Recently NATO experts are consulting on a new policy towards the countries of the black sea region, reflecting changes in international relations after the enlargement of NATO. So, assessing the situation, NATO experts have come to the conclusion that clearly define the vector of development of the situation in the region today is not possible. According to experts, there are significant integration factors that contribute to the unification of the countries of the region, but the region today lacks a clear regional identity.
Functional value determination region (what is "black sea basin" - uniting the East and the West, a region or buffer zone between Russia and the West?), according to experts, still requires its consideration. However, according to their estimates, one should not forget that this region has unique characteristics and, as such, is not simply a tool in the geopolitical game, and requires personal attention to their problems.
According to experts of NATO, the main features of the region from the point of view of safety can be described as follows: the area is the site of the conflict of interests of various security systems. At least it is NATO, Russia and potentially the EU. And none of them has the dominant influence and developed strategy of its presence in the region. And NATO, taking into account the strategic importance of the black sea region today is a major player in ensuring security of the countries of the region. Meanwhile, making a significant contribution to the stability of the region and support individual countries through bilateral programmes, the unit, however, has so far not formed its own comprehensive strategy for the region as a whole.
Geopolitical perceptions of the region in the EU also require development and further development of a coherent regional policy. According to some estimates among the experts of the EU, today the region is on the periphery of the Union.
Experts emphasize that the access to the Black sea is a strategic priority for Russia. However, in their opinion, the Russian policy of maintaining the Imperial past must be regarded as obsolete. However, the States of the region in some cases, still are pursuing a policy that reflects their attachment relations with Russia, which generally complicates the process of reform and building a new structure of regional relations.
The region today faces a large number of security threats, both regional and external players well enough to know about their existence. First, a significant number of traditional security threats, to date not resolved. Secondly, there is a variety of asymmetric challenges and threats associated with the escalation of global terrorist movements. And third, as noted in NATO, young democratic States in the region should understand that consolidation is a certain, sometimes considerable time, and that their democratic and electoral processes is not well established and remain extremely vulnerable.
In the absence of the dominant strategic player, showing his influence, the situation in regional security remains at the mercy of national governments, which are often guided by old notions of politics in the region. Countering asymmetric threats from their side, as a rule, not adequately, and in some cases their actions can lead to destabilization and emergence of new threats to their own stability.
In General, today the region is characterized by a complex network of interaction: events in one country are often reflected in the other. Today in the region a number of smoldering ethnic and religious conflicts that need to be addressed. In the case of aggravation of the situation the danger of escalation of such conflicts, which will only lead to further exacerbation of the situation in the region.
However, the geographical position of the region relative to the field of extraction and transportation of energy resources means that energy policy is playing and will play a significant role in the geopolitics of the region.
Considering the above features, the NATO experts propose to improve the structure of the relationships between countries of the region, ensuring its adequacy to the needs of the changed situation.
In this regard, NATO experts note that the region must remain high on the security policy block. In the region it is necessary to expand the influence of important international and regional public and military-political organizations and blocs.
The region requires a rapid formation of a dynamic and powerful political core, which could unite the countries of the region, offering them the strategy for development and integration. The policy of such a core must remain within the framework of the dominant security priorities of NATO.
However, experts note that the integration in EU and NATO, may not provide ideal samples for the processes of integration in the black sea region. In their opinion, the region requires a more flexible approach to joint action. Experts believe that the model of integration of the countries of the region requires further work.
Characteristically, the large majority of countries in the region, according to experts, in its policy to require assistance of external players. According to experts of NATO, they have no full confidence in the ability of young governments in the region to independent political activity through the formation of new regional public and military-political alliances.
Experts stress that in conditions when the countries of the region is already inextricably linked with Euro-Atlantic structures, it makes sense to talk about further expansion of the Euro-Atlantic community. Moreover, such an extension should be indisputable strategic priority in the region. The inextricable link it implies that there is already sufficient opportunity to develop initiatives for further integration of the countries of the region into Euro-Atlantic structures, which in turn becomes a new focus of transatlantic cooperation. In this regard, the experts recommend greater cooperation and increased activity under such programs as Partnership for peace, stability Pact and black sea initiative, focusing in particular on specific projects and initiatives.
However, the key remains the question of the strategic interest of Russia in the region. Recognition that Russia is a key player in the region, implies that the solution of most important problems cannot be found without the engagement of Russia. However, the question of how and on what terms to provide Russia with a voice in regional policy has not been fully resolved. In this direction are necessary in the opinion of NATO experts, further development in the framework of multilateral negotiations, especially since the two previous round of NATO enlargement, clearly, seriously impacting on the perception of the Russian situation in the black sea region.
The issue of participation of external serious player should continue to be explored and also a number of other reasons. Today, the United States has been quite active in the region. However, the question arises about the need to reduce the activity of the US in the region and replace it with a multilateral integration process. However, NATO experts note that in conditions when the EU focused on its internal problems, leaving the black sea region on its periphery, one would expect opposite the US will strengthen its presence in the region.
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