NOBEL PRIZE – STUPIDITY — Prof Michael Brenner

Prof Michael Brenner
Professor of International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh, USA
International Advisor, Ground Report India

The genius of civilization, as one sage has told us, is to bring together a mass of flawed individuals to form an intelligent social design marked by sophisticated, self-sustaining institutions. Thereby, the practical communal intelligence far surpasses that of single persons or small groups. The learning that then takes place within those societies raises the overall mental capacity of humankind. So ineluctable does that process seem that we easily overlook, and undervalue the place of stupidity in human affairs – private and public. Stupidity, though, is making a comeback. Indeed, there are growing signs of a pandemic.

So, let’s give stupidity its due. Here are a number of singular examples of the outbreak.  They are selected from a richly abundant pool of idiocies. Listed below are ten that may be taken as a short list of dim-witted actions which qualify for the annual Nobel Prize in dumbness. 

  • Joe Biden declares that he is ready to select a Republican as his Vice-Presidential running mate. That seasoned campaign Sarah Palin is available; so, too, Mike Huckerbee and George Pataki.
  • Harvard and MIT Presidents collaborating with Jeffrey Epstein after his first conviction – and then lying about it.
  • Publication in Sunday Times Magazine of long, featured story ascribing the BOEING 737 MAX problem to pilot error
  • Washington’s assassination of Iranian Quds Commander Qassim Suleimani
  • Washington’s strategic decision to take steps likely to provoke a region-wide war with Iran
  • The United States’ large-scale attacks on bases of Iraqi’s Shi’a militias, the Hashemi, who mobilized to defend the country against the Islamic State (our own justification for being there). That triggered the fierce anti-American protests that, in turn, led to the assassination.
  • In Iraq, that sequence jeopardizes Washington’s plans to maintain long-term military facilities in both Iraq and Syria. The supposed justification is retaliation for mortar attacks a few days earlier against an American outpost. However, the facilities struck are hundreds of miles away and no evidence is presented that the Hashemi militia were responsible for the initial hostile acts. Most likely, it is ISIS remnants who are the culpable parties. Those are the same people we allowed to escape from Mosul and Raqqa in order 1)to obstruct the Syrian and Iraqi government efforts to consolidate control of their territories; 2)to provide an excuse for keeping American forces in the region; and 3)to harry the Iranian allies in the hope of provoking an incident that would justify toppling the mullah regime by force – as relentlessly advocated by the Israelis and Saudis. Odds against achieving any of those objectives have shot up as a consequence of this obtuse action. So too the prospects of the Iraqis selecting a Prime MInister less rather than more hostile to the U.S. – and the reverse re. Iran

Doing something dangerous and counter-productive simply because you have no idea of any more sensible action or because it gives you a “kick’ is the distilled essence of Stupid

  • The European allies tacit acceptance of Washington’s sanctions war on Iran by refusing to take measures that could ameliorate the deleterious economic effects of sanctions+ - despite their stated commitment to preserving the nuclear pact with Teheran.
  • Nancy Pelosi starting a feud with Alexandra Octavio-Cortes out of envy and spite despite the damage it does to Democratic Party unity and credibility. Pelosi concluded her denunciation with the immortal phrase: “And I raise more money than she does!” – and then called for a moment of prayer.
  • Jeremy Corbyn resurrecting Boris Johnson from the dead by obstinately refusing to join forces in Parliament with those other parties and renegade Tories who together could have tossed him out of office. In the process, he also balked at the idea of requiring a popular referendum on any BREXIT Treaty even though there was a Parliamentary majority in favor.
  • Awarding Noble Prizes in Literature to authors whose works you haven’t read
  • The New York Times’ celebration of Nikki Haley as the first great statesman of the 21st Century
  • Washington’s, and London’s, decision to participate in the homicidal  assault on Yemen’s Houthis to indulge Mohammed bin-Salman’s drug induced fantasies
  • Barack Obama’s proclamation that women 'indisputably' are better leaders and 'old men' need to get 'out of the way'
  • The 45% of American’s who declare Donald Trump the most respected man in public life (tie with Obama)
  • Jared Kushner
  • Davos financial powerhouses inviting self-avowed Fascist Jair BOLSONARO  to give keynote address – slated to be named Annual Franz von Papen Lecture

