chapter  6
28 Pages

Offensive structural realism

Offensive structural realism takes its place in the realist tradition in direct response to the more sanguine views of defensive structural realism. While offensive structural realists agree with their defensive realist counterparts that states seek security and not to maximize power for its own sake, they break sharply over the question of how states can best protect themselves. Defensive realism envisions a world where states balance quickly and effectively, where defense almost always has the advantage, and where states can signal their benign intentions to one another. Accordingly, defensive realism suggests that states seek only an “appropriate” amount of power, and that they work hard to preserve the status quo rather than to overturn it.