mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
Flying To Russia

I’m blogging this morning from the Skyteam lounge in Terminal 4 of Heathrow Airport on my way to the Global Policy Forum in Yaroslavl, Russia where I’ll be speaking on the problems of democracy in advanced countries today.  My students at Bard will be watching a debate between Max Boot and Charles Kupchan on American decline; we will have some make up classes when I return.

I stopped for a couple of days in the UK for meetings in London and the wedding of a former Team Mead associate in Oxford.  The ceremony was held in the Oratory where John Henry Newman used to preach; there were many old friends there and by the time the wedding celebration ended with an English breakfast in Hogwarts Hall (aka the Christchurch College dining room), I felt that one of the most talented and loving young couples in the world was fairly launched on an arc that will, I think, touch many lives for the better.

Now I am off to Russia, a country I’ve been visiting on and off for about 25 years — back when it was still part of the Soviet Union.  Over the next few days, time and internet connections permitting,  I’ll be sharing my impressions with Via Meadia readers before returning to Jackson Heights for the weekend, and Dutchess County for the teaching week.

Features Icon
show comments
  • Kenny

    If you’re flying a Russian made jet, watch out Mr. Mead.

    They have a proclivity to crash & burn. It must be that good, old commie workmanship left over from the USSR days.

    Happy landings.

  • Mick The Reactionary


    “Global Policy Forum in Yaroslavl, Russia where I’ll be speaking on the problems of democracy in advanced countries today”

    Global Policy, Yaroslavl and democracy in advanced countries DO NOT, CAN NOT belong in the same sentence.

    Next thing you know some idiot billionaire or a cretin in US Gov pays for Advanced Cancer Drugs Technology workshop in Helmand province in Afghanistan.

    “debate between Max Boot and Charles Kupchan on American decline”

    Don’t know who Kupchan is, but a debate with “Invade the World, Invite the World” uber-neocon Boot?

  • WigWag

    “My students at Bard will be watching a debate between Max Boot and Charles Kupchan on American decline; we will have some make up classes when I return” (Walter Russell Mead)

    Note to Professor Mead’s students at Bard; as you watch the debate, keep in mind that Charles Kupchan represents everything wrong with our class of contemporary foreign policy Mandarins. It’s hard to find a so called “expert” as consistently wrong as Kupchan.

    In 2002, Kupchan wrote a book entitled “The End of the American Era: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Geopolitics of the Twenty-first Century.” A sample can be found here,

    Kupchan’s thesis was that the end of the Cold War represented the beginning of the decline of the American era. Unbelievably, Kupchan argued that America’s major challenge in the 21st century would not come from radical Islam or the rise of China and the rest of the Asian tigers but instead from an ascendant Europe demanding influence commensurate with its economic status. Kupchan actually suggested that Europe was poised to take on a position of world leadership that would challenge that of the United States.

    How did that work out?

    Kupchan also wrote two articles for “Foreign Affairs” about the crisis in Kosovo. The first article, entitled “Independence for Kosovo,” was written in 2005; the second, entitled “Serbia’s Final Frontier” was written in 2008.

    The articles can be found here,

    Basically the essays represent little more than Kupchan waxing eloquent about the virtues of an independent Kosovo.

    How did that work out? Is Kosovo thriving? Has the American and European policy in the Balkans made the region safer or more secure?

    Just recently, Kupchan authored a new book, “How Enemies Become Friends: The Sources of Stable Peace” You can find a sample here,

    This book may be the dumbest book written about diplomacy in the past hundred years; besides being vacuous, Kupchan actually makes the argument that appeasement is the key to peace. He asserts that reaching out to your adversary in a craven and feckless manner is the surest strategy for assuring harmony.

    In a 2010 “Foreign Affairs” article, “Enemies into Friends: How the United States can Court its Adversaries,” Kupchan congratulates the Obama Administration for adopting his strategy of appeasement. Here’s the summary of the article published by “Foreign Affairs,”

    “During his first year in office, U.S. President Barack Obama made engagement with U.S. adversaries one of his administration’s priorities. The historical record makes clear that Obama is on the right track: reaching out to adversaries is an essential start to rapprochement.”

    For more, see

    So how exactly has the Obama Administration’s policy of genuflecting to foreign leaders worked out? Are relations with the Iranians any better than they were? What about relations with the Arab world? What about relations with Russia or Turkey? To make matters worse, Obama seems to have discovered a corollary to the Kupchan theory; not only is Obama taking Kupchan’s advice to genuflect to America’s enemies; he’s also decided that it’s wise to treat America’s friends like dirt. Just ask the Israelis, the Poles or the Czechs.

    In the past few months we have more than ample evidence of how wrong Kupchan’s thesis about how to turn enemies into friends really is.

    My question is how someone so consistently wrong can be taken so seriously.

    A few months back, Professor Mead wrote a brilliant article for “Foreign Affairs” entitled “The Tea Party and American Foreign Policy: What Populism Means for Globalism.” I hope all of Mead’s students read it.

    The article describes why American populists are disinterested in the ambitions of people like Kupchan to build a liberal world order. Mead explains how American populists refuse to bow to the Mandarins on issues pertaining to the Middle East, the United Nations or anything else.

    The real irony is that elites like to dismiss Tea Party populists as dumb. But based on his record, is anyone dumber than Charles Kupchan?

  • Kenny

    Russia loses hokey team to plane crash.,0,3213564.story

    See what I mean, Mr. Mead.

    Travel safe.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service