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Against the backdrop of Ukraine's counteroffensive and the Kremlin's efforts to illegally annex additional territory, a delegation of members from the NATO Parliamentary Assembly arrived at Stanford to meet with experts and weigh considerations about the ongoing conflict. First on their circuit was a panel hosted by the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) chaired by FSI Director Michael McFaul, with Marshall Burke, Francis Fukuyama, Anna Grzymala-Busse, Scott Sagan, and Kathryn Stoner participating.

The delegates represented thirteen of NATO's thirty member nations, including Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. Top of mind were questions about the possibility of nuclear escalation from the Kremlin, and appropriate repsonses from the alliance, as well as questions about the longevity of Putin's regime, the nature of international authoritarian alliances, and the future of Ukraine as a European nation.

Drawing from their expertise on state-building, democracy, security issues, nuclear enterprise, and political transitions, the FSI scholars offered a broad analysis of the many factors currently playing out on the geopolitical stage. Abbreviated versions of their responses are given below.

Kathryn Stoner, Francis Fukuyama, Marshall Burke, Scott Sagan, Anna Grzymala-Busse, and Michael McFaul present at a panel given to memebers of the NATO Parlimentary Assembly.
Kathryn Stoner, Francis Fukuyama, Marshall Burke, Scott Sagan, Anna Grzymala-Busse, and Michael McFaul present at a panel given to memebers of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly on September 26, 2022. Melissa Morgan

The following commentary has been edited for clarity and length, and does not represent the full extent of the panel’s discussion.
 


Rethinking Assumptions about Russia and Putin

Kathryn Stoner

Right now, Putin is the most vulnerable he's ever been in 22 years in power. But I don’t believe he's under so much pressure at this point that he is about to leave office anytime soon. Autocracies do not usually die by popular mobilization, unfortunately. More often they end through an elite coup or turnover. And since the end of WWII, the research has shown that about 75% of the time autocracies are typically replaced by another autocracy, or the perpetuation of the same autocracy, just with a different leader. So, if Putin were replaced, you might get a milder form of autocracy in Russia, but I don't think you are suddenly going to create a liberal democracy.

This means that we in the West, and particularly in the U.S., need to think very hard about our strategies and how we are going to manage our relationships with Putin and his allies. This time last year, the U.S. broadcast that we basically wanted Russia to calm down so we could pivot to China. That’s an invitation to not calm down, and I think it was a mistake to transmit that as policy.

We need to pay attention to what Russia has been doing. They are the second biggest purveyor of weapons globally after the United States. They will sell to anyone. They’ve been forgiving loans throughout Sub Saharan Africa from the Soviet period and using that as a way of bargaining for access to natural resources. They’re marketing oil, selling infrastructure, and building railroads. Wherever there is a vacuum, someone will fill it, and that includes Russia every bit as much as China. We need to realize that we are in competition with both Russia and China, and develop our policies and outreach accordingly.

KStoner

Kathryn Stoner

Mosbacher Director of the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law
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Confronting Autocracy at Home and Abroad

Anna Grzymala-Busse

Why is Putin in Ukraine? Because the fact that there is a democratic country right next door to Russia is an affront to him. Putin doesn’t care that much about NATO. The fact that nothing happened when Sweden joined is some evidence of this. That’s something to keep in mind as people are debating NATO and Ukraine and Ukraine’s possible future as a member.

NATO membership and EU membership are both wonderful things. But more fundamental that that, this war has to be won first. That’s why I think it’s necessary in the next six months to speed up the support for Ukraine by ensuring there’s a steady stream of armaments, training personnel, and providing other military support.

There’s been incredible unity on Ukraine over the last seven months across the EU, NATO, and amongst our allies. But our recent history with President Trump reminds us how fragile these international commitments can be. In foreign policy, it used to be understood that America stands for liberal democracy. But we had a president of the United States who was more than happy to sidle up to some of the worst autocrats in the world. That’s why we can’t afford to leave rising populism around the world unaddressed and fail to engage with voters. When we do that, we allow far right parties to grab those votes and go unopposed. Whatever happens domestically impacts what happens internationally.

Anna Grzymała-Busse

Anna Grzymala-Busse

Director of The Europe Center
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The Consequences of Nuclear Sabre-Rattling

Scott Sagan

We have to very clear-eyed when we’re talking about the threat, however improbable, of the use of a nuclear weapon. When it comes to the deployment of a tactical nuclear weapon, its kinetic effects depend on both the size of the weapon, the yield, and the target. Tactical weapons range in yield from very low — 5-10% of what was in the Hiroshima bomb — to as large as what was used against Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If that kind of weapon was used on an urban target, it would produce widescale effects. In a battlefield or rural area, it would have a relatively small impact.

