The Geopolitics of ‘Girls’ – By Daniel W. Drezner | Foreign Policy

Too choice to ignore. Drezner as cultural con IR theory critic on howHBO’s zeitgeist correlates to the P5 and BRICs:

If Hannah is America, her female friends represent other major players in the Western alliance system. Jemima Kirke’s Jessa, who, on a whim, marries a banker she despises, is France — self-absorbed, flighty, with a taste for the grand gesture that doesn’t quite work out. As the junior member of the quartet, Zosia Mamet’s Shoshanna, the youngest of the four friends, embodies Canada — seemingly polite, but bubbling over with passive-aggressive insecurities. As for Hannah’s ostensible best friend, Allison Williams’ Marnie, she exemplifies Germany. There is much to admire in Marnie — her undeniable beauty, her self-assuredness, and her unwillingness to go into debt. Unfortunately, however, Marnie expects everyone else to behave the same way she does — and is truly flummoxed when others seem to prosper using a different recipe for success. Because she’s so attractive, however, many of the characters still try to emulate or win her approval, to the point of self-flagellation. In this way Charlie, Marnie’s on-again, off-again paramour, represents the rest of the European Union and all EU aspirants — and Charlie suffers just as much as they do. The estrangement between Marnie and Hannah crystallizes the fraying transatlantic partnership better than any earnest think tank white paper on the subject.

If the female characters on Girls represent the West, the two most important male characters come from the BRICs. Ray is a coffee-shop manager, the oldest member of the group, and far and away the most cynical and angry character on the show. He scorns just about everything that every other character says or does, but seems unable to make much of himself. Ray is Russia personified. In contrast, Adam — Hannah’s former beau — is China. He’s a force to be reckoned with, but it’s not entirely clear whether he’s socialized into how the rest of Brooklyn society behaves. One could posit that Hannah’s relationship with Adam represents the promise and peril of the “responsible stakeholder” concept. On the one hand, Hannah seems to use her “soft power” to entice Adam into liking her a lot more than he originally thought — in other words, getting him to want what she wants. He begins to socialize with Hannah’s circle of friends. At the same time, Hannah is unsure just how much she wants to engage Adam, reflecting America’s ambivalence in its relationship with China. At the end of the first season, she is quite uneasy about moving in together. The result is an Adam that, much like China, is angry and frustrated at his treatment by others — which in turn leads to bellicose behavior, which in turn leads Hannah to call the cops and try to contain his behavior. The breakdown in the relationship between Hannah and Adam is yet another example of the security dilemma destroying lives.

via The Geopolitics of ‘Girls’ – By Daniel W. Drezner | Foreign Policy.

Ian Bremmer Sees a World of Regions

Ian Bremmer made his mark with the J Curve explanation of the rise and fall of nations, measuring the relationship between openness and stability, as well as The End of the Free Market, addressing the competition between China and the rest–notably for the PRC’s unique model of state capitalism.

The future according to Bremmer will be include less relevant BRICS, potential bilateral conflict with China, and overall, more glocal–that is, globalizing at local levels, pushing out to reemphasize regional relations:

The most likely eventuality, as I intimated above, would be a world of regions.  The United States, despite its limited capacity to lead on a global level relative to 10 years ago, is still by far the most important power.  But we won’t see “global leaders” in a regions environment.  We’ll see regional governance and occasional broader consensus if a global challenge threatens a lot of different countries to an equal extent for an equal duration.  Any way you slice it, a regional world order will be radically different than the one we’ve experienced over past decades — and much more problematic.

via Interview: Ian Bremmer and the New ‘Regional World Order’ | Asia Society.

U.S. Underwhelmed With Emerging Powers At U.N. : NPR

The US has been grading the new kids on the bock–such as India, Brazil, and South Africa–and appears to find their diplomatic contributions lacking:

Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., says shes had a chance to get a close-up look at how those three countries have been acting on the world stage lately. Shes not sounding particularly enthusiastic.”This has been an opportunity for them to demonstrate how they might act if they were to obtain permanent membership, and for us to assess our level of enthusiasm about that,” she says. “Let me just say weve learned a lot, and not all of it, frankly, encouraging.”

via U.S. Underwhelmed With Emerging Powers At U.N. : NPR.

Emerged Economies – By Otaviano Canuto and Marcelo Giugale | Foreign Policy

Its all about BRIC at the G-20, but what will make of this opportunity?

So while advanced economies are in a state of quasi-terminal lethargy, the developing world has been given a shot of adrenaline. But it’s an open question what they’ll make of it. The old playbook no longer applies: Policymakers in emerging economies will have to develop and pursue a new economic orthodoxy. No longer can they take their cues from their colleagues in the so-called First World.

Imagine, for instance, that you are a finance minister in a developing country. While your peers in London, Paris, and Washington desperately need more revenue and less expenditure, your country probably came out of the crisis with a relatively strong fiscal position, especially if it is commodity-rich. They worry about the pain they are causing with austerity; you worry how to use your plentiful cash. Their priority is quantity; yours is quality.

via Emerged Economies – By Otaviano Canuto and Marcelo Giugale | Foreign Policy.

Brazil Drops Out – Walter Russell Mead’s Blog – The American Interest

The must-read from Mead on why Brazil (and Turkey) are overrated as “emerging” powers, how IR theory leads to bunko analysis, and why there is something real about Brazil’s rise–linked to some historical facts and power realities:

Third, we should not over-interpret Brazil’s retreat. Something real is happening; as I wrote in an earlier post, the efforts of Turkey and Brazil to cut a swathe in global diplomacy reflect some significant forces in those countries as well as important developments in the international system. The quest for more say in the world by more countries will continue to complicate the tasks of American diplomats. Complex negotiating processes on global treaties like the moribund Doha Round of trade talks or the equally becalmed global negotiations on a climate change treaty likely will continue to fail. At the same time, on regional issues where middle powers like Brazil and Turkey have real clout, the United States must learn to work more constructively and imaginatively with them — or figure out strategies that can bring them on-side. Brazil and Turkey aren’t great powers who can intervene wherever they like, but they are respectable middle powers whose interests cannot be ignored without cost.

via Brazil Drops Out – Walter Russell Mead’s Blog – The American Interest.