Thursday, February 12, 2009

Let's not take ourselves too seriously

So the following passage from David Rothkopf's blog for Foreign Policy Magazine is not specifically related to public diplomacy but as we are ultimately talking about a component of foreign policy we should all read this....

Why is it that people treat foreign policy like it is semi-theological when the bullshit factor in making policy about hugely complex issues is so high and duplicity, deception and grotesquely self-serving behavior are so prevalent? Why do they practically write about it in an English accent? I literally do not know of a single respectable intellectual pursuit that is founded more on generalization, speculation, and guessing than even the most "serious" practice of foreign policy professionals.

I suppose the point we can all take away from this is to remember to take a step back and remember not to take ourselves too seriously.

1 comment:

  1. I must say that I am nonplussed after following your link and tracking down the comment that Rothkopf was referencing when he spoke of people who hold foreign policy on a pedestal to be praised on high. Here is the comment he is quoting:

    (Begin Comment)

    Arrant nonsense
    by trashandsend on Tue, 02/10/2009 - 3:34pm

    The idea of this piece is worthwhile--to highlight American international mistakes and misjudgments. However, the concept is trivialized by the choices and underlying reasoning. France? A tease. And consider who's left out:

    Ariel Sharon's Israel
    Mubarak's Egypt
    The Shah's Iran
    Diem's Viet Nam

    Need I go on? Instructive would be to group our blunders, distinguishing between bad regimes/leaders, say, and bad clients. Also, between overestimating allies' reliability/loyalty and underestimating their ruthlessness and stupidity. Instead, Rothkopf plays cute games. Sad.

    (End Comment)

    Perhaps I missed something, but I'm definitely not picking up an English accent, let alone a desire to continue reading anything else Rothkopf has to say. I will heed your advice to not take myself too seriously and pray that no one takes Rothkopf too seriously. Suffice it to say that there were a number of comments made about his "America's Worst Allies" posting, but he chose to respond to this one, in this manner. I'm not all the familiar with blogging, though, so maybe I'm missing something.