Archive for the ‘John Mearsheimer’ Category

Flynn: Emmys Insult the Audience and the Audience Predictably Tunes Out

Host Stephen Colbert dances onstage during the 69th Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theatre on September 17, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. / AFP PHOTO / Frederic J. Brown (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
The most politicized Emmy Awards goes down in history as the lowest-rated Emmy Awards.

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Flynn: Emmys Insult the Audience and the Audience Predictably Tunes Out

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September 20, 2017   Posted in: John Mearsheimer  Comments Closed

Carlson: Emmys Showed Many of America’s Most Famous Artists Aren’t Artists — ‘Hacks,’ ‘Their Shows Are Dumb’


Monday on Fox News Channel’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” host Tucker Carlson offered his thoughts on the annual Primetime Emmy Awards held a night early, which had politics on display with its presentation and choice of award recipients. Carlson argued the Emmys demonstrated the contempt Hollywood and other elites have for those that voted for Trump and that it also showed that there was not much value in the so-called art they have produced. Partial transcript as follows: So celebrities are liberal. They don’t like Trump. Whatever. That’s fine. In fact, it’s normal. That is not what is striking here. Last night’s show wasn’t really about Trump. It was an expression of the contempt America’s ruling class has for the rest of this country, for the zip codes they don’t live in. The middle class elected Donald Trump last November. Last night Hollywood denounced them for doing it. But don’t kid yourself. You could have heard the exact same contempt for Middle America at any Google board meeting or Facebook employees for that matter, at any bar in Washington where fundraisers from both parties regularly gather. What we are watching now is no longer a debate between conservatives and liberals. It’s

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Carlson: Emmys Showed Many of America’s Most Famous Artists Aren’t Artists — ‘Hacks,’ ‘Their Shows Are Dumb’

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September 20, 2017   Posted in: John Mearsheimer  Comments Closed

Pharrell Williams: The Real ‘Enemy’ Is On ‘This Side of the Wall’


Music super-producer Pharrell Williams delivered a political speech Monday at VH1’s 2017 Hip Hop Honors: The ’90s Game Changers, urging viewers to “open your eyes” to the racial unrest in America.

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Pharrell Williams: The Real ‘Enemy’ Is On ‘This Side of the Wall’

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September 20, 2017   Posted in: John Mearsheimer  Comments Closed

Judge Roy Moore: We Removed God from Schools, Shootings and Death Filled the Void


U.S. Senate contender Roy Moore says we removed God from our schools and the result has been death in school after school after school.

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Judge Roy Moore: We Removed God from Schools, Shootings and Death Filled the Void

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September 20, 2017   Posted in: John Mearsheimer  Comments Closed

The greatest drama of the 21st century – The Manila Times

THE rise of China, international relations theorist John Ikenberry said, will undoubtedly be one of the great dramas of the twenty-first century. Chinas dramatic economic growth and increasing prominence in international politics propel its ascendance. Americas pre-eminence has now met its rival. And Uncle Sam can already feel on his nape the moist hot breath of this dragon.

The realist perspective represents best the pessimist view on Chinas rise. Realists pessimism stems from perspectives that go as far back as Thucydides who pointed out in The History of the Peloponessian War the danger that arises whenever the current superpower declines and a new one emerges. This view predicts that China, the emerging superpower, will be a potential troublemaker; or the US, the current one, would launch a preventive war against China to stem its ascendance before it becomes too powerful a menace to its interests.

Realist pessimists predict that Chinas economic rise would provoke its leaders to define their national interests more expansively. Offensive realist theorist John Mearsheimer argued in Better to Be Godzilla than Bambi that China cannot rise peacefully. It will be drawn to intense security competition with the US, and the more likely outcome of this confrontation is war. This sees the future relationship between them as a zero-sum game.

Several factors feed this perspective. Chief of them is the specter of aggressive nationalism and anti-West sentiment haunting China, which are laid down in two best selling Chinese books. The first is China Is Unhappy, a book popular among Chinese youth. Published in 2009, it provides a litany of reasons why China is unhappy with the way its being treated by the West. It advocates that, along with its economic might, China must beef up its military strength and become more assertive against Western provocations. The same message is echoed in China Dream, a book written by Liu Mingfu. Published in 2010, it departs from the official peaceful rise narrative. It prescribes a national grand goal for China to restore its glorious past, which Liu believes requires toppling the US. It recommends that China must rise both economically and militarily, and it must be ready to prevail by any means necessary over its strategic rival.

Moreover, there are already signs that China is trying to contest US hegemony. It has been using its financial power to expand its political and diplomatic influence and thereby hedging against the excesses of US global dominance. It has been building its influence and prestige in Africa, Central Asia, Latin America, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. Besides these material bases, China also has an ideational base for its hegemonic challenge: a potential Chinese world order based on 1) Chinese traditional belief in benign hierarchical relationships; 2) a non-Western developmental model, which appeals to a lot of developing countries; and 3) an economic order rooted on Chinese Confucian tradition of seeking a datong society, which emphasizes social welfare and collective goods.

However, the primary pitfall of the pessimist view on Chinas ascent is the tacit assumption that the current international system has been the same since Thucydides. Though an emerging power, China faces a different international order from that encountered by rising superpowers in the past. The current order is more integrated, accommodating, and rules-based. Furthermore, the aggressive and expansionist views contained in China Is Unhappy and China Dream hardly represent the intentions of China. In fact, China has kept on reaffirming its peaceful rise narrative. As Henry Kissinger argued in On China, peaceful development is the genuine and enduring policy of China because it is the policy that best serves Chinese interests and comports with the international strategic situation.

This doesnt mean that conflict between the US and China cannot happen. Taiwan remains to be an issue that can trigger a military conflict, but this can be avoided by both parties if they stick to their position in their three previous communiqus, which state their commitment to the peaceful resolution of the cross-straits issue. However, there are other potential flash points, such as in the East China Sea, in North Korea (if it collapses violently, and China decides to send troops to restore order there), and the South China Sea. The US may be drawn to war with China because of its security guarantees with its allies such as Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines. Escalation of these conflicts into a full-blown war can be prevented if the US would play the role of mediator rather than instigator by using its influence to promote peaceful negotiations of these disputes. More importantly, war can be avoided if both American and Chinese policymakers would always keep the assumption that armed conflict between them would not only be disastrous for both of them but for the rest of the world.

Ikenberry is right that Chinas rise and how the US would respond to it would be one of the greatest dramas of the 21st century. Ultimately, how that story will unfold depends on how China and the US perceive their rivalry. That rivalry would remain peaceful if they perceive each other more as friends who can sometimes disagree rather than enemies whose occasional agreement only serves as a tactic to a more sinister strategy: to cut each others head off.

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The greatest drama of the 21st century – The Manila Times

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August 23, 2017   Posted in: John Mearsheimer  Comments Closed

Turning a blind eye to extreme Right or Left anti-Semitism – Ynetnews

There was no need to wait for the neo-Nazi rally staged by white supremacists in Charlottesville to know that something is wrong with the parts of American society. There was no need to wait for the response of the US president, who blamed both sides, to know that these problematic elements have permeated the highest echelons of the US political system.

It must be pointed out however, in 2016 there was a decline in involvement of white racists in acts of murder. But their current prominence and development since the the ascent of Trump, and the neo-Nazi demonstrations in Charlottesville, is a cause for grave concern among Jews.

Photo: Reuters

US neo-Nazis

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Turning a blind eye to extreme Right or Left anti-Semitism – Ynetnews

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August 23, 2017   Posted in: John Mearsheimer  Comments Closed

Baleful and Benign: The Backyards of Great Powers – Stratfor … – STRATFOR

” the American continents, by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintain, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers.”

James Monroe, 1823

When U.S. President James Monroe spoke these words in an address to Congress nearly two centuries ago, the United States was a young nation. Memories of a devastating war with Britain were still fresh, and European powers were the undisputed overlords of much of the planet. But the birth of the Monroe Doctrine, as the principles laid out in his speech came to be known, was an important moment for the budding power. By declaring an entire region to be its backyard, and therefore out of bounds to the European great powers of the day, the United States sought to carve out space to safeguard its territory and interests. In return, Washington promised not to intervene in the Continent’s internal affairs.

Fast-forward to today, as Russia intervenes in Ukraine and China extends its reach in the Asia-Pacific. There seems to be no more appropriate time than now to ask what backyards mean for modern geopolitics,and what constraints exist to their formation.

When it was first outlined, the Monroe Doctrine was largely defensive in nature, and as a relatively weak power, the United States lacked the means to enforce it. However, as the country quickly amassed wealth and strength in the wake of the Civil War, the doctrine took on new meaning first of primacy, then of dominance over the Americas. By 1904, just a few years after the United States’ decisive victory over Spain, President Theodore Roosevelt had formalized its tenets in the Roosevelt Corollary, which explicitly asserted Washington’s right to intervene in any Latin American state that indulged in “chronic wrongdoing.” Throughout the 20th century, the United States did indeed wade into the region on several occasions to ensure the longevity or establishment of friendly governments and to protect its economic interests. The people of Latin America, however, often had a less benign view of the United States’ meddling.

The Monroe Doctrine proved to be the first modern example of what has come to be known as a sphere of influence, or more colloquially, a backyard. The former term was only first used itself in 1867, when Russian diplomat Alexander Gorchakov assured Britain’s Lord Clarendon that Afghanistan “lay completely outside the sphere within which Russia might be called to exercise her influence.” (At the time, the two countries were caught in midst of the Great Game, a decades-long struggle between the Russian and British empires for control of Central Asia.) But spheres of influence have a long and storied history that began well before the rise of Europe, from the tributary states of Ming and Qing China to the highly devolved quasi-empire of ancient India’s Gupta dynasty.

At its core, a sphere of influence is very much a geopolitical concept. After all, it centers on two pillars of geopolitics space and power and its geography is usually bounded, most often comprising a zone adjacent to a great power’s borders. The great power excludes other major powers from the zone and constrains the sovereignty of smaller states within it in exchange for benefits,such as protection from foreign adversaries, greater access to domestic markets and the preservation of regional stability.

If we imagine state sovereignty as a spectrum, then in increasing order along it lie the settler state, the colony, the sphere of influence and the sphere of interaction. Whereas a great power typically exterminates or severely reduces an indigenous population before transplanting its own natives into a settler state, a great power extinguishes the sovereignty of a colony without replacing its people.At the far end of the spectrum, in its sphere of interaction, a great power has some sway over other countries but shares the role with other powers.

During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union engaged in a global contest for influence. But the competition came close to catastrophe when a backyard was breached in the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. The incident is a reminder of the dangers inherent in the politics of disputed backyards. Finnish scholar Susanna Hast, on the other hand, has argued that spheres of influence can also serve as productive agents that generate order and stability in the international system.

