Alexander Cooley is Director of the Harriman Institute of Columbia University in New York City. He is also a Faculty Member and Ph.D. Advisor in Columbia University's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, The Harriman Institute, Saltzman Institute for War and Peace Studies and also teaches at the School of International and Public Affairs. Professor Cooley’s research examines how external actors– including international organizations, multinational companies, non-governmental organizations, and foreign military bases – have influenced the development and sovereignty of the former Soviet states, with a focus on Central Asia and the Caucasus. His first book–Logics of Hierarchy (Cornell University Press 2005)– examined the enduring legacies of Soviet rule in Eurasia and was awarded the 2006 Marshall Shulman Prize by the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies (co-winner).
Professor Cooley also conducts research on the politics surrounding US and Russian military bases abroad. His second book– Base Politics: Democratic Change and the US Military Overseas (Cornell University Press 2008)– examines the politics surrounding US military bases in East Asia, Southern Europe and Central Asia. He is also co-author, with Hendrik Spruyt, of Contracting States: Sovereign Transfers in International Relations (Princeton University Press 2009). Cooley has just completed a new book on the politics of US-Russia-China competition for influence in Central Asia, titled Great Games, Local Rules: The New Great Power Contest for Central Asia (forthcoming Oxford University Press, 2012).
In addition to his academic research, Professor Cooley serves on the Board of Advisors of the Central Eurasia Project of the Open Society Foundations, the Advisory Committee of the Europe and Central Asia Division of Human Rights Watch and the International Advisory Board of Central Asian Survey; he also has testified as an expert witness in front of the United States Congress about the politics surrounding the Manas air base in Kyrgyzstan and allegations of corruption in fuel contracting practices. Cooley has contributed policy-related articles and opinion pieces to the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy and The Washington Quarterly and he regularly provides commentary to international media outlets on Eurasia-related topics. His research has been supported by fellowships and grants from the Open Society Foundations, Carnegie Corporation, Smith Richardson Foundation and the German Marshall Fund of the United States, among others. Cooley earned both his M.A. (1995) and Ph.D. (1999) from Columbia University.
External actors and regional relations in Eurasia and Central Asia
Comparative semi-sovereign relations and client states
Politics of United States and Russian overseas military bases
Politics of International Rankings and Ratings
Western values advocacy in a multipolar world
You will find selected syllabi published on-line.
POLS V 1601 International Politics
POLS V 3615 Globalization and International Politics
POLS BC 3761 Senior Research Seminar in International Politics
POLS BC 3805 Colloquium on International Organization
INAF U 6570 Challenging Sovereignty in the Post-Communist States
(A graduate lecture course)
- Tow Professor for Distinguished Scholars and Practitioners, Barnard College, 2011-2013.
- Open Society Foundations, Global Fellow, 2009-2010
- Gladys Brooks Foundation "Junior Faculty Excellence in Teaching" Award, 2006-07
- Smith Richardson Foundation, International Security Grant, "The Global Defence Posture Review: Will New Bases Create Old Political Dilemmas?," 2007
- Marshall Shulman Prize Cowinner, 2006
- German Marshall Fund of the United States, Transatlantic Fellow, 2004-05
- Carnegie Corporation Project Grant, Co-investigator, The New United States Imperialism? Intervention and Self-Determination (Grant No. B 7142R01), 2003-05 (with Kimberly Zisk Marten)
Upcoming Public Lectures and Presentations
- August 24, 2012. "Book Talk: Great Games, Local Rules: The New Great Power Contest for Central Asia." New York: Mid-Manhattan Library of the New York Public Library (6:30-8:00pm).
- June 26, 2012. "Book Launch: Great Games, Local Rules: The New Great Power Contest for Central Asia." New York: Open Society Foundations.
- May 9, 2012. "Great Power Relations in Central Asia." Washington DC: Kennan Institute (3:30pm).
- May 2, 2012. "The Price of Influence: Geopolitics and Human Rights in Central Asia, 2001-2011." London: University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies (6:00pm-8:00pm).
