Entry 65: Progress Amid Another Wild News Cycle

March 14, 2018

Editor’s Note: This is the 65th installment in Van Jackson’s daily writing journal, “Nuke Your Darlings,” which tracks his six-month battle to write a new book on North Korea. Will he meet his deadline?

Today was so hectic.  Some editorial work, a lot of admin work getting ready for lectures this week, and an interview with National Public Radio (probably won’t come out for a few days).

And yes, I spent too much time on twitter, but it was the only way to track in real-time what was happening with Trump firing Rex Tillerson and replacing him with Mike Pompeo.  In hindsight, I didn’t need to know about any of it in real-time, but I couldn’t help myself.

Everything about foreign policy has became sensationalized under Trump.  Part of the issue is that he creates a new foreign policy headline every day (and sometimes every few hours).  And part of the issue is that there are just so many policy issues that seem to be at critical junctures at the same time.  But basic facts about what’s happening on specific issues are also becoming slippery, as I wrote earlier this week.

Taken together, the news is becoming too much to handle.  I’m analytically exhausted, and since I live foreign policy, I’m kind of emotionally exhausted too.  I need more perspective.  Writing the book helps, but it’s not enough to counteract the pace and insanity of foreign policy news these days.

I wrote just under 1,000 words today, which is really good.  I spend too much time working on the book relative to other tasks, but I’m making crazy progress—nearly halfway done with the first of my chapters on the Trump era.


Van Jackson is a senior editor at War on the Rocks and an associate editor of the Texas National Security Review. He is also a Senior Lecturer in International Relations at Victoria University of Wellington, and the Defence & Strategy Fellow at the Centre for Strategic Studies.