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Collective security in Europe after the Cold War.

We shall see how the counsels of prudence and restraint may become the prime agents of mortal danger; how the middle course adopted from desires for safety and a quiet life may be found to lead direct to the bull's eye of disaster. We shall see how absolute is the need of a broad path of international action pursued by many states in common across the years, irrespective of the ebb and flow of national politics. Winston Churchill, 1947(2)

Collective security suffers a tarnished reputation. The monumental failure of die principle of collective security as reflected by the League of Nations is the main image left to us from the 1930s. The endless bickering and futile posturing of the United Nations during the Cold War period further discredited the idea of collective security.

What did seem to work in the past was collective defense - alliances like the North Atlantic Treaty Organization pledging to defend each member-state from external aggression. Behind these shields of collective defense was the sword of nuclear deterrence, constantly on the alert, constantly honed and strengthened by the addition of new and improved weapons systems. But suddenly, with the disappearance of the so-called Evil Empire that the American-led alliances were designed to contain, a long-buried question is being posed once again: Can the international community join in sufficient numbers, strength and will to deter, and if necessary, to roll back aggression and settle internal conflicts, and leave in their place international peace and security?

Nowhere is the need for order more apparent than in Eurasia. The former Yugoslavia is ablaze; Moldova and the Caucasus have seen armed conflict and more may be in store; Central Asia has already demonstrated serious instabilities; and the Baltic states are suffering from economic dislocations and disputes with Moscow over Russian troop withdrawals and the rights of ethnic Russians. Russia's government, conversely, is under heavy pressure from conservative and nationalistic elements. The Central and East European countries have not yet succeeded in completing their economic transition, and the current influx of refugees and asylum-seekers is threatening to destabilize governments in most of Western Europe, including the recently unified Germany. Contributing to, and potentially exacerbating, the instability is U.S. uncertainty about its commitment to European security, and the increasingly apparent bankruptcy of European and multilateral institutions in coping with the war in the Balkans.

Recent events in international affairs have highlighted a need for an intellectual and political framework to help the international community understand its stake in the crises and conflicts that are erupting from Central Europe to Central Asia. The war in the former Yugoslavia has shown that neither the collective defense system of NATO nor the economic integration of the European Community has been truly relevant to this crisis. In this new era of the international system, voices are being raised against the notion of collective security, reiterating once again its flawed theories and policy deficiencies.(3) The discredited idea of collective security, however, deserves new consideration under the unforeseen circumstances of the post-cold War world.

In this essay, a contemporary and realizable definition of collective security will be offered, beginning with the assertion that collective security is a strategy and a process that is not now, and possibly may never be, a condition. Cost-benefit analyses require that collective security operations be considered on a case-by-case basis, pursued in some situations but not in others. Collective security is suggested here as one conflict-solving strategy available to governments that is, in principle, more responsive to post-Cold War security problems than other strategies, such as balance-of-power.

A new challenge for peace and security is the question of intrastate conflict, where it appears that the international community is moving toward the establishment of norms that justify intervention in a state's internal affairs. It will be suggested here that while an automatic response to every violation of international norms is unrealistic and inappropriate, the threshold of reaction to the carnage in the former Yugoslavia is too high to support the positive evolution of international norms. Therefore, criteria that would endow collective security with more doctrinal content and a basis for judging whether military intervention is justified in particular cases will be examined.

Finally, it will be suggested that in Eurasia a system of spheres of interest dominated by regional hegemons is the most likely alternative to a functioning collective security regime. The implications of this choice should be well understood by the public, for it implies a return to great power competition and conflict.

Yugoslavia: a Fatal Blow to Collective Security?

A contemporary look at collective security must begin with the acknowledgement that the very concept has been catastrophically damaged by its first major post-cold War test in Europe. The war in the former Yugoslavia was from the very beginning a classic case for collective action. Indeed, there was collective action by the European Community, and later by the United Nations. Yet at every step of the way from the pre-conflict phase of the crisis to the desperate Bosnian winter of 1992-93, collective action was too little, too late.

The crisis in the Balkans was a long time in coming. Experts on the country had predicted that the Yugoslav federation would disintegrate when Tito died. At the price of devolution of authority and rising nationalism, the federation survived well beyond his death in 1980. Nationalism was fueled after the East European revolutions of 1989 by leaders who were anxious to hold onto power, and whose championing of nationalistic ideologies in place of communist ideologies promoted the disintegration of the federation. By early 1991, Croatia and Slovenia were seeking to loosen the bonds of the 1974 constitution and to rearrange Yugoslavia into a loose confederation, or into a Balkan version of the E.C. To this idea, Slobodan Milosevic, the president of Serbia, asserted that changes in the constitutional relationships of the type envisaged by Croatia and Slovenia would require changes in the frontiers that Tito had imposed on the republics after the Second World War. Milosevic also played to the nationalist gallery by abolishing the autonomous status of Vojvodina and Kosovo within Serbia in 1989.(4)

Preventive diplomacy or crisis prevention should have gone into high gear in 1991. It did not. Statements of concern were uttered, but no serious effort was made at conciliation or mediation. In the absence of collective efforts by international organizations, what followed was nearly inevitable. Croatia and Slovenia declared their independence from the Yugoslav federation in June 1991. The Yugoslav People's Army, officered largely by Serbs and dedicated to upholding Tito's dream of a united Yugoslavia, was mobilized. Slovenia departed the federation relatively unscathed, but in Croatia, where the Yugoslav army and local Serbian militia sought to establish zones dominated by Serbs and clear routes providing access to those zones, the fighting dragged on for six months with great loss of life and much damage to historic and cultural treasures. During this time, the E.C. had nearly all the responsibility for mediating an end to the fighting.

