The puzzle of trust in international relations : risk and relationship management in the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe
In this thesis, I explore the prospects for trust in international relations. I advance an agency-centred model that paradoxically emphasises both vigilance and vulnerability between states. I argue that trust is created through the dual diplomatic pursuits of risk management (e.g. monitoring and securing individual state interests) and relationship management (e.g. promoting shared goals, institutions and values). This model is then employed to evaluate the evolution of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) into the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), 1972-2002. Despite a recent surge in the study of trust in the social sciences, trust has not been explored comprehensively in the discipline of international relations (IR). In particular, the work done in IR has neglected the kernel of trust that distinguishes it from other concepts such as prediction and cooperation; that is, the dynamic of suspension, originally elucidated by the sociologist Georg Simmel, which permits the leap from uncertainty (and unacceptable risk) to positive expectation. Rather than 'reasonable doubt', trust involves giving another 'the benefit of the doubt.' The trust model is capable of providing a novel interpretation of the history, normative declarations and activities of the CSCE during the late Cold War; and the OSCE's post-Cold War role in conflict prevention, conflict resolution and post-conflict rehabilitation among its member states. For example, the OSCE's absent military capacity (e.g. vis-a-vis NATO) restricts its 'thick' risk management competence. The OSCE's limited legal capacity (e.g. vis-a-vis the EU) likewise restricts its 'thick' relationship management competence. Nevertheless, the OSCE's confidence-building activities, combined with its role as a forum for interstate dialogue explicitly linking security with international norms-especially democracy and human rights-fosters a 'propensity to trust' upon which member states are increasingly seeking to give each other the benefit of the doubt.