The International Spectator, Vol. 53, No. 3, September 2018

Sezione speciale: Regionalism and Identity in the post-Soviet Area: Actors and Processes after the Ukrainian Crisis

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Regionalism and Identity in the post-Soviet Area: Actors and Processes after the Ukrainian Crisis

Normative and Civilisational Regionalisms: The EU, Russia and their Common Neighbourhoods
Andrey Makarychev
The contours of regionalism in a wider Europe are shaped by two dominant actors, the European Union (EU) and Russia, which often have divergent visions of the regional landscapes in a vast area constituting their common neighbourhood. The EU can be characterised as the promoter of normative regionalism, while Russia generates different forms of civilisational regionalism. Russia’s emphasis on the civilisational underpinnings of its regional integration model paves the way for two different strategies: one based on liberal imitation and replication of EU experiences in order to strengthen Russia’s position in the global neoliberal economy, and another grounded in illiberal contestation of the normative premises of the EU with the purpose of devising an ideologised alternative to the liberal West.
Keywords: Regionalism, common neighbourhood, Eurasian integration, EU, Russia
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Why do Authoritarian Leaders do Regionalism? Ontological Security and Eurasian Regional Cooperation
Alessandra Russo and Edward Stoddard
Collective ontological security refers to the psychological human need to be part of a stable collective identity. Populations expect leaders to help meet these ontological needs and support those that do. In the Eurasian region, Russian and Kazakh presidents have used regional cooperation efforts as, among other objectives, an elite-led strategy of ontological security building and reinforcement. This is especially important as national identities were contested and weak after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Focusing on ontological security presents a novel research perspective on Eurasian regionalism and offers a new (but complementary) explanation for both autocratic regional cooperation and conflict.
Keywords: Eurasian Economic Union, regionalism, ontological security, Russia, Kazakhstan
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Bureaucratic Authority and Mimesis: The Eurasian Economic Union’s Multiple Integration Logics
Ueli Staeger and Cristian Bobocea
Regional economic integration in the post-Soviet space is related in a complex way with the European Union’s integration process. Multiple competing internal logics of integration, as well as the EU model are drivers of Eurasian regionalism. The Eurasian Economic Union illustrates how bureaucracies mobilise their technocratic authority in a process of mimesis that reconciles multiple internal and external integration logics: selective learning from the EU and successful incorporation of internal integration logics produce an organisational design and output that member states support to varying extents.
Keywords: Regional integration, Russian foreign policy, Eurasianism, international organisations
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Regionalism as You Like It? Armenia and the Eurasian Integration Process
Laure Delcour
Though the creation of the Eurasian Economic Union was expected to translate into deeper integration, uncertainties and flaws in the rule-making process create loopholes that are then exploited by domestic actors with a view to pursuing their own goals. Thus, processes of rule development and adoption entail a variety of subtle differences also involving translation, adjustment and adaptation. This brings strong nuances into the prevailing picture of ‘hard regionalism’, and instead suggests the development of a malleable integration process.
Keywords: Armenia, Eurasian Economic Union, regionalism, actor strategies
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The Paradox of Weakness in European Trade Policy: Contestation and Resilience in CETA and TTIP Negotiations
Dirk De Bièvre
Over the last decade, trade negotiations with Canada and the United States met with considerable resistance from non-governmental organisations (NGO). Moreover, the negotiation mandates given to the European Commission were so broad as to include topics falling under so-called mixed competence of the EU and the member states, necessitating not only ratification by the EU Council of Ministers and the European Parliament, but also member states’ parliaments. At some point, these two factors almost seemed to paralyze the EU as a trade negotiator. In the end, however, the EU concluded an agreement with Canada, renegotiated its agreement with Mexico (while also concluding agreements with Singapore and Japan amongst others), while negotiations with the US were suspended. Three factors can account for this puzzling combination of apparent incapacity and blockage and surprising resilience of EU trade policymaking. First, the NGO contestation campaigns did not muster pan‐European but rather only varying degrees of support. Second, in addition to scrutiny by the European Parliament, consensus decision-making in the Council fosters accommodation of the demands of all member states. This leads to a low degree of negotiating autonomy on the part of the European Commission, yet large bargaining power for the European Union, as long as the other side wants agreement. Finally, a recent ruling by the Court of the EU facilitated the decoupling of agreements on portfolio investment and investment arbitration (one of the most difficult hurdles), from all other matters of trade and regulatory cooperation, making it easier to reach agreement.
