Towards a Eurasian Helsinki Process—On the Need for a Eurasian Helsinki Process, the Creation of an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Eurasia and a New Eurasian Naval and Conventional Arms Control Initiative
The launch of the new Japanese “Pocket Aircraft Carrier” Izumo coupled with India’s launch of her aircraft carrier Vikrant in the same week, and China’s commissioning of its first aircraft carrier the Liaoning has set alarm bells ringing not only in Beijing, Moscow, New Delhi and Washington but across Eurasia and the Pacific. The cancellation of the Obama-Putin Summit amid the Cold War-esque acrimony underlines the urgency of the need for peacemaking efforts in Eurasia. It is now clear that we are on the slippery-slope of an incipient Eurasian arms race, not limited to the quest for naval supremacy through aircraft carriers but reflecting the expansion of the potential gameboard for a possible future World War III to include all of Eurasia if not the globe, and taking in strategic nuclear weapons, conventional land armies, air supremacy and naval force projection. The economic and industrial rise of incipient powers China and India as well as a host of Eurasian middle-power players threatens to set off a chain reaction of mutual fear and insecurity that resembles that of the years in Europe leading up to World War I and World War II with the rise of Germany, Japan, the USSR and Italy challenging the incumbent superpowers, the British Empire and the rising United States in a time of chronic economic crisis. We know the result of the mismanaged adjustment of power relationships of the last century: over one-hundred million dead and the untold misery and waste of two World Wars and the Cold War.
The challenge of the present time for the Obama administration along with its European Union and NATO allies and its Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe (OCSE) counterparties such as Russia, is to recognize the new dilated Eurasian-wide playing field of the global balance of power taking in a rising China and India as well as a floundering Japan and other peripheral Asia-Pacific players and act pro-actively to begin a process of containing the incipient arms races and jockeyings for geopolitical power BEFORE such accelerating vicious circles lead to a breakdown of peaceful relations and World War III. In Europe such international institutions as the OSCE only belatedly took shape, almost too late, after the wastage of the two World Wars and the Cold War, in 1989-90 on the very verge of the collapse of the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact and as a result of the “Helsinki Process” commenced under President Ford in 1975. In contrast to Europe, Asia exhibits a virtual vacuum of International Organizations capable of moderating and containing the conflicts inevitable with a readjustment of power relationships attendant to the rise of new powers and the relative decline of incumbents. The challenge in Eurasia is to “fast forward” the learning process gained over the last century in Europe, including the creation of the OSCE, and thus to pacifically and prophylactically manage that process of change for the better.
• Specifically, we call on President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry to join with President Putin and President Xi to invite China, India, Japan to invite China, India, Russia, Japan, the USA, NATO and the EU and all Eurasian nations to join in the initiative for establishing a new “Eurasian Helsinki Process” leading to the creation of an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Eurasia. This “Eurasian Helsinki Process” should commence with issuance of a “Blue Book” outlining a Eurasia-wide conference in 2015 on the 40th Anniversary of the Helsinki Accords. One of the Conference’s first items of business should be to convene a Eurasian Naval Arms Control Conference based on the precedent of the 1925 Washington Naval Conference which bound the UK, the USA and Japan to a moratorium on construction of capital ships along with a proportional control scheme of tonnage and types of naval armaments, at that time and circumstance set at 5:5:3:1.75:1.75 for the UK, USA, Japan, France and Italy respectively, the German navy already limited by the provisions of the Versailles Treaty. The new Organization for Security and Cooperation in Eurasia, like its forerunner OSCE in Europe should contain comprehensive peace-building dimensions in addition to crisis and arms control initiatives, building on the essential offices and dimensions of the existing OSCE to include, amoung others: Eurasian Permanent Council, Ministerial Council, Forum for Security Cooperation, Chairman-in-Office, Troika, Secretariat, Eurasian Parliamentary Assembly, Eurasian Conflict Prevention Centre, Eurasian Office for Comprehensive Arms Control, Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights and Office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media. It should include the “Three Dimensions” of the existing OSCE, namely: 1) The Politico-Military Dimension, 2) The Economic and Environmental Dimension, and 3) The Human Dimension. Such an organization would also be useful in contributing to the management of such chronic conflicts as those in Afghanistan and the Korean peninsula. The establishment of the Eurasian Parliamentary Assembly on the model of the European OSCE Parliamentary Assembly should be a first step, building on existing institutions such as the European Parliament, Parlatino, Arab Parliament and Pan-African Parliament, to the later-stage global creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly to address the democratic deficit in the United Nations system as a whole. The OSCE should be constituted as a Regional Organization in the sense of Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter and enjoy Observer status in the United Nations General Assembly, giving routine briefings to the Security Council in the tradition of the European OSCE.
