stephen wertheim

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Written interviews


The Case for U.S. Restraint in Ukraine and Taiwan


Foreign Policy, August 24, 2022 (interview with Ravi Agrawal)


The direction in which we seem to be heading is on one level a continuation of U.S. global primacy. But on another level, it’s something qualitatively different, where the United States faces real risks of a great-power conflict for the perpetual future.



USA bør trække sig, før oprustningen ender i en kæmpe katastrofe


Politiken, May 21, 2022, 3 (interview with Jacob Pedersen)


Min bekymring er, at mange i Washington, DC, har den forkerte reaktion krigen og konkluderer, at USA skal forblive Vestens ledende militære aktør til at balancere og inddæmme Rusland og Kina. I min verden er krigen en strategisk mulighed for USA til at stoppe sin vane fra tiden efter den kolde krig, hvor man har undertrykt europæiske forsvarsinitiativer, og i stedet omfavne Europas militære opvågning, koncentrere sig om sikkerheden i Asien og sine egne presserende hjemlige behov



Stephen Wertheim: “Estados Unidos tiene que estar dispuesto a levantar sanciones contra Rusia si Ucrania logra un acuerdo de paz


Clarín, March 31, 2022 (interview with Juan Décima)


Creo que es muy riesgoso tener sanciones que se estiren por décadas, con la vaga esperanza de que tal vez impulsen alguna mejora en el comportamiento internacional de Rusia.



The Dangers of a ‘New Cold War’ with Russia


Jewish Currents, March 24, 2022 (interview with David Klion)


if military competition continues to intensify, another danger is that we might start to see a messy economic decoupling from China that dwarfs the one that has suddenly occurred between the West and Russia. Then the world would start to more closely resemble that of the original Cold War, and the risk of armed conflict would probably increase, because the value of bringing new territory under one’s control would rise.



How to Do What’s Right Without Starting World War III


The Ink, March 17, 2022 (interview with Anand Giridharadas)


The West should absolutely not give the impression that the goal of sanctions is to cause regime change in Russia. If Putin believes he might fall, he would become far more willing to use nuclear weapons or launch a conventional war with NATO. During the Cold War, the United States learned that it would be suicidal to make the leaders of a nuclear-armed superpower think they had nothing left to lose. The time to remember that lesson is right now.



Retaliação Russa a Sanções Pode Ampliar o Conflito


O Globo, February 25, 2022, 20 (interview with Eduardo Graça)


Agora, claramente foi um erro jogar com a possibilidade da entrada da Ucrânia na Otan. A política de portas abertas da Otan, uma invencionice recente do ponto de vista histórico, deveria ser abandonada.



Great Powers, High Table


New York Review of Books, February 12, 2022 (interview with Matt Seaton)


The ultimate purpose is to change U.S. foreign policy, not just the debate about it. That will take a generational effort. To me, the real achievement to date has been to lay a foundation, intellectual and institutional, for the long haul.



Strategieexperte zum Ukraine-Konflikt: «Die USA bluffen mit der Verteidigung aller Nato-Verbündeten»


Tages Anzeiger, February 11, 2022 (interview with Fabian Fellman)


Die USA blieben nach dem Kalten Krieg die do minierende Militärmacht in Europa, weil Kosten und Risi ken als gering erschienen und das postsowjetische Russland nicht bedrohlich war. Jetzt verursacht ein selbstbewusste res und aggressiveres Russland für die USA reale Kosten und Risiken.



Le choix de la suprémacie mondiale : du non-interventionnisme aux guerres sans fin, une conversation avec Stephen Wertheim


Le Grand Continent, December 3, 2021 (interview with Louis de Catheu)


Dans les années 1990, les responsables de la politique étrangère et les intellectuels américains avaient perdu le lien avec une tradition plus ancienne combinant le nationalisme américain et l’internationalisme pour conclure que les États-Unis n’avaient pas grand intérêt à projeter leur puissance militaire à l’échelle mondiale et qu’ils ne provoqueraient que des dommages en le faisant.



How the U.S. Decided to Lead the World


Review of Democracy, June 16, 2021 (interview with Ferenc Laczó)


Americans need only look a little into their past to recover insightful warnings against becoming entangled militarily in conflicts. I would be one of the least surprised people in Washington if the United States does end up significantly reducing its military role in the world in the next decade or two. 



