Tag Archives: wit

Political Analysis: Failure of the Galactic Republic

Geeking out on this application of analysis-meets-Star Wars by Seth Masket of the University of Denver Political Science Department :

It is a bad idea for a republic to outsource its police and military power, as well as most of its diplomacy, to an autonomous religious cult. Monopoly on the use of force is a central function of a healthy state. The Galactic Republic relied on the Jedi to enforce its will domestically and internationally. Such a scenario made the republic very vulnerable to a Jedi coup, something senators would have been aware of and vigilant against. The Senate was insufficiently vigilant against a rising Emperor Palpatine because its main fear was an Emperor Yoda.

Source: The problem with the Galactic Republic was the Jedi – Vox

An earlier post on the lack of minority party was also clever.

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The Onion | Ambassador Stages Coup at UN, Issues Long List of Non-Binding Resolutions

Someone at The Onion was paying attention during Intro to International Relations 110.  Brilliant.

Ambassador Stages Coup At UN, Issues Long List of Non-Binding Resolutions


Five American Foreign Policy Fact-Checks for Thanksgiving | Daniel W. Drezner

Thanks to Professor Drezner for some good zingers to use in those confrontations around the Thanksgiving turkey:

WHAT YOUR RELATIVE WILL SAY:  “I don’t see why we have to spend so much of our taxpayer dollars on other countries.  If we cut foreign aid that would really help balance the budget!!

via Five American Foreign Policy Fact-Checks for Thanksgiving | Daniel W. Drezner.


At Kennedy Airport, a Complex Dance Over a U.N. Meeting – NYTimes.com

Transporting world leaders to the GA last week requires some planning at New York’s largest airport, JFK:

Some years can be more complicated than others. When Iran’s former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attended the General Assembly, he would have the pilots turn off their plane’s transponder as it approached the airport, causing it to disappear from the screen used in the command center to track aircraft, Lieutenant Lomonaco said. Or his plane would veer north away from the city “trying to be a little evasive” before landing, he added.

via At Kennedy Airport, a Complex Dance Over a U.N. Meeting – NYTimes.com.

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Have a Nice Day, N.S.A. – NYTimes.com

Brazil’s president pulled a “Dilma Bolada.” Everyone else in the one of the world’s newest rising powers has another strategy to confound the NSA:

It has become something of a joke among my friends in Brazil to, whenever you write a personal e-mail, include a few polite lines addressed to the agents of the N.S.A., wishing them a good day or a Happy Thanksgiving. Sometimes I’ll add a few extra explanations and footnotes about the contents of the message, summarizing it and clarifying some of the Portuguese words that could be difficult to translate.

Other people have gone so far as to send nonsensical e-mails just to confuse N.S.A. agents. For example: first use some key words to attract their surveillance filters, like “chemical brothers,” “chocolate bombs” or “stop holding my heart hostage, my emotions are like a blasting of fundamentalist explosion” (one of my personal favorites, inspired by an online sentence-generator designed to confound the N.S.A.).

via Have a Nice Day, N.S.A. – NYTimes.com.

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A Translation Guide to Foreign Policy Gibberish – By Micah Zenko | Foreign Policy

This is what diplo-speak looks like:

  • We’re evaluating the situation”: We still haven’t done anything.
  • Events on the ground are fluid”: If I articulate an official position on what’s happening, somebody could get upset with my word choice.
  • All options are on the table“: Bombs.
  • We can’t rule anything out”: We retain the right to do anything and everything.
  • Our position has been very clear“: Let me re-read some nonspecific generalizations from the briefing book that don’t address your question.
  • We welcome this debate“: After harnessing the federal government’s resources to hide the issue, we’re going to dilute it with adjectives, already-public information, and selective leaking.
  • We have serious concerns“: The harshest possible condemnation of an American ally.
  • Intolerable”: Tolerable — obviously, since we’re still only talking about it.
  • Policy X is not aimed at any one country“: Policy X is aimed at China or Iran.
  • We’re in close consultation with X”: We’re going through the pretense of listening to others in an effort to spread the blame and burden.

via A Translation Guide to Foreign Policy Gibberish – By Micah Zenko | Foreign Policy.

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Mental Health Break | Ryan Gosling IR Memes


Channeling Joseph Nye Jr.

If you get the jokes then you are doing your reading on IR theory and such.  via International Relations Ryan Gosling.

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US Ambassador Politely Asks UN Colleagues to Stop Showing Up Drunk to Meetings – Adam Clark Estes – The Atlantic Wire

This is not from the Onion:

This is apparently not a new problem. The budget committee meetings tend to run late into the night at this time of year, as delegates struggle to meet deadlines. Some diplomats spoke up after Torsella’s very public shaming and said it’s not uncommon for delegates to show up visibly drunk to negotiations. We’re not talking about cheerful, oops-I-had-a-glass-of-chardonnay-at-dinner drunk either. “There has always been a good and responsible tradition of a bit of alcohol improving a negotiation, but we’re not talking about a delegate having a nip at the bar,” one unnamed diplomat told the press, mentioning one incident where a delegate got so hammered that he barfed, though it’s unclear where. Another explained, “On one occasion the note-taker who was meant to be recording the talks was so intoxicated he had to be replaced.” One more unnamed diplomat said that delegates were showing up “falling down drunk.”

What’s sort of silly about Torsella politely asking these leaders of the world to show up sober to work is the simple fact that’s it’s just a request. It’s not like the US ambassador can dissolve the committee due to misbehavior, though he did say “we will respond accordingly” if the party animals can’t clean up their acts.

via US Ambassador Politely Asks UN Colleagues to Stop Showing Up Drunk to Meetings – Adam Clark Estes – The Atlantic Wire.

Even better, and the Model UN geek inside me loves this part, the Atlantic Wire includes the full text of Joseph Torsella, US ambassador for management and reform.  He notes:

Mr. Chairman:

As for the conduct of negotiations, Mr. Chairman, we make the modest proposal that the negotiating rooms should in future be an inebriation-free zone.  While my government is truly grateful for the strategic opportunities presented by some recent past practices, let’s save the champagne for toasting the successful end of the session, and do some credit to the Fifth Committee’s reputation in the process.

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Santa Claus: An IR and Economic Analysis

Critical analysis on Santa from Ian Bremmer, Niall Fergusen, Donal Rumsfeld, Jennifer Rubin, and Anne-Marie Slaughter

Santa is the most damning piece of evidence yet that we live in a G-Zero world. This stateless actor commands a vast intelligence apparatus, an apparent slave army of little people, and is not above working animals long past their breaking point. By any stretch of the imagination, he’s a rogue actor. And yet, despite these flagrant violations of international norms, there isn’t even a nascent effort to combat, contain or regulate his activities. The G-20 continues to dither, revealing itself yet again as toothless and pointless. This would never have happened back when the U.S. was the hegemon!!

via When foreign policy pundits analyze Santa Claus | Daniel W. Drezner.

And NPR’s Planet Money uncovers through a detailed analysis of logistics, manufacturing and other organizational requirements that Santa Inc. would need 12 million employees–if it wasn’t for magic.

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International Relations as Depicted by Cats

Because its cats and international relations. Enjoy.