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  • Author: Sten Rynning
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: This NDC Research Paper argues that in spite of these warning signs, NATO can regain its balance between power and purpose and thus secure its future. NATO’s balancing act is ultimately a question of leadership: it is within the reach of Allied leaders to balance the interests and geopolitics of Europe and Asia, as well as the restrained and affirmative policies that represent Canada and Europe’s inclination for concerted diplomacy on the one hand and the United States inclination for strategic engagement on the other. Regrettably, these leaders may be drawn to some of the easy NATO visions that offer stringency of purpose, as in “come home to Europe”, or inversely, “go global”. Yet the reality of the Alliance’s geopolitical history and experience is that NATO is strong when apparently contrasting interests are molded into a balanced vision. Today, NATO can only encourage European investment in global, US-led policy if it secures stability in Europe, while inversely, NATO can only secure US investment in Europe’s security order if the Allies are open to coordination on global affairs. The report first outlines the basic geopolitical trends with which the Alliance is confronted: an Alliance leader questioning its heritage of overseas engagement, China’s rise as a great power, an emerging alignment between China and Russia in opposition to liberal order, and the track record of southern unconventional threats dividing the Allies on matters such as counter-terrorism, immigration control, stabilization and development. The Allies seem to be hesitating on the West-East axis and paralyzed as a collective on southern issues, which leads the report to sketch three NATO futures.
  • Topic: NATO, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Liberal Order, Investment
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, North Atlantic, Asia, North America
  • Author: Julian Lindley-French
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: In April 1949, at the signing of the foundation doc- ument of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the Treaty of Washington, the Western Allies had twelve active divisions. They believed, erroneously as it turned out, that Stalin’s Red Army had 175 di- visions on the other side of the River Elbe which marked the then inner-German border. At the time the West consoled itself with the monopoly that the United States had on atomic weaponry. Such com- placency ended on 29 August 1949 with a nuclear shock when the Soviet Union tested its first atomic device. The new NATO was also tied inextricably to Europe’s then recent past. Soon after the Treaty of Washington was signed the French newspaper Le Monde suggested that the creation of NATO repre- sent a big step down the road to German rearma- ment: “The rearmament of Germany is present in the Atlantic Pact as the seed in the egg”.1 April 1949 thus encapsulated both the ambition and the tensions that were to mark the three strands of post-World War Two European security and defence: transatlantic relations, the German Question and the road to European Union and how to both engage Russia and defend against it.
  • Topic: NATO, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, European Union
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, North Atlantic, Germany, North America
  • Author: Bruno Tertrais
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: Twenty years ago, as the Atlantic Alliance was get- ting ready to celebrate its 50th anniversary, this au- thor published a piece entitled “Will NATO still exist in 2009?”.1 It argued that NATO’s lost sense of mission after the disappearance of the Sovi- et threat, disagreements over peacekeeping, and a growing US disinterest for Europe legitimately raised the question of the Alliance’s ability to sur- vive ten years from then. Today NATO’s Article 5 missions are once again taking center stage and the relevance of the Alli- ance is hardly questioned. But questions are still being raised about its political solidity. Is it more le- gitimate today to wonder about NATO’s existence ten years from now than it was in 1999? To a point, no. There is no longer a significant debate about NATO’s relevance. However, there are severe ten- sions in the transatlantic relation, which Russia’s aggressiveness is unlikely to dampen. NATO has remarkably adapted and has even been rejuvenated: but the Atlantic Alliance remains in trouble. And this, in turn, could have consequences on NATO’s ability to deter and act.
