East-West Arms Control: Challenges for the Western Alliance

By David Dewitt; Hans Rattinger | Go to book overview

6

Confidence-building processes - CSCE and MBFR: a review and assessment1

James Macintosh

INTRODUCTION

This chapter, written in the spring of 1989, presents a brief and inevitably dated appreciation of the parallel and related CDE and MBFR/CFE arms control processes. 2 Although the chapter includes a relatively straightforward history of the two processes (a more recent history of CFE and CDE is covered in Chapter 11), concentrating on their origins, it also includes something more: a particular view of what has been important - and what will continue to be important - in the overall CDE/MBFR/CFE arms control process. This view grows out of a somewhat unorthodox appreciation of what it is that fundamentally animates the CDE and the CFE arms control processes. That particular view revolves around the claim that the two arms control processes possess substantial confidence-building characteristics. Further, this view argues that the success of the two arms control processes and their agreements are to be measured, at least in large part, in terms of their joint confidence-building impact. 3

This last aspect - the confidence-building character and potential of the CDE and CFE talks - is particularly important. It focuses on the ways in which the two processes and their agreements, singly and in co-operation with each other, can address and help solve some underlying problems with an important psychological dimension that have plagued European and East-West relations for decades. This may be the most important contribution to be made by the two negotiating processes and their agreements, despite a tendency on the part of most analysts to concentrate on the CFE talks’ more obvious arms control reduction character. 4 The two processes capacity to successfully address these problems of mistrust and misperception is a direct consequence of the fact that confidence building is a predominantly

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