SUBJECT; CSCE: The View from Moscow
The route to the European Security Confarence has been longer and bumpier than the Soviets anticipated, and they were forced to yield more than they wanted. Moscow never wavered, however, in its efforts io bring the conferencelose, and from ite perspective the journey has been worthwhile.
some justification, the Soviet3 can view the
conclusion of the conferenceriumph
t-heir diplomacy. It was Moscow thai:
r?mthe ideaonference more
doggedly and persistently broughtWestern and neutral nations;
will gain more credit than anyone else for having persuaded the headso come to Helsinki in the narze of European security;
or party chief Brezhnev, inwillelcome accomplishmentmonths before the next, and probably
last, party congress.
What else does Moscow get otzi of the conference? It gets recognition of:
the idea that the Soviet Union has a
legitimate voice in determining theof EuropeEast and Westj
emorandum was prepared
the Office of Current Intelligence,
tht benign development of detente in Europe, in which CSCE narks completiontage in an otgoing process of ordering Europe's political, military and economic relationship3 in ways that are, not incidentally, amenablm tointerests.
The Soviets will draw special satisfaction from having their conferenceime when Communiete are makingin Italy and Portugal because the West did not make developments in thoseostage to detente in Europe. Moscow will sea support for its contention that there is no inconsistency between detente and theof progressive or revolutionary forces.
These Soviet "gains" derive,ense, from the process of CSCE rather than from any specific wording of tht document to be signed by tha heads of state.- In that document, the only etatement that speaksey Soviet objective is the "Basket I" principle that the present boundaries in Europe are inviolable. Moscow will regard this principle as universal recognition that the post-World War II borders in Europe, including tht division of Germany are legitimate; it ie clear that withouttatement Moscow would not have bought tht rest of the document.
Implications of Inviolable Borders
What exactly this wording does for the Soviets is another natter. Nothing will change on the ground in Europe. The CSCE document does not carry the force of "legal" obligation, and the "inviolability principle" does not go beyond what West Germany has already conceded in xts Eastern treaties. In addition, the Soviets were compelled by Bonn to agree to language in the CSCE documents that provides for the possibility of "peaceful change" in Europeso the inviolability of the borders is something less than immutable.
The reason foryear quest for inviolable frontiers in Eastern Europe rests in the.Soviet sense of insecuritya concern greater than would seem appropriate given the military balance in Europe, but nonetheless real. If the putative Soviet achievements at CSCE all seem to be in the area of atmosphere, psychology, and perception, that makes them no less concrete or meaningful to Moscow.
The Sovietsumber of concessions in the wording of the CSCE agreement, but it may end up that none was as significant as the unwritten obligation they assumed. The kinds of gains the Soviets have made at CSCE are onlyif the atmosphere remains undisturbed in Europe and Soviet behavior remains within the limits of accept-ability. While no one would argue that CSCE will prevent the Soviets from taking any action that they considered vital to their interests, the CSCE atmosphere could have an effect on how Moscow weighs the pros and conn of any significant destabilizing action. There will almostbe differences within the Soviet leadership andbetween the USSR and the West over what is permissible, and the burden will be on the West to keep "the marginsrrow as possible.
The Soviets also made some significant concessions to get CSCE. Before the conference began, Moscow had to:
workatisfactory agreement on Berlin;
accept US and Canadian participationj
agree to enter the force reduction talks (MBPR) .
In the conference itself, they were compelled to accept the ideaSCE agreement would include inoretatement of amorphous principles, indeed would cover tangible areas of considerable sensitivitylosed society. There is good ground for skepticism about the practical consequences of the Soviet concessions of freer movement oE pooplea and ideas (the so-called Basket III) and thedcnco building measures" tCBMs). Nonetheless, the Soviets have, for the jjjxst time, accepted the principle that such nattersegitimate concern of the European communityegitimate part of "European security."
CSCE was made possible when the participants agreed to trade recognition of the inviolabilityof frontiers for improvements in the "freer movement of people andn a, sense, this represented an exchange of present realities for future possibilities. The West calculated that, while it was indicating some degree of acceptance of Europe's division, it might at the same time set in motion processes that could eventually attentuate that division.
The Soviets did everything possible, short of scuttling the conference, to minimize their obligations under Basket III. In long months of tough bargaining, the West gradually retreatedts more far-reaching objectives. Most of the surviving provisions in Basket III are couched in terms of intent rather than obligation. The operative verbs are usuallyhope," study." The Soviets consistently, and successfully, opposed the verb "will."
