The Euro-Atlantic Region: Equal Security for All

7 july 2010

Sergei Lavrov is Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation.

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The Euro-Atlantic Region: Equal Security for All
The teamwork philosophy underlies Russia’s foreign policy. Its top priority is creating favorable external conditions for comprehensive modernization of the country, diversification of the economy and its transition to an innovation development model. We do not need confrontation and we will never opt for it.
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Resume: The teamwork philosophy underlies Russia’s foreign policy. Its top priority is creating favorable external conditions for comprehensive modernization of the country, diversification of the economy and its transition to an innovation development model. We do not need confrontation and we will never opt for it.

This article was written for France’s Revue Defense Nationale (May 2010).

The world is changing rapidly. We are witnessing a radical transformation of international relations, their paradigm and the system of global governance that was established in the post-World War II period. Today, we are facing security threats and risks that are common to all countries in the Euro-Atlantic area, as well as to other parts of the world – these are terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, regional crises, drug trafficking, piracy, and natural and man-made disasters. These are all cross-border phenomena, which can be effectively countered only through collective efforts.

Russia is an inalienable part of Europe. We are intensifying our strategic partnership with the European Union, advocating the establishment of a modernization alliance between Russia and the EU, and developing close bilateral cooperation with numerous partners on the continent. Normalization of Russia-NATO relations within the framework of the NATO-Russia Council is continuing. We all have common interests in stabilizing and rebuilding Afghanistan, settling long-lasting conflicts, and ensuring energy and food security. Together with the leading countries in all regions of the world, we are taking concerted efforts to overcome the global financial and economic crisis. Russia is leading collective anti-crisis efforts in the Commonwealth of Independent States. In the same way, that is jointly, we should respond to climate change.

The teamwork philosophy also underlies Russia’s foreign policy. Its top priority is creating favorable external conditions for comprehensive modernization of the country, diversification of the economy and its transition to an innovation development model. We are interested in investment, cutting-edge technologies, advanced ideas, and stable and open world markets. We do not need confrontation and we will never opt for it. At worst, if any of our partners appears to be unready for joint and equal actions, relations with it may turn into “non-confrontation,” that is, a state of aloofness from each other’s problems, a position of waiting until natural processes create not only objective conditions (these already exist) but also subjective conditions for convergence at the level of assessments and practical politics.

The dramatic changes that have taken place in the world over the last 20 years could not but affect the European security system, necessitating its transformation. This goal is facilitated by the improved atmosphere in Euro-Atlantic politics, where the demand for confrontational approaches has decreased. This demand was created artificially, specifically under the impact of the discord caused by the war in Iraq.

One can hardly view as normal a situation where military-political realities in the Euro-Atlantic have fallen far behind the present economic, technological, trade, investment and other processes of interdependence and are increasingly coming into conflict with the requirements of the time.

European security has declined in all respects over the last 20 years. This includes the erosion of the arms control regime, the atrophy of the OSCE, the emergence of serious conflicts and the danger of their uncontrolled escalation, and attempts to turn frozen conflicts into hot ones. Statements that “everything is normal, let’s leave everything as it is” cannot convince anyone. In my opinion, the key issues for the analysis of the present situation are the theory and practice of a comprehensive approach to security, including the future of the OSCE and the Russian-proposed comprehensive and pragmatic solution to the problem in the form of a European Security Treaty.

RECENT HISTORY: A BRIEF OVERVIEW

When the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact ceased to exist, there was a real chance to make the OSCE into a full-fledged organization capable of ensuring equal security for all states in the Euro-Atlantic area. This opportunity was missed, however, as the choice was made in favor of the policy of NATO enlargement, which in practice meant not only the preservation of the lines dividing Europe into zones with different levels of security, but also the movement of these lines to the East. The role of the OSCE was, in fact, reduced to serving this policy through the supervision of the humanitarian dimension “east of Vienna.” This choice – for all the good intentions behind it – had one fundamental methodological flaw: it took it as a given the fragmented nature of European security for the long term, including the systemic divide between the East and the West. This made the task of building a collective security system hostage to the political situation in the region and in world affairs. The crises in Kosovo, Iraq and, later, Georgia’s reckless military campaign in August 2008 provided convincing evidence of that. Everyone needs security – and now, rather than sometime in the future, which must be built largely through a universal feeling of equal and equally guaranteed security.

The choice made by our partners in the 1990s prevented the construction of a European architecture that would have integrated all states of the Euro-Atlantic area without exception into one organization, based on clear and legally binding principles and having instruments for ensuring security for all and in all its dimensions. The OSCE proved to be divorced from the needs of real life.

