Dan Drezner is trolling us, and I love it.
The Geopolitics of ‘Girls’ - By Daniel W. Drezner | Foreign Policy:
This is the Golden Age for television shows that offer commentary, directly or allegorically, on world politics. Shows like AMC’s The Walking Dead and NBC’s Revolution examine how humans react to a Hobbesian system in which trust is a scarce commodity. Showtime’s Homeland and FX’s crackerjack The Americans explore the corrosive effects of espionage and counterintelligence during the War on Terror and Cold War respectively. HBO’s Game of Thrones combines a dollop of magic with the realpolitik of 17th-century Europe. I’m here to tell you: Forget all those shows. The true TV connoisseur appreciates that the most insightful television show about world politics airing right now is, obviously, Girls.
…Dunham’s Hannah Horvath, a struggling young writer who clearly represents the United States in all her fading hegemony. She borrows from others in order to afford her current lifestyle. Hannah manages to insert herself into every situation, making it all about her — a process that evokes myriad U.S. military interventions.
As for Hannah’s ostensible best friend, Allison Williams’ Marnie, she exemplifies Germany. There is much to admire in Marnie — her undeniable beauty, her self-assuredness, and her unwillingness to go into debt. Unfortunately, however, Marnie expects everyone else to behave the same way she does — and is truly flummoxed when others seem to prosper using a different recipe for success.
…If the female characters on Girls represent the West, the two most important male characters come from the BRICs. Ray is a coffee-shop manager, the oldest member of the group, and far and away the most cynical and angry character on the show. He scorns just about everything that every other character says or does, but seems unable to make much of himself. Ray is Russia personified. In contrast, Adam — Hannah’s former beau — is China. He’s a force to be reckoned with, but it’s not entirely clear whether he’s socialized into how the rest of Brooklyn society behaves. One could posit that Hannah’s relationship with Adam represents the promise and peril of the “responsible stakeholder” concept. On the one hand, Hannah seems to use her “soft power” to entice Adam into liking her a lot more than he originally thought — in other words, getting him to want what she wants. He begins to socialize with Hannah’s circle of friends. At the same time, Hannah is unsure just how much she wants to engage Adam, reflecting America’s ambivalence in its relationship with China. At the end of the first season, she is quite uneasy about moving in together. The result is an Adam that, much like China, is angry and frustrated at his treatment by others — which in turn leads to bellicose behavior, which in turn leads Hannah to call the cops and try to contain his behavior. The breakdown in the relationship between Hannah and Adam is yet another example of the security dilemma destroying lives.