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Benas Brunalas

Abstract

The paper reflects on the conception of the phenomenon of fear employed in the international relations theory. A critique of understanding of fear as a rational incentive of conventional international relations theories paves the way for the notion of fear as an emotion. It is argued that the behaviour of states in international politics should be explained via their psychological and emotional aspects. The paper proposes to connect the arising of and experiencing fear with collective memory and the imagery entrenched in nations’ subconscious. It also proposes to distinguish the two levels of arising of and experiencing the emotion of fear, namely the attempt to consciously arouse fear and its nonconscious experience. On the first level, mnemonic-emotive agents consciously activate collective emotions via the nation’s collective memory. On the second, once the contents/imagery of the society’s subconscious are activated, the aroused emotions are nonconsciously experienced by the society. The paper offers a case study from the Lithuanian foreign policy: its relations with Russia. Discourse analysis of Lithuania-Russia relations, where President Dalia Grybauskaitė plays an active and important role in discourse formation, suggests that the formation of Lithuanian foreign policy, with regard to Russia, is affected by the emotion of fear.

Open access

Benas Brunalas

Abstract

This article reflects on the concept of fear in theories of international relations and foreign policy. The text discusses the concepts of the phenomenon of fear and rational behavior emphasizing that the concept of fear, contrary to the concept of anarchy, has no emotional charge in the theory of international relations. Having surveyed the factor of emotions in the theory of international relations and foreign policy, the author suggests that the emotional meaningful charge be returned to the concept of fear. The study stresses that fear (if treated as an emotion) can also have a destructive function disrupting the international system and disturbing the international communication. The third part of the article is devoted to an analysis of the ideas of Lithuania‘s foreign policy. The study explores the idea of Lithuania as a regional leader. The writer claims that the idea was irrational because it was based on the factor of the emotion of fear.