Why did the Russian take-over of Crimea come as a surprise to so many observers in the academic practitioner and global-citizen arenas? The answer presented in this book is a complex one, rooted in late-Cold War dualities but also in the variegated policy patterns of the two powers after 1991. This book highlights the key developmental stages in the evolution of the Russian-American relationship in the post-Cold War world. The 2014 crisis was provoked by conflicting perspectives over the Balkan Wars of the 1990s, the expansion of NATO to include former communist allies of Russia as well as three of its former republics, the American decision to invade Iraq in 2003, and the Russian move to invade Georgia in 2008. This book uses a number of key theories in political science to create a framework for analysis and to outline policy options for the future. It is vital that the attentive public confront the questions raised in these pages in order to control the reflexive and knee-jerk reactions to all points of conflict that emerge on a regular basis between America and Russia.Key topics include struggles over the Balkans, the expansion of NATO, the challenges posed by terrorism to both nations, wars fought by both powers in the first decade of the twenty-first century, conflict over missile defence, reactions to post-2011 turmoil in the Middle East, and the mutual interest in establishing priorities in Asia.
Models of power, systems theory, critical junctures, legacies, realism, and realism revised
James W. Peterson
There are five models that analysts have utilized in efforts to depict accurately the evolution of the Russian-American relationship from the late Cold War through the first part of the twenty-first century. While bipolarity characterized the early days of the Cold War, it yielded to a multipolar model in the last decades of that period. Post-Cold war patterns have centered on early American-centered unipolarity, re-emergence of multipolarity, and at times complex or chaotic patterms. In addition, five theories cast light on many of the details of the relationship. While legacy theory displays how some features of the communist past carry over into the post-communist period, the concept of critical junctures pulls our attention to key transitions in the political life and relationship of both powers. Debates about individual foreign policy decisions by both often center on the dialogue between realists and post- or revised-realist theoreticians.
Rejection of assistance from the European Union (EU) and reliance instead on increased Russian connections, by the Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych led to the 2014 crisis in Ukraine. As a result, the Russian ethnic group that held majority status in the Crimean Republic pushed for a referendum that led to its detachment from Ukraine and attachment to Russia. Russia held continuing military exercises along its border with Ukraine, and that activity fed the instability in the eastern border region of Ukraine. Western responses included a range of steps that entailed both diplomatic and military dimensions. Diplomatic contacts centered on two four-party Minsk Summits that resulted in an agreement called the Minsk Protocol. NATO led the military response that included relocation of western troops from southern Europe to the jeopardized area of northeast Europe. In addition, NATO also created a Spearhead Force of 5,000 troops that could quickly move into any threatened area in the future. Finally, western nations imposed economic sanctions on Russian personnel and institutions in an effort to bring about changed policies.
Presidents Putin/Medvedev and Georgia W. Bush both adopted basically unilateralist approaches towards the three wars. There was commonality in all three wars, for each took place within ethnically divided states: Afghanistan, Iraq, and Georgia. Russia was wiling to permit American access to Central Asian air bases in republics that had previously been part of the Soviet Union. However, there was considerable controversy between the two over the Gergia war as well as the war in Iraq. Presidents Bush and Obama both utilized a common surge strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the final results in each were disappointing in terms of the continuing turmoil within the two nations. One positive feature of the effort in Afghanistan was support by NATO through its International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), whereas no allied naions provided help to Russia in its incursion into Georgia. Both nations incurred considerable costs, the Russians in global public opinion and the United States in considerable depletion of its treasury.
In the second half of the 1950s, Bonn refused to establish official diplomatic relations with Israel – a seeming contradiction of its initial stance on the Jewish state. Worse still, in December 1959 an unprecedented number of anti-Semitic attacks orchestrated by Stasi agents took place across the Federal Republic, reigniting deep anti-German feelings among the global public and damaging West Germany’s public image (Ansehen) – right on the eve of the very first personal encounter between Chancellor Adenauer and David Ben Gurion. Yet while the option of diplomatic relations with Israel faded, covert cooperation in the fields of security and commerce intensified. Offering a fresh take on the issue, the chapter shows how the FRG managed to use its rivalry against the GDR to its own advantage – both to justify not establishing formal diplomatic relations with Israel as well as to deflect Arab suspicion regarding the actual degree and realms of cooperation between the Federal Republic and the State of Israel.
