New Influences on Global Security
Ambassador Alexandr Vondra
Czech Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Security Policy
It is a pleasure to be in Moscow for the 20th International Workshop. To a certain extent my political career started here in Moscow. I accompanied President Havel on his famous February 1990 trip, during which he went first to Washington to speak before the joint session of the U.S. Congress and then on from Washington to Moscow. The purpose of the trip was to abolish the so-called Brezhnev Doctrine.
We did not prepare any kind of declaration before that trip. The bureaucrats involved, including me, simply had no time or experience, so we drafted the declaration as we flew to Moscow, with a regular pen and a sheet of white paper, about five sentences in all. When the talks began with President Gorbachev in the Kremlin, President Havel placed the paper we had drafted on the table, and asked that it be signed that same day. After five hours of difficult talks, in which Foreign Minister Shevardnadze was of course involved, we came to an agreement that the Brezhnev Doctrine was over and that the Russian troops in Czechoslovakia had to withdraw within approximately 18 months.
Today it is hard to imagine how an agreement could be reached in such a fast way, be it an agreement with Papua New Guinea or any other country in the world. Actually I cannot really imagine how we were able to come to that agreement so quickly in 1990.
ISSUES THAT ILLUSTRATE CHANGE
Much has changed since the Brezhnev Doctrine was dissolved. To illustrate that change, before I give the floor to our three distinguished speakers, I would like to focus on four important issues.
1. NATO. It has enlarged, it has new strategic relationships with countries such as Russia, and it has new missions that are reaching as far as Afghanistan. It is also the only organization that might possibly be accepted to work toward creating peace in the Middle East, a fantastic development. Of course this last point comes with many questions about the organization's over stretching.
2. The drafting of the constitution for the new Europe. The convention on the future of Europe has finished its work. Now the draft will go to the IGC, the intra-government conference of European Union countries. While there will be a huge challenge there, the draft's purpose, on the one hand, is to give Europe a larger, more visible voice in global affairs; on the other hand, it is working to keep the transatlantic relationship strong and effective. I believe that fulfilling both missions will not be easy.
3. Our military might. I was in Baghdad in the middle of June to introduce the Czech team to the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) and to meet the Czech soldiers stationed in southern Iraq. When I walked in the streets of Baghdad and saw the accuracy of the bombing that had been carried out with precision-guided ammunition, it was something like a miracle. For example, a huge facility that had housed Saddam Hussein's secret police was totally destroyed, but the fence and sidewalk around it were untouched. There is a huge difference between what was possible during this war compared to what was possible during the Gulf War or even during the Kosovo campaign.
4. The consequences of our actions. From a military perspective, we now live in a unique unipolar world, or at least in a "unipolar moment." Some countries, including Russia and France, want to achieve a multipolar world. This tendency may be inevitable, like the natural desire to restore balance, harmony, and sustainable order. But the process for achieving a multipolar world means there will definitely be more proliferation: each pole will want to have nuclear weapons, and each neighbor of each pole will want to have nuclear weapons too.
These, then, are some of the real challenges of the work that is before us, and important points to keep in mind as we continue the debate.