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The surrealism of realism: Misreading the war in Ukraine. World Affairs , 5 , 75 — The financial crisis of that same year and the ensuing Greek debt crisis further contributed to enlargement fatigue among many EU member states. Consequently, there was little prospect for Ukraine or any other post-Soviet state, for that matter to join either of these two organizations in the short to medium term. Moreover, European militaries had downsized since the end of the Cold War, while the US was engaged in its so-called pivot to Asia. Thirdly, it is unclear why the West — and not Russia — should adjust its status ambitions and policies.

As Freire Freire, M. Volgy , R. Corbetta , K.

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Baird Eds. This means that Russia punches above its weight and occupies an extremely prominent position in world politics — at least in comparison to other countries with a roughly equal amount of material capabilities such as Japan, Brazil, or India.

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None of these countries is a permanent member of the UN Security Council, for example. This raises the question of how many great-power privileges must Russia be granted before its outsized status ambitions are satisfied. More generally, it is questionable whether the creation of a modern-day concert of great powers, similar to the Concert of Europe in the second half of the nineteenth century, is possible or even desirable. As Rynning Rynning, S.

The false promise of continental concert: Russia, the West and the necessary balance of power. International Affairs , 91 3 , — Kagan Kagan, R. It would merely return the world to the condition it was in at the end of the nineteenth century, with competing great powers clashing over inevitably intersecting and overlapping spheres.

In fact, in the Russian leadership aided and abetted the overthrow of a fellow authoritarian regime in Kyrgyzstan Blank, Blank, S. CACI Analyst. Russia also played a key role in the democratic revolution in Georgia in , when it helped broker a peaceful transition of power from Shevardnadze to Saakashvili.

By all accounts, Georgia has become more — not less — democratic since then Way, Way, L. European Journal of Political Research , 54 4 , — Cambridge : Harvard University. The Washington Quarterly , 17 3 , 75 — So far, the existing scholarship has not been able to present any clear-cut evidence in the form of policy documents, transcripts of high-level meetings, or statements by Kremlin officials. Of course, it is extremely difficult to gain access to internal government documents or records of the private deliberations of President Putin and his associates. Yet even the circumstantial evidence for this argument remains ambivalent.

Although it is difficult to pinpoint an exact start date, most scholars agree that the Putin government began pursuing a more muscular policy towards the West sometime in the mids see, e. Lucas, Lucas, E. London : Bloomsbury. The limits of partnership: U. Russia redefines itself and its relations with the West. The Washington Quarterly , 30 2 , 95 — At that time, the popularity of the Russian President was increasing on the back of a booming economy. Thus, from a domestic political perspective, there was little reason for Putin to lash out at the West and create a conflict, which, in turn, would boost his popular legitimacy.

His approval ratings were already sky-high. In fact, it can be traced back to the early to mids. Survival , 41 4 , — Finally, and more generally, it is easy to vilify Russia for being on the wrong side of history. Yet, this argument rests on an implicit liberal teleology of historical development, which foresees the spread of democracy and free market capitalism across the globe. The end of history? National Interest , 16 3 , 3 — Kagan, Kagan, R. Responses to Fukuyama.

National Interest , 56 3 , 34 — The Atlantic. Nor have they fully embraced free market rules. Instead, they follow their own path of socio-economic development and pursue different forms of state capitalism Bremmer, Bremmer, I. State capitalism comes of age: The end of the free market? Foreign Affairs , 88 3 , 40 — State capitalism: How the return of statism is transforming the world. When seen against this background, it beggars belief to suppose that non-Western powers — such as Russia and China, but also India and Brazil — will fully embrace the existing US-led liberal international order.

It seems more likely that rising powers will want to shape the global order in accordance with their own particular values and political agendas. As Kupchan Kupchan, C. They have been doing so since the beginning of time, and the coming era will be no different also see Stuenkel, Stuenkel, O. Post-Western world: How emerging powers are remaking global order. Cambridge : Polity Press. In sum, all three perspectives are vulnerable to a range of criticisms.

This does not mean that the existing accounts should be discarded, however. Thus, we suggest that scholars need to adjust, modify, and expand the existing perspectives, or integrate different aspects of them, in order to address the identified challenges. That is the purpose of this special issue. Instead, they should focus on recent events and developments to explain the current crisis in East—West relations.

The second article, by Kevork Oskanian, examines the same issue, albeit from a different angle. Oskanian applies insights from the classical realist perspective to shed light on the downturn in relations between Russia and the West. More specifically, he draws on E. This has included the enlargement of institutional arrangements such as NATO and the European Union, the promotion of democratic governance structures, and the spread of free market capitalism. Although the West has couched the expansion of the liberal order in universalist terms, Oskanian holds that these initiatives were not geopolitically neutral.

