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Delegation to Treaty Bodies and International Organizations for Conventional Arms Control Agreements in Europe

A Sum Score Evaluation

In: Global Governance: A Review of Multilateralism and International Organizations
Author:
William Lippert Leiden University Institute of Security and Global Affairs The Hague The Netherlands

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Abstract

What is the effect of delegation to an agreement executor, such as an international organization (IO), on the success of conventional arms control (CAC) agreements in Europe? Arms control agreements have taken different approaches to delegation. The extent of state delegation to treaty executors has ranged from nonexistent to substantial. Previous studies have not looked at delegation as an independent variable of CAC agreement success. This article applies a sum score methodology assessing nine variables in a dataset of nineteen CAC agreements in Europe over the past 100 years. There is a low correlation between delegation and CAC agreement success, though the data suggests that third-party state and IO involvement are the most significant variables related to success. This article proposes that high delegation to an IO with third-party state participation will increase the likelihood that a future CAC agreement between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Russia could succeed.

1 Introduction

Russia’s June 2023 withdrawal from the 1990 Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty amidst the Russo-Ukraine War followed a century of conventional arms control (CAC) agreements in Europe, some of which have been successful, some of which have failed, and others that fall somewhere in between. One of the CFE Treaty’s core characteristics was minimal delegation to a treaty executor and no third-party state involvement, which contrasts with other, successful CAC agreements in Europe. This raises the question of whether certain agreement1 traits contribute to the likelihood of success. Or, how does delegation to an agreement executor affect the outcomes of conventional arms control agreements involving Europe, and are certain delegation approaches more successful than others?

I answer these questions by identifying and analyzing delegation by disaggregating it into component variables relevant to CAC and using these to assess the different approaches to CAC agreement execution. In the empirical part of this article, I introduce a novel dataset of Europe-focused CAC agreements that have entered into force and I employ a sum score methodology to measure the level of delegation of CAC agreements from the end of World War I to the present (see Table 1). This scoring facilitates agreement comparison relative to the dependent variable, agreement success. To elaborate on the sum score approach to measure delegation, two case studies are offered in the Supplementary Information. In sum, while overall delegation is only weakly correlated with agreement outcome, there is a strong relationship between the presence of third-party states and success, and international organizations (IO s) and success.

The question of CAC agreement institutional design and concomitant delegation may become urgent when (assuming) the Russo-Ukraine War ceases or ends altogether.2 Interstate conflicts may cease with a temporary cease-fire or more permanent settlement, but both situations often involve agreements, many of which incorporate CAC measures.3

2 CAC Agreements and Their Delegation Approaches

This article focuses on adversarial conventional arms control agreements between geopolitical, interstate rivals and which impose limits, restrictions, or prohibitions on conventional weapon systems such as tanks, aircraft, and artillery; fortifications; troop locations; and specified military activities focused on Europe. A CAC agreement may differ in its level of delegation based on many factors such as the extent to which third parties and IO s are involved and how much autonomy the agreement executor has from states parties. A CAC agreement with no delegation might not significantly change how states parties interact, while a heavily delegated CAC agreement could create a new network and system of relations between states parties to ensure compliance.

High delegation might contribute to successful CAC agreements in a number of ways: an agreement executor to which high levels of authority are delegated, especially an IO,4 can serve as a neutral collector, assessor, and distributor of information, which in turn can increase confidence and security obtained through transparency; provide a formal and possibly objective mechanism(s) to resolve agreement disputes; neutrally implement and enforce the agreement; and increase the diplomatic and reputational costs of defection. Thus, this article hypothesizes that higher levels of CAC agreement delegation to an agreement executor increase the likelihood that agreements will succeed.

CAC agreement implementation bodies come in two forms: agreement bodies and IO s. Agreement bodies, such as the CFE Treaty’s Joint Consultative Group (JCG), are permanent entities created by the agreement, whose activity is done through meetings of state representatives, with no standing staff or headquarters. Thus, they are formal and legal entities, but have minimal agency. IO s, in contrast, are permanent and have their own staff who, in full or part, work for the organization’s interest rather than that of a state. For simplicity, these two types of bodies are referred to collectively in this article as agreement executors.

The role of agreement executors in any CAC agreement is primarily determined by the agreement’s text, which itself is drafted and signed by states parties, and sometimes results in the creation of an IO.

An IO’s power and influence is directly related to what Robert L. Brown, Erik Voeten, and others refer to as delegation from Member States;5 and although their work focuses on formal IO s, the concepts apply similarly to other formal, treaty-established agreement executors such as the CFE’s JCG. Delegation is the overarching term that encapsulates how and to what extent states grant IO s authority in the principle-agent relationship, with states being the principles and IO s being the agents of their policies. In determining how much Member States have delegated powers to an IO, Brown6 quantitatively assesses the level of delegation based on three categories: agent services, agent resources, and agent autonomy. As Ranjit Lall discusses, states, when considering the role of IO s in CAC agreements, determine to what extent the IO should be independent at the cost of state sovereignty and loss of state control7 while Liesbet Hooghe and Gary Marks refer to the provision of joint decisionmaking authority to an IO as pooling. Retaining sovereignty comes at the cost of also permitting other states parties to retain sovereignty.8 In practice this means that, for example, if one state party has a veto on decisions, this veto right will also be given to some, or all, other states parties. In contrast, surrendering a veto means that an IO’s decisions can be contrary to a state party’s policies or a state party’s policies can be adopted by an IO more easily.9

