Some Falsehoods in John Mearsheimer’s Writings

Eric Zuesse

As will be documented here, the scholarly political commentator John Mearsheimer is an influential writer not because he is reliably truthful, nor because he provides deep insights, but because he challenges Establishment-dogma while using other falsehoods in Establishment-dogma to buttress his case. This simultaneous affirmation-negation, of the lies that are popularly spread by scholars, doesn’t threaten Establishment-dogma by contrasting it against the reality. So, it’s no authentic threat against Establishment-dogma (neoliberalism, neoconservatism, the Washington consensus, etc.). It instead relies upon internal contradictions within Establishment dogma, and therefore it makes its appeals to specific factions within the Establishment — mainly liberal factions. Consequently, Mearsheimer is publishable in solidly Estabishmentarian vehicles, such as the Council on Foreign Relations’s Foreign Affairs. Instead of threatening the Establishment, or authentically challenging it, his writings inoculate it against the real criticisms, which the Establishment won’t and don’t publish, but which they instead ignore and hide from the public, so that ‘both’ ’sides’ of the ‘respectable’ political ‘debate’ stay within the accepted range of ideologically, and financially, enforced unreality, to protect the actually guilty, who are at the top of the power-pyramid: people who are too rich and/or otherwise powerful, to be prosecuted. These ‘issues’ that Mearsheimer writes about are acceptable to be ‘debated’ in mainstream forums, which are funded and controlled by the Establishment — ‘both’ ‘sides’ of it: both by the Democratic Party’s billionaires, and by the Republican Party’s billionaires. This includes both their for-profit, and their ‘charitable’ or ‘non-profit’, entities. In determining policy, Establishmentarian propaganda (from think tanks, and from scholarly institutions, and from popular media) is the most important feedstock producing public opinion; this is what’s bipartisanly acceptable, or ‘non-partisan’ (acceptable for publication by ‘both’ ‘sides’ of the institutionalized lying). These are the issues on which there exists bipartisan unity, at the top level, under all U.S. Presidents (and Congresses, such as, for example, recently, 419 to 3 in the House, and at first 97 to 2 in the Senate and then 98 to 2 there), reflecting the unanimity of all of America’s billionaires (the people who fund the careers of virtually all people who become a U.S. President, or a member of the U.S. Congress — the people whom the U.S. Government actually represents).

This model of a nation’s policymaking culture is by means of using the regime’s media so as to suppress revolution and eliminate debates that could produce authentic democracy. And it is much more effective than were earlier dictatorial models of policymaking culture, which were employed by Hitler and by Stalin, which were by means of outright prohibition of dissent. Dissent is permitted in this model. But its parameters are controlled. This modern-era model of propaganda by the given aristocratically controlled government is, instead of prohibiting dissent, the co-optation of dissent. Dissent is brought into the Establishmentarian fold, so long as dissent doesn’t actually threaten the existent rotting power-structure. Proofs that the U.S. has a rotting power-structure are that it is the only prominent nation whose people’s longevity is declining instead of rising, and also that it is the only nation that has now been scientifically proven to be a dictatorship instead of a democracy. But there are others, too. Plus: the U.S. has the highest percentage of its population in prison of any nation on Earth. Can such a nation decently dictate to others what a “democracy” is, and how to be one — and invade countries for not complying? Hardly. So, this dictatorship is a clearly established fact, though not recognized publicly by the Establishment, which continues to refer to the U.S. Government as being a ‘democracy’, which it now is in merely some formalistic senses. The U.S. regime uses the lie that it is ‘democratic’, so as to pose itself as being an authority that can impose democracy on other countries (such as Iraq, Syria, etc.). To acknowledge that the U.S. is a dictatorship is therefore totally unacceptable to such an authoritarian group. Consequently, any truth that does threaten the existent power-structure there — that exposes its intentional evil (such as invading Iraq, and Syria — nations that never invaded nor threatened to invade the United States) — can still be blocked from publication within the mainstream, and yet the bastions of this evil power-structure can always point to their having accepted and published ‘dissenting’ works (such as Mearsheimer’s), as constituting supposed proofs or affirmations of their own ‘open-mindedness’ and ‘impartiality’. This fake polarity, of liberal and conservative ends of an ideological universe — all of it accepting what is actually aristocratic rule, the American aristocracy’s rule over the entire world — marginalizes authentic reality-based dissent, which instead supports (authentic) democracy. This method of propaganda is much more skillful than was the crude one, which was applied by Joseph Goebbels and by Andrei Zhdanov. It will therefore be exemplified and analyzed here.

