Black Sea or Black Lake? How US-Russian tensions have affected EU policy in the wider Black Sea region
thesisposted on 20.03.2012, 16:49 by Carol Weaver
This thesis asks ‘To what extent have US-Russian tensions affected European Union policy in the wider Black Sea region?’ partly to help answer the broader question of ‘Are we in the process of changing from a state dominated, anarchic and realist world to one where effective regional and global organisations take precedence?’ Both the United States and Russia are referred to as ‘modern’ states with ‘realist’ foreign policies, whilst the EU is described as ‘postmodern’ or ‘post-sovereign’. Now the EU extends to the Black Sea coastline there is a clash between the realism of the US and Russia, and the post-sovereign politics of the EU, whose policy is to resolve conflicts and promote a stable and peaceful European neighbourhood. Tensions and policies are systematically analysed using methods which include interviews and documentary analysis. NATO enlargement is argued to have contributed to the war in Georgia and the hastening of the Eastern Partnership policy. Tensions over an anti-ballistic missile system, Black Sea access, energy security, territorial integrity, spheres of influence and conventional forces are also shown to have affected the implementation of EU policies, as well as causing policy changes in some instances. One change in EU direction has been from bilateral only relations with eastern partners to both bilateral and multilateral relations (partly through Black Sea Synergy) in an attempt to promote regional cooperation as well as Europeanisation. The research concludes that US-Russian tensions, inter alia, have affected EU policy, which could point towards the triumph of realism in the Black Sea region. However, in the more recent post-Bush era, cooperation has become more visible. The thesis also argues that there is a situation of ‘balanced multipolarity’ (between Russia, the EU, Turkey and the US) in the region, which could lay the foundation for a cooperative security community to develop.