Importantly, neither the OSCE nor any other organization has ever implemented the principle of indivisibility of security throughout the Euro-Atlantic area, which was solemnly proclaimed in the 1990s at the highest level. This principle provided that the security of each state must be inextricably linked with the security of all states, and that all participating states must refrain from taking any action to strengthen their own security at the expense of the security of others. This principle was declared by the OSCE, NATO and the NATO-Russia Council (NRC). But whereas the indivisibility of security is a mandatory and legal requirement in the North Atlantic Alliance, in the OSCE and the NRC it is reduced to political declarations, not backed by any legal and practical implementation.

Two episodes from recent history support the conclusion that the principle of indivisibility of security is not working in the OSCE. In 1999, a group of OSCE member states committed aggression against another OSCE member. Importantly, the illegal bombings of Serbia were triggered by self-willed actions of the head of the Kosovo Verification Mission of the OSCE, William Walker, who immediately on arrival at Racak [a village in central Kosovo – Ed.] in January 1999 declared what had happened there earlier that month to be “genocide.” A subsequent investigation conducted by Finnish experts (under the auspices of the EU) confirmed that the Racak victims were not civilians but members of armed groups. Incidentally, a report on the investigation is kept at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and, despite our repeated requests, has never been submitted even to members of the UN Security Council. I am recalling this event not to justify the policy of Slobodan Milosevic but to emphasize the absolute unacceptability of a situation when impermissible statements by an OSCE functionary, not based on facts, led to a war in Europe.

In the other episode, an OSCE member-state, bound by commitments not to use force and to respect the principle of peaceful settlement of conflicts, in August 2008 attacked civilians in South Ossetia, as well as Russian peacekeepers, who were fulfilling their duty there under internationally recognized agreements, signed, among others, by Georgia.

Due to the “looseness” of the OSCE and the absence of clear-cut rules in it, the information of OSCE observers about the Georgian leadership’s preparations for the military attack was not reported to the OSCE Permanent Council and the latter failed to take appropriate measures. The NRC failed utterly, too – some of its members blocked Russia’s request to convene an urgent meeting in the midst of the hostilities. But even in those conditions, Russia stood test for proportionality and moderateness as it used just as much force as was required to suppress Georgian positions, from which the territory of South Ossetia was shelled. We left the resolution of the issue of regime change in Georgia to its people.

The rethinking of the consequences of the Caucasian crisis made many people draw the right conclusions from what happened. A report on those events, prepared by Swiss diplomat Heidi Tagliavini at the request of the European Union, largely contributed to this rethinking. Those who wanted to hear an “independent confirmation” of the long-known facts to “clear their conscience” have received such an opportunity.

Both Kosovo and South Ossetia are manifestations of the systemic weakness of the OSCE, which was used to implement scenarios that were far from the interests of genuine pan-European security and the ideals of the Helsinki Final Act.

“FAMILY AFFAIRS” OF EUROPE

At turning points of history, one always has to choose between the past and the future. This is precisely the choice that we are facing today. It is important not to miss this unique moment. I am sure that we can rise above historical complexes and look beyond the horizon.

By and large, it is necessary to analyze the “family affairs” of Europe after the end of the Cold War and to rethink many things – not in the categories of euphoria and triumphalism of the early 1990s, but on the basis of a sober analysis of the real consequences of what has happened over the past 20 years. The geopolitical weight of Europe and the entire European civilization, of which the United States and Russia are inalienable parts, depends on whether we can draw the right lessons together.

One lesson should be an honest acknowledgement that there are big problems with the concept of indivisibility of security and that this problem will have to be addressed anyway, so that it does not prevent us from handling concrete tasks that are important to all of us, of which there are plenty. Having solved the problem of indivisibility of security in the Euro-Atlantic area once and for all, we will be able to focus on a positive agenda and on pressing matters on the basis of shared interests, and will create a solid foundation for interaction between Europe, the U.S. and Russia.

However, there should be no exclusivity in our common area as regards the most sensitive sphere – the military-political dimension of security. To remove the problem of the false choice between the EU/NATO and Russia, faced by many countries, we need something inclusive, reaching beyond NATO and the NRC.

It is clear now that confrontational policies or even a confrontational atmosphere do not yield the desired results. Therefore, one can only welcome the increasing calls to act, at long last, in line with common sense. That would be a real change after years of irrational policies based on “intuition and instincts,” as Saint-Simon put it.

