TELOSscope: The Telos Press Blog

The Berlin Doctrine: Rethinking East-West Relations

An earlier version of this talk was presented at the 2009 Telos Conference.

In a little-noticed coincidence, President Dmitry Medvedev and the then Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama delivered major foreign policy speeches in the summer of 2008 in Berlin. Notwithstanding important differences, both recognized the flaws of the prevailing international system and emphasized the need for a new global order that transcends narrow national self-interest and addresses common security threats. Crucially, President Medvedev and Senator Obama each vowed to strengthen U.S.-Russian ties and to build broader alliances.

A few weeks later, the events in the Caucasus and the financial meltdown changed international relations and East-West ties fundamentally and irreversibly. The Georgian conflict not only exacerbated NATO’s profound internal divisions but also underscored the West’s lack of strategic vision and purpose. In the foreseeable future, America will remain the world’s sole military superpower, but—especially since the disaster of Iraq, Guantánamo, and Abu Ghraib—the United States (and her allies) have lost credibility and the moral authority to claim global leadership. Support for Mikheil Saakashvili’s reckless aggression and his corrupt regime revealed once more Western double standards and the Atlanticist disregard for genuine democracy and justice.

Similarly, the economic crisis spelled the end of the neo-liberal “Washington consensus” and confirmed the failure of the Western-dominated international architecture to regulate global finance or to reduce worldwide poverty and inequality. In conjunction with the demise of laissez-faire free-market ideology and the extension of state capitalism, new economic and financial centers will emerge in the BRIC countries as well as the Persian Gulf and South-East Asia. The rest of the world will no longer gravitate toward the Western orbit. Thus, the “Atlantic unipole” (Ira Straus) has already ceased to shape and direct global geo-politics and geo-economics. The utopia of a unipolar world order that was proclaimed by the Project for a New American Century now lies in utter ruins.

Paradoxically, the deepening recession that will dominate both national politics and international relations makes a pan-Eurasian security settlement more important and pressing than at any point in time since the end of the Cold War. From the economy via energy and ecology to secessionism, terrorism, and cross-border crime, the leading countries in Eurasia have a strong and growing mutual interest in security cooperation. A new framework is all the more necessary since the prevailing security and defense organizations in East and West, like NATO or the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), cannot cope with the emerging global constellation of overlapping spheres of influence where the rival, trans-national interests of “great powers” collide and their client states clash. This constellation portends more insecurity and conflict across the Eurasian space, especially in parts of Eastern Europe, the Balkans, the Caucasus, and the Caspian, as well as Central Asia.

Presidents Medvedev and Obama face a fundamental choice. Either each continues the strategies and policies of his respective predecessor or both decide to put East-West relations on a new footing in order to try and avert further confrontation and conflict. If they can retrieve their foreign policy ideas as outlined in Berlin, then there will be sufficient common ground for an overarching security community extending from Vancouver to Vladivostok. If, moreover, the U.S. and Russian leadership can translate this vision into an institutional framework with real decision-making powers, then there will be sufficient substance for such a community to take shape.

East-West Relations after Georgia

Reactions to the crisis in Georgia revealed just how confused and outmoded the dominant thinking on European security and East-West relations is. Terms such as “totalitarianism,” “appeasement,” “imperialism,” and “new cold war” were applied to complex events that manifestly escape such easy categorization. Over-simplification is a poor substitute for cold-headed analysis and judgment.

Many western politicians and pundits likened Russia’s action in the Caucasus to the 1938 Nazi occupation of the Sudetenland or the 1939 Soviet invasion of Finland. Based on such dubious comparisons, they denounced what they saw as U.S. and EU appeasement of Moscow’s growing belligerence. Those who draw these sorts of parallels live in the past but don’t know their history. The new Russia is no liberal democracy, but anyone with basic knowledge of the Soviet (or Nazi) regime understands that the charge of totalitarianism and aggressive expansionism simply won’t wash. Nor is it particularly persuasive to claim that the Kremlin is bent on rebuilding the Soviet Union. Instead, Russia under the diarchy of Prime Minister Putin and President Medvedev combines populism and authoritarian state capitalism with a neo-tsarist projection of central power and military force.

