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Holger Mölder
University of Tartu

Paper prepared for 4th Convention of the Central and East European International Studies Association (CEEISA) "Reflecting on a wider Europe and beyond: norms, rights and interests" University of Tartu, Estonia, 25 – 27 June 2006. Session 1 – Rules of International Order.

This is a draft paper and still in progress. Please contact if you like to cite. Comments are welcome.


In a post-modern security system, we have two partially overlapping pluralistic security communities in Europe – NATO and the European Union. Security communities use democratic peace as an international regime, which is also followed by new cooperative security initiatives. However, there may emerge the post-Cold War’s cooperative security dilemma - as some states tend to cooperate in decreasing their security fears, it could decrease the security of these states and others if any country remained outside of the cooperative security arrangements. There are two emphatic cooperative security dilemmas in the present-day Europe. First, the Euro-Atlantic security dilemma, which occurs when NATO and the European Union operate in the same security environment but there are differences in security cultures of these institutions. Second, there exists the enlargement dilemma, which is connected with the establishment of common identity between member states. In order to mitigate the influence of cooperative security dilemmas, security communities have to develop stability not only within the community but also having an effective neighbourhood policy including security cooperation between states with different institutional affiliation, which lies on democratic peace as an established international regime. The establishment of cooperative security arrangements may compensate the necessity for value sharing in order to join security communities. In the current work, the cooperative security dilemma and international regimes mitigating the effects of cooperative security dilemmas are tested in regional and sub regional level: 1) in the European region; 2) in the Baltic Sea sub region.


The current work argues that democratic peace turned into international regime may be a usable instrument for establishing zones of peace and stability. After the Cold War, the world entered to the post-modern society. Bipolarity and rivalry in Europe has been replaced by the development of Kantian security community (see also Wendt 1999).1 Change in international systems requires appropriate security architecture. Stable security communities that replace unstable military alliances would correspond to the needs of post-modern society and to promote principles, norms, rules, and decision-making procedures leading into a stable liberal democratic non-war society. The idea of pluralistic security community once invented by Karl Deutsch2 and following the ideas of non war society of Immanuel Kant, started to develop simultaneously on the basis of the European Economic Community (later the European Union) and Western military alliance – the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). A creation of pluralistic security communities requires two components to be established – consolidated liberal democratic society and stable peaceful relationship between countries within community. These principles could be extended into neighbourhood of security communities through cooperative security initiatives and arrangements.

The promotion of mutual interdependence and institutionalisation has, indeed, frequently avoided the emergence of a traditional security dilemma as described by John Hertz and Robert Jervis – an increase in one’s state security decreases the security of others (Jervis 1978, 169). However, the existing non war communities have created a situation we are facing the post-Cold War cooperative security dilemma - as some states tend to cooperate in decreasing their security fears, it could decrease the security of these states and others if any country remained outside of the cooperative security arrangements (Mölder 1998, 11).

The current work seeks responses for three fundamental questions characterizing post-modern security architecture. First, while cooperation between different security consumers is encouraged, how to avoid the emergence of cooperative security dilemmas. Second, can democratic peace introduced into international regimes using normative regulations. Third, how current European security architecture and particularly the Baltic Sea security complex corresponds to the need of post modern security order in order to handle aforementioned problems.

Does cooperation exclude security dilemma?

The concept of security dilemma was introduced in 1950 by the American political scientist John Herz in his „Idealist Internationalism and the Security Dilemma” and independently by the British historian Herbert Butterfield, referring to the security dilemma as Hobbesian Fear. Later, notably Robert Jervis promoted the idea of security dilemma (Collins 2004, 27). Security dilemma forms a basic concept within Realist tradition in International Relations theory and it has become a key feature in the offence-defence debate within Realism. Charles Glaser has mentioned that security dilemma has been traditionally connected with two essential components – a security dilemma is the key to understanding how in anarchic international system states with fundamentally compatible goals still end up in competition and in war. Secondly, the nature of security dilemma depends on two variables: the offence-defence balance and offence-defence differentiation (Glaser 1997, 171). However, besides the basic question – how to organize cooperation under security dilemma, there might emerge another influential aspect requiring for response – does cooperation itself create a potential security dilemma?

