«Bernd W. Kubbig Kontakt: Deutsche Stiftung Friedensforschung (DSF) Am Ledenhof 3-5 D-49074 Osnabrück Fon: +49.(0)541.600.35.42 Fax: ...»
After all, the ensemble of 16 compared nations share the crucial feature that they are democracies: old and stable, or new ones such as Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary. In two cases – Russia and Turkey – the quality of democracy needs to be relativised. Isil Kazan characterises Turkey as an improving multi-party parliamentarian democratic system; one would like to add that Turkey could be categorised as a democracy with human rights violations. Concerning Russia, it seems appropriate to go one step further by categorising its political system during the Putin era more precisely as a nonliberal and decorative democracy, or alternatively as an elective monarchy and as soft authoritarianism – characteristics used by Alla Kassianova in her article.
Following the two major categorisations of comparative democracy research – parliamentarian versus presidential democracies, and majoritarian versus consociational democracies 12 – we arrive at the following types: First, the majority of parliamentarian systems in a republican form (Denmark, Japan, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom being formally monarchies) with two presidential systems (South Korea, US) and one semi-presidential variant (France). Second, majoritarian democracies in the Westminster style for instance in Canada, France, Great Britain, Japan, and the United States; and consociational democracies, e.g. the Netherlands. And third, a mixture of both types in the cases of Denmark and Germany.
The three research questions help structuring the contributions on MD written by experts who base their analyses on sources in the individual language of the country examined.
The comparative approach as a whole demonstrates: The collective findings reveal much more than the particular results and insights of individual case studies despite their empirical richness. This is the major added value of this comparative research design, as the following presentation of seven major findings will show (this approach will also generate new research questions and perspectives). The downside of this bundling of results is that I cannot do justice to the multitude of empirical results in each contribution.
MD means different things in different countries. To give a broad orientation, the eight major dimensions are listed below – in one form or another they will appear in the
presentations of the major findings and have to be taken into account accordingly:
1. Views on the fate of the ABM Treaty.
2. General position on the continental US missile defence shield/multi-layered defence system.
3. The official, visible and active participation in the continental umbrella of the United States (e.g. by hosting a radar on one’s territory).
4. The supporting/favouring or rejecting of technological participation in American programmes by governments and/or firms.
12 See Arend Lijphart, Patterns of Democracy: Government Forms and Performance in Thirty-Six Countries (New Haven, CT/London: Yale University Press, 1999); Manfred G. Schmidt, Demokratietheorien: Eine Einführung (Opladen: Leske + Budrich, 1995), pp. 217-252.
5. Attitudes on the first variant of theatre MD, i.e. regional or nation-wide defence (nation-wide would refer to small countries such as Israel, Japan, and South Korea).
6. Position on the second variant of TMD, i.e. point defence/protection of troops.
7. Scope of indigenous activities, including development of one’s own MD systems, and foreign procurement options (purchase/import).
8. Export of MD/TMD technologies/systems.
On a comparative basis, the following major findings, which combine analytical and policyoriented elements, will provide bundled information on the
• state of the still controversial essential aspects of MD;
• variations of behaviour of the 16 democracies (with the two mentioned reservations);
• structure of this issue area;
• similarities and differences as regards the domestic structures and the issue of debates or non-debates, and
• major factors explaining the essential dimensions of MD policies.
2. Major Findings: The Varying Behaviour of Democracies and its Explanations – The Delicate State of Missile Defence
2.1 First Finding: ABM Treaty Termination – Grudgingly Accepted, Cautiously Welcomed, With Resentments Alive in Russia For most of the examined democracies – many of them faithful and longstanding US allies – the ABM Treaty had a symbolic and a stability-related relevance. It stood for détente, cooperation and the support of the agreement-based variant of arms control and its major achievements, i.e. accountable partners, technically verifiable and politically irreversible results, as well as a predictable relationship between (antagonistic) countries. Many of these traditional US allies – notably Canada, Germany, and the Netherlands – have internalised these norms, they have become part of their foreign policy culture. This explains why many democracies behaved as if they were formal partners to this bilateral agreement. Although the treaty is formally dead for them, the politico-diplomatic values and the thinking it represented are still alive – and may constitute a major reason (often more implicit than explicit) for a clash with the United States in other policy areas.
The overwhelmingly positive attitude towards the ABM Treaty was not norm-determined as such, but intertwined with interest-driven elements. Those non-nuclear allies were scared that a unilateral withdrawal would lead to a renewed arms race and to increased regional and global instability. For the two medium nuclear powers, France and Britain, which feared that such a race could damage their own nuclear deterrent, the shattering of the ABM Treaty implied a specific security concern. Facing a Bush administration that was determined to terminate the treaty, the democratic countries had to decide whether to support Washington’s policy or to risk a major conflict with their most powerful ally.
Canada, in geographic terms the closest US ally, was the only country that decided to give priority to the politico-symbolic ABM Treaty norm (and the interests associated with it), as J. Marshall Beier emphasises in his contribution.
Faced with that dilemma, other countries took a different course. In view of the foregone nature of its options and the asymmetry of power, the red-green Schröder/Fischer cabinet began its constant and gradual withdrawal from its maximalist arms control position, to accept grudgingly Washington’s position, as the article by myself and Axel Nitsche on Germany outlines. The willingness of the Bush administration to conclude a formal arms control ‘equivalent’ (instead of a ‘handshake’ agreement) facilitated Berlin’s final policy position (and that of other democracies such as Denmark). But the biggest help came from Moscow itself, especially for Britain, which was confronted with a US request to upgrade the Fylingdales radar on its territory as part of the American umbrella. In fact, the potential conflict of interests between preserving a co-operative treaty and being a loyal American ally was resolved (or at least mitigated) not only for Britain but for other countries by the ‘startlingly muted’ (Mark Smith) Russian and Chinese reactions to the announced abrogation of the ABM Treaty.
