Stephen Walt, Professor for International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School, will give a lecture on his newest book „The Hell of Good Intentions: America’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy“. Professor Walt is one of the most renowned scholars from the realist school of international relations who made important contributions like the „balance of threat“ theory and the theory of „defensive neorealism“.
Similarly to Professor John Mearsheimer (who we just had the honor of hosting), Walt argues in his new book that the American foreign policy establishment’s strategy of „liberal hegemony” is doomed to fail. Actively spreading democracy, open markets and other liberal values lead to soured relations with Russia and China, a faltering European Union, rising nationalism and populism, and multiple costly and pointless wars. According to Walt, the best alternative is to return to a realist strategy of „offshore balancing“, which forgoes attempts to regime change as well as nation building, and focusses on regional partners for balancing against hostile powers.
Thus, Walt’s lecture will seek to address the following questions: Why did U.S. foreign policy, i.e. the strategy of “liberal hegemony”, perform so badly? What are the reasons why U.S. leaders did not learn from their mistakes? And can a strategy of “offshore balancing” be seen as a viable alternative?
Monday, January 14, 2019
*** 12.00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. (c.t.) ***
Lecture Hall IX, Main Building, University of Bonn
Regina-Pacis-Weg 3, 53113 Bonn