BETWEEN RUSSIA AND THE WEST: SECURITY POLICY BALANCING BY BELARUS SINCE 1991
Moltz, James C.
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This thesis examines the involvement of Belarus in European and regional security organizations with respect to its relationship to the Russian Federation and the West. Modern Belarus’s geopolitical situation, history, relatively stable government, and need to seek its own development path makes this case study distinct in terms of European security. To analyze Belarus’s shifting behavior, a comparative case study approach is used. Special attention is given to Belarus’s history and the evolution of its relations between the East and the West, with an emphasis on the country’s domestic events, cooperation with regional security organizations, and changes in its foreign policy. The research demonstrates that, despite its turbulent history and uneasy process of self-determination, modern Belarus’s foreign policy and national security posture are based on a commitment to neutrality and peacemaking efforts within Europe. Ties with Russia and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s Soviet heritage are two major constraints preventing Belarus from developing closer relationships with Western security organizations and the United States. However, current trends show that Minsk is becoming more open to developing relations with the West, while maintaining prudent relations with Russia, thus possibly serving as a future bridge between East and West within Europe.
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