John Mearsheimer is the Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago and one of the leading foreign policy scholars in America. Here’s what he has to say to you. Also, read his new article, “Death and Destruction in Gaza.”
Dear Antiwar.com Reader,
It is amazing how much war there is in the world today. Not only is there a major conflict raging between Russia and Ukraine, which has been going on for close to two years and shows few signs of ending, but also now there is a deadly war between Hamas and Israel in Gaza. Unsurprisingly, the United States is deeply involved in both conflicts, backing Ukraine and Israel to the hilt, even as the latter wages a bombing campaign that is killing huge numbers of civilians. There is also an ever-present danger that both conflicts will escalate horizontally, bringing more countries into the fight. Then there is East Asia, where China and the United States are engaged in an intense security competition that could easily turn into a shooting war. And if that were to happen, there would be a danger of nuclear weapons being used. Of course, there are further armed conflicts taking place in Africa and other regions of the world. History is back with a vengeance!
In this new world, it is essential to have an open discourse about ongoing wars as well as potential wars. Why? Because unfettered debate maximizes the chances of coming up with smart strategies for either ending wars or preventing them. The key to success is to have well-informed individuals with different perspectives engaging with each other in the marketplace of ideas. In essence, that means the mainstream media must promote, or at least allow, free-wheeling debates and not exclude unpopular views.
One might think that wide-open debate would happen as a matter of course in a liberal democracy like the United States, where freedom of the press and freedom of speech are cherished values. But sadly, that is not the case. There tends to be significant agreement inside the American foreign policy establishment on most issues, and those consensus views dominate the discourse in the mainstream media. It is very difficult for the many individuals who challenge the establishment’s prevailing wisdoms to make their case in elite media outlets.
Thankfully, alternative media platforms have proliferated in recent years, making it possible for critics of US foreign policy to make their voices heard. Indeed, growing numbers of concerned citizens and policy analysts pay as much attention, if not more, to alternative media sites than the mainstream media.
Antiwar.com is one of the most important alternative outlets on the planet. It is an ideal place to find first-rate analysis that challenges the foreign policy orthodoxies of the day. I can assure you that I visit Antiwar.com every day and am invariably rewarded for doing so. That is not to say I agree with everything I read, but that simple fact is one reason it is such a valuable platform. We need a diverse and contentious discourse!
Given the troubled times we live in, coupled with the ruling elite’s penchant for restricting debate, it is imperative for all of us to help maintain a flourishing Antiwar.com. So, please make a generous contribution in this season of giving. Happy holidays to all.
John J. Mearsheimer
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