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Posts Tagged ‘Stephen Walt’

For a Realist in international relations (folks who stress structural variables like relative power as the most important causes of outcomes in the international system), Stephen Walt spends a lot of time worrying about how the rest of the world views the United States.  Here is his most recent example: 

I was disappointed when the United States got eliminated in the soccer World Cup, but also relieved. Having the world’s most powerful country eliminate the last team from the host continent would not have endeared the United States to anyone.

The tendency of Realists to get all concerned about the U.S.’s standing abroad has diminished significantly since Bush left the White House.  But it is perplexing why they cared all that much in the first place given their general view of what makes the world go around (which suggests it was actually caused by partisanship/Bush-hatred rather than flowing from a serious, integrated, and theoretically-grounded position).

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University of Chicago political scientist John Mearsheimer argues that the two-state solution is dead and the future of a Jewish Israel in trouble.  Here is his conclusion:

Contrary to the wishes of the Obama administration and most Americans – to include many American Jews – Israel is not going to allow the Palestinians to have a viable state of their own in Gaza and the West Bank.  Regrettably, the two-state solution is now a fantasy.  Instead, those territories will be incorporated into a “Greater Israel,” which will be an apartheid state bearing a marked resemblance to white-ruled South Africa.  Nevertheless, a Jewish apartheid state is not politically viable over the long term.  In the end, it will become a democratic bi-national state, whose politics will be dominated by its Palestinian citizens.  In other words, it will cease being a Jewish state, which will mean the end of the Zionist dream.

As you might guess, this is a pretty controversial piece about a very controversial subject.  David Bernstein responds.  Stephen Walt is not as pessimistic as Mearsheimer.  

To me, the future of the area is bleak as all of the possible outcomes are likely to come with signficant pain to all sides.  Let’s hope a two-state solution can be rescued (and unlike David, I don’t think Palestinian public opinion would be a significant barrier if political elites among the major players thought it was in their interest to make this work).

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