Many people are aware of the unhealthy nature of the current situation. Hence the real interest in President Dmitry Medvedev’s idea, put forward in June 2008, to conclude a treaty on Euro-Atlantic security. Since then, a major thinking process has been launched in intergovernmental formats and at various politic-analytical platforms. Without this initiative, which reflects our analysis of the situation in European affairs, there would have been no agitation in the OSCE.

THE CORFU PROCESS: A COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH

In response to the Russian initiative, our partners in NATO and the European Union said they were ready to discuss it only at the OSCE, because this organization is the “custodian” of a comprehensive approach to security, adopted by all of us.

It is noteworthy that no OSCE member state, except Russia, had recalled this “comprehensive approach” before we put forward our initiative. Actually, the OSCE had not displayed it in its practices. The lion’s share of its programs had been implemented in the humanitarian field at the expense of other baskets. We are far from underestimating humanitarian problems in Europe, but the serious imbalances in the work of the OSCE should be removed.

As concerns the human dimension, we should not forget about the Council of Europe which has produced an array of European conventions. Unlike policy documents of the OSCE, these conventions are legally binding and form a common legal space on the continent. Why not invite all OSCE members, including such members of the European family as the U.S. and Canada, to accede to these conventions in the context of the Corfu Process? Everyone would benefit from that – the way all countries, including Russia, have benefited from the ratification by Russia of Protocol 14 to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

In other words, it is in the field of “soft security,” that is, a sphere related to the security of the individual and human rights, that an effective pan-European organization – the Council of Europe – has been established. But as regards “hard” security, there is no genuinely collective organization that would have an international legal personality.

Speaking of the economic dimension of security, the OSCE is facing an even more serious competition from specialized multilateral structures. It should look for a niche of its own, rather than try to duplicate these structures’ activity, especially as the OSCE simply lacks the expertise and resources for that. At the same time, it could express its position on the principles of economic relations among OSCE member states. In particular, it could point to the inadmissibility of unilateral coercive measures taken by some of its members for political reasons and not based on UN Security Council decisions.

We all need an OSCE that would actually strengthen security and cooperation on the continent in all dimensions, bringing in an added value and relying on its real comparative advantages. We want to see a strong and effective OSCE guided by international law.

This is why we actively supported the Greek presidency of the OSCE in its initiative to launch the Corfu Process, which revealed the awareness of the need to revive in full the Helsinki Decalogue and a truly comprehensive approach to security. Such a platform for free discussions is valuable as it provides an opportunity to exchange open-minded views on various things. We hope the continuation of the dialogue will help work out ways to increase the OSCE’s efficiency in every way.

Naturally, a comprehensive approach should not be replaced with a tactic of applying artificial linkages. After all, if someone refuses to discuss “hard” security unless the human rights situation becomes satisfactory, then someone else may take a likewise (but opposite) position and not wish to discuss humanitarian matters without prior agreement on military-political or economic issues. And then we all will find ourselves in a deadlock.

We assume that all dimensions of security are important and should be discussed with a view to achieving the most effective accords on each issue, rather than in accordance with a lowest-common-denominator principle. We also advocate reaffirming all the fundamental documents of the OSCE and analyzing the course of fulfillment of all previously adopted commitments. But when we are told that we should only discuss commitments concerning the “humanitarian basket,” plus not all of them (omitting, for example, the issue of the freedom of movement), this is a direct way to prevent the OSCE from getting out of its deep crisis.

It is encouraging that the agreed agenda of the Corfu Process highlights the issue of enhancing the effectiveness of the OSCE. Its discussion cannot avoid the issue of the organization’s reform, including the adoption of a Charter and the harmonization of clear, transparent rules of operation of all its institutions and mechanisms. The Corfu Process must result, above all, in the creation of a legal framework of the OSCE, which could be built up with agreements on substantive issues in the context of a comprehensive and balanced approach to all dimensions of security.

Russia has already made a significant contribution to preparations for the forthcoming discussions within the framework of the Corfu Process. Taking into account recommendations of the Panel of Eminent Persons On Strengthening the Effectiveness of the OSCE, together with several other countries, we have distributed a draft Charter and other proposals concerning the OSCE’s reform and the need for its more active work on all the three baskets.


THE EUROPEAN SECURITY TREATY

When we first spoke of the need for a European Security Treaty, we thought of a document that would cover all major aspects of “hard” security. However, in light of the contacts that we had with our partners and their views, we agreed to discuss all practical issues in this sphere in the course of the Corfu Process. The initiatives that we have introduced within the framework of this process include a proposal to modernize the Vienna Document on Confidence and Security Building Measures (which has not been updated for ten years), as well as proposals on arms control, principles for settling conflicts, and efforts to combat new threats.

