Foreign Policy Blogging at OTB

I’ve just published a foreign policy-related post at Outside the Beltway:

Get Serious

Is the United States a serious country? Should it be? Apparently, the Tom Friedmans and Eugene Robinsons of the world think it isn’t and should be.

My take: U. S. policy is an emergent phenomenon of the competing interests in the country. This does not enable us to proceed with the single-minded determination of a dictatorship or the consistency of authoritarian rule but it is well-suited to a large, diverse country and provides us with a durability that more “serious” systems might not.

11 comments… add one
  • Ben Wolf Link

    Friedman is an acolyte of a paternalistic form of liberalism which is effectively a rejection of the ideology’s anti-authoritarian roots. That and he has a serious obsession with things that are BIG. If China can build a huge thing real fast and we can’t that makes them better than us. He ignores that in the U.S. we’re choosing (mostly) to provide goods such as clean water and air rather than a boondoggle airport or a city inspired by 28 Days Later.

  • Icepick Link

    … a city inspired by 28 Days Later.


  • I’m not sure it’s that well thought-out, Ben. I think that Mr. Friedman evaluates things on the basis of his own experience. I think he’s judging the Chinese system based on the amenities at the Admiral’s Club at the Beijing or Shanghai airports and on the bar at the InterCon.

  • Ben Wolf Link

    @Dave Schuler

    If you’re right it would mean the man is more oblivious than I’d given him credit for. You’re not much of a fan of squire Friedman, are you?

  • steve Link

    “You’re not much of a fan of squire Friedman, are you?”

    Who is? Wish the NYT would replace him. Seriously.


  • Drew Link

    Greetings commenters, on this most excellent Sunday afternoon. After a very unexpected four day stay in the hospital I read these comments and a smile came across my face. Although I often evaluate things based upon my own experience, and who wouldn’t, it would be irrational to do otherwise, Friedman? Friedman? Flat world, flat head, flatulence…whatever…

  • Ben Wolf Link


    I’m sorry to hear you’ve been unwell and hope you are on your way to recovery.

  • Drew Link

    Thank you, Ben. It’s was a truly harrowing experience complete with ambulance and TV/movie trip to hospital stuff. At this point it looks like I’ll be fine with appropriate medication. Every day counts…

  • steve Link

    @Drew- Ouch! Take care man. That daughter still needs you. Best to avoid hospitals if you can.


  • Drew Link

    Thanks, Steve. It’s a long story, but just one tidbit that will certainly resonate with you as a physician – I presented at one of those walk in clinics with what I thought would end up being a simple prescription for an ear infection (given past history) but was measured with a blood pressure of 212 over 110. The physician in a chillingly matter of fact tone said “we are not equipped to deal with what’s going on, but we have called an ambulance and you are going straight to the emergency room.”


  • Drew Link

    Steve –

    PS. Yeah, I started tagging along with my Dad as he did his rounds at the hospital when I suppose I was 12 – 13, but in any event young. I still remember thinking “everyone in this place is sick!”.

    Yes, best avoided.

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