Monday, January 11, 2010

An Invitation to the Japan-Black Sea Area Dialogue

Last December, I received an invitation to the Third Japan-Black Sea Area Dialogue hosted by the Global Forum of Japan, a Japanese think tank. The Global Forum is affiliated with the Japan Forum on International Relations, and I have contributed some commentaries on their online policy discussion page, called Hyakka Saiho.

The event will be held on January 27 at the International House of Japan. The agenda is Japan’s role in the Black Sea area, in view of the clash between Russia and the West over Ukraine and Georgia. Distinguished guest speakers, including Secretary General Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos (Greece) of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, are invited.

There are two critical agendas of international security regarding the Black Sea area. One is energy and natural resource. As I mentioned Russian pressure on Ukraine before, oil and gas pipelines to Europe run this area. Therefore, classical geopolitical conflicts are one of key issues between Russia and the West. More importantly, nations of color revolutions, notably Ukraine and Georgia, are the frontlines to prevail Western freedom and democracy throughout Eastern Europe and former Soviet Union.

On this blog, I have been talking of Ukraine, because successful transition of this country from Soviet communism to Western democracy will be an anchor of Euro-Atlantic security in the post Berlin Wall era. This is an important issue to talk of new EU members, such as Romania and Bulgaria.

In addition, when people discuss the role of Japan in the Black Sea area, Turkey is a vital issue. I have argued again and again that Turkey under Kemal Ataturk and Iran under Reza Shah Ⅰ modeled after the Meiji Revolution of Japan, in their pursuit of de-Islamification and Westernization. Therefore, I believe Japan must assume a substantial role to support American and European initiatives to prevail democracy in this region.

It is a great pleasure for me that I am invited to such an event along with respectable experts. I hope it will be a good opportunity to learn furthermore about the Black Sea area, and join global networks of policymakers.