Critics on my right and left have busted me for opining in complex areas like foreign policy where I have no formal training (I did take a class in international politics, and it’s the one class in college I didn’t pass because the professor wouldn’t accept my essay on the decline in relevance of the nation-state and I wouldn’t rewrite it to support the continued primacy of the nation-state). I worry about that sometimes, and then I read things like this account by Daniel Drezner of a conversation at an International relations conference:
IR THEORIST A: Here’s the thing… if the experimenter shoots the monkey when it throws the cucumber, the other monkeys will process that information as well. So it’s not only about a sense of fairness, it’s about survival.
POLICYMAKER B: Yes, the experimenter could shoot the monkey, and maybe that would cow the other monkeys into submision. If you keep shooting monkeys, however, it might encourage the remaining ones to rise up and overthrow the experimenters and establish their own cucumber plantation.
Yes, I’m warmly secure in the thought that our foreign policy may be being set by trained, highly-educated professionals.