Special Career Achievement Award 

To Thomas FRIEDMAN of The New York Times for his long propagation of the message that Mohammed bin-Salman had arisen to bring Peace, Tolerance, and Women Drivers to his People, to the Middle East and to the world beyond

About Author

Prof Michael Brenner, PhD

is a recognized authority on risk assessment & management, American foreign policy, and geopolitics. He is a "Fellow" of the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin and a Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations SAIS-Johns Hopkins.  He also is Emeritus Professor of International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh. He was the Director of the International Relations & Global Studies Program at the University of Texas until 2012.

His record of publication on a broad span of international issues is complementary to his extensive activities in the policy realm. He has been an advisor to the United States government, a consultant to global corporations, a prominent participant in the programs of leading Washington think tanks and a prolific commentator on public affairs.  He contributes essays regularly to the Huffington Post, the National Journal, and the Pakistani Spectator and also has written for al-Arabiya. Prof Brenner’s consulting includes the United States Departments of State and Defense, the Foreign Service Institute, Westinghouse Corporation and Mellon Bank.

Professor Brenner has worked in the energy field for 30 years. He directed a project on International Energy & Natural Resource Issues sponsored by the Exxon Educational Foundation that produced a series of 20 case studies. He contributed studies of the Persian Gulf Reflagging Crisis, Oil as a Coercive Instrument in the 1970s, United States – China Bilateral Nuclear Accord, and US-France Dealings in Nuclear Energy. In addition, he organized the Pittsburgh Energy Seminar while at the Graduate School of Public & International Affairs, was Rapporteur for the Conference on Technology Transfer: Government & Industry in the Energy Sector at M.I.T. In the environmental policy field, he has conducted research on environmental management issues at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography (La Jolla), Natural Sciences Research Council (London), and the Center For International Affairs (Harvard University). He is the author of America’s Environmental Dilemma (Lexington Books) and The Scientific Advisory Function (Scripps Brenner is the author of numerous books, and over 70 articles and published papers on a wide range of topics.   His most recent works are:; Democracy Promotion and Islam; Fear and Dread In The Middle East (also translated into Arabic);; Toward A More Independent Europe  (Royal Institute of International Relations), Brussels), Narcissistic Public Personalities & Our Times..  His writings include books with Cambridge University Press (Nuclear Power and Non-Proliferation), the Center For International Affairs at Harvard University (The Politics of International Monetary Reform);  Institute of International Affairs at Cornell University (The Functionalist Theory of European Integration); the Brookings Institution (Reconcilable Differences, US-French Relations In The New Era) and publications in major journals in the United States and Europe, such as World Politics, Comparative Politics, Foreign Policy, International Studies Quarterly, International Affairs, Survival, Politique Etrangere, and Internationale Politik. Prof Brenner has directed multinational research projects with colleagues in France, England, Germany and Italy supported by grants from the Ford Foundation, NATO and the Commission of the European Union.

Brenner is an invited lecturer at major universities and institutes in the United States and abroad, including Georgetown University, UCLA, the National Defense University, the State Department, Sorbonne, Ecole des Sciences Politiques, Royal Institute of International Affairs, International Institute of Strategic Studies (London), King’s College of the University of London, German Council on Foreign Relations, Konrad Adenauer Foundation, and Universita di Firenze.

Brenner has held previous teaching and research appointments at Cornell, Stanford, Harvard, MIT, Brookings Institution, University of California – San Diego, University of California – Berkeley, and Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the National Defense University.  He also has been a Fellow of the Center on France & the United States in Paris.

His memberships include: APSA, ISA, IISS, Forum du Futur (Paris).

Prof Brenner is proficient in French and English.

  • Ph.D. Political Science, University of California, Berkeley
  • M.A. Political Science, University of California, Berkeley
  • B.A. Political Science, Summa Cum Lauda, Phi Beta Kappa , Brooklyne College – CUNY
  • Certificate, International Relations, Stockholm University, Sweden
  • About the author



    Leave a comment: