We shall now apply Sun Tzu's comprehensive security idea to the European security space. For Sun Tzu the decision to prepare for war depends on the disposition of the other state or states in the system. If this disposition is a negative or threatening one, the strategist should prepare for and eventually go to war. As we have previously argued, the states' disposition toward one another changes from one security system to another. In a competitive system states are negatively disposed toward each other, in an individualistic system they are indifferent to each other's security, and finally in a co-operative one they identify positively with each other.
Comprehensive Security in Europe: Sun Tzu meets Kant
The main question, then, is which of the three systems best describes the evolution of security in Europe. Put differently, is the European security system a competitive one, an individualistic one, or a co-operative one? Following the logic of the previous argument, the answer to this question should tell us something about the dynamic between Sun Tzu's two dimensions of security in Europe. In pushing through this 'thought experiment', we shall combine Sun Tzu's concept with Kant's idea of a pacific union or security community as we now call it (Kant, 1795 ). But before doing so we shall first take a look at some fundamental questions and evolutions regarding the European security order. The two main questions here are: (1) How has the structure of the European security space evolved over time? (2) How are the states in the European Security space disposed towards each other?
War and peace in Europe
Viewed from a historical perspective, no region in the world can stand comparison with Europe as for belligerence. Gleditsch (1995: 539-40), for example, points out that in 25 of 75 interstate wars between 1815 and 1993, the war action took place at least partly in Europe. Moreover, in 31 wars one or more European countries participated on both sides, while in 46 wars at least one European country took part. Of the 31 million battle casualties in all interstate wars since 1815, the 31 wars among European countries accounted for 25 million deaths or 80%. Finally, Europe was the starting point of the two World Wars, which are the most devastating wars in the history of humanity. Since, 1945, however, Europe has been comparatively peaceful. Between 1945 and 1989 the Correlates of War Project notifies only three wars in Europe. Interestingly, they have long time-intervals between them and decrease in size. Although an increase in overall violence in Europe occurred immediately after the end of the Cold War, the number of violent conflicts is again very low (Gleditsch, 1995: 555-63).
How can we explain this comparatively peaceful state of Europe for half a century? With regard to the era of the Cold War, one dominant view holds that the combined effect of bipolarity and nuclear deterrence accounts for the shift from major violence to relative peace in Europe (Gaddis, 1987; Waltz, 1993, Mearsheimer, 1990). With the downfall of the Iron Wall in 1989 and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, however, there definitely came about a new era in European politics. By that time, it became clear that the certainties of the Cold War were no longer (Snyder, 1993). Indeed, for more than forty years both the form and content of European security politics had been largely determined by the two superpowers, namely the United States of America and the Soviet Union. Through their relationships of power, armament and mutual nuclear deterrence, they had set the parameters of peace and security in Europe all along.
The end of the Cold War made for thorough changes in the European security equation. The Warsaw Pact has disappeared and with it went NATO's post-war reason of existence. In addition, the Soviet Union has fallen apart into several independent republics, some of which have still a close relationship with Russia because of former economic ties and a paper confederation. Likewise, the nations of Central and Eastern Europe are passing through a political and economic transformation, and many of them strive for membership of Western international regimes, particularly NATO, WEU and the EU. Furthermore, Germany is united again and therewith increased her geographical and political significance in Europe. Finally, and more broadly, the ideological enmity that was so typical for the relations among the two post-war blocs gave way to growing ideological conformity and growing amity (Sperling and Kirchner, 1997).
The Structure of the European Security Space: Realism vs. Liberalism
Considering the transition to the post-Cold War era and the deep changes going along with it, ample reasons exist for recasting the European security condition. Such, however, is not the view of neo-realists scholars. For them, no fundamental changes appear to have occurred. The 'deep structure' of the international system stays anarchical and competitive in nature. Without a central authority capable of enforcing agreements or guarantying security, states face a security dilemma. Therefore, they continue relying on self-help to maintain their independence and protect their interests. Enduring international co-operation remains problematical as states continue to worry about relative gains because of fears of cheating and dependence (Grieco, 1988; 1993). The main expected mutation situates itself on the level of the distributional structure. The political change that started in 1989 is about to give way to a shift in the existing distribution of capabilities within the system. Although at present the latter is still characterised by military bipolarity, in the longer run we are clearly heading for a multipolar system (Waltz, 1993; Layne, 1993). The future of European security, therefore, looks bleak as the continent is gradually returning to multipolarity with its ever-shifting coalitions. Consequently, the future Europe will be fairly unpredictable and unstable. Nationalist and ethnic conflicts will continue to spill over to the international level since they are no longer frozen under the bipolar order (Mearsheimer, 1990).
