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National Security Speaker Series
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John Mearsheimer
"The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities"
Thursday, October 04, 2018, 03:30pm - 05:00pm
Mershon Center for International Security Studies
1501 Neil Ave.
Columbus, Ohio 43201

John Mearsheimer

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John J. Mearsheimer is the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago, where he has taught since 1982. He graduated from West Point in 1970 and then served five years as an officer in the U.S. Air Force. He then started graduate school in political science at Cornell University in 1975. He received his Ph.D. in 1980. He spent the 1979-1980 academic year as a research fellow at the Brookings Institution, and was a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs from 1980 to 1982. During the 1998-1999 academic year, he was the Whitney H. Shepardson Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

Mearsheimer has written extensively about security issues and international politics more generally. He has published six books: Conventional Deterrence (1983), which won the Edgar S. Furniss Jr. Book Award; Liddell Hart and the Weight of History (1988); The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (2001, 2014), which won the Joseph Lepgold Book Prize and has been translated into eight different languages; The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (with Stephen M. Walt, 2007), which made the New York Times best seller list and has been translated into twenty-two different languages; Why Leaders Lie: The Truth about Lying in International Politics (2011), which has been translated into 10 different languages; and The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities (2018).

He has also written many articles that have appeared in academic journals like International Security, and popular magazines like Foreign Affairs and London Review of Books. Furthermore he has written a number of op-ed pieces for The New York Times and Los Angeles Times dealing with topics like Bosnia, nuclear proliferation, American policy towards India, the failure of Arab-Israeli peace efforts, the folly of invading Iraq, and the causes of the Ukrainian crisis.

Finally, Mearsheimer has won a number of teaching awards. He received the Clark Award for Distinguished Teaching when he was a graduate student at Cornell in 1977, and he won the Quantrell Award for Distinguished Teaching at the University of Chicago in 1985. In addition, he was selected as a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar for the 1993-1994 academic year. In that capacity, he gave a series of talks at eight colleges and universities. In 2003, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Abstract

It is widely believed in the West that the United States should spread liberal democracy across the world, foster an open international economy, and build institutions. This policy of remaking the world in America’s image is supposed to protect human rights, promote peace, and make the world safe for democracy. But this is not what has happened. Instead, the United States has ended up as a highly militarized state fighting wars that undermine peace, harm human rights, and threaten liberal values at home.

In his new book, The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities, John Mearsheimer explains why liberal hegemony, the foreign policy pursued by the United States since the Cold War ended, was doomed to fail. It makes far more sense, he maintains, for Washington to adopt a more restrained foreign policy based on a sound understanding of how nationalism and realism constrain great powers abroad.

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