Recently, the concept security dilemma has been used not only in explaining international relations but in many fields interrelated with international paradigm (Incl. ethnic conflict in Posen 1993, societal security dilemma in Roe 2001 etc). The main criteria transforming security dilemmas seem to be continuingly instability and insecurity that have been influenced by misperceptions between competing countries (or institutions). However, there are also institutional coherence, mutual interdependence, and common values that cannot be underestimated in mitigating the role of competitiveness.

Realist’s basic arguments concerning the security dilemma focus mainly on political-military competition between states. Realists conclusions about the actor’s behaviour under the security dilemma came from two propositions: 1) Since people are rational calculators, self-interested, seeking gain and glory, and fearful of one another, there is no security in anarchy; 2) But precisely because people are self-interested and power-loving, unlimited power for the ruler implies a predatory, oppressive state (Keohane 2002, 66). Therefore, realists usually don’t see stable outcomes for resolving of security dilemmas and tend to be vulnerable in finding positive solutions for avoidance of military conflicts.

Also, Alexander Wendt has used the concept of security dilemma in his constructivist writings (Collins 2004, 28). The end of Cold War’s bipolarity in international systems does not necessarily mean the end of security dilemma. Alexander Wendt describes security dilemma as “a social structure composed of intersubjective understandings in which states are so distrustful that they make worst-case assumptions about each other’s intentions” (Wendt in Glaser 1997, 196). Glaser notes that there is a fundamental difference between the Realist and the Constructivist approach to security dilemma. While Jervis and the realists refer to material conditions and anarchical international order, Wendt and the constructivists propose that security dilemma depends on state’s interactions (Glaser 1997, 197).

Liberal theorists have basically excluded security dilemma from their works. The reason, why liberal writings rarely deal with security dilemma often lies on assumption that cooperation and institutionalisation automatically exclude the essence of security dilemma. “Institutions meant cope with security risks will have rules, norms, and procedures to enable the members to provide and obtain information and to manage disputes in order to avoid generating security dilemmas,” (Keohane, Wallander 2002, 94).

Cooperative security dilemma emerges from interactions of institutions and from possible disharmony between institution’s and state’s security preferences. “Policy toward one state will have implications for and effects on several others,” (Jervis 1997, 32). Security dilemma points out that there may be lack of interaction between actors though their security is interrelated or the system of regulation does not work or works inappropriately. Barry Posen brings distrust forward as a main source to encourage competition and weaken cooperation. “Cooperation among states to mute these competitions can be difficult because someone else’s “cheating” may leave one in a militarily weakened position. All fear betrayal,” (Posen 1993, 28). Differences in values have been traditionally among the main sources of distrust. “A stable society largely works through institutions that also define, who is included and who is excluded; for example who can and cannot be trusted (Williams in Väyrynen 2000, 158).

Establishing institutions introducing values like liberal democracy and promoting mutual interdependence, such as security communities and cooperative security arrangements, could avoid the emergence of traditional security dilemma. In the post-modern security environment, pluralistic security communities are effective to establish zones of peace within their borders and to enhance such zones of peace through cooperative security arrangements. However, it still creates a danger to establish a cooperative security dilemma whilst disharmony in intentions and activities of institutional arrangements still exists. Countries with different institutional arrangements tend to compete and so to create instability. Thus, cooperative security dilemma may be an institutional dilemma – when multiple security institutions compete in the same area.

The emergence of security communities leads postmodern European security architecture into a system, which is close to what Barry Buzan called a mature anarchy. “ A mature anarchy would be a highly ordered and stable system in which states would enjoy a great deal of security deriving both from their own inner strength and maturity, and from the strength of the institutionalised norms regulating relations among them,” (Buzan 1991, 77). We would say that present-day Europe as made a step entering into a mature anarchy as Europe today is highly institutionalised. There exist two security communities (NATO, the EU) and states make their choices through arranging their security preferences between these communities.

While traditional security dilemma will rise within anarchy, cooperative security dilemma emerges usually in a situation of mature anarchy. Typical situations that lead to cooperative security dilemma in mature anarchy are, for example, enlargements of institutions and considerations about profitability accepting one or another state into community will take place. This type of cooperative security dilemma refers to be an identity dilemma.

