3 Quarks Daily Prize

by Henry Farrell on December 2, 2011

3 Quarks Daily are holding a competition for “best blogpost in politics and the social sciences”:http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2011/11/stephen-m-walt-to-judge-3rd-annual-3qd-politics-social-science-prize.html, with Stephen Walt judging, and a $1,000 prize for the winner. Details below. Feel free to nominate one of our posts if you feel so moved; but feel more free again to nominate posts by less-well known blogs or bloggers, which could do with a bit of attention.

bq. As usual, this is the way it will work: the nominating period is now open, and will end at 11:59 pm EST on December 3, 2011. There will then be a round of voting by our readers which will narrow down the entries to the top twenty semi-finalists. After this, we will take these top twenty voted-for nominees, and the four main editors of 3 Quarks Daily (Abbas Raza, Robin Varghese, Morgan Meis, and Azra Raza) will select six finalists from these, plus they may also add up to three wildcard entries of their own choosing. The three winners will be chosen from these by Professor Walt.



Jawbone 12.03.11 at 12:47 am

If I may be blunt–were I a PR executive, I would advise a (well-run and admirable) Pakistani-heavy blog that aspires to influence in American (and, more broadly, Anglophone) academia to choose someone other than Stephen Walt to be their judge–“optics” can be important.
Just sayin’.


Jawbone 12.03.11 at 1:18 am

To anticipate some obvious objections, note that Pakistani does not equal Muslim–in fact, maltreatment of non-Muslims in Pakistan is a huge problem. Also note that I am casting my comment at the level of “PR executive”–I’m not invoking law or morality, just a practical means-ends rationality guided towards making the blog broadly influential.


LFC 12.03.11 at 3:33 am

@ Jawbone:
I disagree with Walt on some things but he pretty clearly doesn’t support current U.S. policy in Pakistan (e.g. the drone campaign) so I’m not sure exactly what you’re referring to.


Jawbone 12.03.11 at 4:17 am

Oh–well, I mean that picking an anti-Israel guy like Walt is exactly what a broad spectrum of American academics (and, more broadly, Americans) would expect of Pakistani immigrants–so, it is only confirming the stereotype that they don’t fit in the American mainstream (unlike, say, many Indian immigrants, who happily join the foreign-policy mainstream in the US). The Israel Lobby is effective because on most issues it lines up with what most Americans want anyway (when it doesn’t, e.g., Pollard, the Israel Lobby loses).


Jesse 12.03.11 at 7:20 am


I don’t think the editors give a damn about “influence” in the sense you seem to mean i.e. mirror the status quo of American foreign policy in regards to Israel to somehow, in your mind, fit in better. That after all would be a rather stupid and shallow thing to do, which doesn’t describe any of them.


LFC 12.03.11 at 1:38 pm

@ Jawbone
I don’t have time to get into a long debate about this right now, but (1) “anti-Israel” is a rather careless and unfortunate and indeed inaccurate shorthand for Walt’s view (as I understand it); and (2) I disagree with you about the extent to which AIPAC etc. represent “what most Americans want.” I doubt AIPAC represents what most American Jews want, let alone most Americans. However, I admittedly don’t have the data to hand to back that up.

As for 3QD and its supposed quest for influence in academia — though I’m sure it’s a good blog, I almost never read 3QD and I couldn’t care less, frankly, whether it has any influence or not. But your notion that picking Walt to judge a contest for best blogpost is bad PR for 3QD (b/c some of its proprietors were born or raised in Pakistan) strikes me as utterly utterly ludicrous.


Patrick S. O'Donnell 12.03.11 at 2:01 pm

Re: “an anti-Israel guy like Walt”

In addition to agreeing with LFC above…:

As Walt and Mearsheimer remind us, it is often the case in the United States that “anyone who criticizes Israel, questions U.S. support for Israel, or challenges the [Israel] lobby itself” is portrayed as a bigot, anti-Semite, racist, or extremist, in an ugly and thinly veiled effort to “to silence or discredit anyone who questions Israel’s actions or expresses reservations about the merits of unconditional U.S. support for Israel.” Referring to Walt as “anti-Israel” is of a piece with such nonsense. In “Setting the Record Straight: A Response to Critics of the ‘Israeli Lobby,’” in fact address the specific charge, among others, that they are “hostile to Israel.” [notes omitted]

Response: This charge overlooks what we actually wrote. In fact, we emphasized the exact opposite, repeatedly stating that there is a powerful moral case for Israel’s existence. Consider three excerpts from the Harvard Working Paper:

There is a strong moral case for supporting Israel’s existence, but that is not in jeopardy.

There is no question that Jews suffered greatly from the despicable legacy
of anti-Semitism, and that Israel’s creation was an appropriate response to
a long record of crimes. This history, as noted, provides a strong moral
case for supporting Israel’s existence.

Europe’s crimes against the Jews provide a clear moral justification for
Israel’s right to exist.

We also praised Israeli patriotism, organizational ability, and military
prowess, and spoke admiringly of the work of courageous Israeli historians and human rights groups. There should be no doubt that we admire many aspects of Israeli society.

Our paper is critical of certain Israeli policies, however, and especially critical of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. We believe that there is a strong moral case for supporting a Palestinian state and that Israel has long been the principal obstacle to achieving that end. For some readers, our recounting of certain aspects of Israeli policy was undoubtedly painful to read, and may have suggested to them that we bore Israel, its leaders, or its people some degree of ill will. This is not the case. We did not suggest that Israel’s behavior was especially egregious; we suggested only that its past conduct could not justify unconditional U.S. support. Indeed, we noted that Israel “may not have acted worse than many other countries [including the United States], but it clearly has not acted any better.”

We are also critical of the present relationship between the United States
and Israel. We believe it is time for the United States to treat Israel as a normal country. In other words, the United States should support Israeli policies when it is in the American national interest to do so, but not support them when these policies hurt the United States. This is not an “anti-Israel” position either; rather, it conveys our sense that Israel is a legitimate state in the international system and should be treated no differently from other fully-legitimate regimes.

To repeat, we firmly support Israel’s existence, and we tried to make that
position abundantly clear in our original paper. Unfortunately, some of our
critics overlooked or ignored our explicit statements to this effect.

For the paper: http://mearsheimer.uchicago.edu/pdfs/A0043.pdf


Patrick S. O'Donnell 12.03.11 at 2:03 pm

erratum: In “Setting the Record Straight: A Response to Critics of the ‘Israeli Lobby,’” Walt and Mearsheimer in fact….”


rf 12.04.11 at 2:17 am

I was wondering why anyone that had, I presumed, read Taming American Power or the origins of alliances, (or at least his blog at FP), bothered to turn up to “take down” Stephen Walt. Then I saw the phrase “Israel Lobby” and figured where this was going. Have fun kids.


Ranjit Suresh 12.05.11 at 4:13 pm

@an adult 10

Between techno optimists and techno pessimists, who does more harm to human welfare do you suppose?

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