The State: 1. The state is the primary actor in international relations. The state has the material capacity to act in ways that matter at the international level. States are independent and autonomous. 2. The state is a rational, self-interested actor. 3. States are unitary actors – realists are not interested in the decision-making processes that go on within the state – they assume that at the system level, decisions are final and made according to rational calculation of interest. State behavior 1. States act to insure their national interests. 2. Interests are defined hierarchically, with national security as the overarching, primary interest of states. 3. States are power-seeking. Here, realists disagree on how much power a state will seek. For defensive realists, states will seek to insure that an equilibrium exists within the system – states will always seek to insure their own security, but they will also insure that other states do not become too powerful. Offensive realists
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