Two case-examples from Mearsheimer will now be cited:

The first must be introduced by a documentation of the central fact in its particular case, since this fact is what’s being hidden, and this fact is universally hidden in U.S.-and-allied media:

This key fact of the matter, in the first case to be discussed, is one that no mainsream U.S. ‘news’-medium ever reported to the American people: that U.S. President Barack Obama perpetrated a bloody racist coup in Ukraine in February 2014, which was promptly followed there by ethnic cleansing in order to eliminate enough of Ukraine’s opposition voters so as to be able to sustain the newly installed regime via public elections, and thus to institutionalize Ukraine’s U.S.-installed, actually far-right, dictatorship, which ended Ukraine’s brief democracy. Obama had his Administration begin the planning for this nation-destroying coup by no later than 2011. It’s all documented via the links in my 24 March 2017 article, “What America’s Coup in Ukraine Did”. (An update of that is here.) However, neither the Democratic Party’s billionaires nor the Republican Party’s billionaires allow the word “coup” to be even so much as applied (much less, proven, as I aimed to do there) to describe this event, and they especially prohibit publication of the evidence documenting it to have been a U.S. coup, which was promptly followed by an ethnic cleansing in order to cement it, such as the evidence that was linked-to there demonstrates, and so the lie persists and dominates, that this was no coup, at all, but instead a ‘revolution’ (or, even more ludicrously, a ‘democratic revolution’, though it actually ended Ukraine’s brief democracy). This coup removed Ukraine’s elected President (blatantly illegally, which fact they also ignore, instead of even so much as discuss) and it replaced him by rabidly anti-Russian rulers, who ‘just happen’ to want Ukraine to join America’s anti-Russia military alliance, NATO. (Prior to that ‘revolution’, joining NATO was polled in Ukraine, and was supported by only 25% of the public. But after the U.S. coup and resultant government-propaganda demonizing Russia, that rose to 45%.) The geostrategic reasons why this coup was done are thus ignored or grossly distorted by the American press, because if the public don’t know that  it (a coup) was done, then no one can effectively even raise the question as to why it was done, which question brings in the most damning questions laying bare the unrestrained evil of America’s Establishment. This keeping-ignorant the masses, who tragically trust the billionaires’ mainstream ‘news’-media, is essential, in the modern type of dictatorship, which the U.S. today is (and which its allied nations are therefore required likewise to be). Those are the key facts in this particular case: it was a U.S. coup, and not a coup by “the West.” Although the vassal-nations cooperated with it and hid the fact that it was a coup, the coup itself was run by the U.S. regime.

The September 2014 Foreign Affairs included Mearsheimer’s “Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s Fault”, which said:

According to the prevailing wisdom in the West, the Ukraine crisis can be blamed almost entirely on Russian aggression. … But this account is wrong: the United States and its European allies share most of the responsibility for the crisis. The taproot of the trouble is NATO enlargement. … Since the mid1990s, Russian leaders have adamantly opposed NATO enlargement and in recent years, they have made it clear that they would not stand by while their strategically important neighbor turned into a Western bastion. For Putin, the illegal overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically elected and pro-Russian president—which he rightly labeled a “coup”—was the final straw. He responded by taking Crimea, a peninsula he feared would host a NATO naval base. … The West had been moving into Russia’s backyard and threatening its core strategic interests, a point Putin made emphatically and repeatedly. Elites in the United States and Europe have been blindsided by events only because they subscribe to a flawed view of international politics. They tend to believe that the logic of realism holds little relevance in the twenty-first century and that Europe can be kept whole and free on the basis of such liberal principles as the rule of law. … This grand scheme went awry in Ukraine. The crisis there shows that realpolitik remains relevant—and states that ignore it do so at their own peril. U.S. and European leaders blundered in attempting to turn Ukraine into a Western stronghold on Russia’s border.

