Thursday, 27 July 2017

The EU’s FP: Towards Ukraine and the Middle East ( BY k. s)


 The European Union was created in the consequences of the Second World War. After the WW2, the EU founder states devoted to working together for peace and prosperity. The Schuman Plan first resulted the Coal and Steel Community of 1951, and later the Treaties of Rome of 1957. The Treaties of Rome make no mention of EU foreign policy, because the development of a common foreign policy has always been one of the big issue. E.g. there is a historical example in the failure of the French Assembly to ratify European Defence Community (EDC) in 1954. Then EU foreign policy effectively removed from the agenda of the European Integration.

During the 1970s, the EC members took steps to co - ordinate their foreign policies in the framework of the European Political Cooperation (EPC). In 1973, an ineffectiveness of EPC become obvious, when the EC wanted to negotiated with the US through EPC. The EC had failed to create a single voice of Europe, with whom for example Henry Kissinger could negotiate. Despite that the EU has proved to be effective in mobilising shared position of the member states in pursuit of their common economic interests, it has been so difficult to mobilise the common foreign policy interests of the member states. However, in 1992, the Maastricht Treaty established, the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) of the EU.  The Treaty also introduced common positions and joint actions. The Amsterdam Treaty of 1997 also reformed CFSP and empowered defence policy. However, the treaty stated that ‘’EU policies must not jeopardize NATO.”  As Barry Posen pointed out, there also was a concern that empowering the EU could be seen as ‘’balancing against the US.’’ Under the Amsterdam Treaty, the Union also created the post of High Representative for the CFSP to represent EU on foreign policy issues. In 2011, the EU  established European External Action Service (EEAS). Today, the High Representative for the EEAS and CFSP is Federica Mogherini. 

One of the most important achievements of the CFSP is the expansion of membership into Central and Eastern Europe. After the end of the Cold War, the EU through a foreign policy instrument of the EU: the Neighbourhood Policy , EU as a soft power was effectively involved in measure to promote regional cooperation in the economic and political fields in the Central and Eastern Europe. The EU borders have been extended to include the space of the  Former Soviet States. Between 1991 - 2013, the EU effectively became larger and integrated. The Union rebuilt the peaceful – non-aggressive political environment in Europe, bringing freedom, peace, security, and prosperity. The EU’s influence on peace and security, since 1945 is the Union’s proudest and biggest legacy. In 2012, the EU won the Nobel Peace Prize for it.
The EU diplomacy and the process of enlargement has worked remarkably well until  the Arab Spring and Ukraine Crisis. Relations between Ukraine and the European Union (EU) are shaped through the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). In 2007, the EU started preparing an Association Agreement with Ukraine and completed it in 2012. In 2013, under Russian pressure, the EU Association Agreement was rejected by Viktor Yanukovych. In 2013,  The pro - European Ukrainians went out on the streets to protest against President’s decision. The peaceful protests turned into a Russian backed civil war. Yanukovych fled to Russia and the EU-Ukraine association agreement, signed in March 2014, by Petro Poroshenko. The EU policy had been a defensive response to Ukraine Crisis. In 2014, Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea, and the  EU rejected aggressive action with Moscow.  Also, during the Ukraine Crisis, EU governments were deeply divided about the economic sanctions. However, later under the US pressure, the EU imposed economic sanctions as ‘’a necessary evil’’ on Russia. In April 2014, the Minsk I and in 2015, the Minsk II" peace agreement was signed, between the leaders of Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine. Today, EU closely observing the implementation of the Minsk Agreement, an effort to resolve the conflict that has killed more than 9, 000 people. The humanitarian situation also remains serious in Ukraine. More than 3 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance.   According to Democracy Watch, ‘’in 2016, the EU Commission have committed to "support the Ukrainian people,’ the Union  provided financial assistance of €1.8 billion’’. In 2016, following eight years of negotiations, the EU and Ukraine have signed the Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Recently, the EU has adopted a visa-free travel for Ukrainians. 

