12:30 06.12.2018

"Helsinki Group 2.0": Towards a new continental peace

9 min read

I

In 1975, in Helsinki, the leaders of 35 countries of Europe and North America signed the Helsinki Final Act, which became a symbol of the new peace on the continent. Human rights and freedoms, national sovereignty and the inviolability of territories have become a new value system in international relations, not only for Europe, but for the entire world community. Fundamental was and remains the human right to a free and safe life.

But new military conflicts on the continent, the growth of radical nationalism, the migration crisis have become challenges that require a new and comprehensive response.

The old world architecture of the Cold War period, based on the principles of balance of forces and restraint of development, still divides participants into enemies and friends. In turn, the policy of national pragmatism on the part of all members of the world community without exception threatens to launch the flywheel of new bilateral and multilateral conflicts with an unpredictable result. And in this struggle, force and power, technology and the army again took first place. The war has spread to all areas of human life - trade, information, cyber, technological, cultural and spiritual.

The world as a peaceful co-existence of nations and unions is dynamically transformed into a “hybrid world” of war, which, like lava of a volcano, breaks out on separate parts of the continents and draws the whole world community into its funnel, internationalizes every conflict and globalizes its influence on the whole world community in seconds. Increasingly, collective forces and international security institutions act as a scenery for the operation of certain centers of power.

Comprehensive war as a new hybrid state of the world calls into question the very possibility of the sustainable development of each nation and international alliances.

In turn, global instability has undermined the basic foundations of the modern global world - human rights, freedoms, dignity and security. Geopolitical expediency and national egoism turned out to be above the principles of humanism, respect for human rights, dialogue and the peaceful resolution of conflict situations.

II

Two states of the Euro-Asian continent - Ukraine and Russia - are in a state of undeclared war. Territories are annexed. The military conflict in the Donbass has been lasting for five years already. At the end of 2018, martial law was introduced in Ukraine in 10 administrative regions.

Tens of thousands killed during the conflict and millions of those affected (refugees, immigrants, migrants) have already become victims of actual collective inactivity.

The principles of world order and the coexistence of peoples, laid down in the basis of the modern security system on the continent - the principles and provisions of the 1975 Helsinki Final Act, as well as the other fundamental documents of the OSCE (Paris Charter for New Europe, Istanbul Charter for European Security, Astana Commemorative Declaration: on the way to universal security) are questioned.

Sanctions policies and existing collective security mechanisms have demonstrated their low effectiveness and actual incapacity. And at the same time, the reform and strengthening of the existing collective structures has been postponed for decades. The policy of “consultations and contacts” (the so-called “Minsk” and “Normandy” negotiation processes) has exhausted itself and requires a qualitatively new approach and a new responsibility.

We are on the verge of continental and world catastrophe. A new round of tension on the continent could lead to a reiteration of the tragedy of 1914, when Europe and the whole world were plunged into World War after one shot in Sarajevo. The war, which lasted almost 7 decades.

Ending the war in Ukraine and ensuring the conditions of a new and stable continental peace can and should be the first practical step of the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian community to overcome the new threats and prevent a continental catastrophe.

The OSCE can and should assume the role of a moderator of negotiations and of the process of signing of binding documents on the formula of peace, involving all parties to a military conflict. The Treaty on the Peace Plan and the guarantee of its implementation, ensuring the principles and commitments of the OSCE participating states, will be the first precedent of the new mission and role of the OSCE as a viable collective organization.

The OSCE should act as a responsible organizer and guarantor of effective bilateral negotiations between Ukraine and the Russian Federation as member states of the Organization, in order to prevent an interstate military conflict and create a new legal framework in relations between the two states.

To this end, we propose to initiate an extraordinary OSCE summit conference in 2019 with the goal of organizing effective negotiations involving all parties to a military conflict to achieve peace, and taking into account the will of the population on the territory of a military conflict.

III

We believe that the time for unsubstantiated declarations and mutual deterrence has passed. We need a new collective response to the challenges of the peace, the unification of the efforts of the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian community (Astana Commemorative Declaration OSCE, 2010).

The new system of collective security on the continent, which would be based on goodwill, dialogue and interaction "from Vancouver to Vladivostok and Beijing", without exceptions and limitations, could be the answer.

