World
Vladimir Nesterov
December 16, 2010
© Photo: Public domain

The principle of the inviolability of borders in Europe, outlined during the CSCE negotiations in Helsinki in 1975, was immediately forgotten after the collapse of the Soviet Union. After that Yugoslavia stood next in line, and crisis in the Balkans broke out. First Montenegro was separated from the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, and then it was Kosovo`s turn to be torn from Serbia. It appears that Vojvodina, an autonomous province in northern Serbia, is going to be the next. And probably not the last…

Macedoniais another thorny issue. Albanians who live there are likely to follow in the footsteps of those in Kosovo, who after NATO bombing of Serbia were granted the right for 'self-identification'. Meanwhile Bosnian Serbs, who found themselves within Bosnia and Herzegovina, will likely be deprived of their autonomous status.

Muslim Albanians and Catholic Hungarians were chosen as the main power on the Balkans capable of preparing an 'assault' on rich energy resources of the Middle East and the Caspian basin. When the period of territorial division is over, Albania and Hungary will grow in size. And when pro-western politicians in Belgrade and Sofia will be replaced by those who represent national interests, the latter will be facing tough times.

Neither Russia nor Ukraine will see any good from NATO expansion to the Middle East and the Caspian region. Ukraine has Crimea – its own “Balkans”, where radical sentiments are strong among the Tatar minority. And if the moment comes for them to decide on self-identification, Brussels will extend a helping hand. Things which the EU now tells Belgrade, they will say to Kiev: if you want to join the EU, make a step towards reconciliation with Bakhchisaray. In this case, this area will be internationally recognized as an autonomy.

No, I do not claim that everything will happen exactly this way. Probably, Ukraine will manage to keep its territorial integrity balancing between its western partners and appealing to Russia and China. But only those politicians achieve success who know how the events will unfold. A well-known Russian journalist Valentin Zorin once asked the world famous chess player Anatoly Karpov how far he could predict his partner's moves. Karpov answered that from three to twelve- depending on the situation. Politicians in Ukraine lack such ability.

As far situation in Russia is concerned, let us not forget that the 21st century is first of all the time when nations are fighting for resources. The cost of per-capita consumption of key natural resources is $ 6,000in Europe, $16,000 in the United States, and $160,000 in Russia. A great temptation, isn`t it? And China can no longer be ignored in the game. The situation is quite risky. If Russia (and later- the Soviet Union) used to have its two most reliable allies- army and navy, now it has neither of the two.

Actually, the West is taking risks by supporting Albanians in the Balkans. Turkey is not that it used to be before. Having turned into a powerful center in its own region and strengthened ties with most of its neighbors, Ankara has been playing its own game in the Balkans. A policy of neoosmanism aims at reviving the strength of the Ottoman Empire in the Middle East and in Europe. But Europeans do not seem to be aware of all the risks and follow example of the U.S.: first let extremists (Talibs) gain power and then fight them…

As the map of Europe is being continually changed, it is high time to give up hoping that the OSCE will finally focus on the issues it has to deal with- security and cooperation in Europe. The latest summit in Astana proved that this organization had long ceased to be reliable in terms of security and despite all efforts nothing goes further than empty declarations. Meanwhile, the WikiLeaks documents have demonstrated clearly that tensions between the East and the West are not getting less intense.

Moreover, the OSCE itself became a source of danger since it has been covering the injustice taking place in Europe. It would be a wise decision to support Dmitry Medvedev`s proposal of a new European security architecture (which he unveiled on 4 June 2008 in Berlin). But the initiative has evoked little response in Europe. And it is quite easy to explain why. Russia urges for mutual respect, it calls on nations to care for each other's national borders and political sovereignty. Among the key principles there is also a unified approach to the prevention and peaceful settlement of conflicts in the Euro-Atlantic space and a guarantee of not ensuring one`s own security at the expense of others. But since Europe has been too slow in making any decisions on the Russian proposal, Moscow has nothing to do but warn that in case a new strategic arms reduction treaty with Washington fails, it will have to deploy its nuclear weapons. After all, the history of the 19th-20th centuries proved that the stronger Russia is, the safer it is in Europe.

