Thursday, December 01, 2022

Russia, Ukraine and the United States: The weight of internal actors

We tend to believe that international relations consist of interactions between “unity” actors, as if states are uniform black boxes. As if it were a chessboard where the pieces -the lands- simply move and keep making calculations and deciding their steps. However, the issue is much more complex. Understanding this complexity means breaking down the inside of these pieces, understanding how all internal interactions are produced and influenced (see Allison, 1972), and even the interactions between internal actors and actors located in other countries. is, and only then, to evaluate what it is like that it all affects the international arena.

Let’s think about the internal situation in Ukraine. When former President Poroshenko negotiated the Minsk Accords, he had to make major concessions to Russia and the separatist rebels, who were rejected by certain sectors in his country. By 2021, only 12% of Ukrainians thought that such agreements should be implemented in their original format. Similarly, the majority of society, according to recent studies, wants to be part of NATO; feels that it should move closer to Europe and further away from Russia; she felt she had already achieved it and now felt threatened. Each of these sub-pieces and factors is also part of the advice that Zelensky must assess.

On the other hand, in Russia, there are also numerous internal actors and factors at work. For example, just as Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea was highly supported by Russian society, the current war appears to have enormous support, according to recent polls. However, this does not mean that there are no cracks in various circles in Moscow and each of those other sub-pieces is on the board as well.

Let us now think of the US, its current internal divisions, the criticism that Biden received for his “weakness” against Putin, because he no longer firmly defended Ukraine, or even for economic factors such as inflation. Consider the mid-term election, which will take place in a few months. Let’s add the different views that may exist within the cabinet itself, those of the intelligence agencies, those of the Pentagon, the differences within their own party, or the economic actors in the USA.

Therefore, that part which is visible to us and which appears to us as a “speech” or a “decision” of a “united country” against another or another, is in fact the result of a very complex process which includes, but It is not limited to the international. Every step taken includes messages that are directed to the inside of their societies and to the outside, as it has an impact and is influenced by what happens inside and outside of them. In the same way, every decision taken at the time of negotiation is the result of itself, evaluating the most current state of the war and the messages that are to be sent out, but true what is happening within the leading country.

In short, a complex analysis requires a detailed overview of who the audiences are talking to, the actors influencing decision-making, how the interaction between these actors takes place, and the international dimension, where conflicts are also generated. interactions and demands. The problem is that once the conflict dynamics are unleashed, it becomes complicated to put all these parts of the system in harmony. The decision is thus made as to which interests should be prioritized, which actors or positions can be sacrificed and to what extent an exit route can be built that is feasible to implement.

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