- April 21, 2012. "Great Games, Local Rules: The New Great Power Contest for Central Asia." New York: Association for the Study of Nationalities annual meeting.
- April 20, 2012. Roundtable on Eric McGlinchey's Chaos, Violence, Dynasty. New York: Association for the Study of Nationalities convention.
- April 17, 2012. "Eurasian Energy: What Does it Offer?" New York: Harriman Institute's Eurasian Pipeline Conference (9:00-10:30).
- April 1, 2012. "We are All Georgians Now: Symbolic Capital, Trust and Authority Under Hierarchy." San Diego: International Studies Association annual meeting. with Daniel Nexon, Georgetown University.
- March 31, 2012. "The Bases of Sovereignty: Decolonization and Basing Rights in Comprative Perspective." San Diego: International Studies annual meeting.
Selected Recent Lectures and Presentations
- December 8, 2011. "The Price of Access: Central Asia's Transational Corruption Networks." Prepared for Presentation to PONARS Eurasia's "20 Years of Post-Soviet Independence and the EU." Washington DC: Kennan Institute and George Washington University.
- November 16, 2011. "Externally-Sponsored Security Service Reform in Central Asia: Lessons Learned for EU Engagement." Prepared for Presentation to "Europe's Human Security Concerns in Central Asia." Berlin: Fride and Central Eurasia Project conference.
- September 9, 2011. "Counterterrorism and Human Rights: US, Russia and China Compared." Institute of War and Peace Studies Commemorative Panel- 10 Years Later: 9/11, the US and the World. International Affairs Building 1501, Columbia University.
- July 11, 2011. "US Security Needs and Cooperative Arrangements in Central Asia." 10 Year Anniversary Shanghai Cooperation Organization Conference. Shanghai: Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.
- June 15, 2011. "The Osh Crisis and the Failure of Central Asia's Regional Security Organizations" PONARS Eurasia and American University in Central Asia Special Public Conference. Bishkek: American University in Central Asia.
- May 4, 2011. "Western Views of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization." 10 years of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Center for Strategic Studies, Washington DC (12pm-2:00pm). Audio-link
- April 14, 2011. “Geopolitical Competition and Political Stability: The Case of Kyrgyzstan.” New York: Association for the Study of Nationalities Annual Conference.
- April 13, 2011. “Resetting the Reset: The Next Steps.” New York: National Committee on Amercian Foreign Policy. The Union Club.
- March 23, 2011. "The Rise of the SCO as a Regional Organization: Western." Carnegie Moscow. Moscow. Summary and Audio-link.
Recent Media Appearances and Quotes
- Andrew E. Kramer, "Turkmenistan's President Re-Elected with 97% of the Vote," New York Times. February 14, 2012.
- Joshua Kucera, "Central Asia: US Special Forces Help Train Praetorian Guards," Eurasianet. December 19, 2011.
- David Trilling, "Propagandastan," Foreign Policy. November 22, 2011.
- "Why Atambayev Might be Serious about Closing Manas," Eurasianet. November 10, 2011.
- Interview for Radio Azattyk, Kyrgyzstan. "Kyrgyzstan May become a Client State" (in Russian)." November 4, 2011.
- Heather Maher, "Clinton in Central Asia: Seeking a Balance between Realpolitik and Rights," RFE/RL. October 25, 2011.
- "Ron Paul Says U.S. has Military Personell in 130 Nations and 900 Overseas Bases." Politifact. September 14, 2011.
- Jim Lobe and Amanda Wilson, "Washington Warned against Lifting Aid Curbs [to Uzbekistan]" Inter Press Service. September 8, 2011.
- Radio commentary for "Questions about US Cooperation with Repressive Regimes," for PRI's "The World." September 5, 2011.
- Stephanie Ho, "Pakistan Denies Links to Chinese Terror Group," Voice of America. August 24, 2011.
- Muhhamad Tahir, "U.S. Drawdown Stirs Fear in Central Asia," Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty. July 14, 2011.
- Craig Whitlock, "U.S. Turns to Other Routes to Supply Afghan War as Relations with Pakistan Fray," Washington Post July 2, 2011.
