Bjørn Møller
The Dilemma

Wonderful though it would be, in the real world it is not always possible to combine what is desirable and valuable. This is equally the case in a discussion of a defensive restructuring of the armed forces and an expanded role for the United Nations. The purpose of the present paper is to analyze whether these two desiderata are possible to combine or whether a choice is necessary.

'Peace' is generally held to be a very high-ranking value (Rapoport 1992), but it cannot stand alone at the pinnacle of the hierarchy. Other values of comparable standing include a meeting of other basic human needs, which may occasionally conflict with that of peace defined as the absence of war. How much deprivation should one, for instance, be obliged to suffer before a recourse to arms is allowed? Most people would concur that a breaking of the peace is sometimes warranted, if only under extreme circumstances. However, the distinction between 'negative' and 'positive' peace (suggested by Johan Galtung, 1975) allows for a seeming reconciliation of conflicting demands, hence making it possible to elevate peace to the rank of the supreme value. Even though it is debatable whether anything is gained in conceptual clarity by this trick, for the sake of the argument, I shall accept the distinction. Negative and positive peace, however, have quite different--perhaps even conflicting--implications.

Both the attainment of negative and positive peace calls for an expanded role of the United Nations as the most appropriate (and only legitimate) framework of global governance which includes a reallocation of resources to development purposes, as well as for collective security and humanitarian interventions. These demands are, in fact, mentioned expressis verbis in the UN Charter's article I:

The Purposes of the United Nations are:

The question is whether these diverse goals can actually be harmonized and, in particular, whether a defensive restructuring (i.e. a switch to NOD) by some or all states is compatible with an expanded role for the UN. The following analysis of this question is divided into two parts. First, an analysis of the compatibility between UN norms about military matters and the envisaged product of defensive restructuring, namely a non-offensive defence. Only a few pages are devoted to arguing in favour of a fundamental compatibility that may, at most, require a few modifications of certain NOD models.

Much more space is devoted to the second part of the question. Would a switch to NOD by a significant number of states prevent the UN from performing its various military (and military-related) functions, or would it even help in this respect? The analysis considers both tasks as offensive missions (collective security and humanitarian intervention). While the latter presents no problems for NOD advocates, the former does imply a genuine dilemma. The solution suggested is a division of labour and force integration.

What is NOD?

Having dealt with this theme at considerable length on numerous previous occasions (Møller 1991; 1992; 1995), I shall limit this to a very sketchy expose. NOD is best understood as the military component of a policy of common or cooperative security (Palme Commission 1992; Nolan et al. 1994). Herz (1990), Jervis (1978), and Collins (1996) propose guidelines for national policy-making in an anarchic setting in which the security dilemma applies. It allows states to enhance their security without thereby reducing the security of anybody else, not even their adversaries.

'NOD' signifies a military posture and strategy that satisfies this requirement by possessing sufficient defensive but no significant offensive strength. It thus represents the end point, and the conceptual guideline for a process of defensive restructuring of the armed forces. The purposes of such defensive restructuring are threefold:

What matters is that states should be incapable of attack. It is of secondary importance how they become incapable of attack. In fact, some states are by their very nature less capable than others of attack, regardless of their military posture and strategy. Democratic states very rarely, if ever, attack other democracies (Russett 1993; Brown & al. 1996), and this political inhibition against war can be further strengthened by legal provisions. Some constitutions (e.g., those of Japan and Germany) erect high barriers against aggression (Watanabe 1993; Lutz 1987), and international law may present valuable additional obstacles. Also, firm civilian control over military matters may help a great deal in curtailing the frequent offensive proclivity of the armed forces.

Powerful though such inhibitions against aggression may be, it is advisable, according to NOD advocates, to underpin them with a material (most often structural) incapability of attack--to let defensive intensions be reflected in the posture of the armed forces. It stands to reason that the intended inability to attack will be context-dependent. In Europe, and particularly in the divided Germany (where the NOD idea originated), the only attack to be taken seriously was that of an armoured invasion. The main forces would be tank divisions with appropriate air support. Hence the CFE negotiations focus on tanks, armoured personnel carriers, artillery, combat aircraft and helicopters. These are the indispensable weapons systems for 'surprise attack and large-scale offensive action', as the NOD criterion was formulated in the CFE mandate (Falkenrath 1994). Elsewhere, however, these weapons categories may not be all that worrisome. For instance, why should Japan be particularly concerned about Chinese or North Korean armoured forces, or the latter about Japanese army strength? The important military capabilities in 'maritime theatres' are naval (especially such with an amphibious or land attack capability), air, and missile forces. Or why should countries featuring inaccessible jungles, high mountains or similarly tank-unfriendly terrain (in which light forces and helicopters may be more suitable for attack) worry about armoured forces?

