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Walter Russell Mead

Walter Russell Mead

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Walter Russell Mead is James Clarke Chace Professor of Foreign Affairs and Humanities at Bard College
Bard College
Bard College, founded in 1860 as "St. Stephen's College", is a small four-year liberal arts college located in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York.-Location:...

 and Editor-at-Large of The American Interest
The American Interest
The American Interest is a non-partisan bimonthly magazine focusing primarily on foreign policy, international affairs, global economics, and matters related to the military...

 magazine, and is recognized as one of the country's leading students of American foreign policy
Foreign relations of the United States
The United States has formal diplomatic relations with most nations. The United States federal statutes relating to foreign relations can be found in Title 22 of the United States Code.-Pacific:-Americas:-Caribbean:...

 . Until 2010, Mead was the Henry A. Kissinger Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations
Council on Foreign Relations
The Council on Foreign Relations is an American nonprofit nonpartisan membership organization, publisher, and think tank specializing in U.S. foreign policy and international affairs...

. Mead's father, Loren Mead, is an Episcopal priest in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

, who grew up in several places in the South. Mead received his B.A. in English Literature from Yale University
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

. He is an honors graduate of Groton School
Groton School
Groton School is a private, Episcopal, college preparatory boarding school located in Groton, Massachusetts, U.S. It enrolls approximately 375 boys and girls, from the eighth through twelfth grades...

 and Yale, where he received prizes for history and debate. In addition to his position at Bard, Mead currently teaches American foreign policy at Yale University
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

. He is a Democrat, and has said he voted for Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 in the 2008 Presidential Election. In 2003, Mead supported the Iraq War. Mead's current writing is best described as centrist and contains a mix of liberal and conservative views.

Writings


Mead regularly writes for several journals, magazines and newspapers such as Foreign Affairs
Foreign Affairs
Foreign Affairs is an American magazine and website on international relations and U.S. foreign policy published since 1922 by the Council on Foreign Relations six times annually...

, The New Yorker
The New Yorker
The New Yorker is an American magazine of reportage, commentary, criticism, essays, fiction, satire, cartoons and poetry published by Condé Nast...

, The Washington Post
The Washington Post
The Washington Post is Washington, D.C.'s largest newspaper and its oldest still-existing paper, founded in 1877. Located in the capital of the United States, The Post has a particular emphasis on national politics. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia editions are printed for daily circulation...

,
and The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal is an American English-language international daily newspaper. It is published in New York City by Dow Jones & Company, a division of News Corporation, along with the Asian and European editions of the Journal....

. He is currently on the staff of Foreign Affairs as a book reviewer and on the editorial board of The American Interest
The American Interest
The American Interest is a non-partisan bimonthly magazine focusing primarily on foreign policy, international affairs, global economics, and matters related to the military...

.

In an article in 1992, Mead famously wrote,

But what if it can't? What if the global economy stagnates—or even shrinks? In that case, we will face a new period of international conflict: South against North, rich against poor. Russia, China, India—these countries with their billions of people and their nuclear weapons will pose a much greater danger to the world than Germany and Japan did in the '30s.

(New Perspectives Quarterly, Summer 1992).

In 2001, Mead published Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How it Changed the World. It won the Lionel Gelber Award for the best book in English on International Relations in 2002. The Italian translation won the Premio Acqui Storia, an annual award for the most important historical book published. Special Providence, which stemmed from an article originally published in the Winter 1999/2000 issue of The National Interest
The National Interest
The National Interest is a prominent conservative American bi-monthly international affairs magazine published by the Center for the National Interest. It was founded in 1985 by Irving Kristol and until 2001 was edited by Anglo-Australian Owen Harries...

 entitled "The Jacksonian Tradition", describes the four main guiding philosophies which have influenced the formation of American foreign policy in history: the Hamiltonians
Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton was a Founding Father, soldier, economist, political philosopher, one of America's first constitutional lawyers and the first United States Secretary of the Treasury...

, the Wilsonian
Wilsonian
Wilsonianism or Wilsonian are words used to describe a certain type of ideological perspectives on foreign policy. The term comes from the ideology of United States President Woodrow Wilson and his famous Fourteen Points that he believed would help create world peace if implemented.Common...

s, the Jeffersonians and the Jacksonians
Jacksonian democracy
Jacksonian democracy is the political movement toward greater democracy for the common man typified by American politician Andrew Jackson and his supporters. Jackson's policies followed the era of Jeffersonian democracy which dominated the previous political era. The Democratic-Republican Party of...