Delegation is manifested in a number of ways, including through an IO’s authority to set agendas, the expertise of its staff, its ability to interpret legal texts and policies, its resourcing and possession of capabilities, and its possession of unique information.10 Kenneth W. Abbott and Duncan Snidal state that “high delegation in the context of a multilateral agreement would mean vesting decision-making authority in a third party institution with strong adjudicative capacity or independent administrative power”11 and where an IO can employ a number of tactics to maximize its authority, even in opposition to states parties.12 IO s are thus an important, though not necessary, tool for states to successfully implement CAC agreements. Abbott and Snidal13 also identify delegation as one of the three primary variables of formal, international agreements.14

Independent IO s with high delegation convey several advantages for states parties and CAC agreements, depending on the agreement’s purpose. As Kenneth W. Abbott notes, IO s may serve as a neutral collector and provider of information and may share this with the general public or neutral states.15 IO s may be more impartial, and thus less “likely to seek collateral intelligence, and less of an intrusion on national sovereignty than monitoring by other states.”

3 Sum Scoring Methodology

This article uses a sum score methodology to assess the variables that compose delegation and then measure the extent of delegation, based on the sum of the variables. Sum score methodology is a widely used approach in health sciences, particularly in psychology. A sum score methodology is based on assessing individual questions of variables, and then adding them up. The sums result in a score, or multiple scores, that can be compared within an overall test, between subjects or between sets. The scores can be averaged (mean) to simplify comparisons and assessments.

As Peter Adriaan Edelsbrunner states, sum scores “include the statistical and conceptual simplicity of building such a score: building a sum score does not require setting up an elaborate statistical model.”16 Typically, psychology researchers have to deal with large n (over 1,000) population. Sum score methods can simplify assessments of tests and subjects. There are many examples of sum score tests and subsequent studies. The Hamilton rating scale for depression is “one of the most commonly used depression measures in clinical practice,”17 and adds up responses from seventeen items with more points indicating higher levels of depression.18 Another example is Thomas Stochl et al., who analyze two sum score-based anxiety and depression tests that use the mean scores of each test to assess the impact of counseling appointments.19 Sum score tests such as the Fatigue Assessment Scale (FAS) or the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionaire-30 (EORTC QLQ-C30) quality of life test for cancer patients can also simplify diagnoses and follow-up action for clinicians. Richard Whittington et al. use sum score means to compare mental health tests from subjects in four countries.20

A key aspect of accurate sum score-based tests and studies is unidimensionality, which means that each item in a sum score test or evaluation is independent of each other item; that is, the items do not substantially influence one another and can have any value regardless of other items’ the values. As Moritz Heene, Andrew Kyndon, and Sckopke state, “Unidimensionality must hold before … a total score is calculated. … Violation of unidimensionality may bias item and … estimates and will result in wrong conclusions about the nature of latent traits.”21 In this study, I have attempted to ensure unidimensionality of the nine variables through careful consideration and assessment of the theory, application, and history of CAC agreement implementation while acknowledging that the nine independent variables may likely possess some causal relationships.

4 Case Selection

There are several different types of arms control agreements, including universal (humanitarian), nonproliferation, and export. In this article, I focus on adversarial conventional arms control agreements that entered into force between geopolitical, interstate rivals and that impose limits, restrictions, or prohibitions on conventional weapon systems such as tanks, aircraft, and artillery; fortifications; troop locations; and specified military activities.22

The focus in this study is on CAC agreements in Europe, which not only narrows the scope of the agreements considered but does so based on the notion that historical experiences and institutions in Europe, especially in CAC, are most relevant to any future CAC agreement. For example, a future agreement will likely involve the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the European Union (EU), and possibly the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)—all institutions based in Europe. NATO and the OSCE were created, along with several CAC agreements considered in this article, in part to deal with the NATO-Warsaw Treaty Organization (WTO) rivalry—a competition in which the Russo-Ukraine War has roots.23 As Thomas Sommerer and Jonas Tallberg note, international organizations working in the same domain in the same region develop relationships and cooperation, in part due to similar cultures; and that organizations with similar mandates but in different regions do not cooperate in the same way.24

Nineteen CAC agreements and other agreements or sets of agreements that entered into force, which have a substantial CAC element in Europe from 1918 to present, form a dataset in which nine variables are considered (see Table 1). Several judgments were made in the case selection and how they are counted and consolidated such as grouping together the postconflict agreements for World War I and II into one case each.25 The first is that several of the World War I and II agreements were grouped together because they are similar and were signed in the same period in comparable geopolitical circumstances. Several of the 1919–1920 post-World War I peace agreements with Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, and Hungary, as well as the post-World War II agreements with the defeated Axis states are treated as one as they are identical from a delegation perspective.26 Moreover, within the post-World War I treaties, at least three separate IO s were created for each country, but these are similar enough so that they can be treated as one for analytical purposes. Second, some agreements were not included because of exceptionally short duration and they were nullified due to the geopolitical situation outside of the signatories’ control (e.g., the 1918 Treaty of Brest-Litovsk between Germany and Russia, which was irrelevant within a year and nullified due to Germany’s defeat).

