The stability of the former Soviet states is threatened by their precarious geopolitical position within a turbulent economic and political environment. Swords and Sustenance explores the complex economic dimension of national security for two key post-Soviet countries, Belarus and Ukraine—that is, how they have dealt with the challenges posed by internal economic and political reform and their relationships with Russia and the West.
The book first examines how differing commitments to economic and political reform (reform is largely absent in Belarus) affect Belarusian and Ukrainian approaches to security. It then considers the central role of Russia, and how Russian interests and policies toward Belarus and Ukraine limit the two countries' foreign and domestic policy choices. Two chapters discuss the national security implications for Belarus and Ukraine of two key economic factors in their foreign policy: energy trade (in the form of oil, gas, and pipelines) and military-industrial cooperation (including the sale of arms). Finally, the book considers the relationships of Belarus and Ukraine with regional and global institutions and explores the policies of the EU, NATO, and the United States toward Belarus and Ukraine.