Alexander Cooley is the Claire Tow Professor of Political Science at Barnard College.

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, Morten Anderson, and Daniel H. Nexon, Undermining American Hegemony: Goods Substitution in World Politics (Cambridge, 2021).
Alexander Cooley, Great Games, Local Rules: The New Great Power Contest for Central Asia (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2012).
Alexander Cooley and H. Spruyt, Contracting States: Sovereign Transfers in International Politics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009).
Alexander Cooley, Base Politics: Democratic Change and the U.S. Military Overseas (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2008).
Alexander Cooley, Logics of Hierarchy: The Organization of Empires, States, and Military Occupations (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2005).

Principal Articles

Alexander Cooley and Daniel H. Nexon, “The Real Crisis of Global Order: Illiberalism on the Rise,” Foreign Affairs 101, no. 1 (January-February 2022).
Alexander Cooley, “On the brink and at the world’s edge: Western approaches to Central Asia’s international politics, 1991-2021,” Central Asian Survey, 40, no. 4 (September 2021).
Alexander Cooley and Jack Snyder, “Rank Has Its Privileges: How International Ratings Dumb Down Global Governance,” Foreign Affairs 96, no. 4 (November-December 2015).
Alexander Cooley and Lincoln Mitchell, “Engagement without Recognition: A New Strategy toward Abkhazia and Eurasia’s Unrecognized States,” Washington Quarterly 33, no. 4 (October 2010).
Alexander Cooley, “Western Values as Power Politics: The Struggle for Mastery in Eurasia,” Global Dialogue 11 (Winter 2009).
Alexander Cooley, “Behind the Central Asian Curtain: The Limits of Russia’s Resurgence,” Current History 108, no. 720 (October 2009).
Alexander Cooley, “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 (June 2009).
Alexander Cooley and Lincoln Mitchell, “No Way to Treat Our Friends: Recasting Recent U.S.-Georgia Relations,” Washington Quarterly 32, no. 1 (January 2009).
Alexander Cooley, “U.S. Bases and Democratization in Central Asia,” Orbis 52, no. 1 (Winter 2008).
Alexander Cooley, “Principles in the Pipeline: Managing Transatlantic Values and Interests in Central Asia,” International Affairs 84, no. 6 (November 2008).
Alexander Cooley, “How the West Failed Georgia,” Current History 107, no. 711 (October 2008).
Kimberly Marten and Alexander Cooley, “Base Motives: The Political Economy of Okinawa’s Anti-Militarism,” Armed Forces and Society 32, no. 4 (July 2006).
Alexander Cooley, “Base Politics,” Foreign Affairs 84, no. 6 (November-December 2005).
Alexander Cooley, “Democratization and the Contested Politics of U.S. Military Bases in Korea: Towards a Comparative Understanding,” IRI Review 10, no. 2 (September 2005).
Alexander Cooley, “Thinking Rationally about Hierarchy and Global Governance,” Review of International Political Economy 10, no. 4 (November 2003).
Alexander Cooley, “Booms and Busts: Theorizing Institutional Formation and Change in Oil States,” Review of International Political Economy 8, no. 1 (Spring 2001).
Alexander Cooley, “Imperial Wreckage: Property Rights, Sovereignty, and Security in the Post-Soviet Space,” International Security 24, no. 3 (Winter 2000-2001).
Alexander Cooley, “International Aid to the Former Soviet States: Agent of Change or Guardian of the Status Quo?” Problems of Post-Communism 47, no. 4 (July-August 2000).
Alexander Cooley, “Transitioning Backwards: Concepts and Comparison in the Study of Central Asia’s Political Economy,” The Harriman Review (Fall 1998).
Alexander Cooley and Deepa Ollapally, “Identity Politics and the International System,” Nationalism and Ethnic Politics 2, no. 4 (Winter 1996).