Likewise, regular Russian condemnation of western colonialism and imperialism fails to acknowledge today’s reality. Unlike Napoleon’s 1812 march on Moscow or the 1941 Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, the United States and the European Union do not have any plans to annex all ex-Soviet satellites or to colonize the whole of Russia. This false paranoia is reinforced by a culture of conspiracy and victimhood that besets large strands of Russia’s post-Soviet elite. However, it is hard to deny the growing hostility toward Russia now prevalent in America and the “new Europe.” By recognizing Kosovo’s independence, expanding NATO eastward, and establishing the U.S. anti-ballistic missile shield in Russia’s Czech and Polish neighborhood, the West has betrayed its own promise of a strategic partnership with Moscow. Little wonder that the perceived humiliation of the Kremlin and the treatment of Russia as a third-rate power generate resentment and revanchisme.

The trouble is that when amnesia and historical illiteracy shape policy- and decision-making, a local crisis gets blown out of all proportion. Moscow’s use of force in Georgia was not at all of the same order and magnitude as the Soviet suppression of Hungary’s uprising in 1956 or the Prague Spring in 1968. U.S. interventions in Washington’s own Central and Latin American backyard in the 1970s and 1980s may prove a better comparison. Except, of course, that the White House and the Pentagon tend to engage in preemptive warfare and to practice regime change by force, whereas the Kremlin has thus far been largely reactive and left hostile governments in place.

Rather than Russia’s excessive retaliation in response to Georgia’s reckless aggression, it was in reality the escalating war of words between East and West that prompted unwise action and brought simmering tensions to boiling point. Under a barrage of western abuse, Moscow continued to humiliate its Caucasian neighbor by destroying Georgian military and civilian infrastructure and delaying troop withdrawal. In a direct riposte, Warsaw hastily concluded protracted negotiations with Washington about hosting parts of the U.S. anti-ballistic missile shield. Kiev tried to restrict Russia’s control over its Black Sea fleet in the Crimean port of Sevastopol. And Brussels temporarily suspended negotiations over a new EU-Russia partnership deal. Suspicious and easily irritable, the Russian bear threatened to deploy Iskander missiles in the Russian Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad on the morning after Obama’s electoral victory.

But history never repeats itself. The latest East-West confrontation is not a rerun of the Cold War. U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals notwithstanding, neither country openly threatens the other’s existence. Nor are East and West any longer divided by ideology. Rather, what we are seeing across the northern hemisphere is a nationalist-protectionist backlash against globalization, a (temporary) strengthening of the centralized bureaucratic national state at the expense of free-market global finance, and a worrying intensification of post-democratic managerialism and political populism (as Christopher Lasch and Paul Piccone remarked as early as the 1970s and 1980s).

As such, the new East-West fault line is neither military nor ideological but instead geo-strategic. Not unlike the United States and its European allies, Russia and her fellow autocratic regimes in Central Asia seek to consolidate and extend their sphere of political, economic, and cultural influence. What we are witnessing is a contest between rival blocs vying for trans-regional hegemony within the wider Eurasian space, with each “great power” backing client states and waging war by proxy. The latest examples include the West’s support for Kosovo against Russia’s ally Serbia and the Russian intervention in South Ossetia against the pro-Western regime in Georgia. Of course, there is no strict moral equivalence between East and West, but in geopolitics and international relations there never is. America, Europe, and Russia have at different times been on the wrong side of aggression, war, and occupation. Surely the world is not divided between good and evil, with Russia “either with us or with our enemies.”

As things stand, Eurasia faces the prospect of more confrontation between the “great powers.” The trouble is that in trying to extend their sphere of influence, they provoke each other and stir up small-country nationalism—from Croatia, Serbia, and Kosovo to Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia. This, coupled with the threat of separatism, raises the specter of a Eurasian arc of insecurity stretching from the Balkans via the Caucasus to Central Asia and beyond.

