The Transformation of the Visegrad Countries and Its Consequences: Reflections in the Light of Selected Globalist Theories of International Relations
Doktor hab., University of Warsaw and Vasyl’ Stus Donetsk National University (Vinnytsia, Ukraine)
Data publikacji: 10-12-2020
Stosunki Międzynarodowe – International Relations 2019;55(4)
The post-communist transformation of Central Europe, in particular the Visegrad countries (Poland, Czechoslovakia – later the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and Hungary), as well as its consequences have been largely analysed through the liberal IR theory: democratization, liberalization of trade, and the accession to the EU and NATO have been considered as conforming to the interests of post-communist countries. However, some authors have proposed alternative interpretations that are rooted in the globalist theory of international relations, i.e. empire studies, dependency theory, ‘world-system’ perspectives, and post-colonialism. According to these interpretations, the transformation of the Visegrad states essentially constituted a change of the dominant power in the region: the declining Soviet Union/Russia was replaced by the Western powers – the United States and the European Union. The neoliberal economic reforms followed the principles of the “Washington consensus” and corresponded neither to economic rationality nor to the will of the people of the Visegrad countries. The enlargement of the EU forced post-communist countries to adapt their political, economic, and legal systems to the Western norms. This process brought some benefits, but was realized at the expense of democratic standards. In consequence, the Visegrad countries remain a semi-periphery of the West – convenient export markets and a source of cheap labour – which situates them far behind the highly developed Western Europe.