Networked Regionalism as Conflict Management in Politically Divided Areas: the Balkans and the South Caucasus

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Networked Regionalism as Conflict Management in Politically Divided Areas: the Balkans and the South Caucasus. Anna Ohanyan , Ph.D., Associate Professor Stonehill College Department of Political Science and International Studies Easton, MA 02357 USA Fulbright Scholar, Armenia, 2012-2013 - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Networked Regionalism as Conflict Management in Politically Divided Areas: the Balkans and the South CaucasusAnna Ohanyan, Ph.D., Associate ProfessorStonehill CollegeDepartment of Political Science and International StudiesEaston, MA 02357 USAFulbright Scholar, Armenia, 2012-2013 aohanyan@stonehill.edu

Presentation prepared for the European Geopolitics Forum, Brussels and Turkish Industry and Business Association, Brussels

6/18/2013Anna Ohanyan1The (rather unscientific) starting point of this research In mid-1990s, in Armenia, holding a Turkish soap in my hands.6/18/2013Anna Ohanyan2Broader conceptual puzzles Economy politics relationshipEconomic pacifism: trade relationships are associated with peace and security; Equitable trade promotes prosperity and reduces poverty; supports internationalism and helps to end wars;Economy driving politics

Testing the merits of these assumptions in politically divided areas (PDAs). Are the PDAs the rule or the exception when it comes to politics driving economic engagements? Ethno-centric bias in IR theories;Regional trade blocks in PDAs that (1) started out around non-economic and security related issues areas; (2) gradual and carefully cultivated regional arrangements that ultimately led to greater trade liberalization, as opposed to market forces pushing through boundaries, and shaping political outcomes. Interviews reported in On Money and Memory, Conflict, Security and Development

6/18/2013Anna Ohanyan3Regional arrangements in PDAsPolitical solutions are not a precondition for cross-conflict engagements; Politics drives the economy: Changing organizational structures and identities in all regional organizations; MERCOSUR created to reduce tensions between Argentina and Brazil; South African Development Community initially built around regional security issues relative to apartheid in South Africa;South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation - incremental approach to regional engagement around non-economic issues, and free trade arrangements developed later;Association of South East Asian Nations founded to promote regional political harmony, economic integration evolved subsequently as political tensions subsided. Central American System of Cooperation stimulated by regional solutions to conflicts; includes a Central American Parliament African Union/Intergovernmental Authority on Development Why are some regional arrangements more effective in realizing their conflict management potential than others? 6/18/2013Anna Ohanyan4Policy Rationale Protracted conflicts with high transaction costs and missed opportunities for development in the region; persistent poverty and high unemployment levels in the region; high levels of unemployment and poverty in all countries and non-recognized entities. Unrealized regional potentialRegional competitiveness of PDAs is quite lowWeakened economies as individually they are too small to compete in the global economy, particularly Armenia and Georgia Ineffective problem solving at a regional level; regional governance structures fragile and fragmented;Environmental issuesTransnational criminality Transportation routes Public health Lost opportunities on local community level development Loss of FDI Small and underutilized tourism industry

6/18/2013Anna Ohanyan5Policy Rationale Lack of security mechanisms; the existing stability is a result of a precarious and unregulated, dependent on the maintenance of the status quo; home grown security arrangements (anonymous respondent 2013)Despite its strategic importance as a region, as an economic unit it falls behind increasingly organized regional economic units in South Asia, East Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, among others.Regional trade blocs are on the rise worldwide; South Caucasus remains fragmented. Persistent state weakness in the member countries of the regions; regions with closed border nourish authoritarianism (Richard Beilock), and visa a versa. Instrumentalization of the conflict by the political elites in PDAs, both in the Balkans and South Caucasus. 6/18/2013Anna Ohanyan6Research ObjectivesTo examine the way various kinds of regional cooperative structures influence conflict management processes on the ground;How to maximize the conflict management potential of regional arrangements in PDAs? The network approach: whether the types of ties matter for patterns of peace; not all regional models are born equal when it comes to their impact on conflict management and resolution processes.Clash of regionalisms, more so in South Caucasus (Sakwa) 6/18/2013Anna Ohanyan7Asking the right questions Thinking about regions as existing structures to be discovered ; in this respect, PDAs do not fare well: Balkans is not a region; South Caucasus is not a region; you cannot build a region on a khinkaliThinking about regions as deliberate processes to be activated. Instead of asking a product question (Is a given PDA a region?), one needs to ask a process question (To region or not to region)Subsequently, if to region, then what types of regionalism matters the most for catalyzing effective conflict management processes?

