Consequences of Breakdown of INF Treaty on Europe

Dr Al-Nasser Dreid


When former Soviet Union president Mikhail Gorbachev and US president Ronald Reagan signed the intermediate-Range nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), they were as if reading a single sentence (If we threaten each other with intercontinental missiles, we should protect Europe from our dangers and wars)! It was at the end of 1987 when Europe was ideologically, economically, security and militarily divided between the NATO and Warsaw alliances. Today, Europe has been through many changes. Warsaw Alliance doesn’t exist anymore while the NATO extended to combine many former Warsaw Alliance countries; Czech, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Albania, Croatia and Montenegro. Moreover some of the former Soviet Union joined NATO ex the three Baltic countries: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. In addition to other countries that want to join it; Bosnia and Herzegovina of the former Yugoslavia State, Macedonia, Ukraine and Georgia of the former Soviet Union. Ukraine has an important story in the relationship of Putin and the west, the former inherited all the Soviet Union expansion wishes and greediness.


Russia dominated Ukraine by the end of the 18th century. In the 19th century, Russia began to fight Ukrainian via literal, social and cultural levels. Ukraine tried to get its independence in the wake of the World War II making use of the Cesarean collapse. In the 1920s, the Soviets reoccupied it. In the 1930s, millions of Ukrainians were killed by Stalin, known in Ukraine as the Holodomor.


Five million Ukrainians were killed by the Nazists in World War II and Ukraine was dominated by the Soviet Union again. In the 1950s, former Soviet Union President Khrushchev handed Crimea over to the Soviet Ukraine Republic.


Ukrainian resistance of the Russian occupation, however, didn’t stop until Ukraine declared its independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. In 2002, the Ukrainian government decided to begin discussions to join the NATO. In 2004, a conflict that was known with The Orange Revolution broke out between the Ukrainian independence group and Russia supporters. In 2005, The Ukrainian Independence supporters, under the leadership of Victor Yushchenko who was elected later as president, won. However, Russia supporters ruled Ukraine again in 2010 and refused to join the NATO, a refusal that led to a severe uprising in 2013. President Yanukovych fled to Russia in the following year. Russia occupied Crimea; it was the first threat of Russia (of Putin) to Europe. Russia encouraged Russians of Ukraine to dominate Donetsk and Luhansk cities and declare them as independent states. After the end of the fighting through the 2015 agreement, Ukraine joined the European Union in 2017.


This condensed summary of Russia’s relationship with Ukraine was essential to understand the complications of the relationship between Europe and Russia. Russia regrets all the countries that get its independence from the former Soviet Union after 1991. Its greediness extended to the other parts of Europe through which it tries to achieve its unfulfilled Cold War dreams.


Why these dreams became reachable now, after US probable withdrawal from the INF agreement as president Trump declared?! It is well known that the Europeans feel very anxious towards the increasing new greediness and power of the Kremlin in Europe. (Thus, Europe faced the Russian trials, to break through the European security with the cyberspace hacking of the elections and poisoning double agent Skripal in London.. etc). This anxiety started in the days of former US president Obama who declared that the US to control its anxious concerning the European security situation comparing to the security of other more vivid territories nowadays ex Asia and the Pacific Ocean, known as the ‘Pivot to Asia’. The situation is turned upside down for Europe with Trump’s rise of power. He declared very clearly through both his slogan (US first) and his economic aggressive policy against Europe that European security isn’t any more one of his priorities, or even concerns the US administration.


Now with Moscow’s increasing military power, greediness and power manifestations in Ukraine and the Middle East (especially in Syria), Europe wishes Washington to stop this expansion. But should Europe feel reassured towards US last initiative? What is happening now raises its anxiety rather than reassurance. Trump’s previous attitudes disclosed his unconcern with the European security in contrast to his republican predecessor Reagan in the 1980s. If he had cared about it, he would have reinforced the agreement and put pressures on Russia to abide by it.


The consequence of the collapse of the INF agreement, would be the collapse of the barriers of the nuclear military production, an idea supported by (US military Industries Institution) and  US National Security Advisor John Bolton.


Thus, Europe is likely to be under a real Russian threat of destruction. It has to be a client for US military nuclear industries (what Trump wants). The world will say goodbye to the nuclear security and welcome the nuclear threat and deterrence theories of the Cold war Era! Finally, because of his trials to collect every penny, Trump would end his country’s world leadership and help the Cold war to return.


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