The end of history or politics as usual? United States-Russian relations in the post-Cold War era
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Type of Workapplication/pdf
iv, 163 pages
ProgramTowson University. Social Sciences Program
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Throughout the period of the Cold War, the theory of realism was the dominant international relations theory used to explain the behavior of states on the world stage. However, in the period following the collapse of the Soviet Union, many began to call into question the ability of realist theory to account for these new developments in the international system, thus putting the once dominant theory on the defensive. In the mid-1990s as relations between the United States and the Russian Federation began to sour over issues such as NATO expansion, some began to wonder if they had been too hasty in discrediting realist theory and perhaps the realists had been correct after all. In this paper I analyze several key issues in United States-Russian relations which have arisen in the post-Cold War era as a means of testing the explanatory power of realist, liberal, and constructivist theories. It is my observation that while alternative theories are able to offer some insights into the relationship between the two states, it is the theory of realism which is best able to account for these developments. Russian action throughout this period could best be described as balancing behavior, very much in keeping with the predictions put forth by realist theory. Based on my empirical findings I offer some insights into the future the United States' relationship with the Russian Federation along with some thoughts on what policies would best serve the interests of the United States while also reducing the likelihood of conflict with our Russian counterparts.