Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Security Seeking under Anarchy: Defensive Realism Revisited

  • Jeffrey W. Taliaferro
| Winter 2000/01


Does the international system offer more incentives or disincentives for expansion? According to offensive realism, an anarchical international system strongly favors expansion. In contrast, defensive realism offers a more optimistic view: The international system provides incentives for expansion, but only under certain conditions. Tufts University’s Jeffrey Taliaferro puts forward four auxiliary variables—the security dilemma, structural modifiers such as the offense-defense balance, material power, and domestic politics—that he posits can help predict how structural variables influence international outcomes and states’ foreign policies.

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For Academic Citation: Taliaferro, Jeffrey W.. Security Seeking under Anarchy: Defensive Realism Revisited.” Quarterly Journal: International Security, vol. 25. no. 3. (Winter 2000/01):

The Author

Jeffrey W. Taliaferro