The GUAM formation (Georgia-Ukraine-Azerbaijan-Moldova) had its origin in the 1996 round of talks implementing the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe. The four countries found they had a common opposition to the stationing of Russian weapons on their territory. GUAM became GUUAM when Uzbekistan joined in April 1999.
Ukraine’s positioning makes it a natural bridge between East and West. A wise U.S. foreign policy would be one that is sensitive to Ukraine’s function as a bridge between Russia and the Western military alliance.
A dangerous blind spot in the incoming administration’s view of Russian affairs is its inadequate understanding of the significance of the newly independent states (NIS). The unanticipated consequences of such policy blindness are exemplified by developments in the 1990s in Belarus, formerly called Byelorussia—a country sandwiched between Russia and Poland—sharing a border with Ukraine to the south and with Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest.
President George W. Bush and the “Other” Europe Tomas Valasek, Center for Defense Information
It is difficult to say what any new administration’s policy will be by the end of the president’s term of office. However, there are some clear indications of the broad outlines of U.S. policy toward Russia under the Bush administration as it prepares to take office. This policy will not seek to present a cooperative image of the relationship, as has been so under the outgoing administration. Instead it will have a more overtly “realist” or “realpolitik” approach and will concentrate in the first instance upon European security and controlling arms proliferation.
The people of Yugoslavia did what NATO bombs could not. As in 1989, it was not the military prowess of the western alliance bringing freedom to an Eastern European country, but the power of nonviolent action by the subjugated peoples themselves.
During the cold war the geopolitical map of the Balkans was relatively simple. Bulgaria and Romania were in the Soviet orbit, Albania was isolated and allied only with the People’s Republic of China, while Greece leaned westward, first as part of NATO and later when it joined the European Economic Community. Tito’s Yugoslavia, occupying the greatest section of the Balkan Peninsula, was officially non-aligned.
President Bill Clinton’s visit to NATO allies Greece and Turkey is raising new questions about the ongoing strategic relationship the United States has with these two historic rivals, particularly in the light of the anti-American demonstrations which delayed and shortened the planned presidential visit.