Table 1

Conventional Arms Control (CAC) agreement dataset, delegation scores, and success scores

Agreement

Year

Mandate modification

Governance independence

Staff independence

Assessment independence (of the governing body)

Enforcement authority

Agent resources

Monitoring

On-site inspection (by the managing body/IGO)

Third-party state involvement

Total number of delegation points

Success

Post-World War I peace treaties

1919

0

0.5

0.5

1

1

1

1

1

0

6

0.5

Svalbard (Spitsbergen) Treaty

1920

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

1

Finnish-Russian Dorpat/Tartu Agreement

1920

0

0

0

0

0

0.25

0

0

0

0.25

0.5

Åland Island convention

1921

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

1

Washington Naval Treaty

1922

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0.5

Lausanne Agreements of 1923

1923

0

0

0

1

0

0.25

1

0

1

3.25

1

London Naval Treaties

1930, 1936

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Anglo-German Naval Treaty

1935

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Montreux Convention of the Straits

1936

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

1

Moscow Treaty (Finland and Russia) of 1940

1940

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Post-World War II agreements

1945

1

0.5

0.5

0.5

1

1

1

1

0

6.5

0.5

Western European Union (WEU) agreements

1954

0

0.5

0.5

1

0

0.5

1

1

0

4.5

1

Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty

1987

0

0

0

0

0

0.25

0

0

0

0.25

0.5

Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty

1990

0

0

0

0

0

0.25

0

0

0

0.25

0.5

Subregional Arms Control (Balkans)

1996

0

0.5

0.5

0.5

0

0.5

1

1

1

5

1

Belfast Agreement

1998

0

1

1

1

0

0.25

1

1

1

6.25

1

Military Technical Agreement between the International Security Force (KFOR) and the Governments of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Republic of Serbia

1999

0

0.5

0.5

1

1

1

1

1

1

7

1

Six-Point Peace Plan for Georgia

2008

0

1

0.5

1

0

1

1

1

1

6.5

1

Minsk agreements

2015

0.5

0.5

0.5

1

0

1

1

1

1

6.5

0

Third, two CAC agreements that do not address the military balance between rivals were included because they have enough resemblances to such agreements and provide important and relevant insights to CAC agreements and delegation to agreement executors because the agreement was between formal rivals and a fear of a future rivalry (the creation of the Western European Union’s Agency for the Control of Armaments [ACA]); or between former rivals and the creation of two IO s with high delegation (the 1998 Belfast Agreement).

The nineteen cases vary substantially in character, historical context, and geopolitical situation. While a reasonable question might be asked if they are compatible for the purpose of assessing CAC delegation and agreement success, there is no clear measure that should discount some while retaining others except, perhaps, the exclusion of the Western. European Union (WEU) and Belfast agreements between former rivals. All the agreements share some type of restrictions and limits on conventional arms. And although the circumstances in which each agreement was signed may vary considerably, this is also the case with conflicts for which scholars nonetheless attempt to identify common factors and trends.27

This article focuses on conventional arms control, excluding nuclear arms control agreements for several reasons. First, the limited number of rival nuclear arms control agreement parties (almost all are between the United States and Soviet Union/Russia) makes them less relevant to CAC agreements in part because—with only two parties—there is a minimal need for delegation. Second, nuclear arms control is based on averting an exchange of nuclear weapons for fear of near-global annihilation—which a conventional conflict does not pose. Finally, a post-Russo-Ukraine War agreement is likely to have some resemblance to or will be based on previous CAC agreements.

Case studies for the CFE Treaty and the Minsk agreements for Ukraine are presented, which demonstrate different delegation approaches to CAC agreements and explain how each variable for each case was scored, are available in the Supplementary Information.

5 Measuring Conventional Arms Control Agreement Delegation

Brown’s study on IO delegation quantitative approaches to measuring IO delegation serves as a methodological example for this article, identifying three broad measures of delegation: agent services, agent resources, and agent autonomy which are in turn composed of sub-measures.28 Brown also assigns scores to the variables, using these scores to assess delegation trends over time for individual IO s.29 A substantial difference between this article and Brown’s is that this article compares different agreements and their outcome, while Brown attempts to establish the notion that delegation to IO s is measurable in the first place and then he shows increasing delegation over time for specific IO s. While Brown’s study offers a framework to measure IO delegation, this study’s variables differ from his in quantity (nine versus three independent variables) because Brown’s study does not assess notions of “success” and they apply more broadly to IO s, while this study’s purpose is to analyze agreement success as a dependent variable with the particularities of a CAC agreement. Although Brown discusses IO s specifically, the following discussion in reference to Brown’s study refer to agreement executors more generally.

This article measures nine variables to assess the level of delegation to CAC agreement executors, as explained below. At the lowest level of delegation, an agreement is little more than an agreement between states that sets military limits of some kind, but otherwise does not create an agreement executor so that verification is left to ad hoc, bilateral activities, if at all.

The variables are measures of delegation to agreement executors, thus they are not measures of whether or not a given function is permitted by states parties, but whether or not an agreement executor can conduct the function. Table 1 (Supplementary Information) lists and explains the variables and their scoring range. The points were added up to determine a delegation score. Each variable is considered of equal value from a point perspective; that is, having enforcement authority is considered equal to having monitoring authority. While a strong case can be made that the weight of the variables may not be equal, they are treated as such for simplicity of comparisons and assessment and because of uncertainty over how to differentially weigh each variable.30

5.1 Mandate Modification

This variable measures whether or not an agreement executor could (or did) change or reinterpret its mandate without significant state party approval such as a renegotiation of the agreement. CAC agreements usually have a specific mandate31 that cannot easily be modified even if the states parties wish to do so, without renegotiation and resigning. There are many reasons for this, including a reluctance to permit any side to attempt to substantively alter the agreement to obtain more favorable terms if there is a change in the geopolitical and security situation. Thus, if states parties erect high barriers to agreement mandate modification to prevent one another from modifying the agreement mandate, they are unlikely to delegate the ability to do so to agreement executors.

