This morning we will discuss national and ethni c issues, as they relate to the international security, and specifically to the security of countries in politicai transition. We will speak about national ideology and the politicai mobilisation of the patriotic sentiments; and also about the process which leads very often to the misuse and deformation of national feelings. Debating nationality problems, first we should be aware of the fact, that in almost every country these are sensitive questions, having many emotional elements.
There is nothing wrong with the fact that national sensitivity and emotions exist in our countries. This is a perfectly understandable and healthy phenomenon especially in countries which gained or regained their independence in recent past. The real problem is, that frequently the ro le of the emotions is excessive in the politicai debate on nationality questions. Consequently, one of our tasks should be to try to de-emotionalize the dialogue on these issues, at least here in this forum. Second point, the definition of the terms 'nati on' and 'nationalism' is extremely diverse. The historical evolution of the national idea and the national movement varied extensively from the West to the East and from the North to the South. The diverging regional experiences are of course reflected in the terminological debates: 'what is a nation , and 'how nationalism can be defined?' and they explain to a large extent our difficulties in using the same vocabulary.
When speaking about national ideology, one has to bear in mind that it has always been an ambigous social phenomenon, a politicai force with a dual face. Throughout modem history, the national idea has very often contained both defensive and offensive elements, patriotic or chauvinistic components. It was frequently very difficult to separate these elements, as they were intermingled in the history of individual nations.
In my presentation I will use the word 'nationalism' in a neutral sense, comprising both the positive and negative meaning and connotations of this concept. Nationalism is very often mistakenly regarded as a very old phenomenon, as a perennial or permanent factor in the history of mankind. Despite this widespread perception, it is a modem idea and a modem movement.
Actually, the first full manifestation of modem nationalism occured in Western Europe in the 17th and 18th century. England was in the vanguard of the economic development of that time. In that country, the industrial revolution combined with the puritan ethics and liberal philosophy paved the way for the emergence of the first national community of modem times.
In France, the Enlightement prepared the intellectual terrain for the French revolution. The French nation was born in the revolutionary enthusiasm, as an expression of a popular will to live together and and fight together the common enemy symbolyzed by authoritarian rule and the foreign interventionist powers.
American nationalism of the 18th century felt both the imp act of the English revolution and the Freneh Enlightement. Similar to the nationalism in Revolutionary France the national idea of the settlers of North America was based essentially on the fight to gain more individual freedoms and achieve popular sovereignty for their community. The American nation was constituted by an act of self-determination against an alien rule, which was considered as an illegitimate ru le from the perspective of the emerging idea ofpopular sovereignty.
In this lecture hall it may be interesting to note another similarity between the Freneh and American nationalisms. Both produced a new phenomenon in the art of warfare: the nation in arms. In America and in France of the late 18th century citzen armies, untrained but filled with a new fervour, proved superior to highly trained professional armies that fought without the incentive of nationalism.
The influence of the Englightement coupled later on with the Napoleonic wars spread the spirit of nationalism from Western Europe to the East and the South of the continent. In Central and Eastern Europe, and further to the East: in Ukraine, in Russia, and several other parts of the Russian Empire, the new ideas gave birth to cultural nationalism first. Writers and seholars began to modemize the mother tongue of their community in order to create a literary language. Culture, language and other elements of kinship played an outstanding role in the development of this type of national consciousness. They prepared the terrain for more ambitious political objectives. In the case of the Italians and the Germans the establishment of a unified national state was the final objective. In Central and Eastern Europe, in the case of many small and medium size nations who lived in multinational states, independent national statehood was the superior political aim.
The 19th century nationalism went hand in hands with an unprecedented economic growth on the European continent, it contributed to the development of national education and the spread of demoeratic institutions such as parliamentarism. In its essence, this was a liberal and demoeratic nationalism, which made noticeable progress even in the Russian Empire, in some segments of the Russian inteIligentsia and among its politicai elite.
