Security in an Undivided Europe
Using NATO's Eastward Expansion as an Opportunity

Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy
at the University of Hamburg (IFSH)

"It will obviously not be easy to change a decision already made or tacitly accepted by the Alliance's 16 member countries. But there are a few intervening months before the decision is to be made final. Perhaps this period can be used to alter the proposed expansion in ways that would mitigate the unhappy effects it is already having on Russian opinion and policy."

George F. Kennan, former US Ambassador in Moscow and, fifty years ago, originator of American "containment policy".
International Herald Tribune, 6 February 1997.

First Problem: Which Countries Can Be Admitted into NATO?
Second Problem: What Kinds of Russian Participation in NATO Might Be Envisaged?
Third Problem: What Ways of Including Other Non-NATO Countries Are Possible?
Fourth Problem: What Sort of Reorganization Would Be Required?
Fifth Problem: What Is the Future of Nuclear Weapons in Europe?
Sixth Problem: What Is the Future of Conventional Disarmament in Europe?
Seventh Problem: What Are the Costs of NATO Expansion?

In the Paris Charter of 1990, and in a large number of documents which followed, the OSCE states emphasize that peace in Europe can only be ensured through a system of undivided security. In the light of this idea of a Europe of equal security, the expansion of a military pact inevitably looks like a historic step backwards. Nevertheless, NATO is planning to expand to the East.

As a collective defense alliance, NATO remains best prepared for the eventuality which has today become least likely: deterring or defending against a large-scale attack. On the other hand, given its structure and the instruments at its disposal, it would appear hardly able to contain those causes of conflict which have come to be characteristic of Europe. Internal conflicts which risk spilling over borders develop whether or not NATO exists and independently of how strong it is. And yet Europe continues to display a disturbing lack of suitable arrangements for dealing with these real risks of destabilization. Advocates of NATO expansion create the impression that the Western Alliance could anchor a European security system without providing the evidence that a military alliance would be in a better position than other institutions to come to terms with the threats to stability in Europe. Indeed, it is the view of the staff of the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg that this evidence cannot be provided, neither in theory nor with a view to practice and to existing realities. For that reason they regard NATO's eastward expansion as a fundamentally wrong way to establish a lasting and stable system of undivided security in and for Europe.

Considering that NATO expansion is no longer just one of several possibilities but a process already under way, it is urgently necessary that we be aware of the probable consequences that an expansion of the Alliance not agreed to by all would have for Europe. At the same time we must work out proposals which will not only help to avoid the development of new lines of confrontation but open up new opportunities for strengthening security and stability in Europe. That is the purpose of the following considerations.

First Problem:
Which Countries Can Be Admitted into NATO?

At the present time no final decision has been made as to which new members NATO is to have. The candidates for admission mentioned most often are Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary. But even the Alliance's expansion study of September 1995 fails to mention names or define clear criteria for admission. However, there are two aspects which have played a particularly important role in public discussion: the consequences for the Alliance's capacity for collective defense (the geo-strategic position and the political and economic stability of the candidates are given particular stress) and the attitude of Russia.

If the expansion of the Alliance were limited to the countries mentioned above, Hungary would have no common border with any other NATO state -- a serious handicap for effective collective defense. This problem would be solved if the group of new members were expanded to include Slovakia but that country's tensions with its Hungarian neighbor, which are at least latent, would at the same time present the Alliance with another source of possible crises which would make it harder to reach consensus within NATO and would inevitably be detrimental to the efficiency of the Alliance. Would it not make more sense to take Slovenia rather than Slovakia into the Alliance as a way of providing the "land bridge" to Hungary? A look at the map shows that this alternative, which has been frequently discussed of late, would do little to alter Hungary's extraordinarily exposed position. When viewed from this aspect of defense, NATO's borders would still be unfavorable -- unless other countries were admitted as well.

How should the Alliance react to the desire of Southeastern European countries to join? Would this serve the planned NATO expansion? Would one not have to fear, rather, that countries such as Romania, Bulgaria and Albania would, for the foreseeable future, be only "consumers of security", thus obviously weakening the Alliance rather than strengthening it?

Most difficult of all, however, would be a decision about the Baltic countries. It is here that fears of the Russian threat and, consequently, the pressure to get into NATO are presently the strongest. Should the Alliance give in to this pressure? By expanding to include former territory of the Soviet Union, NATO itself would take on a new character. There is no way in which Estonia and Latvia, in particular, with their substantial Russian minorities and their (controversial) direct borders with the Russian Federation, could become NATO members without paying the price of a lasting deterioration of the relationship to Russia.

