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Research Report


Peter van Ham
Copyright Date: Feb. 1, 1994
Pages: 50
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. None)

    The dissolution of the Soviet Union -- which started with the failed coup of August 1991 and was formalized in December of that year -- has fundamentally transformed the European security setting. Whereas past decades of Cold War were dominated by concerns about a massive invasion by the Warsaw Pact and global thermonuclear war, Western policy-makers are now worried about a myriad of less tangible threats to their security. Instead of having one ‘clear and present danger’, the post-Cold War period has been characterized by diffuse perils, varying from resurgent nationalism, problems of minorities and the threat of mass migration,...

  2. (pp. None)

    In 1992 François Heisbourg argued that in ‘the emerging non-Metternichian, post- Cold War security system, a country’s interests are not exclusively, or even primarily, dictated by such external factors as geographical location, access to resources and markets, or the ambitions of outside powers.’(4) Although this might be a fair assessment of the security situation of some West European countries, this statement does not apply to Ukraine following its declaration of independence in August 1991. In many respects, Ukraine’s position clearly illustrates the well-known ‘return of geography’, since its policies have from the start been dominated by external factors. Since its...

  3. (pp. None)

    It is clear that any sharpening of the Russian-Ukrainian dispute would seriously destabilize the Eurasian region: it would be likely to block further reform in Russia, and would have a negative impact on stability, economic reform and the process of democratisation in Central Europe. Yet the West must also be prepared for a different kind of security threat, most notably the possibility that Ukraine’s independence may be threatened from the inside due to a virtual breakdown of its economy and its inadequate state structure. Its powerless political system and the priority it puts on nation-building over serious economic restructuring are...

  4. (pp. None)

    Geopolitical factors have played an important role in Western policy towards the FSU. Most attention and economic assistance has been paid to Moscow, based upon the logic that it is in the West’s interest to stabilize and democratize a nuclear power like Russia, especially since a nationalist backlash or anarchy in this country would have serious consequences for other Soviet successor states as well as for the rest of Europe. Considering Russia’s dominant position in Eurasia, successful economic and political reform there will also be quintessential for Ukraine. As Alexander Motyl has argued: ‘A deteriorating Russia . . . will...