Defensive principles against external or internal military threats characterize any collective security system in order to defend certain status quo values. „When states form a collective security system and promise to wage war against any aggressor that attacks a member of the system, the defence becomes more powerful. The offence benefits when collective security systems do not exist” (Lynn-Jones 2001, 25). Maintaining the principle of democratic peace, pluralistic security communities are militarily defensive and therefore usable formations against security dilemmas. “Where defence is perceived to be the stronger form of warfare and forces are deployed in defensive formations, the security dilemma is mitigated, possibly even escaped,” (Collins 2004, 40). Simultaneously, pluralistic security communities are virtually offensive exporting liberal democratic values into security cooperation partners. Through establishing value-based international regimes performed by pluralistic security communities and their cooperative security arrangements, democratic peace is naturally bent on expanding over a larger territory.

International regimes and democratic peace

The traditional meaning of international regime “is a set of principles, norms, rules, and decision-making procedures around which actors’ expectations converge,” (Krasner 1983, 2). Katzenstein sets that international regimes are social institutions that mitigate conflict in a decentralized international society of states (Katzenstein 1996, 22). International regimes are represented by norms, beliefs, identities, values, and principles. Beliefs are shared understandings of the world, norms are shared understandings of appropriate action, and identities tell agents who they are and who others are. Norms, beliefs and identities set up values. Principles are normative categories of values (Lucarelli 2002, 13). Similarity in shared values should be considered as a desirable precondition in order to create successful international regimes.

Democratic peace means sharing liberal democratic values between states or institutions, which include the absence of using war for dispute resolution against other members of communities or partners in cooperative security arrangements and considering that “even though liberal states have become involved in numerous wars with non-liberal states, constitutionally secure liberal states have yet to engage in war with one another,” (Doyle 1983, 61). Frequently, democratic peace has been treated as an empirical phenomenon without any considerable assumption to make it to be a stable international regime.

Can democratic peace be elaborated into international regime? It means the establishment of principles, norms, rules, and decision-making procedures that follow two principles adopted by the community members – liberal democracy and non-war society. “The cornerstone of the liberal approach is democratisation, and all the other elements (free market economies, regional institutions and integration and transitional ties) when the regional states are liberal democracies. The great advantage of the liberal strategy is manifested in the empirical record of liberal-democratic states not fighting each other,” (Miller 2000, 175).

At the beginning of the post-modern society, the world was in a situation where spread of liberal democratic values3 expanded to the majority of the countries. For that reason, Francis Fukuyama wrote his famous “The End of the History and The Last Man”. Latin-America, once dominated by military dictatorships, became a democratic continent with minor exceptions for the Millennium, “According to liberals like Francis Fukuyama, the remarkable transformation – through which a majority of all people now live in states with some sort of political democracy – represents the inexorable triumph of Western and indeed American values,” (Shaw 2001, 630). Up to recently, liberal democracy has been the main incentive stimulating in Europe the creation of security communities based on value-shared international regimes. Indeed, the overwhelming majority of European states are following liberal democratic values, and at the time of writing, all major international conflicts are resolved or moving towards resolution.4

The post-modern society remarkably changed a global understanding of the substance of threats. Formerly, modern society was influenced by security characteristics, such as balance of power or anarchical international system of states. After the Cold war, the establishment of international regimes following the principles of democratic peace started to progress characterizing institution building and promotion of collective and cooperative security tools and arrangements in the European security environment during the last two decades. Democratic peace as used by post-modern European security communities - NATO and the European Union – has proved itself as one of the most capable international regimes in avoiding military conflicts and building up peace and stability.

Democratic peace calls for a peaceful solution of conflicts and promotion of liberal democratic values and principles at the same time. “Democratic peace depends on the presence or absence of military conflicts between states, and the continued stalemate or settlement of international disputes,” (Huth, Allee 2002, 34). When misperceptions occur between norms, beliefs and identities, the establishment of democratic peace tends to fail and we are facing the emerging cooperative security dilemma. “Jervis uses regime theory to claim that if states were able to abide by norms constraining their behaviour – to become part of a security regime – these norms would make statesman less uncertain of each other’s intentions,” (Collins 2004, 51). Therefore, normative basis of democratic peace makes creates an opportunity for establishing stable international regime.

