The Council on Foreign Relations’ Walter Russell Mead On Iran and George Soros
As I noted below, hours two and three of today’s show will be an interview I taped yesterday with Walter Russell Mead, the Henry Kissinger Scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations.
His new book is God and Gold: Britain, America, and the Making of the Modern World. I taped tghe interview yesterday, and the transcript will be posted here after the program airs, and the audio will be here later tonight. Two excerpts that may surprise CFR-bashers:
HH: Does the United States and its Western allies allow Iran to “go critical,” or do they bomb it if necessary?
WRM: I think we have to continue on the path we’re on with Iran, which is to tighten the screws, build the strongest possible international coalition, and should we reach a point where we have to make a choice between a nuclear Iran or some kind of military action, then I think it’s pretty clear that a military action is where we’d have to go.
HH: We’ll come back to that, because religion figures prominently throughout this book, and why Britain and America have so dominated the last three hundred years with an aside to the Dutch. Look, before we go forward, there are a lot of people in the acknowledgements, a lot of people. I always love to read acknowledgements, many of whom have been guests on this program. But one name stands out. Can you guess which one it is?
WRM: Eliana Johnson?
HH: George Soros.
WRM: George Soros, okay.
HH: Now does he support you financially?
WRM: No, I don’t get any money from George, which is probably one reason that we get along as well as we do.
HH: Okay, do you…how do you assess him? For my audience, that’s going to be a big, red flag, and that’s why I wanted to put it out there first.
WRM: Right. Well, what it is, is that George is a member of the Council, and so we’ve met at a couple of Council events. And he’s invited me to spend some time, he’s got a very nice summer place out on Long Island, and he’s been nice enough to invite me out for some weekends, and we’ve had dinner together a few times. And we argue about things, and we spar. And George has a very lively mind. And we don’t agree on a lot of things, but we enjoy arguing with each other.
HH: What do you make of my analogy? I think he’s the Marcus Crassus of our time. If this is the late Roman republic of the American republic period, he’s Crassus. What do you make of MoveOn.org and his other expenditures? Are they good for the country?
WRM: You know, I haven’t followed everything that MoveOn.org does. I wish that…you know, part of this book is to try to say to George that the open society, which is a very important concept for him, and he gets his from Karl Popper. I’m trying to show him that if you really look closely at what Karl Popper did, and where it comes from, Henri Bergson, religion and even traditional forms of religion are actually a part of the open society. And I’m trying to persuade George not, and I have to say with a lot of success, that what he needs to do is to go take another look at historically how the open society developed, and what the real values are that underwrite it.
Be sure to listen, and read the whole thing.