Alexander Cooley is the Claire Tow Professor of Political Science at Barnard College and Director of Columbia University’s Harriman Institute (2015-present).
His research examines how external actors—including emerging powers, international organizations, multinational companies, NGOs, and Western enablers of grand corruption—have influenced the development, governance and sovereignty of the former Soviet states, with a focus on Central Asia and the Caucasus. Cooley is the author and/or editor of seven academic books including, Dictators without Borders: Power and Money in Central Asia (Yale University Press 2017), co-authored with John Heathershaw, and most recently, Exit from Hegemony: the Unravelling of the American Global Order (Oxford University Press, 2020), co-authored with Daniel Nexon.
In addition to his academic research, Cooley serves on several international advisory boards engaged with the region and has testified for the United States Congress and Helsinki Commission. Cooley’s opinion pieces have appeared in New York Times, Foreign Policy and Foreign Affairs and his research has been supported by fellowships and grants from the Open Society Foundations, Carnegie Corporation, and the German Marshall Fund of the United States, among others. Cooley earned both his MA and Ph.D. from Columbia University.
Alexander Cooley and H. Spruyt, Contracting States: Sovereign Transfers in International Politics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009).
Base Politics: Democratic Change and the U.S. Military Overseas (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2008).
Logics of Hierarchy:The Organization of Empires, States, and Military Occupations (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2005).
Great Games, Local Rules: The New Great Power Contest for Central Asia (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2012).
“Contested Contracts: Rationalist Theories of Institutions in American IPE,” in The Routledge Handbook of International Political Economy (IPE): IPE as a Global Conversation, ed. Mark Blyth (New York: Routledge, 2009).
“New Bases, Old Politics: The Rise and Decline of the US Military Presence in Central Asia,” in Military Bases: Historical Perspectives, Contemporary Challenges. NATO Science for Peace and Security Studies 51, eds. Luís Rodrigues and Sergiy Gleboc (Amsterdam: IOS Press, 2009).
“Globalization and National Security After Empire: The Former Soviet Space,” in Globalization and National Security, ed. Jonathan Kirchner (New York: Routledge, 2006).
“Western Conditions and Domestic Choices: The Influence of External Actors on the Post-Communist Transition,” in Nations in Transit 2003: Democratization in East Central Europe and Eurasia eds. Adrian Karatnycky, Alexander J. Motyl, and Amanda Schentzer (New York: FreedomHouse, 2003).
Alexander Cooley and Demetrios James Caraley, “September 11: An Overview,” in September 11, Terrorist Attacks, and U.S. Foreign Policy, ed. Demetrios James Caraley (New York: The Academy of Political Science, 2002).
“Turkmenistan: The Faltering Oil State,” in Holding the Course: Annual Survey of Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union, 1998, ed. Peter Rutland (Armonk, NY: The East-West Institute and M.E. Sharpe, 1999).
Alexander Cooley and Jack Snyder, “Rank Has Its Privileges: How International Ratings Dumb Down Global Governance,” Foreign Affairs 96, no. 4 (2015).
Alexander Cooley and Lincoln Mitchell, “A Counterproductive Disdain,” New York Times (2011).
Alexander Cooley and Lincoln Mitchell, “Engagement without Recognition: A New Strategy toward Abkhazia and Eurasia’s Unrecognized States,” Washington Quarterly 33, no. 4 (2010).
“Behind the Central Asian Curtain: The Limits of Russia’s Resurgence,” Current History 108, no. 720 (2009).
“Western Values as Power Politics: The Struggle for Mastery in Eurasia,” Global Dialogue (2009).
“Critical Dialogue: Review of Daniel Aldrich’s Site Fights and Response to Daniel Aldrich’s Review of Base Politics,” Perspectives on Politics 7, no. 2 (2009).
Alexander Cooley and Lincoln Mitchell, “No Way to Treat Our Friends: Recasting Recent U.S.-Georgia Relations,” Washington Quarterly (2009).
“U.S. Bases and Democratization in Central Asia,” Orbis 52, no. 1 (2008): 65.
“Principles in the Pipeline: Managing Transatlantic Values and Interests in Central Asia,” International Affairs 84, no. 6 (2008).
Kimberly Marten and Alexander Cooley, “Base Motives: The Political Economy of Okinawa’s Antimilitarism,” Armed Forces & Society 32, no. 4 (2006).
“Base Politics,” Foreign Affairs 84, no. 6 (2005).
“Democratization and the Contested Politics of U.S. Military Bases in Korea: Towards a Comparative Understanding,” IRI Review 10, no. 2 (2005).
“Thinking Rationally about Hierarchy and Global Governance,” Review of International Political Economy (10th Anniversary Special Issue) 10, no. 4 (2003).
“Booms and Busts: Theorizing Institutional Formation and Change in Oil States,” Review of International Political Economy 8, no. 1 (2001).
“Imperial Wreckage: Property Rights, Sovereignty, and Security in the Post-Soviet Space,” International Security 24, no. 3 (Winter 2000).
“International Aid to the Former Soviet States: Agent of Change or Guardian of the Status Quo?” Problems of Post-Communism 47, no. 4 (2000).
“Transitioning Backwards: Concepts and Comparison in the Study of Central Asia’s Political Economy,” The Harriman Review (1998).
Alexander Cooley and Deepa Ollapally, “Identity Politics and the International System,” Nationalism and Ethnic Politics 2, no. 4 (1996).
“Depoliticizing Manas: The Domestic Consequences of the U.S. Military Presence in Kyrgyzstan,” Program on New Approaches to Russian Security (PONARS) Eurasia Policy Memo Series no. 362 (2005).
“Manas Hysteria: Why the United States can’t keep buying off Kyrgyz leaders to keep its vital air base open,” Foreign Policy (2010).
“The Five Lessons of the Great American Air Base Debate,” Eurasianet Commentary (2009).
“The Price of Access: How the US Lost its Kyrgyzstan Air Base,” International Herald Tribune (2009).
“Will Sevastopol Survive? The Triangular Politics of Russia’s Naval Base in Crimea,” Program on New Approaches to Russian Security (PONARS) Eurasia Policy Memo Series No. 47 (2008).
Alexander Cooley and Borut Grgic, “A Way Out in the Caucasus,” Wall Street Journal (2008).
“How the West Failed Georgia,” Current History 107, no. 711 (2008).
“Georgia: Examining Possible Sovereign Futures and the Internationalization Option,” Eurasianet Commentary (2008).
“Kosovo’s Precedents: The Politics of Sovereign Emergence and its Alternatives,” Program on New Approaches to Russian Security (PONARS) Eurasia Policy Memo Series no. 7 (2008).
“Manas Matters: The Changing Politics of the U.S. Military Base in Kyrgyzstan,” Program on New Approaches to Russian Security (PONARS)Eurasia Policy Memo Series No. 423 (2006).
“Difficult Engagements: Political Lessons from the K2 Experience,” Program on New Approaches to Russian Security (PONARS) Eurasia Policy Memo Series No. 400 (2005).
“Where was the West All that Time? [Kyrgyzstan’s Revolution],” International Herald Tribune, (2005).
Alexander Cooley and Kimberly Marten, “Permanent Military Bases Won’t Work,” International Herald Tribune (2005).
“To Re-establish US Influence, Biden Should Learn to Play Rope-a-Dope, Not Compete Globally,” The National Interest, 31 January 2021.