Why We Will Soon Miss The Cold War by John Mearsheimer NOTES
The conditions that have made for decades of peace in the West are fast disappearing, as Europe prepares
to return to the multipolar system that, between 1648 and 1945, bred one destructive conflict after another
"Bipolarity" and "multipolarity"
Bipolarity, an equal balance of military power, and nuclear weaponsthese are the key elements for the Long
Peace.(Bipolar systems are more stable than multipolar systems.)
The "Europe Without Nuclear Weapons" Scenario, The "Current Ownership" Scenario, The "Nuclear
Criticism for optimistic views
(1) A nonnuclear Europe would remain peaceful because Europeans recognize that even a conventional
war would be horrific. "obsolescence of war" theory,
* How about the World War 1? People should have learnt from that disaster
(2) Theory of economic liberalism, Stability flows not from military power but from the creation of a liberal
Survival in an anarchic international political system is the highest goal a state can have.
(3) "Peaceloving democracies" theory believing that liberal democracies simply do not fight one another.
* Democracy doesnt guarantee the peace eg. Common threats, a small number of cases
What to do?
(1) the United States should encourage the limited and carefully managed proliferation of nuclear weapons
(2) Britain and the United States, as well as the Continental states, will have to counter any emerging
aggressor actively and efficiently.
(3) should keep Hypernationalism at bay, especially in Eastern Europe
We will lament the loss of order the Cold War gave to anarchy of international relations Untamed anarchy is a prime cause of armed conflict
The prospect of major crises and wars in Europe is likely to increase dramatically now that the Cold War is
receding through history
Distribution and character of military power among states are the root causes of war and peace.
The peace in Europe since 1945 is due to:
1. The bipolar distribution of military power on the continent
2. The rough military equality between the polar powers the US and USSR
3. The ritualistically deplored fact that each of these superpowers is armed with a large nuclear arsenal
The new Europe will involve multipolar distribution of power which was plagued with war from the founding
of the European State system
Postwar era more peaceful due to the multipolar distribution of power in Europe and the imbalance of
strength that often developed among the great powers as they jostled for supremacy or advantage
A bipolar system is more peaceful because they demand allegiance from minor powers which are secure
from each other as well as from the attack by the rival great power
Deterrence is difficult to maintain in a multipolar state system because when power asymmetries develop,
the strong become hard to deter. A major power might simply bully a weaker power in a one on one
encounter which is unknown in a bipolar state. The resolve of opposing states and the size and strength of
opposing coalitions are hard to calculate because the shape of international order to remain in flux. The
aggressors can coerce others by bluffing war.
The size of the gap in military power between two leading states in the system is a key determinant of
stability. Small gaps foster peace, large gaps promote war.
Nuclear weapons are a powerful force for peace. States that possess nuclear deterrents can stand up to
The single greatest domestic threat to peace is hypernationalism
Bipolarity, an equal balance of military power and nukes, are the key to elements for the lon