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Analysis: Europe And Its Security Identity

Analysis: Europe And Its Security Identity

By Israel Rafalovich

Washington - Political change in Europe has profoundly changed the face of the European continent as well as its political and security needs.

Under these altered conditions, NATO became a relic of the past and European NATO members must invest in a much greater coordination of political and security efforts.

The events of September 11, 2001 brought to it that there is a trans-Atlantic divergence in security priorities, regarding the European continent, now that Russian ground forces do not threaten Europe.

It is Europe's opportunity to develop it's own security identity in a way that makes it possible for Europe to deal with crisis on the European continent without American interference.

Europe's long-term security rests on the projection beyond its borders of stability and prosperity.

Military and technological capabilities can supplement but never substitute for complex politics, trade, aid and diplomacy.

Europe should not allow the U.S. to define Europe's boundaries, and with it to determine its own character and the destiny of Europe.

It is Europe that has to call the shot's on the continent in matters of security, foreign policy as well as economy.

European security must be Europeanized and step into NATO's place. East European states should be admitted to the European Union and at the same time will become members of the European new army.

It has to be made clear that NATO is no longer the embodiment of Europe's security. The new Rapid Reaction Force should be the base for the new European army.

The new European army should enable Europe to shoulder international political and military responsibilities, as Europe has international interests that do not run parallel to American interests and, that can not be ignored.

France is a critical component in this context. From the view point of its allies, France has previously been the retardant factor along the road to a common security, arms control and disarmament policy.

Some Europeans fail to appreciate that this apparent role primarily reflects the structural constrains on French politics.

France has traditionally been both a conflicting party and part of the conflict structure in the East -West relations.

The fact that France has its own nuclear force does not alter this situation, even if these forces were set up with the declared objective of guaranteeing France's independent security and at the same time to overcome the political status quo in Europe.

Both the strategic and political expedience of French nuclear weapons always depended on the respective international constellation.

The French security is based on the nuclear guarantee provided by a "flexible response."

The real significance of the French nuclear force is rooted in its function as a multiplier of the overall deterrence of the European security.

With this in mind, the question that raises today is how could France contribute to stabilization of European deterrence.

It is by the French determination to employ this policy in the interests of a common European defence. The question whether France will let itself be tied to the common nuclear risk has yet to be unequivocally answered.

France has stressed that French conventional forces form an integrated system of deterrence together with the pre-strategic and strategic nuclear components.

According to the French opinion, practically demonstrated solidarity in the field of conventional weapons and the continuing of nuclear uncertainties are not mutual exclusive. On the contrary, they are two sides of the same coin.

It should be underlined that without adequate integration into a system of a common European defence, French nuclear power cannot fulfil the function of strengthening a unified European security.

For France, the close linkage of its conventional forces with its own pre-strategic and strategic potential which includes the capability to threaten the first use of nuclear weapons forms the basis for a European security capability.

The main concern should be a military vaccum in the heart of Europe and therefore the intensification of defence cooperation on the European continent.

The war in Yugoslavia has demonstrated how difficult it is for the Europeans to cope with an uncommon conflict, although Europe has the means of exerting influence at their disposal. But as a matter of fact it was essentially because of the lack of political unity.

This European unity is the fundamental condition for a European security identity to be successful. By directing the efforts of the participating countries on the common purpose of a European defence, the European political-military integration must lead to cooperation with each other.

It is in the interest of the European security that Europe will fullfil necessary conditions.

The collapse of socialism has demonstrated that security cannot be guaranteed by security measures alone. On the basis of this experience, success particularly in economic realm has become an essential requirement of security.

All the East European countries which have liberated themselves from socialism, are seeking a close relationship with the western part of the European continent in an effort to restore their European identity and to find assistance in coping with their problems.

It is crucial for the security and stability of Europe that political and economic transformation in Eastern Europe will be a success.

The restructuring of Europe which is going on now should not neglect the East European problems although war prevention continues to be the crucial problem of security.

And..., a future European security identity must include Russia, respectively a Union of Soviet successor states. The attempt to integrate into the common European house and with it to establish a firm base for a European security identity has not had an easy ride. But the warmer climate towards Russia since the September 11 events, created an opportunity to cross a historic threshold.

Both, Russia and Europe have interests that a cooperation would serve. Russia and Europe could work together in the areas of crisis management, nonproliferation, arms control, theatre missile defense as well as military-to-military cooperation and civil emergencies.

Russia is an important partner that continues to have a major influence on security in Europe and Asia. Especially in combating new threats to security in the 21st century. Russia's contribution is indispensable.

Many issues, in respect to security primarily, could be resolved with direct Russian participation. One area that has lately come to the fore is the EU-Russia energy dialogue, at a time when growing instability in the Middle East makes long-term commitment to greater oil, gas and electricity imports from Russia as an alternative strategic partner attractive.

A new meaning and substance must be given to a Russian-European partnership. The long-term goal should be to include Russia in a pan-European economic and social area.

Both Europe and Russia must identify and pursue opportunities for joint cooperation in the 21st century.

At the same time the European attempts to integrate Russia into Europe should be one of cautiousness. Russia is still pursuing policies both in Russia and abroad that are incompatible with that aim, ranging from suppressing independent media to bullying neighbors.

The rule of law and civil society also needs strengthening in Russia.

Russian President Putin is for sure moving his country, but it is too early to say whether he is really headed in the same direction as the European democracies .

*** ENDS ***

- Israel Rafalovich if a freelance European writer based in Washington D.C. He can be contacted at

© Scoop Media

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