Summary of "Can Collective Security Work? and Collective Security in Europe After the Cold War"

Summary of

Can Collective Security Work? and Collective Security in Europe After the Cold War

By James Goodby

This Article Summary written by: Conflict Research Consortium Staff 

James Goodby, "Can Collective Security Work?" in Managing Global Chaos, eds. Chester Crocker, Fen Hampson and Pamela Aall, (Washington, D.C.: United States Institute of Peace Press, 1996) pp. 237-253. and James Goodby, "Collective Security in Europe After the Cold War," Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 46, no. 2, pp. 299-321.

Goodby examines the potential for a number of European international organizations to fulfill collective security roles. Goodby defines collective security as "a policy that commits governments to develop and enforce broadly accepted international rules and to seek to do so through collective action legitimized by representative international organizations."[p. 237]

On his approach, collective security is better understood as a strategy and process, rather than as a condition.

Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)

The OSCE was formed in 1990 as the permanent successor to the Conference on Security and Cooperation. The OSCE was envisioned as playing a regional peacekeeping role, as per Chapters 6 and 8 of the UN Charter. Currently the OSCE focuses on providing early warnings of conflicts, and on providing early consultations on emerging crises. To this end,the OSCE has made fact-finding missions to Albania, Yugoslavia, and a number of the former Soviet republics. In 1994 the OSCE offered to provide a multinational peacekeeping force in the event that a cease-fire was reached in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in the Transcaucasus. The OCSE mandate emphasizes peacekeeping activities which complement and facilitate political conflict resolution processes. The OCSE model does not provide for operations oriented toward crisis management, peace-enforcement or imposing settlements. And so Goodby concludes that the OCSE is positioned to play a significant, but limited role in European collective security.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

NATO was formed in 1949 as a collective defense organization, and so is well-equipped to perform military peacekeeping and security missions. NATO has the added advantage of an existing, well-integrated multinational command structure. NATO's first collective security action came in 1992 with the enforcement of sanctions on Yugoslavia. Subsequent activities have included enforcement of the Bosnia no-fly zones, air-strikes in defense of Sarajevo and Gorazde, and protection of UN ground troops.

The North Atlantic Cooperation Council (NACC) was formed in 1991 to provide a link between NATO and former Warsaw Treaty Organization member states. The Partnership for Peace (PFP) created in 1994, establishes a framework for cooperation between NATO and other European states. PFP has resulted in nearly thirty nations agreeing to cooperate in military training, and in other activities which emphasize peacekeeping.

NATO is positioned to play a major role in European peacekeeping and regional security. However, NATO's activities will likely be limited by Russia's unwillingness to have NATO operate within former Soviet territory. Goodby suggests that NATO and the NACC could complement the OCSE, by providing crisis and enforcement services while the OCSE focuses on human rights monitoring and facilitating long-term conflict resolution.

Western European Union (WEU)

WEU was originally created in 1954 to rearm West Germany in preparation for joining NATO. Largely inactive since its inception, in 1992 the European Community (EC) resurrected WEU as its military arm. WEU member states are all also members of NATO. One advantage WEU had over NATO was that France found it easier to act within the WEU framework. Lately however France has been warming toward NATO. Two disadvantages of WEU are that it lacks the integrated command structure and planning and logistical resources of NATO.

France proposed using WEU troops to intervene early in the Yugoslavian conflict. The United Kingdom opposed this intervention, based on its own experiences in Northern Ireland. WEU's first peacekeeping action came in 1992 in Yugoslavia, in cooperation with NATO. The fate of WEU depends largely on future development of the European Community. Goodby sees WEU's most promising role as cooperating with NATO, and helping the EC to stabilize the economies of East Central Europe and the former Soviet states.

Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)

In 1992 the former Soviet states of Russia, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan created the CIS, specifically to serve as an organ of collective security. While promising, the CIS has had some initial difficulties in establishing a truly multilateral structure. CIS peacekeeping forces are composed predominately of Russian troops. This tends to undermine the impartiality needed for peacekeeping actions. Russia has been slow to withdraw its troops from neighboring states, and protests from those states have prompted the OCSE to send observer missions. The situation is further aggravated by Russian politicians with imperial ambitions, and by Moscow's assumed role as protector of ethnic Russians in the other nations of the former Soviet Union.