explaining Hong Kong’s conflicted relationship with China.

The fear of getting embroiled in growing domestic dissent could be a potential reason why scholars believe that withdrawal is the best policy. As conflict continues to grow, it will be harder for the U.S. to explain its port visits. It also makes visiting the city riskier for servicemen.

It is now harder to justify maintaining a long-term military base in Hong Kong. The era of Hong Kong’s geostrategic importance to the United States is coming to an end. At least, for International Relations Scholars.

Authors Note: This is a story very close to my heart. Growing up in Hong Kong during the Umbrella Movement, as well as enjoying the hot summer afternoons on Fenwick Pier (a former U.S. base in Hong Kong) were some of my favorite moments. This is a very brief and America-centric understanding of the issues discussed between Hong Kong and China. I implore you to explore more about this issue, especially after the events of this weekend.

Marc Dion is a graduate of William & Mary’s class of 2019. He majored in International Relations and minored in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. Marc has worked at TRIP for 2 years as a Research Assistant. His interests include organizational culture, U.S. foreign policy, and the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East.

RA Posts Summer 2019

It’s Not All Fun and Games

By Peter Leonard
June 7th, 2019

The 2019 Women’s World Cup is underway, with opening festivities kicking off today, June 7th. The Cup is shaping up to be an exciting one – the United States, the favorite to win, has rising star Mallory Pugh, France is looking to win on their national soil, and New Zealand is looking to advance past the group stage for the first time. If one looks through all the fanfare, though, one finds that the World Cup has evolved from being more than just an international soccer match. The World Cup and its parent organization, FIFA, are now steeped in international politics, politics that affect all areas of FIFA’s decision-making.

Academics have talked about FIFA in relation to international politics before. Daniel Maliniak and Erik Voeten used TRIP data in a 2015 Monkey Cage article to see if the United States’ indictment of 47 FIFA officials was due in part to FIFA picking Qatar and Russia as host countries. The authors found that 62.8% of IR scholars supported the indictments, but “both scholars and the public think that the choice of Qatar and Russia as hosts increased the likelihood of the indictment.”

It now seems that FIFA is sailing in smoother waters. The 2018 Men’s World Cup went off without a hitch – a combined 3.572 billion people (more than half the world’s population aged four and older) watched the Cup. Due to these good times, FIFA president Gianni Infantino was just reelected to serve a second term “by acclamation,” skipping the traditional FIFA voting process . Under his reign, Infantino claimed FIFA has gone from being “toxic, almost criminal to what it should be”. Infantinio even considered expanding the World Cup’s reach from 32 to 48 teams in the 2022 World Cup.

Maliniak and Voeten’s findings, combined with FIFA hitting its stride, prompted me to reexamine the original TRIP data to see if it could provide any insight in 2019. I used the TRIP Snap Polls which polled 655 international relations scholars. I was drawn to one finding in particular. Responding to whether awarding the U.S. the 2022 World Cup would’ve made an indictment more or less likely, 49.7% of respondents (a plurality) agreed that awarding the World Cup to the U.S. would have made indictments less likely.

Flash forward to June 2018. On the heels of the Russian World Cup, FIFA announced that the U.S., Mexico, and Canada would host the 2026 World Cup. U.S. soccer officials saw the decision as a big win, especially after the U.S. did not qualify for the 2018 World Cup. FIFA said the financial impact was the primary motivator for its decision; U.S. officials promised the Cup would make $11 billion in profit. The aforementioned TRIP data, though, provokes questions about the authenticity of this claim. Awarding the Cup has been a historically cloudy and corrupt process. Letting the U.S. host a Cup could potentially ease international pressure (pressure that was primarily egged on by the U.S.) and further remove FIFA from the microscope. FIFA officials could not be blamed for factoring less international scrutiny into their decision-making calculus, especially when the organization is enjoying relative calm (at least for the moment).

Peter Leonard is a graduate student at William & Mary’s School of Education, where he is pursuing a degree in secondary education. He began working for TRIP in May of 2019.

