Episode 22: So a Deputy Foreign Minister and an Academic Realist Walk into a Bar…

8 03 2022

In 2014, John Mearsheimer authored a Foreign Affairs article in which he blamed that year’s Ukraine crisis on the U.S., NATO, and the EU. The next year he gave a talk on the subject which the University of Chicago uploaded to YouTube. (That video has received, as of today, close to 18 million views.)

Last week the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs used excerpts from Mearsheimer’s article and talk as part of its efforts to propagandize in favor of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Isaac Chotiner subsequently interviewed Mearsheimer for the New Yorker.

For some reason, Patrick and Dan thought it would be a good thing to record an impromptu podcast on the controversy – and to down more whisky than usual during the process. We’ve managed to cut the discussion down to two hours, but it’s not, shall we say, the most organized episode we’ve done. 

Topics include specific aspects of Mearsheimer’s argument, the importance of skepticism about what government officials tell you, and how academics should present their arguments when engaging in public-facing scholarship. Caveat emptor.

Patrick Thaddeus Jackson is Professor of International Studies in the School of International Service, and also Director of the AU Honors program. He was formerly Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of International Relations and Development, and is currently Series Editor of the University of Michigan Press' book series Configurations: Critical Studies of World Politics.

Daniel H. Nexon is a Professor at Georgetown University, with a joint appointment in the Department of Government and the School of Foreign Service. His academic work focuses on international-relations theory, power politics, empires and hegemony, and international order. He has also written on the relationship between popular culture and world politics.