Friday, January 1, 2010

Ennui Becomes Us

CONTEMPORARY INTERNATIONAL relations is moving toward a state of entropy. Chaos and randomness abound. Now, the story of world politics unfolds without coherence, unfettered by classic balance-of-power politics, a plotless postmodern work starring a menagerie of wildly incongruent themes and protagonists, as if divinely plucked from different historical ages and placed in a time machine set for the third millennium. We live in an era in which unprecedented globalization and economic interdependence, liberal-democratic hegemony, nanotechnology, robotic warfare, the “infosphere,” nuclear proliferation and geoengineering solutions to climate change coexist with the return of powerful autocratic-capitalist states, of a new Great Game in Central Asia, of imperialism in the Middle East, of piracy on the high seas, of rivalry in the Indian Ocean, of a 1929-like market crash, of 1914-style hypernationalism and ethnic conflict in the Balkans, of warlords and failed states, of genocides in Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur, and of a new holy war waged by radical Islamists complete with caliphates and beheadings reminiscent of medieval times. In short, we live in a Thomas Pynchon novel.
The increasing disorder of our world will lead eventually to a sort of global ennui mixed with a disturbingly large dose of individual extremism and dogmatic posturing by states. It is the result of the unstemmable tide of entropy. A world subsumed by the inexorable forces of randomness, tipped off its axis, swirling in a cloud of information overload. Who would have thought a mere half decade ago we would be turning to physics for the answers to international politics.

ROOTED IN the second law of thermodynamics, entropy measures the disorganization in a system. It is essentially a commonsense law of probability: events with a high frequency occur more often than events with low frequency. Systems proceed from initial states of low probability to end states of highest probability or final equilibrium. Once this equilibrium or maximum state of entropy has been reached, the system stays there forever, never returning to its initial configuration. Imagine for example two separate containers of the colors blue and yellow with a valve connecting the two closed systems. When the valve is opened, molecules of each color advance to the other side. Over time, the two colors blend together to form a uniform green. Once the system reaches an equilibrium of greenness, there is no going back to the initial states of separate yellow and blue.
It is much the same when shuffling a deck of cards. Even with a well-defined initial sequence, this “closed system” quickly becomes disordered and confused. For the sake of simplicity, the act of shuffling consists of removing the top card and placing it back in the deck at random. After one shuffle, the deck has changed to one of fifty-two alternatives, each strongly resembling the original order. After many repetitions, however, the original sequence will have been completely destroyed. In this manner, order is relentlessly replaced by increasing disorder as closed systems degrade to more probable, less informative states. Simply put, entropy is a measure of lost information.

PRESUMABLY, THE second law of thermodynamics is valid always and everywhere. One might suppose, therefore, that it must have been valid at the time of early civilizations; at the time of the Roman Empire and Han dynasty in China; and during the era preceding the First World War, when the British Empire reigned over the globe and competed with other European great powers.
So why should the theory of entropy be invoked now to explain international politics? The reason is that the second law only applies to closed systems (systems where no new information is yet to be discovered, where all actors are known and the space is clearly defined). International politics became a closed system susceptible to increasing entropy when it subsumed the entire earth, such that nothing remained outside of it. This process began roughly one hundred years ago, after the Age of Discovery that witnessed European expansion across the oceans to new lands. It was then that English geographer Sir Halford Mackinder proclaimed the birth of a “closed political system” of “world-wide scope.”
The modern state system became fully defined with the completion of decolonization in the mid-1960s. It was then that the world—every territorial inch of it—was composed of states and nothing but states. The process of increasing entropy in international politics, therefore, commenced a mere forty years ago—a relatively short time period in the larger scheme of things.