Even more far-fetched would be any idea of making some non-Russian CIS countries -- Belarus or the Ukraine, for example -- a part of NATO while Russia alone remained outside of the Alliance. All current members agree, however, that taking Russia itself on board would hopelessly overtax NATO as a system of collective defense. A security guarantee for the Russian-Chinese border, for example, is something that the Europeans, quite rightly, cannot contemplate. But if Russia cannot itself be integrated into the NATO defense system, it will regard the new admission of any other country into the Alliance as a deterioration of its strategic position and either try to prevent it or at least seek compensation or assurances of some other kind.

Thus the policy of eastward expansion, with its broad claims, quickly reaches the limits of its ability to provide definite answers. And the problems increase even more if the geographic expansion is to be accompanied by an enlargement of the Alliance's responsibilities. For that reason, a high level of transparency seems to us to be absolutely essential. NATO must, at the earliest possible time, state clearly which candidates for admission are being seriously considered and what the future mission of NATO is to be.

Second Problem:
What Kinds of Russian Participation in NATO Might Be Envisaged?

For the active inclusion of Russia in the organization of pan-European security, structures must be established which make it possible for Russia to participate in NATO decision-making on those issues which do not involve collective defense. This is particularly important if NATO, while remaining a security alliance following its expansion, takes on additional functions that go beyond self-defense and are not limited to Alliance territory.

Cooperation between Russia and NATO has so far been limited to Russian membership in the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (NACC) which includes participation in activities and programs of Partnership for Peace (PfP), consultations under the 16+1 formula and participation in IFOR/SFOR where the Russian units are assigned to the American command. But Russia does not have a genuine right of co-determination within NATO and certainly does not participate in decision-making.

For Russian acceptance of NATO's eastward expansion, and thus for the avoidance of new threat perceptions and confrontational forms of behavior, it will be of particular importance to offer Russia a genuine security partnership which goes beyond the status quo and involves not only cooperation with NATO but co-determination of its policies.

For this purpose it is important, first, to intensify consultations, to make them permanent and to institutionalize them on various political levels (heads of state and government, foreign and defense ministers, high level officials, experts). This would give Russia the opportunity to participate at least in NATO's regular political consultations on all matters which do not fall directly under Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, i.e. collective self-defense. Second, consideration should be given to the additional step of Russian participation in NATO decision-making -- again with the exception of all matters under Article 5. Various modalities could be envisaged for Russian participation in consultations and also in decision-making:

- Russia would participate in the discussions of the NATO Council and some of its committees and would be given a seat and a vote in the NATO Council; depending on the subject of consultations and decision-making, however, the Council's composition would vary and it would meet at times without Russia.

- Parallel to the NATO Council, but with Russia as a permanent member, a new body, "S-17", (S standing for "security") would be created, as already suggested by the German Foreign Minister, Klaus Kinkel. This body would, for one thing, institutionalize regular consultations on security in Europe. It could also become a decision-making body of NATO with Russia as a voting member, responsible for all political decisions except issues of collective self-defense.

- The NACC would be upgraded to a consultation body for all matters with the exception of collective self-defense, or an "Atlantic Partnership Council" might be created, as already proposed by the American side. The NACC or the Atlantic Partnership Council would, moreover, be the responsible decision-making body of NATO for all matters not involving collective self-defense.

It is of fundamental importance to make clear which matters would involve Russian participation in consultations and decision-making and which ones not, or in which cases the "S-17" or the NACC or "Atlantic Partnership Council" could not be a decision-making body. It would be problematic, for example, to have Russia participate in decisions involving Article 10 (deciding on the accession of additional countries to NATO). Furthermore, it would be necessary to know precisely in which committees of the NATO Council Russia should be permanently represented (e.g. Political Committee, Committee on Information and Cultural Relations), not represented (e.g. Defence Planning Committee, Nuclear Planning Group), or represented on a case-by-case basis (e.g. Military Committee, Verification Coordinating Committee, Committee on Proliferation). By the same token, a catalogue would need to be worked out of the subjects in which Russia would be allowed to participate in consultations and decision-making and/or defining the fields of responsibility of the "S-17", the NACC or the "Cooperation Council". This catalogue could include issues of security outside Alliance territory as well as develop concepts for joint conflict management and the planning and implementation of joint actions, e.g. in peacekeeping operations.