In this regard we call on all of the leaders of the world to heed the words and moral invocation of President Eisenhower, who cannot be accused of naiveté or any lack of Realpolitik realism: “I hate war, as only a soldier who has lived it can, as one who has seen its brutality, it futility, its stupidity.” President Eisenhower then added, “every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed.” Furthermore, if not proactively managed, inevitable conflicts arising from the rise and rebalancing of new powers are likely to give rise to blind nationalism, demagoguery and the self-fulfilling prophecies of mutual fears leading to the escalation of manageable conflicts into uncontainable ones as the law of unintended consequences spirals out of control.
THE PRECEDENT OF THE ANGLO-GERMAN NAVAL ARMS RACE AND THE INCIPIENT NAVAL ARMS RACE IN THE ASIA-PACIFIC
The Anglo–German naval arms race of the early 20th century preceded and was one of the several intertwined causes for the First World War. There were also other naval buildups in several other countries which were emerging as great powers, such as the United States and Japan, and in South America. The armament of Germany reflected its status an emerging industrial power rising to dominance. Although Britain had been the first to industrialize and the economic superpower of Europe in the 1800’s, by 1900 Germany’s economy had overtaken it to become the largest in Europe, just as China’s economy overtook that of Japan after 2010 and is rising towards a near parity with the US. At the same time the rapid industrialization of France and Russia presented multi-sided challenges that also fed the arms race on land and at sea. Asia now occupies the analogous position of Europe in the run-up to WWI in that rapid industrialization in China, India and Korea challenge the relative position of the regional incumbent Japan, first economically, and then potentially militarily as economic and industrial capacity becomes capable of being directly converted into military might.
Analogously, Japan was the dominant ship building country from the 1960s through to the end of 1990s. But today, China is the world’s largest shipbuilding country with a global market share of 45% in 2013.
World shipbuilding market share by countries (2012)
Rank Country Combined GT
2 South Korea
4 European Union
Rest of the world 11,000,000 7%
At the present time the pressures building the Naval Arms Race in the Asia-Pacific are escalating. Territorial disputes, such as those between China and Japan over the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands, similar Japanese-Korean disputes, Japan-Russian disputes over the Kuriles/Northern Territories, the chronic unsolved status of Taiwan, as well as disputes over potentially oil-bearing seabed waters in the South China Sea involving Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia and other Asian nations all are driving mutual naval armament programs in all the potential actors. With the rise of China’s economy, she finds herself dependent upon sea lanes from the Middle-East for 80% of her oil imports, yet lacking the capacity to militarily secure these arteries from American blockade in time of conflict. China is also in a strategic competition with a rising India, which already possesses aircraft carrier capacity and sits astride China’s oil supply lanes. Many Japanese feel that their nation was forced into aggression in World War II because of the vulnerability of their foreign oil supply sources and lines and the threat of Western interdiction. In short all of the combustible fuel of potential conflict or war is present in the Asia-Pacific, linked to the greater tensions throughout Eurasia as a whole, and failure to manage such pressures may well lead to conflicts and possibly to intended or unintended war arising from situations gone out of control.
Though Great Britain at the run-up to WWI had the biggest navy in the world and the largest shipbuilding capacity, Germany was in the process of catching up. In accord with Kaiser Wilhelm II’s competitive enthusiasm for an expanded German navy, and his own strong desires, Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz, Secretary of State of the German Imperial Naval Office, championed four Fleet Acts between 1898 and 1912 to greatly expand the German High Seas Fleet. The German aim was to build a fleet that would be 2/3 the size of the British navy, while Britain, spread thin by the global burden and vulnerabilities of empire would be reduced to regional near parity. This plan was sparked by the threat of the British Foreign Office in March 1897, after the British invasion of Transvaal that started the Boer War, to blockade the German coast and thereby starve German economy, if Germany would intervene in the conflict in Transvaal. From 1905 on the British navy developed plans for such a blockade that was a central part of British strategy.