5.2 Governance Independence

The extent to which a CAC agreement executor has any governance independence, defined here by their ability to make major decisions without explicit state party consent, can vary based on how it is staffed, its voting rules, and to what extent it may make and execute decisions. Brown discusses different components of agent autonomy, which include management autonomy, stating that “delegation increases with the decreasing ability of the principal to revise or retract the delegation contract.”32 Brown also discusses the ability of an IO to engage in bargaining as a measure of delegation, though he places it under agent services.33

In this article, governance independence is defined by the agreement executor leadership, senior and mid-level managers being authorized to make decisions about how to implement a CAC agreement such as where and when to conduct inspections; organizational decisions such as staffing and budget allocations; and substantial leeway in daily operations.

5.3 Staff Independence

This variable measures to what extent an agreement executor’s staff are independent, wherein organizations in which the majority of staff are under contract and not officially linked to a national administration are the most independent, while those whose staff solely represent their government are the least independent. Staff independence is determined by what extent staff working for or in the agreement executor are independent of national governments and represent the interests of the executor, usually an IO, first and foremost. On a scale of most independent to least independent, treaty executors may range from all staff working only for the organization (usually an IO), to there being a mix of seconded, international contract, and semidetached staff, to staff representing only their national governments.

5.4 Monitoring

States may delegate monitoring responsibilities to a CAC agreement executor. Brown places IO monitoring under agent services, stating that “monitoring delegation occurs when an IO is more than a clearing-house for self-reporting and has some autonomy to select the time (length of notice), place, or intrusiveness of routine monitoring activities or performs analysis of the acquired private information that produces new data needed for mission-relevant conclusions.”34 Monitoring tasks might include conducting open-source research, having access to intelligence, having resources to purchase commercial information, receiving reports from states parties, or performing other duties that might permit an assessment but not constitute on-site inspections, which is a separate variable. The extent to which IO s are given greater resources to surmount these obstacles suggests delegation, especially when IO s are empowered to monitor the states from which their resources derive.

5.5 Assessment Independence

One of the fundamental aspects of a CAC agreement is the assessment of states parties’ compliance. This role can be performed by the states parties themselves, through alliances, through a third party such as a neutral state, or by the agreement executor if authorized to perform assessments. An agreement executor’s ability to perform assessments reflects the extent to which states have entrusted the agreement executor, delegating it with a responsibility in which the executor can pass judgment with substantial security and political impact. When states retain assessment authority, they can weigh accusations of violations or affirmations of compliance with other issues, including consideration of the impact. If states grant agreement executors the right of assessment, they may be opening themselves up to scrutiny as they surrender a potentially important political tool to a third party. One example of complications in delegating assessment independence to an IO was the role of UN inspectors in Iraq offering assessments that were contradictory to the US assessments.35

5.6 On-Site Inspection

On-site inspection entails a loss of sovereignty because it permits another state or entity to enter one’s territory or military facilities and inspect them, potentially enabling intelligence collection, uncovering activities or capabilities that states might prefer to be keep secret, and opening up a nation’s military activities and capabilities to challenge.36 Granting a CAC agreement executor the authority to conduct inspections suggests a high level of delegation as states are entrusting another entity to ensure that agreements are being respected. This is a substantial sacrifice of sovereignty as it entails potentially increased risks that violations will not be detected, increasing the vulnerability of attack from the inspected state. When state signatories accept inspections on their territory or of their military capabilities outside of their territory, whether by an IO or another state, they are sacrificing sovereignty.37 During the interwar period, states discussed disarmament and arms control, with some states and international officials suggesting a global system of inspections. US president Woodrow Wilson, however, despite his internationalist visions, rejected inspections as he felt they infringed on national sovereignty.38

5.7 Enforcement Authority

Enforcement of a CAC agreement may require the use of military force that remains the primary domain of states, even if they might lend military forces to an international body. And it is states that violate CAC agreements by having military forces in prohibited areas, possessing weapons that they had agreed not to possess, and so forth. Thus, ejecting or eliminating military forces in violation of an agreement may require military force that agreement executors are unlikely to have and that entail substantial risks and costs, or levying other diplomatic or economic sanctions, which again are mostly the purview of states. When an agreement executor is granted some amount of enforcement authority, this may either remove the decision to use force against a violator from states, or potentially commit states parties to use force against a violator.

Thus, granting enforcement authority demonstrates a high level of delegation and introduces higher sovereignty costs.39

5.8 Agent Resources

Agent resources refer to the financial, manpower, equipment, and other resources that a CAC agreement executor may have at its disposal. Brown identifies agent resources as one of the three measures of delegation, stating that “IO s with more resources and more autonomous resources have a greater capacity to provide services and are harder for principals to monitor and sanction.”40 His measurement is based on staff size and budget.

At the lowest level, an executor may have almost no resources available, only the meeting space and the staff who attend the regular meetings as official representatives. At the other end of the scale, an executor might have at its disposal a substantial budget of tens of millions of US dollar equivalents or more, vehicles, hundreds of personnel, and a multipurpose secretariat. Higher levels of resources allocated to the executor suggest higher levels of delegation, as states parties have given the executor more tools and resources to conduct a broader range and higher number of tasks and activities.

5.9 Third-Party State Involvement

There are two ways in which a CAC agreement can have third-party state involvement. First is as a signatory to the agreement, and in this article the third-party state signatory is not imposing or joining the CAC agreement for their own, immediate security and they do not predominately favor any of the primary rival states or blocs. They serve the role of an active adjudicator and guarantor. A third-party state may wish to see opposing sides achieve a stable relationship for reasons of trade, humanitarian purposes, or to demonstrate their diplomatic influence. Virginia Page Fortna and Suzanne Werner and Amy Yuen discuss the contributions of third parties’ involvement in cease-fires and peace agreements.41

While being a third-party signatory does not automatically convey delegation to an agreement executor, this article counts third-party state signatories as equivalent to third-party state involvement in an agreement executor because of the similarities in diplomatic costs of defection, the role that the signatories can play in adjudicating and resolving disputes, and their potential of providing other expertise and resources to facilitate agreement implementation. Second, third-party states may be actively involved in implementation as part of the agreement executor. This could include being a member of the agreement executor as a state party, lending officials to the executor’s leadership, providing experts, or seconding staff. Third-party state involvement increases the level of delegation as well as the diplomatic cost of defection.

