July 19, 2019

SECWAC Hosts Speaker in Old Lyme Tonight on ‘America’s Foreign Policy Elite, Decline of U.S. Primacy’

Stephen Walt

The Southeast Connecticut World Affairs Council (SECWAC) presents Stephen Walt to speak on “America’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy” at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 25, at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, Ferry Rd., Old Lyme, CT 06371. Members and guests are encouraged to RSVP via online registration, but walk-ins will be accepted.

In 1992, the United States stood at the pinnacle of world power, and Americans were confident that a new era of peace and prosperity was at hand. Twenty-five years later, those hopes have been dashed. Relations with Russia and China have soured, the European Union is wobbling, nationalism and populism are on the rise, and the U.S. is stuck in costly and pointless wars that have undermined its influence around the world.

The root of this dismal record, Stephen Walt argues in his new book “The Hell of Good Intentions” (signed copies of which will be available for sale after the presentation), is the foreign policy establishment’s stubborn commitment to a strategy of “Liberal Hegemony.” Walt argues for a return to the realist strategy of “Offshore Balancing,” which eschews regime change, nation-building, and other forms of global social engineering.

Walt is Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School. He is a contributing editor at Foreign Policy, co-editor of the Cornell Studies in Security Affairs, and was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in May 2005. He received the International Studies Association’s Distinguished Senior Scholar award in 2014.

His writings include The Origins of Alliances (1987), Revolution and War (1996), Taming American Power: The Global Response to U.S. Primacy, and The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (co-authored with John J. Mearsheimer, 2007). His latest book is The Hell of Good Intentions: America’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy (2018).

A reception will begin at 5:30 p.m., with the main event beginning at 6 p.m. The presentation is a part of the SECWAC 2018-2019 Speaker Series. For non-members, tickets ($20) may be purchased at the door; ticket cost can subsequently be applied towards a SECWAC membership. Attendance is free for SECWAC members (and their guests). Pro-rated half-year membership was introduced in February; half-year membership February through June 2019 is $37.50; $12.50 for young professionals under 35; free for area college and high school students.

Immediately following the presentation, attendees have the option for $35 of attending a dinner with the speaker at the Old Lyme Country Club. Dinner reservations are required by the morning of Tuesday, April 23,via pre-registration and making a payment securely online, calling 860-912-5718, or emailing info@secwac.org (vegetarian option available if reserved in advance).

SECWAC is a regional, nonprofit, membership organization affiliated with the World Affairs Councils of America (WACA). The organization dates back to 1999, and has continued to arrange 8-10 Speaker Series meetings annually, between September and June. The meetings range in foreign affairs topics, and are hosted at venues along the I-95 corridor, welcoming members and guests from Stonington to Old Saybrook, and beyond.

SECWAC’s mission is “to foster an understanding of issues of foreign policy and international affairs through study, debate, and educational programming.” It provides a forum for nonpartisan, non-advocacy dialogue between members and speakers, who can be U.S. policy makers, educators, authors, and other experts on foreign relations. Learn more at http://secwac.org.

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