Friday, October 23, 2009

It ain't rocket science

Glancing through Amy Chua's piece forthcoming in print in this Sunday's NYTBkReview, I see that she observes that most or all current writers on U.S. foreign policy are advocating a return to the past in some form or other. She concedes that this may not be all bad: foreign policy "is not modern dance: tried and true may be better than avant-garde and visionary."

It's not modern dance; it's also not rocket science. Which explains or helps explain why basic ideas and principles which have been around for a while keep getting dressed up in new outfits and applied to new circumstances. The trappings are different, but the underlying notions are, on the whole, familiar.

That doesn't mean, of course, that there are not serious debates about the right way forward; there are. But even a nodding acquaintance with previous debates will reveal that voices from the past keep on echoing.


Anonymous said...

I agree with you. Would you say that there is a serious dearth of fresh ideas? Or, would say that there is no need for fresh ideas?

LFC said...

A good question. I'm too tired right now to respond properly. But I promise to get back to this at some point!