In principle the participation of additional countries ought to be considered -- the Ukraine, for example, which is also seeking a special partnership with NATO. Hence the creation of a body such as "S-17" could provide the special partnership between Russia and NATO needed for the short term without foreclosing other options or casting the arrangements in stone. Rather, it would signal the beginning of a process which over the medium and long term could tie all interested countries into pan-European security structures, e.g. at the level of the NACC or of an "Atlantic Partnership Council".

Along with Russia's participation in consultations and the decision-making process, other forms of cooperation should be established, especially through intensifying the Partnership for Peace program on a bilateral basis (PfP 2) with an appropriate expansion of military cooperation up to and including the creation of permanent joint peacekeeping troops similar to the IFOR or SFOR model. This should be accompanied by farther reaching confidence- and security-building measures and closer military cooperation to heighten the transparency of military planning; for example, joint activities within the Combined Joint Task Forces (CJTF) concept, joint monitoring of air space, and the exchange of high-ranking staff officers on an institutionalized basis.

From the Russian point of view one of the indispensable conditions for assuaging its apprehensions would be the signing of an agreement with NATO that would take note of these concerns and create a system of security guarantees. Russia expects a treaty which would be binding under international law, not just a politically binding "Charter". Because such a treaty would involve a long process of ratification in the individual countries, however, a two-track approach could be used. Initially, a politically binding short-term agreement between heads of state and government should be signed. This "Charter" should, at the same time, provide for the negotiation of a treaty whose ratification by national legislatures, which would take quite some time, would put the contents of the "Charter" into a form binding under international law.

Apart from the treaty with NATO, Russia must be integrated more closely into the world economy. Economic integration is of decisive importance to stabilizing a difficult process of transformation. To achieve this the following measures should be given priority:

- Accelerating ratification of the Agreement on Partnership and Cooperation between Russia and the EU;

- Adjusting financial assistance for Russia (and the other CIS countries) to the level of assistance provided to the EU's southern neighbors;

- Membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO);

- Deciding on the precise timing of the creation of a free trade zone between the EU and Russia;

- Admitting Russia to the G-7 so as to make it a G-8.

Third Problem:
What Ways of Including Other Non-NATO Countries Are Possible?

If NATO, for whatever reasons, is not expanded to all European countries in the course of the next ten years, we will need to think about what effects this situation could have on the security of the non-integrated countries and what other forms of inclusion exist. NATO expansion is very likely to involve those countries which can already boast of the greatest successes in stabilizing themselves. Excluded from it will be precisely those countries lying between Russia and the enlarged Alliance which for various reasons have a large crisis potential -- whether because of weaknesses in social and economic transformation, because of latent minority and border problems, or because as neighbors of Russia they are in an exposed position in security terms.

Most Central and Eastern European countries want to join NATO and the EU. In any event, they have no interest in belonging once again to a kind of "in-between Europe" whose security is decided by others. In addition they have a vital interest in political and economic support for their transformation process. The West has so far tried to meet their fears and desires in two ways: with a more or less vague prospect of being tied into Western security organizations at a later time and with cooperative measures intended to provide a feeling of security. In this connection two ideal type options can be distinguished:

1. Intensified Cooperation with the EU and the WEU: For the medium term, neither of these organizations can offer more than a limited substitute for the subjective security advantage provided by NATO-integration of the countries in question. A rapid expansion of the EU is not possible owing to the need for internal reform, the conflicting interests of present members and the political, economic, administrative and/or social incompatibility of future members with EU structures. The WEU, for its part, has no substantial capacity for military action without the support of NATO or the United States. For that reason, simply enlarging the WEU would seem to make little sense unless one ascribes to it some kind of psychological effect in the context of the European integration process. The reform and enlargement of the EU and WEU will take five to ten years under favorable circumstances. In the meantime, reasons of political psychology argue for elevating the present WEU status of future EU members from that of associate partnership to full association, and for offering associated partnership to the other countries. The EU could pursue a more open trade policy, intensify its efforts in preventive diplomacy, and promote (sub)regional cooperation more forcefully with the objective of supporting the transformation process in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe as well in the CIS. The establishment of a permanent conference of EU membership aspirants could be considered along with a structured dialogue with the Slavic CIS countries in the framework of the EU's common foreign and security policy and its common domestic and legal policy. The Ukraine's desire for EU membership can only be met in the long term and assuming the development of close cooperative relations between the EU and Russia.

