Category: Realism (Page 1 of 4)

Three major lessons from recent referendums in Kurdistan and Catalonia

International Relations theorists don’t have the opportunity to conduct lab experiments like scientists. They have to rely on natural experiments, or in other words, deduce and infer from events that shape and transform in front of our eyes, happening in real time.

Recent events on the Catalan crisis and the Kurdistan referendum are important case studies for a few ideas that IR theorists have talked for, for a while.

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Game of Thrones and IR Theory

 

Here you go. My second long essays in a day. This one’s more fun, of course.

Yours truly, for Acculturated.

Excerpt:

” Daenerys Targaryen’s journey which turned her from humanitarian interventionist to overstretched hegemon who ultimately failed to keep peace is similarly instructive. You can invade a region and try to establish a rule of law, but you cannot win wars, establish long lasting peace, and transform an alien society in a matter of days with only kindness and norms. If any established order is overthrown, there will inevitably be insurgency, and counterinsurgency is rarely achieved by winning hearts and minds (or merely breaking chains). Modern Realist research on Counterinsurgency corroborates what ancient Romans understood, and what Dany, as well as our current policy makers refuse to believe: Carthago Delenda est.

This is a Machiavellian paradox. Fear didn’t help Robert keep the throne, but honor didn’t help Ned (or his son Robb) survive either; benevolent rule of law didn’t help Dany to secure order. A sovereign cannot rule only through norms; he or she needs to balance it with fear—or at least the threat of severe repercussions. A society that is too liberal and free turns degenerate, just as a society that is too repressed eventually rebels. In the first scenario, it is invaded and destroyed by external, disciplined, cohesive, martial forces; in the latter case a Leviathan rises to bring back order amidst chaos. 

Let me know what you think?

Israel, Eastern Europe And An Alliance Of Nationalists

The Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu raised eyebrows last week by meeting, among other leaders from Central and Eastern Europe, the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Orban has been accused of stoking anti-semitism yet pledged to Netanyahu that he would protect the Hungarian Jewish minority.

Raised eyebrows shot higher when Netanyahu was recorded saying to the Hungarian, Polish, Czech and Slovakian leaders that EU policy was “crazy”. “I think Europe has to decide if it wants to live and thrive,” he suggested, “Or if it wants to shrivel and disappear.”

There was an element of realpolitik in the wily Netanyahu’s comments. It is simply untrue that European survival depends, as he went on to claim, on its stance on Israel. But exploiting the resentment that nationalist Central and Eastern European leaders feel towards the cosmopolitan supranationalists of Western Europe makes sense. He can link their desire for sovereignty to his struggle against opposition to and criticisms of Israel.

Still, it is interesting how much these nations have in common. 

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My latest post at National Interest

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You’re sick of hearing about what should be done in Syria, aren’t you? So am I.

Here, read what we should do.

The madness of calling for a No Fly Zone in Syria

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. 

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My new essay; and you might need a trigger warning

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.

Read it here.

My review of Bobo Lo’s “Russia and the New World Disorder”

51eha8qwd-l-_sx331_bo1204203200_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 reviewfor citations.

And, here’s the PDF to download.

My long essay reviewing “Against Democracy” in Quillette

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.

I got quoted in FT

So, I got quoted in FT on On Chinese alliance formation and militarisation.

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Read the whole thing HERE and let me know what you think?

The US election alignments…DnD and GoT mix

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?

alignments

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… 

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