CRS Report for Congress
Partnership For Peace
August 9, 1994
Paul E. Gallis
Specialist in West European Affairs
Foreign Affairs and National Defense Division
Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress
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Partnership For Peace
NATO's Partnership for Peace program seeks to encourage eligible states, above
all the states of the former Warsaw Pact and the former Soviet Union, to build
democracy and undertake greater responsibilities in international security. The
program could open the door to, but does not promise, NATO membership. U.S. and
NATO relations with Russia are likely to be the determining factor in deciding
whether states move from Partnership to NATO membership.
The Partnership program, established at NATO's summit of January 10-11,
1994, does not extend the Alliance's mutual security commitment to members. The
program requires that member states take steps towards an open defense budget and
civilian control of the military, and urges them to join with NATO in future
peacekeeping efforts. It establishes an institutional structure in Brussels for
consultation with NATO states. As of August 3, 1994, 22 states had joined.
The Clinton Administration and NATO's initially stated intent was that
Partnership members would bear the brunt of the program's costs, with Alliance
members contributing little. President Clinton may alter this course, however, as he
has said he would seek $100 million for the program in the FY1996 budget.
Russia will likely play a pivotal role in the program's success or failure. Russia,
a Partnership adherent, could use its membership as a step to strengthen cooperation
with the Alliance and former members of the Warsaw Pact by joining in
peacekeeping operations and encouraging diplomatic settlements of international
disputes. Some observers, however, believe that the program opens the door to
Moscow's interference in the affairs of other Partnership states.
Several east European governments express concern that NATO, by allowing
Russia into the Partnership for Peace, has established a "soft Yalta", in which
Moscow can influence their future. They believe that the United States and its allies
may wish above all to avoid tension with Russia and accede, for example, to Russian
efforts to dissuade the Alliance from ever allowing their entry into NATO.
Some critics of the Partnership program believe that it may deflect the effort to
build a European security apparatus, by providing Moscow with opportunities to
influence NATO decisionmaking more directly than in the past, and by diverting
European states from developing new security institutions at a moment when the
United States is reducing its military presence on the continent.
In response, the Administration contends that the end of the Cold War presents
an historic opportunity to include Russia in building a democratic Europe in which
major security decisions are made in concert, rather than across ideological or battle
lines, and that the Partnership for Peace is a vehicle for such decisionmaking. They
also point out that no credible alternative institution to NATO exists to insure
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This report examines the origins of NATO's Partnership for Peace (PfP) program in 1994.
It analyzes such questions as whether PfP was meant to be a substitute for NATO expansion;
early cost estimates of the program; Russia's envisioned role in PfP; and the Clinton
Administration's long-term objectives for PfP. The report will not be updated. See also
CRS Issue Brief 95076: NATO: Congress Addresses Expansion of the Alliance, and CRS
Report 97-477: NATO Enlargement and Russia.
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In troduction ......................................................1
The Partnership for Peace...........................................2
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Partnership For Peace
Since the end of the Cold War, the United States and its NATO allies have
sought means to give renewed purpose to NATO and to bring stability to eastern
Europe and the states of the former Soviet Union. The NATO summit in Brussels
on January 10-11, 1994, addressed these issues. At the summit, the United States
endorsed European Union (EU) efforts to build a security and defense identity
through the Western European Union (WEU). To provide more flexibility for NATO
and selected non-NATO forces to meet contingencies, the allies established the
Combined Joint Task Forces to perform missions in and beyond Europe.1 Finally,
the United States proposed, and NATO adopted, the Partnership for Peace, intended
to build stability in eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union by outlining a plan
for greater cooperation in several military and civilian spheres between NATO
members and non-NATO states.
NATO members began to design means for cooperation with the former
Warsaw Pact states during the period when the Soviet Union was in early stages of
collapse in 1991. NATO's intention was to address the security concerns of eastern
European countries and to assure former adversaries of assistance in the transition to
In June 1991, NATO adopted a joint U.S.-German proposal to establish the
North Atlantic Cooperation Council (NACC), a forum for consultation and
cooperation, and in some ways, a forerunner to Partnership for Peace. Consisting of
the NATO countries and open to former Warsaw Pact states and republics of the
former Soviet Union, it now has 38 members. The NACC, as a group, holds general
discussions on security, as well as consultations on implementation of arms control
agreements, relations between civilian and military sectors in a democracy, and
means to convert defense industries to civilian industries. Member states also discuss
a range of environmental issues raised by the reliance on large militaries and defense
industries during the Cold War. It has no institutional apparatus.