The E.C. was divided in its councils over how to dissipate the crisis. During the early phases of the Yugoslav conflict, France sought to activate the Western European Union for a collective security intervention in the Balkans. Contingency planning was undertaken to dispatch 30,000 troops to the former Yugoslavia, but the entire plan was quashed when Great Britain objected, citing its experience in Northern Ireland. The result was a public renunciation of the threat or use of force in any way to deal with the situation in Croatia. The attempt, furthermore, to create a cohesive European front in security matters led to an emphasis on an untried, untested Western European Union (WEU) and a neglect of the United Nations and its peacekeeping experiences.

This was not corrected until late 1991, when former U.S. secretary of state Cyrus Vance accepted the task of representing the U.N. secretary-general in Yugoslavia. There were many reasons for his almost immediate success, as Mr. Vance said publicly, and no reasons for denigrating the personal talents of the Europeans who sought to bring about a cease-fire. In any event, the first phase of the Yugoslav war ended with a cease-fire - actually the fifteenth cease-fire - between Serbia and Croatia on 3 January 1992, and the subsequent stationing of peacekeeping units in Croatia.(5) This was a victory - although a limited one - for collective security.

The next phase of the war was also widely foreseen. It began in April 1992 after Bosnia and Hercegovina declared independence in a referendum that was boycotted by the Serbian population. No preventive measures had been taken, with the dubious exception of international recognition of Bosnia and Hercegovina as a sovereign and independent state. The war in Bosnia rapidly became even bloodier than the war in Croatia. Purported ethnic cleansing and the linking together of the various territories to be occupied by Serbs became the object of policy of Bosnian Serbs, intent on creating their own state within Bosnia.

After briefly contemplating armed intervention in the late summer of 1992, the Western powers again publicly disclaimed any idea of peace-enforcement.(6) Instead, acting under several Security Council resolutions, peacekeeping forces were dispatched to Bosnia to help with the humanitarian effort of supplying besieged cities with food and medicine in May and June 1992 As the winter of 1992-1993 descended upon Bosnia, the government of Bosnia held only the areas around a few population centers. Bosnian Serbs, with the help of equipment provided by the Yugoslav People's Army, held 70 percent of Bosnia and Hercegovina, and the Croats held the rest.

Under the chairmanship of Cyrus Vance for the United Nations and Lord Owen for the European Community, a full-time International Conference on the former Yugoslavia was convened in Geneva. This collective security effort brokered a number of cease-fires - although few held for long - and proposed a new constitutional order for Bosnia, which became the subject of negotiations among all the parties in January 1993. In the meantime, the United Nations established an inquiry into war crimes in the former Yugoslavia, tightened the embargo on Serbia and Montenegro by authorizing a naval blockade and demanded a no-fly zone over Bosnia, an order repeatedly violated by Bosnian-Serb aircraft.

As of February 1993, the fate of Bosnia hangs in the balance. Whether the Bosnian Muslims can continue their organized resistance for much longer is in grave doubt. Collapse of the defenses of Sarajevo and the few areas left to the Muslims would no doubt bring with it wholesale slaughter of civilians and continued guerrilla warfare for an undetermined period.

The next phase of the war is also widely predicted. It is based on an expectation that Milosevic will take actions in Kosovo - 90 percent Albanian - that will amount to further ethnic cleansing, because Serbs view that area as the heartland of Serbian culture and history. This, in turn, could involve Macedonia - at least 20 percent Albanian - Albania itself, Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey. A full-scale European war could thus emerge from the failure to arrest the conflict that started from small beginnings.

Redefining Collective Security

Before deciding that the concept of collective security is obsolete, it is necessary to consider this elusive idea, and the manner in which it might fit usefully into current circumstances. Hans Morgenthau, the classical theorist of realism in American political science, wrote that "the organizing principle of collective security is the respect for the moral and legal obligation to consider an attack by any nation upon any member of the alliance as an attack upon all members of the alliance." Morgenthau explained that the alliance to which he referred was a "universal alliance against potential aggression."(8) This, of course, distinguishes collective security from a collective defense system like NATO whose membership is limited, and where the presumptive aggressor during the Cold War was also clearly understood to be a particular nation-state.

The conditions necessary for the effective implementation of collective security, Morgenthau believed, were very unlikely to ever exist in practice. The idea of collective security is based on a willingness to use military force if necessary, in quarrels in which most of the so-called universal alliance have no easily - or assuredly - perceived direct stake. Furthermore, at least in Morgenthau's view, collective security is identified with defense of the status quo, and this view has been additionally supported by more contemporary authors.(9) In an era where the status quo has yet to be established or formally defined, E.H. Carr's comment seems to be quite apropos,"...that few people do desire a |world state' or 'collective security,' and that those who say they desire it have different and incompatible definitions of it."(10)

Collective security, however, is not necessarily a universal alliance committed to the automatic use of force anywhere in the world against any aggressor no matter what the circumstances. Carr was correct in his perception of the concept of collective security entailing many different shades of meaning. In this analysis, collective security will be defined in relation to ethnic, nationalistic, communal and internal power struggles in such places as the former Yugoslavia and the Caucasus. This analysis will commence with the suggestion of what collective security does not have to be.

