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Bye, Bye Disarmament and Arms Control
Ambassador Tran Duc Mau 22:14, 2023/11/13
Disarmament and control of both nuclear and conventional forces in the world and in Europe help to create and promote transparency, reduce risks and prevent military confrontation.

In their latest moves, Russia and NATO both dealt their deadly blow to the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE). Russia withdrew from it and NATO suspended it. There is no disarmament and control on conventional forces in Europe anymore. Disarmament and control on both nuclear and conventional forces in the world and in Europe help to create and promote transparency, reduce risks of and prevent military confrontation.

 NATO soldiers. Source: NATO

CFE was signed in 1990 when the Soviet Union still existed. Since then, the world and Europe have profoundly changed. The Soviet Union didn't exist anymore, and NATO extended eastward. CFE became obsolete and its death became only a question of time. Russia suspended CFE in 2007 and announced its intention to totally withdraw from it in 2015.

There are two world-security-political developments in recent years that speeded up the fatal fate of CFE. The first one is the war in Ukraine between Russia and Ukraine. One of the most serious consequences of this war is the uncompromising confrontation between NATO and Russia in Europe. NATO and the West are determined to defeat Russia in Ukraine and to expel Russia into military irrelevance in Europe after the war in Ukraine once and for all. For itself, Russia unleashed its war in Ukraine with its firm intention to win it and not lose it. None of these two sides is willing to take care of the sad fate of CFE. Furthermore, the existence of CFE would hinder their military strategies and actions in Europe.

The second one is the collapse of the disarmament and control of nuclear forces between the US and Russia. This collapse was accelerated by the war in Ukraine, too. Only some days ago, Russia revoked its ratification of the CTBT. The US and Russia now stand again at the starting line of their nuclear weapons control and disarmament and so are NATO and Russia concerning conventional forces in Europe.

It is worrying, it is alarming, it is distressing for security and stability in the world, especially in Europe. Now, there isn't a limit anymore for arms race both on conventional and nuclear forces. The war in Ukraine remains for a longer time a place for experiments of modern warfare and weapons and therefore more and more difficult to peacefully end. There is no mutual confidence and understanding between Russia and NATO. In this special aspect, the future will be the past for Europe and to some extent for the world, too.

Disclaimer: The views expressed by Ambassador Tran Duc Mau are his own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Hanoi Times.

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