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          • Year: 2002
          • Unnecessary Hesitation - Awaiting our country's admission to the Partnership for Peace

          • 18. november 2002. Miroslav Hadzic The Faculty of Political Science/ The Center for Civilian-Military Relations

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          Not long after Oct. 5, the new authorities proudly registered the inclusion of Serbia (and the FR Yugoslavia) in the international (read Euro-Atlantic) community on their list of successes. They immediately interpreted this as proof of their diplomatic skills. Moreover, in view of the fact that the whole process was completed in summary procedure, the authorities saw it as confirmation of Serbia's geo-political importance. Next, they concluded and shouted from the rooftops that Serbia was once again a key factor of peace and development in the region. Some of the more creative individuals even went as far as claiming that in its process of unification Europe cannot accomplish its goals without Serbia. Subsequently, they construed that the Euro-Atlantic community should (must), for its own sake, unconditionally help the new authorities. Then followed the moral trump card about this being the only way for the international community to absolve itself for its mistaken policy towards the Yugoslav crisis and the wars that climaxed with the bombing of Serbia.

          In all this, the new authorities have avoided mentioning two important facts to the domestic public. Firstly, that the U.S. and the EU kept tugging at Serbia's sleeve in an effort to make the DOS (including the Democratic Party of Serbia - DSS) behave in the desired manner. And secondly, that after its swift admission, Serbia drew on its international obligations, which it can probably postpone, but certainly not avoid repaying. True, it was left to the new authorities to choose for themselves whether they will fulfill these obligations of their own accord or under pressure. However, the drafting of the list of obligations is outside their jurisdiction.

          Approach

          It is obvious that the international gains that Serbia and its authorities made with the October overthrow of Milošević are slowly melting. The decorative wrapping on the West's support has dropped off and it is now placing ultimatums on the Serbian table. The new authorities' have reacted according to the familiar pattern. In the name of patriotism, the DSS resorted to the debilitating postponement of obligations but at the same time have increased the price to be paid. The rest of the DOS, headed by the Democratic Party (DS), in the name of pragmatism, reduced the whole situation to bargaining and shallow promises, which is not preventing them from secretly obstructing the game. Both one and the other side are, of course, zealously using this in the political battle they have been waging against each other ever since Oct. 6, 2000.

          At the root of the new authorities' barely appropriate foreign policy there are, among other things, two inherent stumbling blocks. The first is the illusion that the Euro-Atlantic community can be entered sideways and/or partially. The other is the intention to achieve the economic and political advantages from membership and then avoid the security obligations that arise from it. It seems that the Serbian (and Yugoslav) authorities are loosing sight of the fact that this is a union of states with diminishing sovereignty, based on a high degree of compatibility and inter-dependence in their economic, political and security interests and goals. To make things worse, the authorities still keep avoiding making this clear to the domestic public. Therefore, it is not surprising that neither they, nor the citizens, are ready to accept all the consequences that stem from the desired return (entry) into Europe.

          Quite expectedly, the vacuum is now being filled with turncoats who are in a hurry directly to join NATO. They are hoping to extract political gain from this, whatever the case may be. In the first variant, entry into NATO's vestibule through the Partnership for Peace, would be proof of their early courage and progressiveness. On the other hand, they expect the same benefits from the (orchestrated) scaring of the citizens with NATO, and additionally delay Serbia (and Yugoslavia's) admission in the Partnership for Peace. In that case they would skim the cream by returning to their original - xenophobic and chauvinist - state.

          When all is said and done, it would be advisable to once again consider briefly the meaning and goals of the Partnership for Peace program, launched in January 1994, which now rallies all European countries except Bosnia-Herzegovina and Yugoslavia. This program was the immediate response of the international community and NATO to security risks that arose after the break-up of socialism and the resulting instability of the pro-democratic systems in the countries of eastern, central and southeastern Europe. The community's primary interest was to rearrange the security foundations of their strategic environment. For this purpose, the future integration of the states concerned began from the security, i.e. military point of view. The further process of political and perhaps even economic integration into NATO and the EU depended in principle on the candidates' capacities for reform. Naturally, the needs of the community always came first. By bringing the ex-socialist armies into their field of control, the U.S. and NATO's power of strategic crisis management increased. At the same time, the candidate-states were offered (ordered) to switch to NATO standards in the reform of their military and security sectors. This intimated the possibility (and obligation) of re-arming these militaries from western sources, to the immense joy of U.S. defense contractors.

          The value (and emotional) quotation of gains acquired by the international community in founding of Partnership for Peace may, probably, help the patriotic digestion, but it cannot deny reality. All the more so because NATO and the Partnership for Peace have become the inevitable replacement for the sidelined UN and the thematically executed OSCE. Or, in other words, because of the fact that they have turned these organizations into their satellites in the circumstances of the altered global configuration of power. In spite of all this, NATO and the Partnership for Peace are the only effective instruments for establishing and maintaining joint security in the Euro-Atlantic region. All the more so because the European Union does not yet have a clear picture of how to realize its joint foreign and security policy by lying on "NATO's pillow".

