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The Three Seas Initiative: geographical determinants, geopolitical foundations, and prospective challenges

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The Three Seas (Baltic-Adriatic-Black) Initiative was originally rationalised as a geopolitical alliance of NATO/EU member states of “New Europe”, from Estonia to Croatia, connecting the Baltic and Adriatic Seas. The member states, with the exception of Austria, share certain common denominators, such as communist history and NATO membership, prior to EU membership. The idea resembles the geopolitical idea of Intermarium, which was envisioned as a federation of independent Central and Eastern European states, based mostly on the ethnic principle. At present day, the Initiative is also intended to contain the influence of Russia and pull the states between EU/NATO and Russia out of the Russian sphere of influence. The post-communist NATO/EU member states are bandwagoning towards the U.S. and perceive NATO as the guarantor of their security. The Three Seas Initiative represents a geopolitical wedge between EU/Bruxelles and Moscow or, in geopolitical and historical terms, between Germany and Russia.
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99
e ree Seas (Baltic-Adriatic-Black) Initiative
was originally rationalised as a geopolitical alliance of
NATO/EU member states of “New Europe”, from
Estonia to Croatia, connecting the Baltic and Adriatic
Seas. e member states, with the exception of Austria,
share certain common denominators, such as communist
history and NATO membership, prior to EU membership.
e idea resembles the geopolitical idea of Intermarium,
which was envisioned as a federation of independent
Central and Eastern European states, based mostly on
the ethnic principle. At present day, the Initiative is also
intended to contain the inuence of Russia and pull the
states between EU/NATO and Russia out of the Russian
sphere of inuence. e post-communist NATO/EU
member states are bandwagoning towards the U.S. and
perceive NATO as the guarantor of their security. e
ree Seas Initiative represents a geopolitical wedge
between EU/Bruxelles and Moscow or, in geopolitical
and historical terms, between Germany and Russia.
Key words: e ree Seas Initiative, Intermarium,
Central and South-Eastern Europe, the Visegrad Group,
NATO, Russia, Geopolitics.
Inicijativa triju mora (Baltičko, Jadransko i Crno
more) izvorno je zamišljena kao geopolitički savez
država članica NATO-a i EU-a iz „Nove Europe”,
kao poveznica Baltičkoga i Jadranskoga mora, od
Estonije do Hrvatske. Države članice, osim Austrije,
imaju zajedničke nazivnike: komunističku prošlost i
članstvo u NATO-u koje je prethodilo članstvu u EU-
u. Ideja podsjeća na geopolitičku ideju Intermariuma,
zamišljenog kao federacija neovisnih država srednje
i istočne Europe, uglavnom zasnovana na načelu
etniciteta. Današnji je smisao Inicijative zadržavanje
utjecaja Rusije i izvlačenje država smještenih između
NATO-a odnosno EU-a i Rusije iz sfere ruskoga
utjecaja. Postkomunističke članice NATO-a i EU-a
priklanjaju se SAD-u i doživljavaju NATO kao jamca
vlastite sigurnosti. Inicijativa triju mora geopolitički
je klin između Bruxellesa i Moskve, odnosno, u
geopolitičkom i povijesnom smislu, između Njemačke
i Rusije.
Ključne riječi: Inicijativa triju mora, Intermarium, srednja
i jugoistočna Europa, Višegradska skupina, NATO,
Rusija, geopolitika.
HRVATSKI GEOGRAFSKI GLASNIK 80/1, 99−124 (2018.)
The Three Seas Initiative: geographical determinants,
geopolitical foundations, and prospective challenges
Inicijativa triju mora: geografske odrednice,
geopolitička utemeljenja i budući izazovi
Petar Kurečić
Received / Primljeno
2017-09-25 / 25-09-2017
Accepted / Prihvaćeno
2018-01-19 / 19-01-2018
UDK 911.3:32](4)
DOI
10.21861/HGG.2018.80.01.05
Review
Pregledni članak
100
HRVATSKI
GEOGRAFSKI
GLASNIK
80/1, 99−124 (2018.)
Introduction
e ree Seas (Baltic-Adriatic-Black, BABS)
Initiative, was originally initiated in 2015 as the
Adriatic-Baltic Sea Initiative by the Croatian Pres-
ident Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, and has also been
referred to as the ABC (Adriatic, Baltic, and Black
Sea1) Initiative (rst designated as such by Polish
President Andrzej Duda) in Poland and Croatia
(its main protagonist countries), or “the Vertical”,
considering the generally predominant direction of
the bloc of countries, which comprise this Initiative
(north to south). With the inclusion of Bulgaria and
Romania, the Adriatic-Baltic Sea Initiative became
the ree Seas Initiative (hereafter, the Initiative).
e Initiative is an alliance of post-communist
NATO and European Union (hereafter: the EU)
member states of Rumsfeld’s “New Europe”, from
Estonia in the north to Croatia in the southwest, and
Bulgaria in the southeast, plus Austria. e president
of Croatia sees Bosnia and Herzegovina as the pos-
sible future member of the Initiative. All member
states, except Austria, share several common denom-
inators, such as recent communist past and NATO
membership, obtained prior to EU accession.
e idea of the Initiative seems like a revival, adjust-
ed to the contemporary era, of the geopolitical idea of
Intermarium, which was envisioned as a federation of
independent Central and East European states, based
mainly on the ethnic principle. After the First World
War, that would mean an imminent dissolution of the
Soviet Russia/Soviet Union. e contemporary In-
itiative has similar goals – containing the inuence
of Russia and drawing the area between NATO/
EU and Russia (Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova) out
of the Russian sphere of inuence, as well as keep-
ing foothold in the Caucasus (Georgia), and there-
by promoting the interests of the U.S., as the great
power--emulating the Inter-War period inuence of
France--in the region. e member states of the Initi-
ative are bandwagoning towards the U.S. and perceive
NATO as the guarantor of their security. ey mostly
share what are, in liberal European political thought,
designated as illiberal (conservative) tendencies. e
Visegrad Group states (Czech Republic, Hungary,
1 The Polish term for the Black Sea is Morze (sea) Czarne (black), while
the Croatian term is Crno more.
Uvod
Inicijativu triju mora (Baltičko, Jadransko i
Crno more) pokrenula je, izvorno kao Inicijativu
Jadran-Baltik, predsjednica Republike Hrvatske
K. Grabar-Kitarović 2015. godine. U Poljskoj i
Hrvatskoj (glavnim državama promicateljima)
još se naziva i ABC inicijativom,1 kako ju je prvi
put nazvao poljski predsjednik Duda, odnosno
Uspravnicom, s obzirom na prevladavajući smjer
pružanja bloka država koje ju čine (sjever-jug).
Uključivanjem Bugarske i Rumunjske Inicijati-
va Jadran-Baltik postala je Inicijativa triju mora
(dalje u tekstu: Inicijativa). Inicijativa je u biti sa-
vez postkomunističkih država članica NATO-a i
Europske unije (dalje u tekstu: EU), iz Rumsfel-
dove „Nove Europe”, od Estonije na sjeveru do
Hrvatske na jugozapadu i Bugarske na jugoisto-
ku, a uključuje i Austriju. Predsjednica Republi-
ke Hrvatske kao buduću članicu Inicijative vidi i
Bosnu i Hercegovinu. Sve države članice, izuzev
Austrije, imaju nekoliko zajedničkih obilježja, kao
što su (još) nedavna komunistička prošlost i član-
stvo u NATO-u, koje je bilo ulaznica za članstvo
u EU-u.
Ideja Inicijative čini se kao oživljavanje, prila-
gođeno suvremenom razdoblju, geopolitičke ideje
Intermariuma, koji je bio zamišljen kao federacija
neovisnih država srednje i istočne Europe, uglav-
nom zasnovana na načelu etniciteta. Nakon Prvoga
svjetskog rata to bi značilo trenutačan raspad So-
vjetske Rusije, tj. Sovjetskoga Saveza. Suvremena
Inicijativa ima slične ciljeve – zaustavljanje utjeca-
ja Rusije i izvlačenje prostora između NATO-a/
EU-a i Rusije (Ukrajina, Bjelorusija, Moldavija) iz
sfere ruskoga utjecaja, sa zadržavanjem uporišta na
Kavkazu (Gruzija), te shodno tomu pogodovanje
interesima Sjedinjenih Američkih Država (dalje u
tekstu: SAD), kao velesile koja je u regiji naslije-
dila utjecaj Francuske iz razdoblja između dvaju
svjetskih ratova. Države članice Inicijative prikla-
njaju se SAD-u i doživljavaju NATO kao jamca
vlastite sigurnosti. Umnogome pak dijele ono što
se u europskoj političkoj misli naziva neliberalnim
(konzervativnim) tendencijama. Države članice
1 Prema poljskim nazivima za Jadransko, Baltičko i Crno more.
P. Kurečić
e ree Seas
Initiative:
geographical
determinants,
geopolitical
foundations,
and prospective
challenges
Inicijativa triju
mora: geografske
odrednice,
geopolitička
utemeljenja i budući
izazovi
101
Poland, and Slovakia) are sometimes referred to as “il-
liberal democracies” (Illiberal Democracies in the EU,
2017), which share an objection towards the accept-
ance of refugees according to EU-imposed quotas,
and “reluctance” or clear opposition to “Bruxelles”, i.e.
tzv. Višegradske skupine (Češka Republika, Ma-
đarska, Poljska, Slovačka) katkad se nazivaju „ne-
liberalnim demokracijama” (Illiberal Democracies
in the EU, 2017), koje dijele protivljenje primanju
izbjeglica sukladno kvotama usvojenima na razini
Fig. 1 The Three Seas Initiative member states
Sl. 1. Države članice Inicijative Tri mora
102
HRVATSKI
GEOGRAFSKI
GLASNIK
80/1, 99−124 (2018.)
the power of the EU as a whole. e Visegrad Group
is the main proponent of the idea of the EU as a com-
munity of national states, in opposition to the idea of
establishing further political integration of EU states,
and are especially opposed to the idea of the EU as a
federation. ese opposing tendencies are widening
the rising East-West gap within the EU. Additionally,
the Initiative represents a geopolitical wedge between
“Bruxelles” and Moscow or, in geopolitical and his-
torical terms, between Germany and Russia. It is the
main intention of this paper to study the geographical
determinants, geopolitical foundations, and the con-
temporary motives and goals of the Initiative, as well
as the Initiative’s role in the geopolitical relations of
the U.S./EU core states/Russia triangle (Fig. 1).
The Three Seas Initiative in the context of the
Pivot and Heartland theories
In the rst half of the 20th century, Sir Halford
J. Mackinder used the term Eastern Europe2 to de-
scribe the whole eastern part of the European con-
tinent. e term was also used for the same purpose
during the Cold War era. Before the First World
War, the term described the eastern parts of the Ger-
man and Austro-Hungarian empires, as well as the
westernmost parts of the Russian Empire. After the
First World War, eastern parts of the region (then
Eastern Europe) mostly became the part of Soviet
Russia (which became e Soviet Union in 1922),
while the westernmost parts of this region, plus East-
ern Prussia, remained a part of Germany. However,
both states were reduced in their territorial reach. In
the central part of the region(s) a belt of small and
mid-size states, surrounding Germany to the north-
east, east and southeast, emerged as a geopolitical
2 For the purpose of this paper, to designate the contemporary reali-
ties and to limit the scope to the Initiative’s member states, the term
Central Europe signifies the following post-communist NATO/EU
members: the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania), Poland,
the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Slovenia. The term
South-Eastern Europe signifies Bulgaria, Romania, and Croatia,
which joined the EU in 2007 and 2013, respectively. The term Eastern
Europe, is not used to designate this space in the contemporary con-
text; hence the region is no longer overlaid by Soviet influence, and the
borders of the geopolitical East have moved to the east (if the Soviet
Union and not the Warsaw Treaty borders are taken into account, Ka-
liningradska oblast and Belarus are the exceptions). Therefore, in the
contemporary context, in this paper, the term Eastern Europe does
not signify any of the present EU/NATO member states. It signifies
Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, and the European part of Russia.
EU-a te „nevoljkost” ili protivljenje Bruxellesu, tj.
moći EU-a kao cjeline. Višegradska skupina glav-
ni je promicatelj ideje EU-a kao zajednice naci-
onalnih država, suprotnosti ideji uspostave EU-a
kao političke integracije, a posebice se protive ideji
EU-a kao federacije. Te suprotstavljene tenden-
cije nastavljaju širiti postojeći jaz između istoka
i zapada u EU-u. K tomu, Inicijativa predstavlja
geopolitički klin između Bruxellesa i Moskve,
odnosno, geopolitički i povijesno gledano, izme-
đu Njemačke i Rusije. Primarna je namjera ovoga
rada istražiti geografske odrednice, geopolitička
utemeljenja te suvremene motive i ciljeve Inicijati-
ve te njezinu ulogu u trokutu odnosa SAD – drža-
ve jezgre EU-a – Rusija (sl. 1).
Inicijativa triju mora u kontekstu teorija H. J.
Mackindera
U prvoj polovini 20. stoljeća Sir Halford J.
Mackinder čitavu je istočnu polovicu europsko-
ga kontinenta smatrao istočnom Europom.2 Naziv
se u istu svrhu upotrebljavao i tijekom hladno-
ratovskoga razdoblja. Prije Prvoga svjetskog rata
pojam je označavao istočne dijelove Njemačko-
ga i Austro-Ugarskoga Carstva te najzapadnije
dijelove Ruskoga Carstva. Nakon Prvoga svjet-
skog rata istočni dijelovi regije (tadašnja istočna
Europa) uglavnom su postali dijelom sovjetske
Rusije (od 1922. godine Sovjetskoga Saveza), a
najzapadniji dijelovi, uz Istočnu Prusku, ostali
su u Njemačkoj. Međutim, obje države doživje-
le su smanjenje teritorijalnoga opsega. U sre-
dišnjem dijelu regije kao geopolitička stvarnost
pojavljuje se pojas malih država i država srednje
veličine koji sa sjeveroistoka, istoka i jugoistoka
2 Za potrebe ovoga rada, kako bi se označila suvremena realnost i
oznake ograničilo na države Inicijative, naziv srednja Europa označuje
sljedeće postkomunističke države članice NATO-a i EU-a: baltičke
države (Estonija, Latvija, Litva), Poljsku, Češku Republiku, Slovačku
Republiku, Mađarsku i Sloveniju. Naziv jugoistočna Europa označuje
Bugarsku, Rumunjsku i Hrvatsku, koje su se EU-u priključile 2007.
i 2013. godine. Naziv istočna Europa se u suvremenom kontekstu ne
upotrebljava za ovaj prostor jer regija više nije pod sovjetskim utje-
cajem, a granice geopolitičkoga istoka pomakle su se na istok (ako se
računaju granice Sovjetskoga Saveza, a ne Varšavskoga ugovora, Kalin-
jingradska oblast i Bjelorusija su jedini izuzetci, inače ih ne bi ni bilo).
Stoga naziv istočna Europa u ovom radu u suvremenom kontekstu ne
označuje niti jednu državu članicu EU-a i NATO-a, nego se upotrebl-
java za označavanje Bjelorusije, Ukrajine, Moldavije i europskoga dijela
Rusije.
