The Tragedy of Great Power Politics

The Tragedy of Great Power Politics

"The Tragedy of Great Power Politics," by John Mearsheimer, is written in a lucid, elegant, and powerful manner: that none of the great powers can avoid being trapped in a conflict of permanent rivalry. Consistent with the view of structural realism, which posits the existence of systemic anarchy, all great powers are left to their own device to seek the best recourse forward. Even if they were to cooperate on any security issues, their collaboration will be temporary, and never permanent.

Invariably, the rise of China, will lead the world, especially US, to see it, not merely as a bastion of vast economic opportunities, but a potential rival in almost every sphere. Of course, the theory of John Mearsheimer is not without its flaws. Many in Asia are receptive to the rise of China, especially those that are not caught in any maritime conflicts with China. Pakistan, in particular, has always had a strong and powerful relationship with China. China refers to Pakistan as its "iron brother."

But to such an exception, John Mearsheimer argued that this is because of the existence of another intervening variable. In this case, both China and Pakistan have reasons to be wary of India. So, their interest converged at precisely the area where both powers diverged from India.

At any rate, this is a fascinating and superb book. Any who reads it will begin to see its prophetic nature; where US and China are constantly at odds with one another over a host of issues, especially South China Sea.