However, the same century revealed also the ugly face, the unattractive chauvinistic visage of nationalism. The word 'chauvinism' comes from the name of a Freneh soldier of the Napoleonic army. Captain Chauvin was well known for his exaggerarated national sentiments and his disdain for other nations. His comrades in arms labeled this aggressive, excessive national feeling as 'chauvinism'.
Both the 19th and 20th centuries saw numerous manifestations of the dominant and exclusivist nationalism, ranging from great power supremacy to state sponsored xenophobia oppressing and persecuting minorities. Especially the fascist movements in Germany, Italy and in some smaIler Central and Eastern European states in the 1930s and during the war used nationalist fanaticism as a politicai tool.
They equated nation to race, and made the authoritarian state the supreme expression of the will of this nation. This was of course a serious aberration of the original national idea, as this concept appeared first in the late 17th century.
Let us return for a while to the original question 'what is a nation?' . As we said at the outlet, the answers to this question are varied because the experiences of the various regions in nation-building are different too.
The nation-state in Western Europe was developed by the consolidation of territories, often from a core which gradually established its politicai and economic dominance to adjacent areas. In the West, the concept of the nation was attached essentially to territory; the national identity was closely linked with the state; with its institutions and values.
In such circumstances nationality and citizenship (for example the Frech national and the Freneh citizen) have become more allless mutually interchangeble. More or less, because there have also been national and regional minorities in Western Europe (Catalans, Corsicans, Britons), who challenged the homogeneity of the nation-state, and this part of the continent also had bloody territorial wars during its history.
This fact, however, did not contradict to the fundamental trend in nationbuilding. In Western Europe nationality coincided to a large extent with the CIVIC community, with the society living within the borders of a state. This is a territorial and legal-political concept of nation which has been predominant up to the present time.
Compared to Western Europe, the ethni c map of CEE has always been extremely diverse; much more complex than that of the Western part of the continent. As a general rule, ethnic borders and politicai borders do not coincide. The ethni c variety of the individual states and ethni c heterogeneity of the region as a whole, are greater than in the West. This diversity has had considerable influence on the historic process of nation-building, as it has been frequently difficult to identify the states exclusively with one nation.
In the period when nation states were established in the West, most of the nations of CEE lived in multinational empires, under foreign rule. Sometimes they were divided among several states , like the Poles among Tsarist Russia, Prussia and the Habsburg empire. In such conditions, the concept of nation was based essentially on common language, religion and other characteristics of ethni c culture. This was an ethno-cultural concept of nation, in which to be a Pole, a Slovak, a Hungarian, or other nationality simply meant that the person belonged to an historically shaped cultural community, very often irrespective of the state affiliation , The various national self-determination movements have used ethnicity as a main criterion for statehood, in this part of Europe for centuries. This concept of nation has prevailed in the region until today. The fact, that co-nationals with the same language, culture and shared sense of community can live in different states, implies also the internationalization of the ethnic problem. Minorities, if they fe el oppressed or discriminated against, will frequently seek the protection of the kin-nati on beyond the border. This is a potential for conflict, not only internally, but also extemally, in relations between countries.
There is also another fundamental difference between Western and Eastern Europe and this relates to the stability of borders. In the West most of the state borders have shown considerable stability. Take the examples of the politicai lines separating Spain from Portugal, and Spain from France, or the borders of Switzerland, which have not shifted since the Napoleonic wars. Compared to this picture, the territorial status quo in CEE has been extremely fluid, and the durability of state borders in that region has been much weaker. The frequency of changes in that part of Europe - including in this respect also Germany - has been considerably higher.
Most of the current borders were established within the last 80 years; some of them shifted several times during this period. For instance, the Ukrainian Sub-Carpathia, the Westernmost region of the Ukrainian Republic today, changed its state-sovereignty five times in this century. And this is not an exceptional case in Eastern Europe.
