John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt discuss The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.
What is at the heart of the special relationship between the United States and the state of Israel? Does Israel truly represent a strategic U.S. asset in the Middle East? Are the two nations really partners in the same "War on Terror", with the same threats up against them, and the same interests at stake?
Professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt had become well-known authorities in our understanding of contemporary international relations theory, security, and policy long before their collaboration on The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. Atlantic Monthly approached the pair in the fall of 2002 to research the depth of influence of the pro-Israel lobby on U.S. policy. By the time they returned with the results of their research, the magazine's editor had decided not to go ahead with the piece, and was not even interested in a revision. At the prompting of an American academic peer, they decided to submit the article to the London Review of Books where it was finally published in March of 2006.
Mearsheimer and Walt argue that if there ever truly were significant strategic (i.e. balance of power considerations during the Cold War) and/or moral (i.e. common Judeo-Christian and democratic values) grounds to justify the unique level of American support afforded the Jewish state, they have long been exhausted. Has this unwavering support made Israel a liability in U.S. foreign policy? And, does this special relationship threaten, rather than enhance, American security in the Middle East, in the world, and at home?- World Affairs Council of Oregon
John J. Mearsheimer
John J. Mearsheimer is the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science and the co-director of the Program on International Security Policy at the University of Chicago, where he has taught since 1982. He graduated from West Point in 1970 and then served five years as an officer in the U.S. Air Force. He then started graduate school in political science at Cornell University in 1975. He received his Ph.D. in 1980. He spent the 1979-1980 academic year as a research fellow at the Brookings Institution, and was a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs from 1980 to 1982. During the 1998-1999 academic year, he was the Whitney H. Shepardson Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, and in 2003 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Professor Mearsheimer has written extensively about security issues and international politics more generally. He has published three books: Conventional Deterrence (1983), which won the Edgar S. Furniss, Jr., Book Award, Liddell Hart and the Weight of History (1988); and The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (2001), which won the Joseph Lepgold Book Prize. He has also written many articles that have appeared in academic journals like International Security, and popular magazines like The Atlantic Monthly.
Furthermore he has written a number of op-ed pieces for The New York Times dealing with topics like Bosnia, nuclear proliferation, American policy towards India, and the failure of Arab-Israeli peace efforts.
Finally, Professor Mearsheimer has won a number of teaching awards. He received the Clark Award for Distinguished Teaching when he was a graduate student at Cornell in 1977, and he won the Quantrell Award for Distinguished Teaching at the University of Chicago in 1985. In addition, he was selected as a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar for the 1993-1994 academic year. In that capacity, he gave a series of talks at eight colleges and universities.
Stephen M. Walt
Stephen M. Walt is Academic Dean at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where he holds the Robert and Renee Belfer Professorship in International Affairs. He previously taught at Princeton University and the University of Chicago, where he served as Master of the Social Science Collegiate Division and Deputy Dean of Social Sciences.
He has been a Resident Associate of the Carnegie Endowment for Peace and a Guest Scholar at the Brookings Institution, and a consultant for the Institute of Defense Analyses, the Center for Naval Analyses, and the National Defense University. He serves on the editorial boards of Foreign Policy, Security Studies, International Relations, and Journal of Cold War Studies, and as Co-Editor of the Cornell Studies in Security Affairs, published by Cornell University Press. He was elected a Fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in May 2005.