Changemakers in the Eastern Neighbourhood/ ODESSA

The International Institute for Peace, already since many years, is cooperating with the Center for International and European Studies of the Kadir Has University in Istanbul on its annualy International Neighbourhood Symposium. This year it took place in Odessa / Ukraine because Istanbul unfortunately became rather unattractive due to its internal political situation since the coup d'etat in 2016 and because of the rise of terrorist activities and attacks. Another reason, however, was also to foster cooperation with other organisations in the region, this time with Ukraine Analytika and Ukrainian Prism, two organisations dealing with Ukranian Foreign Policy.

The topic of the this years symposium was "Changemakers in the Eastern Neighbourhood" and many of these potential changemakers have been participating in the 4 days symposium. There have been 38 participants from 14 countries with a small emphasis on Ukrainian and Turkish participants. Topics ranged from the global security context, to developments and crises in the Neighbourhood, the Mediterranean and the Middle East, from politics versus populism to civic engagement, cultural engagement and media in a post-truth age. The last one and a half day were peer- 2- peer workshops where groups had to work out a project, which could (and maybe even will) lead to a positive change in societal development. Ideas ranged from the necessity to build a platform for civil society organisations in the eastern neighbourhood to deal with specific topics concerning refugees in order to foster cooperation and to learn from each other to societal advertisement videos which should help to build empathy and solidarity in the region to educational programs dealing with conflict resolution.

The director of the IIP, Stephanie Fenkart, was facilitating some of the workshops whereas Hannes Swoboda held a lecture on the view from Odessa at the EU's neighbourhood.

You find his remarks below:




Hannes Swoboda

My first visit to the wonderful city of Odessa dates back to the early nineties when I visited the city as capital of one of the active Danube regions. The communists were dominating the country which was still part of the Soviet Union. A second time I came to Odessa when it had already become a Ukrainian city. 

After my visit now it became clear: Odessa is part of Ukraine with many Russian speaking - but clearly Ukrainian - citizens.  It became a very lively city with many young people strolling around and spending time in the many street cafes. The street life of today is quite different to the quietness during the Soviet times.

Odessa has a great but also horrific history. It was founded by Catherina II after occupying the region for Russia. It became a famous port city with close links to Istanbul.  (Only recently an Istanbul Park was opened by the mayor of Istanbul at a very prominent place of the city.) Because of its port Odessa became a multicultural and diverse city. Many Jews, Greeks and numerous other people of different ethnicities settled there and participated predominantly in trading activities. Several foreign politicians, military men and architects played a key role in defining the city as multicultural. However, the city was a setting for numerous violent conflicts and wars. Especially the Jewish population became the victim of these conflicts. The worst massacre happened during the Nazi/Rumanian occupation before the end of World War II with an estimated murder of 30 000 jews.

The old diversity could never be re-established but the pogroms of the past seem to be banned for ever. During the turmoil after the Maidan revolution and the Russian intervention in the Eastern Ukraine there was a danger of the conflict spreading to Odessa but one dreadful incident with many people killed convinced the vast majority to strive for peace instead of war. So today one can enjoy the city and its partly renovated buildings as well as the famous Potemkin-Stairs, which played an important role in the famous still-film "Warship Potemkin" by Sergej Eisenstein.

The reason for me to come to Odessa was the invitation to support and participate in a yearly event organized by Prof. Dimitrios Triantaphyllou of the Kadir Has University in Istanbul. Normally the event takes place in or near Istanbul. This year there were some reasons to organize the "International Neighborhood Symposium" in Odessa - mainly because of the concerning atmosphere in Turkey and the lack of interest of the participants due to fear of terrorist attacks. The director of the IIP, Stephanie Fenkart and myself went to Odessa with the daily flight by Austrian Airlines from Vienna. We had interesting discussions with many active students from EU’s neighborhood countries which were eager to find ways of influencing the course of their respective countries. I myself spoke in a panel about "The Eastern Neighborhood in Upheaval".


Crisis, upheaval or new normality?

Looking at the situation in the EU's neighborhood one can come to different conclusions. Odessa and all our neighbors had many crises and have even been responsible for pogroms in the past. Odessa is not far away from the crisis region in Eastern Ukraine, from Transnistria and the two separate regions Abchasia and South Ossetia. aAcross the Black Sea you can find Istanbul also a city on the Black Sea, long term partner and opponent of Odessa. Nowadays also Istanbul is in a critical situation due to the Turkish president’s turn towards establishing an authoritarian political system. Nevertheless, we should not too quickly speak about upheaved and crisis or at least say that such situations are at least as normal as periods with strong stability, which we already had in this region.


Neighborhood of the EU but also of Russia

We often forgot in the past, that our - EU's - neighborhood is also that of Russia. Of course, it was self-evident for the EU and its major political forces, that the EU is by far the stronger magnet because of all the bad experiences with and within the Soviet Union. But due to failures and mistakes of EU neighborhood policies and the resistance of many political classes in these countries to do the necessary reforms, in some countries people began to give attention to Russian official voices which pleaded for closer links with Moscow.

Very often the EU saw itself as an alternative to Moscow and Russia had a similar view from an opposite perspective. For the EU its "values" and standards seemed to be unequivocally convincing. Russia only began after some years of weakness and disorientation to underline their - traditional - concept of influence-zones built on government cooperation. In this respect they founded - with formal initiative taken by Kazakhstan - the Eurasian Union.

Now we have two integration models in Europe - with two different modes. The EU is built on intergovernmental cooperation but with strong elements of community legislation and majority decisions. The Eurasian Union is neatly totally built on intergovernmental cooperation with the principle of unanimity. It will be necessary, but not easy, to design ways of cooperation between the two integration organizations. But we have to recognize, that some countries inside the EU look rather sceptically or outright negatively at a possible cooperation with Russia, which is perceived as neo-imperialist.


The new neighborhood policy of the EU

The review of the EU's neighborhood policy shed a strong light on the problems of a policy which was designed according to the principle "one fits all". The talks with Ukraine but also with Armenia and Azerbaijan and also with the different countries in the Maghreb and Mashrek region demonstrated the necessity for individual, tailor made solutions. This was an enormous progress and politicized in a positive sense the neighborhood policy with a wide spectrum of instruments.

