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.
The gacaca process was introduced in Rwandan society to deal with the legacy of the 1994 genocide against Tutsi. Empirically informed research points to the ambiguous and ambivalent attitudes of participants regarding testimonial activities, namely the search for the truth. Hence the questions: what does the gacaca experience reveal about this elusive and multidimensional notion called ‘the truth’? And, what does ‘the truth’ as experienced by Rwandans reveal about the nature of the gacaca process? This article aims to answer these questions by identifying and qualifying the different styles of truth at work in the gacaca process, namely the forensic truth, the moral truth, the effectual truth and, the Truth-with-a-Capital-T. The first is a consequence of the design of the court system, the second is derived from the socio-cultural context, the third is a consequence of the decentralised milieu in which the gacaca courts were inserted, the fourth is the result of the overall political context in which the gacaca activities took place. This process of assembling these different styles of truths is conceptualised through the notion of agencement that captures the intricate interplay of agency and structure, contingency and structuration, change and organisation shaping the gacaca process.
Marie-Luce Desgrandchamps, Lasse Heerten, Arua Oko Omaka, Kevin O'Sullivan, and Bertrand Taithe
This roundtable took place on 16 January 2020, at the occasion of the fiftieth
anniversary of the end of the war in Biafra. It brought together Marie-Luce
Desgrandchamps, Lasse Heerten, Arua Oko Omaka and Kevin O’Sullivan. The
roundtable was organised and chaired by Bertrand Taithe, University of
How can we go about our work of saving lives when, in Syria, civilians, the
wounded and their families, medical personnel and aid workers are all targets
– whether in areas controlled by the government or those held by the
Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
(ISIL) or various rebel groups with diverging political agendas? Over the course
of several field missions, the author of this article, a member of
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), sought to decipher the political
and military engagements undertaken in different regions of Syria during the war
years. He also factored into his analysis the endless flow of data, information
and positioning being produced and published over this period, because the war
was also fought every day on the internet where the representatives and
ideologists of warring groups, human rights organisations, Syrian diaspora
organisations and spokespersons of the Syrian central authorities were and still
are a permanent presence. Drawing on all these observations and data, the author
relates and analyses the emergency relief activities carried out by MSF in
Syria, how these activities evolved and the conditions in which choices to
intervene and decisions to withdraw were taken.
Monitoring of attacks on healthcare has made great strides in the past decade,
even if improvement in information has not necessarily resulted in changes on
the ground. However, important questions on the knowledge production process
continue to be under-explored, including those pertaining to the objectives of
monitoring efforts. What does our data actually tell us? Are we missing the
(data) point? This paper explores several monitoring mechanisms, and analyses
the limitations of the data-gathering exercise, affecting the ability of
healthcare workers to share their experiences. By drawing on the experiences of
those involved in the medical-humanitarian response in non-government controlled
areas in Syria, these dynamics are further brought to the fore, advocating for a
more discerning approach in the use of data for such disparate goals as analysis
on patterns of attacks (and their implications), advocacy, and
Based on the author’s experience as both a journalist and an independent
researcher working regularly in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), this
article examines the many constraints that journalists face in areas of armed
conflict. It considers two unusual aspects of journalistic practice observed in
the DRC: first, the reporters’ lexical dependence
– that is, how the language journalists typically use to describe war is
borrowed, sometimes unconsciously, from the war-related rhetoric developed in
other fields – and second, journalists’ practical
dependence on humanitarian organisations and how this might influence the
articles they produce.