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Chan'ad Bahraini

(Scomberomorous maculatus Bahrainius)

Note: This page has moved to a new address. Please click on the following URL to get there: http://chanad.weblogs.us/index.php?s=The academic-policymaker divide. Sorry for the trouble.

The academic-policymaker divide

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

I heard about this open letter from Abu Aardvark:

We, a nonpartisan group of foreign affairs specialists, have joined together to call urgently for a change of course in American foreign and national security policy. We judge that the current American policy centered around the war in Iraq is the most misguided one since the Vietnam period, one which harms the cause of the struggle against extreme Islamist terrorists. One result has been a great distortion in the terms of public debate on foreign and national security policy—an emphasis on speculation instead of facts, on mythology instead of calculation, and on misplaced moralizing over considerations of national interest. We write to challenge some of these distortions. (Continued)

This is quite serious stuff, because this isn't one of the many petitions supported by left liberal academics like Chomsky or Zinn. The people behind this are a group of security studies specialists who hold a wide range of political beliefs and academic schools of thought. I've had the honour of being taught by a few of the professors who are spearheading this movement and I can tell you that they are hardcore neorealists, so no one can accuse this of being a Democrat/liberal ploy. The list is now up to almost 700 signatories, and if you go through it you will see most of the academic heavyweights of political science and international relations listed there. Their message is quite clear: whoever gets elected to President has got to change the direction of current foreign policy. (But I'm sure Kerry can't wait to turn this into political propaganda and throw it at Bush in tomorrow's final presidential debate).

Now it could turn out that these academics are wrong about Iraq, and the Bush administration is right. But the real issue that this letter raises is the huge gap between US foreign policy makers and academics today. Of course, there has always been a divide between the two groups, but the United States has always been able to take pride in the huge number of extremely talented academics that the policy makers can look to for advice. That they are so far out of touch today should be quite worrying. (It is quite odd that this is the case today, given Condi's impressive academic background)

Now on to more fun things. Have a look at a rather amusing montage video here. I know I've been taking alot of cheap shots at Dubya lately, but it's not because I particularly dislike him. It's just that it's so easy to make fun of him! I mean I've not yet come across any mildly amusing propaganda that makes fun of Kerry. I dunno, maybe Republicans just aren't into humour. Even though I don't really agree with the political message of Fahrenheit 9/11, it was quite an entertaining film, and some of the video clips were hilarious. So if any of you have any funny anti-Kerry propaganda then please let me know, and I'll be happy to post it here.

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1 Responses to 'The academic-policymaker divide'


Anonymous Anonymous says:

http://media.ebaumsworld.com/sovereignty.mov    

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