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Joanna Piechowiak-Lamparska

Relations between NATO and the Russian Federation can be illustrated as a peculiar sinusoid. They have had their better and worse moments; however, the latter have been prevailing. After the end of the Cold War, there was a need to create a platform for talks. The NATO–Russia Council was conceived in 2002 as an attempt at formalizing close relations, particularly after Russia’s involvement in the fight against terrorism which followed the 11 September 2001 attacks. The idyll ended when the member states of NATO recognized – against the Russian stand – Kosovo’s independence. The subsequent events can be called a slippery slope. Substantial deterioration of mutual relations and the formal suspension of the NATO–Russia Council’s activity occurred after the military conflict between Russia and Georgia (2008). The next stage of the relations growing colder was the suspension of any civil and military cooperation in reaction to the Russian–Ukrainian conflict initiated in 2014.

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Joanna Piechowiak-Lamparska

We may all ponder on the actual meaning of the Association Agreement between the European Union and Georgia which came into effect in 2016. Will this strategic partnership lead to the accession of the Republic of Georgia to the European Union? Undoubtedly, Georgia is the main partner of the EU in the South Caucasus and – together with Ukraine – a key member of the Eastern Partnership; it occupies a prominent position in the European Neighbourhood Policy. Since the 1990s this relationship is characterized by steadily increasing cooperation. Georgia became the EU’s window on the South Caucasus and on the Caspian Sea region, that is, on the territory of the Russian sphere of influence – the near abroad. Undoubtedly, both of the partners benefit from the close relation, and the crises they have overcome as well as the benefits they have obtained make further strengthening of the bonds a likely outcome.

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Edited by Lucyna Czechowska, Andriy Tyushka, Agata Domachowska, Karolina Gawron-Tabor and Joanna Piechowiak-Lamparska

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Joanna Piechowiak-Lamparska, Lucyna Czechowska, Agata Domachowska, Karolina Gawron-Tabor and Andriy Tyushka

Strategic partnership is surely not a new form of cooperation in the international arena; however, until today research has focused mainly on relations between states, rarely investigating other actors of international relations (IR). In light of this, the members of the research team Strategic Partnership Group (SPG) embarked on an analysis of strategic partnerships between states and international organizations – the main types of actors in the contemporary international system. To this aim, an ideal model of strategic partnership has been devised, verified and validated. The turn of the century brought a new era in international relations. The collapse of the post-war world order and the end of the Cold War combined with ongoing globalization processes gave rise to the substantial expansion of a network of interdependencies in global politics. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the collapse of the bipolar bloc system, states regained the sovereign capability of defining and defending strategic goals, i.e. the autonomous choice of partners and allies. One of multiple structural and material effects of globalization on contemporary international relations was considerable broadening of the selection of potential allies and partners. Nowadays it encompasses not only states but also a variety of international organizations and corporations. Considering their competence to conclude legally binding agreements and take autonomous actions, it is no accident that intergovernmental and supranational organizations have become oft-chosen partners. Amid uncertainty, economic crisis and multicausal networks of dependencies, international politics offers as many cooperation possibilities as limitations, and thus poses a challenge to actions of both state and non-state international players. Foreign policy needed new tools to mitigate the effects of the changing international environment, increasing risk and intensifying conflicts of interests, and the answer was strategic partnerships.

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Andriy Tyushka, Lucyna Czechowska, Agata Domachowska, Karolina Gawron-Tabor and Joanna Piechowiak-Lamparska

Drawing on the critical literature review from the previous chapter, this chapter sketches the minefield of theorizing an inescapable phenomenon – strategic partnerships in world politics and IR theory. It first outlines the theory-building rationale and strategy, epistemological considerations and ontological standing; then it justifies why building a ‘heuristic model’ was chosen as a way of studying the phenomenon. The chapter develops a realist-constructivist approach to the study of strategic partnerships, according to which strategic partnerships can provide states and non-state actors with a form of foreign policy assertiveness, special bilateral relations and alignment, as well as a form of structured international engagement. The theoretical and methodological discussions within this chapter are completed by five main hypotheses, a qualitatively-driven mixed-method methodological framework, including the description of main variables, their operationalization and measurement methods, data collection and research sampling.

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Lucyna Czechowska, Agata Domachowska, Karolina Gawron-Tabor, Joanna Piechowiak-Lamparska and Andriy Tyushka

This chapter advances a testable analytical model of strategic partnerships in IR. The developed regression model of strategic partnerships between states and international organizations is built around a set of two dependent variables (cooperation willingness; cooperation sustainability), four independent variables (strategic goals convergence; strategic roles convergence; unique bonds; regularized bilateral strategic interactionism) as well as a single intervening variable (trust). The model-underlying theory suggests that strategic partnerships are a product of the intertwined cooperation willingness and cooperation sustainability factors, with trust intervening as a salient factor in the process of cooperation. This means that the increase in cooperation willingness and cooperation sustainability will result in the increase of strategic partnership substantiality. This chapter theoretically contextualizes, conceptualizes and operationalizes the main seven variables, and develops a set of applicable qualitative and quantitative indicators and measures.

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Andriy Tyushka, Agata Domachowska, Lucyna Czechowska, Karolina Gawron-Tabor and Joanna Piechowiak-Lamparska

The concluding chapter contains comparative findings from qualitative case studies of the EU, NATO, ASEAN and the Andean Community’s strategic partnerships with a sample of great, major and minor regional powers. It also contains the findings of the statistical testing (multiple multivariate linear regression analysis) of the strategic partnerships model, including the propositions for a model refinement following the abduction strategy. Strategic goals convergence was confirmed to be a good predictor of cooperation willingness among partners. Trust was confirmed to be a good predictor of cooperation sustainability. Strategic roles convergence, unique bonds and regularized bilateral interactionism have not shown statistically significant results. A refined model of strategic partnerships appears to be more robust, with strategic goals convergence correlating well with trust, which both predict well cooperation willingness – and in turn are good predictors of cooperation sustainability.

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Edited by Lucyna Czechowska, Andriy Tyushka, Agata Domachowska, Karolina Gawron-Tabor and Joanna Piechowiak-Lamparska

In post-Cold War international relations, strategic partnerships are an emerging and distinct analytical and political category critical in understanding the dynamics of contemporary strategic cooperation between states and International Organizations. However, the idea of strategic partnerships has remained under-theorized and overshadowed by the alliance theory. Addressing this clear-cut gap in the International Relations/Foreign Policy Analysis literature, this book originally endeavors to theorize and empirically test the analytical model of strategic partnerships as a new form of sustainable international cooperation in times of globalized interdependence and turbulence.