Collective security is not required to neglect or ignore the distribution of military power in an international system. Calculations of balance of power are less relevant to most of the conflicts already on the scene in the post-Cold War world, than are hard estimates of how these conflicts affect the development of the international order that will replace the bipolar order of the Cold War. Nonetheless, relations among the largest states will continue to be affected by military strength considerations, although probably not to the extent that they were during the Cold War. Collective security can co-exist with national policies aimed at maintaining a power equilibrium so long as the latter policies do not drive the elements of trust and cooperation completely out of the international system. In fact, collective security should work best in a system of democratic states, which most of Eurasia is becoming, since power balances among such states are less important than their shared system of governance, and these states are the most likely contributors to collective security missions.

Collective security need not be global or universal in scope. The Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), for example, has over 50 members, more than the League of Nations and about the same as the United Nations in its early years. There is no reason why the CSCE could not be used for collective security purposes if its members so chose. Its status as a regional agency under Chapter VIII of the U.N. Charter gives it a claim to universalism and, if any question arose, the Security Council could call on the CSCE to take necessary actions in the name of the global community of nations. The geographic coverage of the CSCE - from Vancouver to Vladivostok - affords ample scope for collective security.

Collective security need not be dedicated to defending the status quo. It would be a serious drawback to any revival of the idea if the status quo were to be the main focus of modern collective security. The 1975 Helsinki Final Act of the CSCE included the principle of inviolability of frontiers, a major preoccupation of Europeans only too aware of the disasters that experimenting with frontiers could produce. But the Final Act also states that frontiers can be changed peacefully and by agreement. In fact, the Final Act contributed to ending the division of Europe, one of the greatest assaults on the status quo in modem European history. Carr has pointed out that "if a change is necessary and desirable, the use or threatened use of force to maintain the status quo may be morally more culpable than the use or threatened use to alter it.(11)

The validity of this point for collective security has been shown in recent Security Council decisions. A case in point was the Security Council's tolerance of the use of force in northern Iraq, since Iraq's treatment of its Kurdish population was seen as a threat to international peace and security, warranting the establishment of a protected zone in northern Iraq. The same principle was invoked in the Security Council's authorization of force in Somalia in December 1992. Force, undertaken as the result of U.N. decisions, was used to change the status quo in both cases.

Collective security need not be limited to relations between states. It may also address internal affairs within a state. The CSCE has had a major hand in establishing norms regarding acceptable conduct among its members. These norms have not been limited to external relations, since individual human rights have had a prominent place on the CSCE agenda from the beginning. More recently, the CSCE has declared that national minorities will enjoy the same rights and have the same duties of citizenship as the majority of the population.

A modern version of collective security must stress the organic connection between collective security and the development of international norms, as well as the enforcement of them. The Final Act of CSCE, as reinforced both by subsequent accords and by the experience of the periodic Review Meetings as well as by state behavior, amounts to an international regime, in the language of political theory. Such regimes, in theory, address the problem of defections from a collective security system and the problem of decentralized norm enforcement in a world of self-interested states. Rousseau's classic story of the stag hunt is designed to show that states, like persons, can quite rationally abandon collective duty for the sake of individual gain. Writers today still evoke this allegory to prove that collective security cannot work.(12) No one can predict in a single running of the metaphorical stag hunt whether one's partners will defect or cooperate, but there are reasons to believe that over time, strategies of cooperation can be learned and applied.(13)

An international regime can be defined as "...the principles, norms, rules and decision-making procedures around which actor expectations converge in a given issue area."(14) An effective regime should assist the members of a collective security system in their individual decisions to enforce the norms of the regime. Law, or norm, enforcement will not occur in this decade, if ever, as the result of the centralization of authority in some supranational organization. Rather, it will occur because most members believe that the regime under which they are acting benefits them and that the costs of abandoning it could be serious. As Robert Keohane puts it, "Institutions that facilitate cooperation do not mandate what governments must do; rather they help governments pursue their own interests through cooperation."(15)

It is debatable, of course, to what extent or for what period an international regime can influence state behavior. If collective security can be made to work in the years ahead, however, it will be because such a regime has taken hold and the enforcement of its norms has become the national interest of each of its participants. The outlook for such a development cannot be said to be bright, but collective security seen as a function of a set of well-developed reciprocal expectations among a limited group of nations is a more realistic subject for analysis than a so-called universal alliance.

Collective Security and Intrastate Conflict

Norms governing interstate relations are quite distinct in comparison with those affecting the common type of conflict in the post-Cold War world. The principles of sovereignty and of non-interference in internal affairs, for example, are well-established. They form part of the Final Act of the CSCE and can be used to oppose interventions in what could be described as internal affairs. The genius of the Final Act, however, was that it dealt not only with state-to-state relations but also with the rights of individuals within states, thus providing a basis for the international community to address internal matters. This right of intervention was exercised frequently after the signature of the Final Act in 1975, and was the main topic of the periodic review meetings of the CSCE. The Soviet government tried to reject Western criticisms of its human rights practices on grounds that the principle of non-interference was being violated. The argument was so ineffectual, however, that the Soviets soon joined the fray, and began criticizing the U.S. human rights record, thus affirming the principle that human rights were not solely a matter of internal concern but were a subject for norm-enforcement within an international regime.

