4 January, 2011. “The Tragedy of Great Power Politics” by “John Mearsheimer”: Introduction: “The Tragedy of Great Power Politics” by “John Mearsheimer” presents a very prudent and thoughtful analysis of the underlying causes of the global tensions among nations and their conflicts with one another…
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Summary: Mearsheimer started the book with a focus on the offensive realistic theory that fundamentally emphasizes that the international political scenario is considerably anarchic. Different nations have developed a fear against one another in their race of power and autonomy. Mearsheimer asserts that all countries are basically striving hard to become a hegemon for the simple reason that they feel that this would make them secure. All the national and international activities of states revolve around one solid aim i.e. to achieve more and more control and power over the world and its resources as compared to others in the competition. All countries are included in the competition of security. Military capabilities of a nation play a decisive role in determining its power, status and global image. If a nation wants to enhance its strength, one thing that it needs to focus on and improve is its army. It is the army that enables a nation to win battles. Land power is essential in order to attain all other forms of power. Latent power that covers the financial strength, economic stability, population, literacy rate and high intellect is secondary to the actual power, though the former is extremely important to generate the latter. There are several nations that are currently accoutered with nuclear power, yet very few to none of them actually plan to ever use that power. Their disinclination towards the use of their nuclear power is a clear indication of the fact that land power is indeed, the fundamental sign of power. In fact, the same disinclination towards using nuclear power displayed by the nuclear powers of the contemporary age is in itself a cause of stability among individual nations. Offensive realism fundamentally revolves around the conception that great powers tend to look out for chances to overpower their adversaries and their ultimate goal is hegemony. This is opposite to the ideology of defensive realism that encourages the states to take necessary measures so as to ensure their safety and security. In such an ideology, the ultimate motif is not power, and hence the international relations are not as prone to conflicts as they are in the case of offensive realism. Mearsheimer believes that no state is intrinsically arrogant or aggressive. Indeed, aggression is an artificially acquired characteristic that is deemed important to survive in an uncertain global environment, altering power distribution and inadequate military support. Mearsheimer has not just made statements about offensive realism, he has actually tested and justified it in his book. In order to validate the offensive realism, Mearsheimer has emphasized that in order to survive through the time as a nation, it is imperative that people choose leaders because they struggle to make a nation strong and powerful. He has testified his own claim with clear emphasis on cases from the history. Mearsheimer has achieved this by analyzing matters with respect to several questions. He has checked if there was a direct relation between a nation’s power and aggression in its international interactions. He has judged the factors that determine a nation’s response to the aggression it is offered by external agencies. He has also studied the variation in the functionality and tendency of bipolar and multipolar
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