  • Topic: NATO, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, Peacekeeping, Transatlantic Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, North Atlantic, North America
  • Author: Tomáš Valášek
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: As NATO celebrates its 70th anniversary, it has re- turned nearly all the way to its original deterrence and defence roots. While it remains in the busi- ness of collective security and crisis management, for the past five years – since Russia’s aggression against Ukraine – Article 5 tasks have come to dominate the agenda of the commanders, plan- ners and policy makers. As for the years ahead, the challenges come in three forms. The first is to finish the transition to common defence. 2019 is not 1949; the nature of the technologies that determine winners and los- ers has changed. And while NATO has adapted admirably in many ways, it has work left to do, par- ticularly in addressing cyber vulnerabilities. The second challenge is also related to technolo- gies, and it is to start preparing for the next gener- ation of partly or fully automated warfare, which will make use of artificial intelligence (AI). The re- search and development is well under way, on the part of the Allies as well as potential adversaries. A lot less thinking is taking place with regard to how defence politics – the way Allies agree on plans and guide operations – will be affected. That is a mistake. The changes which automation will bring to NATO deliberations will be no less dramatic than those which will happen on the battlefield. The third challenge is more immediate and po- litical in nature: it is to keep the Alliance unified inthe face of unprecedented soul-searching on the part of the biggest Ally, the United States. And while by virtue of its size and dominance Wash- ington tends to be self-referential, reactions from the rest of NATO member states do make a dif- ference, both positive and negative. Their track re- cord over the past two years has been mixed.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, North Atlantic, Ukraine, North America
  • Author: Michael Ruhle
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: Since Russia’s hybrid war against Ukraine in 2014, the Western strategic community is trying to come to grips with the concept of hybridity.1 Some ob- servers were quick to point out that the idea of combining military and non-military tools was far from new, and they warned against exaggerating hy- brid warfare.2 However, Russia’s apparently seam- less and effective blending of political, diplomatic, economic, electronic and military tools in order to annex Crimea and support separatists in the Don- bas seemed to herald a new era of hybrid warfare: a revisionist power was using both old and new means to undermine and, eventually, tear down a post-Cold War order it considered unfair and un- favourable.
  • Topic: NATO, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, North Atlantic, Ukraine, North America
  • Author: Marc Ozawa
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: s the growing relationship between Russia and China a short term “axis of convenience” as some have suggest- ed or rather a “stable strategic partnership” described by China’s former vice Foreign Minister, Fu Ying”.1 Based on current events, it is still too early to tell how substan- tive this relationship will develop. On the one hand, there are impressive achievements in cooperation with clear sig- nals from Moscow and Beijing of their future aspirations, which are serious and long-term. On the other hand, there are indications that things could fall apart quickly consid- ering a contentious history that is still in living memory, lingering distrust and socio-cultural obstacles. Although both countries have finally agreed on a mutually recog- nized border, growing Chinese influence and the sheer disparity of populations in the border region raise con- cerns that even Russian leadership privately acknowledge. For the time being, however, the forces bringing both countries together are enough to overcome these obsta- cles. Although the current direction of bilateral relations is towards cooperation, it is still a fragile sort. Because co- operation requires the participation of Russian and Chi- nese leadership, it could recede without their active pro- motion. In the long term much will depend on how the leadership navigates through the phases of cooperation, both military and economic. For NATO, this underscores the need to incorporate Far East developments into its strategic awareness of the Eastern Flank, particularly with respect to the convergence of political, military and eco- nomic forces.
  • Topic: NATO, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, North Atlantic, Asia, North America
  • Author: George Fust
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Department of Social Sciences at West Point, United States Military Academy
  • Abstract: Russia docks a warship in Havana knowing it will provoke a response from the United States. How dare they. The US Navy dispatched a destroyer to shadow the vessel; after all, the United States has the Monroe doctrine to enforce. A few weeks prior, Russia sent around a hundred troops to Venezuela. This also provoked a response, albeit rhetorical. Despite these US reactions, Russia continues to play strategic games. Why did the United States respond to these actions in these ways? And what is the most appropriate response?
