BSR in international politics

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Information about BSR in international politics

Published on October 15, 2007

Author: Nellwyn


BSR in international politics :  BSR in international politics Dr, Docent Sami Moisio Academy of Finland Exam:  Exam The exam will take place on Monday the 8th of October, 10—12 (the lecture hall will be announced on the www-pages of the program) The second possibility is on Friday the 9th of November 14—17 (lecture hall 9) Please, remember to register at the BSRS-office! The exam will include two essay questions dealing with the lectures International politics: why?:  International politics: why? The relations between states The alliances between states The institutional arrangements between states The relations between civil societies (minorities) The boundaries between political units The transnationalization of space in Europe Regional power structures Regional security communities Region in a global political landscape High vs. low international politics The role of the BSR in international politics:  The role of the BSR in international politics Major characteristics in the within the past c. 100 years The interaction between the small and large states (previously called as “empires”) Constant processes of integration and disintegration The BSR has been an area between the Western Europe and the vast Eurasian landmasses (where are the boundaries of Europe…) The importance of the BSR was emphasized especially in the era of “wars on territory” The strategic significance of the area has declined in the post-Cold War world From geopolitics to geo-economics?:  From geopolitics to geo-economics? The recent political developments:  The recent political developments The enlargement of NATO in 2004 The enlargement of the EU in 2004 The energy politics within the past three-four years the vast Russian energy resources and especially the security of energy supplies to Europe have become a strategic issue: how dependent the EU states dare to be on Russian gas and oil given the huge geopolitical significance of energy The tension between the “New Europe” and Russia The interaction between the EU and Russia (Germany and Russia) The re-grouping of the Eastern Europe The World Bank issues a warning about the re-division of the Eastern Europe into two: “One is Euro-centric, comprising the eight new members of the European Union (EU-8), Turkey, and gradually, the seven Southeastern European (SEE) countries. The other is “Russia-centric”, largely comprising the 12 countries of the CIS (World Bank 2006) The BSR dynamics:  The BSR dynamics The EU-Russian relations:  The EU-Russian relations Russian politics towards the EU Eurasianist tendencies vs. Europe oriented policies Traditional approach to Russia: Russia is the other for Europe, Russia is different (culturally, politically and economically), Russia follows its own track Transitional approach: Russia is in a process of becoming ”normal” state (market economy, western democracy, human rights) In Russia: sovereignty vs. integration (the concept of ”sovereign democracy”) Dependencies:  Dependencies The question of various dependencies characterizes the return to Europe discourse championed by the new Central Europeans The discursive production of state sovereignty in the Baltic States has been closely connected with an idea of decreasing both political and economic dependency on Russia This phenomenon may well be called a reverse conceptualization of state independence or state sovereignty: the less a state is dependent on Russia the more independent it is Out of dependencies:  Out of dependencies NATO memberships of the ex-Soviet republics which in the early 1990s refused to join the CIS have been crucial to put into action this new independence Most recently, the issue of dependency has been nowhere as visible as in the context of energy However, since the double enlargement of NATO and the EU, the depiction of Russia as a potential geopolitical threat has decreased in intensity in the post-Communist states Analysing Russia:  Analysing Russia Russia had a special role within the return to Europe discourse. From the mid 1990s forward, there has been an ongoing debate on the future of Russia and its exceptional features is it returning to Tsarist authoritarianism is it moving towards democratic political culture by following the “western track” is it willing to move to more expansive power politics is it trying to re-establish its central position in world politics this time by using vast energy resources and military power is Russia a European state or another civilization is Russia trying to preserve its territorial coherence by not allowing its neighborhood states to “fly away” from its sphere of power Analysing Russia:  Analysing Russia One of the central characteristics of the aforementioned debates is the need to make “diagnoses” of Russia in order to disclose its “anatomy” This includes identifying “symptoms” in Russian politics and then connecting them to the determining factors of Russian politics Policies of president Putin, for example, are often diagnosed to be symptoms of the authoritarian political culture, an underlying presumption being that politics in Russia proceeds in vicious cycles The columnist of the Financial Times, Neil Buckley (2006), for example, calls Putin’s Russia a managed democracy because it “is a system that preserves competitive election while doing everything possible to predetermine the outcome” Between the east and west?:  Between the east and west? The major policies of the US in the BSR:  The major policies of the US in the BSR The Northern Europe Initiative (NEI) of the United States emerged in 1997 In September 1997 at a meeting of the Nordic and Baltic foreign ministers in Bergen, Norway, Assistant Secretary of State Marc Grossman introduced the Northern Europe Initiative The NEI was originally concerned with traditional security questions The US decision-makers sought to signal to Russia that even though the Baltic states would not be included in the initial round of NATO enlargement, this did not mean that the US regarded them as lying within the Russian sphere of influence The NEI aimed at avoiding any short-term emergence of security vacuum in the region The major policies of the US in the BSR:  The major policies of the US in the BSR The NEI's objectives: stability, prosperity and security the bolstering of the U.S. trade and investement the integrating the countries of the region in order to avoid the dependency on Russia The NEI emphasizes the regional approach in dealing with the environmental challenges in the region nuclear and non-nuclear challenges nuclear waste management projects in the Russian northwest The major EU policies in the BSR:  The major EU policies in the BSR The “Wider Europe” policy by the European Commission The New Neighborhood Policy by the EU commission The Northern Dimension Initiative The Eastern Dimension Initiative by Poland Various EU programs (structural funds) such as the Interreg and TACIS The post-Cold War BSR: the epoch of transition:  The post-Cold War BSR: the epoch of transition The post-Cold War BSR: the epoch of transition:  The post-Cold War BSR: the epoch of transition Imagining the BSR:  Imagining the BSR The area around the Baltic Sea