Others, taking a liberal view, make a more positive forecast and see a Europe 'primed for peace' (van Evera, 1990/91). They are optimistic about the transition of the former Warsaw Pact countries to a market economy and democratic rule. For liberals economic and political liberalisation offers the best guarantee of stability. A Europe of democratic regimes tied together through liberal trade, would be a Europe where war would belong to the past. Therefore, the security dilemma will be substantially reduced (Sperling and Kirchner, 1997: 7-10). The European states will evolve into relationships of 'complex interdependence' (Keohane and Nye, 1977) like those between the states belonging to the OECD world. Complex interdependence, however, does not imply that no conflicts will occur, but that the latter will be solved without the use of force. Such situation, then, comes close to what Deutsch (1957) came to call a 'security community', viz. a more or less integrated group of states that do not regard each other as a military threat and solve their conflicts in non-military ways. Put differently, liberals expect the likelihood of armed conflict in the new European security order to be very low. Consequently, force levels can be drastically reduced.
In predicting this entirely different future of European security, the liberal view starts from a distinct conception of world politics (Keohane and Nye, 1977; Zacher and Matthew, 1995). For them anarchy is not a permanent feature of the international system. As a pure self-help system, it is but one possible form of recurrent behaviour, and as such, processes of institutionalisation can transcend it, the more likely so in an environment characterised by complex interdependence. Hence, liberals regard international co-operation as far more common than realists would like us to believe. Moreover, they claim that domestic political processes and structures account for variances in state behaviour. For liberals recent history shows that democracies interact more co-operatively than non-democracies do. While democracies are clearly not inherently more peaceful than non-democratic regimes, they rarely if ever fight each other. Relationships between democratic regimes seem to evolve peacefully and result in so-called zones of democratic peace (Ullman, 1991). Using different data sets, this conjecture has been by now firmly established (Geeraerts and Stouthuysen, 1999). Probably no other hypothesis has reached a similar level of acceptance among international relations scholars. According to Russett (1990: 245), the proposition that democracies do not fight each other is 'one of the strongest nontrivial or non-tautological statements that can be made about international relations.' Seemingly democracies identify positively with each other and behave in their mutual relations as status quo powers, that is, they don't covet each other's position in the system. In our interpretation of Sun Tzu this implies that the non-military or politico-economic dimension of security will be dominant (Thesis 3).
From Anarchy to Security Community: Democratic Peace in Europe?
The argument that democracy is a strong source of peace goes back to Immanuel Kant. For him, democracies are peaceful primarily because the citizens control them. As rational beings, the latter will not support warlike policies, the economic consequences of which are only detrimental to their welfare. This, however, is no longer regarded as a very strong explanation of peace between democracies since the connection between public opinion and the conduct of foreign policy is much less straightforward and transparent than in Kant's leading expectation (Sorensen, 1993: 99; Risse, 1999). The peaceful nature of the relationships among democracies does not flow contiguously from peace-loving citizens influencing the decision-makers. For a better understanding of the peace among democracies, we need to look for some more fundamental factors.
On closer examination, Kant's general framework seemingly offers the elements for such a deeper understanding. More specifically, he indicates that the peace among democracies depends on the existence of a pacific union sustained by ties of economic interdependence. Kant was well aware that these elements do not materialise automatically as they are part of a process in which early results of co-operation affect subsequent co-operative efforts (Doyle, 1986). Therefore, reversals or even a backsliding into violence may always occur. Ultimately, however, he expects the pacific union to expand and provide perpetual peace among all democratic nations.
Following Sorensen (1993), Kant's pacific union or security community rests on three conditions:
- The presence of democratic states with their culture of peaceful conflict resolution.
- The moral bonds that are forged between the democracies on the basis of their common moral foundations.
- The democracies' economic co-operation toward mutual economic advantage (Sorensen, 1993: 110-111).
All three conditions need to be met for the connection between democracy and peace to hold. Their combined effect makes an end to the security dilemma, and therewith the states' disposition towards each other becomes a positive one. We shall now further explore each of Kant's conditions and examine them in the contemporary European context.
The first condition concerns processes whereby democratic regimes promote norms and expectations that further peaceful conflict resolution between democracies – a process affecting both the citizenry and the policy-makers. The decisive factor in the whole process, however, is not the control of elites by the citizens; it is the democratic political culture. Such a culture implies that in democracy citizens hold rights to liberty, and hence the states democratically representing them have the right to exercise political independence. Since democracies are alike in this respect, mutual respect for these rights thus becomes the major criterion of international liberal theory. For Sorensen this
... democratic political culture rules out ideological motives for democracies to act in expansionist ways against one another and makes it very difficult for democratic elites to legitimate wars against other democracies (Sorensen, 1993: 99).
