UNVEILING REALIST EXPLANATIONS: MEARSHEIMER'S PERSPECTIVE ON WAR IN UKRAINE
The realist explanations surrounding the origins of Russia's war against Ukraine, specifically John Mearsheimer's assertion of western responsibility, have sparked controversy. Realism, including its more specific offensive sub-school, presents a wide range of contrasting interpretations, depending on the actors studied and the characteristics attributed to them. Similar to classical realism, structural realism is based on underlying assumptions about human nature. To elucidate these assumptions regarding the behavior of states and their leaders, the article explores key components of structural theory, such as power differentials, rational interests, and the perception of states as unified actors. It establishes connections between these concepts and fundamental emotions like fear and anger. The article argues that realists should distinguish between the aspirations of states and the individual leaders' pursuit of power and status. Additionally, the consideration of Russian security concerns may reflect the elite's perceived threat of cultural subordination and Putin's personal apprehension about regime stability. Engaging with realist thought is crucial, not only due to its ongoing influence on policy-making, particularly in Russia, but also to prevent the misappropriation of caricatured versions of realist arguments.