Prepared for JIIA/IFRI conference on
Building A Global and Regional Framework for Peace and Prosperity: Political and Economic Security in the New World Order
Tokyo, 2-3 June 1994
Since the end of the Cold War, the security of Central and Eastern Europe (C&EE) is a necessary (though not sufficient) conditio sine qua non for the security of Europe as a whole. This is not entirely new: already during Cold War, the West had recognized that its security was contingent upon that of the other half of Europe (of course, as perceived by Moscow). This resulted in some degree of hypocrisy on the part of the West. For example, the USSR got its first bout of détente and the start of CSCE negotiations right after the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Today, there is complementarity in place of hostility in new East-West relations, but Europe is far from "whole and free"—as George Bush, among others, proclaimed it as early as 1990. C&EE is increasingly fragmented and, far from being free, many parts of it are at or near war to preserve their freedom. Paradoxically, after the virtual disappearance of any significant military threat, security is an ever rarer commodity in most of Eastern Europe.
In Western Europe, the disappearance of both the massive Soviet deployments in C&EE and (more importantly) of their even more massive reinforcement capabilities, have not produced the results that were hoped for. The perception of security has not improved. War is being waged in parts of the continents, and tensions are high in others, but the danger of conflagration is not clearly definable or predictable. Therefore, such dangers as they exist are not sufficient to mobilize public opinions, though they are clear and present enough to worry most observers. Increasing or nascent threats from the South of Europe's periphery only make things worse.
Under these circumstances, this paper argues first, that the C&EE states are dangerously reverting to nationalist approach in foreign policy; second, that this approach does not augur well for the continent, as today's Europe vital interests are no longer national interests, and vice versa; and third, that, therefore, international institutions should play a pivotal role if C&EE are to be integrated into a future peaceful order in Europe. While their performance has been less than ideal in recent years, the richer and more influential Western countries have no alternative to their strengthening and revival.
East-West (?) Relations in the New Europe
To the extent that it indicated the confrontation between the blocs, the term "East-West" is now obsolete. The very word "Eastern" Europe is generally considered demeaning; to refer to "Balkan" states or peoples is sometimes even taken as insulting by those who geographically belong to those areas. This is considered terminology from Cold War, reflecting obsolete bipolar concepts. The new commonly accepted term, which will obligingly be used here, is C&EE, but changing their definitions rarely solve problems, and declarations of intent do not change geography.
In fact, the term "East-West", though perhaps impolitic in the current parlance, is still valid in some respects. While there is no longer an adversarial relationship between the two "sides" of the word, European countries are not yet parts of a group of states definable as such except in the purest (and least significant) geographical terms. They do not form a working system, let alone a coherent whole.
Within these new East-West relations, the hope for the future is that cooperation and integration can replace confrontation, most importantly between Russia and the rest of Europe. The lack of a solid cooperative relationship between Russia and the rest of Europe is the most serious threat to the stability of the continent in the years to come. That is why the West, regardless of who is in charge in Moscow, will have to continue to devote special care to the security perceptions and economic condition of this country. The NATO-Russia agreement of 22 June 1994 fails to acknowledge a "special role" for Russia within the Partnership for Peace (within which all partners remain on an equal basis) but the accompanying "Summary of Conclusions" provides for Russia-NATO cooperation "beyond" Partnership for Peace. The relationship with Russia is the single most delicate for the West, but not the only preoccupation of post-Cold War Europe.
A second source of potential instability lies in Central and Eastern Europe itself. In the immediate aftermath of the 1989 revolutions, political euphoria overshadowed economic concerns, but it soon faded away as harsh economic realities became clear. Initial illusions about cure-all capitalism settled in. Five years into democracy, a crucial question in C&EE is whether political enthusiasm will be enough to overcome prolonged economic disappointment and hardship. Alternatively, will economic disappointment undermine political achievements? A race between economics and politics in now going on: it is not yet clear whether the post-1989 political capital still available will suffice to overcome current and future economic hardship.
To make matters worse, new regional cleavages have come to the fore after the fall of the wall. Some new cleavages are actually revived old ones, i.e. from the pre-World War II era. Most seriously, most of C&EE has long been anti-Russian before it became anti-Soviet, and it can now express its anti-Russian feelings again. Other regional and local cleavages include that between Hungary and Romania, Czechs and Slovaks, Serbs and Hungarians, beyond, of course, those within former Yugoslavia. One may add an anti-South of the world prejudice, particularly as competition for Western aid becomes more acute. If economic realities beat political sentiments in the race described above, these cleavages might be ignited beyond the plane of peaceful confrontation into violent conflict, and it would be imprudent to assume that the Western half of the continent would not be engulfed in it.
