Azer Khudiyev: Synergy of the Black Sea basin: cooperation potential and new dynamics of geopolitical risks

Azer Khudiyev: Synergy of the Black Sea basin: cooperation potential and new dynamics of geopolitical and geoeconomic risks

Geopoliticaland geoeconomic systems are facing the process of complicating andincreasing risks, which are often in harmony with new threats andchallenges of the modern world. This process has a temporalcharacter, that is, each region has its own rhythm of transformation.There are regions that are, figuratively speaking, in a “borderstate” - between potential destabilization and more dynamicregional cooperation. Regions of this type are usually very sensitiveto all sorts of risks and can be explosive in geopolitical andgeoeconomic terms. In our opinion, the current Black Sea basin is oneof such regions. For it, minimizing of current risks is vital.

Inthe context of these global systems, the Black Sea basin can also bedescribed as a border region. This geopolitical area geographicallyand economically connects Southeast Europe with the Caspian basin andChina as part of the One Belt, One Road project. In this sense, it isa fundamentally important connecting bridge between the SouthCaucasus states (mainly Azerbaijan and Georgia) and the EasternEuropean countries (primarily with Ukraine).

Sucha geopolitical and geoeconomic status and the functionality of theBlack Sea basin requires the creation of such a safe and stablegeopolitical and economic environment where risk minimization wouldbe possible. In the Black Sea region, the main political centers ofthe world began to wage a fiercer struggle for the sphere ofinfluence of interests. The USA, EU, China and Russia at this stageare risky bidding for the region. China mainly operates on ageo-economic realm via the One Belt, One Road project. But no onedoubts that the geopolitical interests of the Middle Kingdom arehidden behind this.

Someinternational law actors in this region sometimes consciously resortto the use of Hard Power elements. This is done mainly to correct thebehavior or interests of competitors in a given region. As a resultof this multidirectional, geopolitical and geoeconomic activity inthis region, several hotbeds of risk appeared. The problem of theCrimean Peninsula, separatism and military conflict in the Donbass,the difficult competition over energy projects, trade wars, sanctionsand other factors are turning the Black Sea basin into an arena ofdangerous scenarios for the disruption of stability and thedevelopment of economic cooperation. From this perspective, thepulling together of additional military force into the Black Seabasin by certain blocks, alliances, as well as regional actors isseen as a serious obstacle to the development of cooperation in thegeoeconomic realm.

Butin reality, the regional countries and adjacent regions have a hugehistorical, geopolitical, geo-economic, transport, energy potentialfor cooperation. This can be seen by the example of cooperationbetween Azerbaijan and Ukraine. Until 2013, the volume of tradebetween Azerbaijan and Ukraine exceeded 1 billion US dollars.However, the well-known events and armed confrontations in thisregion had an extremely negative impact on the development of thisdynamics. At the end of 2015, the trade volume between the twocountries amounted to only 333 million US dollars, but over the next3 years, our countries managed to raise this figure by two and a halftimes and over the period of 2018, it reached the level of 829million US dollars.

Thus,the source of geo-economic risks in the Black Sea basin is not thegeo-economic specifics of the region itself, but the geopoliticalstruggle for dominance in the region. This gives a new boost to theinteraction of geopolitical and geoeconomic risks in this region.This dynamics is defined by the fact that over time it is becomingmore difficult to forecast and mange risks in order to ensuresecurity, maintain political and economic stability and developgeo-economic cooperation.

Hudiyev Azer Hudayar oglu - Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Ukraine

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