Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Dark Side Nostalgia

Wired went from a fun post about the Battle of Hoth to a great conversation among people I follow on twitter.  Behold, the power of a fully armed and operational community of IR scholar-geeks.  My own attempt at this stuff earlier this week pales in comparison to the sharpness of these posts.

In grad school, we often joked that principal-agency theory was the real dark side.  My friends who specialized in American politics (or even took American as their second subfield) found themselves inevitably drawn into the dark side, using, deploying, applying P-A theory.  By focusing on IR and Comparative, I avoided the dark side during my time there.

But alas, my fall was inevitable.  As soon as I began to co-author with one of the disciples (David Auerswald), I was tainted.  As a result, the new book on NATO and Afghanistan, with the final draft to be sent to Princeton University Press tomorrow for processing, contains delegation, discretion, oversight.  These are of the dark side.  I have become so infected that I pondered at length the P-A dynamics of the Avengers.  As a result of the betrayal of my former self, I cannot help but think of P-A relations when it comes to Darth Vader, the Emperor, Luke and all the rest.  The series of pieces in the uber-geek symposium reek of the dark side.  They ponder who was monitoring whom, they implicitly indicate that there was agency slack, hidden information and hidden action aplenty.

It is true as say, that once you step into the dark, forever it will dominate your destiny.  If only I could figure out that force lightning....

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