RA Posts Spring 2019

How Do IR Scholars Talk About Africa?

By Henry Crossman
May 10, 2019

In the latest issue of Political Science, Yoonjin Song finds “the uneven distribution of research publications with respect to continents and countries may be a source of several biases that should be of concern to the [comparative politics] field.” The top two comparative politics journals focus on African countries in only 8 percent of published articles from 1990 to 2015. Of that 8 percent, five countries are the focus of three-quarters of the articles (326).

How does the International Relations (IR) sub-field compare? The Teaching, Research and International Policy (TRIP) Project has coded all articles published in the top 12 IR journals from 1980 to 2017. Over the past 37 years, less than 6 percent of 8,743 IR articles were written with Sub-Saharan Africa as a region under study.


Why are studies on African countries published at a lower rate than studies about other regions? Do IR scholars study African politics differently compared with the rest of the IR sub-field?

To begin answering these questions, I analyze the sub-set of 520 articles that study African countries against the 8,743 IR articles in the TRIP database.

What Regions Do IR Scholars Study Alongside Africa?

From 1980 to 2017, Sub-Saharan Africa – which includes 49 countries – is selected as a region under study for 6 percent of IR articles. Coders can select multiple regions for any given article, so the 520 articles that study Africa may also study other regions. Of these articles, 10 percent also have “global” selected as a region under study. This typically indicates an article with “a large-n study that includes a number of regions” that also contains a case study or focuses on Africa in greater depth.


As Figure 1 shows, when Africa is one of multiple regions under study in an article, it is typically associated with the Middle East and North Africa or other parts of the Global South. This is a similar (if less sophisticated) finding to Song’s analysis of comparative politics journals, which finds that African countries were compared with other African countries in only 6 percent of the share of articles with symmetric dyads (326).

What Do Scholars Study About Africa? Issue Area and Substantive Focus

Articles studying African countries also differ from the population of IR articles by issue area and substantive focus. TRIP defines issue area as “the primary issue area to which the article contributes,” and it is generally determined by the study’s dependent variable. As such, coders may only select one issue area for an article. Since the dependent variable is not an inclusive means for capturing the contents of an article, coders can also select a number of substantive foci, which offer more insight into an article’s substantive contribution and can cut across issue areas.

Figure 2 shows the top five issue areas for all IR articles and for articles with Africa as a region under study. International Security and Comparative Politics each capture about one-quarter of the articles about African countries. The percentage of comparative politics articles is higher relative to the set of all IR articles and the percentage of international security articles is slightly lower. Human Rights and International Political Economy (IPE) are studied at higher rates when Africa is a region under study relative to the set of all IR articles, while IR theory and U.S. Foreign Policy are studied about at lower rates.


Trends in substantive foci for African countries provide an explanation. Domestic politics and regime type, both national-level variables, are selected as a substantive focus at a higher rate for articles about African countries compared to the full sample of IR articles. Further, over 40 percent of articles about Africa study intra-state conflict. Together, the disproportionate selection of intra-state conflict and the high degree of domestic-level substantive focus explain why comparative politics and international security are the top issue areas for articles about African countries.

The higher percentage of IPE as issue area for studies about African countries can be attributed to the high levels of a substantive focus on development, north-south relations, and foreign aid for African country studies relative to the full sample of articles.

Nearly 7 percent of articles about African countries are primarily focused on human rights issues. This result is reflected in the higher relative percentages of African country articles focusing on public health, NGOs, humanitarian intervention, gender, ethnicity and religion, and migration. Human rights as a top focus is consistent with the concerns and priorities of citizens in African countries, who more than any other category select health care and education as major concerns.


How is Africa Studied? Epistemological & Methodological Differences

What scholars study about African countries is different from the general population of IR articles. Does how scholars study Africa differ too? To explore this question, I look at epistemological and methodological differences between articles studying Sub-Saharan Africa and the full set of IR articles.

While Figure 4 shows that studies with a focus on African countries follow similar trends to the full sample, it also suggests that articles about Africa are relatively more positivist and less non-positivist relative to the full IR sub-field. This difference poses interesting questions for future research, as it may suggest less theory-building or less interpretivism for African or Global South countries.


