Author Archives: politakos

About politakos

Hello, my name is Akos. I am a Ph.D. student in the Political Economy and Government program at Harvard. I am originally from the world superpower called Hungary, which explains why I currently teach a sophomore tutorial on international security. More specifically, the tutorial is on game-theoretic models of war (econ 970-AL). The primary purpose of this blog is to share interesting links with my students that are connected to the material we are covering in class.

What does my research contribute to our understanding of the Hong Kong protests?

Did Xi Jinping miscalculate by not allowing free elections in Hong Kong? We cannot know whether the Chinese leadership expected protests of this magnitude, although a large pro-democracy demonstration prior to the controversial decision was a powerful warning. The authorities … Continue reading

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Why Do the Troubles of Ukraine Continue?

The conflict in Eastern Ukraine shows no signs of ending. Today the Ukrainian army used limited force after pro-Russian separatist gunmen had seized control of administrative buildings in numerous cities. These local militiamen were in all likelihood aided materially and … Continue reading

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Timothy Snyder on Ukraine

One puzzle about Moscow’s intervention in Crimea is how it helps Putin achieve whatever he wants to achieve. Yale historian Timothy Snyder argues that intervention would lead to a nationalist blacklash in Kiev, justifying Putin’s war as a result of … Continue reading

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Why Do Dictators Start Wars?

In the next class we will discuss how domestic political institutions (democracy/dictatorship) affect the propensity for war. The two papers on the syllabus try to explain why democratic countries rarely fight one another: Bueno de Mesquita et al (1999): An … Continue reading

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My Research and Ukraine

Interested in what my research has to say about the Russian intervention in Ukraine? Check out my post on the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog.

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Thoughts on Ukraine

We briefly talked in class about the disturbing violence in Ukraine. I would like to draw your attention to two aspects of the power struggle in Kiev: a cultural and an institutional one. Let me start on the cultural front. … Continue reading

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Is War on the Decline?

Is the world becoming more peaceful? Here is the video in which Goldstein and Pinker talk about their respective books on the decline of violence, while Toft and Walt explain their perspectives. Sarkees, Wayman and Singer analyze war data and … Continue reading

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