As regards the European Security Treaty, the draft that we have distributed no longer contains specific military-political issues and focuses only on one subject, namely the principle of indivisibility of security, which has systemic importance. We propose a very simple and minimally required thing – making this principle, which was earlier declared a political commitment, legally binding. We also propose defining a mechanism for its implementation in practice in cases when a party to the Treaty believes that its security is infringed upon.

Unless this systemic problem is solved, it will hardly be possible to effectively address individual manifestations of ills.

The “codification” of the principle of indivisibility of security would help create a single legal military-political space in Europe without zones of different degrees of security, and would help us pool our efforts at a basically new level of confidence for joint and more effective counteraction to common threats. Incidentally, our partners’ reaction to our proposal to make the declarations of the 1990s legally binding will show how sincere they were when they said at summit level that security would be indivisible and that no one would ensure one’s security at the expense of others. It would not be an exaggeration to say that everyone’s willingness to reach agreement will be tested.

The Russian initiative fits organically into the legal frameworks of the UN Charter and its collective security concept. It does not “abrogate” any of the previously concluded pan-European agreements or any of the existing organizations. On the contrary, all of them, including NATO, the EU, the OSCE, the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Commonwealth of Independent States, are invited to become full-fledged parties to the Treaty, along with all states in the Euro-Atlantic region. I emphasize this because some of our Western colleagues are trying to see a double bottom in Russia’s proposals; they suspect that, by calling for collective security, we want to destroy NATO and even weaken the European Union. Of course, we don’t.

In our relations with NATO we have never taken a malignant position in the spirit of the famous phrase commonly attributed to Marie Antoinette and have never proposed that the Alliance “eat cake” alone, whether in Afghanistan or elsewhere. Whatever the developments, we never slammed the door and always maintained an opportunity for a new beginning in our relations. That was why the Founding Act and the Rome Declaration appeared. Now we are to make the third attempt, taking into account all our previous, mostly negative, experience.

What we propose is not building a new architecture for European security but bringing it to a common legal denominator on the basis, let me emphasize this again, of earlier collectively proclaimed principles. Actually, the idea of a European Security Treaty offers the most practical and shortest way to solving the acute problem of security deficiencies in our region, which does not involve any painful decisions on anyone’s part, nor any changes to the constituent documents of the existing Euro-Atlantic organizations. We advocate interaction among all these organizations in the spirit of “cooperative security” and on a solid legal basis, in full accordance with the 1999 Charter for European Security. We firmly believe that our proposal shapes a realistic and positive agenda for Europe.

Resistance to the creation of a region-wide security system would throw European politics back to the past, especially as the status quo is unsustainable – either we go forward, or the situation continues deteriorating and the fragmented European security architecture will work to reproduce mistrust, at best.

The European Security Treaty initiative is aimed at building a truly open and democratic system of region-wide collective security and cooperation, which would ensure the unity of the Euro-Atlantic area – from Vancouver to Vladivostok – and would help overcome the inertia of bloc approaches.

It is strange to hear people say that our initiative is an attempt to return to the 19th-century policies of “spheres of influence.” On the contrary, the Treaty offers a real opportunity to rebuild Euro-Atlantic politics on a collective basis and will help redeem the time lost after the end of the Cold War. It provides a universal answer to all imaginable and unimaginable security deficiencies in the region. So far, no one has undertaken to convince us that this is not so.

Our partners also admit that one of the problems is that the present institutions of Euro-Atlantic security, including NATO, were created to counter threats of the 20th century, not the current ones. At the same time, we see a persistent desire to solve the problem of security deficiencies within the narrow framework of these institutions. This is an obvious contradiction between the goal and the means.

It would be appropriate to refer to earlier history. The League of Nations did not live up to the expectations and during the interwar period failed to resist destructive tendencies in European politics, which led to the outbreak of World War II. However, the right conclusions were drawn from its work, and the United Nations came into being – a new and efficient incarnation of the right idea that underpinned the creation of the League of Nations. So, it is often not an idea that is wrong but the way it is implemented. Actually, this is the essence of the current problems of the market economy.