2. Intensified Cooperation with NATO: In the North Atlantic Cooperation Council and in Partnership for Peace, NATO has brought two institutions to life aimed at bridging, both multilaterally and bilaterally, the security gap between its members and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and of the CIS remaining outside of NATO. Russia enjoys a special status in its relations with NATO because, as a Eurasian power, it has global interests, because it is a nuclear power and because it is a permanent member of the UN Security Council. A special relationship is also to be offered to the Ukraine, although for different reasons and in a clearly weaker form. A similar procedure is being considered for the Baltic countries. Finally, the partnership relations to all countries, including Russia, are to be intensified in bilateral PfP agreements. Joint military exercises according to the Combined Joint Task Forces concept could make a particular contribution to confidence-building and to the practice of new cooperative forms of behavior. This process could gradually lead to greater military compatibility, interoperability and operational efficiency between all of the partner countries and NATO. With time they could de facto become capable of integration without becoming de jure members of the Alliance. The material and technological conditions for joint crisis management would be improved. Still, participation by the non-members in the decision-making process would remain a necessity.

In sum, both of these options offer transitional solutions whose elements could also be combined with one another. The issue of Russia's involvement will in the end determine whether these options promote the division of Europe in security terms or whether they promote the development of pan-European security structures.

Fourth Problem:
What Sort of Reorganization Would Be Required?

NATO is a military pact whose mission is collective defense. All activities which go beyond collective defense or its preparation, especially if they take place outside of NATO treaty territory and involve or foresee the use of physical force, require a mandate from the Security Council of the United Nations. Even collective defense itself is only permissible until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international security.

Will this continue to be true even after NATO's eastward expansion? Legally speaking, there is no doubt about it. The limitations on the activities of a military alliance apply independently of the number of its members. A geographic expansion does not imply an enlargement of functions.

On the political level, however, the consequences are different. NATO's expansion policy is accompanied by a fundamentally different view of its mission. A foretaste of this was provided by the operations in Bosnia which, between February 1994 and September 1995, involved the repeated and increasing use of military means. In terms of both materiel and procedures, all activities of the Alliance in Bosnia deviated more or less significantly from the rules set forth in Chapter VII of the UN Charter. Step by step, competences which belong to the United Nations alone were wrested from it. Must we assume that in future NATO will combine its political objective of expanding while at the same time becoming the most important and decisive security organization in Europe with a claim to the authority of a system of collective security while not being a collective security system? Basically, there are three possible lines of development:

1. NATO corrects the course it has set out on, becomes mindful once again of its original mission and, even after expansion, remains a purely military pact with the single function of collective defense. This alternative would meet the expectations of most candidates for admission, who are mainly interested in the protection of an alliance and guarantees of support. It does not correspond to the intentions of the most important NATO members, however. For that reason it is unlikely. It offers no appropriate answer to the new security problems in Europe. And it would hurt relations between the Alliance and those European countries which have no prospect of membership.

2. NATO supports through the provision of military services a regional system of collective security in Europe to be embodied in the OSCE which, however, still has to be developed for that purpose. Acceptance of the principle of "OSCE first" would encourage a development in this direction; a mandate from the United Nations would continue to be indispensable for the use of military force. This alternative would come closest to meeting the challenges of security in Europe following the end of the bloc confrontation. It would also correspond to the solemn declarations of intent stemming from the days of historic change. Even so, its chances of realization are slim. Those countries whose influence would be most diminished by it are the ones that reject it most determinedly.

3. NATO itself is developed into a system of collective security. This alternative, which at first blush appears bizarre, calls for a lot of thorough conceptual work which can so far not be discerned.

The main problem with this last-mentioned solution is not that a military alliance cannot enter into close cooperative security relationships beyond the circle of its members. It can do this -- very well in fact -- even with respect to potential addressees of its collective defense efforts. NATO is already doing this through the North Atlantic Cooperation Council and the "Partnership for Peace" program. The main problem of such a solution lies, rather, in the fact that a defense organization cannot become active as a system of collective security until it has made arrangements to ensure that all who are potentially affected by sanctions enjoy equal rights of action and decision.

Thus NATO, if it should choose this alternative, will be unable to avoid adding a variety of decision-making organs for the different functional modes of collective defense and collective security or, if the same organs are used, operating in different composition and with different rules of procedure depending on the case at hand. To ignore this fundamental requirement of organizational reform and appoint oneself in one way or another to decide on matters of collective security in Europe would be a step in the direction of international illegality.