The methodological differences are starker. Articles with African countries as a region under study use higher rates of quantitative and qualitative methods relative to the full sample of IR articles, and appear systematically less likely to use formal modeling, descriptive analysis, experiments or non-formal analysis.

Could these differences be a function of who is writing about Africa? Articles about Sub-Saharan Africa are slightly more likely to be written by women (21.9% vs. 18.5%) and more likely to be written by authors from non-U.S. institutions (36.3 % vs. 28.9%). These are both factors we know make scholars more likely to use qualitative methods. Data from TRIP’s faculty survey show women are more likely to use qualitative methods in their research than men (35.2% vs. 29.9%), and U.S. scholars are “more quantitatively oriented than most other national IR communities.”


Studying Africa Matters

Earlier, I asked why studies on African countries are systematically under-represented among the top IR journals. One factor is the relatively small number of IR scholars that focus on African politics. Just over 5 percent of U.S. scholars surveyed by TRIP in 2017 selected Sub-Saharan Africa as the main region of the world they studied.

Second, the plurality of articles in top IR journals study the United States, and U.S. Foreign Policy is one of the most common issue areas selected. However, among articles studying African countries and at least one other region, the United States accounts for the smallest percentage at only 15 percent. This is reflected in scholarship: very few of the articles about African countries are categorized as U.S. Foreign Policy, relative to the full sample of IR articles. This suggests that U.S. relations with Africa is absent from current research on U.S. foreign policy.

In part, this is because scholars do not perceive Sub-Saharan Africa as an area of strategic importance to the United States. In TRIP’s 2017 Faculty Survey, 0.2 percent of scholars considered Sub-Saharan Africa to be of the greatest importance to the United States today. In fact, the regions that scholars believe to be of the greatest strategic importance are studied at a higher frequency than regions scholars do not believe to be as important.


The persistence of failed states and humanitarian crises, paired with a rising middle class and powerful youth demographic necessitates taking Africa, and its politics, seriously. Yet, a recent report from the Atlantic Council identifies “a persistent misconception prevalent among the American public—and even many foreign policy professionals—that Africa is largely irrelevant to US national security.” Despite few scholars perceiving Africa as the most strategic region for the U.S. today, looking forward scholars are beginning to recognize the region’s importance.

Sub-Saharan Africa is second behind East Asia in terms of change in IR scholars’ perception of most strategic region today and in 20 years, indicating that scholars believe Africa will become increasingly important for U.S. interests. This suggests IR scholars may study the region more.

This blog post has identified several areas for future research into how Africa is studied and what this might tell us about the IR discipline in general. In many ways, more questions have been posed than answers given: how do scholars talk about Latin America? East Asia? Civil war? Trade? What do these trends mean for the IR discipline and for our understanding of the world?

The bottom line is this: IR academics have an important role to play providing a nuanced, systematic and unbiased research on Africa. The ivory tower’s neglect of the region is cause for concern as concepts, data and findings from academia seep into the journals and op-eds that policymakers and the general public consume.

If you’d like to see more results from the Journal Article Database and surveys cited above, visit the TRIP Survey Data Dashboard.

Henry Crossman is a senior at the College of William & Mary, majoring in International Relations and minoring in Economics. He worked at TRIP for 4 years as a Research Assistant. His interests include African politics, development, and international security. The TRIP Project thanks Henry for sharing his diligence, intelligence, and sharp wit with us over the past four years.

RA Posts Spring 2019

Have a Little Faith: Scholars’ Confidence in World Leaders

By Sydney Boer
April 29, 2019

In the fall of 2017, the TRIP Project fielded SNAP Poll X about the state of global affairs. American scholars of international affairs shared their opinions on prominent heads of state and these leaders’ international policy. TRIP specifically inquired, “How much confidence do you have in each of the following leaders to do the right thing regarding world affairs?” Respondents could choose between the options of “a lot of confidence,” “some confidence,” “not too much confidence,” “no confidence at all,” and “don’t know.”

