At the
On "Crisis
and NATO

15 June 1998

"Collective Security
and the Post-Cold War World"


by Dr. Javier Solana, NATO Secretary General

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

During the Cold War, there was no need to define our security priorities, for the circumstances defined them for us. For Europe, this meant putting the emphasis on collective defence. Defending our national territories was our main concern. In safeguarding our territories we safeguarded our values.

This has changed dramatically. The end of the Cold War has given us new opportunities; it has also given us new challenges. Yes, the level of military forces has been considerably reduced following the end of confrontation in Europe; unfortunately, the risk of instability still remains. Earlier in this decade, that risk became reality in the war in Bosnia; today, it is seen again in the Balkans - this time in Kosovo. And there are other, multi-faceted risks to our security - the proliferation of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons, for example.

Responding effectively to these new risks and challenges is beyond the capacity and the resources of any one nation. Instead, we must address these collectively. Today, we do not talk of "my" security and "your" security. We talk of our security - our collective security.

Over the years, NATO has helped develop principles of collective security - and the instruments necessary to sustain it - for the wider Euro-Atlantic region. Although one of NATO's core functions remains collective defence, the end of the Cold War offered opportunities for Allies to pursue a much broader, cooperative approach to security.

Moreover, several decades of successful security cooperation within the Alliance had given the Allies unique expertise in organising multinational security - an expertise they are today sharing with others.

In my remarks today I would like to advance three propositions on the future of collective security in Europe. I will then focus on NATO's role in this concept.

First, for collective security to work requires us to acknowledge its limitations. States will continue to have different security interests. They will continue to take a stronger interest in their immediate neighbourhood than in places further afield. They will continue to weigh the costs of indifference versus engagement on a case-by-case basis. The appeal to overarching moral principles will not be enough to always generate a coherent response to a challenge. In any case, a policy based on moral impulse alone would probably not be a good policy in the first place - and certainly not a sustainable one. The public mood can change suddenly once interventions are seen to carry risks or to last longer than initially expected.

That is why we need to look to our multinational institutions - the UN Security Council and the Organisation for European Security and Cooperation - which have a special role to play in providing legitimacy for collective military actions.

Yet even if the need for working collectively is accepted, we still need to have the means of converting political will into action. In this respect, my second proposition would be that here, too, we have the opportunity to make progress far more rapidly and comprehensively than ever before. We have the institutions - the United Nations, OSCE, NATO, the WEU, the European Union, the Council of Europe - that our predecessors lacked. We also have the diplomatic, economic and military means that should enable us to react rapidly to any unfolding crisis and to suffocate it before it turns into a bushfire.

Perhaps most importantly, we are witnessing a changing attitude regarding the need for comprehensive crisis management. The Balkans are a case in point. The idea that one or more countries alone could take on the responsibility for implementing the Dayton Peace Accords was simply not seriously entertained. The sense of responsibility was assumed virtually throughout Europe and even by countries beyond Europe. Today, over 30,000 soldiers from more than 30 countries serve in bringing lasting peace to this region.

Thirdly and finally, the challenges of crisis management in post-Cold War Europe require an unprecedented degree of multinational cooperation - political, military and not least institutional cooperation. None of our institutions can act alone. No single institution possesses all the political, economic and military means for successful crisis management.

Only their mutually reinforcing cooperation gives us the full spectrum of tools needed to cope with the challenges of today and tomorrow.

All this suggests that, in re-organising European security, we need an organic, evolutionary approach, building on the institutions we have. A key challenge, therefore, is to adapt these institutions in ways that are conducive to enhancing their cooperation and mutual reinforcement. And even before that, to stimulate and consolidate new patterns of cooperation in security among the nations themselves.

Accordingly, over the course of this decade, NATO has developed cooperative relations with almost all nations of the Euro-Atlantic area, fostering common approaches to security and to the role of armed forces in democracies. NATO also has offered to support peacekeeping operations under the authority of the United Nations and the OSCE, and has revised its strategy and force structures to take into account the new challenges of crisis management and peacekeeping. Moreover, by opening the Alliance to new members, NATO - as well as the European Union - have created a powerful incentive for many countries to resolve bilateral disputes with their neighbours.

