Air & Space Power Journal - Español Tercer Trimestre 2004
Mariano César Bartolomé
It is widely known that, after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, International Security has undergone deep changes. By and large, the traditional westphalian and clausewitzian models were loosened, tending to relate the sources of aggression with state actors, interstate dynamics and the use of violence through "hard power" (military), generally in symmetric methodologies.
After the attacks in Washington and New York, International Security increasingly turned post-westphalian and post-clausewitzian. The main international sources of aggression and instability started to fall into a concept that, despite its vagueness, has a potential simplifier: "new threats". In this paper, this concept is used to refer to threats related to non-state actors (or sub-state actors), transnational dynamics and the use of violence in other forms than military, with a strong asymmetric feature.
The White Paper of National Defense of the Argentine Republic clearly exposes the challenge that the new international arena presents, as follows:
"new forms of conflicts and dangers, of historical or emerging nature, in the form of drug trafficking, terrorism, fundamentalism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems, transfer of exceeding arms and tangible technologies, organized crime, arms trafficking, and even the deterioration of the environment and migrations, due to the lack of space for survival, among others. Due to their interdependence, these events acquire transnational character, being perceived by States as matters that affect their security or interests".
The Argentine official document concludes that these changes tend to attract the attention of state actions related to Security and Defense. For this reason, "it is required to adjust the components integrating the Defense of the State, including its Armed Forces, to adapt them to the new demands".
A literal reading of the paragraph of the White Paper confirms the mutation perceived in the field of threats to security. But a more exhaustive review of its content evidences that new threats might require the use of the military, though not in traditional ways. In other words, the axiom "New threats-Old armies" is not applicable like in the last centuries, as shown by many investigators of military history.
In this context, the purpose of this paper is analyzing the degree of adjustment in different parts of the world to the new scenario as regards International Security, earmarked by the increasing consideration of new threats in respect with the multilateral use of the military. The selected issue is International Terrorism, for a clear reason: precisely after September 11, the dictum of international policies seems to have undergone an updating process by multilateral agencies and regimes linked to security, in order to increase their efficiency in dealing with terrorism.
Three years later, the way and degree of change and update of the different agencies are diverse. According to some views, the Organization of American States (OAS) is one of the institutions that registered the lowest degree of update regarding new threats to International Security in general, and the transnational terrorist threat in particular.
Is this the real? Is the OAS an entity that does not stand equal to the circumstances, or must its behavior be analyzed considering the heterogeneous and complex hemispheric situation? In this paper, we will try to shed light on this issue, taking as comparison the case of the NATO.
The involvement of the NATO in the fight against terrorism was triggered by the tragic events of September 11. In fact, a day after the attacks the Organization evoked for the first time its Article 5, which states that aggression against one of its members allows for a collective response.. This response started to materialize three weeks later and included eight measures, ranging from an increase in intelligence sharing and logistic facilities available to the US and other allied nations, to the direct participation in combat operations against terrorism.
In due time, the decision made at Brussels would be acknowledged as the main justification for operations, such as the one in Afghanistan, that still continue.
The capacity of the allied forces to respond to situations like September 11 stems from the "Strategic Concept" officially approved in the summit of chiefs of state and government of the agency, held in April 1999 in Washington. This document ratifies that the historical aim of the Alliance is to preserve the freedom and security of its members, by political and military means. However, this purpose may be jeopardized by the emergence of crisis and/or conflicts in the Euro-Atlantic area, involving factors such as ethnic and religious rivalries; territorial disputes; failure of reform processes; violation of Human Rights; terrorism; organized crime; uncontrolled massive migrations flows, specially as a consequence of armed conflicts, and dissolution of states.
Given this possibility, related to "a wide variety of military and non-military, multi-directional risks, normally difficult to predict", the agency considered itself called to play a role in the achievement of peace and stability in the region. In this context, the "Strategic Concept" of the NATO made a clear distinction: on the one hand, deterrence and defense in the wake of any threat of aggression against a member State pursuant to articles 5 and 6 of its Charter; and on the other hand, readiness to intervene in conflict prevention operations, crisis management and response, according to a case by case analysis and with the previous consent of all members.
However, the first stages of the military operation against the Taliban showed a wide gap between the US and its transatlantic partners, as to warfare capability. According to what analyst Phillip Gordon of the Brookings Institution suggests, this asymmetry led many officials in Washington to consider better to act unilaterally than combined with allies of limited capacity, with complex decision-taking processes.
