Partnership for Peace: Guaranteeing Success

Article excerpt

Background

On January 10-11, 1994 the NATO Brussels Summit inaugurated the Partnership for Peace Program. Within the past 18 months, PFP has been remarkably successful and developed far beyond its architects' expectations. There are now 26 partners in the program, and 14 have representatives in the Partnership Coordination Center (PCC) at Mons. Enthusiasm for PFP has reached a plateau, some confusion still exists, and significant differentiation has developed in partners' perceptions, objectives, activities, and expectations. Clarifying existing asymmetries among partners and between NATO and partners remains a serious challenge. Indeed, NATO's response may well determine whether PFP's initial success can be guaranteed!

Partner Differentiation and New Forms of Neutrality

Since the PFP program was inaugurated, differentiation among the 26 partners has become pronounced. Most partners perceive PFP as the path toward full NATO membership (e.g., Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, and Slovenia); some partners wish to remain "neutral" and do not intend to seek full membership (e.g., Ukraine); some partners who had been neutral now seek modified integration with the Alliance (e.g., Austria).

For those partners who see PFP as the path to full membership, self-differentiation has been most significant. They want NATO to define the criteria and time-lines more precisely.

For those partners who wish to remain "neutral," PFP has other purposes. For example:

For Ukraine, neutrality means seeking partner relations with NATO and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The Government is greatly constrained in its ability to move West. Public opinion polls in 1991 indicated that 21 percent wanted Russification; in 1993 support had risen to 30 percent; and in 1994, 48 percent. Ukrainian public opinion, though, is divided. In 1994, in eastern Ukraine 73 percent wanted to be in the CIS; in Kiev, 30 percent; and in western Ukraine, only 20 percent. At the same time Ukraine is under pressure from Russia to join the CIS air defense system. The Government cannot move West! This limits Ukraine's PFP partici-pation and explains its desire to have the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) become a pan-European organization that links the Atlantic with Russia. Ukraine seeks a "special partnership" with NATO and sees PFP as having particular importance for Ukrainian officers to seek a "common language" with NATO counterparts.

For Austria, neutrality in the post-Cold War era no longer makes sense. In the Cold War, one could remain neutral from military blocs and conflicts. Today, most threats are not military in nature (e.g., ethnic minority problems, refugees, nuclear reactor problems, etc.). Therefore, Austria seeks integration into multilateral structures (e.g., European Union and PFP).

Misperceptions and Limitations of Military Cooperation

Many partners want and expect assistance in making their armed forces interoperable--to include general defense forces--with NATO (e.g., Poland wants division-level troop exercises and corps-level staff exercises; the Czech Republic wants more experience in NATO command posts); in developing modern logistics and training methods, even though this remains a national responsibility in NATO; or in building their new armed forces (e.g., Slovakia and Slovenia).

But PFP's terms of reference state that military cooperation is confined to search and rescue, humanitarian assistance, and peacekeeping operations. The asymmetry between NATO's terms of reference and partner expectations needs to be reconciled if PFP's initial success is to be guaranteed. This can be achieved through: (1) a "critical review" of IPPs to tailor partners' activities to NATO objectives; (2) coordinating the Partnership Coordination Cell's 1996 and 1997 exercise program which is presently being developed; and (3) making it clear that the PFP Planning and Review Process is only for peacekeeping. …