Examining Ireland’s foreign policy in pictures with R

Packages we will need:

library(peacesciencer)  
library(forcats)
library(ggflags)
library(tidyverse)
library(magrittr)
library(waffle)
library(bbplot)
library(rvest)

In January 2015, the Irish government published a review of Ireland’s foreign policy. The document, The Global Island: Ireland’s Foreign Policy for a Changing World offers a perspective on Ireland’s place in the world.

In this blog, we will graph out some of the key features of Ireland’ foreign policy and so we can have a quick overview of the key relationships and trends.

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First, we will look at the aid that Ireland gives to foreign countries. This read.csv(file.choose()) will open up the file window and you can navigate to the file and data that you can download from DAC OECD website: https://data.oecd.org/oda/net-oda.htm

dac <- read.csv(file.choose())

We will filter only Ireland and clean the names with the clean_names() function from the janitor package:

dac %<>% 
  filter(Donor == "Ireland") %>% 
  clean_names()

And change the variables, adding the Correlates of War codes and cleaning up some of the countries’ names.

dac %<>% 
  mutate(cown = countrycode(recipient_2, "country.name", "cown"),
         aid_amount = value*1000000) %>%  
  select(country = recipient_2, cown,
         year, time, aid_type, value, aid_amount) %>%
  mutate(cown = ifelse(country == "West Bank and Gaza Strip", 6666,
         ifelse(country == "Serbia", 345, 
         ifelse(country == "Micronesia", 987,cown))))%>%
  filter(!is.na(cown)) 

Next we can convert dataframe to wider format so we have a value column for each aid type

dac %>% 
  distinct(country, cown, year, time, aid_type, value, .keep_all = TRUE)  %>%  
  pivot_wider(names_from = "aid_type", values_from = "aid_amount") %>% 
  mutate(across(where(is.numeric), ~ replace_na(., 0))) %>% 
  clean_names() -> dac_wider

And we graph out the three main types of aid:

dac_wider %>%
  group_by(year) %>% 
  summarise(total_humanitarian = sum(humanitarian_aid, na.rm = TRUE),
  total_technical = sum(technical_cooperation, na.rm = TRUE),
  total_development_food_aid = sum(development_food_aid)) %>% 
  ungroup() %>% 
  pivot_longer(!year, names_to = "aid_type", values_to = "aid_value") %>% 
  ggplot(aes(x = year, y = aid_value, groups = aid_type)) + 
  geom_line(aes(color = aid_type), size = 2, show_guide  = FALSE) +
  geom_point(aes(color = aid_type), fill = "white", shape = 21, size = 3, stroke = 2) +
  bbplot::bbc_style()  +
  scale_y_continuous(labels = scales::comma) + 
  scale_x_discrete(limits = c(2010:2018)) +
  labs(title = "Irish foreign aid by aid type (2010 - 2018)",
       subtitle = ("Source: OECD DAC")) +
  scale_color_discrete(name = "Aid type", 
        labels = c("Development and Food", "Humanitarian", "Technical"))

We will look at total ODA aid:

dac %>% 
  count(aid_type) %>% 
  arrange(desc(n)) %>% 
  knitr::kable(format = "html")
aid_type n
Imputed Multilateral ODA 2298
Memo: ODA Total, excl. Debt 1292
Memo: ODA Total, Gross disbursements 1254
ODA: Total Net 1249
Grants, Total 1203
Technical Cooperation 541
ODA per Capita 532
Humanitarian Aid 518
ODA as % GNI (Recipient) 504
Development Food Aid 9

And get some pretty hex colours:

pal_10 <- c("#001219","#005f73","#0a9396","#94d2bd","#e9d8a6","#ee9b00","#ca6702","#bb3e03","#ae2012","#9b2226")

And download some regime, democracy, region and continent data from the PACL datase with the democracyData() package

pacl <- redownload_pacl() 

pacl %<>% 
  mutate(regime_name = ifelse(regime == 0, "Parliamentary democracies",
         ifelse(regime == 1, "Mixed democracies",
         ifelse(regime == 2, "Presidential democracies",
         ifelse(regime == 3, "Civilian autocracies",
         ifelse(regime == 4, "Military dictatorships",
         ifelse(regime ==  5,"Royal dictatorships", regime))))))) %>%
  mutate(regime = as.factor(regime)) 

pacl %<>% 
  select(year, country = pacl_country, 
         democracy, regime_name,
         region_name = un_region_name, 
         continent_name = un_continent_name)

pacl %<>% 
  mutate(cown = countrycode(country, "country.name", "cown")) %>% 
  select(!country)