The continent needs a “new Helsinki 2.0”. We need an off-block, universal mechanism to ensure peaceful development and guaranteed human security regardless of the country and region.

We need a mechanism for effective dialogue and operative decision-making in controversial and conflict situations.

The continent needs an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and Asia, with a full-fledged Treaty and Charter, with a peace mission in every corner of the continent, with real mechanisms of involvement in the resolution of emerging intergovernmental security problems.

Our proposals and initiatives:

Transform the OSCE into a continental organization - the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and Asia (OSCE + A) with pro-active security functions. This will allow combining the interests of the member states that are members of the existing military-political blocs, non-aligned states or have a recognized neutral status. The key to restarting the OSCE should be the Treaty on Security and Development on the continent, as well as the Charter of the organization, which will be binding on the participating states.

As early as 2019, discussions and the preparation of such a treaty should begin, with the involvement of new participants. The war in the center of the continent and the threat of a world war that has arisen is a compelling and indisputable reason for starting such work.

The basis of the work of the new organization - the OSCE + A - should be based on the main provisions and ideas of Helsinki 75, as well as the principles of development security (preventive reduction of threats to peaceful development and well-being of the OSCE + A member states and peoples) and “collective sovereignty” of participating states (collective conflict resolution and agreed national responses to global threats).

In order to implement the "security of development"

- The creation of the OSCE Civil Assembly. Today, the limitations of diplomatic and political instruments for resolving conflict situations are obvious. It is necessary to fully use the potential of civil, humanitarian and intellectual diplomacy, the “horizontal dialogue” mechanism of the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian community, preventive measures to prevent information wars, the spread of xenophobia, radical nationalism and aggressive separatism. The system of continental security needs a new format of dialogue and influence - civil and intellectual interaction. And such a role can be played by the OSCE Civil Assembly, and in the future - by the OSCE + A.

- creation at the OSCE / OSCE + A international intellectual network of research centers on development security issues, with the holding of the annual Europe-Asia Intellectual Forum.

- the formation under the OSCE / OSCE + A Ministerial Council of permanent commissions for conflict prevention and the development of cooperation of the participating states in the socio-economic, technological, environmental and humanitarian spheres. In the future, the conversion of such commissions into specialized institutions, using the experience of the UN.

- creation of a system for monitoring and controlling the militarization of advanced civil technologies, scientific discoveries in order to limit the possibilities of their introduction into the field of armaments;

- formation of a GIS monitoring system (space technology monitoring the Earth’s surface) of military, infrastructural and environmental safety on the continent.

The OSCE / OSCE + A should have the right to provide guarantees of sovereignty and territorial integrity to states with neutral status and non-aligned states.

The OSCE / OSCE + A should have the right to preventive stabilization measures, including with the help of collective peacekeeping forces, to prevent conflict or to provide assistance to a member state upon request.

In order to implement "collective sovereignty", new mechanisms for collective action should be created:

- The permanent OSCE / OSCE + A peacekeeping corps and national units of law enforcement bodies of the armed forces, in the OSCE / OSCE + A registry, are capable of collective action if necessary.

IV

In the modern world of the 21st century, a vacuum of generally recognized spiritual leaders of development has emerged. After a long battle of two superpowers, personifying the two worlds - the world of capitalism and democracy, on the one hand, and the world of communism and justice, on the other - humanity plunged into an endless struggle. The struggle for their own national, narrow corporate or private group interests.

New leadership is possible only as a product of collective efforts, based on the ideals of humanism, human values, and security of development. A continent that has survived the bloody 20th century as a century of wars and upheavals needs new continental thinking.

Helsinki-2 as a new collective security and cooperation system on the continent is a timely and dignified answer.

We hope for the active support of our initiatives by all people of goodwill, advocates of peace and cooperation who share and support the idea of Helsinki 2.0.

From Strategic Studies Institute "New Ukraine"  Anriy Yermolayev

KyivStratPro analyst, PhD in philosophy Andriy Buzarov

Head of the Analytical Center "Institute for Regional Policy," co-chairman of the "Responsible Citizens" humanitarian organization Enrique Menendez

Deputy Director of the Institute for Strategic Studies "New Ukraine" Sviatoslav Denysenko

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