THE BALKANS AND THE CAUCASUS: CONCEPTUAL STEPPING-STONES TOWARDS THE FORMATION OF A NEW SINGLE GEOECONOMIC, GEOPOLITICAL, AND GEOSTRATEGIC REGION

by Plamen Pantev

Research Report 13

Sofia, November 2002

© Institute for Security and International Studies, 2001


DISCLAIMER: THIS RESEARCH REPORT IS A VERSION OF THE AUTHOR'S PRESENTATION ON A SIMILAR SUBJECT AT THE CONFERENCE OF DIRECTORS OF EUROPEAN INSTITUTES OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS, 18-19 OCTOBER 2002, ORGANISED BY THE TURKISH FOREIGN POLICY INSTITUTE, BILKENT UNIVERSITY, BILKENT-ANKARA, AT THE CONRAD ISTANBUL HOTEL, ISTANBUL. THE RESEARCH REPORT DRAWS ON PREPARED REMARKS AND ON THE RESULTS OF A LONGER STUDY THAT WAS CARRIED OUT FROM JANUARY 1999-NOVEMBER 2002 WITHIN THE ISIS RESEARCH ACTIVITY.

The author

©Institute for Security and International Studies, 2002

ISBN 954-9533-16-6


TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. Introduction

II. The Balkans and the Caucasus After the End of the Cold War

III. The Guiding Principles of the Formation of the New Encompassing Region

About the Author

About the Institute for Security and International Studies (ISIS)

Publications of ISIS


I. Introduction
The formulation of conceptual stepping-stones requires the consideration of at least two defining factors:

First, how have the Balkans and the Caucasus evolved since the end of the Cold War?
Second, what are the guiding principles in the formation of this new, vast economic, political, and strategic region stretching westwards from the Adriatic Sea and eastward from the Caspian Sea? This region is influenced by and influences global economic, political, and security processes, and benefits from the eastwards enlargement of the democratic civic and security space embodied by NATO and the EU.

II. The Balkans and the Caucasus After the End of the Cold War
The area stretching from the Adriatic Sea to the Black Sea and further eastwards to the Caspian Sea was a zone of bipolar conflict during the Cold War period. The shift from a bipolar structure to the still undefined structure of the international system has had one interim result - the tendency towards unilateral US domination and counter-efforts by other powers to promote multilateral solutions within global power relationships. The regional outcome of these processes in the post-Cold War period has been the conversion of the Balkan-Black Sea-Caspian area into two globally important hotspots of conflicting state interests. The major by-products of these contradicting actors and factors in the last ten years have been crises and wars in the Balkans and in the Caucasus. The risk of this zone erupting into conflicts was neutralized by a wise and prospective 'Black Sea policy' of Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine. The involvement of Russia and Ukraine in the peacekeeping efforts of the international community in Bosnia and Kosovo, alongside troops from the Black Sea and Balkan states mentioned above, favored this development. At the national level, these processes in the two regions of conflicts resulted in the individual countries' gravitation towards one or another center of global power. Both the EU and NATO have been perceived in Southeastern Europe as such centers of global power.
The structural shifts in the international political system during the last decade have changed the Balkan-Black Sea-Caspian Sea area in ways that can be defined in geo-economic, geo-political and geo-strategic terms as follows:

  • In geo-economic terms, the area has the potential to form an encompassing single zone, which would have to be developed and the feasibility of which remains to be proven. This potential can already be seen in both conflicting and common interests, especially on the issue of the transportation of the energy resources to the world markets. At this point, however, neither of the constituent sub-regions of this broader area can function as a single and meaningful functioning economic region within the global economic system.
  • Three geopolitical zones have been formed within this broad area: Southeastern Europe (or the Balkans), the Caucasian region, and the Caspian Sea region. They are rapidly evolving into a single geopolitical zone in the context of the global counter-terrorism campaign.
  • In geo-strategic terms, the area already constitutes a single zone, as could be seen during the NATO campaign against Yugoslavia; such a development was indicated by the membership of Turkey and Greece in NATO, NATO's enlargement to include Slovenia, Romania, and Bulgaria, the special relations between NATO and Russia, the active links between NATO and Ukraine, and by NATO's cooperation with the Black Sea-Caucasian-Caspian Sea region in the Partnership for Peace program. Their cooperation in the fight against terrorism reinforced this perception