Stephen Wertheim: “La OTAN debería haberse disuelto cuando desapareció la Unión Soviética


El Diario, May 29, 2021 (interview with Hernán Garcés)


Desde la Segunda Guerra Mundial los líderes estadounidenses se han dicho a mismos, al país y al mundo, que Estados Unidos era profundamente reacio a tomarse el poder y que si lo hacía era por ser inevitable o debido a la identidad del país. Sin embargo, esa no es en absoluto la realidad si examinas a las personas que decidieron la política militar de supremacía mundial.



Americans, Go Home?


Die Zeit, March 25, 2021, 10 (debate with Franziska Brantner, moderated by Jochen Bittner and Jörg Lau)


I worry that “America is back” means a return to the United States putting its global military dominance at the center of its foreign policy. This quest for dominance divides the world into subordinate allies and permanent adversaries.



Stephen Wertheim: «Amerika sollte die Welt nicht mehr militärisch dominieren»


NZZ am Sonntag, February 7, 2021, 4-5 (interview with Andreas Mink)


Bauen die USA die eigenen Sicherheitsverpflichtungen stetig aus. Der Fachbegriff hierfür lautet: imperiale Überdehnung. Und damit schafft sich Amerika Feinde, statt sich zu schützen.



How Military Superiority Made Americans Less Safe


Vox, December 29, 2020 (interview with Alex Ward)


If America’s postwar planners from World War II — had they been around today or even in the 1990s — they would say, “Wait a minute.” They would’ve realized how fraught it is to take on a world-ordering role by force, akin to what we understood the British Empire had done in the previous century. After all, they worried to themselves that what they were planning contained a measure of imperialism in it.



Plus une volonté de restauration que de réforme


Le Courrier, December 10, 2020 (interview with Alexis Rapin)                  


Ma crainte est que l’administration Biden n’aille pas assez loin et échoue à prioriser l’engagement pacifique plutôt que la domination armée.



American Military Supremacy is Not Inevitable


The Politics of Everything, The New Republic, December 2, 2020 (interview with Laura Marsh and Alex Pareene)


The original argument for U.S. military primacy was premised on the idea that totalitarian powers might conquer much of the world. But once totalitarian conquerors disappeared, U.S. armed dominance came to be, in my view, something like an end unto itself.



When America Decided to Rule the World


The Washington Post, November 2, 2020 (interview with Ishaan Tharoor)


The trouble is that the United States now conflates its vital interests with its power position in the world. In effect, armed dominance has become an end unto itself. As many Americans once recognized, that is an imperialistic cast of mind. It also corrupts strategy.


italian edition



The Myth of American Primacy


The National Interest, October 31, 2020 (by Zach Brown)


The United States has acquired more and more enemies around the world. We’ve seen endless wars across the Greater Middle East. We’ve seen hatreds unleashed by those wars turned inward against immigrants, against political opponents, possibly against democracy itself.



Los problemas actuales de EEUU están muy relacionados con sus guerras interminables


El Confidencial, October 30, 2020 (interview with Carlos Barragán)


Deberíamos ser capaces de separar la batalla contra los nazis en la II Guerra Mundial, incluso de la Guerra Fría si quieres, de un proyecto más general de la dominación estadounidense que se consideró sin ningún objetivo final. Han pasado ya tres décadas desde el colapso de la Unión Soviética y nuestra política exterior está alejada de lo que realmente quieren los votantes estadounidenses. Con sus acciones, EEUU ha hecho menos seguro parte del mundo.



How the U.S. Became the World’s Police


Teen Vogue, October 19, 2020 (interview with Sarah Souli)


The project of American supremacy has corrupted its own original purposes. It was originally instituted in a situation where it seemed like the way to have the freest, most liberal, most engaged world was, tragically, to have the United States enforcing decent terms of world order. Now the U.S. and its use of force seems to stand in the way of free exchange, of decent international rules and norms.



Stephen Wertheim: “No se puede descartar la posibilidad de un conflicto armado entre EE.UU. y China”


Clarín, September 22, 2020 (interview with Juan Décima)


La crisis y la disfuncionalidad que actualmente se ve en EE.UU. se retrotrae en parte a la década del 90 y a una cuestión que nunca se resolvió tras la caída de la Unión Soviética. Básicamente, que a partir de ese momento la fuerza militar de Estados Unidos se convirtió en un obstáculo para la libertad que en un principio decía defender.



