Pax Corleone

by Lee Sigelman on May 14, 2008 · 3 comments

in International Relations

godfather.jpg

Here is a clever piece by John C. Hulsman and A. Wess Mitchell analyzing some major schools of thought about American foreign policy—liberal institutionalism, neoconservatism, and realism—through the lens of “The Godfather.” I wonder what my IR colleagues make of this.

[Hat tip to PolySigh]

{ 3 comments }

virgil xenophon May 18, 2008 at 3:47 am

For the same reason that American Presidents cannot, whatever the varied merits may be, legalize drugs because of the prevailing moral ethos of the nation (at least if he wants a second term), ANY President will find it very difficult to “accomodate” a China or Iran such that they think “buying into” the system is worth it–and for the very same reasons.

It is exceedingly difficult
in this day of Wilsonian idealism to find any leader- ship cadre capable of (or
even desiring to) playing the role of “Perfidious Albion.”

Chad Rector May 18, 2008 at 8:12 pm

I like the idea of the analogy, but not the specifics. Neocons have a specific ideological agenda, not at all like Sonny who was out to demonstrate credibility. Sonny is more like Cheney and Rumsfeld; national unilateralists rather than any sort of idealist. Tom is the realist, seeking to preserve the status quo by making deals with odious thugs when necessary. Micheal is actually the neocon, pursuing a calculating strategy of regime change (as, by the end of the movie, he has the heads of all the five families rubbed out) in pursuit of a broader transformation of the system.

So, democrats don’t fit. The three brothers are the three parts of GW Bush’s first term foreign policy coalition: Powell (Tom), Cheney (Sonny), and Wolfowitz/Feith (Micheal). Just like in the movie, the quiet nerdy Micheal (Wolfowitz) forms an alliance with the cowboy Sonny (Cheney) in order to enact a bold gambit, freezing out Tom (Powell). Of course, once things spiral out of control (in part II) Tom has to come back in and clean up the mess.

Chad Rector May 18, 2008 at 8:20 pm

I like the idea of the analogy, but not the specifics. Neocons have a specific ideological agenda, not at all like Sonny who was out to demonstrate credibility. Sonny is more like Cheney and Rumsfeld; national unilateralists rather than any sort of idealist. Tom is the realist, seeking to preserve the status quo by making deals with odious thugs when necessary. Micheal is actually the neocon, pursuing a calculating strategy of regime change (as, by the end of the movie, he has the heads of all the five families rubbed out) in pursuit of a broader transformation of the system.

So, democrats don’t fit. The three brothers are the three parts of GW Bush’s first term foreign policy coalition: Powell (Tom), Cheney (Sonny), and Wolfowitz/Feith (Micheal). Just like in the movie, the quiet nerdy Micheal (Wolfowitz) forms an alliance with the cowboy Sonny (Cheney) in order to enact a bold gambit, freezing out Tom (Powell). Of course, once things spiral out of control (in part II) Tom has to come back in and clean up the mess.

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