Offensive_Realism - Offensive Realism John J. Mearsheimer...

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Offensive Realism
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John J. Mearsheimer “Why We Shall Soon Miss the Cold War” (1990) “The False Promise of International Institutions” (1994/1995) The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (2001)
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Five Bedrock Assumptions About the International System 1. The international system is anarchic 2. Great powers inherently possess some offensive military capability 3. States can never be certain about the intentions of other states 4. Survival is the primary goal of great powers 5. States are rational actors
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Anarchy The ordering principle of the international system The system is comprised of independent states with no central authority above them There is no “government over governments” “There is no authority but yourself” There is no 911 number that you can call if another state threatens or attacks you
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Inherent Offensive Military Capability Every great power has some offensive military capability at its disposal Some obviously have more than others States are always potentially dangerous to each other “…for every neck, there are two hands to choke it”
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Uncertainty About the Intentions of Other States States can never know whether the intentions of other states are hostile or benign No state can ever be sure that another state will not use its offensive military capability to attack it Intentions can change quickly
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States Are Rational Actors States are aware of their external environment and think strategically about
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This note was uploaded on 10/04/2011 for the course INTL 3200 taught by Professor Wilson during the Fall '08 term at University of Georgia Athens.

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Offensive_Realism - Offensive Realism John J. Mearsheimer...

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