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Ukraine And European Security - International Mechanisms
As Non-Military Options For National Security Of Ukraine.

Bohdan Lupiy
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Chapter 2 Ukraine's National Interests. Existing Trends In Foreign And Security Policies.

Section 1. Theoretical background

The problem of ralistically defined national interests which constitute the ground state foreign policy confronted Ukrainian policy-makers from the very moment of proclaiming independence.

When considering the state's foreign policy as one of the key instruments of national security strategy, it would be useful to refer to the methodological discussion over the notion of the "state national interest" and, through this, to define the national interests of Ukraine and thus, main tasks of Ukrainian diplomacy.

The notion of "national interest" has deep historical and theological roots. It considers to be linked with pessimistic realism of XVth century and to a large extend represents a disavowal of earlier Western sources in Helehic Idealism and Judeo-Christian morality, as well as the ideas of some medieval churchmen, such as Thomas Aquinas.(107) Latter, the philosophical background of the concept was largely crystallized by the teaching of Machiavelly and Clausevits.(108)

In the 1930-th European Philosophy became exposed to the idea of the "realist" method which stressed the national interest as its primary basis(109). Originating the knowledge of medieval philosophers (particularly, Machiavelly), the representatives of European "realist" school in political studies transformed their advance to the soil of American science. Among them was the German academician Hans Morgenthau, who attempted to approach "how states ought to behave"(110).

Containing some controversies, Morgenthau's principles have not been vastly accepted among modern Western scholars,(111) nevertheless, his approach can be considerably useful, when discussing the definition of Ukraine's state interest.

One should remember, that Ukraine has had almost no experience relevant to modern, democratic statehood and there was no historical precedent for Ukrainian statesmen to decide about priorities of Ukrainian state and its policy.

In spite of these facts, it would be justifiable to use the Realist approach of Morgenthau as theoretical background for the following chapter.

According to Morgenthau there are two levels of national interest - the vital and the secondary. The first, vital interests are relatively easy to define: 'security has a free and independent nation and protection of institutions, people and fundamental values'(112).

Secondary interests of the state are harder to specify. Indeed, they are "somewhat removed from your borders and represent no threat to your sovereignty"(113)

Realists distinguish between temporary and permanent, specific and general, complementary and conflicting interests. For example, while aware of human rights violation in Chechnya by the Russian Army, it would not be effective for Ukrainian leadership to support President Dudaev by breaking diplomatic links with Russia. In given situation, driven by national interest, Ukraine recognizes Chechnya's war as Russian internal problem, while demands the continuation of the military clash and achieving the diplomatic resolution of the conflict by peaceful means. To put it more simply, 'every country has national values, but the statesman who acts on them without reference to the national interest risk to damage the nation'.(114)

Taking into account Ukraine's geopolitical location and having examined threat perceptions to Ukraine's security it is possible to drive the scheme, outlining Ukraine's national interests, as following:

Ukraine's national interests

  • Importance
    • Vital
      • Economic Self-Sufficiency;
      • Integration into the international economic fora
    • Secondary
      • Political relations with non-European CIS states.

  • Duration
    • Temporary
      • Participation in the UN peace-keeping operations in former Yugoslavia
    • Permanent
      • Friendly relations with Russia

    • Specifity
      • Specific
        • Development of Energetic basis
      • General
        • Non-Nuclear Status of Ukraine

    • Compatibility
      • Complementary
        • Russian peace-keeping in the former USSR area
      • Conflicting
        • Russian Black Sea Fleet units in Ukraine
    Although, a table which put above is not an infinite one, it can serve as a quite useful framework for considering and evaluating current trends in Ukrainian foreign and security policies in the folowing analysis.(115)

    Such hierarchy of the national interests created some important implications for Ukrainian foreign policy. Indeed, the foreign policy orientation of Ukraine is largely determined by two factors - domestic politics or country's internal situation, and external element - Russian policy to Kiev. These two components have directly influenced the formulation of country's foreign policy, which has been most seemed in its relation to economic crisis, domestic separatism and political developments in Moscow.

    One should also remember about such an important mark of Ukrainian history as the absence of allies that could support the Ukrainian state. Thus, one of the most important goals of the policy of Ukraine was the goal of obtaining such an ally.

    Hovewer, as it will be demonstrated, there were some difficulties with the realization of the concept of the national interest of Ukraine, especially while dealing with both Russia and Western world.

    For better understanding of the formation and formulation of Ukraine's foreign policy, it seems to be useful to study the existing trends in Ukrainian foreign and security strategies. Such analysis can also characterise the perceptions of threats to the state security among Ukrainian leaders and demonstrate a ground, on which Ukrainian leaders based their policy.

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