Such complexities have made some analysts jump to the conclusion that 'everything is in the eyes of the beholder'. However, this is a logical fallacy (Lynn-Jones 1995). There is a half-way station between abstract objectivity and complete subjectivity. It is called 'objective intersubjectivity'. It is less than the postulate that offensiveness and defensiveness are features inherent in particular weapons, regardless of the geographical and historical context. There is no such thing as a 'defensive weapon'. However, it is more than subjectivity. It is the (falsifiable, hence scientifically meaningful) statement that under specified circumstances expert opinion would agree that posture A is more suitable for aggression ( i.e., large-scale border-crossing operations) than posture B.

Defensive restructuring of the armed forces would go a long way toward meeting most countries' defence needs. Not only could their defence be strengthened (e.g., via specialization), but the threat against which they would have to face would also decline as a result of the defensive restructuring of adversaries. Nevertheless, force differentials mean that some countries will remain insecure. There is, for instance, no way (neither through their own efforts nor through any Russian military build-down with or without defensive restructuring) that the Baltic states could become capable of standing up to a determined Russian attack. They are simply too small, and/or Russia too large.

Countries in such unfortunate positions therefore need some underpinning of their indigenous defence efforts. Three options are available. They can (like Israel) go nuclear (Evron 1994). This results in a tidal wave of nuclear proliferation, which most would regard as deplorable (for a debate, see Sagan & Waltz, 1995). Second, they can seek membership of an alliance, as most former Warsaw Pact member states do. The effects of such alliance expansion might merely replicate the original problem on a grander scale. This is evident in NATO's reluctance to admit new members without Russian consent (Carpenter 1995). Third, they may choose to rely on collective security guarantees.

UN Military Norms and NOD

One of the UN's main functions in the international system is to develop and codify international norms. The norms pertaining to military matters fall into two approximate halves corresponding to the two components of the traditional 'just war' theory: the jus ad bellum and the jus in bello provisions (Walzer 1977; Johnson 1981; Nardin 1996). While there are several versions thereof, they all contain the principles listed in the table below. They are enshrined in a number of documents, such as the UN Charter, various Security Council resolutions and rulings by the International Court of Justice (Best 1980; McCoubrey & White 1992; Murphy 1995).

Jus ad bellum principles
Jus in bello principles
Just authority
Just authority/responsibility
Just cause
Non-combatant immunity
Last resort
Prohibited targets
Just consequences
Prohibited weaponry
Table 1. International Norms on War

As far as just ad bellum is concerned, the world has seen a gradual outlawry of war. In continuity with the 1928 Kellogg-Briand Pact (Baratta 1993), the UN Charter thus proscribes wars of aggressions in the following unequivocal terms:

Whereas aggressive war is thus prescribed, national defence remains legitimate, both for individual states and for alliances: The abolition, or build-down of offensive military capabilities as envisaged by NOD, is in conformity with these norms as it would make states materially incapable of violating the no-aggression rule. Yet it leaves them with undiminished defensive strength. Indeed some have argued that the very possession of armed forces with an offensive capability constitutes an implicit or latent 'threat of force'. Hence the UN Charter actually demands NOD.

While such an interpretation is probably not tenable, the UN has expressis verbis recommended NOD in at least two connections. The first area relates to Resolution 45/58-0 on Defensive Security Concepts and Policies, passed by the 45th Session of the General Assembly, and in the Guidelines and Recommendations for Regional Approaches to Disarmament, passed by UNDC in 1993 (Mason 1995). One might also infer from the resolutions pertaining to Iraq (especially what has been called 'the mother of all resolutions', SC 687) that the UN regarded Iraq's possession of offensive capabilities as an implicit threat, and therefore sought to limit them (Sur 1994: 63-80). The same was the case with most peace treaties signed with (or enforced upon) the defeated aggressors after the Second World War (Tanner 1992).

Some have argued that 'anticipatory self-defence' in the form of a pre-emptive attack may qualify as legitimate defence. Most observers subscribe to a more restrictive view, according to which a defender must grant the attacker the first shot. Even though some might argue that NOD would make a poor defence, since it would rule out such anticipation ( i.e., pre-emption materially and otherwise), there can hardly be any doubt about its lawfulness. A reactive national defence as envisioned by NOD advocates would obviously satisfy the jus ad bellum demands for just cause and last resort.

