Cover image for The great delusion : liberal dreams and international realities
The great delusion : liberal dreams and international realities
Mearsheimer, John J.
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xi, 313 pages ; 24 cm
The Henry L. Stimson lectures series

Henry L. Stimson lectures (Yale University)


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Book 0352033 D860 .M44 2018 Central Campus Library

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A major theoretical statement by a distinguished political scholar explains why a policy of liberal hegemony is doomed to fail

It is widely believed in the West that the United States should spread liberal democracy across the world, foster an open international economy, and build international institutions. The policy of remaking the world in America's image is supposed to protect human rights, promote peace, and make the world safe for democracy. But this is not what has happened. Instead, the United States has become a highly militarized state fighting wars that undermine peace, harm human rights, and threaten liberal values at home.

In this major statement, the renowned international-relations scholar John Mearsheimer argues that liberal hegemony--the foreign policy pursued by the United States since the Cold War ended--is doomed to fail. It makes far more sense, he maintains, for Washington to adopt a more restrained foreign policy based on a sound understanding of how nationalism and realism constrain great powers abroad. The Great Delusion is a lucid and compelling work of the first importance for scholars, policymakers, and everyone interested in the future of American foreign policy.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. vii
1 The Impossible Dreamp. 1
2 Human Nature and Politicsp. 14
3 Political Liberalismp. 45
4 Cracks in the Liberal Edificep. 82
5 Liberalism Goes Abroadp. 120
6 Liberalism as a Source of Troublep. 152
7 Liberal Theories of Peacep. 188
8 The Case for Restraintp. 217
Notesp. 235
Indexp. 299