Stephen Walt on failed government institutions

Walt’s most recent blog post over at Foreign Policy strikes me as an important point: our institutions seem to be increasingly incapable of dealing with important problems.

Now, I’ve been at this long enough to know that someone will chide me (without reading the article) by saying “but people always think politics is bad.  You’re dreaming of a lost utopia that never existed in the first place.”  Walt is not arguing there was some golden age when politics was good.  Instead, he makes the point – entirely accurate as far as I can tell – that at present, institutions are incapable of acting, much less acting well.

It might be true that politics, domestic and international, has always been corrupt and inept.  However, in the past, at least since 1945 when we’re talking about international institutions, those institutions were at least capable of reaching decisions.  This extraordinarily de minimis standard is no longer capable of being met on a whole host of issue, producing gridlock on a whole range of important and yet imminently solvable problems.

Read the article, and then tell me why he’s wrong.


About Jake Wobig

I teach international relations and comparative politics at Wingate University in Wingate, North Carolina
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