Daniel W. Drezner

Why global political economy scholars are consumed by envy

Let’s be clear at the outset of this post that its content is almost completely driven by envy. Total, abject, rage-inducing envy. Now, with that in mind, I see that KKR is creating a fancy-pants new institute. And guess who’s gonna head it? Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. today announced the appointment of retired four-star ...

Let’s be clear at the outset of this post that its content is almost completely driven by envy. Total, abject, rage-inducing envy.

Now, with that in mind, I see that KKR is creating a fancy-pants new institute. And guess who’s gonna head it?

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. today announced the appointment of retired four-star General and former Director of the CIA David Petraeus as Chairman of the newly created KKR Global Institute.

Henry Kravis, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of KKR, stated: "I have long known and respected General Petraeus and, on behalf of everyone at KKR, I welcome him to the firm. As the world changes and we expand how and where we invest, we are always looking to sharpen the ‘KKR edge.’ With the addition of General Petraeus, we are building on the work we have done to understand the investment implications of public policy, macro-economic, regulatory and technology trends globally. We are pleased to bring all of this expertise together under one umbrella, the KKR Global Institute, to deliver the best of KKR’s insights for our investors."

Over the past several years, macro-economic and geopolitical considerations, including the heightened role of central banks following the financial crisis, new regulation and major changes in public policy, have led to KKR’s increased engagement on these areas and on environmental, social and governance issues. At the same time, KKR is a global firm investing in new and emerging markets that have new risks and opportunities, The KKR Global Institute will be the nexus of KKR’s focus on the investment implications of these issues. It will also further build on the firm’s efforts to help KKR’s portfolio companies expand globally, and it will periodically serve as an outlet for publishing the firm’s thought leadership products, including views from portfolio managers and industry experts….

General Petraeus observed. "I am very pleased to join such a great team. I have watched KKR evolve as it adapted to the post-financial crisis world and became a go-to partner for companies worldwide. I look forward to supporting the investment teams in their pursuit of the best opportunities for clients and also being a part of a new initiative to provide additional insights to KKR’s clients and companies."….

General Petraeus holds a PhD in international relations from Princeton University and has taught economics and international relations at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

So this, in addition to his CUNY post, suggests that Petraeus has successfully completed his soft landing (though this and his CUNY position are gonna lead to some interesting conversations on campus). Which, in the abstract, he pretty much deserves. He served his country in a variety of not-very-easy positions for a long period of time. Sure, there’s accusations of self-puffery, but that’s par for the course in Washington. No, Petraeus totally deserves to be the head of some Bigthink Institute devoted to assessing geopolitical threats in the world and the best way to respond to them.

[Um … did you actually read the press release? –ed.] Well, not carefully, but but wait, this institute is about global political economy??!! What??!!

No, that’s OK; I’m still happy for Petraeus. Really. It doesn’t matter that I’ve devoted my entire career to studying these issues; what matters is that General Petraeus once taught economics at West Point and has a lot of leadership experience, and that translates into cognate fields like "the heightened role of central banks following the financial crisis, new regulation and major changes in public policy" and SERIOUSLY, WHO THE F**K DO I HAVE TO DRONE-STRIKE TO GET A CUSHY CORPORATE THINK-TANK POST??!!

Sorry, I just needed to vent for a second about the unidirectional nature of security folk spreading into other disciplines. But it’s not all bad. After all, I still get to rail at members of Congress in an unconstrained manner! [Just not as effectively as the military! –ed. If you excuse me, I’m going to spend the rest of the day in the fetal position.]

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