Thursday, August 27, 2009

Stephen Walt Says It Better

The other day, the Armchair Generalist drew my attention to something Paul Wolfowitz wrote, allegedly on what is called realism in foreign policy. I've been wanting to write a response to Wolfowitz, but now I see that Stephen Walt has done just that, and probably better than I would have. (BTW, Foreign Policy, ten "pages"? Ten clicks - oh you are so smart!)

As a bonus, David Rothkopf, Daniel Drezner, and Steve Clemons weigh in as well. Rothkopf is bothered by the label "realism," which, as I noted in the comments to the AG's post, is a continuing problem. International relations would do itself and the rest of us a great favor by coming up with another term, but Rothkopf makes too much of it. He also gets sucked in by Wolfowitz's too-narrow use of the word.

Drezner also recognizes Wolfowitz's sloppy use of words, but he gets sucked into the same pointless argument that Rothkopf does. Clemons doesn't quite get stuck in the word trap, but he dances around a number of points in a rather incoherent way. I'm not at all sure, for example, that Wolfowitz is putting forth a "new school of 'democratic realism'" as much as once again telling us that he was right all along, and no, he doesn't want to discuss the Iraq war.

So read Walt's piece for sure, and the others if you've got time on your hands.


Cesar Arroyo said...

I always click print on the articles over 2 pages as to read them in one big long page...

J. said...

Walt is the only one with the courage to say what is needed. You're right, the others are all in this debating contest with Wolf. Why not just say "he's wrong. here's why."