Because of the multiethnic composition of the border areas, the same shift of frontiers meant national unification for one community, and separation from the ancestral homeland for another national community. It meant the legitimate right for self-determination for one group; the possible refusal of the same right for the other group. Celebration on the one side, historic trauma on the other; chauvinistic rule of the dominant community, preparation for revenge by the oppressed nation or minority. The Habsburg empire and its disintegration is an example from the early 20th century. Versailles has a very different historicai meaning and message for many peoples in Central Europe and the Balkans.
Yugoslavia and its collapse, especially the case of Bosnia-Herzegovina, is a recent illustration of how various national communities, all of which refer to national self-determination, have had sometimes radically opposing expenences and divergent perceptions about the same events. This is partly true of the new wave of self-determination and state- building, as a whole, which changed a substantial part of the political map of the region at the beginning of the 1990s.
Three multinational states disintegrated, and a large number of new states emerged in their place. This disintegration should be placed in the prop er historicai perspective. During this century we witnessed the break up of several empires; however, not since medieval times have we experienced such a large scale territorial fragmentation on the European continent, if we include the territory of the former Soviet Union. Thirty five states signed the Helsinki Final Act, which created the CSCE; the number of member states of the successsor Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe currently exceeds Fifty.
This created a radically changed situation, obviously first of all, for the nations and the countries directly involved in the new state-building process. But this fragmentation created a new environment for the neighbouring countries too. Let us take the example of Poland; an of its neighbours are new states with the exception of Germany; but Germany itself, after re-unification, was re-defined as a state, within its new borders. Or, we can cite the case of Hungary: five of seven neighbours are new states, which were created in the last four or five years.
This radical alteration of the politicai map expressed a powerful way the victory of the idea of self-determination. Self-determination, as it appeared at the beginning of the 1990s, was aliberating concept. Peoples, who had been confined within the borders of countries, with which they did not identify, and whose regimes they intensely disliked, sought liberation from foreign domination. Similar to the 18th century American and Freneh national revolutions the emerging popular sovereignty has been directed against a rule which was considered alien, and as su ch illegitimate.
The restoration of lost sovereignties and the establishment of independent states have been accomplished through a fundamentally demoeratic process, and it was recognized as such by the international community. (Let us note here the fact that if we are so numerous and diverse in this room at the Marshall Center this morning, it is due to the history -shaping force of this self-determination.)
The multiplication of sovereign states, however has also raised legitimate questions. What is the self in self-determination? What kind of community is entitled to exercise this right? Where are the limits of self- determination? Where are the legal and politicai frontiers of this concept, that the international community should recognize as legitimate and reasonable.
Should self-determination always mean separation; IS the process of disintegration always irreversible? At the end of the 20th century, is the trend towards territorial fragmentation compatible with the growing globalization of economy and technology; and the increased need for regional integration? And one more question: is self-determination a purpose in itself, or is it simply apolitical instrument to achieve other goals and objectives, such as advanced democracy, or increased prosperity of a community.
I am sure that many of you have already been confronted with these problems and dilemmas in your previous readings or discussions. Anyway, these questions continue to deserve our attention at least for two reasons.
First, the role of the traditional nation-state is declining as we approach the milleneum. Many political and security challenges, such as enviromental problems, organized crime, terrorism, migration have become international in scope.
No individual state is capable ofmanaging these any longer solely, relying exclusively on its own resources. Increasing global communications and multiplied cross border contacts are weakening states from above, while regional and group interests do the same from below.
While states have been forced to 'pass' upward, to the supranationallevel some of their authority, at the same time they also distanced themselves from some of their domestic acitivities: a variety of subnational groups, local communities and NGOs are taking over these functions.
It should be emhapsized that the nation does not 'die out' as a result of this process; and the nati on-state will remain the fundamental actor of the international politics in the forseeable future. This trend means, or could mean however a growing interdependence of states, a more pronouneed role of international organizations and a more powerful imp act of international law.
There is a paradox in the fact, that several countries of Eurasia have gained (or regained) sovereignty at a time when the content of sovereignty has been forced to change on a universal scale. This contradiction can be resolved only by a modern interpretation of state sovereignty, one that is open to the ideas of international cooperation and integration.
