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Title: The energy impact theory of foreign policy : an analysis of Soviet Union and Russian Federation, 1970-2010
Author: Brown, James D. J.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2704 8215
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis addresses the substantive problem: how does variation in energy wealth impact upon the foreign policies of major energy-producing states? To answer this question, the thesis draws upon the ‘resource curse’ literature, as well as existing works of foreign policy analysis, to formulate a new theory. Based on a framework of neoclassical realism, this energy impact theory of foreign policy proposes that energy wealth, conceived as a national capability, has a significant and reliable effect on major energy-producing states’ foreign policies. Specifically, it is hypothesised that increases in energy capabilities amplify the scale and scope of these states’ international activity; promote boldness, ambition, and aggression; and encourage the adoption of unilateralist approaches to foreign policy. Decreases in energy capabilities are anticipated to have the opposite effects. Having delineated the core features of this middle-range theory, the model is tested using an initial, most-likely case study of the Soviet Union and Russian Federation, 1970 to 2010. The results of this empirical study are enormously encouraging since, following meticulous qualitative analysis of events data, the theory is concluded to have significant explanatory value in this context, as well as substantial promise as a more general model. In this way, the thesis endeavours to make a distinctive contribution, not only to research into the factors shaping Moscow’s international conduct, but also to the broader theoretical literatures on the ‘resource curse’ and foreign policy analysis. It is anticipated that this thesis marks only the beginning of a much more extensive programme of research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Petroleum industry and trade ; Energy policy ; Russia (Federation) ; Soviet Union