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Theory for Fathers Day

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Stephen Walt explains how international relations theory helps to explain the complexities of parenthood. It’s all good, but this seemed especially relevant to my present condition:

But if you have a second child the dynamics shift. If one parent is alone at home and both kids are awake, the balance of power isn’t in the parent’s favor anymore. Instead of double-teaming them, they get to double-team you. And once the kids are mobile, you learn about another key IR concept: the window of opportunity. You’re feeding or changing Kid #1, and Kid #2 makes a bolt out the front door, just like North Korea tested a nuclear weapon while we were busy with Iraq. Or you’re in the middle of a crowded department store and they each decide to head down different aisles. The potential complications of a multipolar order were never clearer the first time this happened to me.

I’ve been surprised by the variety of state-level functions — intelligence-gathering (e.g., reading, research, blogging), public health maintenance (e.g., bathing, epidemic prevention), infrastructural improvement (e.g., exercising, fixing shit around the house), wildlife management (e.g., feeding the dogs, cleaning up cat urine, saving the fish from suffocating in their own filth) — that have been severely compromised since the birth of Heir #2, who is currently gobbling my left hand as I type this post with my right. History is replete with superpowers who have gracelessly presided their own decline, and while I doubt my own fate will be as swift as, say, the Incan conquest, I’m thinking the Ottoman Empire provides the best possible analogy.

Pictured below: France and Great Britain, drawing up the Sykes-Picot Agreement.

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