Summarise the total aid for each country across the years and choose the top 20 countries

dac %>% 
  filter(aid_type == "Memo: ODA Total, Gross disbursements") %>% 
  group_by(country) %>% 
  summarise(total_country_aid = sum(aid_amount, na.rm = TRUE)) %>% 
  ungroup() %>% 
  top_n(n = 20) %>% 
  mutate(cown = countrycode::countrycode(country, "country.name", "cown")) %>% 
  inner_join(pacl, by = "cown") %>%  
  mutate(region_name = ifelse(country == "West Bank and Gaza Strip", "Western Asia", region_name)) %>% 
  mutate(region_name = ifelse(region_name == "Western Asia", "Middle East", region_name)) %>% 
  mutate(country = ifelse(country == "West Bank and Gaza Strip", "Palestine",
  ifelse(country == "Democratic Republic of the Congo", "DR Congo",
  ifelse(country == "Syrian Arab Republic", "Syria", country)))) %>% 
  mutate(iso2 = tolower(countrycode::countrycode(country, "country.name", "iso2c"))) %>% 
  ggplot(aes(x = forcats::fct_reorder(country, total_country_aid), y = total_country_aid)) + 
  geom_bar(aes(fill = region_name), stat = "identity", width = 0.7) + 
  coord_flip() + bbplot::bbc_style() + 
  geom_flag(aes(x = country, y = -100, country = iso2), size = 12) +
  scale_fill_manual(values = pal_10) +
  labs(title = "Ireland's largest ODA foreign aid recipients, 2010 - 2018",
       subtitle = ("Source: OECD DAC")) + 
  xlab("") + ylab("") + 
  scale_x_continuous(labels = scales::comma)

We can make a waffle plot to look at the different types of regimes to which the Irish government gave aid over the decades

 dac %>% 
  mutate(decade = substr(year, 1, 3)) %>% 
  mutate(decade = paste0(decade, "0s")) %>% 
  group_by(decade) %>% 
  count(regime_name) %>% 
  ggplot(aes(fill = regime_name, values = n)) +
  geom_waffle(color = "white", size = 0.3, n_rows = 10, flip = TRUE) +
  facet_wrap(~decade, nrow = 1, strip.position = "bottom") + 
  bbplot::bbc_style()  +
  scale_fill_manual(values = pal_10) +
   scale_x_discrete(breaks = round(seq(0, 1, by = 0.2),3)) +
  labs(title = "Ireland's ODA foreign aid recipient regime types since 1945",
       subtitle = ("Source: OECD DAC"))  

Next, we will download dyadic foreign policy similarity measures from peacesciencer.

Peacesciencer package has tools and data sets for the study of quantitative peace science. 

Click here to read more about the peacesciencer package by Steven Miller

fp_similar_df <- peacesciencer::create_dyadyears() %>% 
  add_gwcode_to_cow() %>% 
  add_fpsim()	

I am only looking at dyadic foreign policy similarity with Ireland, so filter by Ireland’s Correlates of War code, 205.

Click here to find out all countries’ COW code

fp_similar_df %<>% 
  filter(ccode1 == 205)

Data on alliance portfolios comes from the Correlates of War and is used to calculate similarity of foreign policy positions (see Altfeld & Mesquita, 1979).

The assumption is that similar alliance portfolios are the result of similar foreign policy positions.

With increasing in level of commitment, the strength of alliance commitments can be:

  1. no commitment
  2. entente
  3. neutrality or nonaggression pact
  4. defense pact

We will map out alliance similarity. This will use the measurement calculated with Cohen’s Kappa. Check out Hage’s (2011) article to read more about the different ways to measure alliance similarity.

Next we can look at UN similarity.

