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The OSCE: Soft Security for a Hard World

Competing Theories for Understanding the OSCE

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Roberto Dominguez

This book explores why the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) remains a largely unknown entity as far as the general public are concerned, despite its significant day-to-day activity not only on the diplomatic front, but also via its 16 field operations.
While the main achievement of its predecessor, the Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), was to bridge the East-West divide in Europe during the Cold War, the CSCE was transformed into the OSCE in 1995 to respond to the various challenges generated by the emergence of a multipolar world. Ever since, the OSCE has been involved in diplomacy, empowered with instruments of persuasion rather than coercion. Is the OSCE a significant regional organization in dealing with international security? Has the OSCE been able to reinvent itself to face the post-Cold War world? What type of security is the OSCE providing to its member states? This book provides a variety of answers based on different theoretical perspectives and invites the reader to reflect on the nature of soft power within international relations.
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Chapter 1: Introduction: The OSCE as a Security Provider

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CHAPTER 1

Introduction: The OSCE as a Security Provider

Roberto DOMINGUEZ

Introduction

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has provided security for nearly four decades to 57 countries from Vancouver to Vladivostok. Since its inception, the OSCE has developed and implemented a broad and multidimensional concept of security, focused on negotiations and consensus-making activities, and adapted to various changing circumstances at an international level. Under the name of the Conference for Security and Cooperation (CSCE), the organization was founded in 1975 on the basis of what is often called the Helsinki Process and consisted of a series of conferences involving 35 members from Europe and North America. While the main achievement of the CSCE was to bridge the East-West divide in Europe during the Cold War, the CSCE was transformed into the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in 1995, to respond to the various issues challenging the emergence of a multipolar world.

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