In other words: it was a “blunder,” instead of a successful coup; it was simply an error, instead of a careful plan; it was due to a misunderstanding, instead of to outright evil, by the U.S. Government. Furthermore, “Russian aggression” was involved in it; U.S. aggression wasn’t.

Mearsheimer importantly goes on to assert:

As the Cold War came to a close, Soviet leaders preferred that U.S. forces remain in Europe and NATO stay intact, an arrangement they thought would keep a reunited Germany pacified.

However, here’s the fact, the actual history:


“I was there when we told the Russians that we were going to make them a member, we were–observer first and then a member”: Lawrence Wilkerson, 3 October 2014, on The Real News Network, at 18:54 in the interview.

“When I spoke with Baker, he agreed that he told Gorbachev that if the Soviet Union allowed German reunification and membership in NATO, the West would not expand NATO ‘one inch to the east’”: Bill Bradley, 22 August 2009, in Foreign Policy.

“Mr. Kohl chose to echo Mr. Baker, not Mr. Bush. The chancellor assured Mr. Gorbachev, as Mr. Baker had done, that ‘naturally NATO could not expand its territory’ into East Germany. … Crucially, the Gorbachev-Kohl meeting ended with a deal, as opposed to the Gorbachev-Baker session the previous day. … Mr. Kohl and his aides publicized this major concession immediately at a press conference. Then they returned home to begin merging the two Germanys under one currency and economic system”: Mary Elise Sarotte, New York Times, 29 November 2009.

“According to records from Kohl’s office, the chancellor chose to echo Baker, not Bush, since Baker’s softer line was more likely to produce the results that Kohl wanted: permission from Moscow to start reunifying Germany. Kohl thus assured Gorbachev that ‘naturally NATO could not expand its territory to the current territory of [East Germany].’ In parallel talks, Genscher delivered the same message to his Soviet counterpart, Eduard Shevardnadze, saying, ‘for us, it stands firm: NATO will not expand itself to the East.’ … But Kohl’s phrasing would quickly become heresy among the key Western decision-makers. Once Baker got back to Washington, in mid-February 1990, he fell in line with the National Security Council’s view and adopted its position. From then on, members of Bush’s foreign policy team exercised strict message discipline, making no further remarks about NATO holding at the 1989 line. Kohl, too, brought his rhetoric in line with Bush’s, as both U.S. and West German transcripts from the two leaders’ February 24–25 summit at Camp David show. BUSH MADE HIS FEELINGS ABOUT COMPROMISING WITH MOSCOW CLEAR TO KOHL: ‘TO HELL WITH THAT [“NATO holding at the 1989 line”] !’ HE SAID. ‘WE PREVAILED, THEY DIDN’T.’ [In other words: on the night of 24 February 1990, Bush secretly ordered his vassals to continue forward with the intention for the U.S. alliance ultimately to swallow-up not only the rest of the USSR but all of the Warsaw Pact and finally Russia itself.] … In April, Bush spelled out this thinking in a confidential telegram to French President François Mitterrand. … Bush was making it clear to Mitterrand that the dominant security organization in a post–Cold War Europe had to remain NATO — not any kind of pan-European alliance. As it happened, the next month, Gorbachev proposed just such a pan-European arrangement, one in which a united Germany would join both NATO and the Warsaw Pact, thus creating one massive security institution. Gorbachev even raised the idea of having the Soviet Union join NATO. ‘You say that NATO is not directed against us, that it is simply a security structure that is adapting to new realities,’ Gorbachev told Baker in May, according to Soviet records. ‘Therefore, we propose to join NATO.’”: Mary Elise Sarotte, Foreign Affairs, October 2014.

“Sir Rodric Braithwaite GCMG, former British Ambassador to the Soviet Union and Russia, informed us that assurances were given in 1990 by the US (James Baker, US Secretary of State) and Germany (Helmut Kohl, German Chancellor), and in 1991 on behalf of the UK (by the then Prime Minister, John Major, and the British Foreign Secretary, Douglas Hurd) and France (by French President Francois Mitterrand). Sir Rodric Braithwaite said that this ‘factual record has not been successfully challenged in the West’”: The EU and Russia: before and beyond the crisis in Ukraine, 20 February 2015, British House of Lords, paragraph 107.

