Daniel Drezner attacks Niall Ferguson for "lazy" writing in his Newsweek column

Historians in the News

...[Niall Ferguson's] latest essay for Newsweek contains the laziest paragraph I will read today.  In this column, Ferguson strains to displace Tom Friedman as The Creator of Inane Metaphors.  He coins "IOU-solationism"  to descibe the instinct to retrench because of domestic difficulties.  There's a pedestrian description of rising sentiment for retrenchment.  Then we get to the lazy paragraph, which happens to be the only one in his column that provides a justification for why defense cuts are a bad idea: 

The United States certainly needs to get its fiscal house in order. But any serious analysis of the benefits of defense cuts needs to consider the potential costs of walking away from countries like Afghanistan and Iraq. If radical Islamism is a declining force around the world, I hadn’t noticed.

A few thoughts: 

1)  Psst... Niall.... just because you haven't noticed does not mean that radical Islamist movements haven't declined.  Last I checked, groups like Al Qaeda were waning in popularity among Muslim populations (to the point where Osama bin Laden mused about renaming Al Qaeda).  Oh, and if you failed to notice, you should know that Osama bin Laden is still dead....

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