Monday, February 20, 2006

good sunday reading... on monday

There's an excellent piece in the Sunday New York Times magazine by Francis Fukuyama of Johns Hopkins University. Titled "After Neoconservatism," it's a coolly rational analysis of the history of the neoconservative movement, the failures of the Bush Doctrine and what a modified foreign policy should/could look like in a post-neoconservative America.

For those who seem confident that the Democrats will retake the House in November, a cautionary history lesson in the WaPo. With it comes the unspoken notion that w/r/t the continuing dominance of the GOP in Congress, it's not necessarily America which has become more conservative (it probably has, but not to the degree that triumphalist Republicans would have us believe), but preservationalist congressional Democrats who have grown older, more lifeless and infinitely less appealing (which is definitely true).

And finally, an interesting interview at Salon with William Ian Miller, a professor of law at the University of Michigan who extolls the virtues of archaic "eye for an eye" justice in "honor societies" like medieval England and Iceland. Neither he nor the interviewer seem to realize it, but his depiction of revenge as an interpersonal and/or intertribal form of negotiation and/or communication in ancient societies pretty much exactly describes the modern anarchic system of international relations and international security.


Jeff Porten said...

Haplo --

Based on your last sentence, an organization you might find interesting:

Ryan said...

Hey Jeff -

Thanks for reading the blog! And thanks for the link.

It's interesting - in the first article I linked to, Fukuyama actually touches upon the need for effective, legitimate international organizations (note the plural) in the future.

I think he's arguing more from an international security point of view (as opposed to CGS, whose vision seems a bit more encompassing); if I read his argument correctly, he's in favor of multiple legitimate international bodies - many of which overlap and even compete with one another. The example he used was how in the late 90s the United States attempted to deal with the Kosovo situation through NATO instead of the UN Security Council because Russia would not have veto powers that way.

Personally, I was shocked at how exactly Miller describes an anarchic state w/r/t international security, and how neither he nor the Salon journalist did not even seem to realize it. Also, I wasn't really saying that an anarchic system of international relations is necessarily a good or a bad thing; for the time being, it is what it is and what it has always been.