European security policy currently is characterized by a striking contradiction between declarations and deeds. The November 2010 NATO Strategic Concept says the alliance is striving for “true strategic partnership between NATO and Russia”;1 in the Astana Commemorative Declaration, the 56 member states of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) even commit themselves to the “vision of a free, democratic, common and indivisible Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian security community stretching from Vancouver to Vladivostok.”
Overshadowed by more pressing issues—Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and global terrorism—European security relations with Russia have deteriorated dramatically since the late 1990s. Over the last 10 years, European security policy has been increasingly dominated by unilateral and frequently confrontational approaches. (Continue)
A mere 20 years ago, massive numbers of conventional and nuclear forces stood poised for attack on opposite sides of the Iron Curtain. NATO and Soviet bloc countries were finally able to draw down their arsenals, ease tensions, and build trust with verification through a series of landmark arms control agreements concluded in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Much attention has been focused on the impact of the treaty eliminating intermediate-range nuclear forces and the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) in solidifying the end of Cold War hostilities. No less important is the 1990 Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, which slashed NATO and Warsaw Pact armies and their equipment and effectively eliminated the possibility of a blitzkrieg-style land attack across the East-West frontier. (Continue)