In this chapter, Mearsheimer argues that great powers are in a constant struggle for more power. All great powers are trying to achieve hegemony.
The author says that there are five assumptions that underlie his thinking.
- The international order is anarchic. This is the basic idea of the realists.
- Great powers have the capacity to engage in offensive military actions -- they can attack others.
- Countries are never able to know for sure what they other countries intend to do. This causes uncertainty.
- Survival is the primary goal of great powers. This includes wanting to keep other countries from being able to interfere in their domestic politics.
- States are rational actors.
For these reasons, states are in constant competition. Because of the state of technology and such, there is no way that any state can actually become a long-term world-wide hegemon.