Nevertheless, not everything is satisfying. In the interest of the citizens of our neighboring countries we should be stricter in monitoring the implementation of our policies and aims. Too often we are afraid that our conditionality is pushing our neighbors into the hand of Russia. But the case of Moldova showed that if the EU is too tolerant with ongoing corruption and the non-implementation of promised reforms, the population becomes very critical of their government/political class and the EU alike.

It is not easy to draw a line between accepting the difficulties of reform processes and the toleration of non-compliance. But the closer the countries come to the EU and its principles the more we must expect from them the implementation of reforms. But, of course, the EU should always respect the interests of the citizens for improvements in their economic and social situations. Not always are radical reforms - according to the neo-liberal orthodoxy- the best way to a new welfare economy. However, without a rising living standards for all the EU will not be able to convince the citizens that the way toward Europe is the best choice. A much more sophisticated reform strategy would be the best method against populist and foreign interventions which are opposing the strong trade, culture and democracy links to the EU.


EU's neighborhood strategy and the civil society

The monitoring of the implementation of necessary reforms like an efficient strategy against corruption and oligarchisation can never be done by the EU and its instruments alone. The monitoring is an ongoing process which must also (!) be approached from within.

Parliament and other public authorities must do that job. Still, often this is not enough or not really done at all. So, we should invite and support civil society to come into the game and take over this task or at least add its monitoring to the official institutions.

Civil society is much more independent and certainly more critically than official institutions. But they must also be realistic and sometimes even pragmatic to be heard. That is not in contradiction to be frank and consistent. In addition, they must be embedded into the wider society and respect the basic economic and social interests and aspirations of the population. Only then will the government listen to them, because disregarding them would be disregarding many voters.


The fight against populism and authoritarian rule

In many neighboring countries we see a rise in populism. But that goes parallel to similar developments inside the EU. The reasons for rising populism are manifold. The lack of economic progress, social inequality with the perception of unfair treatment often leads to the search for quick and easy answers and new strong leaders. The confrontation with current issues as well as migrants and refugees coming from other cultures is an additional factor. If all these challenges are misused to offer "the" solution - often by designing scapegoats like refugees and immigrants - we can speak of populism.

In many cases populism is transposed into an authoritarian rule which makes changes in government majorities difficult, sometimes nearly impossible. The development goes from democracy to illiberal democracy to de facto dictatorship with a strong security apparatus. However, civil society should be supported by the EU - officially and unofficially as well as directly and indirectly - to preserve a minimum of democratic life and democratic freedoms. Even if some governments will try to cut and prevent financial support from outside sources, the EU and many foundations should find ways to support civil society. That is not equal to supporting regime change, but means empowering citizens to express their aspirations and democratic rights. The EU cannot and must not impose its rules and laws on other countries, but the EU has the right and even obligation to help citizens in achieving respect for their basic human rights – which are shared universally.


The EU had to learn and recognize that the enlargement process and the neighborhood strategy is no longer alone decided by the EU itself. Russia is not as attractive as the EU, but it plays a role of at least disturbing the rapprochement of EU's neighborhood to the EU. There is no way out of that dilemma but adapting the neighborhood policy to the individual situation in the different countries including their relationship to Russia. At the end, it is the people who decide which way to go,how and especially, how quickly.

The EU must reconsider its demands in respect of reforms and concentrate its demands more on the citizens and their aspirations. Economic and social issues must be added to the modernization of democracy and the fight against corruption. The monitoring of a comprehensive reform package must be taken more seriously and must be shared with the civil society. They should be empowered on a large scale to bring speed and especially thoroughness and transparency to the reform process.




Visit of a delegation of the Shanghai Institute for International Studies

On the 7th of June 2017 a meeting between a delegation from the Shanghai Institute for International Studies (SIIS) and the president of the IIP, Hannes Swoboda, the director, Stephanie Fenkart and the member of the Advisory Board, Heinz Gärtner, took place in the premises of the International Institute for Peace in Vienna.

The aim was to exchange views on topics of mutual interest focusing on recent political developments in Europe. Questions addressed have been:

-      How the presidential elections in Austria, France and UK and later in Germany might influence/change the political spectrum of the respective countries in particular and Europe as a whole?

-      The rise of populism and nationalism in Europe

-      The future of the EU after BREXIT and the differing role for France and Germany

-      Relations with third countries, especially China, Russia and the US

The Future of Nuclear Weapons in Europe

The Russian Federation and the USA are modernising their non-strategic nuclear arms for Europe. Both are blaming the respective other that they have been violating the INF-Treaty – the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which came into force 30 years ago. Is a new trend developing towards a larger role for nuclear weapons in European security? Is the Trump-Administration receding from the vision of a nuclear-free world? Which challenges and risks arise for those who are putting efforts into the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons? Which consequences can be drawn for the recent negotiations about a nuclear-weapons-convention (NWC)?

About these and other questions the panellists below discussed on May 2nd 2017.

Angela Kane                          Vice-President of the International Institute for Peace, IIP - Vienna

                                            Former UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, New York

Hans M. Kristensen               Federation of American Scientists, Washington

Otfried Nassauer                   Berlin Information-center for Transatlantic Security

Susi Snyder                           Pax Nederlande, Utrecht

Igor Sutyagin                        Royal United Services Institute, London

to read the summary please click here

to watch the discussion please see below

Russia, Europe and NATO - is there a way out of the Crisis?


(Comments at a Conference jointly organized by IIP and Croatian partners in Zagreb on the "The West and Russia: Challenges and Opportunities")

Hannes Swoboda

The origin of the crisis

There is no doubt about the tense relations between EU and Russia and even more between NATO and Russia. There are many reasons for the deterioration of the respective relations. Unfortunately; the possible peace and cooperation dividend after the collapse of the Eastern Block and the Soviet Union has not been consumed. Too much has it been seen outside Russia as a victory of the "West", it's values, its economic system and its military force. Francis Fukuyama expressed it most clearly: we arrived at "The End of History". Even in Russia many agreed with that interpretation of history. But things developed differently.


The extension of NATO and of the European Union came to a halt. Russia became more assertive - some would say, more aggressive, due to economic stabilization - on a low level - and due to Putin's stabilization of power. Putin gave some hints, that he would not tolerate a stronger expansion of the "West" and especially NATO. The "border" conflicts concerning Georgia and Moldova were already signs of resistance to a strong interference into Russia's "near abroad" - its neighbourhood. But the climax came with the foreseen agreement between EU and Ukraine and the Maidan revolution which toppled President Yanukovich.