1See U.S. Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service. Combined Joint Task
Forces (CJTF) and New Missions for NATO, by Stanley R. Sloan. CRS Report 94-249.
March 17, 1994.
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NATO leadership stated explicitly that the NACC could not be used by east
European countries and the former Soviet republics as a stepping stone to NATO
membership. NATO wished to avoid involvement in instability to its east and did
not wish to dilute the Alliance's military effectiveness with new, untried partners.
Some east European states in particular have complained that the consultations are
often no more than seminars, and that their exclusion from NATO, in the face of
turmoil in Russia, has eroded stability.
The Partnership for Peace
Rising instability in Russia, beginning in 1992, led to renewed debate over how
to secure a principal gain from the end of the Cold War, the independence of the east
European states. Some European allies, such as Germany, have urged NATO
membership for selected east European states as one avenue to that end. At the same
time, Russian officials warned that extending NATO's frontiers to the east would be
interpreted in Russia as an aggressive and destabilizing move. In the fall of 1993,
then Secretary of Defense Les Aspin began to sketch a program called "Partnership
for Peace." Secretary Aspin said that the United States, having seen the Iron Curtain
lifted, did not wish "to replace it by drawing another line" in Europe that would
exclude Russia from new security arrangements.2 Russian legislative elections in
December 1993 made the party of extreme nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovskiy the
largest in the Duma. The strong popular support for Zhirinovskiy stirred the debate
over whether a future government in Moscow might return to imperialist policies,
and over possible NATO initiatives to forestall such policies.
At the Brussels summit of January 10-11, 1994, NATO members endorsed the
Partnership for Peace and opened the program to all NACC members as well as to
"other CSCE countries able and willing to contribute...." The Partnership's purpose
is to strengthen NATO's "ties with the democratic states to [the] East." Under the
plan, NATO will not extend Article V protection (the NATO Treaty's mutual defense
commitment in the event of attack) nor promise eventual membership to Partnership
countries. To join the Partnership for Peace, each state must sign a "framework
document" that commits it to pursue the following "objectives":
!develop "transparency" in its defense budget and planning in order for its
public and other states to understand its military capabilities;
!establish civilian control of its armed forces;
!develop a capability in its military to contribute to operations under the
authority of the United Nations and/or the responsibility of the Conference on
Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE);
!build cooperative military relations with NATO for the purpose of joint
planning and training to be able to undertake joint missions for peacekeeping,
search and rescue, and humanitarian operations; and
2Remarks by Les Aspin at the Atlantic Council. Washington, DC. Dec. 3, 1993. P. 4.
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!improve the quality of its military forces for interoperability with NATO.3
The Clinton Administration contends that such steps will build stability to
NATO's east, strengthen NATO's capacity to respond to security contingencies
beyond the Alliance's mission of collective defense, and open a path to Partnership
countries for future membership in NATO. However, the United States and its
NATO allies do not view the "framework document" as a checklist that, once
fulfilled, necessarily qualifies a state for NATO membership. Rather, NATO retains
wholly in its own hands any eventual decision to invite a country to become a NATO
After signing the framework document, Partnership members must then
negotiate with NATO a "presentation document" that describes how they intend to
meet the framework document's objectives. These states might be asked to provide,
for example, a schedule for achieving civilian control of the military, and budgetary
outlays for improving their armed forces. In negotiation with NATO, each state
chooses its own pace for reaching agreed objectives; each "presentation document"
will therefore be different.
NATO has established a barebones institutional apparatus to link Partnership
members to NATO. Partnership states may send a liaison officer at the level of
colonel to a planning cell at SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters, Allied Powers Europe)
in Mons, Belgium, and a political representative to NATO offices in Brussels.
Responsibilities of the planning cell representative might include, for example,
arranging the attachment of some of a country's forces to Combined Joint Task
By August 3, 1994, 22 countries had joined the Partnership.4 Some countries
that have joined, such as Sweden and Finland, have limited objectives and do not
intend to use the program as a path to NATO membership, but rather as a cooperative
venture with NATO in training for peacekeeping operations. Others, including most
east European states, view the program as a step to reach NATO membership.5
Joint exercises of willing Partnership states will begin in September with an
exercise in Poland. A range of additional exercises has been planned for the rest of
1994 and 1995.