P. Kurečić
e ree Seas
Initiative:
geographical
determinants,
geopolitical
foundations,
and prospective
challenges
Inicijativa triju
mora: geografske
odrednice,
geopolitička
utemeljenja i budući
izazovi
103
reality, separating Germany from the Soviet Union.
It was named Middle Tier by Mackinder, and it de-
scribed the countries between the Baltic, Adriatic,
and the Black Seas – geographical location deter-
minants and precisely what the Initiative has as its
founding principle, to align the states between the
three aforementioned seas. is belt of states later be-
came known as cordon sanitaire (the term emphasised
its purpose – the separation of Germany’s territory
from the territory of the Soviet Union), and it was
also pejoratively christened the Teufels Gürtel 3 (Dev-
il’s Belt) by Haushofer and the German Geopolitik,
which sought the possibility of retribution for the de-
feat in the First World War. After the Second World
War, what emerged on a similar portion of geograph-
ical space, besides an even more territorially-reduced
(and divided) Germany, were mostly the same small
and mid-sized states, under the overwhelming inu-
ence of Soviet military might, located in the centre of
Europe. After the breakup of the Soviet Union and
the reunication of Germany, the region again be-
came prone to geopolitical pressures – U.S./NATO
pressure from the enlarged geopolitical West and the
rebuttal of that pressure from the now shrunken geo-
political East, reduced to Russia and its ally Belarus.
It is exactly to this space that Mackinder referred
when he described the importance of Eastern Eu-
rope in the world’s history (and especially its impor-
tance at the beginning of the 20th century, when he
started devising his ideas, drawing on his knowledge
about the geography of Eurasia). In Mackinder’s pa-
per, titled e Geographical Pivot of History (1904),
Eastern Europe represented the geographically most
convenient entrance to the Pivot (i.e. the Geograph-
ical pivot of history). Domination over the Pivot was
a key for domination over Eurasia, and domination
over Eurasia was the key to world domination. In
Mackinder’s book Democratic Ideals and Reality, pub-
lished in 1919, after the outcome of the First World
War was known, the spread of Pivot was enlarged (it
comprised the whole eastern half of Europe) and it
was renamed to the Heartland.
3 The emergence of mostly small states in the eastern parts of Central
Europe, i.e. Eastern Europe, as the region was known in various parts
of the 20th century, was pejoratively named Kleinstaatengerümpel, a rub-
bish of small states that were supposed to be substituted by various
forms of governance under German (Nazi-led) New European Order.
See: Parker, G. 2014: Western Geopolitical Thought in the 20th Century,
Routledge, London, 186.
okružuje Njemačku te je odvaja od Sovjetskoga
Saveza. Mackinder je ovaj pojas nazvao Middle
Tier ‘Srednji stup’, a odnosio se na države između
Baltičkoga, Jadranskoga i Crnoga mora, čije su
odrednice utemeljenje za osnivanje Inicijative –
stvaranje saveza država između triju spomenutih
mora. Ovaj pojas država kasnije postaje poznat
pod nazivom cordon sanitaire ‘sanitarni pojas’ (na-
ziv označava njegovu svrhu, odvajanje teritorija
Njemačke od teritorija Sovjetskoga Saveza). Na-
vedeni su pojas Haushofer i njemački Geopolitik,
tražeći mogućnost odmazde za poraz u Prvom
svjetskom ratu, nazvali Teufels Gürtel 3 “Vražji
pojas”. Nakon Drugoga svjetskog rata na sličnom
dijelu geografskoga prostora osim još više terito-
rijalno umanjene (i podijeljene) Njemačke nastale
su opet uglavnom male države i države srednje
veličine pod prevladavajućim utjecajem sovjetske
vojne moći u središtu Europe. Nakon raspada So-
vjetskoga Saveza i ujedinjenja Njemačke regija je
ponovno postala izložena geopolitičkim pritisci-
ma – pritisku SAD-a i NATO-a s proširenoga
geopolitičkog zapada i odupiranju tomu pritisku
umanjenoga geopolitičkog istoka, svedenog na
Rusiju i njezinu saveznicu Bjelorusiju.
To je prostor na koji se referirao Mackin-
der, imajući na umu geograju Euroazije, kada
je opisivao važnost istočne Europe u povijesti
svijeta (a pogotovo njezinu važnost na početku
20. stoljeća, kada je počinjao razvijati svoje ide-
je). U Mackinderovu članku Geographical Pivot
of History (1904) istočna Europa geografski je
najpogodniji ulaz u Stožer (Pivot, Geografski
stožer povijesti). Dominacija nad Stožerom bila
je ključ za prevlast nad Euroazijom, a prevlast
nad Euroazijom bila je ključ svjetske prevlasti.
U Mackinderovoj knjizi Democratic Ideals and
Reality, objavljenoj 1919. g. nakon što je bio po-
znat ishod Prvoga svjetskog rata, opseg Stože-
ra je veći (obuhvaćao je cijelu istočnu polovicu
Europe) te mu je ime promijenjeno u Heartland
„Srce zemlje”.
3 Pojava većinom malih država u istočnom dijelu srednje Europe, tj. is-
točne Europe, pod kojim je nazivom regija bila poznata u pojedinim
razdobljima 20. stoljeća, pogrdno je nazvano Kleinstaatengerümpel ‘Ot-
pad malih država’, koje su trebale biti zamijenjene različitim oblicima
vladavine pod njemačkim (nacističkim) Novim europskim poretkom.
Parker, G. 2014: Western Geopolitical Thought in the 20th Century, Rout-
ledge, London, 186.
104
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On the centennial of Mackinder’s afore-men-
tioned famous paper, published in the Geographical
Journal, Paul Kennedy, Yale historian, wrote an ar-
ticle titled e Pivot of History, about Mackinder’s
ideas and their contemporary signicance. Writing
in a period when the U.S.-UK led occupation of
Iraq was beginning to look more like a mild suc-
cess, Kennedy was also pointing to Mackinder’s
contemporary geopolitical resonances: ‘Right now,
with hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops in the
Eurasian rimlands and with an administration con-
stantly explaining why it has to stay on the course, it
looks as if Washington is taking seriously Mackind-
er’s injunction to ensure control of “the geographi-
cal pivot of history”’. Some of today’s U.S. neo-con-
servative intellectuals make admiring reference to
former British rule in that region, and have called
for the creation of a U.S. ‘colonial oce’ (Kennedy,
2004, in Dodds and Sidaway, 2004: 292)”.
It also has to be emphasised that, in his ration-
alizations, Mackinder gave preference to geographi-
cal over human quantities, because ‘the geographical
quantities are more measurable and more nearly con-
stant’ (Mackinder, 1904: 437). Accentuating the im-
portance of geography in his later published speech,
Mackinder explained his view on the factors that de-
termine the balance of power, and also emphasised the
central position of Germany in Europe. According to
Mackinder, Germany was to Europe what Russia was
to the world – a central power. What was particular-
ly worrisome for Mackinder was the possibility that
Russia would become too powerful. He also predicted
that it would be particularly dangerous if Germany
was to ally itself with Russia (Mackinder, 1904: 436).
e Initiative ts into Mackinder’s world view and
represents a contemporary reply to one of his most
important geopolitical ideas:
•
First, the northern part of the Initiative is located
in the part of Mackinder’s Inner Crescent, from
which the Russian core can be successfully at-
tacked, due to its relative closeness, and the low-
lands that prevail in the geography of this space,
without real natural barriers. Although it seems
like a distant possibility at present day, the inva-
sions of the Russian core were attempted success-
fully up to a critical point for Russia in 1812 and
the Soviet Union in 1941. In contemporary con-
Na stotu obljetnicu objave spomenutoga slavnog
Mackinderova članka, objavljenog u Geographical
Journal, povjesničar sa Sveučilišta Yale Paul Ken-
nedy napisao je članak e pivot of history o Mac-
kinderovim idejama i njihovu suvremenom znača-
ju. Pišući u razdoblju dok je okupacija Iraka, koju
su vodile SAD i Ujedinjeno Kraljevstvo, izgledala
uspješno, Kennedy je isticao Mackinderove suvre-
mene geopolitičke odjeke: „Upravo sada sa stotina-
ma tisuća američkih postrojbi u rubnim dijelovima
Euroazije i vladom koja neprekidno objašnjava za-
što mora zadržati ovaj smjer (politiku) čini se kao
da Washington ozbiljno shvaća Mackinderov nalog
o osiguravanju kontrole nad ‘geografskim stožerom
povijesti’. Neki od suvremenih američkih neokon-
zervativnih intelektualaca daju izjave pune pošto-
vanja za nekadašnju britansku vladavinu u regiji te
su pozvali na stvaranje ‘kolonijalnog ureda’ SAD-a”
(Kennedy, 2004, u: Dodds i Sidaway, 2004: 292).
Treba naglasiti da je Mackinder u svojim pro-
mišljanjima davao prednost geografskim kvanti-
tetama nad antropogenim zato što su „geografske
kvantitete mjerljivije i gotovo potpuno konstan-
tne“ (Mackinder, 1904: 437). Naglašujući važ-
nost geograje u kasnije objavljenom govoru,
Mackinder je objasnio svoje viđenje čimbenika
koji određuju ravnotežu snaga te je istaknuo sre-
dišnju poziciju Njemačke u Europi. Po njemu je
Njemačka bila za Europu ono što je Rusija bila za
svijet – središnja sila. Mackindera je pak posebno
zabrinjavala mogućnost da Rusija postane prejaka.
Također je predvidio da bi bilo posebno opasno
kad bi se Njemačka povezala s Rusijom (Mackin-
der, 1904: 436).
Inicijativa se dakle uklapa u Mackinderovo viđe-
nje svijeta i predstavlja suvremeni odgovor na jednu
od njegovih najvažnijih geopolitičkih ideja jer:
•
Prvo, sjeverni dio Inicijative nalazi se u dije-
lu Mackinderova Inner Crescent ‘Unutarnjega
prstena’, iz kojega se može uspješno napasti
jezgra Rusije, s obzirom na njezinu blizinu i
nizine koje prevladavaju u reljefu ovoga pro-
stora, bez pravih prirodnih prepreka. Iako se
ovo u sadašnjosti čini malo vjerojatnim, inva-
zije na jezgru Rusije uspješno su izvedene sve
do kritične točke za Rusiju 1812. godine i za
Sovjetski Savez 1941. godine. U suvremenim
P. Kurečić
e ree Seas
Initiative:
geographical
determinants,
geopolitical
foundations,
and prospective
challenges
Inicijativa triju
mora: geografske
odrednice,
geopolitička
utemeljenja i budući
izazovi
105
ditions, only Belarus serves as cordon sanitaire for
Russia, while NATO has a higher depth of possi-
ble battleeld.
•
Second, the opposite aspect of the Initiative’s geo-
graphical position is comprised in the fact that Rus-
sia’s inuence and a possible threat must be con-
tained in the Baltic region, as the border of NATO
has moved signicantly to the east. erefore, the
Initiative, supported by Initiative’s and NATO’s
member states troops, serves as a deterrent.
•
ird, by its geographical position, the Initiative is
tted and destined to geographically separate and
therefore contain the inuence of two land-based
powers, Russia and Germany, which are today still
central by their geographical location (Germany
for Europe, and Russia for Eurasia). Concurrent-
ly, their geopolitical positions are quite dierent.
Mackinder’s prognosis that a world empire might
be visible if Germany was to ally herself with Rus-
sia at present seems unrealistic. However, Germany
and Russia need not to formally ally themselves in
order to achieve the dominance in the western and
central part of Eurasia – because this dominance
is encoded in their geography and capabilities.
Apart from their geographical positions, the dom-
inance of Germany and Russia in the greater part
of continental Eurasia is based on the productive
and (in general) economic capabilities of Germany
and the abundance of raw materials, especially oil
and natural gas, as well as the military capabili-
ties of Russia. eir economic cooperation, despite
formally tightened political relations, terries U.S.
policy makers up to a point that they are passing
the laws that are indirectly trying to prevent any
new cooperation, particularly in the domain of en-
ergy (e.g. Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline).
Other geographers that have addressed
the geopolitical signicance of Central and
Eastern Europe
J. F. Unstead (1923) called East-Central Europe
the “belt of political change in Europe”, because
of the great instability that haunted the area. Ge-
ographical barriers, repeated intrusions by neigh-
bouring major powers, as well as mutual fears and
uvjetima samo Bjelorusija služi kao cordon sa-
nitaire Rusiji, dok NATO ima veću dubinu
mogućega ratišta.
•
Drugo, suprotno viđenje geografskoga položa-
ja Inicijative sastoji se u činjenici da se utjecaj
Rusije mora zaustaviti na Baltiku jer se granica
NATO-a prilično pomaknula na istok. Stoga
Inicijativa, koju podupiru postrojbe država čla-
nica Inicijative i NATO-a, služi kao sredstvo
odvraćanja.
• Treće, prema svojem geografskom položaju Ini-
cijativa je pogodna i predodređena da geografski
razdvaja i tako zaustavlja utjecaj dviju kopnenih
sila Rusije i Njemačke, koje su i danas središnje
po svojem smještaju (Njemačka u Europi, Rusija
u Euroaziji). Istovremeno su njihovi geopoli-
tički položaji prilično drugačiji. Mackinderovo
predviđanje da bi svjetsko carstvo moglo biti na
vidiku ako bi se Njemačka povezala s Rusijom
danas se čini nerealnim. Međutim, Njemačka
i Rusija ne moraju formalno postati savezni-
ce kako bi ostvarile dominaciju u zapadnom i
središnjem dijelu Euroazije jer je ova domina-
cija utemeljena u njihovoj geograji i kapacite-
tima. Osim geografskoga položaja dominacija
Njemačke i Rusije u većem dijelu kontinentske
Euroazije zasniva se na proizvodnim i općenito
gospodarskim kapacitetima Njemačke te bogat-
stvu prirodnih izvora, posebice nafte i plina, te
vojnim kapacitetima Rusije. Njihova gospodar-
ska suradnja, usprkos formalno zategnutim poli-
tičkim odnosima, plaši planere američke politike
do te mjere da se u Kongresu SAD-a donose
zakoni koji pokušavaju na neizravan način zau-
staviti bilo kakvu buduću suradnju, pogotovo u
području energetike (plinovod Sjeverni tok 2).
Ostali geogra koji su istraživali
geopolitičko značenje srednje i
istočne Europe
J. F. Unstead (1923) srednju i istočnu Europu
nazvao je „pojasom političke promjene u Euro-
pi” zbog velike nestabilnosti koja je prijetila regiji.
Geografske prepreke, opetovani upadi susjednih
velikih sila kao i međusobni strahovi i zavisti među
106
HRVATSKI
GEOGRAFSKI
GLASNIK
80/1, 99−124 (2018.)
envies between the states of the belt had caused
great economic and political diculties.
James Fairgrieve, an intellectual disciple of
Mackinder, in earlier editions of his book Geogra-
phy and World Power, identied the dominant geo-
graphical feature of the Old World as the central
‘heartland’ of ‘Euro-Asia’, which, ‘occupies, from
the very fact of its eective centrality and size, a
unique position in the world’. What is important
for this paper, emphasizing the importance of Ger-
many, is that Fairgrieve identied Germany as one
of the three centres from which the Eurasian heart-
land could be politically controlled by outside ocean
powers (the other two were China and India): ‘In
touch with the sea and tempted on to the ocean,
Germany is one of the sea powers, while her situa-
tion on the western and most populous margin of
the great heartland makes her (…) a possible centre
from which the heartland might be organized’. He
also coined the term crush zone (Fairgrieve, 1924),
to describe the areas around the edges of the Heart-
land (later known as the shatterbelt of Eastern Eu-
rope), mostly comprised of small buer states. e
most important crush zones were Eastern Europe,
the Near East, and the maritime parts of China
(Hensel and Diehl, 1994: 38).
