Back during the last heyday of America during the Clinton administration, a number of commentators spoke of a 'peace dividend' emanating from the end of the Cold War that helped improve the US budget situation. Sure, there were other reasons for that nation's improved fiscal health, but cutting back on military spending played its part. And so it is that Obama has ever-so-slightly reduced government spending. However, instead of a 'peace dividend', what we have here is a 'retreat dividend' with the United States leaving behind the massive trillion-dollar-plus fiascos of Afghanistan and Iraq. %^&*ing up other parts of the world and chickening out when the opposition is too tough--and public opposition too much and bills too high--is typical Americrusader behaviour in this day and age. (Is contemporary US defence policy inspired by N.W.A.? Remind me to invest in Dre Beats if that's the case.) What even Obama's critics miss though is that there cannot be a 'peace dividend' here since we are reminded by news stories on an almost daily basis about how violent Afghanistan and Iraq remain. What a success.
International Political Economy: An Intellectual History (which was in turn based on an RIPE article he published the year before). There is not much more I can about this book which is essential reading for IPE scholars or those with a general interest in the subject matter. While I regret that IPE is very much an Amerocentric and Eurocentric field, his description of it as such is accurate. At any rate, I was doubly miffed when I found out that the publisher Princeton University Press gave away copies of the book at the Warwick event since many of my colleagues came back with them. Grr!
Anyway, in the years since, I have met Professor Cohen and he is a very classy guy (and not a riffraff blogger like yours truly). It is with some shame that I now sheepishly admit to checking out this book from the library only now, but an interesting tidbit in the book concerns the encounter of Robert Keohane with a certain someone at an academic conference. Since Keohane is one of IPE's founders, he gets ample space in the book. On pp. 25-26, Cohen writes:
Another time, I witnessed him serve as a discussant for a research paper presented by a young woman just out of graduate school. Not impressed by her scholarship, Keohane tore her work to shreds, questioning her understanding of basic IR theory. I left the room thinking the young woman's career was over before it had begun. She had the memorable name of Condoleezza Rice.Yikes! We must give props to Rice for persistence even if she 'made it big' for all the wrong reasons. Except in certain neoconservative circles, the rest of us recognize the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts she helped oversee for what they are--unmitigated disasters. Still, it is heartening to know that an IPE guy foresaw the trouble with Ms. Rice from the get-go.