A Summary of John Mearshimer's Anarchy and the Struggle for Power.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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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.

  1. The international order is anarchic.  This is the basic idea of the realists.
  2. Great powers have the capacity to engage in offensive military actions -- they can attack others.
  3. Countries are never able to know for sure what they other countries intend to do. This causes uncertainty.
  4. Survival is the primary goal of great powers.  This includes wanting to keep other countries from being able to interfere in their domestic politics.
  5. 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.