There is also a second reason why the questions related to national self-determination should be addressed by both practicioners and analysts of international security. It is a matter of fact that the dominant type of conflict t present, and probably in the period ahead, is internal conflict, which in most cases has ethnic roots, and which involves minority nations claiming their own independent state.
The world today knows several dozen inter-ethni c cnses from the highly developed Freneh Canadian Quebec to the underdeveloped Sri-Lanka and Somalia. Compared to these examples, the forrner Communist states of Euroasia reveal some substantial differences, related mainly to their evolution in the last decades, and their ongoing process of transformation.
From the early nineties, as the forrner authoritarian regimes have become more open, this openness eliminated also the forces restraining nationalism on both the domestic and interstate level. The unexpected impetus of the resurgence of national identity can be explained by several factors, although no one of these factors alone can give a full explanation.
First, with the demise of the Communist ideology a vacuum was created, and it is in the nature of a vacuum to be filled. Nationalism is a powerful ideology, - easy to grasp, easy to assimilate, and easy to spread.
In some circumstances, especially in cases, where demoeratic institutions are still weak. Second, in the view of many analysts, be side the ideological vacuum, a security vacuum has been developed too. With the end of the Cold War an international security order disappeared without being replaced by a new structure of collective security. The result is a fragmented security landscape on the continent, with an extremely ambiguous and volatile situation, especially for the small and medium size countries ofEurasia. This situation Is fertile terrain for mutual misunderstanding, suspicion and ov erre acti on III the contacts between neighboring countries. The probability of such development is obviously higher where relations are shadowed by lasting historicai burdens, nationality complaints or prejudices about one another.
The common wisdom IS, that national feelings and ethni c identities can be expressed without being aggressive and threatening to the interests and values of other communities. The national idea can be especially offensive, tending to violence, if it is purposefully manipulated.
The history of our nations proves, that national feelings have been very often manipulated by the political elites: liticians, media people, ideologues of all kind. Some experts of nationality problems attribute the entire eesponsibility for such tensions to the politicai elites - or the ruling class, to use another term.
This is probably an exaggeration. However, the prominent role (positive and negative role) of the national elites, - and the states themselves - the mobilization of ethni c identites, cannot be ignored.
- Third, the recent wave of national self-determination had its chain reaction effect. The media and the new information forwarding technologies played a multiplying, aceelerating role in this process. Because of the global media coverage, calls for independence were transmitted from one state to another, affecting both politicai elites and the larger public. The independence of Slovenia and Croatia had also a demonstration effect which contributed to the mobilization of other state claiming nations in the Baltics, in Slovakia and other parts of the forrner communist world.
- (last but not least) we should mention the worsening economic conditions and the falling living standards III many countries of the forrner Warsaw Pact and Comecon.
Another group of analysts, interestingly both on the liberal and on the marxist side, view the fundamental cause of ethnic conflict as economic: - problems emanating from the uneven development within a society, the fight for resources, or for jobs .
Even when economic difficulties are not the fundamental cause, they certainly deepen the confrontation. History testifies that nationalism has been often used as a substitute for basic consumer goods. It is also true that, national feelings and emotions are easier to manipulate in a period of declining living standards and increasing misery. Potential manipulators today have certainly more difficulty in propagating their nationalistic ideas III Switzerland or Sweden, than, for instance, in Southeastern Europe.
There are some former Communist countries, where the hidden tensions have become simply more transparent in the last five years. In others, inter-ethnic relations have clearly worsened compared to the previous situation. In extreme cases the ethnic resurgence led to open, violent, armed conflicts III the area. This is how the situation has evolved in some regions of the former Soviet Union and the ex - Yugoslav Federation. The case of the Commonwelth of Independent States, and specificaIly Central Asia and the Caucasus will be discussed later on in this course, within two weeks exactly. A round table discussion will also be dedicated to the disintegration of ex- Yugoslavia. So 1 can focus on the other CEE countries outside these two former multinational entities.