Since the Cold War, the quest for a sphere of influence is hardly confined toRussia.China has begun to act on its nine-dash line claims in the South China Sea, building new islands and proclaiming an island administrative region headquartered in Sansha. Noted international relations theorist John Mearsheimer has even dubbed the declaration of the nine-dash line an inkling of a “Chinese Monroe Doctrine,” though it has been directly challenged by U.S. Freedom of Navigation Operations. Beijing’s influence over North Koreaand militarization of the Yellow Sea could also be considered evidence of a Chinese sphere of influence. Nevertheless, a Chinese Monroe Doctrine will become clearer if Beijing implicitly or explicitly articulates a wider backyardthat encompasses several smaller sovereign states, possibly in Southeast or Central Asia.

Iran, meanwhile, is trying to fence in its own backyard by limiting the sovereignty of Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. However, it currently shares its position in the region with other actors such as Turkey, which is angling to build its own sphere of influence across the same territory.

To the east, Pakistan has developed a doctrine of “strategic depth” that attempts to limit Afghanistan’s sovereignty in order to create a rearguard space against an Indian incursion. India, for its part, has long considered South Asia and the Indian Ocean to be within its sphere of influence and, much like the United States did in its early years, New Delhi has taken steps to ensure that no external power is able to dominate this space. Brazil, too, has undertaken a similar project in its neighborhood.

So, has the concept of backyards remained unchanged throughout history? Not quite. Rather, three modern factors act as new constraints to their creation.

The first is the fact that we live, at least somewhat, in a world of laws and norms. Since World War II, and particularly in the wake of the Cold War, international rules have been “thicker” than ever before. For instance, norms against the blatant annexation of territory and the destruction of states are followed far more than they are flouted an environment very unlike the world prior to 1945.

At the same time, lesser (but still significant) normative constraints exist for milder forms of dominance such as the creation of spheres of influence, as was clear in the media firestorm that Russia’s actions in eastern Europe ignited. Because a sphere of influence is a geopolitical concept, not a legal one, it is not enshrined in any formal code or element of international law, which sees the global system as a collection of sovereign states. Instead its existence depends on a great power’s ability to ensure its dominance in the sphere, and on its tacit recognition by other great powers. This marks a fundamental tension in the modern world, in which rules and institutions clash, shape and are shaped by power politics.

The second constraint is the reality of the markets and technology. Absolute state sovereignty, which was always a myth, is now more limited than ever by complex global supply chains and rapid flows of information and capital. This doesn’t mean we live in a borderless, flat world far from it but it does mean that even great powers have to account for the cascading effects their actions may have on their economies and societies.

The third and final constraint is the rise of asymmetric power, itself enabled by information and communication technologies. (Cyberwarfare is simply the latest example of this phenomenon.) Such asymmetry boosts smaller states’ ability to resist unwelcome interference from beyond their borders. While it may have been relatively easy to intervene in the affairs of smaller countries in the past, doing so is a much more fraught endeavor today. It’s no coincidence that Russia has confined its intervention in Ukraine to the eastern borderlands and Crimea, where Moscow enjoys a measure of popular support. Installing a friendly government in Kiev with the help of an armed force, on the other hand, would probably lead to disaster. India, for its part, has tried in vain to keep first the United States, and more recently China, from becoming a strategic partner to tiny Sri Lanka. Clearly small states are not easily dominated, let alone conquered.

Nevertheless, the realities of power politics and the continuing salience of geography suggest that the deeper geopolitical forces driving the creation of spheres of influence are still very much alive. What forms, then, might successful backyards take in this day and age? And under what conditions could they be benign rather than baleful?

To answer these questions, we must go back to where we began: the Monroe Doctrine. During the world wars, and more sustainably once they were over, the United States abandoned Monroe’s commitment to avoid interfering in Europe’s internal affairs by implementing the Marshall Plan and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Even more important, it proceeded to act in universal terms first as the leader of the “free world”, and then, after 1991, as the primary creator of a raft of global rules and institutions on issues from trade to nuclear proliferation to climate change. Rather than discarding the Monroe Doctrine, American universalism was its ultimate extension: The United States’ new backyard was the entire planet.

The 1990s marked the high point of this global sphere of influence. For one, the collapse of the Soviet Union left the United States without a true rival. For another, many states were genuinely willing to accept American leadership. The near-universalization of the U.S. backyard was achieved not through coercion or bribery, but through smaller states’ acquiescence to what many viewed as the legitimate exercise of power toward acceptable, justifiable or appropriate ends.

Of course, American universalism hasn’t had it easy. After a remarkable run in the 1990s, its limits were revealed in the wake of 9/11, especially in the Middle East. And as China, Russia and other powers try to step in to fill the partial void the United States has left, they, too, will face the modern constraints on the creation of spheres of influence.Ultimately these countries will have to contend with the challenge of engendering legitimacy if they are to be successful in the quest for their own backyards. And legitimacy a more sophisticated form of wielding power is not easy for emerging powers to marshal unless they begin to think about power in more complex ways. This is a challenge the United States shares, and one that will be difficult to address amid its current troubles at home.

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Baleful and Benign: The Backyards of Great Powers – Stratfor … – STRATFOR

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August 22, 2017   Posted in: John Mearsheimer  Comments Closed

Saving Realism from the So-Called Realists – Commentary Magazine

And yet realism is currently in crisis.

Realism was once a sophisticated intellectual tradition that represented the best in American statecraft. Eminent Cold War realists were broadly supportive of Americas postwar internationalism and its stabilizing role in global affairs, even as they stressed the need for prudence and restraint in employing U.S. power. Above all, Cold Warera realism was based on a hard-earned understanding that Americans must deal with the geopolitical realities as they are, rather than retreat to the false comfort provided by the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

More recently, however, those who call themselves realists have lost touch with this tradition. Within academia, realism has become synonymous with a preference for radical retrenchment and the deliberate destruction of arrangements that have fostered international stability and prosperity for decades. Within government, the Trump administration appears to be embracing an equally misguided version of realisman approach that masquerades as shrewd realpolitik but is likely to prove profoundly damaging to American power and influence. Neither of these approaches is truly realist, as neither promotes core American interests or deals with the world as it really is. The United States surely needs the insights that an authentically realist approach to global affairs can provide. But first, American realism will have to undergo a reformation.

Realism has taken many forms over the years, but it has always been focused on the imperatives of power, order, and survival in an anarchic global arena. The classical realistsThucydides, Machiavelli, Hobbesconsidered how states and leaders should behave in a dangerous world in which there was no overarching morality or governing authority strong enough to regulate state behavior. The great modern realiststhinkers and statesmen such as Reinhold Niebuhr, Hans Morgenthau, George Kennan, and Henry Kissingergrappled with the same issues during and after the catastrophic upheaval that characterized the first half of the 20th century.

They argued that it was impossible to transcend the tragic nature of international politics through good intentions or moralistic maxims, and that seeking to do so would merely empower the most ruthless members of the international system. They contended, on the basis of bitter experience, that aggression and violence were always a possibility in international affairs, and that states that desired peace would thus have to prepare for war and show themselves ready to wield coercive power. Most important, realist thinkers tended to place a high value on policies and arrangements that restrained potential aggressors and created a basis for stability within an inherently competitive global environment.

For this very reason, leading Cold Warera realists advocated a robust American internationalism as the best way of restraining malevolent actors and preventing another disastrous global crack-upone that would inevitably reach out and touch the United States, just as the world wars had. Realist thinkers understood that America was uniquely capable of stabilizing the international order and containing Soviet power after World War II, even as they disagreedsometimes sharplyover the precise nature and extent of American commitments. Moreover, although Cold War realists recognized the paramount role of power in international affairs, most also recognized that U.S. power would be most effective if harnessed to a compelling concept of American moral purpose and exercised primarily through enduring partnerships with nations that shared core American values. An idealistic policy undisciplined by political realism is bound to be unstable and ineffective, the political scientist Robert Osgood wrote. Political realism unguided by moral purpose will be self-defeating and futile. Most realists were thus sympathetic to the major initiatives of postwar foreign policy, such as the creation of U.S.-led military alliances and the cultivation of a thriving Western community composed primarily of liberal democracies.

At the same time, Cold War realists spoke of the need for American restraint. They worried that Americas liberal idealism, absent a sense of limits, would carry the country into quixotic crusades. They thought that excessive commitments at the periphery of the global system could weaken the international order against its radical challengers. They believed that a policy of outright confrontation toward the Kremlin could be quite dangerous. Absolute security for one power means absolute insecurity for all others, Kissinger wrote. Realists therefore advocated policies meant to temper American ambition and the most perilous aspects of superpower competition. They supportedand, in Kissingers case, ledarms-control agreements and political negotiations with Moscow. They often objected to Americas costliest interventions in the Third World. Kennan and Morgenthau were among the first mainstream figures to go public with opposition to American involvement in Vietnam (Morgenthau did so in the pages of Commentary in May 1962).

During the Cold War, then, realism was a supple, nuanced doctrine. It emphasized the need for balance in American statecraftfor energetic action blended with moderation, for hard-headed power politics linked to a regard for partnerships and values. It recognized that the United States could best mitigate the tragic nature of international relations by engaging with, rather than withdrawing from, an imperfect world.

This nuance has now been lost. Academics have applied the label of realism to dangerous and unrealistic policy proposals. More disturbing and consequential still, the distortion of realism seems to be finding a sympathetic hearing in the Trump White House.

Consider the state of academic realism. Todays most prominent self-identified realistsStephen Walt, John Mearsheimer, Barry Posen, and Christopher Layneadvocate a thoroughgoing U.S. retrenchment from global affairs. Whereas Cold War realists were willing to see the world as it wasa world that required unequal burden-sharing and an unprecedented, sustained American commitment to preserve international stabilityacademic realists now engage in precisely the wishful thinking that earlier realists deplored. They assume that the international order can essentially regulate itself and that America will not be threatened byand can even profit froma more unsettled world. They thus favor discarding the policies that have proven so successful over the decades in providing a congenial international climate.

Why has academic realism gone astray? If the Cold War brokered the marriage between realists and American global engagement, the end of the Cold War precipitated a divorce. Following the fall of the Soviet Union, U.S. policymakers continued to pursue an ambitious global agenda based on preserving and deepening both Americas geopolitical advantage and the liberal international order. For many realists, however, the end of the Cold War removed the extraordinary threatan expansionist USSRthat had led them to support such an agenda in the first place. Academic realists argued that the humanitarian interventions of the 1990s (primarily in the former Yugoslavia) reflected capriciousness rather than a prudent effort to deal with sources of instability. Similarly, they saw key policy initiativesespecially NATO enlargement and the Iraq war of 2003as evidence that Washington was no longer behaving with moderation and was itself becoming a destabilizing force in global affairs.

These critiques were overstated, but not wholly without merit. The invasion and occupation of Iraq did prove far costlier than expected, as the academic realists had indeed warned. NATO expansioneven as it successfully promoted stability and liberal reform in Eastern Europedid take a toll on U.S.Russia relations. Having lost policy arguments that they thought they should have won, academic realists decided to throw the baby out with the bathwater, calling for a radical reformulation of Americas broader grand strategy.

