By now many of you know me in terms of most of my views. If you follow my writing--articles, books, this blog--you cannot fail to notice that I don't take kindly to all kinds of social, political science and national security "studies" academe. First: political "science" is not a science and it used to be known as political history of the world. Secondly: geopolitics as it used to be known in times of its founding fathers, notably Halford Mackinder, is pretty much irrelevant today for a simple reason that it cannot exist without serious, very high academic level, understanding of the warfare. Modern warfare requires very serious knowledge of, both through academic training and experience, increasingly complex technology and the way it interacts with military and political institutions. One needs good level physics and things of such nature as weapons integration and operations theory to get some grip on it. They DON'T teach that in political "science" courses, nor classic geopolitics, born in the times of slow propeller driven bi-planes and main caliber guns of battleships shooting at the distances in excess of 30 kilometers, is applicable in the time when modern supers-sonic and hyper-sonic missiles have ranges in excess of 1,000 kilometers and receive targeting from satellite (among many other methods) recon systems. My book, which is about to hit the shelves, is precisely about it. My first one was also about it to a large degree.
Well, surprisingly, here are opinions at TAC.
For decades, international relations scholars have increasingly worried that American foreign policymakers aren’t buying what they’re selling. From the Vietnam war to NATO expansion to the Iraq war, the Beltway foreign policy elite has frequently ignored the work of academics who study those subjects, often at great cost to the nation. Why do foreign policymakers so rarely pay attention to scholarship on the regions they are bombing and seeking to dominate?Michael C. Desch, political science professor at the University of Notre Dame, lays blame at the feet of the academy. In his new book, Cult of the Irrelevant: The Waning Influence of Social Science on National Security, Desch writes that “the privileging of complex methods and universal models over engaging substantive issues…reduced the policy relevance of the work of many academic defense intellectuals.” In other words, by moving toward abstruse ontological questions (“Sovereignty and the UFO” comes to mind) or complex statistics or formal modeling (coefficients or Greek letters), incentives inside the academy have shifted the field in the direction of policy irrelevance.
It became irrelevant because it was irrelevant from the inception, because specifically in the West this field couldn't established simplest causalities--relations between cause and effect--because:
1. Western approach to history, as recent events so dramatically demonstrated, is about feel good, not about looking facts in the face and their proper arrangement which satisfies these very cause and effect. The problem here is deeper, it is in metaphysical view that truth is really unknowable--but that is grossly inaccurate, to say the least;
2. One can not develop policy (or strategy) when one operates on a delusion and profound ignorance of warfare, which defines human history. United States as a society has no experience with that in modern times 20-21st centuries. Hence, as Justin Logan (the author of the piece) motes:
In a country as powerful and secure as the United States, elites can make policy built on shaky foundations. Eventually, the whole thing may collapse. Scholars should focus on pointing out these fundamental flaws—and thinking about how they might help rebuild.
Removing all this pseudo-academic BS such as "ontological", "epistemic" etc., it all comes down to this: unless one has a serious background in military, one shouldn't be getting into modern warfare, especially with a "method" which distorts grossly a picture of military balance, operational art, tactics, technology, which, as we all witnessed in the last 20 years, is a road to hell. I write about this non-stop for years, especially after it became very clear that the view of war, military history and of real geopolitics Western political "science" produced in the last 30 years is nothing short of a disaster, which unfolded upon encountering global realities, and, with some very few and, frankly, minor exceptions, is mostly a trash. In even simpler words--political "scientist" needs to understand how real geopolitical balance forms, before any of those scientists decide to bless the world with their "wisdom"--a skill long ago lost in the West in "academe" because they don't teach it properly, if at all.