The best hope to avert such an outcome lies in integrating C&EE in the economic, political and security structure of Western Europe. For four decades C&EE peoples have been forced to look at international integration (and, more in general, at any form of internationalism) as one representation of the division of Europe into two divergently integrating blocs (theirs being under the USSR). The so-called "fraternal" relations within the Warsaw Pact and Comecon, a euphemism for Soviet controlled economic and security planning, has left deep scars. Consequently, there is a strong tendency among C&EE to equate nationalism with freedom and independence.
In light of the above, it is not surprising that C&EE electorates and leaderships have little sympathy (or understanding) for true international interdependence. Nationalism (whether it is real or, as is often the case, it is built-up spuriously around "imagined communities" instead of real nations) has blossomed, and nationalism, historically, is likely to be associated with war. It may be a cause or a consequence of war. Most often, and most dangerously, it is used by political élites as a catalyst for the channeling of military and other resources toward the achievement of war aims. Dangerously, C&EE often look to past rather than to future, longing for a restoration of pre-communism, the Soviet occupation being seen as a historical aberration in their national paths to development.
The only magnet for them was initially the EU, which was seen as a locomotive to pull them up from the doldrums of economic stagnation, mainly through infusions of German funds. Subsequently, this enthusiasm dwindled as it became clear that membership was not in the cards for the short term—see chart 5. A EU widening to C&EE is still in the agenda of Western diplomacies, but the time horizon has been pushed back. Subsequently, a strong interest developed for membership in NATO. These two issues will be further discussed below.
National and Vital Interests in Europe
Like most political paradigms (both domestic and international) the concept of "national interest" has changed since the Cold War. This is especially true in security affairs. An emerging issue in this context has been how to re-define national and international interests in an increasing interdependent world in which international institutions play a greater role—albeit not always satisfactorily so.
Of course, there are genuine national interests which are perfectly compatible with a cooperative multinational approach to security. These may be economic interests (e.g. milk or steel production capacity; or agricultural import quotas in the EU). They may be related to the environment (e.g. the regulation of international transit rights for cargo, or control of pollutants that are not usually very respectful of national borders). National interests may also be political, as country A may jostle for political advantage vis-à-vis country B by establishing special bilateral ties with country C, (e.g. to push its export products, to obtain special access to C's economic resources or technologies or to foster the rights of its affiliated ethnic community in country C). Finally, there may even be military-related national security interests, as might be the case in future contingencies similar to the Falklands war, the US-Libyan clashes of 1981 and 1986, and the US intervention in Grenada or Panama. But the national interests involved in this type of operations can hardly be described as vital.
These interests are definable and defensible at the national level, but they are not vital. In light of the contradiction between the need to look at security problems from an international perspective, and the trend toward reinforced nationalist pressures build, it seems appropriate to refer no longer to "national" interests, but, rather, to "vital" interests in the contemporary European landscape. Which are the vital interests of post-Cold War Europe?
The most fundamental vital interest for post-Cold War European states remains the protection of the physical safety and territorial integrity of nation states against the danger of attack from resurgent, residual or wholly new military threats—including internal threats from within existing states. While the Soviet threat is gone, a variety of actual or potential military threats still exists. Newly independent Russia seeks to become a security partner today, and in some circumstances it has proved that it is able to be one, but it is far from certain that this will be true in the future. While the danger of post-Soviet proliferation is usually exaggerated in the press, other nuclear powers might, in time, emerge from the ashes of the USSR. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is a distinct possibility around Europe's southern periphery. Any of these developments could threaten the vital security interests of European states. As for threats from within existing states, the example of Yugoslavia speaks for itself: while not likely to be replicated in the same scale, it might not be the last European state to break-up violently, and the repercussions might yet be felt outside of Yugoslavia itself.
The second vital interest is to at a minimum, maintain our standard of living and economic development. This implies, among other things, the preservation of a free market economy, unimpeded access both to sources of raw materials and to foreign markets, and freedom of navigation over the high seas. Recent events in the Gulf have demonstrated (had there been any doubt) that the defense of this vital interest can not quite be taken for granted even after the end of the Soviet threat to NATO sea-lines of communication.
