Vatnik Soup
Soup number250
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Vatnik’s professionPolitical scientist
Vatnik’s country of originUnited States

John Mearsheimer

In today’s #vatniksoup, I’ll introduce an American political scientist, John Mearsheimer. He’s best-known for his theory of offensive realism, for his pandering to authoritarian regimes, and for ignoring sovereignty of independent countries.

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Mearsheimer is famous for his theory of offensive realism. The theory assumes that “great powers” such as the US, the CCP and (for some weird reason) Russia are being primarily driven by the rational desire to achieve regional hegemony in an anarchic international system.

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His lecture “Why is Ukraine the West’s Fault? Featuring John Mearsheimer” has been viewed over 29 million times on YouTube, and its often the cornerstone of any anti-US and anti-NATO argument in the context of Ukraine, including those originating from the Kremlin.

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Let’s do a short review about Mearsheimer’s theory: he suggests that Russia had no other choice but to invade Ukraine as the West was provoking them with the constant eastward NATO expansion. This view is based on the ideas of “Realpolitik” and “great power politics”.

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"Realpolitik" is a system where politics is stripped off from any moral or ideological considerations and which focuses more on the practical side of things. “Great power politics” means that the big players like the US, and the CCP decide what happens to smaller...

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...countries that are considered to be a part of their “spheres of influence”. This strips these smaller countries from their agency and sovereignty, and it’s up to the big players to decide what their faiths are.

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According to Mearsheimer, the US should actually stop any aid to Ukraine and form an alliance with Putin, so that they together can beat another great power, the CCP. So, if it were up to John, the US really shouldn’t interfere with Putin’s genocidal war in Ukraine.

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Few days after Russia launched their full-scale invasion in Ukraine, he stated that Putin “understands that he cannot conquer Ukraine and integrate it into a greater Russia or into a reincarnation of the former Soviet Union” and that “Putin is much too smart for that”.

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Of course we now know that this was exactly what Putin planned to do, and this plan had been started already back in early 2010s. Putin’s plans were laid out clearly in his 2021 essay “On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians”.

In a later interview and after Putin had annexed four more Ukrainian Oblasts, Mearsheimer still agreed with his previous statement, saying that all Putin wants is these four Oblasts (although he had previously said he wants just two) as well as “regime change” in Kyiv.

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He also absurdly claimed that Putin’s “response to events there [in Ukraine] has been defensive, not offensive.” Soon after this, Putin gave a speech in which he compared himself to conqueror Peter the Great and did not say one word about NATO or its expansion.

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Of course, his claim that Russia is a “great nation” is also disputable. It’s a declining power with huge demographic problem and the country basically acts only as a Mafia-run gas station that completely disregards democracy and human rights.

Mearsheimer’s view of “realism” is also inherently unrealistic - it completely disregards internal politics and leaves no room for decision-makers. In his world, it doesn’t matter if Russia is run by Stalin, Gorbachev or Putin, or Germany is run by Merkel or Hitler.

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Incidentally, Mearsheimer’s never passed any judgment on the most horrific war crimes, including the abduction of Ukrainian children, that Russia has conducted in their genocidal war. For some weird reason, he has done this in the case of Israel: in his 2007 book, ...

..."The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy", Mearsheimer refers to a “moral dimension” in the US’s enabling of Israeli “crimes perpetrated against the Palestinians.” So, according to him, it’s okay for Russia to be genocidal, but not for the US.

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But most of all, Mearsheimer doesn’t understand Russia. At its core, Russia is an imperialist, revisionist, expansionist and aggressive state. Waging small wars along its borders has been a tool of domestic control in “Russkiy Mir” since the time of the Tsars.

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In addition, he has no clue about Ukraine - a sovereign country that had suffered greatly under the Soviet Union, its people only wanted to become closer to Western democracies and distance themselves from the corruption and oligarchy brought in by the Soviet leadership.


Like so many Eastern European countries before them, Ukraine wanted protection against genocidal imperialistic power that is Russia. Neither EU or NATO forces anyone to join them: it’s a voluntary process, whereas joining the Russian “sphere of influence” often isn’t.

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In June 2022, Mearsheimer gave a lecture in which he stated that “Putin does not have a history of lying to other leaders, ” neatly forgetting Putin’s lies that Russia will not invade Ukraine, that Russia had no role in the downshooting of MH17, that the Kremlin had...

...nothing to do with the poisoning of Navalnyi, and that the Russian army does not strike at civilian facilities. There’s of course hundreds, if not thousands, of more lies, these just being the most blatant ones.


Due to his stance on Ukraine, Mearsheimer has been invited to many influential gatherings. He’s part of Moscow-based Valdai Club which incidentally also funded his work. He’s also met with Hungary’s Orbán, but really, REALLY doesn’t want to talk about this meeting at all.


During a Valdai event, Mearsheimer stated that “I’m much more comfortable in Moscow than Washington!”

I wonder if it’s all the money he’s getting from there?

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