International problems Journal Archive

International problems Vol. 73 No. 1/2021


International problems, 2021 73(1):7-38
Abstract ▼
The paper analyses Chinese energy cooperation within the 17+1 Cooperation Framework. In order to present the broader political context of this collaboration, special attention is given to Chinese energy interests and EU energy policy. Since the existing databases about Chinese energy projects in 17+1 were incomplete, the authors created a new dedicated database. The authors address key questions about the principal projects involved such as: what are the countries and energy subsectors in which China invests the most; what are the main obstacles in existing energy cooperation; does this kind of energy cooperation have a positive impact on the development of 17+1 members and is China successful in fulfilling its geo-economic strategy in 17+1 in regards to its overall energy policy. The authors find that China is primarily interested in building coalfired power plants, but results remain below expectations, with performance affected by a combination of EU opposition, project costs, and internal political issues in the 17+1 countries. The nuclear energy subsector is where Chinese enterprises have experienced some of their greatest failures, while the hydro energy subsector still has potential for future development. In addition, China is strongly investing in green energy and slowly but surely achieving its energy policy goals as part of its broader geo-economic strategy. The authors conclude that the overall effects of cooperation in the energy field are promising, but there is still space for further improvement.
International problems, 2021 73(1):39-57
Abstract ▼
The paper deals with the relation between the concept of entropy in international relations and the influence of the coronavirus pandemic upon them. In many ways, the coronavirus pandemic is an unprecedented event in contemporary history, but the corona age only confirms the already present trend of chaos and unpredictability in post-Cold War international relations, which Randall Schweller explained by the concept of entropy – the tendency of the rise in the disorder of every closed system. The goal of the paper is to consider this concept and revisit it by an assessment of how the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on international relations fits into it. Starting from Schweller’s observation that, in the past, hegemonic wars were the primary mechanism of containing entropy in the international system, along with his prediction that some natural catastrophe could have a certain impact in that direction in the future, the author departs with this research question: Could the coronavirus pandemic bring a reduction of entropy in the post-corona age, or will it only deepen the trend of entropy? Confirming the latter, the author finds the explanation for the resilience of entropy in the absence of balance of power in the contemporary international system – which is opposed to Schweller’s expectation that only hegemony can contain entropy. The conclusion is that the great powers in the post-corona age should consciously work on restoring and maintaining a balance of power if they want to make the system more resilient to some next global catastrophe.
International problems, 2021 73(1):58-86
Abstract ▼
The article explores the European Union\\\\\\\'s approach to human rights issues in China through the processes of bilateral and multilateral dialogue on human rights between the EU and the People\\\\\\\'s Republic of China, on the one hand. On the other hand, the paper deals with the analysis of the EU\\\\\\\'s human rights policy in the specific case of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, which is examined through normative and political activities of the EU, its institutions and individual member states. Besides, the paper examines China\\\\\\\'s response to the European Union\\\\\\\'s human rights approaches, in general, but also when it comes to the specific case of UAR Xinjiang. Тhis is done through a review of China\\\\\\\'s discourse and behaviour within the EU–China Human Rights Dialogue framework, but also at the UN level and within the framework of bilateral relations with individual member states. The paper aims to show whether and how the characteristics of the EU\\\\\\\'s general approach to human rights in China are reflected in the individual case of Xinjiang. Particular attention shall be given to the differentiation of member states in terms of their approach to human rights issues in China, which is conditioned by the discrepancy between their political values, normative interests and ideational factors, on the one hand, and material factors and economic interests, on the other. Also, the paper aims to show the important features of the different views of the European Union and the Chinese state on the very role of Human Rights Dialogue, as well as their different understandings of the concept of human rights itself. The study concluded that the characteristics of the Union\\\\\\\'s general approach to human rights in China, as well as the different perceptions of human rights issues between China and the EU, were manifested in the same way in the case of UAR Xinjiang.
International problems, 2021 73(1):87-105
Abstract ▼
The relations with Russia rank among the most important and most complex issues in the US and UK foreign policy. The years after the Second World War have been marked by an exhausting arms race between the Western and Eastern bloc that ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the break-up of the Soviet Union and the victory of the United States and its Western allies. The purpose of this paper is to analyse the relations between the US and the United Kingdom on the one hand, and Russia, on the other, during the mandate of President Trump and after Brexit and point to possible directions that these relations may take in the aftermath of Biden’s victory in the 2020 US Presidential elections. The author proceeds from a hypothesis that the efforts of President Trump, who, contrary to his predecessors, felt that the relations with Russia should be based on interests rather than ideology, have failed. He has not been successful primarily due to the huge resistance mounted by the state structures, mainstream media and anti-Russian coalition forged by the Republican and Democratic parties. The relations between the UK and Russia remain cold after Brexit as well due to the severe problems between the two countries. The first part will deal with the strained relations between the United States and Russia following the West’s victory in the Cold War, the efforts of President Trump to improve these relations and his failure to do so. The second part of the paper will address the relationship between the United Kingdom and Russia, which is in many respects even more complicated than that between Russia and the US. After Brexit, the relations between the two countries continue to be plagued by the activities of the Russian agents in Great Britain, the crisis in Ukraine and different views on the war in Syria. In the third part, the concluding part of the paper, the author tried to answer the question of how the relations between the US and Russia will develop after Joseph Biden won the 2020 US Presidential elections. According to him, the new President will continue to pursue the traditional policy towards Russia agreed upon by both US parties. It can be expected that Biden will, despite the policy of sanctions pursued by his predecessors, Obama and Trump, engage more in supporting the opposition and civilian sector in Russia. Given the cold and strained relations between these two states, it may be assumed that Great Britain will readily follow a new, tougher course of action pursued by President Biden towards Russia and Putin. It is especially important for UK politics that Biden returns to the ideas of liberalism because, as we have seen on previous pages, in London, in addition to the actions of Russian agents on the UK territory, Putin is most resented precisely for his activities to overthrow the ruling liberal order. Despite the good ties between Prime Minister Johnson and the former US President who supported Brexit, Biden\\\'s victory will bring relief to the UK because of his commitment, as opposed to Trump, to bring back America to the world political stage, where London is likely to expect to find space for its new global role after leaving the EU. On the other hand, Moscow will probably continue with its past foreign policy strategy in anticipation of the moves to be taken by the new US President without high expectations regarding the future relations between the two countries. Russia has even fewer expectations when it comes to relations with the UK, given the gravity of the problems that burden the relations between the two countries.
International problems, 2021 73(1):106-123
Abstract ▼
The paper analyses the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh from the point of view of the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) regarding the violation of human rights of the warring parties directly related to the disputed territory. The European system of human rights protection is one of the greatest European achievements in the field of law, especially if we keep in mind that its judgments are binding on the signatories of the European Convention on Human Rights and Freedoms (ECHR), thus giving it suprajudicial power. Through the analysis of two cases, Sargsyan vs Azerbaijan and Chiragov and others vs Armenia, the Court addressed some very interesting issues that may encourage different interpretations of the European Convention on Human Rights and Freedoms (ECHR), but also directly affect the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. In this regard, the analysis of the (non) existence of the right of the people of NagornoKarabakh to self-determination is especially interesting and significant. The author concludes that the ECtHR in its judgments has taken certain positions that may be of great importance in resolving the status of Nagorno-Karabakh before the international community and international organisations.

Book review

International problems, 2021 73(1):127-131