On Foreign Entanglements, Rob and Ed talk about women in the military. They rebut the argument that women can’t serve in the US Infantry because it’s full of testosterone-fueled brutes. Rob and Ed turn to the the Marine Corps’ efforts to recruit gay people. They then move to a conversation about Ed’s book, which investigates the problem of the “warrior ethos” in the military services. This leads to a discussion of Iraq War III, and the best tactics for fighting ISIS. Finally, they explore what the US Army can learn from Burning Man.
On Foreign Entanglements, Rob and Daveed discuss one of the enduring concepts of international politics: credibility. Rob lays out the basics of deterrence theory, prompting Daveed to explain why he thinks reputation is important. Daveed contends that Obama’s unenforced Syrian “red line” will have a tremendous effect on America’s credibility and reputation. They examine whether a reputation for resolve matters with reference to Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, and consider the academic-policymaker divide, especially with respect to how we can measure the effectiveness of reputation-building measures. Plus: Debating the value of bluffing as part of the foreign policy toolkit.
On Foreign Entanglements, Matt and Gissou discuss whether Iranian President Rouhani has fallen short on his promise to improve human rights. Could a nuclear deal empower Rouhani to pursue reforms? Should the West disentangle the nuclear and human rights issues? Has the United Nations played a constructive role? What about Iranian civil society? Do the Helsinki Accords offer a useful precedent for Iran’s reformers?