Can We Democratize Foreign Policy?


Dissent, December 18, 2019 (interview with Daniel Bessner)


Free-floating intellectuals can speak truth to power. Then what? What will power do with truth? Probably deny it or ignore it. It takes power to beat power, and in today’s United States, it takes institutions to organize power.



Did We Take Trump Too Seriously?


The New York Times, July 26, 2017 (interview with Max Strasser)


We need to take him seriously — especially his administration and supporters. He wouldn’t be president today if he hadn’t tapped into a powerful politics, what I called the “politics of civilization.” In fact, he is dangerous precisely because he makes it hard to take his politics seriously. He inspires a Pavlovian ridicule. But that reflex to ridicule is allowing some people to avoid trying to understand his policies and to avoid developing a real critique of them.



TV/Audio Interviews


The Case for U.S. Restraint in Ukraine and Taiwan


FP Live, August 24, 2022 (interview with Ravi Agrawal)



South Korea’s Vision to Become a Global Pivotal State


Arirang News, June 26, 2022



The Fight in Ukraine is Not Just for Democracy But for Sovereignty


Background Briefing, June 12, 2022 (interview with Ian Masters)



Broader, Longer War?


DW News, April 22, 2022 (interview with Brent Goff)



Wartime Dilemmas


In Time of Monsters, April 6, 2022 (interview with Jeet Heer)



How Will the Next Phase in Russia’s War in Ukraine Look


DW News, March 30, 2022 (interview with Brent Goff)



Lessons Learned


Radio Open Source, March 17, 2022 (discussion with Emma Ashford, David Kang, and Christopher Lydon)



NATO and War in Ukraine


Cato Daily Podcast, Cato Institute, March 17, 2022 (discussion with Caleb O. Brown and Ted Galen Carpenter)



Russian Invasion, Western Response, Historic Significance


Politics + Media 101, March 16, 2022 (interview with Justin Higgins)



A NATO No-Fly Zone in Ukraine Would Be ‘Direct Involvement in the War Against Russia,’ Experts Warn


Democracy Now!, March 16, 2022 (interview with Amy Goodman)



U.S. Hits Russia with New Sanctions


The Mehdi Hasan Show, Peacock, February 22, 2022 (interview with Mehdi Hasan)



Finding A Path to Back Away from Brinkmanship Over Ukraine


Background Briefing, February 6, 2022 (interview with Ian Masters)



Recent Events in Russia and Ukraine


Majority Report, January 21, 2022 (interview with Sam Seder and Emma Vigeland)



The Battle of Ideas over America’s Role in the World


Power Problems, Cato Institute, September 21, 2021 (interview with John Glaser)



Biden’s Foreign Policy of Pragmatism and Realism


Background Briefing, September 9, 2021 (interview with Ian Masters)



9/11’s Legacy on U.S. Foreign Policy


The World Unpacked, September 9, 2021 (interview with Doug Farrar)



9/11, Afghanistan, and Failed Foreign Policy


Reason, September 1, 2021 (interview with Nick Gillespie)



The End of the Indispensable Nation


Opinion Has It, Project Syndicate, August 31, 2021 (interview with Elmira Bayrasli)



As We Approach the Afghanistan Deadline: Looking Back and Looking Ahead


Deep State Radio, August 30, 2021 (discussion with Max Boot, Rosa Brooks, and David Rothkopf)



Senior Policy Fellow Argues Terror Attack Should Not Lead To More War


All Things Considered, NPR, August 27, 2021 (interview with Audie Cornish)



Was U.S. Failure in Afghanistan Inevitable?


The Minefield, ABC Radio National, August 26, 2021 (interview with Waleed Aly and Scott Stephens)



Stephen Wertheim on Recent Events in Afghanistan


In Lieu of Fun, August 20, 2021 (interview with Genevieve DellaFerra and Scott Shapiro)



What Did Trump Do Right?


