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Episode 93
Featuring Stephen Walt
Demetri Kofinas speaks with Professor of International Affairs Stephen Walt, about the dismal record of America’s foreign policy elite, how their decisions have accelerated a decline in US primacy, and what can be done to arrest this development.

In this week’s episode of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with Harvard University's Professor of International Affairs Stephen Walt, about the arch of American foreign policy and the decline of U.S. primacy. 

 

The conversation begins by addressing the major arguments made by America’s foreign policy elite in favor of US engagement and American military leadership abroad. Before the end of World War II, there was no foreign policy “community” in the United States, as there was in the United Kingdom or France. The US was still largely an isolationist country, and the expectation was that it would return to isolation after the allies signed the Paris Peace Treaties in 1947, just as it had after the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. Though demobilization started in earnest shortly after the conclusion of the war, the process was arrested soon after it began as the allies came to realize that the Soviet Union presented an altogether new type of threat to Western countries. In 1946, George Kennan, the American charge d’affaires in Moscow, sent what would become arguably the most important telegram in American foreign policy history, rivaled only by that dispatched on behalf of Arthur Zimmermann in 1917: an 8,000-word telegram to the Department of State detailing his views on the Soviet Union and U.S. policy toward the communist state. Known as “The Long Telegram” or “The Sources of Soviet Conduct,” George Kennan’s analysis provided one of the most influential underpinnings for what became America’s Cold War policy of containment. With the Soviet Union's detonation of its first Atomic weapon on August 29th, 1949, the Cold War was off to the races. 

 

If the Cold War began with a bang, it ended with a whimper. Forty years after the Soviet’s tested their first atom bomb, the Berlin Wall was torn down by Eastern Europeans and Russians tired of living under totalitarian communism. And yet, rather than demobilize or ramp down America’s military presence abroad, the United States doubled down on it. In the thirty years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the United States has invaded, occupied, bombed, and sanctioned more countries than almost any American can find on a map. Why this aggression? What are the assumptions that underlie American foreign policy? What has been the arch of international relations since the end of World War 2 and is there a better way forward? These are just some of the questions Stephen Walt and Demetri address in this phenomenal, seventy-minute episode on the past and future of American foreign policy. 

 

As always, subscribers to our Hidden Forces Patreon page can access the Overtime to this week's episode, which includes a discussion about Trump’s foreign policy and how the populist forces unleashed by his election in 2016 are shaping the field of Democratic candidates in 2020. You can access all of our subscription content by supporting the podcast at http://patreon.com/hiddenforces 

 

Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

Subscribe & Support the Podcast at http://patreon.com/hiddenforces

Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @hiddenforcespod

Play
Episode 72
Featuring Senator Bob Kerrey
Episode 72
Featuring Senator Bob Kerrey
Play
Episode 43
Featuring Elizabeth C. Economy
Episode 43
Featuring Elizabeth C. Economy

Stephen Walt (born July 2, 1955) is the Robert and Renee Belfer Professor of International Affairs at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. He previously taught at Princeton and at the University of Chicago, where he served as Master of the Social Science Collegiate Division and Deputy Dean of Social Sciences. He has been a Resident Associate of the Carnegie Endowment for Peace and a Guest Scholar at the Brookings Institution, and he has also served as a consultant for the Institute of Defense Analyses, the Center for Naval Analyses, and the National Defense University. He presently serves on the editorial boards of Foreign Policy, Security Studies, International Relations, and Journal of Cold War Studies, and he also serves as Co-Editor of the Cornell Studies in Security Affairs, published by Cornell University Press. Additionally, he was elected as a Fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in May 2005.

 

Professor Walt is the author of The Origins of Alliances (1987), which received the 1988 Edgar S. Furniss National Security Book Award. He is also the author of Revolution and War (1996), Taming American Power: The Global Response to U.S. Primacy (2005), The Israel Lobby (2007), and most recently The Hell of Good Intentions (2018).

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Morbi interdum mollis sapien. Sed ac risus. Phasellus lacinia, magna a ullamcorper laoreet, lectus arcu pulvinar risus, vitae facilisis libero dolor a purus. Sed vel lacus. Mauris nibh felis, adipiscing varius, adipiscing in, lacinia vel, tellus. Suspendisse ac urna. Etiam pellentesque mauris ut lectus. Nunc tellus ante, mattis eget, gravida vitae, ultricies ac, leo. Integer leo pede, ornare a, lacinia eu, vulputate vel, nisl.

Suspendisse mauris. Fusce accumsan mollis eros. Pellentesque a diam sit amet mi ullamcorper vehicula. Integer adipiscing risus a sem. Nullam quis massa sit amet nibh viverra malesuada. Nunc sem lacus, accumsan quis, faucibus non, congue vel, arcu. Ut scelerisque hendrerit tellus. Integer sagittis. Vivamus a mauris eget arcu gravida tristique. Nunc iaculis mi in ante. Vivamus imperdiet nibh feugiat est.

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Sed egestas, ante et vulputate volutpat, eros pede semper est, vitae luctus metus libero eu augue. Morbi purus libero, faucibus adipiscing, commodo quis, gravida id, est. Sed lectus. Praesent elementum hendrerit tortor. Sed semper lorem at felis. Vestibulum volutpat, lacus a ultrices sagittis, mi neque euismod dui, eu pulvinar nunc sapien ornare nisl. Phasellus pede arcu, dapibus eu, fermentum et, dapibus sed, urna.

Morbi interdum mollis sapien. Sed ac risus. Phasellus lacinia, magna a ullamcorper laoreet, lectus arcu pulvinar risus, vitae facilisis libero dolor a purus. Sed vel lacus. Mauris nibh felis, adipiscing varius, adipiscing in, lacinia vel, tellus. Suspendisse ac urna. Etiam pellentesque mauris ut lectus. Nunc tellus ante, mattis eget, gravida vitae, ultricies ac, leo. Integer leo pede, ornare a, lacinia eu, vulputate vel, nisl.

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