Friday, February 24, 2006

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Your IR reading for today

I'm attending an all-day conference at Princeton on nested and overlapping international institutions.

IR and IL types should read some of the short papers linked to on the conference web site -- paticularly if you're interested in the politics of genetically modified organisms.

Less hard-core IR types might be more interested in the latest issue of The Washington Quarterly. David Adesnik and Michael McFaul have an article entitled "Engaging Autocratic Allies to Promote Democracy."

In a related vein, Jeffrey Kopstein asks in "The Transatlantic Divide Over Democracy Promotion," whether that policy become yet another new source of transatlantic tension, or will it be an area in which they can work together.

I expect 100 word comments by the end of the day.

posted by Dan on 02.24.06 at 08:11 AM


Adesnik and McFaul's piece is well-argued but fails to address the central problems of our relationships with today's authoritarian allies.

For starters, these nations-- Pakistan, Saudi, Egypt, among others-- are at best only quasi-allies. Neither Marcos nor Somoza nor the Korean authoritarians were ever surrounded by security forces and religious leaders who were openly hostile to, indeed, supporting terror attacks upon the US, as the ISI and the wahabbis are.

Perhaps McFaul also had in mind his own country of expertise, Russia, which is not even considered an ally, Bush's passionate insights into Putin's soul notwithstanding. Russia raises another problem for the diplomatic model the authors urge. Clearly it's in the US national interest, and the western European interest, for Russia to have a robust and highly productive oil and gas sector. Just as clearly, the Russian state, with the tacit approval of most Russians, is determined to re-impose sweeping state control over that sector and to use it as to further a neo-Soviet foreign policy.

So, Michael and David, what's a Moscow-based diplomat to do: does he favor greater US and western cooperation with state-controlled Russian energy firms such as Gazprom, or does he condemn that Sov- er Russian monster that is even more corrupt, by an order of magnitude or two, than Enron and more menacing to the Balts, Poland and eventually the rest of northern Europe than all of the Red Army's tanks were?

posted by: thibaud on 02.24.06 at 08:11 AM [permalink]

Democracy can't be promoted, it can only be earned.

posted by: Lord on 02.24.06 at 08:11 AM [permalink]

[I expect 100 word comments by the end of the day.]

My dog ate it.

posted by: PJGoober on 02.24.06 at 08:11 AM [permalink]

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