This chapter begins the case study of the representations that frame
Iran–United States foreign policy discourse. The key objective is to examine
US representations of itself, Iran and Iran’s nuclear program. The chapter
argues that the US representations of itself (Self), as good, rational, the
leader of the international community, and Iran (Other), as dangerous,
irrational, aggressive and undeveloped, produces a particular discursive
framework through which it understands Iran and its nuclear program.
Analysing US representations is important because it allows for an
understanding of how the US wishes to be recognised, and how the state
recognises Iran. The resulting US emotional response to being misrecognised
will then be able to be illuminated to provide purchase for understanding
the powerful links between representation and recognition. Consideration of
these links will, in turn, facilitate the understanding of how the politics
of representation impact on the creation of foreign policy, and vice
This chapter explores the reasons for the state of surprise, sketching them out from the starting point of the significant impact of the collapse of the USSR on Western understandings of Russia. It also explores the practical ramifications for the decline of Russia as a political priority on the wider political stage. The chapter outlines some of the problems of the current mainstream discussion of Russia, which is drowning in a discourse of speculation and rumour, 'Putinology' and historical analogies. Despite the dominance of transitological/regime question approach and the perceived eccentricity of Kremlinology, for many it has remained a truism of Russian political life that the final decisions are made behind the closed doors of the Kremlin. In fact, the collapse of the USSR has had serious ramifications for the study of Russia in the West, resulting in a major reassessment of Soviet studies, often bitter and acrimonious.