I'll start with a really obvious one (ironic, I know): the civil war in Yemen. Every time anyone mentions it in IR circles, it seems like the collective response is, "Ohhhhh--I forgot that was happening. It's still happening, right?" It's not enough to say that there is "too much news" (the most hand-wavy answer of all time). After all, in absolute terms, I think the world is probably safer than it's been in a long time, even if there's a lot of hand-wringing about the long-term consequences of the crumbling liberal international order.

And while Yemen will probably not be the crucial issue of the decade, I'm beginning to understand how/why every generation has FP blind spots ("the enormous condescension of posterity"). People say "Well, you know, we can't discuss everything all the time," and then go back to scrutinizing Brett Kavanaugh's fondness for expensive baseball tickets.

But the real question is this--how did we arrive at a place where theoretical discussions about the rest of the twenty-first century take precedence over the real humanitarian crises of today?

I welcome your "forgotten topics" below!

Comments

simon
simon
2 years ago

Josiah remains the holiest -

I also feel like, considering how much attention we are paying to Russia, the fact that the civil war/war in donbas is still going strong.

harry
harry
2 years ago

The question can also be tuned to ask - what foreign policy issue has everyone ignored?

I think strong arguments can be made for a few developments in Africa, such as Cameroon's ongoing conflict between its Anglophone and Francophone regions, as well as the recent rapprochement between long-standing enemies Ethiopia and Eritrea.

There are also instances where case studies in more thematic trends are being swept under the rug in favor of traditional scholarship. There are thought pieces on rising authoritarianism (or the famous 'illiberal democracy' moniker) in the states of Central Europe and the Middle East, but less about the endurance of similar states in Southeast Asia (Cambodia comes to mind).

Zimbabwe's transition from its first leader also springs to mind.

rachel
rachel
2 years ago

Also, what is going on in the South China Sea?

josiah
josiah
2 years ago

Obviously, they don't have to be as long (or as holier-than-thou) as mine... :)