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  • Author: Pavel K. Baev
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The self-assertive rhetoric of the Russian leadership, in which President Putin's Munich speech marked a shift towards a more aggressive style, has been translated into such demonstrative actions as the resumption of regular patrols by Long Range Aviation and the unilateral suspension of the CFE Treaty. Despite new funding and against confident self-assessments, Russia's strategic arsenal continues to shrink, and many key modernization projects, such as the Bulava missile for strategic submarines, have encountered setbacks. The need for brandishing the diminishing capabilities is driven by the desire to deter the perceived threat of a 'coloured revolution' sponsored by the West, the urge to assert a more solid status than just that of an 'energy super-power', and the complicated intrigues surrounding the on-going reconfiguration of the political leadership. Expanding demonstrations of the dilapidated strategic arsenal increase the risks of technical failures but fall far short of initiating a new confrontation of the Cold War type. The most worrisome point in Russia's ambivalent power policy is Georgia, which has been the target of choice for multiple propaganda attacks, but which now faces the challenge of an external intervention in its domestic crises since Moscow has built up usable military instruments in the North Caucasus. Russia's desire to secure higher international status does not amount to malicious revisionism; so over-reaction to its experiments with muscle-flexing could constitute a greater risk to the Western strategy of engagement than underestimating its ambitions.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Vadim Kononenko
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Russia's current foreign policy should be understood as an element of the political regime that was built under Vladimir Putin's leadership. The major domestic impact on foreign policy seems to stem from the inclination among the elites and the power groups to maintain the power status quo in the country whilst profiting from the economic ties with the West. In this context the West becomes perceived as an unwanted external political factor on the one hand, and as a source of profits and financial stability for the Russian elites on the other. The current political system has given rise to a specific kind of foreign policy and diplomacy that both actively criticizes and challenges the West in rhetoric, while furthering economic ties between Europe and Russia's major business players. This contradiction is not self-evident as it is often couched in the assertive discourse of “strong state” and “national interest”. In reality, it is the “special interests” of Russia's state-private power groups and networks that lie behind the country's international standing. As long as the internal order in the country remains as it is, it is not feasible to expect any critical rethinking on foreign policy. The scope for public and expert debate has shrunk tremendously as foreign policy-making becomes increasingly bureaucratic and profit-driven. The prevailing climate of tense relations and diplomatic bickering in Russia-Western relations may linger despite the change of president. This does not mean that stabilization of relations or even engagement with Russia should be ruled out, however. Western actors should pay close attention to the domestic development in Russia, particularly the economic side. Further growth in the economy will push Russia towards a more intense (both in terms of cooperation and competition) interaction with the West. It is in the interests of the West to respond to this development in a consistent and constructive way by anchoring Russia in the rule-based economic environment.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Hiski Haukkala
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The post-Cold War EU–Russia relationship has been based on erroneous premises: Russia has not been willing to live up to its original aims of pursuing a western democratic and liberal path; nor have the European Union and its member states been able to develop a coherent policy line that would have consistently nudged Russia in that direction. The lack of a genuinely shared understanding concerning the relationship has resulted in chronic and growing political problems and crises between the parties. The increasingly fraught nature of the EU–Russia relationship has also played to Russia's strengths. It has enabled Russia to re-assert its sovereignty and walk away from the commonly agreed principles and objectives already codified in the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement of 1994. The erosion of the original central aims of the partnership has not resulted in an atmosphere of working relations. Although Russia has been able to get its own way in most of the issues, a relationship worthy of the name “strategic partnership” is currently more elusive than ever. Instead of toning down its relations with Russia, the EU should seek to re-invigorate its approach to the country. It should also acknowledge that despite the current problems the EU's policy on Russia has, by and large, been based on sound principles. Democracy, the rule of law, good governance, respect for human and minority rights, and liberal market principles are all factors that are badly needed in order to ensure a stable and prosperous future for Russia. The EU should, through its own actions, also make it clear to Russia that it deserves respect and needs to be taken seriously. It would be prudent to proceed from the sector that seems to be the key to the current relationship: energy. By pursuing a unified internal energy market and subsequent common external energy policy, the EU might be able to make Russia take the Union level more seriously again. It would also deprive some of the main culprits – Russia and certain key member states alike – of the chance of exploiting the economic and political deals cut at the bilateral level to the detriment of the common EU approach to Russia.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