The book closes with an epilogue that summarises the argument of the book and outlines the implications for our understanding of the Cold War and of the special relationship between Germany and Israel. It argues that the German–German Cold War was, from the start, deeply interlinked with the Arab–Israeli conflict, and that this overlap was far more complex, and had much wider repercussions, than is generally acknowledged. The epilogue also reflects on questions that transcend the content of the individual chapters, reflecting on post-genocidal international reconciliation and the weight of the past in international politics.
Chapter 3 spells out the strategies put in place in each Germany to wage their Cold War in the Middle East. The chapter examines the intensifying East German efforts to drive a wedge between West Germany and its Arab partners; to use the question of the FRG’s readiness to pay reparations to Israel to galvanise the German population against the Luxembourg Agreement; and to resist Israeli demands that East Germany, too, pay reparations to the Jewish state. Special attention is also paid to two West German political manoeuvres: the efforts to placate Arab concerns on the economic and military strength of the State of Israel following the signing of the Luxembourg Agreement, and the use of the agreement as a tool to bolster West Germany’s claim to international legitimacy. The chapter challenges the view that Arab–Israeli and Cold War rivalries started intertwining following the 1955 arms deal between Nasser’s Egypt and Communist Czechoslovakia. In fact, as this and the previous chapter show, by the early 1950s the Arab–Israeli conflict and the German–German Cold War were already firmly entangled.
The second part of the book commences with the Suez Crisis, and explores how the German–German and Arab–Israeli power struggles played out in the second half of the 1950s. Chapter 4 builds upon minutes of Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON) meetings, analyses of the West German intelligence services (BND), and assessments of the US National Security Council. These documents show that, as domestic and international crises developed in the second half of the 1950s, each Germany found itself increasingly at odds with its respective superpower patron. This deeply influenced German policy-makers and their perceptions of each Germany’s international role. On the one hand, the consequences of the Suez Crisis spread insecurity among the West German political elite regarding the extent of the American readiness to protect the interests of its Western European partners. On the other hand, East German leader Walter Ulbricht became increasingly intolerant of the Soviet constraints on East German overtures to Middle Eastern partners. Thus, the GDR intensified its international propaganda campaign against West Germany, focusing especially on the West German–Israeli entente to woo Arab audiences, with mixed results.
The first part of the book opens in the late 1940s. Chapter 1 traces the early discussions between future representatives of West Germany, East Germany and the State of Israel. From 1949 onward, the question of German reparations to Israel began to acquire ever greater significance. The chapter challenges the widely held assumption that East Germany was, from the outset, hostile to the State of Israel, and revises the general portrayal of West Germany’s readiness to pay reparations to Israel as a grand moral gesture. Indeed, the chapter emphasises the early openness of representatives of the Soviet occupation zone (until 1949, later the German Democratic Republic, GDR) to sustaining Israel’s efforts to integrate Jewish refugees from Europe in Palestine and places Adenauer’s declaration on the question of reparations within the wider context of the reintegration of many former Nazis inside West German political institutions, including the embryonic West German Foreign Ministry.
The rapprochement between Germany and Israel in the aftermath of the Holocaust is one of the most striking political developments of the twentieth century. German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently referred to it as a ‘miracle’. But how did this ‘miracle’ come about? Drawing upon sources from both sides of the Iron Curtain, this book reflects on the contradictions and dilemmas that shaped the making of German–Israeli relations at the outset of the global Cold War. The book is structured around a three-phase periodisation, from November 1949 to March 1955 (marked by Adenauer’s declaration that the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) was ready to pay restitutions to the State of Israel for the Nazi persecution of the Jews, and by the East German refusal to do the same); April 1956 to February 1960 (characterised by the entanglement of the German–German Cold War and the Arab-Israeli rivalries in the aftermath of the Suez Crisis); and finally from March 1961 to October 1969 (characterised by the Eichmann trial, the establishment of official diplomatic relations between West Germany and Israel and by East Germany’s attempts to galvanise the discontent of West Germany’s Arab partners). By breaking this twenty-year period into three different phases, the book identifies the major changes in East and West German policy-making and, in each phase, it analyses why they took place at that particular point, and how they affected the overall dynamics of German–Israeli relations, the Cold War, and of the Arab–Israeli conflict.