Was the Ukraine crisis avoidable?

Many ask today if the re-approchement between the EU and Ukraine could have been handled with more care and diligence. Indeed, from the hindsight the answer must be yes. But one must be honest and recognize that the Ukrainian government of President Yanukovich and Prime Minister Azarov were underlining, that the Ukraine wanted to sign the Deep and Comprehensive Trade Agreement with the EU. The chief negotiator and confident of President Yanukovich, Klujev made it very clear also to me personally. And Russia underlined that this is an issue between Ukraine and the EU - until they threatened the Ukrainian leadership with economic sanctions just before the Vilnius summit and the signing of the agreement.


This lead to a U-turn of the officials in Kiev/Kyiv which raised opposition in Kiev/Kyiv and brought the Maidan revolution to a start. It was difficult for the EU's foreign ministers in Kiev/Kyiv to impose a compromise between the government and the revolting people on Maidan. Probably it would have been wise to make it clear to the Maidan representatives that a compromise will be necessary. But even if this would have happened it is unclear if and how long such a compromise would have survived the basic conflicts inside Ukraine and between the reform oriented forces in Ukraine and the Russian government in the longer run.


The lost opportunities

The opportunity for a peaceful transformation of Europe and a new comprehensive security architecture has been missed already years before the crisis in Ukraine. The breakdown of the "East" has been interpreted by the "West" as a clear victory of the Western, capitalistic system. The principle how to proceed in the EU and inside NATO has been: the winner takes it all. NATO invited Russia to join a common NATO- Russia council but without a possibility to influence the basic strategy and decisions of NATO, which misses the basics of true cooperation.

The EU offered Russia different forms of cooperation and financial support and finally a "Modernization Partnership". The basic idea was to change the political and economic structure of the country. One could call that as a wish for regime change. But no direct interventions took place, instead the EU wanted to use its transformative power to create a neighbourhood which would slowly adapt to the basic rules and behaviour the EU had in mind for a common Europe. Common meant that all European countries should orient themselves on the EU model. Russia was seen at maximum as a junior partner.


NATO and the EU wanted to establish a wider Europe not on basis of mutual recognition and/or by finding a new Europe on the basis of a compromise. They just wanted to extend its communities and rules to other countries and hoped, that in the long-term, Russia would adapt to that new wider Europe. For a while that was also accepted by Russia, but more and more the opposition in Russia as well as Putin himself was increasingly opposing. The planned Trade Agreement with Ukraine and the conclusion of such an agreement after the Maidan revolution was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

For the EU an alternative strategy was hardly possible. The EU and its founding principles were oriented not on creating a new traditional power block and system but had and have post-nationalistic structures in mind. The transformation of Europe from very often antagonistic nation-states to a federation of states - or an entity sui generis- was not thinking in traditional power terms. Its founding myth is opposed to conferences like that in Yalta or even the Vienna Congress. Even the Helsinki conference was interpreted as a transitional agreement and the final act of European transformation could start. And all the countries which have been dominated by the Soviet Union/Moscow were especially keen to go that new way and to be included into the new form of Europe - albeit with some reservations concerning their own sovereignty.

One could say, that the two principles, the extension of the 'new' post- nationalistic Europe on the one hand and the preservation of Russia's zone of interest and influence on the other hand were irreconcilable. A clash was to come sooner or later. In some way, a fresh start would be necessary to create conditions to a peaceful structure for cooperation. But that must be based on the new facts including on compromises concerning the rules and regulations of the EU.

The new realities

Europe and the Eurasian continent are not in the same position as some ten years before. The European Union is no longer the only integration project. The Eurasian Union (EAU) heavily promoted by Russia and the "One Belt, one road" (OBOR) initiative have been added and will play a key role in defining the future of Europe. At different conferences in the framework of the OSCE the question of possible enhanced cooperation across Europe have been raised. Some of these conferences have been organized by the Vienna Institute for International Economics (WIIW) - with the biggest one in Linz/Austria - asking for possibilities to create a common economic space between Vancouver (or at least Lisbon) and Vladivostok. Thinking about a big idea of a wider space while the local connectivity across crisis regions is more and more cut, is unfortunately not very realistic- not in the short run.

Probably a parallel policy of trying to keep local and regional connectivity alive - in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova – could design a great strategy for Europe – and possibly would be helpful. But even the greater design needs some pragmatic and practical steps. One could be to enhance the cooperation between the Eurasian Union and the EU. With all its weaknesses, the Eurasian Union is a fact. It just started and is concentrated on the economic cooperation. But that could be an advantage for closer cooperation in leaving aside the political differences. As the Eurasian Union does not consist only out of Russia, the other members could be happy to have the EU and its member states as partners. EU and the EAU will not be able to agree on all rules and regulations, but rapprochement - step by step - could be envisaged.

In the meantime, Europe got a new player: China. Since several years China is actively looking for strong links with many European countries. And the One Belt, One Road initiative could also - without institutions - create new links between China on the one hand and Russia, Central Asia, the Caucasus and the European Union on the other hand. But these new connections could also have integrational effects and results by enhancing infrastructure links across Europe. The biggest problem for the success of this Chinese initiative is the fact, that it is a Chinese initiative and that in spite also of the recent multilateral conference in Beijing, the ownership is not - not yet - a common one. But only if it is designed as one of mutual interests and cooperation it can be successful and a contribution to a common economic space.

What is the interest of Russia?

Russia's interests seem to be a twofold: independence with orientation towards Europe and Asia. The pivot towards Asia, proclaimed by President Putin is not a clear turn away from Europe and the European Union. And as we have seen China, the biggest possible partner for such a pivot is itself interested to strengthen the ties to Europe including the European Union. But Russia is not ready to be encircled by the EU and especially NATO. It is looking for a partnership of equals. It is true that Russia is not an equal in economic terms and there are many differences concerning values and principles, but neither NATO nor the EU can impose its values and principles on Russia as the military and especially nuclear power of Russia gives it strength and influence beyond the economic power. Integration into a common European Project cannot be done by imposing and enforcing but by inviting and elaborating some common rules based on respect. Yes, Russia has violated some agreed rules and agreements including international law. But so have the US and some European countries in Iraq but also in Libya when they went beyond the UN mandate. This is no excuse but this should help to find a way out of mutual sanctions regimes and create the climate and conditions for a fresh start.

