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  • Wieviel Sicherheit braucht der Friede? Zivile und militärische Näherungen zur österreichischen Sicherheitsstrategie ed. by Thomas Roithner, Johann Frank, and Eva Huber
  • Stefan Karner
Thomas Roithner, Johann Frank, and Eva Huber, eds., Wieviel Sicherheit braucht der Friede? Zivile und militärische Näherungen zur österreichischen Sicherheitsstrategie. Vienna: LIT Verlag, 2013, 197 pp. € 9.80.

The papers published in this book are the result of a workshop organized by the Austrian Ministry of Defense and Sport (BMLVS) and the Austrian Study Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution (ASPR) and held at the “Peace Castle Schlaining” in Austria in November 2012. The volume is supposed to analyze the Austrian Security Strategy (Österreichische Sicherheitsstrategie, or ÖSS) from 2011, placing it in the context of Austria’s role as a “neutral” country in European and global security.

The book is divided into three parts: The first part analyzes the Austrian government’s current concept of security, the second traces the role Austria plays in European and global security policy, and the third tries to draw conclusions and develop strategies for the Austrian armed forces to take part in international peace missions under the lead of the European Union (EU). The book thus focuses both on theoretical aspects and on practical applications of the issues discussed during the workshop.

The analysis of ÖSS 2011 in the first part is critical overall. The authors of the three essays in this part share the view that the Austrian concept of security is far too broad to be a suitable basis for a security strategy. Or, as Franz Kernic puts it in his essay: “The further the concept of security is taken, the more it loses its profile and conciseness” (p. 24). One possibility, as Carola Bielfeldt suggests, would have been to take the ÖSS as a “framework” for the planning and activities of several Austrian ministries. The resulting security strategy would have affected not only the Ministry of Defense (military) but also the Ministry of the Interior (police, security forces). However, she maintains that such an approach would have been misleading because ministries are prone to invoke “threats to security” that are actually political or administrative problems and have nothing to do with national “security.” Such abuses are especially common when discussion about a security strategy and actual threat scenarios is kept secret. As Bielfeldt states, the political considerations and background information a [End Page 235] country’s policymakers use when deciding whether to participate in global security missions such as humanitarian efforts and United Nations “peace missions” are not effectively or sufficiently communicated to the public, and thus news about accessory phenomena such as “waves of refugees” and “terrorism” are unsettling and produce insecurity. The third disadvantage of the ÖSS, as both Bielfeldt and Klaus Heidegger argue, is that it gives short shrift to “humanitarian” issues like development aid. In their view, “civilian” services and administration should be integrated in a new Austrian security strategy.

The essays about Austria’s role in global security policy consider how the small Central European country can make an important contribution to these efforts. Werner Wintersteiner argues that a meaningful “Austrian trademark” must be established for a “peace policy” that can be broadly applied. The role of the Austrian armed forces and the BMLVS in international crisis management is discussed by Reinhard Trischak and Anton Resch: Small countries like Austria, they maintain, can gain a valuable role in such operations by focusing on specific aspects of humanitarian and peace missions. Past missions, as Trischak and Resch suggest, have shown Austria adept in developing concepts for the “protection of civilians” and the training of military units of other states for humanitarian missions. Thus, the wisest course would be to concentrate on these tasks. Helmut Kramer contends that Austria should also intensify its efforts in humanitarian aid and civilian crisis prevention.

How these concepts might be implemented via foreign deployments by the EU is taken up in the third part of the book. According to Johann Frank, a new security strategy should focus not only on national but on European issues and should include military as well as concrete political guidelines for a broad security policy of all ministries...


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pp. 235-237
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