May 2, 2019 | By Brian Hanson, Daniel W. Drezner

Deep Dish: Daniel Drezner on World War III and US Grand Strategy

Washington Post contributing editor and Council expert Daniel Drezner joins Deep Dish to discuss how trade disputes could spark World War III and why US grand strategy is more or less dead. His views on both could pretty accurately be described as “apocalyptic.”




Brian Hanson: This is Deep Dish on Global Affairs, going beyond the headlines and critical global issues. Joining me today is Daniel Drezner, who is a non-resident senior fellow here at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. He also is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and he's a contributing editor at the Washington Post. Welcome, Dan. It's great to have you on Deep Dish.

Daniel Drezner: Really happy to be here, Brian. I like the name of the podcast.

Brian Hanson: Thank you. You have two new essays, one in Reason and the other the lead article in the current issue of Foreign Affairs. The first is about how current trade disputes could spark World War III, and the other is how US grand strategy is more or less dead. Both could be described as fairly apocalyptic. So I want to talk through the arguments, because at the same time, I think both are really important arguments that people need to grapple with and think about where we're headed in the long term and what the consequences are. So I want to start with the argument that's in Reason about the potential for World War III, and the structure of the argument is basically you look back at the period leading up to World War I, which was seen as a previous golden age of globalization, and of course we know how it ends, which is World War I. You make a striking argument that there are a lot more parallels between that period of time and today than some people observe. So what's the gist of why you think trade protection, the trade wars we're having right now particularly with China could lead to something as cataclysmic as a potentially a new world war?

Daniel Drezner: Right. So yes, this is part of my super happy fun time series of articles about world politics. The argument I'm making in Reason, and to be clear, I'm not trying to say necessarily that increased levels of trade protectionism will actually cause a world war. It's more like you can argue that economic interdependence is a relatively strong constraint against a war starting, and if you reduce that economic interdependence, it makes war a more possible outcome. It's ironic, because a lot of people sort of look at World War I as the paradigmatic case, an example of interdependence not mattering. Most famously, Great Britain and Germany were each other's largest trading partners. That didn't stop World War I, ergo interdependence doesn't matter.

Brian Hanson: Yeah, and as you point out in the piece, Norman Angell writes this book, The Great Illusion, where he basically argues, was is no longer rational because the economic costs would be way too high for the combatants to engage in it.

Daniel Drezner: Exactly, and in some ways, and then of course a few years after he wrote that World War I starts and everyone likes to make fun of Normal Angell. Of course, what I always point out is that Norman Angell was right about the first point, which was he said that war was far more costly than trade, and then he said as a result, war is unlikely to happen. Now, he was right about the first part. He was clearly and tragically wrong about the second, but the other thing I try to do in the piece is to point out that the sort of, the economic history right before World War I is a little more complex than people assume. They think it's this sort of era of globalization and none of these constraints stopped anything. What actually happened was, and this again seems eerily reminiscent of what we're experiencing over the last decade, is that particularly in Europe, there was a lot of anxiety created by globalization, and essentially, there were cheap grain imports coming in from the leading developing countries at the time, which were the United States and Russia. So as a result, beginning with Otto von Bismarck in 1879, you saw this wave of tariffs start to go up against these sort of imports because there were demands from farmers and from the agrarian sector to stop that. In addition, you had this sort of wave of nationalism that was occurring in the late 19th century, which led to a variety of trade wars, most prominently, the Pig War between Austria and Serbia, and who can forever forget the phrase Pig War? So the result was by about 1914, it is true that western Europe was still relatively economically integrated, and part of this again, which is a parallel with today, is that even though you had all these tariffs and trade wars going on, you also had technology dramatically reducing the cost of trade. So the spread of the railroad, the steam ship, and so on and so forth. But if you look at eastern Europe, those countries were not terribly economically interdependent. Russia and Germany weren't trading with each other. Russia and Austria weren't trading with each other. Serbia and Austria weren't trading with each other, and that's where the world war started. So now fast forward to today, and there are ways in which you're seeing trends in a similar direction, where the United States seems obsessed with trying to cut China out of the global supply chain with the idea of reducing interdependence between the two countries. You're seeing a general break down in international economic cooperation. All I'm trying to say is that we're creating an awful lot of dry kindling out there and if you light a match, it might end badly.

