Why U.S. – Russia Relations Failed: An Analysis of Competing National Security Narratives
The following article addresses the question of why, despite a handful of certain overlapping interests, the U.S and Russia ultimately failed to reach a compromise during their negotiations at the start of the Ukrainian crisis. We aim to reveal the effects of competing national security narratives from both the United States and Russia, and its role in the deterioration of these relations. Though the current crisis in U.S. – Russia relations has been sometime in the making, it became particularly evident in the context of Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine. Based on paradigmatic narrative interpretations, a qualitative text analysis, and a comparative analysis, we examine the two main aspects of the counties’ competing narratives: “national security storytelling” and state “threat perception”. We argue that due to their antagonistic identities, competing worldviews, and equally posing threat perceptions, these narratives have damaged the possibility to overcome contradictions between the United States and Russia. In the long term, these competing narratives may create the preconditions for a systemic confrontation between the countries in world politics.