The UN voting variable calculates three values:

1 = Yes

2 = Abstain

3 = No

Based on these data, if two countries in a similar way on the same UN resolutions, this is a measure of the degree to which dyad members’ foreign policy positions are similar.

fp_similarity_df %>% 
  mutate(country = countrycode::countrycode(ccode2, "cown", "country.name")) %>% 
  select(country, ccode2, year,
         un_similar = kappavv) %>% 
  filter(year > 1989) %>% 
  filter(!is.na(country)) %>%
  mutate(iso2 = tolower(countrycode::countrycode(country, "country.name", "iso2c"))) %>% 
  group_by(country) %>% 
  mutate(avg_un = mean(un_similar, na.rm = TRUE)) %>%
  distinct(country, avg_un, iso2, .keep_all = FALSE) %>% 
  ungroup() %>% 
  top_n(n = 10)  -> top_un_similar

And graph out the top ten

  top_un_similar %>%
  ggplot(aes(x = forcats::fct_reorder(country, avg_un), 
             y = avg_un)) + 
  geom_bar(stat = "identity",
           width = 0.7, 
           color = "#0a85e5", 
           fill = "#0a85e5") +
  ggflags::geom_flag(aes(x = country, y = 0, country = iso2), size = 15) +
  coord_flip() + bbplot::bbc_style()  +
  ggtitle("UN voting similarity with Ireland since 1990")

If we change the top_n() to negative, we can get the bottom 10

top_n(n = -10)

We can quickly scrape data about the EU countries with the rvest package


eu_members_html <- read_html("https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union")
eu_members_tables <- eu_members_html %>% html_table(header = TRUE, fill = TRUE)

eu_member <- eu_members_tables[[6]]

eu_member %<>% 
  janitor::clean_names()

eu_member %>% distinct(state) %>%  pull(state) -> eu_state

Last we are going to look at globalization scores. The data comes from the the KOF Globalisation Index. This measures the economic, social and political dimensions of globalisation. Globalisation in the economic, social and political fields has been on the rise since the 1970s, receiving a particular boost after the end of the Cold War.

Click here for data that you can download comes from the KOF website

kof %>%
  filter(country %in% eu_state) -> kof_eu

And compare Ireland to other EU countries on financial KOF index scores. We will put Ireland in green and the rest of the countries as grey to make it pop.

Ireland appears to follow the general EU trends and is not an outlier for financial globalisation scores.

kof_eu %>% 
  ggplot(aes(x = year,  y = finance, groups = country)) + 
  geom_line(color = ifelse(kof_eu$country == "Ireland",     "#2a9d8f", "#8d99ae"),
  size = ifelse(kof_eu$country == "Ireland", 3, 2), 
  alpha = ifelse(kof_eu$country == "Ireland", 0.9, 0.3)) +
  bbplot::bbc_style() + 
  ggtitle("Financial Globalization in Ireland, 1970 to 2020", 
          subtitle = "Source: KOF")

References

Häge, F. M. (2011). Choice or circumstance? Adjusting measures of foreign policy similarity for chance agreement. Political Analysis19(3), 287-305.

Dreher, Axel (2006): Does Globalization Affect Growth? Evidence from a new Index of Globalizationcall_made, Applied Economics 38, 10: 1091-​1110.

Download and graph UN votes data with the unvotes package in R

Packages we will need:

library(unvotes)
library(lubridate)
library(tidyverse)
library(magrittr)
library(bbplot)
library(waffle)

How to download UN votes to R.

This package was created by David Robinson. Click here to read the CRAN PDF.

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We will download both the votes roll calls and the issues. Then we can use the inner_join() variable to add them together by the ID.

un_votes <- unvotes::un_roll_calls

un_votes_issues <- unvotes::un_roll_call_issues

un_votes %<>% 
  inner_join(un_votes_issues, by = "rcid")

We can create a year variable with the format() function and extract the year with “%Y”

un_votes %<>% 
  mutate(year = format(date, format = "%Y")) 

And graph out the count of each type of UN vote issue

un_votes %>% 
  group_by(year) %>% 
  count(issue) %>% 
  ggplot(aes(x = year, y = n, group = issue, color = issue)) + 
  geom_line(size = 2) + 
  geom_point(aes(color = issue), fill = "white", 
             shape = 21, size = 2, stroke = 1) +
  scale_x_discrete(breaks = round(seq(min(un_votes$year), max(un_votes$year), by = 10),1)) +
  bbplot::bbc_style() + facet_wrap(~issue)

Next we can look at which decade had the most votes across the issues with the waffle package

