European Security & Defense as a Model for East Asia & Africa

Introduction

The European model of security and defense has evolved out of the region’s distinct context, history and institutions, and as a response to awareness brought on by external events – such as the Bosnian, Kosovo, and Iraq wars – concerning the need to surmount regional divisions in order to commit to strategic thinking on international security issues, extend the security zone around Europe, and to practice preventative engagement and effective multilateralism to address the realities of the 21st century. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NAFTA), the United Nations (UN), and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) together constitute the European model of security and defense. The European security regime cannot serve as a model for East Asia, as this region is conditioned by markedly different institutional, political, economic, and cultural factors that are manifest in strong preferences for informal, incremental and bilateral frameworks based upon the principles of non-interference, consensus-building, power-balancing and bandwagoning. Nevertheless, the OSCE pillar of the European security regime may be a more appropriate model for Africa, as – given that issues of political legitimacy and accountability and accountability are important impediments to creating a security community – it provides for a wider, more relevant and cooperative concept of security, which accounts for security threats at the domestic level and justifies an incremental and decentralized process that focuses on the weakest of members.

Europe Security and Defense

The Impetus for European Security & Defense Integration

Haine (2006) asserts that despite the existence of deep divisions in the European Union and the onerous process of constructing a European security and defense policy, there has been significant progress – e.g. the Solidarity Clause, civil military planning cells, anti-terrorism policies, and peacekeeping and enforcing operations – motivated by threats to the rational and integrity of the European integration process. The process is made difficult by adamant protection of state sovereignty over foreign and defense policies. Nevertheless, according to Haine, the “rule of the game” in European security matters will remain cooperation, and the incongruity between strategy and politics will be ongoing.

According to Haine (2006), the Bosnian tragedy demonstrated to the EU that there was a need to develop European capacities for a collective response, as no individual state could hope to respond to this type of conflict alone. The Kosovo conflict went further to confirm Europe’s military shortcoming and the precarious American position, in that the inadequacy of European capabilities rendered them dependent on the US, illustrating a stark disconnect between security and politics. The Saint Malo process was critical to enhancing the European defense identity through initiating institutional changes (e.g. the creation of a representative post, a political and security committee, a military committee, and a military staff). Nevertheless, the development of European military capacity is encountering several challenges, including military expenditure; the difficulty of transforming European military forces; and, the “over ambitious and ill tailored” military tools to deal with the demands of the 21st century. The Iraqi crisis produced a collective awareness of the need for strategic thinking on international security issues through extending the security zone around Europe, preventative engagement, and effective multilateralism –  what Haine calls soft power plus.

Three Pillars of the European Security Regime    

According to Katzenstein (2005) Europe has undertaken unprecedented steps toward developing a common foreign and security policy through changes in Europe’s regional security institutions, which reflects the willingness of European national governments to partake in important activities that challenge the sharp distinction between external and internal security (Katzenstein 2005). The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the European Union (EU), and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) are the three major pillars of Europe’s security regime.

NATO is a defense alliance created in 1948 against the expansion of the Soviet Union. Subsequent to the Korean War it was transformed into a planning and operational military alliance, and after the end of the Cold War, with the end of its main adversary, NATO reinvented itself once more. The reform efforts were made through the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (NACC) in 1991 (the precursor to the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council [EAPC]), which brought together NATO and European nations in a consultative forum. Subsequently, regional cooperation between NATO and other groups were established to develop initiatives like the Partnership for Peace and the EAPC, and later former communist countries were invited to join. In Kosovo, NATO responded as a military alliance in its first extensive military engagement to what was perceived as a massive humanitarian crisis. The 9/11 attacks and the war in Afghanistan and Iraq have redrawn NATO’s security environment more dramatically. NATO faced a crisis of unity in the Iraq war, but demonstrated greater unity on the issue of Afghanistan, transforming its role from one of collective defense to state crafting. According to Katenstein (2005), NATO has remained the most important security institution in Europe as it is not only a multilateral alliance providing collective defense, but also it manages security risks and provides provisions for negotiations.

The second pillar of Europe’s security regime is the EU, which only developed its foreign and security policy in the mid 1980s with guidelines on humanitarian efforts, peacekeeping, and military and civilian crisis management. Subsequent to the 1999 Helsinki meeting, the EU committed to the creation of a security force to complement NATO. The European Rapid Reaction Force assumed command of NATO forces in Kosovo in 2000. According to Katzenstein, instead of competing with NATO, Europe is more likely to complement NATO.

The third pillar is the OSCE, which developed from its beginnings in 1975 as a conference to bring together Cold War rivals. It is an ad hoc organization that is primarily concerned with early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation, and it seeks to promote peace and stability through democracy and improved governance. Indeed, OSCE seeks to enhance military security by promoting greater openness, transparency and cooperation in the areas of arms control, border management, combating terrorism, conflict prevention, military reform, and policing. It also engages in economic, environmental, human rights, education and law activities. Although the OSCE lacks the military capabilities of NATO and the political capacities of the EU, Katzenstein asserts that it has affected the operation of the other two through its normative assertions of human rights, liberal democracy, and peaceful change.