Geopolitics is not finished yet

Anyway, to wait for common values and principles would endanger peace and stability in Europe. To accept that a violation of international law could create similar dangerous situations, is essential. A way of restarting talks about a modus vivendi in Europe with mutual respect and trying to find areas and forms of cooperation is possible and should be found. Russia wants a seat on the table when basic decisions are taken. That does not mean they should have a veto right. But they should be involved in an instructive way. Due to the lack of such possibilities they involved themselves in a destructive way.

It is not an easy task for the West to recognize the basic right of all - European - countries to choose the organizations they want to belong to and at the same time to recognize and consider the geopolitical implications of such choices like joining the EU and especially NATO. Geopolitics is not yet an issue of the past, even though the EU would like to see a different world. But as some of our critical neighbours are not yet ready for joining the EU and even more NATO anyway, a balanced pragmatic approach should be possible. In the meantime, talks with Russia could lead to a more acceptable solution for both sides. We should not give Russia a veto right for the development of the EU, but in the framework of a new all-European security system - also from Vancouver to Vladivostok and even beyond - many Russian concerns could be met. The European Union must also start to think in geopolitical terms - not in the Russian way, but according to its own interests.


A pragmatic approach towards the Russian Federation can be criticized of forgetting and even undermining values and principles. And it is true, that some experts are happy that President Trump does not mention values in his speeches, for example recently in Saudi Arabia. They regard this as a good sign of refraining from regime change. And that may help the US and or Europe also in dealing with Russia. But one could and one should speak also about values and principles without thinking about or promoting regime change. Only to think about interests including interests e.g. to sell weapons the "West" would lose a lot of legitimacy and appeal by people suffering by authoritarian and dictatorial regimes. Values can also promote a dialogue with clear messages - without asking for regime change. To respect geopolitical interests and at the same time to represent basic values of human rights is not a contradiction.

The Ukraine crisis as an obstacle?

In this respect the crisis in Eastern-Ukraine is mentioned as an obstacle towards an agreement with Russia again and again. The question if first the Ukraine problem has to be solved or if the long-term perspective for a security system in Europe has to be first designed and agreed upon is like the question which comes first, the hen or the egg. We need a common and parallel approach. However, ways must be found to stabilize the situation in the occupied areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk. It is also important not to the situation in Crimea, but the nearly daily killings and the awful situation for the local populations in the Donbass should be dealt first and most urgently.

The condition of fulfilling and implementing the Minsk agreement will not be met in the near future. During a recent discussion at the International Institute for Peace with participants from Western-Ukraine and Lugansk we could clearly see: both sides are unwilling to start with the implementation without guarantees, that the other side will follow immediately. Both sides find excuses why the implementation of the Minsk agreement is not yet possible. In the meantime, due to the cut of nearly all economic links the separation between the occupied and the government controlled areas of Ukraine is increasing and not reducing. Unfortunately, the right-wing forces in Ukraine pushed the government and President Poroshenko more and more into a line of cutting these economic links. Connectivity is not on the agenda of either side. The consequence will be that Ukraine is - step by step – re-orienting its economy towards the EU and the economy of the non-government-controlled Areas (NCA) is more and more leaning towards Russia. Some hopes for continuing basic links are connected with the visa - free traveling and the participation in some EU programs like Erasmus for all Ukrainians wherever they live.

New ideas to lift the mutual sanction regimes should be looked for. The sanctions did not really change the situation and it did not help any country. Of course, they hurt some industries and some part of the agricultural sectors strongly. But all the countries found ways to overcome and surpass them. Some third countries offered ways of keeping up trade between the countries inside the sanction regimes and some industries were even happy, as sanctions forced them to restructure and improve their productivity. But sanctions are not in any way helpful to build bridges between Ukraine and Russia and between the EU and Russia.

Areas of EU-Russia cooperation

Besides the direct economic cooperation between the EU and the EAU there are other fields of possible cooperation. In addition to a revitalization and restructuring of the NATO - Russia dialogue within the OSCE could play a bigger role in developing a new security structure for a wider Europe. Russia is for the moment not very interested in a stronger role for the OSCE but that could change with a general new attitude of the EU and the US towards Russia.

Another important field of cooperation would be the stabilization of the Middle East. Russia and the EU do not have the same vision for the Middle East. The support for President Assad and his regime can only be seen very critically. But this support, as cynically and morally negative as it is, could lead to a solution, if Russia would put pressure on Assad to be ready for a compromise and a transition period for him in power. Both Russia and the EU are interested in a defeat of ISIS and other radical Islamists. The recent Trump visit to Saudi- Arabia and Israel with his anti - Iran tactic delivered not a viable strategy. Iran is not an innocent power but nor is Saudi Arabia and neither is it Israel if we look at the peace process with Palestine. Europe should continue to work on a cooperative strategy with all forces in the Middle East and with Russia as with the US. A one-sided strategy is not helping to stabilize our neighbourhood.

The EU does not have the choice of talking, negotiating and cooperating with friends alone. In many respects, the Russia of today is not a friend, but it is not an enemy either. It is more a competitor than before the crisis in Ukraine. We should not have any doubts about that. But because of that we must find ways of better communication and of creative thinking about a common future in and around Europe. That is not a soft line, where the West is accepting all moves and aspirations of a "revanchist" Russia, as we can read very often in papers prepared by experts close to NATO- especially from the US. It would be a concept which is putting pragmatic self-interest before ideology. And it is a line which is not dictated by the (US-) weapons industry or as President Eisenhower expressed it, “by the military-industrial complex”. It would be a line which is combining a reasonable modernization of our armies with new initiatives for disarmament and for a new comprehensive security system for Europe.

A vital issue is and will be the cooperation between EU and US and/or dependency of Europe on the US. Is there still a "West" compromising both the US and the EU and are they able to change their attitude towards Russia? Is the US under President Trump able to improve - as promised - the relations with Russia in view of the domestic turmoil in consequence of the alleged contacts between members of the Trump campaign team and Russian representatives in preparation for the US elections? Europe should develop an independent strategy for constructive relations with Russia and the Eurasian Union. Only a parallel strategy of designing a European security and cooperation system and of solving the crises in Ukraine and maybe Transnistria and Abchasia/South Ossetia. However, the US, of course, must be part of that strategy, but Europe should take the initiative.


