Guide on Foreign Policy decision making of Neorealistlandia

Published 15 Feb 2017


Foreign policies are formed based on ideologies captured from declared conceived ideas, sometimes based on philosophical declaration. An ideology which has to do with a set course or believe system put in place in the actualization of political objectives. International relations show how one country want to relate with another, based on its national interest and its place in the international arena. The pursuit of international politics in the past and in contemporary times is governed by national interest. Each, individual country want to register her interest in the international arena.

“Realism took over the study of international politics almost entirely from this point, and it still largely sets the agenda. It stresses the tragic and conflictual side of relations between states, and sees foreign policy in terms of the pursuit of the national interest, defined as power” (Booth quoting Hans, 1965). International politics, like all politics, is a struggle for power (ibid)

The policy makers in a country’s national foreign policy either take a path to create a power path for itself or choose to support or established power hegemony. The end product of a country’s national policy as regarding its stands in the international setting is for it to follow the path for peaceful coexistence between itself and other sovereign states, or to take to the path of war so as to claim sovereign might and accumulate vast resources and land space (ditto the Force Theory of State formation). This leads us to the analogy of what is good or bad in international relations. International relations thus stand as “uniquely at the nexus of the great issues of peace and war, ‘theories of the good life’ and ‘theories of survival” (Booth, citing Garnett, 1972).

This write-up tends to look at the advice of the President of Neorealistlandia regarding combining the work Kenneth Waltz’s Theory of International Politics and that of Mearsheimer’s The Tragedy of Great Power Politics as a guide for making foreign decision. The argument is whether to accept or reject this view.

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Waltz’s And Mearsheimer View Regarding Foreign Policy And Interanational Relations

Waltz has pitched his tenth with those protagonists that sees peaceful coexistence of nations as a right policy for international relations; where there are no actors dominating other states. He therefore advocated for less interdependence of states to each other, whereby this can lead to conflict and war. He describes how a world order that is supposedly formed from self-interested acts and inter-actions of units are now in a balance-of-power world where “the quest for explanatory power turns into a search for descriptive adequacy” (Waltz, 1979: 89). Waltz picture the international political setting in its reality sense as a disorder, archaic and power dominated world, where there are two superpowers in one balance-of-power world. Thus, he sees the international political setting as a disorder system where individual state sought for self-help. In a concise proposition, Waltz is not in support of a power dominated world. He advocates for a peaceful coexistence of sovereign states, with less interdependence on each others sovereign might.

Mearsheimer’s view contradicts what Waltz preaches. It is the outright opposite of Waltz non – superpower dominated international politics. Mearsheimer paints a world that is dominated by super powers. He argues that, American has being motivation by the likes of Victorian Britain, Hitler’s Reich, and Mao’s China which embark on a journey to hegemony. He terms his concept “offensive realism”. Thus, stating the bitter truth of how states like United States should create hegemony in their region and maintain a balance of this hegemonic reign over other regions. In fact he sees this as a goal for every state, acting in international politics.

According to Mearsheimer (2001), the states that are likely to achieve such hegemonic feet are those with great land powers backed by the latent power of thriving economies and growing populations. He thus, sees the contemporary end of Cold war as a change in the threats to American hegemony, but not a total elimination to that threat. He pointed China growing influence, with powerful army, gigantic population, and latent economy as a foreseeable threat. He therefore advocated for the slowing down of China’s economy and destabilizes its regime as a way out of this threat. Thus, Mearsheimer view is essentially that of a power dominated world, where powerful state takes control of their territory and dominate those around them. He sees explicitly United States as having a record of conquest and of destruction in the nineteenth century without compeer (Mearsheimer, 2001:238). He also sees American’s foreign policy as one that being seriously infused with moral ideals (ibid)

Criticism Of President Of Neorealistlandia Guide For Making Foreign Decision

For a country to register a concrete and firm decision in its international relation, and foreign policies it need to subscribe and focus on a particular path. This will make the world knows where it stands and where it is heading to. The guide for foreign policy as presented by the President of Neorealistlandia is a scenario where one tries to stand at both side of a fence at the same time. The international political mind frame and ideological submission of Waltz and Mearsheimer are not good combination and practically a misguided basis for structuring a state’s foreign policy. From the preceding paragraph it is seen that Waltz ideology and advocacy for foreign policy is one that connotes a peaceful coexistence of sovereign states; with no power superpower, and less interdependence of state might. The basis for waltz foreign policy decision for states should be based on the respect of the sovereign status of each state. This includes the non trespass and invasion into other territorial boundaries and internal political decision contrary to Mearsheimer’s admonition. Waltz ‘Reductionist theory describes a condition where there is increase in the gap in living conditions between harmonious rich countries and dis-harmonious poor ones (Waltz, 1979).

