Saturday, October 6, 2007

Stephen Colbert with John Mearsheimer

Stephen has the co-author of "The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy" on to discuss the book.

This is such a tough subject to breach, and it has taken two of the most preeminent contemporary international relations scholars in the US today to even do so and be taken seriously. Ever since professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt unveiled their 83p working paper back in 2006, and its edited down version as an article in the London Review of Books, they have been assailed by critics, some with merit and others not-so-much to not-at-all. Kudos to Colbert for capturing and even poking fun at those critics blinded by willful ignorance for whatever their reasons/cause may be and for giving Mearsheimer the opportunity to knock down their work's most basic criticism and to help bring this needed discussion another step forward to an even wider audience.

Do I think Mearsheimer and Walt have nailed it on all counts and have all of the answers? Not hardly, but I definitely do agree with the gist of their argument, that as one of the more prominent lobbies in the US, the Israel lobby enjoys no counterbalancing/competing lobby like, for instance, the NRA or the AARP do, and thus are able to uniquely influence lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in ways other lobbies can only wish they could, even to the detriment of both US and Israel's long term interests in some ways.

I only hope M&W's work continues to help us get past the out of hand criticism and brings forward this badly needed debate, and that's really all I have to say thus far. I highly recommend everyone read this book, or at the very least get familiar with their article and the criticism surrounding them both. For anything else I might want to say about it, I leave you with what I consider to be a reasonable short review of their working paper in the form of an Op-Ed from the NYT: "A Lobby, Not a Conspiracy," and then the review of their book which inspired me to even do this post, by Daniel Levy over at TPMCafe: