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  • Author: Alvin Almendrala Camba
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Central European University Political Science Journal
  • Institution: Central European University
  • Abstract: Nazrin Mehdiyeva's work is elegantly argued and timely volume on small states and energy politics; however, in looking to contribute to both of these literatures, she opens up questionable points in her book. Her main aim was to understand the conditions that allowed Azerbaijan to pursue an autonomous foreign policy after the Cold War while focusing on energy's role in the context of global energy insecurity. Mehdiyeva's structure relies on a simple and clear deductive narrative. Chapters 2 and 3 focus on small state literature and its application in Azerbaijan's institutional context; 4 focuses on Russia, the main 'antagonist' in the narrative, and 5 on the Caspian sea issue; while 6 and 7 deal with alternative allies in the form of Turkey and the United States. The last chapter concludes with the author's projection of future foreign policy.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Cold War, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Turkey, Middle East, Azerbaijan
  • Author: Andrey Makarychev, Alexandra Yatsyk
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Winter Olympic Games in Sochi and the annexation of Crimea were two major international events in which Russia engaged in early 2014. In spite of all the divergence in the logic underpinning each of them, four concepts strongly resonate in both cases. First, in hosting the Olympics and in appropriating Crimea, Russia was motivated by solidifying its sovereignty as the key concept in its foreign and domestic policies. Second, the scenarios for both Sochi and Crimea were grounded in the idea of strengthening Russia as a political community through mechanisms of domestic consolidation (Sochi) and opposition to unfriendly external forces (the crisis in Ukraine). Third, Sochi and Crimea unveiled two different facets of the logic of normalisation aimed at proving - albeit by different means - Russia's great power status. Fourth, one of the major drivers of Russian policy in both cases were security concerns in Russia's southern flanks, though domestic security was also an important part of the agenda.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine
  • Author: Alena Vysotskaya Guedes Vieira
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Russia's actions towards Ukraine in 2013-14, which inaugurated a new Cold War in its relations with the West, presented a dilemma to Russia's allies: whether to align themselves with Russia's choices or pursue a more independent course of action. The leadership of Belarus, Russia's closest ally, chose the latter option both by establishing dialogue with the interim government and President of Ukraine, Oleksandr Turchinov, considered illegitimate in Russia and, later, by being present at the inauguration of Petro Poroshenko on 7 June 2014 and downplaying Russia's position on the 'federalisation' of Ukraine as the only way out of the country's instability. The perspective of the intra-alliance security dilemma helps explain the divergence of views between Russia and Belarus, while pointing to the changing position of the parties towards the Eurasian integration project.
  • Topic: Security, Cold War, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Ukraine
  • Author: David Blagden
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The international system is returning to multipolarity—a situation of multiple Great Powers—drawing the post-Cold War 'unipolar moment' of comprehensive US political, economic and military dominance to an end. The rise of new Great Powers, namely the 'BRICs'—Brazil, Russia, India, and most importantly, China—and the return of multipolarity at the global level in turn carries security implications for western Europe. While peaceful political relations within the European Union have attained a remarkable level of strategic, institutional and normative embeddedness, there are five factors associated with a return of Great Power competition in the wider world that may negatively impact on the western European strategic environment: the resurgence of an increasingly belligerent Russia; the erosion of the US military commitment to Europe; the risk of international military crises with the potential to embroil European states; the elevated incentive for states to acquire nuclear weapons; and the vulnerability of economically vital European sea lines and supply chains. These five factors must, in turn, be reflected in European states' strategic behaviour. In particular, for the United Kingdom—one of western Europe's two principal military powers, and its only insular (offshore) power—the return of Great Power competition at the global level suggests that a return to offshore balancing would be a more appropriate choice than an ongoing commitment to direct military interventions of the kind that have characterized post-2001 British strategy.