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, South America, North America
  • Author: Paul Saunders, John Van Oudenaren
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for the National Interest
  • Abstract: The report provides a synthesis of Japanese and American expert perspectives on the recent history, current state and future prospects for Japan-Russia relations. The authors examine the political, diplomatic, security, economic and energy dynamics of this important, but understudied relationship. They also assess how the Japan-Russia relationship fits within the broader geopolitical context of the Asia-Pacific region, factoring in structural determinants such as China’s rise and the level of U.S. presence in the region. Finally, the authors consider potential policy implications for the United States, paying special attention to how shifts in relations between Tokyo and Moscow could impact the U.S.-Japan alliance. As Saunders observes in his introduction to the volume, the currently shifting strategic environment in the Asia-Pacific region, which is a central factor in Tokyo and Moscow’s efforts to foster constructive relations, also raises a host of questions for the US-Japan alliance. What are the prospects for Japan-Russia relations? What are Russian and Japanese objectives in their bilateral relations? How does the Trump administration view a possible improvement in Russia-Japan relations and to what extent will U.S. officials seek to limit such developments? Is the U.S.-Russia relationship likely to worsen and in so doing to spur further China-Russia cooperation? Could a better Russia-Japan relationship weaken the U.S.-Japan alliance? Or might it in fact serve some U.S. interests?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Japan, China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Victor Esin
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
  • Abstract: The stabilizing role of the INF Treaty is still relevant. Its importance has even increased against the background of the sharp deterioration of relations between Russia and the West in recent years due to the well-known events in Ukraine, aggravated by mutual sanctions and NATO’s military build-up near Russian borders. Preserving the INF Treaty, which has now become the subject of controversy and mutual non-compliance accusations between Russia and the United States, is therefore doubly important.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Nonproliferation, Deterrence
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe
  • Author: Krševan Antun Dujmović
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: For more than half a decade Ukraine has been one of epicenters on the map of geopolitical crises in the world and consequently drawn a lot of international attention worldwide. Ever since it gained its independence form the crumbling Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine was a of the country also changed. Ukraine has been dominated by Russia as the Russian Empire penetrated deep toward the Black Sea in the 17th century, and the position of inferiority towards Moscow was also the case in the USSR. The first upheaval dubbed the Orange Revolution sort of buffer zone between the West and East, between the United States and European allies on the one hand, and the Russian Federation on the other. With the change of political elites and their political preferences, the orientation in 2004, brought to power Viktor Yushchenko, who tried to conduct reforms and bring Ukraine closer to the West, but the effect of his Presidency were ephemeral. President Viktor Yanukovych turned Ukraine’s sight towards Russia again, but also kept the process of EU association alive before suddenly deciding not to sign the Association Agreement with the EU just days before the planned signing ceremony on 29th November 2013. This Yanukovych’s abrupt turn from EU in favor of stronger ties with Russia triggered the wave of massive public demonstrations which later become known as the Euromaidan and subsequently the Ukrainian revolution in February 2014. The Euromaidan Revolution toppled Yanukovych and the new pro-Western government was formed. Russia soon reacted to the change of tide in Ukraine by annexing the Crimean peninsula in March and soon the armed conflict between the pro- Western government in Kiev and Russia backed rebels in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts broke out. Ever since the spring of 2014, Ukraine has been engulfed in a brutal conflict in the east of the country that is hampering its efforts to reform and get closer to the EU. Nonetheless, Ukrainian leadership is under the new President Volodymir Zelensky is striving to forge stronger links with the West and the EU.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, European Union, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Ukraine, Eastern Europe, Crimea
  • Author: David Santoro, Anton Khlopkov
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Pacific Forum
  • Abstract: Much ink has been spilled on the return to major-power competition in recent years, singling out three states: the United States, Russia, and China. For good reasons: the relationships between these three states have become increasingly complicated, notably between the United States and Russia and between the United States and China. What’s more, there are few signs that the current trajectory could change for the better. If anything, we can expect these relationships to become more, not less, complicated.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, Peace
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Korean Peninsula
  • Author: Tobias Aust
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: Th e year 2014 marked an infl ection point in NATO‘s relations with Russia after the Cold War: Moscow moved from a potential “strategic partner to a strategic competitor.”2 With the illegal annexation of Crimea, the intervention in the Ukraine, and the continued intimidation of NATO member states, Russia violated central principles of the Euro-Atlantic security order, such as the inviolability of frontiers and the non-use of force.3 Th is in turn has led to calls in NATO for reinforced deterrence, especially from East Europe, while other NATO allies have argued for concurrent dialogue with Moscow.
