John J. Mearsheimer: American International Relations Theory: Its Influence at Home and Abroad

Join us for an interesting talk about the influence of American International Relations Theory at home and abroad when Professor John J. Mearsheimer visits the University of Copenhagen. The debate is moderated by Professor Ole Wæver. 

John J. MearsheimerProfessor John J. Mearsheimer is R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago. The talk will explain why international relations theory is essential for understanding the world around us and why policymakers, whether they admit it or not, use theories to formulate and execute policies. The talk will also examine which international relations theories hold the most sway in policymaking circles in the United States and elsewhere, and why they do so. Finally, the talk will assess the relationship between academia, think tanks, and the policy world.

Research in International Relations has been dominated by theories ”made in USA”. Policymakers in Washington listen mostly to experts in think tanks. However, their analyses often echo the dominant theories in academic security studies. What is then the relationship between theory and policy in the US? The so-called ‘realists’ (with Mearsheimer as superstar) are seen by critical scholars as the ‘dominant mainstream’. Simultaneously, however, these realists have been the most influential and consistent critics of most of the major US wars in recent decades, including the Iraq war. Realist theory is even more dominant in the new, rising powers – not least US’s primary rival China. Is this is an American Trojan horse inside China or one more example of China harvesting the best ideas of the West and putting these into production more efficiently that the West? 

The event is in English, and everyone is welcome. There is no need to register, but we recommend that you arrive well in advance. 

The talk is organized in collaboration with the Danish Foreign Policy Society.