ALTERNATIVE VIEWS ON COOPERATIVE SECURITY IN EUROPE The case of Hungary
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am very pleased to be here this morning and I am sincerely grateful to the Marshall Center for the invitation. Those who know my attachment to this place and the people working here, also know that these are not empty words.
I will structure my presentation around two points. First, I will speak about the concept of cooperative security in the broad Central and Eastern European (further: CEE-an) context. Later, in conclusion, I will comment more specifically the Hungarian case.
As you know, there are two major schools of thought in the area of study of international relations. The `realist ` school is nation-state centered and focuses on traditional power-politics and classic intergovernmental diplomacy. This vision has prevailed in European, especially in the East-Central European politics since the emergence of the modern state. It gives great importance to the geostrategic location of a country , which influences how security matters are decided. History and geography shape the security perception of nations - protagonists of this view maintain.
The second school, which is the interdependentist-accomodationist one, takes a different approach. It argues that at the end of the 20th century, the security of a state can no longer be achieved on a purely national basis. More international cooperation and regional integration is needed, which will - slowly, but surely - change the nature of relations between states and nations, establishing a larger security community in Europe.
The supporters of this idea maintain, that this process started after WW2 and has lead to the creation of a Western security community. They argue that the end of the Cold War opens up the possibility for further development: gradual inclusion of former foes in the East into the same community through enlarged membership and new cooperation frameworks. The current security perceptions in most of the countries of CEE constitute a peculiar mix of these two major approaches to international politics. This dualism reflects the ambiguity of the present situation of these states.
At the end of the CW, in the late `80s, many analysts feared the return of the interwar system in Europe: the renewed rivalry of small states, the re-emergence of traditional alliances, century old fights for sphere of influence, and great power conflicts waged through small client nations involved in endless minority and border disputes.
In 1998, it would be an easy and to some extent unethical method to judge this entire prediction as fundamentally wrong and disclaimed by history. However, we should also emphasize the fact, that pessimistic forecasts about a `hypernationalism` devastating the whole CEE-an region simply did not materialize.
Leaving Communism, CEE did not re-enter history prior WW2. This is the good news. The bad news is that, instead of that, at the end of the `80s, this region experienced a dramatic change, which can be described as `leap in the dark`. An unprecedented new period, which was inherently unstable, ambiguous and volatile in its fundamental international parameters.
One of the lasting features of the rapidly changing environment of the `90s is the fragmentation of the European security landscape. Compared to the Cold War era, Europe remained divided, but this division is no longer East-West bipolar, but to a large extent regional and sub-regional.
The strategic reality on our continent can be graphically described as concentric circles progressing from the stable nucleus of the countries of the European and Euroatlantic Community to the most unstable periphery on the South and the East of the continent including essentially the hot spots of the former Yugoslavia and ex-Soviet Union, such as Bosnia and Kosovo, or Chechnya.
While in some countries this fragmentation still nurtures traditional way of thinking about security and defense policies, there is also an increasing awareness of the changing nature of threats which require new responses and innovative strategies when we approach the millennium. Some analysts speak about a need for a new paradigm in international security policy.
As a matter of fact most of the actors on the European political scene agree that the notion of the security has been altered profoundly, comprising more and more non-military aspects. In CEE some important challenges of the countries` security are internal, stemming from the political and economic development of the individual societies, or the societies of their immediate neighbors.
We find a most recent illustration of this in the Russian economic crisis. In an economically interdependent world such crisis raises major concerns worldwide, but understandably CEE-an countries are among the states who react with the most sensitivity to these developments. This can be explained by the geographic proximity and past experiences. Consequently, it is not an overstatement to say that beside the Russian society itself, the CEE-an societies are the most interested in the success of coordinated international efforts to find an adequate solution to this economic crisis.
Since the late `80s in Europe, the probability of a direct and overall military attack coming from another state, has been reduced substantially. Security risks have become more transnational and generic than they were. Spread of international terrorism and organized crime, arms proliferation, massive influx of migrants and refugees, environmental problems, /or ecological disasters crossing the national boundaries constitute the main concerns of the security agenda today. Based on these tendencies some analysts summarized the current situation in a maxim: `We have no more enemies, we have dangers`.
I do not think that this statement is completely accurate, but it describes sensibly the dilemma of the current decision makers in security matters. Instead of a well identifiable country, with a regular army, they have to confront, as security risk, a complex set of global, regional and intranational actors and trends, which are to a large extent non-military ones. No one country can handle these challenges alone; the instruments and techniques of the traditional security policies have proved to be incapable to address these issues properly. This gave impetus to national governments in CEE to search for international cooperative arrangements and participate as fully as possible, in an extended security community, which is starting to take shape on the continent.