  • Topic: NATO, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Deterrence
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Roee Kibrik, Nimrod Goren
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: This document briefly outlines major trends in Israel’s regional foreign policies over the past six months. It is based on the Mitvim Institute’s monthly reports that cover ongoing developments in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process/conflict, Israel’s relations with the Middle East, Europe and the Mediterranean, and the conduct of Israel’s Foreign Service.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, International Affairs, Peace
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Greece, Jerusalem, Gaza, Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Cyprus, European Union
  • Author: Robert Barić
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: Recent Polish proposal for financing permanent US military presence in Poland isn't motivated only to counter current Russian aggressive posture. This offer is a part of a wider Poland strategy for achieving long term security. In pursuing this strategy, Warsaw risks not only to undermine NATO cohesion, but also to deepen growing East-West divide inside the EU.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, NATO, Diplomacy, Imperialism, International Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Eastern Europe, Poland
  • Author: Alimar Lazkani
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: The Syrian Army has inherited a few of the norms and customs the French used for running army affairs following the French occupation. These did not include any provisions on regulating the army. After the Baa’th Party came to power, particularly after Hafez Assad had assumed office, the norms and customs guaranteeing minimum rights for army soldiers, non-commissioned officers, and officers faded gradually, leaving room for cronyism and allegiance to individuals and to the regime as the sole guarantor for the military to gain their rights. Leaders of military units became almost governors of their own units where nothing could take place without their blessings The Russians became fully in charge of the Syrian Army and started to instil rules and regulations that would ensure discipline and transform the army to a professional force capable of actual missions on the ground. Such rules included entrenching among Syrian soldiers, non-commissioned officers, and officers’ allegiance to Russian military officers and meant to subdue and prevent them from exercising their authority. This has established the Russians as the de facto leaders in the minds of members of the Syrian army. This has mainly shifted the responsibility for all the atrocities committed by the Assad forces under the Russian leadership to the Russians together with the regime’s officers and leaders. Despite their inability to make decisions, they are responsible, in terms of political structure and posturing, for all cases of genocide, chemical attacks, displacement, starvation and other violations. It has therefore become difficult in the Syrian context to separate between the Russian leadership and the Syrian Army, except in terms of differentiating between the leader and the follower, a divide that Russia has been working on consolidating in the media and in its diplomacy as an entity “assisting to achieve peace and combat terrorism”, while it undoubtedly deserves the description of “occupier” with its ability to run a lot of important issues on Syrian soil.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Genocide, Political structure, Military Intervention
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Nikolay Kozhanov
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Transatlantic Relations
  • Abstract: This paper is part of CTR's Working Paper Series: "Russia and the West: Reality Check." The current level of Russian presence in the Middle East is unprecedented for the region since the fall of the Soviet Union. Records of diplomatic and political contacts show increased exchange of multilevel delegations between Russia and the main regional countries. After 2012, Moscow has attempted to cultivate deeper involvement in regional issues and to establish contacts with forces in the Middle East which it considers as legitimate. Moreover, on September 30, 2015, Russia launched air strikes against Syrian groupings fighting against the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Before that time, Russia had tried to avoid any fully-fledged involvement in the military conflicts in the region. It was also the first time when it adopted an American military strategy by putting the main accent on the use of air power instead of ground forces. Under these circumstances, the turmoil in the Middle East, which poses a political and security challenge to the EU and United States, makes it crucial to know whether Russia could be a reliable partner in helping the West to stabilize the region or whether, on the contrary, Moscow will play the role of a troublemaker.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Military Intervention, Syrian War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Libya, Palestine, Syria, Egypt, United States of America, European Union, Gulf Cooperation Council
  • Author: Dzianis Melyantsou
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Transatlantic Relations
  • Abstract: This paper is part of CTR's Working Paper Series: "Eastern Voices: Europe's East Faces an Unsettled West." The new geopolitical environment formed after the annexation of Crimea and the war in the Donbas, together with emerging threats and challenges, are pressing both Belarus and the West to revise their policies in the region as well as their relations with each other. In this new context, Belarus is seeking a more balanced foreign policy and, at least towards the Ukrainian crisis, a more neutral stance.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance, War, Territorial Disputes, Foreign Aid, Sanctions, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Belarus, Crimea, United States of America, European Union
  • Author: Michelle Nicholasen