Brian Hanson: So this is really interesting, because what I really find interesting about the piece is you got two mechanisms, it seems to me at work. One is the reduction of the economic interdependence, right? Just the reduction in trade, and as you point out, it's not uniform, but it hits some places further than others. But the other piece of your argument is that this process, seems to me anyway, that this process of putting on these tariffs and really demonizing and casting the other parties as in opposition to our national interest is a key part of this. So is it true that the degree of economic pain in some ways becomes less of a constraint also because of the mobilization. You've got some interesting stories in that article for example of fairly high trade dependent countries being willing to cut each other off, long before the war starts. So what does that tell us about today and the kinds of things we ought to be looking for and paying attention to as we kind of take your argument seriously and say, do we see signs of things like this developing today? What should we be looking for?

Daniel Drezner: I think what you should be looking for is leaders and voters saying, yes, I recognize that cutting off trade or reducing interdependence with this other country will cause this economic pain, but because I strongly believe in my country and I believe we need to pursue the national interest, it is worth paying that price. An additional element of this I think nowadays is the degree to which people think of trade as almost a zero sum relationship, the notion that if another country is profiting from international trade, we must somehow be losing. In some ways, that's a parallel kind of logic which if you have it, you're never going to be a real big fan of interdependence because you're never necessarily going to see yourself as winning. There's two things going on. The first is anxieties generated by globalization, economic anxieties, which again, you certainly have seen in this century and you saw beginning in the 1870s playing out and before World War I. The second is the rise of nationalism and the degree to which national identity winds up causing voters and/or consumers to make decisions that are against their own economic interests, but they think it's the right thing to do because it's of a national interest.

Brian Hanson: So one of the things that many point out is somewhat different in today's world, maybe less and less so, is the existence of institutions and rules that shape today's economic economy in a way that didn't function in the same way before World War I. Is that something that can put a brake on this dynamic, or are there other thing that are different from now and World War I that should-

Daniel Drezner: So there's no denying that the global economy is much more heavily institutionalized than it was prior to World War I. That said, again, the piece sounds a couple of cautionary notes. The first is is that the most important institutional sort of guardrail that we might think about today is the World Trade Organization, and it would appear that the Trump administration is doing its darnedest to try to weaken the WTO through, among other things, refusing to approve the nomination or approval of appellate court judges to the appellate body which would badly undercut the dispute settlement understanding that sort of is the key aspect of the WTO. Indeed, that's the gold standard with international, within multilateral institutions of how you deal with dispute resolution. So the Trump administration seems bound and determined to weaken not just the WTO, but a whole panoply of the international institutions that we take for granted nowadays, and so yes. It still functions as an important check, but it's a check that is eroding very badly. The other concern I have is that the one area where you could really say there was not so much institutionalized cooperation, but multilateral cooperation in the pre-World War I era was the gold standard. It's interesting, because even as all of the sort of great powers in Europe are starting to arm up and sort of conceiving of war, you had the central banks by and large cooperating with each other to prevent financial catastrophes from the 1890s to about 1911. That ends after the Agadir Crisis in Morocco in which because Germany takes position opposite of France, that happens at the same time as a financial panic in Germany, and as a result Germany winds up sort of standing down from the Agadir crisis. After that, the Kaiser then informs the central bank, next time, I don't want this to happen. I want to make sure you have enough gold on hand so that if there is a war, we can prevent this from happening. There is a degree to which you can argue that central bank cooperation now is trending, or rather financial cooperation is trending in worrisome ways. I'm thinking here the sort of US enjoyment or reliance on economic sanctions, and the fact that the first time you are now seeing the development of an alternative payment system, what's called INSTEX, for the European Union, Russia, and China to bypass the dollar.

Brian Hanson: So this happened in response to the US pulling out of the Iran agreement-

Daniel Drezner: Exactly.

Brian Hanson: And saying, you can no longer use the US based international financial system, which basically everyone used for payments across borders.