At the creation of Partnership for Peace, NATO members expressed an intention
to keep Alliance costs minimal in the program. The likely heavy expense of bringing
new members' militaries to standards near those of NATO is one factor serving as an
impediment to expansion of the Alliance. U.S. officials have estimated that NATO's
1994 costs for the program will be $14 million, with the United States absorbing one-
criticize Serb leaders after they rejected the proposed settlement.9 While some U.S.
and EU officials believe that Russia will ultimately press the Serbs to accept the
settlement, other observers saw the Russian stance as an indication of Moscow's
intention to back brethren Slavs against Muslim forces. In the larger picture, it is
possible that Russia will selectively utilize its newly found inclusion in western
"institutions" such as the contact group to back a potential client, rather than pursuing
a solution deemed equitable and achieved through consensus.
The Administration has altered its position towards Russia as the government
of Boris Yeltsin has voiced a right to influence the policies of states in the Russian
"near abroad" (the former republics of the Soviet Union). In February 1994,
Secretary of Defense William Perry said that Partnership for Peace could be used to
form "a protective grouping against Russia if things go wrong in Moscow." Russia
should pursue legitimate concerns on its borders, but not "by relying on the old
Soviet practices of intimidation and domination...."10
The NATO states are sorting through Moscow's policies towards the "near
abroad" in an effort to determine allied courses of action that will nurture the Russian
reform movement and deflect the Yeltsin government and its successors from
aggressive steps towards its neighbors. Some observers believe that Russia will not
relinquish longstanding efforts to manage former Soviet republics and parts of
eastern Europe as spheres of influence. This view holds that some Russians believe
that their country was politically and militarily diminished by the break-up of the
Soviet empire. The Russian center of that empire was confident and assured in
dealing with European states when it held European peoples, such as the Balts, under
its wing, or with central Asian states such as Turkey and Iran when it controlled
republics such as Georgia and Turkmenistan. In this view, the logical continuation
of such policies today is to exercise influence over European and central Asian
regions that have escaped Moscow's direct control in the last several years.11
Russia's new (post-Cold War) military doctrine emerged in late 1993. Its
postulates include maintaining influence over the "near abroad". Russia has sent its
armed forces into several former central Asian republics for "peacekeeping"
purposes. Russian forces back compliant, conservative regimes in countries such as
Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan.12 In Georgia, Russian forces, after aiding
rebels against the Tblisi government, ultimately rescued the regime in power. Russia
has now established military bases there. In an evident effort to win legitimacy for
the policy of placing forces in former republics, Moscow has attempted to gain
9U.S. Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service. Yugoslav Crisis and U.S.
Policy, by Steven J. Woehrel and Julie Kim. Issue Brief 91089, regularly updated.
10Cited in NATO Peace Partnership’s New Look: A Protective Shield Against Moscow.
Washington Post (WP). February 8, 1994. P. A11.
11Marie Mendras, La Russie cherche-t-elle à reconquérir l’empire? Relations internationales
et stratégiques. Spring 1994. P. 71-72.
12See Library of Congress. CRS. Russia’s Emerging Foreign and Defense Policy, by Stuart
D. Goldman. Report 94-493F. June 8, 1994. P. 2-5.
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recognition of such forces by the UN and the Conference on Security and
Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) as working in "peacekeeping" operations. Russia has
invited the United States and other western countries to join with it in such
operations. These countries have declined the offer. On July 21, 1994, the United
States and several of its allies sponsored a UN resolution, which passed, approving
the Russian deployment in Georgia; the resolution also provided for the presence of
UN observers to monitor the activities of the Russian troops.13
Russia has warned that NATO must not seek to exert influence in the former
Soviet empire. Its new military doctrine states that the placing of foreign troops in
states adjacent to Russia would constitute an "immediate threat."14 A member of
Yeltsin's Presidential Council charged in June 1994 that the United States was using
NATO to "preserve and consolidate its military and political leadership in Europe."
The Partnership program, "with the ultimate goal of restricting and disciplining
Russia itself," was but a means to this end.15 Russian officials often describe NATO
in geostrategic terms: the existence of NATO forces in new states, they contend,
would represent an extension of the use of resources, such as railroads, airfields, and
ports, all able to contribute to NATO's military strength and to diminish Russian
influence in Europe.16
Russia's interest in Partnership for Peace and eventual membership in NATO
has ebbed and flowed. Moscow several times delayed application for Partnership
status. Some Russian officials say that Russia wishes to become integrated in
Europe; the country could benefit from greater access to European and U.S. markets,
and progress in political reform would be more likely with increased exposure to
open political systems. In this view, Russian exclusion from NATO would lead to
a sense that the West seeks to isolate Russia should countries such as Poland or the
Baltic states eventually gain entry.
