Saturday, January 27, 2007
The lack of campaign chatter about foreign policy
Over at America Abroad, Earnest Wilson tells everyone what he knows about the foreign policy positions of the major Democratic candidates for president:
I don’t know. Other bloggers, journalists, policy wonks and usually talkative political pundits don’t know either. We have to assume the candidates know where they stand on the Big Issues. Maybe. But maybe not. They almost certainly don’t know all they really need to know on foreign affairs. (Except Biden. But he probably doesn’t know the other things.)I don't have much objection to the first few paragraphs his post, but I'm not convinced Wilson is correct on his last point. Bush's foreign policy instincts in the 2000 campaign were a mixture of diffidence and indifference -- a far cry from how he has approached foreign policy since then.
Tell me, informed readers: which presidential aspirant -- from either party -- seems the most well-grounded on matters of foreign policy?
Friday, January 26, 2007
Move over, Oprah
“Russian Thinkers,” a 1978 collection of essays on 19th-century Russian intellectuals by the philosopher Isaiah Berlin, has virtually disappeared from bookstores across the city, including Barnes & Noble, Labyrinth Books and Shakespeare & Company. The Internet is not much help either: the book is sold out on bn.com, and though it can be ordered from Amazon, the order won’t be shipped for two or three weeks.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Nationalism, globalization, China and Starbucks
Favorite quote that will cause rioting in London:
[What] about a Starbucks inside Buckingham Palace[?]. For all I know there may be one, years since I was there, but certainly there should be one. It wouldn't make much money inside the private quarters, I doubt the Queen does many skinny lattes, but in the Royal Gallery, which is the visitable part of the palace, a Starbucks would be an excellent fit.
Back in the day, they didn't have blogging scholarships
Student-bloggers, take note -- there's now a Political Blogging Scholarship:
Do you maintain a political weblog and attend college? Would you like $2,000 to help pay for books, tuition, or other living costs? If so, read on.Click here to find out all the details. I do like this description of what the winner and losers get:
The Winner Gets:[The kids today, with their podcasts and their American Idol idolatry..... we didn't have blogging scholarships when we started out, did we?--ed] Yes, but they also don't have annoying editorial voices either.What Happens to the Losers? Concession Speech!
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
I'm intrigued -- does that means he's doomed?
Many moons ago, my wife and I were roped into a focus group that was viewing a proposed television pilot. At the end of the half hour, we were asked to fill out some demographic information, including education level.
At that point, my wife and I looked at each other, knowing that because we had post-graduate degrees, our reactions were not going to matter one whit -- we're not exactly the target demographic of profitable shows.
This memory came to mind when someone e-mailed me this Fortune story by Nina Easton on Newt Gingrich's quixotic run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2008:
[T]his year, as he throws warm-up pitches for a 2008 presidential campaign, hoping that his big ideas, combined with his grass-roots popularity, will produce a "draft Newt" movement, even his most ardent loyalists doubt he can pull it off. "He's a better Moses, leading the party out of the wilderness, than he is a King David, running the show," says Frank Lavin, a veteran of Republican administrations who now serves as commerce undersecretary.Gingrich intrigues me -- he's far more complex and interesting a thinker than the nineties stereotype of him suggested. And if Hillary Clinton can remake herself as someone who's learned from past mistakes, I see no reason why Gingrich can't as well.
However, I can't shake the feeling that because I'm so interested in a Gingrich, he's doomed to fail. Can someone who scores well in the blogger wonk demographic really develop mainstream appeal?
Readers, help me out here.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Open SOTU -- oh, hell, I'm bored already
Comment on the content of Bush's State of the Union address if you'd like.
Me, I don't see the point. With a 28% approval rating and both houses of Congress controlled by
1) Bush's domestic policy proposals are immaterial, since they are DOA unless they provide an opportunity for Democrats to toss some lard at their favored interests (see: energy policy, ethanol subsidies).UPDATE: The Democratic response is by James Webb.
The generation gap on jobs
Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Bob Kimmitt has an interesting op-ed in the Washington Post on the growth in job churn, and why it's a good thing:
More than 55 million Americans, or four out of every 10 workers, left their jobs in 2005. And this is good news, because there were over 57 million new hires that same year.Now I suspect that many blog readers will heap scorn and outrage upon this trend, because they are nostalgic for the days of company men.
I also wonder, however, whether there is a generation gap in the reaction to this trend. My hunch is that the younger workers Kimmitt identifies in the piece already have accepted this new status quo, and will find objections to it puzzling.
This blog post brought to you by Peyton Manning
My latest diavlog -- with Matthew Yglesias -- is now online. Obsessive fans of danieldrezner.com will delight in the fact that my "studio" has moved to my Fletcher office.
