Identity, Foreign Policy and the ‘Other’:The Implications of Polish Foreign Policy vis-à-vis Russia

Title: Identity, Foreign Policy and the ‘Other’:The Implications of Polish Foreign Policy vis-à-vis Russia
Authors: Roberts, Konrad
Date: 2014-08-26
Abstract: This paper will demonstrate the role that national identity plays in the shaping of foreign policy practices of states. Prevailing definitions of identity are what become reflected as the national interest, which in turn becomes translated into certain foreign policy practices. It is the prevailing formulations of national identity and interest that become projected by and reproduced in foreign policy discourses and practices. Through the output of discourse, certain foreign policy options become legitimized as the ‘natural’ courses of action, whereas others become unacceptable. This paper will examine the evolution of Polish foreign policy vis-à-vis Russia following its 1989 transition from communism. By examining two key defining moments for Poland—NATO accession and the response to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine—a clear re-establishment and subsequent shift in the self-perception of the Polish state is uncovered. Moreover, the discourse demonstrates that the consistent determinant and subject of Polish foreign policy is Russia as the ‘other’. Russia has remained the key point of reference for Polish identity, the development of Polish national interests, and as a result, the foreign policy options that come to be the ‘natural’ choices for Poland. This paper concludes by explaining why the examination of the evolution of Polish foreign policy matters. It will be shown that there are broader implications for the Western world, now that Poland has re-established itself and is becoming increasingly more influential in regional and global affairs.
CollectionAffaires publiques et internationales - Mémoires // Public and International Affairs - Research Papers