But in the bigger picture, what any use of a weapon like this does is break a 70+ year tradition of non-use. Those seventy years have been dicey and fragile, but they have held so far. A tradition that is broken creates a precedent, and once there’s a precedent, it makes it much easier for someone to transgress the tradition again. So even if a decision was made to use a tactical weapon with little kinetic importance for strategic effect, I think we still need to be worried about it.

Personalistic dictators surround themselves with yes men. They make lonely decisions by themselves, often filled with vengeance and delusion because no one can tell them otherwise. They don't have the checks and balances. But I want to make one point about a potential coup or overthrow. Putin has done a lot to protect himself against that. But improbable events happen all the time, especially when leaders make really, really bad decisions. That’s not something we should be calling for as official U.S. policy, but it should be our hope.

Headshot of Scott Sagan

Scott Sagan

FSI Senior Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation
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Cycles of Conflict, Climate Change, and Food Insecurity

Marshall Burke

The estimates right now project that there are 350 million people around the world facing acute food insecurity. That means 350 million people who literally don’t have enough to eat. That’s roughly double what it was pre-COVID. The factors driving that are things like supply chain disruptions from the pandemic and climate shocks, but also because of ongoing conflict happening around the world, Ukraine included.

There was an early concern that the war in Ukraine would be a huge threat to global food security. That largely has not been the case so far, at least directly. Opening the grain corridors through the Black Sea has been crucial to this, and it’s critical that we keep those open and keep the wheat flowing out. Research shows that unrest increases when food prices spike, so it’s important for security everywhere to keep wheat prices down.

What I’m worried about now is natural gas prices. With high global natural gas prices, that means making fertilizer is also very expensive and prices have increased up to 300% relative to a few years ago. If they stay that high, this is going to be a long-term problem we will have to find a way of reckoning with on top of the other effects from climate change already impacting global crop production and the global economy.

Marshall Burke

Marshall Burke

Deputy Director of the Center on Food Security and the Environment
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Ukraine After the War

Francis Fukuyama

I've been more optimistic about the prospects for Ukraine taking back territory for more of this war, just because of the vast difference in motivation between the two sides and the supply of modern weapons that Ukraine has been getting. But I don’t know what the conditions on the ground will look like when the decision to negotiate comes. Will Russia still be sitting on occupied territory? Are they kicked out entirely? Or are the frontlines close to where they are now?

As I’ve observed, Ukraine's demands have shifted depending on how they perceive the war going on. There was a point earlier this summer where they hinted that a return to the February 23 borderlines would be acceptable. But now with their recent successes, they're saying they want everything back to the 2014 lines. What actually happens will depend on what the military situation looks like next spring, by my guess.

However the war does end, I think Ukraine actually has a big opportunity ahead of them. Putin has unwittingly become the father of a new Ukrainian nation. The stresses of the war have created a very strong sense of national identity in Ukraine that didn’t exist previously. It’s accurate that Ukraine had significant problems with corruption and defective institutions before, but I think there’s going to be a great push to rout that out. Even things like the Azov steel factory being bombed out of existence is probably a good thing in the long run, because Ukraine was far too dependent on 20th-century coal, steel, and heavy industry. Now they have an opportunity to make a break from all of that.

There are going to be challenges, obviously. We’ll have to watch very carefully what Zelenskyy chooses to do with the commanding position he has at the moment, and whether the government will be able to release power back to the people and restore its institutions. But Europe and the West and our allies are going to have a really big role in the reconstruction of Ukraine, and that should be regarded by everyone as a tremendous opportunity.

frank_fukuyama

Francis Fukuyama

Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at FSI
Full Profile


Victory in Ukraine, Victory for Democracy

Michael McFaul

Nobody likes a loser, and right now, Putin is losing strategically, tactically, and morally. Now, he doesn’t really care about what Biden or NATO or the West think about him. But he does care about what the autocrats think about him, especially Xi Jinping. And with reports coming out of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization that Xi has “concerns” about what’s happening in Ukraine, Putin is feeling that pressure. I think that's why he has decided he needs to double down, not to negotiate, but to try and “win” in some way as defined by him.

