Was Putin Ever a Friend of the West? Realism and the Rise and Decline of Putin's Rapprochement with the Bush Administration after 9/11
Version of this paper published by JIR, 2016 March
41 Pages Posted: 18 Dec 2015 Last revised: 16 Mar 2016
Date Written: December 16, 2015
It is a common notion among a lot of analysts including but not limited to Dmitri Trenin of Carnegie Moscow, that Vladimir Putin was a "friend of the West", and due to causal and structural reasons, like Iraq War, NATO expansion, East Europe missile defense and oil price index, he turned into a revanchist ruler that he is today.
I argue, that was not the case, and this essay highlights that he was always a shrewd Realist, on a tactical alignment with the West, looking to chart his own course at his earliest convenience. The study of this time period, of Putin’s first two terms, highlights the importance and suggests future policy course in dealing with him.
This study is expository and tests the theory of Realism with Russian actions under the first two terms of Vladimir Putin, which broadly coincides with the George W Bush Administration.
Note: A version of this paper is under consideration at Journal of International Relations (Medzinárodné vzťahy).
Keywords: Russia, Realism, Neo-Realism, Foreign Policy, Vladimir Putin, Dmitri Trenin, Carnegie Moscow, United States, NATO, John Mearsheimer, Stephen Walt, Sumantra Maitra
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