Why do different countries make different choices when it comes to international economic institutions? Darden sees the post-Soviet states as an ideal test case, because they began with similar characteristics and histories but nonetheless chose differently: some pursued a liberal course and joined the World Trade Organization; others, more insular integration projects, such as those within the Commonwealth of Independent States; still others, autarky. He finds the answer in the economic ideas of ruling elites. These ideas, he insists, are themselves causal, albeit contingent on complex political processes, and in an exceptionally painstaking theoretical exercise, he strives to show how this is so. International relations theorists will find the effort a genuine contribution to a key debate. General readers will benefit from what is the most thorough review available of the economic foreign policies of nearly all 15 former Soviet republics during the 1990s.
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