Critiquing America’s Brain-Dead Foreign Policy 'Debate'
Wednesday June 11, 2014
Yesterday, Harvard’s Steve Walt posted an amusingly sharp piece on what’s wrong with America’s so-called foreign policy “debate.” Steve’s piece, titled “Take 2 Ambien and Call Me When It’s Over: I’d Rather Spoon My Own Eye Out Than Sit Through This Year’s Think-Tank-a-Palooza,” see here, appears on his blog at Foreign Policy; we also highlight key excerpts below.
The piece includes a nice reference to us; more importantly, it aptly encapsulates the brain-dead quality of most mainstream discussion in the United States about America’s role in and engagement with the wider world and dares to suggest what a more serious discussion would look like.
Steve opens by noting the widespread and mounting dissatisfaction with U.S. foreign policy:
“Nobody seems to be happy with U.S. foreign policy these days. It’s not hard to see why. Relations with Russia are frosty and could get worse. China is throwing sharp elbows and looking for opportunities to shift the status quo in Asia. The NSA is out of control. Afghanistan and Iraq were failures. Libya is a mess, Syria is worse, and Secretary of State John Kerry’s quixotic effort at Middle East peacemaking was a farce. Al Qaeda keeps spreading and morphing no matter how many leaders our drones and Special Forces kill. With criticism mounting, U.S. President Barack Obama defended his basic approach at West Point and hardly anyone came away feeling any better. And now we are having a pointless squabble over repatriated POW Bowe Bergdahl.
With nearly everyone—from Afghanistan War veterans to former envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to former Ambassador Robert Ford to MoveOn.org—upset about how things are going, it’s time for our premier foreign-policy institutions to step up with some outside-the-box thinking on how the United States could do better. Surely well-informed experts can offer fresh thinking on how the United States can deal with a world that seems to spin more out of control each month.”