Pawns, Partners, and “Smart Leadership”: Ukraine’s Opportunities in the China-Russia-West Triangle

Ukraine can find advantage in geopolitical competition while reducing its sense of disempowerment. The increasingly three-sided competition for influence between China, Russia, and the West has arguably created a new space for autonomous decision making when it comes to strategic geoeconomic choices in Kyiv’s foreign policy. As China’s economic significance for Ukraine increases, there is an opportunity for “smart leadership” in developing a fresh set of policies. Ukraine has the location—if not yet the consolidated political, judicial, and financial institutions—to move beyond its self-perception as a pawn among larger, uncontrollable forces to pursue a more self-confident role as a partner in an increasingly multipolar geoeconomic regional environment. Argued in this memo is that Ukraine has the possibility to combine its pro-Western foreign policy orientation with active economic cooperation with China. It can respect the red lines of its Western partners in relation to China while making the most of the economic opportunities offered by the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). READ MORE…

Linkage and leverage effects on Moldova’s Transnistria problem

Co-authored with John Beyer and published in East European Politics, this article asks what the impact is of geopolitical competition on conflict resolution and democratisation in the context of extensive and multi-directional linkages and leverage? Our analysis...