Tag: Realism (Page 1 of 3)

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?

Defining Conservatism for the 21st century

Mitchell Blatt defends “Never Trump” neoconservatives from my argument that they are not conservative. It is a civil, spirited and substantive piece. I shall endeavour to uphold these virtues in my response.

I do not think neoconservatives are pseudo-conservative because they are “small government, pro-free trade” supporters of “a strong role for America in the world”. None of these positions are contrary to conservatism in broad terms but they can be depending on their particular forms.

There is a question of scale. Salt is important in cooking yet it can be overused. Supporting an American influence in the world can be conservative yet backing regime change and democratisation is not.

There is also a question of ends and means. Small government and free markets might be means of maintaining peaceful and prosperous societies but are not ends in themselves. They can produce positive economic outcomes but if these arrive too gravely at the cost of social cohesion, cultural standards, environmental preservation and personal fulfilment something can be wrong, or, at least, can be missing. 

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Will Donald Trump start a “Clash of Civilisations” in Middle East?

(Originally published by the Centre For Land Warfare, New Delhi, India. Republished here, with added links.)

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Psstt…it’s called “Bandwagoning”

Here’s what explains Manila’s Pivot to Beijing.

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Here’s my article.

And here’s more on “Bandwagoning and Balancing” and Alliance Formations, in International Relations.

FT “How the west has lost the world”: A rebuttal

Phillip Stevens of FT had an excellent piece “How the west has lost the world“, dated October 13th, 2016.
It is an astute piece that highlights how the declining trust in Western institutions, as well as the relative decline in American power and European chaos is leading to a more anarchic world.
I agree with most of it.
There was, however, one paragraph, which, I’m afraid, doesn’t strictly do justice to a concept he attempted to describe and characterise. The para is where he mentions Realism as a sort of fatalism which means one should let the nations sort out their positions, and there will be an equilibrium by itself.

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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.

The Realist civil war and Donald Trump

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,

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So, next time anyone tells you wars are all about oils…

Cg5NHGAWsAAjTa-I met Dr Joseph Parent from Miami Uni today. Also attended his seminar and talk, and frankly, it was the best talk I heard since I started my PhD! Dude’s an absolute legend!

The basic idea of his talk was the Great powers retrench, whether they like it or not, and it’s upto them how they can use it to their advantage and what policies they can adopt. Here’s his Website and his published papers. Check it out.

But that’s not what I am here for. There is a common argument, from the left and ultra right, that all the wars that happens, are because of oil. You can see the echo in conspiracy theories, in journalists who has no knowledge of IR trying to find a meaning and causality in an anarchic world, and people find it hard to believe that, take it or not, oil is not why states go to war. So, next time, you see a Greenpeace/CodePink/StopTheWar protest placard about war and oil, or Donald Trump lamenting how he would have “taken the oil” after “bombing the sh*t” out of the ISIS oilfields, (whatever in seven hells, that means) just know it’s garbage.

Here’s the path breaking research paper that dispels the “war for oil” myth. The abstract goes like this. 

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