Defending Europe: Options for Security

Derek Paul (ed), Taylor and Francis, 1985; 350 pp. paper. $14.00 if ordered from Science for Peace, University College, U. of Toronto

By Leonard V Johnston (reviewer) | 1987-04-01 12:00:00

On May 6-7, 1985, about forty academics, politicians, diplomats, military officers, and peace workers from NATO and the Warsaw Treaty Organization met at the University of Toronto to discuss European security requirements and the Mutual and Balanced Force Reduction Talks (MBFR). This book contains the conference proceedings.

Although there has been no war in Central Europe since 1945, there is growing doubt in Europe and elsewhere that the postwar balance of power system will hold up forever in the face of war-fighting strategies and technologies that are making accidental war more likely. The conference considered some of the alternative policies that have been proposed, including new directions for NATO, force reductions, verification, and confidence-building, alternative security, and nonprovocative defence.

A paper by Ulrich Albrecht advocating that Central Europe become a non-nuclear neutral zone as a buffer between Western and Eastern Europe generated lively discussion without the serious consideration it deserved; there seems to be a limit to how much change people can contemplate. As a result, there is a tendency to seek change within existing frames of reference, to refurbish and modify rather than to demolish and rebuild, and to concentrate on means rather than ends.

Although the various alternative security, nonprovocative defence, nonoffensive defence, and other proposals and prospects for a safer world, they did not challenge the relevance of military power to politics. This was left to Anatol Rapoport, who delivered another of his superbly-reasoned arguments entitled "Whose Security Does Defence Defend?". Indeed, as a Soviet participant said, "...the main path to European security. ..lies in disarmament." Getting there requires thinking beyond the powers of anyone with too much experience in old ways.

Peace Magazine Apr-May 1987

Peace Magazine Apr-May 1987, page 10. Some rights reserved.

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