After President Dmitry Medvedev came out with the European Security Treaty idea in late 2009 and offered it for discussion to all his colleagues in the Euro-Atlantic area, this work is expected to reach a new level. We expect a substantive and constructive response. We thank those who have already responded. We are open to any concrete proposal on the essence of the issues involved, after which we can summarize views and assessments and reach agreement on when, where and how we can enter into negotiations. At this stage, it is important to use all available formats for dialogue.

As I have said, the EST project is independent from the Corfu Process, and we will continue promoting it without any linkage to the Corfu discussions. At the same time, such OSCE structures as the Annual Security Review Conference in Vienna and the Forum for Security Cooperation (FSC), established to address military-political issues, are viewed as promising platforms for dialogue on various aspects of “hard” security. It is in the FSC’s competence to review the course of implementation of OSCE member states’ commitments in this field, including the commitment on the indivisibility of security.

The Euro-Atlantic expert community and authoritative non-governmental organizations have enthusiastically joined in the discussion of our initiative. I mean, in particular, the Aspen Institute, the EastWest Institute, and Russia’s Council on Foreign and Defense Policy and Institute of Contemporary Development, which have published interesting reports, as well as the trilateral Euro-Atlantic Security Initiative of the Carnegie Endowment. We also hope that parliamentary diplomacy will contribute to these efforts.

SECURITY STRUCTURES – THE WAY THEY ARE AND THE WAY THEY SHOULD BE

There is much to be done to achieve comprehensive security in Europe in deed, rather than in slogans. In particular, one needs to solve the problem of openness, since neither NATO nor Russia, or anyone else view each other as enemies any longer. If we are not enemies, what is the point of NATO’s secrecy and its persistent desire to ensure a privileged status for its members as regards legally binding security guarantees?

A new approach is also required to the issue of “sovereignty” of the existing security structures. They cannot operate in a vacuum, and our Treaty only proposes unifying their modi operandi in full conformity with the generally accepted Euro-Atlantic principle of cooperative security. The EastWest Institute said in its report that equal and indivisible security means overcoming the logic of negative interdependence based on confrontation of potentials of mutual destruction, and ascending to the logic of positive interdependence in the sphere of security based on recognition of the community of fundamental security interests in the face of the entire array of global challenges and threats.

Unfortunately, most of the problems existing in relations between Russia and NATO belong to political psychology. These are, first of all, prejudices and instincts of the past and the intellectual inertia of those who matured in the Cold War years. They still live on, as shown by a recent book by Ronald Asmus, A Little War That Shook the World. This book is a vivid example of myth-based analysis and an attempt to “replay” the August 2008 events in the Caucasus in the virtual reality of the information space. Such an approach is not encouraging, I must say.

Sadly, it is turning into a bipartisan approach where the issue of the previous U.S. administration’s responsibility for the nurturing of the phenomenon of Saakashvili is hushed up. I think this is a bad signal to everyone, including Russians and the incumbent regime in Tbilisi, whose criminal undertaking is now presented as “the first military conflict between the East and the West” after the Cold War.

Those who do not want to change anything in the European architecture of “hard” security (just as in the OSCE which is extolled as a “golden standard”) display their reformist aspirations towards NATO in a very strange way. The ideas expressed in the context of the preparation of a new strategic concept of the Alliance go along the line of globalizing the policy of NATO-centrism and spreading it far beyond Europe, including the projection of military force to any region in the world – and not necessarily with UN Security Council approval. NATO’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said at a conference in Munich on February 6, 2010, that territorial defense remains NATO “core task” and added: “In an age of globalized insecurity, our territorial defense must begin beyond our borders.” I wonder how NATO would react if Russia’s conceptual documents contained something of this kind. This is a rhetorical question, though.

The EST idea makes it possible to side-step the issue of the relative roles of individual structures in the European security architecture – all these structures are invited to become equal parties to the Treaty. This also fully agrees with previous top-level accords: many people somehow forget now about the provisions of the Charter for European Security which not only set out in detail the principle of indivisibility of security but also clearly state that there should be no hierarchy among organizations operating in the Euro-Atlantic region.

If everyone really wants to play by jointly established rules, we fully support this desire and propose making these rules legally binding.

Meanwhile, hierarchy persists in the approaches of many our partners. NATO-centrism is so strong that the Alliance declines to cooperate with the Collective Security Treaty Organization even on an existential issue for itself, namely Afghanistan – simply because such cooperation is possible only on the basis of equality, and NATO is not ready for that.

The same logic is behind the talk of Russia’s “integration into the political West,” rather than of convergence, synthesis or fusion. After all, there were periods of convergence in the 20th century: in the 1930s, during World War II and the years of detente. Now we have even more grounds for that, especially against the backdrop of the global financial crisis, after which a new international architecture will take shape anyway.