5.10 Defining and Assessing Agreement Success

These nineteen CAC agreements demonstrate different approaches to agreement executor delegation and can show to what extent delegation and agreement success may be related. Defining CAC agreement success is difficult for several reasons, and no available resource in the scholarship has attempted to assess CAC success for the nineteen CAC agreements used in this study’s dataset. A brief explanation for each agreement’s success score (unsuccessful, somewhat successful, successful) is shown in Table 2 in the Supplementary Information. Success is determined by a number of considerations such as whether the states parties went to war over the primary issues that the CAC agreement was intended to address. For example, though many signatories of the Åland and Spitsbergen Islands agreements and the Montreux Convention went to war, they did not go to war over issues concerning demilitarization and arms control in these three areas. The duration during which an agreement lasted is also a consideration, with brief agreements that failed due to conflict being considered a success, agreements that lasted several decades but ended either due to conflict or disputes over the agreement between the states parties being a partial success, and agreements that are still in force today or lasted more than several decades and ceased to be relevant due to an end of the rivalry being considered a success.42 Agreements that ended and then were followed by a conflict some years later or that lasted over twenty-five years are considered somewhat successful. Agreements that terminated within ten years due to the outbreak of armed conflict between the states parties on issues that the agreement was supposed to address are considered failures.

6 Assessment of Delegation Approaches to CAC

6.1 Overall Observations

Of the nineteen CAC agreements in the dataset, nine are assessed as fully successful, six somewhat successful, and four overall failures. Ten of the agreements were assessed as being of infinitely successful duration; that is, between their date of signature and today, the states parties have not gone to war or they have not gone to war over the subject of the agreement.43

Figure 1 shows that while the data is significantly scattered, there is a weak correlation (r2 = 0.12) between delegation scores and agreement success. Two sets of data points in particular weaken the correlation: the Minsk agreements that failed despite high levels of delegation, and the Spitsbergen, Åland, and Montreux agreements that were successful despite low levels of delegation. These, however, cannot be considered as statistical outliers as there is no reason to discount them. That is, they serve as important examples of how levels of delegation were not predictors of agreement success.

Figure 1: Relationship between level of success and number of delegation points

Figure 1

Relationship between level of success and number of delegation points

Citation: Global Governance: A Review of Multilateralism and International Organizations 30, 1 (2024) ; 10.1163/19426720-03001005

Of the nine successful agreements, seven were implemented by or significantly included an IO. Indeed, the only nonfully successful agreement that had third-party IO involvement is the Minsk agreements. The dataset also shows increasing delegation over time, though the correlation coefficient of 0.296 is weak (see Figure 2). Three out of ten agreements incorporated an IO prior to World War II, while seven out of nine incorporated an IO after World War II, suggesting that incorporation of IO s in CAC agreements conforms with the general trend of the increasing number of IO s.44 A total of ten agreements substantially incorporated an IO, leaving nine that did not. Out of the four failed CAC agreements, three did not incorporate an IO.

Figure 2: Extent of delegation to Conventional Arms Control (CAC) agreement executors over time

Figure 2

Extent of delegation to Conventional Arms Control (CAC) agreement executors over time

Citation: Global Governance: A Review of Multilateralism and International Organizations 30, 1 (2024) ; 10.1163/19426720-03001005

6.2 Overall Delegation Score Implications

Overall, the interwar agreements scored low in delegation, with the marked exception of the post-World War I interallied commissions. For example, the three sets of naval agreements had low delegation scores because agreement executors were not formed to oversee the agreements. The agreements concerning the Turkish Straits included an assessment and monitoring commission, but it did not have any inspection functions. After World War II, delegation to CAC agreement executors was significantly higher, with only the INF45 and CFE Treaties scoring low (0.25). The high delegation scores were mostly due to a combination of governance and staff independence, monitoring and inspection authority, and third-party state involvement.

The highest delegation scoring CAC agreement with 7.0 points was the agreement that ended the 1999 Kosovo conflict that created the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) and the Joint Implementation Commission (JIC), which is composed of KFOR and Serbian representatives to oversee agreement implementation.46 The KFOR mission has been successful; violence between Serbia and Kosovo has not returned between the governments, nor have KFOR/NATO and Serbian forces clashed. Indeed, NATO and Serbia enjoy a positive relationship, although recent instability between ethnic Serbs in Kosovo and the Kosovar government could undermine the 1999 agreement.47

Following this with a score of 6.5 are three agreements (or sets of agreements): the post-World War II agreements, the 2008 cease-fire agreement between Georgia and Russia, and the 2014–2015 Minsk agreements. After World War II, the Allied Control Councils and Commissions (ACC s) were created when each Axis nation surrendered and were charged with overseeing the occupation of defeated Axis powers. These scored high in delegation points in part due to their broad enforcement authority, which was granted to the agreement executors in the agreements and backed up by substantial military capabilities. This was in contrast to the post-World War I interallied commissions, for example, which could not enforce compliance but had to appeal to national governments and the Conference of Ambassadors when compliance issues arose. Assessing the ACC s, which had absolute control in each occupied state and the post-World War II agreements, however, is more complicated. Some of the defeated Axis states rapidly switched to the Allied side, making disarmament or arms control irrelevant. To the extent to which the agreements and any CAC measures, including disarmament and demobilization, were intended to prevent any defeated Axis state from waging war against the Allies again, the agreements were successful.

