Jannatkhan EYVAZOV

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)


Anyone wishing to identify the regularities according to which regional security systems function and develop should first find out the main factor of their functioning and development. It must be said that, at all times, ethnic and religious contacts, economic interests, ideology, political survival, and rivalry over influence remain important determinants in interstate relations. At the same time, the present level of diversity and interdependence in the international political system makes it hard to identify a limited number of factors that apply to all cases; we should also bear in mind that each region has its own specific phenomena.

Here I will try to assess the relations among states from the viewpoint of corresponding regional political structures and, taking the regions of post-Soviet Central Eurasia as an example, identify the degree to which political structure affects the regional security system. To do this, I will rely on the theoretical-methodological instruments of neorealism and the theory of regional security complexes (TRSC).

Structural Factors and Security Relations in Regional Political Systems

Structuralism of Kenneth N. Waltz and the Theory of Regional Security Complexes. At the theoretical level, neorealism offers the most detailed explanation of the structural factors of the conduct of states. According to Kenneth N. Waltz, who was the first to formulate this theory, the structure of the international political system, which stems from interaction of its elements (states), is responsible for its conduct. The anarchical nature of the structure of the international system and the unevenness of power distribution have already created a situation in which survival is seen as the cornerstone of conduct in a world where the security of states remains highly vulnerable. This means that in the neorealist context the conduct of states is mainly determined by the material structure of the international political system.

The classical conception of Regional Security Complexes (RSC) formulated by Barry Buzan is based on a similar approach; it is political factors, or rather the pattern according to which power is spread among the elements, which determine the functionality of RSCs. Here, as well as in the neorealist approach, the conduct of states is determined by their strength/weakness. At the same time, the structuralism offered by Waltz and Buzan is not one and the same thing. Classical (Waltzian) neorealism looks at the structure of the international political system as the result of objective power differentiation among states (among the strongest of them) and ignores the factors at the regional and national level. In his initial RSC conception formulated within the

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