Richard Hartshorne (1941) and Derwent Whittle-
sey (1942) blamed the relative weakness of East-Cen-
tral European states for Germany’s expansion in the
Second World War (Hensel and Diehl, 1994: 38).
Hartshorne (1944) wrote about a shatter zone in Eu-
rope that would emerge after the Second World War.
At that time, it was still not known that it would fall
under Stalin’s exclusive inuence. Hartshorne also ad-
vocated for the establishment of a federation of states,
as a solution for this unstable region that was under
constant pressure from its more powerful neigh-
bours. Whittlesey, who, like Carl Sauer at Berkeley,
mentored a doctoral programme at Harvard in the
1950s (which was small but very distinguished and
inuential – much beyond what its size might suggest
(Armstrong and Martin, 2006)) coined the term shat-
terbelt, which became one of the most known terms
and concepts in political geography and geopolitics in
the second half of the 20th century.
Saul B. Cohen, one of Whittlesey’s most distin-
guished disciples, duly credited for the continuous
državama u pojasu uzrokovali su velike gospodarske
i političke teškoće.
James Fairgrieve, Mackinderov učenik, u ra-
nijim izdanjima svoje knjige Geography and Wor-
ld Power identicirao je dominantnu geografsku
značajku Staroga svijeta kao središnjega „srca ze-
mlje“ (heartland) Euroazije“, koje „zauzima, zbog
svojega središnjeg položaja i veličine, jedinstven
položaj u svijetu“. Ono što je važno za ovaj članak,
a tiče se naglašavanja važnosti Njemačke, jest da
je Fairgrieve prepoznao Njemačku kao jedno od
triju središta moći (ostala dva bila su Kina i Indi-
ja) iz kojega vanjske oceanske sile mogu politički
kontrolirati „srce zemlje“ Euroazije: „U dodiru s
morem i izazvana oceanom Njemačka je jedna od
pomorskih sila, dok ju njezin položaj na zapad-
nom i naseljenom rubu velikoga „srca zemlje“ čini
(…) mogućim središtem iz kojega se „srce zemlje“
može organizirati.“ Također je skovao naziv cru-
sh zone ‘pojas pritiska’ (Fairgrieve, 1924) kako bi
opisao prostore oko rubova Heartlanda (poslije
poznate kao shatterbelt ‘pojas drobljenja’ istočne
Europe), na kojima su uglavnom opstojale male
tzv. tampon-države. Najvažnija takva područja bila
su istočna Europa, Bliski istok i primorski dijelovi
Kine (Hensel i Diehl, 1994: 38).
Richard Hartshorne (1941) i Derwent Whi-
ttlesey (1942) krivili su relativnu slabost država
istočne i srednje Europe za ekspanziju Njemačke
u Drugom svjetskom ratu (Hensel i Diehl, 1994:
38). Hartshorne (1944) je pisao o shatter zone u
Europi, koja će nastati nakon Drugoga svjetskog
rata. Tada se još uvijek nije znalo da će pasti pod
isključivi Staljinov utjecaj. Hartshorne je također
zagovarao uspostavu federacije država kao rješenje
za ovu nestabilnu regiju koja je konstantno bila
pod pritiskom svojih moćnijih susjeda. Whittle-
sey, tijekom 1950-ih godina mentor maloga, ali
vrlo poznata i utjecajnog (mnogo više nego što bi
to sugerirala njegova veličina) doktorskoga studi-
ja na Berkeleyu (kao i Carl Sauer) (Armstrong i
Martin, 2006), skovao je naziv shatterbelt, koji je
postao jedan od najpoznatijih koncepata u poli-
tičkoj geograji i geopolitici u drugoj polovini 20.
stoljeća.
Saul B. Cohen, jedan od najpoznatijih Whittle-
seyjevih učenika, kojem se ispravno pripisuje kon-
P. Kurečić
e ree Seas
Initiative:
geographical
determinants,
geopolitical
foundations,
and prospective
challenges
Inicijativa triju
mora: geografske
odrednice,
geopolitička
utemeljenja i budući
izazovi
107
use of this term (and the development of the concept
as well), incorporated the model of shatterbelt into
his regional model of the world, while the works of
the previously mentioned geographers usually con-
centrated on Eastern Europe – which in the Cold
War was not a shatterbelt. In the 1990s, due to large
geopolitical changes, Cohen started to perceive the
region that again became known as Central and
Eastern Europe in the literature, as a gateway region,
a region of possible openness and trade that would
increase its economic growth and stability. Howev-
er, in the book titled Geopolitics of the World System
(Cohen, 2003: 44), Cohen leaves the possibility of
the new/old zone, from the Baltic to Eastern Europe
to the Balkans, becoming a shatterbelt again. In the
more recent book, titled Geopolitics – e Geography
of International Relations (Cohen, 2008), the space
from Norway and Finland to the Baltic and Central,
Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, is represent-
ed as the western part of the Eurasian Convergence
Zone, that surrounds Russia (and China), and is
prone to geopolitical pressures from two directions –
outward from Russia and inward from the U.S.. NA-
TO’s eastern enlargement has increased the inward
pressure in the European part of the Zone.
e thought about the near constant value and in-
uence of geography, although with a lesser degree of
importance given to geography in Nicholas J. Spyk-
man’s earlier works, was later present in his landmark
book e Geography of the Peace (1944), published after
his death. Although Spykman was not a geographical
determinist, he recognised the importance of geogra-
phy for a country’s history, present, and future: ‘e
factors that condition the policy of states are many;
they are permanent and temporary, obvious and hid-
den; they include, apart from the geographic factor,
population density, the economic structure of the
country, the ethnic composition of the people, the form
of government, and the complexes and pet prejudices
of foreign ministers’ (Spykman, 1938: 28)4. And while
he recognised the importance of Heartland, Spykman
accentuated the importance of control over Rimland, a
4
Geography was important, but not the only important thing determining
a country’s destiny: “the geography of a country is rather the material for,
than the cause of, its policy, and to admit that the garment must ulti-
mately be cut to fit the cloth is not to say that the cloth determines either
the garment’s style or its adequacy. But the geography of a state cannot
be ignored by men who formulate its policy” (Spykman, 1938: 30).
tinuirana upotreba ovoga naziva (i također razvoj
koncepta), uklopio je model shatterbelta u svoj re-
gionalni model svijeta. Radovi ranije spomenutih
geografa uglavnom su bili koncentrirani na istoč-
nu Europu, no ona tijekom Hladnoga rata nije bila
shatterbelt. U 1990-ima, zbog velikih geopolitičkih
promjena, Cohen je regiju koja se u literaturi opet
počela nazivati srednjom i istočnom Europom,
smatrao gateway-regijom (regijom povezivanja), re-
gijom moguće otvorenosti i trgovine, koje bi pove-
ćale njezin ekonomski rast i stabilnost. Međutim, u
knjizi Geopolitics of the World System (Cohen, 2003:
44) Cohen ostavlja otvorenom mogućnost da nova/
stara zona, od Baltika preko istočne Europe do
Balkana, opet postane shatterbelt. U novijoj knjizi
Geopolitics – e Geography of International Relations
(Cohen, 2008) prostor od Norveške i Finske, preko
Baltika, uključujući srednju, istočnu i jugoistočnu
Europu, prikazan je kao zapadni dio Euroazijske
zone konvergencije, koja okružuje Rusiju (i Kinu)
te je podložna geopolitičkim pritiscima iz dvaju
smjerova – prema van, iz Rusije, te prema unutraš-
njosti, primarno iz SAD-a. Proširenje NATO-a na
istok povećalo je pritisak prema unutrašnjosti u eu-
ropskom dijelu pojasa.
Misao o gotovo stalnoj vrijednosti i utjecaju ge-
ograje, iako s manjim stupnjem važnosti koji joj
se pripisuje, kasnije je prisutna u ranijim djelima
Nicholasa J. Spykmana, kao i u remek-djelu e
Geography of the Peace (1944), objavljenom nakon
njegove smrti. Iako Spykman nije bio geografski
determinist, priznavao je važnost geograje za po-
vijest, sadašnjost i budućnost države: „Čimbenici
koji uvjetuju politiku država su brojni; stalni su i
privremeni, očiti i skriveni; te uključuju, osim ge-
ografskoga čimbenika, gustoću stanovništva, gos-
podarsku strukturu države, etnički sastav stanov-
ništva, oblik vladavine te komplekse i predrasude
ministara vanjskih poslova” (Spykman, 1938: 28).4
Iako je priznavao važnost Heartlanda, Spykman je
naglašavao važnost kontrole nad Rimlandom ‘Rub-
nom zemljom’, pojmom izravno izvedenim iz poj-
4 Geografija je bila važna, ali ne jedina važna stvar koja određuje sudbinu
države: „Geografija države je više materijal nego uzrok njezine politike.
Priznavati da tkanina mora biti odrezana kako bi odgovarala odjeći ne
znači smatrati da odjeća određuje stil ili prikladnost tkanine. Međutim,
geografiju države ne mogu ignorirati ljudi koji oblikuju njezinu poli-
tiku” (Spykman, 1938: 30).
108
HRVATSKI
GEOGRAFSKI
GLASNIK
80/1, 99−124 (2018.)
term directly derived from the term Heartland, mark-
ing the opposition to Heartland and thereby creating
a dyad. e area that closely resembles Rimland was
titled the Inner Crescent by Mackinder (1904: 435,
shown on the map titled: e Natural Seats of Power).
Eastern Europe is one of the most important parts of
Spykman’s Rimland, from where Heartland could be
put under pressure more easily, due to favourable ge-
ography and the relative exposure of the Russian core
(from the west) to maritime powers.
The Three Seas Initiative as a revival of
historical geopolitical ideas
e Initiative seems like a revival of geopolitical
ideas and initiatives from the rst half of the 20th cen-
tury, mainly from the Inter-War period. If the Initia-
tive would, in the future, include Ukraine and possi-
bly Moldova, or at least accept them fully as adjoined
states, it could be considered as a renewed and enlarged
Austria-Hungary (expanded to the north and east).
e Initiative could also be perceived as an emulation
of the geopolitical idea known as Intermarium (Pol-
ish: Międzymorze, Croatian: Međumorje), dating from
1919-1920, before the outbreak of the Polish-Soviet
Russia War. One of the names of the Initiative, the
ree Seas Initiative, clearly shows its connection
with the historical Intermarium initiative. e feder-
ation would be comprised of the Baltic States (Esto-
nia, Latvia, and Lithuania), Finland, Belarus, Ukraine,
Hungary, Romania, as well as the multinational states
of the day, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes
(from 1929, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia) and Czecho-
slovakia. It was proposed by the Polish ruler, Marshall
Pilsudski. Intermarium was predominantly devised as
idea of an axis of states, based mostly on the ethnic
principle and opposed to Soviet Russia. However, it
was not backed by most Western Powers, apart from
France. Because Belarus and Ukraine were later in-
tegrated into Soviet Russia, and Intermarium was
viewed as a threat to the newly acquired independ-
ence of their countries by some circles in Lithuania
and Ukraine (this independence of Ukraine however
lasted for only a brief and turbulent period, just until
1921), it was never realised in its original form. Yet an-
other French-backed idea of an alliance of Central and
South-Eastern European states, La Petite Entente (the
ma Heartland, koji označuje njegovu suprotnost i
tako stvara binarnost. Prostor koji vrlo podsjeća na
Rimland Mackinder je nazvao Inner Crescent ‘Unu-
tarnji prsten’ (1904: 435, prikazan na karti nazva-
noj e Natural Seats of Power). Istočna Europa
bila je jedan od najvažnijih dijelova Spykmanova
Rimlanda, od kojega se moglo lakše staviti Hear-
tland pod pritisak, zbog pogodna reljefa i relativne
izloženosti jezgre Rusije (sa zapada) pomorskim
silama.
Inicijativa triju mora kao oživljenje povijesnih
geopolitičkih ideja
Inicijativa izgleda kao oživljenje geopolitičkih
ideja i inicijativa iz prve polovine 20. stoljeća, pose-
bice iz međuratnoga razdoblja. Ako bi Inicijativa u
budućnosti uključivala Ukrajinu i možda Moldaviju
ili bi one bile potpuno prihvaćene kao pridružene
članice, mogla bi se smatrati kao obnovljena i uve-
ćana Austro-Ugarska monarhija (proširena na sjever
i istok). Inicijativa se može smatrati i nasljednikom
geopolitičke ideje poznate kao Intermarium (polj-
ski: Międzymorze, hrvatski: Međumorje), nastale
1919. – 1920. godine, prije izbijanja Poljsko-sovjet-
skoga rata. Jedno od imena Inicijative, Inicijativa
triju mora, pokazuje očitu povezanost s povijesnom
inicijativom Intermariuma. Federacija se trebala sa-
stojati od Estonije, Latvije, Litve, Finske, Bjeloru-
sije, Ukrajine, Mađarske, Rumunjske i tada postoje-
ćih višenacionalnih država, Kraljevine Srba, Hrvata
i Slovenaca (od 1929. godine Kraljevina Jugoslavi-
ja) i Čehoslovačke. Inicijativu je predložio tadaš-
nji poljski vladar maršal Pilsudski. Intermarium je
prvenstveno bio zamišljen kao ideja osovine država,
zasnovanih uglavnom na načelu etniciteta i suprot-
stavljenih Sovjetskoj Rusiji. Međutim, s izuzetkom
Francuske, Intermarium nije dobio podršku zapad-
nih sila. S obzirom na to da su Bjelorusija i Ukrajina
kasnije uklopljene u Sovjetsku Rusiju, a Interma-
rium je bio doživljavan kao prijetnja novostečenoj
neovisnosti njihovih država u nekim krugovima u
Litvi i Ukrajini (neovisnost Ukrajine potrajala je
doduše samo jedno kratko i turbulentno razdoblje,
do 1921. godine), ideja nikad nije ostvarena onako
kako je izvorno zamišljena. Još jedna ideja saveza
država srednje i jugoistočne Europe, poduprta od
P. Kurečić
e ree Seas
Initiative:
geographical
determinants,
geopolitical
foundations,
and prospective
challenges
Inicijativa triju
mora: geografske
odrednice,
geopolitička
utemeljenja i budući
izazovi
109
Little Entente), was envisioned as an alliance between
Czechoslovakia, Romania, and the Kingdom of Serbs,
Croats, and Slovenes. All three states had common in-
terests projected against Hungary. France was mainly
interested in keeping the inuence of Germany low
and therefore wanted an alliance with Germany’s oth-
er neighbours. What Intermarium and the Little En-
tente had in common was that they had the support,
albeit objectively limited and dubiously successful,
of one of the great powers of the period: France. e
inuence of France, although it was victorious in the
First World War, was limited; as it did not share ter-
ritorial contact with the states that were supposed to
comprise the never-realised Intermarium or the Little
Entente. e contemporary Initiative has similar goals
to Intermarium – containing Russian inuence and
drawing the states between the EU/NATO and Rus-
sia (Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova) completely out
of the Russian sphere of inuence, thereby promoting
the interests of the U.S., as the great power that now
plays a role, similar to that of France in the Inter-War
period.
e Initiative is also reminiscent of the more
recent Vilnius Group (Estonia, Latvia, Lithua-
nia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Cro-
atia, Albania, and Macedonia) plus the three rst
post-communist NATO member states and rm
supporters of the attack on Iraq in 2003 (Poland,
Czech Republic, and Hungary). Most of the Vil-
nius group states (Croatia and Slovenia being the
exceptions) joined the “coalition of the willing” in
2003. At the 2002 NATO Prague Summit, seven
states of the Vilnius Group were invited to join
NATO. At the 2008 NATO Bucharest Summit,
Albania and Croatia received their invitations, be-
coming full members in 2009, while Macedonia
(FYROM) was blocked (and still is, at the time of
writing) by Greece. In 2017, Montenegro joined
NATO as well, becoming the 29th member state.
