Saturday, November 30, 2019

The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities (John Mearsheimer at SOAS)



Realism uber alles, please. Video should start at 34:55, where Mearsheimer tallies up the recent foreign policy and military disasters that the US has blundered into: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, ... The cause? Liberal Hegemony, in his terminology.

Mearsheimer:

The people who developed American foreign policy [in this era] are fools. They're fools...

We have foolishly driven the Russians into the arms of the Chinese [over Ukraine] ...

We wrecked Syria ... the United States played a very important role in trying to topple Assad ... that's hardly ever reported in the media ... a total disaster: the amount of murder and mayhem we've created in Syria and Libya ...
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. Mearsheimer tells us why this has happened.

Speaker
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.

Professor 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 ten different languages; and The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities (2018).

Bonus! Mearsheimer debates Hugh White on US-China competition in Asia.



For years, Australian policymakers have balanced China’s desire for an enhanced regional role with our desire for U.S. protection. However, contrary to the Canberra consensus, there is going to be an intense strategic rivalry between our major trading partner and our major strategic ally.

According to John Mearsheimer, one of America’s leading foreign-policy thinkers, Washington will not let China become the dominant military power in the region without putting up a serious fight. In these circumstances, it’s na├»ve to think that Australia can sit on the sidelines and get the best of both worlds: unconstrained trade with China while keeping the U.S. security umbrella over its head. Canberra must support Uncle Sam.

However, Australia’s future will be dominated by China, says one of Australia’s leading strategic thinkers Hugh White. Treasury forecasts show that the Chinese economy will be about 80 per cent bigger than America’s within a dozen years. In this environment, Canberra must prepare for the new strategic terrain in the wake of America’s declining leadership, and we would be unwise to support Washington in a confrontation with China that America probably cannot win.

John Mearsheimer is professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago and author of The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities (Yale University Press).

Hugh White is professor of Strategic Studies at the Australian National University in Canberra and author of Quarterly Essay “Without America: Australia in the new Asia” (November 2017).

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