Institutions play a substantial role in building a new order of security relations in Europe. These institutions are numerous, varied in their objectives, membership, internal cohesion and capabilities. Some of them have direct link to security and defense policy (NATO, WEU, the PfP programs, NATO-Russia Permanent Council). Others, the EU and the associated membership to EU for instance, have a more general mission in projecting stability through economic and social development. A third category of institutions, the OSCE, the Council of Europe e.g., play an important role in preventive diplomacy, developing an early warning system to defuse potential crises, or setting norms for governments in the areas of interstate relations or human rights policy. The sub-regional cooperation frames, such as the CEFTA, the Baltic Regional cooperation, the Black See Cooperation, the Central European Initiative, the Carpathian Euroregion etc. constitute another category of institutions promoting stability. As their name indicates, their membership and activity is geographically restricted to individual sub-regions. Although there are still discussions about the mission or relevance of some of them, they are generally considered as useful elements complementing the European and Euroatlantic organizations.
When we speak about the nascent European security architecture, we have in mind the network of these institutions. This is a quite complex network as far as the memberships is concerned. If we put it in the frame of the European geography, we can get a quite interesting design, with numerous cross-cutting and overlapping circles.
There are also obvious differences among these institutions with respect to the security guarantees they provide to their members. In this regard, two closely connected elements - NATO and the Western European integration - should be distinguished within the European security architecture.
Having said that, I think it would be a mistake to suggest a hierarchy of importance of these institutions.
First, each of them fulfills useful functions, with an increasing division of labor, and they are closely interrelated with a wider European security framework. The tragic events in Bosnia, and the emerging crisis in Kosovo demonstrate that no one institution alone can handle the complexity of issues that these conflicts involve: diplomatic pressures, military contingency plans, humanitarian interventions, refugee problems, democratic elections, accommodation of minority claims, economic recovery plans - and we can continue in length with the list of items, which, I think, clearly illustrates the cooperative nature of such multinational and multi-institutional operations.
Second, we have to look at the European security architecture not as a fact, but as a process. It is in a constant and dynamic evolution since the early `90s. As a consequence of this institutional development, the European and Euroatlantic security community is expanding Eastwards, comprising a larger number of countries with fundamentally identical values and interests in matters of security and defense.
In other words, the change is not only institutional and strategic, but primarily mental and psychological. It is expressed in an emerging new perception of what constitutes a threat, and what are the remedies. Cooperative security arrangements and parallel integration processes reject both the Cold War division of Europe (the Yalta system), and the interwar power politics and small nation clientism (the Versailles system). Most importantly, establishment of a larger area of shared values on the continent de-legitimizes geopolitics, as an exclusive way to see one nation’s security problems.
Having said that, it would be inaccurate to idealize the current shape of cooperative security relations among the countries of CEE. In some places lack of strong civic traditions and a turbulent history of relations among neighbors make further progress difficult. We should not forget either the historic reality of some of the newly independent states, where the overwhelming imperative is still not integration, but state-building.
Thus, it will probably take a longer time, when all political actors in that region will be convinced about the fact that `integration` and `national interests` are not contradictory but complementary terms. Consequently, strong nations can perfectly have strong integrationist commitments, and independence can better served through multilateral cooperation than one-sided actions.
To conclude let me say a few words on the case of Hungary in respect of the cooperative security.
At the early `90s, the fundamental changes which affected all countries of CEE, had also a similar effect on Hungary. The WP and the Comecon were abolished, H. regained its sovereignty also in terms of security and defense policy. Three multinational states were disintegrated in the close neighborhood of H.: the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. The number of our neighbors increased from five to seven.
Another important development which affected H`s security perception was the conflict in ex-Yugoslavia. A few months after the end of the Cold War, a real war, a `hot war` broke out in our Southern neighborhood, with the usual negative effects of a war to a neighbor: influx of refugees, frequent violations of our air-space and territorial sovereignty, serious financial losses because of the trade and traffic embargo imposed on Yugoslavia.
Not only H., but other neighbors of ex-Yugoslavia, Austria, Romania, Bulgaria suffered similar consequences. I mentioned this events at the outset, because they influenced the security thinking in my country in the early `90s, and they influenced it mostly in a `realist` way.
