Hayk Kotanjian: Strategic Concept For The Development Of Collective



The report is presented to the International Conference on “CSTO and
the South Caucasus: Peace and Regional Security Perspectives” of the
Institute for National Strategic Studies, Ministry of Defense, RA –
the CSTO Secretariat – the CSTO Institute on May 19-20, 2011 in Yerevan
by Major General Hayk Kotanjian, Member of the CSTO Academic-Expert
Council, Doctor of Political Sciences, Fellow Member of the Russian
Academy of Military Sciences. Heads of leading strategic studies
centers of the CSTO member states, top strategic analysis specialists
from the international expert community, political and military
leaders, diplomats, as well as military attaches from the OSCE Minsk
Group Co-Chair states participated in the Forum.

The Treaty on Collective Security of May 15, 1992 was signed during a
dynamic period of dramatic change and transformation of the security
architecture in the Eurasian area. It was a time for reconsidering
the traditional paradigm of “East-West” Cold War confrontation,
pursuing new premises and opportunities for the expected cooperation
concept for the newly-created independent states within the former
Soviet space. The process was evolving into a still uncrystallized and
rather vague view of the contemporary model of “global and indivisible
security.” Simultaneously, in conditions of the dissolution of the
Warsaw Pact and the transformation of the bipolar world, the North
Atlantic Treaty Oranization (NATO) alliance was also compelled to
forge and refine a new identity of values and security architecture.

In the context of these systemic catastrophic challenges and facing
a high level of uncertainty in the evolving transitional political
processes, as well as considering their turbulence and possible
reversibility, the Treaty on Collective Security sought to guarantee a
smooth deviation of the Post-Warsaw area form of positional security
architecture defined by bipolar confrontation. At the same time,
it was required to safeguard against new regional-scale symmetric
threats already perceptible in the significant part of the zone of
responsibility of the former Warsaw Pact with regard to its demise.

Today, it is safe to state that the Treaty on Collective Security has
not only achieved an impressive level of overall success in meeting
these challenges but has also accumulated the strategic potential
necessary for further self-development in compliance with the dynamics
of changes in the internal and external security environments.

However, it should be noted that the Treaty on Collective Security
is a classical defense pact signed by a specific group of states
striving to combine efforts for the purpose of a collective protection
against the traditional symmetric threat of armed attack. Separate
rudiments of inertial bloc thinking typical of the Cold War period
underlay the logic of this document. The distinctive features of the
post-Perestroika era did npt offer a chance to consider the rich
variety of strategic interests of the new independent states when
forming the doctrinal basis – the Collective Security Concept of 1995
– to consolidate the new security area. Under these conditions, the
pursuit of guarantees to deter global and local military catastrophes
overshadowed the necessity to consider in a more systemic way within
the Collective Security Concept the full range of security factors,
including civilization, political, economical, social, defense,
information, and cultural factors, etc. These objective obstacles, to a
certain extent, limited the vision of distant horizons of development,
as well as long-term perspectives of building the future CSTO.

In 2002, ten years after the signing of the Treaty, during the
establishment of the CST Organization through transforming the pact on
collective self-defense into an international regional organization,
the key goal was still to collectively assure military security. Since
2005-2006, there has emerged the tendency to transform the CSTO into
a multifunctional organization aimed at ensuring collective security
through cooperation in various fields, besides the military one, as
well as at countering the combined symmetric and asymmetric threats,
the modern tool for which becomes the Collective Rapid Reaction Force
established in 2009.

Recently, it has become more apparent that for a shift to a
comprehensive security model encompassing all of the essential
spheres of the vital activity of the member states and conforming
to the most up-to-date world standards, it is necessary to reassess
and conceptually review the approaches to the progressive evolution
of the given system. The Council on Collective Security and the CSTO
Secretariat have become more focused on the strategic perspectives of
updating the Organization. At present, the cornerstone of the goal
has become strategic pragmatism, the initial guideline for which
may also become a systemically updated vision of the CSTO security
architecture expedient for all the participants of modernization
which should exclude the inertia of bloc thinking, as well as
palliative-kind decisions on integrating the Organization in the
global security system.

