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The ageing EU Lady's
hormonal problems:
Human Security for Chameleons*



Biljana Vankovska, TFF Associate


* This article has been shortened and edited by the editor of this hompage 


June 26, 2006

SKOPJE, MACEDONIA - You may well have heard the old children's shaggy dog story about Tomboy, a nickname given to a girl because she behaves like a boy. It came to my mind when I returned from what was supposed to be an important conference organized by the Finish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with the prestigious London School of Economics, LSE.


Mars, Venus and chameleons

I also came to think of that inspirational analysis of Robert Kagan about Mars (USA) and Venus (EU) published in 2002. It seems, however, that the equation between Venus and EU becomes more and more problematic due to the rapidly ageing EU Lady. One might expect her to be armed with the charm and wisdom of her age, but if you want my opinion about what can we expect from the forthcoming Finish Presidency of the EU in the period June-December 2006 it is "more of the same" and the general conclusion is that EU is definitively turning into a Tomboy.

Masculinization of EU has already been noticed by a few perceptive and critical minds, especially since the time of the "lessons learned" in 1999 - the US bombing of Serbia in the EU backyard and the Nice Summit - and, of course, during the writing of the EU Treaty text.

And what can one expect from a Union whose foreign and security policy is headed by the former NATO Secretary-General? The genius of chameleonic personality of Mr. Javier Solana has already been proven so many times in his career; this time it is only completed with a doze of Orwellian politics disguised as peace-making. The new 'invention' of Mr. Solana and his team of European experts is the Human Security Doctrine of Europe. Its basic thrust is that security is no longer anchored primarily in the state; rather, in accordance with the human security concept, the focus should now be on the security and wellbeing of individuals, of citizens.


EU militarization disguised as 'human security'

If genuine, this idea would be marvellous. But its main consequence will be to promote Venus' further militarization. One wonders whether this is a result of EU's deliberate intention to manipulate its citizens or simply the outcome of its utter lack of creativity and its inability to resolve the Union's security problems with non-coercive means.

Participants at the mentioned conference talked at length about the need to develop a new specific "human security culture," but very few seemed to be aware that such a culture - if implemented seriously by the Union - would conflict with the existing militarily-dominated, state-based security paradigm and should build, instead, on a culture of peace and on the UN Charter idea of "peace by peaceful means."

The human security concept has a relatively long history but on the world scene was promoted in the well-known 1994 UNDP Report. The revolutionary character of this document - and consequently of the Millennium Goals - remain remains latent rather than manifest due to the unwillingness of states and alliances to shift their thinking and finances from the military realm to the spheres of human development, education, health, social care and the development of conflict-resolution skills.

The disappointment in - and with - the EU is of a different kind: in this case one faces a clear manipulation with the human security concept, its securitization in terms of making it an alibi for a "hard security policy" as it is called in "A Human Security Doctrine of Europe. The Barcelona Report of the Study Group on Europe's Security Capabilities" of 2004. The convenor of that study group was Mary Kaldor who co-directs the LSE Centre for the Study of Global Governance. (The report can be downloaded here)

Having hitherto avoided soft policies, the EU aims to obtain a stronger civil-military capability. According to the plan they will consist of 15,000 troops under a direct command of the future EU Foreign Minister. Does the name of "Human Security Response Forces" not ring Orwellian? Isn't it a new invention of various European politicos engaged in "newspeak" that ordinary people and even some scholars do not understand any more?

Here are some more details about the plan: out of 15 000 "civil-military core" just one-third will be civilians. One-third will be kept at a high state of readiness, constantly training and exercising together and a further 10,000 at a lower state of readiness. The idea is to realize the so-called EU Petersburg tasks through a strategy which will enable the deployment of rapid task forces in a very short period of time wherever and whenever it may be deemed necessary.

With this brilliant 'invention' cooked up with assistance of respectable experts, Finland has resolved the problem with its presidency: her main contribution to the coming 6 months will be to train those 15,000 fighters - pardon me: promoters - of human security across the globe!


Who would be concerned about our human security problems?

Here is the problem that I did not hesitate to point out at the conference, admittedly as member of a small minority: even if the European Tomboy focused thoroughly and honestly on promoting human security goals, it would be mission impossible as long as Mars creates military chaos and Venus is expected to do the dishes and clean the mess behind him (just remember Kosovo or Iraq). Even worse, Mars does not show any signal of fatigue and without a time-out he has chosen his next target (Iran).

If the EU is going to afford itself the luxury of training people for such hermaphrodite actions, human security in its true essence - such as those expressed in the Millennium Goals - will not come about through government policies but will remain a terribly urgent homework task for each of us.