Fortunately, these influences were not the only ones. In the same period, the first substantial contacts were established with NATO, and with the European Community, later EU. This was the time when H. became member of the Council of Europe. She actively participated in the redefinition of the mission of CSCE, later OSCE. H. also took an active part in the creation of such sub-regional cooperation frames as the Visegrad cooperation, which later became a free-trade association with enlarged membership under the name of CEFTA; or in the Pentagonal, which was transformed later into the Central European Initiative, comprising currently 16 member states.
Regional cooperation was re-inforced by a series of bilateral agreements, that H. concluded with all its neighbors, except Serbia, (Yugoslavia minor). The absence of this country from the list is explained with reasons which are more related to the issues of international politics than to bilateral problems. The interstate agreements, called sometimes as basic treaties, cover several areas of cooperation from cultural exchanges through inter-regional cross-border contacts to joint projects promoting minority rights. In the given time-frame it is impossible to evaluate the implementation of these agreements, but if somebody will raise questions in this regard I will be happy to respond to them.
Some of the new security risks are global in character, such as the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, uncontrolled spread of missile technology, or the increased threats coming from terrorist attacks. International cooperation is vital in order to control these phenomena. Since several years Hungary has been especially active in two multinational frameworks: the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), and the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). In the coming weeks, for instance, my country will host an important international meeting related to the activity of MTCR, where participating states will exchange information about regions of concern or potential concern, and about the possible means of control.
The specific danger of the missile technology is that, compared to other delivery systems, it is easy to produce and spread, - and it is also relatively cheap. So, there is an increased risk for its uncontrolled proliferation, where not only some states of concern, but also non-state agents, terrorist groups for instance, can have access to such weapons and equipment.
This also explains why, among many countries, H. is also interested in this restrictive regime. H. is a small country, which has no missile production, and has no intention to have it. However, in an ever shrinking world where the weapons technologies are developing at an unprecedented speed, my country feels more vulnerable than before. At the same time, we are also convinced that the best protection against such weaponry is international cooperation, - this is why we demonstrate a strong commitment and activism in MTCR and BWC.
One of the basic tenets of the Hungarian security concept is, that the ultimate guarantor of our national security will be the membership in NATO and European Union. Since the change of the political regime in 1990, integration into NATO and the European Community has been H. `s priority in foreign and security policy. We see these two processes as complementary and mutually reinforcing: there is no security without economic stability and vice-versa. There is also another principal interrelationship between the two processes: H. supports the parallel development of a strong transatlantic link and of a meaningful European security and defense identity. As the development of relations between NATO and WEU indicates, a solid European component within the Alliance can contribute efficiently to the implementation of future tasks.
As far as the timing of accession is concerned, as you know, Hungary with Poland and the Czech Republic are incoming members of NATO and will be full members by next April. Accession talks with EU will take a longer time; 2002 is the most frequently mentioned earliest date in recent public statements.
Membership in NATO and EU is crucial for H., consequently questions related to our smooth accession into these organizations will dominate, in a natural way, the security agenda in the coming years.
However, safety in the region cannot be confined to one-issue. Beside the enlargements process, there are also other global and regional security matters, which have to be addressed by the H.-an foreign policy. H. would like to keep its active engagement in the OSCE process, and in various sub-regional cooperation frameworks. In our view in the period ahead, some of these regional associations might be revitalized, with new missions, which usefully complement the Central European security agenda.
In the coming years every effort should be made to avoid creating new dividing lines in Europe, or creating unhealthy rivalry among those countries who are admitted in the first round of enlargement, and those who are not. He’s vital interest is that the largest number of its neighbors fulfilling the membership criteria can join NATO and EU as soon as possible. This is why we welcome the NATO`s `open door` policy, which provides perspective for the interested Central European countries with respect to the next rounds of extension.
This is not only a principal position of Hungary, but it has been also expressed in practical terms, through cooperation with our neighbors. Let us take the example of two countries singled out in the Madrid summit declaration last year: Slovenia and Romania. Since a year H. has been participating in a trilateral - Italian, Slovenian, Hungarian - military cooperation along our South-Western border, aiming at the creation a multinational peace-support unit, which can be used in future operations of both NATO and WEU. A similar joint peace-keeping contingent was also established by Hungary and Romania, as part of an encouragingly developing military cooperation between the two countries. We can also mention the Central European Nations Cooperation in Peace Support (CENCOOP) created early this year with the participation of Austria, Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania and Hungary.
These cooperation forms are relevant not only in the sense of bilateral relations of the participating states, but they also have a special significance in keeping the Atlantic commitment alive in the countries involved. And by doing that, they certainly contribute to the strengthening of security on the continent.