Daniel W. Drezner

The international relations of the Dark Knight

Like the rest of America, I saw The Dark Knight over the weekend.  Everyone else will talk about Heath Ledger’s performance and the overarching themes of how good, evil, order, chaos, etc.  Those are pretty powerful themes, and it’s interesting to ponder them.  My big problem is that the movie has enough plot holes to ...

Like the rest of America, I saw The Dark Knight over the weekend.  Everyone else will talk about Heath Ledger’s performance and the overarching themes of how good, evil, order, chaos, etc.  Those are pretty powerful themes, and it’s interesting to ponder them.  My big problem is that the movie has enough plot holes to drive the Batmobile, the Batpod, and the Batcycle through, with room to spare.  Without giving anything away, the movie basically presumes that the Joker can anticipate every move the police and Batman will make well in advance.  OK, except that this is, according to the character’s Big Speech, someone who disdains planning and planners.  Despite this appetite for chaos, the Joker spends the entire friggin’ movie devising and executing ingenious plans – both tactical and strategic — to get the chaos he so desires.  My little problem — MILD SPOILER ALERT — is that the Batman makes a cameo appearance in Hong Kong to kidnap a Chinese CEO with underworld connections and bring him back to Gotham City so he can be arrested.  Mission accomplished in the movie.  In real life, I kept wondering how the diplomatic ramifications would play out in the press: 

BEIJING DECLARES LAO “KIDNAPPED” BY BATMAN; DEMANDS IMMEDIATE RETURN OF CHINESE NATIONAL U.S. PRESIDENT EXPLAINS LAO ISSUE “OUT OF HIS HANDS” — DECLARES FEDERAL GOVERNMENT POWERLESS TO INTERFERE IN CRIMINAL JURISDICTION WIDESPREAD PROTESTS IN CHINA AGAINST LAO ABDUCTION; WAYNE ENTERPRISE PRODUCTS BEAR BRUNT OF “GOTHAM BOYCOTT” DID BATMAN VIOLATE THE GENEVA CONVENTIONS? ICC ISSUES INDICTMENT AGAINST THE BATMAN

Submit your own headline possiblities in the comments.    UPDATE:  Steven Bainbridge has further thoughts about Batman externalities. 

 Twitter: @dandrezner

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