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Hegemonic Ambition: Offensive Realist Prescriptions for Regional Hegemons in External Regions Open Access

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At the conclusion of the Cold War, many hoped the international system had finally escaped the harsh realities of geopolitics. Despite optimism about the emergence of an American-led unipolar system, some structural realists believed the abatement of geopolitics was a temporary phenomenon: a brief respite before a return to great power conflict. This gloomy worldview gave rise to the sub-school of offensive realism, which theorizes that states pursue relative power maximization to ensure survival and, ideally, regional hegemony. A relatively young school, offensive realism has primarily focused on the paths states take to pursue bids for regional hegemony. This study seeks to fill some of the gaps that exist in how great powers, having achieved regional hegemony, behave abroad. Support for this research is drawn from a review of existing literature on offensive realism and a case study on U.S. behavior following 1898.

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