chapter  5
The Influence of Ethnicity on Foreign Policy: The Case of Ukraine
Pages 26

Few topics are more problematic and difficult to present to an American readership than the i&sue of ethnicity and its influence on the formation of a country's foreign policy. The prevalent political theories of Western, and particularly American, scholarship are deeply rooted in the "realist" school offoreign policy, built around the assumption that countries have an objective definition of "national interest" that is a product of rational forces such as "balance of power," economic interests, and so forth. I It is symptomatic of this state of mind that America's two most controversial and widely read articles in international relations theory did not even allude to the power of ethnic identification and nationalism. Francis Fukuyama, in his "End of History,,,2 assumed that with the defeat of communism, the entire international system would move to a homogenized bourgeois market economy, paying scant attention to the powers of nationalism, religion, and ethnic identification as potent political forces. Similarly, John Mearsheimer, in his article "Back to the Future,,,3 analyzes Europe's emerging political configuration entirely in terms of the concept of "balance of power," ignoring the vexing and irrational power of ethnonationalism.