Daniel W. Drezner

Bringing the Pain

Can sanctions hurt Putin enough to make him give up Crimea?

On Wednesday, the United States announced an initial round of sanctions in response to the situation in Ukraine, imposing a visa ban on individuals who played a part in Russia's military intervention. Advocates of economic pressure against Moscow clearly hope it's not the last round. Since the occupation of Crimea, there's been a slow rumble of calls from within and outside the Obama administration for using economic pressure to force Vladimir Putin's hand in Ukraine. Certainly, as an alternative to the use of force, sanctions have their appeal. If U.S. and European-led sanctions against Iran brought that radical regime to the negotiating table, then surely a replay could do the same for Vladimir Putin's Russia, right? The economist Anders Aslund is quite optimistic, telling the New York Times's Peter Baker that, "Russia can be forced out of Crimea with the combination of financial sanctions plus straightforward hard diplomacy."

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Not Your Dad's Academy

Nick Kristof is wrong. Professors are more relevant, accessible, and tech-savvy than ever before.

The out-of-touch professor is a shopworn cliché that recurs in fiction and, unfortunately, in real life as well. Eighteen months ago, the head of the MacArthur Foundation lamented "the theoretical turn across the social sciences and humanities that has cut off academic discourse from the way ordinary people and working professionals speak and think." The U.S. Congress had already arrived at that conclusion, and in 2013, it eliminated National Science Foundation funding for political science -- a move that earned applause from mainstream commentators. As if to add insult to injury, academics were told this week that they have "marginalized themselves" because they "encode their insights into turgid prose." Or, as David Rothkopf, who runs Foreign Policy, tweeted, "too many are opaque, abstract, incremental, dull."

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There's Something Rotten in Hogsmeade

Snowden-esque scandals at the Ministry of Magic (and Ron and Hermione got a divorce).

Editor's Note: After this weekend's shocking news that J.K. Rowling thought it was a mistake to have Hermione end up with Ron in the Harry Potter books, Dan Drezner begged us to publish this excerpt from his forthcoming fanfic novel, Eat, Cast, Love. We have reluctantly acceded to his request.

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Altitude Sickness

Why does Davos so often get the world's big questions wrong?

The World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting -- aka Davos -- is upon us again. I, like all foreign policy fashion mavens, am looking forward to seeing which fleece vest Thomas Friedman will showcase on the ski slopes this year. But the substance of Davos is a different matter altogether. The cycle of reaction to it has yinged and yanged over the years. Some commentators take it very seriously and see the elite meeting as a threat to national identity or democratic politics. At the same time, it's been pretty hard to take the event seriously as of late. When the Arab Spring erupted while Davos was taking place in 2011, it signaled that perhaps the center of gravity in world politics wasn't necessarily on the Swiss ski slopes. Individual commentators also go through their own cycles, starting with fascination and then -- after repeatedly not getting invited -- turning to mockery of the confab of world leaders, multinational CEOs, and Bono.

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Bob Gates Doesn't Know Much About History

The former secretary of defense thinks this is the first time politics played a role in foreign policy? Please.

Readers of Foreign Policy might be dimly aware that former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates published a memoir this week. Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War offers lots of grimy details about Gates's time serving both George W. Bush's and Barack Obama's administrations (there's also some good stuff in there about a few foreign leaders). In both the excerpts and Gates's publicity interviews this past week, he has expressed his central thesis loud and clear: The crafting of American foreign policy has changed, and not for the better. When Gates first came to Washington, politics was kept segmented from policy. During his term as secretary of defense, however, Gates found himself increasingly disgusted with Joe Biden the ways that partisan politics and blinkered strategic thinking affected policymaking.

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