NATO and European Security

Дата публикации: 29 апреля 2014
Автор(ы): Evgeny Kozhokin is the Director of the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies, Moscow
Публикатор: Научная библиотека Порталус
Источник: (c) "БЕЛАРУСЬ В МИРЕ" No.02 07-01-97
Номер публикации: №1398768892

Evgeny Kozhokin is the Director of the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies, Moscow, (c)

At present, a system of security with different levels is being formed in Europe. The level of security of European countries depends on their membership in a particular organisation which provides for security guarantees for its member states. Among the most influential and effective organisations is NATO, the transatlantic alliance of the West European states, the U.S. and Canada. The effectiveness of the other security organisations, both international and European, doesn't give grounds to talk about them as reliable instruments able to provide security for all European states.

The Yugoslavian crisis has shown the capability and limits of purely European responses to crisis situations within and out of Europe. This crisis has shown that the different interests and understanding of security among different EU members could hinder the emergence of an European identity. In the former Yugoslavia an unlucky set of circumstances occurred: peacekeeping operations were impossible because there was no peace, while peacemaking operations were not feasible because of lack of adequate means.

As a rule, peacekeeping operations under the UN aegis are carried out inefficiently and too slowly. Frequent strong statements by the UN Security Council, not backed up with actions, undermine its authority. Under such circumstances the importance of regional organisations is increasing.

Talking about Europe as a single organisational entity we should recall the words of Mark Eiskes that Europe is a giant in economy, a baby in diplomacy and a dwarf in defence. The only European organisation uniting all the European states, the OSCE, despite a change in name, remains, in substance, the CSCE, a conference that had codified unwritten rules of the Cold War. The CSCE/OSCE had carried out its function during the Cold War, and, after the end of that war, slid into a deep crisis. Now the OSCE has concentrated its efforts towards issues of human rights in the post-Soviet area. Clearly it is necessary to find European responses to new security challenges. One possible response is the development and, in prospective, transformation of the European pillar of NATO, the West European Union (WEU).

The Evolution of NATO

From a military-political point of view, the heart of Europe is throbbing over the other side of the Atlantic, in Washington, D.C. During the Cold War Western Europe was balancing between two superpowers, being in the sphere of influence of one of them. The breakup of the Soviet Union deprived Western Europe of room for its usual manoeuvre. It was necessary either to transform itself swiftly into an independent pole of power or to stake all on the restructuring of its partnership with the U.S., realising and accepting its unequal position in this alliance. Partly intentionally, partly under pressure of circumstances Europe has chosen the latter. Europeans regard the U.S. military-political hegemony as being usual and not very burdensome. Besides, the American presence in Europe let Europeans canalise more resources towards economic development.

At the same time, the U.S. has to exercise a permanent "control" over their allies. For instance, Americans had to take into account the fact that according to polls in Germany the majority of Germans are against the presence of foreign military forces on their territory. President Clinton supported the idea of granting Germany permanent membership in the UN Security Council. But he cannot but see that Germany with such a status will be some other Germany. In the dilemma "European Germany or German Europe" there is a great portion of alarmist exaggeration but there is also some portion of truth.

NATO is Washington's most important instrument of control over the situation in Europe. The weakening of NATO and its erosion under new circumstances can lead to a swift decline of American influence in Europe. In such a case, renationalisation of European defence and security policies will lead to an inevitable nightmare.

When NATO was founded in the late 1940s, Europe was facing the post-war devastation and the beginning of a new confrontation. The consensus among West European countries was formed around two concepts which were decisive for the victory in the Cold War: Germany (as well as Japan) were not to be isolated but integrated into the community of democratic states; Western democracies had to continue pursuing the joint policy of containment, and to set up NATO for the implementation of this policy. Ultimately, integration and containment have reached their purposes.

With the ending of the Cold War the security situation in Europe has changed. However, the North Atlantic Alliance remains the institutional base of euro-atlantic cohesiveness. On overcoming its identity crisis in 1990-92, NATO entered a period of political and structural strengthening. To a greater extent NATO has been gaining a new political dimension. The speech by the NATO Secretary General in the Council of Europe, the first in the history of NATO and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the first meeting of the members of the European Commission and NATO leaders-all these are clear signs of the transforming Alliance.

