In August 2008, the Russian Federation demonstrated the will to exercise the concept of a “multipolar world” through military action. Most regional powers are unlikely to accept this concept, which in practice is based on the idea of spheres of influence (which Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has referred to as “privileged spheres of interests”). However, none of these powers, even those who are members of the European Union and/or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, are presently able to mobilize sufficient political, economic, and military resources to overcome the pressure of a Russian Federation seeking to impose its political will.
Ukraine, as one of the regional Black Sea powers, is extremely vulnerable to these new challenges. The “multipolar world” enforced through the Georgian war poses an obvious threat to the basic interests of Ukraine. Practically, this “multipolar world” means the sum of regional “unipolarities,” based on the dominant power of “regional leaders” and accepted by others. Sovereign democratic Ukraine, as a rather weak state, is threatened by the possible success of this Russian-articulated “multipolar” model.
There are at least three competing alternatives of the new regional order in the Black Sea region: 1) The “multipolar world” model proposed by the Russian Federation and for which the Black Sea region serves as a “pilot project”; 2) The Black Sea region as a Euro-Atlantic periphery; 3) Pluralistic heterogeneity as a temporary consensus. […]