Democratisation and mutual interdependence would be valuable instruments in creation international regimes based on democratic peace. “Evolution of mutual binding economic ties promotes stable peace, in particular if the countries in the region are ruled by liberalist-institutionalist coalitions that have mutual interests in free trade and economic growth,” (Solingen in Väyrynen 2000, 157). Moreover, the security regimes built within the European security culture and following the principle of democratic peace have enhanced security and defence cooperation giving a practical dimension to interoperability between different nations. Institutionalisation is a natural part of the contemporary European security culture. Huth and Allee concluded their research concerning the usage of democratic peace in territorial conflict resolution with the following two conclusions: 1) Similar states are more likely to intervene in support of each other in international crises, militarised disputes, and wars; 2) Although a common group identity does not eliminate political competition and rivalry within the group, conflict with out-groups should reduce within-group competition (Huth, Allee 2002, 128).

There may be two forms in establishing international regimes based on democratic peace. First, stable interdependence through institutionalisation will be carried out by membership in security communities. “For the security community perspective, it is important to note that the democracies rarely fight each other effect is specific to democracies. It depends on particular normative perspectives on the rightness of fighting others who share a commitment to peaceful conflict resolution, and on the absence of need to fight those who have political institutions that support peaceful conflict resolution internationally” (Russett in Adler, Barnett 1998, 372). Second, unstable interdependence through cooperation will be carried out by cooperative security arrangements initiated by the security communities. Under successful circumstances, where liberal democracies will be established and consolidated within cooperative security arrangements, unstable interdependence may turn to stable interdependence. “The domestic institutional basis of these regimes will be provided by the maintenance of pluralist, constitutional democracies that will not fight each other, whose governments are not monolithic, and between which there is sufficient confidence that agreements can be made,” (Keohane 2002, 76).

The current European security architecture and the creation of international regimes based on democratic peace.5

European security community is not a newborn initiative. It is connected with the idea of Immanuel Kant about the federation of liberal states, opposing the idea of war as the natural behaviour between states. “Since the narrower or wider community of the peoples of the earth has developed so far that a violation of rights in one place is felt throughout the world, the idea of a law of world citizenship is no high-flown or exaggerated notion. It is a supplement to the unwritten code of the civil and international law, indispensable for the maintenance of the public human rights and hence also of perpetual peace. One cannot flatter oneself into believing one can approach this peace except under the condition outlined here, “(Kant 1795). Michael Doyle notes that Kant’s republics experience principles of democratic peace – not tolerating war as policy mechanism in relations between member states. “Kant’s republics are capable of achieving peace among themselves because they exercise democratic caution and are capable of appreciating the international rights of foreign republics. At the same time Kant’s republics remain in a state of war with non republics,” (Doyle 1986, 286).

Europe has a favourable precondition for establishing international regimes following democratic peace – the security communities of the region draw their unusual strength from one main factor: they consist of consolidated, liberal democratic states. NATO and European Union have developed dense networks of cooperative security arrangements that foster spread of democratic peace to larger security environment (Michalka 2002, 64). These emerging security communities – NATO and the EU -sometimes overlap, and this is why NATO-EU cooperation is essential for the further development of both NATO and EU as security communities. “NATO and the EU show that liberal democratic values and a shared economic system permit much higher levels of cooperative security … Liberal democracy may not be necessary for cooperative security to begin or to continue, but it expands the range of options and benefits for all,” (Michalka 2002, 31). That corresponds to NATO’s and the EU’s way of establishing liberal democratic security community. Moreover, changes of regimes have been established gradually through a peaceful promotion of appropriate cooperative security arrangements.

The current European security architecture finally became very close to the Karl Deutsch’s vision about the pluralistic security community6. It must be remembered that Karl Deutsch developed the idea of security communities considering Cold War’s security environment. “Deutsch conceives of a security community only as a non-war community and his concept of security is thus at odds with most ongoing efforts to redefine and broaden it,” (Waever in Adler, Barnett 1998, 76). However, it is pre-emptive to determine security communities in geographical or geopolitical terms. Following Deutsch’s definition security community as non-war community, any institution guaranteeing such security regime can pretend to identify itself as security community. Values, norms, beliefs, identities tend to be core features how any security community identifies itself. Security community is not necessarily the institution but may be institutionalised as by institutions is possible to consolidate a set of values, norms and beliefs. Today is difficult to speak about a unique Western security community, and it will be more accurate to distinguish different security communities within Western civilization. Transatlantic link emphasizes the existence of at least two separate security cultures.