First, no one of the Central and Eastern European countries is totally immune from ethnic problems, or from ethnically related historicai problems with neighbours. Second, these ethni c issues vary greatly from country to country.
In terms of ethni c composition currently Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Albania have relatively few minorities on their territory (2-3 of the total population). Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria have a larger minority population. Their ratio exceeds 10 of total population aceording the official census data.
In some administrative areas their percentage constitutes an absolute majority of the local popuIation. Even more important, in terms of ratio and of domestic poiiticai significance, is the - essentially Russian -minority popuIation of the Baltic states. (In Latvia, for instance they constitute almost haIf of the population)
I would like to stress, that having few minorities does not mean that the ethnic issue is unkown for the country, as the existence of the Gypsy problem (or the Roma problem, to use the o ffi ci al term) indicates in the Czech Republic or in Hungary. Obviously, the more the population of a country is composed of multinational and multicultural societies, the more complex this issue becomes in politics.
The ethnic concerns of East Central Europe are fundamentally different from those in some parts of ex- Yugoslavia and the forrner Soviet Union, where violent clashes have erupted between majority and minority populations.
A common denominator of this region is, that the nationality issues are addressed through politicai and diplomatic means: they have not become violent.
The ethnic and cultural problems between Slovaks and Hungarians, Hungarians and Romanians, Bulgarians and Turks and other nationalities are matters of sometimes heated domestic and international debates, but they are clearly not military matters. They have been kept within the limits of the politicai bargaining process.
This is a positive fact, which, however should not be taken for granted . Conditions might change, and they might change for the worse. Consequently, inter-ethnic relations should be further stabilized through carefully considered policies. In Central and Eastern Europe both the states and the minorities suffer from an 'insecurity complex'. Each side feels that its vital interests might be threatened. On the one hand, various states fear isolationist or separatist tendenci es on the part of minorities. The majority authorities think, that, if they accept even amodest minority request, this might start then down a slippery sloap, whereby a small gesture today will result in disaster for the state tomorrow. An elementary school in the mother tongue of a minority today, - a loss of territory tomorrow - a simplification of reasoning, frequently used on the other side of the forrner Iron Curtain.
Minorities also fear that, at any time, they might become the target of forced assimilation; or even worse, of ethnic cleansing. As they were frequently victims of state-sponsored nationalism in the communist past, this memory leaves a heavy mistrust towards authorities; a permanent suspicion concerning the real intentions of the majoritarian government.
Sometimes these concems are based on very concrete historicai experiences, sometimes they are based on unfounded perceptions. But even as perceptions, these problems should be treated with great sensitivity.
Politicai arrangements should be established, which stabilize both the position of the states and the status of the minorities. If the minorities are integrated and not assimilated to the society, they can develop both the general civic identity of the state, and preserve ethnic identity as well. In other words this would mean: - loyalty to the state, III which they live and they are citizens, and - the right to preserve and develop their own national and ethnic characteristics.
Someone might say that these two elements are III conflict. Especially persons belonging to majoritarian nations, coming from countries with lasting ethnic tensions, are inclined to reject concepts like multiculturalism, ethnic pluralism, multinational federation, autonomy, minority protection. In their vieweither assimilation, or emigration of minorities, leading to a homogeneous nati on-state, is the realistic solution for ethnic problems.
This thinking is not radically new in Central and Eastern Europe; its ideological roots go back to the late 19th century. Compared to the pre-war period, the communist system, despite its 'internationalist' rethoric, did very little to change effectively relations between nations and ethnic groups III the area. As a general rule, the Communist regrmcs froze the tensions and oppressed the conflicts instead of solving them.
The parallel Western European development has been strikingly different. The nations in the West have not been inherently more enlighted in matters of ethni c tolerance and international openness, than their fellow nations III the East. But since WW2 they have had the politicai will to openly confront and manage the painful issues of nationalism both domestically and internationally.
