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Reactive Regionalism: A Comparative Historical Analysis of Russia-EU Interaction within the Black Sea Geopolitical Environment, 2003-2012

Cocoru, Mihai (2014) Reactive Regionalism: A Comparative Historical Analysis of Russia-EU Interaction within the Black Sea Geopolitical Environment, 2003-2012. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

Recent events within the Black Sea geopolitical environment reveal that Russia is taking extreme measures to retain its ‘strategic glacis’. Meanwhile, the EU maintains its vocal promotion of a neighbourhood that should be conflict-free, prosperous and well governed. Even if it is feasible to envision the potential for achieving the EU’s goal of promoting a ring of well governed countries to the East with which it can enjoy close and cooperative relations, in addition to a Russia-loyal near abroad comprised of countries which have ‘space’ as a main characteristic, this thesis argues that the two outcomes are mutually exclusive. Black Sea state leaders have become acutely aware that the nature of the EU makes balancing Russia both possible and impossible at the same time. Positioned within intersecting spheres of influence of a traditional and a modern great power, Black Sea small states are caught in a pragmatic limbo regarding their foreign policy orientation. Borrowing insights from Buzan and Waever (2003) and Neumann’s (2003) region-building approaches, this thesis finds that between 2003 and 2012 the Black Sea geopolitical environment has shifted from an environment sharing a ‘regional security’ logic to a (potentially transitory) ‘region’ per se. Through the case studies of Moldova and Georgia between 2003 and 2012, the thesis makes a cross-sectional historical comparison to put forth an ‘integrated approach’ to understanding how conflict, economic dependence, and foreign policy orientation serve as ‘triggers’ of change in the Black Sea geopolitical environment. The thesis concludes that the Black Sea has generated a new form of regionalism, a ‘reactive regionalism’ characterized by pragmatic responses to traditional and aggressive (albeit predictable) Moscow and the extremely appealing European model, which, however, provides no substantial geopolitical backing.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Politics (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.647066
Depositing User: Mihai Cocoru
Date Deposited: 22 May 2015 15:03
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2016 13:32
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/8957

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