After the summit in Washington, baring in mind the images of September 11 and the lessons of the first stages in Afghanistan, the Alliance convened the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Prague in November 2002. The heads of State and government participating in this meeting renewed the allied commitment to face "the new serious threats and fearful challenges of security of the twenty-first century", with the acquisition of balanced and efficient capabilities.
Regarding the new range of threats that the Organization should attend, the Prague summit went beyond generalizations and referred concretely to terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their means of delivery.
As a direct consequence of these restatements, almost a year later on October 12, 2003, the Organization launched its NATO Response Force (NRF) with around 9 thousand officials provided by different countries, that will gradually increase to 20 thousand in the year 2006. This initiative was elaborated and designed in order to intervene in the term of five days in any place in the world, facing events that the allied nations perceive as regular threats. Its importance is evidenced by the statement of General James Jones, Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe (SACEUR), arguing that if the NRF had existed by September 12, 2001, it would have been immediately employed in the war on terror.
These provisions were materialized into concrete facts in late November of 2003, when the Atlantic Alliance mobilized the core of the Force in an combined exercise with the aim of responding to a terrorist threat in any place of the world. The exercise was called "Allied Response 03" and took place in Doganbey, at the south of Turkey. The forces involved are under the wing of SACEUR and they included ground, maritime and air units from a dozen members of the Organization.
The fake scenario created by "Allied Response 03" consisted in an intervention upon the petition of the United Nations at 4.5 km from its area, in the imaginary peninsular nation of Gem, where a violent civil war had started. The actors were a group of cruel warlords and the nation had undergone terrible storms and floods, which combined produced a serious humanitarian crisis, heightened by foreign terrorist organizations that aimed at unbalancing the nation. In fact, the terrorists threatened local NATO officials and members of foreign NGOs devoted to humanitarian tasks, considering the potential use of WMD.
In this context, the NRF simulated different stages of peace operations, including the escort of convoys with evacuated civil citizens, the liberation of hostages and the insertion of forces in areas subject to international peace agreements.
Thousands of men participated in the exercise, which included a mock operation of an amphibious landing of troops on the coast of Gem, with infants of the Spanish-Italian Amphibious Force (SIAF) mounted on AAV-7P vehicles from the Spanish assault ship "Castilla". From this ship, SH-3D Sea King helicopters carried Spanish, Belgian and French infants to the operation field, who rapidly deployed a security device. There were also parachutes thrown from French airplanes, Tornado and F-16 airplanes protecting air-space, British and Norwegian units monitoring the sea, and surveillance and warning operations through AWACS. Closing the mock operation, in the wake of the danger of the potential use of WMD, a Czech combat unit were deployed against biological and chemical weapons.
The results obtained by the NATO after the "Gem experience" were highly satisfactory. General Jones, SACEUR, noted that the exercise evidenced that "the elite force of the NATO exists and that it can act in any place in the world and it can be the head of the fight on terrorism". Jones emphasized the preventive characteristic of the NRF, asserting that "we should be active and intervene before terrorists act, if we know their training camps".
There is a notorious difference between the experience of NATO and the progress achieved in the American hemisphere, with respect to the eventual use of the military in combined operations to fight terrorism.
Basically, the first fact to be considered is that there is still no effectively consolidated security system in America, as the OTAN in the North Atlantic and Continental European geographical areas. This does not mean that there are no agencies and organizations developed to this end; on the contrary, as from the 1940s three important institutions co-exist within national boundaries: the Inter-American Board of Defense (IBD), the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (ITRA) and the Organization of American States (OAS). The latter would constitute the foundation of the system, due to its coherence with the goals of the UN, regarding peacekeeping and international security within regional organizations (chapter VIII of its Declaration). In fact, in art. 2 of the Charter of the OAS, member states claim that one of the essential goals of the institution is "to consolidate peace and security in the Continent".
It is not the aim of this paper to analyze the historical evolution of the interaction between the IBD, the OAS and the ITRA. Simply, it should be noted that, from their creation to date, the functional relations among these three actors are still marked by high levels of ambiguity, that highlights the contrast with an Atlantic Alliance in full operational condition.
In the early 1990’s, the lack of a true security system in the hemisphere led to serious updating attempts, which had the OAS as their main actor. Some indicators may imply that this attempt would have better results than previous ones, among them the resumption of the American-Latin American relationship; the democratization of most Latin American nations; the guidance of secular geopolitical disputes via negotiations (in terms of the school of Democratic Peace, it would be the direct result of the Latin American democratization); and an effective civil control over military institutions.