The Three Seas Initiative as a geopolitical
wedge between Germany and Russia
ere are a couple of commonalities that have
to be taken into account before analysing the con-
temporary and possible future geopolitical and
geo-economic signicance of the Initiative:
Francuske, Mala antanta (La Petite Entente), za-
mišljena je kao savez Čehoslovačke, Rumunjske i
Kraljevine Srba, Hrvata i Slovenaca. Sve tri države
imale su zajedničke interese, projicirane protiv Ma-
đarske. Francuska je bila prvenstveno zainteresirana
za držanje utjecaja Njemačke na niskoj razini i sto-
ga je željela savez s njezinim susjedima. Zajedničko
Intermariumu i Maloj antanti je to što su imali pot-
poru, iako objektivno ograničenu i upitno uspješnu,
jedne od velikih sila toga razdoblja, Francuske. Iako
je bila pobjednica u Prvom svjetskom ratu, utjecaj
Francuske međutim bio je ograničen jer nije imala
teritorijalni dodir s državama koje su trebale činiti
nikad ostvareni Intermarium ili su činile Malu an-
tantu. Suvremena Inicijativa ima slične ciljeve kao
Intermarium – zaustavljanje ruskoga utjecaja i izvla-
čenje država koje se nalaze između EU-a/NATO-a
i Rusije (Ukrajina, Bjelorusija i Moldavija) potpuno
iz sfere ruskoga utjecaja, promičući tako interese
SAD-a, kao velike sile koja sada igra sličnu ulogu
koju je Francuska imala u razdoblju nakon Prvoga
svjetskog rata.
Inicijativa također evocira sjećanja na noviju
Vilniusku skupinu (Estonija, Latvija, Litva, Slo-
venija, Slovačka Republika, Rumunjska, Bugarska,
Hrvatska, Albanija i Makedonija) uz tri prve po-
stkomunističke članice NATO-a, snažne podu-
pirateljice napada na Irak 2003. godine (Poljska,
Češka Republika i Mađarska). Većina država čla-
nica Vilniuske skupine (Hrvatska i Slovenija bile
su iznimke) pridružile su se „koaliciji voljnih” 2003.
Na sastanku na vrhu NATO-a 2002. u Pragu se-
dam država članica Vilniuske skupine pozvano je u
članstvo NATO-a. Na sastanku na vrhu NATO-a
u Bukureštu 2008. pozivnicu su dobile Albanija i
Hrvatska, postavši članicama 2009., dok je poziv
Makedoniji blokirala Grčka (još uvijek to čini).
Crna Gora se također pridružila NATO-u 2017.,
kao njegova 29. članica.
Inicijativa triju mora kao geopolitički klin izme-
đu Njemačke i Rusije
Nekoliko je zajedničkih obilježja koja treba uze-
ti u obzir prije analize suvremenoga i mogućega
budućeg geopolitičkog i geoekonomskog značenja
Inicijative:
110
HRVATSKI
GEOGRAFSKI
GLASNIK
80/1, 99−124 (2018.)
• Initially, the Initiative was supposed to connect
the Baltic and the Adriatic Seas, and it would be
mainly a “Catholic club”, more conservative than
the states of the Western and Northern Europe,
especially in the matters of refugee quotas and
the acceptance of immigrants in general. Roma-
nia and Bulgaria joined the Initiative later, trans-
forming it into the ree Seas Initiative.
•
Some states express illiberal tendencies, putting
liberal democracy and freedom into question. e
afore-mentioned gap between the “Old” and “New”
(paraphrasing Rumsfeld’s division, which obviously
persists) Europe is visible in a variety of issues5.
• All the states of the Initiative except Austria are
post-communist NATO and EU members, and
the Baltic States are post-Soviet states as well.
•
Despite the unanimity in their support for sanc-
tions against Russia, support for NATO’s role in
Europe, and their more or less expressed compli-
ance with U.S. foreign policy since the 1990s, the
member states of the Initiative have expressed
quite dierent levels of anti-Russian rhetoric and
calls for action. erefore, two informal groups can
be identied among the states of the Initiative.
Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, and
Croatia (due to the shift in its policy since 2015) –
comprise the group of “New Cold Warriors”, while
Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia, and Slovenia
can be designated as the “Pragmatics” (Kurečić,
2017), due to their more pragmatic policy and
better economic and political relations with Rus-
sia, originating mainly from their dependence on
Russian gas (Chyong and Tcherneva, 2015), a lesser
sense of perceived threat from Russia, and econom-
ic motives comprised of the pursuit for future op-
portunities for their rms on the Russian market,
once EU sanctions against Russia are abolished.
Since the early 1990s, NATO and the U.S. have
taken a rm foothold in Central and South-Eastern
Europe. From the perspective of core NATO mem-
5 “Freedom House’s 2013 Nations in Transit report noted that only two
(Latvia and the Czech Republic) out of 10 Central European coun-
tries have improved their democracy ‘scorecard’ after (all these studied
states, author’s remark) being members of NATO and the European
Union for over a decade. The other eight countries’ ratings dropped in
the areas of media freedom, electoral processes, judicial independence,
and corruption” (Conley 2015, 30).
•
Inicijativa je isprva trebala povezivati Baltičko
i Jadransko more te biti prvenstveno „katolički
klub”, konzervativniji od država zapadne i sje-
verne Europe, posebice u pitanjima izbjegličkih
kvota i općenito prihvata imigranata. Rumunj-
ska i Bugarska Inicijativi su se priključile ka-
snije, pretvarajući je u sadašnju Inicijativu triju
mora.
• Neke države pokazuju neliberalne tendencije,
dovodeći u pitanje liberalnu demokraciju. Spo-
menuti jaz između „Stare
i „Nove
Europe (pa-
rafraza Rumsfeldove podjele, koja očito traje)
vidljiv je u mnoštvu pitanja.5
• Sve države osim Austrije su postkomunističke
članice NATO-a i EU-a, a baltičke države tako-
đer su i postsovjetske države.
•
Usprkos jedinstvenom stavu u potpori sankcija-
ma usmjerenima protiv Rusije, potpori ulozi NA-
TO-a u Europi i njihovoj više ili manje izraženoj
podložnosti američkoj vanjskoj politici još od
1990-ih godina, države članice Inicijative izraža-
vaju prilično različitu razinu proturuske retorike
i poziva na akciju. Stoga je moguće identicirati
dvije neformalne skupine među državama člani-
cama Inicijative. Poljska, Estonija, Latvija, Li-
tva, Rumunjska i Hrvatska (zbog promjene svoje
politike od 2015.) čine skupinu „novih ratnika
hladnoga rata”, dok se Austrija, Bugarska, Ma-
đarska, Slovačka i Slovenija zbog pragmatičnije
politike i boljih gospodarskih i političkih odnosa
s Rusijom, ponajviše kao posljedice ovisnosti u
ruskom plinu (Chyong and Tcherneva, 2015),
manje izraženom osjećaju ugroženosti od Rusi-
je i gospodarskih motiva sadržanih u potrazi za
budućim prilikama za vlastite tvrtke na ruskom
tržištu jednom kada sankcije EU-a budu ukinute
mogu opisati kao „pragmatici” (Kurečić, 2017).
Od ranih 1990-ih godina NATO i SAD zauzeli
su snažno uporište u srednjoj i jugoistočnoj Europi.
S gledišta stožernih članica NATO-a pristupanje
5 „U Nations in Transit izvještaju Freedom Housea za 2013. godinu
samo su dvije (Latvija i Češka Republika) od deset država srednje Eu-
rope poboljšale svoju demokratsku bilancu iako su (sve ove istraživane
države, op. a.) č lanicama NATO-a i EU postale prije više od desetljeća.
Položaj ostalih osam država se pogoršao u području medijskih sloboda,
izbornih procesa, neovisnosti pravosuđa te korupcije” (Conley, 2015,
30).
P. Kurečić
e ree Seas
Initiative:
geographical
determinants,
geopolitical
foundations,
and prospective
challenges
Inicijativa triju
mora: geografske
odrednice,
geopolitička
utemeljenja i budući
izazovi
111
bers, newer NATO members’ accession represents a
spreading of the zone of security and stability, liberal
norms and values, as well as market economy and gain-
ing strategic footholds in the former Soviet Eastern
Europe. On the other hand, and despite its fears from
NATO expansion and aggression, on its borders and
in its surroundings, Russia is facing objectively weaker
NATO member states. erefore, these NATO mem-
bers are bandwagoning towards the U.S., which open-
ly accepts and “encourages” their alignment.
Hamilton (2013, 304) points out that the deci-
sions made at the NATO’s 2010 Lisbon (the Strate-
gic Concept was accepted then) and 2012 Chicago
Summits successfully balanced Eastern European
concerns about security with an overall eort to im-
prove relations with Russia. e relations between
the post-communist NATO members and the U.S.
have, for the past 25 years, developed mostly by way
of security cooperation. After the events in Ukraine,
these relations have gained new urgency.
It has to be emphasised that without rm NATO
support, these states (even Poland) do not stand a
real chance in any kind of direct conict with Rus-
sia: ‘e newer members of NATO – countries that
directly experienced both Russian and Soviet occu-
pation and hegemonic policies – are apprehensive
about this forceful new Russia that does not hes-
itate to advance neo-colonial claims and practice
cyberattacks and energy cut-os, but their leverage
within NATO is limited and can be countered by
sticks or carrots in other parts of the world’ (Rach-
wald 2011: 122-123).
If NATO was not present in Central and parts of
South-Eastern Europe, the whole region would by
now probably be deep in the Russian zone of inuence
(again). Prior to the Ukrainian crisis, NATO perceived
international relations in a more functional sense, similar
to the EU. After the events of 2014 in Ukraine, NATO
refocused back to its core mission – territorial defence
of its members, along with the added tasks of dealing
with the contemporary asymmetric security challenges,
such as terrorism and hybrid warfare. Nevertheless, the
problem for NATO in its reactions towards Russia in
the Georgian and Ukrainian crises, respectively, could be
seen in the ambivalence of goals and instruments used,
primarily comprised in the intent to invite these two
states into NATO and the active support for this goal.
novijih članica NATO-a predstavlja širenje pojasa
sigurnosti i stabilnosti, liberalnih norma i vrijed-
nosti, kao i tržišnoga gospodarstva te zauzimanje
strateških uporišta u nekadašnjoj sovjetskoj istočnoj
Europi. S druge strane, usprkos vlastitim strahovi-
ma od širenja i agresije NATO-a Rusija na svojim
granicama i u svojem okruženju ima objektivno sla-
bije članice NATO-a. Stoga se te NATO članice
priklanjaju SAD-u, koji konstantno promiče i poti-
če njihov ulazak u savezništvo.
Hamilton (2013, 304) naglašuje da su odluke
NATO-a donesene na sastancima na vrhu u Lisa-
bonu 2010. (tada je donesen Strateški koncept) i u
Chicagu 2012. godine uspješno uravnotežile sigur-
nosne bojazni država članica NATO-a s istoka Eu-
rope s općenitim naporima za poboljšanje odnosa s
Rusijom. Odnosi između postkomunističkih članica
NATO-a i SAD-a su se u prošlih 25 godina razvi-
jali prvenstveno kroz sigurnosnu suradnju. Nakon
događaja u Ukrajini ti su odnosi dobili nov zamah.
Treba naglasiti da bez čvrste potpore NATO-a
spomenute države (čak ni Poljska) nemaju realne
šanse u bilo kakvom odmjeravanju snaga s Rusi-
jom: „Novije članice NATO-a – države koje su
izravno iskusile rusku i sovjetsku okupaciju i hege-
monske politike – straši nasilna, nova Rusija, koja
ne oklijeva promicati svoje neokolonijalne zahtjeve
i prakticirati cyber-napade i prekide opskrbe ener-
gijom, no njihova poluga utjecaja unutar NATO-a
je ograničena i može joj se parirati mrkvom i bati-
nom u drugim dijelovima svijeta” (Rachwald, 2011:
122-123).
Kada NATO ne bi bio prisutan u srednjoj i di-
jelovima jugoistočne Europe, čitava regija bi dosad
vjerojatno već bila duboko u sferi ruskoga utjeca-
ja. Prije ukrajinske krize NATO je međunarodne
odnose doživljavao više u funkcionalnom smislu,
slično kao EU. Nakon događaja u Ukrajini 2014.
NATO ponovno radi na ostvarivanju svoje glavne
misije – obrane teritorija svojih članica, uz borbu
protiv suvremenih asimetričnih sigurnosnih izazo-
va, kao što su terorizam i hibridno ratovanje. Me-
đutim, NATO-ov problem u odgovorima prema
Rusiji u gruzijskoj i ukrajinskoj krizi leži u dvosmi-
slenosti njegovih ciljeva i upotrijebljenih sredstava,
prvenstveno namjere da se te dvije države prime u
članstvo NATO-a i u tome se potiču.
112
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Stronger binding of the post-communist EU/
NATO member states plus Austria and maybe in the
future Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Montene-
gro and possibly Albania, would create an even more
powerful geopolitical axis/wedge of primarily NATO
member states that bandwagon (with varying degrees
of enthusiasm) towards the U.S., and represent a
wedge between the core of the EU (Germany, France,
Belgium, Luxembourg, and up to a point, the Neth-
erlands) and Russia. e inuence of the post-com-
munist EU/NATO member states is stronger if they
cooperate and take a unanimous stance regarding
certain foreign policy and security issues, as well as
the internal organisation of the EU. e question of
the debate about the Five scenarios on the future of
the EU, proposed by the President of the European
Commission, Jean-Claude Junker, is one of the most
important issues on which the states of the Initiative
can cooperate and probably come up with an agreed
stance. Poland, considering its size, economic power,
voting weight in the bodies of the EU, geopolitical
position, and military capabilities, is the most impor-
tant state and the “natural” leader of the Initiative.
Additionally, the pragmatic stance towards Rus-
sia, of almost half of the Initiative’s states, means that
“the Russia issue” certainly is not and will not be its
only raison detre. e foreign policy goals and areas
of cooperation that are available to the states of the
Initiative are much wider – protecting national sov-
ereignty from “Bruxelles”, a “tough” stance towards
the acceptance of refugees and asylum seeker quotas
imposed by the EU as a whole, and rm support for
the defence cooperation between the EU and NATO,
thereby accentuating the role of the U.S. and its in-
terests in European security. Pursuant to these goals,
some NATO member states have already sent troops
to Poland and Lithuania and participated in military
exercises.
