The founder of offensive realism, a professor at the University of Chicago, John Mearsheimer, is considered to be one of the leading figures in the modern theory of international relations. The sensational article “The False Promise of International Institutions” by Mearsheimer is devoted to the problem of lies in international organizations and contains a filling of a political publicist. The purpose of this paper is to reveal critical issues raised by Mearsheimer in his article about international institutions.
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A lie is a direct statement that contains incorrect information to convince others to believe in the truth of falsification. An act of lying can consist of creating and disseminating falsified information in international organizations or denying facts that took place. Mearsheimer makes a reservation, and he considers the lie exclusively from a pragmatic point of view, leaving its moral aspects out of the picture (17). Likewise, he deliberately limits the analysis only to those cases in which the leaders deceive, not for their benefit or their immediate environment but in the name of the strategic interests of the nation.
The author of the article sequentially examines the types of lies most common in international politics. According to Mearsheimer, there are several varieties of interstate lies (23). For example, the author criticizes deceit in the form of a threat to use military force in the context of international organizations, although, in reality, the state does not intend to start a war. The professor also describes the concept when the lie is used to provoke the enemy at the outbreak of hostilities.
One of the most common types of interstate deceit is encountered in negotiations when states seek to ensure the most favorable conditions for themselves when concluding agreements. The author critically evaluates international political events as fearmongering situations and strategic cover-ups coming from international organizations because, in reality, counterfeit events lead to wider conflicts.
Thus, all types of lies are addressed not only to the external but also to the internal audience. Moreover, a falsehood aimed at people is much more common. Humanity tends to trust their leaders, and therefore it is much easier to mislead them than foreign governments, which are always incredulous. Mearsheimer is critical of international organizations emphasizing that democratic regimes are often violated by deceiving people in foreign policy issues.
Mearsheimer, John J. “The False Promise of International Institutions.” International Security, vol. 19, no. 3, 1994, pp. 5-49.