The final, and most important, vital interest lies in the protection of the Western way of life. Despite all its shortcomings, is increasingly accepted as a pan-European model. This translates into the preservation of a pluralist democracy, which in turn means freedom of movement for people and information (and hence open borders) but also support for the social order of civil society (and hence regulation of migration flows).
Other formulations could be devised, but the above are by and large what the general consensus within the Western civilization has come to define as "vital interests". But these are not synonymous with "national" interests; none is nationally definable or defensible, by any state, and certainly not by European medium powers. The following paragraphs will discuss why this is true now even more than during the Cold War.
When Europe was divided in two blocs, Western nations had to join up forces to counter the Soviet Union. The possibility always existed, however, that one or more could try to strike a deal with Moscow, in extreme circumstances, for example in order to avoid the escalation of nuclear war on its territory. This possibility applied to the Allies on both sides of the Atlantic: the US at times feared that the Europeans might rather be "red than dead"; the Europeans feared that the US would fight a limited war in Europe but not challenge the Soviets to the point of a reciprocal nuclear exchange. Such fears were based on rational calculations of national interests which took into account the probable behavior of concerned parties, bona fide allies as they might have been. Today, sources of resurgent, residual or new threats (nuclear, conventional, or anything in between, as they might come) are unlikely to be as amenable to the same rational thinking as was the centralized and monolithic Soviet state; hence, it is unlikely that the freedom of "opting out" would still be available to any party in a future continental crisis.
A detailed discussion of increasing international economic interdependence is beyond the scope of this paper; suffice it to say that the end of the Cold War has opened far greater opportunities for international economic exchanges—and therefore for growth. As recent vicissitudes in the Gulf have demonstrated, however, free access to raw materials must sometimes be guaranteed by collective efforts, including by means of armed force. On a different plane, the GATT negotiations demonstrate how, mutatis mutandis, an equal degree of collective political commitment is necessary to ensure free access to international markets, the other essential ingredient of world economic growth and prosperity.
As for the third of the vital interests considered here, during the Cold War, it was possible, indeed obligatory, to protect democracy in the West while avoiding any determined effort to promote it in the East. Today, without the Iron Curtain, consolidating democracy in the East is increasingly becoming a pre-condition for maintaining it in the West. Indeed, as European borders are wide open to flows of people and information, it would be utopian to think that a privileged island of prosperity and freedom can be maintained only in selected parts of the continent. Again, multilateral effort are indispensable, for it is unthinkable that any single state, however influential, could pursue such an ambitious goal single-handedly.
The foregoing does not suggest that national interests no longer exist in Europe today; nor does it lead to a prescription of exclusively multilateral solutions. There are interests that can and should be defined at the national level, just as there are other interests that can be defined at the regional, provincial or municipal level. In fact, it is not a coincidence that this time of increasing nationalism is also a time of increasing demand for regional and local autonomy throughout Europe, both East and West.
What is sometimes referred to as the rebirth of "nationalism" in reality is often tribalism, parochialism or fanaticism decorated with a patina of religious fervor. In post-Cold War Europe, the nation-state is in some cases as much in crisis as are international alliances and organizations, if not more so. More Europeans are rediscovering the value of local autonomy than are revamping that of national independence. The recent support garnered by Flemish separatists and Northern Italian secessionists are the latest additions to what seemed to be the isolated exceptions of Northern Ireland and the Basque Country. The nineties are more likely to go down in history as a decade of threats to nation-states than as a decade of nation-building.
The Agenda for the West
Eastern requests for integration in Western institutions translate into some degree of Western embarrassment. C&EE states are in a position of demandeur for access to markets, security and political identity. More than anything, they want to join Western institutions, generally seen as the only solution to all three issues. They by and large realize that no single state is equipped to address these new types of problems and help them. They understand that, as the West has often been preaching, the solution to these risks and challenges requires a multinational approach, with contributions from both East and West. This is true in security as well as in economics.
The answers to the questions posed in the preceding paragraphs carry important implications for Western Europe for its possible repercussions in international relations. If the cleavages discussed above are not resolved, conflict might well spread beyond the region of C&EE. Under these circumstances, the risks to common European security that are coming from this new Europe today can be categorized into four groups. First, there is a danger that local conflicts may lead to region-wide conflagration. As of late 994, this is the case, most seriously, in the Balkans, but to a lesser extent also in the Caucasus.
