Novas mensagens, análises etc. irão se concentrar a partir de agora em interceptor.
O presente blog, Geografia Conservadora servirá mais como arquivo e registro de rascunhos.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Review of The Tragedy of Great Power Politics

Author: Charles A. Kupchan, Senior Fellow and Director for Europe Studies
September 2003The International History Review
The Tragedy of Great Power PoliticsJohn J. MearsheimerNew York: W. W. Norton, 2001Pp. xvi, 555. $27.95 (US)

In this important and impressive book, John J. Mearsheimer elegantly lays out his theoretical approach to the study of international politics – ‘offensive realism’ – and then seeks to demonstrate that this approach succeeds in explaining the key causes of war and peace. The book constitutes a major contribution to the realist canon and, given its accessible style, will likely become required reading for students of international relations. In addition, Mearsheimer is admirably thoughtful and original in laying out testable propositions from his theory and examining them against the historical record.
Offensive realism rests on the assumption that great powers ‘are always searching for opportunities to gain power over their rivals, with hegemony as their final goal’ (p. 29). This perspective contrasts with defensive realism, which posits that states seek security rather than power, making the international system less predatory and less prone to conflict. According to Mearsheimer, the disposition to aggression is not intrinsic to states, but is instead the product of the constant search for survival in a world of uncertainty, offensive military capability, and a changing distribution of power.
To test the validity of offensive realism, Mearsheimer asserts that ‘we should almost always find leaders thinking that it is imperative to gain more power to enhance their state’s prospects for survival’ (p. 169). He then goes on to test this claim against the past behaviour of great powers by examining several questions. Do states systematically engage in aggression and expansion as their relative power increases? What determines whether great powers balance, appease, or buck-pass when faced with a threatening aggressor? Are bipolar or multipolar systems more likely to trigger war?
As Mearsheimer navigates the historical record of the past two centuries, he marshals an impressive array of evidence to back up his claim that states onsistently capitalize on opportunities to increase their power and that this dynamic explains much of great-power behaviour. In so doing, he also advances
several novel ideas, arguing, for example, that the ‘stopping power of water’ gives strategic advantage to land powers and means that leading nations aspire only to regional as opposed to global hegemony. Mearsheimer also introduces the useful notion of ‘unbalanced multipolarity’, demonstrating that multipolar systems with a clear imbalance of power are more prone to war than those with a rough equilibrium.
While Mearsheimer succeeds in demonstrating the utility of offensive realism, he falls short of demonstrating that his theory has as much explanatory power as he claims. In defending his brand of realism, Mearsheimer ends up offering historical interpretations that border on the indefensible. Consider his treatment of Wilhelmine Germany in the lead-up to the First World War.
Mearsheimer characterizes German behaviour as rational and calculating, according no importance to nationalism or the domestic rivalries of the period, and dismissing the notion that Germany invited its own encirclement. But especially in light of his views on the stopping power of water and the comparative advantages of land armies, domestic pressures are essential to explaining why Germany built a world-class battle fleet, alienating Great Britain, triggering the Triple Entente, and distracting resources from the land forces it needed to cope with France and Russia.
Mearsheimer’s explanation for the absence of balancing against Nazi Germany during the 1930s is similarly unconvincing. The buck-passing of the 1930s, he asserts, ‘was due in good part to the fact that Germany did not possess a formidable army until 1939, and thus no compelling reason drew Hitler’s foes together until then’ (p. 331). But from 1933 onward, Adolf Hitler gave Germany’s neighbours every reason to draw together against him. Far from being unconcerned about German strength, Britain appeased Germany at Munich precisely because British leaders felt they had no choice in the face of Germany’s military superiority.
Mearsheimer also fails to address how offensive realism explains peaceful change. Rapprochement between Britain and the United States at the turn of the twentieth century and the success of the European Union in transforming Europe’s geopolitical landscape both cast doubt on the notion that balancing and destructive rivalry are inescapable features of international life.
These objections do not diminish the importance of Mearsheimer’s book. Rather, they underscore the dangers inherent in seeking to explain the contingent course of history through a single analytic framework. Had Mearsheimer cast his light on episodes of lasting peace that defy the predictions of balance-of-power theory, perhaps he would be less convinced of the pervasive logic of offensive realism and more open to eclecticism in explaining politics among the great powers.


Sunday, February 12, 2006

Suécia: redução de petróleo


Suécia quer não ter de usar petróleo em 15 anos

A Suécia quer poder viver sem ter de usar petróleo em um período de 15 anos - e sem construir outras instalações nucleares.

Um comitê formado por industriais, acadêmicos, fabricantes de automóveis, fazendeiros e outros profissionais está à frente da iniciativa.

A intenção é substituir combustíveis derivados de petróleo com fontes renováveis antes que o aquecimento do planeta afete a economia e a crescente escassez da fonte de combustível fóssil leve a aumentos ainda maiores de preço. De acordo com o jornal britânico The Guardian, a ministra sueca do Desenvolvimento Sustentável, Mona Sahlin, acredita que a dependência do petróleo poderia acabar em 2020.


A Academia Real de Ciências sueca está preocupada com o abastecimento de petróleo, que poderia estar chegando ao seu máximo e preços cada vez maiores poderiam causar uma recessão econômica global.

"Nossa dependência deve acabar em 2020", disse Sahlin. Em entrevista ao The Guardian, ela disse que "deve sempre haver alternativas para o petróleo".

"Nenhuma casa deve depender de geradores a óleo para aquecimento e nenhum motorista deveria ter somente gasolina para abastecer seu carro.

"O país escandinavo, que foi duramente atingido pela crise de petróleo na década de 70, hoje em dia depende basicamente de energia nuclear e hidroelétrica.

O comitê do petróleo deve se reportar ao parlamento dentro de alguns meses. Altos funcionários do Ministério da Energia da Suécia esperam que o comitê recomende maior desenvolvimento de biomassa, com uso das florestas do país. De acordo com um dos funcionários do ministério, "queremos estar mentalmente e tecnicamente preparados para um mundo sem petróleo".

Também se espera que o comitê recomende mais geração de energia eólica e de uso da energia produzida a partir das ondas do mar.

Fonte: BBc Online

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Sim, com a energia nuclear é possível. Mas, aí como vai ficar a posição sectária dos ambientalistas?