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  • Author: Sven Sakkov
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, most of Europe went on a “strategic holiday”. The West had won and the future was bright. Even the fact that at its weakest the Russian Federation was still able to create frozen conflicts at its borders did not dent this optimism. Defence spending in Eu- rope was plummeting throughout the 1990s, and all the way to 2014. NATO’s prevailing paradigm changed from being a collective defence organi- sation more to something of a collective security actor, with many main missions and a plethora of partnerships. After the shock of 9/11, the Alliance focused on counter-insurgency operations in Afghanistan. Military capabilities required to fight a modern near-peer adversary atrophied even further. In this context, some Allies did not take their eyes off Russia – primarily Poland and the Baltic States. Yet they were perceived by major Western Allies as nuisances requiring psychological counselling, as countries who had been traumatised by their harsh history and hence had become incapable of embracing this new reality of partnership with Rus- sia. Even the Russian military aggression against Georgia in 2008 did not change that Zeitgeist. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presented her “reset” button to the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov just seven months after Russian tanks rolled into Georgia.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, Eastern Europe, North America, Northern 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: 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: 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: Anar Valiyev
  • 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." Since gaining independence twenty-five years ago, Azerbaijan has pursued three major foreign policy goals: resolution of the Karabakh conflict based on the territorial integrity of the country; preservation of its own independence and security; and finally becoming the major regional player by using its energy and geographical positions. Azerbaijan’s foreign policy actions may be considered a kind of “silent diplomacy,” which Baku is using to gradually develop Azerbaijan’s role in the region, playing off of contradictions among other powers. During this time, Baku has taken some bold actions that indicate its policy is not dependent on regional powers and that its interests are to be taken into account. Today, looking at the fast-changing situation in the region, we can conclude that none of these goals have been fulfilled completely. In fact, the country is perhaps facing more challenges than before. The Karabakh conflict remains one of the most problematic issues. In terms of security and trade, Azerbaijan is still struggling to find its place in the mosaic of such institutions as the EU and the Eurasian Economic Union. In addition, the sudden drop in oil prices and the inability of the country to create a diverse economy has become another headache for the political establishment. Moreover, the lack of needed investments decreases the chances that the country will become a regional hub. This chapter reviews current problems challenging the country and recommends ways the transatlantic community can deal with Baku on pressuring issues.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Oil, Territorial Disputes, Economic structure
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Azerbaijan, South Caucasus, European Union
  • Author: Andrew Rasiulis
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: In 2014, a war started in Ukraine that has led to a current death toll of approximately 8000 people. This war was the result of a climax of ongoing challenges in Eastern Europe in its transition from the post-Soviet era. While the region as a whole undertook divergent paths, with some states joining NATO and the EU, Ukraine has struggled for 25 years to find its bearing. Caught between its historical connections to both West and East, and a failure to solve the problem of an oligarchic based economy with a chronic national debt, Ukraine today is the focus of the search for stability in Eastern Europe. Canada and its NATO Allies are fully engaged in assisting Ukraine with its challenges of reform. The Minsk 2 process, established in early 2015, has stabilized the fighting, but a diplomatic resolution remains elusive. Faced with the prospect of either further war, frozen conflict or diplomatic resolution, Canada's new Liberal Government has the option to raise its diplomatic game and bring Canada's experience of ethnic and regional diversity to the negotiating table. Such a contribution to stability would well serve Canada's national interests.
  • Topic: NATO, Diplomacy, Government, European Union, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Ukraine, Canada, Eastern Europe
  • 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