Pan-Slavism and Soft Power in Post-Cold War Southeast European International Relations: Competitive Interference and Smart Power in the European Theatre of the Clash of Civilizations

By Benedict Edward DeDominicis.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Civic and Political Studies

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Conceptualization of soft power as influence deriving from attraction benefits from an application of a theoretical framework that accommodates the importance of nationalism. The drive for self-determination of national minorities often arbitrarily placed within state borders receives support from competing great power actors, intensifying conflict. External powers are more likely to respond to local client solicitations for backing against the latter’s adversary as the local contestants strive for supremacy or separation. This pattern has intensified in the nuclear era as direct great power conflict has become too dangerous to accommodate. Ukraine is a scene for this competitive interference in the post-Cold War era. Lay media and academic publications today label this familiar pattern of intervention hybrid warfare. Hybrid warfare is an attempt at a smart power strategy, i.e., the effective application of both hard and soft power instruments to achieve state actor objectives. Pan-Slavism is an idealized symbol set that elites in Slavic polities use in transnational appeals to public opinion in justifying pursuit of policy objectives in other Slavic, targeted polities. This appeal lacks a politically significant response regarding impact on target polity foreign policy trends. Pan-Slavism is today an indicator of the decaying legacy networks of pan-Communist-era control systems.

Keywords: European Union, Hybrid Warfare, Soft Power

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Civic and Political Studies, Volume 12, Issue 3, September 2017, pp.1-17. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 856.201KB).

Prof. Benedict Edward DeDominicis

Associate Professor, Political Science, Department of International Studies, Catholic University of Korea, Bucheon, South Korea