The Tragedy Of Great Power Politics By John J. Mearsheimer

Professor Mearsheimer writes:

“Theories encounter anomalies because they simplify reality by emphasizing certain factors while ignoring others. Offensive realism assumes that the international system strongly shapes the behavior of states. Structural factors such as anarchy and the distribution of power, I argue, are what matter most for explaining international politics. The theory pays little attention to individuals or domestic political considerations such as ideology. It tends to treat states like black boxes or billiard oalls. For example, it does not matter for the theory whether Germany in
1905 was led by Bismarck, Kaiser Wilhelm, or Adolf Hitler, or whether Germany was democratic or autocratic. What matters for the theory is how much relative power Germany possessed at the time. These omitted factors, however, occasionally dominate a state’s decision-making process; under these circumstances, offensive realism is not going to perform as well. In short, there is a price to pay for simplifying reality.”

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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