For this meetup, we’ll be discussing issues related to foreign policy, both in a broad sense (e.g. appropriate frameworks) as well as the current events (particularly the war in Ukraine). Feel free to come whether or not you do any extra reading.
For example, to what degree is it more useful to consider countries themselves as agents with particular goals and subject to particular incentives versus focusing on the politicians, governmental representatives and citizens as the primary agents.
Below are a few different sources of background information (Thanks to Chris Weaver and Brian Kuczynski for many of these!). As usual, we’ll let the conversation flow based on what people focused on and/or found the most interesting, as this is a very broad topic. Or feel free to just show up; no reading necessary.
First, two options for general backgrounds on approaches to foreign policy:
- This is a critique of a particular video game, but contains a lot of discussion of the ‘security dilemma’. The author stresses that a good deal of the general applicability of the Neorealist theory of international relations is to the early modern period (Some of the other theoretical frameworks within International Relations Theory are probably useful when considering more contemporary situations), but several of the concepts from it seem like good starting points.
- https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/how-to-prevent-or-provoke-stupid-wars/id1439837349 (Note that the link is for Apple Podcasts, but if you search for “The Political Orphanage” in any podcast player, you can download the March 17 episode “How to Prevent or Provoke Stupid Wars”).
- In which the host lays out the liberal institutionalist and realist models of geopolitics, plus sketching the social constructivist [think I’m remembering that one] and the marxist models
Second, for a more focused discussion: a model of politics (A) and then some examples for applying this to foreign policy (B) (Part of a much longer article on politics):
- (A) https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/N6jeLwEzGpE45ucuS/building-blocks-of-politics-an-overview-of-selectorate#The_Basic_Framework
- (B) https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/N6jeLwEzGpE45ucuS/building-blocks-of-politics-an-overview-of-selectorate#Foreign_Policy
Third, some information relevant for current events:
- Samuel Charap on why Putin invaded Ukraine, the risk of escalation, and how to prevent disaster
- Discusses the influence of nuclear weapons on the diplomatic and military options of nuclear powers, their allies, and their opponents. Useful concepts covered include ‘interior’ and ‘exterior’ maneuvers, and the stability-instability paradox.