Mearsheimer does say, of “Soviet leaders,” that “they and their Russian successors did not want NATO to grow any larger and assumed that Western diplomats understood their concerns. The Clinton administration evidently thought otherwise.” However, this statement is false, because Gorbachev (who was, after all, a “Soviet leader”) wanted Russia to become added to NATO. That’s “enlargement,” which is beyond even what has been done — and yet Mearsheimer said “they and their Russian successors did not want NATO to grow any larger.” And it was George Herbert Walker Bush (not “the Clinton administration”) who did instruct America’s stooges, in secret: “To hell with that! We won, they didn’t.” In other words — and secretly, not publicly so that the public would get to know — the Cold War had ended only on Russia’s side, but not also on America’s. And the U.S. regime’s stooges have obeyed.

George Herbert Walker Bush clearly did scheme successfully to sucker “Soviet leaders” into trusting the good will and honesty of U.S. leaders. Gorbachev thought that the Cold War would be over, and that Russia would become a member of NATO and participate in The West’s decisions, as a partner, like Britain and France and Germany, etc., now that Russia no longer had any hostile intentions or basic ideological differences toward America and its allies; but it was all just lies from the U.S. regime. And Mearsheimer hides this reality, just as G.H.W. Bush and his stooges did. That’s the fact. They succeeded. But Mearsheimer said that the question and issue here was instead “that Western diplomats understood their concerns.” Oh, so, let’s bring in the psychologists, maybe? Not bring in any real historians, certainly! (Certainly not Mearsheimer, as a ‘historian’.) The start of the American post-Cold-War continuation of the Cold War on the American side was G.H.W. Bush, on 24 February 1990 — not just  Bill Clinton, years later, ‘blundering’ into bringing former Warsaw Pact members into NATO. It was, instead, all included in the U.S. aristocracy’s plan, which Bush established, and which all U.S. Presidents (and Congresses, such as, recently, 419 to 3 in the House, and at first 97 to 2 in the Senate and then 98 to 2 there) have continued since, and still do continue, to the present day. If this isn’t Establishmentarian, then what is? It’s all based on lies. G.H.W. Bush’s lies to Gorbachev.

Furthermore, Mearsheimer’s “the United States and its European allies share most of the responsibility for the crisis” is a lie in two ways: first, because the EU leadership was kept in the dark about the coup in Ukraine until it happened; and, so, “sharing” the responsibility for it along with the U.S. regime is either entirely inappropriate, or else should be done only on a basis of assigning blame such as 90% U.S. and 10% EU; and, secondly, because the “crisis” that he’s referring to there is “Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s Fault,” and since he’s alleging (or at least suggesting here) that it’s PARTLY also Russia’s fault — which is blatantly a lie. Russia had nothing whatsoever to do with it, except that they were the target  of it. If the Soviets had perpetrated a coup in Mexico, would the U.S. have tolerated that? No — nor should it have done so. It’s aggression. Mearsheimer’s idea here is to blame Russia partly, and not only blame the United States. But he doesn’t actually blame the U.S., at all;  he instead says that “the West” is to blame, and this brings in also the EU. He vaguely suggests that Russia also has a “share” of the blame, though he doesn’t say how, other than vaguely to accuse Russia of “aggression.” But he isn’t even clear on whether he does or doesn’t agree with that: “According to the prevailing wisdom in the West, the Ukraine crisis can be blamed almost entirely on Russian aggression.” He says that something is “wrong” with that view, but isn’t clear precisely what. That’s outright slimy. His statements are consistent with the view: Russia was the target; and, since there can’t be a crime unless there is a victim of it somewhere, the victim is ‘therefore’ partly to blame for it. Oh, and a raped woman thus shares in the blame for having been raped? And a murder-victim should share the blame for having been shot, and not only the murderer? How blatant can a sophist’s deceits be? But there it is, in an Establishment forum. How stupid does a reader have to be, in order to become suckered by such sophistry, or to respect it, at all? And that’s what’s supposed to be top-flight publishable. (And that’s one more lie.)

