Soviet Katastrojka and Path-breaking Mechanisms of Foreign Policy Re-Orientation


What are the international repercussions of Putin’s new Soviet Katastrojka? And what is its impact for future US, EU and NATO foreign policy?

Six main path-breaking mechanisms in foreign policy re-orientation should be identified. These represent the key elements of a critical juncture whose long term effects are still difficult to evaluate.

1) Enlargement mechanism: A move from EU-US to Russian main foreign policy orientation can be expected in the short and medium term. For the US ad the EU, ensuring security abroad corresponds to pursuing not only country-specific geopolitical and strategic objectives, but also broader EU enlargement priorities through the opening of special partnerships to other members of the former Soviet Union (see European Neighborhod Policy ). This clearly involves important repercussions in diplomatic relations with difficult equilibria that must now be established among Ukraine (not Ukrainenstan) as future possible member of the EU, EU institutions, USA, and NATO.

2) Stabilization mechanism: The stabilization of the Ukrainian economy and not its worsening is something that should not be excluded a priori, since the persistence of the gas ad electricity dependence requires a smoother reorientation of EU energy policies in the context of expanding new EU energy assets. Interesting to note here is that military interventions do not automatically lead to stable peace, when political regimes do not succeed to obtain an international legitimacy due to long-lasting ‘war’ tactics.

3) Softening/Strengthening mechanisms: A realignment or softening of the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) from NATO to Russian geopolitical and strategic interests is not be forecasted. Path-breaking political decisions not rarely involve path-breaking policy realignments. However, institutional legacies in processes of incremental institutional change must also be taken into account. In this context, the EU represents, simultaneously, a ‘return to the future’ for Ukraine, as well as the creation of a new pathway associated to the establishment of a new EU CFSP and Energy Union.

4) Recalibration mechanism: Soviet new Katastrojka Foreign Policy implies also a recalibration of the EU, US and NATO foreign policy approach toward Russia in the light of the future EU Energy Union. New pipelines projects that seek to cross new territories to deliver either gas and electricity are underway, but electricity grids needs stable peace to function.

5) Isolation mechanism: In absence of clear directions from Washington’s White House and Brussels’ Glass House a possible isolation of the Ukraine is likely to occur, representing an important element for the establishment of a new country called “Ukrainenstan” with capital city Kievgrad. This will especially occur if the US and the EU decide to follow a ‘cooperation at any cost strategy’ with Putin’s new Soviet Katastrojka.

6) Mediatization mechanism: Last but not least, as part of the mediatization of war, there is finally the risk that the invasion of Ukraine will produce through an excessive emphasis in the media a multiplying effect on the economy, on the society and on the political arena. As a self-fulfilling prophecy, an excessive mediatization of war can, in fact, spill over in more panic among the population, more resentment toward people of different linguistic and ethnic origin, more attacks and a greater securitization of the Ukrainian public sphere. New visual marketing strategies against terror must therefore be envisaged in order to lower the multiplying effects of fear.

These are the issues that the international community must be aware of.

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