FP Bulgaria issue 1 (30)

February 2010

The first online only issue of FP Bulgaria.

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After Europe (in Bulgarian)


Author(s): Ivan Krastev

The Bulgarian edition of "After Europe", published by Obsidian Publishing House.

After Europe


Author(s): Ivan Krastev

In this provocative book, renowned public intellectual Ivan Krastev reflects on the future of the European Union—and its potential lack of a future.

Democracy Disrupted


Author(s): Ivan Krastev

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Civil Society in Central and Eastern Europe: Challenges and Opportunities. Bulgaria Country Report

05 June 2017

Author(s): Ruzha Smilova

Civil Society in Central and Eastern Europe: Challenges and Opportunities Edited by Peter Vandor, Nicole Traxler, Reinhard Millner, and Michael Meyer. ERSTE Foundation publication

Democratic Innovation and the Politics of Fear: 25 Lessons from Eastern Europe

05 June 2017

Author(s): Daniel Smilov

Daniel Smilov's contribution to The Governance Report 2017, published by Oxford University Press

Political Finance in East, Central and South East Europe & Central Asia

Funding of Political Parties and Election Campaigns: A Handbook on Political Finance © International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance 2014, 16 July 2015

Author(s): Daniel Smilov

The New European Disorder

ECFR, 11 November 2014

Ivan Krastev and Mark Leonard

Author(s): Ivan Krastev

Bulgaria: EP Elections a Rehearsal for Early National Elections

23 May 2014

EPIN publication with a general introduction and case studies from 11 Member States (Bulgaria, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain and the UK) "Between Apathy and Anger: Challenges to the Union from the 201

Author(s): Antoinette Primatarova

Bridge Over Troubled Waters? The Role of the Internationals in Albania

12 October 2012

Publication of Antoinette Primatarova and Dr Johanna Deimel with contributions by Margarita Assenova

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Putin’s Next Playground or the E.U.’s Last Moral Stand?

New York Times, 28 January 2019

Author(s): Ivan Krastev

The Metamorphosis of Central Europe

Project Syndicate, 21 January 2019

Author(s): Ivan Krastev

A European Goes to Trump’s Washington

New York Times, 30 November 2018

Author(s): Ivan Krastev

Steve Bannon’s New Best Friend in Europe

New York Times, 19 August 2018

Author(s): Ivan Krastev

Imitation and Its Discontents

Journal of Democracy, 05 August 2018

Author(s): Ivan Krastev and Stephen Holmes

The Pope vs. the Populists

New York Times, 12 July 2018

Central Europe is a lesson to liberals: don’t be anti-nationalist

The Guardian, 11 July 2018

Author(s): Ivan Krastev

3 Versions of Europe Are Collapsing at the Same Time

Foreign Policy, 10 July 2018

Author(s): Ivan Krastev

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Obama’s First Year

Center for European Policy Analysis
03 December 2009
Ivan Krastev and Vessela Tcherneva

An article by Ivan Krastev and Vessela Tcherneva.

Link to the article in English: http://www.cepa.org/ced/view.aspx?record_id=213


Obama’s First Year
Posted Date: 2 December 2009
by Ivan Krastev and Vessela Tcherneva

In a CEPA exclusive, Ivan Krastev, Chairman of the Center for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, and Vessela Tcherneva, Head of the Sofia office of the European Council on Foreign Relations, offer a wide-lensed assessment of the Obama administration’s handling of U.S.-Central European relations during its first year in office. “When it comes to Russia,” they write, “Central Europeans are rightly concerned about Obama’s ‘reset’ policy, but for the wrong reasons.” Washington’s preoccupation with strategic nuclear negotiations “leaves the problems of managing current Russia-West relations in the hands of the EU, which has proven problematic.”

On June 12, 1987 Europeans listened ecstatically as U.S. President Ronald Reagan called on Mikhail Gorbachev to “Tear down this wall!” On November 9, 2009 they heard U.S. President Barack Obama commemorate the collapse of the wall with a speech addressed, abstractly, to all of humanity. Post-communist Europe was not on the agenda.

Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and one year after Barack Obama was elected president, the United States is no longer a European power. Post-American Europe, as shown in a recent report by the European Council on Foreign Relations, represents a new geopolitical reality. The old continent is no longer the center of America’s strategic interests and the rebalancing of the European order is primarily a task better left to Europeans. America’s commitment to its European allies is now directly tied to their readiness to support America’s policies outside of Europe.  
The sudden advent of post-American Europe came as a shock for the new NATO and EU member states. The muddled choreography of the Administration’s decision to scrap plans for a missile defense shield in Poland and the Czech Republic was distressing in its awkwardness and historical insensitivity, but it underscored the new reality. Central Europe has lost both its geopolitical and its symbolic significance to the United States.
It is now clear that Central Europe cannot and should not center its strategic thinking on a special relationship with the United States. The strategy of some Central European governments to focus on bilateral relations with Washington at the expense of working within NATO and the EU was a mistake. While claiming that NATO is ineffective, these governments relied on the presence of American troops and equipment as a security guarantee. The result of this misplaced strategy is that trust in NATO has declined, and Obama’s decision to scrap Bush’s controversial missile shield has caused a security crisis—as well as a crisis of confidence—in places like Poland and the Czech Republic.
The threat perceptions of Americans and Central Europeans have diverged over the last five years. Central Europeans are basically indifferent to the threat coming from Iran and Americans are little concerned about threats coming from Russia. The Obama administration tends to view Russia as a declining and status quo power, while Central European governments tend to view Russia as resurgent and revisionist. Central Europeans are reluctant to engage in military operations outside Europe – there is practically no public support for the NATO mission in Afghanistan – and Americans are afraid of overreaching and try to focus their attention on the most menacing parts of the world. In America today, Central Europe is neither a problem, nor can it really help Washington to solve its problems.
When it comes to Russia, Central Europeans are rightly concerned about Obama’s “reset” policy, but for the wrong reasons. The common fear is that Central Europe’s interests will be traded for Russia’s support in isolating Iran or for some other issue critical to the American agenda. But it is the Central Europeans’ obsession with Russia that makes them most vulnerable in their strategic thinking: it creates the risk that Central Europe will be isolated not only in the transatlantic, but also in the European debate.
The Europeans should worry about the “reset” because Washington’s decision to negotiate with the Russians about strategic nuclear weapons and global warming leaves the problems of managing current Russia-West relations in the hands of the EU, which has proven problematic. The EU should offer its eastern neighbors political options, not technocratic ones. Seriousness would entail the option of future membership for the countries able and willing to join – and at present the EU seems incapable of placing that on the menu.
So, what does it all mean for Europe and for Central Europe in particular? It means that there will be no common transatlantic policy with respect to Russia. It means that there is an urgent need of a European “reset” policy, which would take into consideration the evolving dynamics of Russian-American relations. At present, only a joint German-Polish leadership can bring about such a policy.

Ivan Krastev is Chairman of the Center for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Vessela Tcherneva is Head of the Sofia office of the European Council on Foreign Relations.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Center for European Policy Analysis.