Tuesday, August 28, 2007

First Application of The Last Post's Theory

Second thought. The reason why I focused so much on theory in that last post was because it's the distinguishing factor here. Sure, "foreign policy community" types often engaged in pretty a-theoretical discussions of security and foreign policy and whatnot. Dennis Ross' bit of pablum here is a good case in point:

Leverage is essential to the exercise of statecraft. The Iraq Study Group seemed to understand that. The Bush administration hesitates ever to apply it. Even its quasi-pressure on Maliki is primarily rhetorical. Why would he change his behavior when he sees far worse alternatives, when he is under countervailing pressures from his own base and other Shia politicians, and when he doubts that the Bush administration will change course?
Any blogger could have written this. His piece is actually quite a bit shorter than many blog entries on this here site.

What's different is that Ross is employing a bit of assertion here, with that "leverage is essential to the exercise of statecraft", and expecting everybody to go along with it. If Ross' reputation alone won't carry the day if he's contradicted on this assertion, he'll probably try to shore it up with other assertions about "the exercise of statecraft". Probably from that new book of his.

The problem? If you drill down through all that assertions, that little bit about "leverage" is REALLY just applied Neo-Realist theory. And, of course, the course of world events has roughed Neo-Realism up like an extra in Fight Club extra. There's actually precious little reason to necessarily believe that leverage is essential to much of anything.

EVERYTHING has theory at its foundation, folks. Drill down to it, and I guarantee you'll see the experts in a new light. It won't necessarily be pretty, either.

No comments:

Post a Comment