As noted earlier, the war against Iraq and Iraqi persecution of the Kurds, and the anarchic situation in Somalia, provided a justification for Security Council decisions that also affirmed the right of the international community to intervene in internal affairs for support of international peace and security. Thus, through actions by the CSCE and by the United Nations, human rights, minority rights and the survival of populations have been declared matters of international concern, the principle of non-interference in internal affairs notwithstanding.

An additional step was taken by the Security Council in the case of the former Yugoslavia to reinforce the notion of personal accountability for violations of international norms. Acting at the request of the United States and others, the Security Council adopted a resolution that established an investigation into alleged atrocities in Bosnia. In this case, the international community is indicating not only that internal matters are the proper concern of international institutions, but also that violators of basic human rights will be held personally accountable.

It may be a long time before these questions are sorted out, but it appears that the international community has clearly staked out a position that supports intervention, even armed intervention, in the internal affairs of states. Collective security in the post-cold War period, therefore, embraces a collective response to intrastate violations of international norms in the name of international peace and security, as well as the long-understood responsibility for enforcing international norms in relations between states. This is a major new development, which marks a conceptual departure from most collective security thinking of earlier periods.

Criteria for Collective Military Intervention

Collective action to enforce international norms will never be automatic, but instead will be highly dependent upon specific circumstances. Nonetheless, it is possible to designate criteria to be used as a guide to when military intervention should be considered. Obviously, state-on-state acts of war or threats of war fit the category of events that are likely to be threats to international peace and security. The collective security principle should be aimed at a problem that Morgenthau saw as the main concern of diplomacy from the beginning of the modern state system to the First World War: " localize an actual or threatening conflict between two nations, in order to prevent it from spreading to other nations."(16)

If a conflict amounted, however, to border skirmishes and the combat exhibited no signs of escalation, the threshold of violence that many states use as an indicator might never be crossed. Governments often conclude in such circumstances that the internationalization of a dispute might only worsen an already disagreeable situation. Intervention in the form of mediation or conciliation might even be ruled out on those grounds, and the question of military intervention would hardly arise.

Intervention becomes a more complex issue if the dispute is an internal matter - a civil war or a struggle brought on by the collapse of the system within which a political entity previously existed. This is precisely the situation that prevails in many of the conflicts across Eurasia. For this reason, the principle of collective security has been very difficult to invoke as a guide to action in response to the disputes and violence that have erupted in the aftermath of the Cold War.

Criteria to judge the issue of collective intervention in Europe should recognize that Western states, including the United States, have strategic interests in Eurasia that are different from those they may have in the rest of the world. Cambodia and Somalia are two of the most tragic examples of suffering known to human history. Intervention by the United Nations in both cases is fully justified. Conflicts in Eurasia, however, presumably pose a higher order of risk for the Western states. A central pillar of U.S. foreign policy should be to promote a Euro-Atlantic Community extending as far to the east in Eurasia as democratic developments make possible.(17) Disputes and armed conflict in this region would undermine the achievement of a supremely important strategic objective. This basis for judging the seriousness of a crisis and for deciding whether to intervene is fundamental to this analysis, but obviously is a matter for debate.

Whether to engage in collective security military operations in European conflicts should be judged by no less than four criteria:

1. Whether, in the absence of intervention, there is serious potential for wider conflict;

2. Whether there is likely to be a significantly adverse impact on international norms, particularly those related to the use of force to change established frontiers;

3. Whether moral considerations such as war crimes, crimes against humanity or the survival of large populations come into play; and

4. Whether the survival of a democratic government is at stake.

If all four of these criteria can be answered affirmatively, the case for collective security military operations is a powerful one. Difficult decisions would still be required in each instance:

Is There a Serious Potential for Wider Conflict?

It is not easy to judge whether a conflict will remain localized. If there is a reasonably high probability that it cannot be confined, however, and that the conflagration will spread, intervention should take place sooner rather than later. Stopping or limiting a small war is easier than trying to affect the course of a major war.

Will There be a Significant Impact on International Norms?

In determining the effect of a conflict on international norms, it is tempting to cite any attempt to change frontiers by force as undermining the norms of international order. Still one must ask if a given violation represents a precedent or a unique situation. If it is more the latter than the former, and the circumstances of the conflict are not likely ever to be repeated, the impact on international norms will be quite small.

What are the Moral Considerations?

One of the more well-defined issues should be whether war crimes or crimes against humanity are being committed. Even in this case, however, the situation may be confused as to whom or which side is actually responsible.

Are Democratic Governments in Danger?

The survival of democratic regimes is seemingly a clear issue, but in fact, challengers to the status quo almost always promise democracy. Conflicts may also involve governments or factions that have come to power through democratic means and who subsequently oppress minorities. And in some situations, neither party may be genuinely democratic.

Thus the application of these criteria requires a considerable exercise of judgment. There should be nothing automatic about decisions regarding military intervention, even with the help of criteria similar to the above. The primary utility of such parameters is to ensure that the implications of a serious conflict are understood in terms of fundamental interests of the international community. The above-stated criteria should fill the void between automatic responses and inaction in helping to frame issues of collective security. These criteria should also help provide consistency, rather than ad hoc answers to questions regarding collective intervention - thus assisting in the reinforcement of an international regime.

