Foreign Policy Musical Chairs
Published on: June 6, 2013
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  • WigWag

    And speaking of Anne-Marie Slaughter (we were speaking about Anne-Marie, weren’t we, Adam?), she writes an interesting column for the Atlantic Online. Anyone who reads her column knows that she is highly motivated to wax eloquent about the important and distinct role that women can play in formulating foreign policy.

    Slaughter has made it plain that she thinks that gender diversity is important not only because it allows men and women to compete on an equal playing field but because the female perspective brings something to the foreign policy table that the male perspective does not. I have no evidence for this, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Samantha Power and perhaps Susan Rice would agree.

    Slaughter’s comment to Judy Woodruff that Adam quotes is particularly interesting in light of Slaughter’s most recent offering at the Atlantic dated May 28, 2013. Parrying Haass in a particularly obnoxious manner, Slaughter says,

    “Only a man can say this is the narrowing of the team. This is adding two important women to key positions in the White House in a way that I actually think is very important. These are more diverse voices right there.”

    The “diversity” that Slaughter is referring to is not just the addition of the voice of liberal hawks to a team that includes realists, it must refer to the addition of women to a team of men.

    Slaughter’s Atlantic article,

    http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/05/the-real-problem-with-the-babies-are-a-focus-killer-theory-bad-for-business/276282/

    focused on a comment that the famous hedge fund manager, Paul Tudor Jones, recently made about the ability of women to succeed in the testosterone ladden world of securities trading. For those who don’t know him, Tudor-Jones is one of the most famous investors in America; his net worth is denominated in the billions and many of the wealthiest Americans invest in his funds.

    Tudor-Jones is also an extraordinarily generous philanthropist; far more generous in fact than the self-promoting George Soros. Tudor-Jones is the founder of the Robin Hood Foundation, a not-for-profit organization funded primarily by the hedge fund community that donates billions (not millions but billions) to a variety of causes related to hunger and poverty. For years, Tudor-Jones paid 100 percent of the operating expenses of this philanthropic organization. Tudor-Jones is no reactionary. In 2008 he was a bundler for Obama but like many of his hedge fund colleagues he eventually became disenchanted with Obama and supported Romney in 2012.

    In her article that I mentioned above, Slaughter excoriates Tudor-Jones for a comment that he made at a recent commencement exercise at his alma mater, the University of Virginia. Tudor-Jones made the mistake of treading outside of the zone of the politically correct when he said,

    “…women will never rival men as traders because babies are a focus killer.” Tudor-Jones went on to say, “As soon as that baby’s lips touched the bosom, forget it.”

    Tudor-Jones’ remark inspired Slaughter to throw a hissy fit. Apparently Slaughter thinks that it is perfectly appropriate for her to suggest that women have a unique perspective to offer in the field of international relations merely on the basis of their gender but if Tudor-Jones suggests that gender differences might be relevant in the world of finance he has committed an unspeakable act.

    The real irony in all of this is that just about a year ago (July, 2012) Slaughter published a cover story for the Atlantic entitled, “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All.” Slaughter mentions that she left the Obama Administration and returned to academia when she found it too difficult to juggle her DC job with her responsibilities toward her two sons.

    When Tudor-Jones suggested that caring for children might distract women from focusing on their jobs as Wall Street traders Slaughter accused him making an outrageous statement. Yet when she admits that she left government because her position was too demanding to allow her to spend time with her sons, she thinks that’s perfectly fine.

    Some time ago, Adam Garfinkle pointed out in one of his posts that sometimes hypocrisy is a virtue in the field of international relations. Anne-Marie Slaughter is the poster child for that point of view.

    • John Burke

      Gender differences are only allowed if they point to some female superiority.

  • K2K

    Salty words for an imaginary Kerry scenario.

    The NSA was intended to be a referee+ to coordinate at the Deputy level, so no one should be surprised about Susan Rice. I guess NSA looked easier than spending more time with teenage children.

    It is poetic if Samantha Power gets the chance to prove or not how to achieve R2P in real world/real time.

    Personally, I think a mapmaker should be the USA’s UN Ambassador.
    I imagine a world where men find it more fun to re-draw their maps in a setting like Potsdam, where negotiations took place in a building separate from each nation/tribe/sect residential housing, separate from each other,

    versus shooting their way to their imagined borders.

    I am re-reading Bullough’s “Let Our Fame be Great”, always for the Circassians, but then Chechnya hits harder.

  • John Burke

    Hmmm. You did call it harmless fun, but it’s worth noting that stories abounded months ago that Donilon might be leaving as of the second term, and of course, that has been accompanied by speculation that Rice would succeed him since she got knocked out of SecState by the Benghazi flap.

    Be that as it may, I, too, find most punditry about personnel appointments to be simplistic. It’s just as likely that Obama likes Rice and Power, feels he owes them, and generally trusts their judgment. I also think that political commentary usually tries to attribute an action or event — especially decisions by officials– to a single cause or motive (it’s easier to talk or write about), often related to the commenter’s pet issue. But few such actions have a single cause and political leaders almost always have multiple motives (eg, “I like Susan. I owe her. I want to put a Black woman in a top post before I’m through. She’s tough enough to keep prima donnas like Kerry and Hagel in line. It’ll show my base that I’m not the least intimidated by months of Republicans bashing me on Libya. The timing is good because Susan’s interventionist rep might keep people guessing about Syria. I could give the job to Dennis but I need him as COS so who else would I put at NSC?)

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