Not long ago, I watched an interesting video on the CFR YouTube channel and it was an interview with the famous Senator Barney Franks who was talking about downsizing the military. He was explaining both sides of the argument from his view – his talking points, and what he believed to be the other side to have as theirs – thus, he was stating the opposition’s case, and then defeating that argument. Never mind the fact with all the mixed metaphors and blizzard of hypocrisy they were opposition points that few in the real world would consider legitimate.
Basically, it was a debate by himself and of course he was winning. CFR (The Council on Foreign Relations) was careful to treat him with respect and let him give his talk. Still, this Don Quixote approach to foreign affairs, US military strength, and Federal Budget issues had me thinking that such a high-ranking Senator in all the right committees should have been on the top of his game if he is to serve at that level. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen this with CFR, and I suspect far from the last.
For instance, there have been interesting debates in Foreign Affairs, with the same basic motif. Still in my view, it might make sense to actually find someone who really believes in the alternate point of view and can back up facts rather debating against false-arguments. That just makes things look cheesy. The media does this far too often, why emulate what doesn’t work, it resembles more of an angry political think tank rogue blogger who couldn’t make the grade and now feels all left out so they drive chaos and controversy to no avail. CFR should take the high-road or it will have little effect except being able to claim that it has friends in high-places.
There is a difference between BS and knowing what one is doing. I really don’t see CFR as uplifting its own status by allowing the political rhetoric to stand without challenging them, anyone can make things sound good, there’s just too much talk, too many bureaucrat meetings, and far too much incompetence, yes, they are only humans, but this is the US and we are better than that.
CFR should hold everyone accountable and challenge them more, it gets somewhat pathetic to listen to everyone agree all the time, and merely re-identify all the problems that everyone already knows, and then for these folks to make excuses about why things are "Complicated" and therefore they can’t fix it – leaves viewers shaking their heads more often than not. Who knows maybe CFR just wants to uplift their credibility by getting political celebrities to talk, but too often, everyone looks stupid.
Indeed, I hope you’ve enjoyed this case study, as there may be 100s more in the future just like this one.