Writing as I do from a crisis area - Macedonia, the Balkans - I very seriously doubt that the EU is going to be concerned with the growing level of unemployment, poverty and corruption and the simultaneous deterioration of the quality of life, education and health care in our countries! The EU Venus is busy spreading human security with her highly trained and outrageously expensive military-dominated "civil-military capabilities."


'The 'free' Macedonian media believe in the propaganda, no questions asked

Upon my return from Helsinki to Skopje, I read some 'analyses and editorials' of our pro-government media about our bright European future and imminent membership in NATO and EU. They do not seem to need any first-hand information or impression from a competent dialogues by the Europeans themselves. They trust their gift to 'read between lines' of the speeches of the European bureaucrats and diplomats, and - of course - of their Prime Minister and President.

The EU is indeed widening her horizons and ambitions; she does want to be a global player! I wonder what good it will do the Balkans, Macedonia? And how can Venus pretend to not see the existence and actions of Mars? I got an incredible answer in Helsinki. Quit a few gathered there seem to have seen the signs of a transformation going on with Mars! According to these opinions, even Mr. Bush has been enlightened with the idea of human security so the trans-Atlantic partnership is strengthened rather than weakened. Thus Mars is going to come toward and cooperate with Venus! Or could it be that I have misunderstood something? Perhaps Mars will continue taking advantage of Venus in his manly manner?


The submissiveness of intellectuals when meeting power

The human security discussions made me sad at another level. I could hear and see how even in what is usually called the democratic world, high-level intellectuals and scholarly authorities become submissive to power and bureaucracy. I thought it was a phenomenon typical only for my region only, but now I know it is not so.

Distinguished professors and scholars turned into politicos, using the newspeak of bureaucrats who provided them with generous grants in order for them to re-define the doctrine of human security in a way which would be at the same time sexy and seductive (as it fits Venus) but also to be suggestive and firm (in order to deserve Mars' respect and attention). That saddened me deeply.

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The 'brainstorming' sessions mirrored the combination of political correctness with a conspicuous lack of creative new ideas. One proposal was to establish an EU Commission on Human Security. It is important to come up with an 'innovation' during your presidency. Another 'brilliant' proposal was to revive the European Constitution in a way that would not frighten EU citizens. Again, wording proved to be very important - so what about Declaration or Charter instead of Constitution?


Macedonia to send young boys around the world to fight somebody else's war without democratic control

Games are for sure being played. But for us, in Macedonia and the Balkan region, it is of utmost importance to make human security an internal priority now. It should not be a policy that aims to resolve all the world's gravest problems. The peacefulness of a national policy is most of all tested through its humane treatment and respect for its own citizens and not in regard to those unhappy people in Iraq and Afghanistan. The main responsibility for their miserable state of affairs and grave human insecurity lies with those who hypocritically bombard them with bombs and bread at the same time.

Alas, while I was discussing human security at that Helsinki conference, my country's government launched a procedure for amending the law with the deliberate purpose to simplify the procedure for sending Macedonian troops on 'peace missions' across the globe. It would simply by-pass the Parliament's approval. In the amended law, the such dispatches will be decided by the Government alone. The de facto change is not so radical because up to now the Macedonian Parliament has far from exercised its control function in the manner typical of, say, the Dutch Parliament. The Government was elegantly pursued its own will even at expense of the respect for both the national and international law.

Nevertheless, the new change of the rules of the game will allow Macedonia de jure to send troops abroad whenever Mars or Venus calls for some. At the same time, another 'army' of unemployed people have to try to be ready to put their lives in harms way by taking jobs in the worst crises zones around the world. Who could then ever say that Macedonia is not a "responsible global player and good Western partner'?


Victims of war soils our President's image

The disillusionment with the world politics and the state of human rights across the globe is something that often makes me feel helpless but also a part of a wider critical world public opinion. For instance, I recently saw the Macedonian Prime Minister on TV speak in his vulgar fashion to those poor women dressed in black: the relatives of the kidnapped men from the 2001 conflict whose destiny is still not officially disclosed. It's the kind of scene that kills me and makes me feel so ashamed of this 'democratically elected government' that is supposed to lead us into the EU. You see him, a tall young and pretty arrogant man, his hands in the pockets, telling these too early-aged women that they misuse - I quote - "my personal goodness" due to which they could be received in his cabinet as late as 5 years after the conflict ended…

He accuses them of spoiling his image before his colleague from Croatia and sends them home. The poor women only hear this: that "time is not ripe" to tell them the truth about the fate of their loved ones. A few days later, they leave his cabinet empty-handed but with eyes full of sorrow. I feel ashamed and helpless too...Both Mars and Venus made the war in Macedonia possible, and take the honour of having created the "peace" here too. Oh, beautiful dream of human security…


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