Neither would there seem to be any problem with the other requirements in this category of the laws of war. To merely envision the repulsion of an aggressor ( i.e., a restoration of the status quo ante bellum) rather than undertaking any large-scale counter-attack (see Kokoshin & Larionov 1989), ensures 'just consequences'; and for a state to thus defend its own national territory satisfies the demand for just authority (provided the UN Security Council is duly notified). Finally, the strictly conventional nature of a NOD defence, as well as the deliberate abstention from retaliatory strikes, would also ensure compatibility with the proportionality criterion.

Even though NOD cannot thus be used for aggression in violation of the jus ad bellum provisions, it might violate other just war criteria and/or UN norms. This would, for instance, be the case if it were envisioned to wage a defensive war in a proscribed manner. The jus in bello provisions pertain equally to the aggressor and the defender, no matter how just the cause of the latter.

The call for just authority (i.e., clear chains of command and an unambiguous distribution of responsibility) might be violated if NOD were to involve actual guerilla warfare, waged by paramilitary forces operating on their own (as seemingly suggested by Johan Galtung, 1984: 180-184). However, neither the employment of guerilla tactics by regular armed forces nor a far-reaching decentralization (as envisaged by some NOD proponents) would be incompatible with the 'just authority' requirement. Subdelegation is not tantamount to a relinquishment of responsibility. The essentially reactive nature of NOD is, furthermore, a hedge against escalation (both horizontal and vertical), which makes it easier to abide by the rule of proportionality. The aforementioned abstention from retaliatory attacks also facilitates discrimination, thereby ensuring non-combatant immunity.

There may be a problem with some of the weapons commonly suggested for an NOD-type defence. Mines have generally been regarded as defensive. While this is not automatically the case, since they may be used by attackers as well, there is some truth to it. Mines do fit in nicely with a stationary defence, be it forward or area-covering. Besides this appealing feature, mines have some very appalling ones. Unless minefields are carefully mapped and cleared after the end of hostilities (or the mines have built-in self-destruct mechanisms) they will be lying around after the guns of war have fallen silent, as 'hidden killers'. According to the UN Secretary General, as many as 110 million anti-personnel landmines lie scattered around in a handful of countries (Afghanistan, Cambodia, Mozambique, Angola, and others). These mines exact a heavy toll of civilian casualties (around 25,000 a year) and demonstrate their inherently indiscriminatory nature (The Arms Project & Physicians for Human Rights, 1993; Roberts & Williams, 1995). Moreover, efforts are currently underway--spearheaded by the ICRC and various NGOs--for a ban on antipersonnel landmines, in casu via a special protocol appended to the 1981 Inhumane Weapons Convention. Negotiations are underway at the time of this writing, accompanied by several unilateral initiatives--such as the 16 May White House announcement the US' immediate cancellation of the use of non-self destruct mines and destruction of 'dumb' mines.

It has been pointed out by NOD advocates that NOD schemes do not so much envisage the use of anti-personnel as that of anti-tank and sea mines, which are usually reasonably discriminatory (even though some might be set off by civilian vehicles or fishing boats). Self-destruct devices can be easily and cheaply attached to all sorts of mines and the minefields of NOD-type defences will be meticulously mapped. As desirable as a very specific prohibition of non-detectable (i.e., entirely plastic), non-mapped, non-selfdestruct anti-personnel landmines might be, we might end up with a blanket prohibition of anti-personnel landmines. This would surely be an improvement over the present situation. Should such a prohibition enter into force, there can be no disputing the need for 'NOD designers' to amend their schemes with a view to finding substitutes for landmines. Substitutes can be found. If they are more expensive than mines, then so be it. Humanity does not have to be 'free of charge'. With this qualification, there seems to be nothing in the concept of NOD that goes against the UN norms of war. Some NOD advocates have acknowledged the just war conformity as one of their main motivations.

Collective Security

There may be one significant qualification of the above assessment. NOD might be too 'passive' to meet the requirements of collective security. The idea of collective security is of very ancient origin. The 18th Century 'Concert of Europe' was a partial approximation to the ideal (Jervis 1985), but the first serious attempt at implementation was with the establishment of the League of Nations after World War I. Unfortunately the League failed completely in containing the fascist and communist expansionism in the 1930s. The reason was probably not so much (as often alleged) that the system as such was unworkable, but a lack of political will on the part of the major powers. As a result of the League's failure, states reverted to the self-help practices of the past, accompanied and legitimized by an International Relations theory (Realism) that elevated such behaviour to the norm. However, some support for collective security remained--both on the fringes of the academic community, in the peace movements, and among states, even though one might suspect the latter to be paying little more than lip service to the idea.

