Just a quick note to say hi and that it’s great to be guest-blogging at Andrew’s place while he gets hitched, especially alongside some of my favorite bloggers like the estimable Hilzoy of ObWi and Steve of The Washington Note (not to mention Jamie, whose work I look forward to acquainting myself with better shortly).

For those of you not familiar with Belgravia Dispatch, it’s a blog I maintain, mostly to scratch a foreign policy itch. I work in the private sector, and am not a journalist, academic, foreign policy ‘practitioner’ etc., so it’s a way to wade into the foreign policy debates whenever I can find the time to do so.

By way of additional background, and in a previous life, I worked in the former Yugoslavia in the mid-90’s for the International Rescue Committee, a wonderful humanitarian organization (support them if minded to donate to a great charitable concern!).

My time in the Balkans left me quite despondent about the lack of will in the international community to lift the arms embargo imposed on Sarajevo and use NATO to strike at Bosnian Serb targets terrorizing the Bosniaks via genocidal actions. The fall of Srebrenica, in particular (a supposed U.N. “safe haven”) left me shaken with little faith in international organizations. You could say I became deeply cynical, angry even, at the West’s inability and impotence to do anything (pre-Dayton, at least) about the deliberate, mass slaughter of thousands on the cusp of the 21st Century, the largest war crime in Europe since the Holocaust.

This simply by way of brief background for those unfamiliar with my trajectory from someone who occasionally found common ground with the neo-cons (who were on the ‘right’ side of the Bosnian conflagration, arguing that Sarajevo merited having the arms embargo lifted, and that NATO strikes on Bosnian Serb gunners were urgently needed--keeping in mind, however, and with the benefit of hindsight, that none of the parties to the conflict were necessarily angels), to someone today who sees the neo-cons much more in the Chait/Sullivan vein, pretty much as increasingly thuggish radicals whose continued appetite to expand the war in Iraq to new theaters like Iran and Syria I find breathtakingly irresponsible.

So call me mostly a realist type, one mugged by the grim reality of the unfolding disaster in Iraq, albeit still with residual, hybrid liberal hawk/neo-Reaganite stripes. (An ‘ethical realist’ of the Lieven/Hussman persuasion? A Fukuyama-like ‘realistic Wilsonian’? Who knows, and such attempts at categorization, not least in their navel-gazing self-obsession, are quite tiresome, don’t you think?). Anyway, see you again shortly, when I hope to turn to more topical issues, perhaps including Obama vs. Clinton’s foreign policy, Joe Lieberman’s latest outrage, and other aspects of the passing scene…

Oh, one last thing. Andrew in his 'Off To the Chapel' post mentioned about our merry band of guest-bloggers: "(t)hey don't agree on everything, especially foreign policy". Frankly, I'm not so sure. Can't speak for Steve, Hilzoy or Jamie, but I suspect we're not too far apart. In terms of the impending election, I'd sum up my basic view this way, and I hope to detail why shortly: I wish Hagel were in the race, but given he's not, my heart is with Obama, but my head cautions not dismissing Hillary (Clinton, not Bok!). And it's critical to keep Rudy far, far away from the Oval Office, if you know what I mean...

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