Sociocultural foundations of international policy The history of national development of various countries demonstrates that the culture is one of the key manifestations of the subjective content of the policy

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  1. Sociocultural foundations of international policy The history of national development of various countries demonstrates that the culture is one of the key manifestations of the subjective content of the policy. Namely the culture that surrounds such important aspects of the political sphere as possibility of social subjects for participation in the political life or the character of the political reforms. The sociocultural peculiarities of a country influence various processes taking place in the society; creating the framework and setting the behavior of people. For world politics, the sociocultural peculiarities of each particular country are just as important, since the relationship between the countries is also the relations between specific political actors making the decisions. Being an important manifestation of the subjective content of the policy, the sociocultural peculiarities exert substantial influence upon the character of relations between the countries. Study of the sociocultural peculiarities and political foundations lies in determination of the correlation between politics and the subjective human factor, including values, motivational and fundamental orientations of the political elites and society, as well as the forms of activity and interaction between the elites and society within the framework of formal and informal institutions. Analysis of the sociocultural foundations of international relations also relies on determination of the value orientations of the elites and society of the cooperating countries, as well as identification of the formal and informal channels and formats of cooperation between the populations of corresponding countries. The culture is one of the indexes of dominant goals and orientations within the society. Examination of the cultural factor of politics helps understand the boundaries of the allowable in decision-making by a particular political actor. Moreover, culture can provide not just the framework, but also be prime cause for certain actions and decisions. Norms of the culture manifest in both formal and informal behavioral elements. The cultural factor of the decision-makers represents the foundation, which determines the style of state administration and the character of decision-making in a particular country. It is likely that any political process adapts towards the sociocultural space of the surrounding environment. Thus, the changes in the structure of branches of government do not always bring changes in cultural norms. A. I. Solovyev determines the following components of the sociocultural factor of politics: formal and informal norms of a specific state; sociocultural environment of a particular state organization; influence of the constituency of the decisionmaker and personal values of a particular decision-maker [20] . The sociocultural factor of politics thus affects the culture of diplomacy, which in turn, also defines the character of the relations between the countries. In the modern world, the cultural ties between the countries also play a key role as an effective factor in international relations. These ties allow forming positive image of the countries, which demonstrates their commitment towards openness and peaceful coexistence [6] . At the end of the XIX – beginning of the XXI centuries, J. Nye in his works “Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power” [13] and “Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics” [14] explained how and why such traditional political factors as territory, army and natural resources in the modern world no longer have as great of a significance, while intangible factors in forms of science, culture and education and 10.7256/2454-0684.2018.8.27270 Политика и Общество, 2018 - 8 23 paramount. W ith such approach, the culture and cultural ties become the means of formation of a positive international image of the country, which in turn makes the cultural ties an efficient means of international and transcultural communication. Cultural diplomacy leads to a decrease in conflicts between the corresponding cooperating countries, brings the national cultures closer together, and contributes to mutual understanding of different nations [19] . According to the constructivist and sociocultural approaches, the culture represents one of the key factors that unites people into a civil nation. Moreover, the culture also helps different nations unite into new state and suprastate formations such as USSR and USA, and at the end of the XX century, such large sociocultural suprastate intergovernmental formation became the European Union. Research of the sociocultural foundations of relationship between the Russian Federation and the European Union is currently a relevant and important task. Relations between these subjects of international politics have historically developed in various vectors, and at the present stage are in a dangerous and crisis state. Studying the sociocultural aspects of the relations between Russia and EU allows determining the causes of conflicts between them, as well as finding ways to resolve the corresponding conflicts. The problems in relationship between the Russian Federation and the European Union are based on a number of sociocultural causes, one of which is absence of accord with regards civilizational goals and values in the Russian society. One of the people to determine the problem in Russian identity and Russian civilizational choice was P. Y. Chaadayev [21] . Discussion of the problems described by Chaadayev later sparked a debate between the westerners and nationalist in the Russian society. At the same time, the European Union itself, which is a combination of more than 20 countries, does not have an unambiguous and ultimate understanding of the common European values. Perhaps, one of the key goals of the modern cultural policy of the European Union is the desire to form common European identity, leaning upon centuries of heritage of the European civilization, while taking into account the idea of multiculturalism. The EU policy, aimed at invoking the feeling of belonging to the common European heritage amongst its citizens, is coupled with respect towards national and cultural difference. Similar approach is also reflected and reproduces by the fundamental values shared by the residents of Europe, serving as the basis of the cultural European integration. The following can be attributed to such European values: rule of law; priority of human rights; secularity of the state; right of the nations to selfdetermination; market economy and social justice. It is noteworthy, however, that the European Union is facing serious demographic changes, which among other things related to the increase in migration from the African and