Daniel Drezner: Right, much as the gold standard was the sort of the rules to the game back in the late 19th century, we're in a dollar standard now. If you start having particularly the European Union conceiving of a world without the dollar, that is a similar kind of breakdown in cooperation that I'm worried about. Now again, we're not there yet. This would, you could argue this is just an exception, that in fact the dollar is still extremely strong, but it's almost like if you have your allies thinking about this, the fact that they're even created INSTEX, the fact that our European allies are even conceiving of this contingency makes it that much more possible as an actual outcome.

Brian Hanson: So one last question on this before I go to your another optimistic piece, but is this really a China issue? Is that where we should be looking for this playing out, or could there be similar dynamics in relationships with other parts of the world that could lead us in this direction?

Daniel Drezner: Well, it depends on whether you think the Trump administration is a blip or a trend. So I mean, if you use the Trump administration's logic, it's not just China. I mean, Trump in some ways has been far nastier towards the European Union, or at least as nasty as he's been towards China. He clearly sees the European Union as an economic competitor, and in some ways has demonstrated without question the greatest, this administration's hostility to the European Union is the greatest in US history. So if that persists past Trump, then no, it's not just about China. But that said, if the Trump successor as president winds up adopting a different worldview, it winds up being an awful lot about China. China is in some ways the game changer here in terms of perspectives about the global economy, and also, the other thing you're seeing which again parallels what happened in the run up to World War I is the conflation of economic concerns with national security concerns, where prior to World War I, you had various countries like France and the UK worries that their interdependence meant that they were reliant on the imports of key raw materials and other goods from other countries and they were worried this would leave them vulnerable in a world war. You're seeing that nowadays in the form of, let's say, US anxiety over Huawei and whether or not they're going to be responsible for setting the standards on 5G and so forth. And again, these concerns, by the way, might be justifiable. I'm not saying that the Trump administration is wrong in this sense, but the very fact that you're seeing concerns about another country potentially being able to manipulate its control of the standard does have eerie parallels to the pre-war era.

Brian Hanson: So I promised one last question but I have yet another one, which is to what extent is public opinion today a constraint on trade wars developing? I mean, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs here has polling that really has been quite remarkable, as you know well because you're part of the advisory committee to help shape this poll. But in which a fundamental question, does international trade create jobs in the United States? Is it good for creating jobs in the United States? For 25 years, that was 40% of Americans said it was good for creating jobs in the United States, and then in 2017 that went up to about 54%. In 2018, it went up to about 64%. So is there some sort of inoculation that's possible through public opinion that could put a brake on this kind of dynamic and not lead to an increased chance of war?

Daniel Drezner: It's possible, and I think I referenced this in the article, but then you have to ask a follow up question, which is there is no denying, and it's been really interesting that if you see not just on trade, but immigration or a whole variety of things, the American public seems to be much more enthusiastic about liberal internationalism than it was prior to the election of Donald Trump. It's a reaction to him, clearly. The question you have to ask is how salient are these opinions in the way in which people vote? There's no denying that Americans are not keen fans of trade wars. They don't want to see these happen. They want fair trade as well as free trade, but they're not a big fan of what's going on now. The question is is because of that, are they going to vote Democrat rather than Republican? This is where I get to be somewhat skeptical about it. It's not just enough that voters have to oppose this. The opposition has to be translated into electoral consequences, because without, as politicians on both sides of the aisle, like say elections have consequences. So you need people to actually lose elections based on these policies for policymakers to actually change their views.

Brian Hanson: So you set up beautifully for my transition to your second piece, which is the lead article in Foreign Affairs. In there, you make the claim that Trump has moved us away from the grand strategy that was really driving US foreign policy for the last 70 years, and you argue provocatively that the age of grand strategy is done. So could you start off just by summarizing what you see as the fundamental kind of grounding grand strategy that guided us more or less over the last 70 years and then how Trump has challenged it?

