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Toward a Separate Black Sea Command Hall Gardner Professor, International and Comparative Politics Department American University of Paris Cicero Foundation October 26, 2008
Toward US-EU-Russian Strategic Dialogue • The wider Black Sea region has been called “the Bermuda Triangle of Western strategic studies”* • A region “lost” between European, Eurasian, and Middle Eastern security spaces, few had really studied it from a strategic perspective prior to, or immediately after, Soviet collapse… • Certainly it was not studied by the US and NATO when the NATO enlargement debate began in the 1990s.
BSEC • Despite lack of American attention to the region, Turkey and other Black Sea riparian states understood the importance of the area. • One of the more visionary accords that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 was consequently the formation of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) on 25 June 1992 in Istanbul.
BSEC • The Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) was established in Istanbul by eleven countries: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine. • In May 1999, it became the Organization of Black Sea Economic Cooperationand established its Headquarters in Istanbul in March 2004. Serbia and Montenegro then joined in April 2004. In 2005, the United States applied for, and was granted, observer status at BSEC.2005, the United States applied for, and was granted, observer status at BSEC.
BSEC • Neighboring non-littoral countries like Albania, Greece, Serbia, Montenegro in the Balkans, and Azerbaijan and Georgia in the Caucasus, plus Moldova, along the Dneister, are full members. • The major European countries and the USA possess only observers’ status in the BSEC. • Initially only Greece was simultaneously a member of NATO, the EU and the BSEC, but was then joined by Romania and Bulgaria, thus widening NATO and EU influence.
BSEC • The BSEC has developed an extensive institutional framework of cooperation that covers all levels of governance (inter-governmental, parliamentary, and financial). • It has formulated a number of binding agreements and common action plans on key issues of regional cooperation (some 33 by 2008). • It has sought out trade and economic cooperation (including cross-border activities, trade facilitation and the creation of favorable conditions for investment). A number of these have been earmarked as areas of potential linkage with EU policies.
BSEC • The purpose of the BSEC is to ensure “peace, stability and prosperity… and good-neighborly relations in the Black Sea region.” • Yet the BSEC needs further guidance in order to continue along the path of “cooperative security” and to implement a full-fledged multilateral “regional security community” so as to ensure the peace, stability and prosperity and good-neighborly relations in the region, if not in the world, for the very long term.
Importance of BSEC region • Key commercial rivers (the Danube, Dniester, and Dnieper) • Controls the trans-Ukrainian oil and gas pipelines running to the energy markets in the north of Europe. • Russian energy export facilities lie near Novorossiysk in Krasnodar Krai hemmed between the Ukrainian Crimea and Georgia. • Blue Stream natural gas pipeline links Russia and Turkey under Black Sea. • The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline links to the Mediterranean and provides an alternative to Russian-backed routes (but still transits Turkey).
Geopolitical Shift • Moscow and the Warsaw Pact no longer dominate the Black Sea region in face-to-face confrontation with NATO member Turkey. • Moscow now shares the Black Sea littoral with the independent states, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Georgia and Ukraine. (In addition, Abkhazian “independence” has now been backed by Russia). • Moscow controls only a small part of the northeastern shores of the Black Sea—plus naval facilities at Sebastopol that have been leased from Ukraine in the Crimea until 2017.
Question of Turkey • Turkey has been regarded as a secondary energy transit route to the EU, after Russia • It has been accused of seeking to use energy as a lever to pressure EU policy due to its geostrategic position as a recipient of oil and gas from Azerbaijan, Iran (and the Caspian Sea) as well as Russia (if not Iraq). • Russia is Turkey’s major tradingpartner and provider of two thirds of its natural gas.
Turkish Options • Turkey has been blocked from obtaining energy imports from Iran due to American opposition, thus increasing Turkey’s (and Europe’s) dependence upon Russia. • Turkey’s economy was harmed by the the first Persian Gulf war in 1990 and by years of embargo on Iraq; even five years after the 2003 US military intervention in Iraq, high quality Iraqi crude has not yet reached its full market potential and transported through Turkey…
Russo-Turkish Combo? • In March 2006, NATO member Turkey, along with Russia, openly opposed theextension of NATO’s naval Operation Active Endeavor (OAE) from theMediterranean into the Black Sea. • The OAE had been supported by bothBulgaria and Romania, as well as by Ukraine and Georgia. These BlackSea littoral states tend to regard Russian and Turkish efforts to check NATO as ameans to establish a Russo-Turkish energy « condominium » over the BSECpact and to prevent the US/NATO from interfering more directly in their regional affairs.
