The Stephen Walt – Robert Kagan Court


Walt3.jpgDon’t expect seriousness in this post. I was just chuckling when I got an email moments ago from the Council on Foreign Relations announcing the shortlist for the 2009 Arthur Ross Book Award.
What caught my eye was not the distinguished group of books up for consideration — but rather two members of the jury: Stephen Walt and Robert Kagan.
robert kagan.jpgI don’t have time to go into why I think that this would be one of the tickets of the decade to get if one could eavesdrop on any in-person debate — but I can’t wait to read whatever Stephen Walt will or won’t blog about his engagement with Kagan about which books to push and which to bury.
The books under review on the shortlist are:

Gareth Evans for The Responsibility to Protect: Ending Mass Atrocity Crimes Once and For All (Brookings Institution Press)
Dexter Filkins for The Forever War (Knopf Publishing Group)
Philip Pan for Out of Mao’s Shadow: The Struggle for the Soul of a New China (Simon & Schuster)
Kevin Phillips for Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism (Penguin Group)
Ahmed Rashid for Descent into Chaos: The United States and the Failure of Nation Building in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia (Penguin Group)
Jeremy Salt for The Unmaking of the Middle East: A History of Western Disorder in Arab Lands (University of California Press)

And the Arthur Ross Book Award jury is:

Stanley Hoffmann, Paul & Catherine Buttenwieser University Professor, Harvard University
James F. Hoge Jr. (Chairman), Peter G. Peterson Chair and Editor, Foreign Affairs
Robert W. Kagan, Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Miles Kahler, Rohr Professor of Pacific International Relations, University of California, San Diego
Mary Sarotte, Professor of International Relations, University of Southern California
Stephen M. Walt, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

I wonder if Peter Peterson might fund a reality TV series with the realists and neocons trying to whack each other on non-profit boards.
— Steve Clemons


2 comments on “The Stephen Walt – Robert Kagan Court

  1. Mr.Murder says:

    His assumption is flawed. We never wanted Iran or Iraq be stable, Syria either for that much.
    They’re on the wrong side of the MIC complex’s paradigm and it’s where we need to continue a security sector’s need to for bad guys we can build and support nanny states against.
    Brzez ever teach you guys anything? Most of our South Central Asia policy is just a larger, less direct, version of our Southeact Asia policy that failed for several decades before we decicded to promote failure(Condi, etc.) to bring us this point.
    We did support brutality in South America all through that time. It bridged us those two eras. So who is the Noriega of today? Where’s our Noriega and Marco to stage this stuff from? In outsourcing our jobs did we cut out the middle man as well?
    Well we’ve put a ton of it through the Marshall Islands. Barack ever fix that for labor or is he still letting the venture capitalists use slavery and sweatshops to sew expensive player jerseys for sports leagues there?
    Didn’t think it was about change, did you?
    Instead of going small with it we’ve pushed it through in big terms on the top level. Who needs a bananna republic when we can have Chinese democracy? They’ve almost learned how to pick their leaders for them well as we do.
    Who are we kidding, they do a far better job of it. That’s why Nixon admired them so much. Normalization wasn’t about them changing, it was about us changing, and boy have we.
    News to the GOP. We cans top racing to the bottom, you’ve already got us there.


  2. Paul Norheim says:

    Speaking of Stephen Walt, he wrote an interesting article on his blog a couple
    of days ago, – indirectly related to the topic -asking why, during a severe
    economic downturn, the US “foreign policy ambitions and international
    commitments — in other words, the number of costly items on the foreign
    policy agenda — seems not to have been affected at all”.
    After mentioning the usual explanations (American Exceptionalism, “The
    hegemonic stability theory”, etc), he suggests an additional factor:
    “In short, what I’m suggesting here is that America’s role in the world today is
    shaped by two imbalances of power, not just one. The first is the gap between
    U.S. capabilities and everyone else’s (…). The second imbalance is between
    organized interests whose core mission is constantly pushing the U.S.
    government to do more and in more places, and the far-weaker groups who
    think we might be better off showing a bit more restraint.”
    Interestingly, in the long list of institutions and groups promoting activism in
    the world, he gives the Council on Foreign Relations a prominent place. And
    among the few promoting “a bit more restraint”, he also mentions the New
    America Foundation:
    “By contrast, there are at most a handful of institutions whose core mission is
    to get the United States to take a slightly smaller role on the world stage.
    There is the CATO Institute (where Preble works) and maybe a few people at
    the Center for American Progress and the New America Foundation. And there
    are plenty of peace groups out there with an anti-interventionist agenda. But
    these groups are hardly a match for the array of forces on the other side. And
    apart from Steve Chapman at the Chicago Tribune, I can’t think of a major
    mainstream columnist or media commentator who is a consistent voice for a
    more restrained foreign policy.”
    “The result, as you may have noticed, has not been all the salutary. Instead of
    stabilizing the key strategic areas of the world — something we used to be
    pretty good at — in recent years the United States has been an actively
    destabilizing force.”
    The rest of his post is here:


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