In reaction to this challenge to their naval supremacy, from 1902 to 1910, the British Royal Navy embarked on its own massive expansion to keep ahead of the Germans. This competition came to focus on the revolutionary new ships based on HMS Dreadnought, which was launched in 1906, counting on a conventional technological superiority of massive 12” guns and improved engines making it the fastest battleship in the world. Little did this strategy of maintaining dominance at any cost anticipate the further accelerated technological revolutions of airpower, aircraft carriers and submarine warfare.
Illustrating the Law of Unintended Consequences, it is now generally accepted by historians that in early-mid 1914 the Germans adopted a policy of building submarines instead of new dreadnoughts and destroyers, effectively abandoning the quest for battleship parity, but kept this new policy secret so that other powers would be delayed in following suit.
The naval race between Britain and Germany generated huge public support on each side. In the midst of the race, the British public coined the slogan ‘We want eight and we won’t wait!’ referring to the number of dreadnoughts they wanted the government to build. Similarly public support for aircraft carriers in China is strong, with many Chinese perceiving their lack or inferiority in aircraft carriers or comprehensive naval power a national insult deriving from the history of Western colonialism. In Japan the Right-Wing increasingly manipulates public fears of Japan’s vulnerability vis-à-vis the rising giant China as well as a strengthening of Russia and the vulnerability to North Korean eccentric outrages. Nationalism is strong in the Philippines and Vietnam in resisting Chinese claims. With the surge of public support, the government prior to World War I did accelerate naval shipbuilding. To ensure that the British navy was at least the size of the next two largest navies Britain adopted the “Two Power Standard,” just as the US has targeted a “Two War Standard,” a legacy of the two theaters of war in WWII, by which the US necessarily must have the military resources to fight two regional wars simultaneously. In Britain this burden increasingly outran its diminishing industrial base, as in the context of the chronic World Economic Crisis from 2008 America has discovered its military burden is outrunning its economic capacity to bear it just as potential foreign challenges are growing. Britain’s strategic objective of the Two Power Standard failed as WWI approached, due to financial and logistical constraints of the era of the and due to the speed of expansion of the German navy. Britain did, however, still boast the largest and mightiest navy when war broke out in 1914.
Britain managed to build Dreadnought in just 14 months and by the start of the First World War Britain had 49 battleships, compared with Germany’s 29. Although the naval race as such was abandoned by the Germans before the war broke out, it had been one of the chief factors in the United Kingdom joining the Triple Entente, and therefore important in the formation of the alliance system as a whole. Besides, the increasing size of the Russian army compelled the Germans to spend more money on their army and therefore less on the navy. This initiative led to the Haldane mission. Germany proposed a treaty in which Germany would accept British naval superiority in exchange of a British neutrality in a war in which Germany could not be said to be the aggressor. This proposal was rejected by Britain. For Britain there was nothing to gain by such a treaty, since their naval superiority was already secure. Besides, the British Foreign Secretary Grey favoured a more aggressive policy toward Germany.
Immediately after World War I, the United Kingdom had the world’s largest and most powerful navy, followed by the United States and more distantly by Japan. The three nations had been allied for the First World War, but a naval arms race seemed likely for the next few years. This arms race began in the US. President Woodrow Wilson’s administration announced successive plans for the expansion of the US Navy during 1916 and 1919 that, if completed, would result in a massive fleet of 50 modern battleships; currently it was engaged in building six battleships and six battle cruisers.
In response, the Japanese parliament finally authorized construction of warships to enable the Japanese Navy to reach its target of an “eight-eight” fleet program, with eight modern battleships and eight battle cruisers. To this end, the Japanese started work on four battleships and four battlecruisers, all much larger and more powerful than those of the classes preceding.