Daniel Drezner: Sure. The guiding grand strategy is what generally is referred to as liberal internationalism, which started during the Cold War, but I think really sort of came to fruition after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The premise was that we want the rest of the world to look more like the United States, and the ways in which we can make the rest of the world look like the United States are really sort of three elements of what's often referred to as the Kantian Triad. So we want other countries in the world to be more democratic. We want other countries in the world to be more open to free markets, and we want to create an array of multilateral institutions that sort of write the rules of the game. The notion behind this was is that not every country was liberal democracy. Obviously, that was absurd, but the idea was that if you pursued these policies, the promotion of democracy and human rights, the rule of law, free markets, creation of international institutions to regulate these things. Even countries like China and Russia that might've been recalcitrant about certain elements of this would evolve over time into polities that would look more like the United States. The more that countries presumably looked like the United States, the more they would presumably share our preferences, which would make life much easier. The Trump administration most pointedly I think in its National Security Strategy that came out at the end of 2017, it's a striking document because if you read most national security strategies, you would go back, they've been around for 20 years or so, I think since Congress mandated them. What's striking is that it didn't, you could read them prior to the Trump administration and not be sure what party was in power. There wasn't, there were important deviations, most prominently the Bush national security strategy right after the 9/11 attacks, but by and large, they talked about wanting the same things. They primarily talked about it in a language consistent with liberal internationalism and so on and so forth. The Trump national security strategy was different because it actually trashed the previous literature, to use an academic term, which is it started off by saying, hey, this grand strategy of liberal internationalism. It's wrong. The position of the Trump administration is A, liberal internationalism hasn't caused countries like China and Russia to turn more like the United States, which is a fair argument, and B, that we're entering a world of great power competition and we need to get used to that. Now, how much Trump himself believed this is something else entirely, but he's sort of our, they're basically trying to articulate a world in which our grand strategy based on this notion that we're in a world of great power competition and equally important, the components of liberal internationalism all hurt the United States. So democracy promotion was a disaster because it led to Iraq, the promotion of free markets was a disaster because it somehow led to the hollowing out of America's middle class, and the promotion of multilateral institutions is a disaster because it constrains the United States more than its adversaries.

Brian Hanson: So the Trump administration has taken us in a different direction.

Daniel Drezner: Yeah..

Brian Hanson: One of the things that is striking about your argument is that you say, We aren't going back. We may not go in the same direction that the Trump administration has taken us on, but we aren't going to see another 70 year period where there has been a shared sense of grand strategy. Why is that?

Daniel Drezner: So yeah, basically, it's a two step process. The first is the tremendous amount of political polarization in the country that's continuing to get worse and shows no sign of abating, and second is the fact that more and more foreign policy power has essentially been invested in the presidency rather than in other institutions. So if you combine these two things, it creates a problem, which is that polarization means that you no longer have the sort of bipartisan foreign policy consensus that genuinely did exist for 70+ years. There were differences between what Democrats would say and Republicans would say, absolutely, but on the other hand, there was a general agreement that the promotion of free market liberal democracy and international institutions ranging from NATO to the WTO to the IMF would all enhance US interests. That's no longer the case. You have Democrats who are still relatively enthusiastic multilaterals who want to focus on things like climate change, and you have Republicans who have become increasingly unilateral. Some want to focus on things like migration and terrorism. So that's problem one, which is there's no longer any consensus. Problem two is that this polarization affected other parts of the US government before the presidency, and particularly Congress. It rendered Congress so incapable of doing anything that Congress wound up deferring an awful lot of its foreign policy powers to the president, all on the presumption that the president was the last adult in the room, which worked right up until the moment that Donald Trump was elected president. Now, Trump has obviously pursued his own course. The problem is is that essentially, and this is where it partially predates Trump. Think about the Obama significant foreign policy accomplishments. They all occurred without any buy-in from Congress. The Paris Climate Change deal, the Iranian nuclear deal, the opening to Cuba, and so forth. So therefore when Trump essentially reversed all of these policies, he was fully within his rights as president to do so. You might question the wisdom of those policies, but you can't question the legality of it. But I would point out that the president who succeeds Trump will also be able to reverse course on let's say, a China trade deal if he negotiates that, or a variety of other sort of unilateral initiatives that the Trump administration has pursued. So imagine for a second that the United States has a grand strategy that is first articulated by Donald Trump, and then articulated by President Bernie Sanders, and then articulated by President Tom Cotton, and then articulated by President Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Imagine-

Brian Hanson: For those of you at home who don't know those names, it's an alternation between far right and far left politicians in the US spectrum.