The idea was resurrected with the establishment of the United Nations in 1945. In the UN Charter, it was envisaged that the Security Council should respond to any breach of peace by, albeit in conformity with the just war requirement of 'last resort'. Article 41 lists a number of 'first resort' options, such as 'complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations'. Should none of these measures prove sufficient the SC might exercise its 'last resort' option:

From the very beginning, however, the UN's organizational structure included significant departures from the ideal of collective security, such as the granting of veto powers to the great powers of the day. During the Cold War, this accommodation of 'Realism' proved almost tantamount to a complete emasculation, since the great powers (above all the two superpowers) were able to take refuge behind the veto that made them immune to sanctions. The same was almost the case for their allies and friends (i.e., in the final analysis most of the world's states) since the bipolar 'pull' on the neutrals and non-aligned was very strong. Furthermore, the mechanisms originally envisioned for the collective security system were either never established or never used. The on-call forces mentioned in articles 43 and 45 were never established, and the Military Staff Committee (MSC) was never allowed to assume the duties envisaged in articles 46-47 (Grove 1993).

The only instance where the system worked remotely was the Korean War (1950-53). Even here the actual military operations were not performed by the UN as such, but by a US-led coalition, albeit operating under the UN flag. The UN coalition thus exercised the fall-back option envisioned in article 48 of the charter: that 'the action required to carry out the decisions of the Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security' might not be performed by the UN as such but by 'some of [the members], as the Security Council may determine'.

Post-Gulf War Collective Security

The end of the Cold War removed the main obstacle to a workable collective security system, namely the international system's bipolar nature. The Gulf Crisis became the first test case. Because the system was not in place at the outbreak of the crisis (the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait) some improvisation was inevitable (Freedman & Karsh 1993). By and large, however, the system worked, for the first time ever.

In the aftermath of the Gulf War, interest in collective security surged, both politically and in the academic community (Kupchan & Kupchan 1991; 1995; Downs 1994; Weiss 1993. For a more sceptical view, see Betts 1992). It became intertwined with notions such as cooperative security. Innumerable proposals were put forward to improve the system: for a reform of the UN Security Council and a reordering of relations between the various UN organs, for the establishment of on-call forces, and for reinvigorating the MSC. Regionally as well, there has been a growing interest in collective security arrangements. The stage may thus be set for realizing collective security, which would have several advantages.

First of all, it would provide a powerful deterrent against aggression, since any prospective aggressor would have to reckon with the prospects of ending up at war with all the rest. If it is true that the end of bipolarity (and its siamese twin: the MAD situation of nuclear deterrence) will bring the 'long peace' to an end (Gaddis 1992: 168-192; Mearsheimer 1990), then collective security may be more important than ever as a hedge against war. Not least, collective security would provide the aforementioned requisite underpinning of the indigenous defence efforts of small states with strong neighbours.

Second, it would modify a powerful element in the armament dynamics (i.e., the aforementioned action-reaction phenomenon). Provided that military imbalances between states are not very substantial, they will not matter at all. Hence they would provide no justification for an arms build-up that might, in its turn, legitimate a reciprocal build-up by the respective other side. What would matter would be the inferiority of any aggressor to the combined strength of all the other members.

For all the benefits it would imply, collective security would, of course, be no panacea for all sorts of security problems. For instance (just as NOD), it would only apply to inter-state conflicts and have little or no application to intra-state disputes. The typical 'Third World security predicament', however, is that of internal armed conflicts, reflecting weak state structures (Ayoob 1995). The 1996 SIPRI Yearbook thus lists 30 armed conflicts in 25 locations in 1995, none of which were 'classical' conflicts between states--even though some were transformed into inter-state wars by the international recognition of the statehood of the warring parties, and others were partly internationalized through the interference by other states (Sollenberg & Wallensteen 1996).

Major war may thus be approaching obsolescence (Mueller 1984), in which case both collective security and NOD would become solutions without problems. However, we are not quite there yet, and international war seems to be a genuine risk in certain parts of the globe such as East and South Asia, the Middle East and perhaps parts of eastern Europe and Africa. In these areas NOD and collective security could have a directly positive effect, whereas elsewhere they might simply be less expensive insurances against very remote contingencies than their alternatives.