The Role of International Organizations

in Collective Security

The procedures that the international community uses to make decisions about collective security are critical to the problems of understanding the nature of a crisis situation, defining political objectives and measuring the military, economic and other means necessary to achieve these objectives. Ambiguity is usually the hallmark of situations resulting from intrastate conflicts. Furthermore, collective decision making frequently produces lowest-common denominator results, thus leading to an outcome in which military means are inadequate and political objectives are murky. Too often collective decision making means no decision making.

There is no way around collective decision making, however, for the prevention of crises must entail extensive international consultation in advance of hostilities. Collective security military operations require constant exchanges of views among the governments attempting to deal with the conflict. The effectiveness of collective decision making depends upon both national government, and the international organizations established to support their collective actions. In the following discussion, the roles of several international organizations in collective security operations in Eurasia will be assessed.

The United Nations

Yugoslavia is the first crisis on the European mainland that the United Nations has been asked to manage. Observers still monitor events in Cyprus many years after the fighting there ended, but generally, Europe during the Cold War was not a region where the United Nations played much of a role. In fact, Europeans were rather smug about their lack of a need for the United Nations to handle crises there, feeling that their own regional institutions could cope quite well. The extent to which the United Nations will play a role in the future has yet to be determined, although the Yugoslav precedent suggests that the United Nations will be more important and necessary on the European scene than seemed likely when the Cold War ended.

The United Nations is a valuable legitimizing agent. A resolution adopted by the Security Council can be used to justify military action by individual nations joined in a coalition or by an alliance. The former was the situation in the Persian Gulf War; the latter is the case with NATO in the Yugoslav conflict. The approval of the United Nations carries a cachet that no other organization can bestow, and therefore collective security operations endorsed by the United Nations can be carried out under circumstances where other organizations would be barred.

Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter confers major responsibilities on the Security Council for peace-enforcement. There is nothing comparable at present in the charters of other relevant international organizations. For this reason, the United Nations is likely to become the premiere legitimizing authority for Eurasian collective security operations. Further reinforcing this trend was the decision by the Helsinki Summit of July 1992 to "declare their understanding that the CSCE is a regional arrangement in the sense of Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations."(18)

Unfortunately, the United Nations is stretched thin and is under fire from various quarters for alleged mismanagement of peacekeeping, inter alia.(19) Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali's report, An Agenda for Peace, contains many good recommendations for strengthening preventive diplomacy and peacekeeping operations. To begin with, the Secretary-General proposed that the Security Council begin negotiations under Article 43 of the Charter to have member-states assign armed forces, on a readily available basis, to the United Nations. The hard reality is that shortages of money and human resources, not to mention political differences, are major obstacles that will not be easily or expeditiously overcome. Boutros-Ghali also has asked for a $1 billion reserve fund for peacekeeping.(20) The U.S. Congress and other democratic legislatures, concerned with accountability, will need significant convincing to fund the United Nations at the exponential rate of increase that peacekeeping demands have imposed. Something akin to a revolution in thinking will be required in order to give that organization the level of resources and expertise it needs to be effective.

Failure to do this will place increased burdens on other organizations that are not as well-placed as is the United Nations to carry out collective security operations. It would mean forfeiting the capability to offer plausible means of preventive diplomacy, peacekeeping, protective security or peace-enforcing in many places across the Eurasian land mass. These problems will become apparent in the discussion that follows.

Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe

The CSCE is an accident of history that fulfilled a Cold War function, but has yet to show that it can adapt to post-cold War conditions. The CSCE derived from Soviet president Leonid Brezhnev's proposal for a European security conference to place the stamp of approval on the division of Germany and of Europe. The West succeeded in converting this scheme into a forum for encouraging human rights and human rights movements in the Soviet Union and East Central Europe. This contributed to the success of the revolutions of East Central Europe in 1989 and thus helped to end the division of Europe. Even the West had not originally placed so much emphasis on the CSCE as a process. The transformation of the Helsinki Final Act into a vigorous and continuing process was the unexpected miracle of the whole transaction.

At the June 1991 meeting of the Council of Ministers, and especially at the Helsinki summit meeting of July 1992, the participants strengthened the collective security function of the CSCE. Consensus is no longer required for calling emergency meetings. Several mechanisms have been established to encourage early consultations on emerging crises. Investigation and rapporteur missions have been created and used in the former Yugoslavia, Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Georgia.(21)

The Helsinki Document of 1992 states that the CSCE could request that the E.C., NATO, WEU and the peacekeeping mechanisms of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) support peacekeeping in the CSCE region. The document stipulates that contributions by such organizations will not affect the procedures for the establishment, conduct and command of CSCE peacekeeping operations."(22) These provisions, of course, are much more restrictive than the latitude that could be made available to military operations under the U.N. Charter. Furthermore, if the CSCE sought the assistance of NATO in a case like the former Yugoslavia, the NATO countries would be bound by the same restrictions. The naval blockade of the former Yugoslavia authorized by the Security Council in November 1992 would have been impossible to administer under CSCE auspices.(23) The enforcement of a no-fly zone over Bosnia, another action contemplated by discussions, would also be infeasible.

