Understanding of John Mearsheimer’s view of international politics in his book Tragedy of Great Power Politics
Written by John Mearsheimer, the book Tragedy of Great Power Politics expounds on international politics and international relations shading light on the diverse effects it has on the world. The author describes how immense powers utilize international politics in myriad ways to increase their dominance in world politics. Mearsheimer posits, “The formidable powers vehemently seek ways to maximize their world power share” (p.15). Using the unique thinking brand that he calls “offensive realism”, the author explores the complex issue of international politics giving remarkable views in his study. The author uses the history of military and diplomatic missions that have occurred in the last two centuries to support his view of international politics.
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The author views international politics as a way for eminent powers to expand their policies and dominance. Each state in the world works assiduously to ensure its survival by utilizing international politics as a tool to maximize its share of power in the world. The behavior of states of using their military strengths to increase their regional dominance stands out in this book. Supremacy maximization, pursued by diverse nations often leads to “hegemonic wars that are awesomely destructive” (Mearsheimer 2002, p.187). This occurs when several states have a particular interest in a certain region. One of them shows the potential to dominate the region, the emergence of war becomes imminent. Mearsheimer (2002, p.187) shatters “distinct rhetoric, which surrounds expansive world wars, often reducing them to unique and basic war elements mainly triggered by international politics”.
The author views international politics as a tool that can increase global conflicts. States from various parts of the world more so revered powers are aggressive as they try to seize every available opportunity to acquire world power, resulting in the emergence of many conflicts of interest. The author often warns against countries putting too much hope or faith in the unique goodwill of other nations, as most of them are not genuine. In chapter ten, the author reckons that states fear each other and are constantly seeking power gain at the expense of another country.
Mearsheimer also views international politics as an offensive way aimed at intimidating other nations to compromise on their stands and development goals for the interest of dominant powers. He reckons that “international politics has always been a ruthless and dangerous business” (2002, p.86). Mearsheimer explains the significant threats posed by international politics to the development of other nations. At the end of the book, Mearsheimer applies his remarkable theories to show detrimental effects posed by the current activities in international politics. He points out that, “I believe that the existing power structures in Europe and Northeast Asia are not sustainable through 2020” (Mearsheimer 2002, p.187). Moreover, Mearsheimer studies world history and utilizes offensive realism in describing pernicious effects derived from international politics. More importantly, Mearsheimer utilizes “history and offensive realism in predicting the growth of China and potential challenges this poses to the United States’ power in the future” (Keohane & Nye 2000, p.67). This depicts how the author views international politics as an endeavor that is bound to fail or bring irreparable damages to the world.
Understanding of Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye views of international politics in their book Power and Interdependence
On reading the book, Power and Interdependence, authored by Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye, the view of international politics exhibited by the writers is clear. Utilizing a powerful and coherent theory, Keohane and Nye explore international politics describing the diverse effects it poses. The book gives readers analytical tools that aid in comprehending world politics. Using history, the authors illustrate the diverse effects posed by international politics. This remarkable book offers a unique understanding of international politics that unravel the relationships between politics and economics.
The authors view international politics as a complex matter requiring extensive scrutiny to understand what it entails. This results from the fact that interdependence is ever multidimensional and growing. Keohane and Nye put forward the idea of Complex interdependence, which states that complex bonds exist between nations and their fortunes (p.24). The authors analyzed how interdependence transformed international politics. He emphasizes the role of power in international politics especially military prowess. This has resulted in a decline in the usages of coercive power and military force. The authors examine different dimensions of interdependence. The first interdependence dimension is sensitivity, which is about how a country feels the effect of distinct policies of another state before it takes measures to react to them. Because of the world’s politics, states tend to impose their policies on other countries thus affecting their progress. On the other side, the interdependence dimension of vulnerability, which takes into consideration the pace taken by a country in reacting to diverse policy changes brought about by other countries.
Keohane and Nye astutely argue that an “increase in interdependence forms especial economic forms and decline in usage of military force will increase international cooperation between nations” (p.108). The major features of international politics mainly focusing on economics illustrate the persistence of distributional conflicts between states. Besides, competition conflicts between states related to world politics exist. World power, which is the ability of a certain country to get other countries to do something they could not have done, is a serious concern to many nations. Diverse effects of international politics emerge due to thorough scrutiny of the relationships between nations such as the US and Canada or Australia.
The Arab Spring
Arab Spring has become famous this year following the diverse implications it poses. According to Peterson (2011), “Arab Spring is a series of protests and demonstrations that occur in North Africa…protesting against political regimes and or against certain policies in the Arab countries” (p.8). Arab Spring is also the Arab Revolutions or Arab Rebellions. The first protest that happened in December 2010 in Tunisia resulted from a pernicious act by a street vendor named Mohammed Bouazizi who set fire on himself in his protest against ill-treatment and corruption by Tunisian police (Coll 2011, p.2).