. The leftist New Left Review praised the book as a 'robust celebration of Jacksonianism as it historically was ... an admiring portrait of a tough, xenophobic folk community, ruthless to outsiders or deserters, rigid in its codes of honour and violence'. Not all critics praised the book, however. "Despite the hype surrounding the book, it ultimately challenges little," geographer Joseph Nevins wrote. "To the contrary, it reinforces the tired notion of U.S. exceptionalism. Thus, he [Mead] paints U.S. deployment of violence as inherently less brutal than that of Washington’s enemies. In doing so, he sometimes grossly understates the human devastation wrought by the United States."

In 2003, Mead argued that an Iraq war was preferable to continuing UN sanctions against Iraq, because "Each year of containment is a new Gulf War", and that "The existence of al Qaeda, and the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, are part of the price the United States has paid to contain Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

."

In June 2005, Mead published Power, Terror, Peace and War: America's Grand Strategy in a World at Risk. The New York Times Book Review
The New York Times Book Review
The New York Times Book Review is a weekly paper-magazine supplement to The New York Times in which current non-fiction and fiction books are reviewed. It is one of the most influential and widely read book review publications in the industry. The offices are located near Times Square in New York...

 called him one of the "country's liveliest thinkers about America's role in the world". The book attempts to elaborate on Joseph Nye
Joseph Nye
Joseph Samuel Nye, Jr. is the co-founder, along with Robert Keohane, of the international relations theory neoliberalism, developed in their 1977 book Power and Interdependence. Together with Keohane, he developed the concepts of asymmetrical and complex interdependence...

's "soft power
Soft power
Soft power is the ability to obtain what one wants through co-option and attraction. It can be contrasted with 'hard power', that is the use of coercion and payment...

" concept, adding the ideas of "sharp" power, "sticky" power, and "sweet" power, which together work towards "hegemonic
Hegemony
Hegemony is an indirect form of imperial dominance in which the hegemon rules sub-ordinate states by the implied means of power rather than direct military force. In Ancient Greece , hegemony denoted the politico–military dominance of a city-state over other city-states...

 power" and "harmonic convergence". (Mead is known for naming movements and intellectual trends, as in Special Providence.)

In October 2007, Mead published God and Gold: Britain, America, and the Making of the Modern World about the Anglo-American tradition of world power. The Economist
The Economist
The Economist is an English-language weekly news and international affairs publication owned by The Economist Newspaper Ltd. and edited in offices in the City of Westminster, London, England. Continuous publication began under founder James Wilson in September 1843...

, The Financial Times and The Washington Post
The Washington Post
The Washington Post is Washington, D.C.'s largest newspaper and its oldest still-existing paper, founded in 1877. Located in the capital of the United States, The Post has a particular emphasis on national politics. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia editions are printed for daily circulation...

 all listed God and Gold as one of the best non-fiction books of its year. Johann Hari, a pundit for the left-leaning UK newspaper The Independent
The Independent
The Independent is a British national morning newspaper published in London by Independent Print Limited, owned by Alexander Lebedev since 2010. It is nicknamed the Indy, while the Sunday edition, The Independent on Sunday, is the Sindy. Launched in 1986, it is one of the youngest UK national daily...

, asserted in his The New York Times Book Review that "Mead offers the most eloquent possible defense of the swarm of WASP
White Anglo-Saxon Protestant
White Anglo-Saxon Protestant or WASP is an informal term, often derogatory or disparaging, for a closed group of high-status Americans mostly of British Protestant ancestry. The group supposedly wields disproportionate financial and social power. When it appears in writing, it is usually used to...

s that has shaped the world for centuries. But, ultimately, his God and his gold do not glitter."

External links

  • Via Meadia, Walter Russell Mead's blog at The American Interest
    The American Interest
    The American Interest is a non-partisan bimonthly magazine focusing primarily on foreign policy, international affairs, global economics, and matters related to the military...

  • Profile at Council on Foreign Relations
    Council on Foreign Relations
    The Council on Foreign Relations is an American nonprofit nonpartisan membership organization, publisher, and think tank specializing in U.S. foreign policy and international affairs...

  • Column archive at Business Insider
    Business Insider
    Business Insider is a U.S. business/entertainment news website launched in February 2009. Founded by DoubleClick Founder and former C.E.O. Kevin P. Ryan it is the overarching brand beneath which fall the Silicon Alley Insider and Clusterstock verticals...


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