ASEAN Is Not A Security Community (Yet)

My article on ASEAN’s lasting peace and the fallacies of “grand theories” of international relations:

Since the formation of the Association of South East Asian Nations in 1967 with the Bangkok Declaration, there have been no major wars between its members – although there have been a number of militarized border disputes. Constructivists (Amitav Acharya premier among them, writing on the subject from 1991–present) maintain that this “lasting peace” is the result of community, and that ASEAN is therefore a security community (SC). I contend that there are more important factors than community at play that are responsible for the lack of war, and moreover that ASEAN is not as secure as it appears.

I also throw in a not-so-subtle jab at liberal democracy near the end. The full article is published on The Diplomat.

“The Space In Between”

I’m pleased to have been featured in my friend Lucy Brydon’s short film, The Space In Between. The 4 minute short shows me getting dressed in a mundane, unsensational fashion while I talk about trans/gender.

TSIB 1 copy

TSIB 2 copy

The film has been selected to show at BAFTA and the Aesthetica Short Film Festival as well as several indie film festivals in London.

“Test Shoot” photoshoot and interview

Interview with transmasculine photoblog The Test Shoot:

My gender identity and presentation are fluctuating. I’ve felt uncomfortable with clear-cut femininity since I was a child, but it’s difficult to separate being inherently, biologically trans from my childish desire for male privilege. I think the “born this way” idea is problematic, if useful and convenient.

Photographs by LGW.


These clothes reflect my masculinity, as I experience it right now—I’m going through a lot of changes. The green and cream patterned shirt is the first item of men’s clothing I bought with the intention of presenting as masculine—I found it at a thrift store in Amsterdam. It kind of gives me away as the pattern distorts around my chest, but I don’t care.




The collared shirt and tie outfit is what I wear when I perform with my cello or need to look sharp for things like business dinners. UN Special Envoys have complemented me in this and a friend told me it looks like Kraftwerk. It’s my power outfit.


The slacks and navy polo, plus glasses, is comfortable and reminds me of some misunderstood geeky, Californian entrepreneurship. It’s a self-parody of my seriousness.



The houndstooth collared shirt and ragged green sweater don’t mean very much—I just like collared shirts. I got the sweater for a song last week on a trip I took up North to find myself.

Link to full interview.

“Escape From North Korea” Panel Discussion



I’m very excited to be speaking at the Dare To Think event this Wednesday at the London School of Economics. The keynote speaker is North Korean defector Park Jihyun, and the panel will include noted academics Heonik Kwon (Cambridge), Dr. Ramon Pacheco Pardo (KCL), Dr. James Hore (SOAS), and myself. My talk will be on Pyongyang’s (Non-static) Perspective of Beijing, highlighting the subtle differences in the North Korean attitude toward China as time passes, seen most apparently in the execution of Jang Song-taek.

Details of the event can be found here.


I’m pleased to report that I am now an Assistant Editor at Sino-NK. My work there involves editing excellent articles, offering insight to security issues, and occasional translating assistance (for instance: Huanqiu on the Jang execution). We’re expecting exciting new projects in the new year, including intense data-deepening and symposiums on security and gender; I’m thrilled to be a part of it.

Morgan Potts on Sino-NK

I’m pleased to note that my essay “Is North Korea a Rational Actor?” is now featured on the distinguished Sino-NK with a flattering introduction from the industrious Steven Denny. As a recent graduate it is wonderfully encouraging to have a chapter of my dissertation published, and I look forward to continuing collaborative work with the Sino-NK team: I highly recommend following their work through their facebook and twitter accounts.

Nuclear Analysis at RUSI

I’m pleased to announce that I’ve begun working with the Nuclear Analysis team at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). Today was my first day and it was splendid; everyone made me feel welcome. I’m excited to be working with talented Research Fellow Andrea Berger on the department’s upcoming North-East Asian projects regarding nuclear and maritime security issues. I’m sure many future fall afternoons will be spent writing and researching in their charming military history library.