Book Talk: The Loom of Time & The Tragic Mind

Robert D. Kaplan is one of the most distinguished of all contemporary US commentators on the present world. Like Hemingway, “he honestly and undauntedly reproduces the genuine features of the hard countenance of the age”. He joined Anatol Lieven of the Quincy Institute to discuss his two most recent books:

The Loom of Time: Between Empire and Anarchy, from the Mediterranean to China (2023) examines the Greater Middle East against the background of history and especially imperial history. It appeals to the US establishment to approach the region in a spirit of Realism, and without the illusions and ungrounded optimism that has often plagued American policy in the past.

The Tragic Mind: Fear, Fate and the Burden of Power (2023) draws on the literature of tragedy to illuminate the harsh choices facing policymakers today; choices that rarely involve a clear-cut opposition of good and evil. More often, governments are faced with a tragic confrontation with the need to choose between rival goods, or greater and lesser evils. They need to feel a deep sense of responsibility for the consequences of their decisions, yet also to recognize that they can never be sure of them in advance.


Robert D. Kaplan

Robert D. Kaplan is the bestselling author of twenty-two books on foreign affairs and travel translated into many languages, including "The Loom of Time", "The Tragic Mind", "Adriatic", "The Good American", "The Revenge of Geography", "Asia’s Cauldron", "The Coming Anarchy", and "Balkan Ghosts". He holds the Robert Strausz-Hupé Chair in Geopolitics at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. For three decades, he reported on foreign affairs for The Atlantic. He was a member of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board and the U. S. Navy's Executive Panel.

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."