September 6, 2008
During last conflicts in Caucasus and before in Balkans there has been discussion about EU’s position between conflicting parties -between east and west. I can agree with those who advise that EU should not take sides but rather balance its criticism with conflicting parties. From my point of view this could mean an approach with keywords such as understanding, dialogue and multi-polar world.
The Balkans have been the focus of extensive public attention for a long time yet not many people can honestly claim to have a firm understanding of the region, its history or the complexity of the problems. The same one can say about Caucasus. I would like to claim that one factor has is share 1st creating problems and 2nd making difficult to manage them. This factor is lack of dialogue, which in both regions has created one-sided picture in western mainstream media and peoples mind.
In dialogue, one listens to the other side in order to understand, find meaning, and find agreement. In debate, one listens to the other side in order to find flaws and to counter its arguments. Dialogue assumes that many people have pieces of the answer and that together they can put them into a workable solution. Debate assumes that there is a right answer and that someone has it. Debate can have maybe better headlines in news but it is not for sustainable solutions.
Few days ago the Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, outlined his country’s national interests in a set of five key principles and I think one of them fits to this topic. Quate: “The world should be multi-polar. Unipolarity is unacceptable, domination is impermissible. We cannot accept a world order in which all decisions are taken by one country, even such a serious and authoritative country as the United States of America. This kind of world is unstable and fraught with conflict.”
From my point of view West has been living last years in past, today world is coming more and more multi-polar. To copy present situation we need dialogue - EU could facilitate e.g. US/Russia dialogue but then it should avoid to take firm sides.