John Mearsheimer's Series of Lectures at MGIMO

John Mearsheimer's Series of Lectures at MGIMO

24 October 2016

October 17th-21st, Professor John Mearsheimer, one of the most prominent theorists of International Relations, gave a series of lectures at MGIMO University. The topics of his three talks reflect the variety of his academic interests: the first being dedicated to "offensive realism" and US-China relations, the second to US strategy in the Middle East and the third to relations between the West and Russia.

During his first lecture to students, John Mearsheimer presented the theoretical tenets of offensive realism and analyzed the potential for competition between the US and China. The Professor is indeed famous in the US for his statement that "China cannot rise peacefully." During his speech, he noted that Washington and Beijing, despite their lack of aggressive intentions, would end up competing due to some of the basic underpinnings of offensive realism: uncertainty of intentions of the other party and increase in military capability on both sides.

The second lecture by John Mearsheimer delved into the US strategy in the Middle East over the last few decades and its consequences. The American researcher deems that the US has been unnecessarily active since the beginning of the 1990s and that the policy of "regime change" promoted by the Bush and Obama administrations has undermined stability in the Middle East.

The Professor's third talk at MGIMO described Western countries ideology in the 1990's and 2000's and their intention to expand the Euro-Atlantic structures and to support pro-Western governments. While the expansion of NATO did not have for objective to contain Russia, little thought was given to how Moscow would react to the situation. This reckless policy led to the wars in Georgia and Ukraine. In the current context, John Mearsheimer recommends the neutralization of Ukraine, which may be challenging to implement.

Alongside the lectures, John Mearsheimer took part in a round table with leading MGIMO experts in International Relations and Political Science and held a master class for Master students and faculty members on how to prepare scientific publications. His main recommendations were to formulate a clear thesis and think up alternative explanations to the arguments put forward by your opponents.

John Mearsheimer graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1970 and he received his doctorate at Cornell University in 1980. The Professor has worked, over the years, as a research fellow at the Brookings Institution, as post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University and at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. Since 1982, he has been a member of the Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago, which he headed for many years. John Mearsheimer's publications have had a huge impact on the theory of International Relations and US strategy, earning him wide recognition in the academic community and turning him into one of the most highly cited researchers of the world. Among his most famous works: «Conventional Deterrence» (1983), «The Tragedy of Great Power Politics» (2001), «The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy» (2007), «Why Leaders Lie: The Truth about Lying in International Politics» (2011).

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