The two proposals currently being discussed in NATO offer constructive approaches to a solution of the problem:

- An idea of American origin is to subsume the North Atlantic Cooperation Council and the activities of the "Partnership for Peace" program into a new body to be called the "Atlantic Partnership Council". That this proposal would include all countries in the region that have shown interest and are ready to cooperate and capable of doing so speaks in its favor. Arguing against it, however, is the fact that members of the Partnership Council that are not members of NATO would enjoy only rights of consultation.

- Of European origin is the suggestion that the 16 NATO states and Russia create a joint body, the "S-17". The fact that all members of the new body would have equal rights in decision-making speaks in its favor. Arguing against it is the fact that it takes account only of Russia's interest in participation.

Combining the advantages of these two proposals while avoiding their weaknesses leads to a third suggestion, as follows:

- An Atlantic Partnership Council shall be responsible for questions of planning, coordination, decision-making and implementation of measures to guarantee European security. Its membership shall consist of all North American and European states that are willing and capable of assuming their appropriate share of the organization's responsibilities.

This proposal needs to be further developed in a number of respects. Of particular importance is to figure out how a body with a large membership can be brought to work effectively. One technique that might be considered is to distinguish between matters which are the responsibility of all members and those that are the responsibility of a narrower circle. For help in defining the narrower decision-making group one might look at an example from the most recent history of European conflict: the Contact Group for settling the war in Bosnia.

NATO in its old form would for the time being remain unaffected by this organizational scheme, despite its changing composition. It would, as in the past, retain sole responsibility for matters related to the collective self-defense of its members. Depending on how the security situation in Europe develops it could decide whether to continue the expansion process and/or, in the course of further integration in the field of European security and a step-by-step organizational reform, to transfer certain of its functions to the larger framework of the Atlantic Partnership Council.

Compared with the proposals discussed above on Russian participation or on the inclusion of the other non-NATO states, this approach has a fundamental advantage: It would not lead to a thicket of different kinds of linkages and association with NATO but would provide a solution "of a piece". The one-sided focus of the discussion on the special relationship to Russia, which is hardly defensible in systematic terms and mainly serves to appease Russia in the short term, would be modified. Moreover, it would help us to escape from thinking in typical bloc categories such as "allies" and "potential adversaries" which no longer do justice to the present and, in all probability, the future security situation in Europe. That is why this approach deserves to be given preference.

Fifth Problem:
What Is the Future of Nuclear Weapons in Europe?

The reductions in weapons arsenals in Europe that have been carried out since the end of East-West confrontation -- the elimination of Russian and American land-based medium range nuclear weapons, the complete withdrawal of Russia's tactical nuclear weapons from Central Europe, and the reductions in tactical nuclear weapons of the United States -- have led to a substantial lessening of the military threat in Europe. But there are still US tactical nuclear weapons (free-falling bombs) on Western European territory. Furthermore, most tactical nuclear weapons withdrawn were only deactivated. Because their withdrawal was not carried out on the basis of a treaty, they could be put back into service. Finally, owing to the announced expansion of NATO, the Russian parliament is refusing to ratify the START 2 Treaty which, beginning in 2003, would reduce the strategic stockpiles of the two superpowers from 15,000 nuclear warheads at present to 7,000 and eliminate the particularly dangerous MIRV'ed warheads. If that treaty were not to enter into force, all further nuclear-strategic disarmament would be blocked. But it is not just that the reduction of nuclear weapons of mass destruction is threatened by a standstill. The possibility of existing arms control treaties such as the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) being undermined, or of a renuclearization of European security relationships, cannot be ruled out.

As things now stand the North Atlantic Alliance does not intend to deploy atomic weapons on the territory of new member states. This is a welcome political disclaimer. Nevertheless, the Alliance is reserving the option of deploying nuclear weapons on the territory of newly admitted members if future circumstances should require it. Thus Russia is confronted with a situation in which NATO might at some point deploy atomic weapons in the immediate vicinity of Russian borders. The same holds true for the Ukraine and Belarus. Russian counter-measures cannot be ruled out.

