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The U.S.- Russian Security ‘Reset’: Implications for Central Eastern Europe and Germany

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by Nikola Hynek
ECIA Fellow
European Security, Vol. 18, n. 3, 2009

Nik Hynek (lead co-author), Vit Stritecky, Vladimir Handl and Michal Koran examine the reactions of selected European states to the US-performed ‘reset’ in relations with Russia and explores the ways in which they have been adapting to the new set-up. The article is divided into three parts: after the discussion of the substantive continuity and limited change in US foreign and security policy (USFSP), the multilateral and bilateral dimensions of USFSP procedure are examined through John Ruggie’s theoretical observations. The second part of the article deals with implications of the USFSP for Central-Eastern European countries. This part begins with a discussion of Russian attempts to wheedle Europe into embracing its plans for new European security architecture. The next section sheds light on the unexpected process of strategic realignment of the region (USA/NATO/EU/CSDP) and simultaneous transformation of the special relationship with the USA into ‘normal life’. The third part of the article tackles the implications of heightened US–Russian bilateralism for Germany. Authors’ findings, many of them based on conducted elite interviews, suggest the contrary process, namely Germany’s strengthened multilateral commitment to the EU and specifically to European Security and Defence Policy, limiting the bilateral option to energy trade with Russia.