With Great Power Comes Great Temptation: Or How Not to Turn the Dial to 11

A recent essay by Robert Kagan on the myth of American decline has garnered a lot of attention. I won’t spend too much time reciting what he wrote, but in the piece he quite persuasively argues that all the talk of American decline is a myth. The argument is two-fold, U.S. influence and power in the past has been exaggerated (particularly during the Cold War), and the United States is in a stronger position now than what the current political discussion will have you believe (the great recession has led to the perception of waning U.S. power etc.).

As . . .
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Misunderstanding Offshore Balancing: Or How Not to Apply Lessons in International Relations

For aspiring academics the only thing worse than promoting a lame foreign policy idea is abusing international relations theory to do it. The former is relatively common (at least for us snarky Twitter/blogosphere-people), but it’s been a while since I saw someone misunderstand, or misrepresent, IR theory so blatantly as David Axe does in this recent piece in the Diplomat on U.S. policy in northern Africa (h/t to Dan Trombly for the link). Axe begins the article by calling victory in Libya “an apparent success for a new US military strategy.” Exactly what is this new strategy? Winter explains:

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A National Strategic Narrative: Is Y really the new X?

Foreign Policy's John Norris has picked up on an article written by two U.S. military officers that seems to have gone largely unnoticed by the press. The article, titled “A National Strategic Narrative,” is being compared to George F. Kennan's famous article “The Sources of Soviet Conduct” for laying out a new direction in U.S. foreign policy (Kennan used the pseudonym “X” for the article which was published in Foreign Affairs in July 1947). The authors, U.S. Navy Captain Wayne Porter and U.S. Marine Corps Colonel Mark Mykleby, invite this comparison by signing it “Mr. Y” and making several . . .
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War fatigue setting in on Afghanistan

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has proven himself to be a very skilled political player throughout his career in Washington by being able to tap into political currents and manipulate the narrative. Unlike some of his predecessors, Gates can see which way the wind is blowing. Therefore, his latest comments on U.S. foreign policy should be given extra attention. In a speech to West Point cadets Friday, Gates made a rather blunt assessment of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: “Any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or . . .
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