This is not to say that the kinds of crisis prevention and peacekeeping operations that could be carried out under a CSCE mandate are of no value. Most of the peacekeeping operations that the United Nations has conducted in the past several decades could fit the model presented in the Helsinki Document. What these provisions reveal, however, is that CSCE peacekeeping is intended, as the document itself states, "to complement the political process of dispute resolution."(24) It is a very different concept from the ideas of crisis management and enforced settlements.(25) This restricted view of the CSCE means that it will be unavailable for use in many conflicts throughout its area of application, and that nations contemplating protective security or peace-enforcement operations will have to turn to the United Nations for a mandate.

NATO and the North Atlantic Cooperation Council

NATO embarked on its collective security vocation in accordance with a mandate from the Security Council(26) The mandate authorized nations to enforce a naval blockade of Serbia and Montenegro to ensure that the sanctions on strategic goods earlier imposed by the United Nations were fully effective.(27) The blockade began late in the afternoon of 22 November 1992. By the end of the first day, 23 November, Western warships had stopped and inspected three merchant ships.

This was a significant threshold in NATO's history. Forces assigned to NATO had been used in coalitions led by the United States, the Gulf War being the main case in point. This was the first time, however, that NATO as a collective-defense alliance, had decided to use its forces in an authorized military operation in Europe. It may not be the last, as NATO spokespersons have been calling for greater NATO involvement in collective security operations.

The North Atlantic Cooperation Council (NACC) was established in 1991 to provide a link between the NATO countries and the members of the former Warsaw Treaty Organization. The NACC had a special role in helping to manage the allocation of conventional force reductions among the states of the former Soviet Union. It has become a forum for the exchange of information among the NATO and former Warsaw Pact countries on many types of security issues, including peacekeeping. It does not now include the neutral and/or non-aligned nations of Europe, but France excepted, there would be little objection in doing so, in which case the membership would be essentially the same as the CSCE.

The question of whether the NACC can do a better or significantly different job in the area of collective security than the CSCE naturally arises. If the CSCE continues to be barred from many types of collective security operations, the NACC may by default assume that responsibility. As a bridge between the nations of East Central Europe and NATO, NACC might be better positioned than the CSCE to be the main consultation forum for collective security operations. NACC could also accept some of the observation and investigation missions currently assigned to the CSCE. In this case, the CSCE could be entrusted with establishing and monitoring norms for human rights and treatment of minorities, and long-term conflict resolution assistance, while NATO and NACC, armed with mandates, would perform the time-urgent fire brigade role.

Western European Union

The WEU was formed in 1954 as a device to facilitate rearming West Germany and bringing it into NATO, and placed limitations on German rearmament. Once formed, the WEU transferred all of its responsibilities for defense planning to NATO and remained essentially moribund for 30 years. In recent years, members of the E.C. have sought to reshape the WEU as an instrument for the Community's collective defense arrangement.

The WEU has entered the peacekeeping and peace-enforcement field by dispatching a fleet to the Adriatic to participate in the U.N.-mandated blockade against the former Yugoslavia. The decision was made unanimously by the defense ministers of the WEU, who met in Rome on 20 November 1992.(28)

One of the main questions confronting the E.C. is whether the process of unifying its members will continue with the intensity and rapidity envisaged in the Maastricht Treaty. The Danish rejection of Maastricht, the British withdrawal from the Exchange Rate Mechanism and the narrow approval of Maastricht in the French referendum suggest that the momentum toward deepening economic, political and military cooperation has dissipated somewhat, perhaps considerably. This may mean in turn that the WEU will not develop as rapidly as some of its supporters would hope. In this case, the main contribution of the E.C. to collective security would be to increase its efforts to stabilize the economies of East Central Europe and the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union.

Commonwealth of Independent States

Several of the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union agreed to a collective security arrangement on 15 May 1992 in a conference held in Tashkent. The signatory countries included Russia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Since then, this role of the CIS was recognized by the Helsinki Document of 1992, and also by President Bush in his speech to the United Nations on 21 September 1992. Progress has been very slow in converting intentions into reality.

Marshall Evgenii Shaposhnikov, commander-in-chief of the CIS joint Armed Forces, was quoted in Izvestiya on 17 November 1992 as citing problems internal to the CIS as the main military threat to that federation. He included conflicts, territorial disputes between newly sovereign states, the uncertain status of Russian forces outside Russia and unconstitutional troop formations in his list of concerns. CIS peacekeeping forces, he said, would include units specifically allocated by each member-state that would come under the CIS joint command in times of need.

In the meantime, however, former Soviet military contingents still based in the newly independent states have engaged in so-called peacekeeping activities, sometimes with a mandate, at times without. These experiences suggest that peace-enforcement operations may be performed by Russian troops in the smaller, newly independent republics without much reference to international organizations. The appeals of various politicians and leaders in the new states for intervention have produced no results. The CSCE has dispatched observer missions, but no other actions have been taken by the CSCE, aside from protesting the continued stationing of Russian forces in the Baltic states. As of the end of 1992, CIS peacekeeping forces appear not to exist except in the form of Russian units.

