Jeffrey Sachs – Interview with John Mearsheimer

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Join Professor Jeffrey Sachs and political scientist John Mearsheimer as they discuss Professor Mearsheimer’s latest book, How States Think: The Rationality of Foreign Policy. Hailed as the most influential foreign policy realist of his generation, Mearsheimer and co-author Prof. Sebastian Rosato provide a groundbreaking examination of a central question in international relations: Do states act rationally?

Together, they discuss the book’s core idea: that states are generally rational in their foreign policymaking, in the sense that they use deliberative processes grounded in plausible theories of the world.  Through a fascinating analysis of historical case studies, Mearsheimer and Rosato argue that states think rationally most of the time, though not always with successful outcomes.

Yet. as Sachs and Mearsheimer discuss, sometimes states do indeed act irrationally – as when the US invaded Iraq in 2003.  In their discussion, Professors Sachs and Mearsheimer cover considerable ground, discussing the World Wars, the Cold War, and the War in Ukraine.

The Book Club with Jeffrey Sachs is brought to you by the SDG Academy, the flagship education initiative of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. Learn more and get involved at bookclub with


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