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looking beyond borders

foreign policy and global economy

Archive for the category “Political Thought”

Capitalism’s Great Reckoning

As the maladies of modern capitalism have multiplied, fundamental questions about the future of the world’s dominant economic model have become impossible to ignore. But in the absence of viable alternatives, the question is how to reform a system that is increasingly at odds with democracy.

Read Here – Project Syndicate

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Polybius, Applied History, And Grand Strategy In An Interstitial Age

Polybius’ Histories should not only be viewed as a precious repository of information for classicists, but also as required reading for today’s national security managers. Indeed, over the past decade or so, growing apprehensions about China’s rise and America’s relative decline have prompted a surge in the study of the kind of great-power transitions experienced by Polybius.

Read Here – WarOnTheRocks

Conservatism, Realism and Foreign Policy: Kissing Cousins If Not Soulmates

Realists understand that nationalism is the most consequential-ism in world politics. While sometimes it manifests itself in ugly xenophobia it can, ironically, also work to make the international system more benign. It is the engine for balancing behaviour among states, which helps maintain an equilibrium of power and ensures that most states will make provision for their own defence if they have no other choice.

Read Here – The National Interest

We Are All Globalnationalists Now

In the epilogue to the first volume of his biography of Henry Kissinger, The Idealist, historian Niall Fergusson notes that he asked Yale university professor, John Gaddis, whether he agreed with his designation of Dr K. as a foreign policy “idealist.” That assessment contrasted with the conventional view of the former U.S. Secretary of State as archetypal national security “realist,” the kind who hangs a picture of Otto von Bismarck in his study.

Read Here – The Spectator

Can Countries Make Themselves Great Again?

Is Donald Trump’s slogan “Make America great again” mere campaign rhetoric in the tradition of Barack Obama’s “hope and change,” George H. W. Bush’s “a kinder, gentler nation,” and Ronald Reagan’s “It’s morning in America again”? Or do such renaissances really occur in history? The Roman Republic and Empire together lasted for more than 1,000 years. Yet at various times throughout this period, Rome was declared finished—like during the Punic Wars (264-146 BC), the Civil Wars of the late Republic (49-31 BC), and the coups and cruelty of the 12 Caesars (49 BC-AD 96), especially during the reigns of Caligula, Nero, and Domitian.

Read Here – Defining Ideas

Return of The City-State

Photo by Alex Jodoin on Unsplash

We are just as deluded that our model of living in ‘countries’ is inevitable and eternal. Yes, there are dictatorships and democracies, but the whole world is made up of nation-states. This means a blend of ‘nation’ (people with common attributes and characteristics) and ‘state’ (an organised political system with sovereignty over a defined space, with borders agreed by other nation-states). Try to imagine a world without countries – you can’t. Our sense of who we are, our loyalties, our rights and obligations, are bound up in them.

Read Here – Aeon

The Last Hollow Laugh

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History and the Last Man (1992). Rarely read but often denigrated, it might be the most maligned, unfairly dismissed and misunderstood book of the post-war era. Which is unfortunate for at least one reason: Fukuyama might have done a better job of predicting the political turmoil that engulfed Western democracies in 2016 – from Brexit, to Trump, to the Italian Referendum – than anybody else.

Read Here – Aeon

Marx’s Revenge

If, in these conditions, we are still drawn to the story of Marx’s life, it’s for reasons other than his authority. Amid trying and precarious circumstances, he combined philosophical penetration, literary and journalistic gifts, and revolutionary commitment to a singular degree. And yet the enormous dimensions of his undertaking meant that he could achieve hardly a fraction of what he attempted; in all that he did, he bequeathed tasks to later generations.

Read Here – The Nation

The Body Politic And Its Nervous Breakdown

If what interests us is simply how to assign individuals rapidly and definitively to the categories of sheep and goats, saved and damned, this is offensively frustrating. But if we recognise that evil is in important respects a shared enterprise, we may be prompted to look harder at those patterns of behaviour and interaction that – in the worst cases – give permission to those who are most capable of extreme destructiveness, and to examine our personal, political and social life in the light of this.

Read Here – New Statesman

Chanakya’s Arthashastra And Foreign Policy

The Arthashastra is indeed a masterpiece of statecraft, diplomacy, and strategy and is an example of non-Western literature that should be read as part of the “realist” canon. Its prescriptions are especially relevant for foreign policy today.   Read Here – The National Interest

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