Clearly, Natch

by Joshua Foust on 1/3/2009 · 2 comments

Reading Laura Rozen’s announcement of her impending move to Foreign Policy’s new round of blogs leaves me feeling meh:

I’m very happy to announce that I am joining Foreign Policy magazine, which is launching an exciting new daily, online site starting Monday featuring a bunch of high-powered foreign policy and national security thinkers, writers, reporters and practitioners. Among them, long time Washington Post defense correspondent Tom Ricks, author of “Fiasco,” who will be writing a daily blog, “The Best Defense,” on all aspects of hard power; Arab world expert Marc Lynch of the excellent Abu Aardvark blog and George Washington University, and Daniel Drezner of the Fletcher School, are both moving their blogs to the site. Foreign Policy editor Carolyn O’Hara will closely observe all things Hillary (including the array of pants suits) in a new blog, Madam Secretary. Former Bush I NSC official, Rice counselor and 9/11 commission executive director Philip Zelikow, former Pentagon comptroller Dov Zakheim, former NSC official (and Palin foreign policy advisor) Steve Biegun, Bush-era NSC advisor Peter Feaver, and former Condi Rice speechwriter and current Foreign Policy editor Christian Brose will be blogging “the Shadow Government,” unclassified for all of us civilians. Former Clinton administration official and NSC chronicler David Rothkopf will interpret the mysteries of Washington powerbrokers; and Harvard’s Stephen Walt, author of “The Israel Lobby,” will offer his Realist take on global affairs. Veteran Washington Post foreign correspondent and national editor Susan Glasser is executive-editing the whole thing, with help from Foreign Policy online editor Blake Hounshell, and deputy online editor Rebecca Frankel.

As for me, I will be reporting and writing a reported, scoopy online daily column, The Cable, on all things foreign policy.

Great. Lynch is a good move, as his analysis of the Middle East is insightful and sometimes counterintuitive. Drezner is aggressively establishment (i.e. just a tiny bit left-of-center and never very challenging about the mainstream of DC thinking). I doubt O’Hara has the snark needed to really cover Hillary Clinton (what, no Jezebel or Wonkette alums were available?)—and without snark, focusing on the SecState’s pantsuits is… God, so incredibly boring. A bunch of old Bush hands blogging about “shadow government,” which I assume to mean intelligence stuff, is also deeply uninteresting—we know how well they did with it, so why should we care what they have to say about it? Given who they all worked for, will they reveal anything really interesting about the last few years, and can they be relied on to examine Obama’s presidency with fairness?

Stephen Walt hasn’t said anything interesting since before he blamed all of America’s failures on the Jews (not for a long while, in fact), and the fact that he wrote an entire book devoid of rigor or even a generalized knowledge of foreign and ethnic-based lobbying activity in Washington really isn’t a plus mark in his column, if you know what I mean.

Rozen’s and Lynch’s spaces will probably be the only really interesting ones of the bunch. Otherwise, I don’t get it: why go to the trouble and expense of buying up a bunch of people who already burn up the op-ed pages? Why is it worth my time—which is very limited, given my other responsibilities—to read people who are already so banal and uninteresting I don’t seek them out anyway? Why not hire any fresh, outside voices who don’t have reputations and long careers to defend?

Oh wait. The same old DC establishment loves reading its own conventional wisdom. No wonder they get everything right. Clearly, the Washington Post knows who is buttering’s butter.

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This post was written by...

– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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Oldschool Boy January 4, 2009 at 1:56 am

Such a great career for Mrs. Clinton. She wanted to be a president of the US, but ended up a ruler of the World!
I hope it is not a big mistake of Obama – putting in charge of basically inderpendent department someone stronger and more ambitious than himself and vice-president.
So much for balances…

Turgai Sangar January 4, 2009 at 9:26 am

In other words, welcome to the tyranny of neurotic bitchyness.

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