At the Berlin Session of the North Atlantic Council in 1996 a number of decisions was taken with the aim of radical reform of NATO. At the same time the new EU members, Finland and Sweden, which have no wish to join NATO, are beginning to raise the importance of the WEU in their security strategies. One can mention the joint Swedish-Finnish initiative on shifting peacekeeping functions to the WEU under the EU aegis.

The change of accent in European politics is evident: the NATO summit in Berlin undoubtedly increased the role of the WEU in the formation of the new system of European security. According to decisions adopted at the summit, legal provisions were provided for operations carried out by Europeans under the aegis of the WEU with the involvement of NATO assets, in cases when Americans wouldn't like to participate. At the same time, Klaus Kinkel, Germany's Foreign Minister, hopes that NATO would support the WEU in developing its operational capabilities.

The Atlantic alliance could play its proper role only if its transformation would allow Europeans to strengthen the European pillar of NATO. This is important for U.S.'s involvement into crisis situations on the European continent to depend more on the protection of their national interests rather than on their international commitments. Only then the future effective peacekeeping operations in Europe could be held by Europeans rather than by Americans.

The Development and Prospects of the WEU

In 1984, thirty years after the founding of the WEU, Belgium, France and Italy made an attempt to redefine the objectives of the union. In October 1984, in Rome, at the extraordinary meeting of Defence and Foreign Ministers of the seven WEU member states, a declaration was adopted in which the political aims of this organisation and its institutional reform were considered. Political aims were formulated in the following way-realisation of European unity and assistance to European integration; close cooperation between the Union member states and other European organisations. The declaration stressed the significance of allied relations of the seven WEU members and NATO which "was the basis of Western security for the past 35 years." In this connection, a more efficient use of the WEU had to serve not only the security of Western Europe but also the improvement of joint defence capability of all the NATO states.

Later, the WEU countries held a number of coordinated actions under the aegis of this organisation. In 1988, the mine clearing operation in the Persian Gulf became the first example of a joint military action coordinated by the WEU. In 1991, a number of WEU states detached their troops for participation in operation "Desert Storm". Then the WEU created a joint structure for providing units from Great Britain and France taking part in the "Desert Storm" with military equipment, ammunition and spare parts. The WEU took part in peacekeeping operations in Yugoslavia: since November 1992 navies of the WEU have monitored the implementation of UN sanctions in the Adriatic Sea.

During the intergovernmental conference on the Maastricht Treaty some differences emerged among the twelve EU countries, including those on the WEU role with regard to the EU and NATO. This meant that there was no consensus among the conference participants on the extent to which issues of defence and security policies should be included into the EU decision making mechanism, or whether these issues be excluded from that mechanism.

According to the Maastricht Treaty the WEU has been recognised as part of the EU. This changes the WEU status and its ability to be a "bridge" between NATO and the EU. After the signing of the Maastricht Treaty, the establishment of the Planning Cell and the WEU Space Centre, the transfer of the Council and the Office of the Secretary General of the WEU to Brussels in 1993, assignment of military units from the national defence forces for operations under the aegis of the WEU-all of these were attempts to make progress towards a deeper cooperation in the sphere of security in Europe. However, differences regarding the future of WEU which emerged during the intergovernmental conference in Maastricht have not yet settled down. The present level of cooperation among WEU members and the reduction of their defence budgets hinder in plans for the creation of a European collective defence almost in any area but crisis resolution.

Joint Forces in Europe

In 1992, in accordance with a decision taken at a French-German summit, the eurocorps was formed. The aim of its creation was the strengthening of the European defence identity. On 9 May 1993, at the meeting of the WEU Council in Rome, the eurocorps forces were referred to as "forces under the WEU authority." The eurocorps may be employed for the fulfilment of the tasks defined by the Petersberg Declaration of the WEU member states. The eurocorps is manned with units from five WEU member states: Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and Spain.