The Minsk agreements and Six Point Peace Plan that terminated the 2008 Russia-Georgia conflict have many similarities. Both agreements were supported by third-party states, and both had international implementing bodies supported by third-party states; in the case of Georgia it was the European Union’s Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM),48 and for Ukraine it was the OSCE’s Special Monitoring Mission (SMM).49

Interestingly, the three second-to-top-scoring agreements have three different outcomes. As previously noted, the World War II agreement outcomes were somewhat successful due to Cold War complexities. The Minsk agreements were a failure, while peace in Georgia has held even though the territorial issues remain unresolved.

Four agreements scored zero in delegation, primarily because they did not create or involve an agreement executor. All monitoring, verification, enforcement, and management activities were conducted by states parties if they were done at all. Of these, three of the agreements were unsuccessful and one was partially successful. Three interwar agreements with a low delegation score of one were successful, indicating that low delegation—at least during the interwar years—did not necessarily result in failure. These three agreements were focused on geographic demilitarization and not intended to balance military power, and they were not primarily between rival states.

The cases do not offer a clear and consistent reason why high or low delegation was chosen. Observing that the selected delegation level was done on a case-by-case basis is of limited, theoretical value, but this seems to be the case. The notion of internationalism was firmly established with the creation of the League of Nations shortly after World War I’s termination, and several CAC agreements incorporate a role for it or they involve other forms of delegation. At the same time, interwar agreements also incorporated minimal to no delegation. It is not the case that approaches became more harmonious over time either, except perhaps in the post-Cold War period. During the Cold War, two of the agreements had low delegation, but then following the Cold War agreements shifted more consistently to higher delegation. Although if the 1999 Adapted CFE Treaty had entered into force, it would have retained the CFE Treaty’s approach of low delegation. The consistently higher delegation for agreements in the post-Cold War period could be due to the general increase in multilateral cooperation that flourished in the absence of great-power competition.50

6.3 Third-Party State Involvement

Almost all the fully successful agreements had third-party state involvement, whether as signatories or implementers.

The 1920 Spitsbergen Treaty signatory countries included South Africa, Japan, and New Zealand—none of which were directly implicated in Norway’s small island chain. The Åland Island Convention signatories included France and the United Kingdom, neither of which were Baltic Sea states and the agreement assigned the League of Nations’ Council, which was composed of national representatives, the role of adjudicating any disputes. The 1923 Lausanne Treaty/1936 Montreux Convention for the Straits signatories included Japan, which had no interests in operating its navy in the Black Sea or Eastern Mediterranean.

The 1998 Belfast Agreement, also known as the Good Friday Agreement, which was signed between Ireland and the United Kingdom and required a reduction of British armed forces from Northern Ireland, saw substantial participation from the United States, both in getting the concerned parties together and implementing the agreement.51 The UK and Ireland also appointed former senior US, South African, and Finnish officials in a nonofficial capacity as members of commissions involved in Northern Ireland’s demilitarization.52

All of the agreements that were unsuccessful or partly successful lacked third-party state involvement; and the only agreements that were unsuccessful despite third-party state involvement were the Minsk agreements.

For several of the variables, there was no clear relationship with success. For example, high, medium, or low levels of agent resources resulted in successful, somewhat successful, and failed agreements with approximately the same frequency. Similarly, possession of enforcement authorization does not reveal any clear trends, although only three agreement bodies had enforcement authorization, all three of which were the result of a state surrendering to international coalitions (World War I, World War II, and the 1999 Kosovo conflict wherein KFOR was authorized by the agreement to use military force against the former Yugoslavia).53 Only two agreement bodies had any mandate revision authority: the post-World War II ACC s because of the absolute power assumed by the victors over the vanquished, and the OSCE SMM in Ukraine that was able to adjust its mandate to deal with unexpected contingencies such as the shootdown of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17.54

There may be several reasons why third-party involvement may be such a significant variable of CAC agreement success. First, third-parties as signatories may increase the diplomatic cost of violating an agreement. When one or several third parties sign an agreement, the primary states parties commit themselves not just to the adversary or rival, but also to these third parties. In short, in return for the third party’s diplomatic blessing on the agreement, the primary states parties are promising to fulfill the agreement. One can imagine that a state party may violate an agreement with a rival because the relative gains are worth it. For example, a state may violate or withdraw from an arms control agreement when doing so grants the state a significant military or political advantage or if there is a general downturn in relations. The cost may be that the rival may be more reluctant to engage in future agreements, or that relations will deteriorate—neither of which may be a major consideration if relations are already poor. However, there could be much more severe diplomatic consequences in violating the trust of a third party. These might include their reluctance to support the state’s diplomatic initiatives in the future or, even more threatening, it might push the third party into the rival’s camp.