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Last December, the Weatherhead Center recognized the upcoming retirement of University Distinguished Service Professor Joseph S. Nye, Jr. by dedicating the 2016 Manshel Lecture on American Foreign Policy to him. One of the most influential foreign affairs scholars of our time, Nye served as Center director from 1989 to 1992—though his roots at the Center trace back to its infancy in 1961, when he was a research assistant to Director Robert Bowie. Nye's accomplishments run deep. He began his distinguished career as a Harvard faculty member at the Kennedy School of Government in 1964, and became the school's dean in 1995. He held security appointments in both the Carter and Clinton administrations, and his thought leadership has influenced heads of state and policy makers around the world. He is perhaps best known for coining the term “soft power,” which describes the ability of states or institutions to attract and persuade others through noncoercive means. The Weatherhead Center sat down with Nye to discuss the fate of soft power in the context of current US foreign affairs—and also asked him to share his memories of early days at the CFIA.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Science and Technology, Soft Power
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Europe, Asia, North America
  • Author: anya Loukianova fink
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
  • Abstract: This discussion paper analyzes a sample of 2014-2016 Russian-language publications focused on Russia’s security relations with the United States. It characterizes the Russian expert debate at that time as dichotomous in nature, where security policy analysts proposed either coercive or restrained policy approaches in dealing with perceived threats. It assesses similarities and differences of these two perspectives with regard to the nature of Russia’s political-military relationship with the West, as well as past challenges and then-future opportunities in nuclear arms control and strategic stability.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe
  • Author: Brenda Shaffer
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson described the state of current US-Russian relations as at its “lowest point since the Cold War.” This situation has potentially dangerous implications for the US, Russia and Europe, as well as a variety of regional conflicts around the globe. Among the top of this list is the Nagorno-Karabakh in the South Caucasus. In the past three years, the frequency, intensity and technological level of flare ups in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan have intensified. Adding to the propensity for danger is the fact that several regional conflicts are now linked together—Syria, Ukraine and Nagorno-Karabakh and the policy toward Iran—with actions in one conflict affecting developments in another.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Elina Lepomäki
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: Military activity and military tensions have increased in the Baltic Sea region. The early-warning period for military crises has become shorter and the threshold for using force has lowered. Russia bears the main responsibility for this negative development. The area that was previously under no signi�icant stress is now facing dif�iculties following the Russian occupation of Crimea and the con�lict in eastern Ukraine. The strategic importance of the Baltic Sea region has risen and military activity has intensi�ied in the area. A con�lict in the Baltic Sea region would inevitably impact Finland’s security. Finland has responded by improving military readiness through procuring new materiel, and by increasing defense spending. Other countries in the region have undertaken similar measures. During the years 2012-2014, a reform of the Finnish Defense Forces was carried out. It adapted the size and the basic structure of the Defense Forces to meet stringent �inancial demands and the then lower threat level of the security environment. The defense budget was cut by approximately 10 per cent. Since then, the policy has been reversed.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Finland, Crimea, Baltic Sea
  • Author: Bhavna Dave
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: The Russia-ASEAN summit being held in Sochi on 19-20 May 2016 to mark twenty years of Russia’s dialogue partnership with ASEAN is a further indicator of President Vladimir Putin’s ‘pivot to Asia’ policy, triggered also by its current confrontation with the west. Through this pivot, Moscow wants to assert Russia’s geopolitical status as a Euro-Pacific as well as Asia- Pacific power. It is a pragmatic response to the shifting of global power to Asia. It also builds on the growing Russo-Chinese relations to develop the Russian Far East, a resource-rich but underdeveloped region into the gateway for expansion of Russia into the Asia Pacific. At the same time, the growing asymmetry in achieving the economic and strategic goals of Russia and China has resulted in fears that the Russian Far East will turn into a raw materials appendage of China. Moscow lacks the financial resources to support Putin’s Asia pivot. Therefore, Russia needs to strengthen ties with other Asia-Pacific countries and ASEAN as a regional grouping so as to attract more diversified trade and investments into its Far East region. It is in this context that the Sochi summit takes on added significance. However, given Russia’s sporadic interest in Southeast Asia and its strategic role defined mainly by the limited potential of Russian energy and arms exports to ASEAN Member States, the PR diplomacy and summitry at Sochi may not deliver substantive outcomes for Russia. Nonetheless, Moscow aims to enhance its status in the east and seek business and strategic opportunities through the summit thereby compensating to some extent Russia’s loss following the sanctions imposed by the west over the annexation of Crimea.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Stefan Lehne
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: After years at the margins of international diplomacy, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has suddenly regained political relevance because of the Ukraine crisis that began in 2014. The organization turned out to be the most appropriate framework to manage the crisis and prevent further escalation. To continue to play a useful role in resolving this issue and in easing tensions between Russia and the West, the OSCE needs to adjust its way of working and strengthen its toolbox. As the relationship between Russia and the West deteriorated at the end of the 1990s, the OSCE’s role declined. The organization’s arms control regime eroded, its debates on human rights relapsed into ideological confrontation, and its work on promoting economic cooperation never got off the ground. The Ukraine crisis has revived the organization. While political crisis management has been left mainly to a few capitals working with the parties to the conflict, the OSCE’s monitoring mission in Ukraine has become an essential factor of stability. Violence has not stopped, however, and the mission’s work remains hampered by insufficient cooperation from the parties. The OSCE has also assumed an important role in facilitating negotiations on implementing the Minsk agreement, which contains a road map for a political settlement. However, little progress has been made so far. diplo
