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International Relations Theory and Soviet Conduct toward the Multilateral Global-Economic Organizations: GATT, IMF and the World Bank

Robert M. Cutler

Abstract: This chapter focuses on international economic themes in the discipline of international relations. It examines the explanatory power of neorealism, neomerchantilism, and regime theory addressing the issue of Soviet integration into the “multilateral global-economic regimes.” It synthesizes those theories into a broader construct so as better to explain Soviet conduct and evaluates what this analysis in turn tells us about Western theories of international relations. The chapter not only studies the Soviet and Eastern European experience with the GATT, IMF, and World Bank, but also examines major political and economic developments in the Soviet Union with respect to those international economic organizations. Thus it dissects the links between the multilateral institutions of international political economy on the one hand, and, on the other hand, ruble convertibility, macroeconomic stabilization, and direct foreign investment in the USSR under Gorbachev. The theoretical synthesis undergirding the analysis also clarifies the empirical issues needing further study.

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Contents: 
  1. [Introductory Remarks]
  2. International Institutions and the Soviet Foreign Trade Regime before Gorbachev
  3. International Relations Theory and the East European Experience with Multilateral Global-Economic Organizations before Gorbachev
  4. Soviet Approaches under Gorbachev to the Multilateral Global-Economic Organizations Up to the Fall of Eastern Europe
  5. Applying the “Second Image Reversed” to the Soviet Case: Theoretical Requirements
  6. Applying the “Second Image Reversed” to the Soviet Case: Initial Results
  7. Conclusion: International Relations Theory and Soviet Participation in Multilateral Global-Economic Regimes
  8. Notes
Suggested citation for this webpage:

Abstract of: Robert M. Cutler, “International Relations Theory and Soviet Participation in Multilateral Global-Economic Regimes: GATT, IMF and the World Bank,” pp. 105–135 in The USSR and the World Economy, ed. Deborah A. Palmieri (New York: Praeger, 1992), available at ⟨http://www.robertcutler.org/ch92dap.htm⟩, accessed 24 September 2017 .


[ page 105 ]

International Relations Theory and Soviet Conduct toward the Multilateral Global-Economic Organizations: GATT, IMF and the World Bank

Robert M. Cutler

[0. Introductory Remarks]

A decade and a half ago, Stanley Hoffmann called international relations “an American social science.”[1] It was then almost equally true that international relations theory was the discipline of generalizing about the American role in world politics. International relations theorists paid little attention to the distinct character of the Soviet experience, except for its role as antagonist to the United States on the strategic and military level. This omission is now being rectified, just as the USSR as a “state actor” ceases competing with the United States for top billing on the world stage. The Soviet Union’s role is becoming more and more like Banquo’s in Macbeth: its specter (though no longer that of communism) appeared in London at the Group of Seven’s table in July 1991 and is unlikely to vanish altogether. That is all the more reason to integrate the Soviet experience into international relations theory.

This chapter focuses on international economic themes. It opens with a review of the foreign trade regime of the Soviet bloc, and its institutions, before Gorbachev. The second section studies the East European experience with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD or World Bank) from the perspective of several contemporary theories of international relations. The third section analyzes Soviet approaches to these organizations under Gorbachev up to the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe in late 1989. The fourth section focuses on the implications of that analysis for various schools of international

[ page 106 ]

relations theory. Common approaches emerging from seemingly opposed theoretical schools are then synthesized using an epistemology of transformational structure. The fifth section, informed by that synthesis, examines links between the international political economy and international institutions on the one hand, and the ongoing political and economic developments in the Soviet Union on the other. It specifically discusses ruble convertibility, the role of international financial institutions in macroeconomic stabilization, and prospects for direct foreign investment. The conclusion summarizes what the theoretical synthesis that emerges from this examination of Soviet integration into multilateral global-economic[2] regimes tells us about Western theories of international relations and clarifies the empirical issues needing further study.

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Dr. Robert M. Cutlerwebsiteemail ] was educated at MIT and The University of Michigan, where he earned a Ph.D. in Political Science, and has specialized and consulted in the international affairs of Europe, Russia, and Eurasia since the late 1970s. He has held research and teaching positions at major universities in the United States, Canada, France, Switzerland, and Russia, and contributed to leading policy reviews and academic journals as well as the print and electronic mass media in three languages.

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Text: Copyright © Praeger Publishers
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First Web-published: 07 November 2006
Content last modified: 07 November 2006
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