The Airing of Grievances: Pakistan Edition

I’m just going to get it out there: in tandem with Afghanistan, the U.S. engagement with Pakistan really frustrates me. This morning, I sat down at my desk, took a glance at the New York Times website, and saw this. Based on recent events like this and worse, the value of American investment in Pakistani security is becoming less and less valuable. Generally speaking, Samuel L. Jackson fulfills my opinions about Pakistan rather aptly: Continue reading

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doesn’t mean Foreign Policy decisions are all about security (gasp!)

No, they’re still not about norm internalization. Yes, it’s still a calculation of the value of choices based upon cost, benefit, risk, and so on.

While reviewing all the new posts that collected on my Google Reader overnight, I came to wonder if President Obama, but generally speaking, the U.S. government will ever really wake up and smell the coffee. What coffee is that, you ask? It is, to continue this terrible metaphor, the out-of-control monetary situation that the government has left in the kitchen to burn to a crisp. There may come a time, a time not too far away, when price is indeed an object in U.S., and possibly in many other nations’, foreign policy decision making. Moreover, the monetary crises that are occurring in the EU, and the one that is slowly gestating in Ben Bernanke’s womb here, may contribute to a fundamental and potentially catastrophic paradigmic shift in international hegemony and bilateral national power dynamics, such as U.S.-China. Continue reading

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Does Not Mean I have To Give a Damn About Libya

Because I don’t. Continue reading

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Doesn’t Mean America Should Intervene

No, I’m not dead.  Yes, there will be more posts coming soon.  In the meantime, I’d like to point out this link from Thanassis Cambanis in Sunday’s Boston Globe.  In this piece, Cambanis touches on a lot of ideas that underwrite my thinking, and references several IR thinkers who I most identify with.  I think it’s a decent primer in understanding the logic that non-interventionist (I hesitate to use use the term “isolationist,” as Cambanis does) realists such as myself subscribe to.

I’ll try to have a more substantial post up further exploring these ideas by the end of the week.

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Doesn’t Mean North Korea is a Direct Threat

I have found no compelling reason to dislike Mr. Robert Gates, current Defense Secretary for the United States.  By all accounts, he is a competent man who does his job well.  It is relatively rare for something that he has said in the press to ruffle my feathers, but I reluctantly find that to be the case today.

Today, in a New York Times article, Mr. Gates reportedly said that North Korea “is becoming a direct threat to the United States.”  Now, before I begin to unpack this statement, there are a few points I’d like to get out of the way.  First, this quote is out of context: it comes at the end of this article’s first paragraph, and I am not sure whether Mr. Gates said this in response to a direct sentence, or in a prepared statement.  Second, Mr. Gates does not explicitly qualify how serious of a threat North Korea is, either in this quote or in any other quote that appears in the article.  Something can be a direct threat, but not a serious threat, which is what I am going to discuss below.

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does not mean that being in charge of Pakistan may well be “the hardest job in the world,” Musharraf


Okay, so this interview with General Pervez Musharraf, former “president” of Pakistan, provides some pretty entertaining quotes, like the one referenced in this post’s title.  On the other hand, it also demonstrates – quite effectively, I might add – that a state is going to pursue its own interests, all the time, not so unlike an aspiring political leader.

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doesn’t mean Nicholas Kristof knows what he’s talking about

According to Wikipedia, Nicholas Kristof, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, studied government while at Harvard. He could’ve fooled me.

On December 25, the New York Times published an Op-Ed of his, titled The Big (Military) Taboo. Having read this Op-Ed, I now hold the Pulitzer committee in lower esteem for giving this man an award. Not once, but twice. If you read the article, or even just the first paragraph, his purpose and intent is clear: the military costs too much and we’ve got to do something about it, too bad these politicians won’t touch it. Kristof then takes this generally agreeable point, and extrapolates them such that they fly in the face of some of the basic tenants of international politics and state behavior. I’m going to take some choice selections, which in many cases he’s been kind enough to already separate for me by bullet point, and revive political science from the assault and battery it just endured. Continue reading

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