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05 December 2013


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David Habakkuk

Babak Makkinejad,

That certainly tends to be the effect. The problem is I think illuminated by some remarks of Richard Ned Lebow in a critique of Thomas Schelling, entitled 'Reason Divorced from Reality: Thomas Schelling and Strategic Bargaining', which he published in 2006:

“His work is emblematic of a more general American approach to the world that seeks, when possible, to substitute a combination of technical fixes and military muscle for political insight and diplomatic finesse. Schelling may be 'the best and brightest' representative of a tradition that continues to shape American thinking about strategy and coercive bargaining. He is also an important representative of a broader intellectual development: the colonization by microeconomics of international relations and the social sciences more generally. The Strategy of Conflict and Arms and Influence represent crucial imperial outposts in this process. They are fair game for those of us who question the value of framing the study of international relations in this manner.

“For different reasons, both the theory and practice of international relations are dominated by the search for technical fixes. In the world of theory, this is motivated by the desire for parsimonious theory and reinforced by general ignorance of history, language and diverse cultures. Study of history, foreign languages and cultures are on the whole discouraged by top-ranked American graduate programs in international relations. Their narrowness reflects arrogance, but also recognition that any acknowledgment of the relevance of this kind of knowledge would significantly reduce the claims of pure theorists of any orientation for status and resources.”

William R. Cumming

Eliot! Did you mean Howard Hunt?

The recruitment of "employees" by the CIA can in part only reflect America. Have you read "The Closing of the American Mind" by Harold Bloom?

William R. Cumming

Anyone? Does Islam derive in anyway from the Civilization of Ancient Greece and did the "pagan" philosophers of Greece impact Islam?

Am I correct in labeling Islam a Western" religion?


David, this is the stake through the the heart of IR theory:

"...Their narrowness reflects arrogance, but also recognition that any acknowledgment of the relevance of this kind of knowledge would significantly reduce the claims of pure theorists of any orientation for status and resources.”..."

Of course none of the graduates of IR programs can expand their own knowledge after obtaining that phd, that would be a repudiation of themselves, who they spent 21 years in academia creating. They would never get a job recommendation, much less a job. It is conformity of the worst kind.


You can add the Khmer Rouge to that category.


'Abu Bakr Naji' is in error if he believes that the West is much interested in either revenge or reconciliation. We are much more short-sightedly utilitarian than that.

David Habakkuk


If my memory serves me right, you quoted some time back from a poem by Yeats – ‘All think what other people think;/ All know the man their neighbour knows.’ It seemed apt.

I also suspect that the kind of education people get in International Relations/Political Science programmes may actually serve to discourage the development of imagination.


David Habakkuk

In my experience a background in poly sci or international relations can easily be an intellect killer. pl


Yes, to both your points.


I studied Art and Art History in college so there may be hope for me as far as my intelligence may not have been killed, yet.

Art school messed me up. Things started to fall into place for me however, in graduate school I took up Architectural Design and Set Design, both disciplines firmly based on ground, utilizing imagination and creativity still, but with heavy emphasis on reality of actually making things stand up.

What would be the equivelant of my experience for someone who studied political science or international relations, with a "killed" intelligence, but to follow up with a subject that puts things in perspective and validate their previous education? In other words, how can they "unkill" their intellect?

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