The Tragedy of Great Power Politics

Front Cover
As the Cold War fades, leaders and theorists alike speak of a new era, when democracy and open trade will join hands to banish outright war. With insight and irreverence worthy of The Prince, John Mearsheimer exposes the truth behind this idyllic rhetoric: in a world where no international authority reigns, hegemony is the only insurance of security. Of little consequence are trade, treaties, or the bonds of international organizations; because even an ally's intentions are uncertain, states must be ready to strike first when danger lurks.

Having exploded onto the scene with his sensational Atlantic article, Mearsheimer has forged his bracing analysis in the heated policy debates following the fall of the Soviet Union. Here is the culmination of a provocative career -- a tour de force that formally advances his theory of "offensive realism" and, as supporting evidence, unveils a comprehensive, eye-opening history of modern states and their hawkish ways.

With its authority and unrelenting honesty, this book will invigorate academics, vex politicians, and excite even the casual observer of international affairs.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - brleach - LibraryThing

Mearsheimer's writing is extremely clear and his arguments are assertively made. However, he cherry-picks from the historical record and distorts even the examples he chooses to make his point. Even ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Oceanwings07 - LibraryThing

Mearsheimer takes the "offensive realist" approach, that in an unstable, anarchic world, countries will do what is necessary to a. maintain the balance of power, and b. gain any additional power they ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
Anarchy and the Struggle for Power
29
Wealth and Power
55
The Primacy of Land Power
83
Strategies for Survival
138
Great Powers in Action
168
The Offshore Balancers
234
Balancing versus BuckPassing
267
The Causes of Great Power War
334
Great Power Politics in the Twentyfirst Century
360
Notes
403
Index
535
Copyright

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About the author (2001)

He is R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago & a regular contributor to The New Republic & The Atlantic.