Two parts of this question can be interpreted very broadly: confidence and the “right thing.” The “right thing” is a subjective phrase because it can evoke different concepts and people hold different opinions about each of those concepts. Since TRIP collected these specific results from American scholars, one can assume an American-centric bias for this question. Therefore, the “right thing” might correlate with American political interests. Or, since the question specifies world affairs, the “right thing” could evoke a moral dilemma of the welfare of humanity. Are scholars more pragmatic or idealistic? In this case, scholars’ responses would differ based on their political ideology in economics and social issues. Most faculty in the survey identified themselves as somewhat liberal (31.82% in social issues, 41.85% in economics ) or very liberal (51.72% in social issues, 23.04% in economics). The next largest category included middle of the road perspectives. Given this, one can pinpoint their possible global priorities. Do they believe that the “right thing” for global affairs is multilateralism? Open markets? Democracy? Human rights?  TRIP did not test the extent of other factors influencing faculty responses, such as their specific research projects, experience outside the ivory tower, or their personal histories. Therefore, one can never 100% know the motives to these responses.

The notion of confidence also allows a lot of ambiguity. It depends on the personal and professional factors mentioned previously, as well as scholars’ level of skepticism. Because this question alludes to global leaders’ future actions, it requires some extrapolation. Because these academics have dedicated their careers to the study of international affairs, they are most likely aware that scholarly predictions are not always accurate. In fact, they are usually not. Therefore, one can expect scholars generally avoid choosing the extreme options of “a lot of confidence” and “no confidence.” It is also well known that International Relations is a male-dominated field. Male scholars, in general, happen to be more confident in their opinions and academic judgment than their female counterparts; although these confidence levels do not determine the correctness of their statements. Now that the question has been qualified, let’s move on to the data.

SNAP Poll X inquired about seven prominent heads of states for this question. First, the survey asked about the President of the United States, Donald Trump. 82.84% of respondents had no confidence in him doing the “right thing” in global affairs. In 2017, Trump was still relatively new at his position, so a lot of extrapolation went into this question. Some of his presidential actions swirling in the media at this time included talk of backing out of the Iran deal, cutting parts of the Affordable Care Act, cutting taxes, and sanctioning North Korea. Keeping in mind the factors of scholarly confidence, these results speak heavily to the scholarly consensus on President Trump. Because most respondents self-identified as the middle of the road, somewhat liberal, or very liberal, a bias against his conservative policies could have influenced these results. However, the extremity of this poll clearly depicts a strong scholarly consensus.

Next, TRIP inquired about Chinese President Xi Jinping. 44.73% of respondents had some confidence in his leadership, and 40.52% harbored “not too much confidence.” I found these results particularly striking due to the growing animosity between China and Western allies. The option “not too much confidence” is tricky because analysts cannot fully determine whether it means that they think the leader will not significantly alter the state of global affairs, or that the leader just will refrain from doing “the right thing” (whatever that may be). Regardless, compared to the results for President Trump, scholars had a much more favorable view of China’s leader. Although, I suspect that these numbers have declined since President Jinping’s term extension, tensions in the South China Sea, and the proliferation of the Belt and Road Initiative that have occurred since the poll’s fielding in 2017.

In regard to Russian President Vladimir Putin, 65.78% of scholars has no confidence and 27.44% had some confidence that he would do the “right thing” in the international arena. International tensions fueled by the US and Russia were still high at this time over Ukraine, Crimea, the Black Sea, and even Syria to an extent. The majority of scholars are not going to praise President Putin anytime soon, but again, notice that scholars look more favorably upon him than President Trump.

The results for German Chancellor Angela Merkel were the most positive out of these seven prominent leaders. Almost half of the respondents at 49.14% had a lot of confidence that she would do the right thing in global affairs. 43.15% still had some confidence in her actions. For context, Chancellor Merkel has been a strong advocate of the EU embracing refugees. Her liberal refugee policies sparked criticism from EU citizens and EU policymakers. As witnessed through Brexit, the refugee crisis was a very contentious issue in this region in the mid 2010s. However, the mostly liberal scholars who took this survey supported her policies. These results shed light on scholars’ conception of the “right thing” in global affairs; in this case, they support a democratically elected policymaker who champions human rights, multilateralism, free trade, and environmentalism.