Deutsch distinguished two types of security communities – amalgamated and pluralistic. “Formal merger of two or more previously independent units into a single larger unit, with a some type of common government after amalgamation,” (Deutsch 1957, 6) – that is an amalgamated security community. “Alternatively, a pluralistic security community retains the legal independence of separate governments,” (Adler, Bartlett 1997, 6-7). Pluralistic security communities in Europe after the Cold War follow criteria: 1) shared liberal democratic values; 2) complex interdependence7 between community members; 3) principles of democratic peace; 4) partnership strategy and cooperative security arrangements; 5) collective defence and collective security mechanisms for a crisis situation (Mölder 2006, 10). Similar ideas and values form a basis for security communities. If we take a sole technical approach to the term of security community, the definition of security communities generally refers to the absence of war and peaceful relationship between community members.

The experience that liberal democracies generally don’t fight with each other, at least makes possible that it will be transferred into international regimes and consolidated through appropriate security architecture. “The sharing of values, norms, and identities is clearly conducive to the formation of security (i.e. non-war) communities and can help to interpret their emergencies,” (Väyrynen 2000, 186). Institutionalization of security communities may help to understand the normative logic of democratic peace. Security communities are institution based on values and thus able to create value-based international regimes. If such communities emerge, and these communities are able to establish such arrangements with their cooperation partners, this aim seems to be possible. Barry Buzan identifies security community as a group of states or other actors whose members neither expect nor prepare for the use of force in relations with each others (Buzan and Little 2000, 442).

Institutionalisation of security communities introduces appropriate principles, norms, values and decision making procedures within community members. Therefore, it is possible to present an institutionalised approach for security communities. Security communities are institutionalised formations of countries, which share common values, unified norms and similar identity and exclude the use of force in conflict resolution within the community (Mölder 2006, 10). Security communities differ, for example, from alliances that they are not created against any threat caused by different international bodies but defend also certain values. We may also define security communities as value-centred international bodies. If security community expands to areas with different identities or competing values, there will be difficult to maintain it.

The question still exists is – as security communities should be value-based, how to establish relationship with entities not sharing the same values? Therefore cooperative security arrangements may be useful tools to normalize relations with areas sharing different values and identities. Whereas the democratic peace regime is consolidated within security communities, the cooperative security arrangements are enlargements of the zone of peace. Therefore, cooperative security arrangements are tools of security communities in order to establish zones of peace and stability in the neighbourhood. Conflicts between cooperative security partners themselves are possible, although there are no evidences of raising new conflicts between NATO’s or EU’s security partners. There do still exist some frozen conflicts from earlier periods (i.e. between Armenia and Azerbaijan or Israel and other Mediterranean partners).

The security complexes focus on regional or sub regional cooperation with different institutional affiliation. Barry Buzan introduced security complexes as a group of states whose primary security concerns link together sufficiently closely, so that their national securities cannot be realistically considered apart from one another (Buzan 1991, 190). In the current work, the security complexes are distinguished from security communities, as security complexes are not necessarily value-based but rather geopolitical entities (like Baltic Sea region; Balkans; Central Asia; Caribbean etc.).

Collective security arrangements (like UN, OSCE) are remains from the Cold War period. They tend to be rather large security forums emphasizing mediation, bargaining, monitoring, and negotiations than effective tools for conflict resolution. Therefore their role in the post modern peace building has been rather symbolic.

Table 1 presents the current status of the European security architecture.

Table 1. Post Cold War Security Architecture in Europe.

Security communities

NATO, European Union

Cooperative security arrangements

EAPC; Mediterranean Dialogue; Istanbul Cooperation Initiative; Barcelona Process; EU’s Neighbourhood Policy etc.

Security complexes

Baltic Sea; Black Sea; Balkans etc.

Collective security arrangements

United Nations; OSCE

Two current security communities in Europe emerged in different way. The existence of many pluralistic security communities is a historical paradox and result of objective processes caused by development of parallel processes in Europe – transforming NATO from military alliance to pluralistic security community and the establishment of security and defence pillar to the European Union, which developed from economic community into security community through gradual development.

The European Union has also many similarities to the amalgamated security community described by Karl Deutsch in his Political community and the North Atlantic Area though it still maintains its basis as a confederation of nation-states.8 “Sovereignty has been most thoroughly transformed in the European Community (EC). The legal supremacy of community over national law makes the EC fundamentally different, in juridical terms, from other international organisations. Although national governments dominate the decision making process in Europe, they do so within an institutional context involving the pooling and sharing of sovereignty, and in conjunction with a commission that has a certain degree of independence,” (Keohane 2002, 72).

