Do We Still Need OSCE: What For? For Whom?


           In 2010 OSCE (including naturally CSCE) is celebrating its 35 anniversary. It is the age when symbolically youth came to an end and preparations for the mature age start. If we were to talk about an activity analysis, we would find a glorious situation and I have no doubt that it will be mentioned in an adequate manner. I will recall the CSCE role in putting an end to the Cold War only from its historical perspective. The NATO military pressure constituted only the condition for the start of the perestroika process in the USSR. The cause of the soviet empire fall was the reawakening of the peoples’ freedom spirit and the human rights promotion by the CSCE.

The title of the Conference opening speech is „OSCE at Crossroads”. Twenty years ago, at the end of the Cold War, the question was whether we still needed CSCE; and the answer was the enhancement of its role by making it become OSCE. Today nobody has doubts regarding OSCE necessity. Yes. We need OSCE, but what for and for whom?

In my opinion, difficult is the on this new crossroad not the choice to follow one way or another, but the capability to anticipate where lead these roads or other new roads that may open in the new century of unexpected transformations, and where the risks game and the actors are fastly changing.

In order to shape a vision upon the risks of the future we need to have the courage to talk openly about the difficulties of the present. During the last two months I was invited at the Conference organized by the Atlantic Council in Washington, having as topic the future of the USA – EU relationship and also at the NATO Conference organized in Oslo upon the its new strategic concept. In my speeches I have stressed upon the necessity of dropping the „politically correct” language, that represented nothing else than taking over the old communist regimes „wooden language”. Both of them do not solve the conflicts, but postpone them. Hence, the OSCE mission was first to solve the old frozen conflicts and then to focus on preventing them.

I would like to bring into your attention the initiatives of the OSCE Kazakh Presidency to organize such debates with the civil society before the summit propound for 2010. I have attended the OSCE summits organized in Lisbon and Istanbul, but I was restrained to hold within the presidential speeches. The Conference in Bucharest, organized by the Institute for International Relations and Economic Cooperation and by the Kazakhstan Diplomatic Mission represents a good opportunity for an open and sincere approach of some controversial issues.

I would like to point out in my speech two types of challenges OSCE faces. The first one is related to a few neuralgic points within the organization activity bring on the agenda the OSCE effectiveness and that should be rapidly solved. The second challenge concerns the elaboration of a strategic concept for the OSCE activity during the first part of the 21st century. Elaborating a new long-term strategy cannot be postponed taking into account that other organizations OSCE cooperates with have already approached one. The EU has recently framed a strategy and NATO is about to adopt a new strategic concept on its 2010 summit.

From the first category, I can mention the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE). This treaty meant an important instrument for rebuilding the trust, altogether with the START treaties and the negotiation of the antiballistic missile treaty. The openness and transparency all the European armies have shown have managed to replace the mistrust and the lack of information, the wrong perceptions and mistaken assessments upon the threats and the necessary security infrastructure. Unfortunately, the recent situation shows a systematic fall of this system as well as an ending in the applicability terms for other agreements on arming limitation.

The adapted Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, signed in 1999 in Istanbul, came to register the new changes in the European transition, in the Soviet Union fall, in the NATO enlargement and in the security options for the states in the post-communist area. The adapted treaty has never come into force de jure, as it has never been ratified by the states that had signed it. This happened firstly because nonachieving the commitments adopted in the Final Act of the OSCE Summit in Istanbul, to withdraw the military forces from Moldova and Georgia Republics, based on the principle of armies’ nonstationarity within another sovereign state without its consent.

As regards reducing the armament within the category subjected to restrictions in flank areas, it happened only at the Akhalkalaki and Batumi military bases. There was no progress reported in withdrawal the troops from Transnistria and in disabling the armament deposits in the separatist region after refusal to sign the Memorandum in December 2003.

The commitments in Istanbul are recorded in the Final Act of the revised Treaty of Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, signed at the OSCE Summit held in Istanbul, by all the member states. Unfortunately, the Russian Federation has announced unilaterally adjournment of its participation within the CFE agreements, stating that „it is affected its own national security”.

It is true that in spite of the fact that the revised CFE Treaty was not ratified, it was generally respected.

As regards the treaties of strategic arms reduction treaties START I and II and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), we come closer to the cease of the START I Treaty, while START II was not ratified and the INF Treaty has problems as regards the motivation of the new anti-missile shield in Europe. In 2010, the whole treaties system on controlling the nuclear forces and unconventional forces in Europe may become history if there will not start negotiations for their extension, coming into force or restarting

As regards the control of the Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) and of the conventional ammunition there are necessary funds to destroy the old arms and ammunitions and for the programs of control upon the security of depositing and circulation of the small weapons, of their registration and licensing the weapons holders, and of the reduction their number and stocks. Connected to these issues, it is to be noticed that during the last ten years some states were interested in blocking the OSCE activity, in order to control it or make insignificant the institution itself or parts of it, especially those connected to democracy and field operations control. Fortunately, raising the awareness upon secondary effects and upon the costs of eliminating the organization from the European political and security scene make impossible to oust or to block OSCE.

Concerning the OSCE long term strategy, we deal with a relatively different situation. It is necessary and effort to understanding and anticipating the evolution tendencies of the world we live in. The changes in the security environment can be understood only if take into account the change in the nature of the international relations, of the rules, norms, actors typology, goals and ways of action.

