Posted: 29.11.2023 13:45:00

Frustration of hopes

How the West destroyed the world’s security architecture

Quite recently, one of the last international documents of the Cold War era in the field of arms control has sunk into oblivion. We are talking about the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE): on November 7th, the process of Russia’s withdrawal from it was completed, accusing the West of refusing to comply with the updated version of the treaty back in 1999, and the very next day the United States and NATO announced the timing of their withdrawal — The United States will officially end its participation in the CFE Treaty on December 7th, Canada on February 7th. The UK, Türkiye and a number of other countries also announced their termination of participation in the implementation of the treaty. And although the treaty in recent years has been more of a formality that the West has diligently not observed, its collapse symbolises the final dismantling of the security system in Europe and the refusal of the United States and NATO to constructively co-operate in the field of arms control.

Penultimate autumn

The CFE Treaty was signed at a time when the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact were inexorably approaching their collapse. In November 1990, 16 NATO countries and six ATS states, having signed a corresponding document, agreed to comply with restrictions on the number of tanks, armoured combat vehicles, artillery, combat aircraft and attack helicopters in the territory from the Atlantic Ocean to the Ural Mountains.
Since the agreement was signed by representatives of two rival military-political blocs, quotas were determined both for both alliances and for individual countries. As the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted, at that time the treaty was a fairly effective means of strengthening European security.
So, in the mid-1980s, the USSR had about 80 thousand tanks in service, and the Department of Internal Affairs could field another 12–15 thousand. There were fewer MBTs in NATO arsenals, but their number was close to 30 thousand. In other words, both sides gathered huge armies, which, by the mere fact of their presence, escalated the situation to an explosive level — if a gun hung on the wall for the entire performance, it would definitely fire in the finale.
However, the collapse of the USSR, and then the Warsaw Department of Internal Affairs, which followed a little more than a year after the signing of the CFE Treaty, disrupted the barely formed security system.
On the one hand, the Soviet Union was a necessary component of maintaining its balance, on the other, as soon as NATO emerged as the formal winner of the Cold War, it immediately began to absorb the countries remaining after the collapse of the Warsaw Pact.
The way out of the situation was to make changes to the already adopted document, taking into account the current situation. In 1999, such amendments were adopted as part of the agreement on the adaptation of the CFE Treaty, but only Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine ratified it. The remaining 30 states that had already joined NATO or were at the stage of admission to the alliance rejected the document.

Credo — safety

Until recently, the CFE Treaty was based mainly on the peacekeeping efforts of Belarus. The Republic ratified the document, and since 1992, when it came into force, it has destroyed 1,773 tanks, 1,341 armoured combat vehicles and 130 aircraft, and regularly exchanged information with other signatory countries.
However, alas, the West perceived our peacefulness as weakness and tried to stage a coup. The riot was suppressed, the rebellious crowds dispersed either to places of detention or abroad, and the country’s leadership was faced with the question of reconsidering relations with the countries that took part in the preparation of the ‘colour revolution’ and provided refuge to the unlucky rebels.
One of these retaliatory measures was the suspension of the CFE Treaty in relation to Poland and the Czech Republic. The law signed by Aleksandr Lukashenko is a logical and adequate response to the unfriendly plans of Warsaw and Prague.

A lie raised to absolute

The collapse of the CFE Treaty was only a matter of time, since other documents of a similar nature, regulating the number of various types of weapons and their qualitative composition, had already sunk into oblivion. Of particular note is the collapse of the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Short-Range Nuclear Forces, as well as the actual suspension of the Treaty on Strategic Offensive Arms.
It is significant that both agreements, which, like the CFE Treaty, were the result of the colossal political and social tensions of the Cold War, were destroyed due to the actions of the United States.
Russia’s withdrawal from both the INF Treaty and START III (Treaty between Russia and the United States on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms) was only a statement that the treaties simply stopped working. A striking example was the agreement on medium- and short-range missiles — the United States began almost openly to work on some ammunition, which in no way fit into the framework specified in the document, and when they were caught in this, they traditionally turned the tables, and then no less demonstratively withdrew from the contract.
The underlying reason for Washington’s violation of the ban on the development of medium- and short-range missiles established in 1987 was preparation for confrontation with China and Russia. 

From Nevada to Novaya Zemlya

The most troubling factor in the growing military tensions relates to treaties aimed at nuclear deterrence. START III was the first to crack. 
The reason for Russia’s suspension of its participation in March of this year was the US refusal to engage in dialogue on issues of strategic nuclear weapons. This did not cause an immediate crisis in the spirit of the Cuban events of the fall of 1962, but a certain surge in tension in the already strained relations of the superpowers definitely occurred.
In conditions when Washington is planning to inflict military defeat on Russia at the hands of the Kiev regime, and in the future to dismember the country in a series of civil wars and rebellions, it would be unreasonable to allow observers into nuclear missile sites and provide sensitive information to a potential enemy.
After START III fell, one of the last major documents was the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. This agreement was signed in 1996, but never came into force — some countries that possessed a nuclear bomb refused to sign the final document, and the United States did not ratify it. In the face of growing tension between Moscow and Washington, as well as information emerging that the United States may be secretly preparing to conduct tests at one of its test sites, the Russian leader decided to play it safe.
The withdrawal of the instrument of ratification does not mean that the Russian Federation itself will immediately begin preparing its educational explosion — as the Russian authorities emphasize, this can only be a response to similar actions by the United States.
However, everything is heading towards the fact that in the coming years we will still see nuclear mushrooms rising above the test sites again. On the day that Russia withdrew its instrument of ratification, the Americans simulated a low-yield nuclear explosion - this can hardly be called a coincidence. Moreover, the United States is interested in at least somehow demonstrating its strength, especially after the unexpected failure of the next launch of the Minuteman-3 missile from the Vandenberg base. In an environment where foreign policy failures follow one after another, this accident further undermines the position of the hegemon, so Washington can easily resume tests in an effort to increase its relevance at least in the eyes of its allies.
The collapse of the security architecture in Europe and throughout the world certainly carries enormous risks and threats. In the current situation, it is especially important to maintain stability in Belarus and promptly respond to emerging threats from within and without. And then we will be able to get through the period of chaos, establishing new connections and establishing much broader and more useful contacts than we had before the crisis.

By Anton Popov