The main problems of European security exist in the eastern part of the European continent as uncertainty continues to prevail in most of the regions of Europe that have thrown off the Russian yoke.

This has raised the question of which role could a European military force assume in the European resolution to build its own European security system. The other crucial question is whether those East European countries can either find protection in a European security system or mould a new kind of European security architecture.

Since the end of the cold war the previously existing structures of security in Europe have either been rendered functionless or have ceased to exist altogether.

The dissolution of the Soviet Union has fundamentally improved the security situation of western neighbouring countries. The Central European countries which once belonged to the Soviet Union have free access to Western Europe, where they can now find direct support.

The discontinuation of the antagonism between NATO and the Warsaw Pact has led to the elimination of mutual deterrence. The main concern is a military a military vacuum in the heart of Europe and therefore the intensification of defence cooperation on the European continent.

A security gap has emerged in the centre and the eastern part of the European continent. Today, more than ever before, Europe must take responsibility for its security interests in a way that will result in defence integration and reinforce defence cooperation among EU member states.

As the wars in Croatia, Bosnia, the Caucasus and central Asia were going on; Europe was unable to project the security it provides for its members beyond its own purview.

The reason for the paralysis of the European powers in former Yugoslavia touch on the decisive aspect of a system collective security: each country which assures the victim appropriate assistance in the event of aggression can evade the commitments made at will in accordance with the own-interests criterion if it refuses to class the victim of aggression as such and, instead, more or less blames the war on that victim or interprets the behaviour of the aggressor apologetically.

The war in Yugoslavia has demonstrated how difficult it is for the Europeans to cope with an uncommon conflict, although Europe has the means of exerting influence at their disposal. But, as a matter of fact, it was essentially because of the lack of political unity.

This European unity is the fundamental condition for a European Security System to be successful. By directing the efforts of the participating countries on the common purpose of a European defence. The military forces must coordinate more intensively and effectively with each other than it is the case today.

This means, developing structures and capabilities which are relevant to the current conditions and are of sufficient scale and capability to achieve the goals of a coherent European Security policy that also connects economic interests with strong defence capabilities as a tool to shore up Europe's substantial economic power. The European Union will have to narrow the divide between the security and economic
dimensions of its external relations.

Can the problem be resolved by extending the area of security through a European enlargement? Or, is fundamentally a new security system in Europe needed to do justice to the situation which has materialised since the end of the Cold War.

East European states should be working more forcefully for the creation of the new sovereign European army under a combined European command and control that will be a capable and powerful military force under the EU flag.

The member states will have to show their capability in pooling and sharing efforts and keeping an eye out for possibilities of pooling military capabilities.

They will also have to be ready to contribute to a European military coalition in time of need according to their capabilities, and they will need to find ways to share resources or buy equipment together.

The new Rapid Reaction Force should be the base of the new European army that will enable Europe to shoulder international political and military responsibilities.

The collective self-interest of the European Security System partner states in maintaining the established defence system and in the continuation of the balance of power between the member states must prevail; it is in the interest of the European Security System that Europe will fulfil necessary conditions.

The geopolitical-strategic considerations contain an element of dynamic momentum, which presses for change, for a proper adjustment on the part of the member states to the developments and structural transformation that was set in motion in 1991. The experience of 45 years of Soviet rule explains the interest in a European Security System by the Central Europeans. After all, incapacitation by Moscow could return if anti-democratic and neo-imperial forces there were to come to power and revert to a course of aggression.

These fears on the part of the Central Europeans would appear to be confirmed to the extent to which tendencies in Russia towards a domination of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) or towards a restoration of the former Soviet Union gain the upper hand. After all, for Russia the cold war never really ended. The west is still the one that harbours hostile intentions towards Russia.

An enlargement of Europe to include parts of Central Europe or its entirety would provide a guarantee of assistance to those countries integrated into the European Security System. This is the paramount goal of the Central European governments – not so much with an eye to a possible war as with the awareness of political self assertion in an environment which has become uncertain and unpredictable.

What is the position regarding solidarity between these states and towards western countries? Is the currency of democratic, constitutional and market-economy values guaranteed on a long-term basis? Are their armed forces compatible to those of the European Security System in terms of structure and equipment?

The well being of the European Security System and its members must have priority. It should be based on solidarity of the member states against all forms of external threat. The solidarity of the European Security system is the basis for the act and for its effectiveness. This should be the basis of a common security and of mutual assistance in the event of crisis or war.

This core must be sustained if the security system is to retain its peacekeeping and stability significance for European countries inside and outside the European Security System.

The enlargement of Europe must, under all circumstances, have to guarantee that the currently existing stable structures in Europe are not endangered.