60.75% of scholars held some confidence in French President Emmanuel Macron’s abilities to do the “right thing.” Around 15% had a lot of confidence in him, and another 15% did not have much confidence. Because he had just been elected in the spring of 2017, scholars did not have many of his presidential decisions to make an educated opinion about the future of his presidency. Yet, they generally looked favorably on his foreign policy aspirations for free trade and a strong Western alliance. Given that he won the position over far-right politician Marine Le Pen, who ran on a position of populist nationalism, anti-immigration, and leaving the EU, these results suggest that scholars were much more pleased with a moderate political and economic leader than an extremely conservative one. From this data, scholars again seem to support leaders who support multilateralism.

Scholars held the second highest view of Canadian President Justin Trudeau. 35.85% held a lot of confidence in his foreign policy, and 48.21% held some confidence in it. Similar to Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Trudeau approached global affairs with an emphasis on multilateralism and social justice. He established a Low Carbon Economy Fund in response to the Paris Climate Agreement. He is a prominent supporter of gender equality, rights of native peoples, and the LGBTQ community under the Canadian Human Rights Act. Because of the correlation between his far-left social views and the respondents’ mostly liberal social views, I would expect the results to be mostly positive.  

Lastly, scholars shared their opinions on British Prime Minister Theresa May. 50.16% of scholars did not have too much confidence in her ability to do the right thing for global affairs. 28.89% harbored some confidence though. I believe these results were heavily influenced by Brexit, which propelled her into this position as Prime Minister. Prime Minister May and her relationship to Brexit are complicated because, as Britain’s leader, she is trying to comply with the British voters’ decision to leave the EU. Again, her efforts to successfully part with the EU are not a function of her foreign policy goals, but rather the will of the people and the democratic process. Based on the previous polls, scholars have confidence in leaders that support multilateralism and free trade. Because Theresa May feels it is her duty to withdrawal from an international organization, scholars would predictably not have good faith in her policy. Yet, 28.89% have some confidence in her, which could reveal some optimism about the Brexit process and British foreign policy as a whole.

These results about scholars’ confidence in prominent leaders’ ability to skillfully govern a globalized world suggest that scholars base their confidence on multilateralism, free trade, and generally liberal policies. The responses reveal a lot about what scholars look for in a global leader, as well as their notion of “the right thing” for the international community.

If you’d like to see more results from the surveys cited above:

TRIP X Snap Poll (Embedded in the 2017 Faculty Survey) (Fielded in October 2017):

TRIP Survey Data Dashboard:

Sydney Boer is a freshman at the College of William and Mary, majoring in International Relations and Middle Eastern Studies. She has worked at the TRIP Project for a semester as a research assistant. Originally from the Boston area, she is interested in sustainable global development, foreign languages, diplomacy, and improving the reputation of Patriots fans everywhere.

RA Posts Spring 2019

R-E-S-P-E-C-T? Examining Respect Trends in Academic Surveys

By Marc Dion

April 24, 2019

*the author highly recommends you enjoy this song while reading this article*

In our most recent Snap Poll fielded in October 2018, the first question respondents answered was “Compared with the past, how respected is the United States by other countries today?” While this is a pretty intuitive question, prompting scholars to compare perceived respect of the U.S., it carries a lot of assumptions that lead to some important questions. What time is the scholar comparing levels of respect to? Is respect a static measurement? Is it a quantifiable measure? I will explore some of these questions here.

What Time is the Scholar Comparing Levels of Respect to?