Liberal democratic values and principles of democratic peace are also consolidated within the European Union. “After St. Malo9, the EU has based its dominant understanding of international conflicts on liberal chains of equivalence: democracy, human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law are seen as the basis of a stable and secure world,” (Larsen 2002, 291).

NATO transformed relatively effectively from Cold war’s military alliance into pluralistic security community, especially when comparing with other institutions originated in the modern society. Peter van Ham mentioned “NATO’s future now hinges on only two fundamentals: 1) the transatlantic core of the emerging, but still rather ephemeral international community; 2) the practical contributions it makes to managing European and, perhaps in future, global security, (van Ham 2001, 395). As NATO remains a purely security and defence institution, complex interdependence between community members is not so strongly represented as in the European Union, but maintaining its value-based core, NATO still pretends to be a pluralistic security community. National sovereignty in decision-making process forms stronger basis in NATO than in the European Union. “The NATO that is expanding is not the old NATO – an alliance focused on threats from the Soviet Union. NATO is in the process of changing from an alliance to a security management institution…. The nature of the environment in Europe – risks rather than threats – goes quite far towards explaining NATO’s transformation,” (Keohane 2002, 107).

Resolving cooperative security dilemma in Europe

Today, with Eastern European countries integrated into the system of Western security communities, with Turkey moving towards the European Union, with Ukraine and Georgia democratising, with Balkans stabilizing, there are notably three or four main cooperative security dilemmas concerning Europe in the near future. First of them is a potential competitiveness and difference in security cultures between the United States and the European Union that would destabilize relations between two existing security communities – the European Union and NATO. Second, the Middle East and also Mediterranean area still need stable cooperative relationship with Europe. Third, the introduction of Western values in Russia could make possible Russia’s further integration with the Western civilization. Fourth, the possible cooperative security dilemma may rise concerning extremely unstable Africa.

There are basically two clearly identified cooperative security dilemmas in the current European security environment:

1. Euro-Atlantic or Transatlantic security dilemma (Institutional security dilemma);

2. NATO’s and EU’s Enlargement dilemma (Identity dilemma).

The Euro-Atlantic security dilemma, as mentioned by Howorth (Howorth 2005, 7), is also a cooperative security dilemma, which occurs when two partially overlapping security communities sharing similar values exist in the same geopolitical area. NATO – as well as the European Union – is on its way towards a value-based security community. These emerging security communities are sometimes overlapping and this is the reason why NATO-EU cooperation is essential for the further development of both NATO and EU as security communities. The main question of this security dilemma is the coordination of their activities between communities. The US involvement in European matters and the European commitment to the US global strategy are the two pillars of this security dilemma. The United States share the same values as Europe, but in addition to their geographical distance, they also have a distinctive security culture. In Howorth’s words, there is the dilemma of how to combine the EU’s ideals of effective multilateralism with the US’s ongoing desire unilaterally to pre-empt further terrorist attacks (Howorth 2005, 25).

NATO and the EU have some differences in their organization, which may cause institutional security dilemma. Austria, Sweden, Finland, Malta, Cyprus, and Ireland are not NATO members, although with the exception of Malta and Cyprus, they are NATO partner countries. Norway, Iceland, Turkey, Bulgaria, and Romania have, on the contrary, joined the NATO but not the EU yet.10 Denmark, at the same time, does not participate in the EU’s security and defence pillar. As majority of members in both communities remain the same, there is difficult to presume any major conflict between them. However, the existing difference may cause competition and complications in security preferences as the United States remain a main military power in NATO, being at the same time economic competitor for the European Union.

Enlargement has presented another important cooperative security dilemma influencing NATO and the European Union. The danger lies in the fact that if a security community enlarges over too vast a territory, this may introduce a set of problems affecting its ability to maintain its value-based nature. The borders of enlargement have been important for both the European Union and NATO. One possible solution is to connect enlargement with the results of conflict resolution. Security communities must be conflict-free. “A central issue in the two world’s formulation is how the zone of peace and zone of conflict relate to each other,” (Buzan 2000, 354). Cooperative security arrangements may be oriented to resolve potential, frozen, or existing conflicts in the neighbourhood of security communities sharing liberal democratic values. Thus, cooperative security arrangements can be appropriate stage of transition between zones of peace and zones of conflict.

