You’re sick of hearing about what should be done in Syria, aren’t you? So am I.
Category: Realism (Page 1 of 3)
The Labour MPs in Britain and assorted bleeding heart Twitter liberals called again for a No Fly Zone in Syria. One might have wondered that this insanity is over, but no…like a Phoenix it comes up every time there’s a bombing raid in Aleppo.
Unfortunately, Labour’s plan had zero specifics on how the NFZ would be achieved. Nothing on how to do it. Nothing about security dilemma or escalatory spiral. Nothing on why should we do it anyway, other than to “save Syrians”. Or what British interest would it achieve. Nothing about if a Western plane gets shot down, should we counter escalate, or climb down.
Here’s a simple war gaming simulation for all the Twitter bleeding hearts. Let’s go on to impose a NFZ in Syria. We try and knock out C4ISR. The Syrians delegate their anti-air ops to the Rus. The Russians come with fighter escorts, or worse, the Russians shoot down a Western jet. The Russians then say it was rebels or ISIS that shot it down. Should the West escalate? Climb down? If they climb down, what about perception and resolve? What if there is asymmetric escalation? Proxies attacking Western interests in other places? What about mission creep? If you haven’t done these aforementioned threat assessments and are calling for NFZ or intervention, you’re insane. Leave it to the pros. If you still want to take risk of escalation with Russia over Syria where there’s no long term geo-strategic interest, you’re an idiot.
My new long essay published, on EU, Merkel, migration, etc.
Ross Douthat once earlier pointed out, this Europe bound flow will never stop unless the structural problem of Africa as a continent are solved. Problems like exploding population, conflicts, industrial stagnation, social tribalism and exploitation of finite natural resources. Question is how will that be solved, by another intervention, or by creating buffer zones between Europe and Africa/Middle East? Who will police these buffer zones? What about genuine high educated migrants facing racial attacks, as a backlash by native population, who don’t differentiate between an illegal migrant and a research scholar with a valid visa who might actually be beneficial for the host society? Why would someone even want to take the legal route anymore, if all laws and borders break down anyway?
I write about some other questions, amidst what one might arguably call, a European disintegration.
My review of Bobo Lo’s “Russia and the New World Disorder” is out online, for Political Studies Review journal.
Lo’s book is timely contribution to the literature as the World is trying to understand and predict Russian behaviour. Although, I wan’t quite satisfied with it.
Here’s the link to my review, for citations.
And, here’s the PDF to download.
If you haven’t read “Against Democracy” by Dr Jason Brennan, then you should. It’s provocative, and thought provoking, and raises some important point.
He also wrote an article about it here in National Interest.
I can see why he is nominally correct in diagnosing the problem of modern democracy. There’s some merit in Brennan’s argument. The comments under his essay are eye opening and somehow validate his thesis, in the sense, none of the commentators perhaps even read his entire essay but went on to opine anyway. To rephrase Churchill, a significant argument against democracy is a five minutes scroll through any online comment board.
Anyway, enough of it. Read my full review, here.
It’s about time.
Everyone knows Game of Thrones…I hope? Well, seriously, if you don’t…you are not supposed to call yourself a Politics/IR/Econ nerd.
Now, all those knowledgeable with the Good/Evil and Law/Chaos alignment scheme from Dungeons and Dragons, must know how it goes?
The two axes, one the Y axis, ranging from Good to Evil, and in the X axis, ranging from Lawful to Chaotic.
That gives us a range of 9 dimensions, Lawful Good (Crusader), Neutral Good (Benefactor), Chaotic Good (Rebel), Lawful Neutral (Judge), True Neutral (Undecided), Chaotic Neutral (Free spirit).
And, finally…the ones we need; Lawful Evil (Dominator), Neutral Evil (Malefactor), and Chaotic Evil (Destroyer).
Now, before going into the analysis part, Let’s dispense of the fact that no one among our three contenders, Hillary, Bernie, or Trump is Good, or Neutral. First of all, there are no Good, or Neutral in the world of Politics. If you think there is, I’m afraid, you don’t know how Politics works, or you’re too naive, gullible and idealistic to think one man or woman can or is able to change the World. There are forces of politics, economics, diplomacy which controls our actions, as individuals as well as leaders, and even the actions of politicians, diplomats, and leaders are bound by it, regardless of the bombastic rhetoric you hear from them during the campaigns.
So, if you’re a “loyal”, “unchangeable” supporter of Bernie, Trump or Hillary, go away now. This post is not for you, is not attempting to engage you or change your ideas, you’re too thick for that anyway, doesn’t care about your feelings, at all, and frankly thinks you’re too puerile to vote in a democracy.
For the rest, here’s what it brings me to…
I’ve covered elections since 2008, both as a blogger and journalist. As a blogger, writing about two US elections of 2008 and 2012, and the Indian general election and the UK election. As a journalist and correspondent, New Zealand elections and Fiji elections. Never in my life, have I encountered an anomaly like Donald Trump.
Now, as a foreign policy researcher (and as my publications show, I consider myself to be a neorealist) and I have written enough about why neither Trump, nor Obama are realists of any sort. Other realists have written similarly as well. (Walt on Obama, Walt on Trump, Joffe on Obama, Blatt on Trump)
But that debate suddenly just got vicious.
As readers remember, Daniel Drezner first wrote about how Trump is/will be accepted as a foreign policy realist, because of how he sounds realist, has specific policy proposals similar to the stark realist world even some realists shudder to think about. I flinched at the thought then. But it is no shame to write now, perhaps I was wrong, and I underestimated Trump’s legitimisation within the realist foreign policy community.
The recent episode was the firing of a fellow of National Interest, who like a lot of realists, opposed this legitimisation of Trump by hosting him and correctly pointed out in an essay for the War on the Rocks, (where I write occasionally as well, which I must mention here for the sake of balance), that Trump is a charlatan and is too incoherent to be a realist president. Of course National Interest justified the hosting of Trump but it was not convincing, to say the least.
So where does that leave realists now?
I believe, this is what we see,
Big week, as I mentioned before, with a couple of major publications coming, other than my regular columns.
To start with, the biggest one till date, my essay on War on the Rocks, where I write a Neo-Realist critique of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s latest revisionist history lesson. And was then called a Neo-Con for some reason, in the comments. But that’s another issue.
The second big one was my guest post at the official blog of the University of Nottingham, Dept of Politics and IR, where I talk about a foreign policy course for Philippines and how it should balance between China and US.
Other than that, here are my weekly columns.
ROUND TWO OF “THE DONALD AND REALISM” ACADEMIC DEBATE:
Over the week the academic feud of categorisation of The Donald’s foreign policy entered round two.
Couple of weeks back, readers will remember, there was a twitter debate if Donald Trump’s foreign policy is realist, which bordered around three basic points,
- His actual policy, if it is even coherent or not.
- His Realist tendencies.
- His understanding of Realism.