6/18/2013Anna Ohanyan8Definitions Regionalisation as a largely uncoordinated consequence of private sector-led economic integration (Beeson 2003, 253). uncontrolled and unmediated efforts led by the private sector and civil society to achieve greater regional integration. In PDAs, where intergovernmental links are weak or nonexistent, such regionalization efforts are likely to produce regional spaces that are fragmented and piecemeal. Is built around real and realized material interests of organized stakeholders. Is more organic and spontaneous than regionalism."Regionalism is a policy and project whereby states and nonstate actors cooperate and coordinate strategy ... to create an interlocking web of regional governance structures such as those already found in Europe." (Fawcett 2005). Tool of institutional cooperation (Swanstrm 2002), whether in the form of preferential trade agreements or in the form of other types of institutional integration (Soesastro 1994). AStructure for cooperation that is cultivated by internal or external actors (Hettne and Inotai 1994).Institutionalized cooperation among states within a given region (Acharya and Johnston 2008; Swanstrm 2002).In all of these perspectives, regionalism is a process strategically cultivated by political actors.

6/18/2013Anna Ohanyan9Working definition of PDAs as regions in this study A region in a PDA is a system of;geographically proximate states with deep security and economic interdependencies;relatively weak internal and strong external recognition of it as a distinctive area; layer of international institutions engaged in state-building and region-building projects of various sorts. Such regions are characterized by:weak cross-border interface, and yet are open to international actors for state-building purposes or are vulnerable to external power penetration;weak internal governance/administrative structures and poorly consolidated democratic institutions;states in a politically divided region have functional ties that are embryonic and uneven. cooperation in practical and non-security areas is more pronounced than ties related to the security environment (Andreev 2009). In short, the economic and political interdependencies realized at least by one state in the region, or an external power, is an important steppingstone toward greater regional integration.

6/18/2013Anna Ohanyan10Regional Integration as Conflict Management It may be argued that institutionalization, including agency creation, is the true mechanism of post-conflict otherwise missing the classical model of conflict resolution. Institutionalist approaches to outcome creation constitute the principal difference between conventional and alternative models of conflict resolution. Regional integration by definition is just that the progressive institutionalization of interdependence among participating states. it provides an extension to conflict resolution in a long-term perspective, suggesting that successful reconciliation is a process of mutual interest maximization, rather than a single-stream event of distributive settlement. By building on the integrative dynamic of conflict integration functions as a long-term post-settlement reconciliation strategy (Boyka Stefanova, 2006). Towards building regional peace systems;Peace is a marathon, not a sprint 6/18/2013Anna Ohanyan11Definitions: PDAs as regions*Regions are as dynamic constructs, effectively cultivated by internal or external action with the specific objective of enhanced security and peace in the region. Regionalism in this framework becomes a policy initiative rather than just an analytical concept. Regionalism as a CM strategy is a deliberate process of network cultivation across interest-based communities, with the intention of creating favorable conditions for compromises and peace agreements.

