The Limits to American Ambition

Hampton directed my attention to these two Francis Fukuyama pieces, one in the WaPo, the other in the FT. I agree with Fukuyama’s two main points from the WaPo, namely that efforts to generalize some sort of autocratic era are pointless, and that the varied autocratic states that do exist are in many ways bound by the globalized system in ways that the ideological autocracies of the 20th century weren’t. They can only go so far, as the headline puts it, although Fukuyama offers the caveat of resource scarcity as a potential driver of conflict. I wonder, though, if his […]

The Era of Limited War

The Leslie Gelb op-ed piece that I flagged yesterday also contained this brief passage that’s been buzzing around in my head ever since: The two groups of realists should seek common ground on the issue of humanitarian intervention. Americans know they can’t be true to themselves and do nothing about genocide. Failure to act against this particular evil corrupts society and inspires deep cynicism, something genuine conservatives always feared. Yet it is foolhardy to try to tame the problem through nation building. Our experience, as in Bosnia, shows we have a good chance to stop or abate the violence through […]

Back to Realism

I’ve mentioned before that one of the more alarming aspects ofgetting older is that I find myself agreeing from time to time withHenry Kissinger. So his inclusion in Leslie Gelb’s call for a broad coalition of foreign policy realiststo shape American policy isn’t a dealbreaker. It’s become an electoralcliche to talk about bipartisanship, but while that usually refers todomestic politics, I think it will be far more essential over thecourse of the next eight years in the conduct of foreign policy.American society is resilient enough to weather the tug-of-war ofpartisan politics. But the rapidly evolving global scene now more than […]

The Application of American Military Power

I did manage to get through one book while I was away, America at Arms, a study of American strategic culture written by Gen. Vincent Desportes. Desportes was until yesterday the commander of the French Army’s Force Employment Doctrine Center. Today he assumed his new duties as commander of the Inter-Army Defense College. On starting the book, my first thought was that it should be required reading in France. Upon finishing it, my final thought was that it should be required reading in America. While not his primary concern, Desportes’ analysis helps put the strategic debates of the immediate post-9/11 […]

Back to Blogging

I just got back Saturday from two weeks of internet-free vacation.With the exception of a quick glance at the news stand headlines everythree or four days, I also managed to remain largely oblivious to thecountry’s and the world’s goings on. I’d like to say that the resultingdetachment from the news cycle allowed for reflections of a broader andmore profound nature, but the truth is that I mainly just relaxed andenjoyed the time off. So, I’ll be using today to get back up to speed.Hopefully the blog rust will be gone by the time your back from LaborDay barbecues. Am I […]

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