The realists preferred strategy has various namesoffshore balancing, restraint, etc.but the key components and expectations are consistent. Most academic realists argue that the United States should pare back or eliminate its military alliances and overseas troop deployments, going back onshore only if a hostile power is poised to dominate a key overseas region. They call on Washington to forgo costly nation-building and counterinsurgency missions overseas and to downgrade if not abandon the promotion of democracy and human rights.

Academic realists argue that this approach will force local actors in Europe, the Middle East, and East Asia to assume greater responsibility for their own security, and that the United States can manipulatethrough diplomacy, arms sales, and covert actionthe resulting rivalries and conflicts to prevent any single power from dominating a key region and thereby threatening the United States. Should these calculations prove faulty and a hostile power be poised to dominate, Washington can easily swoop in to set things aright, as it did during the world wars. Finally, if even this calculation were to prove faulty, realists argue that America can ride out the danger posed by a regional hegemon because the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and Americas nuclear deterrent provide geopolitical immunity against existential threats.

Todays academic realists portray this approach as hard-headed, economical strategy. But in reality, it represents a stark departure from classical American realism. During the Cold War, leading realists placed importance on preserving international stability and heeded the fundamental lesson of World Wars I and IIthat the United States, by dint of its power and geography, was the only actor that could anchor international arrangements. Todays academic realists essentially argue that the United States should dismantle the global architecture that has undergirded the international orderand that Washington can survive and even thrive amid the ensuing disorder. Cold War realists helped erect the pillars of a peaceful and prosperous world. Contemporary academic realists advocate tearing down those pillars and seeing what happens.

The answer is nothing good. Contemporary academic realists sit atop a pyramid of faulty assumptions. They assume that one can remove the buttresses of the international system without that system collapsing, and that geopolitical burdens laid down by America will be picked up effectively by others. They assume that the United States does not need the enduring relationships that its alliances have fostered, and that it can obtain any cooperation it needs via purely transactional interactions. They assume that a world in which the United States ceases to promote liberal values will not be a world less congenial to Americas geopolitical interests. They assume that revisionist states will be mollified rather than emboldened by an American withdrawal, and that the transition from U.S. leadership to another global system will not unleash widespread conflict. Finally, they assume that if such upheaval does erupt, the United States can deftly manage and even profit from it, and that America can quickly move to restore stability at a reasonable cost should it become necessary to do so.

The founding generation of American realists had learned not to indulge in wishfully thinking that the international order would create or sustain itself, or that the costs of responding to rampant international disorder would be trivial. Todays academic realists, by contrast, would stake everything on a leap into the unknown.

For many years, neither Democratic nor Republican policymakers were willing to make such a leap. Now, however, the Trump administration appears inclined to embrace its own version of foreign-policy realism, one that bears many similarities toand contains many of the same liabilities asthe academic variant. One of the least academic presidents in American history may, ironically, be buying into some of the most misguided doctrines of the ivory tower.

Any assessment of the Trump administration must remain somewhat provisional, given that Donald Trumps approach to foreign policy is still a work in progress. Yet Trump and his administration have so far taken multiple steps to outline a three-legged-stool vision of foreign policy that they explicitly describe as realist in orientation. Like modern-day academic realism, however, this vision diverges drastically from the earlier tradition of American realism and leads to deeply problematic policy.

The first leg is President Trumps oft-stated view of the international environment as an inherently zero-sum arena in which the gains of other countries are Americas losses. The postWorld War II realists, by contrast, believed that the United States could enjoy positive-sum relations with like-minded nations. Indeed, they believed that America could not enjoy economic prosperity and national security unless its major trading partners in Europe and Asia were themselves prosperous and stable. The celebrated Marshall Plan was high-mindedly generous in the sense of addressing urgent humanitarian needs in Europe, yet policymakers very much conceived of it as serving Americas parochial economic and security interests at the same time. President Trump, however, sees a winner and loser in every transaction, and believeswith respect to allies and adversaries alikethat it is the United States who generally gets snookered. The reality at the core of Trumps realism is his stated belief that America is exploited by every nation in the world virtually.

This belief aligns closely with the second leg of the Trump worldview: the idea that all foreign policy is explicitly competitive in nature. Whereas the Cold War realists saw a Western community of states, President Trump apparently sees a dog-eat-dog world where America should view every transactioneven with allieson a one-off basis. The world is not a global community but an arena where nations, nongovernmental actors and businesses engage and compete for advantage, wrote National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn in an op-ed. Rather than deny this elemental nature of international affairs, we embrace it.

To be sure, Cold War realists were deeply skeptical about one worldism and appeals to a global community. But still they saw the United States and its allies as representing the free world, a community of common purpose forged in the battle against totalitarian enemies. The Trump administration seems to view U.S. partnerships primarily on an ad hoc basis, and it has articulated something akin to a what have you done for me lately approach to allies. The Cold War realistswho understood how hard it was to assemble effective alliances in the first placewould have found this approach odd in the extreme.

Finally, there is the third leg of Trumps realism: an embrace of amorality. President Trump has repeatedly argued that issues such as the promotion of human rights and democracy are merely distractions from winning in the international arena and a recipe for squandering scarce resources. On the presidents first overseas trip to the Middle East in May, for instance, he promised not to lecture authoritarian countries on their internal behavior, and he made clear his intent to embrace leaders who back short-term U.S. foreign-policy goals no matter how egregious their violations of basic human rights and political freedoms. Weeks later, on a visit to Poland, the president did speak explicitly about the role that shared values played in the Wests struggle against Communism during the Cold War, and he invoked the hope of every soul to live in freedom. Yet his speech contained only the most cursory reference to Russiathe authoritarian power now undermining democratic governance and security throughout Europe and beyond. Just as significant, Trump failed to mention that Poland itselfuntil a few years ago, a stirring exemplar of successful transition from totalitarianism to democracyis today sliding backwards toward illiberalism (as are other countries within Europe and the broader free world).

At first glance, this approach might seem like a modern-day echo of Cold War debates about whether to back authoritarian dictators in the struggle against global Communism. But, as Jeane Kirkpatrick explained in her famous 1979 Commentary essay Dictatorships and Double Standards, and as Kissinger himself frequently argued, Cold War realists saw such tactical alliances of convenience as being in the service of a deeper values-based goal: the preservation of an international environment favoring liberty and democracy against the predations of totalitarianism. Moreover, they understood that Americans would sustain the burdens of global leadership over a prolonged period only if motivated by appeals to their cherished ideals as well as their concrete interests. Trump, for his part, has given only faint and sporadic indications of any appreciation of the traditional role of values in American foreign policy.

Put together, these three elements have profound, sometimes radical, implications for Americas approach to a broad range of global issues. Guided by this form of realism, the Trump administration has persistently chastised and alienated long-standing democratic allies in Europe and the Asia-Pacific and moved closer to authoritarians in Saudi Arabia, China, and the Philippines. The presidents body language alone has been striking: Trumps summits have repeatedly showcased conviviality with dictators and quasi-authoritarians and painfully awkward interactions with democratic leaders such as Germanys Angela Merkel. Similarly, Trump has disdained international agreements and institutions that do not deliver immediate, concrete benefits for the United States, even if they are critical to forging international cooperation on key issues or advancing longer-term goods. As Trump has put it, he means to promote the interests of Pittsburgh, not Paris, and he believes that those interests are inherently at odds with each other.

To be fair, President Trump and his proxies do view the war on terror as a matter of defending both American security interests and Western civilizations values against the jihadist onslaught. This was a key theme of Trumps major address in Warsaw. Yet the administration has not explained how this civilizational mindset would inform any other aspect of its foreign policywith the possible exception of immigration policyand resorts far more often to the parochial lens of nationalism.

The Trump administration seems to be articulating a vision in which America has no lasting friends, little enduring concern with values, and even less interest in cultivating a community of like-minded nations that exists for more than purely deal-making purposes. The administration has often portrayed this as clear-eyed realism, even invoking the founding father of realism, Thucydides, as its intellectual lodestar. This approach does bear some resemblance to classical realism: an unsentimental approach to the world with an emphasis on the competitive aspects of the international environment. And insofar as Trump dresses down American allies, rejects the importance of values, and focuses on transactional partnerships, his version of realism has quite a lot in common with the contemporary academic version.

Daniel Drezner of Tufts University has noted the overlap, declaring in a Washington Post column, This is [academic] realisms moment in the foreign policy sun. Randall Schweller of Ohio State University, an avowed academic realist and Trump supporter, has been even more explicit, noting approvingly that Trumps foreign-policy approach essentially falls under the rubric of off-shore balancing as promoted by ivory-tower realists in recent decades.

Yet one suspects that the American realists who helped create the postWorld War II order would not feel comfortable with either the academic or Trumpian versions of realism as they exist today. For although both of these approaches purport to be about power and concrete results, both neglect the very things that have allowed the United States to use its power so effectively in the past.

Both the academic and Trump versions of realism ignore the fact that U.S. power is most potent when it is wielded in concert with a deeply institutionalized community of like-minded nations. Alliances are less about addition and subtractionthe math of the burden-sharing emphasized by Trump and the academic realistsand more about multiplication, leveraging U.S. power to influence world events at a fraction of the cost of unilateral approaches. The United States would be vastly less powerful and influential in Europe and Central Asia without NATO; it would encounter far greater difficulties in rounding up partners to wage the ongoing war in Afghanistan or defeat the Islamic State; it would find itself fighting alonerather than with some of the worlds most powerful partnersfar more often. Likewise, without its longstanding treaty allies in Asia, the United States would be at an almost insurmountable disadvantage vis–vis revisionist powers in that region, namely China.

Both versions of realism also ignore the fact that America has been able to exercise its enormous power with remarkably little global resistance precisely because American leaders, by and large, have paid sufficient regard to the opinions of potential partners. Of course, every administration has sought to put America first, but the pursuit of American self-interest has proved most successful when it enjoys the acquiescence of other states. Likewise, the academic and Trump versions of realism too frequently forget that America draws power by supporting values with universal appeal. This is why every American president from Franklin Roosevelt to Barack Obama has recognized that a more democratic world is likely to be one that is both ideologically and geopolitically more congenial to the United States.

Most important, both the academic and Trump versions of realism ignore the fact that the classical postWorld War II realists deliberately sought to overcome the dog-eat-dog world that modern variants take as a given. They did so by facilitating cooperation within the free world, suppressing the security competitions that had previously led to cataclysmic wars, creating the basis for a thriving international economy, and thereby making life a little less nasty, brutish, and short for Americans as well as for vast swaths of the worlds population.

If realism is about maximizing power, effectiveness, and security in a competitive global arena, then neither the academic nor the Trump versions of realism merits the name. And if realism is meant to reflect the world as it is, both of these versions are deeply deficient.