One must give an honest answer to the question “What does NATO gain by clinging to its ‘privileged status’ in the European security architecture, when it cannot do much inside and outside Europe without close interaction with other players?” This systemic problem cannot be solved through the development of creative schemes for attracting these players as co-executors of NATO’s decisions. Effective cooperation is possible only on the basis of genuine equality.

INERTIA OR A BREAKTHROUGH INTO A COMMON FUTURE?

The current inertia works as a self-fulfilling prophecy. This, in particular, makes it difficult to completely break with the past at the level of conceptual documents in the spheres of national security and military planning. If someone wants to hedge in military planning against “Russia going in the wrong direction,” we find it natural and necessary to hedge in the same way in matters of national security. But we do this at the lowest possible level, as evidenced by the provisions of the new Military Doctrine.

The Doctrine views as danger (not threat) not NATO per se but only specific avenues of its possible evolution, namely “the desire to impart global functions to the power potential of NATO in violation of international law, and to bring the military infrastructure of NATO member countries closer to the borders of the Russian Federation, specifically by enlarging the Organization.” At the same time, the Doctrine emphasizes Russia’s desire to cooperate with the West on security issues that are common to all and that require a collective approach to their solution. In particular, it proposes developing interaction with the EU and NATO in the sphere of international security to deter and prevent military conflicts.

I think such an open approach is much better than trying to build one’s new “Grand Strategy” on the basis of the experience of the Byzantine Empire, which can be admired in its own way.

Everything is changing fast now, like in a kaleidoscope. A new world is being born. Take, for example, the instantaneous creation of the format of the Group of Twenty summits as soon as it was required by the global economic and financial meltdown, which left no place for narrower and privileged formats in the global macro-economy. This process has already brought about legally binding accords, for example, one on a revision of member quotas in the IMF and the World Bank.

The September 11, 2001 events are another example of the fast changes, from which two conclusions must be drawn. The first one is that the old structures and ways of ensuring security cannot be applied to the new asymmetrical and unconventional threats. The second conclusion is the existence of a huge and still dormant potential of international solidarity, which goes far beyond the frameworks of existing military alliances and organizations. In those tragic days, when we extended our helping hand to America, we least of all thought about what organizations the United States is a member of. What more must happen – in addition to September 2001 and August 2008 – before equality and collective actions triumph in approaches to the military-political security?

The approach proposed by us is in line with the idea of a “global security network” advocated by the NATO leadership. No one should be denied a chance to play the leading role in this network. It is another thing how feasible this will be in practice. Leadership in each particular matter will depend on one’s ability for that.

Preserving the principle of consensus in all security organizations will be of fundamental importance and a guarantee against their arbitrary use for aggressive purposes. No organization should be turned into a cover for illegitimate unilateral actions in violation of the UN Charter and the Helsinki principles. Such actions, regardless of the motives behind them, will undermine collective security.

*  *  *

The key importance of the Treaty proposed by us is that it can help solve the systemic problem and create a common legal space in the sphere of military-political security. Building on this foundation, we will be able to address arms control issues more effectively, extend confidence-building measures, work towards the harmonization of military doctrines and military construction plans, and work out common approaches to conflict settlement. It will also be possible to improve the quality of interaction in responding to common threats on the basis of respecting the central role of the UN, international law and, of course, the legitimate interests of all states outside the Euro-Atlantic area.

To implement the principle of indivisibility of security in practice, it is also important that each organization seek to integrate into the system of collective interests of all members of the Euro-Atlantic community, while retaining its identity. This would significantly increase the relevance of the OSCE, provided it becomes a really functioning organization ensuring a comprehensive approach to security in the area from Vancouver to Vladivostok.

I would like to point out that Russia’s national “segment” of this pan-European program would be improving the quality of cooperation in the NATO-Russia Council and within the framework of its strategic partnership with the EU.

 The conclusion of a European Security Treaty would help overcome military-political instincts of the past in the contemporary Euro-Atlantic politics, which prevent countries from effectively countering real, not phantom, threats that are common to us all. A basically new factor is emerging in the Euro-Atlantic area now – this is an objective convergence of national interests, which is creating favorable conditions for solving the fundamental task of strengthening the positions of European civilization in the globalizing, polycentric and increasingly competitive world on a de-ideologized basis. Our joint work on the Treaty will help us achieve a new quality of mutual trust, which Europe so urgently needs in the present conditions.

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