Some comments on how to enhance cooperation in security matters: A glance from Armenia

Collapse of the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact brought the Cold War era to an end. In fact, since then there is no real force in the world that is capable to seriously challenge the USA leadership and NATO`s leading role. After dissolution of the Soviet Union Russia was weak and not capable to prevent NATO expansion to its western borders. At that time the Central and Eastern European countries, as well as some ex-Soviet republics, first of all the Baltic republics, were eager for the membership of the NATO. They still saw in Russia the main threat to their independence and national security and tried to provide more reliable security to them by joining NATO. Here it is necessary to take into consideration another two factors. First of all it means the changes of NATO itself and its adaptation to the new world geopolitical conditions. The NATO leadership in 1990s took several decisions, due to which it, while preserving its political-military structures and tasks, at the same time adopted new functions: to provide security on the base of dialogue, cooperation and support of the collective defense potentially. It was very principal innovation in the strategy of NATO. This process is going on today. These changes made NATO more attractive for non-NATO countries and peoples, and facilitate the liquidation of certain prejudices against NATO.

The second factor is connected with the new attitude of Russia towards the NATO and the problem of the Russian-NATO relations. Russia, after all, though very slowly and cautiously, but steadily started to improve its relations with NATO and to cooperate with it in many fields.

The gates of the Central and Eastern Europe were opened before NATO. Poland, Hungary and Czech Republic became new members of NATO and now on line are about 10 other countries, such as Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, three Baltic countries, etc.

Their intention for the NATO membership had declared also other countries. Among them two countries in South Caucasus - Georgia and Azerbaijan. Georgia is very actively knocking the NATO doors, while Azerbaijan is acting more cautiously.

The position of the third country of the region - Armenia, is quite different of those of Georgia and Azerbaijan. Until 2000 the Armenia-NATO relations were passive and the Armenia`s cooperation with NATO was on very low level

Only recently the situation changed, and first of all it is about the improvement and rapprochement in NATO-Russia relations. Their cooperation now is covering practically all main fields and quite logically it came to the point to establish ,,Format of 20,, on the base of 19 NATO member states and Russia. Russia, which cooperates so closely with NATO, cannot any more prevent or create difficulties for other countries, including Armenia, for their own cooperation.

Alongside with the changes of the external conditions, political atmosphere within Armenia changed as well in favor of cooperation with NATO. We all are ready for cooperation in order to enhance our security.

Thus, we can use an idea from the European Center for Security Studies of G.Marshall that Cooperative security combines four basic security arrangements: Individual security, Collective security, Collective defense, and Promoting stability . I think, if we take a bit different approache these are the directions in which Euro-Atlantic countries should execute purposeful operations.

Processes of European integration and cooperation are diverse and interrelated and cannot find their solutions by sole cooperation implemented in one organization only. However, a fundamental role in the implication of European security architecture is given to cooperation in the NATO framework.

NATO can become the real working model of cooperative security. NATO, which initially had been created solely for defense of the Western Europe, is now modifying to stability consolidation factor throughout Europe. If we wish to make Euro-Atlantic security architecture a reality, NATO should continue developing. It should expand its relations with non- NATO-members and develop its range of joint actions as a sign of readiness to create a more extensive security system in Europe. To be sure that extension establishes stability and security in Europe non- NATO-members viewpoints should be regarded and considered by a long-term perspective.

With regard to Armenia, it might be noted that it is now entirely accepted as a South-Eastern border of Europe and for an immediate neighbor in the concept of processes of universal structure formation of European security. Moreover, according to the NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson "Armenia is a country which holds in its hands the key of long-term peace and stability in an important area which links Europe and Asia. It is more than enough reason to count Armenia for an important and valuable partner in our search of unified and free Europe" end of quotation. Yet Armenia had not put the question to enter NATO on its foreign politics agenda, and the question does not stand in the NATO agenda as well.

Under the mentioned Individual security frameworks the Armenia security system is built on the basis of Commonwealth of Independent States's Cooperative Security Treaty, military cooperation with Russia, and, in addition to that Partnership for Peace with NATO is one of the major elements of that system. On the other hand, an Eastern-European country like Romania can build its security system on the grounds of membership for the European Union and NATO. In such terms the problem of NATO membership or non-membership should not take a serious part in the process of any bilateral or collective program developments and executions which are real and appointed to regional cooperation increase including security items.

In the context of Collective security, a final escape from Cold-War intention and extermination of dividing borders among forces actively involved in the area take on special significance. New Europe requires new approaches to security issues. It requires a universal approach, which will allow to simultaneously use all political, economic and military means to prevent and manage crisis as well as defend and stimulate implementation of entrusted basic values.

NATO plays its distinctive role in the process of such approach stimulation. There are considerable acquisitions in this direction both from NATO members and from partner-countries sides.

Graphic evidence of this can be "Collective best effort-2003" military maneuvers held in the capital of Armenia, Yerevan in June. These were major infantry maneuvers of the NATO "Cooperation for Peace" program in its Southern area first held in Armenia. The participants of these maneuvers were military elements from partner-countries including Canada, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Turkey, USA, Great Britain, from partner countries like Russia, Georgia, as well as Romania etc., 19 countries in the whole.

Collective defense can be executed in NATO member countries community only. Tragic events of September 11 showed that terrorism is aimed not only at a particular country but is a universal threat and Collective defense can stand as one of the ways of struggle against it. We can aim at it by means of particular purposeful, including military, programs only.

In this view Armenia acting as a NATO partner intends to activate in frameworks of future cooperation its practical and not just declarative participation. The Armenian community, due to large explanatory works, where Armenian Atlantic Association contributes its reasonable mite, which I now present, began to better understand the policy of NATO and its tasks in post-Cold War era. We denied to put a sign of equality between the policy of Turkey and NATO and demonstrated our willingness to enlarge cooperation with NATO in different fields, including military.

After all these Armenia had officially adopted a new foreign policy doctrine, under the name of Complementarity. Today the USA-EU-NATO track is coming to complement the Russian-CST track to insure that the national security of Armenia had been raised to a new, more high and reliable level.

Finally, Promoting stability and better understanding stand to be preconditions of achieving our wishes and goals in implementation of Euro-Atlantic cooperation.

In context of South-Eastern-European area, which includes Transcaucases, Promoting stability is an integration and perception of security as an essential part of European overall security.

Our joint activity in this direction can noticeably increase the level of cooperation including in the field of security.
© Armenian Atlantic Association