The Rules

Posted: March 8, 2011 in Theory

Foreign Policy Fight Club noun:  Venue for two IR geeks to debate and muse on international affairs.

But first, The Rules.

1. We’re all rational actors.

People will use the information they have on hand to make decisions that they believe will benefit them. You may not agree with the way they define their own best interests, but it does not make them irrational (that even goes for the more outlandish folks in the foreign policy scene).

2. The U.S. isn’t going anywhere…

Don’t buy the hype. We’ve got this.

3. …but the BRICs (and others) matter

China now has the world’s second largest economy. India’s demographic change is going to lead to the type of economic boom China experienced over the past twenty years. America is going to be the biggest and most important player for the foreseeable future, but a greater distribution of resources will mean that getting what it wants won’t always be so easy.

4. Paper Beats Rock.

Economics underpin all forms of power.

5. Power is Power.

Power isn’t soft, hard, or smart. As we all learned in international relations 101, power is simply the ability of actor A to get actor B to do what they would not otherwise do. That’s true whether you get there through force, diplomacy, or a “smart” combination of the two.


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