How the European Union Became Divided on Russia, by Xander Snyder

The nations in European don’t, and can’t, have one monolithic stance towards Russia. From Xander Snyder at mauldineconomics.com:

Last week, the prime ministers of Hungary and Bulgaria criticized EU policy toward Russia for being too harsh. The European Union imposed sanctions against Russia in response to Moscow’s intervention in Ukraine, but Hungary and Bulgaria are concerned that the EU’s continued anti-Russia stance could pose a security threat and does not benefit either country.

This difference of opinion on Russia is just a symptom of a broader reality: Europe itself is becoming increasingly divided. As a result, there is no longer a European approach to Russia like there was during the Cold War, when a weak Europe, dependent on the US for its security, acted as one to maintain the US-led containment line. Today, each European country has its own interests determined by its own geographical realities.

In the case of Hungary, it understands that it has to be part of the Western bloc. Hungary was under Soviet occupation and experienced the suffering that followed its short-lived revolution in 1956 against Soviet rule. Though it understands and appreciates the support that the US provided after the end of the Cold War, it knows that this support is ultimately insufficient to protect it against nearby threats. The US is too far away and, as we saw in Georgia in 2008, the US is primarily concerned with its own interests and might not come to Hungary’s defense if it were truly threatened.


Source: Geopolitical Futures

To Hungary’s east lies Ukraine, a buffer state between the West and Russia. Hungary has generally opposed Ukraine’s developing closer ties with the West. Indeed, when diplomats speak of such integration with the West, Hungary is faced with a critical question: What does “integration” even mean? If it simply means having more diplomatic meetings, why risk rocking the boat with Russia when there is little benefit to Hungary? If integration means greater Western military presence in Ukraine, that would be even worse for Hungary. Russia would see it as a direct threat and would be more inclined to intervene militarily to recuperate its lost buffer space, potentially bringing a Russian military force closer to Hungary’s borders.

To continue reading: How the European Union Became Divided on Russia

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One response to “How the European Union Became Divided on Russia, by Xander Snyder

  1. What was the “united” European approach to Russia during the cold war? Comapre and contrast the positions of Germany with Yugoslavia and Finland and tell me again about the united approach.

    Tell me about how Hungary and France stood shoulder to shoulder or how Denmark and Ireland shouldered the burden of defense against Russia.

    I hate being lectured by people who learned their history by listening to NPR and watching Ken Burns.

    Like

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