BEGINNING A NEW NUCLEAR ERA ? | publicatii - Politica La Est
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BEGINNING A NEW NUCLEAR ERA ?

                                                                        Mihail E. Ionescu
 
              At a distance of several dozens minutes, US  State Secretary Mark Pompeo  retweeted  an important announcement of Jens Stoltenberg , NATO  Secretary General :
 
„ @SecPompeo
Secretary Pompeo Retweeted Jens Stoltenberg
The US and NATO agree: Russia violated the INF, and leaving the agreement is in the best interests of our collective security. Treaties are worthless unless respected by all signatories.
@jensstoltenberg
Today, the #INFTreaty ceases to exist. Russia bears sole responsibility for the Treaty’s demise. #NATO will respond in a measured & responsible way and continue to ensure credible deterrence & defence.
NATO statement: https://bit.ly/2OuadY3 
4:14 AM - 2 Aug 2019 [1]

         INF Treaty  was the main pillar of the process of ending the Cold War 1.0 being concluded between heads of the two superpowers of the bipolar world in 1987. Its main provision has been to interdict the missiles with the capability to hit at a distance  of more 500 Km. and up to 2500 Km to be deployed on the ground ( both signatories had agreed to maintain in their arsenal missiles of that range but deployed on the water. In such a way , in Europe USA and Russia agreed not to deploy missiles which will threaten each other with missiles with a range of action  between  500 and 5500 Km (310 and 3,410 miles ) , so transforming  the old continent – the main confrontation area of the two superpowers  of the Cold War- and practically the Euro-Atlantic area in a territory of predictable nuclear escalation. On that principle has been possible to advance on the way of building up a vast area , from Vancouver to Vladivostok , of common security. What has been called Euro-Atlantic area became the target of the shared/collective security , embodied in OSCE , but also in Euro-Atlantic Security Council , later on overseen by  NATO-Russia Council ( 2002, since 2014  suspended after Russia annexed Crimea ).[2] According to the competent point of view, arms strategic agreements between USA and Russia are not bilateral accords, they are of interest of the entire mankind: “We are all affected by the US–Russia relationship in its highs and its lows. Their security dialogue is a global security discussion. US nuclear weapons systems are part of NATO’s weapons systems and nuclear arms control agreements between the two states affect everyone in the world. Most significantly, any use of nuclear weapons that resulted from a conflict between them would have disastrous impacts for the whole planet. Every country, every person, has skin in this game.[3]
 

Ronald Reagan and  Mikhail Gorbachev signing the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty at the White House in 1987
 
             
What is a significance of both Russia and USA retreating from the INF ?
         On an optimistic tone, Carl Bildt reacted on  his twitter account immediately:
         “ @carlbildt
The US withdrawal from the INF Treaty should have been avoided. But important now is that both US and Russia have said that they have no immediate plans to deploy new ground based intermediate range missile systems in Europe.
1:22 AM - 2 Aug 2019 from Montenegro[4]
            The following day , Bildt return to that extraordinary issue for explaining his opinion on the matter:
 @carlbildt
Carl Bildt Retweeted BulletinOfTheAtomic
The idea of including China in a revised INF Treaty is totally unrealistic for the foreseeable future. It would have to scrap app 90% of its missile forces.
 
Carl Bildt added,
"Trump’s response—to pull out of the treaty—makes the US needlessly complicit in its demise & frees Russia from both the responsibility & pressure to return to compliance." Revisiting this great piece from Nuclear Notebook authors @nukestrat …
12:05 AM - 3 Aug 2019[5]
 
            So , Bildt declared himself favorable to the withdrawal of both USA and Russia from the INF because this is opening the way for a new INF  treaty, that time including China, the new global competitor .
              On a pessimistic tone, other experts and politicians are expressing their opinion that the withdrawal from INF of USA and Russia is opening the way for a new edition of Cold War.  Immediately, the debate between these two points of view   had begun , what being written on his twitter account by Francois Heisbourg being a proof in this regard: 
François Heisbourg Retweeted
 @Grain_a_moudre Aug 2
 
[PODCAST] "Nucléaire : faut-il craindre un réarmement général ?" Le débat du Grain à moudre d'été de jeudi avec @AntoineBondaz, @FHeisbourg, Benoît Pélopidas et @jmc_nonukes est à (ré)écouter sur @franceculture : https://www.franceculture.fr/emissions/du-grain-a-moudre-dete/du-grain-a-moudre-dete-emission-du-jeudi-01-aout-2019 …[6]
          Do we have to be afraid of a new  the nuclear  arms race  (  USA already has announced that will test soon a missile outside the constraints of the INF ) ?  It is the event of August 2 the beginning of the dissolution of strategic arms control system on the global scale ?
 