In the negotiating process leading to Russia's entry into the Partnership, some
Russian officials characterized the program as an affront to Russia. They contended
that NATO should give Russia a special status and consult Moscow as an equal on
all major security issues in Europe. NATO must treat Russia as a "great power"
having the right to influence the affairs of unstable states on its borders in order to
protect its own interests. Some western officials present during the negotiations
compared Russian negotiating style to the heavy-handed tactics common during the
Soviet era, and discerned a pejorative tone towards Russia's former Warsaw Pact
allies. One observer characterized the Russian attitude at the discussions: "Russia
wished not to be treated as a little country from eastern Europe having vulgar quarrels
over the backyard fence with its neighbors, or as a protagonist of instability, but
13UN endorses Russian troops for peacekeeping in Caucasus. New York Times. July 22,
1994. P. A2.
rather as a power acting to guarantee order."17 In the Russian view, the Partnership
program instead treats Russia as inferior, requiring Moscow to jump through political
hoops to attain Western standards.18 Some observers believe that this stance by the
Yeltsin government reflects an effort to mollify the nationalist wing of the Duma.
Russia joined the Partnership for Peace on June 22, 1994. NATO states agreed
to consult with Russia on major issues such as proliferation and the conflict in the
former Yugoslavia, but did not give Moscow a right of review over NATO decision-
making. The Alliance and Russia agreed to "a broad, enhanced dialogue and
cooperation in areas where Russia has unique and important contributions to make,
commensurate with its weight and responsibility as a major European, international
and nuclear power...."19 Secretary of State Warren Christopher described the
agreement as one promising "Sixteen plus one" discussions between NATO and
Russia, but he denied that such an arrangement gives Russia a higher status than that
of other signatories. He reiterated earlier U.S. strictures for improved relations
between NATO and Russia:
European stability depends on respecting the sovereignty, independence, and
territorial integrity of all the states that emerged from the Soviet empire. We
recognize Russia's legitimate concerns in this region, but we have made it clear
that no country has a right to assert a role that is inconsistent with international
East European states opposed inclusion of Russia in the Partnership program
and continue to oppose its possible inclusion in NATO. Some officials of east
European governments contend Russia will enjoy a special status that amounts to a
"soft Yalta," a reference to the allied powers' meeting near the end of the Second
World War where, in the absence of east European representatives, decisions were
made contributing to the post-war division of Europe. In this view, NATO is
allowing Moscow to drive Western policy on expansion of the Alliance, and
signalling Russia that it may pursue a policy of intimidation towards its former
Warsaw Pact allies if it so desires. Elements of the German government are
sympathetic to these east European views. Some German officials, concerned that
turmoil in eastern Europe will bring a flow of refugees and possible instability on its
own soil, advocate a rapid pace of NATO expansion that will include some east
European states and exclude Russia. Several east European leaders believe that their
countries embrace Western values and should be admitted to NATO now. NATO's
mutual defense guarantee, in their view, would provide the stability necessary to
17Daniel Vernet. La Russie veut faire reconnaître son statut de grande puissance, Le Monde.
May 24, 1994. P. 1.
18See, for example, Yeltsin Vents Anger at NATO, WP, April 13, 1994; Vladimir Lukin, No
More Delusions, WP, April 3, 1994.
19Summary of Conclusions. NATO. Brussels. June 22, 1994. P. 1.
20Christopher intervention in the NAC. NATO press release. Istanbul. June 9, 1994. P. 5.
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attract foreign investment, promote economic growth, and build democratic
structures; NATO's reluctance to provide a shield is a signal that Moscow may
interfere in their affairs and thereby impede the path to free markets and democracy.
