Walter Russell Mead is James Clarke Chace Professor of Foreign Affairs and Humanities at Bard College, and Editor-at-Large of The American Interest. Mead, the son of an Episcopal priest, was educated at Groton, which he calls “Pundit High”, and Yale, where he still teaches International Security Studies. From 2003 until 2010 Mead was the Henry A. Kissinger Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. His books include Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How it Changed the World (2001), and God and Gold: Britain, America, and the Making of the Modern World (2007).
Mead is also the author of an energetic and well-written blog, Via Meadia, in which he discusses a broad range of foreign and domestic issues. In a recent essay Mead says that his motivation for this blog is “a sense that the world is moving faster than our thought about the world,” a point he also makes in Global Weirding Coming at Us All. Mead describes himself as a Democrat who voted for Obama in 2008. But he often argues against orthodox liberal positions. For instance, he criticizes what he calls “the blue social model” in Beyond the Big City Blues and Why Blue Can’t Save the Inner Cities Part I and Part II. He supports school choice, and he lacerates the green movement in such essays as More Green Madness on the Plains. There is a distinctive religious sensibility in his writing, perhaps best illustrated in He Plants His Footsteps on the Sea: Faith Matters.
I find Mead’s blog refreshing, and appreciate his attempt to move beyond the ideological conformity of the academy. His advice to first year college students is given in Back to School.