Book Talk: How States Think: The Rationality of Foreign Policy

It has become a familiar trope of Western writing on current affairs to accuse opponents of the West of “irrationality” or even insanity. In domestic debates on US foreign policy, it is also common to see policies of which the commentator disapproves described as irrational. The result all too often is to limit debate on the real issues and interests involved. To discuss this issue and make the case for the basic rationality of most state foreign and security policies, Anatol Lieven was be joined by Professor John Mearsheimer, renowned scholar of international relations and author, with Sebastian Rosato, of the groundbreaking How States Think: The Rationality of Foreign Policy (Yale University Press 2023).


John Mearsheimer

John J. Mearsheimer is a Non-Resident Fellow at the Quincy Institute and 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 (1970), has a PhD in political science from Cornell University (1981), and has written extensively about security issues and international politics. Among his six books, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (2001, 2014) won the Joseph Lepgold Book Prize, and The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (with Stephen M. Walt, 2007), made the New York Times bestseller list and has been translated into twenty-four languages.

Anatol Lieven

Dr. Anatol Lieven directs the Eurasia Program at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. He was formerly a professor at Georgetown University in Qatar and in the War Studies Department of King’s College London. From 1985 to 1998, Lieven worked as a journalist in South Asia, the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe and covered the wars in Afghanistan, Chechnya and the southern Caucasus. Lieven is the author of several books, including "Chechnya: Tombstone of Russian Power?" and "Ukraine and Russia: A Fraternal Rivalry."