However, good relations, political and econom-
ic, between some of Initiative’s member states and
Russia, as well as joint tendencies towards “illiber-
al democracy” cannot be omitted, especially when
it comes to Russian President Putin and Hun-
garian Prime Minister Orban. Hungary has clear
economic interests in cooperation with Russia, as
it imports Russian gas and Russia is constructing
a second bloc of Soviet-style Hungarian nucle-
Snažnije povezivanje postkomunističkih
članica NATO-a/EU-a plus Austrija te u bu-
dućnosti možda i Bosne i Hercegovine, Crne
Gore i Albanije stvorilo bi još jaču geopolitičku
os, prvenstveno država članica NATO-a koje
se priklanjaju (iako do vrlo različita stupnja)
SAD-u te stvaraju klin između jezgre EU-a
(Njemačka, Francuska, Belgija, Luksemburg
te donekle Nizozemska) i Rusije. Utjecaj post-
komunističkih članica NATO-a/EU-a jači je
ako surađuju i zauzimaju zajedničko stajalište
prema određenim vanjskopolitičkim i sigurno-
snim pitanjima, kao i prema unutarnjoj orga-
nizaciji EU-a. Pitanje debate o Pet scenarija
o budućnosti EU-a, koje je predložio sadašnji
predsjednik Europske komisije Juncker, jedno
je od najvažnijih pitanja na kojem države Ini-
cijative mogu surađivati i vjerojatno iznaći za-
jedničko stajalište. Poljska, s obzirom na svoju
veličinu, gospodarsku moć, glasačka prava u ti-
jelima EU-a, geopolitički položaj i vojne spo-
sobnosti najvažnija je država i „prirodni“ vođa
Inicijative.
Istodobno, pragmatično stajalište prema Rusiji
gotovo polovine država članica Inicijative poka-
zuje da „pitanje Rusije“ sigurno nije i neće biti
jedini razlog njezina postojanja. Vanjskopolitički
ciljevi i područja suradnje koji su na raspolaga-
nju članicama Inicijative mnogo su širi – zaštita
nacionalnoga suvereniteta od Bruxellesa, prilično
čvrsto stajalište prema prijemu izbjeglica i kvo-
tama za tražitelje azila koje je donijela EU kao
cjelina, čvrsta potpora obrambenoj suradnji EU-a
i NATO-a, koja znači naglašavanje uloge SAD-a
i njegovih interesa u europskoj sigurnosti. Neke
članice NATO-a poslale su svoje postrojbe u
Poljsku i Litvu te su sudjelovale u vojnim vjež-
bama.
Međutim, dobri politički i gospodarski od-
nosi između nekih država Inicijative i Rusije,
kao i zajedničke simpatije prema „neliberalnoj
demokraciji” ne mogu se zanemariti, pogoto-
vo kad su u pitanju ruski predsjednik Putin i
mađarski premijer Orban. Mađarska ima jasne
gospodarske interese za suradnju s Rusijom
jer uvozi ruski plin, a Rusija gradi drugi blok
mađarske nuklearne elektrane u Paksu, izgra-
P. Kurečić
e ree Seas
Initiative:
geographical
determinants,
geopolitical
foundations,
and prospective
challenges
Inicijativa triju
mora: geografske
odrednice,
geopolitička
utemeljenja i budući
izazovi
113
ar power plants in Paks. Hungary was, already in
2008, before the events in Georgia and Ukraine, the
only NATO member state from “New Europe” that
opposed the acceptance of these states to NATO’s
Membership Action Plan (MAP). e Hungarian
stance in 2008 shows how much Hungarian o-
cial policy has changed from the period of support
for U.S. ocial policy in the 1990s and early 2000s
(Pouliot, 2010: 222).
e U.S., due to the geopolitical and geo-econom-
ic interests of its political and military elite, as well as
some of its economic elite (large stakeholders in arms
industry, oil and gas industry, and coal mining), has
a clear interest in supporting NATO and maintain-
ing the anti-Russian stance of NATO members from
Central and South-Eastern Europe at a high degree.
ese kinds of relations evoke memories of the “Jalta”
division of Europe, and in that sense, maintain the old
European divisions. In order to decrease the inuence
and annul the interests of the EU core, the member
states of the Initiative have chosen two mutually-en-
forcing strategies:
• Allying and protecting their national interests
in the domain of politics and economy – taking
joint stances on issues such as energy supply di-
versication policy, and the opposition to man-
datory refugee quotas etc.
• Relying heavily, in security matters, on NATO,
to which they, in reality (except Poland) con-
tribute negligibly (only Estonia contributes with
more than two percent of its GDP, however it
is a small economy and a country with only 1.3
million inhabitants), except as strategic outposts
and territories on which NATO bases can be
stationed. e majority of the Initiative’s NATO
member states are “freeriders”, and their defence
spending is well below the recommended two
percent of GDP. Because their economies have a
signicantly lower GDP per capita than most of
the other NATO member states (except Greece
and Turkey, which heavily compensate with con-
tributions well above two percent of GDP) and
these are mostly small and mid-size states, their
nominal nancial contributions to NATO are
well below the average. is reliance on NATO
ties them closely to the U.S., which dominates
the security sphere, and weakens the political in-
đene u sovjetskom razdoblju. Mađarska je već
2008., prije događaja u Gruziji i Ukrajini, bila
jedina država „Nove Europe“ koja se protivila
primanju tih država u Akcijski plan za članstvo
NATO-a (MAP). Stajalište Mađarske 2008.
godine pokazalo je koliko se službena mađar-
ska politika promijenila od razdoblja potpore
američkoj službenoj politici u 1990-im i ranim
2000-im godinama (Pouliot, 2010: 222).
Sjedinjene Države, zbog geopolitičkih i geo-
ekonomskih interesa svoje političke i vojne elite
te dijelova svoje gospodarske elite (veliki dio-
nici u industriji oružja, industriji nafte i plina,
ugljenokopima) imaju jasan interes podupirati
NATO i održavati proturuski stav članica NA-
TO-a iz srednje i jugoistočne Europe na visokoj
razini. Ovakav tip odnosa podsjeća na podjelu
Europe iz Jalte te u tom smislu održava stare
europske podjele. Kako bi smanjile utjecaj dr-
žava jezgre EU-a, države članice Inicijative
izabrale su dvije strategije koje se međusobno
osnažuju:
•
Stvaranje saveza i zaštita nacionalnih interesa
u području politike i gospodarstva – zauzima-
nje zajedničkih stajališta u pitanjima politike
diversikacije dobave energije te protivljenje
obveznim kvotama za prihvat izbjeglica.
• Snažno oslanjanje u sigurnosnim pitanjima na
NATO, kojem u stvarnosti (osim Poljske) dopri-
nose gotovo zanemarivo (jedino Estonija izdvaja
više od 2 % BDP-a za obranu, međutim, radi se
o maloj ekonomiji i državi sa samo 1,3 milijuna
stanovnika), osim kao strateški isturena uporišta
i teritoriji na kojima NATO može postaviti svo-
je baze. Većina država članica NATO-a koje su
i članice Inicijative su tzv. free riders „slobodni
strijelci” jer su njihova izdvajanja za obranu da-
leko ispod preporučenih 2 % BDP-a. Budući
da gospodarstva tih država imaju značajno niži
postotak BDP-a od većine ostalih država članica
NATO-a (osim Grčke i Turske, koje međutim
ovo snažno kompenziraju izdvajanjima puno ve-
ćima od 2 % BDP-a) i uglavnom se radi o ma-
lim državama i državama srednje veličine, njihov
nominalni nancijski doprinos NATO-u daleko
je ispod prosjeka. Oslanjanje na NATO pribli-
žava ih SAD-u, koji dominira u sigurnosnoj sferi
114
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GLASNIK
80/1, 99−124 (2018.)
uence of the states of the EU core, particularly
Germany.
If the Brexit process would be completed and a
“hard Brexit” would be accomplished, the U.S. would
lose its most reliable ally in the EU, whose bargain-
ing powers and inuence have already markedly de-
creased. erefore, Poland and other post-communist
EU member states have gained importance for the U.S.
and can serve as a backbone of the strategy striving for
a weaker, divided Europe of strong nation states.
ere are clear signs that the EU Core (and
Germany particularly) and the Initiative’s member
states are increasingly moving away from each oth-
er regarding the issues of security, reliance on ener-
gy supply, and immigration. Most of the Initiative’s
member states (especially the forerunners, Poland,
Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, and Croatia)
rely on the U.S. as their protector. On the other hand,
the states of the EU Core want to develop the de-
fence policy of the EU further, which would not ex-
clude NATO, but it would lower its relevance and
the degree of unanimity on the “Russia issue”. e
states of the EU Core do not share hard anti-Rus-
sian rhetoric and are not included in the strategic
projects that Russia classies as primary threats to
its security (the anti-ballistic missile shield, locat-
ed in Poland, the Czech Republic, and Romania, is
the best example thereof). Germany and France, as
well as Belgium and Luxembourg, were against the
de facto involvement of NATO into the U.S.-UK at-
tack on Iraq in 2003, and against the invitation of
Ukraine and Georgia into the NATO’s Membership
Action Plan to that was supposed to be announced
in December, 2008. is invitation, which represent-
ed the rst real step towards NATO membership,
would certainly have antagonised Russia, and was to
be sent out only four months after the 2008 Five-
Day War in Georgia, in which Russia clearly showed
(as it showed later in Ukraine) its perception of what
represented a “red line” for NATO’s inuence in the
Post-Soviet Space, which it treats as its “Near Neigh-
bourhood”. Even since 2014 and the outbreak of the
crisis in Ukraine and the Russian annexation of the
Crimea peninsula, the countries of the EU Core have
always opted for a diplomatic approach towards Rus-
sia, albeit openly condemning the annexation and
supporting EU sanctions against Russia.
te tako oslabljuje politički utjecaj država jezgre
EU-a, posebice Njemačke.
Ako proces Brexita bude dovršen i ostvari se
„tvrdi Brexit”, SAD bi izgubio svoga najvjer-
nijeg saveznika u EU-u, čija su se moć u pre-
govorima i utjecaj već dosad ubrzano smanji-
li. Stoga su Poljska i ostale postkomunističke
članice EU-a dobile na važnosti i mogu služiti
kao okosnica strategije kojoj je cilj slabija, po-
dijeljena Europa jakih nacionalnih država.
Postoje jasni znakovi da se države jezgre
EU-a (Njemačka posebice) i države članice Ini-
cijative ubrzano razilaze u pitanjima sigurnosti,
oslanjanja na dobavu energije i imigracije. Ve-
ćina država članica Inicijative (pogotovo njezini
protagonisti Poljska, baltičke države, Rumunj-
ska i Hrvatska) oslanja se na SAD vidjevši ga
kao svoga zaštitnika. S druge strane, države
jezgre EU-a žele dalje razvijati obrambenu po-
litiku EU-a, koja ne bi isključivala NATO, ali
bi umanjila njegovu važnost i stupanj jedinstva
oko „pitanja Rusije”. Države jezgre EU-a nema-
ju snažnu proturusku retoriku i nisu uključene u
strateške projekte koje Rusija smatra glavnim
prijetnjama vlastitoj sigurnosti (protubalistički
raketni štit, smješten u Poljskoj, Češkoj Repu-
blici i Rumunjskoj, najbolji je primjer). Nje-
mačka i Francuska, kao i Belgija i Luksemburg,
bili su protiv de facto uključivanja NATO-a u
američko-britanski napad na Irak 2003. godine
te protiv pozivanja u Akcijski plan za članstvo
NATO-a Ukrajine i Gruzije, koje je trebalo biti
objavljeno u prosincu 2008. godine. Ta poziv-
nica, koja je prvi pravi korak prema članstvu u
NATO-u, sigurno bi antagonizirala Rusiju, a
bilo je planirano da se pošalje samo četiri mjese-
ca nakon Petodnevnoga rata 2008. u Gruziji, u
kojem je Rusija prethodno jasno pokazala (kao
što je kasnije pokazala u Ukrajini) što je u njezi-
noj percepciji „crvena linija” NATO-ova utjeca-
ja u postsovjetskom prostoru, koji Rusija smatra
svojim „bližim susjedstvom”. Čak i nakon 2014.
godine i izbijanja krize Ukrajini i ruske aneksi-
je poluotoka Krima države jezgre EU-a uvijek
su zagovarale diplomatski pristup prema Rusiji
iako osuđuju aneksiju i podupiru sankcije EU-a
prema Rusiji.
P. Kurečić
e ree Seas
Initiative:
geographical
determinants,
geopolitical
foundations,
and prospective
challenges
Inicijativa triju
mora: geografske
odrednice,
geopolitička
utemeljenja i budući
izazovi
115
The most important demographic, geopolitical
and geo-economic challenges to the Initiative
e combined population of the post-commu-
nist EU/NATO member states (the Initiative mi-
nus Austria) is approximately 20 million larger than
the population of Germany, while their economies
combined (GDP: 1,303.3 billion USD, 2016) are
almost three times smaller than the German econo-
my (GDP: 3,477.8 billion USD, 2016), and slightly
larger than the economies of Spain (GDP: 1,232
billion USD, 2016) or Russia (GDP: 1,283 billion
USD, 2016) (World Bank, 2017c). Poland is the
biggest post-communist EU/NATO state, which
connects the Initiative’s central and northern parts,
and seems that it is determined to be the infor-
mal leader of the group, as it has almost two-times
larger population than the second-largest Initiative
member state, Romania. Poland has about 37 per-
cent of the population of the post-communist EU/
NATO member states in question, and comprises
about 36 percent of their combined economy.
When the demographic situation in the post-com-
munist states of Europe has been studied, Atoyan et
al. (2016: 8) point out: ‘During the past 25 years, near-
ly 20 million people (5½ percent of the Central and
South-Eastern Europe population) are estimated to
have left the region. By the end of 2012, South-East-
ern Europe had experienced the largest outows,
amounting to about 16 percent of the early-1990s
population. Between 1990 and 2012, outward mi-
gration from South-Eastern Europe shaved o more
than 8 percentage points from cumulative population
growth’. Most of the Initiative’s member states are
faced with serious demographic challenges that are
common primarily to its Baltic and South-Eastern
European members, with Hungary as the Visegrad
Group member state facing similar challenges that
can be summed up in two main aspects – very low
birth rate, and the increased rate of emigration. is
came about after accession to the EU, presenting the
afore-mentioned countries with the largest emigra-
tion wave in their recent history (Tab. 1).
Besides the trends that are a product of histor-
ical events (breakups of the Soviet Union and Yu-
goslavia) and had nothing to do with accession to
the EU, the gradual or instant opening of the EU
Najvažniji demografski, geopolitički i geoeko-
nomski izazovi Inicijativi
Ukupan broj stanovnika postkomunističkih čla-
nica EU-a i NATO-a (Inicijativa osim Austrije)
otprilike je za 20 milijuna veći od stanovništva Nje-
mačke, dok su njihova gospodarstva zajedno (BDP:
1 303,3 milijarde američkih dolara 2016. godine)
gotovo triput manja nego gospodarstvo Njemačke
(BDP: 3 477,8 milijarda američkih dolara 2016. go-
dine), a nešto malo veća od gospodarstva Španjol-
ske (BDP: 1 232 milijarde američkih dolara 2016.
godine) ili Rusije (BDP: 1 283 milijarda američkih
dolara 2016. godine) (World Bank, 2017c). Poljska
je najveća postkomunistička država članica EU-a i
NATO-a, koja spaja središnji i sjeverni dio Inicijati-
ve te se čini da je odlučna biti neformalni vođa sku-
pine s obzirom na to da ima gotovo dvostruko veći
broj stanovnika od Rumunjske, druge najveće čla-
nice Inicijative. Poljska ima oko 37 % stanovništva
svih postkomunističkih država članica EU-a i NA-
TO-a te oko 36 % njihova ukupnoga gospodarstva.