This self-immolation by Tunisian street vendor was detrimental as it triggered protests and unrest in this country and eventually forced President Ben Ali to resign. This resulted in other rebellions in many Arab countries, thus, triggering global media to dub the protests as the ‘Arab Spring’ (Hyun 2011, p.12). Numerous revolutions have occurred in many countries such as Egypt and Tunisia. The occurrence of significant protests in Algeria, Iraq, Israel, Morocco, Oman, and Jordan is also part of the Arab Spring (Phares 2010, 58). All these protests shared civil resistance techniques that employed techniques involving rallies, strikes, and demonstrations. Also, a civil uprising has occurred in Yemen, Syria, and Bahrain (Coll 2011, p.3). Consequently, this section analyzes the events of the Arab Spring and their implications for the rest of the world as Mearsheimer and Keohane and Nye separately would.
Analysis of the Arab spring events and their implication as Keohane and Nye would
The organizers and protestors always use technology to spread the news about a demonstration or an uprising. Moreover, the protests utilized social media in organizing, communicating, and raising awareness in attempts aimed at creating a massive impact. Within seconds, information about a certain uprising distributes itself all over the globe. Protestors in the Arab world used a slogan distributed using new technology that said that people want to bring down regimes in this region (Peterson 2011, p.6).
Therefore, Keohane and Nye would analyze the widespread Arab Spring by looking at the effect of new and sophisticated technology on it. The fast and widespread of information due to technology has enabled the uprising to influence people from other countries all over the world (Kaye 2008, p.58). The implications to the rest of the world are that various governments all over the globe will experience protests or demonstrations if their policies and governing styles make the people discontented or disillusioned. This implication will be the same as one witnessed in Tunisia when protesters managed to overwhelm the ruling regime making the Tunisia president Ben Ali together with his family to flee to Saudi Arabia (Coll 2011, p.3). Rebellions will be inevitable when events in a country exasperate people.
Keohane and Nye would view the main reasons for the upheavals witnessed in many countries located in North Africa and other places in the Arab world as closely related to the worldwide economic downturn. As Gardner (2009) reckons, “economic downturn has detrimental effects on the government of the day, as citizens become exasperated and hence the protesting” (p. 37). Citizens have suffered economic problems, corruption, social problems, and injustices. They have put up a strong spirit of demonstrating and protesting lingering in many countries including Yemen, Tunisia, Egypt, and others. Besides, the majority of young people in these countries fail to find jobs in their own countries. Food prices increase at an alarming rate. Thus, the majority of the citizens experience disillusionment from the policies in their countries thus resulting in protests and demonstrations. The implications are diverse as witnessed in Tunisia. Mass destruction of properties, injuries, and deaths occurred during protests in this country. This comes from the “…violent responses witnessed in many demonstrations mainly executed by government authorities: counter-demonstrators and pro-government militias” (Keohane & Nye 2000, p.67).
In their analysis of Arab spring, Keohane and Nye would have looked at globalism showing how it has affected the Arab Spring. Keohane and Nye argue that globalism is any description of a unique world characterized by sophisticated networks of relations that cover multi-continental distances, while globalization is the increase or decrease in the globalism degree. Globalization plays a pivotal role in Arab uprising as foreign countries support rebellions with egotistical interests. Great powers support certain regimes in Arab countries in their bid to increase their dominance in the lucrative oil industries.
On the other hand, Farzmand (2011) discusses globalization as, “the recent dynamic change in the continuity context within the processes of surplus accumulations by different corporate capitalisms at the global level, a phenomenon with diverse implications for modern states, public administrations, and governance” (p. 439). Globalization increased uprisings in the Arab world. For instance, many people especially activists now consider Egypt as a progressive place with exciting and united people (Peterson 2011, p.9). The events have made governments collapse. For instance, in Egypt, protests forced President Hosni Mubarak to step down. This was after the military in Egypt engaged in a complete mutiny when Egyptian soldiers sided with the Egyptian people. Also, the prime minister of Jordan, Samir Rifai resigned following protests in his country.