This is a tragedy. For if ever there were a moment for an informed realism, it would be now, as the strategic horizon darkens and a more competitive international environment reemerges. There is still time for Trump and his team to adapt, and realism can still make a constructive contribution to American policy. But first it must rediscover its rootsand absorb the lessons of the past 70 years.

A reformed realism should be built upon seven bedrock insights, which President Trump would do well to embrace.

First, American leadership remains essential to restraining global disorder. Todays realists channel the longstanding American hope that there would come a time when the United States could slough off the responsibilities it assumed after World War II and again become a country that relies on its advantageous geography to keep the world at arms length. Yet realism compels an awareness that America is exceptionally suited to the part it has played for nearly four generations. The combination of its power, geographic location, and values has rendered America uniquely capable of providing a degree of global order in a way that is more reassuring than threatening to most of the key actors in the international system. Moreover, given that today the most ambitious and energetic international actors besides the United States are not liberal democracies but aggressive authoritarian powers, an American withdrawal is unlikely to produce multipolar peace. Instead, it is likely to precipitate the upheaval that U.S. engagement and activism have long been meant to avert. As a corollary, realists must also recognize that the United States is unlikely to thrive amid such upheaval; it will probably find that the disorder spreads and ultimately implicates vital American interests, as was twice the case in the first half of the 20th century.

Second, true realism recognizes the interdependence of hard and soft power. In a competitive world, there is no substitute for American hard power, and particularly for military muscle. Without guns, there will notover the long termbe butter. But military power, by itself, is an insufficient foundation for American strategy. A crude reliance on coercion will damage American prestige and credibility in the end; hard power works best when deployed in the service of ideas and goals that command widespread international approval. Similarly, military might is most effective when combined with the softer tools of development assistance, foreign aid, and knowledge of foreign societies and cultures. The Trump administration has sought to eviscerate these nonmilitary capabilities and bragged about its hard-power budget; it would do better to understand that a balance between hard and soft power is essential.

Third, values are an essential part of American realism. Of course, the United States must not undertake indiscriminate interventions in the name of democracy and human rights. But, fortunately, no serious policymakernot Woodrow Wilson, not Jimmy Carter, not George W. Bushhas ever embraced such a doctrine. What most American leaders have traditionally recognized is that, on balance, U.S. interests will be served and U.S. power will be magnified in a world in which democracy and human rights are respected. Ronald Reagan, now revered for his achievements in improving Americas global position, understood this point and made the selective promotion of democracyprimarily through nonmilitary meansa key part of his foreign policy. While paying due heed to the requirements of prudence and the limits of American power, then, American realists should work to foster a climate in which those values can flourish.

Fourth, a reformed realism requires aligning relations with the major powers appropriatelyespecially today, as great-power tensions rise. That means appreciating the value of institutions that have bound the United States to some of the most powerful actors in the international system for decades and thereby given Washington leadership of the worlds dominant geopolitical coalition. It means not taking trustworthy allies for granted or picking fights with them gratuitously. It also means not treating actual adversaries, such as Vladimir Putins Russia, as if they were trustworthy partners (as Trump has often talked of doing) or as if their aggressive behavior were simply a defensive response to American provocations (as many academic realists have done). A realistic approach to American foreign policy begins by seeing great-power relations through clear eyes.

Fifth, limits are essential. Academic realists are wrong to suggest that values should be excised from U.S. policy; they are wrong to argue that the United States should pull back dramatically from the world. Yet they are right that good statecraft requires an understanding of limitsparticularly for a country as powerful as the United States, and particularly at a time when the international environment is becoming more contested. The United States cannot right every wrong, fix every problem, or defend every global interest. America can and should, however, shoulder more of the burden than modern academic and Trumpian realists believe. The United States will be effective only if it chooses its battles carefully; it will need to preserve its power for dealing with the most pressing threat to its national interests and the international orderthe resurgence of authoritarian challengeseven if that means taking an economy-of-force approach to other issues.

Sixth, realists must recognize that the United States has not created and sustained a global network of alliances, international institutions, and other embedded relationships out of a sense of charity. It has done so because those relationships provide forums through which the United States can exercise power at a bargain-basement price. Embedded relationships have allowed the United States to rally other nations to support American causes from the Korean War to the counter-ISIS campaign, and have reduced the transaction costs of collective action to meet common threats from international terrorism to p.iracy. They have provided institutional megaphones through which the United States can amplify its diplomatic voice and project its influence into key issues and regions around the globe. If these arrangements did not exist, the United States would find itself having to create them, or acting unilaterally at far greater cost. If realism is really about maximizing American power, true realists ought to be enthusiastic about relationships and institutions that serve that purpose. Realists should adopt the approach that every postCold War president has embraced: that the United States will act unilaterally in defense of its interests when it must, but multilaterally with partners whenever it can.

Finally, realism requires not throwing away what has worked in the past. One of the most astounding aspects of both contemporary academic realism and the Trumpian variant of that tradition is the cavalier attitude they display toward arrangements and partnerships that have helped produce a veritable golden age of international peace, stability, and liberalism since World War II, and that have made the United States the most influential and effective actor in the globe in the process. Of course, there have been serious and costly conflicts over the past decades, and U.S. policy has always been thoroughly imperfect. But the last 70 years have been remarkably good ones for U.S. interests and the global orderwhether one compares them with the 70 years before the United States adopted its global leadership role, or compares them with the violent disorder that would have emerged if America followed the nostrums peddled today under the realist label. A doctrine that stresses that importance of prudence and discretion, and that was originally conservative in its preoccupation with stability and order, ought not to pursue radical changes in American statecraft or embrace a come what may approach to the world. Rather, such a doctrine ought to recognize that true achievements are enormously difficult to come byand that the most realistic approach to American strategy would thus be to focus on keeping a good thing going.

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Saving Realism from the So-Called Realists – Commentary Magazine

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Jewish professor at Catholic school in Qatar – Intermountain Jewish News

Gary Wasserman, left, with students on the Georgetown campus in Qatar, 2012.

WASHINGTON Near the end of his first year teaching American studies at the Georgetown University campus in Qatar, Gary Wasserman introduced a dozen Israelis to a dozen undergraduates from across the Middle East.

Then he left the room so the students could have an unfiltered discussion.

The one-hour meeting was part of what Wasserman calls his liberal quest to overcome biases grounded, he said, in part by his Jewish upbringing.

But the encounter wasnt exactly a success. Afterward, a Lebanese student came to his room, tears in her eyes. An Israeli had asked her during the encounter, You hate us, dont you?

Wasserman in his forthcoming book The Doha Experiment, about his gig directing the Georgetown American studies program in Qatar from 2006 to 2014, uses the incident to identify a duality that was typical of his time on campus: the quest for connections outside of ones comfort zone, on the one hand, combined with intense fears of people raised in radically different cultures.

We were part of a university that provided a place to think and talk, Wasserman said he told the Lebanese student, who had been trapped at her aunts house during the 2006 Lebanon War. And while this didnt seem like much now, it was really all we had to offer. I felt inadequate and sad.

Wassermans initial mission shared by Georgetown and the Qatari government was to bring an American-style free exchange of thought to the deeply traditionalist Gulf state.

But that expectation soon tamped down into a more limited one: that young people get a decent education and get along with folks from vastly different political cultures.

Theres a liberal, missionary impulse that you are bringing pluralism, globalization and tolerance to a part of the world that needs it, Wasserman, who is now retired, told JTA last week.

Within months, Wasserman wrote, his original idealism had abated but then, so had his own fears about being a Jew in Qatar.

I began my journey both apprehensive and idealistic, he wrote. I ended it less apprehensive and also less idealistic.

About the apprehension: Wasserman, the author of a popular political science textbook who had taught at Columbia and Georgetown, appalled friends and family when he decided to go to Qatar.

With the memory of the 9/11 terrorist attacks still fresh, many in his circle questioned the rationality of a Jew moving to what seemed like the belly of the beast at the time.

Their pleadings had an effect, and he consulted with a psychologist who happened to be a European Jew about how to deal with his anxieties. His sessions had a surprising denouement.

Youre not crazy to be scared, Wasserman quoted the psychologist as saying in their final session. Youre crazy to go. Havent you been watching the news? These people hate Jews. Theyre anti-Semites . . . Stay away from them. Theyll never change.

This went on for a while, Wasserman wrote. (He was being paid by the hour.)

Nonetheless, in Qatar, Wasserman encountered barely any personal animosity because of his Jewishness. In one poignant passage, he described his concerns after his identity became common knowledge on campus a staffer had let it slip.

It was too easy to imagine their unspoken responses: Yknow, hes Jewish. Yeah, I could tell. Or, So thats what those horns are. Or, No wonder he flunked me, Wasserman wrote. I might have overthought this. One student later said to me, after she had graduated, that the only student discussion she recalls about my religion was the worry that I might feel isolated and out of place.

Instead, the hostility toward Jews and Israel was expressed in more generalized settings, particularly the conspiracy theories that proliferate in Arab countries.

Wasserman said his favorite anecdote in the book is the student who told him that another teacher had said that the Mossad was behind 9/11, and also that 9/11 was not a bad idea.

He asked the student how both ideas could coexist in one persons head.

The student looked at me for a moment, resigned that yet another nave foreigner failed to appreciate how holding two contradictory opinions at the same time was consistent with the political views permeating the region, Wasserman wrote.

Another student, Ella, graduated at the top of the class. Shortly after, Wasserman saw an interview with Ella in a local newspaper in which she was asked for her impressions of the 2012 US election.

Her depressing answer, as he put it: It really didnt matter because the Zionists controlled the banks, the media, and both political parties and wouldnt let anything change in America.

Perhaps Wassermans most foolhardy quest was to teach the students about how the pro-Israel lobby functioned as a curative to the overly expansive description of its influence in the 2007 book by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, The Israel Lobby. (Disclosure: This reporter and Wasserman collaborated for a period in the late 2000s on a book on the pro-Israel lobby. It found no buyers.)

In my lecture, I tried to leave the class with a simple point: the power of the pro-Israel lobby had been inflated by supporters and opponents alike for their own reasons, he wrote. Although clearly a powerful player in foreign policy, AIPAC was only narrowly influential and constrained by other public and political interests.

Did the students get the message? Not quite. Later in the book, Wasserman related that he often found that the students bought into myths of Jewish influence but with admiration, not contempt.

Wasserman, alongside other faculty on campus, came to accept that they were not the vanguard of progressive values in Qatar. Instead, they set more modest ambitions, such as one-to-one opportunities to lend a hand to those seeking a way out of a society that was stifling, especially to women.

He wrote about a student wearing an abaya the robe-like dress worn by some women in parts of the Muslim world entering his office and asking him to write a letter recommending her for graduate studies in England. He was happy to she had good grades but she could not articulate what exactly she wanted to study, making it a challenge for him to tailor the letter to specifics that would help her.

I dont really want to go to graduate school, she told him, but if I stay in Doha, my family will make me get married. Going to London for grad school is acceptable to them. For me, it means I can put off getting married and not have to confront my parents.

