Contested Identity and Foreign Policy: Interpreting Russia’s International Choices



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1 For examples of works that emphasize importance of social context in studying foreign policy, see Doty 1996; Katzenstein 1996; Hopf 2002; Telhami and Barnett 2002; Clunan 2009. For advise on approaching empirical research from interpretivist standpoint, see Miliken 1999; Klotz and Lynch 2007; Pouliot 2007; Hopf 2010.

2 For interpretivism-positivism controversy, see Dallmayr and McCarthy 1977. For early work that has sharply differentiated between “explaining” and “understanding” in foreign policy see Hollis and Smith 1990.

3 The realists emphasize international anarchy; the rationalists concentrate on international interactions; and the revolutionists focus on international society (Wight 1992).

4 For recent examples of scholarship on Russia’s foreign policy, see Lucas 2008; Trenin 2009; Mankoff 2009; Bugajski 2009. Kanet 2009; Tsygankov 2010.

5 Those on the skeptical side argue that the reset advocates misread Russia’s intentions and undermine Western allies (See, for example, Kramer 2010a, 2010b; Cohen 2010; LeVine 2010). According to this line of reasoning, Russia’s authoritarian culture and political system require for the Kremlin to depend on the Western threat image at home and engage in revisionist behavior abroad (Shlapentokh 2009; Cohen and Dale 2010; Shevtsova 2010a, b). For opposing views, see Legvold 2009; Armstrong 2010; Charap and Petersen 2010; Gvosdev 2010; Mankoff 2010.

6 For historical studies of changes and continuity in Russia’s foreign policy, see especially Lederer 1967; Ragsdale 1993; Legvold 2007.

7 According to these scholars, contestation of identity “includes the degree of within-group agreement about the constitutive norm of an identity, consensus and cogruence of the social purposes ascribed to an identity, agreement about meanings attached to out-groups; and coherence of shared cognitive models” (Abdelal et al. 2006, 701).

8 For the approach to discourse that views it as a combination of various intellectual influences that is fluid, interactive and dialectical, see especially Alker 1981; Alker and Biersteker 1984; Alker, Biersteker, and Inoguchi 1989. For other studies that treat discourse as inherently contested, see, for example, Edelman 1988; Doty 1996; Fierke 1996; Barnett 1998; Lynch 1999, 2000. For reviews of various approaches in discourse analysis, see Miliken 1999; Fierke 2004.

9 For a sophisticated methodology of reconstructing international action sequences as reflecting and creating identities and constitutive rules, see Banerjee 2002, 2009.

10 On Gorbachev as a thinker who sought to improve the Soviet Union’s world status through an innovative strategy of engaging the West, see Larson and Shevchenko 2003.

11 See memo by the U.S. Ambassador in NATO Ivo Daalder (2009).

12 For example, he proposed to begin discussions of a new security framework using the format of the OSCE and he supported Russia’s growing cooperation with NATO (Medvedev 2009a).

13 On Russia’s European policy under Putin, see, for example, Lukyanov 2008; Kratochvíl 2008; Kanet 2009. On European and Western perceptions of Russia’s foreign policy, see Tsygankov 2009; English and Svyatets 2010; Feklyunina 2010.

14 In the expression of one Putin’s supporters, “Dmitri Medvedev can build his presidency on European norms and values because he is ‘standing on the shoulders’ of Putin, who ended our chaos while himself rarely following the norm” (Pavlovski 2008).

15 For a more detailed analysis of the United States’ position from a conservative perspective, see McNamara 2010.

16 For documentation that Baltics and Poland wanted NATO to develop secret contingency plans in response to the war in the Caucasus, see Daalder 2009.

17 For example, the Foreign Ministry report “A Review of the Russian Federation’s Foreign Policy” of 2007 embraces the objective of multi-polarity based on “a more equitable distribution of resources for influence and economic growth,” but also advocates multilateralism for solving international problems (Obzor vneshnei politiki 2007). In the same spirit, the National Security Strategy of 2008 states that Russia continues to aspire to “defend national interests as a subject of multipolar international relations,” but refrains from identifying the “unipolar” structure of the world as a key threat to Russia (Kommersant, December 25, 2008). Similarly, the Military Doctrine of 2010 identifies NATO enlargement as an external danger (opasnost’), but not as a threat (ugroza), which commentators interpreted as indicative that Russia was afraid not of being attacked by the Western alliance, but of not participating in a NATO-centric system of European security (Tsypkin 2010).



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