Stephen M. Walt

presents

The Hell of Good Intentions:
America's Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy

This event includes a book signing

Date

Oct
19
Friday
October 19, 2018
3:00 PM

Location

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Tickets

This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store welcomes acclaimed author STEPHEN M. WALT—the Robert and Renée Belfer professor of international relations at Harvard University—for a discussion of his latest book, The Hell of Good Intentions: America's Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy.

About The Hell of Good Intentions

In 1992, the United States stood at the pinnacle of world power and Americans were confident that a new era of peace and prosperity was at hand. Twenty-five years later, those hopes have been dashed. Relations with Russia and China have soured, the European Union is wobbling, nationalism and populism are on the rise, and the United States is stuck in costly and pointless wars that have squandered trillions of dollars and undermined its influence around the world.

The root of this dismal record, Walt argues, is the American foreign policy establishment’s stubborn commitment to a strategy of “liberal hegemony.” Since the end of the Cold War, Republicans and Democrats alike have tried to use U.S. power to spread democracy, open markets, and other liberal values into every nook and cranny of the planet. This strategy was doomed to fail, but its proponents in the foreign policy elite were never held accountable and kept repeating the same mistakes.

Donald Trump won the presidency promising to end the misguided policies of the foreign policy “Blob” and to pursue a wiser approach. But his erratic and impulsive style of governing, combined with a deeply flawed understanding of world politics, are making a bad situation worse. The best alternative, Walt argues, is a return to the realist strategy of “offshore balancing,” which eschews regime change, nation-building, and other forms of global social engineering. The American people would surely welcome a more restrained foreign policy, one that allowed greater attention to problems here at home. This long-overdue shift will require abandoning the futile quest for liberal hegemony and building a foreign policy establishment with a more realistic view of American power.

Clear-eyed, candid, and elegantly written, Stephen M. Walt’s The Hell of Good Intentions offers both a compelling diagnosis of America’s recent foreign policy follies and a proven formula for renewed success.

Praise

"Between a president bent on ripping up the international liberal order and a foreign policy establishment determined to reestablish ‘liberal hegemony,' Stephen Walt has laid out a real alternative, a foreign policy that rebuilds America at home and promotes peace through restraint and alliance building abroad. It’s a brilliant analysis that will define debate for years to come.” ―Michael Ignatieff, President and Rector, Central European University

“If we are to have a healthy and honest debate about the future of U.S. foreign policy―as increasingly we must―we need more books like The Hell of Good Intentions. Steve Walt has written an engaging and long overdue critique of the widely accepted canon. Regardless of whether you agree with his prescription, this is essential reading for those who care about our role in the world.” ―Paul B. Stares, General John W. Vessey Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations

"This book will wake you up, shake you up, and leave you smarter. Walt takes aim at the bipartisan verities of Washington’s foreign policy establishment, skewering its conformity, self-righteousness, and shared illusions―and offers his own thoughtful prescription for a humbler, wiser and more effective US foreign policy. Members of the US foreign policy establishment won’t like this book. They should read it anyway. The fate of the nation may depend on it." ―Rosa Brooks, Associate Dean for Graduate Programs, Georgetown University Law Center

Stephen M. Walt
Stephen M. Walt

Stephen M. Walt

Stephen M. Walt is the Robert and Renee Belfer Professor of International Affairs at Harvard University. He is the author of The Origins of Alliances; Revolution and War; Taming American Power: The Global Response to U.S. Primacy; and, with John J. Mearsheimer, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. He writes frequently for Foreign Policy.

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

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