WRM in Ha’aretz
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  • Michael Foley

    It’s nice to read political opinion that is informative, intelligent and non- self- serving…..

  • Anthony

    “U.S. President Barack Obama is capable of ordering a military attack on Iran, but the U.S. would probably prefer to yield to Israel if it was convinced that it (Israel) could get the job done” (Ha’aretz – Chemi Shalev).

    WRM, your quote is lead paragraph in Chemi’s article and thus sets tone for implicit point of view. Nevertheless, realism posits that it makes good sense for States to selfishly pursue their own interest (power) vis-a-vis other States. Now given West of Eden’s interpretation, it remains to be seen if realpolitik follows national security interests…

  • “I also think that America’s interests are better served when Israel shows more flexibility at the bargaining table”

    Just what kind of flexibility would you like to see? In terms of a final offer that goes beyond Oslo?

    Or are you thinking more in terms of the way Israel administers the West Bank, treats its Arab citizens, fails to reign in outrageous behavior on the part of ultra-orthodox settlers in the West Bank, and other “interim” issues?

  • Ph D student

    With all due respect professor, your knowledge of Israel and the conflict seems too minimal. Last years we were assigned the following piece. As long as it is, I would suggest to read both of its parts as well as the appendixes:


    • Walter Russell Mead

      @PhD student: One characteristic of grad students is to suppose that those who disagree with them are ignorant, and that ignorance can be cured by reading some particularly significant long article “as well as the appendixes.” It’s almost always a mistake to think that way, and graduate students in particular should beware of assuming that those with different points of view know less than they do. Perhaps your remark that I am ignorant was intended charitably — you think I am pigheaded and were being polite by referring to a lack of information rather than a character flaw. If so, I thank you for the gesture. Enjoy your studies.

  • Mark Berlind

    I’ve become an avid reader/follower of Prof Mead’s work over the past year, and this is my first post.

    Something really struck me about the Ha’aretz piece: Going back to yesterday’s typically cogent analysis of the fall of Detroit, WRM says with pointed clarity that “When American cities embraced the high cost, high regulation statist model two generations or so ago, they were often the richest and most dynamic places in the country. Increasingly “progressive” policies, with higher wages for unionized teachers, bigger bureaucracies enforcing tighter regulations, more “planning” by qualified technocrats and more government services and benefits to improve the quality of residents’ lives were supposed to take the American city into a new golden age. It’s hard to think of many social experiments that have more disastrously failed.”

    Today, in contrast and somewhat to my surprise in light of your consistently deft skewering of the Blue Model, we learn that you’re a registered Democrat (albeit “not a particularly partisan one”).

    Which raises the question of why?? I know painfully well what Bozos the Republicans are all too often (I personally register with neither side), but I’m genuinely curious to know what remains of the policies pursued by Democrats that would cause WRM to retain even residual loyalty to them; from everything I can see, except at the margins on a few social issues, those policies are pushing the country every-more relentlessly into decline, and WRM’s well-founded optimism regarding America’s ability to overcome those policies will only be rewarded if our politics trend in a more conservative, flexible, smaller-government direction.

    Respectfully submitted idea for a future WRM post: reasons to remain even nominally Democrat-leaning in the context of the unraveling of the Blue Model.

  • Kris

    Tsk, one can tell you are more of an academic than a journalist; I have rarely seen such an egregious case of burying the lede. The big headline should have been: “WRM gets Haaretz to print pro-Netanyahu material!” This is a miracle of quasi-Biblical proportions. Your interviewer’s undoubted fate will strike terror even in the hearts of your cowering interns.

    ut I am disappointed at the absence of “red-headed stepchild.”

    “the Israeli goal isn’t and shouldn’t be to manipulate US political rivalries to bring ‘pro-Israel’ Republicans to power”

    Besides IR 101, there is also the fact that US Jews are (still) very much Democrat.

    Regarding Iran, Israel could be tempted to make a quasi-desultory attack on Iran (or more likely, be less worried about the odds of success of an attack), with the specific intention of getting Iran to retaliate against American targets and thus draw the US in. Now this could get me resentful as an American, but then, if Iran is so foolhardy and unable to constrain itself, that just strengthens the arguments of the Bomb Iran crowd.

  • Kris

    Alternate headline: “Walter ‘Balaam’ Mead”

  • Netanyahu on Charlie Rose once told a story about getting the size of the public and private sectors right as the key to economic success. It involved a race between a small man trying to carry a large man on his back as a metaphor for what happens when the public sector gets too large. It seems to me that the way the US has handled the financial crisis is basically working – and as many of my leftist friends have said the response of the Bush administration and the Obama administration was very consistent. I think both administrations worked hard to save the banking system and it has worked pretty well in that it has kept the economy going. Europe has not fixed its banking and indeed may pull the US down in the long term. I think the stimulus has been more dubious, but as much as I agree with the Tea party that the size of the public sector has to shrink it seems obvious to me you just can’t restructure the economy overnight without massive disruption. An odd example. I noticed last year on I95 in South Florida that there were 5 kinds of police cars on the road in a 15 mile stretch. I’m sure they were all doing something, but I am not sure we can afford it. It will take time to unwind that sort of thing that has built up during more prosperous times in a way that doesn’t cause chaos. But it can be done. I had a friend who served in the Royal Navy in WW2 and they discovered that they were launching only one plane in the time the US Navy could launch four. Once the American trainers got going he quickly noticed that most of his previous training had been in how to tie critical knots upon which the victory at Trafalger had depended.

  • Mr. Neal

    I wish all commentatores were as serious and cautious as Prof. Mead….

  • Jim.

    @Lorenz Gude:

    “as much as I agree with the Tea party that the size of the public sector has to shrink it seems obvious to me you just can’t restructure the economy overnight without massive disruption.”

    Good point. On the other hand, by now there has been some time for people to prepare for the inevitable cuts.

    Those cuts need to start becoming reality, before the debts become any more overwhelming.

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