Book Chapters

Alexander Cooley, “Contested Contracts: Rationalist Theories of Institutions in American IPE,” in Mark Blyth, ed., The Routledge Handbook of International Political Economy (IPE): IPE as a Global Conversation (New York: Routledge, 2009).
Alexander Cooley, “New Bases, Old Politics: The Rise and Decline of the US Military Presence in Central Asia,” in Luís Rodrigues and Sergiy Gleboc, eds., Military Bases: Historical Perspectives, Contemporary Challenges. NATO Science for Peace and Security Studies 51 (Amsterdam: IOS Press, 2009).
Alexander Cooley, “Globalization and National Security After Empire: The Former Soviet Space,” in Jonathan Kirchner, ed., Globalization and National Security (New York: Routledge, 2006).
Alexander Cooley, “Western Conditions and Domestic Choices: The Influence of External Actors on the Post-Communist Transition,” in Adrian Karatnycky, Alexander J. Motyl, and Amanda Schentzer, eds., Nations in Transit 2003: Democratization in East Central Europe and Eurasia (New York: FreedomHouse, 2003).
Alexander Cooley and Demetrios James Caraley, “September 11: An Overview,” in Demetrios James Caraley, ed., September 11, Terrorist Attacks, and U.S. Foreign Policy (New York: The Academy of Political Science, 2002).
Alexander Cooley, “Turkmenistan: The Faltering Oil State,” in Peter Rutland, ed., Holding the Course: Annual Survey of Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union (Armonk, NY: The East-West Institute and M.E. Sharpe, 1999).

Other Articles, Testimony and Reports

Alexander Cooley, “International ordering and great power competition: Lessons from Central Asia,” Brookings, February 2023.
Alexander Cooley and Brooke Harrington, “The Power of Stigma: Shaming Russian Elites Has Helped Weaken Putin,” Foreign Affairs online, 27 October 2022.
Alexander Cooley, “Can Kazakhstan Shed Its Kleptocratic Past?,” Foreign Affairs online, 2 May 2022.
Alexander Cooley, “A False Dawn for Liberalism? Why the War in Ukraine May Not Revive the West,” Foreign Affairs online, 29 March 2022.
Alexander Cooley, “Kazakhstan Called For Assistance. Why Did Russia Dispatch Troops So Quickly?” The Washington Post Monkey Cage, 9 January 2022.
John Heathershaw, Alexander Cooley, Tom Mayne, et. al. “The UK’s kleptocracy problem: How servicing post-Soviet elites weakens the rule of law,” Chatham House, December 2021. 
Alexander Cooley, “To Re-establish US Influence, Biden Should Learn to Play Rope-a-Dope, Not Compete Globally,” The National Interest, 31 January 2021.
Alexander Cooley and Lincoln Mitchell, “A Counterproductive Disdain,” New York Times, 31 August 2011.
Alexander Cooley, “Manas Hysteria: Why the United States can’t keep buying off Kyrgyz leaders to keep its vital air base open,” Foreign Policy, 12 April 2010.
Alexander Cooley, “The Five Lessons of the Great American Air Base Debate,” Eurasianet Commentary, 12 February 2009.
Alexander Cooley, “The Price of Access: How the US Lost its Kyrgyzstan Air Base,” International Herald Tribune, 11 February 2009.
Alexander Cooley, “Will Sevastopol Survive? The Triangular Politics of Russia’s Naval Base in Crimea,” Policy Memo 47, PONARS Eurasia, 2008.
Alexander Cooley and Borut Grgic, “A Way Out in the Caucasus,” Wall Street Journal, 17 November 2008.
Alexander Cooley, “Georgia: Examining Possible Sovereign Futures and the Internationalization Option,” Eurasianet Commentary, 12 September 2008.
Alexander Cooley, “Kosovo’s Precedents: The Politics of Sovereign Emergence and its Alternatives,” Policy Memo 7, PONARS Eurasia, March 2008.
Alexander Cooley, “Manas Matters: The Changing Politics of the U.S. Military Base in Kyrgyzstan,” Policy Memo 423, PONARS Eurasia, December 2006.
Alexander Cooley, “Difficult Engagements: Political Lessons from the K2 Experience,” Policy Memo 400, PONARS Eurasia, December 2005.
Alexander Cooley, “Where was the West All that Time? [Kyrgyzstan’s Revolution],” International Herald Tribune, 30 March 2005.
Alexander Cooley and Kimberly Marten, “Permanent Military Bases Won’t Work,” International Herald Tribune, 3 February 2005.
Alexander Cooley, “Depoliticizing Manas: The Domestic Consequences of the U.S. Military Presence in Kyrgyzstan,” Policy Memo 362, PONARS Eurasia, February 2005.