Russo-Turkish Combo? • Ankara has argued that the OAE is unnecessary as it duplicates the already-existingBlack Sea Naval Force of all six Black Sea riparian states. The BlackSea Border Coordination and Information Center (BBCIC) additionally possesses NATO connections. • Ankara argues that the OAE violates the 1936Montreux convention that permits Turkey to control the straits. • Which has priority: the Euro-Atlantic alliance or Russia-Turkey?
Montreaux Convention? • The OAE issuethus raised thequestion as to whether the United States and EU need to demand a review of theMontreux Convention. (NATO has insisted on sending ships in the region on a rotating basis) • Or, bycontrast, should the United States encourage Turkey and Russia to takethe lead in cooperation with US/NATO and the EU--- rather than expanding OAE into the Black Sea? • Russia has planned to counter US/ NATO naval presence in the Black Sea with military manuevers with Venezuela in Caribbean in November 2008!
Russian Oil Exports • Russia’s oil export facilities near Novorossiysk have been crucial for its economic recovery, largely as a result of burgeoning energy prices from 2003-mid-2008. (After the October 2008 financial crash, however, the outlook for continuing high energy prices looks dubious for the near future.) • The Georgian port of Supsa lies just 12 miles from a buffer zone between Georgia and Abkhazia, whose “independence” has been backed by Moscow since August 2008.
Economic Importance • The projection that Europe could be importing some 90 percent of its oil, 60% of its gas and 66% of its coal from sources beyond Europe itself by 2030 (assuming Europe cannot soon develop viable alternatives to oil, gas and coal) indicates the importance of the region… • This means Europe needs to diversify to cut costs and in order to obtain secure access to energy supplies…
Limited Diversification Options • Agreements of Georgia with Azerbaijan and of Armenia with Iran for gas imports, bypassing Gazprom, are not yet close to obtaining diversity, let alone independence from Russian supplies… • The Nabucco pipeline is dependent upon Turkmen and Iranian gas but Gazprom is trying to counter Nabucco with a Russian – Hungarianproject of re-exporting gas, supplied to Turkey through the “Blue Stream” via the territories of Bulgaria and Romania to Hungary, and then to Western Europe.
Limited Diversification • In addition, the 2007 South Stream project is to start from Russia’s Black Sea coast at Beregovaya* near Novorossiysk (within Krasnodar Krai), the same starting point as that of the Blue Stream pipeline to Turkey. South Stream would run to Bulgaria, and then to Italy. • “Neither the BTC, nor its much heralded natural-gas partner, Nabucco, can ever hope to make a serious dent in Europe's thirst for energy. That is why, well before the current crisis, major investors and governments in the region have been quietly switching their support from Nabucco to Russia's own pipeline expansion project - Southstream.”**
Efforts to Monopolize Energy Supplies • “Russia seeks to maximize the range of its export routes under full or partial Russian control. Adding to the existing pipelines -- Beltransgaz and Yamal through Belarus and Poland and the Ukrainian transit pipelines westward and southward -- Russia is building the Baltic seabed pipeline to Germany; planning to extend its Blue Stream pipeline from Turkey farther afield; and now targeting southern and central Europe through the South Stream pipeline. By putting a multiplicity of options on the table, Russia can pressure countries it regards as “recalcitrant” into transportation deals favorable to Moscow”
Diversifying Energy • Diversifying energy resources and technologies needs to be taken no matter who is the supplier. • The development of alternative energy resource supplies and energy saving technologies can, in turn, help moderate the Russian (and secondarily Turkish) strategic-energy “stranglehold” on a number of states, in addition to limiting US and European dependence upon energy suppliers in the Persian Gulf and Caspian sea, among other suppliers. • Need an International Agency for the Development of Alternative Energy!
Three Approaches to Black Sea Security • The first is the “full integrationist” approach in which the Black Sea region is to be fully integrated into the Euro-Atlantic community. • The second is NATO-EU “self-limitation” in which NATO and the EU enlarge membership to key states in the region, but attempt to mollify Russian security concerns by working with the NATO-Russian Council.
A Third Approach • The third is the “cooperative security” approach. • The US/NATO, the EU, and Russia need to actively work together to forge a “regional security community” involving the formation a newly improvised and separateUS/NATO-EU-Russian Black Sea Command structure • This Black Sea Command can be created following the formulation of a new Euro-atlantic and Eurasian Security Treaty.
A Critique of the “Full Integration” Approach • Contrary to Asmus and Jackson, it does not appear that political-military stability can be achieved by “defending our own (NATO’s) integrationist logic.”* • An alternative option: Why cannot this wider region be part of a separate regional command structure under overlapping US, EU and Russian security guarantees?** • As opposed to full “integration,” the goal should be to bring Russia and other states into an interlocking, if not a confederal, relationship that permits a relative autonomy.