III. The Guiding Principles of the Formation of the New Encompassing Region
Though the requirements of shaping such a functioning region are probably diverse, two deserve special mention:

First, the principle of the 'incremental steps' reflects the logical requirement of the gradual, evolutionary enlargement of the EU and NATO. The formation of 'security communities' and 'security complexes' as well as the acquirement of the features of states, societies, and economies that meet the legal requirements of membership in both institutions needs a patient and purposeful attitude. It is a historic task to find ways of incorporating such huge centers of regional power as Russia and Ukraine in Northern Europe and Turkey in Southern Europe in the integration processes of the EU without bringing imbalances to the present structure. All actors in this unique social experiment are expected to be responsible and proactive players. The enlargement of NATO is a positive step to that end.

The second principle that deserves mentioning is that of 'fairness and inclusiveness' in the process of distributing energy resources. Producers, investors, 'transit' countries - all those involved in the production and delivery of oil and natural gas from the well to the world's energy markets deserve a fair share of the profit. Once the 'problem-solving' approach begins to match the 'bargaining' in the process of negotiating the details of the energy distribution, and once policy decision-makers aim for a 'win-win' situation , the future of the new single geo-economic, geo-political, and geo-strategic region stretching from the Balkans to the Caspian Sea will be secure. The campaign against political violence movements will influence or induce tendencies and processes that will cement the formation and definition of this region.

About the Author
Plamen Ilarionov Pantev - (b. 1952), Senior Research Fellow; Ph.D. and Associate Professor in International Relations and International Law at Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridsky". Expert in security studies, civil-military relations, foreign policy forecasting, and international negotiations. Founder and Director of the Institute for Security and International Studies (ISIS).

About the Institute for Security and International Studies (ISIS)
The Institute for Security and International Studies (ISIS) is a non-governmental non-profit organization established in November 1994. It organizes and supports research in the field of security and international relations. Fields of research interest are: national security and foreign policy of Bulgaria; civil-military relations, democratic control of the armed forces and security sector reform; European Integration, Euro-Atlantic security and institutions; Balkan and Black Sea regional security; global and regional studies; policy of the US, Russia, and the CIS; information aspects of security and information warfare; quantitative methods and computer simulation of security studies; theory and practice of international negotiations. ISIS organizes individual and team studies; publishes research studies and research reports; organizes conferences, seminars, lectures and courses; maintains an information bank and virtual library that are accessible through the Internet; supports younger researchers of security; and develops independent expertise in security and international relations for Bulgarian civil society.

The institute networks internationally and establishes links with academic organizations and official institutions in the country and abroad on a contract basis. ISIS is not linked to any political party, movement, organization, or religious or ideological denomination. The institute has a flexible group of voluntary associates - five senior research fellows, eight Ph.D. holders and five MAs - varying annually between 8 and 13.

Publications of ISIS

Research Studies
"Bulgaria and the Balkans in the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union" (Plamen Pantev, Valeri Rachev, Venelin Tsachevsky), 44 pp., July, 1995. Research Study 1. In Bulgarian and English.

"Problems of Civil-Military Relations in Bulgaria: Approaches to Improving the Civilian Monitoring of the Armed Forces" (Plamen Pantev, Valeri Rachev, Todor Tagarev), 96 pp., April, 1996. Research Studies - 2. In Bulgarian.

"Bulgaria and the European Union in the Process of Building a Common European Defense" (Plamen Pantev, Valeri Rachev, Tilcho Ivanov), 51 pp., September 1996. Research Studies - 3. In Bulgarian and English.