Its presumed advantages notwithstanding, collective security may involve some inherent problems, and numerous concrete obstacles stand in the way of its implementation. On the other hand, the arguments of the critics do not seem entirely convincing. They are logically flawed, unsupported by fact, or the problems highlighted might be rather easily corrected. I shall limit myself to a brief and inconclusive discussion of three problems: free-riding, force imbalances and nuclear weapons.

First, critics rightly argue that credibility is of the essence. Unless mutual assistance commitments are regarded as credible by a prospective aggressor, they will not deter. If aggressor state leaders are familiar with (and convinced by) the writings of 'Realists' they might believe that 'free rider incentives' would prevent a strong response. Everybody would expect and prefer everybody else to 'do the job', with the result that it would actually be done by nobody. Persuasive though this argument may seem at first glance, it either over or undershoots the mark. On the one hand, whereas it is certainly true that some states sometimes under-perform with regard to their collective duties, it is surely not empirically true that no states ever do anything to meet them. On the other hand, if all states always did succumb to free-rider temptations, neither collective security arrangements nor alliances would ever be of any value whatsoever, since precisely the same incentive structures operate in both. The critics of collective security, however, tend to believe that at least NATO's security guarantees are credible. In fact their argument is often 'let's not give up NATO for the chimera of collective security' (Glaser 1993).

Second, critics are right to point out that very substantial imbalances would be a problem. If a state were to possess more than half the military strength of the entire system (or believe that it did) then it might not be deterred by the prospects of all the others teaming up against it. With less than 100 percent credibility of commitments, even smaller imbalances might be a problem. However, in the real world the only state that might be thus immune by virtue of its strength happens to be the USA, where most of the critics reside. By implication, if only the United States could be persuaded to support collective security, nobody else would surely be immune and the problem solved. Alternatively, problems such as these might be solved (or mitigated) by means of 'sufficiency rules' such as that applied to the CFE--according to which no state was allowed to possess more than one third of all weapons in each category (Falkenrath 1994). However, such rules might be difficult to apply in other regions where the asymmetries are even more glaring than in pre-CFE Europe. Should India, for instance, be denied the right to more than one third of the combined armed forces in South Asia, even though it is, on all other accounts, much larger than all the rest combined? In such instances, external 'balancers' might help correct whatever regional deficits there might be. This might, in fact, be a powerful argument for combining regional with global collective security.

Third, nuclear weapons greatly complicate the matter, since they might provide effective immunity to an aggressor. It might not even be any help if other states, or the system as a whole, also possessed nuclear weapons. The following might thus be a realistic scenario: A conquers B and warns C, D ... N that it would retaliate with nuclear weapons against any attempt at evicting it (i.e., through a new 'Desert Storm'). This would be a fairly credible deterrent threat, especially if the result of not retaliating might be to suffer the present fate of Iraq. A potential threat by the other states (or the system) to counter-retaliate would be much less credible. However, let us not forget that nuclear deterrence 'theory' is a nebulous realm of speculation, regardless of whether it concerns states, alliances or a collective security system. One might thus counter the above problem with a reductio ad absurdum: If nuclear status equals immunity to reprisals, all states would seek such status--while neither bilateral defence treaties (even in the form of 'nuclear umbrellas'), nor alliances or collective security arrangements would be adequate counters. In the real world, however, most states have chosen to remain non-nuclear (Karp 1992; Reiss 1995) and some have even relinquished their former nuclear status (Fischer 1993). Indeed, with their signature to the indefinite extension of the NPT Treaty in 1995, the overwhelming majority of the world's states have willingly renounced their right to ever acquire nuclear weapons--while only three states ( Israel, India and Pakistan) have 'crossed the line', according to most analyses (Reiss & Litwak 1994).

The actual behaviour of the world's states does not seem to confirm the arguments of the critics of collective security. Whatever weaknesses the concept may contain might apparently be corrected by various means. That is not to say that this will ever happen. It is all a question of political will, especially as far as the major powers are concerned.

NOD and Collective Security

On the assumption that the political will exists to go ahead, collective security would imply certain requirements for the military wherewithal, which may or may not conflict with other requirements or desiderata, including that of defensive restructuring:

The latter presents a genuine dilemma for NOD advocates who argue in favour of a universal defensive restructuring of the armed forces, but who also have to advocate the maintenance of residual offensive capabilities strong enough to forcefully evict a major power. Fortunately, there is a solution to this dilemma.

