Post-War Negotiations: Four-Party or Five-Party?
Will there be a fifth party in addition to Ukraine, Russia, EU, and NATO?
Prof. Shiping Tang 唐世平 is one of the most influential Chinese social scientists internationally. He has five single-authored volumes in English, with the latest The Institutional Foundation of Economic Development published in September 2022 by Princeton University Press.
He is the 1st Asian and Chinese scholar to win a major book award in international relations and the 1st Chinese scholar to join the editorial board of leading journals in international relations:
1. International Security, No. 1 journal in IR (2021-)
2. International Studies Quarterly (2015-2020), the flagship journal of the International Studies Association
3. Security Studies (2015-), No. 2 journal in international security
4. International Relations (2021-)
Tang is Cheung Kong Distinguished Professor, Ministry of Education, China; Fudan Distinguished Professor & Dr. Seaker Chan Chair Professor School of International Relations and Public Affairs (SIRPA) Fudan University.
Tang was probably the only high-profile international relations scholar in China to publicly predict the war. On January 25, 2022, he said there is a high probability of Russia sending troops into Ukraine that winter.
Tang also wrote Ukraine as a Solution in January 2009 after the Russo-Georgian War.
Tang is the Founder and Director of 复旦大学复杂决策分析中心 Center for Complex Decision Analysis (CCDA), Fudan University, where he is working on, among other things, agent-based modeling (ABM). Last year, he and colleagues reported in a peer-reviewed article in the journal Plos One of two live experiments in forecasting U.S. and Taiwan elections with ABM without opinion polls or social media data.
Now that the Chinese envoy has finished a trip to Kyiv, Warsaw, Berlin, Paris, Brussels, and Moscow, let’s look at a brief discussion on potential post-war negotiations by Prof. Tang in April 2022
Post-War Negotiations: Four-party or Five-party?
As a limited war, even if the war temporarily pauses or ends due to one side’s defeat or other reasons, it will ultimately have to end on the negotiating table. The negotiations will consist of two stages: a ceasefire agreement and post-war arrangements.
Both Russia and Ukraine understand that the first stage and the second stage are interconnected. However, if neither side suffers a decisive defeat but still wishes to end the conflict soon, both will have to accept the approach of separating the negotiations for these two stages.
Obviously, the first stage of negotiations primarily involves negotiations between the warring parties (Russia and Ukraine), and non-directly involved actors are unlikely to participate in this stage. In other words, in the first stage, even NATO and the European Union can only attempt to encourage Russia and Ukraine for an early ceasefire.
The second stage involves at least four parties: Russia, Ukraine, NATO (with the United States at its core), and the European Union (with France and Germany at its core). It is crucial to note that this negotiation cannot be limited to just Russia and Ukraine, or even just Russia, Ukraine, and NATO (with the United States at its core) because both Ukraine’s post-war reconstruction and Russia’s reintegration into the international community require the support of the EU. In fact, it can be anticipated that the EU member states will bear the primary cost of Ukraine’s post-war reconstruction.
It is an interesting question whether a certain country can become the fifth party in the negotiations during the second stage. This article is going to discuss the possible arrangements for the second stage of negotiations based on game theory.
Unfortunately, such multi-party game models can be rather complex (even three-party game models can be complex), and there are rarely simple mathematical solutions. Therefore, this article can only provide a basic understanding of this type of game question, helping readers grasp some fundamental dynamics of such games and think about the approach. [Such complex multi-party games can generally be resolved through agent-based modeling or ABM, which will be a future development task for the Center for Complex Decision Analysis (CCDA), Fudan University.]
The Dynamics of Post-war Negotiations: Four-party or Five-party?
It is highly likely that if the negotiations involve only four parties, the European Union will have to fully support the positions of Ukraine and NATO (with the United States at its core) and is unlikely to have an independent negotiating stance. Although the EU will undoubtedly bear the majority of the costs for Ukraine’s reconstruction, it cannot morally refrain from supporting the positions of Ukraine and the United States. Therefore, the outcome of the four-party negotiations would result in a 3:1 scenario, with Ukraine, NATO, and the EU maintaining a consistent stance while Russia becomes completely isolated.
However, if there are five parties involved, three possible scenarios could arise:
3:2. Ukraine, NATO, and the EU would generally stay on one side, but Russia would also have a potential supporter and thus would not be completely isolated. If the fifth party supports Ukraine’s post-war reconstruction, Ukraine, NATO, and the EU might agree with it on certain issues.
2:3. Ukraine and NATO are on one side, but the EU and the fifth party may support Russia’s position on certain issues. After all, the EU and Russia have several common interests in terms of economic costs and energy cooperation. As the fifth party could support Ukraine’s post-war reconstruction, Ukraine and NATO might agree with it on certain issues. Furthermore, in this scenario, the EU could also try to persuade Ukraine and NATO to join the fifth party on some issues.
4:1. In certain circumstances, the fifth party may even support the positions of Ukraine, NATO, and the EU. However, as the fifth party can assist in Russia’s post-war recovery, Russia might also be able to agree with the fifth party’s position on certain issues.
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