Third parties as implementors can significantly impact implementation, as third parties may serve as important holders of information, may be viewed as neutral executors by all parties, and may resolve implementation disputes. The question of whether or not IO s promote peace posed by Charles Boehmer, Erik Gartzke, and Timothy Nordstrom is partly answered in the affirmative by the CAC dataset.55 Again, emphasizing that CAC agreements have succeeded without an IO’s involvement, and failed spectacularly despite an IO’s best efforts, this article has demonstrated that most successful CAC agreements significantly involved an IO, while most unsuccessful ones did not. This dataset also demonstrates that IO s have had an important role in “high politics” and military security, contrary to suggestions by others such as Kenneth W. Abbot, Tana Johnson, Sarah E. Kreps, and David A. Lake.56

7 Conclusion

Using a unique dataset of nineteen CAC agreements, un this article I have assessed how delegation and agreement success may be related. I have done so by identifying the agreement executors created, if any, and measuring the extent to which states delegated authority to the executors. I do not suggest that delegation or lack therein will prevent or cause war, respectively; or result in arms control agreement success or failure, respectively.

My hypothesis that high levels of delegation is correlated with agreement success was not strongly supported, with a correlation coefficient of just 0.12.

Nonetheless, the dataset analysis provides a few interesting insights, although it cannot establish causation. First, agreements with third-party state involvement in the form of being a cosigner to an agreement or an active party to implementation likely contribute to agreement success. There was third-party state involvement in eight of the nine successful agreements, and the Minsk agreements are the only failed agreements with third-party involvement.

This dataset has also shown that signed agreements that entered into force focused on or with CAC are rarely a complete failure, no matter what the delegation approach. This is not an insignificant finding given skepticism about CAC agreements.57 Indeed, only three agreements lasted less than five years: the 1935 Anglo-German Naval Agreement, which was respected by both sides until Germany’s denunciation of the agreement in 1939;58 the 1940 Moscow Treaty between Finland and the Soviet Union, which was rendered void by the Continuation War’s outbreak within a year; and the Minsk agreements, which were never successfully implemented and then were fully nullified by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

CAC agreements have probably succeeded or failed for any number of reasons that go far beyond the extent to which an agreement executor was created and authority was delegated. Agreements’ causes of success, which in many cases is defined as whether or not states parties went to war with one another, is beyond this article’s scope. The dataset does show that even when two agreements are remarkably similar, in circumstance or delegation, the outcomes can still be different. There were substantial delegation and geopolitical parallels between the Georgia Six-Point Peace Plan and the Minsk agreements, but another Georgia and Russia conflict has not erupted while Ukraine finds itself at war with Russia today.

These findings are not insignificant given that, for example, as Jane Eugenia Vaynman notes, arms control agreements are quite “varied … in form.”59 Richard Dean Burns and Donald Urquidi state in their assessment of interwar arms control agreements that “drawing conclusions from arms control and disarmament agreements as varied as these under study is a hazardous undertaking. Those historical ‘lessons’ which are easily identifiable have long been obvious to even the most casual student of arms control, while those which are mere elusive are, unfortunately, conditioned by uniquenesses which inhibit generalization.”60 Yet by using the sum scoring methodology and identifying common variables across CAC agreements, in this article I have suggested some findings concerning delegation and third-party involvement (state and IO) and their relationships to treaty success.

CAC agreements are written with specific details about their implementation in legally binding text, and states parties need to determine their own implementation delegation preferences and then agree on the approach. A future NATO-Russia CAC agreement might incorporate a minimally delegated authority such as the CFE’s JCG, delegate toward an existing body such as the OSCE, or create an entirely new agreement body with substantial delegation.61 The nineteen cases used in this study serve as examples and templates for future approaches to CAC agreement implementation delegation.

This article reveals original and interesting insights about delegation to CAC agreement bodies, including IO s, but leaves several areas of research. First, my use of a sum score methodology has not assessed the multicausal pathways that may lead to success or failure, with each variable a condition. Thus, a qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) using this dataset may provide additional insights about delegation and CAC agreement success. QCA can assess individual dependent variables (conditions) and their relationship with the outcomes (through calculations of necessity) and multicausal relationships in which a combination of conditions may have a relationship with a particular outcome.

Second, this article has focused on delegation, but other aspects of CAC agreements and their relationship to agreement outcomes of success, partial success, or failure may be of interest. These could include whether or not the agreement was between great-power peer competitors, involved detailed quantitative limits, involved a specific IO, or involved a broad or narrow geographic limitation. Here again, a QCA approach assessing these conditions could provide new insights. Other correlational studies might look at the extent or scale of CAC measures; that is, a study might attempt to measure how substantial the levels of limits and restrictions are as an independent variable and analyze this with agreement outcome as the dependent variable. These may offer complementary or new insights to agreement outcomes if, as I suggest in this study, delegation has a weak relationship with agreement outcome.

The Russo-Ukraine War emphasizes the importance of designing and maintaining CAC agreements. While several NATO-Russia CAC agreements have collapsed, there will likely be some kind of agreement to prevent another conflict that may be even costlier than the one in progress. Whether an agreement is part of a significant all-aspects agreement in the vein of a Concert of Europe62 or whether it is narrower with a focus on military forces, thinking about what kind of forces need to be controlled at what levels and if and how implementation should be delegated to third-party bodies such as an IO should commence well before the guns cease firing.

Supplementary Materials

Supplementary material is available online at: https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.25567434

1

The term agreement as used in this article includes formal, signed agreements, conventions, and treaties, except when referring to a specific agreement in which case the relevant term in the agreement’s title is used.

2

Kühn 2015, for example, emphasizes the importance of adaptability, courtesy, and clarity in arms control agreements—all of which are relevant to issues of CAC agreement delegation.

3

Reiter 2009; Tanner 1993.

4

Sur and United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research 1992 states that “an International Organization is a permanent structure established by agreement by two or more States for the common management of certain activities.” This article uses this definition for IO s although the term intergovernmental organizations (IGO s) is also commonly used.

5

Brown 2009; Voeten 2021.

6

Brown 2009.

7

Lall 2017.