The Consequences of a Failure to Practice

Collective Security

The Yugoslav crisis through the end of 1992 demonstrated that the governments one would expect to lead a collective approach were not willing to pay the price that a commitment to collective security demanded: Major nation-states concluded that the benefits of enforcing international norms were not equal to the costs of doing so. The military efforts required were thought to be in the range of 100,000 or more troops. Cooperation in the interest of dealing with the problems of the former Yugoslavia also failed to emerge because of fears of unequal sacrifices among the potential cooperating nations. All of this, combined with the expectation that the war could be confined to the territory of the former Yugoslavia, resulted in a cost-benefit analysis that through the end of 1992 consistently produced decisions that failed to match the escalating needs for a collective response. The value assigned by governments to collective security was not weighty enough to overcome claims of national self-interest.

Collective security requires that governments perceive that a flouting of broadly accepted international norms, particularly those related to the use of force, is a direct threat to their national interests even though their own interests may not be immediately affected. Collective security does not require that states automatically respond with the correct mix of diplomacy and force to each and every violation of the norms of the U.N. Charter and the Helsinki Final Act of the CSCE. Mistakes and errors of judgment cannot be excluded even if states are committed to acting in accordance with the notion of collective security. Cost-benefit analyses must be conducted by states committed to collective security. No government can be excused from the responsibility of assessing the costs to itself of embarking on a collective response to even the most flagrant violation of international norms.

The situation in the former Soviet Union may also provide insights into the consequences of a failure to take collective action seriously. Former U.S. secretary of state Henry Kissinger has flatly charged that "Russian leaders try - at least tacitly - to keep open the option of repeating the events of 1917-1922, when many of the current group of independent republics attempted to break away only to be forced in the end to return to Moscow's fold." He argued, furthermore, that "it is so-called ethnic conflicts that will be the most likely pretexts of recentralization."(29)

Triggering these harsh judgments was "A Charter for American-Russian Partnership and Friendship," issued by Presidents Bush and Yeltsin on 17 June 1992.(30) Kissinger's attack was focused especially on the clauses that advocated

the creation of a credible Euro-Atlantic peacekeeping capability, based on CSCE political authority, which allows for the use of the capacities of NACC, NATO, and WEU to prepare, support, and manage operations for [the] CSCE as well as allows for the contribution of forces and resources from any and all CSCE states.

The document also noted "the potential of other institutions and mechanisms, including the CIS, in support of security and peace in the area...."

The Charter reflected ideas about a Euro-Atlantic community that had been discussed by Bush administration spokespersons since U.S. secretary of state James Baker's Berlin speech of 12 December 1989. As a statement of aspirations for a Russian-U.S. future in which a working partnership is the objective of policy, there is nothing in it that warrants criticism. It is difficult to avoid the impression, however, that while this rhetoric was designed to be supportive of democratic Russia, it was not intended to be a blueprint for action.

The contemporary scene in the CIS may not be so ominous as Kissinger paints it. Recentralizing the former Soviet empire is probably not what the Russians intend, and in any case, they are probably incapable of such a reunion. George Kennan's view of Russian thinking is probably more accurate, as indicated by the following quote from 16 December 1944:

... as far as border states are concerned the Soviet government has never ceased to think in terms of spheres of interest....Our people ...have been allowed to hope that the Soviet government would be prepared to enter into an international security organization with truly universal power to prevent aggression. We are now faced with the prospect of having our people disabused of this illusion.(31)

The problem is much the same today. No amount of criticism of Russian behavior toward what they call the "near abroad" will correct anything. It is important not to mislead the public about the alternatives to collective security. If the Western countries, acting through the United Nations or the CSCE, are prepared to insist that collective security operations should be mounted where necessary in former Soviet republics and are prepared to invest the energy and resources to make this happen, there will exist a viable alternative to Russian intervention. Otherwise, none exists.

Unilateral intervention will be the inevitable result of a failure of the international community to create collective security mechanisms and enforce their utilization. If the United Nations and the CSCE are not responsive to the conflicts in the former Soviet Union, Russia probably will step in to quell the disorder. Very few major powers are comfortable with violent conflict on their frontiers, especially if their own internal stability is threatened by the violence. It is possible that eventually the same sort of situation could arise in East Central Europe. In the absence of a collective response, one or another of the major powers of Western or Central Europe is likely to intervene in the interest of stability in its immediate proximity. Spheres of interest will develop from the strategies and actions of what will soon become regional hegemons.

Perhaps regional policemen are a more realistic solution to the problem of creating international order than a broad collective security approach would be. If so, politicians should prepare their publics for such an outcome, for disillusionment over the failure of collective security and anger over the behavior of regional hegemons could create a combustible international atmosphere.

The dangers are also evident if one contemplates the European experience with spheres of interest. Typically, this has encouraged competition for power in precisely the manner that realist political theorists contend nation-states normally behave. The task of restoring order, if undertaken by a few great powers, can degenerate rapidly to a policy of aggrandizement and of apportioning European real estate to suit the interests of the major powers. The next step is war.

