Two recent essays

As always, you can still find most of my new work at The National Interest. (Make sure to check out my defense of the Iran deal in the April/May issue.) I’m also active most days on my Twitter. But for those looking, I’ve had two recent essays appear in other venues. 

Over at The Diplomat on April 16, I looked at Russia’s threats to invade Ukraine. A Swedish defense study, I pointed out, suggests that the Russians would be overextending themselves if they did go in. They’d have less flexibility in other areas, including the Chinese frontier. There are real dangers associated with that – for example, the Swedes suggest Moscow might lean more on its nuclear deterrent. However, it could present an opportunity for America to play Russia and China off one another if Russia’s principal anxieties are once again in the East. It’s not clear we’re strategically positioned to take advantage of such an opportunity, however.

At Real Clear World on April 25, I tried to establish an upper bound for the role of experts in the U.S. foreign-policy process. “Just do what the country experts think” is actually not the best option, because a) expert communities do not agree, and indeed are prone to many of the same failings policymakers are and b) leaning on country experts for policy risks failing to incorporate a policy’s impacts on other countries or to adjust for its domestic elements. (Daniel Larison replied to the piece here.)  I also offered some more detail on the dynamics of expert communities in this series of tweets.


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