The Eurasian Arc of Insecurity

Across the post-Soviet space and elsewhere in Eurasia, territorial borders are notoriously unstable. However, recent interventions on the Balkans and in the Caucasus have changed the dynamic in favor of secessionism. Taken together, Western recognition of Kosovo and Russia’s support for South Ossetia and Abkhazia have strengthened the cause of violent separatism and unilaterally declared independence. However legitimate their claim to self-determination, breakaway provinces are little more than pawns in an escalating “great power” game. Moreover, unless a new security umbrella is put in place, violence could erupt in the other “frozen conflicts” in Azerbaijan’s Armenian-controlled Nagorno-Karabakh and the Russian-backed former Moldovan province of Transnistria. Contested territories such as the Crimea, home to Russia’s Black Sea fleet, might be next. We could also see an acute outbreak of secessionist fever in the Serbian enclave of Bosnia and Kosovo, or in the multi-ethnic state of Macedonia—not to mention Russia’s North Caucasus, Uzbekistan’s Andijan region, and the Chinese northwestern province of Xinjiang.

After the brutal confrontation in Georgia, a return to the status quo ante—as demanded by the United States and the European Union—is both unrealistic and undesirable. The post-conflict settlements of the early 1990s settled nothing. The ceasefire accords failed to stop inter-ethnic strife and paramilitary fighting. Worse, separatist regions were abandoned in a geopolitical no-man’s-land. A mix of U.S. disinterest, European indecision, and Russian weakness limited direct foreign interventions and preserved an uneasy East-West truce. With the 1999 NATO war on Russia’s ally Serbia over Kosovo, this fragile and vastly imperfect equilibrium became unhinged. After 9/11, the Bush Administration continued President Clinton’s NATO expansion and extended American unilateralism to Russia’s southern rim, building military bases in the Caucasus and Central Asia and supporting pro-western regime change through “color revolutions” in Georgia, Ukraine, and beyond.

A resurgent Russia is determined to halt and reverse what she sees as western expansionism in Moscow’s backyard and a direct threat to Russia’s national security. Prime Minister Putin and President Medvedev’s intervention in the Caucasus is the first military fight-back in an attempt to restore Russia’s “natural sphere of influence” and to defend what President Medvedev called, in the aftermath of the Georgian war, Moscow’s “privileged interests” in countries with which Russia has extensive historical and cultural ties. In response, the United States and its partners in Central and Eastern Europe have pressed for NATO enlargement to Georgia and Ukraine and called for international containment and isolation of Russia, all in the name of enlightened interests that serve sovereign nations and uphold the values of the self-anointed “international community.” What beckons is a drift toward further East-West confrontation.

Sovereign Power and the Limits of International Law

The problem with both the eastern and the western stance is that, first of all, the defense and pursuit of “privileged” or “enlightened” interests risks violating the principle of national state sovereignty (whose roots can be traced to the 1648 Peace of Westphalia). This principle, which has been repeatedly invoked by Russia, is of course one of the cornerstones of international law since at least the post-1919 settlement. Second, by effectively elevating Russian national interests over those of its neighbors, the Kremlin comes perilously close to inventing its own variant of the Monroe Doctrine—with the key difference that America tends to see U.S. interest as synonymous with the interests of mankind and the rest of the world, whereas Moscow’s outlook does not so far extend much beyond the post-Soviet space.

However, the existence of “great power” spheres of influence undermines the very foundations of the international system by causing permanent instability and provoking proxy wars. Indeed, as early as 2003—the year of regime change in Iraq and Georgia—the Bush Administration blamed the Westphalian system of state sovereignty for competition and war and sought to replace it with an alliance or federation of democracies under the sole leadership of America—an idea that inspired Senator John McCain’s call to abolish the United Nations in favor of a “League of Democracies.”

Far from being a post-9/11 invention, the underlying neoconservative ideology inspired the liberal interventionism of Clinton and Blair in the (second half of the) 1990s. Not only did it legitimate “humanitarian warfare” on the Balkans and in Kosovo, but it also led to a fundamental change in international law, as codified in the principle of “Responsibility to Protect” adopted by the United Nations in 2005. In principle, there is nothing wrong with limited military interventions aimed at preventing or stopping ethnic cleansing or genocide. However, without a transcendent account of justice and a proper supranational authority that is not beholden to national veto power, the “Responsibility to Protect”—with few exceptions—has become an instrument of blackmail, intimidation, and selective interference in the hands of the “great powers” that use indiscriminate aerial bombing in order to enforce the norms of civilization on the ground.

