Neorealism And Offensive Realism In The Cold War

980 Words 4 Pages
After World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union emerged as the two great powers, creating a bipolar international stage. After the end of the war, the realist interpretation reigned dominant among other international relations theories. In the 1970’s, the middle of the cold war, realist theory expanded, creating structural realism (neorealism). Though realist theory cannot be applied to explain everything that happens in international politics, it can very well be used to explain certain situations.
Realism has many vital core assumptions about international politics that makes it unique. First, they recognize states as the most important actors. Essentially, NGOs, MNCs, etc are not irrelevant, but in the end aren’t considered as
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Offensive realists believe that the anarchic international system inherently breeds conflict. violence, and aggression between states. Therefore, an offensive realist believes a state gains security through domination and hegemony. An offensive realist seeks to absolutely maximize their power as a state, looking to eventually dominate international affairs. To an offensive realist, cause for war would result from opposing states threatening their power and/or legitimacy. An example of offensive realist theory being applied to history is Adolf Hitler’s lead into WWII. Hitler sought to maximize his power by conquering surrounding and/or rivaling states that threatened Germany’s …show more content…
Defensive realists believe that states will craft reasonable policy, both domestic and foreign, in order to attain security. A defensive realist wants to attain power in order to be able to defend and protect the people residing in the state. Though prioritizing the needs of the state first, a defensive realist is not opposed to allying with other powers if it were to work in their favor. A cause of war for a defensive realist would be an opposing state posing an imminent threat. An example of defensive realism being applied to an event is an event like the Iraq war. A defensive realist would oppose such a war, not because of moral or ethical reasons, but because invading a country that poses no threat to the US will only result in lost resources, such as money and soldiers, and might result in losing power because of electoral consequences. A defensive realist would also say such a war would also lead to global disdain for the United States, effectively reducing its power and influence

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