This is a blog about America’s role in the international system. I am an American citizen and I hope that my ruminations in this space will 1.) contribute to my understanding of America’s foreign and defense policies 2.) yield a politically useful critique of these policies and 3.) motivate improvement in my writing ability.
Alexander Hamilton used the phrase “Accident and Force” in Federalist No. 1 to describe the state of anarchy which usually plays an outsized role in political settlements. He hoped that the citizens of the young republic could overcome the capriciousness of Accident and Force through “Reflection and Choice” and sought to persuade them that the Constitution of 1787 was the settlement most likely to achieve that goal.
I intend for this blog to explore accident and force as discrete themes of international politics. Despite efforts to the contrary, fragility and a state of political disintegration remain vital traits of the international system. Accidents in this fragile system are still likely to rapidly reduce interstate relations to their lowest common denominator: force.
Since 1945 the US Government has leveraged America’s economic power to assume a global role in the hope of suppressing, containing or eliminating the scope for accident and force to destabilize interstate relations. American policymakers have not only failed to achieve this goal – I believe their pursuit of it exposes American citizens to an abnormal degree of international risk. I will use this blog to explore the nature of this heightened exposure. To be sure, some risks are worth taking. The job of policymakers is to agree on a set of priorities to help them decide which are worth it and which are excessive. This blog aims to contribute to that debate.
Finally, I intend for humility to be a key theme of my writing. The world is complex and I do not wish to be mistaken for one of those professional experts who offers up certainty in the face of ambiguity. I expect to be called out if I fail to admit when I am wrong.