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Geopolitics is often associated with realism and for this reason not readily associated with the EU. The notion is, however, often associated with ideas of exclusion. This chapter argues that geopolitical perspectives are relevant to the EU if Richard Youngs’ notion of the ‘geopolitics of inclusion’ and Luis Simons’ idea of ‘middle spaces’ are embraced. This chapter argues that the EU and its members have become default geopolitical actors since they are perceived to be such, most notably by President Putin. The development of the EU’s Eastern Partnership from 2004 onwards coincided with a period of strategic unconsciousness, when there was a general failure to think through the impact of the Union’s economic, political and even security engagement with Russia’s ‘near abroad’. This was a major contributory factor to the Maidan revolution in Ukraine, the subsequent Russian annexation of Crimea and the parlous state of the Donbass region. Engagement with Russia will be difficult, but also necessary. This will require a keener awareness of the EU’s interests in the neighbourhood and how these relate to Russia.
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- The Return of Geopolitics and Relations to the East
- Palgrave Macmillan UK
- Chapter 5
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