A Critique of the NATO-EU “Self Limitation” Approach • Membership of Romania and Bulgaria in NATO and the EU threaten to twist the interests of these states away from the Black Sea region and back toward US and European geo-strategic and political interests. • Problems with the European Neighborhood Program: Bulgaria, Romania and EU Enlargement fatigue? • Russia is strongly signaling that it no longer accepts the so-called NATO “self-limitation”approach after the Georgia-Russia conflict on August 7-8, 2008…
Cooperative Security • Through a fully empowered Black Sea Command, the US, the European Union and Russia can begin to engage the NATO-Russian Council, re-invigorated with strong EU input, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council/ Partnership for Peace (PFP) Working Group comprised of littoral states, and other regimes/ organizations in the effort to implement a full-fledged “regional security community” for the entire BSECbacked by US/NATO, Russia and EU security guarantees under a UN or OSCE mandate.
Proposals • A separateBlack Sea Command can also help bolster US-Turkish relations and mediate a feared Russian- Turkish “condominium” over energy supplies. • Such an approach would seek to accommodate American, European and Russian geo-strategic and political economic interests through use of relevant EU programs, coupled with EU cooperation with Turkey, while assisting Black Sea political cooperation and socio-economic development • It would also seek investment from Japan and China, among other states and energy firms.
A Bold Approach • Such a bold approach would consequently help reinvigorate the largely moribund US/NATO-Russian relationship, augment the role of the European Union, strengthen the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and Partnership for Peace. • It would also seek to boost deteriorating US-Turkish relations, in an area of important mutual interest that links Russia, the Caspian Sea, the so-called “Greater Middle East” and Europe.
A bold approach in brief • Such a bold approach would require the establishment of a US-EuropeanTransatlantic Security Council accompanied by the formulation of a separateUS-EU-Russian Black Sea Command structure as an integral aspect of a more encompassing Euroatlantic and Eurasian Security Treaty--- in critical compromise with Russian proposals for a pan-European security pact… ultimately leading to a newEuropean Union and Community of Associated States!!!
Shatterbelt • The fact that the BSEC straddles two continents with differing cultures, religions and civilizations puts it in a “shatterbelt” of actually and potentially conflicting states, ethnic groups and geo-economic interests. • These shatterbelt conflicts tend to crisscross differing « civilizations » in very different alliances—contrary to Huntington’s views.In Georgia alone, Abhazians, S. Ossetians and Russians are thus far aligned--- even if not part of the same « civilization » ---while Russia and Georgia are both of (conflicting) Orthodox Christian background!
Potential for Wider Conflicts • The current Russia-Georgia crisis stems, in part, from an uncoordinated NATO-European Union « double enlargement » that has not necessarily taken into consideration legitimate Russian political, economic and security concerns… and has hence risked a Russian backlash… • The August 2008 Georgia - Russia conflict has ramifications for the Caucasus, for the Black Sea, for energy routes, for the Crimea and Ukraine, and for Europe itself, particularly for those states bordering Russia, as well as for the “global war on terrorism”.
Potential for Wider Conflicts • Theborders of states along the Black Sea are to a large extent an “artificial” product of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact of World War II or else the consequence of historical Ottoman and Russian wars, or Russian conquest of the Caucasus. • It is the region through which passes illegal immigrants, human traffickers, narcotics, and weapons, as well as various “terrorist” groups.
Potential for Wider Conflicts • Russian-Ukrainian conflict over Sea of Azov (adjacent to Krasnodar Krai) in 2003 • Russian-Ukrainian claims to the Crimea: Ukraine wants Russia to withdraw from its naval port at Sebastopol which Russia has leased until 2017. Russian “pan-nationalists” and Eurasianists continue to claim the Crimea, stating that Khrushchev gave it away “illegally”… • Only other ports for the Russian fleet are in shallow waters near Novorossiysk or the newly “independent” Abkhazia
Potential for Wider Conflicts • Georgia – Russia conflict affects US-EU-Russian policy toward the nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea • Georgia - Russia conflict also affects NATO-Russian policy toward Afghanistan, in which the Russians have permitted NATO to supply Afghanistan through Russian transit routes in implementing the NATO-Russia Action Plan on Terrorism…. • The conflict has caused political disputes within the major international regimes: the UN, NATO and NATO-Russia Council, the European Union, the OSCE, the World Trade Organization, the G-8, as well as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).