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Diplomacy, Human Rights, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Daniele Fattibene
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Russia’s “pivot to Asia” has come to the fore in the wake of the crisis over Ukraine. Growing tensions with the West over the common neighbourhood, coupled with economic sanctions, have accelerated this trend, with China gaining in strength as both an economic and military partner to Moscow. The Kremlin’s propaganda has sought to convince the broader public that Russia’s strategies in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Arctic region are a complement to China’s new Silk Road Economic Belt. Nonetheless, behind the headlines huge potential problems jeopardise the emergence of a durable Sino-Russian consensus in Eurasia. Against this backdrop, the EU should opt for “strategic patience.” This would be a far more effective policy choice than finger pointing, which only deepens the mutual ideological clash between the EU and Russia.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Asia
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-69-9
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Richard Rousseau
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Strategic Research and Analysis
  • Abstract: Following the inauguration of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in May 2008, the Russian political scene was characterized by a new structure: the country was governed by a bicephalous system (which reflected the two-headed eagle of the national flag). Medvedev became President and Vladimir Putin assumed the position of Prime Minister. In this ostensibly tandem structure, the Chief Executive was subordinated to the President as was the case even before Russia first emerged as an independent country in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union. Such a dual power sharing worked quite well during Medvedev’s term and with no serious fissures that could bring about competing circles of power around each of the heads of state. This was true even though the personalities of the two leaders were very different. Their priorities, however, seemed different, at least formally. During his presidency (2000-2008), Putin made every effort to recover Russia’s super power status and international respect. He did not hesitate to use the privileged position of Russia – main energy supplier to Europe, a permanent member of the Security Council of the United Nations, a continuing influence over the post-Soviet space – to achieve his ambitious goal. For his part, Medvedev preferred to use foreign policy as an instrument to advance the process of economic modernization, while keeping Russian national interests in mind. When compared to Russia’s main partners and competitors, Medvedev was very much aware of the systemic disadvantages his country faced. These disadvantages, according to him, were factors that considerably weakened Russia as a major world power and economic player. The foundation of Putin’s domestic and foreign policy was the concept of “sovereign democracy,” which argues that Russia must follow its own democratization process. There was no need to emulate and copy Western models. In this view, if Russia’s political system had serious flaws, the same could be said of the political systems of Western countries. The West was no longer seen as being in a position to give lessons to Russia. Consequently, Russian foreign policy at the time gradually abandoned or even opposed some of the positions taken by Western countries. Such a tendency began with Putin’s speech at the annual Wehrkunde conference held in Munich in January 2007. Within a year serious tensions arose between Russia and their Western allies, for instance with the August 2008 armed conflict between Georgia and Russia. The origin of this conflict was the longstanding secession attempts by South Ossetia and Abkhazia, two territories recognized as being part of Georgia. Especially glaring were Russia’s disagreements and confrontations with the U.S. over such issues as NATO expansion, European-based missile defense systems and U.S. attempts to expand its influence into what Russia considers its “near abroad”, the post-Soviet space. Under Putin, Russia once again seemed to be a rival of the West, not merely on an ideological basis as during the Cold War, but because of its own strong nationalistic tendencies.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, United Nations, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Soviet Union
  • Author: Javier Morales
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Fundación Alternativas
  • Abstract: The conflict in Ukraine, which has caused more damage to relations between the West and Russia than any other event since the end of the Cold War, is a focal point of instability that threatens the wellbeing of the EU. The time has come to renew the Union’s strategy towards Russia, an effort that will entail not only the thorough analysis of long-term European objectives needed to make EU policy more efficient and bring it into line with European interests and values, but also a recognition of diplomatic blunders made at the onset of the Ukrainian crisis. Rather than entering into a new Cold War focused on Russian containment, the EU should accept Moscow as the great power that it is and a potential partner in the construction of a space of shared security. The best way to ensure long-term continental security and stability would be for Russia to increasingly feel and become more a part of Europe and for Europe to make a sincere effort to get to know its Russian neighbour better.
  • Topic: Cold War, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, European Union
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Marek Madej, Robert Czulda
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: The article ‘The Future of NATO in the New Security Environment. A Former Newcomer’s View’, analyses the role of NATO alliance in the contemporary security environment within the context of its priorities defined by new Strategic Concept 2010, having special attention on potential role of former newcomers and potential new members.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Military Strategy, Deterrence
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, North Atlantic, North America, United States of America