Middle Eastern countries. These demographic changes in turn lead to emergence of opposite reaction in form of increased role of nationalistic forces in the European politics. Despite the fact that the very idea of creation of the United States of Europe, which served as a foundation for emergence of the future European Union, was formulated as a project back in 1874 by Victor Hugo, but implemented only in late 1940’s – early 1950’s. The idea of the United States of Europe was also shared by N. Bonaparte, M. A. Bakunin [1] , and V. I. L enin [2] . In 1946, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom W inston Churchill delivered his speech calling for the creation of the “United States of Europe”. This speech was first step towards the establishment of the Council of Europe; currently, nearly all European states, including Russia, have acceded to the organization. The concept of the United States of Europe found its reflection in creation of the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951, European Economic Community in 1957, and ultimately the emergence of the European Union in 1992. 10.7256/2454-0684.2018.8.27270 Политика и Общество, 2018 - 8 24 As a result, the new political institution that initially emerged in the aftermath of the unification of economies has also become a large-scale sociocultural project. The Maastricht Treaty of 1992 along with the Treaty of Amsterdam of 1997 defined the role of the European Union within the European sociocultural realm, setting among its goals for the development of EU cultural policy the fostering of cooperation in the cultural sphere between the EU member-states and the third countries. In this way, the European Union tends to spread its values and culture beyond its borders by promoting the European cultural heritage in other countries, as well as through the cultural and educational exchange programs with other regions and states. Similar cooperation probably contributes to the improvement of mutual understanding and relations between the EU residents and the citizens of other states. The concluded in 1988 Trade and Cooperation Agreement, which participants were the European Economic Community and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, marks the beginning of the relationship between the European Union and Russia. Later, in 1994 was signed the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between Russia and the European Union, which came into force in 1997. In January 1998, the Cooperation Council between the European Union and the Russian Federation held its first meeting in London. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, there were expectations that the new postCommunist Russia will succeed in becoming a democratic state; however, such hopes did not last for long. And despite the fact that the first decade of the new Russia was characterized by the attempts of creating an efficient government and political system in accordance with the democratic principles, confrontation in the relations between Russia and the Western countries, including the European Union, resumed in 1997-1999. It was caused by the NATO expansion to the East, as well as NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. V. Putin’s rise to power in 2000 marked a rollback of the efforts towards the corresponding democratic principles by the political system. During the period from 2003 to 2008, the United States invasion of Iraq, Orange Revolution in Ukraine, war in Chechnya, Rose Revolution in Georgia, criminal charges against Yukos executives, armed conflict in South Ossetia marked the further cooling of relations between Russia and the Western countries, including EU states. V. Putin, being a former KGB officer, structured his political strategies by rewarding people with prior experience in military sphere and intelligence services [10] . The law enforcement officers (“Siloviki”) have once again brought to the Russian mentality the importance of strong hierarchy, imperial nostalgia and anti-W estern sentiments. Thus, the modern Russian sociocultural space yet again found itself in certain antagonism and contradiction with the European patterns. It can be stated that such elements of European society as pluralism of opinions and tolerance have yet to be fully accepted by the Russian society. Therefore, the proper way to move forward would to be to establish cultural diplomacy, which includes formation of common Russia-Europe sociocultural space that could bring the corresponding countries closer together. 2. Common Russia-Europe sociocultural space and its alternatives Attempts to bring Russia and the European Union closer together have been initiated for some time. In 2005, a concept emerged for Russia-EU strategic partnership by creating four common spaces: domestic security and justice; international security; science and education; economic space. The space of common international security would strengthen collective partnership of both sides in the struggle with international issues, including terrorism, organized crime, and illegal migration. The cooperation could eventually transition a common visa-free space. 10.7256/2454-0684.2018.8.27270 Политика и Общество, 2018 - 8 25 Creation of common economic space is important for Russia, since collectively the memberstates of the European Union are the largest investor into the Russian economy, just as it is one of the biggest recipients of Russian foreign trade. Advancing this idea on shared Russia-Europe economic space, Vladimir Putin being the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation at the time, in his 2010 article in Süddeutsche Zeitung proposed to the European Union to form economic alliance, which would stretch from Lisbon to Vladivostok [17] . Economic development of the Far Eastern and Siberian territories of Russia could become one of the drivers for long-term partnership between the European Union and the Russian Federation, while such concentrated efforts could ideally translate into formation of an economic union and political alliance. In the aforementioned article, Vladimir Putin stated that the economic characteristic of both countries could be improved through use of the strongest points of both systems – European Union needs natural resources of Russia, while Russia in turn, can really use the European technologies and investments. Formation of common Russia-Europe space for justice and domestic security would contribute to formation of rule-of-law state in Russia. It is worth noting that the critical reports of the European Union partially carry objective assessments of the negative points in Russian domestic and foreign policies. In other words, the causes for anti-Russia rhetoric of the European Union, including on violation of the human rights in Russia, lie in more than just economic and political interests of the European circles. It would erroneous to believe that the cause for the criticism is specifically based on the fact that the European elites see Russia’s behavior