The Michael Smerconish Program, SiriusXM, August 2, 2021 (interview with Michael Smerconish)



Liberals Should Stop Loving NATO


Majority Report, June 21, 2021 (interview with Sam Seder)



Stephen Wertheim and Sara Moller on the Past, Present and Future of NATO


Lawfare, June 21, 2021 (discussion with Sara Moller and Alan Rozenshtein)



Tomorrow, the World: The Birth of U.S. Global Supremacy


Observer Research Foundation, June 17, 2021 (discussion with Varghese K. George, Chintamani Mahapatra, Nikhila Natarajan, and Meera Shankar)



NATO Ramps Up Rhetoric Against China & Russia. Is Biden Leading the U.S. into a New Cold War?


Democracy Now!, June 15, 2021 (interview with Amy Goodman and Juan González)



Supremacy, Neutrality, Isolationism


Encounters, May 11, 2021 (interview with Jonathan Askonas)



Biden’s Exit from Afghanistan


Majority Report, April 23, 2021 (interview with Sam Seder)



Stephen Wertheim


Serve to Lead, March 19, 2021 (interview with James Strock)



Book Talk: Tomorrow, the World: The Birth of U.S. Global Supremacy


Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies, Columbia University, January 29, 2021 (discussion with Stuart Gottlieb and Robert Jervis)



Stephen Wertheim on America and the World


In Lieu of Fun, December 29, 2020 (interview with Kate Klonick and Benjamin Wittes)



Trump the Dove?


Know Your Enemy, December 26, 2020 (interview with Sam Adler-Bell)



Why America Chose Global Hegemony


Departures, December 23, 2020 (interview with Robert Amsterdam)



Truman Book Talk: ‘Tomorrow, the World’ with Stephen Wertheim


Truman National Security Project, December 8, 2020 (interview with Rachel Rizzo)



Empire in Denial


Radio Open Source, December 3, 2020 (interview with Christopher Lydon)



Why Biden Can’t Go Back to the Foreign Policy Status Quo


Majority Report, December 2, 2020 (interview with Sam Seder and Emma Vigeland)



Tomorrow, The World: The Birth of U.S. Global Supremacy


Cato Daily Podcast, Cato Institute, December 2, 2020 (interview with Caleb O. Brown)



American Military Supremacy is Not Inevitable


The Politics of Everything, The New Republic, December 2, 2020 (interview with Laura Marsh and Alex Pareene)



What Comes After WTF? The Future of American Leadership in the Biden Era


Deep State Radio, November 30, 2020 (discussion with Rosa Brooks, Ed Luce, David Rothkopf, and Kori Schake)



Can the U.S. Restore Its Place on the Global Stage?


The Mehdi Hasan Show, Peacock, November 25, 2020 (interview with Mehdi Hasan)



Joe Biden’s Foreign Policy Team


The Big Picture, SiriusXM, November 25, 2020 (interview with Olivier Knox)



Stephen Wertheim on the Decision to Rule the World


Talk Nation Radio, November 17, 2020 (interview with David Swanson)



The Roots of U.S. Global Hegemony


The Wright Show on, November 17, 2020 (interview with Robert Wright)



The Slander of ‘Isolationism’: How America Became Addicted to Military Intervention and How We Can Get Over It


The Berggruen Institute, November 19, 2020 (interview with Nils Gilman)



Tomorrow, the World: A Book Talk with Stephen Wertheim


The German Marshall Fund, November 17, 2020 (interview with Martin Quencez)



A Whole New World (Order)


War on the Rocks, November 16, 2020 (discussion with Doyle Hodges, Rebecca Lissner, and Mira Rapp-Hooper)     



Tomorrow, the World: A Discussion with Stephen Wertheim and Andrew Bacevich


The Quincy Institute, November 10, 2020 (interview with Andrew Bacevich)



The Origins of U.S. Supremacy


The Empire Has No Clothes, November 2, 2020 (interview with Daniel Larison, Matt Purple, and Kelley Vlahos)



Rethinking American Primacy


Press the Button, October 27, 2020 (interview with Michelle Dover)



Tomorrow, the World


The Lawfare Podcast, October 27, 2020 (interview with Jack Goldsmith)



Stephen Wertheim and Afroditi Giovanopoulou


Digging a Hole: The Legal Theory Podcast, October 27, 2020 (interview with Samuel Moyn and David Schleicher)



Tomorrow: Tomorrow, the World


Foreign Exchanges, October 26, 2020 (interview with Derek Davison)



The Origins of U.S. Military Supremacy and How to End It


Majority Report, October 20, 2020 (interview with Sam Seder)



