The End of the Cold War Proves Diplomacy Can Work Today

Commentary | January 28, 2016

In an opinion piece for the Financial Times, EWI Board Member Amb. Wolfgang Ischinger calls for a modern day Helsinki Accords in order to avoid a return to the Cold War and insure stability and cooperation in Europe. 

The new world order: new rules or no rules?”, asked Russian President Vladimir Putin at his annual Valdai discussion club. It does not take much debate to work out that “no rules” is not an attractive idea. A society without rules would mean Thomas Hobbes’ war of all against all.

International rules are violated from time to time but that does not make them less vital. In Europe the rules governing relations between east and west are the 1975 Helsinki accords. The period that followed the agreement was, by historical standards, one of relative stability. Twenty-five years after the cold war’s end, the situation is more precarious. Russia’s seizure of Crimea and intervention in eastern Ukraine bring uncertainty and insecurity.

So how to restore security and co-operation in Europe? A panel of political leaders and diplomats, asked this question by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, reached the conclusion that we do not need new rules. We need to create a context where the existing rules can work.

To read the entire article on the Financial Times, click here. (Paywall)