6/18/2013Anna Ohanyan12Reasons behind poor regional integration in PDAsConflicts as the primary and most visible hurdle for regional integrationGeo-political overlay: Russia as the frequently cited obstacle against greater regional citizenship by the member statesClash of Regionalism in the South Caucasus (Sakwa)No institutional champion for regionalism in South CaucasusHighly centralized states, which disempowers the local levels of government from seeking regional contacts with other countries Weak administrative structures inside the states that can seek out and cultivate regional contacts for greater problem solving capacities Poor regional transport infrastructure Politicized economies and lack of consolidated democratic structures and cultures in PDAs Weak civil societies and unorganized professional communities and stakeholders for regional cooperation Uni-colored political and economic systems (Gevorg Ter-Gabrielyan, 2012)6/18/2013Anna Ohanyan13Limits of traditional CM infrastructure in PDAs*CM and Peace Studies were rather revolutionary when introduced in 1960s and slowly spilling transforming themselves into concrete practical tools of inter-state and inter-community engagementCM tools were alternative to traditional diplomacy: Track Two Models were revolutionary becauseAllowed to access new stakeholdersProvided new outlets for information processing between the conflict sidesCreated structures for dialogue Opened up the closed diplomatic circles relatively, by bringing in new voices into conflict management processHowever, the current infrastructure of CM is poorly responsive to the contemporary characteristics of conflict both between as well as within states;Strong sovereignty-bias; lack of acknowledgement of the deep structural domestic roots in foreign policies of countries and entities in conflict.

6/18/2013Anna Ohanyan14Transcending traditional CM models through networked regionalism Traditional CM characteristicsState-centric or Westphalian Relatively closed, but more manageable by national authorities and external powersTop downExclusive and uni-sectoralUnresponsive to hybrid regimes in semi-democratic settings that fuel the conflict as a resultOffers a rather narrow choice of possible solutionsSingle-stream eventDistributive settlement

Regional networked CM characteristics Post-Westphalian Relatively open, but less choreographed and more unpredicatable Varied patterns of mobilizationHeteropolar More responsive to domestic political developments in conflict countries Offers a broader and varied choice of possible solutionsGreater opportunities for issue-linkages in the negotiation processes Long term process Interest maximization Governance-focused: statebuilding as well as region-building as a CM strategy

6/18/2013Anna Ohanyan15The Argument Enhanced regional cooperation and building regional ties can serve as a conflict management strategy Certain kind of regional engagement models are more conducive to and supportive of CM processes in a given PDA6/18/2013Anna Ohanyan16Growing enthusiasm for regional approaches to CM6/18/2013Anna Ohanyan17Regional Networked Peace ParadigmPost-Westphalian; relaxed sovereignty bias in foreign aid structures, trade policies and third-party intervention regimes Long-term approach, institutionalizing regionally cross-cutting networks between professional communities;Opening new frontlines and frontiers in conflict management regimes :De-politicizing the existing limited nature of cross-conflict engagements Developing trans-governmental professional networksDeveloping societal professional networks Institutionalized both tracks of cross-conflict engagement: technical/technocratic/professional AND political; To signal that expanded regional professional networks are not equivalent to diluting unresolved political issues; Governance-focused: building governance capacities of conflict-states through trans-national, trans-governmental networks; creating concrete dividends for regional engagements.Network features: top-down and bottom-up, highly institutionalized, highly heteropolar; stretched/centered, depending on the policy area. 6/18/2013Anna Ohanyan18Limits and opportunities of regional networked peace paradigm Can be erroneously perceived as a way to consolidate the status quo or a political outcome not favorable to a conflict side;Ex: resistance of Azeri government to engage with Armenians until the NK conflict is solved; Abkhaz fear of being pulled back into Georgia; Armenian fear to engage with Turkey until Genocide recognition. Political resistance by member states of the region - fear of external/regional powers; example, Georgia Political resistance by member states of the region fear of regional projects to further the interests of the initiating state:Ex: Armenian fears of Turkish initiatives in regional cooperation in South Caucasus; Eurasian Union proposal for Armenia; Azeri suspicions of Russian and French membership in OSCE Minsk Group The pull of global capitals and global trade flows;Economic and political incentives

Creates space for tri-lateral engagements in cases when two conflict sides do not communicate; Expands the menu of issues that can be discussed, creating opportunities of linkages during negotiation processesBy building trans-governmental networks, strengthens the problem-solving capacities of the nation-states Softens the border discourse and border politics Offers unique developmental opportunities across at a community level; micro-level regionalism

6/18/2013Anna Ohanyan19Network attributes that matter for CM:patterns of network mobilization Patterns of network mobilizationtop-down versus bottom-up;whether a given regional network is developed by the elites or has more organic and grassroots componentCM implications: elite-driven peace processes are vulnerable to the nature of political systems in conflict countries (democrac...

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