Daniel Drezner: Exactly, and this is the other thing. Part of what polarization means isn't just the Democrats and Republicans no longer agree with each other. It's also that each party increasingly feels the need to cater to its base rather than try to pursue a more moderate course of action. So the issue is now, essentially, that grand strategy as we think of it requires credible commitment. It requires that we articulate a set of policies and then follow through on those kinds of pledges. What I'm basically saying is that the way that the United States is currently formulated in an increasingly polarized political climate in which only the presidency matters for foreign policy, credible commitment no longer exists.

Brian Hanson: So why is that a problem? I mean, okay, you've convinced me that US foreign policy could shift from one sets of priorities to a different set of priorities, and that can be disconcerting because some will like some policies better than others. But is, what's at stake in that?

Daniel Drezner: What's at stake is essentially, imagine... It's like asking a schizophrenic person or a person with bipolar personality disorder to develop a grand strategy, which is they're going to constantly careen between two extremes. If you're the rest of the world, the question is why would you ever trust the United States on anything? Part of the reason liberal internationalism for all of its flaws, and there were some, worked was that we had a tremendous number of allies, partners, and even rivals who believed in US credibility, that if the United States said something, it would then do something. What we are now doing is entering a world in which you can no longer trust if the US says that it will do something that it will actually stick to it. If you can't articulate a grand strategy past a single presidential term, well, then you're not really articulating a grand strategy. You're just sort of saying you're going to do a couple things, you do them, and then they'll be reversed five years later. The cornerstone of essentially the US grand strategy for a long time has been credible commitment, and what I'm saying is that we can no longer credibly commit.

Brian Hanson: So let's look at some of the counterbalances here that could provide that. You made an argument that the president is relatively unconstrained, and you've given some really strong examples of where we've seen that in recent presidencies. One of the things that's been striking about times during the Trump administration is when there has been bipartisan support that has come together to push back against a direction that Trump wanted to go. For example, in some of the confrontations with Russia, Congress has imposed sanctions, pursued legislation to impose sanctions that the Trump administration hasn't agreed with, condemned US funding of the war in Yemen, for example. So we do see some of these areas where there seems to be some points of agreement. Is this, those of you who can't see this, Dan's got a big smile on his mouth. Why do you not think that Congress is going to be a very effective check on this, and let me push it one more step, particularly if the consequences become large for the country, right? It's one thing if it doesn't matter, but as the costs of this kind of approach and alternating to extremes continues to build, as you predict it will, why won't that drive a reaction that says, we need to get control of this?

Daniel Drezner: So a few things. First of all, I agree with you that, and I would welcome, one of the things I say in the article is that Congress needs to play a bigger role. That one of the ways to end this sort of cycle is if when presidents propose foreign policies or grand strategies, there is some degree of congressional buy-in. That would reduce the kind of inconsistency that we're talking about. I do agree that your point on particularly, the congressional attitude towards Russia would be still an example of bipartisan consensus, but that said, I think that's the exception and not the rule. Even in other instances in which Congress has pushed back, it actually hasn't affected policy, so the Yemen example that you talk about. No denying Congress has opposed it, but of course, the president can veto it, and by vetoing it, there's not going to be any change because of polarization in Congress. Similarly with the declaration of the state of emergency for example in terms of wall funding. Congress isn't a fan of that, clearly, and majorities in both houses opposed it. It doesn't matter, because the president could just veto that. The presidency has certain powers that are very, very difficult for Congress to undermine unless it's completely unified, and the only policy that I can see that fits under that is the Russia one that you mentioned. In terms of the consequences, the fact that doesn't this have significant consequences for the rest of the country, I don't think that's a terribly large disciplining effect for Congress, because in the past when Congress has realized that the stakes are large, their response to that is not to take responsibility. Their response to that has always been to punt responsibility to the president. This is what they did with respect to trade after Smoot–Hawley. It's what they've done with respect to war after the end of World War II basically. There's been the occasional effort by Congress to sort of take some of these powers back. The Yemen vote is certainly one example, but I'm extremely dubious that you're going to be able to get a Congress to pass laws that constrain the power of the president that would be veto-proof, which is essentially what they're going to have to be for this sort of reshifting to take place, because no president is ever going to willingly cede these kinds of authorities. Because why would you?