24. Putin-3
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: In the past nine years, Russian foreign policy has been examined several times in these pages. At no other time, however, has its direction been as troubling as it is today. To understand the causes of this disturbing evolution and to gauge its future course, the changes have to be examined in the context of the regime's ideological and political transformation since 2000, when Vladimir Putin was elected president.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, International Relations, Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Rose Gottemoeller
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Washington and Moscow's failure to develop a working relationship could lead to a dangerous crisis—perhaps even a nuclear one. There is an immediate need to grab onto the superstructure of the relationship through the STA RT and CFE treaties, both of which require urgent action. A new architecture should follow that to broaden the relationship, including the creation of a new future for security in Europe. Both capitals need to devise a strategy as well as a mechanism to manage the relationship and prevent future crises. A commission of past presidents—U.S. and Russian—would have the authority to confront these monumental tasks.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, America, Europe, Washington, Eastern Europe, Moscow, Georgia
  • Author: Michael Emerson
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: resident Sarkozy's proposed Union for the Mediterranean (or UMed) has so far been poorly conceived and, to say the least, awkwardly presented politically. However this does not mean that nothing good can come of it. The Barcelona process and its confusing combination with the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) have neither been a disaster nor a brilliant success. There is a case for streamlining a single European Mediterranean policy, rationalising and properly integrating Barcelona, the ENP and new ideas that the UMed initiative may produce. Both Italy and Spain as well as the South Mediterranean states themselves appear concerned not to undermine the existing structures (Barcelona and ENP). Steps could be made to lighten the overweight participation of the EU and all its 27 member states in too many meetings with too many participants and too few results, drawing on models that have emerged in the EU's Northern maritime regions. However, the EU as a whole will not agree to delegate the essential initiative on strategic matters to just its Southern coastal states – as has been made clear in recent exchanges between President Sarkozy and Chancellor Merkel. In addition the EU will also want to maintain a balance between its Northern and Southern priorities, and if the UMed becomes a new impetus for the South, an equivalent but different policy move can be contemplated for the EU's East European neighbours
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Foreign Policy, International Political Economy, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Spain, Italy, Barcelona
  • Author: Richard Youngs, Michael Emerson
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The idea of an official organisation of democratic states wishing to promote democracy worldwide has surfaced periodically in recent years. In 2000 the Community of Democracies was inaugurated and survives as a body committed to supporting democratic change (and we comment on this little-noticed initiative further below). Now the notion is gaining further currency. US Presidential candidate John McCain has advocated a League of Democracies. And analyst Robert Kagan, an advisor to McCain, has recently made a contribution on the subject in the Financial Times. It is quite possible that the European Union will need to adopt a position on this proposal.
  • Topic: International Relations, Democratization, International Organization
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Publication Date: 11-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This brief focuses on three issues that are especially important in the long-term development of the climate regime: (a) the challenge of the fragmentation of negotiations and governance systems; (b) the challenge of steering and evaluating novel types of privatised and market-based governance mechanisms; and (c) the challenge of designing architectures for global adaptation governance. These three core issues of fragmentation, privatisation and adaptation can be related to the overarching need to define the architecture of the post-2012 regime – and of any subsequent regimes that may follow a Copenhagen agreement.
