Reading List of Videos and Books by John J. Mearsheimer


John Mearsheimer

John Joseph Mearsheimer (born December 14, 1947) is an American political scientist and international relations scholar, who belongs to the realist school of thought. He is the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago. He has been described as the most influential realist of his generation.[3]

Mearsheimer is best known for developing the theory of offensive realism, which describes the interaction between great powers as being primarily driven by the rational desire to achieve regional hegemony in an anarchic international system. He was a vocal opponent of the Iraq War in 2003 and was almost alone in opposing Ukraine’s decision to give up its nuclear weapons in 1994, predicting that it would invariably face Russian aggression without a nuclear deterrent.

His most controversial views concern alleged influence by interest groups over US government actions in the Middle East which he wrote about in his 2007 book The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. In accordance with his theory, Mearsheimer believes that China’s growing power will likely bring it into conflict with the United States.

Articles and Videos

Debate: Should the U.S. Seek to Contain China?
David Kang vs John Mearsheimer
16 December 2021

David Kang: We should not try to contain China.
John Mearsheimer: We should try to contain China.

Moderator: Kelly Beaucar Vlahos
The Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft

Sponsor: Arta Moeini
The Institute for Peace & Diplomacy:
Challenging the Conventional Rethinking Foreign Policy

FMB: I favor David Kang’s position in this debate.

America, China, and the Tragedy of Great-Power Politics

The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities
SOAS University of London
24 January 2019

Liberal Ideals & International Realities
Henry L. Stimson Lectures on World Affairs
13 November 2017

  1. The Roots of Liberal Hegemony
  2. The False Promise of Liberal Hegemony
  3. The Case For Restraint

The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy
John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt
27 September 2007

The Future of the Liberal International Order
John Ikenberry and John Mearsheimer

What is the liberal international order, how is it being challenged, how might it be maintained? Two renowned scholars of international relations, G. John Ikenberry, Princeton University, author of ‘A World Safe for Democracy: Liberal Internationalism and the Crises of Global Order,’ and John Mearsheimer, University of Chicago, author of ‘The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities,’ recently joined the Center’s Dr. Ed Barrett and midshipman for an engaging and lively exchange.

The Realist Theory of International Relations
Conversations with History Series
John Mearsheimer
November 2002

In this episode of Conversations with History, author and University of Chicago professor John J. Mearsheimer joins UC Berkeley’s Harry Kreisler to discuss the Realist theory of international relations and its implications for understanding the U.S. role in the world, future relations with China, and our response to the terrorist threat.

Domestic Politics and International Relations
Conversations with History Series
Harry Kreisler interviews John Mearsheimer and Steve Walt
26 November 2007

Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s Fault
The Liberal Delusions That Provoked Putin
By John J. Mearsheimer
1 October 2014

Why John Mearsheimer Blames the U.S. for the Crisis in Ukraine
For years, the political scientist has claimed that Putin’s aggression toward Ukraine is caused by Western intervention. Have recent events changed his mind?

Why is Ukraine the West’s Fault?
By John Mearsheimer
25 September 2015 (posted to YouTube on this date)

UnCommon Core:
The Causes and Consequences of the Ukraine Crisis
John J. Mearsheimer
Alumni Weekend
June 4-7, 2015

John J. Mearsheimer, the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor in Political Science and Co-director of the Program on International Security Policy at the University of Chicago, assesses the causes of the present Ukraine crisis, the best way to end it, and its consequences for all of the main actors. A key assumption is that in order to come up with the optimum plan for ending the crisis, it is essential to know what caused the crisis. Regarding the all-important question of causes, the key issue is whether Russia or the West bears primary responsibility.


The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities (2018)
John J. Mearsheimer

Why Leaders Lie: The Truth About Lying in International Politics (2010)
John J. Mearsheimer

Why Leaders Lie

The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (2007)
John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt

The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (2001)
John J. Mearsheimer

The Tragedy of Great Power Politics

The False Promise of International Institutions (1994 article)
John J. Mearsheimer
In a widely cited 1994 article, “The False Promise of International Institutions,” Mearsheimer tackles popular arguments about the ability of institutions to discourage war and promote peace among states.[22] He recognizes that states often find institutions to be useful, but the imperative of relentless security competition under anarchy means that state behavior is primarily a function of the distribution of power in the international system. Institutions, at best, are “merely an intervening variable in the process” (p. 13). Mearsheimer maintains that “institutionalist theories” offered poor alternatives to this grim picture of international politics. In particular, influential neoliberal institutionalist arguments ignore relative-gains concerns as a barrier to cooperation and fail to provide evidence that instances of cooperation, which are commonly attributed to institutions, would not have taken place in their absence. Other theories such as collective security theory and critical theory likewise fell short on logical and empirical grounds.

In a response article,[23] the prominent neoliberal institutionalist scholars Robert Keohane and Lisa Martin acknowledge that seminal institutionalist works tended to neglect the problem of relative gains but maintain that the debate spawned by realist challenges “has made distributional and bargaining issues more salient than they were in early neoliberal thinking” (p. 45). Mearsheimer charges that “a careful look at Keohane and Martin’s response reveals that liberal institutionalism in its latest form is no longer a clear alternative to realism, but has, in fact, been swallowed up by it.”[24]

Conventional Deterrence (1983)
by John J. Mearasheimer

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