Since offensive strength is the product of many factors, it is possible to only let it come into being upon the joining together of the diverse components. Some states might provide the transport capacity for air and sealift of an offensive task force without themselves possessing land forces with significant offensive capabilities. Other states might have the armoured elements (tanks and other armoured vehicles), but no air force to speak of--implying that they are unable to launch an invasion. Still other states might have air power, but lack the ground forces. They might all contribute to the requisite offensive capability without any of them having a fully-fledged offensive posture, as illustrated in the chart below.

It is always easier to devise a scheme in abstracto than to realize it in practice, if only because 'the devil is in the details'. It is beyond the scope of the present paper to go into the actual details. Suffice it therefore to recall that multinational operations and task forces are nothing new. In fact, the medieval crusades were multinational and many of the great battles of the world wars were fought by multinational forces.

Moreover, multinationality seems to be 'the order of the day', in view of NATO's new strategic concept and the actual establishment of the ARRC (ACE Rapid Reaction Corps) and the Eurocorps (Palin 1995). Even though the USA has generally been reluctant to participate in such forces (unless a US officer happened to be the supreme commander), the US military is now acknowledging the occasional need for multinationality, and exploring the doctrinal and practical implications. This has particularly been the case in what the US Army labels OOTW ('Operations Other Than War'), which include so-called peace (or peace support) operations (FM 100-20; FM 100-23). The latter panoply of military tasks might thus be viewed as a training ground for a multinationalism that might also be used for war.

Much of the aforementioned training afforded by NATO to the new PFP partner states concerns peace support operations and involves multinational operations. Some of the smaller states have already launched or are in the process of establishing joint (i.e., multinational) rapid deployment forces for peace-keeping purposes. There may be an added benefit to such collaborative endeavours. It involves close professional military-to-military contacts that may serve as a confidence-building measures in its own right.

What may further pave the way for multinationality is the phenomenon of 'unilateral structural disarmament'. The rising unit of state-of-the-art major weapons systems combined with falling defence budgets (almost) worldwide necessitate hard choices. Either states end up with ridiculously small miniature versions of great power arsenals, or they specialize. In the latter case, it makes perfect sense to embed specialization in a division of labour with friends and allies.

Humanitarian Intervention

The use of military force to right other wrongs of inter-state aggression (in particular gross human rights violations) has been called 'humanitarian intervention' by some analysts (Rodley 1992). Others use the term in a narrower sense ( i.e., as referring to military aid for humanitarian assistance).

The pros and cons of humanitarian intervention in the general sense are a matter of dispute. Few would deny that it might be warranted under certain, extreme circumstances. For instance, what if Nazi Germany had never attacked Poland, but 'only' killed off all its jews, gypsies, and mentally retarded persons? Should the international community have stood idly by in respect for the sovereignty of Germany and the accompanying norm of non-interference? Or should other states have intervened, if need be by force, to stop the genocidal atrocities? Most would agree that they should have, implying that the norm of non-interference in the internal affairs of states--strong though it may be--does not automatically overrule all other considerations. Secretary General Boutros-Ghali's formulation in An Agenda for Peace (article 17) may be as precise as is possible at the present stage, even with its apparent blurredness:

Respect for [the State's] fundamental sovereignty and integrity are crucial to any common international progress. The time of absolute and exclusive sovereignty, however, has passed; its theory was never matched by reality. It is the task of leaders of States today to understand this and to find a balance between the needs of good internal governance and the requirements of an ever more interdependent world.

There are many signs that the saliency of human rights considerations is on the rise globally, inter alia because of the emerging consensus on the fundamental principles and the growing exposure of gross violations to international public opinion via the media. Leaving aside (however important it may be) the debate on sovereignty versus some sort of global governance, let us take a brief look at the military requirements of humanitarian interventions.

