The Realist World

In July 2006, I attended an excellent writer’s conference in Chicago, Writers and Editors One-on-One. After it wrapped up, I spent a day interviewing some thinkers in the area for Diamond Weekly. One of them was John Mearsheimer, who was immersed in crafting a response to criticisms of the paper he and Stephen Walt had co-authored, “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.” I was more interested in his perspective on world politics five years after his book The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, which was published just before the September 11th attacks.

Mearsheimer started teaching at Chicago in my first year at the school, but I never took a class with him. His framework for offensive realism is well-developed and it seems clear to me that U.S. foreign policy since World War II hews closely to it. The question is whether we as a nation might be in a better spot in places like the Middle East if we hadn’t. But then, Mearsheimer didn’t put tragedy in his title for nothing.

World Voice: John Mearsheimer

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