It was encounters like these that left Wasserman hopeful about bridging divides, he told JTA.

The problem is you dont want encounters conducted on the basis of Jew and Muslim, Christian and Buddhist, because it isolates one identity and sets up a polarity, he said.

Bring Israelis over for a semester, not just an afternoon, he said, so they would have the time to find other commonalities with their Arab and Muslim counterparts.

They will share things like a harsh father or questions about devotion or career goals, he said.

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Jewish professor at Catholic school in Qatar – Intermountain Jewish News

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Flynn: Emmys Insult the Audience and the Audience Predictably Tunes Out

The most politicized Emmy Awards goes down in history as the lowest-rated Emmy Awards.

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Carlson: Emmys Showed Many of America’s Most Famous Artists Aren’t Artists — ‘Hacks,’ ‘Their Shows Are Dumb’

Monday on Fox News Channel’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” host Tucker Carlson offered his thoughts on the annual Primetime Emmy Awards held a night early, which had politics on display with its presentation and choice of award recipients. Carlson argued the Emmys demonstrated the contempt Hollywood and other elites have for those that voted for Trump and that it also showed that there was not much value in the so-called art they have produced. Partial transcript as follows: So celebrities are liberal. They don’t like Trump. Whatever. That’s fine. In fact, it’s normal. That is not what is striking here. Last night’s show wasn’t really about Trump. It was an expression of the contempt America’s ruling class has for the rest of this country, for the zip codes they don’t live in. The middle class elected Donald Trump last November. Last night Hollywood denounced them for doing it. But don’t kid yourself. You could have heard the exact same contempt for Middle America at any Google board meeting or Facebook employees for that matter, at any bar in Washington where fundraisers from both parties regularly gather. What we are watching now is no longer a debate between conservatives and liberals. It’s

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Pharrell Williams: The Real ‘Enemy’ Is On ‘This Side of the Wall’

Music super-producer Pharrell Williams delivered a political speech Monday at VH1’s 2017 Hip Hop Honors: The ’90s Game Changers, urging viewers to “open your eyes” to the racial unrest in America.

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Judge Roy Moore: We Removed God from Schools, Shootings and Death Filled the Void

U.S. Senate contender Roy Moore says we removed God from our schools and the result has been death in school after school after school.

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The greatest drama of the 21st century – The Manila Times

THE rise of China, international relations theorist John Ikenberry said, will undoubtedly be one of the great dramas of the twenty-first century. Chinas dramatic economic growth and increasing prominence in international politics propel its ascendance. Americas pre-eminence has now met its rival. And Uncle Sam can already feel on his nape the moist hot breath of this dragon. The realist perspective represents best the pessimist view on Chinas rise. Realists pessimism stems from perspectives that go as far back as Thucydides who pointed out in The History of the Peloponessian War the danger that arises whenever the current superpower declines and a new one emerges. This view predicts that China, the emerging superpower, will be a potential troublemaker; or the US, the current one, would launch a preventive war against China to stem its ascendance before it becomes too powerful a menace to its interests. Realist pessimists predict that Chinas economic rise would provoke its leaders to define their national interests more expansively. Offensive realist theorist John Mearsheimer argued in Better to Be Godzilla than Bambi that China cannot rise peacefully. It will be drawn to intense security competition with the US, and the more likely outcome of this confrontation is war. This sees the future relationship between them as a zero-sum game. Several factors feed this perspective. Chief of them is the specter of aggressive nationalism and anti-West sentiment haunting China, which are laid down in two best selling Chinese books. The first is China Is Unhappy, a book popular among Chinese youth. Published in 2009, it provides a litany of reasons why China is unhappy with the way its being treated by the West. It advocates that, along with its economic might, China must beef up its military strength and become more assertive against Western provocations. The same message is echoed in China Dream, a book written by Liu Mingfu. Published in 2010, it departs from the official peaceful rise narrative. It prescribes a national grand goal for China to restore its glorious past, which Liu believes requires toppling the US. It recommends that China must rise both economically and militarily, and it must be ready to prevail by any means necessary over its strategic rival. Moreover, there are already signs that China is trying to contest US hegemony. It has been using its financial power to expand its political and diplomatic influence and thereby hedging against the excesses of US global dominance. It has been building its influence and prestige in Africa, Central Asia, Latin America, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. Besides these material bases, China also has an ideational base for its hegemonic challenge: a potential Chinese world order based on 1) Chinese traditional belief in benign hierarchical relationships; 2) a non-Western developmental model, which appeals to a lot of developing countries; and 3) an economic order rooted on Chinese Confucian tradition of seeking a datong society, which emphasizes social welfare and collective goods. However, the primary pitfall of the pessimist view on Chinas ascent is the tacit assumption that the current international system has been the same since Thucydides. Though an emerging power, China faces a different international order from that encountered by rising superpowers in the past. The current order is more integrated, accommodating, and rules-based. Furthermore, the aggressive and expansionist views contained in China Is Unhappy and China Dream hardly represent the intentions of China. In fact, China has kept on reaffirming its peaceful rise narrative. As Henry Kissinger argued in On China, peaceful development is the genuine and enduring policy of China because it is the policy that best serves Chinese interests and comports with the international strategic situation. This doesnt mean that conflict between the US and China cannot happen. Taiwan remains to be an issue that can trigger a military conflict, but this can be avoided by both parties if they stick to their position in their three previous communiqus, which state their commitment to the peaceful resolution of the cross-straits issue. However, there are other potential flash points, such as in the East China Sea, in North Korea (if it collapses violently, and China decides to send troops to restore order there), and the South China Sea. The US may be drawn to war with China because of its security guarantees with its allies such as Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines. Escalation of these conflicts into a full-blown war can be prevented if the US would play the role of mediator rather than instigator by using its influence to promote peaceful negotiations of these disputes. More importantly, war can be avoided if both American and Chinese policymakers would always keep the assumption that armed conflict between them would not only be disastrous for both of them but for the rest of the world. Ikenberry is right that Chinas rise and how the US would respond to it would be one of the greatest dramas of the 21st century. Ultimately, how that story will unfold depends on how China and the US perceive their rivalry. That rivalry would remain peaceful if they perceive each other more as friends who can sometimes disagree rather than enemies whose occasional agreement only serves as a tactic to a more sinister strategy: to cut each others head off.

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Turning a blind eye to extreme Right or Left anti-Semitism – Ynetnews

There was no need to wait for the neo-Nazi rally staged by white supremacists in Charlottesville to know that something is wrong with the parts of American society. There was no need to wait for the response of the US president, who blamed both sides, to know that these problematic elements have permeated the highest echelons of the US political system. It must be pointed out however, in 2016 there was a decline in involvement of white racists in acts of murder. But their current prominence and development since the the ascent of Trump, and the neo-Nazi demonstrations in Charlottesville, is a cause for grave concern among Jews. Photo: Reuters US neo-Nazis

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Baleful and Benign: The Backyards of Great Powers – Stratfor … – STRATFOR