IN INTERNATIONAL politics, the fewer the constraints on state behavior, the greater the level of entropy. This is why much of our current state of randomness can be laid at the doorstep of unipolarity, which has shown itself to be an “anything goes” international structure. The United States is king and the world beneath it does not behave in the predictable ways of traditional multipolar or bipolar systems in which classic balance-of-power politics rule the day. Consistent with increasing entropy, unipolar dynamics are random because the structure neither constrains the choices of the unipole nor anyone else. No longer is it a world of the Cold War threat über alles. No longer must states scurry to find patrons and allies for fear of war. And with no great-power rivals, the dominant state makes choices relatively unfettered by the imperatives and constraints of its external environment. The United States enjoys the luxury of choosing with whom to align based on nonpower considerations: ideological affinity; economic wants; or the vagaries of domestic politics. And when it so desires, the United States can simply go it alone, cobbling together ad hoc “coalitions of the willing” when needed. Boundless freedom breeds randomness. The idiosyncratic beliefs and capricious choices of unconstrained American leaders tell us more about recent U.S. foreign policy than does international structure.
Unipolar systems have less glue to hold things together than other international structures. Under unipolarity, capabilities are concentrated; threats and interests, diffused.1 Alliances, the act of choosing friends and enemies that defines not just international politics but all politics, are built on shared interests and threat perceptions, two things in short supply today. World politics matter most to the unipolar power, the sole actor with global reach. For everyone else, all politics are local. It is not surprising, therefore, to find the U.S. National Intelligence Council asserting that “at no time since the formation of the Western alliance system in 1949 have the shape and nature of international alignments been in such a state of flux as they have during the past decade.” Stable and meaningful geographic groupings are the stuff of multipolar and bipolar systems, where a small number of great powers interact with each other in fairly predictable ways, balancing one another through arms and allies, controlling regions through spheres-of-influence arrangements and the rest.
In the new non-balance-of-power politics of unipolarity, traditional geographic groupings have lost salience. There is no East versus West anymore, and it can scarcely be used as an intellectual justification for U.S. engagement in Europe or the creation of a League of Democracies to replace the United Nations.2 The very idea of a like-minded group of states known as the West is little more than a myth—one that gainsays the growing philosophic divisions between the United States and Western Europe over sovereignty, multilateralism and the use of force. Even the traditional concept of a North-South divide is of little utility, as China and India continue to rise. These archaic, Cold War groupings have been replaced by an arc of instability ranging from Southeast Asia, where the possibility exists of growing radical Islam and terrorism, to Central Asia, where the future threat of failed states looms. And as technology turns the world into a “global village,” that globe shrinks. The digital revolution has brought about an entropy in the information world as well.

IN SPITE of information’s increased quantity and speed of transmission, modern people may feel as psychologist and philosopher William James did in 1899 that an “irremediable flatness is coming over the world.” Here, I do not mean to suggest that the world is becoming flat in Thomas Friedman’s sense of greater connectivity and a leveling of the global competitive playing field. Rather, flatness refers to an increasing banality and loss of meaning in life. Surprisingly, information overload produces not a heightened sense of stimulation and awareness but rather boredom and alienation. A creeping sameness or, at the other extreme, variation that approaches randomness causes the brain to shut down. This is what is known as information entropy: the degradation of information through monotonous repetition and meaningless variety. To illustrate how these opposites produce the same result, consider the average listener’s response to the minimalism of Philip Glass and the random dissonance of Arnold Schoenberg. Most people are put to sleep by the music of both composers but that is because in the case of Glass the repetition and slow pace of new information loses our attention, whereas the endless atonal variety in Schoenberg’s compositions comes across as simply random noise. What we find missing in both Glass and Schoenberg is significant variation or surprise. Monotony and boredom set in from too little or too much variety. Entropy, as loss of meaning and communication, always lurks at both ends of the continuum.
Just as energy and matter degrade over time to more probable and less informative states, the greater the flow and amount of information, the more likely it will degrade toward noise or sterile uniformity. People deluged by a flood of meaningless variety quickly reach a saturation point where, as a means of self-defense, they develop the capacity to tune most everything out and become extremely selective, jaded, blasé and callous. And people bombarded by redundant information come to view life as banal, colorless, insipid, boring and characterless.
On an oddly positive side, increasing information entropy demands our attention and distracts us from engaging in social and political activities. Americans watch an average of six hours of television a day—a habit that drains both their time and energy to respond to what they see. Plugged into the infosphere, they have become an atomized mass of self-conscious watchers who, statistics show, mostly watch alone. As voyeurism becomes an addiction, the infosphere’s power to disconnect and deactivate increases. When everything and its opposite are claimed to be true, most people stop trusting what they hear and the people from whom they hear it. They either tune it all out or heavily discount the information. This produces disinterested, cynical and solipsistic citizens—people who scarcely fit the mold of potential warriors for various political causes. Inasmuch as increasing information entropy generates ambivalent paralysis, the main political effect of the infosphere will be a joyless peace rooted in apathy. But dangers lurk in this sea of ennui, for increasing information creates not only boredom but the possibility of extremism.

