My name is Max. I’m an undergrad studying political science and economics. I’m in the process of writing my Honors thesis about the effects that women in national legislative positions have on government transparency. My focus is comparative politics and political economy, although my interests extend to international relations and national security policy. My goal is to attain my PhD in comparative politics and teach at a collegiate level.
The goal of this blog was proposed during a conversation with my wonderful SO, Zoe, about the Taliban’s rapid defeat of the Afghani republican government in August 2021. Like many people across the world, I felt a renewed interest in the Afghan conflict. I sought to understand why the numerically superior, comparatively well-armed, and Western-backed government forces collapsed so quickly to the resurgent Taliban after the US withdrew.
I started by reaching out to several of my professors specializing in Middle Eastern politics and pulled up my old (and quite lengthy) notes on books like Why Nations Fail. I then researched commentaries by political scientists like Dr. Francis Fukuyama and policy hawks like Sarah Chayes, Rachel Tecott, Anatol Lieven, and de Figueiredo & Weingast. After hours of research, I returned to Zoe with about eight sentences describing my understanding of what happened. With so many sensationalized and fluffed views competing for airtime and column inches, she found it relieving to have a short, plain, and well-researched explanation about what happened. She suggested that I should write an equally short, plain, and well-researched piece on Afghanistan without the pomp and bluster.
That’s the goal of this blog: to take some of the complex political topics bombarding the news cycle, research and analyze them from the perspective of expert political scientists and policy makers, and make them straightforward and digestible.
This blog is not perfect. I am not a political expert and my analysis will not be exhaustive. I know that my viewpoint will be tinged by my personal and institutional biases, though I will do my best to eliminate them to create respectful and multi-dimensional analyses. For this reason, I invite reflective and respectful commentary and contestation of my views.