Wider Conflicts • As Russia has begun to rebound politically and economically circa 2003, Russianleaders have begun to denounce: • NATO enlargement, arms sales and military infrastructure in eastern Europe • U.S. National Missile Defense(NMD) • The 1990 Conventional Force inEurope (CFE) treaty (adapted in 1999). On July 14, 2007, Russia stated that itwould suspend its participation in the CFE until NATO ratified the treaty. • Moscow has been questioning the 1987 INF Treaty
Wider conflicts • Russia initially backed Serbian policy toward Kosovo but then Kosova independence provided Moscow with pretext to maintain Russian positions in the Transdniester, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Nagorno-Karabakh regions. • Moscow is consequently using military threats to boost its influence in the « frozen » conflicts and to block NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia. • In leaving the CFE, Russia has threatened to build up conventional forces in Caucasian regions, in its Western areasand possibly place IRBMs in Kaliningrad*…
From Shatterbelt to Shelterbelt • The future dilemma is to how to transform the entire Black Sea regional shatterbelt (or conflict zone) into a shelterbelt (or stable “regional security community”) • And how to prevent the region from being divided into destabilizing antagonistic major and regional power “spheres of influence and security.” • Russian President Medvedev’s June and October 2008 proposals for a new « pan-European security pact »* need to be critically explored…Not much time left to resolve this crisis…and others… perhaps a 3 to 4 year window of opportunity…
Frozen Conflicts • There will evidently be no full-fledged Black Sea regional cooperation without an concerted effort to resolve the following: • Georgia- Russia conflict on 7-8 August 2008 and continuing disputes over Russia’s formal recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia • Russian support for Transnister secession against Moldova • Conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh in which Russia and Iran support Armenia vs Azerbaijan • Plus the question of the Russian fleet at Sebastopol
Russian Policy Backfiring? • Russian recognition of S. Ossetia and Abhazia (as response to Kosovar independence) has tended to alienate Russia's own allies (China and Shanghai Cooperation Organization as well as the Collective Security Treaty Organization) • Russian recognition of national independence movements also provides ideological justification for those national and ethnic groups that have historically opposed Russian imperialism and that might ultimately seek "independence" from Russia itself.
Russian Policy Backfiring? • Russia recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia could thus backfire: Russia is also afflicted by secessionist movements which were largely managed by Yeltsin through autonomy accords (except Chechnya)… but which have largely been placed under central governmental control when Mr. Putin abolished the direct election of governors in 2004in 89 regions… • This situation makes the central govt directly responsible for policy errors… Russia risks further isolating itself from the world community and alienating a number of its own indigenous communities.
Hope for Settlement • Situation in Georgia is similar to Turkish recognition of northern Cyprus as few countries back Russia’s decision to recognize South Ossetia and Abhazia, just as few countries backed Turkey’s decision to recognize northern Cyprus; yet Greek and Turkish Cypriots are finally talking!… • There may still be room to compromise on what is meant by “independence” and Georgian “territorial integrity”-- by redefining the terms.
Hope for Settlement • Russia might not want to support and subsidize these impoverished regions indefinitely (particularly S. Ossetia); • And these regions might not want a permanent Russian military presence. • Abkhazia and South Ossetia could still reach for important security accords and trading arrangements with both Russia and Georgia that permit close cooperation. (The same could be true for Kosova and Serbia.)
Hope for a Settlement • The EU could extend its European Neighborhood Policy to the secessionist republics of Abkhazia and S. Ossetia to reduce their dependence upon Moscow • Close political and economic cooperation between Russia, Abkhazia, South Ossetiaand Georgia could result in a new definition of "independence" and in a form of "autonomy" or "confederation". • Georgia can then, in turn, claim that its « territorial integrity » remains intact, although not in the traditional sense of the concept.
Hope for Settlement • By redefining the concept of "independence," it may be possible for Russia to find a face saving way out of the crisis that will ultimately permit the deployment of international (not NATO) peacekeepers either along side Russian forces or in replacing those forces. • Such an agreement -- involving mutual and overlapping security accords, backed by the UN Security Council or OSCE--- may also make it possible for Russia, Georgia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia to live side by side in peace and mutual prosperity, while protecting the rights of minority communities.*
Hope for a Settlement • One simply cannot offer Ukraine a MAP or membership in NATO (or in the European Union) until the Russians and Ukrainians settle their own disputes over boundaries—and over Russian irredentist claims to Crimea, in particular. • Ukrainian elites and populations are divided over NATO question… • Germany, in particular, has thus far been opposed to alienating Russia by bringing Ukraine and Georgia into NATO… • Bringing Georgia into NATO does not resolve the complex security issues facing the Caucasus region as a whole. A regional approach needs to be taken.
Hope for a Settlement • With the European Union mediating, the US/NATO and the EU could work to create a Black Sea "security community" under a separate regional command structure that would include Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, Georgia, Bulgaria and Romania, under general UN or OSCE auspices. • Joint naval and military cooperation to establish confidence • Deployment of international forces and police for peacekeeping and « nation building » tasks under UN or OSCE authority. These forces could be trained by NATO’s Partnership for Peace and the EU.