as an obstacle in the path of achieving their goals in the region and the rest of the world. Authoritarian tendencies within the Russian Federation, as well as projection of its power upon other states, do not allow the neighboring countries, some of which are members of the European Union, to remain unworried. The fourth common Russia-Europe space, proposed by the project of “four common spaces” is the sphere of scientific research, education and culture, and probably the most important, since only this could serve as the foundation for formation and advancement of the other three spaces. Creation and development of the common sociocultural space, which includes science, culture and education, would become the first step towards regaining trust between the Russian Federation and the European Union. There are following possible benefits for integration of Russia into the European Union: improved legal system, investments, increased living standards for the population, stronger security, increased influence of Russia in Europe and across the globe. Such cultural integration would improve Russia’s image on the world stage, which after 2014 invoked contradictory feelings among citizens of other countries. According to Pew Research Center, Russian Federation is negatively viewed by the significant portion of citizens of other countries [18] . All of the aforementioned arguments for Russia’s integration into the European Union completely satisfy the requirements of the Russian society. Moreover, according to Levada Center surveys, prior to 2014 majority of Russians had positive feelings towards the European Union [9] . The Russia-European Union relation crisis, which was accompanied by the corresponding TV propaganda, contributed to a strong decrease in approval from the Russian citizens towards the European Union. However, after the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, the attitude of Russians towards the “West” as a whole and the European Union in particular has significantly improved [16] . It is worth mentioning that despite the fact that vast Russian territories are located in Asia, majority of the population resides in Europe. The peak of antagonism from Russia towards European Union was in 2014 following the 10.7256/2454-0684.2018.8.27270 Политика и Общество, 2018 - 8 26 notorious events in Ukraine, which opened the discussion on the change in role and place of Russia in the modern global politics, as well as divided the Russian society. As the consequences of these events, the United States and the European Union along with some Asian countries introduced sanctions against Russia, which heralded the crisis in relations between Russia and these countries. In such context, Russian opened the dialogue with the Pacific Rim. The so-called “turn towards East”, which in 2015 was actively discussed in the mass media [11] , scientific articles [12] , as well as in public meetings of political actors [15] , was most likely connected to the conjectural reasoning [5] and the fact that Russia has lost certain positions in the West. Nevertheless, Russia could still improve its economic system leaning on the experience of the state economic modernization of the Pacific Rim region [4] . However, even the experience of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations + 3 demonstrates that the development of any country requires policy of openness towards the outside world, one of the examples of which is the state strategy of the People’s Republic of China titled “reforms and openness”. One of the causes for the discussion of Russia’s “turn towards East” was the 2015 creation of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), and another key cause was the talks between Russia and China on cooperation and possibility of combining the EAEU with China’s Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road (SREB). The Eurasian Economic Union is composed of five post-Soviet states. It is noteworthy, however, that the Ukrainian events of 2014 severely undermined the possibility for proper functionality of the EAEU, since Ukraine likely played especially important role for this union. Speaking of Ukraine’s role in the Eurasian integration, Zbigniew Brzezinski in his work “The Grand Chessboard” pointed out that if Russia will attempt to revive the Eurasian empire, its relations with the neighboring states, particularly former Soviet nations, will become antagonistic; but if Russia joins the European or Transatlantic structures, this would open doors for integration of other post-Soviet countries, including Transcaucasian republics. W ithout Ukraine, Russia cannot become the Eurasian empire; absence of Ukraine would make Russia the Asian imperial state, which is the reason why according to Z. Brzezinski, the question of integration with the West for Russia is not a choice of alternatives – it is the question of survival [2] . Thus, despite certain attractiveness of the idea of creation of the Eurasian Economic Union, after the 2014 events in Ukraine the possibility of proper functionality of this alliance is severely crippled. W ith the importance of its role, loss of Ukraine meant loss of prospect for this coalition. Certain political and economic gain for the Eurasian Economic Union could undoubtedly be achieved within the framework of joining the China’s Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road and the plan to create transportation, energy and trade corridor between Asian and European countries, but it would be difficult to speak of substantial gains for Russia from this project. As noted by A. G. Larin, one of the negatives of combining EAEU and SREB is the increase in influence of China and the decrease of Russia’s influence [8] . The active policy of cooperation with other Pacific Rim countries would certainly allow Russia to employ the outside resources for internal development of Siberia and the Far East. At the same time, Russian experts believe that measures on strengthening the economic ties of the eastern regions of Russia with the Pacific Rim remain fairly inefficient, often lagging and imbalanced [3] . It would appear that at the present stage Russia’s only possibility for development lies in 10.7256/2454-0684.2018.8.27270 Политика и Общество, 2018 - 8 27 normalization of relations with the European Union as a whole, as well as directly with some of its member-states. Considering the historical factors, Russia is the largest neighboring state with the European Union, which was reflected in close cooperation and trade for almost 25 years, up until 2014. Therefore, this normalization is also necessary for the European Union, the which could begin with creation and development of common sociocultural Russia-Europe space.

1. Бакунин М. Речи на конгрессах Лиги Мира и Свободы, Litres, 2017.
2. Бжезинский З. Великая шахматная доска. М.: Международные отношения, 1998. С.149.
3. Василенко, И А. Современная российская политика. — М.: Юрайт, 2014
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