In military, economic, and normative terms, Russia has been effectively side-lined in the present order. This, so Oskanian, is the root cause of the current crisis. He concludes that a pan-European security system can only be constructed when the United States and its allies give up the presumption that the expansion of Western-led institutions, democracy, and free trade is a positive-sum game for all involved, but recognize that some states — Russia, in this case — will lose out and therefore have strong incentives to push back.

His main argument is that the downward spiral in East—West relations is driven by two interactive dynamics. This can be partly explained by the increased level of external pressure from NATO and EU expansion, but also and above all by domestic developments in Russia. The fourth article is by Marcin Kaczmarski.

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He focuses on Russian-Chinese relations and explores to what extent the world order visions and policies of the two countries overlap. Drawing on primary sources, Kaczmarski shows that there is substantial overlap between Russia and China regarding their publicly stated world order visions. Both resist Western interventionism, stress the importance of the UN Security Council, warn of the dangers of transnational threats, embrace traditional conceptions of state sovereignty, and emphasize the need to create new institutional arrangements at global and regional levels.

Beyond the realm of rhetoric, however, there are growing rifts in the world order policies of the two countries. China is becoming an increasingly significant contributor to global governance. This includes UN peacekeeping operations, the fight against climate change, the provision of development aid, and the promotion of an open economic order.

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Beijing is generally interested in a stable and predictable international system. This is the prerequisite, after all, for its continued economic rise and domestic development. Russia, on the other hand, shies away from assuming global responsibilities. Moscow shows little willingness to accept international commitments and contribute to global public goods. Instead, it has emerged as a spoiler that thrives on uncertainty and insecurity in international affairs. Thus, despite much fretting by some Western observers about the formation of a Russo-Chinese axis in international affairs, such an axis is unlikely to come to fruition.

According to Kaczmarski, the different world order policies of Russia and China will constrain partnership between them. The emerging Sino-Eurasian order has not featured such a swing on normative issues and has consequently come to be seen in Moscow as a better fit for Russia. Yet the developing partnership between Moscow and Beijing carries its own risks, chief among them — at least for Russia — that of becoming a junior partner to China. We would like to thank Cameron Ross, the editor of European Politics and Society, for his support of this special issue; the contributing authors for their hard work; and the reviewers for their helpful comments.

We would like to express our gratitude to all workshop participants for candid and fruitful discussions. We also owe a big thank you to Katharine Petty for language editing this introductory article. All errors remain our own. Skip to Main Content. Search in: This Journal Anywhere. Advanced search. Submit an article Journal homepage.

Pages Published online: 15 Nov Russia and the question of world order. Introduction In recent years, the US-led liberal world order that emerged after the end of the Cold War has been shaken.

Russian foreign policy and the liberal world order: three perspectives According to John Ikenberry Ikenberry, G. View all notes Russia as a revanchist power One group of observers holds that Russia aims to overturn the foundations of the liberal world order. Russia seeks conflict with the West.

Russia as an aggressive isolationist A third group of scholars argues that Russia has neither the will nor the capacity to reshape the existing international order. Russia and the question of world order All authors. Published online: 15 November Table 1. CSV Display Table. Russia is hardly the only country to regard the [sphere of influence] concept as important for its security.

Acknowledgements We would like to thank Cameron Ross, the editor of European Politics and Society, for his support of this special issue; the contributing authors for their hard work; and the reviewers for their helpful comments. Article Metrics Views.

Russia and the question of world order

Article metrics information Disclaimer for citing articles. More Share Options. The school also runs a joint program for a master of international studies degree with George Washington University in Washington, D. The oldest IR graduate program in the United States, the Committee on International Relations focuses on the more intellectual side of international affairs.

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View Comments. Tags: , Default , Feature , Free. More from Foreign Policy. Find out more. World politics is entering a new phase, and intellectuals have not hesitated to proliferate visions of what it will be-the end of history, the return of traditional rivalries between nation states, and the decline of the nation state from the conflicting pulls of tribalism and globalism, among others. Each of these visions catches aspects of the emerging reality. Yet they all miss a crucial, indeed a central, aspect of what global politics is likely to be in the coming years.

It is my hypothesis that the fundamental source of conflict in this new world will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural. Nation states will remain the most powerful actors in world affairs, but the principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and groups of different civilizations.

The clash of civilizations will dominate global politics.