Summary of the Book Presentation followed by a panel discussion on the topic: "Der Kalte Krieg / the Cold War"



„Der Kalte Krieg / the Cold War“


of the Book Presentation & Panel Discussion
on Thursday, 06 April 2017, 7.00 – 9.00 p.m.
at the Austrian National Defence Academy, Vienna


Julien Pinaudeau



John F. Kennedy knew that a “hot war” led with American and Soviet nuclear weapons would have certainly meant the end of mankind. The balance of terror, which has been repeatedly tested by numerous conflicts, cemented the division of Europe and of the rest of the world in two power blocks until the end of the Cold War. Nevertheless, this statement does not purely refer to a historical relic. The post-Cold War world is characterized by relations from that time such as the Ukrainian conflict, the Syrian civil war or the tensions with North-Korea.

Opening remarks:

Brigadier René Segur-Cabanac, Chief and commandant of the Austrian National Defence Academy


Stephanie Fenkart, Director of the International Institute for Peace (IIP)

Discussion with:

Heinz Gärtner, University of Vienna, International Institute for Peace

Oliver Rathkolb, Institute for Contemporary History, University of Vienna

Reinhard Krumm, Head of Regional Office of Security and Peace in Europe, Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation

Erwin Schmidl, Institute for Strategy and Security Policy (ISS), Austrian National Defence Academy

Brigadier René Segur-Cabanac (Chief and commandant of the Austrian National Defence Academy) affirms that the Cold War remains an important aspect during the formation of an Austrian military officer and he admits that this topic is still of high relevance also nowadays.  Several aspects such as the iron curtain, the balance of terror or the risk of a total war in terms of atomic war were permanent challenges faced by authorities, soldiers or citizen. As a think tank competent in the field of military sciences on a national and international basis, the Austrian National Defence Academy must seriously consider the book written by Heinz Gärtner in order to better understand not only our past, but also the current geopolitical developments.

Stephanie Fenkart (Director of the International Institute for Peace) agrees on the fact that the Cold War remains a very modern topic and does not only characterize the history of the second-half of the XXth century. What is the relevance of the Cold War´s analyses today, especially considering the relationship between Russia and the USA, the new international geopolitical environment or the EU security policy?

Oliver Rathkolb (Institute for Contemporary History, University of Vienna) wants to focus on five main aspects concerning the book written by Heinz Gärtner. Why do we need a historical and political analysis of the Cold War today? Firstly, such an analysis may help to improve the future of the European continent which was durably and deeply forged by the Cold War. The European project and integration process were a response to solve the many divisions of the continent due to the iron curtain. Secondly, this book is an expertise written in order to enable a dialog among scientists and to discuss numerous aspects of a recent historical period. Thirdly, the author tackles the causes of the Cold War by insisting on the theory of security dilemma and the vital need for a state to maximize its defence system against all types of possible attack, creating therefore a threat for other states and a spiral effect. The formation of two antagonist blocks and two opposite systems of alliance illustrate the relevance of such a theory. Then, the recent Iran nuclear deal, signed in 2015 in Vienna, reminds us that the Cold War was a permanent crisis, in which the two superpowers developed mechanisms of regulation, especially in the field of nuclear weapons. Finally, the end of the Cold War is related to internal reasons such as the tensions among USSR´s satellites or the reforms Glasnost and Perestroika under Gorbachev. Its external aspects, especially the emancipation of non-aligned states, should not be underestimated. The current nostalgia for communism and socialism or the use of fake news illustrate the pertinence of several aspects of the Cold War and underline the fact that such a book is not only an historical analysis.

Erwin Schmidl (Institute for Strategy and Security Policy, Austrian National Defence Academy) insists on the fact that Heinz Gärtner´s book is the work of a political scientist. Russian foreign policy or the EU enlargement are fostering strong public interest for traditional topics related to the Cold War such as the fight against false assumptions, the need to understand rivals’ intentions despite the reign of fear or the importance of maintaining reliable communication channels. The book reminds us that both blocks maintained a relative stability in Europe despite numerous tensions, however it should not be forgotten the various conflicts abroad, for example in Vietnam, Korea or Angola. 

Reinhard Krumm (Head of Regional Office of Security and Peace in Europe, Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation) would like to evoke the new German “Ostpolitik” of 1969-1975. This détente policy was surely not a perfect plan but it helped to change the perception about the USSR and improved cooperation due to a method of small steps. Furthermore, the concept of “cold peace” or the revival of Cold War politics should be considered as well. Francis Fukuyama´s theory about the end of History shows important limits when we consider the situation in Crimea or in the Western Balkans. Can we talk about a “Cold War 2.0”?

Heinz Gärtner (University of Vienna, International Institute for Peace) considers that writing a book about the Cold War is still necessary today because “thinking in terms of blocks is an obstacle to a correct analysis”. If Winston Churchill already warned about the international situation during the Fulton speech in 1946, the system of two antagonist blocks set progressively up by means of two military alliances (NATO in 1949 and Warsaw Pact in 1955) and of two ideologies (communism VS capitalism). Arms race and escalation led to crises such as the blockade of Berlin in 1948 or the Cuban crisis in 1962 with the risk of a nuclear war which was dealt with great care. Conventional conflicts were numerous, for example in Angola, Korea, Vietnam or Afghanistan. After Cuba and the Prague Spring, Richard Nixon initiated a policy of détente in order to ease strained relations with the USSR. European leaders such as Bruno Kreisky, Willy Brandt or Olof Palme were deeply engaged in international politics for promoting peace and development. Considering Austria, the question of neutrality was a central one and represented the possibility to go beyond bipolarisation and to be independent of both blocks. To conclude, the end of the Cold War was related to the reformism of Gorbachev within the USSR and a loss of power on the global scale.  

During the discussion with the audience, the question of the resurgence of Cold War symptoms was an important one. The situation in Ukraine, the tensions between Poland, Baltic states and Russia invite us to think that a new form of conflict is emerging. The panellists consider that, if tensions and crises exist, there is no reason to talk about a “Cold War 2.0”. Obviously, Moscow has regional interests and is trying to extend its sphere of influence, nevertheless the Russian Federation cannot be compared with the USSR also because the Red Army does not exist anymore.


