Here are a couple of things that annoy me. I think he’s misleading about a lot of aspects of his methods, yet I don’t doubt his his claims about his record, though I think we’re missing a lot of context to assess it.
The India example in the NYT implies that he’s using the computer to solve the NP problem of finding good coalitions. But once he has the coalition in hand, he should be able to take it to other people—that’s the point of NP—and convince them that it’s better than the one they suggested, yet this is exactly what he doesn’t do in the India example. In fact, he claims not to understand the output himself! This claim about his methods also doesn’t seem to match the dynamic point of view, as in his predictions about the path that Iranian politicians will travel before they reach equilibrium. (Part of that is that some of the goals are spread over time, like a certain amount of international attention. But he also implies at other times that he’s predicting not just the best coalition, but how people will go about finding it. This is absurd.)
I liked this podcast about the work that Stephen Walt praises in NYT. I particularly liked the examples of Leopold II of Belgium and Chiang Kai-Shek as examples of people who ruled two countries each, with different results; and in Leopold’s case, he ruled the two simultaneously. Sometimes BdM implies that this work is related to his predictions, but it doesn’t seem so to me from other things he says. In particular, in his academic work, he seems to discount diversity of goals, while when he talks about Iran, he seems to claim that he’s taking into account diversity of how much the actors care about the national glory of having a bomb, etc., rather than just caring about its reflection on themselves.