The End of America’s Forever Wars


New Statesman World, October 16, 2020 (interview with Emily Tamkin and Jeremy Cliffe)



American Supremacy: Stephen Wertheim on the Decision for Military Dominance


None of the Above, October 14, 2020 (interview with Mark Hannah)



The Birth of U.S. Global Supremacy and Whether the Republic Will Survive the Empire


Background Briefing, October 13, 2020 (interview with Ian Masters)



Responsible Statecraft


Future Hindsight, December 6, 2019 (interview with Mila Atmos)



A Statecraft of Peace


The Open Mind, PBS, September 30, 2019 (interview with Alexander Heffner and Trita Parsi)



Challenging the Friends of Endless War


Cato Daily Podcast, Cato Institute, September 11, 2019 (interview with Caleb O. Brown)



Diplomacy and U.S. Foreign Policy


Washington Journal, C-SPAN, July 29, 2019 (interview with John McArdle and viewers)



Quincy and the Blob


Foreign Exchanges, July 26, 2019 (interview with Derek Davison)



Can ‘Radically Anti-War’ Democrats Beat President Donald Trump in 2020?


Morning Joe, MSNBC, July 3, 2019 (interview with Willie Geist and Mark Hannah)



What’s a Little Disastrous Foreign Policy Between Friends?


The Wright Show on, January 18, 2019 (interview with Robert Wright)



The Trump Doctrine and its Mandarin Detractors


The Dig, June 29, 2018 (interview with Daniel Denvir)



Ain’t No Party Like a World Order Party


War on the Rocks, May 14, 2018 (interview with Rebecca Lissner, Mira Rapp-Hooper, and Ryan Evans)



America Was Never Exceptional, but We Used to Think It Was


The Dig, September 19, 2017 (interview with Daniel Denvir)



Panels and Debates


A New Age of Tank Diplomacy?


Sustainability Hub at the Munich Security Conference, BMW Foundation February 19, 2022 (with Nicholas Connolly, Vidar Helgesen, Galyna Mykhailiuk, Orysia Lutsevych)



The Return of Great Power Politics: America in the 21st Century


Norwegian Atlantic Committee, February 7, 2022 (with John Mearsheimer and Asle Toje)



On the Cutting Edge of Realism and Restraint


Advancing Security: Realism, Restraint, and the Future of Foreign Policy, Stand Together, November 3, 2021 (with Emma Ashford, Eugene Gholz, and John Mearsheimer)



Is It Time for a Revolution in U.S. Foreign Policy?, July 15, 2021 (with Thomas Wright)



The First 100 Days: Implications for the Future of U.S. Foreign Policy


Chatham House, April 20, 2021 (with Susan Glasser and Gideon Rachman)



Biden’s First 100 Days: Implications for the Future of U.S. Foreign Policy


WGBH Boston and Suffolk University, March 31, 2021 (with Fiona Hill, Enrique Perret, and Lyric Thompson)



The Foreign Policy of the Biden Administration


Institut français des relations internationales, December 11, 2020 (with Walter Russell Mead, Kristin Diwan, Benjamin Haddad, and Alexander Lennon)



America in the World


Bridging the Gap, December 1, 2020 (with Rebecca Lissner and Mira Rapp-Hooper)



Prospects for Ending America’s Endless Wars


World Affairs Councils of America, November 17, 2020 (with Rachel Esplin Odell and Trita Parsi)



Is China the New Enemy? Confront or Cooperate?


Arena Stage Civil Dialogue, June 22, 2020 (with Elbridge Colby, Rebeccah Heinrichs, and Rachel Esplin Odell)



Come Home, America?


Foreign Affairs issue launch, Council on Foreign Relations, March 9, 2020 (with Kathleen Hicks and Thomas Wright)



Ending Endless Wars


Foreign Policy-Quincy Institute Forum, February 26, 2020 (with Emma Ashford, Rosa Brooks, and Thomas Wright)



How Think Tanks Sustain DC’s Swampy Ecosystem


The American Conservative Foreign Policy Conference, November 7, 2019 (with Ben Freeman, Carrie Levin, and Christopher Preble)



America’s Role in the World: A Debate


Dartmouth College, May 7, 2019 (with Eugene Gholz, Jennifer Lind, Constanze Stelzenmüller, and Jake Sullivan)