Second, these conflicts, and the destruction and disorder that they carry along, may provide ammunition to reactionary and/or nostalgic power groups, and thus provoke a backfiring of authoritarianism. This may not be of a communist character, but it may be ultra-nationalistic and perhaps involve the armed forces.
Third, Western Europe may become the target of terrorism, as frustrated extremist groups may seek to attract international attention to this or that ethnic, territorial or "national" cause. Connections with Western European terrorist organizations, such as the IRA or ETA, are to be expected.
Finally, and most seriously, Eastern European conflicts come at a time of delicate transition in the foreign policy relations among Western nations. Cleavages in the East have already provoked diverging attitudes in the West, and may result in a weakening of Western cohesion. The handling of the Yugoslav crisis has already resulted in some damage to the developing process of harmonization of Western European foreign policies.
What can and should the West do to address C&EE's demands, since on the answer that will be given to them depend also our own interests? The West has three instruments for the creation of security conditions around its periphery: wealth, advanced know-how and institutions. Wealth is the least useful one. It can only provide emergency relief, but can not provide economic stability and hence security in the medium-long term. Reforms and time are necessary for this, and too much aid can even be counterproductive if it allows for artificial life-support to be administered to inefficient economic mechanisms. Of course, Western wealth can not buy military security, since all Eastern countries must, on the contrary, reduce their military commitments. As for Western military intervention, in conflicts in Eastern Europe or in the Mediterranean region, the problems there are hardly of a financial nature.
Advanced know-how is potentially more useful than wealth because it helps create an indispensable basis for long-term efficiency and thus social stability. In this respect, managerial know-how will be more relevant than advanced technology. But it, too, does nothing to alleviate immediate political security problems. Much time will be required before organizational restructuring and technology injections will produce appreciable results in the societies of the East.
Institutions remain the only instrument potentially capable of preventing and perhaps repressing European conflicts before they spread too widely. This paper will sketch what three regional institutions (the EU and the WEU, which for the purposes of this paper are considered together; the North Atlantic Treaty Organization; and the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe) could contribute toward continental security.
The nature of the questions involved immediately points to the fact that the required approach will be multidimensional: for analytical purposes, the following analysis will be divided in security, economic and political aspects, though the three are clearly interconnected.
Economic interdependence, long established in Western Europe, is difficult to replicate in the continent as a whole. No doubt, such replication will be profitable (and in any case probably inevitable) in the long run if Western Europe is to be competitive with the US and Japan. But, as John M. Keynes put it, in the long run we will all be dead. The economic integration of Eastern Europe in the pan-European (and therefore world) market can not wait so long.
Therefore, when discussing the extension of economic interdependence to C&EE, the question is not whether, but when and how to do it. The widespread argument that Eastern Europe is not yet ready is only partially true, or, rather, it only explains one half of the problem. The other half is that it is Western Europe which fears losing important markets to cheaper Eastern labor. This is true, first and foremost, in those very sectors in which C&EE economies are stronger: textiles, agriculture and steel. On the one hand, to allow C&EE producers into EU markets might spell the end (or at least a drastic down-sizing) of those industries in the EU. On the other hand, it would both make those products available at cheaper prices (and thus boost productivity) and stimulate competition.
Of course, this approach runs directly against the grain of EU subsidization policies. But the dilemma between narrow-minded national protection and opening to the East will once again have to be faced in the near future: the consequences of the choice that will be made are going to have a strong and lasting impact on the economic relationship between Western Europe and C&EE states. In the latter, it will also have profound political and social consequences which the governments of EU member states will do well to consider before giving in to domestic lobbying and pressures for continued protection.
EU membership remains a coveted ambition for C&EE states, not only for economic but also for political and (in perspective) security reasons. It may provide some degree of political reassurance, but certainly the EU does not have the tools for any military-related task. This may change in the future with the realization of a common security policy and a then of a common defense, but the time frame is far too long. For the next several crucial years, most instruments of security policy will remain in the hands of national governments, while the process toward the creation of a common security and foreign policy continues, hopefully, to overcome national and bureaucratic hurdles.
In any case, even when such a common policy exists, caution will be imperative, because for the Union to provide security to third parties would probably mean to grant accession: "extended deterrence" by the Union or the WEU is definitely not in the cards for the foreseeable future. Accession to the Union presents formidable economic and institutional problems, that fall beyond the scope of this paper, but which are probably going to retain a higher degree of priority with respect to security concerns. A common concern, for example, is that enlargement of the Union will jeopardize its "deepening": therefore, extension of security guarantees, to the extent that it might hasten precipitous enlargement, might weaken the very institution that these guarantees should emanate from.
