Edited by James Sperling
Chapter 35: Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
The literature and practice of security governance is balanced between modes of interdependence (for example, alliances) and legal constraints (for example, conventions, treaties, and so on). The OSCE, however, is distinctly different in that it is neither an example of complex interdependence nor a legal framework. The OSCE’s approach to security governance is what has been referred to as the ‘Helsinki approach’, founded on the organization’s founding document, the Helsinki Final Act. The Helsinki approach to security governance is based on a political community approach, best anchored in the work of Deutsch (2006) and Bull (1977), but also more recently in the constructivist school of international relations where the focus is on how communities bind actors together under shared norms and narratives (see also Deudney and Ikenberry 1991). The role of the OSCE has been that found within the world of ‘norms and nannies’. The impact on security governance in the Euro-Atlantic security architecture, has been one of consensus, inclusion and norm entrepreneurship. As an organization, the OSCE is the most inclusive security organization representing 57 participating states across three continents – North America, Europe and Asia, spanning the globe from ‘Vancouver to Vladivostok’ and 11 additional partner countries (US Embassy 2011). One of the main characteristics of the OSCE is its focus on ‘common and comprehensive security’. Given the political nature of the OSCE, mechanisms of consultation and cooperation stand at the heart of its multidimensional approach to security in the Euro-Atlantic area.
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