Talking to myself about foreign policy, US politics, technology, &c.

In Defence of the Very Serious Foreign Policy Community

Atrios is on one of his snarky tears these days on something that actually hits a bit close to home: the “Foreign Policy community,” which he sees as a bunch of pro-war shills for the administration and general nincompoops.

Here are some examples. (you can’t directly link to posts on his blog, but if you look for “foreign” you’ll find it.)

This gets me antsy, since I hope to be one of those nincompoops once I come out of my cocoon and become a Foreign Policy Community Butterfly.

The Council on Foreign Relations was set up during the Twenties to consider how to deal with a post-WWI era and attempted to be a voice of reason for sensible international policies in trade and foreign relations; since then, they’ve been a central clearinghouse for foriegn policy wonks. Either that, or part of a conspiracy to take over the world.

All this sneering about Very Serious People that he does masks the fact that there really are foreign policy experts out there, and they really do know a lot that is important. Atrios is an economist, and surely doesn’t think that the studies that he has done are without value, or that anyone on the street has as valid a perspective on econ as he has.

There is a scary amount of talent and knowledge in groups like Brookings and CFR – their researchers tend to have Ph.Ds and work for a pittance.

To blow them all off as stooges is the kind of anti-expertise knowledge that you expect out of climate-change flat earthers on the right.

Plus he bashed Dan Drezner, one of the best profs I have ever had. Don’t razz on a man who makes students sing their national anthems if their cell goes off in class.

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