Waltz therefore advocate for a balancing of power, where he sees power as the fundamental feature of international politics (Schweller, 1997). It is seem that Mearsheimer support war among nation, and the creation of state hegemony through power of might and oppressing other states through this same might. His inference on China’s growing might as a threat to American’s hegemony encourages the interference of one state in another state’s sovereignty. To him, war is seen as a rational policy state should enshrine in their foreign policy. Thus, the two ideologies as a corresponding guide for national foreign policy is a misguided and misleading admonition.

Most countries advocate for peaceful coexistence and as a result pursue a foreign policy that is in line with their national interest. The values of such countries foreign will be to preach peace and the respect for other states sovereignty. According to Diamond (1997), “They may have sufficient nationalist sentiment to value increased prestige for their country in world affairs but most of all, most of the time; peace is the foreign policy output they value most. And they expect from democracy, if nothing else, political freedom, accountability, and constitutionalism”. When this is looked from the perspective guide for foreign policy as presented by the Neorealistlandia President it is seen that there is a need to follow a foreign policy path.

During the Cold War era some developing and Third World states took a clear stand the non-aligned states. They prefer to stand on their own; not in taking stand with any of the power bloc. This decision was respected then by the community of nations. This is so, due to the explicit and clear declaration of their stands. A country implementing two opposite ideologies in its foreign policies would not command respect from other nations, and furthermore, its foreign relationship tend to be marred and shaky as a result of its lack of consolidation on the strength of its policies. Each side of the argument (i.e. Waltz view and Mearsheimer’s view) has strength and weaknesses. Thus, a country needs to adopt and tow the path of a foreign policy so that it would utilize the strengths associated with such policy for its advantage.


Foreign policy is how a state wants to relate with other state and how it want other state to se her. Normally, decision of a country’s foreign policy is guided by the national interest of such country. Such national interest may be to protect its national boundaries, therefore building a powerful army to go into war with neighboring states that tries to encroach. This is reflected in Israeli relationship with its neighboring states. In a bid to safeguard its national boundary, the country is in constant war path with its neighboring states like Palestine and Lebanon.

Another country may be guided to tow the line of peace coexistence with neighboring state based on its positioning in the global international politics arena. For instance, the United States is playing the world police and advocate for global peace and anti-terrorists activities. This is a stand it is taking to protect his standing and position as a world power in the international arena. This further buttresses the fact that a country will do well when it follows a specific and explicit guideline in making its foreign policy. This, the President of Neorealistlandia has left out in his guide on decision for foreign policy by combining the two ideologies and view of Waltz and Mearsheimer.

Thus, based on the aforementioned and the corresponding argument in preceding paragraphs of this write up it is argued that the foreign policy guide as stipulated by Neorealistlandia’s President is not one that is adequate and effective for a country’s foreign policy. There should be a clear cut in ideological structure of any country’s foreign policy.


  • Diamond, Larry (1997), “Is Third wave of democratization Over? The Imperative of Consolidation” Working Paper #237 March
  • Hans J. Morgenthau, Politics among nations: the struggle for power and peace (3rd edition, New York: Knopf, 1965; first published 1948), p. 28.
  • John Garnett, ‘International politics at Aberystwyth 1919—1969’, in Brian Porter, ed., The Aberystwyth papers: international politics 1919—1969 (London: Oxford University Press, 1972), pp. 86—102.
  • Mearshiemer, John J. (2001), the Tragedy of Great Power Politics New York & London: W. W. Norton.
  • Schweller, Randall L. (1997), “New realist Research on Alliances: Refining, Not Refuting, Waltz’s Balancing Proposition” in American Political Science Review, Vol. 91, No. 4 December.
  • Waltz, Kenneth N. (1979), Theory of International Politics Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing Co.
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