One of the most rewarding parts of academia has been delving into the greater wealth of international relations scholarship and producing unique research. Please cite all work; use of working papers by request only.
Social Media Searches and the Reasonable Expectation of Privacy
Abstract: Under existing law, social media information communicated through behind password-protected pages receives no reasonable expectation of privacy. The Note argues that the Fourth Amendment requires a greater degree of privacy protection for social media data. Judicial and legislative activity provides indicia of a willingness to reconsider citizens’ reasonable expectation of privacy and reverse an anachronistic equation of privacy with secrecy. Government monitoring of private social media pages constitutes a deeply invasive form of surveillance and, if government agents employ covert tactics to gain access to private social media networks, then the Fourth Amendment controls government use of that private social media information.
Can Britons’ Data Privacy Be Protected After Brexit?
Abstract: The discussion below reveals that the U.K. risks severe data privacy vulnerabilities through Brexit. Brexit threatens both a loss of influence in determining the scope of acceptable sovereign data use and also encourages political risk-taking detrimental to data privacy interests. Britain can position itself to weather the winds of political change and uncertainty through proactive behavior to secure current data privacy policies. Specifically, Britain can best protect its long-term data privacy interests by passing the GDPR into domestic law..
Political Science Academia
The Outbreak of Kurdish Rebellion: A Study of Kurdish Violence in Turkey and Syria
Abstract: The research question that I intend to explore asks the question: “why do some ethnic minority groups facing discrimination resort to violence while others do not?” In order to further understand this theoretical question, I plan to examine the cases of the Kurdish minority groups in Turkey and Syria and ask: “Why did Turkish Kurds pursue violent means towards their goal of greater autonomy while Syrian Kurds did not?” This research paper aims to identify different factors that have resulted in the violent rebellion perpetrated by the Turkish Kurds and the relative quiescence of the Syrian Kurdish population. This essay finds that the relationship between the Kurdish Worker’s Party (PKK) and the Syrian government is the best indicator of Kurdish violence in Syria and Turkey. More specifically, strong ties between the PKK in Turkey and the Syrian government result in higher levels of violence in Turkey and lower levels of violence in Syria.
In Defense of Sovereignty: An Analysis of Russian Voting Behavior in the United Nations Security Council (1995-2012)
Abstract: This paper explores the motivations for Russian voting behavior in the United Nations Security Council from 1995-2012. Specifically, why does Russia vote with the West in many situations, but not in others? What motivated Russia to veto three Western-backed resolutions in the ongoing Syrian conflict? These are not arbitrary votes—Russia invests considerable energy in both explaining and justifying its voting decisions in the Security Council. Thus, even if one believes that Security Council resolutions do not significantly affect state behavior (a claim that international relations research increasingly disputes), such voting decisions still matter because Russia deems them important.
I contend that Russia’s concern for 1) international stability and 2) state sovereignty norms drives Russia’s voting patterns in the Security Council. The evidence for the subsequent analysis comes from 1095 Security Council resolutions and vetoed draft resolutions as well as their accompanying United Nations press releases. Both the statistical analysis and the qualitative case analyses found that a consistently conservative interpretation of Security Council jurisdiction and the promotion of state sovereignty norms influenced Russian voting. I also find that Russia views the entirety of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) making up the former Soviet Union as part of Russia’s sovereign sphere. I test these hypotheses against hypotheses predicting an expansion-motivated Russia and a status-seeking Russia, but neither alternative viewpoint receives the same empirical support that a defensive Russia receives. Finally, the findings in this paper have a number of implications. First, the paper finds that Russia has internalized a strict legalist approach to Security Council affairs. Therefore, the Western diplomatic approach for compromise should not focus on Russian interests, but should rather engage Russia through the compatibility of legal principles. Second, the paper emphasizes the lack of normative consensus and highlights the importance of further codification of legitimate international legal behavior.
Fitting In: The Case of Ethnic Russians in Estonia
Abstract: Russians in Estonia have persevered through the grueling process of learning Estonian and acquiring Estonian citizenship. While in 1991, the structural backdrop seemed primed for autonomist and independentist claims, by 2013, Russians have increasingly integrated into Estonian society with no real prospects of autonomy-driven organization on the horizon. This phenomenon leads to the central question that this essay hopes to explore: Why hasn’t there been more of a push for autonomy and independence among the Russian minority in Estonia? Stated differently, in view of Russian distinctiveness, what factors have led to this phenomenon of integration and a lack of a push for territorial self-rule?
I argue that Russians in Estonia have chosen to seek their future within a larger Estonian state because they feel sufficiently respected in Estonian society and are granted legal and political rights by their Estonian hosts. In particular, I identify seven material and identitive factors that resulted in satisfied Russians in Estonia who choose to forego autonomy-seeking behavior and instead pursue integration with Estonian society.
Breakaway States: Understanding When The International Community Recognizes The Legitimacy of Separatist States
Abstract: This essay focuses on these conditions that result in the extension of international legitimacy, asking the question; “which factors lead external actors to recognize separatist regions as legitimate states?” In particular, the essay hones in on the factors that lead the international community to recognize separatist states despite the seemingly dominant norm of sovereign territorial integrity. In the subsequent analysis, the essay finds that concerns for international stability and systemic order best explain the variation of international recognition among cases. These concerns are manifested through two distinct mechanisms by which secessionists may undermine the international order. First, separatist behavior that defies the expected normative behavior dictated by the current normative system might encourage future violations and eventually wholesale change of the international structure. Second, the separatist unrecognized states create uncertainty by working outside of the expected convention of the international community, which in turn generates systemic instability.
Twitter Wars: Israeli Twitter Propaganda During Operation Pillar of Defense
Abstract: Social media platforms, from Facebook to Twitter, have impacted the way that humans interact with one another on a mass scale. In 2012, this trend continued with a new development—the first full-force “Twitter War” between two countries. In this essay, I seek to answer the question, “What is the impact that the Israel’s social media war had on Israel’s propaganda campaign during the 2012 war with Gaza?” I analyze Israel’s social media propaganda, particularly through Twitter, in regard to these three target audiences. I find that Israel’s Twitter campaign 1) aided an improved public relations wartime image in the international community 2) successfully mobilized its domestic base 3) did not significantly affect enemy tactics or decision-making.
Media Influence on Public Opinion
Abstract: The interaction between the president and the media presents a power struggle that many political scientists believe has far reaching consequences. Traditionally, American democracy has flourished through the “proper guardians of the public weal,” or though the president and other policymakers. These politicians shaped government policy after a fashion that served the entire American nation. However, these politicians had limited interaction with the public. However, the rise of a powerful media has led to the increasing importance of presidential rhetorical practices and has facilitated a shift in the constitutional theory of government. On the whole, scholarly evidence argues that the media, through its control of presidential rhetoric, manipulates public opinion in a way that undermines American democracy.
United Nations Security Council Resolutions (1995-2012)
Data Available By Request