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Overcoming Barriers to Cooperation: Territorial and Issue Neutralization as Tools of Conflict Management

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This article investigates how states can begin to cooperate and form bilateral relationships given severe barriers to cooperation. Certain issues can prevent cooperation from occurring despite strategic interests in doing so by both states. However, if states agree to use the institutional design feature of territorial or issue neutralization, then conflict can be averted even if some of the major hindrances to cooperation remains unresolved. I examine in greater detail how both territorial and issue neutralization are used as institutional designs feature in building a cooperative bilateral relationship. Through two major case studies, the self-imposed territorial neutralization of Finland in its relations with the Soviet Union as well as issue neutralization in the relationship between Russia and Ukraine following the collapse of the Soviet Union, I am able to show that territorial and issue neutralization may be effective tools for resolving conflict in the post-Soviet space and could create cooperative relationships instead of conflictual ones.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Political Science, Troy University, mslobodchikoff@troy.edu

10.1163/18763324-04202002
/content/journals/10.1163/18763324-04202002
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/content/journals/10.1163/18763324-04202002
2015-07-09
2017-11-25

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