” the American continents, by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintain, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers.” James Monroe, 1823 When U.S. President James Monroe spoke these words in an address to Congress nearly two centuries ago, the United States was a young nation. Memories of a devastating war with Britain were still fresh, and European powers were the undisputed overlords of much of the planet. But the birth of the Monroe Doctrine, as the principles laid out in his speech came to be known, was an important moment for the budding power. By declaring an entire region to be its backyard, and therefore out of bounds to the European great powers of the day, the United States sought to carve out space to safeguard its territory and interests. In return, Washington promised not to intervene in the Continent’s internal affairs. Fast-forward to today, as Russia intervenes in Ukraine and China extends its reach in the Asia-Pacific. There seems to be no more appropriate time than now to ask what backyards mean for modern geopolitics,and what constraints exist to their formation. When it was first outlined, the Monroe Doctrine was largely defensive in nature, and as a relatively weak power, the United States lacked the means to enforce it. However, as the country quickly amassed wealth and strength in the wake of the Civil War, the doctrine took on new meaning first of primacy, then of dominance over the Americas. By 1904, just a few years after the United States’ decisive victory over Spain, President Theodore Roosevelt had formalized its tenets in the Roosevelt Corollary, which explicitly asserted Washington’s right to intervene in any Latin American state that indulged in “chronic wrongdoing.” Throughout the 20th century, the United States did indeed wade into the region on several occasions to ensure the longevity or establishment of friendly governments and to protect its economic interests. The people of Latin America, however, often had a less benign view of the United States’ meddling. The Monroe Doctrine proved to be the first modern example of what has come to be known as a sphere of influence, or more colloquially, a backyard. The former term was only first used itself in 1867, when Russian diplomat Alexander Gorchakov assured Britain’s Lord Clarendon that Afghanistan “lay completely outside the sphere within which Russia might be called to exercise her influence.” (At the time, the two countries were caught in midst of the Great Game, a decades-long struggle between the Russian and British empires for control of Central Asia.) But spheres of influence have a long and storied history that began well before the rise of Europe, from the tributary states of Ming and Qing China to the highly devolved quasi-empire of ancient India’s Gupta dynasty. At its core, a sphere of influence is very much a geopolitical concept. After all, it centers on two pillars of geopolitics space and power and its geography is usually bounded, most often comprising a zone adjacent to a great power’s borders. The great power excludes other major powers from the zone and constrains the sovereignty of smaller states within it in exchange for benefits,such as protection from foreign adversaries, greater access to domestic markets and the preservation of regional stability. If we imagine state sovereignty as a spectrum, then in increasing order along it lie the settler state, the colony, the sphere of influence and the sphere of interaction. Whereas a great power typically exterminates or severely reduces an indigenous population before transplanting its own natives into a settler state, a great power extinguishes the sovereignty of a colony without replacing its people.At the far end of the spectrum, in its sphere of interaction, a great power has some sway over other countries but shares the role with other powers. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union engaged in a global contest for influence. But the competition came close to catastrophe when a backyard was breached in the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. The incident is a reminder of the dangers inherent in the politics of disputed backyards. Finnish scholar Susanna Hast, on the other hand, has argued that spheres of influence can also serve as productive agents that generate order and stability in the international system. Since the Cold War, the quest for a sphere of influence is hardly confined toRussia.China has begun to act on its nine-dash line claims in the South China Sea, building new islands and proclaiming an island administrative region headquartered in Sansha. Noted international relations theorist John Mearsheimer has even dubbed the declaration of the nine-dash line an inkling of a “Chinese Monroe Doctrine,” though it has been directly challenged by U.S. Freedom of Navigation Operations. Beijing’s influence over North Koreaand militarization of the Yellow Sea could also be considered evidence of a Chinese sphere of influence. Nevertheless, a Chinese Monroe Doctrine will become clearer if Beijing implicitly or explicitly articulates a wider backyardthat encompasses several smaller sovereign states, possibly in Southeast or Central Asia. Iran, meanwhile, is trying to fence in its own backyard by limiting the sovereignty of Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. However, it currently shares its position in the region with other actors such as Turkey, which is angling to build its own sphere of influence across the same territory. To the east, Pakistan has developed a doctrine of “strategic depth” that attempts to limit Afghanistan’s sovereignty in order to create a rearguard space against an Indian incursion. India, for its part, has long considered South Asia and the Indian Ocean to be within its sphere of influence and, much like the United States did in its early years, New Delhi has taken steps to ensure that no external power is able to dominate this space. Brazil, too, has undertaken a similar project in its neighborhood. So, has the concept of backyards remained unchanged throughout history? Not quite. Rather, three modern factors act as new constraints to their creation. The first is the fact that we live, at least somewhat, in a world of laws and norms. Since World War II, and particularly in the wake of the Cold War, international rules have been “thicker” than ever before. For instance, norms against the blatant annexation of territory and the destruction of states are followed far more than they are flouted an environment very unlike the world prior to 1945. At the same time, lesser (but still significant) normative constraints exist for milder forms of dominance such as the creation of spheres of influence, as was clear in the media firestorm that Russia’s actions in eastern Europe ignited. Because a sphere of influence is a geopolitical concept, not a legal one, it is not enshrined in any formal code or element of international law, which sees the global system as a collection of sovereign states. Instead its existence depends on a great power’s ability to ensure its dominance in the sphere, and on its tacit recognition by other great powers. This marks a fundamental tension in the modern world, in which rules and institutions clash, shape and are shaped by power politics. The second constraint is the reality of the markets and technology. Absolute state sovereignty, which was always a myth, is now more limited than ever by complex global supply chains and rapid flows of information and capital. This doesn’t mean we live in a borderless, flat world far from it but it does mean that even great powers have to account for the cascading effects their actions may have on their economies and societies. The third and final constraint is the rise of asymmetric power, itself enabled by information and communication technologies. (Cyberwarfare is simply the latest example of this phenomenon.) Such asymmetry boosts smaller states’ ability to resist unwelcome interference from beyond their borders. While it may have been relatively easy to intervene in the affairs of smaller countries in the past, doing so is a much more fraught endeavor today. It’s no coincidence that Russia has confined its intervention in Ukraine to the eastern borderlands and Crimea, where Moscow enjoys a measure of popular support. Installing a friendly government in Kiev with the help of an armed force, on the other hand, would probably lead to disaster. India, for its part, has tried in vain to keep first the United States, and more recently China, from becoming a strategic partner to tiny Sri Lanka. Clearly small states are not easily dominated, let alone conquered. Nevertheless, the realities of power politics and the continuing salience of geography suggest that the deeper geopolitical forces driving the creation of spheres of influence are still very much alive. What forms, then, might successful backyards take in this day and age? And under what conditions could they be benign rather than baleful? To answer these questions, we must go back to where we began: the Monroe Doctrine. During the world wars, and more sustainably once they were over, the United States abandoned Monroe’s commitment to avoid interfering in Europe’s internal affairs by implementing the Marshall Plan and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Even more important, it proceeded to act in universal terms first as the leader of the “free world”, and then, after 1991, as the primary creator of a raft of global rules and institutions on issues from trade to nuclear proliferation to climate change. Rather than discarding the Monroe Doctrine, American universalism was its ultimate extension: The United States’ new backyard was the entire planet. The 1990s marked the high point of this global sphere of influence. For one, the collapse of the Soviet Union left the United States without a true rival. For another, many states were genuinely willing to accept American leadership. The near-universalization of the U.S. backyard was achieved not through coercion or bribery, but through smaller states’ acquiescence to what many viewed as the legitimate exercise of power toward acceptable, justifiable or appropriate ends. Of course, American universalism hasn’t had it easy. After a remarkable run in the 1990s, its limits were revealed in the wake of 9/11, especially in the Middle East. And as China, Russia and other powers try to step in to fill the partial void the United States has left, they, too, will face the modern constraints on the creation of spheres of influence.Ultimately these countries will have to contend with the challenge of engendering legitimacy if they are to be successful in the quest for their own backyards. And legitimacy a more sophisticated form of wielding power is not easy for emerging powers to marshal unless they begin to think about power in more complex ways. This is a challenge the United States shares, and one that will be difficult to address amid its current troubles at home.

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August 22, 2017   Posted in: John Mearsheimer  Comments Closed

