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The Cold Peace: Russo-Western Relations as a Mimetic Cold War

Sakwa, Richard (2013) The Cold Peace: Russo-Western Relations as a Mimetic Cold War. Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 26 (1). pp. 203-224. ISSN 0955-7571. (doi:10.1080/09557571.2012.710584) (KAR id:54203)

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In 1989–1991 the geo-ideological contestation between two blocs was swept away, together with the ideology of civil war and its concomitant Cold War played out on the larger stage. Paradoxically, while the domestic sources of Cold War confrontation have been transcended, its external manifestations remain in the form of a ‘legacy’ geopolitical contest between the dominant hegemonic power (the United States) and a number of potential rising great powers, of which Russia is one. The post-revolutionary era is thus one of a ‘cold peace’. A cold peace is a mimetic cold war. In other words, while a cold war accepts the logic of conflict in the international system and between certain protagonists in particular, a cold peace reproduces the behavioural patterns of a cold war but suppresses acceptance of the logic of behaviour. A cold peace is accompanied by a singular stress on notions of victimhood for some and undigested and bitter victory for others. The perceived victim status of one set of actors provides the seedbed for renewed conflict, while the ‘victory’ of the others cannot be consolidated in some sort of relatively unchallenged post-conflict order. The ‘universalism’ of the victors is now challenged by Russia's neo-revisionist policy, including not so much the defence of Westphalian notions of sovereignty but the espousal of an international system with room for multiple systems (the Schmittean pluriverse).

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/09557571.2012.710584
Subjects: J Political Science
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Depositing User: Richard Sakwa
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2016 12:32 UTC
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2021 10:57 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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