Keywords: EU trade policy, CETA, TTIP, NGO contestation, mixed competences
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Reshaping Cultural Heritage Protection Policies at a Time of Securitisation: France, Italy, and the United Kingdom
Paolo Foradori, Serena Giusti and Alessandro Giovanni Lamonica
In the context of the increasing securitisation of cultural heritage, France, Italy, and the United Kingdom have reacted differently to the recent wave of iconoclasm perpetrated by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and similar radical groups and terrorist organisations. With cultural heritage now discursively identified as a security concern, the three states enacted security practices to deal with the newly emerged security threats. All three cases show a tight association between the protection of cultural heritage, development and security policies. State-driven cultural heritage protection policies continue to be designed around the notion of multilateral cooperation, although innovative forms of public-private multilateralism and civil-military cooperation are increasingly being introduced.
Keywords: Securitisation, foreign policy, cultural diplomacy, cultural heritage, terrorism
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Geopolitics of Nuclear Hypertrophy. America, the Bomb and the Temptation of Nuclear Primacy
Corrado Stefanachi
The United States’ grand strategy has consistently been marked by a distinct tendency toward nuclear hypertrophy. Especially the inherent difficulties in extending deterrence to its allies and friends, compounded by the geopolitical characteristics of the US as an unassailable ‘insular’ fortress off Eurasia, have generated, rather paradoxically, a strong incentive for Washington to pursue a wide margin of nuclear superiority, if not nuclear primacy. This has implied, in turn, the deployment of redundant arsenals, robust counterforce capabilities and even a ballistic missile defence. Significantly, not even the Obama administration, though solemnly committed to nuclear disarmament, abstained from embracing a very ambitious modernisation program of American nuclear forces.
Keywords: Geopolitics, US nuclear strategy, nuclear proliferation, Obama administration, deterrence
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“Upholding the Correct Political Direction”. The PLA Reform and Civil-Military Relations in Xi Jinping’s China
Simone Dossi
The military reform launched in late 2015 has significant implications for China’s civil-military relations. One of the stated goals of the reform is to “uphold the correct political direction” by strengthening party control over the People’s Liberation Army. This has been achieved by centralising power over the PLA in the hands of the Central Military Commission, while at the same time centralising power within the Commission in the hands of its Chairman. This dual centralisation of power might considerably change the way in which the ‘conditional compliance’ model of civil-military relations works in Xi Jinping’s China.
Keywords: China, PLA, civil-military relations, conditional compliance, military reform
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The Political Cost-Effectiveness of Private Vessel Protection: The Italian Case
Eugenio Cusumano and Stefano Ruzza
Italy has traditionally been wary of private providers of security. Still, private military and security companies (PMSCs) have recently started to play an important role in protecting Italian merchant vessels, eventually replacing the military vessel protection detachment units (VPDs) provided by the Italian Navy. Drawing on neoclassical realism, the increasing involvement of PMSCs in protecting Italian merchant ships is presented as an attempt to reduce the political costs associated with the use of military personnel abroad, epitomised by the arrest of two Italian Navy fusiliers by Indian authorities in February 2012.
Keywords: Maritime security, private security, private military and security companies, vessel protection, neoclassical realism
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Book Reviews

In Search of an American Grand Strategy in East Asia
Lorenzo Mariani
Review of: American grand strategy and East Asian security in the twenty-first century, by David C. Kang, Cambridge University Press, 2017
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Recent Publications
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