In my view, that’s what’s behind the seizure of these four regions. If he feels like he can unequivocally claim them as part of Russia, then maybe he will sue for peace. And that’s exactly what President Zelenskyy fears. Why? Because that’s exactly what happened in 2014. Putin took Crimea, then turned around to the countries of the world and said, “Aren’t we all tired of war? Can’t we just have peace? I’m ready to end the war, as long as you recognize the new borders.” And, let’s be honest, we did.

We keep hearing politicians say we should put pressure for peace negotiations. I challenge any of them to explain their strategy for getting Putin to talk about peace. There is no doubt in my mind that President Zelenskyy would sit down tomorrow to negotiate if there was a real prospect for peace negotiations. But there's also no doubt in my mind right now that Putin has zero interest in peace talks.

Like Dr. Fukuyama, I don’t know how this war will end. But there's nobody inside or outside of Russia that thinks it’s going well. I personally know a lot of people that believe in democracy in Russia. They believe in democracy just as much as you or I. I’ve no doubt of their convictions. But they’re in jail, or in exile today.

If we want to help Russia in the post-Putin world, we have to think about democracy. There’s not a lot we can do to directly help democracy in Russia right now. But we should be doing everything to help democracy in Ukraine.  It didn’t happen in 1991. It didn’t happen in 2004. It didn’t happen in 2014. They had those breakthroughs and those revolutionary moments, but we as the democratic world collectively didn’t get it right. This is our moment to get it right, both as a way of helping Ukraine secure its future, and to give inspiration to “small-d” democrats fighting for rights across the world.

Michael McFaul, FSI Director

Michael McFaul

Director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Full Profile

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FSI Director Michael McFaul, Kathryn Stoner, Francis Fukuyama, Scott Sagan, Anna Grzymala-Busse, and Marshall Burke answered questions from the parliamentarians on the conflict and its implications for the future of Ukraine, Russia, and the global community.

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In 1963 the United States and Europe (EU) were engaged in the infamous Chicken War over new tariffs introduced in Europe. Five decades later, tensions over chicken, now relating to food safety issues, still plague U.S.-EU trade relations in agriculture, and are playing an unfortunate role in influencing European public opinion in the debate about a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). At first glance it would appear that there is nothing new under the sun in U.S.-EU trade relations in the field of food and agriculture.

 

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Timothy E. Josling
Stefan Tangermann
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Transatlantic Food and Agricultural Trade Policy traces the past fifty years of transatlantic trade relations in the area of food and agricultural policy, from early skirmishes over chicken exports to ongoing conflicts over biotech foods and hormone use in animal rearing. The current talks on a free-trade area between the US and the EU (TTIP) bring all these differences to the negotiating table. The book points to possible solutions to these decades-old problems.

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Timothy E. Josling
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The Europe Center Graduate Student Grant Competition

Call for Proposals:

The Europe Center is pleased to announce the Fall 2014 Graduate Student Grant Competition for graduate and professional students at Stanford whose research or work focuses on Europe. Funds are available for Ph.D. candidates from across a wide range of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences to prepare for dissertation research and to conduct research on approved dissertation projects. The Europe Center also supports early graduate students who wish to determine the feasibility of a dissertation topic or acquire training relevant for that topic. Moreover, funds are available for professional students whose interests focus on some aspect of European politics, economics, history, or culture; the latter may be used to support an internship or a research project. Grants range from $500 to $5000.

Additional information about the grants, as well as the online application form, can be found here.  The deadline for this Fall’s competition is Friday, October 17th. Recipients will be notified by November 7th. A second competition is scheduled for Spring 2015.
 

Highlights from 2013-2014:

In the 2013-2014 academic year, the Center awarded grants to 26 graduate students in departments ranging from Linguistics to Political Science to Anthropology. We would like to introduce you to some of the students that we support and the projects on which they are working. Our featured students this month are Michela Giorcelli (Economics) and Orysia Kulick (History).

Giorc

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elli’s project, “The Effects of Management and Technology on Firms’ Productivity: Lesson from the US Marshall Plan in Italy,” explores the role of productivity in the process of economic growth and development. It is typically difficult to isolate the causal effect of management training programs and technology transfer programs on business productivity because these measures are often endogenous to other unobservable factors. To overcome this concern, Giorcelli employed a unique research design to analyze the effects of the Marshall Plan’s transfer of US management and technology to Italian firms in the aftermath of WWII. 

