Speech at 19th Eurasian Economic Summit. Presidential Session: Longing for Cold War?, April, 2016

 

COLD WAR AND HOT PEACE

 

Twenty six years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the European continent and the world in its entirety have radically changed. The era of bipolarity is history. The break following the 50 years of confrontations between East and West is a scar about to heal. New unespected concepts and challenges appear in the background of the new world.

It is clear to everyone that peace has not settled in permanently after the disappearance of the bipolarity characteristic to the Cold War. Although we do like to believe that war is an experience of the past, we are forced to discover that this still has, unfortunately, a present and even an immediate future. Nowadays, it seems to be one of the nerve centers of globalization, manifesting itself but in a manner completely different from everything the long route of military conflicts has showed us so far.

The major worldwide decisions do not belong anymore to traditional power, but to economic-financial structures. Nowadays, the super-powers are the ones konwing and having the means of simultaneously using economic pressure and political influence. Even some of the international operations aimed at cooperation, freedom of trade, investments capable of inducing the economic development and integration of suburbs can today be undermined by hidden financial networks through currency speculations, illicit capital or deceptive investments.

The main enemies are no longer the empires or the armies, but underdevelopment, corruption, illicit financial markets, drugs and weapons traffic, transnational crime, terrorism. On medium and long-term, the collective security threats that we will have to face will increasingly resemble a guerilla war, combining organized crime through economic and monetary tools with smuggling and terrorism. Black money for weapons, envoys of religious fundamentalism, suicidal bomb carriers and drug traffickers are main threats.

It is surprising that the vehicle of globalizing threats, cynically replacing the Cold War with a Hot Peace, remains one of an ideological type. The name of these expansionist ideologies is no longer communism and class struggle, but religious fundamentalism and nationalist extremism. Even more surprising it is the fact that these do not only haunt the periphery of the modern world, but, as once communism did, are keen to roam Europe.

The success of such an undertaking primarily depends on the manner in which we will know how to resist these conflict ideologies, to manage peoples’ fears and uncertainties, the times of crisis and the outbursts of new sources of violence and terror. Peace must become a truly collective good, refusing hierarchy and discrimination, and ideologies – new or old – must definitively refuse intolerance, exclusivity, revenge and any other forms of extremism. Wars are not a solution. Even though these end, the sufferings and resentments of former warring parties remain as vivid as possible.

The consequences of the popular revolutions that started in 2011 in Northern Africa and in the Middle East demand the construction of a new global security system based more on democracy and on the development of the civil society.

At this crossroads, the difficulty is not choosing to follow one way or another, but the capability to anticipate where these roads lead, as well as other new roads, that may open in the a century of unexpected transformations, where the risks game and actors abruptly change.

There are two types of challenges security faces waiting for an answer, namely: quickly solving some few neuralgic points of the present and the elaboration of a strategic concept for the global security during the first part of the 21st century.

As regards the strategic approaches, there is a need for an effort of trust and anticipation to see evolution (or involution) tendencies in the world we live in. The changes within the security environment can only be understood if we should take into account the changes within the nature of international relations, within rules, norms, typology of actors, goals and ways of action.

The Russian – Georgian war of August 2008 has represented a shock for security structures, too. Its immediate consequences have highlighted inherent weaknesses in systems for managing frozen conflicts. Even more so, institutional blockages within the EU became apparent, in terms of foreign policy, as well as differences within NATO. Even though the expansion of the conflict was blocked, a major institutional crisis became apparent on an international level. Its components proved to be a crisis of means of action, a crisis of principles of International Law and a moral crisis. Revising security strategies on grounds of new approaches became a necessity. This also became relevant for consequences regarding an evaluation logic and security planning.

Two theoretical approaches have arisen. According to the first and oldest one, the world is unipolar, with the USA as a super-power, where they have invested over the last ten years twice the amount of military budgets of all the other world states, for military scientific and technological research.

In my opinion, this is a void approach.

A second approach describing the world as uni-multipolar, with an anarchic periphery, proved to be more realistic. In this view, the USA cannot act alone, but jointly with other powers. The West is multipolar and irregular. Western multipolarity is not an accident, but it has been naturally generated by domestic democracy in each member state and by the democratic rules that underlie the international bodies set up by the Western states.

As such, countries within NATO and EU had different standpoints regarding the events in Kosovo or Georgia, as well as regarding the military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

States will probably continue to be not only security subjects, but also its guarantees, for the very distant future. The postmodern world has, nevertheless, generated a new solidarity between racial, ethnic, sexual groups that transcend states. The European and world security strategies, as well as security strategy within each and every state, will have to adapt to postmodern society.

In today’s world, states can no longer be separated in blocks. Reactions rising according to different interests lead to changing alliances and opposite parts for different topics or subjects. It is a reflex of the contemporary world democratization, but also of the pragmatism of governments forced to respond to the needs of its own citizens.

The prevention and post-conflict situations management require a more comprehensive perspective that will develop the complementarily in global and regional bodies’ activity. A balanced view should take into account the interests of different ethnical and religious communities, the states’ obligations and their citizens’ natural rights, the conjectural and long-term interests of regional actors. It can only be elaborated by involving representatives competent to express plural standpoints, questions and aspirations for hundreds of millions people living in today’s world.

The global economic crisis has led to reconsidering the role of the state as a defender of citizens against abuse by those who had ensured progress and prosperity for states in the 20th century, multinational commercial companies and transnational financial groups. Could democracies stand up to such diverse challenges? What are the arguments? What are the means?

It is necessary a political culture of security through forging mutual trust, negotiation and cooperation to identify major risks, and the creation and implementation of programs for raising mutual respect, both in countries with a high degree of risk, as well as in areas with a potential for conflict.

The great contribution of democracies to the security architecture of the world will doubtlessly be that of wars that will never take place, due to new mechanisms of democracy and dialogue, due to enforcing cooperation with the civil society and preventive diplomacy.

Is there a need for democracy? Yes, there is. What for? For a safer world. For whom? For all.