Boris Smus

interaction engineering

Must Mankind Repeat History's Great Mistakes

Nice insight and guiding theme: international politics is complicated because there isn't really an organization that stands above all nations. Unlike other human endeavors, if a rogue entity misbehaves, there isn't really anyone to go to by default. Each country has its own skin to worry about, and they need to figure out the best strategy.

I liked the concept of the balance of power, presented in 3 versions by the lecturer:

  1. Simply the distribution of existing power.
  2. The state in which all parties in question have equal power
  3. A tendency for new power entering a conflict to join the weak side in order to avoid a monopoly of power.

After one or two theoretical lectures, the course ventured into territory of WW1, the interwar years, and WW2. I found this part to be somewhat less engaging since most of the historical details were review for me, and little of the theory introduced at the beginning was brought into the fold. The last lecture was more interesting, since it tried to apply the theory introduced at the beginning to predict the future. What made it even more interesting is the fact that the lecture was recorded in the early 90s.

The lecturer wasn't very engaging, and I found myself listening to a lot of the lectures without getting much out of them. Additionally, the volume was low and the recording was poor quality, which contributed to my meta objections.