Faculty of Security Studies – University of Belgrade
NATURAL GAS AS A SUBJECT OF GEOPOLITICAL INTERESTS OF STATES
In the last decade, the subject of sale, purchase or transit of natural gas between the countries in Europe has gained, in addition to the economic dimension, a much broader, and for some countries even more significant, geopolitical dimension. This is most evident based on the attitude of the United States and some European countries towards the projects for the construction of the Nord Stream 2, Turkish Stream and South Stream gas pipelines. By displaying a negative attitude towards these gas pipelines, the United States (with the support of some European countries) has formally emerged as a "protector of the energy interests of European countries" from Russian influence, i.e. Russian gas. Essentially, the United States is trying to slow down, reduce and suspend gas supplies from the Russian Federation (RF) to European countries, especially the most powerful ones (Germany, for example), and disguised by the need to "diversify gas supplies to European countries", thus reduce Russia's presence in Europe and quality of interstate relations. At the same time, the United States is trying to offer and sell its liquefied natural gas to European countries as an alternative to Russian gas, and to "fill in" the empty geopolitical space. The Russian Federation, on its behalf, instructed by the experiences from several "gas crises" with Ukraine, but also in accordance with its geopolitical interests, seeks (and has almost succeeded in doing so) to ensure the transport and sale of its gas by building new gas pipelines to Europe and improve relations with European countries. Other European countries, which need Russian gas, are trying to ensure energy security by participating in the construction of the gas pipeline, or by supporting the realization of that project. The fate of the gas pipeline and thus the possibility of gas distribution to individual states becomes a subject of interest (and conflict) of the great powers and their geopolitical interests.
ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGES OF THE MINISTRY OF DEFENSE IN XXI CENTURY
The defense organization of every modern state should be a balanced civil-military institution with a clear legally defined civilian supremacy. It must be able, within the available public resources, to provide the most optimal environment for the development of the defense system and, above all, the preparation and efficient and effective use of the military in carrying out the missions assigned to it. Given that the projected state of the defense organization is in constant development and change, expressed through the need to adapt to the real risks and available resources, the defense system must be in a reform that has a evergreening character. Accordingly, the Republic of Serbia has harmonized the organizational structure of the Ministry of Defense on several occasions in the last twenty years, mirroring the state of the current political situation in the country. The main starting point in building the optimal organization of the Ministry of Defense in the Republic of Serbia was the desire to ensure the dominant position of the Minister of Defense within the institution. This was also the basis for the development of successful management and the necessary resources for civilian administration, in order to achieve the necessary organizational model that would enable democratic oversight of the military, but also respect military expertise in all necessary areas. At the same time, the adoption of new strategic documents and the introduction of the concept of total defense, requires harmonization of the organization of the Ministry of Defense with the current vision of security policy in the protection of national interests of the Republic of Serbia. The paper will present the change in the organizational structure of the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Serbia from 2000 until today.
Media and Democratic Control Over the Armed Forces In the Republic Of Serbia
State institutions (all three branches of government) have an important role in democratic control of the armed forces, together with civil society institutions among which the media, referred to as “the fourth branch of government” or “the watchdogs of democracy”, play the most important role. The armed forces need the media in order for them to inform the public about their role in society, educate the public on the issues of defense and security, as well as enable easier access to current events. For the majority of people in Serbia the media are the main source of information about what happens in society, and they influence public opinion to a great extent. However, previous research of the relations between the media and the armed forces in Serbia referred exclusively to the analysis of media content, while the media’s attitudes and knowledge of democratic control were not included. In this paper, based on the results of a pilot project carried out in 2013, we will present the extent of knowledge Serbian media have about democratic control of the armed forces, how the media evaluate their relations with the Ministry of Defense, and the basic obstacles the media encounter while exercising democratic control in practice.
The Serbian Armed Forces as the Postmodern Military
One of views in contemporary research of civil–military relations is the postmodern view of the role of the military in the post–Cold War period. Charles H. Moskos et al suggest a typology that is suitable for cross-national research of civil-military relations. These typological trends, used as variables for assessment along the lines of the modern, late modern, and postmodern paradigm, are: perceived threat; force structure; major mission definitions; media relations, homosexuals in military; dominant military professionalism; public attitude toward the military; civilian employees; women’s role; spouse and military; conscientious objection. The subject of the Moskos study were developed Western countries considered to be “advanced democracies”. We address the question of whether the typology developed by Moskos can be applied to countries in the process of transition such as the Republic of Serbia and whether the Serbian Armed Forces belong to the group of postmodern armed forces. With regard to research in the field of civil- military relations in Serbia and available data in this paper we analyzed some of the variables, such as: perceived threat; force structure; major mission definitions; dominant military professionalism; public attitude toward the military; women’s role and conscientious objection. For the purposes of this study, we analyzed the literature on civil-military relations, legal documents, reports, survey data, the data provided to us by the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Serbia, as well as the research and publications examining modern and late modern armed forces for the purposes of this study. The analysis of the mentioned documents and literature led us to conclude that the Serbian Armed Forces can be classified as postmodern armed forces based on a large number of indicators.