(1.) The views expressed in this essay are those of the author alone. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Institute of Peace. This is an amended version of a chapter to be published in Phil Williams and James Goodby, NATO Crisis Management (London: Brassey's, 1993). Forthcoming. (2.) Winston Churchill, The Gathering Storm (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1947) p. 18. (3.) See for example, Henry Kissinger, "Germany, Neutrality and the |Security System' Trap," Washington Posts, 15 April 1990. p. D7 and "What Kind of New World Order?" Washington Post, 3 December 1991. A thoughtful analysis is provided in Josef Joffe, "Collective Security and the Future of Europe," Survival (Spring 1992) pp. 36-50. (4.) John Zametica, The Yugoslav Conflict, Adelphi Paper, 270 (Summer 1992) p. 26. (5.) Claude Sudetic, "Yugoslav Factions Agree to U.N. Plan to Halt Civil War," New York Times, 3 January 1992; see also Trevor Rowe, "U.N. Delays Yugoslav Peace Force," Washington Post, 6 February 1992, p. A24. It took another month of hard negotiating to hammer out an agreement to place a U.N. force in Croatia. The U.N. Security Council approved a plan on 21 February to deploy 14,000 peacekeepers to See John Burns, "First U.N. Officers Arrive in Yugoslavia," New York Times, 9 March 1992, p. A7. (6.) Images from Serb detention camps led to renewed talk of intervention. See Craig R. Whitney, Balkan Scenes Stir Europe, But Action Remains Elusive," New York Times, August 1992, p. A1 and Michael R. Gordon, "NATO Seeks Options to Troop Plan in Bosnia," New York Times, 14 August 1992, P. A6. In spring and early summer 1992, the European powers also considered intervention. See Craig R. Whitney, Unity on Balkans Eludes Europeans," New York Times, 25 April 1902, p. 3 and Alan Riding, "Europe, Weary and Burned, Is Limiting Its Risk in Bosnia," New York Times, 17 May 1992, p.10. (7.) Frank J. Prial, "U.N. Council Acts on Bosnia Airport," New York Times, 9 June 1992, p. All and Paul Lewis, "U.N. Votes to Send Troops to Reopen Sarajevo Airport," New York Times, 30 June 1992, p. A10. (8.) Hans J. Morgenthau, Politics Among Nations (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1953) p. 142. (9.) ibid., p. 332; Joffe, p. 37. (10.) E.H. Carr, The Twenty Years Crisis, 1919-1939 (New York: Harper Row Publishers, 1964) p. 10. (11.) ibid, pp. 208-9. (12.) Joffe, p. 42. (13.) The literature on this point includes Robert Axelrod, The Evolution of Cooperation (New York: Basic Books, 1984) and Robert Keohane, After Hegemony: Cooperation and Discord in the World Political Economy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1984). (14.) Stephen D. Krasner, "Structural Causes and Regime Consequences: Regimes as Intervening Variables," in Krasner, ed., International Regimes (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1983) p. 1. (15.) Keohane, p. 246. (16.) Morgenthau, p. 335. Morgenthau, however, thought that collective security would probably make any war anywhere in the world potentially a world war. (17.) For an elaboration of my argument on this point, see "Commonwealth and Concert: Organizing Principles of Post-Containment Order in Europe," The Washington Quarterly (Summer 1991) pp. 71-90. (18.) CSCE Helsinki Document 1992, IV, paragraph 2. (19.) An example is the following quote, "Peace-keeping operations, some of which drag on for decades, have become a source of soaring costs with minimal oversight." See William Branigan, "As U.N. Expands, So Do Its Problems," Washington Post, 20 September 1992, p. A1. (20.) Boutros Boutros-Ghali, An Agenda for Peace(New York: United Nations, 1992) p. 44. (21.) See "CSCE Missions," a summary prepared by the staff of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe of the U.S. Congress, September 1992. (22.) This description is drawn from the CSCE Helsinki Document 1992, III, paragraphs 22, 23, 52 and 54. (23.) On the blockade, see Frank J. Prial, "U.N. Strengthens Curbs on Belgrade by Authorizing a Naval Blockade," New York Times, 17 November 1992, p. A1. (24.) CSCE Helsinki Document 1992, III, paragraph 17. (25.) Professor James H. Laue of George Mason University's Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution has suggested that "true and full resolution of conflict occurs only through negotiation or some other form of joint problem-solving involving the parties to the conflict - not in any lasting or ultimate form, through military action, control, coercion, |blue ribbon' panels, or expert advice." Quoted in the U.S. Institute of Peace Journal, V, no. 5 (October 1992) p. 4. (26.) See Eric Schmitt, "A Naval Blockade of Belgrade Seen Within a Few Days," New York Times, 18 November 1992, p. A1 and William Drozdiak, "NATO Agrees to Impose Blockade of Serbia," Washington Post, 19 November 1992, p. A31. (27.) On the earlier sanction, see Paul Lewis, "U.N. Votes Trade Sanctions Against Yugoslavia, 13 to 0; Air Travel and Oil Curbed," New York Times, 31 May 1992, p. A1. (28.) Alan Cowell, "NATO and European Warships Blockade Yugoslavia," New York Times, 21 November 1992, p. A3. (29.) Henry Kissinger, "Charter of Confusion," Washington Post, 5 July 1992, p. C7. (30.) U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, "Arms Control-Related Material from the Summit Meeting Between U.S. President Bush and Russian Federation President Yeltsin," Washington, DC, 16-17 June 1992. (31.) George F. Kennan, Memoirs 1925-1950 (Boston: little, Brown and Company, 1967) p. 222.
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Title Annotation:Keeping the Peace: Conflict Resolution in the Twenty-First Century
Author:Goodby, James E.
Publication:Journal of International Affairs
Date:Jan 1, 1993
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