A humanitarian intervention is an attack, pure and simple, albeit one that may (in the author's opinion) be entirely justified. To launch such an intervention is tantamount to starting an inter-state war for the sake of human values. This could probably be done in perfect conformity (mutatis mutandis) with the just war criteria (just cause, to right a wrong, last resort, proper authority, and proportionality). Still, it would be a war, and one that would have to be waged offensively. The few

instances of humanitarian interventions that the world has seen so far seem to indicate that they may be, but need not be, related to international conflict. Operation Provide Comfort was in some continuity with Desert Storm--in its turn the response to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait--and the

State A Regional Collective Security State B
National defence  CS contribution  CS contribution National defence
Defensive forces Offensive component I Offensive-capable Task Force Offensive component II Defensive forces
Defensive forces Offensive component III Offensive-capable Task Force Offensive component IV Defensive forces
National defence CS contribution CS contribution National defence
State C Global Collective Security State D
Table 2. Regional collective security

Security Council in Resolution 688 (5 April 1991) which made sure to place the plight of the Kurds in this context as well as to reaffirm 'the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of Iraq'. Nevertheless, the resolution was obviously motivated by humanitarian concerns, and its implications were clearly to violate exactly those principles it pledged to observe--by creating 'safe havens' that were within Iraqi territory, yet withdrawn from Iraqi sovereignty. The subsequent interventions in Somalia and Haiti were spurred entirely by internal considerations, whereas the creation of protected zones in former Yugoslavia followed from the peace-keeping missions there.

Especially if unrelated to inter-state wars, humanitarian interventions may be even more demanding than collective security operations. They will most often imply attacking the home country of the human rights violator. This may well be defended by powerful (and perhaps strictly defensive) means, since there is no strong correlation between military offensiveness and human rights violations. There seems to be nothing fundamentally new about this. The need for offensive strength merely amplifies the 'capabilities dilemma' outlined above, springing from the need to combine defensive restructuring for national defence purposes with the maintenance of significant (yet reduced) offensive capabilities for collective security purposes. Hence, multinationality would seem to provide the solution, once again, especially since the only legitimate authority that might embark on humanitarian interventions would be the UN.

UN Operations Other Than War

Recent years have seen not only a quantitative expansion of the UN's military tasks but also a qualitative one. Operations have become more numerous and diverse than was previously the case, as well as generally more demanding. UNTAC, UNPROFOR and IFOR (implemented by NATO) are unprecedented in the history of peace-keeping (Ratner 1995; Warner 1995; Weiss 1995; Damrosch 1994; for comparison see Durch 1993). The new form of operations are now usually lumped together under the heading of 'peace (support) operations'--not all of which are new. They have also become known as 'Operations Other Than War', OOTW.

UN Secretary General Boutros-Ghali outlined various OOTW in his 1992 Agenda for Peace, where he listed three sets of tasks:

The Agenda for Peace also mentioned 'post-conflict peace-building', described as 'action to identify and support structures which will tend to strengthen and solidify peace in order to avoid a relapse into conflict'. In a longer-term perspective, the objective would be to forge cooperative relations, but in the short term it might involve such activities as: To this list, the Secretary General added de-mining: a field that has since then assumed a growing saliency (vide supra).

In his 1995 Supplement to An Agenda for Peace, Boutros-Ghali highlighted the shift of emphasis in 'peace support operations' that had occurred since 1988. Whereas at that time, only one out of five peace-keeping operations had related to an intra-state conflict, thirteen of the twenty-one operations established since then had concerned such conflicts (albeit, in the case of ex-Yugoslavia, with some international ramifications). While there is no disputing the characterization of some of the on-going armed conflicts in terms such as those above, there is a debate in academic circles about the future. Some have alleged that the whole world is approaching 'the coming anarchy'. One should, however, be cautious with such generalizing extrapolations. Africa and ex-Yugoslavia may be special.

Such conflicts pose new challenges to the peace-keepers. The combatants are not so much regular soldiers as 'militias and armed civilians with little discipline and with ill-defined chains of command'. An astounding number of combatants are children (Goodwin-Hill & Cohn 1994)! The battlefield is often vast (comprising large parts of the country in question) and without any clear frontlines. Moreover, it is often filled with refugees and/or internally displaced persons; and state institutions have frequently broken down completely, exacerbating already severe humanitarian emergencies. Finally, 'peace-keeping' is often a misnomer, since there is no genuine peace to keep, but only a temporary (and sometimes only partial) truce. Peacekeepers are thus at constant risk.

The humanitarian emergencies also imply a need for protection to be afforded to humanitarian relief operations. While this problem is universally acknowledged, there is serious disagreement about the solution (e.g., about the advisability of 'humanitarian interventions' in the narrow sense mentioned above). Some hold that the very involvement of military forces hampers the provision of humanitarian aid (Dobbie 1996), whereas others see no alternative to military protection of supply lines. The latter may even advocate the establishment of protected zones (i.e., 'safe havens') as happened (without much success, to be sure) in the former Yugoslavia.