Saving Realism from the So-Called Realists – Commentary Magazine

And yet realism is currently in crisis. Realism was once a sophisticated intellectual tradition that represented the best in American statecraft. Eminent Cold War realists were broadly supportive of Americas postwar internationalism and its stabilizing role in global affairs, even as they stressed the need for prudence and restraint in employing U.S. power. Above all, Cold Warera realism was based on a hard-earned understanding that Americans must deal with the geopolitical realities as they are, rather than retreat to the false comfort provided by the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. More recently, however, those who call themselves realists have lost touch with this tradition. Within academia, realism has become synonymous with a preference for radical retrenchment and the deliberate destruction of arrangements that have fostered international stability and prosperity for decades. Within government, the Trump administration appears to be embracing an equally misguided version of realisman approach that masquerades as shrewd realpolitik but is likely to prove profoundly damaging to American power and influence. Neither of these approaches is truly realist, as neither promotes core American interests or deals with the world as it really is. The United States surely needs the insights that an authentically realist approach to global affairs can provide. But first, American realism will have to undergo a reformation. Realism has taken many forms over the years, but it has always been focused on the imperatives of power, order, and survival in an anarchic global arena. The classical realistsThucydides, Machiavelli, Hobbesconsidered how states and leaders should behave in a dangerous world in which there was no overarching morality or governing authority strong enough to regulate state behavior. The great modern realiststhinkers and statesmen such as Reinhold Niebuhr, Hans Morgenthau, George Kennan, and Henry Kissingergrappled with the same issues during and after the catastrophic upheaval that characterized the first half of the 20th century. They argued that it was impossible to transcend the tragic nature of international politics through good intentions or moralistic maxims, and that seeking to do so would merely empower the most ruthless members of the international system. They contended, on the basis of bitter experience, that aggression and violence were always a possibility in international affairs, and that states that desired peace would thus have to prepare for war and show themselves ready to wield coercive power. Most important, realist thinkers tended to place a high value on policies and arrangements that restrained potential aggressors and created a basis for stability within an inherently competitive global environment. For this very reason, leading Cold Warera realists advocated a robust American internationalism as the best way of restraining malevolent actors and preventing another disastrous global crack-upone that would inevitably reach out and touch the United States, just as the world wars had. Realist thinkers understood that America was uniquely capable of stabilizing the international order and containing Soviet power after World War II, even as they disagreedsometimes sharplyover the precise nature and extent of American commitments. Moreover, although Cold War realists recognized the paramount role of power in international affairs, most also recognized that U.S. power would be most effective if harnessed to a compelling concept of American moral purpose and exercised primarily through enduring partnerships with nations that shared core American values. An idealistic policy undisciplined by political realism is bound to be unstable and ineffective, the political scientist Robert Osgood wrote. Political realism unguided by moral purpose will be self-defeating and futile. Most realists were thus sympathetic to the major initiatives of postwar foreign policy, such as the creation of U.S.-led military alliances and the cultivation of a thriving Western community composed primarily of liberal democracies. At the same time, Cold War realists spoke of the need for American restraint. They worried that Americas liberal idealism, absent a sense of limits, would carry the country into quixotic crusades. They thought that excessive commitments at the periphery of the global system could weaken the international order against its radical challengers. They believed that a policy of outright confrontation toward the Kremlin could be quite dangerous. Absolute security for one power means absolute insecurity for all others, Kissinger wrote. Realists therefore advocated policies meant to temper American ambition and the most perilous aspects of superpower competition. They supportedand, in Kissingers case, ledarms-control agreements and political negotiations with Moscow. They often objected to Americas costliest interventions in the Third World. Kennan and Morgenthau were among the first mainstream figures to go public with opposition to American involvement in Vietnam (Morgenthau did so in the pages of Commentary in May 1962). During the Cold War, then, realism was a supple, nuanced doctrine. It emphasized the need for balance in American statecraftfor energetic action blended with moderation, for hard-headed power politics linked to a regard for partnerships and values. It recognized that the United States could best mitigate the tragic nature of international relations by engaging with, rather than withdrawing from, an imperfect world. This nuance has now been lost. Academics have applied the label of realism to dangerous and unrealistic policy proposals. More disturbing and consequential still, the distortion of realism seems to be finding a sympathetic hearing in the Trump White House. Consider the state of academic realism. Todays most prominent self-identified realistsStephen Walt, John Mearsheimer, Barry Posen, and Christopher Layneadvocate a thoroughgoing U.S. retrenchment from global affairs. Whereas Cold War realists were willing to see the world as it wasa world that required unequal burden-sharing and an unprecedented, sustained American commitment to preserve international stabilityacademic realists now engage in precisely the wishful thinking that earlier realists deplored. They assume that the international order can essentially regulate itself and that America will not be threatened byand can even profit froma more unsettled world. They thus favor discarding the policies that have proven so successful over the decades in providing a congenial international climate. Why has academic realism gone astray? If the Cold War brokered the marriage between realists and American global engagement, the end of the Cold War precipitated a divorce. Following the fall of the Soviet Union, U.S. policymakers continued to pursue an ambitious global agenda based on preserving and deepening both Americas geopolitical advantage and the liberal international order. For many realists, however, the end of the Cold War removed the extraordinary threatan expansionist USSRthat had led them to support such an agenda in the first place. Academic realists argued that the humanitarian interventions of the 1990s (primarily in the former Yugoslavia) reflected capriciousness rather than a prudent effort to deal with sources of instability. Similarly, they saw key policy initiativesespecially NATO enlargement and the Iraq war of 2003as evidence that Washington was no longer behaving with moderation and was itself becoming a destabilizing force in global affairs. These critiques were overstated, but not wholly without merit. The invasion and occupation of Iraq did prove far costlier than expected, as the academic realists had indeed warned. NATO expansioneven as it successfully promoted stability and liberal reform in Eastern Europedid take a toll on U.S.Russia relations. Having lost policy arguments that they thought they should have won, academic realists decided to throw the baby out with the bathwater, calling for a radical reformulation of Americas broader grand strategy. The realists preferred strategy has various namesoffshore balancing, restraint, etc.but the key components and expectations are consistent. Most academic realists argue that the United States should pare back or eliminate its military alliances and overseas troop deployments, going back onshore only if a hostile power is poised to dominate a key overseas region. They call on Washington to forgo costly nation-building and counterinsurgency missions overseas and to downgrade if not abandon the promotion of democracy and human rights. Academic realists argue that this approach will force local actors in Europe, the Middle East, and East Asia to assume greater responsibility for their own security, and that the United States can manipulatethrough diplomacy, arms sales, and covert actionthe resulting rivalries and conflicts to prevent any single power from dominating a key region and thereby threatening the United States. Should these calculations prove faulty and a hostile power be poised to dominate, Washington can easily swoop in to set things aright, as it did during the world wars. Finally, if even this calculation were to prove faulty, realists argue that America can ride out the danger posed by a regional hegemon because the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and Americas nuclear deterrent provide geopolitical immunity against existential threats. Todays academic realists portray this approach as hard-headed, economical strategy. But in reality, it represents a stark departure from classical American realism. During the Cold War, leading realists placed importance on preserving international stability and heeded the fundamental lesson of World Wars I and IIthat the United States, by dint of its power and geography, was the only actor that could anchor international arrangements. Todays academic realists essentially argue that the United States should dismantle the global architecture that has undergirded the international orderand that Washington can survive and even thrive amid the ensuing disorder. Cold War realists helped erect the pillars of a peaceful and prosperous world. Contemporary academic realists advocate tearing down those pillars and seeing what happens. The answer is nothing good. Contemporary academic realists sit atop a pyramid of faulty assumptions. They assume that one can remove the buttresses of the international system without that system collapsing, and that geopolitical burdens laid down by America will be picked up effectively by others. They assume that the United States does not need the enduring relationships that its alliances have fostered, and that it can obtain any cooperation it needs via purely transactional interactions. They assume that a world in which the United States ceases to promote liberal values will not be a world less congenial to Americas geopolitical interests. They assume that revisionist states will be mollified rather than emboldened by an American withdrawal, and that the transition from U.S. leadership to another global system will not unleash widespread conflict. Finally, they assume that if such upheaval does erupt, the United States can deftly manage and even profit from it, and that America can quickly move to restore stability at a reasonable cost should it become necessary to do so. The founding generation of American realists had learned not to indulge in wishfully thinking that the international order would create or sustain itself, or that the costs of responding to rampant international disorder would be trivial. Todays academic realists, by contrast, would stake everything on a leap into the unknown. For many years, neither Democratic nor Republican policymakers were willing to make such a leap. Now, however, the Trump administration appears inclined to embrace its own version of foreign-policy realism, one that bears many similarities toand contains many of the same liabilities asthe academic variant. One of the least academic presidents in American history may, ironically, be buying into some of the most misguided doctrines of the ivory tower. Any assessment of the Trump administration must remain somewhat provisional, given that Donald Trumps approach to foreign policy is still a work in progress. Yet Trump and his administration have so far taken multiple steps to outline a three-legged-stool vision of foreign policy that they explicitly describe as realist in orientation. Like modern-day academic realism, however, this vision diverges drastically from the earlier tradition of American realism and leads to deeply problematic policy. The first leg is President Trumps oft-stated view of the international environment as an inherently zero-sum arena in which the gains of other countries are Americas losses. The postWorld War II realists, by contrast, believed that the United States could enjoy positive-sum relations with like-minded nations. Indeed, they believed that America could not enjoy economic prosperity and national security unless its major trading partners in Europe and Asia were themselves prosperous and stable. The celebrated Marshall Plan was high-mindedly generous in the sense of addressing urgent humanitarian needs in Europe, yet policymakers very much conceived of it as serving Americas parochial economic and security interests at the same time. President Trump, however, sees a winner and loser in every transaction, and believeswith respect to allies and adversaries alikethat it is the United States who generally gets snookered. The reality at the core of Trumps realism is his stated belief that America is exploited by every nation in the world virtually. This belief aligns closely with the second leg of the Trump worldview: the idea that all foreign policy is explicitly competitive in nature. Whereas the Cold War realists saw a Western community of states, President Trump apparently sees a dog-eat-dog world where America should view every transactioneven with allieson a one-off basis. The world is not a global community but an arena where nations, nongovernmental actors and businesses engage and compete for advantage, wrote National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn in an op-ed. Rather than deny this elemental nature of international affairs, we embrace it. To be sure, Cold War realists were deeply skeptical about one worldism and appeals to a global community. But still they saw the United States and its allies as representing the free world, a community of common purpose forged in the battle against totalitarian enemies. The Trump administration seems to view U.S. partnerships primarily on an ad hoc basis, and it has articulated something akin to a what have you done for me lately approach to allies. The Cold War realistswho understood how hard it was to assemble effective alliances in the first placewould have found this approach odd in the extreme. Finally, there is the third leg of Trumps realism: an embrace of amorality. President Trump has repeatedly argued that issues such as the promotion of human rights and democracy are merely distractions from winning in the international arena and a recipe for squandering scarce resources. On the presidents first overseas trip to the Middle East in May, for instance, he promised not to lecture authoritarian countries on their internal behavior, and he made clear his intent to embrace leaders who back short-term U.S. foreign-policy goals no matter how egregious their violations of basic human rights and political freedoms. Weeks later, on a visit to Poland, the president did speak explicitly about the role that shared values played in the Wests struggle against Communism during the Cold War, and he invoked the hope of every soul to live in freedom. Yet his speech contained only the most cursory reference to Russiathe authoritarian power now undermining democratic governance and security throughout Europe and beyond. Just as significant, Trump failed to mention that Poland itselfuntil a few years ago, a stirring exemplar of successful transition from totalitarianism to democracyis today sliding backwards toward illiberalism (as are other countries within Europe and the broader free world). At first glance, this approach might seem like a modern-day echo of Cold War debates about whether to back authoritarian dictators in the struggle against global Communism. But, as Jeane Kirkpatrick explained in her famous 1979 Commentary essay Dictatorships and Double Standards, and as Kissinger himself frequently argued, Cold War realists saw such tactical alliances of convenience as being in the service of a deeper values-based goal: the preservation of an international environment favoring liberty and democracy against the predations of totalitarianism. Moreover, they understood that Americans would sustain the burdens of global leadership over a prolonged period only if motivated by appeals to their cherished ideals as well as their concrete interests. Trump, for his part, has given only faint and sporadic indications of any appreciation of the traditional role of values in American foreign policy. Put together, these three elements have profound, sometimes radical, implications for Americas approach to a broad range of global issues. Guided by this form of realism, the Trump administration has persistently chastised and alienated long-standing democratic allies in Europe and the Asia-Pacific and moved closer to authoritarians in Saudi Arabia, China, and the Philippines. The presidents body language alone has been striking: Trumps summits have repeatedly showcased conviviality with dictators and quasi-authoritarians and painfully awkward interactions with democratic leaders such as Germanys Angela Merkel. Similarly, Trump has disdained international agreements and institutions that do not deliver immediate, concrete benefits for the United States, even if they are critical to forging international cooperation on key issues or advancing longer-term goods. As Trump has put it, he means to promote the interests of Pittsburgh, not Paris, and he believes that those interests are inherently at odds with each other. To be fair, President Trump and his proxies do view the war on terror as a matter of defending both American security interests and Western civilizations values against the jihadist onslaught. This was a key theme of Trumps major address in Warsaw. Yet the administration has not explained how this civilizational mindset would inform any other aspect of its foreign policywith the possible exception of immigration policyand resorts far more often to the parochial lens of nationalism. The Trump administration seems to be articulating a vision in which America has no lasting friends, little enduring concern with values, and even less interest in cultivating a community of like-minded nations that exists for more than purely deal-making purposes. The administration has often portrayed this as clear-eyed realism, even invoking the founding father of realism, Thucydides, as its intellectual lodestar. This approach does bear some resemblance to classical realism: an unsentimental approach to the world with an emphasis on the competitive aspects of the international environment. And insofar as Trump dresses down American allies, rejects the importance of values, and focuses on transactional partnerships, his version of realism has quite a lot in common with the contemporary academic version. Daniel Drezner of Tufts University has noted the overlap, declaring in a Washington Post column, This is [academic] realisms moment in the foreign policy sun. Randall Schweller of Ohio State University, an avowed academic realist and Trump supporter, has been even more explicit, noting approvingly that Trumps foreign-policy approach essentially falls under the rubric of off-shore balancing as promoted by ivory-tower realists in recent decades. Yet one suspects that the American realists who helped create the postWorld War II order would not feel comfortable with either the academic or Trumpian versions of realism as they exist today. For although both of these approaches purport to be about power and concrete results, both neglect the very things that have allowed the United States to use its power so effectively in the past. Both the academic and Trump versions of realism ignore the fact that U.S. power is most potent when it is wielded in concert with a deeply institutionalized community of like-minded nations. Alliances are less about addition and subtractionthe math of the burden-sharing emphasized by Trump and the academic realistsand more about multiplication, leveraging U.S. power to influence world events at a fraction of the cost of unilateral approaches. The United States would be vastly less powerful and influential in Europe and Central Asia without NATO; it would encounter far greater difficulties in rounding up partners to wage the ongoing war in Afghanistan or defeat the Islamic State; it would find itself fighting alonerather than with some of the worlds most powerful partnersfar more often. Likewise, without its longstanding treaty allies in Asia, the United States would be at an almost insurmountable disadvantage vis–vis revisionist powers in that region, namely China. Both versions of realism also ignore the fact that America has been able to exercise its enormous power with remarkably little global resistance precisely because American leaders, by and large, have paid sufficient regard to the opinions of potential partners. Of course, every administration has sought to put America first, but the pursuit of American self-interest has proved most successful when it enjoys the acquiescence of other states. Likewise, the academic and Trump versions of realism too frequently forget that America draws power by supporting values with universal appeal. This is why every American president from Franklin Roosevelt to Barack Obama has recognized that a more democratic world is likely to be one that is both ideologically and geopolitically more congenial to the United States. Most important, both the academic and Trump versions of realism ignore the fact that the classical postWorld War II realists deliberately sought to overcome the dog-eat-dog world that modern variants take as a given. They did so by facilitating cooperation within the free world, suppressing the security competitions that had previously led to cataclysmic wars, creating the basis for a thriving international economy, and thereby making life a little less nasty, brutish, and short for Americans as well as for vast swaths of the worlds population. If realism is about maximizing power, effectiveness, and security in a competitive global arena, then neither the academic nor the Trump versions of realism merits the name. And if realism is meant to reflect the world as it is, both of these versions are deeply deficient. This is a tragedy. For if ever there were a moment for an informed realism, it would be now, as the strategic horizon darkens and a more competitive international environment reemerges. There is still time for Trump and his team to adapt, and realism can still make a constructive contribution to American policy. But first it must rediscover its rootsand absorb the lessons of the past 70 years. A reformed realism should be built upon seven bedrock insights, which President Trump would do well to embrace. First, American leadership remains essential to restraining global disorder. Todays realists channel the longstanding American hope that there would come a time when the United States could slough off the responsibilities it assumed after World War II and again become a country that relies on its advantageous geography to keep the world at arms length. Yet realism compels an awareness that America is exceptionally suited to the part it has played for nearly four generations. The combination of its power, geographic location, and values has rendered America uniquely capable of providing a degree of global order in a way that is more reassuring than threatening to most of the key actors in the international system. Moreover, given that today the most ambitious and energetic international actors besides the United States are not liberal democracies but aggressive authoritarian powers, an American withdrawal is unlikely to produce multipolar peace. Instead, it is likely to precipitate the upheaval that U.S. engagement and activism have long been meant to avert. As a corollary, realists must also recognize that the United States is unlikely to thrive amid such upheaval; it will probably find that the disorder spreads and ultimately implicates vital American interests, as was twice the case in the first half of the 20th century. Second, true realism recognizes the interdependence of hard and soft power. In a competitive world, there is no substitute for American hard power, and particularly for military muscle. Without guns, there will notover the long termbe butter. But military power, by itself, is an insufficient foundation for American strategy. A crude reliance on coercion will damage American prestige and credibility in the end; hard power works best when deployed in the service of ideas and goals that command widespread international approval. Similarly, military might is most effective when combined with the softer tools of development assistance, foreign aid, and knowledge of foreign societies and cultures. The Trump administration has sought to eviscerate these nonmilitary capabilities and bragged about its hard-power budget; it would do better to understand that a balance between hard and soft power is essential. Third, values are an essential part of American realism. Of course, the United States must not undertake indiscriminate interventions in the name of democracy and human rights. But, fortunately, no serious policymakernot Woodrow Wilson, not Jimmy Carter, not George W. Bushhas ever embraced such a doctrine. What most American leaders have traditionally recognized is that, on balance, U.S. interests will be served and U.S. power will be magnified in a world in which democracy and human rights are respected. Ronald Reagan, now revered for his achievements in improving Americas global position, understood this point and made the selective promotion of democracyprimarily through nonmilitary meansa key part of his foreign policy. While paying due heed to the requirements of prudence and the limits of American power, then, American realists should work to foster a climate in which those values can flourish. Fourth, a reformed realism requires aligning relations with the major powers appropriatelyespecially today, as great-power tensions rise. That means appreciating the value of institutions that have bound the United States to some of the most powerful actors in the international system for decades and thereby given Washington leadership of the worlds dominant geopolitical coalition. It means not taking trustworthy allies for granted or picking fights with them gratuitously. It also means not treating actual adversaries, such as Vladimir Putins Russia, as if they were trustworthy partners (as Trump has often talked of doing) or as if their aggressive behavior were simply a defensive response to American provocations (as many academic realists have done). A realistic approach to American foreign policy begins by seeing great-power relations through clear eyes. Fifth, limits are essential. Academic realists are wrong to suggest that values should be excised from U.S. policy; they are wrong to argue that the United States should pull back dramatically from the world. Yet they are right that good statecraft requires an understanding of limitsparticularly for a country as powerful as the United States, and particularly at a time when the international environment is becoming more contested. The United States cannot right every wrong, fix every problem, or defend every global interest. America can and should, however, shoulder more of the burden than modern academic and Trumpian realists believe. The United States will be effective only if it chooses its battles carefully; it will need to preserve its power for dealing with the most pressing threat to its national interests and the international orderthe resurgence of authoritarian challengeseven if that means taking an economy-of-force approach to other issues. Sixth, realists must recognize that the United States has not created and sustained a global network of alliances, international institutions, and other embedded relationships out of a sense of charity. It has done so because those relationships provide forums through which the United States can exercise power at a bargain-basement price. Embedded relationships have allowed the United States to rally other nations to support American causes from the Korean War to the counter-ISIS campaign, and have reduced the transaction costs of collective action to meet common threats from international terrorism to p.iracy. They have provided institutional megaphones through which the United States can amplify its diplomatic voice and project its influence into key issues and regions around the globe. If these arrangements did not exist, the United States would find itself having to create them, or acting unilaterally at far greater cost. If realism is really about maximizing American power, true realists ought to be enthusiastic about relationships and institutions that serve that purpose. Realists should adopt the approach that every postCold War president has embraced: that the United States will act unilaterally in defense of its interests when it must, but multilaterally with partners whenever it can. Finally, realism requires not throwing away what has worked in the past. One of the most astounding aspects of both contemporary academic realism and the Trumpian variant of that tradition is the cavalier attitude they display toward arrangements and partnerships that have helped produce a veritable golden age of international peace, stability, and liberalism since World War II, and that have made the United States the most influential and effective actor in the globe in the process. Of course, there have been serious and costly conflicts over the past decades, and U.S. policy has always been thoroughly imperfect. But the last 70 years have been remarkably good ones for U.S. interests and the global orderwhether one compares them with the 70 years before the United States adopted its global leadership role, or compares them with the violent disorder that would have emerged if America followed the nostrums peddled today under the realist label. A doctrine that stresses that importance of prudence and discretion, and that was originally conservative in its preoccupation with stability and order, ought not to pursue radical changes in American statecraft or embrace a come what may approach to the world. Rather, such a doctrine ought to recognize that true achievements are enormously difficult to come byand that the most realistic approach to American strategy would thus be to focus on keeping a good thing going.