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How Mearsheimer would analyze the Arab spring events and their implication
As Great Powers seek global dominance, Arab Uprising provides excellent opportunities. There are diverse conflicts between superpowers as they try to gain dominance in the Arab world. As Browers (2009) posits, “Oil interests and security cooperation are the main factors increasing the United States international relations with Arab countries such as Egypt” (p. 46). Because of the influence from Great Powers such as the United States and Russia, the perception of the Arab Revolutions and the entire Arab world has shifted. Western media has covered Arab events more extensively with minimal negative connotations unlike in the past years. In this regard, rapid transformations that have occurred in the Arab world have caught international attention. Mearsheimer would see this as an opportunity for ample power to seize in their quest to increases world domination and power. Changes in diverse perceptions about Muslims, Arabs, and people from the Middle East will affect international relations largely. Perceptions of the Arab world, as a place full of ubiquitous terrorists, omnipresent radicals imposing sharia laws, and corrupt or brutal despots have changed thanks to the western media.
International alliances and business experience diverse implications from the Arab Spring. Mearsheimer would concur with me that Great Powers want to expand their international networks with Arab countries due to numerous benefits accrued from these collaborations. In this regard, the Arab rebellion will receive a lot of influence from other states each supporting the side that offers many benefits. The implications are far-reaching and many. For instance, the wave of the Arab Rebellions is threatening the stability of the Syrian government, a close and indispensable ally of the Iran government (Hyun 2011, p.13). Besides, Iran’s interest in advancing in the Arab world more so Bahrain is facing a major challenge from the uprisings.
On the other hand, challenges exist in the business sector. Arab Spring and its subsequent events have affected the insurance industry largely. In the global insurance sector parlance, these events have made insurance claims increase at an alarming rate. As a result, it has forced insurers engaging in insuring their clients against political violence to provide a clear definition of damages. The semantics of damages is crucial in the insurance industry, as it will caution it against increasing insurance claims, which are overwhelming. The process of defining the exact events that occur on the ground leading to damages is a strenuous exercise that can result in a misunderstanding between the insured and the insurers.
One study estimated that total claims resulting from Arab Uprising are approximately $500 million. However, “diverse disagreements over the ways to label the Arab Spring turmoil may make insurers reluctant to pay for many of the claims” (Coll 2000, p.12). Contrary to previous years, the number of companies seeking insurance coverage against detrimental perils like war and insurrections has increased due to the Arab Spring. As a result, an increase in insurance rates has occurred, as the Arab Spring turmoil boosted insurance coverage demand for policies covering grave upheavals in these countries. For instance, people reported that prices for insurance policies went up by 400 percent in Bahrain. This will in turn increase the revenues for insurance companies.
My view and Opinion
The Arab Spring seems to reduce authoritarian oppression in the Arab world. People from Arabic countries now feel proud after shaking off many decades of disillusionment. This will intern reduce tyranny experienced in this country. Moreover, the Arab Spring will change global governance. Diverse protests mainly inspired by the famous Arab Spring have occurred in many parts all over the world with varying degrees of success as well as prominence. They aim at pressuring incumbent governments to make specific changes in some of their policies to diverse attempts of bringing down the entire political system. In some countries such as Armenia, widespread protests have impacted a lot of change nationally, while in other countries like Djibouti, protests that occur were eventually suppressed swiftly. In my opinion, Arab Spring has enlightened the masses on their rights as well as the responsibilities of their governments. Thus, authoritarian rulers are at a bigger risk as people all over the world demand democracy and transparency.
Therefore, based on the diverse expositions discussed in this paper, it suffices to posit that diverse implications emerge from the Arab Spring. With chain reactions of demonstrations, as well as protests occurring in many countries, it is evident that this rebellion will have long-term implications all over the world.
Browers, M., 2009. Political Ideology in the Arab World: Accommodation and Transformation. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Coll, S., 2011. The Second Tunisian Revolution: A New Model of Change for a New Generation.Perspectives on the Arab Spring, 1(2), pp. 1-14.
Farzmand, A., 2011.Globalization, The State and Public Administration: A Theoretical Analysis with Policy Implications for Developmental States. Public Organization Review, 1(4), pp.437-463.
Gardner, D, 2009. Last Chance: The Middle East in the Balance. London: I.B. Tauris.
Hyun, K., 2011. The Arab Spring: The Changing Landscape and Implications for Development. Web.
Kaye, D., 2008. More Freedom, Less Terror? Liberalization and Political Violence in the Arab World. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation.
Keohane, R., & Nye, J., 2000. Power and Interdependence.3rd edition. Harlow: Longman.
Mearsheimer, J., 2002.The Tragedy of Great Power Politics. New York: W. W. Norton.
Peterson, S., 2011. Egypt Revolution Redefines What’s Possible in the Arab World. Christian Science Monitor, 1(3), pp. 4-11.
Phares, W., 2010. Coming Revolution: Struggle for Freedom in the Middle East. New York: Simon & Schuster.