'The Case for Offshore Balancing'

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    Mearsheimer discusses liberal hegemony and offshore balancing.

Professor John J. Mearsheimer (University of Chicago) presents the conclusions of his latest article published in Foreign Affairs on offshore balancing.

Mearsheimer sets out his case against the practice of liberal hegemony by the US, making the bold statement that Presidents Bush and Obama have acted very similarly when it comes to intervention abroad. He examines the track record of US involvement in places like Iraq, Libya, Egypt and Syria before moving on to explain why 'offshore balancing' would be a superior strategy for the US government to adopt. Mearsheimer argues that by managing conflict from afar, the US can halt the buck passing that is so common in international relations today, free up resources to be spent domestically and curb the spread of terrorism. His argument is tempered by a caveat for conflict with potential world hegemons: while he believes that the US can retreat from Europe and the Gulf, onshore involvement will be increasingly required in China as it poses a strategic threat to the US that will not be tempered independently by Russia.

Discussant and DPhil student Ulrike Franke (DPIR) whose research examines drone warfare questions Mearsheimer on his conceptualization of liberal hegemony, the role of NATO and the Obama administration's legacy. She also raises the relevance of public opinion for his theory's implications.

'The Case for Offshore Balancing' is coauthored with Stephen M. Walt (Harvard Kennedy School) and may be found here: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/united-states/2016-06-13/case-offshore-balancing.

Speakers: John J. Mearsheimer, Duncan Snidal

Professor Duncan Snidal is Professor of International Relations, Fellow of Nuffield College