The Russian Federation, the United States, and International Order as a Social Construct
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Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago Lake Forest College
Publication date: 2020-06-24
Stosunki Międzynarodowe – International Relations 2016;52(2):215–250
To what extent are we justified in speaking of Soviet/Russian and US political leaders, qua sentient beings, as ‘conscious of certain common interests and common values, [thereby] form[ing] [international] society in the sense that they conceive themselves to be bound by a common set of [principles, norms and] rules in their relations with one another, and share in the workings of common institutions’? To what extent have the respective political leaderships conceived of their states as great powers encumbered with the burden of maintaining international order and the very existence of the international society? Building on English School theorizing and constructivist methodology, I answer these questions by advance two principal claims: first, the historical record demonstrates that the two states’ political leaderships are presently – and were in the past – ‘conscious of certain common interests[,] common values’, common principles, norms and rules, and ‘share in the workings of common institutions’ so as to maintain the ‘pattern or disposition of international activity that sustains [the] goals of the society of states’. And second, the political leaderships have conceived of their respective states as great powers indispensable to the maintenance of international order, stability, and the very existence of international society.