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John Ikenberry’s Pissed

At Charles Krauthammer. Remind me never to make John mad. Charles Krauthammer is well known as the chief polemicist of the neo-conservative movement and op-ed guru of American unilateralism – and he has just outdone himself in writing the most thoroughly risible piece of foreign policy commentary that I have recently seen. Indeed, it is […]


Preliminary Notes on Progressive Foreign Policy in the Age of Trump

I apologize for inflicting this on you all, but I’ve found that blogging helps me think through ideas and questions—especially given the Duck’s readership. So, without further introduction, here are some half-baked notes on Progressive foreign policy. Preliminaries The 2016 primary contest highlighted the general atrophy of progressive foreign-policy thought and infrastructure. Virtually the entire left […]


Against Esoteric Readings of Neoconservatvism, or Always Check the Footnotes

I’m currently working on a few difference pieces that deal with the relationship between liberalism and empire. I also, as long-team readers of the Duck know, consider neoconservative understandings of international politics as a variant of liberalism that constitutes a specific flavor of the US commitment to democratic enlargement as transformative of international politics. Neoconservatives […]


Concert of democracies: The liberal internationalist case

Ivo Daalder’s and Robert Kagan’s “Concert of Democracies” opinion-editorial has been generating waves of derision from the left coast of blogland. I’ve already argued that Kagan’s ‘Cold War II’ outlook on the liberal-authoritarian divide amounts to a self-fulfilling prophecy–although the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s activities suggest that we’re already heading in that general direction. So I’m […]


What’s in a foreign-policy label?

Dan Drezner’s at Princeton discussing liberal internationalism, so he posts this rather interesting placeholder on his blog: One question that came up at today’s sessions was pretty basic but rather important: how, exactly, would one define liberal internationalism? It’s one of those terms that foreign policy wonks like to throw around, but often means very […]


Neocons, liberals, realists, and all that

A few days ago Younghusband posted some thoughts about an old post of mine, in which I argued that, from an IR theory perspective, “neoconservativism” is not an alternative vision of international politics on par with realism and liberalism. I further claimed that neoconservativism shares more with the liberal than the realist tradition of IR […]


Balancing and the balance of power, part 1

On Tuesday I posted a quotation from one of Peter Golden’s articles on Central Asian steppe formations. The entry received some interesting commentary, but may have struck some of our readers – particularly those who don’t know me – as a bit odd. How relevant can pre-Cinggisid steppe dynamics be to the more contemporary subject […]


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