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that "The denunciation of the INF treaty confirms that the U.S. has embarked on destroying all international agreements that do not suit them for one reason or another /…/This leads to the actual dismantling of the existing arms control system."[7]
Regarding USA, US President Trump  informed with that occasion the public opinion  that  he discussed with Russia and China about a new agreement.  "And I will tell you China was very, very excited about talking about it and so was Russia," Trump told reporters. "So I think we'll have a deal at some point."[8]
 President Trump has included China in his vision for the future having solid reasons. China being outside the INF-1987 has deployed numerous missile restricted by it , USA ( and also Russia ) being outnumbered  regionally . One of the signs that USA has the intention to deploy missiles up to now covered by the INF restrictions in Asia was the statements of US  Defense Secretary , Mark Esper, concerning the event immediately after the act of  withdrawal . Being in a visit to Australia, asked if USA will deploy ground- based missiles in Asia ,  he answered affirmative , but did not specify exact timeline, types of missiles and where would be positioned . “ These things tend to take longer than you expected” said Mr. Esper .  He was careful to say that the deployment of missiles in Asia would be in “INF range “. [9]

US Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper  in Sydney, Australia, on August 3, 2019
 
What  next developments  will occur in this field is difficult to forecast. There are voices in USA which are saying  that START-3 ,  which was signed between Russia and USA in 2010 during the Obama administration – assessed by President Trump as a “ bad agreement” – and expires in 2021  is  useless . But others are asking  if the START-3 will disappear this will have the worst significance.   A valid point of view is expressed in such a way: “The rule of law in the international arena needs to be supported and upheld by all. And indeed that is what most countries do. Most countries have joined the international treaties that restrict behaviour regarding nuclear, chemical and biological weapons./…/This is a moment for the allies of the US and for those who can influence Russia to remind these heavily-armed military powers that these decisions affect us all and that the rule of law is needed to calm an increasingly troubled world.” [10]
So, to create a new system of arms control which will maintain a level of predictability in this dangerous field of nuclear weapons. It is a clear duty not only of the major actors – USA, Russia and China- but of the entire international community. Preservation of the world peace means maintaining the future of the mankind.
Former US Secretary of Defense has retweeted , on August 2, 2019, when INF Treaty became history , a tweet of the Foreign Minster of Sweden:


William J. Perry Retweeted

@margotwallstrom
 
Nuclear weapons states have a special responsibility to uphold existing international arms control/disarmament treaties. Extension of New START would be a key contribution to preserving strategic stability. A nuclear arms race must be avoided.
2:30 PM · Aug 2, 2019 [11]
             A very good point, shared by responsible people all over the world.. Responsibility of the nuclear weapons states is huge for the future after the event of 2-3 August this year. Any wrong behavior of these states  would threaten mankind with the nuclear apocalypse.
 
 
August 5, 2019.
 
[2] For the importance of INF treaty see one of the best short  synthesis on : Patricia Lewis , Pulling Out of the INF Treaty Is a Mistake That Will Affect Us All, 22 October 2018 https://www.chathamhouse.org/expert/comment/pulling-out-inf-treaty-mistake-will-affect-us-all
 
[3] Ibidem
[7] Robert  Burns ,  Deb Riechmann, US to test new missile as arms treaty with Russia ends, ‘ Associated Press’ , August 3, 2019 -https://news.yahoo.com/landmark-us-russia-arms-control-050318493.html?guccounter=1
 
[8] Ibidem
[9]  Ibidem – the most positively assessed comment to that article is th following: “ The USA argued that the reason we were backing out of the agreement was that Russia had been violating the agreement, but also said the USA was going to test a new missile in the coming weeks that was banned under the agreement. If we are going to test it in the coming weeks, you know it was under development, probably for years, prior to the USA formally backing out of the nuclear agreement. So the question arises, is the real reason the USA backed out because Russia was violating the agreement, or because the USA was and we needed an excuse to test our new missile, or were both countries violating the agreement?”
 
[10]  Patricia Lewis, op. cit.

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