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U.S. Foreign Policy: Inept, or Something Else?

The Contrary Perspective

"Possible explanations can become needlessly complex. It is coherent, for instance, to add the involvement of leprechauns to any explanation, but Occam's razor would prevent such additions unless they were necessary."  I think we can rule out leprechauns ... “Possible explanations can become needlessly complex. It is coherent, for instance, to add the involvement of leprechauns to any explanation, but Occam’s razor would prevent such additions unless they were necessary.” I think we can rule out leprechauns …

Dan Mason

What follows is a subject for open debate. It is a very serious subject, and I have had trouble solving the dilemma to my personal satisfaction. Please feel free to offer other conclusions because this really perplexes me. Here it is:

Why does US foreign policy/military interventions appear to be completely inept?

I have been asking myself this question, framed in various ways, for a long time. I mean, let’s face it, the 21st century has been pretty terrible for America so far. Anybody can list the failures, and many of these failures were both predictable, and predicted.

It really goes back to the Viet Nam war. After Viet…

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W. J. Astore: The United States of Militarism

Vox Populi

A century ago, the USA was a dynamic, forward-looking, freedom-espousing country that was focused on science and technology and its practical applications, as represented by Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. We were about to reelect a president, Woodrow Wilson, precisely because he had kept the country out of World War I. With the exception of the Navy, the U.S. military was small, and few Americans (Teddy Roosevelt comes to mind) boasted about the “manly” virtues of military service and war.

Here we are, a century later, in a country that has taken up militarism, a country which is increasingly reactionary, authoritarian, and backward-leaning, a country that leads the world not in innovation for ordinary people as in the days of Edison and Ford, but in weapons exports to the world’s trouble spots.

Anyone with a sense of history — indeed, anyone with common sense — should recognize that militaries are…

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Should I Join the Military to Advance My Career?

Ramen IR

Chef’s Table is a new section on Ramen IR that provides readers insight into various professions related to international affairs and foreign policy. Authors share their experiences, offering an inside perspective of their respective fields. Ultimately, the mission of Chef’s Table is to better equip young professionals and students to break into the field of international affairs through lessons learned, career testimonies, and advice from experienced practitioners.  

Well past the gluttonous years of Iraq and Afghanistan, countless young graduates in the field of security studies struggle to break into an ever-shrinking, exclusive job market. Internships are routinely unpaid and don’t lead to full-time jobs, a constant merry-go-round of exploitative labor. Meanwhile, debt-laden graduates desperately compete for “entry-level” jobs, which demand they already possess “Top Secret” or “Secret” security clearances and have two to three years of experience – an unrealistic and unreasonable bar for entry into the job market…

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Stamping with Buffy

71 years ago today, my uncle, Jennings Marston, landed on Omaha Beach. Uncle Jennings was one of the “lucky” ones who made it back home. After serving in Europe during World War II, he went to Korea during the Korean War. (I know some politicians called it a “conflict.” A conflict is when two toddlers fight over a toy. When men and women are getting killed, or coming home physically and/or emotionally scarred, it’s not a conflict; it’s a war.)

Each year on Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day, June 6, and other American holidays, my Uncle Smile sends an e-mail tribute to all the veterans in our family.  And there are lots! Dad was in the National Guard. His unit almost got sent to Korea, but they lost (or won, I guess) the coin toss. Mike’s father and step-father were both in the service. And we have lots of uncles and cousins who have…

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