Europe’s Nuclear Weapons and the Arms Reduction Treaty | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

Europe’s Nuclear Weapons and the Arms Reduction Treaty

© Photo: Flickr / EU2018BG
It is intriguing but almost inevitable that examination of so many European policies must begin with reference to the United States. The reason is that the US is majestically (and the word is used advisedly) important to Europe, and no matter what opinions may be held of Washington’s policies under the erratic Trump, these will always have influence in Europe’s capitals.

One major Europe-US consideration is the Trump administration’s decisions on nuclear strategy which have an enormous impact that will be likely to shape international relations indefinitely.

This has been examined by President Macron of France whose recent speech on Defence and Deterrence Strategy has not received the attention it merits in the US media. He delivered his talk at the military’s War College on February 7, and opened by making the point that he was the first president to speak there since Charles de Gaulle “announced on 3 November 1959, sixty years ago, the creation of what he then called the force de frappe”. The force de frappe is literally the nuclear ‘Strike Force’ (now less combatively referred to as ‘deterrence’) and is comparatively modest, consisting only of some 300 weapons, as assessed by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute in 2019.

The accord could be described as modest but exceptionally important, and has been acknowledged as such by Russia whose deputy foreign minister, Sergey Ryabkov, stated on February 11 that the country has “confirmed its readiness at the highest level to extend this treaty without any preconditions and, moreover, to do it urgently.”

But in spite of the fact that Russian readiness “was officially brought to the notice of the American side by a diplomatic note at the end of last year” there has been no positive reaction from Washington, which is disturbing, to put it mildly. Macron was right in observing that “there can be no defence and security project of European citizens without political vision seeking to advance gradual rebuilding of confidence with Russia” and he has made it clear that for the moment there is little prospect of true détente (to use the old Cold War term) because the “divide between us is growing and dialogue is weakening precisely at a time when the number of security issues that need to be addressed with Moscow are increasing.”

Webmaster's Commentary: 

As an American, I do not feel at all safter, in light of the Trump Administration's seeming to want to ignore this treaty completely, and Macron is absolutely correct to bring it up in this address.

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