These indicators turned the American continent into a "security community" in Karl Deutsch’s terms, or into a "security complex" along the lines of Barry Buzan. In other words, it refers to what is recurrently denominated "peace zone", a concept that reflects shared values (mainly democracy, according to the western interpretation of the word) and the decision of its members not to compete among themselves in terms of realpolitik. From that moment, democracy, respect for Human Rights and peaceful solutions to interstate issues, with respect to the sovereignty of nations, occupy a primary place in the document of the OAS.
In this context, in the beginning of the previous decade, the OAS decided to start from scratch and reassessed the issue of hemispheric security as from its origin. In other words, it started to pursue a concept of security that would be accepted and adopted by every American nation. This pursue, approved by the General Assembly of the OAS in 1991, led to the creation of the Special Committee on Hemispheric Security ("CESH", acronym in Spanish), which two years later submitted to all member states the dossier "Contributions to a new concept of Hemispheric Security. Cooperative Security".
From the author’s perspective, this piece of work constitutes a greater bridge of the gap between the OAS and the NATO; moreover, the dossier anticipated many ideas found in the allied Strategic Concept. Basically, this document referred to the convenience of relying on collective security mechanisms enabling that every member states may guarantee their own security in the face of threats and legitimate concerns, notwithstanding their origin of aggression.
Probably, the conceptual advance in itself may explain its later failure, taking into account three factors. The first is related to a marked influence of constructivism, which considers that including a determined issue in the security agenda reflects not only the existence of a problem, but also the enforcement of a political option that allows adopting special measures and actions. In other words, this agenda is dynamic, subject to changes and an ongoing "construction" (from which derives the name of this approach).
In the continent, this constructivist influence was evidenced in the incorporation of a wide and diverse listing of threats to the security agenda, which is known as a "securitization process". This list included issues such as extreme poverty; uncontrolled growth of the population; uneven distribution of wealth; barriers to free trade; environmental damages; drug-trafficking; terrorism; arms stockpiling and proliferation of WMD, among others.
The second factor to highlight the work of the "CESH" is that the identified threats are not hierarchically categorized, which responds to the above mentioned diversity and the different priorities established by the nations in the continent. Stating three examples, it results evident that the importance that Brazil gives to environmental issues is greater than in other countries; the same happens in Andean states with respect to drug-trafficking or in Argentina regarding international terrorism after the attacks in Buenos Aires in 1992 and 1994.
A third factor that directly influences the creation of collective security mechanisms is that not all the threats identified by the "CESH" allow the use of the military. A leading case would be trade barriers, which no one can relate to the use of hard power, unless it was thought in terms of the "gunship diplomacy" of centuries ago. It should be noted that, even in the cases of threats that allow the use of military power, the ways in which it may be used are numerous.
The manner in which these three factors interact was shown when the Haitian president Jean Aristide was overthrown in a coup d’etat led by General Raoul Cedras. Although the "CESH" had qualified the rupture of a democratic regime as a threat to the security of the hemisphere, not all the countries in the continent adopted the same position: while some multilateralized the matter, others considered it as "domestic affairs", adopting a passive position related with article 2 (4), (7) of the Charter of the UN. Even within the group of nations that construed the Haitian crisis as a matter of hemispheric security, there was an underlying debate: ‘Should the military element be used?’
The outcome of the crisis is widely known: after various fact-finding and mediation missions of the OAS, the military element was used in naval interdiction, Nation Building and CIVPOL missions, among others. But it was performed under the umbrella of the UN, not the OAS, which could not solve efficiently its internal disagreements. In this context, another question should be raised: How would the members of the NATO have reacted in the face of a hypothetical coup d’etat in Holland?
Fortunately, the continent was not satisfied with the results at that moment and persisted in their attempts towards a truly efficient system of hemispheric security. The new initiative focused on the Committee of Hemispheric Security ("CSH", acronym in Spanish) of the OAS, established on the 9th of June, 1995 with the Resolution 1353 of the General Assembly.
Naturally replacing the "CESH", the Committee was urged to develop "a process of joint meditation about hemispheric security in the light of the new world and regional circumstances, from an updated and integral perspective of security and disarmament, including every form of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and conventional arms...", fostering the cooperation in this field. This mandate was extended and specified three years later, during the Second Summit of the Americas in Santiago de Chile, when the "CSH" was urged to analyze and develop the most adequate approaches with respect to security in the continent, taking into account the new political, economic, social and strategic-military factors in the hemisphere and its sub-regions; and to identify the ways to revitalize and strengthen the institutions of the Inter-American System related to this matter.
The most tangible result of the work of the "CSH" was the Special Conference of Hemispheric Security, which took place in Mexico DF, October 2003. To certain extent, it was based on the so-called "Bridgetown Declaration", issued at the end of the General Assembly of the OAS in Barbados the previous year. This document admitted that many of the new threats, concerns and other challenges to hemispheric security are of transnational nature, that they are inter-sectarian issues that demand multiple responses from different national organizations, and that they may require a range of different approaches.
