This Week in the Foreign Policy Blogosphere

Today we take a quick look at some interesting posts from the foreign policy blogosphere over the last week. We hope to make this a regular feature on Fridays, and include more posts in future installments than I will here. If you have suggestions for serious foreign policy, defense or international affairs blogs we should check out and perhaps include in future reviews, drop us a line at

So, on with the show. I read more than a couple of musings this week on the search within the U.S. foreign policy establishment (to the extent there is such a thing anymore) for a guiding ideology that owes more to traditional realism than our current crusading foreign policy, but also is not completely amoral.

At Democracy Arsenal, Michael Signer critiques Anatol Lieven’s critique of Signer’s own candidate for a new American foreign policy, which Signer calls “American exemplarism.”

Lieven and John Hulsman have laid out another vision for American foreign policy in a new book called Ethical Realism. You can read an excerpt here, in which the authors examine the “folly of exporting democracy.” And if you’re in Washington on Oct. 10, you can see the authors speak about the book at the Cato Institute. If you’re not in Washington, you can watch it on the Web.

Daniel Drezner looks at yet another in the recently formed visions for U.S. foreign policy today. This one, outlined in a report from the Princeton Project on National Security, aims to confront today’s threats by forging a world of liberty under law.

Some of the folks involved in that Princeton report are regular bloggers over at TPM Café’s America Abroad. Which is where we turn next. I’m keen to link to Bruce Jentleson’s post there Tuesday because he recognizes the Raleigh News and Observer for top-notch coverage of Afghanistan. I used to read the N&O when in school at Chapel Hill and always thought it was one of the best smaller papers in the country. The sad disappearance of original foreign reporting from all but the largest U.S. papers is one reason why I think there’s a place for publications like our humble WPR.

The declassified National Intelligence Estimate was big news this week, and I could cite hundreds of bloggers that jumped into the political fray over that document. But I won’t. What’s more interesting to me is what the NIE revealed about the shortcomings of our intelligence community. Numerous critics this week had the same reaction I did when I first read the NIE. Namely: Is this all we got? The document seemed like something that any competent researcher with access to open sources could have written.

Douglas Farah also criticized the shortcomings of the NIE this week. He contended that, in its analysis of the sources of global terrorism, it gave short shrift to what he calls the “‘pull’ factors in Islamic radicalization” (as opposed to the “push” factors).

Speaking of Islam, many have wondered this week what effect the Thai coup would have on that country’s Muslim insurgency in the south. This Passport post looks at reasons why the coup could help bring the fighting to an end. But Zachary Abuza over at the Counterterrorism Blog has a different take.

Which brings me to Francis Fukuyama (you like that segue?). At the American Interest’s “AI Cont’d” blog, Fukuyama examines what the imminent installation of Shinzo Abe as Japan’s prime minister will mean for Japanes nationalism, its posture toward the rest of Asia and for U.S. foreign policy.

And finally, I can’t finish without citing something about the furor over the Pope’s remarks about Islam. Thankfully, Abu Aardvark suggests that what he calls “PopeStorm” may finally be subsiding, and he offers an interesting theory that the uproar was cultivated by some regimes in the Arab world.

Have a good weekend.

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