It is characteristic that III the 1970s, in a period, when in Western Europe Spain, Belgium, France and Great-Britain went through a fundamental territorial decentralization, giving more power to the regions, and the nationalities living there; in Eastern Europe Czechoslovakia, Rumania, Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union the central power of the state was reinforced.
The emergmg Western European integration and the regional cooperation of the Nordic countries also made an enormous difference in the perception of how civilized nations can and should live side-by-side. National societies in the West were increasingly opening up. Politicai frontiers, as dividing lines between peoples, were gradually disappearing within the European Community, later on the European Union. Exchanges at the grass-root level, between individuals, institutions, smaller or larger communities have become a mass phenomenon. Purposefui policies, including youth exchange, twin city movement, have been set up to improve relations between nations with difficult historicai legacies: Freneh and Germans in Western Europe; Danes and Norwegians in the Nordic region.
For decades there was no similar undertaking m the historically sensitive relationships in the East; like the Polish-Lithuanian, Czech-German, Slovak-Ukrainian, Hungarian-Rumanian, Rumanian-Ukrainian and Russian, Bulgarian and Serbian, Serbian - Albanian relationship. East European societies remained essentially elosed societies vis-a-vis each other. This situation, very often, preserved old national stereotypes and distorted clichés about each other. Also in this respect, there was a widening gap between the official discourse emphasizing fraternal friendship on the one hand, and politicai reality, on the other.
Since the early 1990s, in the eyes of many Eastern European observers, the disintegration of Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union has not only discredited the federal model as a solution for ethni c problems, but it also made illusory ethnic coexistence in multinational frameworks. The devastating war in the former Yugoslavia, and the multiplication of ethni c strifes throughout the region increased the number of skeptics, who do not believe that Central and Eastern Europe can solve ethnic and nationality problems in a civilized manner. Despite widespread skepticism, the minority problem has also become an important issue of debate in the domestic democratization process. It has also been widely recognized that democracy in Central and Eastern Europe cannot be stable, without a fair treatement of minority questions.
On the international level, the settlement of ethnic disputes has become a politicai requirement for countries wanting to join NATO or the EU. In the light of these requirements, the study of West European, expenences might be useful for states interested in the integration process. There are constitutional and political arrangements, which while certainly not p erfe ct, can work, and thereby ease ethni c problems. They have been successful, or at least more successful than most of the ethni c policies existing in CEE.
The multilingual model of Switzerland is based on the cantonal system. It officiaIly recognizes the equal cultural rights of the German, Freneh and Italian speaking communities. The Swiss Confederation promotes the minority rights of a forty thousand strong community, caIled Romansch, or Raeto-romans. Their language is officiaIly used in the canton Grisons, where they live, and it is recognised as one of the four nationallanguages of Switzerland, on the level of the Confederation.
Belgium is a less peaceful example; its Flemish- WaIloon conflict is well known. Based on the bitter experiences of this long lasting conflict, Belgium has developed an innovative constitutional arrangement for its linguistic communities. It is not without problems even today, but the legal and political efforts to find solutions for ethni c coexistence are worthy of attention.
The same is true for Spain, which went through a major decentralization III the 1970s, after General Franco's death. In this process, the ethnic communities: the Catalans and the Basques, re-established their autonomy.
The 'devolution' in Great-Britain reinforced self-rule in Wales and and Scotland. No similar solution has been possible in Northern Ireland so far, where intercommunal strife has not yet found a settlement despite domestic and international efforts.
In the 1950s, Alto- Adige, South Tyrolofltaly was a place of violent inter-ethnic conflict. Today within this region the German speaking minority enjoys significant cultural autonomy, which is also reinforced by interstate cooperation between Austria and ltaly. This cooperation is similar to cultural exchange, what the ethnic Danes and Germans have in the Schleswig region, across the German-Danish border. The Swedish speaking population of Finland, which constitutes 8 percent of the total population also enjoys the advantages of Nordic regional cooperation. This nationality has large cultural autonomy, which IS combined with territorial autonomy for the Swedish inhabitants of the Aland islands.