While the British Royal Navy retained numerical superiority prior to the treaty, most of its ships were old and deteriorated after much use during the war; very few matched the new US or Japanese designs. The 1921 British Naval Estimates planned four battleships and four battlecruisers, with another four battleships to follow the subsequent year.
This “arms race” was widely unwelcome. The US Congress in fact disapproved Wilson’s 1919 plan, and for the 1920 presidential election, US politics resumed the prewar isolationism, with little endorsement for continued naval expansion. Britain could ill afford any resumption of battleship construction, given the exorbitant price of naval construction.
During late 1921, the US government became aware that Britain was planning a conference to discuss the strategic situation in the Pacific and Far East. To forestall the conference and to satisfy domestic pressure for a global disarmament conference, the Harding administration called the Washington Naval Conference during November 1921.
The Washington Naval Treaty, also known as the Five-Power Treaty, was a treaty among the major nations that had won World War I, which by the terms of the treaty agreed to prevent an arms race by limiting naval construction. It was negotiated at the Washington Naval Conference, which was held in Washington, D.C. from November 1921 to February 1922, and signed by the governments of the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan, France, and Italy. It limited the construction of battleships, battlecruisers and aircraft carriers by the signatories. The numbers of other categories of warships, including cruisers, destroyers and submarines, were not limited by the treaty but were limited to 10,000 tons displacement. The outcome of the Treaty was to limit overall naval strength at the status quo, with a proportion of 5:5:3:1.75:1:75 respectively for the UK, US, Japan, France and Italy, with Germany still restrained by the Versailles limitations. The Japanese calculated that with the Americans spread thin over two oceans, with a 5:3 ratio they could achieve parity or superiority over the US in the Pacific in the event of war, enhanced by the power of surprise attack.
Subsequent to the treaty were a number of other naval arms limitation conferences that sought to increase limitations of warship building. The terms of the Washington treaty were modified by the London Naval Treaty of 1930 and the Second London Naval Treaty of 1936, which allowed the Japanese to increase their proportionate strength vis-à-vis the US from 10:6 to 10:7. By the mid-1930s, Japan and Italy, embarked on a long-term strategic plan of imperial expansion, renounced the treaties, making naval arms limitation an increasingly untenable position for the other signatories.
From the foregoing we can see that a naval arms control treaty can be a useful though inevitably limited tool. Its primary advantage is to control the competitive pressure between nations such that the escalating arms race does not become a self-fulfilling prophecy of mutual fears. For those nations motivated by fear and insecurity it offers the superior option of limiting the threat’s strategic capability rather than relying on ever escalating, costly and wasteful additions to its own defensive or counter-offensive military capability. It only works if all of the parties have sufficient motivation in light of their perceived national interests and strategic plans to abide by the agreements, and if the treaty system substantially includes all of the potentially mutually threatening parties as well a reliable mechanism for verification of compliance. If any substantial number of the treaty participants truly intend unlimited aggression and the opportunity for the successful outcome of such aggression presents itself it is likely they would resort either to cheating or withdrawal from the pact’s arms control system. But if the underlying intentions are fundamentally benign, then such an arms control system offers a superior alternative to a mutually wasteful and ultimately useless escalating armaments race driven by mutual fears and uncertainty. The Washington Naval Treaty was thus successful through the Twenties but fell into failure with the rise of the Fascist leaderships of Germany, Japan, Italy and the lesser threat of the USSR in the Thirties up to WWII.
At the present it appears to be the case that none of the major competitors in the naval arms race or the Eurasian geopolitical balance of power harbor any serious intention or possess the capacity to invade or subjugate their potential competitors and therefore the outlook for a rational arms control treaty in their mutual interest is positive. Strategic thinkers always judge other nations, however, not on their present intentions but on their strategic capacity to wage war or conflict, since intentions are ever subject to change and mutability. It is thus that mutually limiting each nation’s offensive capacities against the others through arms control treaties, while providing a framework for resolving disputes involving national interests by means short of war is the most promising approach at the present time.
