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Realism is predicated of the assumption that the international system is anarchic and nihilistic with no moral framework; thus, certain actions by states are not considered taboo as there is no over-arching authority or actor to strike down on ‘offending’ states. Moreover, this is a prominent doctrine which classical realists give particular credence to, in Book I of Thucydides’ History the Athenians claim that morals, ‘never turned people aside from the opportunities of aggrandisement offered by superior strength’. (___) Classical realists are differentiated from other strands of realism due to how they accentuate that the behaviour of states is a mere reflection of human nature and how human beings are egotistical and power-seeking; they will act in such a way to maximise their utility often at the expense of others. Classical realists thus, argue that humans will seek to avoid decadence at all cost and will aim to maximise and obtain political influence, ‘. . . the world, imperfect as it is from the rational point of view, is the result of forces inherent in human nature….This being inherently a world of opposing interests and of conflict among them, moral principles can never be fully realized’ (Morgenthau, 1985, pp3-4).  Moreover, structural realists can be differentiated from classical realists due to how they accentuate that the structure of institutions and how the lack of a coherent authority is what causes states to act irrationally; a determinant for inter-state conflict. There are two prominent strands within neorealism which are divided over the whether states can be seen as “power maximisers” or “security maximisers”. “Offensive” realists convey how the self-help system necessitates that states act in order to belittle and disparage any state competitors. John Mearsheimer accentuated how due to the ambiguity concerning state intentions and frequent diplomatic obfuscation within the discourse; states will invariably feel insecure so will feel justified in maximising their capabilities. “Offensive” realism then highlights how states will invariably exploit other actors to their own gain as ‘in the anarchic world of international politics it is better to be Godzilla than Bambi'(Mearsheimer, 2009).  “Defensive” realists, however, also agree with the notion of the “struggle for power” but they argue that a state seeks to secure its existence and survival within an erratic and antagonistic domain. Waltz argues that states are “security maximisers” and that acting to maximise power will destabilise the bipolarity of the international system, ‘in crucial situations, however, ‘the ultimate concern of states is not for power but for security’ (Waltz 1989: 40).

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