Meanwhile, it is obvious that becoming engaged in more constructive
cooperation with the United Nations (UN), European security structures,
CIS, SCO, EurAsEC, as well as building its own peacekeeping forces
and Collective Rapid Reaction Force, the CSTO has already crossed
the threshold to emerge as a key actor within the global security
system. It is, in fact, becoming effectively involved in the
construction of this new security architecture. The evidence for
this include the evolving cooperation of the Organization with the
UN and the documents accepted by the Heads of States at the Council
on Collective Security in December 2010, which predetermined the
core guidelines for fostering the collective security system. By
the decision “On Measures of Elaborating Strategic and Conceptual
Documents to Improve and Advance the CSTO Collective Security System,”
a specific task on elaborating appropriate documents has been put
forward, namely the Collective Security Strategy, a new Concept for
Developing the Collective Security System, as well as a Strategic
and Operation Planning System.

Under the impact of present-day realities, one of the key problems
for updating our security Organization is the necessity to address
the perception of the contemporary practice of ensuring collective
security and of adopting a more flexible interpretation of the
consensus principle. The principle of decision-making (except for
procedural ones) based on consensus – uncontested common consent –
functioning within the CSTO, as well as in most other international
organizations, refers to the fundamentals of politics and law
that rely on the principles of sovereignty and equality of member
states of a given organization. A guarantee of equal engagement in
making crucial decisions, with a view to meeting their own security
interests, is indispensable for states founding a collective security
organization. Sovereign states, entering into a collective security
system and voluntarily waiving a definitive part of their sovereign
rights, expect to compensate for that sacrifice by ensuring their
security on a higher level – due to the synergistic jointness of
efforts of all the member states of the organization. At the same
time, we should not exclude the possibility of the emergence of
such situations when the minority’s opinion, not coinciding with
the position of the majority of the members, may conflict with the
vital or strategic interests not only of the majority, but also of
the organization as a whole. We recognize such examples both from the
experience of NATO and our Organization. Within NATO, which holds a
solid record of experience of building and sustaining activity of a
collective security system, taking into account the lessons learned,
it is envisaged that such decision-making mechanisms may be developed
and introduced which would ensure the expression of the “coalition
will” on the part of member states under international law and in
accordance with the mission, goals and tasks of the Alliance. It
should also be mentioned that such elements of decision-making in
this reduced format have been reviewed to a certain extent in the
context of coalition cooperation practices among NATO nations.

In the case of the CSTO, we may state that the decision-making process
in a “truncated format” is an efficient tool to overcome stalemates
in such situations when the minority is unwilling to participate
in certain coalition activities, however, it does not oppose their
implementation. An additional universal initial resource to develop
and implement the principle of “coalition will” may become one of
the backbone principles in the CSTO – the principle of regional
establishment of the collective security system. This principle,
in further conformity with the consensus principle, allows the
streamlining the decision-making process with respect to separate
regions of collective security.

It is of great importance to precisely define the role, place and
purpose of the military component in the collective security system.

In spite of the transformation affected by changes in security
environment parameters, and sometimes also due to the partial
replacement of other constituents, the military component retains
its significance, and in cases where the political factor prevails,
it remains a system-forming one. Thus, while settling the issue
of updating the mission, goals and tasks of our Organization, it
is necessary to determine modernization parameters of the security
system’s military component on an extremely reasonable ground.

Simultaneously, a potential resource base should be provided for
its guaranteed build-up to the required level when the balance of
challenges and threats changes drastically. It is of no less importance
to conduct a sound strategic assessment and to build and bolster the
military security architecture for each region of collective security
in the context of the general collective security architecture of
the CSTO system.

Thus, to assure a shift to a more effective multi-faceted system of
CSTO collective security it is urgent to develop and accept such a new
strategic concept which would take into account the dominant idea that
multi-functional security is indivisible and its provision through
international cooperation has no alternative. The given approach, as
we recognize, is aimed at searching for reciprocal decisions for all
CSTO member states, as well as for other partners from the community
of global security entities.

