Open Journal Systems


Valdir da Silva Bezerra


This article presents an evaluation on Moscow-Washington relations in the context of a renewed antagonism between the two governments, and the foreign policy visions currently employed by the Russian Federation and the United States (in relation to each other) through their compatibility with the Constructivist Theory of IR. We aim to demonstrate that, although the Realist perspective seems (at first glance) the most appropriate one to approach the current foreign policy of both countries (especially on their bilateral relations), ideational factors belonging to the Constructivist Theory still hold sufficient explanatory force in regard to Moscow´s and Washington´s views about each other. In terms of structure, we initially set out to discuss some of the main contributions of Constructivism to IR Theory and its reinterpretation of key-concepts previously crystallized by Neoliberalism/Neorealism. Secondly, we demonstrate how the Constructivist Theory was applied during the Cold War era to explain important events related to the increasing / cooling of tensions between Moscow and the West until the Yeltsin years. Finally, we elaborate on how some of its premises could still be applied today, helping us to fully grasp the current Moscow´s view about the international system and, more importantly, about its complicated relationship with the United States. In methodological terms, the article draws on an analytical (and meta-theoretical) discussion relating the Theory to important events involving both countries politically, deepening the debate on the constructivist vision in IR, while adopting Alexandr Wendt's perspective to substantiate the current argument.

Keywords: Constructivism, (Neo)Realism, Russian Foreign Policy, American Foreign Policy, International Relations


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