The National Security Interests of Austria in a Changing Strategic Environment.
ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
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National interests have never been a topic of broad discussion in Austria. Austrian statehood after the Second World War was shaped externally and she had to declare permanent neutrality to regain sovereignty in 1955. The resulting restrictions by international law and the stable situation of the Cold War established a narrow framework for Austrian foreign and security policy. The end of the Cold War and the resulting fundamental changes of the European strategic environment, including new threats to international security, are questioning the traditional Austrian position to its roots. Austria now is challenged to play a more active role in shaping her security environment and to contribute to regional stability. In particular the status of a permanently neutral country has lost its value for the community of nations and limits the Austrian freedom of action to pursue her national interests. In this situation the lack of awareness of these interests leads to hesitation and uncertainty in the political decision-making process which could lead to severe disadvantages. The paper uses the concept of national interests provided by Donald E. Nuechterlein in his book, America Overcommitted, and applies it to Austria. The resulting framework of Austrian national interests provides a proposal to stimulate the necessary discussion in the public, the government and among experts.
- Government and Political Science