  • Topic: International Relations, Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Privatization, Treaties and Agreements, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Kim Beng Phar
  • Publication Date: 11-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: To fulfill Turkey's mission as a ʺcivilizational connectorʺ between Europe and Asia, Turkey must be a full member of the East Asian Summit. The path towards this goal, among others, requires Turkey to be a Dialogue Partner of ASEAN. Once ASEAN sponsors Turkey's membership in East Asian Summit, Turkey would then be strategically positioned to be a key member with some of the world's most monumental economic and political powers in its midst. Indeed, if Turkey is a member of East Asian Summit, ideally by 2010, Turkey would be in a better position to realize its strategic, civilizational, and historical depth.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Israel, East Asia
  • Author: Sinikukka Saari
  • Publication Date: 12-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Duma election and its results reinforce the prevailing undemocratic trends in Russia. The changes in electoral laws, the election campaign and its biased coverage in the Russian media, the Russian authorities' hostile attitude towards international election observation and the so-called Putin's Plan leave very little hope of democratic pluralism developing in Russia anytime soon. Russia's political system has been built gradually over the years. The system aims at controlling the competition for power and securing the political elite's interests. The system is characterised by non-transparent and manipulated political processes, misleading doublespeak on democratic norms, and the misuse of soft and hard administrative resources. Putin's overwhelming popularity does not compensate for the lack of democratic accountability. Likewise, his possible premiership would not strengthen parliamentarism in Russia because the decision is driven by instrumentalism towards political institutions. Instead, it would create a dangerous precedent for an ad hoc separation of power. Western actors should be more aware that the stability that Putin is often praised for bringing about is not build on solid ground, and they should change their policies accordingly. Promoting democracy – and thus longterm stability – in Russia is in western actors' interests.
  • Topic: International Relations, Democratization, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Elspeth Guild
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The collection, retention, manipulation, exchange and correction of personal data in Europe have once again become a matter of substantial interest. The last time the use of data constituted an important political issue in Europe, in the 1970s, the result (at the European level) was the Council of Europe's Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data, which opened for signature in 1981. This Convention, to which all EU member states are party, still sets the standard for data use in Europe.
  • Topic: International Relations, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Elspeth Guild
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: On 5 January 2007, Elspeth Guild was invited by the European Commission Select Committee of the UK House of Lords to submit written evidence to assist that body in its scrutiny of the European Commission's annual legislative and work programme. This Policy Brief reproduces her submission in full.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Development
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Dmitri V. Trenin
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Russia's recent foreign policy has taken on a combative tone and adopted a revisionist content. Moscow today speaks its mind publicly and freely, and makes clear it no longer wants to be bound by accords concluded when Russia was weak. However, while the Kremlin is clear about what it does not like or want, it has yet to articulate a positive international agenda. In fact, Russia faces a number of fundamental foreign policy choices that cannot be explained by a reference to sheer pragmatism or the show of newly regained power. In dealing with Russia at this stage, the West needs to reach beyond the binary formula of integration or isolation and focus instead on the national interests.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Moscow
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: The EastWest Institute (EWI) organized an informal roundtable discussion with the goal of presenting the Conflict Prevention Program's flagship project, the International Task Force on Preventive Diplomacy (ITFPD) to the international community based in Brussels. The roundtable also aimed to engage the Brussels community in a brainstorming exercise that would generate constructive feedback on the project. The roundtable convened 15 participants from NGOs based in Brussels, European institutions and foreign governments – all of whom attended in their personal capacities as specialists in the fields of conflict prevention and/or preventive diplomacy.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, International Relations, Diplomacy, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Brussels
  • Author: Jeff Procak
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: On April 25, 2007, the EastWest Institute, together with the Kennan Institute, organized in Washington DC a two-hour roundtable discussion on the current state and outlook for US-Russia relations. The roundtable used President Putin's speech presented to the 43rd Conference on Security Policy in Munich on February 10, 2007 as a point of reference. The purpose of this gathering was to examine strategies and approaches to reverse the significant decline in Russian-American relations over the last several years. The seminar was attended by 20 prominent experts from the US and Russia, including foreign policy advisors, representatives of the academic, business, and NGO communities, and mass media. Topics discussed included the most important issues on the US-Russia geostrategic agenda: arms control and nuclear non- proliferation, international energy, Russia's WTO accession, trade and economic cooperation, mutual perceptions and role of the media.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Washington, Asia