The Russia-Georgia war in August 2008 represented a triggering element for new theoretical approaches. Its immediate consequences have shown the inherent weaknesses of the frozen conflicts solving systems, managed by OSCE – in South Ossetia and by ONU - in Abkhazia. Beyond all these, have come out as obvious the EU institutional blockings concerning the foreign policy and the conflicts within NATO. Although the conflict enlargement was blocked, a major institutional crisis has come out visible on international level. Its components show a crisis of means, a crisis of principles as well as amoral crisis. Revising the security strategies based on new approach models has imposed as a necessity. All the same, consequences regarding the security assessment and planning logics.

Three theories were brought into discussion during debates. According to the first one, the world is unipolar, due to the USA super-power, which have invested during the last ten years double the amount of the military budgets of all the other states in scientific and technological for military purposes. The world is unipolar from the point of view of the liberal democracy model, that is present not only in the USA and in the EU, but in Japan, Australia, South Korea, all having a high development and life standard, OSCE collaborates with.

The second theory describes the world as uni-multipolar, with an anarchic periphery. In this context, the USA can not act alone, but also along with other powers. The West itself is multipolar and irregular. The domestic democracy and the one within international bodies and institutions it had created generate the Western multipolarity.

The third theory says that the globalized world can be characterized as a risk society to which a great number of citizens have been adapted to. Those would be especially young people under 40 years, who do not assume identities and loyalties on long term, but only on pragmatic and present terms. There is a great number of global citizens, very active and mobiles, who establish themselves within areas offering them a minimum risk or a maximum opportunity, according to each personality. This kind of population coexists with groups or persons that lead their life according to the former bipolar world, in black and white, even though the religious or ethnical ones have replaced ideological intolerances. The contemporary world is complicated and the its coexistence along with proto-state or pseudo-state structures based on clans, large families or other structures that had preceded the formation of peoples or nations. These are present in Africa, in some regions in Asia or even in Latin America. The way the international community approaches every actor should take into account the perceptions of the actor concerned.

Each state security should adapt to the postmodern society. In our contemporary world, states can no longer be divided in blocks because the reactions following different interests lead to changing the alliances and the opposite parts on different topics or subjects. On one hand, it is a reflex of the contemporary world democratization, but also of the governments’ pragmatism forced to respond to the needs of its own citizens.

Problems of the transition towards democracy, along with the separatism and the delay in consolidating the new independent states create, on their turn; risks directly connected to the states and governments political legitimacy and put under question mark the fighting capability against institutionalized corruption, but also against the mafia-like cores that nourish separatism and block the consolidation of the new states. A threat associated to the democracy global model is populism, too. Populism can lead to weakening the power and efficiency of the key democratic institutions, of the independency of justice, mass media and army. The elements along with the existing frozen conflicts arouse concerns both about the dividing tendencies within the new independent states, but also about the terrorist elements transit to Europe as well as about maintaining the stick-in-the-mud mentalities generating attractiveness towards authoritarian administrative models.

Conflict prevention and post-conflict situations management require a more comprehensive perspective that will allow the development of the OSCE action in complementarity with the activity of other global or regional bodies. A balanced vision should take into account the interests of different ethnical and religious communities, the states obligations and their citizens’ natural rights, the conjunctural and long-term interests of the regional actors. It can not be elaborated without involving representatives competent to express the voices plurality, questions and aspirations from hundreds of millions people living in the are represented through the OSCE. Political structures like the Parliamentary Assembly may be joined by civil society organizations. Only such a process to consolidate the respect for human, democracy and common security can reach the depth that only peoples’ real will can guarantee.

As it is the only Euro-Atlantic organization where all the European states are members, OSCE proved to be an efficient tool in the construction of a new culture of dialogue and collaboration in Europe and between Europe and the whole world.

The OSCE preventive vocation will constitute the keystone of its short term activities. This fact involves a raising complexity of the analyses and action ways. The repetitive crises have shown that unfortunately punctual preventive interventions are not enough and should be inserted in a complex of long term actions which needs to take into account the overall aspects of some regions and the overall aspects of the problems that might create destabilize, starting with economic difficulties and going to the stereotypes anchored in conflictual mentalities, from the communication ways precariousness to the security unconventional risks.

OSCE intended – and had mostly succeeded – to become a laboratory where is created the security political culture through mutual trust, negotiation and cooperation. OSCE can identify the major risks, can conceive and apply programs of mutual trust enhancement, both within countries with a high-risk degree, but also within conflict potential regions.

Within this laboratory, I believe that exists a privileged place for the former presidents in term during the transition from the communist dictatorships to the democratic states status. Their civic and reformer political leaders experience, their mutual relationships and the prestige they have gained can play a role both in conflict defusing, but also in reconceiving the long-term organization strategy.

The OSCE important contribution to the security architecture in Europe and in the entire world will be, with no doubt, the one of wars that would have not taken place due to the creation of some democratic and dialogue mechanisms, to the strengthening of the collaboration with the civil society and due to the preventive diplomacy.

Do we still need OSCE? Yes. What for? For a safer world. For whom?

For us all.