Blogginghead Robert Wright Launches “The Progressive Realist” (tomorrow)


progressive realist twn.jpg
robert wright twn.jpgMy colleague and friend Robert Wright, who is now launching The Progressive Realist, kind of comes off in person as a hybrid of Anthony Perkins and Garrison Keillor — but focused in a folksy but serious way on America’s as of late unenlightened and reckless foreign policy course. When you push Bob to the edge as I have now and then, he’s capable of a Dick Cheney-like posture and growl.
We were out fishing for bass one day at the Airlie Conference Center, and he just wasn’t catching anything. I can’t help it if someone who sounds like they should be able to fish just can’t. I kept reeling in the decent sized bass and chose not to feel guilty. Actually just before the Cheney-esque growl Bob gave me that day some years ago, we had just been in a session together where Bob was outlining quite brilliantly the “increasing lethality of hatred” — sort of along the lines of Bill Joy’s dystopic look at a bleak future for mankind in which small groups of people had greater capacity to create events that had mass impact.
I was thinking then about how the foreign policy course America had taken had ruptured the mystique of American power in the world, and that the nation was well on its way to seeing its power and position implode. The economic panel that followed us saw the future as quite rosy, no trouble on the horizon — and I couldn’t quite believe that some of the leading economic minds in the country didn’t recognize that at some point there would be a point of tragic but necessary arbitrage between the world’s geostrategic mess and the global economic picture.
Bob and I were on the same side — but we both felt like growling.
Beyond the folksy veneer though, Robert Wright is one of our nation’s leading public intellectuals and entrepreneurs — and TOMORROW, he is launching a new “meta-blog” called The Progressive Realist.
If you have never checked it out before, take a look at the Bloggingheads beach spot inside the New York Times web universe. Some great exchanges there, frequently.
I heartily subscribe to several versions of realism, particularly progressive realism – but also subscribe to Anatol Lieven’s depiction of “ethical realism” and Michael Lind’s essays on “American internationalism.”
Robert Wright also launched the very successful and is author of Non Zero: The Logic of Human Destiny — as well as a Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation.
The Washington Note will be one of the feeds into Wright’s new portal into progressive realism, and we wish Bob and his team great success and many avid visitors.
— Steve Clemons


9 comments on “Blogginghead Robert Wright Launches “The Progressive Realist” (tomorrow)

  1. Michael says:

    Arbitrage? Looks more like cognitive dissonance to me.


  2. Michael says:

    Gosh, how many Iraq war supporters do you count in this new blog? Far too many by my count.
    Admittedly, many of them have spent the last few years apologizing for that error, but that error looms large in any evaluation of their present and future opinions as “analysts of US foreign policy”.
    Lets have some ‘real’ realism please. Throw out the liberal-humanitarian-interventionist wing please. They are just posers as ‘realists’.


  3. Beth in VA says:

    Your description of Robert Wright “a hybrid of Anthony Perkins and Garrison Keillor” is brilliant–exactly right! Intelligent as all get out. Thanks for the info — I especially appreciate Wright’s appreciation of ethics and morals within the topic of politics and economics. I’m looking forward to reading his site, and also hearing more from you on collaborations (fishing or otherwise).


  4. Syed Qamar Afzal Rizvi says:

    dear mr steve,
    nevertheless,the metablogg, The Progressive Realist is a good addition but the diversity and the uniqueness is well-established and attibuted to your indefatigable work-The Washington Note.


  5. David says:

    Looking forward to ever more actual, honest intellect at work, although we are, as a nation, still mired in the anti-intellectualism that has plagued much of popular society from the outset, although when I was a child my semi-rural elders would probably have urged people like Sarah Palin off the stage. I remember them as wanting us to go off to college to learn actual things and develop our minds. I also remember them expecting us to learn to think for ourselves, and to have good reasons for what we thought.
    I don’t think my memories are that far off base.
    I certainly hope the Obamas help usher in a new era of respect for the factually informed, intellectually honest human mind, in particular the mind not shackled by reality-averse ideology.
    Arbit-rage seems appropriate enough to me at this point in history.


  6. Mr.Murder says:

    Arbitrage is a correct usage, between what we perceive of America’s influence and status with what the rest of this world sees.


  7. Steve Clemons says:

    asdfas — you are right. i should have used another word and may fix tomorrow…but rather than arbitrage, which is taking advantage of the gap between two price levels of a commodity or investment — I needed to simply describe the fact that there would be an adjustment when these two worlds collided, like occurred when I held Time Warner and AOL stock. Thanks for the note,
    steve clemons


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