The Andrew Carnegie Lecture - From "Obsolete" to "Brain Dead": Crises in the Transatlantic Alliance and the Future of European Defence

This is a past event

Dr. Seth A. Johnston is a fellow of the Belfer Centre for Science and International Affairs in the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Booking is required HERE

Established in 2014, the Andrew Carnegie Lecture series is held at Scotland’s four ancient universities thanks to a generous grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Each institution holds a minimum of one Andrew Carnegie Lecture each year, delivered by a distinguished speaker.

French President Macron has called NATO “brain dead.” Trump called it “obsolete.” Yet history echoes loudly in the current “crisis.” In more than seven decades, the transatlantic alliance has weathered more severe crises and proved itself extraordinarily resilient. Then, as now, NATO especially found renewed purpose in ambitious programs of adaptation. In adapting to today’s challenges, Europeans and Americans have a shared interest in looking back to the future.

For further context, the lecture builds on ideas from a recent article by Seth A. Johnston, "Trump, l’Europe et l’OTAN : Retour vers le futur" Politique étrangère, vol.84, n°4 (2019).

Available from :


Dr. Seth A. Johnston

A scholar-practitioner, Johnston was previously Task Force Commander in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan.  He has served extensively in multinational missions overseas as a military officer.  He was chief of international security cooperation for intelligence at the U.S. Army Europe Headquarters; a principal NATO intelligence staff officer at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) and in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan; and a commander of U.S. Army troops in Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands. He has also served in the Pentagon and at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, DC. 

Johnston’s previous academic appointments include Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies at Harvard University, and Assistant Professor of International Relations in the Department of Social Sciences at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.  Johnston designed and taught courses in political science, strategic studies, and critical thought.  He has spoken and published widely on European and international politics and history.  His book How NATO Adapts: Strategy and Organization in the Atlantic Alliance since 1950 was the 2017 volume of the Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science and became the most requested book among practitioners at the NATO Library in Brussels.

Johnston’s U.S. military awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Korea Defense Service Medal, Parachutist Badge, and Combat Action Badge.  He was also awarded the NATO Medal and the German armed forces’ Leistungsabzeichen der Bundeswehr.

Johnston earned his M.Phil. in politics and doctorate in international relations from Oxford University where he was a Marshall Scholar. He earned a B.S. in political science with nuclear engineering from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.  He is proficient in French, understands some German and Romanian, and holds a Diploma from the Ritz Escoffier School of French Gastronomy in Paris.

A drinks reception will follow in James MacKay Hall. 

This is a FREE event but booking is required HERE

King's College Conference Centre

01224 273865 

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