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Giorcelli collected and digitized balance sheets data for 6,035 Italian firms eligible to receive the US management and technology support between 1930 to 1970. She then exploited an exogenous change in policy implementation that randomly determined which firms actually received Marshall Plan support. Preliminary results show that all firms that received either support significantly increased their productivity. Moreover, firms that received both sets of support simultaneously showed an additional increase in productivity, suggesting that management and technology are complementary in production. (Inset: The archives where Giorcelli conducted her research)

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Kulick’s project, “Regionalism in Ukraine and the Long Collapse of the Soviet Union, 1954--2014,” used original historical evidence collected from Ukrainian archives to study the political nexus between party elites in Kiev and in Moscow. For example, Kulick gleaned insights about the political economy of postwar industrial reconstruction from local archives in Dnipropetrovsk, a metallurgical powerhouse in the region. Previously inaccessible primary sources indicate that as the Soviet economy grew more complex, the state apparatus became more independent. Consequently, managerial specialists needed more autonomy to meet deadlines and quotas, making them--rather than the party--the source of innovation in postwar Ukraine. 

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According to Kulick, “my research this summer opened up new ways of thinking about the relationship between the party and the institutions that made up the Soviet state and economy.” Kulick used insights from Soviet-era KGB documents to shed new light on the current propaganda emanating out of the Kremlin. For example, she found that the long-term pull toward greater improvisation has had ongoing consequences. The current conflict is not just about Ukraine’s geopolitical orientation; it is also the byproduct of the dissolution of intransigent and poorly understood late Soviet-era institutions. (Inset: Kulick documents military mobilization during her summer in Ukraine)
 


Undergraduate Internship Program: Highlights

The Europe Center sponsored four undergraduate student internships with leading think tanks and international organizations in Europe in Summer 2014.  Laura Conigliaro (International Relations, 2015) joined the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), while Elsa Brown (Political Science, 2015), Noah Garcia (BA International Relations and MA Public Policy, 2015), and Jana Persky (Public Policy, 2016) joined Bruegel, a leading European think tank. Our featured student this month is Laura Conigliaro.

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During her time at CEPS, Conigliaro worked on a 68-page research paper on genetically modified organisms (GMO) policy in the European Union. In the paper, she traces E.U. legislation and policy development on GMOs from 1990 onward, and also offers conclusions for the future trajectory of the E.U.’s GMO policy. Conigliaro argues that the evolution of the E.U.’s GMO policy is a topic of extreme relevance--and difficulty--because it is the source of high-level trade conflicts between Europe and the United States. Consequently, the study of GMO policymaking can help advance our understanding of E.U. institutions, E.U. “comitology” (policy process), and E.U.-U.S. bilateral relations. 

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Conigliaro plans to incorporate the summer fellowship experience into her Stanford academic career, for example, by presenting research findings at Stanford’s Symposia of Undergraduate Research and Public Service (SURPS). Looking ahead, she writes: “I hope to use the knowledge and experience gained of the E.U. Institutions and policy process through the lens of the GMO issue to broaden and diversify my potential career opportunities and areas from my traditional area of concentration, East Asia, to also include the European Union.”


Recap:  Panel on Europe-Russia Relations and EU expansion

On September 30, 2014, Miroslav Lajčák, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic, participated in a panel discussion in which he shared his thoughts and opinions about Europe’s relationship with Russia, and about the E.U.’s management of its future membership and associations. The Minister’s viewpoints were of particular interest, given his role in the E.U. foreign policy establishment, and the Slovak Republic’s role in the E.U. and NATO.

“The fact is that E.U.-Russia relations have worsened dramatically. That cannot be denied. But it’s not E.U. enlargement that played a major role in this.”  According to the Minister, Russia did not view E.U. enlargement with hostility, in part, because enlargement remained a transparent process. “But it all changed when Europe decided to enter into Russia’s immediate neighborhood...the former Soviet Republics. And this was something that

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Miroslav Lajčák
was seen by Russia as a hostile activity, and this was what Russia fiercely resisted.” The Minister spoke candidly about the potential conflicts of concepts between the E.U.’s Eastern Partnership policy, Russia’s Near Abroad policy, and the idea of a Eurasian Union. A fundamental and ongoing source of tension pertains to the geopolitical position of Russia’s immediate neighbors: “The fact is that Russia never accepted the full sovereignty of the former Soviet Republics.” Apart from discussing the escalation of tensions between the E.U. and Russia, the Minister spoke about the role of sanctions and reforms as a path for moving forward and achieving lasting peace in Europe.

Minister Lajčák’s brought a variety of experiences to the panel. He served as the European Union Chief Negotiator for the E.U.-Ukraine and E.U.-Moldova Association Agreements, and was the European Union Special Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Sarajevo. Additionally, he was previously the Ambassador of the Slovak Republic to the Former Republic of Yugoslavia, Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. 