Another, and very different, example will now be given of Mearsheimer’s duplicity — of the type of duplicity that makes him publishable in prestigious venues such as Foreign Affairs:

Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt headlined on 23 March 2006 excoriating “The Israel Lobby” in the London Review of Books and saying: “Critics are also accused of holding Israel to an unfair standard or questioning its right to exist. But these are bogus charges too. Western critics of Israel hardly ever question its right to exist: they question its behaviour towards the Palestinians, as do Israelis themselves. … The country’s creation was undoubtedly an appropriate response to the long record of crimes against Jews.” So, they affirm the rightness of Israel’s having been created. Then, they published a much longer version in Middle East Policy, Vol. XIII, No. 3, Fall 2006, saying “Europe’s crimes against the Jews provide a strong moral justification for Israel’s right to exist.” However, notwithstanding the bumper-stickers there (Holocausterian, and otherwise), what we have on the Israel-versus-Palestinians issue is yet another Establishmentarian fraud from Mearsheimer.

Even their own two articles acknowledged some of the reality here, and if to “question its right to exist” is “unfair” in regard to Israel, then what does  constitute “fair” reason to question a given nation’s right to exist? Perhaps such things as these:

The creation of Israel in 1947-48 involved acts of ethnic cleansing, including executions, massacres and rapes by Jews, and Israel’s subsequent conduct has often been brutal.

Mearsheimer and Walt acknowledge that. But as if this were merely a part of a “there was evil on both sides” case, they then continued, from there, directly to: “belying any claim to moral superiority” — as if that (an equation of criminality between the Jews who stole land, and of the Arab residents on it from whom this land was stolen) should even be a question here? Though Israel’s Muslims are the victims here, it’s acceptable because the Jews were the victims of Europe’s Christians. What? Really? “Europe’s crimes against the Jews provide a strong moral justification for Israel’s right to exist.” Wow! How stupid does one have to be in order to believe that? The Palestinians had had nothing to do with the Holocaust. Europeans did, and they weren’t even Muslims, at all. Muslims acquired from Christianity whatever anti-Jewish bigotries (such as that ‘the Jews killed Christ’) that they have.

Jews in Palestine/Israel, at the time of Israel’s founding in 1948, went far beyond their rights in the way that they treated Arabs. The day after the Deir Yassin massacre — the massacre of the Arab town of Deir Yassin on 9 April 1948 by Yitzhak Shamir’s Stern Gang and Menachem Begin’s Irgun organization — Albert Einstein sent a letter to the American Friends of the Fighters for the Freedom of Israel, declining their offer to meet with him, by saying: “When a real and final catastrophe should befall us in Palestine the first responsible for it would be the British and the second responsible for it the Terrorist organizations build [sic: built] up from our own ranks [referring here to Stern and Irgun]. I am not willing to see anybody associated with those misled and criminal people.” Later, on December 4th of the same year, the New York Times published a letter dated two days earlier and signed by Einstein and other decent Jewish intellectuals, opposing Begin’s diplomatic visit to the United States, by saying that Begin’s political Party was “closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties. … The terrorists, far from being ashamed of their act [the Deir Yassin massacre], were proud of this massacre, publicized it widely and invited all the foreign correspondents present in the country to view the heaped corpses and the general havoc at Deir Yassin.” This letter explicitly called Menachem Begin a Jewish “Fascist,” and regretted “that a large segment of America supports Fascist elements in Israel.” (The Establishmentarian New York Times excluded that letter from its online archives, and so independent opponents of censorship posted it as “To The Editors of The New York Times” “December 2, 1948”.) Einstein would have been shocked that Israelis subsequently elected Begin and Shamir as Israel’s Prime Ministers. Any country that “democratically” elects, as its Prime Ministers, such fascists, as Shamir and Begin (neither of whom ever apologized for any of this), is to be condemned, not supported (as America does). This is why Einstein was anti-Zionist till the end of his days, and never supported Israel. Alfred Lilienthal’s 1953 What Price Israel? quotes Einstein (p. 130) as having said in 1946 “I have always been against it.” The United States, which has none of the guilt for the Holocaust (except failing to accept its refugees and failing to bomb the extermination-camps), especially has no moral obligation to Israel, and merely besmirches America by funding it. What — America doesn’t have its own needy? This is especially the case because Israel is an enemy of the American nation, and intentionally slaughtered some of our sailors. How corrupt is a Government which accepts that and rewards it with $38 billion in gifts over a ten-year period? Mearsheimer and Walt are correct in condemning that corruption, which is far worse when a reader understands (and they hide this from theirs) that there is no “right to exist” for any apartheid government, neither by a White minority-run Government in South Africa, nor by a Jewish minority-run Government in Palestine. Why isn’t the U.S. applying sanctions against the Israeli Government, instead of donating $3.8 billion per year to it? This treatment by the U.S. regime is outrageous, but these authors — even as they condemn America’s corruptness — hide that degree of the U.S. regime’s outrageousness.

