Constructing National Interests – The Case of US and EU Sanctions against Russia
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Uniwersytet Łódzki
Publication date: 2017-03-31
Stosunki Międzynarodowe – International Relations 2017;53(1):97-115
The article presents the reasons why the United States and the European Union maintain sanctions against Russia in light of the theory of constructivism. The justification of the need for these sanctions is based to a large extent on Western societies’ perception of Russia as a non-democratic country and a potential aggressor. In this context foreign policy priorities are developed, based on the national interest constructed in the individual countries. But the Russian society is also developing an opinion of the West’s actions on the basis of historical experience, to a large extent sharing their government’s belief that the countries imposing sanctions on Russia seek to weaken it, especially in terms of its position in the international arena. The constructivist perspective adopted here makes it possible to take into account, apart from the determinants of international politics and economic motives, the opinion of societies, which is very important for the construction of national interest and for continuing the adopted principles. This makes it also possible to answer the research questions: why do both the United States and the European Union maintain and from time to time also increase the sanctions against Russia despite the economic and political losses it entails for them? Why do governments believe that this is in their national interest, and why is this belief shared in many countries by a large part of public opinion?
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