In conclusion, the EU is most useful for cooperation with the C&EE in the economic, and specifically trade, arena. This cooperation would involve short-term costs, but these will be outweighed by long-term benefits for current EU members as well.
Human Rights and Political Stability
Relations with C&EE and post-Soviet states have another, purely political, dimension: human rights. Of the various "categories" of human rights, those of concern here are the so-called "first generation" human rights, i.e. those indisputable rights of the individual such as the personal inviolability and freedom of information and expression and movement of each citizen. These rights are most easily definable, are the same for all states, and juxtapose the individual citizen (as opposed to, for instance, the member of a given nationality) to his/her government. They are inalienable, or, as they are sometimes referred to, "static". Therefore, they can be considered independently of local political factors of diversity which may be specific of a given state.vii During the Cold War, the West had to ignore them.
For a long time, the West sacrificed human rights ideals for the sake of peace and stability: until, that is, in 1989 communist (read Soviet) oppression exhausted its ability to produce stability. While the lack of democracy was a source of stability in Soviet bloc, today, with no overwhelming power to enforce human rights violations, it is a source of instability in post-communist Europe. On the contrary, the political energies which dictatorship had long repressed are now about to explode, create instability and threaten peace. It is for this reason, quite aside from moral considerations, that the protection of human rights is an important factor of security and stability in Europe.
Since the end of the Cold War, most of Europe has accomplished much toward the realization of first category rights, but not enough. The West, and particularly the US, has not always been consistent. It traditionally followed one of three policies in this field. Sometimes, the West has been content with letting its point of view be known, without doing anything about it (this was, for instance, the Nixon approach of pure Realpolitik).
Alternatively, it tried to persuade violators to change their course, but without offending them with public accusation or much fanfare. This approach produced important results, (for example under Carter) when the carrot was used more than the stick. The problem here was that this policy was intermittent and unpredictable.
The third approach has been to accuse violators (or, rather, those who happened to be political adversaries) publicly, to apply diplomatic pressure upon them, to link progress on human rights to other negotiations such as those on arms control or trade (the so-called "linkage" policy). This approach produced little results.
Today, human rights are once again an important factor of foreign policy based on Realpolitik, and as such must be given their just priority. As a former US Secretary of State put it, "human rights must always be on the foreign policy agenda, but never by themselves".viii In this respect, interference in internal affairs becomes justified and necessary, as the UN charter and article 56 stipulate that violations "oblige members to take joint and separate action" to achieve this purpose. While consistent and persistent persuasion will be indispensable to this end, the use of force might at time be required as well. Albeit insufficiently, this has already happened in Yugoslavia. This produces an immediate link between the protection of human rights and military stability and security.
Military Stability and Security
In this field, again, interdependence has been an long established concept, but it is now moving from a confrontational to a cooperative type of interdependence. Europe has shifted its attention from the avoidance of war to the building of peace.
Virtually all of Eastern Europe, including most former Soviet republics, is asking to join NATO. On the one hand, this testifies to the success of NATO. On the other hand, it is a symptom of a widespread illusion that this success would be easily replicated by simply bringing in new members. That is far from being the case. First of all, it would be economically expensive (restructuring of allied commands, re-deployment of forces, additional official languages, harmonization of procedures, etc.) and therefore NATO members would not be likely to accept it. Public opinions would not support such an expansion of responsibility at a time of reduced threat perceptions and declining defense budgets.
More importantly, it might be difficult to establish whom to accept into the Alliance: In other words, who would be defended against whose threat? If this were a way for Central and East Europeans to gain a military security guarantee against Russia, this would signify a perpetuation of the old logic of the two blocs. Some advocated this also in the West, particularly during and immediately after the failed August 1991 coup in Moscow (when authoritative voices were heard urging Western security guarantees to Eastern Europe) but such a stand does not seem to fit into the current status of political relations with the successor states of the USSR.
