"There are two things we will never completely understand:
the universe and ourselves. All the attainable science rests
between the two and that is the reason why we cannot find
complete peace in science. Because every serious thought
leads us to a question, leading us to ponder about ourselves.
Naturally, we can conclude with doubts or belief."
Loránt Eötvös
English (PDF - 169 pages - 2.0 MB)


“Europe” and “security” are two of the most frequently utilized words discussing international relations. Although these words may appear self-explanatory, to date, no unified concept exists for this topic. As a military officer and researcher on a daily basis I experience how the world’s leading officials, experts and researchers interpret European security and prioritize its elements differently. The appraisals, reasoning and viewpoints are often influenced by political, economic, cultural, historical, geographic and religious orientation or related factors. The basic dilemma of European security originates from this issue: the lack of common denominators and definitions affects not only the problem approach but its solution as the outcome of negotiations and conferences conducted to resolve issues differ throughout Europe.
The study LTC Tibor Babos (Ph.D.) conducted helps minimize the differences, brings opposing points of view closer to one another and brings concepts closer to common denominators. Relying on his 6-year research, through identifying the definite complexities of European security, he defines the five most important pillars. He not only systematizes the complex interdependence of European security, he also rationalizes and simplifies their understanding. In light of this thought, I recommend Dr. Babos’ book to all of those who are involved in research on international contacts and political security in Europe.
General Béla Király (Ph.D.)
Member of the Hungarian Parliament
Associate Member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences


Through this work, Tibor Babos makes an important contribution to the study of European security. Over the course of six years of academic research and interaction with key leaders at multiple levels, Babos has assessed the historical roots of the players, provided a context for the debate, and framed the key issues for enhancing the topic. Throughout the nearly 200 pages, the author seeks to challenge readers, so that they do more than merely consider this important topic, but engage in the debate. This can be shown visually on the cover page; the title is ‘Five Pillars,’ but the picture shows a façade with six central pillars. Readers are thus invited to add their own pillar, and become active participants in future security studies.
As editor, my task was merely to streamline the words and phrases into more free-flowing English. Through this process, it was truly an honour for me to provide a small measure of assistance to Babos, the NATO Public Diplomacy Office, the NATO School, as well as the Hungarian Strategic and Defense Research Center. Clearly though, all credit goes to the author. The reasoning, logic, facts, and opinions are the product of many years of serious study. And the many interesting ideas and novel concepts are a product of the dedicated efforts and hard work of Tibor Babos.
This is a book of extraordinary magnitude; the breadth and depth of the presentation touch upon a multitude of academic disciplines. The overall value is that it constructs a frame of reference for the continued study of the vital and timely topic of European security.
Colonel Kurt W. Schake (Ph.D.)
Dean of Academics
NATO School


"Take the changes by the hand,
before they take you by the throat."

Winston Churchil
At the doorstep of the third millennium, we are witnessing fast paced changes in our world. In the latter part of the 1980s, with the total collapse of the communist block, the Cold War ended, bi-polarity ceased and the realignment of power centers occurred on the basis of economic and political lines of power. The new strategic environment in terms of the European role in the political world, as well as the European order, resulted in fundamental changes.
In the midst of this extraordinarily dynamic and complex procedure, the primary responsibility of security policies is to simplify, systematize and define the most important factors necessary to minimally but sufficiently understand the current processes of European security.
This study intends to provide answers to three basic questions:
1. What are the central pillars of today’s European security structure?
2. What is the number of minimal but absolutely necessary central relationships?
3. What are their contents?

The thesis of the study is the following premise: in order to understand European security, at least five central considerations, circumstances, processes and their correlation must be observed. This study claims European security today rests on the following five pillars:

  1. Historical characteristics, traditional heritage and actual characteristics of interest assertion by European powers
  2. Continuity, changes and new trends of global and European security challenges
  3. European security policy and defense capability evolution
  4. Transatlantic relationship dialectics
  5. European integration rules




