John Mearsheimer Theory Of International Relations

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International relations exist in a state of anarchy. In this system, there is no central government, no written code of laws, and no standard for how to behave. Without laws, there is no definitive explanation for states’ behavior. Theorists such as John Mearsheimer and Robert Keohane, a neorealist and a neoliberalist respectively, have formulated arguments to explain international relations. Neorealists adopt a negative, structural view of world politics, while neoliberals take a more positive, cooperative approach. Mearsheimer explains world politics through competition and structure, but institutions and cooperation provide a better explanation of international relations, as argued by Keohane. As a neorealist, John Mearsheimer…show more content…
The anarchic nature of world politics and the distribution of power cause great powers to seek hegemony that would grant them protection from all other states (Mearsheimer). Mearsheimer presents power as a relative concept; states view their own power in relation to the power of another state. Therefore, states, especially great powers, are quite concerned with the balance of power and seek relative gain when they cooperate with other states (Mearsheimer). Like power, gains are relative since they are only advantageous when they provide an edge to one state over another. The neorealists and Mearsheimer believe that the purpose of all international decisions made by states is an effort to increase their own security and move towards global hegemony…show more content…
For example, the United States has been successful in establishing itself as a global superpower because of its ability and desire to cooperate with other great powers, not because of its self-interest of survival. By creating trade deals and signing treaties, both of which are cooperative measures, the United States has furthered its own interests, and has made absolute gains, by cooperating with the rest of the world. Institutions such as NATO, the EU, and the UN have facilitated cooperation between their constituent nations as well as with the rest of the world, which provides evidence for Keohane’s argument that institutions foster cooperation between nations (Keohane). Furthermore, neoliberalism is a much more logical explanation than neorealism because of the establishment and strong presence of institutions, and cooperation through institutions, on the international stage. Neorealism explained world politics better during the Cold War era when institutions were new and weak, and states were afraid of each other’s power, such as the United States and the then Soviet Union. Since then, however, neoliberalism and Keohane’s argument have provided stronger rationale for international

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