After Minister Lajčák spoke, he was followed by comments by Michael McFaul, Professor of Political Science and Senior Fellow, Hoover Institute and Freeman Spogli Institute; Norman Naimark, the Robert and Florence McDonnell Professor in East European Studies in the History Department and The Director of Stanford Global Studies; and Kathryn Stoner, Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute and Faculty Director of the Susan Ford Dorsey Program in International Studies.


Introducing “Immigration and Integration in Europe” Policy Lab

The Europe Center would like to introduce a new research project entitled, “Immigration and Integration in Europe:  A Public Policy Perspective,” led by Professors David Laitin and Jens Hainmueller. Duncan Lawrence has recently joined Stanford University to help direct the project. The project is part of the new Policy Implementation Lab at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.

The social and economic integration of its diverse and ever growing immigrant populations is one of the most fundamental and pressing policy issues European countries face today. Success or failure in integrating immigrants is likely to have a substantial effect on the ability of European countries individually and collectively as members of the European Union to achieve objectives ranging from the profound such as sustaining a robust democratic culture to the necessary such as fostering economic cooperation between countries. Various policies have been devised to address this grave political dilemma, but despite heated public debates we know very little about whether these policies achieve their stated goals and actually foster the integration of immigrants into the host societies. (Inset: David Laitin)

Professor Jens Hainmueller.The goal of this research program is to fill this gap and create a network of leading immigration scholars in the US and Europe to generate rigorous evidence about what works and what does not when it comes to integration policies. The methodological core of the lab’s research program is a focus on systematic impact evaluations that leverage experimental and quasi-experimental methods with common study protocols to quantify the social and economic returns to integration policies across Europe, including polices for public housing, education, citizenship acquisition, and integration contracts for newcomers. This work will add to the quality of informed public debate on a sensitive issue, and create cumulative knowledge about policies that will be broadly relevant. (Inset: Jens Hainmueller)


The Europe Center Sponsored Events

We invite you to attend the following events sponsored or co-sponsored by The Europe Center:

Additional Details on our website
October 8-10, 2014
“War, Revolution and Freedom: the Baltic Countries in the 20th Century”
Stauffer Auditorium, Hoover Institution
9:00 AM onward

Save the Date
April 24-25, 2015
Conference on Human Rights

A collaborative effort between the International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic at Stanford Law School (IHRCRC), the Research Center for Human Rights at Vienna University (RCHR), and The Europe Center. The conference will focus on the pedagogy and practice of human rights. 

Save the Date
May 20-22, 2015
TEC Lectureship on Europe and the World 
Joel Mokyr
Robert H. Strotz Professor of Arts and Sciences, and Professor of Economics and History, Northwestern University

We welcome you to visit our website for additional details.

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Encina Hall
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305

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Anna Lindh Fellow, The Europe Center
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Klaus Mittenzwei is an agricultural economist at the Norwegian Agricultural Economics Research Institute in Oslo, Norway. He completed his doctorate at the University of Life Sciences, Norway in 2001. His dissertation focused on the role of political institutions as a significant source for explaining agricultural policies. In a current follow-up research project funded by the Norwegian Research Council, he will analyze these findings in greater detail. Other areas of research include modeling the effects of agricultural policies on the economic, environmental and societal objectives of society. In particular, the CAPRI modeling system (covering world agricultural trade and the details of the agricultural policies in the EU-25, Norway and Turkey) is used to understand how agricultural policy reforms affect the often conflicting agricultural policy objectives like farmers’ income, productivity and public goods provided by the agricultural sector.

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Agricultural trade has generated more than its share of disputes in the past fifty years. Lack of a clear structure of rules to constrain government activity in these markets, coupled with the particularly sensitive nature of trade in basic foodstuffs, has been the main cause of this disproportion. New rules agreed in the Uruguay Round provided an improved framework for government policy in this area, and a temporary exemption was given to certain subsidies from challenge in the WTO (the Peace Clause). However, the expiry of the Peace Clause in 2003 and a growing willingness on the part of exporters to challenge domestic farm programs in other countries through action under the Dispute Settlement Understanding has once again stirred the agricultural pot. Now trade disputes are frequently leading to litigation, encouraged by the slow progress in the Doha Round of trade negotiations. In particular, the scope for domestic subsidies, under the Agreement on Agriculture and the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, has increasingly become the subject of litigation. Countries may have to further modify their domestic policies so as to reduce their vulnerability to challenge in the WTO.

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