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Walter Russell Mead (born 12 June 1952, Columbia, South Carolina) is the Henry A. Kissinger senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations[1] and one of the country's leading students of American foreign policy. Mead's father, Loren Mead, is an Episcopal priest in Washington, D.C., who grew up in several places in the South. Walter received his B.A. in English Literature from Yale University, but never went to graduate school. He is also an honors graduate of Groton School and Yale, where he received prizes for history and debate. In addition to his position at the Council, Mead currently teaches American foreign policy at Yale University. He has been a lifelong Democrat. In 2003 Mead supported the Iraq War.


Mead regularly writes for several journals, magazines and newspapers such as Foreign Affairs, The New Yorker, and Wall Street Journal. He is currently on the staff of Foreign Affairs as a book reviewer and on the editorial board of The American Interest.

Mead wrote a famous quotation in a 1992 article, "But what if it can't? What if the global economy stagnates -- or even shrinks? In that case, we will face a new period of international conflict: South against North, rich against poor. Russia, China, India -- these countries with their billions of people and their nuclear weapons will pose a much greater danger to the world than Germany and Japan did in the 30's." (New Perspectives Quarterly, Summer 1992).

In 2001, Mead published Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How it Changed the World. It won the Lionel Gelber Award for the best book in English on International Relations in 2002. The Italian translation won the Premio Acqui Storia, an annual award for the most important historical book published. Special Providence,"[2] which stemmed from an article originally published in the Winter 1999/2000 issue of The National Interest entitled "The Jacksonian Tradition,"[3] describes the four main guiding philosophies which have influenced the formation of American foreign policy in history: the Hamiltonians, the Wilsonians, the Jeffersonians and the Jacksonians.

In 2003, Mead argued that an Iraq war was preferable to continuing UN sanctions against Iraq, because "Each year of containment is a new Gulf War,"[4] and that "The existence of al Qaeda, and the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, are part of the price the United States has paid to contain Saddam Hussein."[4]

In June 2005, Mead published Power, Terror, Peace and War: America's Grand Strategy in a World at Risk. The New York Times Book Review called him one of the "country's liveliest thinkers about America's role in the world". The book attempts to elaborate on Joseph Nye's "soft power" concept, adding the ideas of "sharp" power, "sticky" power, and "sweet" power, which together work towards "hegemonic power" and "harmonic convergence". (Mead is known for naming movements and intellectual trends, as in Special Providence.)

In October 2007, Mead published God and Gold: Britain, America, and the Making of the Modern World. It is about the Anglo-American tradition of world power (increasingly referred to as the Anglosphere). The New York Times Book Review observed "Mead offers the most eloquent possible defense of the swarm of WASPs that has shaped the world for centuries. But, ultimately, his God and his gold do not glitter."

Mead's writings have also had widespread use among policy debaters, who cite his evidence that talks about the collapse of the global economy and nuclear war. [1]


  1. ^ "Walter Russell Mead - Council on Foreign Relations". Retrieved 2009-06-30.  
  2. ^ "For a critique of the book from the left, see review essay by Joseph NevinsJoseph Nevins".  
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b "Deadlier Than War - Council on Foreign Relations". Retrieved 2009-06-30.  

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