Voice

Three apologies to my readers

Following last night's presidential debate on foreign policy, I'd like to offer three quick apologies: 

1)  To those readers playing my debate drinking game -- sorry, you got pretty hammered, didn't you?  Sorry about that -- I forgot that the one thing conservatives love about the United Nations is the 2002 Arab Human Development Report.  When Romney name-checked that, a lot of bottles had to be downed.

2)  To those readers who read my quick take in the New York Times on Mitt Romney's pivot to moderation during last night's debate -- there's one crucial word missing.  When I said, "Romney’s sotto voce message was that he would be a hot-headed, trigger-happy cowboy – like the Last Republican President Who Shall Not Be Named."  I meant to say "Romney’s sotto voce message was that he would not be a hot-headed, trigger-happy cowboy – like the Last Republican President Who Shall Not Be Named."

3)  Finally, to those readers who watched the whole debate -- I'm sorry, there wasn't much of a foreign policy debate, was there?  Both candidates pivoted towards the economy frequently.  When they stayed on foreign policy, Mitt Romney kept agreeing with Barack Obama.  I nearly spit out my drink when Romney said the Afghanistan surge had "worked."  Methinks he must have read this post from last month

So -- to repeat -- I'm sorry. 

Here endeth my apology tour. 

Daniel W. Drezner

For tonight's foreign policy debate, please drink responsibly

Your humble blogg -- [Wait, screw that, you should be feeling pretty proud today!! -- ed.] 

Your proud blogger will be watching tonight's foreign policy debate despite his near-certainty that it's not going to be all that illuminating or informative. He has no choice, as he has a prior commitment to watch the damn thing. 

Now, in preparation for the debate, I could encourage you to read some excellent preparatory posts by Walter Russell Mead or Spencer Ackerman, or this essay on American incolvency in grand strategy by Michael Mazarr -- but that's no fun. 

I could suggest following one of the foreign policy debate drinking games out there -- see the National Journal or Duck of Minerva, for example -- but these drinking games look exceptionally dangerous. Drink when Obama mentions bin Laden? Really? Or when Romney says "resolve"? No one would be upright after the first twenty minutes. 

No, I think the only responsible thing to do is to suggest my own debate drinking game. The idea here is to sort the possible answer such that a true "black swan" event would have to occur for the participant to risk alcohol poisoning. 

So, in that spirit: 

THE OFFICIAL 2012 FOREIGN POLICY DEBATE DRINKING GAME

Take a sip of your drink if....

1. Either candidate makes a geographical mistake (like insisting that the West Bank borders Syria or something like that). 

2. Obama says "I'm the commander in chief." 

3. Romney says that the U.S. Navy is the smallest it's been since 1916 (a dubious claim).

4. Romney accuses Obama of turning the United States into Greece.

5. Anyone on the stage (including Bob Schieffer) mentions Australia, New Zealand or Canada.

Finish your drink if....

1. Either candidate mentions the benefits of trade with China.

2. Either candidate says that Latin America is a crucial strategic region for the United States.

3. Obama says that there's some wiggle room in the 2014 withdrawal date for U.S. combat forces for Afghanistan.

4. Romney says that that there's no wiggle room in the 2014 withdrawal date for U.S. combat forces for Afghanistan.

5. Anyone onstage acknowledges that China has pretty much stopped intervening to keep its currency undervalued. 

Finish your bottle if....

1. Romney says anything positive about the United Nations.

2. Either candidate says that the United States needs to push hard for democratization in Saudi Arabia. 

3. Either "Africa" or "Doha round" are mentioned.

4. Either candidate blasts Israel for keeping its currency severely undervalued

5. Obama accuses Romney of a "speak loudly and carry a magic wand" doctrine. 

DRINK YOURSELF TO OBLIVION IF AND ONLY IF....

1. Bob Schieffer asks the candidates what they would do in case of zombies

Now I'm pretty sure that if you follow these rules, you'll enjoy tonight's debate without regretting that enjoyment tomorrow.