NATO has also constructively engaged Russia, without which collective security in Europe would be impossible. A distinct relationship with Ukraine and a dialogue with countries from the Southern Mediterranean complete the picture. Together, these initiatives demonstrate NATO's commitment to a wider cooperative approach to security.

In Bosnia, these initiatives have converged to form a coherent strategy. NATO's support for the UN-led peacekeeping efforts - though difficult - opened a new era of cooperation between these two institutions. The deployment of the multinational Implementation Force (IFOR) was equally significant. It brought together NATO Allies and more than a dozen Partner countries in their first joint operation. It thus vindicated the strategic logic of NATO's cooperative approach to security. By incorporating a sizeable Russian contribution, IFOR also started a fruitful cooperation with this country. All this demonstrated the continued validity of a well-oiled multinational, transatlantic structure such as NATO.

The international presence in Bosnia- Herzegovina also created in practice a working system of mutually reinforcing institutions. For the peace-building process which emerged in Bosnia rests on mutual reliance among institutions.

IFOR and SFOR have closely coordinated with the many other institutions present in Bosnia. Without the secure environment provided by NATO and its Partners, the OSCE could not have organised democratic elections. Without IFOR and SFOR, the economic and political reconstruction efforts led by the EU, the UN, the OSCE and many non-governmental organisations could not have started.

Thanks to these joint efforts, enormous progress has been achieved. Freedom of movement and security have dramatically improved. Individual Bosnians can and do routinely travel between the entities.

Infrastructure is being rebuilt; nation-wide railroads are running again; regional airports have opened. And Bosnia will have a unified telecommunications systems next month. The economy is recovering; a new Bosnia-wide currency will soon be introduced. Over 400,000 refugees and displaced persons have returned home, 175,000 of those last year. Indicted war criminals are being put where they belong - in the Hague. Bosnia is moving in the right direction.

But we are still a long away from true reconciliation, let alone a self-sustaining peace. This was made abundantly clear last week by the Peace Implementation Council Steering Board.

Yes, there has been substantive progress in the implementation of the Peace Agreement. But there has also been an inadequate rate of implementation, due - as often as not - to the frequent procrastination of the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

We must keep the pressure on them to carry out speedily and intensively their responsibilities under the Peace Agreement.

In the months to come, the priorities of all concerned with lasting peace in Bosnia must be: acceleration of refugee and displaced person return; police and judicial reform; acceleration of economic re-integration and reform; free and fair nation-wide elections in September; an open and unbiased media; and the strengthening of governmental institutions at all levels.

In short, we must continue to lay the foundations for long-term stability. In doing so, SFOR will continue to deter renewed hostilities, and will help promote a transition of emphasis from military to civil implementation. We do not want the emergence of a dependency-culture or a long-term military presence. We will therefore review the situation every six months. But in extending SFOR now, we are giving a clear message to all concerned: we will not leave before the job is done.

All in all, Bosnia demonstrates the usefulness of a coherent international approach. I am convinced that this approach will also carry the day in the recent crisis in Kosovo. Here, the international community has reacted quickly.

So, too, has NATO. Our goal is to halt the violence; help achieve a peaceful resolution of the crisis by contributing to the response of the international community; and to promote stability and security in neighbouring countries, with particular emphasis on Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

NATO Foreign and Defence Ministers have condemned the continuing violence in Kosovo, which undermines the prospects of achieving a peaceful settlement and encourages extremism. In this context, all sides must refrain from violence and acts of provocation.

In view of the deteriorating situation on the ground, NATO Defence Ministers just a few days ago took a number of far-reaching decisions, building on the programme of action launched by Foreign Ministers a fortnight ago in Luxembourg. So NATO is preparing to go further if required to halt the violence and protect the civilian population.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The road towards collective security for all nations in Europe will remain a long road. But we have made a promising start. Our institutions have demonstrated a tremendous capacity for change and adaptation. Moreover, less than a decade after the end of the Cold War, the collective response to Bosnia, and now Kosovo, show that we are beginning to understand Europe as a common security space. If we continue to develop this understanding and approach, then we will have a very good basis on which to ensure - collectively - peace and stability for Europe in the 21st century.

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