Friday, September 1, 2006
Thinking about The J Curve
I have a review of Ian Bremmer's The J Curve in today's Wall Street Journal (alas, subscriber only):
Ian Bremmer has a big idea, and the title of his book literally spells it out. He argues in “The J Curve” that the relationship between “stability” and “political and economic openness to the outside world” resembles nothing so much as the letter “J.”You'll have to read the review to see why I was not convinced. Or, click here to view an excerpt from the book and draw your own conclusions.
Full disclosure: Ian was a few years ahead of me in the Stanford Ph.D. program in political science -- and he was nice enough to put me on The J Curve's blogroll.
Talk about talking across generations....
I attended a panel today entitled, "Reconstituting Intellectual Power in the Academy: A Conversation Across Generations," in which one of the elder members of the panel said (roughly) the following:
You have to understand, when I was in school we all thought the U.S. government was corrupt and inefficient. We were all influenced by the Teapot Dome scandal.....
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Gone to APSA -- go read something else I've written.
I'll be at the American Political Science Association annual meeting for the next couple of days. Posting may be light. Rookie APSA attendees should read click here.
In the meantime, devoted fans of danieldrezner.com can click here to read my just-released book from the Council on Foreign Relations, U.S. Trade Strategy: Free Versus Fair. From the press release:
While policymakers agree that promoting trade expansion serves U.S. national interests, they disagree on how to accomplish this goal. U.S.Trade Strategy: Free Versus Fair, by Tufts University’s Daniel W. Drezner, is a primer on trade policy. Written as a policy memo to an American president, this Council Critical Policy Choice (CPC), published by CFR press, does not argue for a particular policy but outlines two distinct options.If you want to save yourself some dough and download the whole thing as a .pdf file, then click here.
Curious Fletcher students who have stumbled onto the blog can also get a sneak preview of my (still subject to last-minute changes) syllabus for DHP P217 -- Global Political Economy -- by clicking here.
You try changing the distribution of power in the IMF!!
Steven Weisman has a story in today's New York Times on U.S. efforts to rejigger the governance of the International Monetary Fund:
In an effort to gain Chinese cooperation on international economic issues, the Bush administration is pushing for China and other developing nations to get more power in the global institution that has played a central role in easing myriad financial crises since the end of World War II.There are a lot of interesting theoretical and policy debates wrapped up in this story:
1) Is it possible to smoothly reconfigure the distribution of power in an international governmental oganization (IGO)? Recent efforts to do so in the U.N. Security Council have borne little fruit -- because the losers from such a change will use their institutional prerogatives to resist such changes.Developing....
Tom Lantos steps into a big foreign policy snafu
Many thanks to Greg Djerejian, Bill Petti, and (especially) Eugene Gholz for articulating why Representative Tom Lantos (D-CA) is f***ing up U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, saving me time and effort.
The lost act of Waiting for Godot
My diavlog with Mickey Kaus is now available at bloggingheads.tv. Among the topics discussed: Hezbollah, Ana Marie Cox's literary style, rational choice theory, Paris Hilton, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Kaus' declining stock as a pundit, sacred beliefs, immigration, Wal-Mart, and the best way to watch bloggingheads.tv. [Did you say Paris Hilton?--ed. Yes, click here if you want to jump to that part of the conversation.]
As for the title of this post, click here for an explanation.
UPDATE: Incidentally, here is the New York Times story on immigration that I discuss in the diavlog. What I say about the percentage of immigrants being Mexican is incorrect. I'm actually glad I'm wrong about this, I might add.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
How bad was Hezbollah hurt?
[I]it is possible that Hezbollah has suffered far greater losses than we know. There is an asymmetry in the reporting of the conflict -- reporters clearly have much greater access to the Israeli military than Hezbollah. While it's in both sides' interest to keep published reports of their losses to a minimum, it's institutionally tougher for Israel to do this.So the war is over now -- how bad was Hezbollah hurt?
