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The New Era of Great Power Competition | John Mearsheimer & Stephen Walt

May 12, 2022

Hidden Forces


In Episode 248 of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with professors of international relations John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt. Professor Mearsheimer is the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago and the author of multiple books including “The Tragedy of Great Power Politics,” “Why Leaders Lie,” and “The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities.” Professor Walt is the Robert and Renee Belfer Professor of International Affairs at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. He is also the author of several books including “Revolution and War,” “Taming American Power: The Global Response to U.S. Primacy,” and most recently “The Hell of Good Intentions.” They both have appeared separately on the podcast before: professor Walt for a conversation on the decline of US primacy and professor Mearsheimer on the power of nationalism in international affairs.

They are also both prominent members of the so-called “realist school” and their views have often run counter to the prevailing orthodoxy in Washington, which one could broadly characterize as interventionist. John Mearsheimer especially has caught flak for his views on Ukraine, which went viral after the recent Russian invasion. Just one of his videos on YouTube alone has been seen over 26 million times. Demetri asks him about that experience, why he thinks his views have resonated so strongly with the public, and if there’s a connection between peoples’ views on Ukraine and their positions on the larger culture wars that seem to be dividing so many of us in Western societies today.

Of course, the conversation veers well beyond Ukraine, which is just the touching off point for a much larger discussion about the future of great power competition, the endurance of the alliance between Russia and China, America’s pivot to Asia and how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could actually make that easier, and what should the goals of American foreign policy be.

You can access the full episode, transcript, and intelligence report to this conversation by going directly to the episode page at and clicking on "premium extras." All subscribers gain access to our premium feed, which can be easily added to your favorite podcast application.

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Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

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Episode Recorded on 05/10/2022