          The key differences between NATO and the Partnership for Peace are in the means of accomplishing (imposing) the joint security they have at their disposal. The U.S. and NATO have preserved their self-proclaimed right to unilaterally use force when and wherever they feel their interests are in jeopardy. Declaration of a world war on terrorism has demonstrated that America no longer needs NATO for such tasks. The Partnership for Peace is a two-way channel of security cooperation, primarily between NATO and its member countries, and then among those countries themselves. While NATO is obliged to preserve the security of its member countries, the Partnership neither offers, nor guarantees such services. This is why the recent expectations of Macedonia, as well as of poorly informed domestic analysts, have been unfounded.

          Advantages

          Membership in the Partnership for Peace may be seen as a rigorous test for those who wish to enter NATO. But, admission into NATO does not necessarily stem from membership in the Partnership. It was therefore left to the partner states to select and propose programs in which they intend to cooperate with other members and with NATO. They also settle the expenses of their participation themselves. Besides, the principle of voluntary entry includes the right to leave the Partnership which, for example, Malta has used.

          The consequences of Serbia (and Yugoslavia's) eventual entry in the Partnership can be distinguished by an initial list of the foreseeable advantages or damage that can come of this. However, we must bear in mind that what we see as an advantage, the ruling elite and their leaders might see as the threat of damage. We shall, therefore, begin with the least disputed consequences of Serbia (and Yugoslavia) possibly joining the Partnership for Peace. By entering, Serbia would:

          • create an opportunity to speed up the stabilization of west Balkan security, together with its neighbors, to the benefit of all, as well as build and strengthen measures of mutual confidence;
          • contribute to the security, economic and political integration of the region, which leads along the road to the EU;
          • become a user in the exchange of security information, knowledge and experience;
          • establish permanent channels of cooperation with NATO and other Partnership for Peace members;
          • directly obtain knowledge about the modern notion and practice of the security of citizens, society and state;
          • provide its military with an opportunity to learn about modern scientific, technical and technological achievements in the preparation for defense (war), but also for maintaining peace;
          • enable professional soldiers in the Yugoslav Army to acquire an education abroad and learn foreign languages;
          • learn about the rational preparation of defense, transparency of the budget and about the need for controlling its expenditure;
          • acquire additional incentives, leading to the modernization, professionalization and reduction of its own military;
          • train the military for peace operations and fighting against the bearers of new security risks (international terrorism, the illegal trafficking of weapons, narcotics, humans and human organs);
          • avoid internal disputes regarding the false dilemma on whether to "enter NATO or not".

          Of course, the potential benefits for Yugoslavia (and Serbia's) sovereignty and integrity elude a more serious evaluation. Hope is slowly appearing among the public that membership in the Partnership for Peace would contribute to Kosovo remaining in Yugoslavia, and to the preservation of the state union of Serbia and Montenegro. However, one can claim with certainty that no partnership, including that with NATO (the U.S. and the EU) can keep this union together if its members do not have sufficient rational reasons (interests) for this. Even if the sustainability of the Serbian-Montenegrin union, except in the case of Kosovo and the Albanians, can be proved, these reasons have secondary importance when compared with the security and other interests of the Euro-Atlantic community, which Mr. Solana is currently hammering into the heads of the local power-holders. At this moment, it is only certain that entry into the Partnership for Peace cannot diminish the prospects of keeping Serbia and Montenegro together.

          Additional, but immeasurable, benefits for Serbia's citizens from the Partnership can be listed in the following points:

          • by fulfilling the political conditions for admission, among which the central issue is cooperation with the Hague tribunal, Serbia would begin to free itself from the responsibility it bears for the war;
          • implementation of the principles of democratic control of the Yugoslav Army (police, secret services and para-police forces) would narrow down the possibility of it (them) once again being internally and politically (ab)used.
          • the military and generals would be eliminated from politics, but politics would also be expelled from the military;
          • through a comprehensive and fundamental reform of the security sector, Serbia would finally create models for the state's law enforcement apparatus according to its real needs, and would begin to rid itself of the militaristic and police legacy and culture;
          • the adoption of a modern security concept would place "His Majesty" the citizen in the central position, as the original yardstick and ultimate beneficiary of society and the state's security efforts;
          • short-term expenses of the reform and reduction of the military and police would, in the medium-term, create visible economic, social and political benefits;
          • the reform undertaking would call for the renewal of personnel in the military (police, secret services and para-police forces), so generals appointed by Milosevic would finally step down.

          However, the problem is that the benefit of Serbia's citizens is not necessarily the benefit of the newly arrived rulers. If this were not so, they would have already made an effort autonomously to launch a reform of the security sector and the armed forces attached to it. In their declarations they would not be hiding behind the international community's requests. but would begin a reform in the measure of the urgent needs of the citizens who brought them to power. In that context the list of potential damage to the authorities of Yugoslavia (and Serbia) could then be reduced to the fact that entry in the Partnership would narrow down the opportunities for them to bargain daily with the obligations they have taken on. It is here that one should seek the reason for the new authorities unnecessary hesitation to expose themselves to the risk of Yugoslavia (and Serbia's) entry in the Partnership for Peace.

           

          The text was published in REPUBLIKA, JUNE 1-30

        • Tags: PfP, Partnership for Peace, FRY, DOS, Democratic party, nato, Euro Atlantic integration, USA
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