The Special Conference of Hemispheric Security, as in Barbados a year before and the "CESH" a decade earlier, validated the diversity of the perspectives of the American governments as regards threats to security: from terrorism to drug-trafficking and environmental issues; from small-arms trafficking to WMD proliferation, poverty and corruption.
It is important to emphasize two elements of the Special Conference of Hemispheric Security, which remind us of the limitations of the document of the "CESH". First, that the numerous threats included in the list of the OAS, after tough negotiations, are not hierarchically ordered. Second, there was no primary identification of those matters that could eventually lead to the multilateral use of the military.
There are two perspectives to interpret the lack of identification of threats that could imply the use of military power. One of them suggests that this issue is subordinated to a necessary (and not performed to date) reassessment of the functional relations among the OAS, the IBD and the ITRA. Until then, such an option could be possible within the ITRA context, an institution that many consider anachronistic. The second perspective, that stems from the document approved in Mexico, points out that the "CESH" should not establish how to manage threats, since it is a task that pertains to the specialized forums of the OAS, which must design and enforce multilateral instruments and mechanisms.
From any perspective, its interpretation within the terrorism context, the new threat chosen as witness case of this paper, it does not imply a hemispheric orientation of the use of military power. The specialized forum of the OAS that specifically treats this matter is the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism ("CICTE", acronym in Spanish), that performs activities not linked to the Armed Forces: information exchange and creation of data bases; writing of adequate laws; acceptance of treaties and pre-existent agreements; and cooperation across borders and control of documents.
After the attacks of September 11, the ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Organization issued in Washington the "Resolution to Strengthen the Hemispheric Cooperation to Prevent, Fight and Eliminate Terrorism". This legal instrument urges all member states to adopt effective measures to prevent groups from achieving the capability to operate in its territories and recommends regional and international cooperation in order to fight this menace. Finally, the Resolution requested the "CICTE" to identify actions that allow preventing, fighting and eliminating terrorism in the hemisphere and asked for the elaboration of an Inter-American Convention against Terrorism.
None of the measures recommended by the "CICTE", from that time up to date, contemplated the use of military power in the fight against terrorism. Neither there are references to the military field, although they might be contained in art. 1 ("objectives and purposes") of the Inter-American Convention against Terrorism, approved by the General Assembly of the OAS in the meeting at Barbados.
As regards the ITRA, it should be bared in mind that, after the tragic events of September 11, it resolved to qualify a (non-state) terrorist attack within the parameters of article 3 of the Treaty, considering it an attack against all the States that form part of the regime, which "must provide effective reciprocal assistance to face the attacks and the threat of similar attacks (...) to keep peace and security in the Continent". However, this commitment did not result in any concrete multilateral measure.
Throughout this paper, we have described how the NATO has adapted to the new scenario in International Security, as to the multilateral use of military power to face new threats; that is, transnational threats by non-state actors that use violence as an alternative of the Clausewizian model and in asymmetric forms. With the fake intervention of the NRF in the Gem peninsula, the Atlantic Alliance showed that terrorism lies in the core of this adaptation.
In contrast, the situation in the American hemisphere has no similarity, although terrorism is included in the security agenda as from the year 1993, as observed in the wording of "Contributions to a new concept of Hemispheric Security. Cooperative Security". This document even refers to the exercise of mechanisms of collective security. This gap leads to the obvious conclusion that, from a qualitative point of view, the evolution of the OAS is inferior to the NATO’s.
The truth is more complex, given that the position of the OAS in matters of hemispheric security and the eventual use of military power in the face of new threats, in this case terrorism, is the result of the interaction of different factors.
First, the diversity of issues that make up the hemispheric security agenda, as a result of a comprehensive process of securitization. Second, the variety of members regarding geographical, historical, cultural, political, economic and social backgrounds. These factors turn the perceptions of security extremely heterogeneous and hardly compatible. While the Atlantic Alliance made progress during almost fifty years of Cold War against one enemy, which taught its members to make perceptions compatible and work jointly, the American continent did not have a similar experience.
To sum up, the results of the OAS reflect that not all its members share the same perceptions about security and they do not give the same priority to common threats. Thus, it is even less likely that they would consider the use of military power in a multilateral way to counter these threats. It is clear that in America "securitization" does not imply "militarization".