INFORMATION ENTROPY will polarize our politics and decrease our ability to reconcile our differing world views. Even as it bores some, it will energetically and dangerously radicalize others. Wisdom does not simply come from more and more information at our fingertips. Thus, as sociologist Orrin Klapp explains in Overload and Boredom:
The more information is repeated and duplicated, the larger the scale of diffusion, the greater the speed of processing, the more opinion leaders and gatekeepers and networks, the more filtering of messages, the more kinds of media through which information is passed, the more decoding and encoding, and so on—the more degraded information might be.
Consider the effects of the new “million-channel media universe.” Talk radio, cable television and the Internet (YouTube and the blogosphere) offer so many contradictory “facts,” “truths” and “informed opinions” that people everywhere can essentially select and interpret facts in a way that accords with their own personal, idiosyncratic and often flat-wrong versions of reality. In this modern “infosphere,” knowledge no longer rests on objective facts but instead on “true enough” facts and arguments (Stephen Colbert’s “truthiness”). A truth pocked with holes but one that is “true enough” will nonetheless hold sway over those who choose to believe it for reasons political, religious or otherwise because it feels right. Think of the claims that the U.S. government carried out the 9/11 attacks, Republicans rigged the 2004 election and HIV does not cause AIDS. With so many competing news outlets and opinions, we can now seek out and find the kind of political views, no matter how absurd, that please us; news that tells us what we want to hear, that indulges our political preconceptions and belief systems and that is told by people who think exactly the same way we do.3 The result is an increase in extremist views based on irrational beliefs and sometimes utterly insane and delusional thinking.
By producing various extremist groups with rigidly held competing beliefs, information entropy increases the likelihood of societal conflict and polarization that cannot be adjudicated through reasoned public debate. This is because dogmatic beliefs are little different than no beliefs. As Thomas Jefferson warned: “It is always better to have no ideas than false ones; to believe nothing, than to believe what is wrong.” Worse still is to dogmatically believe that which is wrong.
Added to this polarization within national societies, individuals will now be more disposed than in the past to hold cross-national, supranational and subnational loyalties, identities and attachments. People will think of themselves as businessmen, liberals or Muslims. Yet, while the proliferation of these new identities might facilitate bridge building across some groups, there is little reason to suspect that conflict-dampening links will arise among highly polarized, fact-resistant people like members of the radicalized Green movement, the global Salafi jihad, or the greedy and detached corporate-executive class, whose financial terrorism in the form of credit-default swaps and other reckless practices brought the world to the brink.
It is as if we are entering a new social landscape composed of personal worlds, where each individual can construct his or her own unique intersubjective space. The mystery of entropy—what makes the concept so difficult to get one’s head around—is that it divides us while making us more the same; it is a process of disorder and homogenization. Because it drives systems to their least informative but most probable states, entropy manufactures an acute sense of chaos, randomness and uncertainty, while, at the same time, the system moves from differentiation to sameness. In this regard, what is important about the digital revolution is not only that it has empowered desktop freelancers and innovative startups all over the world, especially in India and China, to compete and win, but that we are all playing the same game. Can we be far from the long-dreaded “global monoculture”—that final state of sameness captured by the neologism “Westoxification” peppered with violent extremism as a reaction to the unipole’s dominance?

