The view of offensive realism and liberalism on U.S. foreign policy

The view of offensive realism and liberalism on U.S. foreign policy

Article received: 2023.03.02. Accepted: 2023.06.28

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2024.01.03

For citation:

Borovsky Yu.V. The view of offensive realism and liberalism on U.S. foreign policy. – Polis. Political Studies. 2024. No. 1. P. 21-35. (In Russ.). EDN: EBGOHG


Since the end of the Cold War, the United States of America has pursued an offensive foreign policy. In the realities of the 2010s and 2020s, marked by mounting resistance to American global dominance, primarily from Russia and China, there are prerequisites for the adjustment of the U.S. foreign policy strategy. The aim of the article is to identify the underlying causes of offensiveness in U.S. foreign policy of the post–bipolar period based on theoretical constructs of offensive realism and liberalism. Research has shown that offensive realism and offensive liberalism can help understand the offensive nature of U.S. foreign policy after 1991 in their own way and make appropriate projections for the future. Based on the tenets of offensive realism, it can be assumed that the collapse of the Soviet Union and communism have created an enabling environment for maximizing the power of the United States, which Washington could not but leverage. Witnessing the dwindling U.S. power potential, as well as the strengthening of China and Russia in the 2010s – 2020s, Washington has not stopped acting in the logic of offensive realism, but under the Trump and Biden administrations it has definitely began to move towards defensive realism. As the rivals to the US continue to strengthen their capacities, this trend can only intensify. Following the tenets of offensive liberalism, it is possible to assume that after the Cold War, the power of the United States has turned out to be so great in comparison with other great and major powers that Washington has begun to offensively build an American liberal hegemony, letting power rivalry falls by the wayside. However, due to the weakening of the U.S. power potential, as well as the simultaneous rise of China and Russia, it has been forced to begin a transition to a strategy based on offensive and defensive realism under the Trump and Biden administrations. If its rivals continue to rise, the U.S. may turn away from offense altogether. 

U.S. foreign policy, America, offensive realism, offensive liberalism, liberal hegemony, rivalry, China, Russia.


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Content No. 1, 2024

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