  • Topic: Security, Cold War
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Brazil
  • Author: Nicolo Sartori
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The unconventional oil and gas revolution is certainly a game changer in the current international political setting, since it will bring the United States close to energy self-sufficiency. However, it seems unlikely that this new energy status will dramatically redefine US foreign policy and security priorities. In strategic regions such as the Middle East, US interests are expected to remain unchanged, while the new energy status will contribute only in part to modifying the US approach towards the EU's energy posture vis-à-vis Russia. What the new American energy condition is likely to change are the tools and policy options available to Washington to cope with the strategic challenges - China's power in primis - emerging in the multipolar international relations system.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Washington
  • Author: Zinaida Shevchuk
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Obrana a strategie (Defence Strategy)
  • Institution: University of Defence
  • Abstract: This article explores the conflict processes in one of the most volatile regions in post-Soviet space - South Ossetia. The objective of the analysis is to bring more nuanced and explicit distinction to the understanding of the heterogeneous nature of the armed conflict. By studying the evolution of issues at stake and conflict processes we can trace the pattern of conflict behavior. The study focuses on an assessment of the extent to which ethnicity is merely a convenient common dominator to mobilize ethnic groups in the struggle over resources, land, or power. This study rejects the common notion that the contemporary conflicts in the South Ossetia can be understood as "unfinished business" from the past ethnic conflicts that had been "frozen" under the communist regime.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, South Ossetia
  • Author: Syuzanna Vasilyan
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Relations and Development
  • Institution: Central and East European International Studies Association
  • Abstract: This article develops a new conceptual framework of 'moral power' by arguing that the 'civilian'/'normative' power Europe paradigms are insufficient for understanding the essence of the conflict resolution policy of the European Union (EU) in the South Caucasus. Analysing the conflicts of Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Nagorno-Karabakh, the study reveals that until the August 2008 war, the EU was an incoherent actor in terms of the interplay among its institutions and member-states. The EU's policy has been devoid of a long-term peace-focused strategy, making it inconsequential; as a result, the EU has merely dealt with, rather than managed, the conflicts. Its rhetoric has been inconsistent with practice. Often the EU has subordinated its values to material and power-related interests. Moreover, the EU has hardly been normatively stable in its approach to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Bypassing inclusiveness until the launch of the Geneva talks pertaining to the Abkhazian and South Ossetian conflicts, the EU has not enjoyed much legitimacy by the de facto states. Whereas the EU has largely failed to resolve the South Caucasian conflicts, it has achieved partial success by putting a halt to the 2008 hostilities between Russia and Georgia. Overall, having faltered as a 'civilian'/'normative' power it still has to fare as a 'moral power'.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Political Theory, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Georgia, South Caucasus, South Ossetia, Abkhazia
  • Author: Pami Aalto, David Dusseault, Michael D Kennedy, Markku Kivinen
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Relations and Development
  • Institution: Central and East European International Studies Association
  • Abstract: In this article, we examine the formation of Russia's energy policies vis-à-vis Europe and the Far East. As energy policy is a very complex field, we propose a new structurationist analytical model to deal with that complexity. Our model highlights the practices by which actors acquire information of their policy environments, which are conceptualised as structures enabling and constraining their actions. These practices involve intentions, interests and schemata. In our case analyses - the Nord Stream pipeline project and the Sakhalin Island's energy politics - we find that profit interests, as part of a wider business frame, most centrally guide Russian actors. The often-hyped energy superpower frame is found to be ambiguous. It generally does not bring the intentions of Russian actors together well, even if such a frame resonates with some of Russia's European customers. Energy security frames are found to be prevalent among Russia's customers and are highly differentiated. Environmental frames are mostly instrumentally deployed. Russian energy actors are capable of displaying collective intentionality, but are incapable of fully controlling the various dimensions of the complex policy environment.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, Environment
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Ana Stanic
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Diversification of gas supply has been a strategic priority for the European Union since its dependence on imports began to grow in the early 2000s. The crisis in Ukraine has heightened concerns that the flow of Russian gas passing through this country may be interrupted and has reignited calls for dependency on Russian gas to be reduced. As a new European Commission takes over energy policy in Brussels, it is worth examining the lessons the EU ought to learn from the Southern Gas Corridor project, which for a decade was seen as key to enhancing energy security.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Brazil
  • Author: V. Orlov
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs: A Russian Journal of World Politics, Diplomacy and International Relations
  • Institution: East View Information Services
  • Abstract: Twenty years ago, the issue of nuclear weapons on the territory of Ukraine and, accordingly, of security assurances to Ukraine in the case of its achieving a non-nuclear status was the focus of attention for policymakers, diplomats and the international expert community. It was also then that it was seemingly resolved once and for all – first through the Trilateral statement by the presidents of Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine (Moscow, January 14, 1994), then through a Memorandum on security assurances in connection with Ukraine’s accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) (Budapest, December 5, 1994), signed by the Russian Federation, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Treaties and Agreements, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Ukraine