The question of what date respondents are comparing levels of respect to is a challenging question to answer. Are we comparing it to levels of respect during the Obama administration? Since when Donald Trump first entered office? The question leaves that vague, but we can determine an estimate of what respondents were thinking. We argue that the past compared to was before the Trump administration since a significant percentage of respondents answered that the US is less respected, implying that there must have been some large change assumed to have occurred between now and the comparison period. We argue that this large change is a change of presidency, since that can bring about a radical change in the perceived status of respect. A good way to further narrow down the time period can be to compare the social ideologies of the respondents.

Are Perceptions Only a Reflection of Political Preferences?

When looking at social ideology, we start to see a clearer picture. Conservatives tend to have more disagreement across the board, with almost 30% arguing that the U.S. is more respected today. However, liberals almost unanimously agree that the US is less respected. Therefore, we can suggest that the time compared to would have likely been during a liberal presidential administration, or where liberal values were being advocated more. Looking at times when we have posed the question previously, specifically during the Bush administration, this seems to be the case, where scholars respond with dissatisfaction when their party is not in power. As such, we conclude that people are likely comparing levels of respect to the Obama administration since he represents a liberal administration.

Are Perceptions due to Nostalgia?

When comparing responses to this question in 2004, 2006, and 2008, a strange picture emerges. Each time the question was posed, more than 90% of respondents responded that the U.S. was less respected. Why? I argue that there is an inherent nostalgia associated with the past, which makes scholars/academics feel as though the past is always better than the present. This is because they reflect on the bigger picture of the past and compare it to the minutiae of the present, making it seem as though the present is a worse reality of the past. Perhaps this is the larger reason for such disapproval of the present?

For Whom Does Respect Matter?

We know that 93 percent of IR scholars perceive the U.S. is less respected today relative to the past, but does respect matter in international relations? Three-quarters of self-identifying liberal and moderate IR scholars think the decline in respect for the U.S. is a major problem while less than 1 percent think the decline is no problem at all. Yet, self-identified conservative scholars are more than twice as likely than their liberal and moderate colleagues to view the decline in respect as a minor problem and are far more likely to see the decline as no problem at all.

Pew Research Center explored the public and their perceptions of respect through posing the same question that TRIP had (which was sourced from Pew). We see that there is less consensus in the public sphere: in 2017, less than 70% agreeing that the U.S. had lost respect, with 95% of those respondents saying it was a problem. These results show that the concern with respect is generally important to the public, but not seen as concerning the public as much as scholars.

What is Respect?

With all that in mind, it’s important to discuss what respect entails. We know that all of the TRIP survey respondents are U.S. scholars, therefore we can assume that there is a somewhat unanimous conception of respect, if you assume that U.S. culture is somewhat unified. We will operate under the assumption that U.S. culture is at least somewhat unified due to how we perceive values of respect as being quite similar due to a similar upbringing and education background. While this does not assume that there is no diversity of culture in the United States, we do argue that conceptions of respect are developed through shared communities, and since many communities blend together, all conceptions of respect are somewhat similar.

Respect in the U.S. seems to have a lot of ties to personality politics, where the U.S. President is the symbolic carrier of respect in the United States. As such, choices made by the President have large implications on perceived respect. These choices then are compared to societal and academic status quos that align closely with perceived ideals of rational actors. Therefore, when a President challenges the status quo with their policy choices and is characterized as an irrational actor, they are cast as having lessened the respect of the U.S. This leads to a larger conversation though, one that cannot be easily summarised into a blog post. Regardless, we seek to start a conversation about what respect means in politics, and how societal forces can impact perceived respect, and even challenge how respect is used to credit or discredit politicians.

In conclusion, in the wise words of Aretha Franklin, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Find out what it means to me.” Me being the U.S. academy, of course.

For further reading, check out this link.

If you’d like to see more results from the surveys cited above:

TRIP X Snap Poll (Embedded in the 2017 Faculty Survey) (Fielded in October 2017):

TRIP XI Snap Poll (Fielded in October 2018):

TRIP Survey Data Dashboard:

Marc Dion is a senior at the College of William and Mary, majoring in International Relations and minoring in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. He has worked at TRIP for 2 years as a Research Assistant. His interests include organizational culture, U.S. foreign policy, and the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East.