Indeed, especially Russian President Putin’s mild statement set the tone for the rest of the international community. 13 Putin called Bush’s decision to withdraw a ‘mistake’, and stated that it did not pose a threat to Russian security. However, this was not the real view, as 13 A collection of international reactions to the abrogation of the ABM Treaty can be found at: http://www.hsfk.de/ abm.
Kassianova explains. Faced with the American MD activities, this benign assessment was later reversed in other official Russian statements, indicating the special situation for the ABM Treaty partner. Russia’s deeper concern has been how to deal as a ‘vanished superpower’ with the ‘sole superpower’. The resentment is still alive in Russian MD politics. In fact, it has been shaping the confrontational strategy of one Russian coalition of actors; if they prevail over those groups which are interested in co-operating with the West, this could lead to complications, for instance, if Washington decides to put MD-related installations on Polish territory (see below).
Other countries were not looking back in anger, but with great expectations ahead. New NATO member Poland turned out to be the closest American ally. Following the official line of reasoning in Washington, Warsaw regarded the US withdrawal from the treaty as a necessary precondition for MD deployment which in turn was seen as an overdue response to the missile threats the international community faces. The argumentation in the Czech Republic was somewhat ambivalent. On the one hand, Prague was cautious on US attempts to terminate the treaty for fear of an arms race. On the other hand, Czech official policy acknowledged new opportunities for participation in the American project. Also forward looking was the government in New Delhi (which continued the tradition of preceding Indian cabinets in displaying little faith, or even distrust in arms control treaties).
It believed that the Bush administration (with which it shared this scepticism) would be willing to change its arms control policy in a way that would benefit India – provided that, as Rajesh Rajagopalan remarks, New Delhi could demonstrate a strong political commitment to deeper ties with Washington. Therefore, Indian support for the US position on withdrawing from the ABM Treaty appeared to be not only a good move to indicate the increasingly concordant strategic visions of both countries, but promised direct rewards for a similar Indian programme in the future. 14
2.2 Second Major Finding: An American Territorial Umbrella Has Strong Supporters, But is not Broadly Legitimised The attitude of the examined countries towards the fate of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty is already a strong indicator of how they regarded the necessity to deploy a global shield essentially for territorial protection. As envisioned by the Bush administration, a multilayered umbrella 15 would not only include the North American continent, but also the entire population (or at least major metropolitan areas) in different regions such as allied territory in Europe and in Asia.
The range of arguments used by the supporting or sceptical and critical/opposing democracies are all well known: They cover technological feasibility and financial affordability in addition to the already mentioned arms control and stability-related aspects. But the key factors are the different, in fact opposite and hardly reconcilable perceptions of the (potential) threat/risk from WMD-tipped missiles launched by autocratic/hostile states. The supporters hold that the threat justifies deployment as soon as possible. The sceptics and 14 The contentious atomic US-Indian atomic deal is of course the case in point. See David Frum, Our Friends in New Delhi, Washington, D.C. (American Enterprise Institute, 7 March 2006), available at: http://www.aei.org/includepub_ print.asp?pubID=24009; The White House, Fact Sheet: The United States and India: Strategic Partnership, Washington, D.C., available at: http://whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/03/20060302-13.html; Daryl G. Kimball, Seeing Through the Spin: ‘Critics’ Rebut White House on the U.S.-India Nuclear Cooperation Plan, Washington, D.C.
(Arms Control Association, 9 March 2006).
15 See my article on the United States in the Special Volume.
critics/opponents emphasise that if terrorism is the major challenge in the post-9/11 world, then no variant of MD provides an answer – they are anachronistic. In fact, investing heavily in MD reflects the pre-9/11 world and may harm the democratic West’s interests and security. The supporters counter with the argument that one option should not exclude the other. Based on several contributions, there are four additional major areas of
contention and political deficits:
• The proclaimed strategy of denial: From the sceptics’ and critics’ point of view it is hard to find a concrete example where MD works as a new and effective arms control concept by demonstrating to would-be-proliferators that their missile efforts are futile because of the existence of an impenetrable shield. The major examples of North Korea and Iran support this critical view. There seems to be no counterargument from the supporters’ side.
• The (increasing) strategic and conceptual importance of MD: For MD proponents the huge spending levels, at least in the United States, are justified in view of the current and evolving threat. The critics, however, point to the actual growing relevance of offensive weapons – and are in fact confirmed in their view, especially by US official policy (see fourth major finding below). Moreover, they stress that, now that Iraq’s WMD potential has turned out to be a myth, American diplomatic successes (impressively implemented together with Great Britain towards Libya) have enormously reduced (if not undermined) the prospective importance of MDs.
• The assessment of the technological basis especially for a territorial shield: From the sceptics’ and opponents’ perspective the technology is not sound. They criticise for instance that the methods of testing American MD components does not reflect the conditions of a real attack. The MD supporters, while acknowledging the merely rudimentary capability of the currently fielded interceptors in the United States, counter by stressing that the ‘fly while we buy approach’ is explicitly based on incremental improvement.
• MD as an impediment for a country to go nuclear: This would be a compelling argument in favour of MD. Japan and South Korea are the cases in point. Here again, the findings are ambivalent at best. Taku Ishikawa has observed for his country that only some pro-BMD analysts who represent a minority view have suggested that MD could be a useful substitute for a nuclear deterrent. South Korea is a clear-cut case for a strong mood in the public to go nuclear if the reconciliation process with the North fails; MD is simply not seen as an efficient option to counter Pyongyang’s arsenal. MD supporters seem not to have convincingly addressed this issue.