The former Soviet state of Georgia threw off its corrupt and undemocratic government in the "Rose Revolution" of November, 2003. Today, the new government under President Mikheil Saaskashvili faces complex security problems both within and outside Georgia's borders. Statehood and Security looks at the many different layers of these challenges and explores the complicated ways they intersect and influence one another. It argues that Georgia's problems need to be taken seriously by the rest of the world and considers what Georgia, its regional neighbors, and the West can do—within the realm of the politically feasible—to improve the situation in ways that enhance the security of all concerned.
For Georgia, as for the other post-Soviet states, security begins at home. Internal conflicts, including the intractable issue of the reintegration of breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia, threaten Georgia's territorial integrity. Regional conflict—including the quasi-state of war between Armenia and Azerbaijan and the effect of the ongoing Chechen insurgency on Russia—defines Georgia's relations with its neighbors and distracts it from its internal problems. The chapters in Statehood and Security, written by both Georgian and non-Georgian authors, examine such topics as Georgian national identity; the inefficacy of state institutions because of corruption, criminal activity, and paramilitary groups; Georgia's troubled relationship with Russia, including Russia's role in Abkhazia; and the role of the West.
The stability of the former Soviet states is threatened by their precarious geopolitical position within a turbulent economic and political environment. Swords and Sustenance explores the complex economic dimension of national security for two key post-Soviet countries, Belarus and Ukraine—that is, how they have dealt with the challenges posed by internal economic and political reform and their relationships with Russia and the West.
The book first examines how differing commitments to economic and political reform (reform is largely absent in Belarus) affect Belarusian and Ukrainian approaches to security. It then considers the central role of Russia, and how Russian interests and policies toward Belarus and Ukraine limit the two countries' foreign and domestic policy choices. Two chapters discuss the national security implications for Belarus and Ukraine of two key economic factors in their foreign policy: energy trade (in the form of oil, gas, and pipelines) and military-industrial cooperation (including the sale of arms). Finally, the book considers the relationships of Belarus and Ukraine with regional and global institutions and explores the policies of the EU, NATO, and the United States toward Belarus and Ukraine.
More than ten years after the breakup of the Soviet Union, none of the major powers, including Russia, has developed a cohesive geopolitical strategy for dealing with the countries and regions that once made up the USSR. Even after September 11 and the sudden importance of Central Asia in the struggle against global terrorism, the United States continues to deal with the region in fragmented and incomplete ways. Thinking Strategically, the first volume in a series focusing on security challenges posed by the former Soviet Union, addresses the economic, political, and security interests at stake in Kazakhstan for Russia, the US, China, Europe, and Japan.
Kazakhstan presents an interesting case study both because of its role as a pivot point between Russia and the world beyond and because of its position in Central Asia. The contributors to this book call it variously a buffer, a meeting place, a bridge, a gateway, and a strategic arena. Because of its internal problems—which include great economic uncertainty despite vast oil wealth, a disintegrating infrastructure, and the potential for internal instability—and its geopolitical position, Kazakhstan and the region of Central Asia present a complex set of opportunities and dangers for the major powers.
The authors of each chapter, who come from Russia, the United States, China, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Kazakhstan, address the security challenges posed by Kazakhstan and Central Asia from the point of view of their respective countries or regions. From the Russian perspective, for example, Kazakhstan itself is central—as a bulwark against instability and a close economic partner—and Central Asia subordinate; other countries tend to view the entire Central Asia region strategically.