By Agha Iqrar Haroon
“For practically every country, except the United States has strategic opportunity to boost economic and trade relations with China and all countries except the US do not see China as a security threat or geopolitical competitor”.
This is believed by Taras Kuzio who is a Professor in the Department of Political Science at the National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy. Born in Halifax, West Yorkshire, England and studied at the University of Sussex, an MA in Soviet studies from the University of London and holds a doctorate in political science from the University of Birmingham, Taras said that the European Union is a foreign and security policy paper tiger with no common approach to issues and weak instruments to pursue them. He is of the view that the EU and the US have different approaches to both Russia and China.
Answering questions to Thought Centre of Dispatch News Desk (DND) News Agency, Taras Kuzio was of the view that Russia has (had) always seen the former USSR (except the 3 Baltic states) as its exclusive sphere of influence.
Questions and answers of his interview are as follow:
Question: What are threats being faced by the Eurasian region now?
Answer: Russia has always seen the former USSR (except the 3 Baltic states) as its exclusive sphere of influence because Russian nationalism defines “Russia” as bigger than the Russian Federation.
There is no common Eurasian region. There have long been countries integrated with Russia (Armenia, Belarus, Central Asia) and pro-Western GUAM countries. To punish the GUAM countries for not supporting Russian-led integration in Eurasia, Russia organized and supplied separatist movements, recognized the independence of separatist areas, or annexed the territory in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine.
Q: What is your opinion about the Afghan crisis? Will the withdrawal of US forces affect the peace in Afghanistan?
The fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban will be used by Iran and Russia against local pro-Western countries, such as Azerbaijan and Georgia, increase supplies of narcotics to Europe through the Caucasus and Turkey, and fan anti-Americanism and international terrorism.
Q: Will European Union manage the balance in its relations with the United States and China?
A: The EU is a foreign and security policy paper tiger with no common approach to issues and weak instruments to pursue them. The EU and US have different approaches to both Russia and China. The US sees China and Russia as its two main security threats. The EU would like to economically cooperate with and is not interested in geopolitical competition with China. Western European countries such as Germany and France are Putinversteher’s (Putin-Understanders) who, as seen with Nord Stream II, seek to accommodate differences with Russia.
Q: What is your opinion about Belt and Road Initiative?
A: For practically every country – except the US – this is a strategic opportunity to boost economic and trade relations with China. Practically all countries – except the US – do not see China as a security threat or geopolitical competitor. Ukraine, for example, pursues a pro-Western foreign and security policy at the same time as expanding trade with China which is now Ukraine’s biggest trading partner. Ukraine does not see any contradiction in seeking to integrate with Europe while at the same time expanding trading relations with China.
The views and opinions expressed in this article/Opinion/Comment are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk (DND). Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk News Agency.