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Mearsheimer’s folly: NATO’s Cold War capability and credibility

White, K. (2017) Mearsheimer’s folly: NATO’s Cold War capability and credibility. Infinity Journal, 5 (4). pp. 22-31. ISSN 2312-5888

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Government policy is influenced by the analyses of high profile academics as well as by those within government. Professor John J Mearsheimer is a political scientist well- known for his work on conventional and nuclear deterrence, and proposer of the theory of offensive realism. In assessing what is sufficient for national defence and for collective defence Mearsheimer made bold statements about NATO’s capability which were clearly wrong, and could have been identified as such at the time. These kinds of bold analyses have been repeated, and defence policy has been influenced by them. The same has been happening since the end of the Cold War, based on the post hoc assumption of “victory”, as happened after the end of the Cold War in 1991. The influence such analyses can have on defence policy is dangerous in a world becoming less stable and certain by the day.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Politics, Economics and International Relations > Politics and International Relations
ID Code:80596
Publisher:IJ Group


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