Thursday, October 18, 2012

Quote of the Day

From Stephen Walt, no one's idea of an ignoramus, talking about how he felt while reading Howard French's article in the New York Review of Books about the wars in the DRC:
I was aware of this conflict, of course, but as I read French's essay, I realized that I knew very little about its origins, evolution, or the prospects for ending it. I'm a full-time professional in the field of international relations and security studies, and I teach an undergraduate course on "the origins of modern wars" here at Harvard. I go to seminars on various international relations topics almost every week. And yet I knew next-to-nothing about the greatest international bloodletting of my lifetime.
This is a stale quote, but I just came upon it while searching for something else. It certainly corresponds to my experience. While I was working at the US Institute of Peace, for example, there was almost no interest in or knowledge about the conflicts in the Congo. Despite: a) the fact that the institute was putatively dedicated to world peace, and the wars in the Congo are the deadliest since WW II; and b) the fact that the Institute was staffed by highly intelligent professionals, many (but not all of whom) had experience in the various agencies of the government's national security apparatus, from the US air force to the State Department to the CIA.

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