L’Expression: Nationale – Is nuclear war possible?
In this harmful atmosphere, Ukraine, which in 1994 transferred nuclear weapons placed on its territory to Russia while it was part of the USSR, is accused of developing a radiological bomb known as a “dirty bomb” for use against Russia. troops. This would be an unacceptable escalation for Moscow, which would resort to nuclear weapons. Such a development could be the beginning of the world’s march towards the abyss. The only two powers capable of writing this “apocalypse” scenario, the United States and Russia, possess more than 90% of the nuclear weapons that would be enough to destroy the planet several times over. Compared to them, other nuclear-weapon states are de jure (China, France, Great Britain) or de facto (India, Israel, Pakistan, and North Korea) minor nuclear powers.
It is not the first time that the world is threatened with nuclear war, and each time because of disagreements between Washington and Moscow. This was the case during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. This time, the Ukrainian crisis is highlighted. In fact, humanity is a hostage of two nuclear powers that have just ignited the Cold War. They have two incompatible views of the world: the United States and its allies want to preserve the world order that the West has dominated for five centuries and that Washington has ruled without sharing since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Rising from the ashes of the USSR, Russia (as well as China and many countries of the south) is a supporter of the creation of a more just and egalitarian multipolar world. Humanity is at a dangerous historical stage, reminiscent of this quote by Antonio Gramsci: “The old world dies, the new world slowly appears, and in this chiaroscuro monsters arise.” In the following paragraphs, we will touch on several points to try to see how the world is once again on the brink of nuclear war.
The creation of nuclear weapons
The US did not maintain a nuclear monopoly for long. In 1949, in the midst of the Cold War, the USSR succeeded in its first attempt at Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan. This was the beginning of a race to the brink that also involved other countries: Great Britain in 1953, France in 1960, and China in 1964. Since 1970, these five countries have formed the club of states with nuclear weapons (Edan). granted to them by the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). – We should add the de facto nuclear weapon states of India (1974), Israel (1967), Pakistan (1998) and North Korea (2006).
Preventing this horizontal proliferation (proliferation of militarily nuclearized states) attracted the attention of the international community very early on. The first resolution adopted by the new UN General Assembly in London (before moving to New York) deals with this issue. Even the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) was created to stop the race toward terror. In vain! Horizontal and vertical proliferation (the creation of more and more powerful atomic bombs – “A” – and especially the “H” bomb) continued. In the mid-1980s, there were about 80,000 warheads in the arsenals, mainly in the USA and the USSR. This proliferation means that entire regions can be faced with nuclear crises that could turn into devastating wars at any moment: the Indian subcontinent, the Korean subcontinent, the Middle East, and even, since the war in Ukraine, all of Europe. it is global. However, the USA and Russia are the main organizers of this terrifying ball. Only they have long had the ability to destroy the planet. As such, they have a special responsibility for disarmament and the maintenance of international peace and security.
During the Detente that followed the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, the two major nuclear powers decided to honor their commitments. They have begun to build an arms control and disarmament architecture. Bilaterally, they signed SALT I (Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty) in 1972. This arms control instrument consisted of two parts:
· Interim agreement on limitation of strategic offensive weapons (radio range more than 5500 km) for five years;
· The Treaty on Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems, known as the Open-Ended ABM Treaty. This allowed the two sides to maintain a total of 100 missiles each and to protect one area (Moscow for the USSR and an ICBM site in North Dakota for the US). This instrument became the cornerstone of strategic parity between the two states.
Salt II, which limits strategic weapons in quantity and quality, was signed in 1979, at the end of Detente. Although the US Senate refused to ratify it after Soviet troops entered Afghanistan, it was respected by both sides.
For example, despite the positive aspects of disarmament, such as the introduction of verification, an important measure of trust, the Salts left the door open to an arms race. This has shown itself at the level of medium-range missiles (from 500 to 5500 km) and in Europe, whose security is always guaranteed by the American umbrella. This security was threatened by the deployment of new Soviet SS-20 missiles in the late 1970s. The US responded by deploying Pershing missiles. It became known as the Euromissile Crisis, which ended on November 7, 1987, with the signing of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).
This important document signed between the USA and the USSR prohibited the deployment of medium-range missiles (those carried on board aircraft and submarines). Despite the return of the Cold War in 1979 and the upheavals that followed the fall of the Berlin Wall, the United States and the USSR, and later Russia, moved from arms limitation to disarmament, i.e. reduction of nuclear stockpiles.
The first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), signed in 1991, was ratified by both parties within the Russian Federation in 1994. The Last Start came into effect in 2011 for ten years with an option to extend it for another five years. This drastically reduced the arsenals of the two superpowers by reducing the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550 and the number of delivery systems of the nuclear triad to 800. The new inspection and verification system has created more trust between the two parts. A confidence that would soon damage the avatars of NATO (US)-Russia relations in the early years following the rise to power of President Vladimir Putin, who restored Russian power in 2000.
Gordi knots in relations between NATO and Russia
While Russia is openly fighting for a multipolar world, the US intends to continue to dominate the world order. These different views strain relations between the two countries, which are at odds with each other on a number of important issues:
· The anti-missile shield deployed by the US in Romania and Poland is perceived by Russia as an offensive weapon intended to reduce its deterrent power.
· Moscow rejects the planetary role it wants NATO to play by intervening outside Washington’s theater of operations.
Contrary to the promises made to the USSR during the reunification of Germany, the expansion of NATO to the East, as well as the deployment of Western troops and heavy equipment to the borders of Russia, are considered as permanent aggression against Russian territory. This ban, reminiscent of the most dramatic moments of the Cold War, always angered Moscow, did not hide it and grew impatient. The first violent reaction to this Western policy was the sending of Russian tanks to South Ossetia in the summer of 2008 to stop Georgia’s plan to join NATO. The West, continuing its eastward policy, ignored this warning, increasing its interventions in Ukraine and the Black Sea, home to Russia’s only navy with access to warm seas.