The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

APSA 2013 Morning Linkage

August 29, 2013

It’s Syria week. Post use of chemical weapons, some sort of intervention looks more likely than not. We are conflicted. Here to help us make sense of this:

  • The intel that suggests the Syrian regime did it, but unclear command and control
  • George Packer on our inner dialogue about why intervention is necessary but folly
  • James Fallows on the folly part
  • Erica Chenoweth on the history of interventions, again emphasizing folly, here and here
  • Jon Western says not so fast, what is this case of? Bosnia or Iraq? Or something else?
  • Eric Voeten concurs
  • Ian Hurd and Charli Carpenter on breaking international law, Hurd says bomb Syria even if illegal (or make the case for a new legal rule) and Charli reminds us of the high hurdles for an intervention to be considered legal
  • Jonathan Mercer on credibility and reputation and why doing something on that basis would be dumb, David Ignatius thinks otherwise
  • Great Syria thread on Facebook Conflict Research group, mostly against intervention

In case you were wondering about the featured photo on the post.


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Joshua Busby is an Associate Professor in the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas-Austin. He is the author of Moral Movements and Foreign Policy (Cambridge, 2010) and the co-author, with Ethan Kapstein, of AIDS Drugs for All: Social Movements and Market Transformations (Cambridge, 2013). His main research interests include transnational advocacy and social movements, international security and climate change, global public health and HIV/ AIDS, energy and environmental policy, and U.S. foreign policy. He also tends to blog about global wildlife conservation.