- Aram Roston, "Welfare for Dictators," Newsweek June 26, 2011.
- Ian Johnson, "China Celebrates Anniversary of Group with a Long Blacklist," New York Times June 17, 2011.
- Interview for Eurasianet on the SCO's 10th Anniversary. "SCO Summit to Plan Bright, if Vague, Future." June 14, 2011.
- Radio Interview for China Radio International on SCO Summit. June 13, 2011.
- Bruce Pannier, "Russia's Star on Rise Again in Kyrgyzstan," Eurasianet. April 9, 2011.
- Muhhamad Tahir, "Central Asia Stands to Gain as NATO Shifts Supply Lines Away From Pakistan," Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty. March 22, 2011.
Professor Cooley's discussion of US-Russia-China competition in Central Asia, for The Agenda with Steve Paikan, October 5, 2010: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5QCfIE0Poo
Professor Cooley's prepared Congressional testimony on allegations of corruption in fuel contracts at the US air base in Manas Kyrgyzstan. April 22, 2010: http://democrats.oversight.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=v...
Selected Recent Publications
"Roadblocks on the Silk Road: the Challenges of Externally Promoting Economic Cooperation in Central Asia." EUCAM Watch No. 11, February 2012.
"A Counterproductive Disdain [Abkhazia's Elections]" with Lincoln Mitchell. New York Times August 31, 2011.
"Great Games, Local Rules," Cairo Review of Global Affairs Vol. 1, no. 2 (Summer 2011).
"Bahrain's Base Politics: The Arab Spring and America's Military Bases," with Daniel Nexon. Foreign Affairs online. April 5, 2011.
- Reprinted in The New Arab Revolt: What Happened, What it Means and What Comes Next. New York: Council on Foreign Relations, 2011, 221-228.
"Engagement without Recognition: A New Policy Towards Abkhazia and Eurasia's Unrecognized States," with Lincoln Mitchell. The Washington Quarterly Vol. 33, No. 4 (October 2010), 59-73.
"Base Closings: The Rise and Decline of the US Military Bases Issue in Spain 1975-2005," with Jonathan Hopkin. International Political Science Review Vol. 31, No. 4 (September 2010), 494-513.
"Basing Headaches: Why US Overseas Deployments are Becoming Increasingly Contentious," The Will and the Wallet, Budgeting for Foreign Affairs and Defense, July 20, 2010.
"Abkhazia on Three Wheels," with Lincoln Mitchell. World Policy Journal. Vol. 27, No. 2 (Summer 2010), 73-81.
After the August War: A New Strategy for US Engagement with Georgia. New York: Harriman Institute of Columbia University, 2010. Also published as a special issue of the Harriman Review Vol. 17, Nos. 3-4 (May 2010).
"Manas Hysteria: Why the United States can't keep buying off Kyrgyz leaders to keep its vital air base open," Foreign Policy. April 12, 2010.
"Russia and the Recent Evolution of the SCO: Issues and Challenges for US Policy," in TImothy Frye, TImothy Colton and Robert Legvold Eds. The Policy World Meets Academia: Designing US Policy towards Russia. Cambridge, Mass: American Academy of Arts & Sciences, 2010, 8-19
"Cooperation gets Shanghaied: China, Russia, and the SCO," Foreign Affairs online. December 14, 2009.
"No Way to Treat Our Friends: Recasting Recent US-Georgian Relations," with Lincoln Mitchell. The Washington Quarterly Vol. 32, No. 1 (January 2009), 27-41.
Contracting States: Sovereign Transfers in International Politics, with Hendrik Spruyt (Princeton University Press, June 2009.)
“Principles in the Pipeline: Managing Transatlantic Values and Interests in Central Asia," International Affairs. Vol. 84, No. 6 (November 2008), pp. 1174-1188.
Base Politics: Democratic Change and the U.S. Military Overseas (Cornell University Press, 2008).
Logics of Hierarchy: The Organization of Empires, States and Military Occupations (Cornell University Press, 2005).
In the News
In The Washington Post, political science professor explains critical role of Uzbekistan in transporting U.S. war suppies.