More fundamentally, the international system in its present configuration is caught in an irreconcilable contradiction between the twin principles of national sovereignty and territorial integrity, on the one hand, and the right to national self-determination and the “Responsibility to Protect,” on the other hand. In order to contain the inevitable tensions between rival national self-interest and the “shared” norms enshrined in international law, the interstate system requires an authority that can arbitrate conflicts and adjudicate disputes. In the absence of a proper global and universally recognized authority independent of national veto power, individual “great powers”—chief of all the United States—arrogate to themselves the right to decide on legality and legitimacy. In so doing, they cease to be subject to international law while at the same time purporting to embody and defend the values and principles of the international community. Russia’s sterile appeal to international law is therefore unlikely to prevent or mitigate the clash between rival, overlapping spheres of influence and interest.

Moreover, the core problem with international law is that it is constitutively incapable of limiting the power of states. This is so because the state monopolizes sovereignty in this sense that it alone has the power to decide on the “state of exception”—the suspension of the law for the sake of protecting the law against external threats and enemies (as Giorgio Agamben has recently documented in his eponymous book, translated in 2005). In its present form, the interstate system is clearly grounded in the primacy of national state sovereignty over international, trans-statal law and, crucially, ius gentium. (Here Carl Schmitt’s account in The Nomos of the Earth of the difference between the medieval ius gentium and the modern ius inter gentes is apposite.) As a result, unmediated absolute sovereignty creates the potential for violence within and between states that the central state purports to regulate on the basis of its monopoly on the use of physical force (as Max Weber argued).

While it is true that globalization and civil society have to some extent diluted central power and diffused state sovereignty, it is equally true that the ongoing economic turmoil has once more strengthened the power of the state in collusion with the market—at the expense of intermediary institutions and local communities. Crucially, recent security threats such as Islamic terrorism or cross-border crime have been used by states as a pretext to extend executive power to the detriment of legislative scrutiny and judicial oversight. However, not unlike transnational markets, transnational security threats have not as yet led to transnational structures that pool national state sovereignty in order better to protect collectivities. These problems are also reflected in the inadequate security arrangements in the Eurasian space.

The Inadequacy of Eurasian Security Arrangements

If international law cannot effectively limit the power of sovereign states, the only alternative to a clash of “great powers” is to pool sovereignty and to establish shared security structures. The Georgian crisis revealed once more how inadequate the prevailing security arrangements in the wider European and Eurasian space are. None of the existing organizations is capable of adjudicating transnational, interstate territorial disputes or resolving the fate of regions that seek autonomy. What Europe and Eurasia require is a different security architecture that can minimize the ubiquitous risk of conflict contagion and provide long-term political settlements.

Unsurprisingly, the dominant security organizations in Eurasia are all ill adapted to this imperative. NATO in particular lacks a coherent conceptual basis. Originally designed to provide collective defense guarantees in exchange for limited national sovereignty, NATO has been transformed into an attacking alliance, waging “humanitarian warfare” on the Balkans and converting Afghanistan to democracy by force. The NATO-Russia Council is nothing more than a talking shop designed to pacify Moscow and to provide a semblance of Euro-Atlantic cooperation. Eastward expansion has already proven divisive and destabilizing, precisely in Georgia and the Ukraine, where the ruling elites seem to ignore the will of the people they purport to defend and empower. As the symbol of Atlantic unipolarity, NATO encapsulates the failure of the West to offer a pan-European security umbrella beyond the old East-West divide.

For its part, Moscow looks to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as NATO’s eastern rival, especially at a time when the West faces a growing insurgency in Afghanistan and mounting resistance by Pakistani militants who threaten to cut off supply routes. By coming to NATO’s aid in Afghanistan, member states like Russia and China hope to establish and legitimate the SCO internationally. Moreover, the Kremlin hopes to forge closer ties between the SCO and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a military alliance of Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan that includes mutual security guarantees. But pro-western (though not necessarily pro-democratic) ex-Soviet countries like Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova refuse any SCO-led mediation. They have withdrawn from the CSTO and have instead set up the Organization for Democracy and Economic Development (GUAM), an intended counterweight to Russian regional domination. As such, Russia’s current alliances are limited in scope and reach. More fundamentally, both the SCO and the CSTO are founded on the absolute supremacy of sovereign states and do not have any provisions to pool the sovereignty of their members.

