Overcoming Inequality and Suspicion: Forging Interstate Cooperation Despite Mistrust and Power Asymmetry
AuthorSlobodchikoff, Michael O.
Russian Foreign Policy
AdvisorWillerton, John P.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractPower inequalities and mistrust have characterized many interstate relationships. Yet most international relations theories do not take into account power and mistrust when explaining cooperation. While some scholars argue that power relations inhibit cooperation between states, other scholars expect interstate cooperation regardless of the power relations and level of trust. I argue that although states benefit from cooperation, they are also wary of the power relations between states, making cooperation difficult. Successful and cooperative bilateral relationships are formed between strong and weak states that are power asymmetric and have mistrust of one another, but they are built in such as way as to overcome the problem of power asymmetry and distrust. In this dissertation, I answer how and why states that are in power asymmetry and have mistrust of one another are able to build a cooperative bilateral relationship. I argue that states forge a relationship due to strategic needs such as economic or security needs. I have developed a database composed of the whole population of bilateral treaties between Russia and each of the former Soviet republics, and examine all of the bilateral relationships formed between Russia and the former Soviet republics. I find that Russia indeed forged relationships with the former republics based on its strategic interests. However, despite Russia's strategic interests, it had to build a bilateral relationship that would address the issues of mistrust and power asymmetry between the states. To achieve this, Russia and the former Soviet republics created treaty networks, which served to legitimize as well as legalize the independent status of each of the former republics while also increasing the cost to Russia of violating any of the treaties. I argue that strong treaty networks account for a more cooperative relationship between states, allowing both states to cooperate by alleviating the problems of mistrust and power asymmetry.
Degree ProgramGraduate College