Introduction: Power, Politics and Confrontation in Eurasia
Little more than two decades ago, as the USSR dissolved to be replaced by 15 new sovereign states, most of which had never before existed, hopes were high for healing the divisions that had characterized Europe for most of the prior century. Former Soviet President Gorbachev had called for a ‘common European home’ (Gorbachev, 1989); US President George H.W. Bush spoke of a ‘new world order’ in which disagreements among states would be resolved through negotiation, not warfare (Bush, 1991); Russian President Boris Yeltsin told the US Congress that Russia wished to join the world community (Yeltsin, cited in Donaldson and Nogee, 2002, p. 219). Those hopes have been completely dashed over the course of the intervening years and Europe, and the broader Eurasia, today finds itself enmeshed in a struggle for power and influence between the West, including especially the United States and the European Union, and the Russian Federation. The collaboration that was expected by many to emerge in the wake of the cold war has turned into confrontation, as Russia and the West compete for what Richard Sakwa terms two different versions of a European future — a Wider Europe of the European Union and the West modelled after Western democratic institutions with a decidedly Atlanticist tilt and a Broader Europe, advocated by Russia, in which existing political and cultural differences would remain, but barriers to collaboration would be reduced.
KeywordsForeign Policy European Security Alternative Narrative Soviet Space Russia Today
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