"Strengthening of the Balkan Civil Society: the Role of the NGOs in International Negotiations" (Plamen Pantev), 24 pp. ,March 1997. Research Studies - 4. In Bulgarian and English.

"The New National Security Environment and Its Impact on the Civil-Military Relations in Bulgaria" (Plamen Pantev), 50 pp., May 1997. Research Studies - 5. In English.

"Prenegotiations: the Theory and How to Apply it to Balkan Issues" (Plamen Pantev), 24 pp., October 1998. Research Studies - 6. In English.

"Balkan Regional Profile: The Security Situation and the Region-Building Evolution of Southeastern Europe" (Plamen Pantev, Valeri Rachev, Tatiana Houbenova-Delisivkova), 17 pp., April 1999. Research Studies - 7. In English (only an electronic version).

"Black Sea Basin Regional Profile: The Security Situation and the Region-Building Opportunities" (Plamen Pantev, Valeri Rachev, Tatiana Houbenova-Delisivkova), 17 pp., April 1999. Research Studies - 8. In English (only an electronic version).

"Security Risks and Instabilities in Southeastern Europe: Recommended Strategies to the EU in the Process of Differentiated Integration of the Region by the Union" (Plamen Pantev), 36 pp., November 2000. Research Studies - 9. In English (only an electronic version).

Research Reports
"The Balkans in the Cooling Relations Between Russia and Western Europe" (Dinko Dinkov), 29 pp., November 1995. Research Reports-1. In Bulgarian.
"The Political Dialogue Between the European Union and the Central and Eastern European Countries" (Vladimir Nachev), 15 pp., November 1995. Research Reports- 2. In Bulgarian.

"The Bulgarian Foreign Policy in the Post-Conflict Period: Tendencies, Roles, Recommendations" (Plamen Pantev, Valeri Rachev, Venelin Tsachevsky, Tatiana Houbenova-Delisivkova, Dinko Dinkov), 35 pp., November 1995. Research Reports-3. In Bulgarian.

"The Bulgarian Military Education at a Crossroads" (Todor Tagarev), 29 pp., September 1996, Research Reports-4. In English.

"An International Methodology for Evaluation of Combat Capabilities of Military Systems: the Bulgarian Perspective of Greater Transparency and Confidence" (Volodya Kotsev), 13 pp., October 1996, Research Reports-5. In English.

"Confidence and Security in the Balkans: the Role of Transparency in Defense Budgeting" (Tilcho Kolev), 22 pp., November 1996, Research Reports-6. In English.

"NATO Enlargement: Two Looks from Outside" (Laszlo Nagy, Valeri Ratchev), 82 pp., February 1997, Research Reports-7. In English.

"Bulgaria and NATO: 7 Lost Years" (Jeffrey Simon), Translation from English into Bulgarian from "Strategic Forum" 142, May 1998, 15 pp., November 1998, Research Reports - 8. In Bulgarian.

"Reengineering Defense Planning in Bulgaria" (Velizar Shalamanov, Todor Tagarev), 28 pp., December 1998, Research Reports - 9. In English.

"Peacekeeping and Intervention in the Former Yugoslavia: Broader Implications of the Regional Case" (Plamen Pantev), 17 pp., November 1999, Research Reports - 10. In English.

"The Emergence of a New Geopolitical Region in Eurasia: The Volga-Urals Region and its Implications for Bulgarian Foreign and Security Policy" (Nikolay Pavlov), 23 pp., December 2000, Research Reports - 11. In English.

"Regional Identity in the Post-Cold War Balkans" (Dimitar Bechev), 22 pp., August 2001, Research Reports - 12. In English.

Note: All publications in English can be retrieved in electronic format from the Institute's website hosted by the International Relations and Security Network (ISN): http://www.isn.ch/isis

 

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P. O. Box 231, Bulgaria

Phone/Fax: ++(359 - 2-) 551 828

E-Mail Address: isis@cserv.mgu.bg

Website: http://www.isn.ch/isis


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