Walter Russell Mead

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Mead at Chatham House in 2012

Walter Russell Mead (born 12 June 1952, Columbia, South Carolina) is James Clarke Chace Professor of Foreign Affairs and Humanities at Bard College and Editor-at-Large of The American Interest magazine. Until 2010, Mead was the Henry A. Kissinger Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations.[1] He is a co-founder of the New America Foundation, a think tank that has been described, oxymoronically, as radical centrist in orientation.[2]

Mead's father, Loren Mead, is an Episcopal priest in Washington, D.C., who grew up in several places in the South. Mead received his B.A. in English Literature from Yale University. He is an honors graduate of Groton School and Yale, where he received prizes for history and debate. In addition to his position at Bard, Mead currently teaches American foreign policy at Yale University.

Mead is a Democrat, and has said he voted for Barack Obama in the 2008 Presidential Election.[3] In 2003, Mead supported the Iraq War.[4]

Writings[edit]

Mead writes a daily blog, Via Meadia, on the website of the journal American Interest. Via media is a Latin phrase meaning "the middle road" and is a philosophical maxim for life which advocates moderation in all thoughts and actions. In frequent posts throughout the day, he writes about two primary areas. The first is America’s foreign policy and how it is working, or not working, in various situations throughout the world. The second area is America’s domestic state of affairs and in particular the decline of what he terms the “Blue Social Model” of governing that grew out of America’s preeminence following World War II.

Mead regularly writes for several journals, magazines and newspapers such as Foreign Affairs,[5] The New Yorker,[6] The Washington Post,[4] and The Wall Street Journal.[7] He is currently on the staff of Foreign Affairs as a book reviewer and on the editorial board of The American Interest.[8][9]

In 2001, Mead published Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How it Changed the World. It won the Lionel Gelber Award for the best book in English on International Relations in 2002. The Italian translation won the Premio Acqui Storia, an annual award for the most important historical book published. Special Providence,[10] which stemmed from an article originally published in the Winter 1999/2000 issue of The National Interest entitled "The Jacksonian Tradition",[11] describes the four main guiding philosophies which have influenced the formation of American foreign policy in history: the Hamiltonians, the Wilsonians, the Jeffersonians and the Jacksonians. The leftist New Left Review praised the book as a 'robust celebration of Jacksonianism as it historically was ... an admiring portrait of a tough, xenophobic folk community, ruthless to outsiders or deserters, rigid in its codes of honour and violence'.[12] Not all critics praised the book, however. "Despite the hype surrounding the book, it ultimately challenges little," geographer Joseph Nevins wrote. "To the contrary, it reinforces the tired notion of U.S. exceptionalism. Thus, he [Mead] paints U.S. deployment of violence as inherently less brutal than that of Washington’s enemies. In doing so, he sometimes grossly understates the human devastation wrought by the United States."[13]

In 2003, Mead argued that an Iraq war was preferable to continuing UN sanctions against Iraq, because "Each year of containment is a new Gulf War",[4] and that "The existence of al Qaeda, and the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, are part of the price the United States has paid to contain Saddam Hussein."[4]

In June 2005, Mead published Power, Terror, Peace and War: America's Grand Strategy in a World at Risk. The New York Times Book Review called him one of the "country's liveliest thinkers about America's role in the world". The book attempts to elaborate on Joseph Nye's "soft power" concept, adding the ideas of "sharp" power, "sticky" power, and "sweet" power, which together work towards "hegemonic power" and "harmonic convergence". (Mead is known for naming movements and intellectual trends, as in Special Providence.[citation needed])

In October 2007, Mead published God and Gold: Britain, America, and the Making of the Modern World about the Anglo-American tradition of world power. The Economist,[14] The Financial Times[15] and The Washington Post[16] all listed God and Gold as one of the best non-fiction books of its year.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Walter Russell Mead - Council on Foreign Relations (Archived)". CFR.org. Archived from the original on 2008-07-31. Retrieved 2010-12-08. 
  2. ^ Morin, Richard; Deane, Claudia (10 December 2001). "Big Thinker. Ted Halstead’s New America Foundation Has It All: Money, Brains and Buzz". The Washington Post, Style section, p. 1.
  3. ^ "Walter Russell Mead Discusses U.S. Foreign Policy at the U.S. Embassy Berlin". http://germany.usembassy.gov/. Retrieved 2010-06-30. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Deadlier Than War - Council on Foreign Relations". Cfr.org. Retrieved 2009-06-30. 
  5. ^ "God's Country?". Foreign Affairs. 2006-09-01. Retrieved 2010-05-25. 
  6. ^ Mead, Walter Russell (2009-01-07). "Mutually Assured Stupidity". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2010-05-25. 
  7. ^ "Why We're in the Gulf". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2010-05-25. [dead link]
  8. ^ "Walter Russell Mead". Foreign Affairs. 
  9. ^ "The American Interest Masthead". The American Interest. 
  10. ^ Nevins, Joseph (December 2003). "Imperialism Book Reviews". Z Magazine. 
  11. ^ Mead, Walter Russell (December 1, 1999). "The Jacksonian Tradition". The National Interest (New York) (58, Winter 1999/2000). ISSN 0884-9382. OCLC 12532731. Archived from the original on May 5, 2009. Retrieved March 31, 2011. 
  12. ^ Mertes, Tom. "Whitewashing Jackson". New Left Review (42,). 
  13. ^ "Review essay by Joseph Nevins". Retrieved 2010-12-22. 
  14. ^ "Books of the Year 2007". The Economist. 2007-12-06. Retrieved 2010-07-25. 
  15. ^ "The Best Books of 2007". Retrieved 2010-07-25. 
  16. ^ "Best Books of 2008". Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-07-25. 

External links[edit]

Articles