Not that I think too much of myself, but if one recalls this blog was started precisely as a herald of a complete degeneration (not that it was that good to start with) of an American so called "Russian Studies" field. I even gave the title of Sand Castle Geopolitics to some of my posts three years ago. Since then I continued and never stopped in pressing the main point--American Russia's "expertdom", with some minor, however notable, exceptions is a collection of badly educated, non-erudite, myopic products of US so called "political science" field which is anything but science. The main purpose of science is an objective search for the truth, in order to find this truth, which is knowable, one has to have a very good cognitive apparatus capable to establish the most important, principal, thing--a causality. The connection between the cause and effect is crucial, without it there is no science nor knowledge. US "Political Science" field has none of it, preferring to pursuit of a truth a pursuit of demagoguery, sophistry and mental constructs which look elegant on the surface without having any depth or being in touch with the reality. This assertion is supported by overwhelming empirical evidence. Yet, these completely discredited political, so called, "scientists" continue their convulsions with parading themselves as ignoramuses by reinforcing their "methods" and assumptions which far from getting any realistic picture of Russia are also in the foundation of an American decline. Here is one such recent "optimist".
Timothy Frye starts his piece immediately with a whopping fail:
The only problem is that Russian studies is thriving, at least in Political Science, the field I know best. Consider the flagship journal in the field—the American Political Science Review (APSR). It publishes about forty articles per year from all four specializations in Political Science, including American politics, comparative politics, international relations, and political theory and it has an acceptance rate of 8 percent. That is, 92 percent of submissions are rejected. This figure is especially impressive since scholars tend to only send their best work to the APSR for review.
Well, I have news for Frye--it is not "thriving" in the most important metric--delivering a truthful picture. If he thinks that "studies" of Russia such as:
In work posted on the APSR website, Bryn Rosenfeld from University of Southern California identifies an important caveat to the oft-cited thesis that a strong middle-class promotes democracy. Using a clever statistical method and large surveys from Russia, she finds that the middle class is likely to protest against electoral fraud, but not if they work in the state sector.
really add anything of value to understanding (which there is none) or knowing Russia, without studying things which really matter to the majority of Russians, not to some self-proclaimed "experts", I have a bridge to sell to him. The Modus Operandi of the overwhelming majority of the US "political scientists", intelligence people, journalists etc. when dealing with Russia is described by these four points:
1. Always remember that you are superior in every single aspect and that you know better, even if you don't speak Russian and never read more than couple of books on Russia (Pasternak and Solzhenitsyn are a must);
2. Once in Russia, find immediately a nearest pro-Western liberal nest, preferably with people fluently speaking English and being published in media supported by US State Department or any other NGO (if connected to CIA--even better). Take information and opinions on Russia from these people and media;
3. Concoct a "study" which shows how American "democracy" is superior to anything ever created in universe and why Russia and Russians must earn the right to be even considered worthy of such a system;
4. Always remember that you are superior and because you are from America--you know better and you don't need those Russkies to point out to you that for the most part you have no clue and your "research" is not worth a paper on which it will be printed.
You may say I exaggerate. No, not by much anyway. But even Frye admits that:
Certainly the academic study of Russia faces many challenges and we can use more experts in the field, particularly in the study of foreign policy. But the lack of nuance in public discourse about Russia is not rooted in the low quality of academic research in Russian studies