Monday, March 31, 2008

Specialization is for Insects: Why Don't I Follow International Law Anymore?

I just saw the new Prime Minister of Australia speak at the Brookings Institution today. It was a really interesting talk, mostly about economic and strategic cooperation between Australia and America, and the pressing need for Western countries to really "understand" and engage directly with rising economic/political/global powers of China, South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Asian region more broadly.

I used to be very interested in international relations and law, and have even TA'd U.S. foreign policy and global security classes. But since college, I've let this interest completely drop. I didn't take any comparative law courses in law school, don't read international law blogs (other than Opinio Juris), and have reverted back to just being an educated lay reader. My best friend works in international policy, and so I could/should know more, because I'd have someone to talk to about it. Also, as a responsible "citizen of the world," I feel like I should pay more attention.

But I don't. I have limited time, resources, and mental space, and so I just do my work, read the national (and not even local) news, and the errant novel here and there.

I feel like a bad 21st century person. But I have to ask you, overeducated readers: how interested are you in international affairs, and how closely do you follow them? Do you read "The World" section of the newspaper religiously? Do you keep up with international elections, economic developments, and culture?

The last thing I want to be is one of those ignorant, insular, jingoistic Americans. Not only because it's bad, but also because I can't stand it when foreigners make fun of me.