The EU’s limits are less evident but no less real. The Union is the only framework where sovereignty is bounded and shared by member-states and power is diffused. Moreover, the EU is a growing civilian force and Eurasia’s single largest trading partner. But its post-national constitution and economic clout are not matched by its geopolitical weight. Since the 1991 common foreign and security policy, the EU has neither developed a shared geostrategic vision nor put in place the necessary military capabilities. Crucially, the Union is deeply divided over Russia, with the United Kingdom and “new Europe” opposed to the EU-Russia strategic partnership favored by Italy, France, and Germany. Without a collective Ostpolitik, how can Brussels hope to engage Russia and offer a credible alternative to NATO?

With 56 member states from Vancouver to Vladivostok, the OSCE is of course the only genuinely multilateral forum that focuses on conflict resolution and conducts field missions in the Caucasus and elsewhere in Eurasia. However, the organization’s effectiveness is seriously undermined by a lack of political authority and the absence of independent capabilities. In South Ossetia and other conflict areas, OSCE monitors have a useful role to play, but in the present configuration the shots are called elsewhere—in Washington and Moscow.

The Berlin Doctrine

As a result of the transition to a new administration and the worsening economic crisis, there is currently a foreign and security policy vacuum at the heart of U.S. politics. This provides an opening for Russia (and possibly the EU) to influence the agenda of President Obama and to frame the debate on the future of East-West relations. Medvedev’s speech in Berlin on June 5, 2008, on his first trip to the West as President, set the tone for renewed reflections on an expanded Euro-Atlantic Community that includes Russia not on Western but instead on shared terms. Then-Senator Obama’s speech in the same city on July 24, 2008, echoed the desire to overcome the current East-West divisions and to build a new global order on the basis of universal values.

Critics will contend that all this was empty rhetoric void of any substance. They will assert that a twenty-first-century pan-European security community is utopian and that East and West will continue to diverge, as they have done since at least 2003. However, without a common framework that is based on new rules binding on all and that extends to Russia (as well as possibly China and some Central Asian countries), transregional security threats in the wider Eurasian space, such as terrorism or separatism, and cross-border security problems, such as organized crime cartels, will only intensify. The Obama administration has already acknowledged that the United States is unable to solve global problems alone and that America will have to forge new partnerships in order to confront shared security threats. There is thus a unique window of opportunity to develop a new security doctrine and a new security framework.

Indeed, all the dominant security concepts since the end of the Cold War are conceptually flawed and geopolitically obsolete. The post-1989/90 world order of multilateral cooperation and boundless globalization failed in Somalia, Rwanda, and the Balkans. Post-9/11 U.S. unilateralism and conversion to democracy by force was defeated on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan as well as, more recently, in Georgia. The “global war on terror” that briefly brought Russia and the Atlantic community together was purely tactical and always lacked any substantive geostrategic basis.

By contrast, the post–Cold War vision of a Euro-Atlantic security Treaty as enshrined in the 1990 Paris Charter that transformed the CSCE into the OSCE might have provided a starting point for a pan-European “security community” (Karl Deutsch)—had it not been for the “unipolar moment” (Charles Krauthammer) that drove a permanent wedge between NATO and Russia and prevented any genuine rapprochement between East and West. Now that the “Atlantic unipole” has conspicuously failed to provide an effective and reliable security umbrella even for the West and its new allies (as Georgia experienced in August 2008), it is imperative to replace U.S.-led Western unilateralism with a pan-Eurasian settlement that includes Russia and perhaps also China and Central Asia.

That is in part what the Russian leadership has in mind. Since his Berlin speech, President Medvedev has repeatedly offered his European and Atlantic counterparts to put in place a Treaty on European Security. Such a treaty would provide collective security guarantees for all parties and lay down common norms governing bilateral and multilateral relations. In his address to the World Policy Conference on October 8, 2008, in Evian, President Medvedev stated that his idea is to convene a pan-European security conference with the participation not only of individual states but also of international organizations active in Europe, including the European Union, NATO, the Council of Europe, and the OSCE. Dubbed “Helsinki-2,” President Medvedev’s plan is of course modeled on the OSCE’s forebear, the CSCE—a two-year process of sustained East-West engagement in the 1970s that was instrumental in mitigating the binary logic of the Cold War and establishing a common framework for regular discussion and multilateral negotiation. With the OSCE’s remit effectively reduced to the “low politics,” neither the NATO-Russia Council nor the EU’s strategic partnership with Moscow ever provided a comparable platform.

