Last-minute holiday gifts

Like some of you, I ran out of time to shop for a few people this year. But I wanted them to know what I would have gotten them if I had more time. Here are a few holiday presents that I offer in spirit (or if you prefer, in theory). 1. For Rebecca Frankel, ...

Walt-Steve-foreign-policy-columnist20
Walt-Steve-foreign-policy-columnist20
Stephen M. Walt
By , a columnist at Foreign Policy and the Robert and Renée Belfer professor of international relations at Harvard University.
DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP/Getty Images
DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP/Getty Images
DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP/Getty Images

Like some of you, I ran out of time to shop for a few people this year. But I wanted them to know what I would have gotten them if I had more time. Here are a few holiday presents that I offer in spirit (or if you prefer, in theory).

1. For Rebecca Frankel, my ace editor at FP, a new edition of Photoshop. She picks all the great pictures that accompany my posts: just imagine what she could do if she could take a stock image and alter it. How about Obama's head on Angela Merkel's body or a photo-shopped picture of Dick Cheney, Hugo Chavez, and Ayatollah Khameini swapping stories about civil liberties? Becky's done a terrific job of making this blog visually striking, and I appreciate her efforts greatly.

2. For Barack Obama, a signed copy of Taming American Power, with a bookmark at chapter 5: ("Foreign Policy in the National Interest"). Given the pounding the president took this past year from Benjamin Netanyahu and his American friends, there's nothing I could teach him about the Israel lobby, so no need to send him that one. Plus he has probably read it anyway, but just can't admit it.

Like some of you, I ran out of time to shop for a few people this year. But I wanted them to know what I would have gotten them if I had more time. Here are a few holiday presents that I offer in spirit (or if you prefer, in theory).

1. For Rebecca Frankel, my ace editor at FP, a new edition of Photoshop. She picks all the great pictures that accompany my posts: just imagine what she could do if she could take a stock image and alter it. How about Obama’s head on Angela Merkel’s body or a photo-shopped picture of Dick Cheney, Hugo Chavez, and Ayatollah Khameini swapping stories about civil liberties? Becky’s done a terrific job of making this blog visually striking, and I appreciate her efforts greatly.

2. For Barack Obama, a signed copy of Taming American Power, with a bookmark at chapter 5: ("Foreign Policy in the National Interest"). Given the pounding the president took this past year from Benjamin Netanyahu and his American friends, there’s nothing I could teach him about the Israel lobby, so no need to send him that one. Plus he has probably read it anyway, but just can’t admit it.

3. For David Rothkopf, a DVD of Yoav Shamir’s terrific documentary on anti-Semitism — Defamation — which he should find educational. I probably ought to include a valium with the card.

4. For my students, a promise to grade your exams in a benevolent frame of mind. That means that I promise not to start grading until at least one hour after reading the morning papers.  And if I happen to read the op-ed page of either the Washington Post or Wall Street Journal, I’ll wait a good two hours.

5. For my readers: a pledge to keep trying to enlighten, amuse, and confound you in 2010. I’ve learned a lot from writing this blog, and I hope many of you have too. I wish you all a warm and joyous holiday, and may 2010 be more benign than a realist would expect.

Stephen M. Walt is a columnist at Foreign Policy and the Robert and Renée Belfer professor of international relations at Harvard University. Twitter: @stephenwalt

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.
An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.

Is Cold War Inevitable?

A new biography of George Kennan, the father of containment, raises questions about whether the old Cold War—and the emerging one with China—could have been avoided.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.

So You Want to Buy an Ambassadorship

The United States is the only Western government that routinely rewards mega-donors with top diplomatic posts.

Chinese President Xi jinping  toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.
Chinese President Xi jinping toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.

Can China Pull Off Its Charm Offensive?

Why Beijing’s foreign-policy reset will—or won’t—work out.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.

Turkey’s Problem Isn’t Sweden. It’s the United States.

Erdogan has focused on Stockholm’s stance toward Kurdish exile groups, but Ankara’s real demand is the end of U.S. support for Kurds in Syria.