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May 12, 2022

Russia-Ukraine War

Be it resolved, ending the world’s worst geopolitical crisis in a generation starts with acknowledging Russia’s security interests.

Pro
John Mearsheimer
Stephen Walt
Con
Michael McFaul
Radosław Sikorski

Be it resolved, ending the world’s worst geopolitical crisis in a generation starts with acknowledging Russia’s security interests.

By any measure, the Russian invasion of Ukraine represents a profound security risk for the world. It raises fundamental issues about the basic principles that underwrite the current international order and it threatens the specter of an entrenched, high-risk Great Power conflict. How is this fast-evolving crisis best addressed? Does it demand a resolute and relentless push by the West to punish, isolate and degrade Putin’s Russia economically, politically and militarily? Or is a solution to be found in acknowledging Russia’s security needs and finding ways to mutually de-escalate the war, sooner not later? Which of these different strategies stand the best chance of success? And how ultimately is this conflict best resolved?

Janice Gross Stein, the Founding Director of the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy at the University of Toronto, will moderate the panel discussion portion of the debate.

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The proceeds of all ticket sales will be donated to the Canadian Red Cross’ Ukraine Relief Fund.

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Vote Results

Pro
Con

Pre-debate

53%

47%

Post-debate

37%

63%

Con wins with a 34% vote gain.

The Debaters

Janice Stein

Debate Moderator

Janice Stein

Debate Moderator

Janice Gross Stein is the Belzberg Professor of Conflict Management in the Department of Political Science and was the Founding Director of the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy at the University of Toronto (serving from 1998 to the end of 2014). She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a member of the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario. Her most recent publications include Networks of Knowledge: Innovation in International Learning (2000); The Cult of Efficiency (2001); and Street Protests and Fantasy Parks (2001). She is a contributor to Canada by Picasso (2006) and the co-author of The Unexpected War: Canada in Kandahar (2007). She was the Massey Lecturer in 2001 and a Trudeau Fellow. She was awarded the Molson Prize by the Canada Council for an outstanding contribution by a social scientist to public debate. She is an Honorary Foreign Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She has been awarded Honorary Doctorate of Laws by the University of Alberta, the University of Cape Breton, McMaster University, and Hebrew University.

Stephen Walt

"The great tragedy is this entire affair was avoidable...had the United States and its European allies not succumbed to hubris, wishful thinking, and liberal idealism..."

Stephen Walt

"The great tragedy is this entire affair was avoidable...had the United States and its European allies not succumbed to hubris, wishful thinking, and liberal idealism..."

Stephen M. Walt is the Robert and Renee Belfer Professor of International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School. He previously taught at Princeton University and the University of Chicago, where he served as Master of the Social Science Collegiate Division and Deputy Dean of Social Sciences. He has been a Resident Associate of the Carnegie Endowment for Peace and a Guest Scholar at the Brookings Institution, and he has also served as a consultant for the Institute of Defense Analyses, the Center for Naval Analyses, and the National Defense University. He presently serves on the editorial boards of Foreign Policy, Security Studies, International Relations, and Journal of Cold War Studies, and he also serves as Co-Editor of the Cornell Studies in Security Affairs, published by Cornell University Press. Additionally, he was elected as a Fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in May 2005.

His book The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (co-authored with John J. Mearsheimer) was a New York Times best seller and has been translated into more than twenty foreign languages. His most recent book is The Hell of Good Intentions: America’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy.

John Mearsheimer

"If there had been no decision to move NATO eastward to include Ukraine, Crimea and the Donbass would be part of Ukraine today, and there would be no war."

John Mearsheimer

"If there had been no decision to move NATO eastward to include Ukraine, Crimea and the Donbass would be part of Ukraine today, and there would be no war."

John J. Mearsheimer is the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago, where he has taught since 1982. He graduated from West Point (1970), has a PhD in political science from Cornell University (1981), and has written extensively about security issues and international politics. Among his six books, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (2001, 2014) won the Joseph Lepgold Book Prize; and The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (with Stephen M. Walt, 2007), made the New York Times bestseller list and has been translated into twenty-four languages. His latest book is The Great Delusion: Liberal Ideals and International Realities (2018), which won the 2019 Best Book of the Year Award from the Valdai Discussion Conference, Moscow.  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. In 2003, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 2020, he won the James Madison Award, which is given once every three years by the American Political Science Association to “an American political scientist who has made a distinguished scholarly contribution to political science.”

Michael McFaul

"The primary threat to Putin and his autocratic regime is democracy, not NATO."

Michael McFaul

"The primary threat to Putin and his autocratic regime is democracy, not NATO."

Michael McFaul is the Ken Olivier and Angela Nomellini Professor of International Studies in Political Science, Director and Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and the Peter and Helen Bing Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, all at Stanford University. He was also the Distinguished Mingde Faculty Fellow at the Stanford Center at Peking University from June to August of 2015. He joined the Stanford faculty in 1995. He is also an analyst for NBC News and a contributing columnist to The Washington Post.

McFaul served for five years in the Obama administration, first as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Russian and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council at the White House (2009-2012), and then as U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation (2012-2014). He has authored several books, most recently the New York Times bestseller,  “From Cold War to Hot Peace: An American Ambassador in Putin’s Russia.”  Earlier books include Advancing Democracy Abroad: Why We Should, How We Can; Power and Purpose: American Policy toward Russia after the Cold War (with James Goldgeier); and Russia’s Unfinished Revolution: Political Change from Gorbachev to Putin. His current research interests include American foreign policy, great power relations between China, Russia, and the United States, and the relationship between democracy and development.

Radosław Sikorski

"Losing an empire is not a nice thing...but just because you feel diminished, it doesn't give you the right to reinvade those territories."

Radosław Sikorski

"Losing an empire is not a nice thing...but just because you feel diminished, it doesn't give you the right to reinvade those territories."

The Hon. Radosław Sikorski is a member of the European Parliament where he serves on the Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET), the Special Committee on Artificial Intelligence in a Digital Age (AIDA) and the Subcommittee on Security and Defense (SEDE). He also chairs the Delegation for relations with the United States. At Harvard University, he is a senior fellow at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies.
 
Prior to his election to the European Parliament in 2019, Sikorski served as minister of national defense of Poland from 2005 to 2007, minister of foreign affairs from 2007 to 2014, and marshal of the Sejm (speaker of Poland’s parliament) from September 2014 to June 2015. Sikorski is the author of several books, including Dust of the Saints and The Polish House: An Intimate History of Poland. In 2012 he was named one of the top 100 global thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine “for telling the truth, even when it’s not diplomatic.”
 
Sikorski was a war correspondent in Afghanistan and Angola in 1986-89. In 1987, Sikorski won the World Press Photo award for a photograph taken in Afghanistan. As deputy minister of national defense in 1992, Radosław Sikorski initiated Poland’s NATO accession campaign. In 1998-2001 he served as deputy minister of foreign affairs of Poland and honorary chairman of the Foundation for Assistance to Poles in the East. From 2002 to 2005, he was resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. and executive director of the New Atlantic Initiative.