Kad je u pitanju demografska slika postkomu-
nističkih europskih država, Atoyan i dr. (2016:
8) ističu da se „procjenjuje da je u posljednjih 25
godina gotovo 20 milijuna ljudi (5,5 % stanov-
ništva srednje i jugoistočne Europe) napustilo
regiju. Do kraja 2012. godine jugoistočna Euro-
pa pretrpjela je najveći odljev stanovništva, koji
iznosi oko 16 % stanovništva iz ranih 1990-ih
godina. Od 1990. do 2012. godine emigracija
iz jugoistočne Europe smanjila je kumulativni
rast stanovništva za više od 8 %”. Najveći dio
država članica Inicijative suočen je s ozbiljnim
demografskim izazovima, prisutnima prvenstve-
no u njezinim baltičkim i jugoistočnoeuropskim
članicama te Mađarskoj kao članici Višegrad-
ske skupine suočenoj sa sličnim izazovima koji
se mogu predstaviti kroz dva glavna aspekta –
vrlo nizak natalitet i povećana stopa iseljavanja.
Upravo nakon pristupa EU-u spomenute države
suočene su s najvećim iseljeničkim valom u svojoj
novijoj povijesti (tab. 1).
Osim trendova koji su proizvod povijesnih
procesa (raspad Sovjetskoga Saveza i Jugoslavije)
i nisu imali veze s pristupom EU-u, postupno ili
trenutačno otvaranje pristupa tržišta rada EU-a
116
HRVATSKI
GEOGRAFSKI
GLASNIK
80/1, 99−124 (2018.)
Tab. 1 Population, demographic loss, and net migration of the Three Seas Initiative member states
Tab. 1. Stanovništvo, demografski gubitak i migracijski saldo država Inicijative Tri mora
Member state of the Initiative
/ Država članica Inicijative
Population in thousands, 2016
/ Stanovništvo u tisućama, 2016. g.
Population in thousands (peak year)
/ Stanovništvo u tisućama (vršna godina)
Demographic loss from peak year to 2016,
thousands (percentage)
/ Demografski gubitak od vršne do 2016.
godine, u tisućama (postotak
Net migration, 1988-1992
/ Migracijski saldo, 1988.-1992. g.
Net migration, 1993-1997
/ Migracijski saldo, 1993.-1997. g.
Net migration, 1998-2002
/ Migracijski saldo, 1998.-2002. g.
Net migration, 2003-2007
/ Migracijski saldo, 2003.-2007. g.
Net migration, 2008-2012
/ Migracijski saldo, 2008.-2012. g.
Austria
/ Austrija 8 747 / / 227 841 65 082 178 117 153 763 267 172
Bulgaria /
Bugarska 7 128 8 981 (1988) 1 853 (20.6) -356 464 -133 824 -85 500 -83 472 -24 772
Croatia
/ Hrvatska 4 171 4 780 (1990) 609 (12.7) -143 579 -188 129 -2 580 -10 499 -32 772
Czech
Republic
/ Češka
Republika
10 562 / / 29 999 46 002 47 402 250 889 59 997
Estonia
/ Estonija 1 316 1 569 (1990) 253 (16.1) -111 876 -1 197 -18 406 -15 151 -1 0516
Hungary
/ Mađarska 9 818 10 712 (1981) 894 (8.3) 99 980 78 562 61 589 25 150 29 999
Latvia
/ Latvija 1 960 2 667 (1989) 707 (26.5) -116 474 -46 601 -72 490 -86 594 -83 325
Lithuania
/ Litva 2 872 3 704 (1991) 832 (22.5) -100 301 -93 925 -99 104 -150 930 -146 217
Poland
/ Poljska 37 948 38 660 (1999) 712 (1.8) -159 999 -85 199 -183 471 -178 456 -73 997
Romania
/ Rumun-
jska
19 705 23 202 (1990) 3 497 (15.1) -520 001 -610 000 -468 204 -774 651 -299 997
Slovakia
/ Slovačka
Republika
5 429 / / -15 108 -2 964 1 199 -8 855 11 346
Slovenia /
Slovenija 2 065 / / -17 461 1 487 14 998 39 348 16 571
Source / Izvor: World Bank (2017f; 2017g)
P. Kurečić
e ree Seas
Initiative:
geographical
determinants,
geopolitical
foundations,
and prospective
challenges
Inicijativa triju
mora: geografske
odrednice,
geopolitička
utemeljenja i budući
izazovi
117
(ovisno o odlukama pojedinih država članica na-
kon proširenja iz 2004., 2007. i 2013. godine)
bio je glavni čimbenik koji je negativno utjecao
na demografske značajke većine država članica
Inicijative.6 Drugi čimbenik s primarno gospo-
darskim implikacijama (osim proširenja EU-a)
koji je negativno utjecao na demograju država
Inicijative bila je recesija, koja je najjače pogodi-
la baltičke države u najizazovnijoj, 2009. godini,
dok je Hrvatska iskusila najdulju recesiju (šest
godina kontinuirane recesije s dvostrukim mini-
mumom).
Čak i među 11 postkomunističkih država članica
Inicijative, već i bez provođenja kvantitativnoga de-
mografskog istraživanja, moguće je opaziti razliku
u demografskim trendovima u posljednjih 25 go-
dina, pri čemu Poljska pokazuje mnogo manji neto
demografski gubitak od baltičkih i jugoistočnoeu-
ropskih članica Inicijative, dok Češka Republika,
Slovačka Republika i Slovenija uopće ne pokazuju
neto demografski gubitak. Pametne i na vrijeme
primijenjene populacijske mjere, povoljniji gospo-
darski trendovi te odsutnost etničkih i/ili vjerskih
manjina koje bi zbog specičnih povijesnih okol-
nosti masovno emigrirale zaslužni su za ovu pozi-
tivnu razliku (sl. 2).
Uzimajući u obzir samo Njemačku, najveće
gospodarstvo i tržište rada u EU-u, kao
najčešće odredište ekonomskih migranata iz
postkomunističkih država članica EU-a, podaci
za 2016. godinu pokazuju da je od ukupno
634 tisuće državljana EU-a koji su se doselili u
Njemačku 2016. godine 77 % podrijetlom iz
postkomunističkih članica, pri čemu su glavne
države podrijetla bile Rumunjska (171 380
migranata, 0,87 % ukupnoga stanovništva 2016.
godine), Poljska (123 134, 0,32 %), Bugarska
(66 790, 0,94 %), Hrvatska (51 163, 1,23 %)
i Mađarska (42 302, 0,43 %) (Bundesamt für
Migration und Flüchtlinge, 2017). Trendovi su
posebice negativni, iz pozicije država iz kojih se
iseljava, za Bugarsku, Rumunjsku i Hrvatsku, tri
najmanje razvijene i najnovije članice EU-a.
6
„Emigracija iz srednje, istočne i jugoistočne Europe neuobičajeno je
visoka, ustrajna i u njoj dominiraju obrazovani i mladi ljudi. Ekono-
mije jugoistočne Europe doživjele su bitno veće odljeve radne snage
nego baltičke države i države srednje Europe.” (Atoyan i dr., 2016,
5).
labour market (depending on the decisions of par-
ticular EU member states after the enlargements
of 2004, 2007, and 2013, respectively) has been the
most signicant factor that negatively inuenced
the demographic characteristics of most of the In-
itiative’s member states6. e second factor with
primarily economic implications (besides the EU
accession) that has negatively inuenced the de-
mographics of the Initiative’s states was the Great
Recession that hit the Baltic States the worst (espe-
cially in 2009) and Croatia the longest (six years of
continuous, double-dip recession).
Even among the 11 post-communist member
states of the Initiative, and without performing
quantitative demographic research, it is possible to
see a dierence in demographic trends in the last
25 years, with Poland showing much lower net
demographic loss than South-Eastern and Baltic
members of the Initiative, while the Czech Repub-
lic, Slovakia, and Slovenia do not show any net de-
mographic loss. Smart and timely implementation
of population policies, more favourable economic
trends, and the absence of ethnic and/or religious
minorities that would emigrate on a massive scale
due to specic historical conditions have made this
positive dierence (Fig. 2).
Considering only Germany, the biggest econ-
omy and labour market of the EU, as the most
frequent destination of labour migrants from the
post-communist EU member states, the data for
the year 2016 were as follows: Out of total 634,000
EU citizens that immigrated to Germany in 2016,
77 percent originated from post-communist mem-
bers, with Romania (171,380 migrants, 0.87% of
the total population in 2016), Poland (123,134, or
0.32%), Bulgaria (66,790, 0.94%), Croatia (51,163,
1.23%) and Hungary (42,302, 0.43%) as the main
originating countries (Bundesamt für Migration
und Flüchtlinge, 2017). e trends are especially
negative, from the position of the out migration
states, and especially for Bulgaria, Romania, and
Croatia, the three least developed and most recent
EU member states.
6 “Emigration from Central, Eastern, and South-Eastern Europe has
been unusually large, persistent, and dominated by educated and young
people. The South-Eastern European economies typically saw appre-
ciably larger labour outflows than the Baltic and Central European
countries” (Atoyan et al., 2016, 5).
118
HRVATSKI
GEOGRAFSKI
GLASNIK
80/1, 99−124 (2018.)
U Tablici 2 prikazani su ukupan BDP, bruto
društveni dohodak po stanovniku, brojnost oruža-
nih snaga, vojni izdaci kao postotak BDP-a, iznos
uvoza oružja i duljina granice članica Inicijative
prema državama koje nisu članice ni Inicijative ni
NATO-a. Podaci za brojnost oružanih snaga na-
mjerno su prikazani za 2013. (posljednju godinu
prije izbijanja krize i rata u Ukrajini, kao odluču-
jućih momenata koji su otežali i pogoršali odnose s
Rusijom) i 2015. godinu, posljednju godinu za koju
su podaci bili dostupni, kako bi se pokušalo uočiti
značajnije razlike. Slično vrijedi za vojne izdatke
kao postotak BDP-a, koji su prikazani za 2013. i
2016. godinu (posljednja godina za koju su podaci
bili dostupni) (tab. 2).
Većina država članica Inicijative nije znatnije
povećala brojnost svojih vojnih snaga usprkos iz-
bijanju krize u Ukrajini, ruske aneksije poluotoka
Krima i nametljive ruske vojne politike na Balti-
ku i Crnom moru. Iznimke su Estonija i Litva,
koje su povećale brojnost svojih vojnih snaga za
In Table 2, total GDP, GNI per capita, armed
personnel size, defence spending as percentage of
GDP, arms imports, and length of the borders of
the Initiative’s states with non-NATO and non-In-
itiative countries are shown. e data for the num-
ber of armed personnel are deliberately shown for
the years 2013 (the last year before the full-scale
crisis and war in Ukraine, as decisive moments that
made relations with Russia very dicult and tense,
broke out) and 2015, the last year for which the
data were available, in order to see are there any sig-
nicant dierences. Similar applies for the defence
spending as a percentage of the GDP, shown for
the years 2013 and 2016 (the last year for which the
data were available) (Tab. 2).
Most of the Initiative’s member states did not en-
large their armed forces personnel signicantly, de-
spite the outbreak of the Ukrainian crisis, Russian
annexation of the Crimea peninsula, and assertive
Russian military policy in the Baltic region and on
the Black Sea. e only exceptions are Estonia and
Fig. 2 Net migration of the Three Seas Initiative member states, 1988-2012
Sl. 2. Migracijski saldo država Inicijative Tri mora, 1988.-2012. godine
Source / Izvor: World Bank (2017f)
P. Kurečić
e ree Seas
Initiative:
geographical
determinants,
geopolitical
foundations,
and prospective
challenges
Inicijativa triju
mora: geografske
odrednice,
geopolitička
utemeljenja i budući
izazovi
119
Tab. 2 Total GDP, GNI per capita, armed forces size, military expenses, arms imports, and the length of the external borders of the Three Seas Initiative
member states
Tab. 2. Ukupan BDP, bruto društveni dohodak po stanovniku, brojnost oružanih snaga, vojni izdaci, iznos uvoza oružja i duljina vanjskih granica država
Inicijative Tri mora
Member state of the Initiative
/ Država članica Inicijative
GDP 2016, billions (USD)
/ BDP 2016., u milijardama američkih dolara
GNI per capita, 2016, Atlas method (USD)
/ Bruto društveni dohodak po stanovniku 2016., Atlas
metoda, u milijardama američkih dolara
GNI per capita (peak year), Atlas method (USD)
/ Bruto društveni dohodak po stanovniku (vršna godina),
Atlas metoda, u milijardama američkih dolara
Armed forces personnel, total number, 2013 and 2015
/ Brojnost oružanih snaga, ukupno, 2013. i 2015.
Defense spending, 2013 and 2016, percentage of GDP
(based on 2010 prices)
/ Vojni izdaci kao postotak BDP, 2013. i 2016. (zasnovani
na cijenama iz 2010.)
Arms imports, 2013 and 2016, in millions (USD)
/ Iznos uvoza oružja, 2013. i 2016., milijuni američkih
dolara
Length of the borders to the non-ree Seas Initiative and
non-NATO member states in kilometres
/ Duljina granica prema nečlanicama Inicijative Tri mora i
nečlanicama NATO saveza u kilometrima
Austria
/ Austrija 386.4 45 230 50 500
(2013)
22 500
21 350
0.8
0.7*
7
13
Liechtenstein / Lihtenštajn: 34
Switzerland / Švicarska: 158
Bulgaria
/ Bugarska 52.4 7 470 7 720
(2014)
47 300
47 300
1.46
1.35
n/a
n/a
Macedonia / Makedonija: 162
Serbia / Srbija: 344
Croatia
/ Hrvatska 50.4 12 110 14 050
(2011)
19 550
18 550
1.47
1.23
n/a
32
Bosnia-Herzegovina / Bosna i
Hercegovina: 956
Serbia / Srbija: 314
Czech Republic
/ Češka Republika 192.9 17 570 19 420
(2011)
24 100
25 050
1.03
1.04
15
0/
Estonia
/ Estonija 23.1 17 750 18 790
(2014)
5 750
6 400
1.90
2.16
18
27 Russia / Rusija: 324
Hungary
/ Mađarska 124.3 12 570 13 460
(2014)
38 500
38 500
0.95
1.01
2
17
Serbia / Srbija: 164
Ukraine / Ukrajina: 128
Latvia
/ Latvija 27.7 14 630 15 330
(2014)
5 310
5 310
0.93
1.45
5
40
Belarus / Bjelorusija: 161
Russia / Rusija: 332
Lithuania
/ Litva 42.7 14 770 16 030
(2014)
21 950
28 330
0.76
1.49
73
20
Belarus / Bjelorusija: 640
Russia (Kaliningradska oblast) /
Rusija (Kalinjingradska oblast): 261
Poland
/ Poljska 469.5 12 680 13 630
(2014)
172 700
172 700
1.72
2.00
152
170
Belarus / Bjelorusija: 418
Russia (Kaliningradska oblast) /
Rusija (Kalinjingradska oblast): 210
Ukraine / Ukrajina: 535
Romania
/ Rumunjska 186.7 9 470 9 600
(2014)
151 300
150 400
1.28
1.48
20
183
Moldova / Moldavija: 683
Serbia / Srbija: 531
Ukraine / Ukrajina: 601
Slovakia
/ Slovačka Republika 89.6 16 810 18 140
(2013)
15 850
15 850
0.99
1.16
6
n/a Ukraine / Ukrajina: 97
Slovenia / Slovenija 44.0 21 660 24 710
(2008)
13 550
13 200
1.06
0.94
n/a
n/a /
* The data for Austria were taken from the World Bank; hence it is not a NATO member state. The last year for which the data were available was 2015.
