Blue Hill Public Library – Howard Room : Saturday January 11, 2020 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
This talk is given in conjunction with the colloquy Rethinking American Foreign Policy facilitated by University of Maine professor and Thomas Remington colleague, Seth Singleton.
This Saturday evening talk is free and open to the public.
Throughout our history as an independent nation, idealists have contended with realists over the direction of American foreign policy. Idealists have sought to make the world “safe for democracy” and to spread the values of individual freedom, democratic self-rule, human rights and the rule of law throughout the world. Idealists have championed global institutions from the League of Nations through the United Nations and sought to use American power to uphold the principles of freedom of ideas and of commerce. Meantime realists from George Washington and John Quincy Adams through George Kennan and Henry Kissinger have warned against going abroad “in search of monsters to destroy” and the temptation to succumb to over-ambitious plans to rebuild whole nations.
The debate rages to this day, especially in the wake of the enormous human and material cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. What are today’s realists saying? Does realism mean sacrificing American principles and values, or are there better ways to balance our goals and our resources?
Thomas F. Remington is Visiting Professor of Government at Harvard University. He is Goodrich C. White Professor (Emeritus) of Political Science at Emory University and a Senior Research Associate of the International Center for the Study of Institutions and Development of the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, Russia. He is author of a number of books and articles on Russian and postcommunist politics. Among his publications are Presidential Decrees in Russia: A Comparative Perspective (Cambridge University Press, 2014) and The Politics of Inequality in Russia (Cambridge University Press, 2011). He teaches and does research on the politics of economic inequality in the United States, Russia and China.