Richard Betts on Francis Fukuyama, Samuel Huntington, and John Mearsheimer

Earlier this year, Richard Betts, author of American Force: Dangers, Delusions, and Dilemmas in National Security, wrote a much-discussed article in Foreign Affairs exploring the controversial visions of world politics put forth by Francis Fukuyama, Samuel Huntington, and John Mearsheimer. He discussed the article at the Carnegie Council and below is a video of his talk (you might need to adjust the player by scrolling).

In introducing Richard Betts’s talk, Joanne Myers of the Carnegie Council said,

Although all satisfied the demand for new paradigms, with greater or lesser success, Professor Fukuyama’s rang truest when the Berlin Wall fell, Professor Huntington’s did so after 9/11, and Professor Mearsheimer’s may do so once China’s power is full-grown.

Professor Betts reminds us that theories, however powerful, oftentimes do not always hold up as reliable predictors of particular developments. Still, all three ideas remain beacons, as the issues they flagged and their policy recommendations continue to shape the debate on Capitol Hill today.

As world events are rapidly changing and none of these three visions rings completely true today, perhaps it is time, as our guest writes, “to integrate the most relevant elements of these three approaches into a fourth, one that would penetrate the American political mainstream of today.

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