2 earlier thoughts


Mearsheimer poses the following questions:

First, why do great powers want power? What is the underlying logic that explains why states compete for it? Second, how much power do states want? How much power is enough? … Third, what is power? How is that pivotal concept defined and measured? … Fourth, what strategies do states pursue to gain power, or to maintain it when another great power threatens to upset the balance of power? … The fifth is, what are the causes of war? Specifically, what power-related factors make it more or less likely that security competition will intensify and turn into open conflict? Sixth, when do threatened great powers balance against a dangerous adversary and when do they attempt to pass the buck to another threatened state?

Some guesses. First, without power, states fear they will be subjugated (from Machiavelli, despite Keltner).

Second, every state wants to be the most powerful state, number one—that’s the only way to be secure (assuming an unchanging world).

Third, I… am not sure.

Fourth: war. Shooting or trade war. Though, I’m only partly right, for right here Mearsheimer says, “Blackmail and war are the main strategies that states employ to acquire power, and balancing and buck-passing are the principal strategies that great powers use to maintain the distribution of power when facing a dangerous rival.”

Fifth. See #4.

Sixth. I don’t know.

3 later thoughts