Consequences of BREXIT for Security and Defense Policy of the EU

Diskussion des Strategie- und Sicherheitspolitischen Beirates (SSB) der Wissenschaftskommission des Österreichischen Bundesheeres am IIP zum Europäischen Sicherheit vor und nach dem BREXIT

Am 24. 4. fand am International Institute for Peace (IIP) ein Treffen des Strategie- und Sicherheitspolitischen Beirates (SSB) der Wissenschaftskommission des Österreichischen Bundesheeres statt. Das Thema war die „Europäische Sicherheit vor und nach dem BREXIT“; es fand gerade nach der ersten Runde der französischen Präsidentschaftswahlen und vor den angekündigten Parlamentswahlen in Großbritannien statt.

Es stellt sich die Frage, welche Konsequenzen ein Austritt Großbritanniens für die Außen-, Sicherheits- und Verteidigungspolitik der EU bedeuten könnte. Großbritannien war einerseits einer der wichtigsten Architekten der sicherheits- und verteidigungspolitischen Dimension des Lissabonner Vertrages der EU. Andererseits hat es in verteidigungspolitischen Fragen stets die Souveränität der Mitgliedstaaten betont. Aber gerade weil Sicherheit und Verteidigung im Lissabonner Vertrag ein intergouvernementaler Bereich ist, ergibt sich die Chance der Kooperation der EU mit Großbritannien auch außerhalb des Lissabonner Vertrages. Eine weitere Konsequenz könnte sein, dass die deutsch-französische Beziehungen aufgewertet werden.

Zu diesen und vielen anderen Fragen gab es einleitende Referate von zwei ausgezeichneten Experten:

Dr. Alexander Christiani, u. a. ehemaliger außerordentlicher und bevollmächtigter Botschafter im Vereinigten Königreich Großbritannien und Nordirland, Vizepräsident der Österreichisch-Britischen Gesellschaft (ABS), sowie Präsident des Experten-Think-Tanks über die Beziehungen zwischen Großbritannien und Österreich (ABS Expert Council).

Dr. Hannes Swoboda, u. a. ehemaliger Präsident der Fraktion der Sozialdemokraten im Europäischen Parlament, sowie Präsident des International Institute for Peace (IIP) und des Wiener Instituts für Internationale Wirtschaftsvergleiche (WIIW).

Den Vorsitz führte Univ. Prof. Dr. Heinz Gärtner, Vorsitzender des SSB.

Untenstehend finden Sie die Stellungnahmen der beiden Experten.



A Vital Role for France

Hannes Swoboda

It cannot be judged by now how exactly Brexit will affect European Security and Defence Policy. However, some basic trends can be explored already now. Definitely, France and its attitude towards a common defence and security policy will be decisive. France will be the only EU country with nuclear arms and the only EU country with a permanent seat in the Security Council. As such it will give France a strong position and also - for example via the common membership in the Security Council, but also via the Lancaster agreements concerning nuclear arms - France will have a connecting role with the United Kingdom -supposing it stays united.

Of vital importance will be the future cooperation between France and Germany also in security and defence issues - again supposing that Emmanuel Macron is winning the second round in the Presidential elections. The two defence ministers of France and Germany have already agreed formally on different critical issues. But the two countries have quite different and sometimes opposing orientations in their security perceptions as policies.

France is still very much linked to its former colonies especially in Africa.

It sees its security quite dependent on the developments in Africa especially in the North and on Central Africa. In general, it is ready to engage its military in interventions if it sees its security endangered.

Germany also out of historic reasons is rather reluctant in military "adventures". In addition, it is not so much concentrated on the South including Africa. It wants to use much more comprehensive civil and preemptive policies than military interventions. The German public and Parliament plays also a more decisive and more cautious role in comparison to France.

Defining the strategy and philosophy

Until now the institutional questions played a much bigger role than the issue of defining the aim of any European security and defence policy. Yes, the new Global Strategy which was proposed just after the Brexit referendum by the High Representative and agreed to by the European Council was a step forward. But it could not really bridge the gap between different security perceptions and strategies. That concerns also the readiness to organize European defence outside NATO and that means separately from the US. Of course, NATO maintains the basis for links between the U.K. and those EU members who are NATO members as well.

We must be aware that the security and defence environment in the EU will stay quite diverse and complicated. Different countries - and that is especially true for France - will not be ready to transfer too much power and to influence common EU institutions, even if some new central institutions have been recently created.

 The role of the USA and Russia

One element vital for the security of European citizens is intelligence and the military use of satellite navigation through the Galileo system. Here a modus vivendi between the EU and the U.K. has to be found while the US will also try to have an influence. In many respect, cooperation with the US will be important. But it should be of benefit for all sides and not create one-sided dependencies.

In any way, the attitude of the US and the policies which President Trump and his contradicting advisers will develop over time will have a strong influence on the content and the process of deigning of any European strategy.

The same is principally true for Russia. One should presume that Russia will not change its policy of regaining influence by using existing or creating new conflicts. For the time being there is no sign for solving the South Ossetia and Abchasia issue or the Transnistria and the Ukraine conflict. The "threatening" additional extension of NATO close to Russia 's border will prevent Russia from finding a compromise. Only a serious offer to bring Russia as an equal partner into a comprehensive European peace structure could create a new and more compromising attitude from the Russian side.

Europe as a peace project

Brexit will definitely influence the EU Security and Defence Policy. But there are many other influences which may compensate or even enhance the Brexit effects. The major task is to find common analyses of the security threats and of the best means and instruments to mitigate them- including military actions but not only.

Especially the refugee and migration issue cannot be solved by military interventions nor by militarization of our outside borders. Much more comprehensive and forward looking policies must be developed. And here we should find common ways with Britain to help our neighbors to implement those policies from conflict prevention to economic development.

Europe must remain a peace project internally but also externally. On this aspect, the EU should not refrain from promoting human and civil rights but it must also be more realistic. The Responsibility to Protect must be used responsibly and with regards to long term effects. The EU must see its limitations to promote its values even if they are universal values. There is also an ample opportunity and need to have a permanent dialogue with a United Kingdom which is leaving the EU but hopefully will recognize the importance for cooperation with the EU.




