John Mearsheimer

John Mearsheimer

Formal First Name
1947 - present

John Mearsheimer is an international relations theorist and one of the nation's most influential political scientists, who belongs to the realist school of thought. Dr. Mearsheimer is R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago, where he has taught since 1982. He has been one of the most famous critics of American foreign policy since the end of the Cold War, and is best known for developing the theory of offensive realism, which describes the interaction between great powers as being primarily driven by the rational desire to achieve regional hegemony in an anarchic international system. His book "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy" made the New York Times bestseller list and has been translated into 24 languages. He has won several teaching awards and his work is frequently taught to, and read by, twenty-first century students of political science and international relations. A 2017 survey of US international relations faculty ranks him third among "scholars whose work has had the greatest influence on the field of IR in the past 20 years."

Professional Experience

Academic History


  • After graduating from West Point in 1970, he served for five years as an officer in the U.S. Air Force.

  • He was a research fellow at the Brookings Institution and was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs.

  • During the 1998–1999 academic year, he was the Whitney H. Shepardson Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.


  • Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities (2018)

  • Why Leaders Lie: The Truth about Lying in International Politics (2011)

  • The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (2007)

  • The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (2001)

  • Liddell Hart and the Weight of History (1988)

  • Conventional Deterrence (1983)


  • He has written numerous articles and op-eds that have appeared in International Security, London Review of Books, Foreign Affairs, The Financial Times, and The New York Times.

  • He has dealt with topics like Bosnia, nuclear proliferation, American policy towards India, the failure of Arab-Israeli peace efforts, the folly of invading Iraq, and the causes of the Ukrainian crisis.


  • 2020 James Madison Award, American Political Science Association

  • 2003 Elected, American Academy of Arts and Sciences

  • 1985 Quantrell Award for Distinguished Teaching, University of Chicago

  • 1977 Clark Award for Distinguished Teaching, Cornell University

  • Honorary Doctorate, Universities in China, Greece, and Romania