The formation of the eurocorps has led to many problems, and not all of these problems are solved. The differences over the future area of responsibility of the eurocorps remained. In one of his interviews German Defence Minister Volker Ruhe said that "the eurocorps is not the African Corps." In his opinion, the Bundeswehr, in order to become capable of taking part in military operations outside Germany, has to continue increasing the professionalism of its 50,000-strong "crisis response forces." But, he added, Germany will never launch foreign operations as large as France does. This never will be Bundeswehr's main mission.1

Many unsettled problems affecting operational capability gives grounds for scepticism with regard to the eurocorps. This scepticism is especially strong in the U.S. David Gompert and Richard Kagler wrote in Foreign Affairs (January-February, 1995) that the eurocorps is a political structure having neither adequate power nor strategic value.

The decision of France, Italy and Spain to create joint rapid reaction forces (EUROFOR) and European naval forces (EUROMARFOR) indirectly corroborates the absence of unity among countries which created the eurocorps. In May 1995, at a WEU Ministerial Meeting, representatives of these three countries signed respective founding documents. Later Portugal expressed its willingness to join these countries in implementing their initiative. The initiative's principal aim was to provide for additional security in the Mediterranean. The fact that France, together with Italy, Spain and Portugal are forming multilateral naval and land forces for the Mediterranean reflects, to some extent, the French disappointment over Germany's readiness to contribute for security in the Me- diterranean.

The implementation of the concept of combined joint task forces (CJTF) is another characteristic example for one to understand the differences in approaches, intents and willingness of Europeans to create an efficient instrument for European defence. During more than two years after adopting the CJTF concept WEU was unable to translate the concept into reality, creating what many think is of vital importance for the improvement of NATO operational capabilities.

Only after the French decision to review its role in NATO military structures were the basic provisions of the document on principles of establishing the CJTF worked out. Although the French softened their position, France still insists that the structure of CJTF should provide for, if necessary, an opportunity to create forces on the basis of a NATO, European or even a national core-depending on every particular case.

Opportunities for Russia's Participation

In Russia the idea of benefits arising from eventual cooperation with the WEU in creating a new European security architecture has become more popular. Russia's capability in defence technologies and production is well known. This capability can be embedded, as part of cooperation programme, in joint projects on development and maintenance of new defence systems. Cooperation also can be set up at intergovernmental level within the already existing WEU structures, such as Western European Armaments Group.

There are three possible subjects for joint projects on developing and producing systems of possible interest of WEU states:

anti-missile systems of the theatre of operations;

new systems of space surveillance and data processing;

new transport aircraft.

A European collective defence should include defence from the Cape of Nord to the Caucasus. This requires participation of all European countries willing to create a new defensive organisation. Perhaps such an organisation can be founded on the basis of the WEU. To do so the WEU should be transformed into a European Defence Union. By doing this an old name suggested by Americans would be used for the new European idea, underlining the fact that this idea has nothing anti- American.

The need to get an operational capability for Europe for cases when the U.S. wouldn't commit itself in events affecting European interests raises the question of the involvement of the Russian armed forces. Russia could provide military transport aviation and technical means of space surveillance.

It is clear that the U.S. is the main partner in European, as well as Asian, security arrangements. Having limited defence capabilities the U.S. acts and will be acting with its allies and partners within different security structures. At the same time it is clear that these structures should be urgently reformed. It is common sense to put into the agenda the real and not superficial and ideological integration of Russia into these structures.

The complicated system of relations among the European states, together with pressing appeals addressed by Americans to the Europeans to undertake as much responsibility as possible in their commitments to the common defence-all these require a well organised structure for providing for European security. It is logical and inevitable that there will be overlapping security structures in Europe. For instance, Russia could cooperate directly with other Europeans within a European Defence Union, and indirectly with the U.S. within joint efforts of NATO and EDU. The establishment of the European Defence Union doesn't exclude the need for Russia to interact directly with NATO according to the Founding Act signed in Paris in May, 1997. Ideally, the interaction with NATO should be maintained not by Russia itself but by the Union of Russia and Belarus, and, in the prospect, a dialogue between NATO and the Commonwealth of Independent States should be sought.

The unity of Europe is vitally important both for Europeans, Americans and for Russians. Accordingly, this issue should be dealt with in joint efforts with but not against or without Russia.

1 Financial Times . 30.05.1996.

Опубликовано на Порталусе 29 апреля 2014 года

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