The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.
Europe`s territorial integrity at risk

The principle of the inviolability of borders in Europe, outlined during the CSCE negotiations in Helsinki in 1975, was immediately forgotten after the collapse of the Soviet Union. After that Yugoslavia stood next in line, and crisis in the Balkans broke out. First Montenegro was separated from the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, and then it was Kosovo`s turn to be torn from Serbia. It appears that Vojvodina, an autonomous province in northern Serbia, is going to be the next. And probably not the last…

Macedoniais another thorny issue. Albanians who live there are likely to follow in the footsteps of those in Kosovo, who after NATO bombing of Serbia were granted the right for 'self-identification'. Meanwhile Bosnian Serbs, who found themselves within Bosnia and Herzegovina, will likely be deprived of their autonomous status.

Muslim Albanians and Catholic Hungarians were chosen as the main power on the Balkans capable of preparing an 'assault' on rich energy resources of the Middle East and the Caspian basin. When the period of territorial division is over, Albania and Hungary will grow in size. And when pro-western politicians in Belgrade and Sofia will be replaced by those who represent national interests, the latter will be facing tough times.

Neither Russia nor Ukraine will see any good from NATO expansion to the Middle East and the Caspian region. Ukraine has Crimea – its own “Balkans”, where radical sentiments are strong among the Tatar minority. And if the moment comes for them to decide on self-identification, Brussels will extend a helping hand. Things which the EU now tells Belgrade, they will say to Kiev: if you want to join the EU, make a step towards reconciliation with Bakhchisaray. In this case, this area will be internationally recognized as an autonomy.

No, I do not claim that everything will happen exactly this way. Probably, Ukraine will manage to keep its territorial integrity balancing between its western partners and appealing to Russia and China. But only those politicians achieve success who know how the events will unfold. A well-known Russian journalist Valentin Zorin once asked the world famous chess player Anatoly Karpov how far he could predict his partner's moves. Karpov answered that from three to twelve- depending on the situation. Politicians in Ukraine lack such ability.

As far situation in Russia is concerned, let us not forget that the 21st century is first of all the time when nations are fighting for resources. The cost of per-capita consumption of key natural resources is $ 6,000in Europe, $16,000 in the United States, and $160,000 in Russia. A great temptation, isn`t it? And China can no longer be ignored in the game. The situation is quite risky. If Russia (and later- the Soviet Union) used to have its two most reliable allies- army and navy, now it has neither of the two.

Actually, the West is taking risks by supporting Albanians in the Balkans. Turkey is not that it used to be before. Having turned into a powerful center in its own region and strengthened ties with most of its neighbors, Ankara has been playing its own game in the Balkans. A policy of neoosmanism aims at reviving the strength of the Ottoman Empire in the Middle East and in Europe. But Europeans do not seem to be aware of all the risks and follow example of the U.S.: first let extremists (Talibs) gain power and then fight them…

As the map of Europe is being continually changed, it is high time to give up hoping that the OSCE will finally focus on the issues it has to deal with- security and cooperation in Europe. The latest summit in Astana proved that this organization had long ceased to be reliable in terms of security and despite all efforts nothing goes further than empty declarations. Meanwhile, the WikiLeaks documents have demonstrated clearly that tensions between the East and the West are not getting less intense.

Moreover, the OSCE itself became a source of danger since it has been covering the injustice taking place in Europe. It would be a wise decision to support Dmitry Medvedev`s proposal of a new European security architecture (which he unveiled on 4 June 2008 in Berlin). But the initiative has evoked little response in Europe. And it is quite easy to explain why. Russia urges for mutual respect, it calls on nations to care for each other's national borders and political sovereignty. Among the key principles there is also a unified approach to the prevention and peaceful settlement of conflicts in the Euro-Atlantic space and a guarantee of not ensuring one`s own security at the expense of others. But since Europe has been too slow in making any decisions on the Russian proposal, Moscow has nothing to do but warn that in case a new strategic arms reduction treaty with Washington fails, it will have to deploy its nuclear weapons. After all, the history of the 19th-20th centuries proved that the stronger Russia is, the safer it is in Europe.