A running theme around the office lately has been the deeply problematic character of causal mechanisms that international-relations scholars take for granted. For example, apparently simple claims about domestic institutions and credible commitments often require all sorts of heroic assumptions about public attention to policy processes, the degree of actual restraint institutions impose upon executives, and so on. They also have almost nothing to do with the way that policymakers assess the credibility of their counterparts. A related set of issues revolve around embedded neoliberal assumptions in US International Political Economy, particularly involving “free trade,” but I’ll save that for others.

This is all basically wind up for the part of this post where I tell you to go read Henry Farrell’s response to Kindred Winecoff’s critique of Paul Krugman’s rebuttal to David Brooks (don’t you just love the blogging world?).

Like Henry, I really enjoy Kindred’s blogging and think that IPE at UNC is a truly outstanding addition to the academic blogssphere. But, also like Henry, I find his arguments here detached from real political processes in ways that reflect larger problems with contemporary US IPE.