Ensuring an appropriate level of adequate collective security assumes
that there should be relevant answers to the questions concerning the
key parameters and conditions of its integration in the global security
system. It concerns the compatibility of the CSTO with the community of
international security entities in terms of value preferences, vital
and strategic principles, missions, goals, interests and priorities
of collective security, the place, purpose and role of the political,
military and other components, and the structure and functions of
the Organization. With regard to this, it becomes significant to
optimally determine the contents, proportions and bonds among and
between these components in the CSTO collective security architecture
being modernized. In the meantime, to further this integration it is
necessary to resolve the problem of forging new relations with NATO –
a more sophisticated actor having its own well-established key role
in the global security system and being based on the Eurasian area
common for these two collective security organizations. We should
note a number of the CSTO initiatives targeted at cooperation with
NATO. However, the North Atlantic Alliance exercises certain vigilance
in this matter. So, when tackling priority issues on ensuring security
within the CSTO responsibility zone as a part of the common Eurasian
security area, it still prefers cooperation in the bilateral format
of NATO-partner state by the formula of “28+1.” Meanwhile, in the new
Strategic Concept of the Alliance, special importance is attached
to enhancing cooperation within the framework of the “Russia-NATO”
Council. The activation of this Council in terms of the decisions of
the Lisbon Summit of the North Atlantic Alliance could serve as an
actual starting point to discuss and review cooperation options between
the CSTO and NATO. As it is not a secret that the role and potential
of Russia for the CSTO are pivotal. And the proficient use of this
opportunity may facilitate the generation of productive cooperation
on the level of organizations as well. Although we also know that
contrary opinions characterized by inertial thinking, conspiracy
stereotypes and skepticism have tended to impede the development of
mutual confidence, we should notice and foster the improvement in the
“Reset” of the dialogue and cooperation in collective and individual
formats “Russia-NATO,” as well as “US-CSTO” and “NATO-CSTO.”

My personal and professional participation in the “Security:
US-Russia” Program of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at
Harvard University in 2010 revealed the professional interest of US
strategic studies experts in the pursuit of means to enrich the reset
in the US-Russian cooperation through the interaction between the
US and the CSTO. In this aspect, as a possible starting point, these
US analysts were attracted by the Program called “Operation Channel”
famous for its successful experience in fighting against narcotics by
the CSTO at the Central Asian crossroads of drug trafficking between
Afghanistan and Eurasia. In the given context of the Harvard academic
dialogue, the pragmatic considerations of scholars sounded innovative
which were about the hypothetical possibility of cooperation of the
CSTO with the US in the format of “CSTO-US” or “7+1”, commensurate
with the parallel partnership in the format of “NATO-Russia” or “28+1.”

Summarizing last year’s Harvard strategic intellectual US-Russia
dialogue which represented “Smart Power” of its parties, as the only
participant from a third friendly nation, I can verify that in the
viewpoint of my colleagues, the global security interests in the
present turbulently evolving world in its strategic perspective does
not exclude any reset in the relationships between Russia and NATO,
the US and the CSTO, as well as NATO and the CSTO for the purpose of
cooperation and integration. Such an approach reflects the possibility
of deepening cooperation among these global and regional security
entities under the impact of the reset strategy of the US-Russian
relations, as well as the expansion of the academic pursuit of
avenues to mutually influence and enrich the strategic concepts
of their modernization. In terms of this premise, the success of
developing a new CSTO Collective Security Strategic Concept will
considerably be determined by the systemic character of applying
security studies advanced effective methodologies reviewed by the
intensively modernizing CSTO and NATO, including their members –
Russia, US, as well as their allies and partners.

It is important to highlight the fact that the CSTO Council and
Secretariat each aim at organizing the process of developing the
draft of the new strategic concept of our Organization on the
basis of synthesizing the latest theoretical-methodological and
academically-applied achievements of modern security studies. From
this perspective, it could be helpful to consider the experience
of developing the draft National Security Strategy of the Republic
of Armenia with the academic coordination by the Armenian Institute
for National Strategic Studies of the Ministry of Defense in close
cooperation with the leading security studies think tanks of Moscow,
Washington and Brussels. Our Institute is ready to make its own
contribution to the development of the new Strategic Concept of our
Collective Security Treaty Organization.