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MA tööd 2017/2018


“National Preferences in the European Union’s Policy-making for Relations with Third Countries: Case Study of China’s One Belt, One Road Initiative”, Ketli Lindus
Juhendaja: Prof. Eiki Berg

The thesis analysed the role of national preferences in the development of EU’s policy for relations with third countries. Research was conducted by way of a case study on China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative, whereby the national preferences of France, Germany and Poland, and their effect on the EU’s policy, was analysed.

The thesis showed that national preferences of EU Member States play an important role in the development of EU’s policy for relations with third countries. It further showed that in case of conflicting national preferences, certain national preferences may be cast aside by the EU, which may result in the relevant Member State disregarding the EU’s framework and trying to represent their national preferences by other means. Lastly, study showed that there are differences in the role of national preferences in EU’s policy-making for relations with third countries, in comparison of the role of national preferences in policy-making concerning other matters. In case of relations with other countries, Member States engage in less interstate bargaining and are more inclined to seek other ways to represent their preferences.

“Alliance durability and intra-alliance security dilemma: a case study of the U.S.-Japan alliance in the light of rising China”, Oksana Pachomcik
Juhendaja: Eoin M. McNamara

Building on the extensive observations stemming from the realist school of thought, the thesis conducts a thorough examination of a salient episode, which has occurred and subsequently disturbed the established modes of operation within the U.S.-Japan alliance. In particular, the overarching aim of the study was: a) to uncover and assess the effect exerted by the intensification of an external threat (China) on the severity of intra-alliance security dilemma, with an eroding balance in entrapment-abandonment fears among the allies; b) how this phenomenon have manifested itself throughout the course of the Senkaku contingency; and c) what the identified anxiety-driven processes hold for the enduring quality of the U.S.-Japanese security cooperation. The chosen research design was a single-case study, loosely bounded by a timeframe (2010-2018), and heavily reliant on the examination of both primary and secondary sources.

In the end, this paper concludes that, chiefly consistent with realist thinking, the Senkaku crisis and the respective behaviour of allies does point to: 1) the upsurge of intra-alliance security dilemma and how bilateral and unilateral attempts to manage it translate into prospective alliance durability; 2) the importance of fluctuations in triangular Sino-American-Japanese relationship for the magnitude of abandonment anxiety experienced by the weakest pole in the triangle (Japan); 3) the mitigating role of institutionalization on alliance ties plagued by twin abandonment-entrapment anxieties. Yet, the paper also discovers, that the preservation of asymmetrical nature of the alliance, as reflected in high degrees of weaker ally’s direct dependence, in all likelihood, would be detrimental to alliance durability, and that intra-alliance trust/mistrust dynamics cannot be fully captured by a toolset provided by one predominant school of thought


“Understanding China’s Rise: Stigma management during Xi Jinping years (2012-2017)”Mart Veliste
Juhendaja: Urmas Pappel

Through a theoretical discussion that engages major International Relations theories neo-realism, Power Transition Theory, neo-liberalism, constructivism, and the English School and the literature on status, status-seeking, stigma and stigma management, the thesis contends that in order to develop a satisfactory account on understanding China’s rise, China needs to be looked through the stigma framework and it needs to be treated as a status-seeking stigmatized state. That is to say, that the specific historic context of how China became a part of the international society needs to be taken into account, because it has had a deep constitutive effects on the identity of China and consequently also its behaviour. It is the way that China manages its historic stigmatization that can reveal how the state perceives its current status and what is the nature of China’s rise, i.e. what is the course that China is likely to take in the future.

The thesis dealt with an empirical question: How has China managed its stigma in the Xi Jinping years (November 2012 – October 2017)? Post-structuralist discourse analysis was conducted on 30 official speeches by China’s political elite. The empirical finding of the thesis was that out of four distinct stigma management strategies, three were present in the analysed time period. The mixed result is coherent with the theoretical background that China has an uneasy relationship with the existing normative order due to the specific historic context of the norms that constitute it. Through an interpretation of the empirical results, it became evident that currently the most dominant stigma management strategy is ‘correction.’ For the nature of China’s rise this means that in the near future the state will continue to rise peacefully, although occasionally contradictory indications might occur.