Literature Study GuidesThe False Promise Of International Institutions

The False Promise of International Institutions | Study Guide

John J. Mearsheimer

Download a PDF to print or study offline.

Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic


Course Hero. "The False Promise of International Institutions Study Guide." Course Hero. 29 Sep. 2020. Web. 15 Aug. 2022. <>.

In text

(Course Hero)



Course Hero. (2020, September 29). The False Promise of International Institutions Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved August 15, 2022, from

In text

(Course Hero, 2020)



Course Hero. "The False Promise of International Institutions Study Guide." September 29, 2020. Accessed August 15, 2022.


Course Hero, "The False Promise of International Institutions Study Guide," September 29, 2020, accessed August 15, 2022,



John J. Mearsheimer

Years Published





Argument, Economics, Political Science

At a Glance

John J. Mearsheimer published this article in 1995 in International Security, an academic journal dedicated to studying the complex aspects of international relations, to assert his position that the United States' post-Cold War foreign policy was badly misinformed. Mearsheimer is a graduate of West Point and Cornell University and a former officer in the U.S. Air Force. He has published several highly regarded books. He is recognized as an authority in the political science field because he developed the theory of offensive realism. This theory argues that states cannot cooperate except in short-term alliances because they are driven by a desire to survive and expand their influence. Contemporary foreign policy decisions of the United States have kept Mearsheimer's work as an international relations theorist relevant.

Perspective and Narrator

"The False Promise of International Institutions" is an article written for an academic journal using the first-person perspective. The author presents the material as a lecture by making his case directly to the readers. He begins by presenting a description of post-Cold War politics as a general context for his views. He states his opinion that support for institutional politics, as seen since the end of the Cold War in particular, cannot be proven through factual or logical analysis. He provides the reasons for his opinion in general terms. He explains how the article is organized. The rest of the article provides details and examples to support his general premise, with each section following a parallel pattern of organization.

About the Title

"The False Promise of International Institutions" identifies two major components of international relations that are often misunderstood. "International institutions" are relatively powerless organizational or systematic methods of governmental and economic administration. "False promises" are the stated missions, policies, or objectives of these institutions, many of which are not successfully achieved.


This study guide for John J. Mearsheimer's The False Promise of International Institutions offers summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.

Buy this book from
Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about The False Promise of International Institutions? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!