One could argue that the logic of the blocs is perpetuated by maintaining one the two blocs as a self-contained exclusive entity separated from the now no longer antagonistic remnants of the other bloc. If the Eastern bloc is gone, this logic goes, the Western must offer its umbrella to former enemies who have now embraced its values and goals. A more cogent argument, however, is that the logic of the blocs would be perpetuated by trying to artificially extend one against another that no longer exists. Besides, NATO could not and would not wage war against Russia to save Eastern Europe more than it would have during the Cold War. Russia remains a nuclear state, and for NATO's nuclear powers to provide "extended deterrence" to the Eastern Europeans against Moscow would hardly be credible; it would be more likely a bluff. Let us not forget that even Western Europeans have had this problem of credibility of extended deterrence for forty years; for the new democracies of the East the problem would be much worse.
A second possibility is that NATO should accept all those who might want to accede, Russians included, and offer a security guarantee to all. The question then would be whom to guarantee against whom. If one wanted to guarantee everybody against everybody else, this would probably be a recipe for disaster. It is easy to imagine rather difficult dilemmas emerging from any number of crisis situations. It is also easy to see how false expectations could be created and these could blow on the fire of the nationalist ambitions that were repressed by forty-five years of communism and are now rekindling wildly.
In that context, some argue that NATO might play a moderating role similar to that played between Greece and Turkey, but that bilateral confrontation was easier to deal with than the multilateral situations of Eastern Europe would be. This was because of the common threat that Greeks and Turks both had to face; moreover, the preponderant role of the US in the Greek-Turkish relationship would not be there in Eastern Europe.
As the opinion became more common that NATO should, in one way or another, take on the task of providing security to its former enemies, the organization created the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (NACC). The creation of NACC was the subject of some debate. First, NACC ran the risk of duplicating the confidence-building role of the CSCE. In fact, the exclusion of neutral and non-aligned states makes it less credible than the CSCE for that purpose. The United States argues that CSCE was not sufficient because it lacked the resources; logically, the answer then should have been to give it those resources. But Washington clearly feels it can control NACC better than the CSCE, and has, so far successfully, played a prominent role in the de facto down-playing of the latter organization. Second, NACC is fuelling expectations for full membership. As this is not likely to happen soon, it will create even more frustration than would have resulted from an outright rejection of any membership at this time.
Still, NACC is playing a very useful role. One area where NACC might indeed be useful is in providing military expertise to those nations wishing to restructure their armed forces toward a more defensive model, both to reduce the defense burden and to avoid friction with neighbor states. Eastern European officer corps must be "de-indoctrinated" from Marxism-Leninism. NATO could address all of these concerns through its existing (and expandable) information, scientific and cultural programs, without even addressing the issue of membership.
For this purpose, the launching of the Partnership for Peace (PfP) in January 1994 was essential: it provided an instrument for concrete bilateral cooperation between NATO and individual cooperation partners, each of which can tailor its own "Individual Partnership Program" according to its own wishes, capabilities and needs.
In addition, as offered by NATO itself in 1992, NACC could be used to harmonize NATO forces and infrastructure with those of C&EE states which could then be offered for joint peacekeeping actions under the CSCE auspices. The first joint maneuvers to this end were held in the Summer of 1994. Initiatives along these lines would tap on NATO's comparative advantages, provide support to the current soul-searching effort within the Alliance, and avoid the danger that acrimonies among Eastern Europeans might clog NATO's own operation. NATO could provide the necessary infrastructure and logistical base, as has been offered recently. Non-NATO troops could be employed and be supported by the NATO infrastructure, early warning systems, etc. Even armed forces from non-European states might then be called upon, as been the case already in former Yugoslavia. The old prejudice for which Europeans could serve to keep the peace among non-Europeans, but non-Europeans would not be needed to come and help in "civilized" Europe seems, alas, to be fading away.
From a political point of view, the CSCE might also contribute security for Eastern Europe. So far, however, it has not been given the necessary instruments, either military or political. The Vienna-based Center for the Prevention of Conflicts (CPC) is woefully unprepared to deal with the fermenting European problems, as it is understaffed, underbudgeted and underpowered. It should be strengthened, both financially and in terms of political endorsement by the member states. Its competence should be expanded to include a capability for political action toward crisis prevention, as its very name suggests it should, and not only crisis management.
The growing membership in CSCE dilutes the effectiveness of the decision-making process. The consensus rule is less and less adequate. There is a need to move to majority rule, at least for some kinds of decision, among which perhaps there could be the dispatch of peace-keeping forces to troubled areas. For this purpose, some have proposed the creation of a CSCE Security Council, and to allow it to take operational decisions without waiting all other member states to agree, and if necessary against the wished of some of them.