BUT THIS increase in cross-national and subnational loyalties associated with entropy has effects beyond the world of an individual’s mixed-up mind. Entropy will result in the breakdown of clear geographical patterns demarcating friends and enemies. One important consequence of this geographic disorder from a state-level military standpoint is that selective targeting of individuals becomes more important than the firepower of a given weapon or even of one’s entire arsenal. The problem is that, when ideas define the enemy rather than the territory on which it lives, it becomes extremely difficult to avoid excessive collateral damage while still fighting to win.
Originating as a euphemism for the killing of noncombatants during the Vietnam War, collateral damage relies for its moral justification on the Doctrine of Double Effect (DDE), which was introduced by Thomas Aquinas and has been used to show that agents may permissibly bring about harmful effects provided that they are merely foreseen side effects of promoting a good end (hence, the double effect). With the civilian death toll in Iraq estimated at over six hundred thousand, the DDE has become an important justification for U.S. war fighting. Much of the world, however, views collateral damage as nothing more than a rhetorical contrivance for murder and, in this respect, no different than terrorism. This creates a political problem for any state combating terrorism (whether Israeli reprisals against Hamas in Gaza, Russian military strikes against Chechens in Georgia or U.S. operations in Iraq). Greater selectivity in targeting can only provide a partial solution to the problem. The bottom line is that the decreased importance of geographic space under conditions of high entropy neutralizes usable firepower while favoring guerrilla tactics, sabotage, terrorism and, more generally, a movement from interstate to intrastate wars. So in the end we are left with a more level military playing field (but with its own hidden dangers) consistent with the process of increasing entropy.

TAKEN FURTHER still, information overload and entropy suggest increased fragmentation, policies and inferences of states driven by hard-core ideological and religious beliefs, and rigid and uncompromising political views that are fact resistant. National and international narratives now become more fractured and incoherent, making purposeful national action, especially policies calling for costly and intrusive international cooperation, far more difficult to achieve.
Just as individuals are freer than ever before to pick and choose “facts” to fit their personal beliefs, states are now able to engage in what is known as forum shopping, selecting from among countless international institutions the specific venues most likely to elicit decisions that favor their particular interests. Like the choice-enabling infosphere with its unlimited facts, the number and density of international organizations has grown exponentially over the past few decades, creating a sea of nested, partially overlapping, parallel bodies and agreements.
What some call global governance is little more than a spaghetti bowl of clashing agreements brokered within and among thirty thousand or so international organizations of varying significance, from the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission to the United Nations. One wonders how states make decisions and forge long-run strategies these days when it is virtually impossible for them to figure out where international authority over any issue resides, and which agreements, interpretations and implementations of rules and laws have salience and should come to dominate.
The downside is that nobody wins and nothing gets done. The upside is that no one loses either. Once a state or group of states has been outmaneuvered in one venue, the “loser” merely shifts the negotiations to other parallel regimes with contradictory rules and alternative priorities. Thus, when developing countries lost at the WTO and World Intellectual Property Organization on the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement, they “regime-shifted” to the friendlier WHO, Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), and Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), where they won. They then went back to the WTO invoking these victories and renegotiated the TRIPs agreement to have the revisions drafted in parallel regimes written into the global rules.
The messiness of this state of affairs contradicts a rare consensus in the field of international relations that concentrated power in the hands of one dominant state is essential to the establishment and maintenance of international order. According to the theory, the demand for international regimes is high but their supply is low because only the leadership of a hegemonic state can overcome the collective-action problems—mainly the huge start-up costs—associated with the creation of order-producing global institutions. The current world has turned this logic on its head. The problem is the virtual absence of barriers to entry. Most new treaty-making and global-governance institutions are being spearheaded not by an elite club of great powers but rather by civil-society actors and nongovernmental organizations working with midlevel states. Far from creating more order and predictability, this explosion of so-called global-governance institutions has increased the chaos, randomness, fragmentation, ambiguity and impenetrable complexity of international politics. Indeed, the labyrinthine structure of global governance is more complex than most of the problems it is supposed to be solving. And countries’ views are more rigidly held than ever before.
ALAS, AS entropy increases within a closed system, available or “useful” energy dissipates and diffuses to a state of equal energy among particles. The days of unipolarity are numbered. We will witness instead a deconcentration of power that eventually moves the system to multipolarity and a restored balance. It will not, however, be a normal global transition. Great powers will not build up arms and form alliances. They will not use war to improve their positions in the international pecking order. They will not seek relative-power advantages. That is because they no longer have to obsess over how others are doing—much less over their own survival, which is essentially assured in today’s world of unprecedented peace. States will instead be primarily concerned with doing well for themselves. What they will do is engage in economic competition.
The law of uneven economic growth among states and the diffusion of technology will cause a deconcentration of global power. Global equilibrium in this new environment is a spontaneously generated outcome among states seeking to maximize their absolute wealth, not military power or political influence over others. The pace of these diffusion processes has increased during the digital age because what distinguishes economies today is no longer capital and labor—now mere commodities—but rather ideas and energy.
Information entropy is creating fierce corporate competition. Our creeping sameness hasn’t led us to the mythical natural harmony of interests in the world that international liberalism seems to take for granted. To the contrary, it’s a jungle out there. Global communication networks and rapid technological innovation have forced competitive firms to abandon the end-to-end vertical business model and adopt strategies of dynamic specialization, connectivity through outsourcing and process networks, and leveraged capability building across institutional boundaries. They have also caused public policies to converge in the areas of deregulation, trade liberalization and market liberalization. All of these trends have combined to create relentlessly intensifying competition on a global scale.4 So while we may indeed be looking more alike, what precisely are the traits that we share? Sameness in the “flat” world, where the main business challenge is not profitability but mere survival, breeds cutthroat competitors no more likely to live in harmony with each other than the unfortunate inhabitants of Hobbes’s state of nature. So, instead of shooting wars and arms buildups, we will see intense corporate competition with firms engaging in espionage, information warfare (such as the hiring of “big gun” hackers) and guerilla marketing strategies.