BREXIT –Konsequenzen für die Außen-und Sicherheitspolitik der Europäischen Union.

Alexander Christiani

24.April 2017

Die öffentliche Debatte über die Entscheidung der britischen Regierung, die Europäischen Union zu verlassen, war bisher vornehmlich auf wirtschaftspolitische und vertragsrelevante Themen konzentriert.

Die Konsequenzen dieses dramatischen Schrittes durch eine knappe Mehrheit der britischen Bevölkerung im Bereich der Sicherheits- und Verteidigungspolitik wird dzt. hauptsächlich von militärischen und zivilen Fachleuten auf beiden Seiten des Kanals behandelt.

Nach meiner Einschätzung hat diese Thematik auch schon deshalb weniger Konfliktpotential ,da die Interessenslage beider Seiten hier eher übereinstimmt. Darüber hinaus ist die offizielle Wahrnehmung aufgrund mangelnder Kenntnis bisher viel weniger emotional, als vergleichsweise Fragen des Gemeinsamen Marktes, der Personenfreizügigkeit und des Souveränitätsanspruches  des Vereinigten Königreiches gegenüber der Europäischen Union.

Trotzdem wird auch die Problematik der Sicherheits- und Verteidigungspolitik(CSDP)

den Militärstrategen auf beiden Seiten noch erhebliches Kopfzerbrechen bereiten.

Ich möchte meine kurzen Ausführungen in folgende 3 Teile gliedern:

Erstens, die Folgen von BREXIT für die internen sicherheitspolitischen Überlegungen des Vereinigten Königreiches- sprich: Schottland;

Zweitens, die verteidigungs-und sicherheitspolitischen Ereignisse innerhalb der EU seit dem Sommer 2016 und der aktuelle Stand der diesbezüglichen Überlegungen, einschließlich des Verhältnisses EU- NATO

und Drittens, die Auswirkungen von BREXIT auf die Sicherheits-und Verteidigungspolitik Großbritanniens einerseits und im Verhältnis zur Europäischen Union und darüber hinaus.

1.)  Die erneute Absicht der schottischen Regierung, die Unabhängigkeit von Großbritannien anzustreben ,lässt die Zukunft der nuklearen Abschreckung des Vereinigten Königreiches erneut akut werden.

Das VK hat eine Politik der ständigen See- Abschreckung (CASD) durch vier

Vanguard-Class ballistische Raketen U-Boote, die in Schottland stationiert sind. Die schottische Regierung hatihre Entschlossenheit bekräftigt ,im Falle der Unabhängigkeit die nuklearen Einrichtungen „schnellstmöglich und auf sicherem Wege“ aus Schottland zu verlagern. Obwohl alternative Basen in England und Wales existieren, sind jedoch die praktischen und politischen Herausforderungen für eine solche Maßnahme ,vor allem aus Zeit-und Kostengründen nahezu prohibitiv.

Die Regierung in London könnte in Verhandlungen eintreten, um temporär oder längerfristig die Nuklearstreitmacht

in Schottland zu belassen ,bis alternative Möglichkeiten gefunden werden .Das würde jedoch auf politischen Widerstand in Schottland treffen und zu anderen Konzessionen in den Verhandlungen führen und außerdem im Falle einer zukünftigen militärischen Krise als obsolet erklärt werden .Die NATO würde allerdings jede einseitige und zwangsweise Abrüstungsmaßnahme durch das VK ablehnen- da GB ,außer den USA, das einzige Mitgliedsland ist ,welches sein Verteidigungspotential vollkommen der NATO unterstellt hat.

Die schottische Regierung hat bekanntgegeben ,im Falle der Unabhängigkeit,2,5 Milliarden Pfund jährlich für CSDP auszugeben mit einer Mannschaftsstärke von15.000 Soldaten und 5000 Reservisten .Das hätteunweigerlich auch Auswirkungen  aufdie Verteilung der militärischen Kräfte des VK, was wiederum auf erhebliche Ablehnung durch England stoßen könnte .Was die NATO angeht, so hat Schottland seine jahrelange Ablehnung aufgegeben und könnte nun sogar um Mitgliedschaft ansuchen.

2.)  Was die Lage der CSDP in der EU betrifft, so wurden bei den EU -Ratssitzungen gegen Ende des Jahres 2016 wichtige Weichen gestellt:

Vorschläge kamen sowohl von der Kommission, wie auch vom Europäischen Auswärtigen Dienst und (kontroversiell) auch vom Europäischen Parlament. Interessant ist ,dass die britische Regierung den wesentlichsten Teilen der EU Planungen zugestimmt hat .Das betrifft das gesamte Spektrum der Verteidigungspolitik ,Planung, Ausrüstung und Strategiemit der Bezeichnung

„EU Defence Union“ und New Level of Ambition“ .Für das VK wird es nun schwieriger werden-solange es Mitglied der EU ist, eine sich entwickelnde “Verteidigungs Union” zu behindern.

Die EU Plänesind unter den Namen „Security and Defence Implementation Plan (SDIP)“, ausgearbeitet vom Auswärtigen Dienst und dem „European Defence Action Plan (EDAP) durch die Kommission, bekannt geworden .Die Pläne verpflichten das VK seine „ Verteidigungsprioritäten“ einem zentralisierten „EU Prioritäten Plan“ zuübermitteln und gleichzeitig Vorschläge zu erstatten, wie die britischen Nachrichtendienste mit der „Single Intelligence Analysis Capacity (SIAC) gebündelt werden könnten.

Diese Pläne würden das erste zentralisierte EU Verteidigungsbudget, den „EU Defence Fund“ schaffen.

Die grundsätzliche Überlegung hinter diesen Plänen ist die eigenständige EU Militärpräsenz zu betonen und die Unabhängigkeit der Entscheidungen von der NATO zu etablieren .Der Verteidigungs- Fonds soll „ defence capability‘ projects, joint projects between member states“ ,wie unter PESCO(Permanent Structured Cooperation) unterstützen. Die Pläne sollen auch zur Schaffung eines „Gemeinsamen Verteidigungs- Markt“, bekannt unter dem Namen EDTIB(„European Defense Technological and Industrial Base Strategy“) , verwaltet durch die „European Defence Agency“ führen.