Instead of risking a renewed atomic threat to Central Europe, the negotiations on an expansion of NATO should be used to eliminate the remaining arsenal of tactical nuclear weapons. NATO's arsenal was justified during the period of East-West confrontation by pointing to the Warsaw Pact's superiority in conventionally armed forces. The dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and the collapse of the Soviet Union, along with conventional disarmament, have deprived this justification of its basis. Today, NATO's conventional superiority is an undisputed fact. One can assume that it will continue in the next decade. By the same token, however, there is a risk that Russia might now, in an analogous way, adopt the argument formerly used by NATO that nuclear weapons must be regarded as compensation for a perceived conventional inferiority. To prevent that, it is important that continued reductions of nuclear weapons be accompanied by a continuation of the reduction of conventional weapons stocks consistent with stability. In the nuclear field, the following agreements and measures might be envisaged:

1. NATO and Russia would revise their current nuclear doctrines in favor of a mutually binding no first use policy with regard to nuclear weapons. The nuclear forces of France and Great Britain would be included.

2. In accordance with the principle of "no atomic weapons on the territory of states which do not themselves possess nuclear weapons" the remaining tactical nuclear weapons in Europe would be completely withdrawn to the countries of origin. This means that NATO would give up the nuclear deployment option which is theoretically offered by the admission of new member states.

3. The Two-plus-Four Treaty already prohibits the deployment of nuclear weapons on the territory of the former GDR. In line with the interest of Belarus and the Ukraine in the establishment of a nuclear weapons free zone in Central Europe negotiations should be held on the expansion of this prohibition to include newly admitted NATO members and also Belarus and the Ukraine in a nuclear weapons free zone. Its establishment would send a positive signal with regard to the non-proliferation efforts of the superpowers and Europe.

4. The withdrawal of their tactical nuclear weapons carried out in reciprocal steps by the United States and the Soviet Union during the first half of the nineties, and their further reduction until they have been completely eliminated, would be put into the form of a treaty under international law.

5. The tactical nuclear weapons would be dismantled and destroyed with mutual verification. The weapons grade material would be put in safeguarded depots and irreversibly destroyed.

6. An agreement on the principles and guidelines for a START 3 Treaty would help to get the Russian parliament to ratify START 2. On this basis, these agreements, hitherto bilateral in form, would be extended to the other nuclear weapons states -- France, Great Britain and China. These measures would be set forth in an agenda for comprehensive and global nuclear disarmament.

Sixth Problem:
What Is the Future of Conventional Disarmament in Europe?

The Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE Treaty), concluded in 1990, limits in five categories of major conventional weapons systems -- tanks, armored combat vehicles, artillery pieces, combat aircraft and attack helicopters - the holdings of the member states of NATO and of the former Warsaw Pact. Excess stocks of weapons were to be reduced under mutual inspection by November 1995. According to the rules of the treaty, major conventional weapons systems in Europe were reduced by about 58,000 items between 1992 and 1995. As a result, a level of military cooperation and confidence-building unique in the whole world was attained. Military information which just ten years ago carried the stamp "top secret" is now known to all of the 30 participating states. Security in Europe can no longer be imagined without the CFE Treaty.

To be sure, the CFE Treaty came about in 1989/1990, at a time of epochal change. When the negotiations began in March 1989 there was still a bloc-to-bloc constellation. When the Treaty was signed at the Paris CSCE Summit on 18 November 1990, the East-West confrontation was over and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact could be foreseen. Its birth on the border line between two epochs has made a kind of hybrid out of the CFE Treaty which, on the one hand, has characteristics stemming from the old state of affairs but, on the other hand, contains features that look beyond that era. Pointing to the period of bloc-to-bloc confrontation are the ceilings of the treaty, which apply to "groups of States Parties" -- this refers to the military alliances. The Treaty's regional system (a system of regional ceilings) and its verification system are also based on the principle of two groups. But the CFE Treaty also contains features which go beyond the group principle: thus the national ceilings are arranged legally in such a way that they represent the vested rights of each State Party.

The dissolution of the Warsaw Pact did not have any immediate consequences for the CFE Treaty. But as soon as NATO takes on new members that once belonged to the Warsaw Pact the contradictory structure of this treaty will collapse. If the CFE Treaty is to remain intact despite NATO expansion it will have to be substantially revised. For that reason, the 30 State Parties of the CFE Treaty, meeting on the fringes of the OSCE Summit in Lisbon in December 1996, agreed to negotiations to adapt the Treaty to the new security situation in Europe. Negotiations began on 21 January 1997 in the Vienna Hofburg. For Russia, which fears an eastward advance of the 'NATO military machine', 'modernization' of the CFE Treaty is very high on the list of priorities. Thus the Russian Foreign Minister, Primakov, described the attitude of NATO toward the CFE as the "yardstick" with which the West's willingness to cooperate would be measured.

