We Are All Georgians : The Neoconservative Narrative on the Russia-Georgia War

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Title: We Are All Georgians : The Neoconservative Narrative on the Russia-Georgia War
Author: Koskenniemi, Tuomas
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta, Politiikan ja talouden tutkimuksen laitos
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political and Economic Studies
Helsingfors universitet, Statsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Institutionen för politik och ekonomi
Publisher: Helsingfors universitet
Date: 2010
Language: eng
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-201703271578
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: Political Science, World Politics
Yleinen valtio-oppi, maailmanpolitiikan tutkimus
Allmän statslära, forskning i världspolitik
Abstract: In this thesis I examine the U.S. foreign policy discussion that followed the war between Russia and Georgia in August 2008. In the politically charged setting that preceded the presidential elections, the subject of the debate was not only Washingtons response to the crisis in the Caucasus but, more generally, the direction of U.S. foreign policy after the presidency of George W. Bush. As of November 2010, the reasons for and consequences of the Russia-Georgia war continue to be contested. My thesis demonstrates that there were already a number of different stories about the conflict immediately after the outbreak of hostilities. I want to argue that among these stories one can discern a 'neoconservative narrative' that described the war as a confrontation between the East and the West and considered it as a test for Washington’s global leadership. I draw on the theory of securitization, particularly on a framework introduced by Holger Stritzel. Accordingly, I consider statements about the conflict as 'threat texts' and analyze these based on the existing discursive context, the performative force of the threat texts and the positional power of the actors presenting them. My thesis suggests that a notion of narrativity can complement Stritzel’s securitization framework and take it further. Threat texts are established as narratives by attaching causal connections, meaning and actorship to the discourse. By focusing on this process I want to shed light on the relationship between the text and the context, capture the time dimension of a speech act articulation and help to explain how some interpretations of the conflict are privileged and others marginalized. I develop the theoretical discussion through an empirical analysis of the neoconservative narrative. Drawing on Stritzel’s framework, I argue that the internal logic of the narrative which was presented as self-evident can be analyzed in its historicity. Asking what was perceived to be at stake in the conflict, how the narrative was formed and what purposes it served also reveals the possibility for alternative explanations. My main source material consists of transcripts of think tank seminars organized in Washington, D.C. in August 2008. In addition, I resort to the foreign policy discussion in the mainstream media.
Subject: Georgia

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