Click here to read more about the waffle package

un_votes %>% 
  mutate(decade = substr(year, 1, 3)) %>% 
  mutate(decade = paste0(decade, "0s")) %>% 
  
  group_by(decade) %>% 
  count(issue) %>% 
  
  ggplot(aes(fill = issue, values = n)) +
  geom_waffle(color = "white",
              size = 0.3,
              n_rows = 10, 
              flip = TRUE) +
  facet_wrap(~decade, nrow = 1, strip.position = "bottom") + 
  bbplot::bbc_style()  +
  scale_x_discrete(breaks = round(seq(0, 1, by = 0.2),3)) 

The 1980s were a prolific time for the UNGA with voting, with arms control being the largest share of votes. And it has stablised in the decades since.

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Next we can look at votes in total

un_votes %>% 
  mutate(issue = case_when(issue == "Nuclear weapons and nuclear material" ~ "Nukes",
                           issue == "Arms control and disarmament" ~ "Arms",
                           issue == "Palestinian conflict" ~ "Palestine",
                           TRUE ~ as.character(issue))) %>% 
  count(issue) %>%  
  ggplot(aes(x = reorder(issue, n), y = n, fill = as.factor(issue))) + 
  geom_bar(stat = "identity") + 
  coord_polar("x", start = 0, direction = -1)  + 
  ggthemes::theme_pander()  +
  bbplot::bbc_style() + 
    theme(axis.text = element_blank(),
          axis.title.x = element_blank(),
          axis.title.y = element_blank(),
          axis.ticks = element_blank(),
          text = element_text(size = 25),
          panel.grid = element_blank()) + 
    ggtitle(label = "UN Votes by issue ", 
            subtitle = "Source: unvotes package")

Wrangling and graphing UN Secretaries-General data with R

Packages we will need:

library(tidyverse)
library(janitor)
library(rvest)
library(countrycode)
library(magrittr)
library(lubridate)
library(ggflags)
library(scales)

According to Urquhart (1995) in his article, “Selecting the World’s CEO”,

From the outset, the U.N. secretary
general has been an important part of the
institution, not only as its chief executive,
but as both symbol and guardian of the
original vision of the organization.
There, however, specific agreement has
ended. The United Nations, like any
important organization, needs strong and
independent leadership, but it is an inter-
governmental organization, and govern
ments have no intention of giving up
control of it. While the secretary-general
can be extraordinarily useful in times of
crisis, the office inevitably embodies
something more than international coop
eration, sometimes even an unwelcome
hint of supranationalism. Thus, the atti-
tude of governments toward the United
Nations’ chief and only elected official is
and has been necessarily ambivalent.

(Urquhart, 1995: 21)

So who are these World CEOs? We’ll examine more in this dataset.

First, we will scrape the data from the Wikipedia

sg_html <- read_html("https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secretary-General_of_the_United_Nations")
sg_tables <- sg_html %>% html_table(header = TRUE, fill = TRUE)
sg <- sg_tables[[2]]

The table we scrape is a bit of a hot mess in this state …. but we can fix it

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We can first use the clean_names() function from the janitor package

A quick way to clean up the table and keep only the rows with the names of the Secretaries-General is to use the distinct() function. Last we filter out the rows and select out the columns we don’t want.

sg %>% 
  clean_names() %>% 
  distinct(no, .keep_all = TRUE) %>% 
  filter(no != "–") %>% 
  select(!c(portrait, ref))-> sg_clean

Already we can see a much cleaner table. However, the next problem is that the names and their years of birth / death are in one cell.

Also the dates in office are combined together.

So we can use the separate() function from tidyr to make new variables for each piece of information.

First we will separate the name of the Secretary-General from their date of birth and death.

We supply the two new variable names to the into = argument.

