Publication Date



Open access

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


International Studies (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Bruce M. Bagley - Committee Chair

Second Committee Member

Roger E. Kanet - Committee Member

Third Committee Member

Joaquin Roy - Committee Member

Fourth Committee Member

Ralph Clem - Outside Committee Member

Fifth Committee Member

Darrell Slider - Outside Committee Member


Cold War Soviet foreign policy was driven by a strategic competition. A competition-detente cycle based on the superpower rivalry between the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, including the Warsaw Pact dependencies, and the United States of America and its respective alliance, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) existed for over forty-five years. Following the dismantling of the Warsaw Pact and the implosion of the USSR, remnant Soviet and subsequent Russian foreign policy, changed dramatically. Though some fragmentary Soviet style vertical controls of the foreign policy of the transitional Gorbachev years and the first years of Yeltsin's first administration were recognizable, their respective foreign relations operated on the defensive realities of a splintered empire in every conceivable manner. This dissertation will track and analyze each president's foreign policy goals within the dependent variables of social, economic and political influences of post Cold War realities. In an absolute sense, each president formulated Russian foreign policy based on domestic considerations. This fact constitutes the independent variable in this analysis. From the bellicosity of the Cold War through the opposition of Russia to America's unilateralist approach to the second Iraqi war, Russia attempted to return as a major player in international relations as a whole and as an interlocutor with the United States in a strategic sense. This engagement has produced the gambit of political polemics, from the strident Soviet "launch on warning" correlation of forces fighting doctrine to the interactive and more personal political good will venue between Bush and Putin. It is this "push-pull" political history that prompts the primary research question: Is the present Russian strategic relationship with the post 9.11 United States the beginning of a new and unique post Cold War international relationship or is it simply a continuation of the familiar confrontation-detente cycle historically endemic to Russian-American relations? Has the American occupation of Iraq, a perennial Russian client state, derailed the post 9.11 accommodation between the two countries?


Russian Foreign Policy Under Putin; Russian-American Relations