Furthermore, what is needed is a compact geopolitical-strategic purpose the enlargement is supposed to serve and which commitments those countries involved would have to make to achieve this goal.

After it became clear during the wars in Croatia and Bosnia that even its immediate neighbours are not able to establish the kind of unity and cooperative capability needed to guaranty security, only the accession to the European Security System would seem to guarantee reliable security.

Developments in Moscow are marked by disquieting unpredictability. A decisive aspect for the uncertainty about the future development is the lack of consensus in Russia on the self-concept of the state and politics. From a Polish, Baltic, Hungarian, Czech, Slovenian and by large also Romania and Bulgarian point of view the territorial status quo which was established in Eastern Europe from the Baltic to the Black See in 1991 is unsustainable as long as it is not consolidated by an enlargement of the European Security System. This reflects the general uncertainty which, as a psychological reality, is a political factor. Past experience with Russia makes caution and even mistrust expedient there.
In military terms, Central Europe's current situation hardly seems directly jeopardized. A determined shift, however, could occur if Russia were at the same time to become stronger internally and lapse back into expansionist mind set. The underlying fear is that a government in Moscow might try again to bind countries which became independent in 1991 to Russia or at least dominate these countries through military and monetary control on the basis of economic dependence.

The end of the cold war together with the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact demands a new security System with an all-European character. The two conflicting positions taken in Moscow are based on differing political priorities. Whereas the advocates of the first view work on the basis of the priority needs for domestic-policy reform their opponents regard the logic of international power politics as the decisive driving force.

Moscow's unclarified overall political orientation leads to a vacillating position on matters of security.

Bearing in mind, that there are tendencies in Europe not to view the European Union and it Security System as a supplement to the NATO but as its replacement. The fact that the European Security System has not had for a long time – and still missing in some military areas – a concrete military structure and also lacks established rules of procedure may also play a role in the Russian predictions. Russia emphasizes with vehemence its role as a big power and laid claim to complete freedom to act as it saw fit vis-a-vis the other successor states of the former Soviet Union. In view of Russia's specific geopolitical situation in Europe, the country cannot belong to the structures of security in Europe in the same way as other European countries.

EU flags outside the Commission- by Xavier Häpe

EU flags outside the Commission- by Xavier Häpe

Only those who demand special rights without corresponding commitments can suspect western intentions of discrimination and isolation. The ideas developed in Moscow for a new kind of all-European Security System do create the impression that their originators might be interested in privileged position.

The crucial point in the mutual relationship is not the European eastwards enlargement, but the orientation which emerges in Moscow from the political uncertainty so far. Therefore, building a frank but geopolitical relationship with Moscow should be amongst the
EU policies.

And at last, let me underline for the thousand and one time: NATO is a relic of the past and no new "strategic concept" can revive the relevance of NATO. It must be replaced by a collective European Security System.

There has to be a super ordinate body that issues directives, and a dependent organization that will overlook their implementation. At the decision making level, all countries, would determine the cause of action and the burden of execution will be shouldered by different member states according to their level of expertise and strength.

The most important requirement for enlargement of Europe to central Europe and possibly to other countries is the willingness of France to extend its assurances of nuclear protection to countries not previously belonging to the European Security System. France is a critical component in this context. From the viewpoint of its allies, France has previously been the retardant factor along the road to a common security arms control and disarmament policy. France has traditionally been both a conflicting party and part of the conflict structure in the East-West relations. The fact that France has its own nuclear force does not alter this situation, even if these forces were set up with the declared objective of guaranteeing France's independent security and at the same time to overcome the political status quo in Europe. Both the strategic and political expedience of French nuclear weapons always depended on the respective international constellation. The French security is based on the nuclear guarantee provided by a "flexible response". The real significance of the French nuclear force is rooted in its function as a multiplier of the overall deterrence of the European security.

With this in mind, the question that raises today is how could France contribute to stabilization of European deterrence. It is by French determination to employ this policy in the interests of a common European defence. The question whether France will let itself be tied to the common nuclear risk has been answered by France’s offer of its nuclear umbrella to Europe.

France has stressed that French conventional forces form an integrated system of deterrence together with the pre-strategic and strategic nuclear components. According to the French opinion, practically demonstrated solidarity in the field of conventional weapons and the continuing of nuclear uncertainties are not mutual exclusives. On the contrary, they are two sides of the same coin. It should be underlined that, without adequate integration into a common European Security System, French nuclear power cannot fulfil the function of strengthening a unified European Security System.

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For France, the close linkage of its conventional forces with its own pre-strategic and strategic potential which includes the capability to threaten the first use of nuclear weapons forms the basis for a European Security capability.

Image by Xavier Häpe (http://www.flickr.com/photos/vier/192493917/) [CC-BY-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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