¿What could be the solution to this problem? Continuing working on the hemispheric sphere does not seem a good solution, considering that from the paper of the "CESH" until the Bridgetown Declaration and later until the Declaration about Security in the Americas, progress has been poor. A second option would be to subordinate the resolution of this issue to a previous integral reassessment of the relations among the OAS, the ITRA and the IBD, something that does not seem possible in the mid-term.
The third option aims at reverting the top-down logic of the process followed by the OAS up to date, that is, working on the issue of security in the hemispheric scope where the perceptions and positions of more than thirty actors must have consensus. It may be convenient to explore a bottom-up logic that leads to sub-regional structures of security.
The "sub-region" as a geographical level of security has been valued and promoted by the OAS itself. The Declaration about Security in the Americas emphatically states that the hemispheric security structure must be flexible and should contemplate the special features of each sub-region and each State. In addition, it asserts that the agreements and mechanisms of bilateral and sub-regional cooperation regarding security and defense are essential elements to strengthen security in the continent.
What would be the advantages of this alternative? To facilitate the identification of common threats among the members of the agreement, which would share elements of historical, geographical and strategic nature. The new threat chosen as witness case for this paper, terrorism, validates this approach. For instance, it is far more simple that Colombia, Ecuador and Peru agree on their perceptions about terrorism, as a new threat in their respective security agendas, and on the convenience or inconvenience of using in a combined way the military to face it, than to reach an understanding of this kind at a continental level.
Moreover, the sub-regional levels show a fluid interaction among its members, resulting from the implementation of numerous Confidence Building Measures that help the political understanding and coordination among the parties.
There are many studies about sub-regional structures of security, that emphasize their advantages. For example, the case of the area integrated by Chile and the countries of MERCOSUR (Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay). The analysis of this option included as one of its basic requirements the following:
"a consensus among the members of the sub-regional security system with respect to the use of the "military"; its use must complement its traditional form with more flexible options, since the complexity of the threats may restrict the effectiveness of its control by the traditional police forces and security forces".
Another recent study also observes sub-regional models, suggesting to emulate what in World War I was the American-Canadian combined unit "First Special Service Force" (FSSF). Currently, at sub-regional level, the United States, Canada and Mexico would re-launch a North FSSF, while Brazil, Argentina and Chile would constitute a South FSSF. Moreover, in a recent seminar in Chile, this alternative was analyzed again, where a Brazilian researcher, Alfredo Valladao, expressed an interesting point of view: "it is necessary and urgent that South American countries provide themselves with the means to create a regional and collective security policy (...) if not, we will continue being dogs barking while the caravan passes by".
Finally, we will go back to the question initially set forth in this paper: In view of the hierarchical order of the new threats, is the OAS an entity that does not stand equal to the circumstances or must its behavior be analyzed considering the heterogeneous and complex hemispheric situation? The answer is that, precisely because of the complex and heterogeneous situation of the hemisphere, any discussion about the use of military power in a multilateral form in the face of these new threats must be outlined at sub-regional levels.
||El Doctor Mariano César Bartolomé (Licenciatura en Relaciones Internacionales, Universidad del Salvador, Argentina; Maestría en Relaciones Internacionales, Universidad del Salvador, Argentina; Doctorado en Sociología, Academia de Ciencias de la República Checa) es un Becario investigador postdoctoral del Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET) de Argentina, Evaluador y miembro del panel de expertos de la Comisión Nacional de Evaluación y Acreditación Universitaria (CONEAU), Docente de la Escuela Superior de Guerra (ESG) de la Fuerza Aérea Argen-tina, de la Escuela de Defensa Nacional (EDENA) y de la Universidad Nacional de La Plata (UNLP). El Dr. Bartolomé es autor de casi un centenar de artículos sobre Política Internacional en medios especializados de Argentina, Brasil, Chile, EE.UU. y Colombia, coautor de nueve libros y autor único de dos libros, el último de ellos "La Seguridad Internacional en el año 10 después de la Guerra Fría" (Buenos Aires 2000).|
Declaración de responsabilidad:
Las ideas y opiniones expresadas en este artículo reflejan la opinión exclusiva del autor elaboradas y basadas en el ambiente académico de libertad de expresión de la Universidad del Aire. Por ningún motivo reflejan la posición oficial del Gobierno de los Estados Unidos de América o sus dependencias, el Departamento de Defensa, la Fuerza Aérea de los Estados Unidos o la Universidad del Aire. El contenido de este artículo ha sido revisado en cuanto a su seguridad y directriz y ha sido aprobado para la difusión pública según lo estipulado en la directiva AFI 35-101 de la Fuerza Aérea.
[ Home Page de Air & Space Power - Español | Ediciones Anteriores | Email su Opinión]