We then use the regex code pattern [()] to indicate where we want to separate the character string into two separate columns. In this instance the regex pattern is for what is after the round brackets (

I want to remove the original cluttered varaible so remove = TRUE

sg_clean %<>% 
  separate(
    col = secretary_general_born_died,
    into = c("sec_gen", "born_died"),
    sep = '[()]',
    remove = TRUE) 

We can repeat this step to create a separate born and died variable. This time the separator symbol is a hyphen And so we do not need regex pattern; we can just indicate a hyphen.

sg_clean %<>% 
  separate(
    col = born_died,
    into = c("born", "died"),
    sep = '–',
    remove = TRUE)  

And I want to ignore the “present” variable, so I extract the numbers with the parse_number() function, converting things from characters to numbers

sg_clean %<>% 
  mutate(born = parse_number(born))

Last, we repeat with the dates in office. This is also easily seperated by indicating the hyphen.

sg_clean %<>% 
  separate(
    col = dates_in_office,
    into = c("start_office", "end_office"),
    sep = '–',
    remove = TRUE)  

We convert the word “present” to the actual present date

sg_clean %<>% 
  mutate(end_office = ifelse(end_office == "present", "5 May 2022", end_office))

We use the lubridate dmy() function to convert the character strings to date class variables.

sg_clean %<>% 
  mutate(start_office = dmy(start_office),
         end_office = dmy(end_office))

We can calculate the length of time that each Secretary-General was in office with the difftime() function.

sg_clean %<>% 
  mutate(duration_days = difftime(end_office, start_office, units = "days"),
         duration_years = round(duration_days / 365, 2),
         duration_years = as.integer(duration_years))

Next we can compare the different durations and see which Secretary-General was longest or shortest in office.

sg_clean %>% 
  mutate(duration_days = difftime(end_office, start_office)) %>%  
  mutate(iso2 = tolower(countrycode::countrycode(country_of_origin, "country.name", "iso2c"))) %>% 
  ggplot(aes(x = forcats::fct_reorder(sec_gen, duration_days), y = duration_days)) + 
  geom_bar(aes(fill = un_regional_group), stat = "identity", width = 0.7) + 
  coord_flip() + bbplot::bbc_style() + 
  ggflags::geom_flag(aes(x = sec_gen, y = -100, country = iso2), size = 12) +
  scale_fill_manual(values = le_palette) +
  labs(title = "Longest serving UN Secretaries General",
       subtitle = ("Source: Wikipedia")) + 
  xlab("") + ylab("") 

We can make a quick pie-chart to compare regions. We can see that Secretaries-General from the West have had the most time in office

sg_text <- sg_count %>% 
  arrange(desc(un_regional_group)) %>%
  mutate(prop = sum_days / sum(sg_count$sum_days) *100) %>%
  mutate(ypos = cumsum(prop)- 0.5*prop )

sg_text %>% 
  count(un_regional_group)

sg_text %>%
  mutate(region = case_when(un_regional_group == "Western European & others" ~ "Europe",
         un_regional_group == "Latin American& Caribbean" ~ "Latin America",
         un_regional_group == "Asia & Pacific" ~ "Asia", 
         TRUE ~ as.character(un_regional_group))) %>% 
  ggplot(aes(x = "", y = prop, fill = region)) +
  geom_bar(stat = "identity", width = 1) +
  geom_text(aes(y = ypos + 1, label = round(prop, 0)), color = "white", size = 15) +
  coord_polar("y", start = 0) +
  theme_void() +
  ggtitle("Length of Secretaries General in office across regions") + 
  scale_fill_manual(values = le_palette) + 
  theme(legend.title = element_blank(),
        legend.text = element_text(size = 20), 
        plot.title = element_text(size = 30))

We can create a Gantt-like chart to track the timeline for the different men (all men!)

Click here to read more about timelines in R

sg_clean %>% 
  mutate(region = case_when(un_regional_group == "Western European & others" ~ "Europe",un_regional_group == "Latin American& Caribbean" ~ "Latin America",un_regional_group == "Asia & Pacific" ~ "Asia", TRUE ~ as.character(un_regional_group))) %>%
  ggplot(aes(x = as.Date(start_office), 
             y = no, 
             color = region)) +
  geom_segment(aes(xend = as.Date(end_office), 
                   yend = no, alpha = 0.9,
                   color = region), size = 9)  +
  geom_text(aes(label = sec_gen), 
            color = "black", 
            alpha = 0.7,
            size = 8, show.legend = FALSE) +
  bbplot::bbc_style() +
  scale_color_manual(values = le_palette) + 
  scale_x_date(breaks = scales::breaks_pretty(15))
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References

Urquhart, B. (1995). Selecting the world’s CEO: Remembering the Secretaries-General. Foreign Affairs, 21-26.

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