Brian Hanson: Very good. So if it's not Congress, so let's just accept that for a moment, another check on political power in our democracy is the American people.

Daniel Drezner: Oh, right.

Brian Hanson: You talked about votes before. Despite that skeptical response, we clearly, even in foreign policy terms, there have been mass mobilizations in order to change course on US foreign policy. One thinks about the Vietnam War and the protests right here in Chicago, of course, and in other places around the country around the war. You think back to the early years of the Reagan administration and concerns about nuclear weapons and the potential use of nuclear weapons, and millions of people coming onto the streets to demand a different form of foreign policy. Again, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the survey findings that you know, in general, we tend to find that the public center of gravity is around a more engaged, more coherent kind of set of foreign policy approaches than these kinds of extremes. So is there the potential that the electoral process can actually create some constraints on the pathway that you see possible?

Daniel Drezner: No. Sorry.

Brian Hanson: I can't-

Daniel Drezner: So the Vietnam example is a great one, and I think you can argue that there's no denying that public opinion there does cause a shift in foreign policy, but in some ways, that's the last example. It's not a coincidence that the end of the draft in some ways has acted as a remarkable reduction in terms of the public's influence on foreign policy, because generally, there's a theory within public opinion called rational ignorance that says that the public does not necessarily care about issues that they don't feel affect them personally, and that it's rational for them to feel that way, because it takes time to read up on things. So why should they? The moment you ended the draft essentially for most of the country, there isn't that much in the way of foreign policy that they feel affects them directly. So the examples you can give of let's say the nuclear freeze movement in the early 80s or the Iraq War in the 2000s, yeah, that led to large, mass mobilization. Also did not alter either of those policies. Intermediate range nuclear forces were put in Europe despite all those protests, and we invaded Iraq, despite those protest. Those are the high water marks of us public mobilization. We haven't seen anything like that, although to be fair, there have been large scale protests since the Trump administration came in on the travel ban and so on and so forth. But again, also, that hasn't stopped policies. This won't matter until Americans decide that it's worth voting on these issues, and this is where me being unfortunately a profound skeptic, as much as I care about what public attitudes on foreign policy are, I am also extremely skeptical that a large section of the public will vote because of their foreign policy views.

Brian Hanson: Realizing that you've laid out this very compelling case about the potential for an alternating extreme, are there other mechanisms that you think might be effective in changing the trajectory and avoiding the concerns that you see?

Daniel Drezner: I think I said in the Foreign Affairs piece that this is normally the moment, in closing, I said, this is normally the moment in the Foreign Affairs piece where the writer asks for politicians to exercise political will to do the right thing. I always laugh when I read that in other essays, and I'm not going to make that claim now. I think there are a few things that maybe could be done, but again, the problem is is that the guardrails have eroded badly. One of the things I talk about is the role that foreign policy experts play, that if you have a consensus of experts saying, hey, what the government doing right now is a dumb move, that could potentially also act as a constraint, but we're living in an era where, and I talked about this in my previous book, The Ideas Industry, where consensus on a lot of these things is broken down. Again, due no small part to polarization, but also due to the erosion of trust in authority and expertise that exists in the United States. So for this kind of thing to stop, you would actually need polarization to decrease, and for trust in authority and experts to go up. In other words, you need to reverse both of those trends, but that is a much deeper conversation than just about foreign policy. I'm not sure I have an answer to that. The truly scary and depressing answer is that the last time we were in this situation was again, right before World War I. It's the last time you could point to polarization being this extreme. It took two world wars and a Great Depression to end that. Hopefully, we don't have to do that much in order to be able to change it this time around.

