Rome '08 Workshop

The Fragmentation of Security and the Need for A New, Legally Binding Security Treaty 

Ambassador Vladimir Chizhov

Russian Ambassador to the European Union 

Ambassador Vladimir Chizhov

The topic of this panel contains, if carefully read, an element of paradox. It addresses political perspectives on global security while focusing on a specific region—from the Baltic to the Black Sea. Representing the only country that stretches from the Baltic to the Black Sea and far beyond, I would like to make a point that we have been discussing on numerous occasions, including at last year’s workshop, whether geography matters when we speak of security. Indeed, we are living in a globalizing world, in a virtually global economy. Most of the challenges that we face today are of a global nature, starting from the recognized process of redistribution of wealth and economic activity from the so-called old world to Asia and other continents; the shift of financial power—the two most important currencies in the world are still the U.S. dollar and the Euro, but most of the dollars and the euros are accumulated neither in the U.S. nor in the European Union; climate change—it can only be perceived and handled as a global problem; migration; and of course terrorism. 


So what we see is an obvious discrepancy. Living in a globalized world, we still address security issues, particularly those of hard security, or military security, from an outdated baseline perspective of viewing security in geographic terms. As a result, we witness attempts to address new security challenges with tools of the mid-20th century. Moreover, what we see today is the fragmentation of the security space in the Euro-Atlantic area. Today, there is an acute deficit of strategic formats. Yes, one might pose the counter-argument that we all belong to the OSCE, and I would agree that the OSCE could have become an appropriate format to address security challenges in this broad European sense which also includes North America on the one side and Central Asia on the other. Unfortunately, the OSCE has failed in this historic mission. Nine years ago, I was present at the famous Istanbul Summit of the OSCE which most people now remember from tiny bits and pieces like bilateral arrangements concluded on the sidelines of the summit. Much less often, the main product of the summit is remembered: the Charter of European Security. One can only wonder why. My answer is that, unfortunately, some OSCE participating states in the West chose not to allow the OSCE to evolve in a really comprehensive security format. 

Instead, what we see today is a continuing tendency to shift responsibility for pan-European Euro-Atlantic security to closed alliances dominated by military bloc mentalities. It may seem strange to an outsider that, with the Cold War now long over, some of its instruments are still in place. Moreover, they are presented and described as the cornerstone of security for the 21st century. We often hear that NATO enlargement has expanded the area of stability in Europe. Let me quote some figures coming from a well-respected source: the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. During the last ten years, military expenditure in new NATO member states has increased by 162%. Compare that with only 62% in the Middle East with all its problems and 4% in Western Europe. If this is considered an indication of increased stability, then I believe something is wrong in that logic. 

I will stress that NATO enlargement not only does not contribute to stability but on the contrary leads to destabilization. I believe that one might only mention a single country, Ukraine, to see how divisive the prospect of NATO integration is in Ukrainian society. 

Another element that also illustrates the continuing fragmentation of the security space is the third ballistic missile positioning area—famous or infamous depending on your point of view—in Poland and the Czech Republic. I would describe this as an attempt to deploy an untested system of questionable reliability against a non-existent threat. Moreover, it is no credit to the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union that this is being done by two EU member states venturing a deal with a third country that is not a member of the EU behind the back of their EU partners. 


CFE was mentioned here and I expect it to be mentioned again. We have been hearing some emotional assessments regarding the fate of the CFE, a lot of pretty words describing it as a cornerstone of European security. Yet, it was followed up by ratification in only four CFE participating states, one of them being Russia. NATO member states—unfortunately under false pretenses—have chosen to procrastinate on the issue. But it is not only the CFE. The OSCE has produced a lot of additional elements to arms control and security. What about the principles of military self-restraint? What about confidence-building measures? What about transparency? I believe we need to take a broader look at European security in an area described as stretching from Vancouver to Vladivostok, while avoiding the creation of different levels of security, respecting the right of some countries to neutrality, and providing additional guarantees that principles of international law are respected. We should prevent further dilution of legal limitations on the use of force. We should ensure territorial integrity and inviolability of borders. Instead of recreating a new iron curtain from the Baltic to the Black Sea, let’s consider something totally different: A new legally-binding security treaty covering the whole European space. As President Medvedev stressed in his recent speech in Berlin, this proposal that was put forward by the Russian Federation is a reflection of its concern over a deepening legal vacuum in the area of European security. I invite representatives of countries that are gathered here around this table to give this proposal a serious consideration. We believe that only an open and frank discussion of each other’s concerns may lead us to resolve all the issues that are arising in the Euro-Atlantic security space. Russia does not have any hidden agenda. We are prepared for such an open and frank discussion. We believe that it is the only way to move forward the project of a greater Europe. 

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