8

Hooghe and Marks 2015.

9

Johnston 2017. Johnston discusses the difference between the North Atlantic Council’s (NAC) consensus rule versus the UN Security Council’s permanent five-member veto rule.

10

See, for example, Dijkstra 2017; Louis and Maertens 2021; Tallberg and Zürn 2019.

11

Abbott and Snidal 2000, 424.

12

Wendt 1992. Johnston 2017, 28–31, identifies “several mechanisms” that impart institutional power (in his book, for adaptation): convening, agenda setting, delegating, information sharing, delaying, moderating, co-opting.

13

Abbott and Duncan Snidal 2000.

14

The authors propose obligation, precision, and delegation as the three variables for assessing the formality and strength of treaties, including arms control agreements. They generalize arms control agreements as having high obligation and precision, but low delegation. Abbott and Snidal 2000, 443.

15

Abbott 1993, 35.

16

Edelsbrunner 2022, 1.

17

Stochl et al. 2022, 356.

18

Sharp 2015.

19

Stochl et al. 2022.

20

Whittington et al. 2021.

21

Heene, Kyngdon, and Sckopke 2016.

22

Other definitions of arms control are provided by Bull 1976 and Morgan 1979. This article uses a more specific definition, focusing on geographic conventional arms capabilities limitations and prohibitions between rival or adversarial states. This, then, excludes, for example, agreements that focus on humanitarian effects of weapons, export controls to control proliferation, or nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons.

23

Coyle 2022; Lippert 2024; Sarotte 2022.

24

Sommerer and Tallberg 2019.

25

Some quantitative studies of arms control agreements, such as Brender 2018, count individual versions and separate protocols of overall agreements.

26

For Hungary and Bulgaria, the main CAC clauses involved withdrawal of arms forces to their national borders. For Italy, there was a general reference to demobilization. Finland was obligated to reduce the size of its military. No specific limitations were set for Austria until the 1955 peace treaty. Germany was generally obligated to disarm. Compared to most other CAC agreements, the post-World War II CAC agreements are vague.

27

Lebow 2010; Gibler, Rider, and Hutchison 2005; Van Evera 1999.

28

Brown 2009.

29

Brown 2009, 144, also addresses the use of an additive (sum) approach and how he weighted his indicators.

30

See Widaman and Revelle 2022 for a discussion about sum scoring with weighted variables and items.

31

Defining a mandate for CAC is difficult, but in general could be summarized as the where, what, and how limits and prohibitions on forces and military equipment are defined, determined, and implemented. The CFE Treaty, for example, allowed states to designate any new models of military equipment that fell under the five Treaty Limited Equipment categories, which does not shift the military balance or the treaty’s scope. However, it did not permit changes to the geographic zoning, nor accept accession new members beyond certain former Soviet states that signed and acceded in 1992.

32

Brown 2009, 150.

33

Brown 2009, 145.

34

Brown 2009, 146.

35

Kelley 2023.

36

Dunn 1990

37

Tanner 1993; Vaynman 2014.

38

Burns 1969.

39

Abbott and Snidal 2000, 433–435.

40

Brown 2009, 149.

41

Fortna 2004; Werner and Yuen 2005.

42

Vaynman 2014, 314, acknowledges that an “important challenge for thinking about [agreement] effectiveness is determining the period that an adversarial agreement should be in place for it to be considered effective.”

43

For example, Japan went to war with several of the 1920 Spitsbergen Treaty signatories, but the war was not in any way linked to disputes over Spitsbergen or the Arctic Ocean. Similarly, some of the Lausanne Agreement of the (Bosporus) Straits/Montreux Agreement signatories went to war, but it was not over the straits and did not involve Turkïye.

44

von Borzyskowski and Vabulas 2019, 341.

45

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty is a nuclear weapons-related treaty, but the prohibitions included conventional land-based missiles of certain ranges.

46

Balstad 2010.

47

EWB 2024; Manojlovic and Heil 2024; “Mission of The Republic of Serbia to the NATO” 2023; NATO 2022; RFE/RL Balkan Service 2023.

48

European Commission, EUMM. n.d.

49

OSCE 2021.

50

Moreland 2019.

51

Center Forward 2019. The efforts to establish peace in Northern Ireland resulted in the creation of two international organizations: the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) and the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD).

52

Former deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Dick Kerr was on the Independent Monitoring Commission. Independent Monitoring Commission 2007. The three commissioners on the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning were from Canada, Finland, and the United States; while two agents appointed by the UK and Ireland were former South African president Cyril Ramaphosa and former president of Finland Martti Ahtisaari. US and Canadian explosives experts assisted the IICD with ordnance disposal, while the US government retains records of decommissioned arms available to the UK and Ireland only by joint, written request.

53

“Violation of any of the provisions … re subject to military action by the international security force (“KFOR”), including the use of necessary force.” NATO 1999.

54

OSCE 2021.

55

Boehmer, Gartzke, and Nordstrom 2004.

56

Abbott and Snidal 2000; Johnson 2014; Kreps 2018; Lake 2001.

57

Graef 2021 and Miller 2022 paint a generally bleak picture of arms control, which is not entirely accurate when all CAC agreements are taken into account.

58

“Once the agreement was conceded, it was more or less faithfully observed until its denunciation in April 1939.” Watt 1956, 160.

59

Vaynman 2014, 1.

60

Burns and Urquidi 1968, 4:1.

61

Lippert 2023.

62

See, for example, Jervis 2005 and Kupchan Kupchan 1991, who have suggested that broad peace agreements establish relatively stable political and economic relations and military balances following major European conflicts.

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