Brian Hanson: So you've set me up again, this time for my final question that I want to ask you. There's a lot of doom and gloom here, right?

Daniel Drezner: Yes.

Brian Hanson: This is serious. We're laughing at times, and that's the gallows humor is how we get through this stuff. Are you optimistic about anything going on in the world going on today?

Daniel Drezner: I'm sorry. All right, let me think about actually through this. So in all seriousness, most of my foreign policy writings prior to about the last two or three years have actually been relatively upbeat. I wrote a book about the zombie apocalypse that actually said that we've overestimated the ways in which zombies would actually triumph, that human beings are actually adaptable. They would guard against it. I wrote a book called The System Worked, arguing that the global policy response to the 2008 financial crisis could've been a lot worse, that it was actually pretty good. So I want to be optimistic about these things. It is possible that if you see, let's say, the Trump administration categorically rejected that it would cause Republicans to rethink this sort of strategy of nationalism that they've been pursuing and tilt back towards the consensus. You could also argue that examples like Brexit might actually point even to Americans of the folly of sort of taking populous nationalism to its sort of logical extreme. So I don't want to say the situation is hopeless, but on the other hand, I'm not writing these articles because I'm trying to scare people. I'm writing these articles because I'm actually worried that these things are going to turn out to be true. So but I will be happy to be proven wrong on this. I hope that a decade from now, we can come back and do this podcast and you can read these things that I wrote in these arguments and we can both laugh about how stupid I was, because I've been wrong before, and I would be delighted to be wrong again.

Brian Hanson: And of course, the move that you would make if you are wildly wrong, if I could predict this, is to say, and I say this with some seriousness, the importance of raising these concerns is putting them on the table so that people can understand what's at stake. You could then claim full credit for because you raised them, people took them seriously and avoided exactly the scenarios that you talked about.

Daniel Drezner: I think I said this in The Ideas Industry. The problem is that in our profession, pessimism sells because if you predict doom and gloom, either you're proven right or it doesn't happen and you can say, it's because I warned everyone. So yeah, unfortunately, one of the things I've discovered is that apocalyptic writing is really, really easy, but that said, this is not coming from a cynical place. This is coming from a scared place.

Brian Hanson: Dan Drezner of Tufts University and also a non-resident senior fellow here at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Thanks so much for being on Deep Dish, and I look forward to having you back again soon.

Daniel Drezner: Looking forward to it.

Brian Hanson: And thank you for tuning into this episode of Deep Dish. If you liked the show, do me a favor and tap the subscribe button on your podcast app. You can find our show under Deep Dish on Global Affairs wherever you listen to podcasts, and if you think you know someone who will enjoy today's episode, please take a moment to tap the share button and send it to them as well. I'd like to invite you to join our Facebook group, Deep Dish on Global Affairs, where you can ask our guest follow up questions about anything you heard today or submit questions for upcoming guests and episodes. That's Deep Dish on Global Affairs on Facebook. As a reminder, the opinions you heard today belong to the people who expressed them and not the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. This episode of Deep Dish was produced by John Cookson, our audio engineers Andy Czarnecki. I'm Brian Hanson, and we'll be back soon with another slice of Deep Dish.


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Princeton University’s Laurence Ralph and the Council on Criminal Justice’s Thomas Abt join Deep Dish to explain why police brutality is not a uniquely American phenomenon and argue the strongest examples of successful police reform come from outside the United States.

| By Pavin Chachavalpongpun, Brian Hanson

Deep Dish: Thailand’s Youth Demand Democratic Reforms

Political scientist Pavin Chachavalpongpun joins Deep Dish to explain how social media makes these Thailand's pro-democracy protests different than past movements and why the United States should see Thailand as a foreign policy priority when negotiating a rising China.

| By Maha Yahya, Emile Hokayem, Brian Hanson

Deep Dish: Can Lebanon Overcome Corruption and Crisis?

Carnegie Middle East Center Director Maha Yahya and the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ Emile Hokayem join Deep Dish to examine the ongoing protest movement in Lebanon, Hezbollah’s role in the crisis, and how a system built on sectarian politics could be rebuilt.