NATO and Arms Control : Alliance Enlargement and the CFE Treaty

Schmidt, Hans-Joachim


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Dokumentart: Bericht / Forschungsbericht / Abhandlung
Institut: HSFK-Hessische Stiftung Friedens- und Konfliktforschung
Schriftenreihe: PRIF reports
Bandnummer: 42
Sprache: Englisch
Erstellungsjahr: 1996
Publikationsdatum: 16.11.2012
Originalveröffentlichung: (1996)
SWD-Schlagwörter: NATO , Erweiterung , KSE-Vertrag
DDC-Sachgruppe: Politik
BK - Basisklassifikation: 89.77 (Rüstungspolitik), 89.72 (Internationale Organisationen)
Sondersammelgebiete: 3.6 Politik und Friedensforschung

Kurzfassung auf Englisch:

The ongoing realisation of the enlargement of the Western alliance will create a new challenge for the future of the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE). At present Russia strictly opposes the enlargement and has rejected any compromise. Russian diplomats have demanded that the weapons of the East-Central European countries should be counted as part of the NATO group ceilings if these countries join the Western alliance. They have indicated that Russia could withdraw from the treaty if this is not done. From the Russian point of view, it seems to be a political circumvention of the CFE Treaty if East-Central European countries accede to NATO without changing their CFE group of states membership. With its new proposal on the modernisation of the CFE Treaty on 23 April 1996 in Vienna, the Russian Federation underlined its principal rejection of the enlargement and increased the political pressure on the West because it could use its opposition to enlargement as an instrument to block the modernisation of CFE. On the other hand NATO countries argue that from the point of international law the enlargement would have no effect on the treaty. However, there is an admission that the consequences for the treaty could only be evaluated if new members were actually to join the alliance. Within NATO there is in general a broad consensus to offer Russia some kind of compensation. What is still a matter of dispute is the time, nature and extent of the appropriate Western accommodations because the moment and extent of enlargement have not yet been decided. In spite of the fact that there is no movement in the central question, one can see a slight rapprochement between the sides on a subordinate level. During the CFE Review Conference all participants agreed to the Russian request to start immediately negotiations "aimed at improving the operation of the Treaty in a changing environment". The "scope and parameters" for these talks "should be defined as a matter of priority" and a "progress report" should be presented at the OSCE Lisbon Summit, including "recommendations on the way ahead". In its new proposal Russia has also hinted at certain possibilities for compromise. It is no longer demanding a renegotiation of the CFE Treaty, a "supplementary agreement" would suffice, and it is being suggested that there would be no need for a formal ratification of adjustment measures. These are very important steps to reduce the fears of many CFE member states that negotiations on adaptation and modernisation could be a slippery road to the relaxation of the treaty requirements. Finally, the ceilings for the newly proposed alliance sufficiency rule are being left open, which signals a preparedness to be flexible in negotiations. Cooperative security policy for Europe and the CFE Treaty can only survive if both sides are prepared for a fair compromise. But a compromise requires a clear understanding of what is at stake and of what both sides want for their security. In this context it is not good policy for Russia simply to say no to the enlargement of NATO, because this would mean abandoning any chance of influencing the price the West must pay for it. Secondly, Russia needs to make a clear decision on the question of what it seeks to obtain from NATO. Also, NATO must answer specific questions: will NATO enlargement stop after the accession of the Visegrad states, or will it be an open process? The answer will have a profound impact on possible solutions. The paradox of the present situation is that neither side has yet made its position clear enough for the other side to be able to decide on its own negotiating strategy.

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