East Asian Security and Defense

Asia does not have extensive regional institutional mechanisms for regional security and defense, as integration occurs more through informal and bilateral arrangements than regional institutions (Katzenstein 2005). Indeed, internal security remains firmly within the authority of national police forces, which engage each other on a bilateral and ad hoc basis. For example, in the absence of regional support, and concerned with issues of terrorism, Japan’s National Police Agency has organized regional seminars for training in counterterrorist measures throughout Asia and has sought to generate systematic intelligence through embassies abroad. The lack regional security structure is attributed to East Asia’s historical, geo-political, social, economic and contextual factors and is organized greatly by the logic of power balancing and bandwagoning (e.g. post colonialism, legacies of the Chinese revolution, Japan’s lack of recognition of the past). As East Asian countries have only gained their sovereignty in the 1950s, they are ardent defenders of their sovereignty and autonomy.

Although the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) serves its members by reducing risks and uncertainty through open dialogue, and remains the only official political and security forum in the Asia Pacific region. However, ARF lacks institutionalization and is dependent on Chinese preferences for progress. East Asia is distinctive in that it is inclusive of soft authoritarian and non-democratic states and has a distinctive conflict management style that avoids legal agreements and champions informal consultations and consensus building that blurs the lines between formal and informal. According to Katzenstein, discursive politics takes the form of different tracks. The first track of dialogue occurs in part at the Councilof Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP), which was created in 1993, has a membership that is coterminous with ARF, and is comprised of several working groups. The second track is an informal one of dialogue and consensus building. Although formal regional security institutions have been limited, informal discussions have been more pronounced with the strong belief in the principle of non-interference in internal affairs on issues of security.

European Security and Defense as a Model for East Asia?  

The European security and defense regime cannot serve as a model for East Asia security in that East Asia is conditioned by markedly different institutional, political, economic, and cultural factors. Some of the attributes of the region that prevent the European model from being superimposed on the region are: the legacy of colonialism renders many countries unwilling to relinquish their newly found sovereignty; geographic proximity makes dialogue and cooperation somewhat more challenging; divergent levels of socio-economic development and types of political structures make generating consensus more taxing; Japan’s decision not to recognize the past; and, the legacy of the Chinese revolution among others. As aforementioned, East Asian countries approach security concerns through an informal, incremental, and bilateral frameworks based upon the principle of non-interference, consensus-building, power balancing and bandwagoning. A comparative analysis between Germany and Japan in terms of technology and production leads Katzenstein to concur that the more formal, political regionalism of Europe cannot be a model for the more informal, market regional in Asia, as important distinctions between their national and regional political arrangements produce dissimilar capacities for change. Whereas Europe has evolved to establish collective defense capabilities through preferences for multilateralism and according to the prerogatives of state preferences, East Asia is more concerned with marginal adjustments, insistence on state sovereignty and preference for bilateralism. .

African Security and Defense

Continental Security in Africa           

Franke (2007) discusses the evolution of competing regionalisms in Africa that are effectively preventing the possibility of continental a security like that of the EU. According to Franke, the ongoing development of intergovernmental organization and competition over national and international resources, institutional relevance and political influence has compromised the potential for a continental security architecture by “duplicating efforts and fragmenting support” (Franke 2007: 1). Competing regionalism in Africa has occurred through two waves: the first wave is associated with colonization, decolonization and Pan Africanism, and the second occurred with the “loosening of the shackles at the end of the Cold War” (Franke 2007: 2). The attempts to create an African supranational institution after decolonization proved to be problematic given that states sought national independence and continental unity simultaneously. The Organization of African Unity (OAS), which was created in 1963 and disbanded in 2002, represented an “unprecedented chance for continental cooperation” (Ibid: 5). Nevertheless, increasing tensions between states that feared the loss of their newly found sovereignty; Africa’s geographic immensity; pervasive political and ideological rifts; the prevalence of external dependence and influence; the lure of nationalism; institutional weakness; and, personal power politics were factors that combined to facilitate the revival of regionalism, as evident by the development of more than 40 regional institutions in 1990. Indeed, Franke asserts that the precarious coexistence of interregional institutions and overlapping memberships is suggestive of “deep divisions, national tendencies, and regional imbalances” of African regional integration (Ibid: 1).An example of the revival of regionalism can be found in West Africa’s Anglo-French rivalry within Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Competing regionalism is not specific to Africa, as Europe also has contending regions. However, European rivalries are contained with “a stable democratic free market and channeled through an elaborate organizational construct”; however, Africa lacks such a stable, democratic framework, which renders regional rivalries more pronounced and have important consequences (Ibid: 8). Nevertheless, the African Union (AU), which structures its security architecture on regional pillars and encompasses existing initiatives, has made modest progress in harmonizing the continent’s many security initiatives through the development regionally based brigades and the limiting of membership to seven organizations to ameliorate duplication and ensure the provision of public resources. Franke asserts that “the African continent is the best way to overcome the underlying dynamics of competing regionalism” (Ibid: 12) and is optimistic regarding security cooperation, particularly in response to increasing development urgencies, failure of humanitarian goals, and human catastrophes. Nevertheless, challenges of the continued existence of regional groupings, overlapping members, internal problems, and asymmetrical regionalism persist.

