My newest book comes out in early 2016. Details here
The catalogue copy will read thusly:
Canada’s six-year military mission in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province was one of the most intense and challenging moments in Canadian foreign affairs since the Korean War. A complex war fought in an inhospitable environment, the Afghanistan mission tested the mettle not just of Canada’s soldiers but also of its politicians, public servants, and policy makers. In Adapting in the Dust, Stephen M. Saideman considers how well the Canadian government, media, and public managed the challenge.
Building on interviews with military officers, civilian officials, and politicians, Saideman shows how key actors in Canada’s political system, including the prime minister, the political parties, and parliament, responded to the demands of a costly and controversial mission. Some adapted well; others adapted poorly or – worse yet – in ways that protected careers but harmed the mission itself.
Adapting in the Dust is a vital evaluation of how well Canada’s institutions, parties, and policy makers responded to the need to oversee and sustain a military intervention overseas, and an important guide to what will have to change in order to do better next time.
David Auerswald and I explain why countries have so much trouble when trying to cooperate in multilateral military efforts.
We introduce the topic via a variety of vignettes that illustrate the enduring problem of how to fight together in alliances and coalitions. We then examine both the reality of how NATO operates and the theory of cooperative military efforts to assess the primacy of national capitals, which often makes it feel as if each country is fighting their own war. We develop an institutional approach that focuses on how democracies make decisions as they manage their troops abroad--collectively via coalition governments or individually by Presidents and Prime Ministers. This distinction greatly shapes the styles of management. We then contrast the performances in Afghanistan by Presidential systems (US, France) with parliamentary systems led by single parties (UK, Canada) and those led by coalitions (Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark). We move on to discuss two non-NATO members (Australia and New Zealand) before discussing how things played out near and over Libya. We conclude with some of the lessons we learned that will be useful for both policy-makers and academics as we ponder the next multilateral military intervention.
My first book sought to argue two things:
- Countries that are vulnerable to ethnic conflict may still take sides and support separatists elsewhere.
- Politicians will push their countries to support whichever side their constituents share ethnic ties.
The book uses both case studies (Congo Crisis, Nigerian Civil War, Yugoslavia's disintegration) and quantitative analyses to provide evidence to back up these claims.
My second book, with R. William Ayres, sought to explain why there was both more and less irredentism in the aftermath of Communism than we might have expected: Greater Armenia, Greater Croatia, Greater Serbia but not Greater Hungary, Greater Romania, and Greater Russia.
We argued that nationalism is more complex than usually averred (more so than I present in the first book). That nationalists may compete with other not only over being more or less nationalist but what the nationalism really means, who is really the us and who is the them and how tolerant we are of the them. We argue that xenophobia may serve as a brake on aggressive nationalism as the antipathy to including many more of them may outweigh the ties to the kin who might want to be unified with the homeland.
In the course of the book, we argue that conditionality--the standards for membership to the European Union and NATO--was not nearly as powerful as others have argued.
My third book, co-edited with Marie-Joelle Zahar, brought together a smart bunch of folks to consider what security means in the contest of intra-state conflict.
What we found was that every government must engage in a balancing act: to be sufficiently powerful to deter or thwart those who might engage in violence while being sufficiently restrained so that the state is not a threat to the citizens.
The contributors include: Yasemin Akbaba, David Armstrong, Aysegul Aydin, Christian Davenport, Scott Gates, Patrick James, Stathis Kalyvas, Andre Lecours, Sarah-Myrian Martin-Brule, Mansoob Murshed, Roger Petersen, Donald Rothchild, Paul Staniland, and Zeynep Taydas.
I am currently working on a larger/longer project that builds from the NATO book: what is the role of legislatures in overseeing militaries? I have received a grant that will fund much travel for myself, David Auerswald and Philippe Lagassé to many of the world's democracies over the next five years.