Pre-debate potpourri

Tonight is the first presidential debate in the United States, which means I could blog about how I killed a man once just to steal his Klout score and no one would care.  The fact that debates don’t seem to matter all that much in the grand scheme of things makes this fact pretty odd, ...

By , a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Tonight is the first presidential debate in the United States, which means I could blog about how I killed a man once just to steal his Klout score and no one would care.  The fact that debates don't seem to matter all that much in the grand scheme of things makes this fact pretty odd, but there it is. 

So, while America's foreign policy community operates in a state of suspended animation for the next twelve hours, here are some stories that might help you while away the time:

1)  Hey, it turns out that the sanctions against Iran really are crippling -- so much so that even Mahmoud Admadinejad is admitting it and Benjamin Netanyahu now has sanctions fever.  Based on my own sanctions model, I'd predict that the sanctions are now becoming so costly that Iran will in fact be willing to compromise on its nuclear program -- but any concessions will seem tiny compared to how devastating the sanctions have been. 

Tonight is the first presidential debate in the United States, which means I could blog about how I killed a man once just to steal his Klout score and no one would care.  The fact that debates don’t seem to matter all that much in the grand scheme of things makes this fact pretty odd, but there it is. 

So, while America’s foreign policy community operates in a state of suspended animation for the next twelve hours, here are some stories that might help you while away the time:

1)  Hey, it turns out that the sanctions against Iran really are crippling — so much so that even Mahmoud Admadinejad is admitting it and Benjamin Netanyahu now has sanctions fever.  Based on my own sanctions model, I’d predict that the sanctions are now becoming so costly that Iran will in fact be willing to compromise on its nuclear program — but any concessions will seem tiny compared to how devastating the sanctions have been. 

2)  It’s interesting that even IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde has felt it necessary to weigh in on the Japan-China row

3)  This story about Paul Romer’s efforts to develop his very own Millennium Village a charter city in Honduras without all the ickiness of current Honduran modes of governance is just… bizarre.   Until I read this blog post — which makes it even more bizarre. 

4)  I get to explain the "bad boyfriend" theory of foreign policy in this BBC documentary on Obama’s foreign policy record, which you should really listen to because they were smart enough to interview Jack Goldsmith, Anne-Marie Slaughter, and a bunch of other smart policymakers. 

5)  You could spend the next twelve hourse doing a lot worse things than reading Nate Silver’s The Signal and The Noise.  I’ve only started it, but my own signal for whether it’s a quality book — how many times Philip Tetlock gets mentioned in the index — suggests that this will be a very worthwhile read. 

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, where he is the co-director of the Russia and Eurasia Program. Twitter: @dandrezner

More from Foreign Policy

A closeup of Russian President Vladimir Putin
A closeup of Russian President Vladimir Putin

What Russia’s Elites Think of Putin Now

The president successfully preserved the status quo for two decades. Suddenly, he’s turned into a destroyer.

A member of the Zimbabwe Republic Police is seen in front of an electoral poster of President Emmerson Mnangagwa
A member of the Zimbabwe Republic Police is seen in front of an electoral poster of President Emmerson Mnangagwa

Cafe Meeting Turns Into Tense Car Chase for U.S. Senate Aides in Zimbabwe

Leading lawmaker calls on Biden to address Zimbabwe’s “dire” authoritarian turn after the incident.

Steam rises from cooling towers at the Niederaussem coal-fired power plant during the coronavirus pandemic near Bergheim, Germany, on Feb. 11, 2021.
Steam rises from cooling towers at the Niederaussem coal-fired power plant during the coronavirus pandemic near Bergheim, Germany, on Feb. 11, 2021.

Putin’s Energy War Is Crushing Europe

The big question is whether it ends up undermining support for Ukraine.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres attends a press conference.
U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres attends a press conference.

A Crisis of Faith Shakes the United Nations in Its Big Week

From its failure to stop Russia’s war in Ukraine to its inaction on Myanmar and climate change, the institution is under fire from all sides.