Robert Kagan

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Robert Kagan
Robert Kagan Fot Mariusz Kubik 02.jpg
Robert Kagan in Warsaw on April 17, 2008
Born September 26, 1958 (1958-09-26) (age 56)
Athens, Greece
Residence Virginia
Nationality American
Education PhD
Alma mater Yale University, Harvard University and American University
Known for Project for the New American Century
Political party
Spouse(s) Victoria Nuland
Parents Donald Kagan
Relatives Frederick Kagan, brother
Signature Robert Kagan autograph-2.jpg

Robert Kagan (born September 26, 1958 in Athens, Greece) is an American historian, author, columnist, and foreign policy commentator at the Brookings Institution. A co-founder of the Project for the New American Century,[1][2] Kagan is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.[3] He has been a foreign policy advisor to several U.S. Republican presidential candidates as well as to Hillary Clinton, when she was Secretary of State under President Obama.

Personal life and education[edit]

Robert Kagan is the son of historian Donald Kagan, Sterling Professor of Classics and History at Yale University and a specialist in the history of the Peloponnesian War. His brother, Frederick, is a military historian and author. All three are signatories to the Project for the New American Century manifesto titled Rebuilding America's Defenses (2000).[4] Kagan has a BA in history (1980) from Yale, where in 1979 he had been Editor in Chief of the Yale Political Monthly, a periodical that he is credited with reviving.[5] He later earned an MPP from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and a PhD in American history from American University in Washington, D.C.

Kagan is married to long-time career diplomat Victoria Nuland, who is currently serving as Assistant Secretary of European and Eurasian Affairs in the Barack Obama administration.[6] The couple has two children.

Ideas and career[edit]

In 1983, Robert Kagan was foreign policy advisor to New York Republican Representative Jack Kemp. Between 1984 and 1986, he worked at the State Department Policy Planning Staff and was a speechwriter for Secretary of State George P. Shultz. From 1986 to 1988, he served in the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs at the State Department.[7] In 1997, he co-founded and served as a director for the now-defunct Project for the New American Century.[1][2][8]

Kagan spent 13 years as a Senior Associate with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, before joining the Brookings Institution as a senior fellow in the Center on United States and Europe in September 2010.[9][10][11][12][13] During the 2008 presidential campaign he served as foreign policy advisor to John McCain, the Republican Party's nominee for President of the United States in the 2008 election.[14][15]

Kagan also serves on the State Department's Foreign Affairs Policy Board,[16] originally under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.[17] He is also a member of the board of directors for The Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI).[18]

Because of his association with PNAC and his early endorsement of the Iraq War, Kagan is widely considered a neoconservative foreign-policy theorist.[19][20] Kagan describes his foreign-policy views as "deeply rooted in American history and widely shared by Americans".[21]

In 2006, Kagan wrote that Russia and China are the greatest "challenge liberalism faces today": "Nor do Russia and China welcome the liberal West's efforts to promote liberal politics around the globe, least of all in regions of strategic importance to them. ... Unfortunately, al-Qaeda may not be the only challenge liberalism faces today, or even the greatest."[22][23]


In 2003, Kagan's book, Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order, published on the eve of the US invasion of Iraq, created something of a sensation through its assertions that Europeans tended to favor peaceful resolutions of international disputes while the United States takes a more "Hobbesian" view in which some kinds of disagreement can only be settled by force, or, as he put it: "Americans are from Mars and Europe is from Venus." New York Times book reviewer, Ivo H. Daalder wrote:

When it comes to setting national priorities, determining threats, defining challenges, and fashioning and implementing foreign and defense policies, the United States and Europe have parted ways, writes Mr. Kagan, concluding, in words already famous in another context, '"Americans are from Mars and Europeans are from Venus."[24]

Kagan's book, Dangerous Nation: America's Place in the World from its Earliest Days to the Dawn of the Twentieth Century (2006), argued forcefully against what he considers the widespread misconception that the United States had been isolationist since its inception. It was awarded a Lepgold Prize from Georgetown University.[25]

Kagan is a columnist for the Washington Post[7] and a contributing editor at The New Republic and the Weekly Standard. He has also written for the New York Times, Foreign Affairs, the Wall Street Journal, Commentary, World Affairs, and Policy Review.

Kagan's essay "Not Fade Away: The Myth of American Decline" (The New Republic, February 2, 2012)[26] was very positively received by President Obama. Josh Rogin reported in Foreign Policy that the president "spent more than 10 minutes talking about it...going over its arguments paragraph by paragraph."[27] That essay was excerpted from his book, The World America Made (2012).

