Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty is another giant step backwards for global security.
Ratified by the US and Soviet Union in 1987, the INF Treaty significantly reduced tensions between the two superpowers because it “requires destruction of the Parties‘ ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of between 500 and 5,500 kilometers“ (https://2009-2017.state.gov/t/avc/trty/102360.htm#).
Yet, instead of paving the way for progressive disarmament policies, the promise of the INF treaty faded, as both the USA and Russia made a series of bellicose moves. In 2002, the USA withdrew from ABMT, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Ballistic_Missile_Treaty) and in 2004, seven new countries joined NATO, among them the three former Baltic republics. It should be no surprise that the Kremlin considers the presence of NATO troops on the Russian border as a national security threat. Since the beginning of the century we have witnessed crises and wars in Chechnya, Georgia, Crimea and Ukraine, as well as rising tension between two old rivals.
In March 2018, Vladimir Putin announced that Russia’s latest wave of nuclear installments were a response to US and NATO’s antagonistic policies, starting with aforementioned withdrawal from ABMT. Trump, on the other hand, maintains that Russia has been in breach of the INF Treaty long before the US withdrew. On top of all, China is emerging as a military superpower, building nuclear facilities in the Pacific (https://www.armscontrol.org/act/2018-11/news/trump-withdraw-us-inf-treaty)
With the INF in tatters, both sides amassing troops and rattling their nuclear weapons on the borders, Europe could once again become a theater of war. The “MAD” (Mutual Assured Destruction) doctrine has conveniently given way to “NUTS” (Nuclear Utilization Target Selection), which hypothesizes that a limited nuclear war can be possible and effective in achieving specific military objectives. There is also a big problem concerning the New START Treaty which limits USA and Russia to no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers — and it will expire in 2021, which means that after date there will be no limitations for producing of nuclear arms. USA and Russia own over 90 percent of nuclear arsenal in the world and, to make it worse, all nuclear powers are modernising their nuclear systems. (https://www.sipri.org/media/press-release/2019/modernization-world-nuclear-forces-continues-despite-overall-decrease-number-warheads-new-sipri)
We know that today’s nuclear warheads are thousands times stronger than the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Yet we remain trapped in a political framework that permits proliferation.
What we need is a nuclear weapon-free world, where military industries do not dominate our democracy. Europe must lead the way as a crucial intermediary between USA and Russia during the process of nuclear disarmament.
Greta Thunberg’s comments on the impending climate disaster are also apposite here: “We must stop competing with each other. We need to start cooperating and sharing the remaining resources of this planet in a fair way. We need to start living within the planetary boundaries, focus on equity and take a few steps back for the sake of all living species.”
Aleksandar Novaković, historian and dramatist, member of Thematic DSC Military and Foreign Policy 1
Igor Mijatović, political activist, member of Thematic DSC Military and Foreign Policy 1
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