Skip to content

‘Why Leaders Lie,’ Whether You Believe It Or Not

January 26, 2011

From NPR:

When is it all right for leaders to lie to other leaders, other nations or their own? Political scientist John Mearsheimer poses that provocative question in his new book, Why Leaders Lie: The Truth About Lying in International Politics.

“The fact is that strategic lying is a useful tool of statecraft,” Mearsheimer tells Weekend Edition host Scott Simon.

Even so, Mearsheimer, who teaches political science at the University of Chicago, says there aren’t actually many cases of what he calls “strategic deception” to be found.

“Most people believe that leaders lie all the time, and I thought that when I first began the book,” he says. “But I discovered actually not many examples of leaders lying to other countries and even not that many examples of leaders lying to their own public.”

Most people don’t believe Mearsheimer, either. “They tell me I’m just not looking hard enough.” It’s an irony he bears with pragmatism.

“It pains me to make the argument that lying is sometimes a good thing,” he says. “But international politics, as you know, this is a rough business — and sometimes it makes very good sense to lie.” [More]

Advertisements
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s