Furthermore, many ofjthe Basket III articles contain escape hatches for the Soviets. For example, the provision on improved working conditions for journalists,lause on the non-expulsion of journalists engaged inactivity, but it adds the proviso that their activity must be "legitimate." In the Soviet Union, the Soviets will determine what is legitimate and what is not.
The texts in Basket III are divided into two broad categories: "hvrrcr. ccr.tac'rc" ?rv? m
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assessing the risks involved, however, the Soviets probablyifferent breakdown, distinguishing between provisions affecting Soviet citizens directly and thosethe activity of foreigners in the Soviet Union. In the first category are statements dealing with familymarriage between nationals of different states, travel, radio broadcasting, and other activities, related to the dissemination of information. The second category consists primarily of improved working conditions for journalists, although items such as travel and tourism also fall into this category.
The Soviets negotiated hard to neutralize the impact" of both texts, but if past experienceuide they will be more concerned about provisions affecting Soviet citizens The article facilitating marriage between nationals of different states is not likely to be particularlybecause the number of cases will probably remain small. The provisions dealing with family reunification and "contacts and regular meetings on the basis of family ties" may be more difficult because of increasedin recent years. Basket III does not in any way, however, obligate the Soviets actually to increase the flow of emigrants. Furthermore, these provisions, as well as clauses having to do with travel, tourism, contacts among professional and religious groups, and other similar subjects, are well covered by Soviet laws and there is little doubt that Moscow will apply these laws to whatever degree is necessary to maintain its control.
On radio. broadcasting, the CSCE text does little more than apply pressure on the Soviets to refrain from reinstituting the jamming of Western broadcasts. Moscow stopped most jamming just as the second stage of CSCE was beginning, obviously in an effort to eliminate the topicource of contention and entice the West with the prospect of further gains at CSCE as well as in various bilateral relationships.
The Basket III provisions are not likely to affect the Soviet political order, nor are they likely to touch the lives or the imagination of the Russian people. They will, however, raise certain problems. Any tough Soviet statements or actions against individuals whose plight
Ko ri ^ t1n
of the spirit, if not the Icttor, of CSCE. Thereood chance that Soviet dissidenf; will otln on some of the CSCE provisions to argue their cases. Hesort to legalisms or the various escape clauses in the CSCEwill not get the Soviets completely off the hook. In ahort, the Soviets are somewhat more vulnerable to the cause celebre than they were before CSCE. Western publicity will be the main weapon in the arsenal of Soviot citizens seeking greater personal freedom. CSCE did not create this relationship; but it may reinforce it.
Confidence Building Measures
At the beginning of the conference, the Soviets strongly opposed the .oncept of "confidence buildinghey argued that military natters had no place in theond they fought bitterly against the key cbn of advance notification of maneuvers. In the closing weeks of the conference they carried tnelr objections to theoint of successfully defying Western efforts to extend the area of application of this measure anotherm. Yet in the end the Soviets accepted the measures with relative ease and even came forth with on unexpectedon notification of militaryopic that had been considered hopclonoly deadlocked.
The agreement on advance notification of maneuvers provides that notification shall be givenays in advance of maneuvers0 or more men anywhere in Europe andm. rone from the USSR's borders with other participating states. ondition to their agreement, the Soviets insisted that the notification be givenoluntary basis. This means that, theoretically, the Soviets do not have to give any notification, although it seems unlikely that they will choose to ignore this CSCE provision. The "voluntary" provision does give Moscow irore latitude, and it iaipossible that it helped sell the agreement to the Soviet military.
The effect of CBMs on Soviot military activity depends in part on the degree of how specific Moscow is in its notification. The measure provides that notification con-vey some" ide'a of the size and type of the units involved, rather than merely stating that an exercise involving more0 is projected. The requirements on area are
more vague. It willignificant difference whether the Soviets state that an exercise will take place "in the western USSR" or whether they are more precise.
Most Soviet ground force exercises take place in the
zone covered by the notification measure. Since it is now
unusual for Western intelligence organizations to have 21
day3 notification of forthcoming Warsaw Pact exercises, the
West should be better able to monitor Pact exercises and
therebyetter appreciation of Eastern military.
Of course the CBMs apply to both sides, and Moscow may benefit somewhat from prior notification of NATO exercises. More important, the Soviets may hope that CBMs will further diminish the senseoviet threat in the West and will help to promote, albeitmall way, the idea that NATO is irrelevant.