( While discussing Finland, let me recall here a personal expenence from a few years ago, when 1 was in office in the Hungarian Ministry of Defense. My minister received his counterpart from Finland - a woman - who was a leading politician of the Swedish People's Party in Finland. <By the way, she is still an active cabinet member, and one of the leaders of her party, which participates in the current government coalition.> Certainly many of you will agree with me, that to give such an important responsibility to a minority politician, is a sign of considerable level of political culture. Not to mention the fact, that throughout Europe, it is not very frequent either to have a woman politician on the post of defense minister, )
It is true, that Westem European models were developed in specific historical and societal circumstances. Consequently, they cannot be copied 100 in the different conditions of the new democracies. However, they have certainly some normative or institutional elements, which can be usefully incorporated in the minority policies of the region. From the early 1990s several countries of Eurasia have also introduced original legal and political solutions for the accomodation of nationality/ minority rights.
For instance, Slovenia, which used to be the Westernmost republic of the former Yugoslavia has developed an official bilingualism in its regions inhabited by national minorities. Moldova created a kind of home rule system, a regime with large autonomy for the Gagauz nationality. These are the examples for territorial decentralization and sharing of power with minority population in local governments. The official state bilingualism constitute another positiv model.
Among several examples within the CIS let me mention here the case of Kazakstan, where the constitution recognizes the equality of the Kazak and Russian language. The incorporation of minority parties in central governments constitutes another type of positive example. In Bulgaria for example, in the early 1990s the party of the Turkish population participated in the national governement. In Slovakia, in the first governement which held office after the declaration of independence, a Hungarian politicai formation, the Hungarian Civic Party to ok part in the coalition. Currently in Macedonia, the Party of the Albanian community has cabinet members in the central governement of the country. Even if the validity of these examples are limited in time - in a democracy the government-coalitions are always limited in time - they are useful illustrations of the positive efforts to find solutions to the complex and sensitive problem of multinational coexistence.
Very recently in his lecture here at Marshall Center Dr Rotfeld called the minority autonomy and the minority' s participation in government as 'the internal implementation of self-determination'. This expression refers clearly to a compromised solution, which refuses two extrems. On the one hand, the extreme of secession and further territorial fragmentation; on the other, the extrem of forced assimilation and 'ethnic cleansing' The above examples also testify that there is a possibility of developing viable legal and politicai solutions for ethnic co-existence. In other words, multiethnicity cannot to be eliminated, so it has to be accommodated. Successful accomodation of cultural pluralism might be an important instrument of conflict prevention; it can defuse the powers of ethni c hatreds before they explode. Reconciling the rights and ambitions of various national communities in situation when peoples and borders do not match - is one of the major challenges of the post-Cold War era. This supposes however a sense of responsibility and flexibility on all sides. Very often, however, III the democratizing societies there is no motivation for politicai comprormse. Compromise is frequently seen as a sign of weakness, and not a natural part of the politicai process.
Therefore, it is not an exaggeration to say, that minority problems are very often problems of the general politicai culture, problems concermng the level of tolerance; the intellectual and institutional disposition to accept differences, including ethni c differences. The ability to compromise is also necessary m international relations. This has paramount importance in East-Central Europe, where security between neighbors might be threatened by discord over the treatment of national minorities. Consequently, the ethni c issue also needs 'confidence building measures' in the interstate relations. At the end of the 20th century minority questions cannot be 'solved' using methods practiced during and after WW2. By irredentist movements and forcible border-changes on the one hand; or by ethnic cleansings and massive deportations on the other. Nor is the 'cultural ethnic cleanning', the forced assimilation of minorities an acceptable method for civilized societies today.
After the demise of the totalitarian system and the fall of the Iron Curtain Central and Eastern Europe needs a new paradigm, a fundamental change of mentality in politicai processes.
