I’m taking a bit of a break off Twitter. A “break” for me means still tweeting maybe 10x a day, but also not scrolling during work hours, being only briefly on the site at night, and never checking the replies or mentions. This has reduced my time on the website by at least 90%, which has made me more productive. Inez and I talk again about our respective relationships with the site. Hers seems much more normal. Maybe Inez just does everything more normal than I do.
Israel-Gaza is still in the news. We discuss Nikki Haley’s plan to clamp down on universities that “deny Israel’s right to exist.” I find odd the way that her branch of the Republican Party prioritizes the interests of a foreign country above all else, but nonetheless think it has some upsides. Haley has recently surpassed Vivek to be in third place, and we discuss the reasons why, including his recent contentious interview with Hannity.
A good part of the second half of our discussion is on the new emerging conservative foreign policy consensus, based on what appears to be growing nostalgia for Trump. I argue that we’re seeing a kind of Trump-Bush synthesis (Tushism? Brumpsim?) regarding US foreign policy. There’s still a division between the civilized and noncivilized worlds, but unlike what the neocons advocated for, there is no desire to use force or longterm occupation to bring the noncivilized world along. Hence, we get policies like killing Soleimani, but not the occupation of Iraq.
I think this is a defensible foreign policy on substantive grounds and close to what we’re likely to see the next time a Republican is in office. Inez, who was never a noninterventionist, agrees with this take. I had been something of a complete restrainer on foreign policy a few years ago, but this changed as I saw how irrationally much of the rest of the world behaves. There’s a parallel here to economics, where you would think third world countries would have figured out by now that neoliberalism is the path to growth, but they are too dysfunctional to remove subsidies and free their labor markets, whether due to stupidity, corruption, or responding to public opinion. Likewise, war is really dumb, but it’s become much more difficult to believe that we can simply count on it to go away on its own. Hence the need for a continuing US role in the world.