The European Union also plays an important role in the Arab World.  EU’s policies towards the Region is mainly framed by the EU  Partnership  agreements and by the EU Neighbourhood Policy. However, since 2011, the Arab Spring forced the EU to rethink foreign policy attitudes towards the region, because of the EU’s security was affected by the refuge crisis. The EU has not played a major foreign policy role during the Arab Spring, because of a lack of common political vision. For example, in Libya, European countries were in the lead, but the EU was not. The military intervention in Libya, led by France and the UK, and commanded by the US and NATO. However, the intervention involved no ground forces, and terrorists gained ground and Libya has turned into chaos. The Syrian conflict, despite having a direct impact on EU has also failed to attract significant EU common  interests beyond economic incentives, humanitarian, and planned reconstruction support. In the Syrian conflict the US and EU failed to fill the power vacuum, and Russia and Iran have replaced the EU and the US. The conflict has metastasized into a regional disaster, with depressive consequences in Europe.  The EU also was not able to find a solution to the Refugee crisis. The Union’s policies and efforts to promote human rights and democracy in Arab states also failed. Right now, the EU is almost nowhere. And in Iraq, there seems to be no EU at all.  This is because, the EU is a soft power, not a hard - military power, in fact there is no EU common army, therefore the Union’s capabilities is limited. Despite this the EU continues to carry out some small military operations. For example, in Libya from 2013 to present. A border monitoring mission between Gaza and Egypt from 2005 to present, and the EU Police Mission to Afghanistan, from 2007 to present.

As this essay suggests, my evaluation of European Union’s foreign policy is mixed. The EU is able to act with a single and effective voice on some issues but not others. For example, the EU’s policies was not effective towards the Arab World, because of a lack of common political vision. However, when it comes to Ukraine, the EU’s record in Ukraine was mostly one of success. During the Ukraine Crisis, the EU’s economic sanctions were imposed on Russia. Also, in 2016, the EU and Ukraine have signed the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and recently, EU has adopted a visa-free travel for Ukrainians. Despite all efforts, today the EU is not a very effective foreign policy actor, because the EU does not uses its economic capabilities in order to promote a strong common foreign policies. And as long as the EU member states retain their full foreign policy capabilities the effectiveness of  CFSP of the EU will remain low.     

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Structural Realism: Can China Rise Peacefully?

 The Structural realism also known as Neorealism is a general theory of international relations, with key assumptions about the anarchic international system where states are subject to structural pressures, which makes  them  anxious about their own security and survival. By contrast of Classical realism, Structural realism believes that world politics is governed by the structure of the international system not by the human nature. The theory of structural realism is associated with the American defensive realist, Kenneth Waltz (‘’Theory of International Politics’’,  ‘and ’Man, the State, and War ‘’) and offensive realist, John Mearsheimer (The Tragedy of Great Power Politics , 2001).     
According to Structural realism states perform in a self - help  system, because there is no world government, there is no night - watchman who can save them if they are threatened by another state. All realists believe that states are unitary rational actors that are motivated by the desire for power and security rather than ideals. Central also for structural realism is the distribution of capabilities among states. Str – realism believes that capabilities determine a state’s place within the international system.  The defensive realism believes that states are security maximizers,  while the offensive realism believes that states are power maximizers. For classical realists, power is an end itself while for structural realists power is a means an end and the ultimate end is survival.   However,  ‘’in a  zero - sum game’’  Mearshemier  argues  ''in it is difficult for a country to improve its prospects for survival without threatening the survival of other states.’’ Structural Realism also believes continuity in international politics, not change.  
The Cold War - Propaganda Poster
The concept  ‘’ balance of power’’ also plays a key role in Structural realism. The Waltzian Structural realism supports the balance of power politics and the bipolar world system. According to Waltz great-power wars are much more likely to happen under multipolarity than under bipolarity, this is because bipolarity reduces uncertainties among the enemies, that under the Bipolar system there is less opportunity for miscalculations and therefore less chance of great power wars. For example, during the Cold War, the Soviet Union balanced the power of the United States, whereas the United States balanced the power of the Soviet Union (checks and balances).     

 After, the peaceful end of the Cold War the world suddenly became unipolar. Since the collapse of the bipolar system, the position of a sole superpower is held by the US. However, recently, new actors emerged in the world stage, among them China is considered as the most challenging to the US.  China has a population of 1.3 billion. China's fast economic development  has put the country on the world stage with great powers like the United States,  EU, and Russia. As China continues to develop, the question on political observers' minds is will China rise peacefully?  Structural realism argues that the structured anarchic system of the world creates a security competition which cannot allow a peaceful rise of China.  One of the most well known sceptics of China’s “peaceful rise’’, the offensive realist John Mearsheimer argues  that China has the right to maximize power in order to ensure its own security and survival, because  in the self – help system ''it is better to be Godzilla than Bambi,'' however  Mearsheimer believes that ‘an uncertainty over  China’s intentions will give rise to constant security competition with the potential for war''. 