The Case of the Southern African Development Community (SADC)          

Hammerstad (2005) focuses on the Southern African region security complex and utilizes a social constructivist understanding of regions to compare various strategies for integrating security policies and operations.  The traditional security alliance – for example NATO – aims at collective defense against internal and external enemies, whereas, the common security approach – encompassing organizations like the OSCE – seeks to surmount mutual tensions and create mechanisms to foster cooperation (Ibid). According to Hammerstad, the main sources of insecurity in the region are found within the borders of states and the potential of interstate warfare has decreased as a result of: the development of the SADC, the discontinuation of superpower proxy strategy after the Cold War, the democratic transition of South Africa, and the end of the apartheid (Ibid: 78). Nevertheless, in the SADC cooperation is low as countries emerging from colonial domination and post colonial war are still experiencing internal political instability. Further, the countries on the borders of the region have overlapping memberships, which renders the demarcation of regional boundaries problematic. The SADC has limited formal regionalism, as it has neither the authority nor the resources to implement agreed polices. Nevertheless, there is a great deal of informal regionalism through the political, economic, social and cultural interaction between units (Ibid: 72). According to Hammerstad, the SADC is closest to a nascent security community in Africa and possesses some characteristics of an ascendant security community, in that it goes beyond defining security only in terms of interstate relations to encompass regional threats such as HIV/AIDS pandemic (Ibid: 76).

European Security & Defense as Model for Africa   

In both the case of the African continent and Southern Africa, neither the traditional security alliance – as outlined by Hammerstad – nor the whole of the European security model – as outlined by Katzenstein – are appropriate models for African defense and security. As aforementioned, in the case of the African continent, the historical, contextual, political, cultural, economic, ideological, and geographic realities have deepened regional divides and weakened the prospects for an African continental architecture, despite the progress made by the African Union. Moreover, although the SADC has established some security structures on paper, according to Hammerstad, the actual security cooperation is superficial in that the main security organ functions as nothing more than an arena for personal and political clashes; the framework affirms the sanctity of state sovereignty; and, the Mutual Defense Pact signed in 2003 leaves it up to each member state to react to attacks outside its borders (Ibid: 81).

Despite the Southern African preference of a collective security strategy modeled after NATO, a common security approach, as outlined by Hammerstad, modeled after the OSCE, the third pillar of the European security regime, is a more appropriate model for Africa. A collective approaches is not an appropriate model in that it is based upon the concept that “an attack against one is an attack against all and member states generally have common values and a degree of political cohesion. Indeed, Hammerstad contents that a collective approach may in fact prop up dysfunctional regimes. A common security strategy is a more appropriate model as it provides for a wider, more relevant and cooperative concept of security, which accounts for security threats at the domestic level and justifies an “incremental” and “decentralized” process that focuses on the weakest of members (Ibid: 70). Indeed, the OSCE focuses attention mostly on internal conditions and create agencies to deal with particular aspects (e.g. human rights and democratic institutions) (Ibid: 85). By using the OSCE as a model, the SADC, and the AU more broadly, could pursue regional solutions to domestic issues in a pragmatic and incremental fashion. According to Hammerstad, given pervasive issues of political legitimacy and accountability are important impediments to creating a security community in Southern Africa, the OSCE model would serve to reinforce domestic legitimacy and popular support of political structures and regimes (Ibid).

Conclusion

In close, the European security and defense regime cannot be a model for East Asia, as there are important distinctions between their national and regional political arrangements, which produce dissimilar capacities for change. Whereas Europe has evolved to establish collective defense capabilities through politic and security driven preferences for formal institutions and effective multilateralism and according to the prerogatives of state preferences, East Asian preferences are more economically motivated are more concerned with marginal adjustments, insistence on state sovereignty and preference for informal relations bilateralism. The OSCE dimension of the European security model may, however,

By using the OSCE as a model, the SADC, and the AU more broadly, could pursue regional solutions to domestic issues in a pragmatic and incremental fashion. According to Hammerstad, given pervasive issues of political legitimacy and accountability are important impediments to creating a security community in Southern Africa, the OSCE model would serve to reinforce domestic legitimacy and popular support of political structures and regimes (Ibid).

Works Cited and Consulted

Franke, Benedikt (2007) ‘Competing regionalisms in Africa and the continent’s emerging security architecture’, African Studies Quarterly 9 (3).

Haine, Jean-Yves (2006) ‘The elusive quest for a European security and defense policy: from crisis management to security strategy’, in Bertrand Fort and Doublas Webber (eds) Regional Integration in East Asia and Europe: Convergence or Divergence?, London: Routledge, pp. 239-264.

Hammerstad, Anne (2005) ‘Domestic threats, regional solutions? The challenge of security integration in Southern Africa’, Review of International Studies 31 (1): 69-87.

Katzenstein, Peter (2005) A World of Regions: Asia and Europe in the American Imperium, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, pp. 125-148.

Written by: Victoria Lennox
Written at: Oxford University
Written for: Dr Joerg Friedrichs
Date written: 2007