Berto Jongman: John Mearsheimer on Power

Cultural Intelligence, Peace Intelligence
Berto Jongman
Berto Jongman

John Mearsheimer on Power as the Currency of International Relations, Disciplining US Foreign Policy, and Being an Independent Variable

Structural realism has lost ground to other theories of International Relations since the end of the Cold War, but not with John Mearsheimer. In today’s Theory Talk he explains why he has stuck with it, despite its obvious problems.

Prepared by: Peer Schouten for Theory Talks


Theory Talks: What is, according to you, the central challenge or principal debate in International Relations? And what is your position regarding this challenge/in this debate?

How did you arrive at where you currently are in your thinking about IR?

What would a student need to become a specialist in IR or understand the world in a global way?

What are the eternal features of international politics and what role does history play in accessing these features?

Don’t we need to take domestic politics into account to explain US foreign policy? And would you characterize US foreign policy as realist or liberal?

What was the main point of your work in The Israel Lobby and how does it relate to more recent tensions, perhaps in relationship to the two-state solution and to Iran?

How does this tie into recent tensions with Iran?

In the same line, what’s so offensive about offensive realism? Or, to put it more generally, what is it about realism that makes it so unpopular?

One can perhaps summarize your view on international politics as ‘the tragedy of billiard balls in the state of nature’. How can realism help to make sense of the coming tragedy and which billiard balls will be involved?

Read full answers to above questions.

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