The West, Russia and Europe’s Security Order
If one agrees that the Ukraine crisis is only the symptom, not the cause, of the current crisis in EU-Russian relations, a comprehensive rethinking of security in Europe between the EU and Russia is desperately needed. The EU and its member states cannot avoid some serious decision-making.
Washington considers Russia to be merely a regional power. On the other hand history has shown that the country is able to destabilize the European security architecture. The lesson learned from the times of transformation is the fact that Russia has returned to the world arena.
The fundamental problem is the seemingly unclear motivation behind Russian policy. It is not based on ideology and it is not based on economic rationality. The main driver seems to be Russia’s threat perception. Action is then triggered by events which can include internal developments. Here lies the unpredictability of Russian foreign policy.
Eastern European countries are in a very difficult position. After being unable to take advantage of newly available opportunities in the 1990s, they were looking for alternatives for the future. But if any of those led westward, Russia put up serious obstacles. The countries should be aware of the limits of both Russian and EU support.
The platform for political dialogue could be the OSCE, because all involved countries are member states. To accomplish this one needs to accept the status quo of Crimea in order to change the status quo. While not formally recognising the annexation of the Crimea, the EU and the US should not allow it to obstruct dialogue.