Civil-Military Relations and National Security Thinking in Czechoslovakia

A Conference Report

by Thomas S. Szayna, James Steinberg


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This report summarizes the results of a workshop entitled "Civil-Military Relations and the Development of National Security Policy in the United States and Czech and Slovak Federal Republic," held in Prague on May 5-7, 1991. The central conclusion from the workshop is that the Czechoslovak military has evolved greatly toward a genuine state institution since the political changes in late 1989. However, Czechoslovak officials look to the United States (as well as other Western countries) for help in training personnel, both uniformed military and civilian security experts. Such help would ensure the continued successful transformation of the Czechoslovak military. The workshop occurred before the August 1991 coup that marked the end of Communist dictatorship in the former USSR. As a result, the sense of unease about instability and potential spillover of ethnic strife from the Ukraine into Slovakia has probably increased. The disintegration of Yugoslavia and the potential for the spread of the conflict have also emerged as real threats to stability in the region. These developments are bound to motivate Czechoslovak officials to continue to further institutionalize the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) and to attain security guarantees through membership in Western security organizations.

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