 By contrast  to Mearsheimer’s pessimistic  assumptions, Liberal Complex Interdependence is optimistic about the possibility of a peaceful rise of China. Robert  Keohane and Joseph Nye in the ‘power and interdependence’ argued that under conditions of Complex interdependence the military force will have less utility.  CI believes that  great power  relations be managed through diplomacy and international organisations.  In 2017, Joseph Nye with the Project Syndicate argued that Structural realism misses the engagement and growth of economic interdependence between the US and China.  Nye  believes that ‘’China can rise peacefully, that there is no need for the US and China to go to war.'’ During Barack Obama's presidency, the U. S has been committed to engaging China, not containing it.  Liberals believe that if China could be made both democratic and prosperous, will not engage in security competition with America. Mearshiemer who advocates tougher scrutiny of Chinese policies pointed out that ‘’the U.S. foreign policy on China to engage or to foster trade are “misguided and doomed to fail, that a rich China and the United States are more likely to participate in  security competition.” However, I believe that an outcome will also depend on American responds to the rise of China and On the Trump Administration’s position towards the South China Sea and Taiwan. For example, China considers Taiwan to be part of China and unification of China is the key priority of the project China Dream of 2012. Therefore, president Trump’s phone call with the leader of Taiwan was a highly provocative act, because since Nixon's historic visit to China in 1972, the US has accepted the so called “One China” principle. If, for example, Trump’s America will support Taiwan’s independence, and Taiwan declares independence, then a war, including a nuclear war between China and the U.S. becomes more likely. Recently we have seen kind of a soft power competition; China’s government has been actively trying to take advantage of The U.S. declining prestige on international stage, and replaces itself as a defender of multilateralism and the Paris Climate Accord, from which President Trump has withdrawn America.   
  
Nixon's historic visit to China in 1972
This essay shows that, Structural realism believes that international politics is governed by the structure not the human nature.  The rise of China is the key issue of the 21st century. Whether the rise of China will continue peacefully or not, Structural realism and liberal CI provides different perspectives. According to Mearsheimer, China cannot rise peacefully; this is because the anarchic structure of the international system requires states to seek hegemony at the expense of other states. By contrast of Structural realism, Liberal CI believes that under conditions of Complex interdependence the military force will have less utility. Joseph Nye believes that the U. S and China can overcome anarchy based on common interests and engagement.  However, Structural realists strongly believe ‘’an uncertainty over rising China’s intentions will force the US to abandon its policy of engagement, and regardless of their economic interdependence, the US and China will engage in security competition with the potential for war.’’  I, also believe that  because of China's economic liberalization does not led to political liberalization, that China remains a  most repressive authoritarian state, the so called China’s ''peaceful rise'' to great power status already is not peaceful at all.  

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Freedom of speech is under danger, that means all human rights are under danger!

Freedom of speech is under danger, that means all human rights are under danger! If a state and people will not protect the freedom of speech, that will mean that automatically all human rights will be abolished including 'life, liberty and pursuit of happiness'.  And "free speech is meant to protect unpopular speech. Popular speech, by definition, needs no protection."

K. S


Dance To Freedom

You live as long as you dance. 
- Rudolf Nureyev





 Jackie and Bobby Kennedy' with the Soviet ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev' :))


Me... and The streets of London (Photos).

Me and a friend of mine with the statue Charlie Chaplin in Leicester Square. 
Covent Garden, London, UK.
17. 07. 2017 


 The Cambridge in Soho, London, by photo K. Shiuka
17. 07. 2017


 London, by photo K. Shiuka
17. 07. 2017

 London, by photo K. Shiuka
17. 07. 2017

Andrei Tarkovsky and Sergei Parajanov

"Always with huge gratitude and pleasure I remember the films of Sergei Parajanov, which I love very much. His way of thinking, his paradoxical poetical...ability to love the beauty and ability to be absolutely free within his own vision. "
-- Andrei Tarkovsky


Parajanov's restored Sayat Nova






Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker








Sunday, 25 June 2017

Isaac Asimov

Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.
Isaac Asimov