IN TERMS of the global balance of power, the rapid diffusion of knowledge and technology is driving down America’s edge in productive capacity and, as a consequence, its overall power position. Indeed, the transfer of global wealth and economic power now under way—roughly from West to East—is without precedent in modern history in terms of size, speed and directional flow. If these were the only processes at work, then the future of international politics might well conform to the benign, orthodox liberal vision of a cooperative, positive-sum game among states operating within a system that places strict limits on the returns to power. But this is not to be because, in a break from old-world great-power politics, there will be no hegemonic war to wipe the international slate clean. We will therefore be stuck with the bizarre mishmash of global-governance institutions that now creates an ineffectual foreign-policy space. Trying to overhaul existing institutions to accommodate rising powers and address today’s complex issues is an impossible task. So while liberals are correct to point out that the boom in global economic growth over the past two decades has allowed countries to move up the ladder of growth and prosperity, this movement, combined with a moribund institutional superstructure, creates a destabilizing disjuncture between power and prestige that will eventually make the world more confrontational. The question arises, with hegemonic war no longer in the cards, how can a new international order that reflects these tectonic shifts be forged? Aside from a natural disaster of massive proportions (a cure most likely worse than the disease itself), there is no known force that can fix the problem.

THE PRIMARY cause of these tectonic shifts is American decline. Hegemonic decline is inevitable because unchecked power tends to overextend itself and succumb to the vice of imperial overstretch; because the hegemon overpays for international public goods, such as security, while its free-riding competitors underpay for them; and because its once-hungry society becomes soft and decadent, engaging in self-destructive hedonism and overconsumption. In recent years, the America-in-decline debate of the 1980s and early 1990s has reemerged with a vengeance. Despite the fact that the United States is the lone superpower with unrivaled command of air, sea and space, there is a growing chorus of observers proclaiming the end of American primacy. Joining the ranks of these “declinists,” Robert Pape forcefully argued in these pages that “America is in unprecedented decline,” having lost 30 percent of its relative economic power since 2000.5 To be sure, the macrostatistical picture of the United States is a bleak one. Its savings rate is zero; its currency is sliding to new depths; it runs huge current-account, trade and budget deficits; its medium income is flat; its entitlement commitments are unsustainable; and its once-unrivaled capital markets are now struggling to compete with Hong Kong and London. The staggering costs of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, combined with the financial bailout and stimulus packages doled out in response to the subprime-mortgage and financial-credit crises, have battered the U.S. economy, opening the door for peer competitors to make substantial relative gains. The current bear market ranks among the worst in history, with the Dow and S&P down almost 50 percent from their 2007 peaks. The major cause of our troubles, both in the short and long term, is debt: the United States is borrowing massively to finance current consumption. America continues to run unprecedented trade deficits with its only burgeoning peer competitor, China, which, based on current trajectories, is predicted to surpass the United States as the world’s leading economic power by 2040. As of July 2009, Washington owed Beijing over $800 billion, meaning that every person in the “rich” United States has, in effect, borrowed about $3,000 from someone in the “poor” People’s Republic of China over the past decade.6 But this devolution of America’s status is truly inevitable because of the forces of entropy. No action by U.S. leaders can prove a viable counterweight.

