FX – Foreign Policy

Four years of CX debate in high school (the only kind of debate back then), and a freshman year as a chemistry major beating my head against the wall competing with the pre-med cohort, resulted in a quick switch to Political Science as a major (finally completed decades later).

One of the key concepts in PSci foreign relations reading is the concept of Realism, one of the lenses through which foreign policy decisions can be evaluated. An unexpected firestorm on the subject was recently triggered by the following article in Foreign Policy.

Walt – What Would a Realist World Have Looked Like – Foreign Policy

Two responses immediately popped up, citing perceived shortcomings in the original article.

Roger Cohen – The Limits of American Realism

Drezner – Do the greatest op-ed pages in America discriminate against foreign policy realists

Why does this matter to you? In extemp, we primarily deal with policy issues, and are asked questions in rounds that force us to analyze those policy issues. One of the fastest ways to build an extemp file is with articles from the editorial page, since editorial writers essentially do just what we need – analyze policy issues. (One of the fastest ways to do an initial skim of the Etemp Files is to look for articles with file names that start [after the date code] with author names.)

The three articles above talk about a lot of the people you’ll find in my files. You need to know who they are, and have some sense of what lens they’re using to evaluate foreign policy. The articles above will help you do that.


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