East and west: an examination of the international through the lenses of agression
LE3 .A278 2019
Bachelor of Arts
This thesis begins with an historical examination of Russia’s history from 1991 up until the 2008 Georgia-Russia war, it is from this analysis that the central assertion is drawn: there is a false dilemma on the international stage between liberal IR theory and realism, both claim to deal with conflict but in fact they both just normalize it. In order to shed light on that assertion, two theoretical frameworks have been developed in order to provide a better insight into the why of Russia’s actions and the why of the West’s response. The first framework is an explanation of Liberal IR theory through the work of Andrew Moravcsik and a subsequent postcolonial critique through the work of Kaurna Mantena. The key point that I attempt to iterate in this chapter is the idea that Liberal IR theory has not shaken its imperialist roots and is instead using them to dominate the international arena in the modern era. The second framework is meant to provide an alternative international arena to the critiqued version of Liberal IR theory, that of a more direct nature. After a brief examination of Realism, attention is turned to the work of Carl Schmitt. I attempt to use his ideas of the political, Nomos and Hegung (verb meaning to hedge) to articulate a system that uses the laws of war to bracket and contain war while still allowing for its presence in the international arena. The 2008 Georgia-Russia war will serve as a case study on which to apply the two complete frameworks: are the actions of Russia consistent with the motivations of the political, do they fall within the lines set by Schmitt’s system; are the actions of the West consistent with an imperialist mindset? These are the questions I seek to answer with the application of the frameworks to the case study. In the conclusion I reflect upon what I have learned from the establishment of the frameworks, their application to the case study and what it all means for the future of international relations as well as our current understanding of Schmitt and Liberal IR theory
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