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Dr. Richard Mole

Thesis abstract

National Identity and Foreign Policy: Perceptions of Self and Other in the Post-Soviet International Relations of the Baltic States

The objective of this PhD is to examine the influence of national identity on the post-Soviet foreign policies of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in the period 1991-99. Contrary to the traditional Realist view that external relations and state security are determined solely by power, I argue that foreign-policy choices are not the product of purely rational considerations but are instead shaped by ideational forces, such as historical collective memory and perceptions of self and other. My thesis is based on the hypothesis that the foreign policy of all states is influenced by national identity. The influence of national identity increases when states are new and political institutions are thus weak, when there is little social cohesion between ethnic groups and when inter-state relations are bilateral and not international; national identity provides a psychological framework within which foreign policy is formulated and implemented, whereby core beliefs set foreign-policy decision-makers along particular paths and preclude certain options from being considered; national identity influences foreign policy if the elements of that identity (ethnic group or territory, for instance) are perceived to be under threat and require protection; national identity itself can be used as a foreign-policy tool to enhance security by creating a social reality through discourse whereby states embed themselves in the global political consciousness as members of a broader collectivity beyond the control of actual or potential enemies. To demonstrate this, I examine four foreign-policy issues: the impact of citizenship and minority rights legislation on relations with Russia and Poland; the withdrawal of the troops of the former Soviet Army; the demarcation of the eastern borders of Estonia and Latvia; and attempts by the three Baltic States to enhance their security through membership of European organisations.

 

This page last modified 26 September, 2012 by webmaster

Book cover: Muamma

Book cover: Unpacking the collection

imag: book cover, Federica  Mazzara

Discursive Constructions of Identity in European Politics

Singing Poets: Literature and Popular Music in France and Greece (1945-1975)

Northern Constellations: New Readings in Nordic Cinema by Claire Thomson, UCL Mellon Fellow (2004-2006)

Mediating the Nation by Mirca Madianou, UCL Mellon Fellow (2002-2004)


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