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Chapter 1


"The instinct to expand is characteristic of every power."
Lajos Kossuth

The establishment of power centers, methods of pursuing national interests internationally, and external political interaction in Europe are all governed by historically developed complex rules. The permanent attitudes of some European states and the changes of their alliances always made European security policy alternatives complex, evolutionary, and unpredictable. Today, the foreign policies of European and non-European nations differ sharply from each other. In many cases they cooperate, occasionally they do not, and the tenure of their cooperation varies in the long- and short-term. This is complicated by differing historical developments, varying economic status, other cultural and religious values. On this basis they do not maintain like interests on security problems, nor in their dealings with international organizations. European Union nations, NATO members, non-EU allies, non-NATO EU members, EU aspirants, NATO-aspirants, large and small nations, all pursue different national interests. Such goals also vary between Western, Eastern, Northern, Southern and Central European nations.
Historical precedents and current international relations confirm cooperation is established on the basis of situational, vice formal or previously-arranged factors. Numerous post-Cold War events occurred resulting in revised international relations. The development of a Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP)/ESDP is prominent. As the result of the San Malo summit, President Chirac and Prime Minister Blair made a joint recommendation for the CFSP defensive dimension and the establishment of ESDP. The escalating Gulf War II provided the second example in 2003 when another German-French coalition was established to oppose the Iraq policies of the US and UK. The Iraqi conflict indicates how national interests, but more importantly their changes are significant elements of national security policies and how alliances can be established or redefined by a totalitarian dictatorship maintaining differing geo-strategic, cultural and religious values, creating fundamental differences in international cooperation and ally formations in a relatively short time even in events outside of the European and Atlantic region. Spain is another example; at the commencement of the Iraqi military activities, it maintained a strong pro-US policy stance and contributed significant assets to military operations; however, after the 11 March terrorist attacks and subsequent election, it made fundamental changes in its foreign policies. As a mid-level European power, Spain’s example underscores how alliances are based not only on established, traditional characteristics, but are also affected by international political
This chapter contends that in regards to the formation of European security policy, the defining factor is national interests. The United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany and Russia are the dominant players in European security policy. Their significant political, economic and military strengths allow them to have great influence with regional and international organizations and, directly or indirectly, on the shaping of international processes. Handling of regional armed conflicts, along with the expansion of international organizations are elements of the political, economic and military might of these states. The extent of international, economic and military conflicts of these power players directly impact neighboring regions and beyond. The 1929 New York stock market crash, Hitler’s military expansion, German reunification, the disintegration of the Soviet Union, and the 9/11 terror attacks on the United States significantly influenced the entire world.This chapter addresses the chronological cornerstones of European power center interests and continues with examining the characteristics and foreign policies of the major powers based on the aforementioned five pillars. The main elements of the analysis and evaluation are based on the following methodologies: historical and political traditions, the outcome of their traditionally imbedded characteristics, internal and external character, behavior of these power centers in terms of various historical events, and their relationship with international organizations.

Chapter 2

"When the giants’ war ends, the midgets’ starts."
Winston Churchill
In the 1980s, the end of the opposing stance between East and West resulted in a new global strategic situation. The Central and Eastern European states parted with socialism and centralized government declaring a West-oriented social system. This tendency resulted in wide-ranging disintegration, albeit with integration tendencies. The changes in Central and Eastern Europe radically revised the world’s political appearance and the resulting changes are still determining factors on the continent. With the relatively new, more layered and unstable situation, the security factors, danger sources and risk factors were expanded and received different emphasis. Relegated to secondary position during the Cold War, the other founding elements of security – economic, financial, religious, environmental, public safety, national, ethnic, cultural and migration problems – now moved to the foreground.
Europe and the connecting region’s security is still characterized by comprehensive historical changes, dynamic reconstruction, marketing and political competition, economic, political and military integration, regionalization, localization and nationalization. The world order established at the end of World War II started to lose its dynamics during the changes taking place in the late 1980s. These new global power centers started to form in North America, Europe and Asia. The American and European economic potential played a major role in this process. Paradoxically, the disappearance of three primary security factors (the Soviet Union, Warsaw Pact and the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance) failed to make the West more secure or less vulnerable, and overall security was not enhanced. A few questions arose: what was the reason? How did global security consolidate after the Cold War? And what are the new risk factors to affect Europe’s future?
This chapter’s goals are to briefly identify the motivation for priorities, study the global security challenges and relevant international processes that characterize and influence our daily lives. The topics of this chapter are security challenges, risk factors, their revisions, and how they fundamentally influence permanent values. Their basic importance justifies a continuous examination. We will develop the effects of risk factors in two sub-chapters, from generic toward specific, followed by global and European security dimensions, concluding with a comparison of the two.

Chapter 3

"Any alliance whose purpose is not the intention
to wage a war is senseless and useless"
Adolf Hitl
Quoting Hitler can be an occupational risk for an author, since the reader might misunderstand his intention and think the author is either sympathetic with the man himself or his ideology. However, it is because of the power that Hitler has to cause reaction that these words were chosen. Had it not been Hitler, expounding from Mein Kampf, the words would have lost their weight. When one considers a new European Military Alliance, it is vital that the past is not forgotten when forging the new frontier. The thesis of this chapter is that once a military power exists, it will be utilized. The question in this case is not “when” but rather “where. “ If it is used in Europe, or the aligning regions, the activation should be in a defensive posture, rather than in an offensive role. We must not forget Europe’s past when looking at the use of its military forces and learn from the lessons of history. Recent use of the European military forces in out of area operations beyond Europe’s Borders, especially in the emerging capabilities of the Eurocorps and EU Battlegroups might have a cause for some alarm.
European integration and the qualitative and quantitative military developments to defend it brought about continental security policy adjustments and these affect EU-US, EU-NATO and EU-Russia relationships. They also influence the EU role in global politics. This chapter’s goal is to show that the more combined European approach to economic, financial, cultural, and military force will have a significant impact on European security. The European Union’s common foreign and domestic policy, integrating the EU security and defense policy and the inclusive defensive functions not only strengthen the EU but also secure a long-term global future for the Union. The most recent step in that direction was the establishment of the European Security and Defense Union and the subsequent attempt to include this in the EU constitution. The sub-chapters address the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), ESDP and European Security and Defense Union (ESDU) development chronologies, enhancement stages and alternatives. Their establishment supports continental defensive capabilities – and despite their initial phase – already have respectable global prestige, influence and project additional capabilities for the Union.

