Tag Archives: NATO

Power Struggle over Ukraine: Systemic Observations

The Syrian civil war and now Ukraine. These are only two examples of crises over which the United States and Russia have bumped heads recently. Some might be tempted to call this a “new Cold War,” but it’s really not. Yes, the geopolitical competition and power struggle might be obvious and similar. And even the race for maximizing the spheres of influence. But the ideological context is different and therefore there is no clash of politico-economic systems, not to mention that calling the current international system “bipolar” is simplistic, to say the least. What we have now is a primarily intra-systemic, capitalist, geo-economic competition fueled and exacerbated by identity politics, history and national security considerations.

This reality calls for a reevaluation of the nature of the contemporary international system and the role of nation-states within it. Starting with the former, there is an on-going debate about whether we live in a unipolar, a multipolar, a non-polar, or a uni-multipolar international system. Each of these characterizations expresses how much power and influence the US has in relation to other great powers. In the 1990s, right after the end of the Cold War, the international system was indisputably unipolar, with the US being not only the dominant but also the only superpower with unmatched material and ideological capabilities. Things today might appear to be the same, but they are not. The change lays not so much in the capabilities of the US but in their relation to the capabilities of the rest of the world. Continue reading

Should Cyprus Flirt with NATO?

The dialogue surrounding the accession of Cyprus to programmes and security organisation seems endless. Yet much of the debate seems to be concentrated on whether Cyprus should apply for membership to NATO’s “Partnership for Peace” (PfP) programme However, the recent developments in the Middle East stress the parameters of security, and may give Cyprus pause before proceeding further.

Given that the “Partnership for Peace” is a programme of NATO, the questions that can be raised about the future that could follow Cyprus’ approval to a PfP are many. However, we should first remember NATO’s role in the international political chessboard, the wars it maintains and the fact that the U.S. is the main force behind this organization. The era we live in it is an era of dramatic fluidity, political and geopolitical upheaval. The US, although it is the greatest power, it is not the only global power. Its actions (and more generally of the West) in the Middle East and elsewhere cause asymmetric reactions that threaten not only the U.S. but the rest of the western world as well.

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Will Libya be the New Iraq?

The coalition military intervention in Libya that began on March 19th was an example of a well coordinated and organised operation, with a legitimate legal mandate in the form of UN Resolution 1973. Nonetheless, there are several debates regarding the intervention in question as well as the strategy that is being followed by the coalition.

There are two central questions that should be answered in order to understand the discourse regarding the intervention in Libya: (a) what do we want to achieve? (b) How far are we willing to go? If the operation has limited goals such as the maintenance of the no-fly zone it would probably be qualified as a success whereas if the plan is to intervene politically undertaking peace/state-building operations, it might result in a catastrophe or in a long-lasting, torturous situation like Iraq.

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