John Bew and Kagan lectured on March 27, 2014, on Realpolitik and American Exceptionalism at the Library of Congress.[7][28]

Select bibliography[edit]


  1. ^ a b Stelzer, Irwin (2004). The neocon reader. New York: Grove Press. p. 312. ISBN 0-8021-4193-5. Robert Kagan... Co-founder with William Kristol of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). 
  2. ^ a b PNAC. "Robert Kagan". Retrieved 18 March 2012. Robert Kagan is co-founder with William Kristol of the Project for the New American Century. 
  3. ^ "Membership Roster - Council on Foreign Relations". Retrieved 2010-11-20. 
  4. ^ Donnelly, Thomas; et al. (September 2000). "Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New American Century" (PDF). Project for the New American Century. p. 78. Retrieved 2007-01-19. 
  5. ^ "Robert Kagan '80 follows father but forges own path". Yale Daily News. 2005-10-27. Retrieved 2010-11-20. 
  6. ^

    Robert W. Kagan, who has been deeply involved in the Reagan Administration's policy on the rebels in Nicaragua, will be leaving the State Department next month to become a fellow at the Naval War College in Rhode Island, where he will write a book on the Central American country. Mr. Kagan has been a close friend and deputy to Elliot Abrams, Assistant Secretary of State for Latin American Affairs, who is the principal architect of the Administration's Central American policy. As he leaves Washington for Newport, Mr. Kagan will also be gaining new experience in commuter marriage. His wife, Victoria Nuland, a career officer in the Foreign Service, will be leaving next month to open a United States consulate in Ulan Bator, capital of Mongolia.("Washington Talk, New York Times, March 3, 1988.)

  7. ^ a b c Steinhauer, Jason (21 February 2014). "Three-Part Lecture Series at the Kluge Center Looks at Foreign Policy Through the Lens of Realpolitik". Library of Congress. Retrieved 21 February 2014. 
  8. ^ "About PNAC". 2009. Retrieved 18 March 2012. 
  9. ^ Robert Kagan joins Brookings
  10. ^ Profile on the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace site
  11. ^ Robert Kagan, "I Am Not a Straussian", Weekly Standard 11: 20 (February 6, 2006)
  12. ^ "Robert Kagan Follows Father but Forges Own Path", Andrew Mangino, Yale Daily News
  13. ^ Robert Kagan profile on "Right Web"
  14. ^ Foreign policy: 2 camps seek McCain's ear - International Herald Tribune
  15. ^ Reynolds, Paul (2008-04-29). "Not the end of history after all". BBC News. Retrieved 2008-04-29. 
  16. ^ Current Board Members", State Department webpage. Retrieved 2014-04-05.
  17. ^ "Inaugural Meeting of Secretary Clinton's Foreign Affairs Policy Board". Retrieved 2012-02-19. 
  18. ^ "Directors and Staff". The Foreign Policy Initiative. Retrieved 2010-11-20. 
  19. ^ Robert Kagan, "Present at the Re-Creation: A Neoconservative Moves On, Foreign Affairs, July-August, 2008.
  20. ^ Beaumont, Peter (2008-04-26). "The Observer Profile: Robert Kagan". The Guardian (London: GMG). ISSN 0261-3077. OCLC 60623878. Retrieved 18 March 2012. 
  21. ^ Colvin, Mark (2004). "America still capable of military strikes: Robert Kagan". Retrieved 18 March 2012. 
  22. ^ "League of Dictators?". The Washington Post. April 30, 2006.
  23. ^ "US: Hawks Looking for New and Bigger Enemies?". IPS. May 5, 2006.
  24. ^ Ivo Daalder, Books of the Times, March 5, 2003.
  25. ^ "Georgetown Awards 2007 Lepgold Book Prize". Georgetown University. 2008-09-17. 
  26. ^ Robert Kagan (11 January 2012). "Not Fade Away: The myth of American decline.". The New Republic. Retrieved 2012-02-19. 
  27. ^ Josh Rogin (26 January 2012). "Obama embraces Romney advisor's theory on 'The Myth of American Decline'". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 2012-02-19. 
  28. ^ "The Return of Realpolitik - A Window into the Soul of Anglo-American Foreign Policy, Event Recap". Kluge Center. Library of Congress. Retrieved 14 May 2014. 

External links[edit]