/ Podaci za Austriju preuzeti su sa stranica Svjetske banke s obzirom na to da nije članica NATO-a. Posljednji dostupni podaci bili su za 2015. godinu.
Source / Izvor: NATO (2016); World Bank (2017a; 2017b; 2017c; 2017d; 2017e)
120
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80/1, 99−124 (2018.)
Lithuania, which have increased their armed forces
personnel by about 10 and 30 percent, respectively.
In 2015, the total armed forces personnel of the 11
NATO/EU member states (Austria excluded) that
are also members of the Initiative, was about 522,000
members (Poland and Romania contributed to that
number with about 323,000). In 2015, Russia’s armed
forces boasted roughly 1,490,000 members, so the
ratio between the armed forces personnel of the 11
NATO members of the Initiative and Russia was
about 1:3 (without considering Russia’s dominance in
terms of armoured vehicles and aircraft, as well as the
fact that Russia is one of two nuclear superpowers). If
we add Belarussian armed forces (158,000 members
in 2015), as an allied state, to Russian forces, the ratio
is even more in favour of Russia. erefore, NATO
represents an indispensable security guarantor for
member states in Central and South-Eastern Europe,
and particularly to those located in the possible Baltic
and Black Sea theatres of war, with smaller Central
European NATO members that share border with
Ukraine (Slovakia and Hungary) being exposed as
well, but to a lesser point – due to their geographical
location and pragmatic policy towards Russia (for ex-
ample, these countries do not host THAAD anti-bal-
listic missile systems, like those found in Poland, the
Czech Republic, and Romania).
Defence expenses as percentage of GDP (present-
ed for the years 2013 and 2016) showed that only
two NATO/Initiative member states (Poland and
Estonia) complied with NATO’s recommendation
of two percent of GDP. Due to the small size of
Estonia, only Poland can be considered as a mem-
ber state of the Initiative with a respectable military
force that also currently complies with NATO’s rec-
ommendation, especially because Poland has rather
modern weapons and systems (modern ghter air-
planes, Patriot missile defence systems, navy vessels,
etc.). Most of the 11 NATO/Initiative member states
did not signicantly increase their defence spend-
ing (Bulgaria, Croatia, and Slovenia even decreased
it) after the Ukrainian crisis; the exceptions are the
Baltic States and Poland, which feel most exposed
to Russia’s presence, “with Kaliningradska oblast as
a forward strategic base of Russia, and the Suwalki
Gap, an ‘80 km patch of relatively at, dicult to
defend countryside’ (Brook, 2017), as the weakest
otprilike 10 i 30 posto. Ukupna brojnost vojnih
snaga članica NATO-a i EU-a (bez Austrije)
koje su ujedno i članice Inicijative bila je oko
522 tisuće pripadnika (na Poljsku i Rumunjsku
otpadalo je oko 323 tisuće). Rusija je 2015. go-
dine imala oružane snage koje su brojile milijun
i 490 tisuća pripadnika, stoga je odnos između
oružanih snaga 11 država članica NATO-a i Ini-
cijative i Rusije bio otprilike 1 : 3 (bez uzimanja
u obzir dominaciju Rusije u oklopnim vozilima i
zrakoplovima te činjenicu da je Rusija jedna od
dviju nuklearnih supersila). Ako se ruskim voj-
nim snagama pridodaju i snage Bjelorusije (158
tisuća pripadnika 2015. godine), kao savezničke
države Rusiji, odnos je još više u korist Rusije.
Stoga je NATO nezamjenjiv jamac sigurnosti
za svoje članice iz srednje i jugoistočne Europe,
posebice one smještene na mogućem baltičkom
i crnomorskom ratištu, dok su manje srednjoe-
uropske članice NATO-a koje imaju granicu s
Ukrajinom (Slovačka Republika i Mađarska) ta-
kođer izložene, ali u manjoj mjeri – zbog svoga
geografskog položaja i pragmatične politike pre-
ma Rusiji (te države primjerice na svom teritori-
ju nisu smjestile protubalističke raketne sustave
THAAD, za razliku od Poljske, Češke Republi-
ke i Rumunjske).
Vojni izdaci kao postotak BDP-a (prikazani za
2013. i 2016. godinu) otkrivaju da su samo dvije
članice NATO-a i Inicijative (Poljska i Estonija)
poštivale preporuku NATO-a o izdvajanju 2 %
BDP-a za obranu. S obzirom na činjenicu da je
Estonija mala država, jedino se Poljska može sma-
trati državom članicom Inicijative s respektabil-
nim vojnim snagama, a koja ujedno i poštuje pre-
poruku NATO-a, pogotovo jer Poljska posjeduje
prilično moderna oružja i sustave (moderni lovački
zrakoplovi, proturaketni obrambeni sustavi Patri-
ot, ratni brodovi itd.). Većina od 11 država članica
Inicijative i NATO-a nije bitnije povećala svoja
izdvajanja za obranu nakon krize u Ukrajini (Bu-
garska, Hrvatska i Slovenija čak su ih smanjile).
Iznimke su samo baltičke države i Poljska, koje se
osjećaju najviše izložene ruskoj prisutnosti – „s Ka-
linjingradskom oblašću kao isturenom strateškom
bazom Rusije i koridorom Suwalki, 80 km širokim
procijepom relativno ravnoga, teško branjiva ru-
P. Kurečić
e ree Seas
Initiative:
geographical
determinants,
geopolitical
foundations,
and prospective
challenges
Inicijativa triju
mora: geografske
odrednice,
geopolitička
utemeljenja i budući
izazovi
121
point that connects Poland and Lithuania, separating
Kaliningradska oblast from Belarus. If the Suwalki
Gap would be closed by Russian and Belarussian
forces, the three Baltic members of NATO would
be territorially cut o from Poland and the rest of
the Alliance (Grigas, 2016). Additionally, the activi-
ties of the Russian Baltic Fleet and Russian air force
are showing a renewed presence and assertiveness of
Russia on the sea and in the air.
e data on the length of borders to non-NA-
TO/non-Initiative states mostly correlate with the
increase in defence spending of Initiative’s member
states; hence the fact that the states that have the
longest non-NATO border with Russia and/or Bela-
rus (the Baltic States and Poland), as well as Ukraine
(Poland and Romania, which also has a long border
with Moldova, a country completely surrounded by
Ukraine and Romania, without complete control of
its territory) have increased their defence spending
the most and expressed the hardest anti-Russian
rhetoric and stance.
In energy supply issues and challenges, there
seems to be a clear geopolitical and geo-economic
initiative towards gradual exclusion of Russia and
re-orientation towards the U.S.. e Initiative has
declared two large infrastructural projects as its
main goals. First is a North-South Highway, called
Via Carpathia, a corridor between two important
harbours: Klaipeda in Lithuania and essaloniki
in Greece. e second project is the planned gas
pipeline that would connect two future liqueed
natural gas (LNG) terminals, one in Poland, and
the other on the Croatian island of Krk. Regard-
ing the second main infrastructural project, the gas
pipeline between the Adriatic and the Baltic Sea,
President Trump’s visit to the July, 2017 Summit of
the Initiative, held in Warsaw, had geo-economic
aspects that were clearly visible in giving signif-
icance to diversication of energy suppliers and
supply routes to its states, besides having a clear ge-
opolitical meaning, by the expression of unambigu-
ous support to the Initiative and its member states.
Trump was in Warsaw to promote U.S. natural
gas and coal exports; as the U.S. has become a net
exporter of natural gas, thanks to fracking, most-
ly done in Texas and Pennsylvania (Gotev, 2017).
Besides the Initiative member states, Ukraine, due
ralnoga prostora“ (Brook, 2017), kao najslabijom
točkom koja povezuje Poljsku i Litvu te odvaja
Kalinjingradsku oblast od Bjelorusije. Ako bi ru-
ske i bjeloruske snage zatvorile koridor Suwalki,
tri baltičke članice NATO-a bile bi teritorijalno
odvojene od Poljske i ostatka NATO-a (Grigas,
2016). Osim toga, aktivnosti ruske baltičke ote
i ruskoga zrakoplovstva pokazuju ponovnu prisut-
nost i odrješitost Rusije na moru i u zraku.
Podaci o duljini granica prema nečlanicama Inici-
jative i nečlanicama NATO-a uglavnom se podudara-
ju s povećanjem vojnih izdataka država članica Inicija-
tive, stoga vrijedi teza da su države koje imaju najdulje
nenatovske granice prema Rusiji i/ili Bjelorusiji (bal-
tičke države i Poljska), kao i prema Ukrajini (Poljska
i Rumunjska, koja ima i dugu granicu s Moldavijom,
državom potpuno okruženom Ukrajinom i Rumunj-
skom, bez potpune kontrole teritorija, na čijem se
jednom dijelu nalazi Transdnjestarska oblast, koju
podržava Rusija) najviše povećale svoje vojne izdatke i
imaju najtvrđu retoriku i stav prema Rusiji.
U pitanjima i izazovima opskrbe energijom čini
se da postoji jasna geopolitička i geoekonomska
inicijativa za postupno isključivanje Rusije i pro-
mjena orijentacije prema SAD-u. Inicijativa je
objavila dva velika infrastrukturna projekta kao
svoje glavne ciljeve. Prvi je autocesta u smjeru
sjever-jug, nazvana Via Carpathia, kao koridor
između dviju važnih luka: Klaipede u Litvi i So-
luna u Grčkoj. Drugi projekt je planirani plinovod,
koji bi povezivao dva buduća skladišta ukaplje-
noga prirodnog plina (UPP), jednoga u Poljskoj
i drugoga na otoku Krku. Kad je u pitanju drugi
spomenuti projekt, plinovod između Jadranskoga
i Baltičkoga mora, posjet američkoga predsjedni-
ka Trumpa drugom sastanku na vrhu Inicijative,
održanom u srpnju 2017. g. u Varšavi, osim ge-
opolitičkoga značenja, davanjem nedvosmislene
potpore Inicijativi i njezinim članicama, imao je
i geoekonomske aspekte, koji su bili jasno vidljivi
u davanju važnosti diversikaciji dobavljača i do-
bavnih ruta energije državama Inicijative. Trump
je u Varšavi promovirao izvoz prirodnoga plina i
ugljena iz SAD-a jer je SAD zbog frakiranja, koje
se obavlja ponajviše u saveznim državama Texasu
i Pennsylvaniji postao izvoznik prirodnoga plina
(Gotev, 2017). Osim država članica Inicijative,
122
HRVATSKI
GEOGRAFSKI
GLASNIK
80/1, 99−124 (2018.)
to its heavy industry and energy dependence, needs
imported coal, and the U.S. has a surplus of coal as
well, which can be imported into Ukraine, mainly
via Odessa harbour.
Due to afore-mentioned U.S. geo-economic and
geopolitical interests in Central and Eastern Europe,
terminating the beginning of the construction of the
Nord Stream 2 Pipeline remains a primary objective
the U.S. with its main ally Poland supporting the ef-
forts, parallel with the construction of the LNG Ter-
minal on the Croatian island of Krk and the building
of gas pipeline interconnectors among the countries
of the region. One step further in the attempt to pro-
long Russian and German dependence on northern
transit countries, Belarus and Poland, is the law that
was passed by the U.S. Congress in July 2017 (Radio
Poland, 2017). While it makes it more dicult for the
President to end the sanctions against Russia, it also
targets the Russo-German Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline
to Europe that would signicantly lower or, de facto,
end the dependence of Germany and Russia on transit
countries. e Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline would signif-
icantly lower the geo-economic signicance of Poland,
because its territory could not be used to partially block
the delivery of gas from Russia to Germany. Germa-
ny and Austria have castigated new U.S. sanctions on
Russia, describing them as an illegal threat to the EU
energy security. Berlin and Vienna both stated that the
amendment heralded a ‘new and very negative quality
in European-American relations’. Gas pipeline Nord
Stream 2 would also reduce the transit importance and
incomes from transit to Ukraine, the sitting govern-
ment of which is an ally of the U.S. (Foy et al., 2017).
In Germany, the bill was perceived as a direct strike at
Germany’s and the EU’s strategic interests, which put
its energy supply in jeopardy (Petersdor, 2017).
Conclusion
e Initiative has evolved into a geopolitical and
geo-economic grouping of primarily post-communist
NATO/EU member states. Despite their diversities
and some dierences in stances towards Russia, the
member states of the Initiative are showing certain
common interests, such as heavy reliance on NATO as
a protector (de facto the U.S. “security umbrella”), de-
termination to lower the dependence on Russian gas,
Ukrajina, zbog svoje teške industrije i ovisnosti o
uvozu energije, treba uvozni ugljen, kojega SAD
ima i viška te koji se u Ukrajinu može uvoziti pr-
venstveno kroz luku Odesa.
Zbog spomenutih geoekonomskih i geo-
političkih interesa SAD-a u srednjoj i istočnoj
Europi blokiranje početka izgradnje plinovoda
Sjeverni tok 2 ostaje primarni cilj SAD-a, čije
napore podupire njegov glavni saveznik Poljska,
uz istodobnu izgradnju terminala za ukapljeni
prirodni plin na Krku te gradnju spojnica među
plinovodima između država regije. Korak dalje u
pokušaju da se produlji ovisnost Rusije i Njemač-
ke o tranzitnim državama na sjeveru, Bjelorusiji i
Poljskoj, zakon je donesen u Kongresu SAD-a u
srpnju 2017. g. (Radio Poland, 2017). Taj zakon
predsjedniku SAD-a otežava završetak sankcija
prema Rusiji, a također cilja na rusko-njemački
projekt plinovoda Sjeverni tok 2, koji bi bitno
umanjio tj. de facto prekinuo ovisnost Njemačke i
Rusije o tranzitnim državama. Plinovod Sjeverni
tok 2 prilično bi umanjio geoekonomsko značenje
Poljske jer se njezin teritorij ne bi mogao koristiti
za djelomičnu blokadu dopreme plina iz Rusije u
Njemačku. Njemačka i Austrija osudile su nove
američke sankcije Rusiji, opisujući ih kao nezako-
nitu prijetnju energetskoj sigurnosti EU-a. Berlin
i Beč smatraju da „amandman najavljuje novu,
vrlo lošu kvalitetu europsko-američkih odnosa”.
