February 24, 2015

Letter: poli sci prof Robert Pape defends CPOST objectivity

In “Letter: News Article on Kagan Leaves Out the Important Details” (02/20/2015) Matt Andersson takes issue with the Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism (CPOST) inviting Robert Kagan to speak at the University last week.

It is great to read such a lively reaction to Robert Kagan’s talk.  Alas, the letter writer erroneously conflates Kagan’s viewpoint with that of the Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism (CPOST). In bringing Kagan to the University of Chicago, CPOST is fostering a debate on important issues, not endorsing his or anyone’s views. In fact, Kagan’s views are widely heard in Washington, D.C., and Hillary Clinton is reported to follow his views with increasing attention.

However, Kagan had never given a talk in Chicago before the event. The author may well wish to direct his criticisms at Kagan and those who share his views. Interestingly, this engagement is now more possible precisely because of the forum CPOST has provided. Students and faculty from our University have long played a role in the great conversations of the day, an important part of what makes Chicago an intellectual leader.

—Robert A. Pape

Professor, Political Science Department

Director, Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism, University of Chicago