Among the topics discussed -- Iraq, what we thought about Iraq in 2003, Iran, Bush's grand strategy, the 2008 campaign, and the inevitable Peyton Manning endorsement for bloggingheads.
Monday, January 22, 2007
A letter to the blog from the UN Global Compact
In my Los Angeles Times op-ed on the Davos forum, I wrote the following passage:
[Davos] is a useful place for politicians to launch new, grandiose initiatives that never quite live up to their billing. Former Secretary-General Kofi Annan launched the U.N.'s Global Compact there in 1999. The U.S. proposed a Middle East Free Trade Zone in 2003. And British Prime Minister Tony Blair used Davos in 2005 as the platform to launch the G8's climate-change initiative.It now appears that the op-ed has irked someone other than its author.
The following is a letter sent to the LA Times and myself from George Kell, the executive director of the UN Global Compact. I don't know if the LAT is running it, but it seems appropriate to run it here:
We take serious issue with Daniel Drezner’s characterization of the United Nations Global Compact as one of several “new, grandiose initiatives that never quite live up to their billing” (Davos’ downhill slide, 21 January 2007). What began as a call to action to global business leaders gathered in Davos eight years ago, has since grown to become the world’s largest voluntary corporate citizenship initiative with more than 3,000 participants in over 100 countries. The UN Global Compact has made a significant contribution to the emergence of corporate responsibility not only (and rightly so) as a moral obligation, but also as a management imperative. Every day, corporations around the globe are leading by example, aligning their strategies and operations with the Global Compact’s universal principles while driving value for their business and developing new opportunities.UPDATE: To defend my position just a little, I based my statement on two facts -- 1) The low rate of participation in the Global Compact by companies in two countries that kind of matter -- the United States and China Click here for more -- though a point for them for getting Microsoft to sign on. Second, as the Global Compact itself acknowledges, an awfu lot of companies appeared to sign on and then did nothing for quite a while.
A post in which I suck up to my employers
It may not have been on purpose, but the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy – the oldest graduate school of international relations in the US – has suddenly found itself in the executive education business.Note to self: put "educated global leader" somewhere on cv. [Since you have made exactly zero contribution to these programs, is that justified?--ed. Hey, all's fair in love and resumes.]
UPDATE: More good financial news for Tufts.
Vote early and (reasonably) often
Pajamas Media is conducting a thoroughly unscientific but nevertheless intriguing online Presidential straw poll. You are allowed to vote once a week.
Again, Rudy Giuliani is showing surprising strength (as is Barack Obama). The names that intrigue, however, are the ones in second place -- Dennis Kucinich and Newt Gingrich.
As I said, onlinew straw polls like this one don't have a lot of scientific value -- but I have to wonder if the first thing the nascent campaign staffs of all the candidates do in the morning is go to sites like this to boost their candidates' standing. Typical early morning list:
1) Make coffeeOf course, at this stage of the campaign there's another competition that matters greatly. The New York Times' Patrick Healy and Jeff Zeleny do a good job of covering the money race among the Dems.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Davos screws me over yet again
I have an essay in today's Los Angeles Times about the World Economic Forum -- otherwise known as the Davos forum. In the essay,I ask whether Davos is really significant, or whether it has jumped the shark:
Since Swiss business professor Klaus Schwab launched the forum in 1971, it has become the ne plus ultra of elite meetings, eclipsing such challengers as Renaissance Weekend, the British-American Project and the Trilateral Commission.Read the whole thing, but you should know that I submitted a different byline than the one they used.
The byline reads -- online at least -- as "Daniel W. Drezner is associate professor of international politics at Tufts University's Fletcher School and the author of "All Politics Is Global." He maintains a blog at danieldrezner.com/blog/."
Which is great, but the byline I submitted to them was, "Daniel W. Drezner is associate professor of international politics at Tufts University's Fletcher School and the author of "All Politics Is Global." He has never been invited to Davos, but is not bitter about that fact in the slightest."
I think I'd be less upset if I didn't fear that the deleted sentence was the best line in the piece.
Want to read more about Davos? You can check out the David Rothkopf's diary from last year's conference here. A precis of the polling results discussed in the piece can be found in this story. And here's a link to the official web site.
Finally, given that I was gently mocking it in the piece, I feel I owe a link to the one scholarly piece I found on Davos: Jean-Christophe Graz, "How Powerful are Transnational Elite Clubs? The Social Myth of the World Economic Forum." New Political Economy, Vol. 8, No. 3, November 2003. If you can get past the sections when Graz gets trapped in his own jargon, he makes an interesting argument about the inherent limits of these kind of fora.