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August 15, 2017   Posted in: John Mearsheimer  Comments Closed

Jewish professor at Catholic school in Qatar – Intermountain Jewish News

Gary Wasserman, left, with students on the Georgetown campus in Qatar, 2012. WASHINGTON Near the end of his first year teaching American studies at the Georgetown University campus in Qatar, Gary Wasserman introduced a dozen Israelis to a dozen undergraduates from across the Middle East. Then he left the room so the students could have an unfiltered discussion. The one-hour meeting was part of what Wasserman calls his liberal quest to overcome biases grounded, he said, in part by his Jewish upbringing. But the encounter wasnt exactly a success. Afterward, a Lebanese student came to his room, tears in her eyes. An Israeli had asked her during the encounter, You hate us, dont you? Wasserman in his forthcoming book The Doha Experiment, about his gig directing the Georgetown American studies program in Qatar from 2006 to 2014, uses the incident to identify a duality that was typical of his time on campus: the quest for connections outside of ones comfort zone, on the one hand, combined with intense fears of people raised in radically different cultures. We were part of a university that provided a place to think and talk, Wasserman said he told the Lebanese student, who had been trapped at her aunts house during the 2006 Lebanon War. And while this didnt seem like much now, it was really all we had to offer. I felt inadequate and sad. Wassermans initial mission shared by Georgetown and the Qatari government was to bring an American-style free exchange of thought to the deeply traditionalist Gulf state. But that expectation soon tamped down into a more limited one: that young people get a decent education and get along with folks from vastly different political cultures. Theres a liberal, missionary impulse that you are bringing pluralism, globalization and tolerance to a part of the world that needs it, Wasserman, who is now retired, told JTA last week. Within months, Wasserman wrote, his original idealism had abated but then, so had his own fears about being a Jew in Qatar. I began my journey both apprehensive and idealistic, he wrote. I ended it less apprehensive and also less idealistic. About the apprehension: Wasserman, the author of a popular political science textbook who had taught at Columbia and Georgetown, appalled friends and family when he decided to go to Qatar. With the memory of the 9/11 terrorist attacks still fresh, many in his circle questioned the rationality of a Jew moving to what seemed like the belly of the beast at the time. Their pleadings had an effect, and he consulted with a psychologist who happened to be a European Jew about how to deal with his anxieties. His sessions had a surprising denouement. Youre not crazy to be scared, Wasserman quoted the psychologist as saying in their final session. Youre crazy to go. Havent you been watching the news? These people hate Jews. Theyre anti-Semites . . . Stay away from them. Theyll never change. This went on for a while, Wasserman wrote. (He was being paid by the hour.) Nonetheless, in Qatar, Wasserman encountered barely any personal animosity because of his Jewishness. In one poignant passage, he described his concerns after his identity became common knowledge on campus a staffer had let it slip. It was too easy to imagine their unspoken responses: Yknow, hes Jewish. Yeah, I could tell. Or, So thats what those horns are. Or, No wonder he flunked me, Wasserman wrote. I might have overthought this. One student later said to me, after she had graduated, that the only student discussion she recalls about my religion was the worry that I might feel isolated and out of place. Instead, the hostility toward Jews and Israel was expressed in more generalized settings, particularly the conspiracy theories that proliferate in Arab countries. Wasserman said his favorite anecdote in the book is the student who told him that another teacher had said that the Mossad was behind 9/11, and also that 9/11 was not a bad idea. He asked the student how both ideas could coexist in one persons head. The student looked at me for a moment, resigned that yet another nave foreigner failed to appreciate how holding two contradictory opinions at the same time was consistent with the political views permeating the region, Wasserman wrote. Another student, Ella, graduated at the top of the class. Shortly after, Wasserman saw an interview with Ella in a local newspaper in which she was asked for her impressions of the 2012 US election. Her depressing answer, as he put it: It really didnt matter because the Zionists controlled the banks, the media, and both political parties and wouldnt let anything change in America. Perhaps Wassermans most foolhardy quest was to teach the students about how the pro-Israel lobby functioned as a curative to the overly expansive description of its influence in the 2007 book by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, The Israel Lobby. (Disclosure: This reporter and Wasserman collaborated for a period in the late 2000s on a book on the pro-Israel lobby. It found no buyers.) In my lecture, I tried to leave the class with a simple point: the power of the pro-Israel lobby had been inflated by supporters and opponents alike for their own reasons, he wrote. Although clearly a powerful player in foreign policy, AIPAC was only narrowly influential and constrained by other public and political interests. Did the students get the message? Not quite. Later in the book, Wasserman related that he often found that the students bought into myths of Jewish influence but with admiration, not contempt. Wasserman, alongside other faculty on campus, came to accept that they were not the vanguard of progressive values in Qatar. Instead, they set more modest ambitions, such as one-to-one opportunities to lend a hand to those seeking a way out of a society that was stifling, especially to women. He wrote about a student wearing an abaya the robe-like dress worn by some women in parts of the Muslim world entering his office and asking him to write a letter recommending her for graduate studies in England. He was happy to she had good grades but she could not articulate what exactly she wanted to study, making it a challenge for him to tailor the letter to specifics that would help her. I dont really want to go to graduate school, she told him, but if I stay in Doha, my family will make me get married. Going to London for grad school is acceptable to them. For me, it means I can put off getting married and not have to confront my parents. It was encounters like these that left Wasserman hopeful about bridging divides, he told JTA. The problem is you dont want encounters conducted on the basis of Jew and Muslim, Christian and Buddhist, because it isolates one identity and sets up a polarity, he said. Bring Israelis over for a semester, not just an afternoon, he said, so they would have the time to find other commonalities with their Arab and Muslim counterparts. They will share things like a harsh father or questions about devotion or career goals, he said.

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August 4, 2017   Posted in: John Mearsheimer  Comments Closed


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"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Under the 'fair use' rule of copyright law, an author may make limited use of another author's work without asking permission. Fair use is based on the belief that the public is entitled to freely use portions of copyrighted materials for purposes of commentary and criticism. The fair use privilege is perhaps the most significant limitation on a copyright owner's exclusive rights.

Fair use as described at 17 U.S.C. Section 107:

"Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phono-records or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:

  • (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for or nonprofit educational purposes,
  • (2) the nature of the copyrighted work,
  • (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole, and
  • (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work."