America has hitherto depended on absolute technological weapons superiority as well a preponderance in numbers and underlying economic capacity. However with the World Economic Crisis and the rise of the technological capacity of China and the BRIC powers, it is rapidly perceiving that this strategy may not be wholly sustainable. It may conclude that it may preserve its privileged position within the status quo better through mutual arms controls than uncontrolled competition with more and more capable adversaries. Though America may derive short-term benefits from the naval arms race by driving nations threatened by rising powers into its quasi-alliance system, such as Japan, India, Vietnam and the Philippines and creating a dependency on access to its military technologies, in the longer term an uncontrolled arms race can only threaten and destabilize the status quo in which it occupies a privileged position, creating much more risk than benefit as well as overtaxing its stagnating economic base.
Rising powers such as China may well embrace such arms controls first to delay any premature confrontation with powers stronger than itself while it builds its underlying industrial and technological infrastructure. This reflects their long term strategy from the time of Deng Xiaoping of “Tiao Guang Yang Hui,” or of keeping a low profile while building underlying competitive strength. In the longer term, however, such arms control regimes’ usefulness would be relative to their long-term strategic interests. They naturally desire acceptance and respect as a great power on relatively equal terms with the incumbent Western powers and such an arms control regime could accommodate such limited ambitions. Whether in the decades to come they would yield to the temptation to use their increased strategic capacity for aggressive ends, including military adventures in the South China Sea or in Central Asia in search of oil resources is unclear and may be a projection of the fears of the incumbent powers. China has an equally important stake in the stability of the world outside their borders and has proven itself capable of supplying its needs for oil and other resources from its own competitive economic and export capacity without aggression, and done so as a stakeholder in peace, just as Japan has done after World War II. Indeed in the nuclear era China as well as other nations are as likely to conclude that even from a position of strength, aggressive war is likely to have no winners, as a lose-lose proposition, and be deterred from using their newfound strength in the same way as Germany or Japan on their economic rise. At present their own economic well-being depends on the viable, peaceful and sustainable functioning of the international trade system in which they have proven successful, even as a common stakeholder alongside the incumbent powers. Thus the rational self-interest of all parties may well lead to compliance with such a regime in both the short-term and longer term. Should rising-power intentions later turn aggressive, the existence of the treaty would have held all the powers’ mutual destructive capacities in check and balance, and the incumbent powers would most likely be able to respond to changed future circumstances at the appropriate future time in no worse position than without the treaty regime, while securing its benefits in peace, prosperity and security.
THE PRECEDENT OF THE EUROPEAN OCSE AS A VALUABLE MODEL FOR COLLECTIVELY MANAGING THE CHANGING BALANCE OF POWER IN EURASIA THROUGH A NEW EURASIAN ORGANIZATION FOR COOPERATION AND SECURITY
The European OSCE Organization has its roots in the 1973 Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE). Talks had been mooted about a European security grouping since the 1950s but the Cold War prevented any substantial progress until the talks at Dipoli in Helsinki began in November 1972. These talks were held at the suggestion of the Soviet Union which wished to use the talks to maintain its control over the communist countries in Eastern Europe. Western Europe, however, saw these talks as a way to reduce the tension in the region, furthering economic cooperation and obtaining humanitarian improvements for the populations of the Communist bloc.
The recommendations of the talks, in the form of “The Blue Book, ”gave the practical foundations for a three-stage conference called the “Helsinki process” The CSCE opened in Helsinki on 3 July 1973 with 35 states sending representatives. Stage I only took five days to agree to follow the Blue Book. Stage II was the main working phase and was conducted in Geneva from 18 September 1973 until 21 July 1975. The result of Stage II was the Helsinki Final Act which was signed by the 35 participating States during Stage III, which took place in Finlandia Hall from 30 July – 1 August 1975. It was opened by Holy See’s diplomat Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, who was chairman of the conference.
The OSCE Final Act represents a political commitment by the heads of government of all signatories to build security and cooperation in Europe on the basis of its provisions. This allows the OSCE to remain a flexible process for the evolution of improved cooperation which avoids disputes and/or sanctions over implementation. By agreeing these commitments, signatories for the first time accepted that treatment of citizens within their borders was also a matter of legitimate international concern. This open process of the OSCE is often given credit for helping build democracy in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, thus leading to the end of the Cold War.