One potential consequence of incorporating CBMs in CSCE is that the Soviets will find it easier to argue that these topics should bo excluded from the force reduction talks. If the Soviets insist on and carry this point, they would presumablyarginal advantage, because these matters would be treated by an all-European forum under anthat did not have the force of law, rather thaninding agreement between the two military blocs.
The East Europeans
From the West'3 viewpoint, one of the purposes of CSCE was to promote centrifugalastern Europe and to make it more difficult for the Soviet Union to keep the East Europeansight leash. It is reasonably clear, however, that the process of negotiating CSCE did not encourage the East Europeans to embarkorecourse. On the contrary, the Soviets used the conference format to tighten control by means of frequent ronsultations and coordination. The Warsaw Pact nations held regular strategy sessions and generally functionednit, with each memberarticular substantive specialty. With the exception of Romania, they gave little evidence of discord or conflicting interests. One reason is that the Eastern European governments.share the USSR's concern that domestic control takes precedence over the idea of "ireof MuvvttiuiiSa"
Tha one conspicuous exception to East Europeanwau Komdnig. In characteristic Fashion, thedelegationreat show of flaunting itsand defending it3 special interests and The Romanians deviated from the Soviet positionide variety of issues. Bucharest tried hard, for example to strengthen follow-up provisions, with theintent of holding the Soviets accountable forof the agreements.
In the end there was little wording Bucharest could cite as incorporating its concepts and the Romanians ragulaxly backed away from potential showdowns with the Soviets. Nevertheless, the Romaniansympathetic hearingide European audience andreater understanding for their position. Bucharest will acquire some sustenance from the increased sense of shared interest among the non-aligned and incompletely aligned nations of Europe. Much the same can be said of the Yugoslavs,they behaved less flamboyantly at the
At the first stage of the conference, inhe Warsaw Pact proposed the creationtandingcommittee that would "follow-up" the agreements signed at the^CSCE summit, andermanent organization through which Moscow could continue to make its voice heard in West European affairs.
But as the negotiations progressed, the Soviets lost interest in the ideatanding committee. In the closing weeks of the negotiations, whan the first serious discussion of follow-up began, the Soviets abandoned ithimper. The text on follow-up that eventually emerged provideseeting7 of sub-ministerial officials to review CSCE progress, and to consider other meetings, or even another conference.
iscussionS representative on Juneoviet delegate who specialized in the subject set forth what is probably an accurate outline of Moscow's current
cIohIi'opoliticLend" follow-up, which would concern itself with broad questions of dotonto *tnd international relations. At thi name time ho exproased dlstastoollow-up proposal thatarge number of technical and experts groupsan obvious manifestation of Soviet fear that such groups would monitor the implementation of Basket III provisions.
With CSCE out of the way, at leasthe Soviets will now turn to their multilateral fora to keep the process of detente moving forward. Thoy are already talking about the necesjity for complementing political detente with "militarynd their public focus no doubt will now shift to Vienna and the MBFR negotiations.
But Moscow will feel itself under no special pressure to make concessions to the West in Viennaesult of CSCE. The once tight linkage between the two negotiations has long since disappeared, and the West no longer has the option of trying to use Soviet intent in CSCEever for progress in MBFR. Nor is it clear that the Soviets, who do seem to be more interested in the possible gains to be mode at MBFR than thoy once were, are genuinely interested in nn MBFR agreement any time soon.
The Soviets may also do more to promote regionalin Europe. Some manifestations of this have already been seen in the revival of Soviet interest,in the long-dormant proposaluclear-free zone in Scandinavia and the first tentative probe* toward becoming involved in Nordic oconomic cooperation. It is conceivable that the Soviets may.eventually undertake similar initiatives in the Mediterranean. roader front, they may revive their proposalorld disarmament conference. ajor thrust off Soviet activity in the post-CSCE ora will be outside the sphere of officlol conforonces andinitiatives. In particular, the Soviets will push for greater trade union contacts in an effort to advance their idea of pan-European trade unionism.
The Soviets have some work to do within the Communist movement in Europeesult of CSCE. They have been heavily engaged ineeting of the European Communist parties. One purpose of this meeting is to
fttrony then faosco'-z's voicu on tlio ideological front in anticipation of poat-CSCt: procures. In addition, the Soviotj would like toor* influential voice in determining the priorities, d policiu> of thf various West European Communist parties. The growth in the influence nnd the potential governing role of these partiujoscow more reason than before to do what it can to make sure that thalr activities contribute to, rather than complicate, Soviet policies.