Is America Sleepwalking Into World War III?


With tensions heating up between America and Russia over the war in Ukraine, the stakes could hardly be higher. Proponents of the war argue that Ukraine can prevail, and that Russia will be forced to concede defeat. A chorus of skeptics, largely but not solely based in the GOP, argues that America runs the risk of direct nuclear confrontation with Russia.

On March 22, the Center for the National Interest invited two leading foreign affairs analysts to debate this issue.

Michael Kimmage is a Professor of History and Department Chair at the Catholic University of America. He is also a Fellow at the German Marshall Fund. From 2014 to 2017, he served on the Secretary’s Policy Planning Staff at the U.S. Department of State, where he held the Russia/Ukraine portfolio. His latest book, The Abandonment of the West: The History of an Idea in American Foreign Policy, was published by Basic Books in 2020.

George Beebe is Director of Grand Strategy at the Quincy Institute. He spent more than two decades in government as an intelligence analyst, diplomat, and policy advisor, including as director of the CIA’s Russia analysis and as a staff advisor on Russia matters to Vice President Cheney. His book, The Russia Trap: How Our Shadow War with Russia Could Spiral into Nuclear Catastrophe (2019), warned how the United States and Russia could stumble into a dangerous military confrontation.

Jacob Heilbrunn, editor of The National Interest, moderated the discussion.