The work of the Eurasian OSCE has been anticipated by two pathbreaking antecedent international organizations, the European OSCE, including the USA and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), both of which, however, lack the full Eurasian geographical scope necessary to address arms control measures and fail to lack the membership and participation of all of the newly risen and incumbent powers who are Realpolitik actors in geopolitical contention across the Eurasian and Pacific region. The European OSCE includes various out-of-region “Partners for Cooperation” such as Japan, Australia, Thailand and Egypt, and it is anticipated that a Eurasian OSCE could use a similar inclusionary mechanism. The “Eurasian” area should be defined broadly to include those geopolitical and military actors actually affected by and affecting the military and political balance of Power in Eurasia, thus like the European OSCE, including the United States and the Pacific Rim countries or actors such as the Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand, and implicitly direct or indirect participation of NATO and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as well. Arms control agreements would be unworkable if they failed to include potential adversaries against whom the signatories might be expected to plan and contend and whose potential threat would affect their commitments to mutually-assured arms control regimes.
The essential function of the Eurasian OSCE, like the European OSCE would differ from existing organizations and geopolitical groupings in that its primary function is that of preventing, managing, moderating and controlling the conflicts arising from the contention of other groupings of geopolitical actors. The European OSCE came into existence as a tool for dialogue and negotiation in managing the conflicts between potential adversaries and contenders within a given balance of power. Thus the European OSCE arose from the need to bring the two military blocs, NATO and the Warsaw Pact, together for the purpose of managing, mitigating and controlling their potential conflicts short of war. The Eurasian OSCE thus must include NATO and its constituent governments as well as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and its constituent governments as potential Realpolitik contenders for determination of the military and political balance of power in Eurasia. Though Eurasia has not yet polarized into distinctly opposed military alliance systems such as NATO and the Warsaw Pact, nascent groupings may well militate in that direction as NATO expands its theater of operations eastward into Afghanistan and Central Asia and as the CSO becomes more active in response. Additionally, President Obama’s “Pivot Towards Asia” implicitly catalyzes the polarization of Pacific-Rim nations reacting to China’s rising power, including India, Vietnam, Japan, Thailand, the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand with the potential for their joining NATO in a potential “quasi-containment” strategy in the military dimension, even if united with constructive engagement in the economic, social and trade dimensions. By the Law of Unintended Consequences it may also result in the counter-polarization of the SCO grouping into a more cohesive counterbalancing force on the military-politico dimension.
As the key function of the Eurasian OSCE would be conflict prevention and the management of forces, actors and strategies defining the Eurasian balance of power, it is also necessary to define the principal geopolitical strategies and worldviews that the Eurasian players utilize in deploying their power and geopolitical resources. We may group the “Schools” of Eurasian Geopolitical Power in at least two broad theories, consisting of the “Neo-Heartland Theory” based on the works of the British geopolitical pioneer, Sir Halford Mackinder in “The Geographical Pivot of History” and his “Democratic Ideals and Reality,” and the “Neo-Rimland or Seapower Theory” based on the works of Admiral Alfred Mahon, principally “The Influence of Sea Power on World History.” The “Neo-Heartland Theory” iterated in recent years by Zbigniew Brzezinski, contends notionally that “he who controls the Eurasian Heartland controls the world” and emphasizes, as on the chessboard of a chess game, the importance of controlling the center squares of the game, here the Central Asian domain of the Silk Road nations newly independent from the former USSR with their energy supplies and communication routes across Eurasia. Opposed to Mackinder was the voice of Admiral Mahon in his “The Influence of Sea Power on World History,” which emphasized counter to Mackinder’s assertion that the key to the Eurasian balance of power was not the control the “central squares,” which in his time were largely undeveloped steppe, but rather the control of the sea lanes that carried 90% of Eurasian trade in his time, including the bulk of its oil and energy resources. Thus his focus was on “The Rimland” or the sea lanes around Eurasia and linked to Europe and North America, rather than the center of the land mass, arguing that the Heartland theory ignored economic, transportational and technological realities, focusing merely on the seductive illusion of armchair map strategizing. While most geopolitical