The Tragedy of Great Power Politics

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W. W. Norton & Company, Jan 17, 2003 - Political Science - 576 pages
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"A superb book.…Mearsheimer has made a significant contribution to our understanding of the behavior of great powers."—Barry R. Posen, The National Interest

The updated edition of this classic treatise on the behavior of great powers takes a penetrating look at the question likely to dominate international relations in the twenty-first century: Can China rise peacefully? In clear, eloquent prose, John Mearsheimer explains why the answer is no: a rising China will seek to dominate Asia, while the United States, determined to remain the world's sole regional hegemon, will go to great lengths to prevent that from happening. The tragedy of great power politics is inescapable.

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The tragedy of Great Power politics

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Mearsheimer (political science, Univ. of Chicago), an articulate spokesman for the realist school of international politics, here serves up a theory dubbed "offensive realism." Because of the ... Read full review

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Mearsheimer, in this monumental work, outlined his theory of realism. Drawing from examples of the United States' behavior towards rising powers in other regions, Mearsheimer argued that, the common pattern was the active and deliberate preemption of these would-be powers' rise to prominence, hence securing the predominance of the United States. His view of aggressive power-seeking power informs the preemption of China's rise by a coalition of balancing states. This book resonates strongly with Mearsheimer's earlier works, and is a must-read for realist researchers. 


Anarchy and the Struggle for Power
Wealth and Power
The Primacy of Land Power
Strategies for Survival
Great Powers in Action
The Offshore Balancers
Balancing versus BuckPassing
The Causes of Great Power War
Great Power Politics in the Twentyfirst Century

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About the author (2003)

John J. Mearsheimer is the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science and codirector of the Program on International Security Policy at the University of Chicago.

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