Saturday, August 11, 2007

Who is John Mearsheimer?

John Mearsheimer is a faculty member of the Committee on International Relations at the University of Chicago. He has been employed at the University since 1982. He is a proponent of the theory offensive realism. He summed it up as such,

Given the difficulty of determining how much power is enough for today and
tomorrow, great powers recognize that the best way to ensure their security is
to achieve hegemony now, thus eliminating any possibility of a challenge by
another great power. Only a misguided state would pass up an opportunity to
become hegemon in the system because it thought it already had sufficient power
to survive

Mearsheimer gained prominence (or maybe noteriety) when he published the paper, The Israeli Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, along with partner, Stephen Walt. The thesis of the paper was,

"No lobby has managed to divert U.S. foreign policy as far
from what the American national interest would otherwise suggest, while
simultaneously convincing Americans that U.S. and Israeli interests are
essentially identical".[2]
They argue that "in its basic operations, it is no different from interest
groups like the Farm Lobby, steel and textile workers, and other ethnic lobbies.
What sets the Israel Lobby apart is its extraordinary effectiveness." According
to Mearsheimer and Walt, the "loose coalition" that makes up the Lobby has
"significant leverage over the Executive
," as well as the ability to make sure that the "Lobby's perspective
on Israel is widely reflected in the mainstream media." They
claim that AIPAC in
particular has a "stranglehold on the U.S. Congress," due to its
"ability to reward legislators and congressional candidates who support its
agenda, and to punish those who challenge it."

It went on to claim that the invasion of Iraq was influenced if not orchestrated by the same Israeli lobby. To say this was controversial is to make quite an understatement. Of course, the Israeli lobby is there among the boogeymen of the netroots along with such groups as PNAC, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, to form the Neoconservative movement that the netroots blame for much of the evil of the world.

With this paper, Mearsheimer became a rock star in the circles of the netroots. His foreign policy beliefs go beyond simply blaming Israel for much of the evils of the world. For instance, he believes that the U.S. should play a more even handed role mediating between the Democratic state of Israel and the territory of Palestine currently government by Hamas, one of the State Department's terrorist groups. He thinks of course that we should withdraw from Iraq, and also from the Middle East entirely.

It is however some of his thoughts on Iran that this diarist found most interesting. Why don't I let Mr. Mearsheimer speak for himself though... hat tip to John Hinderaker at Power Line

To summarize, Iran is not at war with the United States. Iran is NOT responsible for most of the alphabet soup explosives currently killing U.S. soldiers. Whatever their responsibility in Iraq it is only done because they are concerned that if the U.S. succeeds Iran will be next. Iran reached out in 1990's to the U.S. If the U.S. had reached back well then relations would be better now. Ahmadinejad is did not say the Israel would be wiped off the face of the Earth, but rather that the only Democracy in the Middle East is doomed for failure.

Now, what is of course important is not merely the kooky ideas that Mearsheimer expouses but where he expoused them. He was recently invited to lead a foreign policy forum at the Yearly Kos Convention. That would be the same convention that each of the Democratic nominees for President also attended.

Now, their excuse for much of the nasty and incendiary commentary on the Daily Kos is that it was only a fringe part of the site. This man is not some fringe character. He was invited to lead the Foreign Policy forum. He expouses everything that the Kos Kids and much of the nutroots in general believe in the area of foreign policy, and by showing up at the same convention these same candidates gave his views at least tacit approval.

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