Security Studies Program Seminar
Re-calibrating European Security
Director, Program on Transatlantic Relations,
Weatherhead Center for International Affairs
Adjunct Professor of Public Policy, JFK School of Government
October 1, 2008
- This talk addresses the question of European security; perhaps we are at a moment when it is time to rethink some of the basic assumptions underpinning European security.
Implications of the End of the Cold War
- During Cold War, goals of NATO were to 1) deter Soviet aggression; 2) defeat communism internally, strengthen democracy; and then later 3) détente.
- End of the Cold War changed lots of things:
- First, NATO, besides deterrence, had been quite successful at integrating countries. Built a security community. War as a means of politics was excluded. It changed the nature of interstate relations.
- Second, the Europeanization of foreign and security policy sets in at this moment. Notion of a European pillar entered NATO strategy. Misgivings about duplication. This argument has at last died down. Europe qua Europe is present only in security policy in the Balkans and on some missions in Africa, not the hot spots like Afghanistan and Lebanon.
- Third, within NATO and within Europe, there is no longer a threat of aggression, although since August, this notion has come back. Look at the 1990s, security was redefined. Relatively clear criteria of security policy of the Cold War, were replaced by very controversial, disputed criteria. Defining the threat has become a political task.
- Fourth, looking at the reshaping of the European system since the end of the Cold War, what can we say? When the Cold War ended there were ideas of radical change (i.e. give up NATO, the OSCE as a roof on top of the others). These ideas didn’t get anywhere. What do we have 17 years later? An extension of Western institutions through enlargement and other systems of association that were built during the post-Cold War period. There has been an insufficient effort to accompany the extension of the Western institutions to tie Russia to an emerging state system there. The real opening of the West to Russia didn’t occur. Russia wants respect, and there is a consensus among the elites that the West deliberately humiliated the Russians and they were not taken seriously.
- Different experiences of the new members compared with the old; this has created a two-tier arrangement. The perception of the Russian danger is very strong in the second tier. One side is overcoming a history of bloody wars, the other is overcoming communism.
- Looking at the present situation, the major areas of security for the Europeans and Americans are:
- Balkans: Declining role there. Role of EU/NATO is significant; the EU can hold out promise of membership. The Kosovo case has much deeper consequences.
- Afghanistan: Muddling through with split up competencies; different kinds of authorities. There is a debate about this new kind of security policy that involves risks. Increasing debate over whether they are able and willing to accept the loss of soldiers. It is creating enormous tensions. The German decision, over the long run, is untenable. Need to prevent a worsening of the situation.
- Lebanon: Interesting case. The involvement of Europeans in the peacekeeping arrangement is something new. Major European involvement in an issue involving Israel without the United States involved. Interesting consequence: if Hezbollah breaks the peace, it would immediately involve the Europeans.
Borders and Enlargement
- Georgia and Ukraine: Bush publicly committed the U.S. and then failed, although the Bucharest communiqué does mention the two countries.
- Precondition for membership are:
- To have a situation that the members have settled their conflicts. We know this isn’t the case with Georgia.
- To be functioning democracies. This is another question mark.
- Must consider Russia in the decision to enlarge. Conflict has pulled us into a situation where we have to react to this disproportionate use of power, but Sakashvilli started the process. Some people think that this episode strengthens the case for membership, others think it does not. The Georgian crisis has changed our thinking without producing a solution. The alliance will be deeply split. The Europeans are deeply skeptical about membership.
- Has reappeared as a major player. The period of weakness is gone. It is more outspoken about its opposition to NATO and NATO enlargement. The question arises: do the elites that now run the country believe in a new era of confrontation? Rhetoric more belligerent, particularly on missile defense. War in Georgia preceded by Russian cyber attack.
- Don’t fool ourselves; go beyond the rhetoric. Russia has a very weak economy. They’re not reintegrating in the world the way they need to. Isolationism will undercut the process of modernization, the process the desperately need.
- Russia needs the income from energy, which requires a relationship with its main customers. Also, the dependence on Russian gas and oil is going to increase. In this regard, Russia and Europe are mutually dependent.
- It is a demographic disaster; it is shrinking at an alarming rate.
- Any attempt at world order requires a cooperative relationship with Russia.
Rapporteur: Stephanie Kaplan
back to Wednesday Seminar Series, Fall 2008