In an odd confluence, the mail brought two related items today.
One was an announcement from the Council on American-Islamic Relations that it will host a panel on August 28 on "The Israel Lobby and the U.S. Response to the War in Lebanon" at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., starring John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, co-authors of "The Israel Lobby" study.
The other was the September/October issue of Foreign Affairs, flagship publication of the Council on Foreign Relations, a pillar of the establishment. The review section contains a rave by Middle East reviewer L. Carl Brown of that same study: "The hardheaded analysis that Mearsheimer and Walt so cogently present cries out for careful consideration. It just might set in motion a useful paradigm shift in the United States' Middle East policy."
Comments: (1) Carl Brown is an intelligent man with some original and important work to his credit; in a 1996 review of one of his books, I praised him as "the Middle East's historian with the widest vision." What impaired his judgment, what brought him down so low?
(2) How unpleasant to see the Council on Foreign Relations – of which I am a member – in agreement here with CAIR, an organization described in a recent court case as "a terrorist supporting front organization that is partially funded by terrorists, and that CAIR wishes nothing more than the implementation of Sharia law in America." But then, the CFR's public reaction to Mearsheimer/Walt fits its terrible record on Middle East affairs, as revealed in the fall 2005 Middle East Quarterly, "The Council on Foreign Relations Does the Middle East." (August 18, 2006)
Sep. 20, 2006 update: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was today received with honor and dignity at the Council on Foreign Relations. I join with Senator Rick Santorum in denouncing this act of courtesy, even if there was strenuous disagreement at the meeting itself.
Sep. 21, 2006 update: To make matters worse, Lionel Beehner, "a staff writer for the Council on Foreign Relations' website," has an article today in USA Today calling for a televised Ahmadinejad-Bush debate. I am beginning to wonder what I am doing, paying dues to an organization that endorses Mearsheimer/Walt and legitimates Ahmadinejad.