Chapter 4

"You can ignore dialectics, but
dialectics will never ignore you."
Leon Trotsky
After the Cold War, relations between the United States and Western Europe were redefined; it repeatedly became evident how the quality of dialogue between the Atlantic Ocean’s two shores impacts not only Europe and America, but also global security. This chapter discusses the transatlantic relationship’s most significant elements. It will show the rationalities and contradictions, then reasons that differences of opinion generated by the Union’s newly gained strength changes the status quo, providing opposing interpretations in the United States and Europe. Specifically, this chapter attempts to address the transatlantic dilemma through the following questions:
  • Can the EU and US foreign policies turn away from competition and more toward cooperation?
  • What are the common economic and trade goals, which contribute to stronger transatlantic security?
  • What other individual alternatives exist?
  • Is the “divisible but not independent” concept feasible in transatlantic relationship, more specifically, can the Alliance’s European pillar and the Union’s ESDP strengthen simultaneously?
  • After the events of September 11, March 11, and the second Gulf War, can we justifiably claim more common interests unite than divide Europe and the US?
  • Do Brussels and Washington share the view that stable transatlantic ties are invaluable and necessary to maintain global security?

Since the Union’s most important external partner is the US, the dialectics and quality of the transatlantic cooperation fundamentally define today’s European security. Beyond the historical, cultural, economic, trade and security ties, the EU-US relationship is also a defining one because these are the world’s two strongest political and economic power centers. For this reason, the effects of the relationship and the misunderstandings are not limited to Europe and America, but have wide-ranging ramifications in world security. In view of the aforementioned issues, the thesis of this chapter is that the three most important elements of the transatlantic relationship are:

  1. ESDP development and the generated rules
  2. US foreign policy and as a subset its Europe-oriented policies
  3. ESDP-NATO confrontations

Reviewing these three elements it becomes evident that the European integration aided the expansion of the “unified” European power center modifies the long-standing status quo and receives different interpretation in the US and Europe. In view of these issues and looking at the EU expansions, enhancement of the common European security, defense policy and US foreign policy, we can safely state the existence of a number of ambiguous issues and visualize the unpredictable alternatives and contradictions for the future as well.


Chapter 5

"Storms bear new worlds."
Conrad Ferdinand Meyer
The historically significant events of today’s Europe are the collapse of the Soviet Union, Warsaw Pact and the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, German reunification and the subsequent democratization along with the consolidation of dynamic integration and disintegration processes. In the early 1990s, disintegration attempts appeared to be far more intensive and cathartic. The latter half of the decade was more integration-oriented and became a serious issue in Eastern and Western Europe and in the US. Partially accepting the concept “integration is not only a process but is also an end state”, this chapter asserts while we review the changes in European security, we should view integration to be more of a process not an end state. This is true not only in the case of international organizations but also for some nations. The sources urging European integration are the European Union and NATO integration strategies and the dialectics of the aspirant nation’s interests.
Today’s European disintegration processes occur in a Europe free from artificial borders with the EU and NATO as the basic dimensions. Considering the former is a Europe-specific economic, social, political and security union and the latter is more of a political, security and military organization encompassing the Northern hemisphere, the nucleus of the two – based on their nature – cannot be united. Naturally, since political, economic and social areas dominate over security and defense, in the European integration process, EU membership is the primary goal. The Union’s primacy is also supported by the way its development processes, the supra- and super-national advancement phase’s implementation not only changes EU-member’s legal status in NATO but simultaneously establishes new value systems and security circumstances on the continent. In other words, the Alliance’s future depends more on the EU than vice versa. From the Union’s standpoint, NATO remains important but is degraded to a subordinate role while it confronts the Union on numerous functional areas. In the midst of these circumstances, “EU-function” is a fundamental concept.
The fifth chapter addresses the center of European integration and its requirements. As its thesis, it identifies integration as the most defining process of European security with the EU and NATO as the two central organizations. Examining the waves of expansion, effects of the integration, interests of current and projected members and the integration-induced exigency, this chapter proves that integration is more a process than an end state.

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BOOK COVER (back and front)

The Basilica, the only Classicist building in the city of Eger and the second largest church of Hungary. The building was ordered by Archbishop Pyrker and was constructed between 1831 and 1837, according to the plans of Hild József. The statues on the square in front of the cathedral are the pieces of art of Marco Casagrande.