If conventional disarmament and military confidence-building in Europe are to have a future at the same time that NATO is being expanded, the CFE Treaty will have to be given a new conceptual foundation. Over and above the complicated technical issues of the treaty there are six guiding political principles which could help to use NATO expansion as an opportunity for more disarmament and confidence-building:

1. The new treaty must once and for all take leave of the group or parity principle. The ceilings assigned to military alliances must be replaced by purely national limits. The notion of parity is inseparably connected to the existence of two blocs which are opposed to one another. This line of thinking is no longer appropriate to the military situation in today's Europe, where cooperation is supposed to be the decisive element; it is even less suitable for the future development of that situation.

2. The new treaty must provide additional stability for all participating states. NATO is already the strongest military grouping in Europe in absolute terms (the force ratio between NATO and Russia is about 3:1); after expansion this will be even more clearly the case. Under these circumstances stability can only be attained if NATO is willing to accept binding self-imposed limits on military strength, codified in arms control treaties. Russia's apprehensions are focused on the possibility that NATO will move its military potential eastward. Russia's interest lies in having stable and predictable conditions on its 'western flank'. Hence the new CFE Treaty will have to ensure that the future ceilings for the countries joining NATO do not rise, neither in an absolute sense nor relative to those of the other State Parties. More stability for all State Parties also means taking adequate account of the interests of those countries which do not join NATO but also do not want to ally themselves militarily with Russia (the Ukraine, for example).

3. The new treaty must limit military flexibility. Flexibility, as used here, refers to the speed at which military forces can be employed at various places within the area of application. Especially the United States, which regards NATO as the core of its global military capability, attaches great significance to military flexibility within the framework of the CFE while the European countries value the aspect of stability more highly. Thus there is a tension between stability in security policy and military flexibility. Additional military flexibility for one group of countries (in this case NATO) means less stability from the Russian point of view. For that reason NATO must, through arms control arrangements, forego that gain in military flexibility which would naturally and inevitably emerge from the expansion of the Alliance.

4. In dealing with the problem of stationed forces, the new treaty must apply the same principles to all State Parties. Russia insists that stationed forces be prohibited in the countries joining NATO but wants to station its own forces abroad (e.g. in Georgia and Armenia). Such a demand for unequal rights cannot be permitted in the CFE Treaty. In principle, stationing and temporary deployment of foreign troops must derive its legitimacy and legality from existing rules of international law.

5. The new treaty must create a dependable basis for a further -- continuous, not single -- lowering of the ceilings on conventional arms and troops in Europe. This is only possible on the basis of more stability for all and less military flexibility for a few. An initial quick reduction measure might be to lower the ceilings by the difference between the maximum levels now permissible and the actual holdings, which are lower. That would reduce armaments in the five CFE weapons categories by almost 25,000 items altogether. In view of the 130,000 major weapons systems and the six million soldiers that still remain, the goal of all further steps should be to cut in half the present stocks of weapons and military forces in Europe.

6. The new treaty, beyond lowering the numerical ceilings on troops and armaments, must make use of the chances of defensive orientation. Regional concentrations of major weapons systems and force build-up capabilities, especially along the future periphery of an expanded NATO, must be taken into consideration. Of particular importance is the restructuring of military units deployed in the vicinity of borders and of their equipment according to the criteria of defensive sufficiency and the renunciation of offensive capabilities. Unilateral steps in such a direction could advance the achievement of such a treaty or should be included in the agreements as confidence building elements.

7. Finally, the new treaty must be drawn up in such a way that the European states which are not yet State Parties can also adhere to it. This concerns in particular the non-aligned countries (Finland, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland) but also the Baltic states. As these countries' national defense for the most part depends on militia systems requiring mobilization, rules, including those on verification, must be found which they can accept.

The crucial question in the CFE negotiations is whether NATO, which enjoys superiority in every respect, is prepared to exercise a sufficient measure of military self-control. The West cannot have everything at the same time: a NATO expanded to include Central Europe, more military flexibility and a good relationship with Russia.

Seventh Problem:
What Are the Costs of NATO Expansion?

The costs of an expansion of NATO are unclear. Depending on the model used for calculation and on political interest, they vary between ten and 125 billion dollars for the next ten to 15 years. The rule that applies here is that the more confrontational the plans are with respect to Russia, the more expensive the expansion will be. And of course everyone does the calculation in a way that serves his political purposes.