The model of the previous era, peace by coercion (based on oppression) has to be replaced by a new approach: peace by conviction (based on demoeratic consensus building) within and between states. This will certainly be a long process and success is far from guaranteed everywhere. Because of the politicai weight of the nationality problems in the region, the success or failure of ethni c accomodation is highly relevant to the future of security in the region. Regional stability requires from neighboring countries mutual recognition of the inviolability of the existing borders and - respect for the rights of the minorities living in their territories These are two major elements of the 'Stability Pact', which most of the countries of CEE adopted last year, III Paris. Most of them also signed bilateral treaties, regulating the basic principles of their inter-state relations. For instance, such treaties were elaborated and signed between Poland and its new neighbors. Or to take another example, Hungary signed interstate treaties with Ukraine, Slovenia, Croatia, Slovakia and recently Romania containing clauses conceming minorities.
The value of such treaties and agreements can be measured essentially by their implementation. In this respect, we should see these documents not as an end, but rather as the beginning of a process. They can be crucial instruments for the consolidation of security in the area, if they bring about actual cooperation in inter-state relations, and if they improve the status of minorities inside the countries. However, if this development does not take place, the basic treaties will remain catalogs of unfulfilled promises for the societies involved as well as the euro-atlantic organizations which expect a lot from the political impact of these documents. The paradox III Slovak-Hungarian and Hungarian-Rumanian relations is, that there are areas where cooperation is developing in a very encouraging, even examplary way. For instance, this is the case III trade contacts between Hungary and Slovakia, including the so-caIled smaIl border exchanges, or the defense cooperation between Rumania and Hungary, including such sensitive areas as the open skies exercises, or joint programs of the ground forces .
Compared to these developments, disputes on the treatment of minorities cast shadowon political relations, sometimes creating important tensions among these countries. Many observers believe, in my VIew rightly, that good economic or defense cooperation cannot survive if it remains isolated. If it is not supported by a general desire to improve politicai relations from both sides, including of course the sensitive question of treatement of minorities. I will conclude with a few words about the role of international organizations. In recent years various multinational institutions, like the UN, the Council of Europe and the OSCE have increasingly turned their attention to the minority issue. In terms of 'Realpolitik' , obviously it would be an error to overestimate the influence of these organizations on the actual politicai processes of the member-states, including their individual ethni c policies. However, it would equally be an error to completely ignore their impact, especially in the areas where states have clear international obligations to comply with. The increasing activity ofthese institutions demonstrates that the treatment of minorities is not exclusively an internal affair, and the 'external' interest of the international community IS a legitimate one. The countries of Central and Eastern Europe, which want to join Euro-Atlantic structures, also received another signal. NATO has made it clear, that it does not want another Greek-Turkish rivalry in the Alliance.
This argument comes up very often from Westem side in the theoretical debate on future enlargement. No doubt, this is a legitimate expectation and certainly this will be an important criterion when candidates for futur membership will be tested. However, one should not forget the other side of the story either. Integration itself might promote better understanding between peoples, multiplying channels of communications, setting standards and establishing a larger area of shared values on the European continent. Not suprisingly from the side of the CEE countries this aspect is more emphasized. As it already carne up in our discussion last week, for over three decades the NATO Alliance has had a considerable leverage on Greece and Turkey. It has restrained them, preventing the escalation of tension on more than a few occasions from breaking out into war. Through its multilateral political , diplomatic and military channels NATO has projected stability to the Greco- Turkish relations. In my view, this is an important point to take into consideration in any debate conceming enlargement of NATO. In the future, in Central Europe the political stabilizing function of the North Atlantic Alliance might be as significant as is the traditional collective defense function of this organization. As far as the European Union is concerned, the Central and Eastern European countries which are applying for membership in it, are seeking not only better conditions for their prosperity, but also a sense of increased security in the area, as a consequence of their integration. But, aside from the question of enlargement, and the requirements involved, the countries of Central and Eastern Europe should improve bilateral relations primarily, because it is in their interest to do so.
The international community, including such institutions as NATO, EU, OSCE can help on occasion, but it cannot substitute for the specific day-to-day, country-to-country efforts to settle these lasting nationality problems.