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Chapter 3

PSC 1003 Chapter Notes - Chapter 3: Great Power, Offensive Realism

Political Science
Course Code
PSC 1003
Adam Dean

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Anarchy and the Struggle for Power
Theory for competition of world power
I. Why States Pursue Power
A. First assumption: International system is anarchic
1. Ordering principle - no central authority
B. Second Assumption: Great powers inherently possess some offensive military
1. States are dangerous to each other
2. State’s military power is usually identified with weaponry at its disposal
C. Third Assumption: States can never be certain about other states’ intentions
D. Fourth Assumption: Survival is primary goal
1. States seek to maintain their territorial integrity and autonomy of their
domestic political order
E. Fifth Assumption: Great powers are rational actors
1. Pay attention to long term consequences
F. Patterns of behavior: fear, self-help, and power maximization
II. State Behavior
A. All great powers believe that all powers are potential enemies
B. In a world where all powers have capability of attacking each other, they might
have motive to do so
C. No central authority to turn to for help except possible interest of third parties
D. Politics trump economics
1. Politics can leads to war
E. Self-help are states operation in their own interests
F. The stronger the state is, the less likely its rivals will threaten it survival
G. Distribution of power
1. States make efforts to maximize their share of world power
2. Look for opportunities to alter balanc of power by acquiring additional
increments of power (eco, diplomatic, military)
3. Great powers have zero-sum mentalities
H. Hegemony of the world- pursuit of power stops and state feels secure
1. How much relative power one state must have before its secure?
2. All powers think long term, so how will power distribution alter?
I. States do not become status quo powers until they completely dominate the
J. Relative power vs absolute power
1. States that maximize relative power are concerned with distribution of
material capabilities- power is the best means for survival
2. Absolute power care only about the size of their own gains, dont care
about balance of power but have no regard to how much power other
states control
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