The CSCE Process: A Way to European Peace in Security
Despite its limited military consequences, the zero-zero agreement on intermediate-range nuclear forces (INF) has opened a window of opportunity not only for European security in particular but for East-West relations in general. After years of stagnating European arms control, characterized by the seemingly endless MBFR negotiations, significant cuts in military capacities and far-reaching limitations on military options are now on the agenda. But the traditional political and academic concept of arms control has to be broadened: even the most far-reaching additional measures on theater-nuclear systems, conventional arms control, chemical weapons, and confidence-building mechanisms create only necessary but not sufficient conditions for security and peace. Traditional arms-control agreements concentrate on the ability to use military means, not on overcoming the will to go to war or the political structures that lead to military conflicts. Therefore, a comprehensive European security concept must aim at both the elimination of military threats and the construction of structures, mechanisms, and institutions that reduce conflict potentials and promote the resolution of conflict through non- military means.
Often neglected in the United States and undervalued in Western Europe, 1 the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) from the very beginning aimed at the peaceful transformation of the present militarized confrontation in Europe. 2 Its political grand design