I have spent much time here at the Spew discussing various analogies and kinds of analogies, including how IR can be like tacos and how to make a good IR pop culture analogy. I love using analogies, and have often used them in my teaching, even as I know that they have their limits (thanks, Robert Jervis).
But if I had to nominate one analogy to kill, to kill with fire, to destroy utterly, it would be the use of the occupations of Germany and Japan to discuss 21st century state-building/nation-building/post-war reconstruction. I was inspired/depressed by this chain of tweets: Continue reading
The debate is indeed on, and the Duck is paddling rapidly on this one with excellent posts from Robert, Jon, and Dan. I take/took a slightly different tack. I opposed the war at the time and like everyone else watched how President Bush–whose job ratings were so low on 9-10 that he was rapidly on his way to being a one-term president–relied on Karl Rove to use 9-11 to his supreme political advantage. A la Jon’s post, it took the American people six more years to wake up to the (inter)national disaster that had been wrought.
But remember Colin Powell’s Pottery Barn rule? Taking that as a departing premise at the time, I wrote a piece that analyzed what could realistically have been achieved long after the Bremer decisions that the Neocons are now blaming for their ill-conceived adventurism. This piece was about Iraq, but in the present context its frame could be applied to Libya and Syria. For example, if Assad were to use chemical weapons and force the West’s military hand in the process, pretty soon the assembled coalition would be in the position it was in prior to the surge in Iraq: it would be an occupying force. Let’s hope this doesn’t happen, but if it does…