This essay was initiated by the need for a discussion, focused on NATO, of the possible implications that regional security management for Europe might have for approaches to peace and security in the Middle East. Alas, what has been devised for Europe is very interesting, wondrous given Europe's history, but not very helpful for the Middle East. Other regional systems may offer experiences that hold more promise.
Analysis of what has taken place in Europe since the end of the Cold War begins with the fact that governments there are earnestly attempting to continue a process of transcending traditional international politics that began many years ago; an effort that was initiated and has been driven primarily by security considerations. They are carrying this far beyond rapprochement among previously hostile states; the objective has been to rid participants of worry about the use of force among themselves.
It is such a departure from the past, there and elsewhere, that we lack compelling theoretical explanations and sound empirical findings to guide our understanding of it. Often NATO has been the focus of attention but a good deal of the available theoretical equipment has been useful neither for anticipating what has happened to NATO, nor for guiding the changes in it that took place, nor for explaining all this after the fact. There are plenty of intriguing analyses of European security and some, including this one, may turn out to be useful. Some studies examine rapprochement, the relaxation of a serious conflict by reaching agreement on certain matters and hopefully inciting more cooperation later. 1
Studies of ambitious efforts to reshape an entire international system offer case studies of interest (on the Concert of Europe, the League of Nations, the UN Security Council and other postwar, and now post-Cold