Some critics of Partnership for Peace believe that the program is a de facto
recognition of Russian influence in eastern Europe. One observer contends that the
program "retards rather than reinforces European unity" by keeping east European
states at arms' length; its seeming promise of security through eventual membership
in NATO masks an unwillingness of the United States and west European NATO
members to come to the aid of east European states in the event of a crisis. In so
doing, it deflects European states from the task of building their own effective
security apparatus and, more specifically, east European states from strengthening
such political building blocks as the Visegrad group.21
U.S. interests beyond eastern Europe are also at issue. For example, the United
States wishes to see democracy take root in Ukraine as a step towards providing
stability on Russia's borders and building a state close to the West that abjures the
maintenance and use of nuclear weapons. Ukraine is a member of Partnership for
Peace. Some Ukrainian officials believe that inclusion of east European states in
NATO and exclusion of Ukraine would isolate Kiev under Russian influence. Many
officials in NATO countries believe that geography and Russia's traditional interests
in Ukraine, and the Baltic states (also Partnership members), make the ultimate
inclusion of these states in NATO unlikely.
On July 1, 1994, Senators Hank Brown and Paul Simon offered an amendment
to the FY1995 appropriations for Foreign Operations bill (H.R. 4426) that would
allow the President to transfer excess, non-lethal defense articles under the Foreign
Assistance Act of 1961 to Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. The
Administration had wished to delete references to specific countries that excluded
other Partnership members, including Russia. The conference committee dropped
the amendment and made a step in the Administration's direction by referring instead
to countries "like Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic." The conferees urged
the Administration "to submit legislation consistent with the security interests of the
United States" that would make non-lethal defense articles available to such
countries. However, they underscored the intention of the original Brown-Simon
amendment "to send a clear, unambiguous signal to the nations of Central and
Eastern Europe that are making swift progress to establish democratic institutions...
that their security and stability is of great importance to the United States."22
21Hugh De Santis. Romancing NATO: Partnership for Peace and East European Stability.
Draft of July 1994 supplied by the author.
22Congressional Record (CR), Amendment No. 2152, July 1, 1994. P. S8408; R. Evans and
R. Novak. ...And Support for Poland. WP. July 4, 1994. P. A19; for the statement of the
conference committee, see CR, Aug. 1, 1994. P. H6498.
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Congress has had no formal role in the creation of the Partnership program.
Should the Clinton Administration or a succeeding administration seek to enlarge
NATO, Article Eleven of the North Atlantic Treaty states that each NATO member
must follow its normal procedures for ratification of treaties to revise the existing
treaty and admit new members.
Developments in Russia, together with U.S. and NATO policy towards
Moscow, are likely to determine the course of the Partnership for Peace program.
Today, no European NATO ally favors eventual Alliance membership for Russia,
although U.S. officials have left the door open to Russia's possible entry. If Russia
follows an evolutionary path towards democracy and adheres to a moderate foreign
policy, then eventual NATO membership for east European states could contribute
to building a zone of prosperity and stability to Russia's west, a development that
could further stability in Russia itself as well as promote its inclusion in a European
political framework. Turmoil in Russia, threatening to spill over into neighboring
countries, could erode stability in eastern Europe and make some NATO states shy
away from extending the security guarantee that NATO membership would carry.
Other NATO states may draw a different conclusion and see NATO's expansion as
a way to forestall the spread of instability beyond Russia's borders.
Partnership for Peace could play a political role as well. The program could
provide time for east European leaders to demonstrate that they can contain ethnic
conflict, move forward to build more tolerant, democratic societies, and develop
productive, competitive economies. Cooperative peacekeeping efforts in the program
could provide an opportunity for them to convince NATO publics that their countries
can make contributions to European and global security. In such circumstances, they
could strengthen their appeal for NATO membership.
But there is also the possibility that Partnership for Peace contributes to the
redrawing of the map of Europe in ways unfavorable to U.S. interests and those of
Europeans, east and west. If Russia uses its inclusion in the program, and, for
example, in CSCE, or in the "contact group" on the former Yugoslavia, to exert its
influence to keep states under its political sway or to deflect NATO from a desired
course, then "new lines" reminiscent of the old lines of the Cold War could be drawn
again. The stated U.S. policy of preventing the development of new spheres of
influence in Europe will have failed. Partnership for Peace opens the door to a
Russian role in possible NATO peacekeeping and diplomatic efforts beyond the
NATO Treaty area, and therefore in building European security. Should Moscow
choose a narrow defense of Russian interests in such a role, the Partnership program
could well erode efforts to build that security apparatus.
Quite apart from Russia's role in European security, the United States and its
allies continue to grope for a clear mission for NATO. The Alliance remains
unwilling to assure stability beyond the current Treaty area. Unless NATO's mission
is further clarified, the Partnership program remains only a first, tentative step by the
Alliance to assume greater responsibility for European security
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