According to a study by the US Congressional Budget Office (CBO), between 60.6 and 124.7 billion dollars would have to be spent between 1996 and 2010, depending on the "expansion model". The European allies (particularly Germany) would have to pick up between 13.8 and 54 billion, 42 to 51.8 billion would be the responsibility of the new members, and the United States would pay between 4.8 and 18.9 billion.

Another study, by experts at the Rand Corporation, uses the CBO study as a point of orientation but regards its conclusions about costs as too high. The candidates for admission would not, for example, have to be armed up to NATO standards overnight. If the support given did not go beyond modernization assistance and the supply of command, control and communications structures, the total costs would run between 14 and 20 billion dollars (until 2010). In the most cost-intensive variant, which would include forward deployment of air force units and combat troops in the new member countries, the costs would rise quickly to 110 billion dollars.

According to a US Government study the planned eastward expansion will not be nearly as expensive as so far expected. It is likely to cost between 27 and 35 billion dollars in the next twelve years. The American share would be only 150 to 200 million dollars a year. The new members would have to raise ten to 13 billion dollars for the modernization of their armies. It is presumably the intention of the American government to use this inexpensive variant to counter possible reservations in Congress.

A study from the standpoint of Poland (itself a candidate for admission) also concludes that the costs of NATO expansion would be nowhere near as high as suggested in the CBO study. According to this Polish analysis, the candidates for admission must distinguish between the cost of force and defense structure modernization which would be necessary in any event, and the actual expansion costs, which would only arise for Poland if it joined the Alliance. There is no question, the study concludes, that the costs would be higher for Poland if it remained outside the Alliance and had to provide for its own security. For the next 15 years, it finds, 1.26 billion dollars would be enough for a minimal level of military-technological compatibility and interoperability. The costs of modernization and adaptation of weaponry to NATO standards would, additionally, run to 7.6 billion dollars. Altogether, the costs for entry would amount to about 1.5 billion dollars a year, less than five percent of the defense budget.

For the NATO countries, at least for the big weapons exporters among them, the expansion costs are sweetened by billion-dollar deals in Western weapons technology. There is a huge demand in the region for NATO-compatible equipment. The demand is particularly strong in the area of command and control systems, in the air forces and in air defense. Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, for example, plan to spend up to eight billion dollars on new jet fighters. The consequence is that bidders from the US and Western Europe are fighting over the Eastern European armaments cake with leasing offers, dumping prices and licensing arrangements. In view of the budgetary stringencies to which the Eastern Europeans are subject, weapons purchases are being financed in part by generous credits and military assistance from the United States. Moscow, in view of its languishing armaments industry, is consequently demanding that there be an access clause in the planned treaty guaranteeing Russia a certain share of the Eastern European weapons trade.

Following the end of East-West confrontation there was, and continues to be, a hope for a peace dividend. It is completely unacceptable to have budgets burdened by additional demands rather than drastically reducing military expenditures. This holds true not only for the potential new member countries but also and especially for countries like the Federal Republic of Germany.

Anyone seeking to enlarge NATO must find a way to do it which at least does not raise past and existing costs. The authors of this study are of the opinion, moreover, that any additional funds required would by all means be better invested in the enormously expensive process of economic, social-political and ecological transformation in Central and Eastern Europe rather than in a defense alliance which, by its own admission, no longer has any enemies.


Looking at all of these problems together confirms once again that the expansion of NATO will by no means lead automatically to more stability and security in Europe. With a view to a durable and stable system of undivided security in and for Europe, it can at best be described as a complicated and hardly logical detour. If the problems it creates are to be transformed into opportunities then we should strive, along with a strengthening of the OSCE, for:

1. taking account of Russia's legitimate concerns (as well as those of the Ukraine and other third states) over being excluded from the transformation process of Europe's security structure;

2. the establishment of an "Atlantic Partnership Council" which, through its involvement in the tasks of conflict resolution, prevention of violence, and maintenance of peace in Europe, offers all affected countries equal security on the basis of equal rights and obligations;

3. cutting back the functions of atomic weapons in and for Europe with the goal of eliminating the nuclear arsenals;

4. the adaptation of the CFE Treaty to changed realities with the objective of a continuous lowering of the ceilings on present weaponry (cutting weapons stocks and armed forces in half);

5. alternative use of the funding designated for NATO's eastward expansion for assistance to the transformation process in Eastern Europe and for strengthening those civil institutions which provide security in Europe.