In Europe, the New Year began with tense, active diplomatic movements. Russia’s massive military buildup near the Ukrainian border has sparked speculation of a possible invasion. Russia, meanwhile, has written to the United States and NATO about its demands for guarantees of its security, saying it is under security threats. Senior US and NATO officials announced that no agreement had been reached on Russia‘s demands and then reiterated their offer of talks. Russia has accepted the offer of a meeting.
Accordingly, three meetings were planned for the first half of January. At the first meeting, bilateral talks took place between the United States and Russia on strategic stability. After a three-year absence in Brussels, a MEETING of the NATO-Russia Council was held on January 12th. The next day, a meeting was held within the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
Russia is taking a stance that NATO, which it considers a threat, should not expand to the east, withdraw from the former Eastern Bloc countries and do not approach its borders. In contrast, NATO’s position is that Russia poses a threat. According to NATO, each country has the right to make its own security arrangements in accordance with its open-door policy. Therefore, as long as the need is there, the alliance’s presence in the Eastern Bloc will continue. In the end, the talks yielded no concrete results. Anyway, no significant progress was expected at the January meetings.
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The meetings allowed both sides to re-state their positions. NATO has demonstrated exactly what it can and will not do. At this point, it can be said that the meetings mainly contributed to the reduction of tension.
Whether these talks are useless initiatives or the first steps in a serious process remains unclear.
Eastern region of Eurasia
What happened in Kazakhstan can be considered as part of the same picture. In July 2021, Russian President Vladimir Putin approved the revised National Security Strategy, which sets out his country’s foreign policy objectives and approaches. The following points were emphasized in this strategy document:
- Deepening bilateral relations with member states of the Commonwealth of Independent States. Increased cooperation within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union and the Collective Security Treaty Organization.
- Assisting Russia in the prevention and elimination of conflicts on the territory of neighboring countries.
Increasing the Russian role in peacekeeping activities.
Supporting Russia’s allies on defense and security issues and preventing attempts to interfere in their internal affairs.
The intervention we witnessed in Kazakhstan gives the appearance of the application of the above mentioned substances. At the invitation of President Tokayev, 2,500 peacekeepers from the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization entered Kazakhstan and quickly quelled the rebellion. According to reports, peacekeepers left the country ten days after the intervention, with all their equipment. In this way, the Russians have shown that the organization is working successfully and is able to mobilize highly prepared military forces in a very short time. In other words, Russia has demonstrated its ability and will to intervene in its ‘sphere of influence’ under the umbrella of the organization whenever it deems it necessary.
Eurasian international political theatre
Central Asia, the heart of the Ancient Silk Road, has once again become very important for all countries. Its geographical location makes it an indispensable transit route. Although there are problems in its distribution, the richness of its natural resources attracts the attention of great powers. On the other hand, there is a potential risk of extremist religious movement in this particular geography. In this context, developments in Central Asia are of great importance to Russia and China in terms of their reflections on the Muslim population in both countries. There is the obvious effectiveness of Russia and China in Central Asia. The region is under Russian influence in terms of security and mostly influenced by China economically. Both countries demonstrated their military cooperation capabilities through large-scale joint exercises.
The United States, especially these days, is facing the consequences of its disappointing performance in Afghanistan and its haste to retreat.
A new actor in the region is the Organization of Turkish States. Although a military dimension of this agency is not yet foreseen, who knows what the near future may bring…
As a result, Russia has established a sphere of influence or a self-preservation zone. Looks like he’s determined to protect this area in every way possible. Russia may have its own fears, but the West has reservations for notable reasons. With the presence of such advanced weapons and advanced technology, in the event of a war, one way or another, everyone will lose. Therefore, no matter how complex the problems, giving diplomacy a chance would be the right option.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at a press conference following the Russia talks in January. he called for a reduction in armaments. As a matter of fact, unlike the approaches of the 1990s, a new understanding of trust and security is quite possible.
For now, Ukraine appears to be the most dangerous region. But it’s worth noting other potentially problematic points. In this context, I hope that Bosnia will not be transformed into a new crisis zone that will look for the Ukraine crisis.