Plinovod Sjeverni tok 2 također bi smanjio tran-
zitnu važnost i prihode od tranzita Ukrajini, čija
je sadašnja vlada saveznik SAD-a (Foy i drugi,
2017). U Njemačkoj se spomenuti zakon doživ-
ljava kao izravan udarac strateškim interesima
Njemačke i EU-a, koji ugrožava dobavu energije
(Petersdor, 2017).
Zaključak
Inicijativa triju mora prerasla je u geopolitičku
i geoekonomsku grupaciju primarno postkomuni-
stičkih država, članica NATO-a i EU-a. Usprkos
različitostima i razlikama u stavovima prema Rusiji
države članice Inicijative imaju određene zajednič-
ke interese, kao što su snažno oslanjanje na NATO
kao zaštitnika (de facto američki „sigurnosni kišo-
bran”), odlučnost u smanjenju ovisnosti o ruskom
P. Kurečić
e ree Seas
Initiative:
geographical
determinants,
geopolitical
foundations,
and prospective
challenges
Inicijativa triju
mora: geografske
odrednice,
geopolitička
utemeljenja i budući
izazovi
123
develop new transit corridors and gas pipelines, and act
jointly as a barrier towards a renewed German-French
vision of Europe, which comprises a tighter integra-
tion of the scal and political aspects of the EU. e
vision of the EU after Brexit, pursued by the states
of the EU Core, as well as the European Commis-
sion, means more integration, which is not positively
viewed in some of the Initiative’s member states, par-
ticularly Poland and Hungary, with the Czech Repub-
lic and Slovakia, respectively, having doubts as well.
e Visegrad Group therefore has emerged as a pri-
mary opponent of federalised Europe, with Poland as
its logical forerunner. e inuence and the objective
importance in the EU, of the Baltic States, as well as
Croatia, means these are not as signicant as larger
states, so they denitely cannot act as “game chang-
ers” in the afore-mentioned processes. erefore, these
states have connected with the Visegrad Group in the
eort to increase their bargaining power, concurrently
bandwagoning towards the U.S.. erefore, the Initi-
ative was created, as a group that primarily emulates
the goals and purpose of the Vilnius Group, increas-
ing the inuence of its member states (now member
states of the EU) and therefore maintaining the EU
as a whole weaker, which serves U.S. geopolitical and
geo-economic interests.
plinu, razvoj novih tranzitnih koridora i plinovo-
da te zajedničko djelovanje kao brana obnovljenoj
njemačko-francuskoj viziji Europe, koja uključuje
jaču integraciju skalnih i političkih aspekata EU-
a. Vizija EU-a nakon Brexita, koju promiču države
jezgre EU-a i Europska komisija, znači viši stupanj
integracije, na što se ne gleda pozitivno u nekim
državama članicama Inicijative, posebice u Polj-
skoj i Mađarskoj, dok Češka Republika i Slovačka
Republika također izražavaju dvojbe. Višegrad-
ska skupina nameće se stoga kao glavni protivnik
federalizirane Europe, s Poljskom kao logičnim
predvodnikom. Utjecaj i objektivna važnost bal-
tičkih država i Hrvatske u EU-u, koje nisu važne
kao što su to veće države, znači da te države nikako
ne mogu biti one koje će donijeti promjenu u spo-
menutim procesima. Stoga se te države i jesu više
povezale s Višegradskom skupinom kako bi pove-
ćale svoju važnost u budućim pregovorima, isto-
vremeno se priklanjajući SAD-u. Stvorena je tako
Inicijativa, kao grupacija koja prvenstveno naslje-
đuje ciljeve i svrhu Vilniuske skupine povećanjem
utjecaja svojih država članica (sada država članica
EU-a) i tako održava EU kao cjelinu slabijom, što
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Izvori
Petar Kurečić petar.kurecic@unin.hr
PhD, Associate Professor, Senior Research Fellow, University North, Trg dr. Žarka Dolinara 1,
48000 Koprivnica, Croatia
Author
Autor
... Some geographers also discuss the role of oil in the US intervention in the Middle East [14,15]. The geopolitical and geo-economic group (the Three Seas Initiative), mainly composed of post-communist NATO and EU member states, is highly dependent on NATO as a protector, which is actually the U.S. protective umbrella [16]. The outbreak of the European economic crisis foresaw the recovery of geopolitics in the analysis of trans-Atlantic foreign policy, and the European Union was still in danger [17]. ...
... In their research on frontier countries and emerging countries, Simonia and Torkunov stated that the main factor affecting the pricing of the global energy industry is geopolitics, and the main "volcano" of its turbulence is the United States [25]. The member states of the Three Seas Initiative are determined to reduce their dependence on natural gas from Russia and Ukraine [16]. Oral and Ozdemir believe that since 70% of the world's oil and gas reserves are located near Turkey, in the context of energy geopolitics, Turkey's most important goal is to become the global energy trade center [22]. ...
Article
Full-text available
The energy trade is an important pillar of each country's development, making up for the imbalance in the production and consumption of fossil fuels. Geopolitical risks affect the energy trade of various countries to a certain extent, but the causes of geopolitical risks are complex, and energy trade also involves many aspects, so the impact of geopolitics on energy trade is also complex. Based on the monthly data from 2000 to 2020 of 17 emerging economies, this paper employs the fixed-effect model and the regression-discontinuity (RD) model to verify the negative impact of geopolitics on energy trade first and then analyze the mechanism and heterogeneity of the impact. The following conclusions are drawn: First, geopolitics has a significant negative impact on the import and export of the energy trade, and the inhibition on the export is greater than that on the import. Second, the impact mechanism of geopolitics on the energy trade is reflected in the lagging effect and mediating effect on the imports and exports; that is, the negative impact of geopolitics on energy trade continued to be significant 10 months later. Coal and crude oil prices, as mediating variables, decreased to reduce the imports and exports, whereas natural gas prices showed an increase. Third, the impact of geopolitics on energy trade is heterogeneous in terms of national attribute characteristics and geo-event types.
... More recently, the Three Seas ini tiative has come under the spotlight, in which Poland also plays a prominent role and which is seen by some as a revival of the Polish initiated geopolitical plans of the early 20 th century. The initiative, focusing on the nations between the Baltic, Adriatic and Black Seas, intends to bring together the 'small state Europe' in between German and Russian spheres of influence, and also helps to increase the room for manoeuvre between the two great powers (Kurečić 2018;Zbińkowski 2019). As an indication of its global potential, some of the meet ings were attended by the then US President and others by the President of the European Commission. ...
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Hungarian-Serbian relations have never been as cordial as they are now, and this is an opinion shared by the leadership of both countries in spite of the modern history of the two nations. In our paper, we seek explanation for this change and argue that it is a consequence of multiple factors: First, the geopolitical changes in the Western Balkans, which have resulted in a great power competition that has opened up space for small states, like Hungary, to assert their interests. Secondly, the changes in domestic politics in Hungary that have brought national interests into the foreground, resulting, among other outcomes, in more active foreign policy with regard to the Western Balkans region. In this paper, we attempt to give a different, critical view of these relations, discussing migration, economic cooperation and political maneuvers in particular.
... Although Frontier countries are generally regarded as the leading players in the energy market (Simonia and Torkunov, 2016;Li T. et al., 2020), in fact, geopolitics has a more significant impact on the energy market of emerging economies. The "Three Seas Initiative" composed of some EU member countries is currently making efforts to reduce their dependence on natural gas from Russia and Ukraine (Kurecic, 2018); Oral and Ozdemir believe that under the current geopolitical background, Turkey should strive to become the center of global energy trade, because 70% of the world's oil and gas reserves and consumption take place around it (Oral and Ozdemir, 2017). When geopolitical factors drive oil prices beyond realistic levels, Brazil should seize the opportunity to use shale oil as an important strategic resource (dos Santos and Lara dos Santos Matai, 2010); The Korean Peninsula should make strategic use of its own geopolitics to connect the Eurasian continent energy transportation and achieve prosperity through economic cooperation with the United States, China, Japan and Russia (Duk, 2018); China's energy market is far from mature, and energy risks bring great fluctuations to the price of China's energy asset market (Li, 2010). ...
Article
Full-text available
In the context of intensifying global geopolitical disputes and trade frictions, the relationship between geopolitics and energy trade has attracted extensive attention from scholars. The complexity of geopolitical risks mainly comes from the diversity of geopolitical events, which directly leads to the different responses of energy trade in the face of geopolitical risks. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the heterogeneity of the impact of geopolitical events on energy trade based on the difference of event types. This paper uses Regression Discontinuity Design (RDD) to simulate a quasi-natural experiment. Based on the monthly data and the Geopolitical Risk index (GPR index) of 17 emerging economies from 2000 to 2020, the empirical analysis can be concluded as follows: Wars and conflicts events lead to the increase of energy trade volume; terrorist attacks have no significant impact on energy trade; international tension can cause the decline in energy trade. Additional analysis shows that the impact of geopolitical events on energy trade in emerging economies is concentrated on the demand side, and the demand is severely inelastic.
... In terms of energy demand, the normal production activities of a country may be affected by the unstable macro environment, which will affect the energy input. Lee et al. used the SVAR framework and found that the country risk reduced the country's energy consumption, thus Initiative are determined to reduce their dependence on natural gas from Russia and Ukraine [16]. Oral and Ozdemir believe that since 70% of the world's oil and gas reserves are located near Turkey, in the context of energy geopolitics, Turkey's most important goal is to become the global energy trade center [22]. ...
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The energy trade is an important pillar of each country's development, making up for the imbalance in the production and consumption of fossil fuels. Geopolitical risks affect the energy trade of various countries to a certain extent, but the causes of geopolitical risks are complex, and energy trade also involves many aspects, so the impact of geopolitics on energy trade is also complex. Based on the monthly data from 2000 to 2020 of 17 emerging economies, this paper employs the fixed-effect model and the regression-discontinuity (RD) model to verify the negative impact of geopolitics on energy trade first and then analyze the mechanism and heterogeneity of the impact. The following conclusions are drawn: First, geopolitics has a significant negative impact on the import and export of the energy trade, and the inhibition on the export is greater than that on the import. Second, the impact mechanism of geopolitics on the energy trade is reflected in the lagging effect and mediating effect on the imports and exports; that is, the negative impact of geopolitics on energy trade continued to be significant 10 months later. Coal and crude oil prices, as mediating variables, decreased to reduce the imports and exports, whereas natural gas prices showed an increase. Third, the impact of geopolitics on energy trade is heterogeneous in terms of national attribute characteristics and geo-event types.
Article
Full-text available
This article deals with the significance of the Mini Schengen Initiative in shaping the new geopolitical configuration of the Western Balkans. In theoretical terms, the article discusses the changing meaning of borders in the contemporary world and buffer zones as a subject of research in political geography and geopolitics. In methodological terms, the authors provide an overview of the political-territorial development of the Western Balkans and then implement the theoretical approaches of contemporary political geography and geopolitics in the perspectives of the Western Balkans and its de facto status. Furthermore, analysing media reports related to the Mini Schengen Initiative, the article correlates the mentioned theoretical approaches with the trends in the political geography of the Western Balkans encouraged by the Initiative. Finally, the authors conclude that the Mini Schengen Initiative does not have a strong integration capacity; instead, serves as a waiting room for European Union membership thus shaping the Western Balkans as a new buffer zone.
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The presented research is the first such study on Austria, Croatia, Slovenia (Graz Triangle) as a part of the Three Seas Initiative from the perspective of the United Arab Emirates. After 2015, when the Three Seas Initiative was initiated, the United Arab Emirates greatly intensified its relations with this geographical area. In this study, the author relied on international practice and role theory, supported by the analytical and empirical case study method. Moreover, the researcher verified the study results through ten-year participation in many processes and phenomena of the investigated area, including as Ambassador, Senior Advisor to Dubai Expo 2020 responsible for strategies and dynamizing the Three Seas Initiative countries' relations with the United Arab Emirates. The obtained findings indicate that the Graz Triangle states have the potential for further relations development with the United Arab Emirates. However, to give its strategic significance, the implementation project should be within a broader formula, i.e., the Three Seas Initiative.
Article
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The article raises the topic of Croatia’s place and role in the Three Seas Initiative (3SI). The aim of the article is: (a) showing the relationship of the main political forces to the 3SI; (b) an indication of the scale of interest in this project from national analytical centers; (c) analysis of the reasons for involvement or reserve and distance to the Three Seas Initiative; (d) analysis of the role attributed or expected in the Three Seas Initiative; (e) analysis of the perception of other states – participants of the Three Seas Initiative; (f) analysis of integration projects competing or complementary to the Three Seas Initiative which are or may be of importance for Croatia; (g) to show the attitude of the government in Zagreb to the execu-tive/intergovernmental dimension being developed; (h) an indication of the threats and opportunities identified by the Croatian authorities for the Three Seas Initiative; (i) analysis of the perception of 3SI’s relations with the European Union; (j) analysis of the perception and assessment of the policy of third countries towards the Three Seas Initiative (from the Zagreb perspective). The structure of the article follows the above-mentioned goals.
Article
This article discusses Russian perceptions of and attitudes toward the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Russia has historically disliked and mistrusted NATO, seeing it as the primary threat to its international aspirations; in practice Russia pursues a dual policy. Its harsh condemnation of NATO has not stopped it from cooperating in selected areas of mutual interest. The most important among them is support for NATO's military operations in Afghanistan. The recent rejuvenation of relations between the west and Moscow is known as the strategic 'reset', meaning a return to diplomatic contacts and limited cooperation regardless of disagreements over the invasion of Georgia and Moscow's other recent international transgressions. The reset in NATO-Russia relations has only tactical significance, however. Cooperation will take place on a limited basis, but a genuine reset in mutual relations must wait for a reset in Russia's political and strategic priorities.
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This article examines the changing security, economic and diplomatic components of the transatlantic link, with a particular focus on Washington's approach and implications for Central and Eastern Europe. The United States continues to play an essential role as security underwriter in the region, but the military dimension of the transatlantic relationship is transforming and will result in greater burdens on Europeans. Economic links between the U.S. and Central Europe are developing more strongly than generally understood, and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is likely to drive both political and economic ties. Unconventional gas developments are enhancing U.S. engagement in European energy markets. Finally, the U.S. remains keen to engage its European partners on a broad agenda of global and regional issues and retains its own interests in working particularly with Central and Eastern European countries to lend stability to ‘wider Europe’.
Article
The idea that some geographic regions, known as shatterbelts, are more conflict-prone than others has appeared and resurfaced in geopolitical writings throughout the twentieth century. Yet much of that work has been tautological or impressionistic. We attempt to sort out the conceptual components of shatterbelts from their hypothesized consequences, and to test propositions about the effects of shatterbelts. The results indicate that shatterbelts are more likely than other regions to be the setting for interstate wars, but this is largely because they also generate more militarized disputes that can go to war, rather than because of any greater likelihood that those lesser conflicts will escalate. Internal conflicts were also more common in shatterbelts, although the effect was more modest than with interstate conflict. The portion of conflicts, especially interstate wars, that involve outside intervention is greater in shatterbelts. Yet, given that intervention occurs, conflicts in shatterbelts (with the exception of interstate wars) are not more likely to expand further or to include major powers as the intervening parties. Shatterbelt conflicts, both internal and external, were also generally considerably longer and bloodier than conflicts in other regions. Possible theoretical explanations and implications for future research are discussed.
Article
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