AND AS power devolves throughout the international system, new actors will emerge and develop to compete with states as power centers. Along these lines, Richard Haass claims that we have entered an “age of nonpolarity,” in which states “are being challenged from above, by regional and global organizations; from below, by militias; and from the side, by a variety of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and corporations.” Of course, there is nothing especially new about this observation; cosmopolitan liberals have been pronouncing (prematurely, in my view) the demise of the nation-state—the so-called “hollow state” and a crisis of state power—and the rise of nonstate actors for many decades. What is new is that even state-centric realists like Fareed Zakaria are now predicting a post-American world, in which international order is no longer a matter decided solely by the political and military power held by a single hegemon or even a group of leading states. Instead, the coming world will be governed by messy ad hoc arrangements composed of à la carte multilateralism and networked interactions among state and nonstate actors. One wonders what order and concerted action mean in a world that lacks fixed and predictable structures and relationships. Given the haphazard and incomplete manner by which the vacuum of lost state power is being filled, why expect order at all?

THE MACROPICTURE that emerges from these global trends is one of historically unprecedented change in a direction consistent with increasing entropy: unprecedented hegemonic decline; an unprecedented transfer of wealth, knowledge and economic power from West to East; unprecedented information flows; and an unprecedented rise in the number and kinds of important actors. Thus, the onset of this extreme multipolarity or multi-multipolarity will not herald, as some observers believe, a return to the past. To the contrary, it will signal that maximum entropy is setting in, that the ultimate state of inert uniformity and unavailable energy is coming, that time does have a direction in international politics and that there is no going back because the initial conditions of the system have been lost forever. If and when we reach such a point in time, much of international politics as we know it will have ended. Its deep structure of anarchy—the lack of a sovereign arbiter to make and enforce agreements among states—will remain. But increasing entropy will result in a world full of fierce international competition and corporate warfare; continued extremism; low levels of trust; the formation of nonstate identities that frustrate purposeful and concerted national actions; and new nongeographic political spaces that bypass the state, favor low-intensity-warfare strategies and undermine traditional alliance groupings.
Most important, entropy will reduce and diffuse usable power in the system, dramatically reshaping the landscape of international politics. The United States will see its relative power diminish, while others will see their power rise. To avoid crises and confrontation, these ongoing tectonic changes must be reflected in the superstructure of international authority. Increasing entropy, however, means that the antiquated global architecture will only grow more and more creaky and resistant to overhaul. No one will know where authority resides because it will not reside anywhere; and without authority, there can be no governance of any kind. The already-overcrowded and chaotic landscape will continue to be filled with more meaningless stuff; and the specter of international cooperation, if it was ever anything more than an apparition, will die a slow but sure death.

Text by Randall L. Schweller

1 Under bipolarity, in contrast, powerful threats were concentrated in the two poles, whereas damage was diffused throughout the system. Because bipolarity encouraged the superpowers to view the world in zero-sum terms and compete fiercely on a global scale, roughly 20 million people were killed on the periphery (damage was diffused) in a titanic geostrategic and ideological struggle among two poles over world supremacy.
2 Notwithstanding the fallacy of a natural harmony of interests among democracies, we hear calls from John McCain, Hillary Clinton, Madeleine Albright, and senior foreign-policy advisers to President Obama Ivo Daalder and Anne-Marie Slaughter for the United States to create a League of Democracies to replace the United Nations. Not only is this liberal-internationalist concept built on an idealistic myth that democracies share important foreign-policy preferences, it would also result in an irresponsible self-binding of U.S. power. By very publicly bestowing the League of Democracies with a stamp of legitimacy, America would be foolishly creating the only international institution that could actually constrain its foreign-policy autonomy and the free exercise of its military power.
3 Farhad Manjoo, True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2008).
4 John Hagel III and John Seely Brown, The Only Sustainable Edge: Why Business Strategy Depends on Productive Friction and Dynamic Specialization (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business School Press, 2005).
5 Robert A. Pape, “Empire Falls,” The National Interest (January/February 2009), p. 21.
6 James Fallows, “The $1.4 Trillion Question,” The Atlantic (January/February 2008).

Source : The National Interest Magazine , 12.16.2009