Ole Waever argues that both insecurity and security became a main motive for integration in Europe (Waever in Adler, Barnett 1998, 91). Cooperative security initiatives of the pluralistic security communities create international regimes that include countries with different security cultures, sometimes with different norms accepted and/or identities. “The Western culture thesis has immediate implications for democratisation in the Balkans and the Soviet Union. Historically these areas were part of the Czarist and Ottoman empires; their prevailing religions were Orthodoxy and Islam, not Western Christianity. These areas were not significantly penetrated by Western culture: they did not have the Western experiences with feudalism, the Renaissance, the Reformation, and liberalism,” (Huntington 1991, 299). Cooperative security has demonstrated itself as a reliable force in order to solve security dilemmas, which may arise with the creation of security communities. However, when a country that has decided to join the security community does not share its values, the community may lose effectiveness. Therefore, political decisions about enlargements, which are not in accordance with shared beliefs, norms and identities, can pose a threat to the community. This was the reason why, for example, the UNO and OSCE never developed into security communities. For the same reason, the League of Nations failed to act as a security community.

For securing stable zones of peace in their neighbourhood, European security communities need to establish appropriate cooperative security regimes there. Currently, so-called greater (or larger) Middle East, which includes areas from Morocco and Mauritania to Afghanistan and Pakistan, is Europe’s first security concern in the near future, as the region tends to be violent and unstable. Russia, too, presents a remarkable cooperative security dilemma both for NATO and the European Union. The reason why the integration of Russia into security communities or even into cooperative security arrangements remains problematic derives from history. In 1700-1917, Russia was definitely a European state. The Communist regime, established in Russia in 1917, cut Russia off from European security arrangements, and the attempts to join Russia with Europe again generally failed. Moreover, during the Cold War, under the circumstances of stable bipolarity, Russia (the Soviet Union) became a global power.

The dilemma facing the existing security communities in Europe is that without sharing liberal democratic values while attempting to establish cooperative security arrangements between Russia and Europe, it may prove dangerous to join Russia or any other country with European security communities. If Russia stays outside the cooperative security arrangements, it may lead to a misperception as if the increasing security community posed a threat to their security.

Russia officially stated that has no intention to become full member in any European security community (EU or NATO). At the same time, Russia is part of NATO’s and EU’s cooperative security arrangements. Both security communities established cooperative security arrangements with NATO. European Union signed partnership agreement with Russia in 1994, which came into force in 1997. In 1997, Russia also signed partnership agreement with NATO, which started a process forming NATO-Russia Council in 2002. “In the new NATO-Russia Council, which was established in 2002, Russia will sit as an equal member with the nineteen NATO countries for discussion on a select list of security issues,” (Wilhelmsen 2002, 21). The involvement of Russia into cooperative security arrangements is a way to resolve security dilemma between Europe and Russia. It was in NATO’s and the EU’s interests to involve Russia in their cooperative security arrangements and promote cooperation with Russia.

The last violent conflict area in Europe – the Balkans - is more or less pacified, has started to democratise and is engaged in post-conflict peace building now. The Eastern-European area, from Baltic Countries to Balkans, has been considered to be another cooperative security dilemma for European security communities until the enlargement processes completed in 1998 and in 2004. With the minor exceptions in the former Yugoslavian territory (especially the Kosovo problem), this cooperative security dilemma is to great extent resolved for today.

Africa is also a potential security dilemma for NATO and EU as many security threats are originated from there and Africa is still relatively unstable continent with huge amount of potential security risks not only regionally, but also globally. Therefore especially the European Union, but lately also NATO has started to make efforts to establish cooperative security arrangements there.

The cooperative securities arrangements used by both European security communities – NATO and the European Union, have helped to mitigate the influence of cooperative security dilemmas. Security communities tend to succeed in avoiding cooperative security dilemmas when partners in cooperative security arrangements accept their values. Depending on how successful these arrangements are in introducing principles of democratic peace, Europe has strengthened zones of peace and stability in its close neighbourhood. There is only a purely theoretical possibility for major conflict between NATO and EU, because, besides shared values of liberal democracy, majority of the community members participate in both security communities and those who are not involved, they are active in cooperative security arrangements.

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