More specifically, President Medvedev’s Evian speech set out a number of principles that should govern a Treaty on Security in Europe: first of all, a collective “commitment to fulfill in good faith obligations under international law; respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of states, and respect for all of the other principles set out in the truly fundamental document that is the United Nations Charter”; second, the “inadmissibility of the use of force or the threat of its use in international relations”; third, mutually binding collective security guarantees; fourth, no unilateral, bilateral, or rival multilateral action that undermines the unity of the common security space; fifth, “no development of military alliances that would threaten the security of other parties to the Treaty”; sixth, “no state or international organization can have exclusive rights to maintaining peace and stability in Europe,” a provision that “applies fully to Russia as well”; finally, “basic arms control parameters and reasonable limits on military construction,” as well as new cooperation procedures and mechanisms in areas such as WMD proliferation, terrorism, and drug trafficking.”

To be sure, this list of principles and provisions is neither coherent nor comprehensive. President Medvedev’s emphasis on international law is laudable, but given the tensions and contradictions that I highlighted earlier, what is required is a profound overhaul of the international legal system. Based on a revised set of principles that codify shared sovereignty, a European Treaty on Security could make a contribution to a proper reform of international law. Here there is common ground with the EU’s post-national political structure. In addition to internal inconsistencies, the main obstacle to President Medvedev’s initiative is a lack of political will on the part of EU leaders and the U.S. government. It is clear that President Medvedev’s intention is to change the terms of the debate on the future of security in Europe away from NATO toward a new body that includes Russia as a founding member. As such, his proposal is unacceptable to most EU countries and virtually all NATO allies. Moreover, even France and Germany’s response have been muted. For example, the French President Nicholas Sarkozy seemed to welcome President Medvedev’s initiative, but by offering to discuss it at the next OSCE summit in 2009, he immediately downgraded the idea of a new Treaty on European Security to a simple revamp of the OSCE Charter.

With NATO determined to press ahead with eastern enlargement and the EU divided on Russia as well as lacking a coherent geostrategic vision, President Medvedev will make little progress at a multilateral level. The Kremlin has long given up on joining NATO or forging a substantive partnership with the Union in the area of security or even defense. It views NATO as a Cold War relic and the EU as little more than a common market with some crisis-management capabilities. As a result, the Russian leadership will probably try to rally bilateral support for its initiative among major European powers such as France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. However, the greatest and most pressing challenge will be to convince the Obama Administration to take the Russian proposal seriously. President Medvedev needs a road map that sets out a credible process from the status quo to a new pan-Eurasian security settlement.

How to Get from Here to There and Avoid the Big Bear Trap?

Left unchallenged, the current dynamic that drives East-West relations will lead to further estrangement, confrontation, and conflict by proxy. Since the end of the Cold War, the West’s policy toward Russia and the rest of the post-Soviet space has been conducted almost exclusively on Western terms and conditions. Neither Russia’s full integration into the North Atlantic alliance nor her total encirclement is realistic or desirable. Now the choice is between isolation and engagement on common terms. The West needs to give Russia equal ownership of a joint framework to devise principles and mechanisms for a new security doctrine. By accepting equal ownership of a joint process, the West could in exchange press Moscow for a permanent political settlement of Europe’s outstanding territorial conflicts.

Let me sketch the contours of a possible concrete roadmap. A first step would be to set up a high-level U.S.-Russian commission charged with rethinking bilateral relations. Based on the wide-ranging agreement signed in April 2008 by former Presidents Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush, such a commission could recognize shared interests in addressing common security problems in the Eurasian space and coordinate joint action to fight the most pressing threats. With confidence-building measures, improved U.S.-Russian relations are a condition sine qua non for an overarching Eurasian security structure.

A second step would be to convene a security conference with the participation of the United States, Russia, the European Union, possibly China, separatist regions and their (former) masters. Not unlike the Annapolis summit, such a meeting could begin by acknowledging mutual security interests and recognizing the problems of unilateral declarations of independence such as in the case of Kosovo, Abkh

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