I still don't know the answer. According to Greg Djerejian, Hezbollah has acted so swiftly to reconstruct and rebuild the affected portions of Lebanon that, "Hizbollah's vast independent network undermines the state and encourages criticism of the cash-strapped central government."
On the other hand, according to Michael Totten, Hezbollah is acting in a quite chastened manner in South Lebanon:
[T]he most recent development in Hezbollah’s post-war saga is frankly humiliating.I challenge my readers to parse out these contradictory developments.Hizbullah has dismantled 14 outposts on the Israel-Lebanon border near the Shaba Farms, Lebanese security sources said Monday.
UPDATE: Below is an extract from an e-mail relayed to me by someone within the "defense establishment" -- make of it what you will:
1. All serious military analysts in the US, Iran and Israel understand that Hezbollah suffered an enormous defeat on the battlefield.
Monday, August 28, 2006
A post in which I make several calls for action
I see that U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan is in the Middle East and asking everyone to behave nicely:
Secretary-General Kofi Annan, currently in Beirut on the first leg of his shuttle diplomacy to the Middle East, has called on Israel to lift its blockade of Lebanon and urged Hizbollah to free two captured Israeli soldiers.Let me add my call to Mr. Annan's.
[And what will that accomplish?--ed. Nothing... which is pretty much what Kofi's request will accomplish. Hmmm..... while I'm at it, in the interest of international goodwill and peace I urgently call on Salma Hayek to meet with me, sans advisors, for at least
If this Financial Times story by Roula Khalaf and Sharmila Devi is correct, I doubt Hezbollah will be listening to Annan anytime soon: "when he toured the devastated areas in the southern Beirut suburbs, Mr Annan was booed by some of the group’s supporters who held pictures of Hassan Nasrallah, the Hizbollah chief."
From Mickey Kaus:
If you haven't been called by a booker to appear on TV all year, and you are not called to appear this weekend--even by a cable channel, even by FOX, even on Saturday--it's fair to say that you will never be called.But, but, but..... I just got a new suit!!
[Don't worry, like Mickey you don't need them--ed.]
The ultimate Nth year
Anyone getting a Ph.D. knows about nth years. These are graduate students who have been around so long that no other student possess the institutional memory to know when they entered the doctoral program. Nth years serve the very useful purpose of scaring the living crap out of the other graduate students, motivating them to finish their dissertations before they unwittingly morph into an nth year themselves.
There are nth years, and at the University of Chicago, there are nth years:
After a long and fruitful career, 79-year-old master’s degree graduate Herbert Baum has returned to the University of Chicago to earn his Ph.D. The oldest person ever to be awarded a doctorate by the University, Baum will receive the degree in economics Friday, Aug. 25.Quite the dissertation committee:
[Milton] Friedman, the Snowden Russell Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in Economics, was one of the faculty members who approved granting Baum a Ph.D. Joining Friedman on the committee were Nobel Prize-winning economists Gary Becker, University Professor in Economics, and committee chair James Heckman. Roger Myerson, the William C. Norby Professor in Economics, also served on the committee.To be fair soon-to-be-Dr. Baum, he's not a true nth year, since he left the university an accomplished something.
Academic readers are invited to share any horror stories they know about nth years.
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Your Katherine Harris update for the week
It appears Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Katherine Harris has stepped into some more hot water, according to the Associated Press:
U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris told a weekly religious journal that God and the nation's founding fathers did not intend the country be "a nation of secular laws" and made other comments that have drawn criticism in recent days.Let's go to the actual Florida Baptist Witness interview to see what she said... yes, yes I believe I have found the problematic answers:
Q: What role do you think people of faith should play in politics and government?Harris' campaign has issued a "statement of clarification" in response to the brouhaha:
In the interview, Harris was speaking to a Christian audience, addressing a common misperception that people of faith should not be actively involved in government. Addressing this Christian publication, Harris provided a statement that explains her deep grounding in Judeo-Christian values.The statement would also appear to explain her shallow grounding in American history.
[This entire post was just an excuse to link to this Ana Marie Cox post, wasn't it?--ed. Nolo contendre.]