No. 4, March 2000
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Between Russia and the West: Foreign and Security Policy of Independent Ukraine
Studien zu Zeitgeschichte und Sicherheitspolitik, V. 2. by Kurt R. Spillmann, Derek Muller and Andreas Wenger (editors)
 

Between Russia and the West: Foreign and Security Policy of Independent Ukraine (by Kurt R. Spillmann et al., editors) tries like Ukraine in the World to work out the past, present and future foreign and security policies of the Ukraine. In the book edited by Lubomyr A. Hajda you may find a sharper analysis of the international relations of the newly independent state south of Russia and of its possible strategies, but Spillmann's studies are complementary in the sense that it contains articles on the different Ukrainian political forces and their concepts of foreign and security policy.
 
The Ukraine's foreign relations are based on the principle of non-alignment or neutrality. The different studies in Spillmann's book examine the legislative and institutional foundations of the Ukraine's foreign and security policy, its underlying national interests and the development of the Ukraine's defense sector (750,000 former Soviet troops have been peacefully transformed into the armed forces of the independent Ukraine; currently 420,000 military and civilian personnel). The second part of the book deals with the country's international relations, its cooperation with NATO, its relationship with the European Union, its strategic partnership with Poland as well as with smaller regional powers. Accession to Western structures by Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary could "radically change the political priorities" of these countries and "decrease the Ukraine's importance within their political goals."
 
The third part of the book is dedicated to Ukrainian-Russian relations, on the so called "Big Treaty" and numerous bilateral agreements that mostly are not implemented yet. Real cooperation is rare (Ivana Klympush) and Russian capital investment in the Ukraine is low (Hermann Clement). Russia and the Ukraine are not equal neighbours. 51% of the population of the former Soviet Union settled on the territory of Russia, only 18% on the soil of Ukraine. Russia's contribution to Soviet GDP exceeded its proportion of the population and production per capita, while the Ukraine's share was lower (Hermann Clement). Today, the Ukraine depends on Russia's energy supplies and its debts and delayed payments to Russia rose dramatically (especially because of Gazprom). Different Russian and Ukrainian perspectives are visible in the articles by authors from Moscow and Kyiv (Kiev).
 
"[...] while [the] Ukraine's main strategic goal - the integration with the European Union - is shared by the overwhelming majority of the national political elite, many officials and analysts doubt the adequacy of an unreserved orientation towards American regional interests", according to Aleksandr Levchenko, vice-president of the Ukrainian Center for International Security Studies in Kiev. Iris Kempe, senior researcher at the Center for Applied Policy Research at the Ludwig-Maximilian University, Munich, comes to the conclusion that "Ukrainian leadership concentrates on an objective [integration with the EU], which is unrealistic at least in the mid-term." These two statements outline the dilemma of the Ukraine: willing but not able to join the EU.
 
The most interesting part - in addition to Hajda's book - is chapter one with its analysis of the political forces and their positions on foreign and security policy issues. Taras Kuzio, honorary visiting research fellow at the Ukraine Center at the University of North London, divides the political forces not only with Slawophiles versus Westernizers, but subdivides them into romantic and pragmatic Westernizers, romantic and pragmatic Slavophiles. He attributes the great number of political parties to the according categories.
 
Aleksander Parfionov, executive director of the Ukrainian Center for International Security Studies in Kiev, examines the foreign and security policy views of the relevant Ukrainian political forces: On the political right are Rukh, the Democratic Party of the Ukraine, the Ukrainian Peasants' Democratic Party, the Ukrainian Republican Party, the Ukrainian Conservative Republican Party, Republican Christian Party, the Ukrainian Christian-Democratic Party and the Union of Christians. On the left we find the Socialist Party of the Ukraine, the Communist Party of the Ukraine, the Progressive Socialist Party of the Ukraine, the Labor Party of the Ukraine, the Party of Ukrainian Pensioners, the Communist Labor Party, the Labor Agrarian Party, the Bolshevik Communist Party, the Union of Ukrainian Workers, the Party of Ukrainian Communists, the Union of Ukrainian Communists and the Party of Communists (Bolsheviks) of the Ukraine. Among the centrist parties Parfionov counts the United Social-Democratic Party of the Ukraine, the Social-Democratic Party of the Ukraine, the People's Democratic Party of the Ukraine, the Labor Congress of the Ukraine, the Party of Democratic Revival of the Ukraine, the Liberal-Democratic Party of the Ukraine, the Liberal Party of the Ukraine, the Constitutional-Democratic Party, New Ukraine, the Universal Ukrainian Union (Hromada) and the Agrarian Party of the Ukraine. Parfianov analysis the different ideas of all these parties, some of them merged, others disappeared. Although the president and his staff take a lot of important decisions, the parties represented in the Verkhovna Rada, the Ukrainian parliament, have "the constitutional competence to outline the main strategic directions of the Ukraine's foreign relations."
 
The authors in Spillmann's book agree on the fact that the key to the future of the Ukraine lies in its economic system and its future reforms, but like in Hajda's Ukraine in the World, there is no analysis of the economic reforms undertaken in the Ukraine since its independence. What measures should be taken in the future? What are the different economic policies proposed by the various political forces? How can the legal system be reformed in order to fight corruption and to enforce the law, thereby making foreign investment possible? Foreign and security policy are not only closely tied to the Ukraine's domestic policies, they depend on domestic, legal and economic choices. Therefore, their systematic analysis is essential to the understanding of the Ukraine's international relations. 
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Kurt R. Spillmann, Derek Muller, Andreas Wenger (Editors): Between Russia and the West : Foreign and Security Policy of Independent Ukraine (Studien zu Zeitgeschichte und Sicherheitspolitik, V. 2.). Hardcover, Bern/New York, Peter Lang, November 1999, 357 p. Get the book from Amazon.com.

No. 4, March 2000
current edition & archives
Art  Film  Music  History  Politics  Archives
Links  For Advertisers  Feedback  German edition  Travel

Copyright 2000  www.cosmopolis.ch  Louis Gerber  All rights reserved.