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Tag: NATO

Georgia: Unpicking the Soviet past

Georgia is among those few former Soviet countries that fought for independence. The euphoric sense of freedom in the wake of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, however, started to slip away soon as the disturbing reality of the Soviet legacy took over before Georgians’ eyes. Living for nearly 70 years under the Russian yoke had completely incapacitated their ability to self-govern. Inexperienced in how to build up state institutions from scratch in a way which would safeguard the inclusivity and diversity of their traditionally heterogeneous society, Georgians became embroiled in a string of ethnic and civil wars throughout the 1990s. The initial attempt to embrace freedom of expression, market economy and other western values, so alien to the Soviet system, backfired as Georgia slowly descended into poverty and chaos.

March 16, 2017 - Shalva Dzidziguri

NATO membership alone may not be enough anymore

An interview with Wojciech Jakóbik, editor in chief of BiznesAlert.pl. Interviewer: Adam Reichardt.

March 9, 2017 - Adam Reichardt

The decline and fall of the European empire

“We are living in the days where what we call liberal non-democracy – in which we lived for the past 20 years – ends, and we can return to real democracy,” said Viktor Orban, prime minister of Hungary, when congratulating Donald Trump on his victory in the United States presidential election.One hundred days have passed since the so-called “big bang”. While some are celebrating, the Left is mourning the defeat of liberalism and the countries that might be left without America’s support. However, it is the EU, not America, that faces the real crisis.

February 20, 2017 - Agne Dovydaityte

To bring Godot, wait for Godot. Georgia and the Warsaw Summit

Considering the harsh realities of international politics, the Warsaw Summit has constituted a success of Georgia’s foreign policy. Georgia, as it has been widely expected, has not been invited to join the Membership Action Plan. Although, each post-Bucharest NATO Summit, like the messenger boy in Godot, reminds us that NATO membership ‘will not come this evening but surely tomorrow’. Despite this, Georgia should realise that steadily waiting for Godot is the only way to ensure that Godot arrives.

July 21, 2016 - Irakli Sirbiladze

Is NATO ditching Georgia’s dream?

If you arrive in Tbilisi – the capital of Georgia – by plane, before you get to the city centre from the airport, you will have to drive along the George W. Bush highway. The former US President remains highly popular, especially with western minded Georgians, not least because of his staunch support for the democratic transition of the former Soviet country – and especially for his efforts to make Georgia a member of NATO. It was Bush who tried to convince his European counterparts in 2008 to grant Georgia a membership action plan (MAP) together with Ukraine, which would have put both countries officially on track to joining the military alliance. But due to resistance from France and Germany all he got was the binding promise that “these countries would become members of NATO” in the future, noted in the final declaration of the summit.

July 14, 2016 - Shalva Dzidziguri

Bulgaria goes to the Warsaw Summit with the Black Sea in mind

The 2016 North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit will begin in Warsaw on July 8th. The meeting of NATO heads of state is expected to address issues which are seen as essential for Central and Eastern Europe’s security environment in view of Russia’s perceived aggressive posture in the region. Some of those issues will include eastward force deployment in CEE and the Baltics, propping up the anti-missile shield and the potential for the Alliance’s enlargement.

July 8, 2016 - Kamen Kraev

From Prussian to Russian fortress. Kaliningrad – Russia’s military zone in the West

In the 19th century a system of fortifications was built around Königsberg (today’s Kaliningrad), the capital of East Prussia, with the aim of making the city impenetrable. This is how the “fortress city” came into being. However, the surrounding net of forts, bastions and barracks did not manage to defend the city during the Second World War. Faced by  new military technology, the 19th-century fortifications proved to be of little use. After the Second World War, the part of East Prussia with the capital fell in the hands of Stalin. After considering several different options, including the incorporation of the territory into Polish People’s Republic or Soviet Lithuania, the leadership of the Soviet Union decided to separate the fragment of East Prussia with Kaliningrad and turn it into a closed military zone. This is how the Kaliningrad Oblast was created, becoming the strategic westernmost bridgehead of the USSR.

July 7, 2016 - Paulina Siegień

Hybrid warfare – a known unknown?

Since the beginning of the Russian operation in Crimea in 2014, which led to an illegal and illegitimate annexation of the peninsula, hybrid warfare became a buzzword used in all transatlantic security policy circles. For many in the West, the Crimea operation came as a surprise and the term “hybrid warfare” was meant to intellectually embrace this shock. Yet, many experts claim that there is nothing new in the current model of hybrid warfare as it is based on hybrid wars conducted in Vietnam, Chechnya, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Lebanon, to name a few. In fact, hybrid warfare can be more easily characterised than defined. But is it really – to use the famous expression by U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld – a known unknown?

July 4, 2016 - Col. Tomasz K. Kowalik and Dominik P. Jankowski

NATO needs to address its vulnerabilities

Interview with Seth G. Jones, director of the International Center for Security and Defense Policy at RAND. Interviewer: Michael Lambert

July 3, 2016 - Seth Jones

Georgia’s European integration cannot be postponed because of Brexit

Interview with Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili. Interview by Paul Toetzke.

PAUL TOETZKE: Mr. President, you are basically closing out “Georgian weeks” in Germany after the visits of the Georgian speaker of parliament as well the prime minister a few weeks ago. Among others, you met with the German President Joachim Gauck and Chancellor Angela Merkel. One important issue on the agenda was visa liberalisation for Georgians. Were there any promises made concerning the next steps?

July 2, 2016 - Giorgi Margvelashvili

Assessing NATO-Russian relations on the eve of the Warsaw Summit

Since 2014 and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, NATO has increasingly been focusing on the threat posed by Vladimir Putin. In response to Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and ongoing violations of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the Donbas region, the Alliance is deploying four new battalions to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. On June 17th, NATO concluded one of its largest military exercises to date, the 10-day Anakonda 2016 involving some 31,000 Alliance troops in Poland. Meanwhile, the NATO-Russia Council has been largely moribund except for one meeting this spring that produced very little.  

June 29, 2016 - David J. Kramer

Resolving borders and building bridges

When we think back to June 1991, we see great value in the treaty between Poland and Germany. It was a new beginning in relations between the two states. Yet, the treaty was more than bilateral, it was also a building bloc in the construction of a new Europe, without which there would be no united Germany, NATO or the European Union. Every time I cross the Polish-German border, which nowadays is merely a formal line, seeing as there are no controls or checkpoints, I feel like a free European. I feel the positive aspect of history and the great decisions that led us here. I write this because as a teenager, I experienced a completely different reality, a continent divided by the iron curtain. Even in the 1990s, a time when Poland was already free and Germany had united, cross-border travel was not as pleasant an experience as it is today, because the Oder and Nysa rivers marked the periphery of the European Union. At that time, we still had to wait at the border and go through border control.

June 16, 2016 - Basil Kerski

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