Other 1948 massacres of Palestinian (Muslim) civilians by Israelis (Jews) included Duwayma, Saliha, Safsaf, Abu Shusha, and Lydda. The comprehensive and meticulously documented website concerning all such matters is “Palestine Information With Provenance”, operated by University College, Cork, Ireland.

There is no moral equivalency between Israel’s ruling Jews and any Palestinians, no more than that there was between any Nazis in Europe, and Jews in Europe, or between the slaves and slavemasters in pre-bellum U.S. south. Today’s Jews in Israel are the heirs of Hitler’s nazis, in and of all European countries — all of which European atrocities were Christian-run, none were Muslim-run, though the Muslims in Palestine get blamed by the U.S. regime, as if the Holocaust had been done by Muslims instead of by Christians. And there are a few good Jews in today’s Israel, just as there were a few good Germans in Hitler’s Germany, but the regime is chiefly to blame, in both cases — as happened (this blame) at Nuremberg, but nothing similar yet regarding Israel and the people who had populated that land as free persons but have since been enserfed or expelled from it and many of them locked into that open-air prison called Gaza, under the guns of Jews. Hitler would be having a belly-laugh, if he knew about this.

Some leading Muslims respond to the Israeli regime’s lying Holocaust-excuse for its being, by their adopting Christian anti-Semitic lies, commonly called “Holocaust-denial,” such as when the PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas stupidly wrote “It seems that the interest of the Zionist movement, however, is to inflate this figure [of Holocaust deaths] so that their gains will be greater. This led them to emphasize this figure [six million] in order to gain the solidarity of international public opinion with Zionism.” He adopted highly debatable (if not dubious) anti-Jewish Christian bigots’ distortions and outright deceits in order to serve Muslims, when the Holocaust wasn’t even a Muslim crime, but instead a Christian one, and therefore it had nothing to do with locating a Jewish refuge in any Muslim-majority land. Christian-majority nations did the Holocaust (however many millions of victims it had) and were morally obliged to rectify it to the victims and their families, but refused to do that (except that only the German public were, via taxes, and some of the leaders were, via hangings), and instead they thrust the rectification onto Muslims, who hadn’t even been responsible for it, at all. People such as Begin and Shamir were simply Jewish nazis, and many Muslims respond to that by adopting (as did Abbas) Christian nazi allegations. The involvement, and responses, by every ethnicity, have been contemptible.

The Holocaust, after all, though treated by sophists as having been ‘justification’ for Israel’s barbarisms against Palestinians and all the rest of ‘Israel’s right to exist’, was a crime carrying out the will of the Christian Austrian and German Adolf Hitler, and which was executed by his Christians in those and other European countries (many nationalities, but virtually no Muslims among them); and yet the nazi Benjamin Netanyahu still tries to blame it on Palestinians and other Muslims (instead of on Hitler), and this Jewish nazi (i.e., Jewish racist-fascist) Netanyahu gets applauded in the U.S. Congress.

Exposing this Israeli bigotry and lie — and the Christian cause of the Holocaust — is not what the U.S. Establishment wants to do. But they’ll publish how corrupt the system is. To do that is allowed, and Mearsheimer is one of the many who do that, gently, while doing violence to the historical facts.

To see how the propagandists that are funded by America’s billionaires peddle Mearsheimer to the broader public, see Robert D. Kaplan’s 7,000-word  “Why John J. Mearsheimer Is Right (About Some Things)”, in the January 2012 The Atlantic (a Democratic Party neoconservative magazine, for liberal Americans who think they’re intelligent).


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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