Lecturer at the Department of legal English,
International law School, MGIMO-Odintsovo
Odintsovo, Moscow region, Russia
Overview of the article entitled “No Fair-Weather Instrument: The Need to Rethink Military Confidence Building in Europe”
For citation: Benjamin Schaller, No Fair-Weather Instrument: The Need to RethinkMilitary Confidence Building in Europe, OSCE Insights 7 (Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2020), at: https://doi.org/10.5771/9783748922339
In the following article the author touches upon the topic of military trust in Europe. At the beginning author describes the current state of military security and trust in Europe, making a reference to the Ukrainian crisis. On the other hand, the researcher says, the USA claimed their withdrawal from the Open Sky Treaty in 2020, also fueling the lack of trust in Europe. In the main part of the article the author considers different approaches to the question of military trust.
First of all, the problems in the current system of trust are highlighted. The principle “trust, but prove” is mentioned. There should be transparency and predictability, the theory says. But in reality, the states might have several reasons for hiding or distorting information. This can be done to achieve strategic advantages. Also, different legal documents provide different conditions regarding military inspections. For example, the Treaty on conventional armed forces in Europe contains provisions about complex and intrusive inspection of military units, whereas Vienna document on enforcement of security and trust measures allows only 3 inspections per established period over 60 bases. According to the author, the security and trust measures must be significantly reinforced. One of the ways of doing that would be increasing the level of personal contacts. In fact, usually, officers do not enter into political discussions when inspecting military bases. Rather, cooperation is more often observed. This is due to the equal military status of inspectors, as well as the common goal- contribution to common security. Nevertheless, the political will is needed in this case, and, sometimes, the lack of minimum trust is an obstacle. Finally, the author suggests the following measures aimed at reinforcing military trust: multilateral inspections, increase of contacts between officers, rotation of inspectors, external inspectors, reinforcement of trust at the political and strategical level.
In our opinion, the article highlights a very important question, especially taken into account the current political agenda. What’s more, the issue of increasing personal contacts is paid attention to. It has showed its effectiveness many times, even during increased tensions between states. Not to forget the political will of the heads of states, undoubtedly. We would recommend to apply this approach to the currently being escalated Ukrainian crisis, where the political will to settle the conflict has always missed.