region can be treated in several ways: 1. A European “megaregion” consisting of various states 2. A European sub-region consisting of regions and some parts of states 3. A network of various interest groups 4. An imagined community created by “region builders” (top down regionalization) 5. An area of increasing interaction between civil societies (an everyday form of regionalism) Imagining the BSR:  Imagining the BSR The BSR has been back on high political agenda since the early 1990s (after the end of the Cold War) The revival of the interest is often connected to an understanding that “the East” and “the West” somehow meet in the area around the Baltic Sea The Baltic Sea has recently been narrated as an internal sea of the EU which consists of various corridors and networks increasing both the movement of capital or goods, and compressing functional space of the region The political bolstering of the Baltic “sphere” obviously aims at transforming the centre of gravity within the EU, but it also unfolds a naturalist logic according to which the region serves as a “natural” economic entity Imagining the BSR:  Imagining the BSR The post-Wall Baltic Sea region is also scripted as a living example of various political post-isms. an illustration of post-modern geopolitical regionalisation of overlapping boundaries and loyalties a post-political model area as far as cross-border co-operation and regional integration are concerned territoriality is unbundled, state sovereignty pooled, borders de-securitised and classical military threats replaced by new “soft threats” which are now called risks The Baltic Sea region is therefore argued as highlighting a new Europe of inclusive regionalities where regions are gradually achieving political subjectivity The BSR integration:  The BSR integration The BSR is a region of institutional networks which are loosely connected to each other (the new Hansa) 1. Intergovernmental institutions (e.g. Baltic Region Healthy Cities Office and the leading global IGOs) 2. European Union projects (BSR Interreg IIIB) and institutions (European Investment Bank) 3. BSR intergovernmental institutions (e.g. Baltic Council of Ministers, Nordic Council, Helsinki Commission) 4. Local authorities (e.g. Union of Baltic Cities) > more than 100 members 5. Educational networks (e.g. Baltic Study Net) 6. Civil society institutions (e.g. Baltic Music Network) The BSR integration:  The BSR integration The Baltic Sea region has its own institutions, territorial shape following the drainage basin of the Baltic Sea, and even a set of ideas that are connected to the region Economic transactions within the region are increasing The has been a notable intensification of networking in the region (business, city regions, etc.) The Baltic Sea region, therefore, obviously consists of various features which together form at least a seed of a region. The limits of the BSR integration:  The limits of the BSR integration There are several “spatial obstacles” in the Baltic Sea region which would deserve systematic research. Among these are 1) the lack of social capital, 2) differences in national geopolitical cultures, traditions and experiences and the perpetual domination of state-centricity at the state scale, and 3) the boundary construction at the EU level. The lack of social capital:  The lack of social capital As far as social capital is concerned, mutual dependence works as guarantee which further increases the sense of trust among political subjects. If we consider the Baltic Sea region as a “community in the making”, we find out that even though the quantity of the networks consisting of social relations is considerable, the lack of social capital is however pervasive. This especially considers “high politics”. The persistence of geographical memory, which is inevitably attached to the painful experience of the 20th century, causes strong difficulties in the process of creating trust within the Baltic Sea region. Political affects, in particular feelings of hate, pride, distrust, fear, anger and even shame, form an integral part of political life within the area. Variety of national geopolitical cultures:  Variety of national geopolitical cultures The Baltic Sea region is a diffuse collection of geopolitical traditions, most of which are deeply based on national historiography and imaginative geographies written by strategists. Given the great variety of states in the Baltic Sea region in terms of size, population, orientation, political geographical belonging, power resources, memberships and relative location in the world economy, interstate relations are not only heavily asymmetrical but also deeply accumulated to national geopolitical histories. Even though Donald Rumsfeld’s division into new and old Europe may not work well as an analytical tool, it nevertheless unfolds the complex geography of the Baltic Sea integration (NATO) It is hard to imagine the Baltic Sea region as a regional security complex within which it is not reasonable to treat the security of different actors as separate issues. Variety of national geopolitical cultures:  Variety of national geopolitical cultures National geopolitical traditions locate the states of the Baltic Sea region to rather different places on the political map of Europe. Estonian politicians seem to be willing to locate the country in Central Europe, an action which aims at both drawing a boundary between Russia and Europe and emphasising the importance of the Baltic states on the “value map” of Europe. The hegemonic geopolitical traditions in Latvia and Lithuania locate these states in the reborn Central Europe rather than Northern Europe, The Northern Dimension of the European Union, originally launched by Finland in 1997, has not attracted the Baltic politicians. The EU as an obstacle :  The EU as an obstacle The future of the integration at the EU level will have several outcomes as far as the Baltic Sea integration is concerned. One of the most crucial outcomes is the one attached to the internal and external boundaries of the EU: whether they become permeable, securitised, de-securitised, closed, hard, blurred or networked regarding people, goods and capital. Two kinds of boundaries in the context of the Baltic Sea integration. 1) networked non-borders, such as the Schengen boundary system which currently carves up the Baltic Sea region states into insiders and outsiders. 2) Colonial frontier describes the point where the EU meets the East and, indeed, this identity political frontier is very much bolstered in the context of the EU foreign policy. The EU as an obstacle:  The EU as an obstacle The boundary dynamics of the EU may have dramatic impact on the future of the Baltic Sea integration. There is now a danger of creating “soft borders” within the EU region and hard ones between the EU and its outside. This is to say that the federalist agenda may lead to a formation of new borders in Europe that not only divide the member states into first-class and second-class members, but also leads to a construction of the eastern boundary. As a consequence, the third class Europe – “a fringe of new friends” as the New Neighbourhood Initiative puts it – would be excluded from the EU self >This would seriously jeopardise the Baltic Sea integration.

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