Forecasting uncertainty : U.S. and Russian threat dynamics during the "reset"
LaBanca, Gregory Robert.
Thesis (M.A.)--Georgetown University, 2011.; Includes bibliographical references.; Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format. The steady improvement in relations between the United States and Russia since the spring of 2009 presents a puzzle to international relations scholars and policymakers alike: under what circumstances do two adversarial states reverse a threatening relationship? I posit that threat cannot be understood in terms of power relations, intentions, interests, or state identities alone, but rather the underlying processes that put these elements in relation to each other. The process of accelerating pessimism about a bilateral relationship--worst case forecasting--generates high threat relationships by changing mutual perceptions of intentions and power capability, altering perceptions of actor coherency, and driving two states to construct mutually exclusive identities. In turn, the paper hypothesizes that the reversal of this process--framed in the U.S. and Russia as the "reset"--has a rather unexpected cause: the external onset of great uncertainty in a bilateral relationship, which increases the cognitive room for two parties to re-imagine and thus reset their relations.
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