Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Political Science & Geography
Graduate Program in International Studies
This project began a number of years ago, in 2011, as a final paper for a class on the topic of Europe and the world, for which I wrote what is effectively the chapter on European defense and the formation of the Visegrad battlegroup. The topic interested me as I was perplexed when, on the matter of inter-state cooperation set against the backdrop of the formation of the EU, it was possible that the four states of Visegrad were able to agree and formulate a plan on how to get this battlegroup off the ground, all the while not having much in the form of lower or lesser links, such as heightened intra-trade or obvious social capital from which to draw. It seemed that they had completely skipped over these more easily forged relations and jumped straight to the high politics of defense. This curious example of subregionalization, particularly as it was happening inside the pan-regional institution of the EU, which many might believe should have satiated member desires for progress and stability, is what spurred further interest to see if other subregional links exist, or could be forged, within CEE. The other chapters regarding history, social and economic links, along with other chapters on contemporary issues and their prescient links to subregionalism were not specifically sought after, but rose to the surface during the research. As it turns out, present and future subregionalization in CEE is quite possible. Actually, it is more than viable; the environment seems ripe for it.
Having been rife with conflict, the regionalism born in Europe in the middle of last century was an attempt to bring greater cooperation to a continent. For two generations, the Community of Europe has grown – now more deeply intertwined than ever and widened nearly to the edge of the continent. Today, the European Union may be seen as an entity much greater than simply the sum of its parts, with its paradoxical notion of having “unity in diversity.” And yet the discord emanating from such diversity that remains among its members does not lend itself to the solidarity necessary for increased integration. In fact, even sustainment in its current form is questionable. Criticism was justified beforehand; however, tensions have only been made worse by the ‘2008’ financial crisis, and the Crimean crisis; and, unfortunately, the road ahead is likely to continue to be bumpy. The following chapters will focus on the persistent divisions between Western Europe and East Central European states, and will discuss the latter’s rather unique position and whether their benefits from having joined EU outweigh the costs. Its thesis is that a return to the cooperation and interdependence of Central Eastern Europe, of historic Visegrad, is in the better interest of the subregion, as well as wider Europe, than the panregionalism epitomized in the EU project.
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Sander, Aaron G..
"Visegrad Revival: Where Less is More, in the Prospect of Smaller Numbers"
(2016). Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Dissertation, Political Science & Geography, Old Dominion University, DOI: 10.25777/w8qm-7p05