In other words, norms of peaceful conflict resolution and norms recognising other people's right to self-determination incite democratic regimes to show restraint and caution in their conduct of foreign policy, especially in their dealings with other democracies.
Regarding the fulfilment of the first condition in Europe, the present predicament is ambivalent. Whereas a democratic culture with norms of peaceful conflict resolution exists in the consolidated democracies of the West, this is not yet the case in the new democracies in Central and Eastern Europe. Going from a non-democratic to a democratic regime is a long and not necessarily tidy process. Only in the consolidation phase, democratic practices become an established part of the political culture. Although in Central and Eastern Europe a civil society is budding, it will still take much time and effort for a fully-fledged democratic culture to establish itself.
The second condition concerns the moral element, which helps founding the environment for peaceful intercourse between democratic states. According to Kant, this moral element resides in the common principles of co-operation, mutual respect, and understanding (Sorensen, 1993: 101). Such moral bonds are present in the relationships among the consolidated democracies of the West. Furthermore, plausible grounds exist for hypothesising that the security community composed of the Western stable democracies can be expanded to embrace the recent democracies in Central and Eastern Europe. Not only are these former communist states going through a political and economic transformation, but most of them also strive for membership of Western international regimes, particularly NATO, WEU and the EU, whose very foundation is the recognition of common moral values of personal freedom, political independence, democracy, and the rule of law. Moreover, within the framework of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), all the East European countries including Russia have committed themselves to basic democratic values and the peaceful resolution of conflict. If the democratisation process in these countries continues successfully, becoming full members of the security community that has developed in Western Europe turns possible for the latter. Such a development gets even more likely since the end of the Cold War has diminished the force of anarchy in shaping the European security environment and has enhanced the interaction capacity of the European state system (Sperling and Kirchner, 1997: 16). The interaction capacity of an international system not only affects the ability and the willingness of states to interact, but also determines what types and levels of interaction are both possible and desired (Buzan et al., 1993). One feature of the system's interaction capacity is precisely the extent to which states share norms and shape their preferences through common institutions.
In the European security space states increasingly come to share common norms. Moreover, state interaction is increasingly steered by common economic and security institutions. Joint membership of institutions cultivating Kant's common principles of co-operation, mutual respect, and understanding on a pan-European basis has thus made for an improved interaction capacity in the European security space.
Kant's final condition for a pacific union among democracies to develop and maintain itself is economic co-operation. In his view, countries led by the spirit of commerce will develop mutually beneficial ties of trade and investment, which in turn will strengthen the bonds of peace among them (Sorensen, 1993: 107). Such mutually beneficial economic co-operation figures high among the consolidated democracies in the West - that is Western Europe, North America, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Since these countries also comply with the two other conditions discussed earlier, namely a democratic culture of peaceful conflict resolution and a common moral foundation that flows from it; they make up a true security community. As said earlier, the latter concept boils down to a contemporary interpretation of Kant's pacific union (Deutsch et al., 1957).
The prospects for economic co-operation in Eastern Europe are less certain. Some pessimism subsists regarding the possibilities for rapid economic transformation and world market integration of Eastern Europe. The transitions to the market economy in the East European states and the former Soviet Union are unfinished and flawed. One problem is the burden of debt facing some of those nations, especially Albania, Poland, Hungary, and the Russian Federation. The major obstacle, however, resides in the difficulty of the task itself. The transition to the market economy and democratic rule demands a profound remodelling of society rather than the simple correction of malformed economies. As Sperling and Kirchner (1997: 188) put it: 'The discipline of the market and the ambiguities of democratic politics are neither easily exported nor easily absorbed.' Moreover, the whole process necessitates sustained and vast capital inflows over at least a decade. So far, however the capital inflows into Central and Eastern Europe have been insufficient. This failure to deliver is foremost a political one. Western governments have been very reluctant in their commitment of the necessary resources in support of economic liberalisation and democratisation processes. At a time when the economic instruments of statecraft figure as the most effective and important to the stability in Europe, the major states may be in lack the fiscal means to exploit that opportunity (Sperling and Kirchner, 1997: 191-92). Even though leading decision-makers in the European Union (EU) foresee the admission of at least some East European countries at the turn of the century, the less developed of those countries will clearly have great difficulty in reaching the level of economic development, which would turn membership of the EU into a real possibility. Unfortunately, it is mainly through such membership that they can develop ties of economic co-operation, which in turn will allow them to reinforce their position in a European security community.