Russia and the EU: The Difficult Path to a New Partnership

By Dettke, Dieter | European Affairs, Fall 2008 | Go to article overview

Russia and the EU: The Difficult Path to a New Partnership


Dettke, Dieter, European Affairs


The transition of leadership in Russia could have paved the way for a new chapter in Russian history and Russia's role in the world. Russia, which has always identified herself as an offspring of European civilization, seemed on its way to bolstering ties with the West. An era of consolidation during the Putin years--as Henry Kissinger pointed out recently--appeared to be over, and a new era of modernization seemed set to emerge. This trend is now in doubt after the trauma of events in Georgia. With its excessive use of military force and now its political escalation in extending unilateral diplomatic recognition to South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states, Russia is challenging the foundations of European security after the cold war.

In 1979, Soviet armed forces invaded Afghanistan, but that intervention--nominally at the invitation of the authorities in Kabul--ultimately proved abortive. This time in August 2008 Russian forces crossed the borders of another country, its neighbor Georgia, into South Ossetia, a region within Georgia's internationally recognized borders. Although described as retaliation for Georgia's military adventure in South Ossetia and an effort to help people there who have obtained Russian passports, Moscow's use of force sends a chill down the spine of all of Russia's neighbors, in particular Ukraine and those seeking closer ties with the West--plus the Caspian's "stans" caught between Europe's desire for their oil and gas and Russian objections to see it flow westward via pipelines running outside Russian territory and control.

Now that Russia has demonstrated a new readiness to "throw its weight around" in its immediate neighborhood, there is an obvious risk of a new confrontation with the West, the like of which has not been known since the cold war-era. The European Union, under the leadership of French President Sarkozy and German Chancellor Merkel, brokered the cease fire between Russia and Georgia. Now it must worry about Russia's capacity to act as a reliable partner not only vis-a-vis the EU but in the NATO-Russia Council and in other international and European bodies. The EU held off on sanctions, for now, in their decisions at a special summit on the Georgian conflict at the start of September. But leaders warned that the talks about the new partnership and cooperation agreement are now suspended until Russia withdraws its troops from Georgia to the positions before the Russian incursion. The Georgian crisis highlights Europe's energy dependence on Russia. Georgia is a crucial link, geographically, in Europe's efforts to diversify the incoming routes of its oil and gas supplies. Should Russia seek control over Georgia, it would pose a threat for Europe.

In any attempt to seek the basis for a renewed partnership with Russia, Europe must remain firm on some key principles--for instance, not allowing Moscow any veto rights over its relations with other countries. A final-status agreement for South Ossetia and Abkhazia can only come from negotiations conducted without a fait accompli and a threat to use force. The EU would be well positioned to mediate a final status agreement between the parties involved in the conflict. It would be a clear and reassuring signal if Russia accepted the presence of a strong EU peacekeeping role in Georgia's conflicts with South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Instead, Russia's move to recognize the independence from Georgia of South Ossetia and Abkhazia seems to amount to a policy of annexation by Russia.

The current tensions in the Caucasus can derail the EU-Russian partnership negotiations that were set to resume, and they could open up new dividing lines in Europe for a long time to come. On the other hand, both Russia and the West need each other for political and economic reasons. The issues of Iran's nuclear ambitions, energy, climate protection, nuclear arms control and non proliferation are examples of a commonality of interests. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Russia and the EU: The Difficult Path to a New Partnership
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.