While the above categorization refers to the political effects of the peace operation, one might also distinguish between the military missions. The most common dichotomy is between 'peace-keeping' and 'peace enforcement'. According to the US Army's Field Manual 100-23 Peace Operations, the principled distinction is threefold: consent, force, and impartiality. While peace-keeping presupposes consent, enforcement does not. Hence the need for using force beyond mere self-defence in the latter, which is superfluous (as well as harmful) in the former. The very use of
force damages impartiality in peace enforcement, whereas peace-keeping can and should remain impartial.

Most observers agree that 'mission creep' is dangerous when traditional peacekeeping forces are assigned to enforcement tasks. It tends to destroy their image of impartiality, thus preventing them from performing their original tasks. On the other hand, situations on the ground do develop, often beyond what could reasonably have been foreseen and planned in advance. In such circumstances, the only alternative to mission creep might be to withdraw the forces and dispatch new ones, with a different mandate and tailored for that mandate. This is very time-consuming and may even exact a toll of lives, if UN forces have to be evacuated under hostile fire.

NOD and Peace Support Operations

There is no reason to expect the need for peace support OOTW to decline in the immediate future. It will be a matter of some importance whether NOD-type forces would be adequate for the task. Fortunately they seem to be. Their particular features seem eminently suitable for peace support operations. The force elements that NOD deliberately omits (nuclear weapons, aircraft carriers, fighter-bombers and the like) are unsuitable for peace support operations, while the remaining (and perhaps expanded) elements would prove useful. As far as traditional peace-keeping is concerned, NOD-type forces would seem quite adequate, if only because the task resembles those of a strictly defensive national defence. The interpositioning of peace-keeping forces between two warring states along a line of demarcation defined by a cease-fire agreement is tantamount to a form of forward defence, only less demanding because it usually happens with the consent of both sides.

Under the heading of 'preventive diplomacy', the Agenda for Peace also mentioned the following tasks, that are very 'NOD-like':

What was new about this was, above all, the notion of preventive deployment with the consent of only one side. It was closely interlinked with that of demilitarized zones, since the Secretary General envisaged these as being patrolled by UN forces 'for the purpose of removing any pretext for attack'. Not only is the mission very NOD-like, the official rationale was also very close to the thinking of NOD advocates.

As far as the expanded menu of peace support operations is concerned, only a few present problems. Most of the missions require no heavy forces embodying offensive capabilities, but are to be performed mostly by infantry units assisted by engineers and scouting teams. Furthermore, even the US Army (which is not known as particularly 'soft') acknowledges that restraint is of the essence, with regard to weapons, tactics and levels of violence--'the use of force should be a last resort'. Even the missions which call for something more than self-defence, this 'more' is not something fundamentally different from what is required for the national defence on one's own territory, for which NOD is conceived. The only exception which NOD-type forces would be incapable of performing (on more than a tactical scale) would be punitive attacks against the homeland of a transgressor's presumed allies. However, the entire case for punitive deterrence (for whatever purpose) seems very weak, indeed.


While the case for collective security and humanitarian intervention remains controversial, there is little doubt that it will continue to demand the attention of armed forces around the world. In view of the declining (in most places) need for national defence, it will almost inevitably become one of the main tasks (Däniker 1995). A caveat may be in order at this stage. Armed forces (as all other organizations) are predisposed to fight for their survival and for maximizing their share of societal resources. If their claim to defend the nation is no longer tenable, they have an interest in finding a new raison d'être, which peace support operations may provide, as may various civilian tasks (e.g., emergency relief).

There is no disputing the need for peace support operations. Much evidence points in the direction of a growing number and scale in the coming years. Regardless of how relevant a defensive restructuring of the armed forces worldwide (as envisioned by NOD theory), the resultant forces should remain capable of performing peace support operations. As the analysis has, hopefully, shown, this will not constitute much of a problem. On the contrary, NOD-type armed forces tend to be eminently suitable for such operations that do not call for offensive capabilities, but for tactical agility. The only problem is 'getting there and away', which is generally easier, the lighter the forces are.

Article 42-type collective security operations, as well as actual humanitarian interventions, however, are more of a problem. They do require offensive capabilities. Hence they are not immediately compatible with a switch to NOD. While the author has argued that multinationalization of the armed forces, in the shape of joint task forces, offers a resolution of the dilemma, numerous practical problems remain.

* An abridged version of this paper was presented to the Sixteenth General Conference of the International Peace Research Association (IPRA), Creating Nonviolent Futures (University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia 8-12th July 1996).


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