Historian Walter Russell Mead explains how the battle between Israel and Hamas connects to changing global forces that affect every American.
I am getting so tired of this moral equivalence when citing the "Extreme Right" and the "Far Left." Can you tell me one college campus in the United States where Jewish students are being told to hide and cower so they won't be attacked by white extremists? Neither can I. Can you name one college campus in the United States where Jewish students are being told to hide and cower so they won't be attacked by Leftists? More than one.
Can you name one member of Congress who talks about hating all Palestinians? No Can you name one member of Congress who hates all Israelis? Me too.
Can you name one multi-million dollar right-wing group that is lauded in the mainstream press hat calls for hatred and violence? How about one multi-million dollar left-wing group that is lauded in the press and calls for hatred and violence?
Can we stop pretending like the threat on both sides of the aisle is equal? Very disappointing.
Fantastic piece. The people in my very liberal corner of the world have spent the last twenty years attacking American democracy at every turn, deriding the very idea of American values as naive or even corrupt. It's illuminating to understand the link between that fashionable nihilism and the antisemitism I'm seeing in my peers now.
Most of the anti-semites in this country are not losers, they are often privileged, connected, affluent and believe the future is theirs, and DEMOCRATS. And "far right"? What even is that. In the past week there have been dozens of attacks and harassment carried out by thousands across this country that dawrf some bozos with tiki torches.
Brilliant interview, Bari. One of your best and one of the most important. As Walter notes, both of the previous World Wars were preceded by a huge spike in anti-Semitism. Both were preceded by increasing calls for isolationism - it’s their problem, we should stay out of it, don’t get involved. Today it’s the same sentiment with another mantra - “ No more forever wars”, work on our own domestic needs.
There are many big differences between then and now however. The most important being that, in the past, the fighting, destruction, and loss of life took place somewhere else. We suffered no massive destruction and loss of civilian life. We had strong borders and strong allies to our north and south. There was a strong sense of shared patriotism and belief in American exceptionalism. The reality is that none of those things exist today. We have not had a Southern border for three years. Over that time over 200 individuals on the Terror Watch List have been caught with estimates that an equal number have not been caught and are free in America. Our military has moved from being focused on being the most lethal fighting force in the world to one embracing trendy goals of Social Justice and “equality.” Our industrial base was such that we were able to mobilize and quickly produce the armaments necessary to overcome our enemies. That capability no longer exists as we have “off-shored” critical elements of our economy.
If another World War breaks out America and Americans will, for the first time in our history, experience it’s horrors first hand. As to whether we’re up to it is anybody’s guess.
As an American Jew, one question comes to my mind over and over: Why didn’t every Israeli slaughtered on October 7th have an AR-15?
Excellent in all aspects - keep it up FP!
I think Mead is a reasonable guy for an academic, but I wish that he'd stop feeling the need to appease the far left by including the "far right" as an equivalency.
I realize that this is a very sensitive point given the attack on Bari's childhood synagogue, but the "far right" (white supremacists) are small in number and marginalized in this country. The far-left runs the media, BigTech, schools from K through university and increasingly the government bureaucracies.
Even in actual violence, if you consider black attackers as "far left" then the violence against Jews nationwide by the far left exceeds that against Jews by the far right. It's just that protected "victims" don't get called out on the hate.
I find it interesting that the same people who wailed for a cease fire against Hamas before the bodies of tortured Israeli children and mothers were even cold, call us "Putin stooges" for asking why a negotiated truce in Ukraine - to stop year and one-half long killing and destruction on all sides - is not a laudable goal.
As we are seeing, the antisemites in America are losers, people too stupid and evil to properly appreciate or participate in a pluralistic democracy. So of course they advocate terror and violence, because like thugs throughout history they have no legitimate path to power.
They are the new Brownshirts, and we should treat them as such.
I am puzzled about the West's reluctance to afford Israel the degree of justification that the Allies used to crush the Nazis and Japanese militarists in WW II. In that war, there was no public outcry about the pulverization and incineration of German and Japanese cities and the consequential civilian casualties. Not all Germans were Nazis and not all Japanese were militarists, but the Allied leaders and general populations agreed it was necessary to eliminate the evils posed by those fanatical regimes and that civilian losses were the acceptable outcomes of defeating them. Today, Israel is fighting for its very survival against terrorist regimes willing to commit unthinkable atrocities on innocents, and the voices of the Western intellectuals demand that Israel play nice. What a bunch of hypocrites.
"Are We Tipping into a New World War?"
So much for the foolish Francis Fukuyama's "end of history" thesis. Time to wake up. There are - and always will be - dark forces that hate America and its people. And, sadly, many of those voices not only prosper in our nation but are leading its major institutions. Including, most insanely, the Senile Imbecile who sits in the Oval Office and fulminates against his own people as extremists and white nationalists.
I had just read some of this thesis in Mr. Mead's latest WSJ column. As someone who also values the ideals of the American experiment, I'm disappointed by the emphasis on both-sidesism rather than what I suspect is much more to blame: chaotic, out-of-control immigration. The men who codified the ideals of the American experiment were doing so within a homogenous culture, but today the foreign-born population is near historic proportions. A massive, chaotic, and illegal rush of immigrants is bound to undermine social cohesion, and this effect must be more potent in a time that pushes "multiculturalism" rather than the melting pot model. This shouldn't be a controversial point, but rather an objective observation of a social phenomenon. I hope we're not headed for another world war; we can't even settle on one national anthem at our public events.
The simple fact of the matter is that Joe Biden has been hired by a variety of people to complete the degradation of America that Barack Obama began. This group is certainly supported by leftwing academics who hate and bite the hand that feeds them at every opportunity--who attack this country every chance they get, but who would not want to live anywhere else--but is presumably funded by our political enemies, like China and Iran, and people who just want to rule the world and find American democracy to be a troubling impediment.
People say "American First" is a terrible thing. But is America Second better? What the eff SHOULD we vote in those who make decision on our behalf for, BUT to speak to the interests of people here legally? If I take care of me, and you take care of you, do we not both win? Of course. Of course.
“It felt to me that right around 2014, about the time when Putin went into Ukraine the first time, we started shifting into a pre-war era”
And until the mainstream media and politicians Honestly detail WHY Putin invaded Ukraine, and the American LIES and duplicity that precipitated that invasion, it feels to me right NOW that that the pre-war era is ending, and a real war, that extends way beyond Gaza, is about to commence.
All of what we are seeing now was rather predictable, it's not necessary to be a geopolitical expert to put the equation together. After the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991 we went from a bipolar superpower world to a single superpower one - which was impossible to sustain. The world cannot be controlled that way. You need two to tango, with all the appellate satellites following. So what we have now is the evolution to the multipower world, with one superpower (descending in the views of some) and competitive others ascending for regional prowess. And we have seen this before, the years prior to WW1. But that does not mean that a wide war needs to be repeated. I don't expect it will. History does serve us.