Das Europäische Parlament hat ebenfalls unter dem Deckmantel einer “EU Defence Union“ einen Plan präsentiert ,welcher die Schaffung eines „Corps of EU Military Engineers and the establishment of the European Armed Forces“


Was das Verhältnis EU zu NATO anlangt, so wird in Zukunft dieses Verhältnis von CSDP zu post- BREXIT abhängen Die Zusammenarbeit zwischen diesen beiden Organisationen könnte leiden ,sollte CSDP stagnieren. Sollte andererseits die EU ein stärkerer und glaubhafterer Akteur im Krisenmanagement werden ,so könnte dies in eine klarere und mehr formalisierte Aufgabenverteilungmünden .In anderen Worten: Sollte die europäische Verteidigungsintegration sich beschleunigen, dann könnte es allerdings zu einer Duplizierung der Aktivitäten kommen was wiederum die vorhandenen Budgets belasten würde.

Ich komme nun zum dritten und wichtigsten Teil meiner Ausführungen und zwar die Auswirkungen von BREXIT auf die Sicherheits-und Verteidigungspolitik Großbritanniens und der Europäischen Union.

Lediglich 52% der britischen Bevölkerung hat für den Austritt des Landes aus der Europäischen Union gestimmt. Ein viel größerer Teil allerdings deponierte seine Ablehnung der Integration der britischen Streitkräfte in eine

„kombinierte ,zentral-gesteuerte EU Militärstrategie“-analog zur CSDP .Der Austritt des VK aus der EU bedeutet die volle demokratische Kontrolle über die Verteidigungspolitik als Teil der NATO und anderer internationaler Verträge. Vor allem wurde und wird eine enge „Involvierung“ in die Verteidigungspolitik anderer Länder abgelehnt-selbst wenn diese engste Verbündete darstellen, wie in der NATO.

Das Hauptargument für den Austritt des VK besteht in dem Willen demokratische Kontrolle über alle Entscheidungen zu behalten-das betrifft besonders die Verteidigungs-und Sicherheitspolitik. Es gibt allerdings einen Aspekt ,der noch zu größeren Problemen führen könnte: Das VK ist in diePläne zur europäische Verteidigungsunion via SDIP und EDAP voll eingebunden-zumindest für die Dauer ihrer EU Mitgliedschaft- und der Zeithorizont des Austrittes 2019 macht eine Loslösung nach diesem Zeitpunkt viel schwieriger.

Mehrere Szenarien für die Auswirkungen von BREXIT auf die europäische Sicherheits-und Verteidigungspolitik sind denkbar .Von einer Beschleunigung der Integration ,zu einer begrenzte Auswirkung, bis zu einer Fragmentierung und schließlich Zusammenbruchdes Systems des CSDP. Eine besondere Bedeutung wird in dieser Hinsicht der zukünftigen strategischen Zusammenarbeit zwischen Berlin und Paris zukommen.

Für Frankreich bedeutet BREXIT besondere Herausforderungen. Die französische Regierung könnte sich sehr bald in einem Dilemmabefinden ,einerseits die bilateralen Verbindungen zum VK gemäß dem Lancaster House Verträgenzu stärken.Andererseits jedoch bestehen die Verpflichtungen gegenüber der NATO und der weiteren europäischen Verteidigungs Integration. Der anstehende nächste Schritt der britisch- französischen Investition in ein zukünftiges Luft Kampf System könnte ein frühes Signal für die weitere Bereitschaft zur bilateralen Zusammenarbeit sein.

Jedenfalls bedeutet der Verlustdes VK für Frankreich sowohl eine Herausforderung wie auch eine Chance für seine Rolle in multilateralen Verteidigungsorganisationen.

Andere EU MS mit denen das VK enge bilaterale Verteidigungsabkommen hat, wie Deutschland, Dänemark ,die Niederlande Polen, Schweden und die Baltischen Staaten ,werden ebenfalls ihre strategische Ausrichtung nach BREXIT neu definieren müssen. Darüber hinaus gibt es auch neue Herausforderungen für Spanien und Zypern wegen ihrer Grenzen zu nicht- EU Staaten.

Außerhalb Europas unterhält das VK in Verteidigungs-und Sicherheitsangelegenheiten eine enge Partnerschaft mit den Vereinigten Staaten ,insbesondere nachrichtendienstlich und in nuklearer Technologie. Entgegen den Äußerungen des amerikanischen Präsidenten, dürften die VS besonderes Interesse haben, die negativenAuswirkungen von BREXIT möglichst gering zu halten.

Abgesehen von diesen, meist kritisch zu sehenden, Konsequenzen und Herausforderungen von BREXITauf das System der Verteidigungs-und Sicherheitspolitik in Europa und weltweit , gibt es aber auch Chancen u.a. die sich teilweise duplizierenden Verbindungen zwischen NATO und der Europäischen Union in konstruktiver Weise neu zu überdenken. Das unmittelbare Beispiel betrifft die Rolle des VK als Transmissionsriemen zwischen NATO und der EU in praktischen Fragen .Das könnte z.B. in einer Reform der Rolle des Stellv .Alliierten Oberbefehlshabers Europa (DSACEUR) bestehen .

Generell gibt es Überlegungen, ein „Modell 27+1“ zu schaffen ,um das VK weiterhin im Wege des Außenpolitischen Rates in Verteidigungs-und Sicherheitsfragen einzubeziehen. Was darüber hinaus derzeit überlegt wird, ist ,eine weitere Verteidigungsintegration der EU entweder durch eine ständige strukturiere Zusammenarbeit oder durch eine mehr flexibles ad-hoc System „Schengen für Verteidigung“ zu strukturieren ,womit auch u.U. Nicht- EU Staaten miteinbezogen werden könnten.

Alles in allem sind die Dinge als Folge des BREXIT naturgemäß nicht nur in wirtschaftspolitischen Fragen und den 4 „Freiheiten“  der Europäischen Union,

sondern insbesondere auch im Bereich der Sicherheits- und Verteidigungspolitik sehr im Fluss, wobei  gerade in dieser Frage meiner Einschätzung nach-wie anfänglich erwähnt- ein größeres Potential besteht ,zu sinnvollen und zukunftsweisenden Entscheidungen zu kommen.