SOME ASPECTS OF THE THEORY OF REGIONAL SECURITY COMPLEXES AS APPLIED
TO STUDIES OF THE POLITICAL SYSTEM IN THE POST-SOVIET SPACE
Jannatkhan Eyvazov, Ph.D. (Political Science), Deputy Director, Institute of Strategic Studies of the Caucasus, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Central Asia and the Caucasus (Baku, Azerbaijan)
The first shoots of a new regional political system appeared in the post-Soviet space early in the 1990s, the previous hierarchical system of which became anarchical when the Soviet Union collapsed, while the key vectors of security interdependence of the newly independent states remained in place.
Here I have attempted to assess the regional system which is functioning across the post-Soviet space from the point of view of the Theory of Regional Security Complexes (TRSC), which offers the most comprehensive and effective explanation of how the security sphere is developing in the post-Soviet macro-region. However, its application creates several problems, an assessment of which belongs to the range of questions raised in this article.
On the Regional Security Complex Concept
The regional security complex (RSC) model rests on the interdependence among the key national security interests of a geographically compact group of states. Barry Buzan identifies RSC as “a group of states whose primary security concerns link together sufficiently closely, so that their national securities cannot realistically be considered apart from one another.”
The intrinsic interdependence of the security of states under the RSC model is generated in several dimensions, such as common and conflicting interests, interdependent behaviors, and interconnected perceptions. And, of course, all of this has a regional geographic foundation. “They (the security complexes.—J.E.) represent the way in which the sphere of concern that any state has about its environment, interacts with the linkage between the intensity of military and political threats, and the shortness of the range over which they are perceived. Because threats operate more potently over short distances, security interactions with neighbors will tend to have first priority.” The relations within RSC are determined not only by the geographic proximity of the states involved, but also by the anarchic nature of the international political system. In other words, RSC is a geographically limited and materially and perceptionally specific example of international anarchy with the corresponding internal amity/enmity relationships.
The mutual perception of amity/enmity is the key to the dynamics of the security relations within RSC. Barry Buzan has written on this score: “…regional security subsystems can be seen in terms of patterns of amity and enmity that are substantially confined within some particular geographical area.”
The TRSC offers various types and forms of regional complexes; the most general typology distinguishes between standard and centered RSC. According to Barry Buzan and Ole Wæver, in the centered RSC, the dynamics of security relations are determined by one power found in its center. The authors go on to identify three forms (depending on the specifics of the central actor) of this type: centered on a great power—Russia in the post-Soviet space; on a superpower—the United States in North America; and,…………