strategists agreed with Mahon at the time, a new generation looks to revive the Heartland theory, citing the massive and rapid growth of real world communications and transportation within the previously barren Heartland, including new rail, road, oil and gas pipelines and air links across the previously impenetrable Heartland. Both theories are also influenced by the new overlay of Airpower across the Eurasian Theater. Some argue that a concentration of long-range airpower and air supremacy within the Heartland, capable of shifting rapidly between conflict areas from Europe to India and Japan, assuming technological parity, would give the advantage to the central powers just as central railroads once did. The “Neo-Rimland” theorists counter that aircraft carrier based force projection would be more mobile, flexible, sustainable and less vulnerable than land-based air power. For a further discussion of the “Neo Heartland Theory” and the “Neo-Rimland Theory” in the Eurasian Balance of Power see: The New Great Game and the Dance of the Two Pivots: The New Eurasian Ultimate Mission of NATO in the 21st Century https://robertalexandersheppard.wordpress.com/2013/03/10/the-new-great-game-and-the-dance-of-the-two-pivots-the-new-eurasian-ultimate-mission-of-nato-in-the-21st-century/
Regardless of either theory, the mission of a Eurasian OSCE would remain to provide a forum that includes all of the power players and through which they may seek conflict management and arms control options as an alternative to unbridled arms competition and conflict escalation. This is a mission that could not be accomplished within power blocs such as NATO the EU or the SCO or regional groupings such as ASEAN which do not include their potential competitors and adversaries. Recourse to the United Nations itself remains an option, though the global scope of its activities and the complications of universal involvement render its action unwieldy and cumbersome.
Organizationally and procedurally the creation of a European Organization for Cooperation and Security could easily follow the precedent of the European OSCE, designed to manage and mitigate the balance of power of contending geopolitical players across the more limited European Theater, but expanded to include the widened Eurasian Theater attendant upon the rise of new geopolitical powers and players such as the BRIC supernations China and India and other contenders. This “Eurasian Helsinki Process” should thus commence with issuance of a “Blue Book” outlining a Eurasia-wide conference in 2015 on the 40th Anniversary of the Helsinki Accords. One of the Conference’s first items of business should be to convene a Eurasian Naval Arms Control Conference based on the precedent of the 1925 Washington Naval Conference.
The new Organization for Security and Cooperation in Eurasia, like its forerunner OSCE in Europe should contain comprehensive peace-building dimensions in addition to crisis and arms control initiatives, building on the essential offices and dimensions of the existing OSCE to include, amoung others: Eurasian Permanent Council, Ministerial Council, Forum for Security Cooperation, Chairman-in-Office, Troika, Secretariat, Eurasian Parliamentary Assembly, Eurasian Conflict Prevention Centre, Eurasian Office for Comprehensive Arms Control, Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights and Office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media. It should include the “Three Dimensions” of the existing OSCE, namely: 1) The Politico-Military Dimension, 2) The Economic and Environmental Dimension, and 3) The Human Dimension. Such an organization would also be useful in contributing to the management of such chronic conflicts as those in Afghanistan and the Korean peninsula, terrorism threats and nuclear proliferation threats. The establishment of the Eurasian Parliamentary Assembly on the model of the European OSCE Parliamentary Assembly should be a first step, building on existing institutions such as the European Parliament, Parlatino, Arab Parliament and Pan-African Parliament, to the later-stage global creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly to address the democratic deficit in the United Nations system as a whole. The OSCE should be constituted as a Regional Organization in the sense of Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter and enjoy Observer status in the United Nations General Assembly, giving routine briefings to the Security Council in the tradition of the European OSCE.
In conclusion, we call on President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry to join with President Putin and President Xi to invite China, India, Russia, Japan, the USA, NATO and the EU and all Eurasian nations to join in the initiative for establishing a new “Eurasian Helsinki Process” leading to the creation of an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Eurasia. This “Eurasian Helsinki Process” should commence with issuance of a “Blue Book” outlining a Eurasia-wide conference in 2015 on the 40th Anniversary of the Helsinki Accords and required follow-up measures. One of the Conference’s first items of business should be to convene a Eurasian Naval Arms Control Conference based on the precedent of the 1925 Washington Naval Conference.
Professor of International Law