New Part Three - December 27:
James Fallows
Walter Russell Mead

Part Two - December 20:
James Fallows
Walter Russell Mead

Part One - December 6:
James Fallows
Walter Russell Mead

Atlantic Unbound | December 27, 2001
fallows@large | Dialogues with James Fallows
From: James Fallows
To: Walter Russell Mead
Subject: The wily champion of the diplomatic world - Part Three

Dear Walter:

Now that's what I call answering a question! In the spirit of holiday goodwill, and with gratitude for all the explanation and explication you've done so far, I'll make this easy. Two quick questions and then we're done. Here they are:

First, to give us an even clearer picture of your four great themes in American foreign policy, can you name the contemporary figure who best exemplifies each of these views? Yes, I know that your book is about ideas and themes, not "mere" personalities. But it is through actual people—a secretary of state, a President, a senator, even an editorialist—that these concepts are expressed and put into effect. Who is today's purest Hamiltonian? Wilsonian? And so on.

And second, I began this discussion saying that your book was "surprisingly" timely, given that it has nothing directly to tell us about al Qaeda or the newly famous Mullah Omar. So here's your chance to tell us something directly. What does your four-part taxonomy reveal about the way America has responded since September 11? What does it say about the way we should have responded—if that is different from what we have actually done? And if word-processing software were advanced to the "what I meant" level—if it let you magically update the contents of your book, even as it sat in readers' homes or on bookshelves—how would you change the themes or emphases of your book if you were revising it right now?

Quick and easy questions for me—conceivably less so on your end. From my end let me close with thanks for your explaining your ideas in this forum, and even more for writing the book. Onlookers take note: if all the readers on your gift list already have their copies of Free Flight, then Special Providence makes the ideal gift. Holiday greetings to you, Walter, and to all others here.

Jim Fallows

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