This body might include the UK, the US, Germany, France, Russia, as permanent members with a veto right. Perhaps Italy, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Spain could enjoy some kind of semi-permanent status. This Council would eliminate the unpredictability associated with China's behavior in the UN, while at the same time including the absolutely essential role of Germany. Its powers would be rather circumscribed at the start, but it could sanction conflict-prevention initiatives and peace-keeping operations, including those that may involve military force. Its chances of being effective could be encouraging in a time where the end of the East-West division of Europe has created a high degree of convergence in the political goals of the major powers in the continent. However, under no circumstances should the CSCE be allowed to become the overarching umbrella structure with overall coordinating powers that Russia would like it to be.
The solution to the problems of the new geopolitical situation in Europe will require an approach that must be both multilateral and multidimensional. International security institutions are indispensable for an adequate approach to the post-Cold War security problems of Europe. One does not need to be an "idealist of the post-Cold War mend-the-world school"ix to realize that no single state can address, let alone begin to resolve, the complex intricacies of resurgent nationalistic cleavages, civil struggles and potential conflagrations across borders. Nevertheless, because of the new strength gained by old pre-Cold War (rather than new post-Cold War) thinking, multilateralism is still all too often seen as an unaffordable luxury.x But it is Realpolitik, not idealism, which calls for a wider and more structured pattern of international cooperation in order to best serve the vital interests of European democracies (both old and new).xi It would be naïve idealism to presume that those interests can be served through the romantic restoration of the nation-state to its pre-Cold War prerogatives, cultural, political or moral as they may be.
To pursue this multilateral approach, all countries of Europe (but the principal responsibility inevitably falls upon Western Europe) need to both deepen and widen international cooperation. In this, Europe does not have to start from scratch; much was done during the Cold War which can still be utilized if it is properly built upon. NATO is the obvious place to start to maintain a collective security and collective defense apparatus, the first of the three vital interests considered in this study. The WEU has been revived after the end of Cold War, and there is no question that, in time, it might work as the future European pillar of the transatlantic alliance if the political will is there to make that happen. The member states of these two organizations (together, but not individually) clearly possess the necessary military, technological and economic resources to face the new risks of the post-Cold War world in which C&EE in no longer an enemy but an increasingly effective security partner.
As of late 1994, however, partnership with the former Eastern adversaries is still fragile. Collective security bridges to Eastern Europe are being built, among others through the NACC and the WEU's Forum for Consultation, but success is not guaranteed. The Partnership for Peace provides for conrete cooperation programs that are specifically tailored to the needs of specific partners. But it is not enough to pile economic, military, and technological resources, to organize conferences and sign agreements. There is a much deeper need to build up political coherence among states and peoples which have long been suspicious of and estranged from one another. This will take time, but there is no reason to think that the successful construction of a collective security system in Western Europe in the 1950s and 1960s could not be replicated, in the late 1990s and beyond, across the whole continent.
The second vital interest has been defined here as the maintenance of unimpeded access to raw materials and the fostering of market economy. Here, too, there are useful precedents that make good examples: the energy sharing schemes of both the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the EU have proven largely successful. The European system of pipelines guarantees that energy security is a preeminently international end, which will require international means to achieve and maintain. They could be further improved to guarantee access to primary sources and provide a safety net in case of emergency.
Here, too, there is a need to expand the multilateral approach to Eastern Europe. Again, there is some degree of similarity to what was done in Western Europe in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, when the democracies, threatened by rising prices and the two oil crises, effectively overcame their narrowly defined national interests in order to foster the common good.
The strengthening of democracy, the on-going gradual opening of frontiers to movement of goods, people, and ideas strengthen democracy, the third vital interest considered in this paper is concerned. The CSCE and the Council of Europe have contributed to achieve this, and their further strengthening will be useful to accomplish more. But their action, particularly in the case of the CSCE, will need the backing of adequate military force by other institutions if necessary. The EU, on its part, should accept short-term economic costs (in the form of granting greater market access) for long-term political (stability) and economic (efficiency) gains.
Unlike during the Cold War, when the West had to close its eyes to human rights violations because of overriding security concerns, ignoring violations of those human rights today can be a determinant to political instability. During Cold War, stability was a synonym for preservation of the status quo; today, on the contrary, stability can only be maintained through a careful management of change, and there is a change toward increased democracy; change must be actively assisted.