Foreign V. Domestic

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OPEN UNIVERSITY SEPTEMBER 3, 2006

Foreign V. Domestic

by Alan WolfeI've recently returned from the American Political Science Association meeting. While there I attended two plenary sessions. One, on the future of American democracy, featured Bob Kuttner, Walter Membane, Paul Pierson, and Jacob Hacker. The other, on the clash of civilizations, presented Frank Fukuyama, Steve Walt, Ben Barber, and James Kurth. (An announced Sam Huntington was, alas, unable to attend.) So which topic and cast of characters drew the larger crowd? It was not even close. Domestic politics attracted little more than a handful of people who were urged to move to the center and front of the large hall. International politics crowded them in to the same size space in close to standing-room status. Should we be pleased that political scientists are so cosmopolitan that the state of the world fascinates them? Or should we be distressed that so important a topic as threats to American democracy do not?

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