Beliefs About International Security and Change in 1992 Among Russian and American National Security Elites

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Abstract

Given the magnitude of the changes during and after the collapse of the Soviet Union, we were interested in surveying the views of Russian and American elites involved in international relations and national security. Therefore, in June of 1992 we conducted a survey, using parallel questions in Russian and English, among elites in Russia and the United States to inquire about views concerning international relations and foreign policy. The results suggested that Russian and American elites’ thinking was organized by shared belief schema that could be labeled cooperative internationalism or support for détente, using concepts derived from previous investigations. Also, both Russian and American elites seemed to hold parallel belief structures that could be labeled militant internationalism or support for deterrence. Among the Russians, these two types of beliefs accounted for a significant degree of variance in perceptions of national and international security threats and attributions for liberalization of the Soviet Union toward East Europe. Among the Americans, however, perceptions of national and international security threats and attributions for liberalization of the Soviet Union were seldom related to these 2 types of beliefs. This may help to account for the dramatic differences found by country in perceived security threats and attributions for Soviet liberalization.

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