  • Author: Yll Bajraktari, Greg Maly
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Since the overthrow of Slobodan Milosevic in October 2000, Serbia has struggled to find its way. Is the country shifting toward the West or East? What will happen with Kosovo? Does Serbia need Europe? Does Europe need Serbia? These issues were discussed at a May 7, 2007 event at USIP featuring James Lyon, special Balkans advisor for the International Crisis Group; Boris Stefanovic, deputy chief of mission at the Embassy of Serbia; and Martin Sletzinger, director of East European Studies at the Wilson Center for Scholars. Daniel Serwer, vice president for Post-Conflict Peace and Stability Operations at USIP, moderated the discussion. This USIPeace Briefing summarizes the main views expressed by the panelists and participants. It does not represent the views of USIP, which does not take positions on policy issues.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Europe, Mongolia, Kosovo, Balkans
  • Author: Adi Greif
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: From the controversy raging in London over Muslim women wearing the niqab to the upsurge in violent crime in Paris, Muslims in Europe are at the center of a storm of disagreement. Although many Muslim youth are comfortable as Muslim and European, others feel estranged from society. A tiny minority of these youth are drawn to violence, in part as a solution to their alienation. USIP's Muslim World Initiative helped sponsor a conference hosted by the British organization Wilton Park that discussed a wide variety of problems confronting Muslim youth in Europe. A theme that ran through the conference was how to combat the alienation of Muslim youth and encourage responsible citizenship. The conference brought together a wide range of Muslims, scholars and government representatives from countries around the world.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Islam
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Christina Boswell
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Debates about the "securitisation" of migration may over-state the effectiveness with which states are able to link immigration policies with the defence of the national political community against external threats. The example of Italy under Berlusconi, or UK policy since 9/11, show that a "securitarian" rhetoric is sometimes still accompanied by liberal economic policies and regularisation programs, or can easily undermine state legitimacy when a tough line on closed doors is difficult to deliver. Because of the lack of scrutiny on some policies at the European level, however, European immigration policies have been one area where governments have been able to avoid political protest or human rights concerns and implement a tough security based policy, often "outsourcing" the implementation to regions of origin.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Migration
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Jørgen Carling
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Much of the current immigration to Europe is 'unwanted' in the sense that receiving countries would prefer to be without it. Some of this immigration is 'unavoidable', limited by states' incapacity to implement their rules. The migrants in question are people who arrive in Europe, usually through the services of human smugglers, and are impossible to return even if their requests for residence are rejected. A second, and much larger, part of the 'unwanted' immigration is 'reluctantly accepted' by European governments. This includes migrants who are granted asylum or other forms of protection, and migrants who are admitted for family reasons. Political pressure to reduce the number of immigrants in these groups has intensified considerable. A critical point which justifies the label 'unwanted' is that support for admitting these migrant groups is largely based on political motivation to uphold the supporting principles rather than a positive evaluation of the immigration flows they generate. This brief discusses the strategies used by states to reduce 'unwanted' immigration.
  • Topic: International Relations, Migration, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Gry Thomasen
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The biggest surprise in the current Danish debate is that there is still very broad coverage of EU issues involving the media and public conferences, particularly regarding the Constitutional Treaty; energy and the environment; enlargement to South Eastern Europe and beyond; and more recently the difficult relations between Russia and the EU. The public debate over the Constitutional Treaty is active, while the government looks forwards to what the German Presidency, as well as the 'No' countries, put forward as suggestions after the French Presidential elections. Following Denmark's four-point suggestion at Lahti for an EU energy policy, the Danish concerns over renewable supply, increased efficiency, a liberalised market, and more research in order to improve energy security have heightened. After the Commission's report of enlargement and integration capacity, the Danish debate has focused on support for the Croatian bid for EU membership, whilst emphasising the need for considerable reforms in Turkey. Finally, following the rebuke by Denmark, Sweden, Estonia and Poland in Lahti on the question of human rights in Russia after the murder of Anna Politkovskaya, the failure to overcome the Polish-Russia impasse at the EU-Russia summit is also important in the Danish debate.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe