The Epitome of Basic International Cooperation, Really

WestphalianPeace - [original thread]

I absolutely wish the Council on Foreign Relations had one tenth of the power that it is sometimes ascribed to have. The world would be a far less stupid and irrational place.

Admittedly without looking too deeply into things, if she's a Madeline Albright Atlantic Council type then she's a generic Liberal, but in the International Relations context sense. Meaning she believes that international co-operation is possible through iterative trust building between nation states, that Democracies-Don't-Fight-Democracies (Democratic Peace Theory) reduces security anxiety, and that nations can and should take efforts to pressure peaceful pluralism/liberal government in other nations since this creates a virtuous cycle of pluralism & good governance and the whole world becomes safer, freer, and richer. IR Liberals are the "if you follow the rules you can join our cuddle puddle!" ideology, if i recall the quote from SSC correctly.

To be clear, I think IR Liberalism as a school of thought is incorrect. But fellows of the Liberal lens on international relations are not monsters. They are people who see the world in a state of pain and believe that there is a reasonable path to improvement. They deserve our good faith, and as a School of Thought IR Liberalism has a very respectable history of thought, theory, and actual effort behind it.

There is a side effect of their beliefs that make them sound conspiratorial to people who arn't immersed in the IR world. I get that. Because while (most) liberals acknowledge that the world is at the highest level a state of Anarchy between Nation-States with no authority above them, they are passionate about trying to improve upon that situation as best they can. That with the right rules & incentives you can get selfish nations to finally open up, relax, trust each other and build something that lets everyone win. So they'll talk constantly about 'Global Co-operation' or 'making the world safe for democracy' or 'giving up sovereignty to an international organization.'

And it sounds like deep state stuff. But there really is no conspiracy. Just a bunch of poorly paid highly educated people trying to tell anyone who'll listen that things don't need to be this bad. Often very concerned that if they don't climb the academic greasy pole that they'll be out of the 'there are no positions open here' think-tank job market and stuck in the 'i know a lot of stuff and have well reasoned opinions but no actual skills Oh Fuck Now What' job market. Which is what it sounds like happened to Ashoosh. Because 'deputy to Madeiline Albright' to 'works at reddit' is decidedly NOT what these people spend their lives studying and working for. Prestige matters and reddit is decidedly not prestigious.

But to return to IR Liberalism. What all of this means, and I cannot emphasize this enough, that such people exist in a constant state of Frustration. Because they have these ideas that they are really sure would work and nations just keep not implementing them. And it drives such people up a wall.

Liberals in places like the CFR are nearly powerless. Nations keep acting selfishly first. Nations keep vaccinating their own populations first instead of 'thinking globally'. Nations keep imposing refugee restrictions. Nations keep rearming because other nations are rearming. Nations keep including opt-out clauses into international agreements that deprive those treaties of actual teeth. Nations keep not funding international organizations meant to act a means of breaking the Tradegy of the Commons on a national level. They keep imposing tariffs or 'food safety' laws to protect favored domestic industries. Euroskepticism still exists and Brexit The Unthinkable happened. The AfD exists at all. ASEAN keeps being kinda mediocre at becoming something greater. Japan and Korea still hate each other despite 70 years of peace and democracy. Pakistan receives millions in anti-terrorism aid and spends it on tanks to deter India.

My favorite though is this. The US has still yet to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. It's recognized as customary for legal purposes. But it's not ratified. Even though it's a reasonable convention. The epitome of basic international cooperation really. Almost every nation on earth has ratified except for like Uzbekistan, a state that's double landlocked. And IR liberals still can't get the US congress to ratify the damn thing after literally decades of effort.\_States\_and\_the\_United\_Nations\_Convention\_on\_the\_Law\_of\_the\_Sea

Like I said, a Constant state of Frustration.