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The OSCE: Soft Security for a Hard World

Competing Theories for Understanding the OSCE


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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The editor wishes to express his sincere appreciation to the authors of the chapters in this volume for their enthusiasm in sharing their knowledge on the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and in following the common approach of theory testing adopted for this book. Their patience during the editing process, as well as their timely response to the feedback provided at different stages of the project, contributed to the satisfactory conclusion of this scholarly enterprise.

This project was conceived as a result of the curiosity of a few colleagues to explore new avenues of knowledge in the analysis of the OSCE, which still remains a largely unknown entity for the general public, despite its significant daily activities, not only on the diplomatic front, but also in its 16 field operations. Some of the initial drafts were presented at a series of interrelated and integrated panels at the International Studies Association in 2009 and 2010. As we moved forward with the project and discussed the common themes among all the chapters, some of the initial authors were unfortunately unable to accompany us to the end of our task. Other authors joined us at various subsequent stages of research. Important interactions between all the authors have helped to clarify and strengthen the final arguments and cohesion of this volume.

On behalf of all the co-authors, the editor recognizes the important contributions of the many readers and critics of each chapter in the process...

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