Global Review had the honour to have an interview with NATO-General (retired) Hans-Lothar Domroese who gave us insights about NATO, the relations with Russia and perspectives of the transatlantic treaty organisation. Domroese, born in 1952, son of Bundeswehrgeneral Lothar Domroese, married, two sons, was working at the NATO headquarter since 1995, since 2009 he was commander of the Eurocorps in Strasbourg and since 2012 commander of the Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum. He retired in 2016. After his retirement he is consultant. The views expressed in this interview are his own and not that of any organization, institution or goverment.
Global Review: General Domroese. Trump questioned the necessity of NATO and the willingness oft he USA to defend Europe, if the NATO members, especially Germany don´t fulfill the 2% NATO defense expenditure benchmark. This has caused a debate in Germany. While the CDU/CSU including Merkel, Kramp-Karrenbauer and Merz and the AfD promise that they will carry this additional 38 billion Euro burden, the SPD, the Greens and the Left Party seem not be that enthuasastic and critizise the idea of new defense expenditures. On the one side they and even some militaries and security experts claim that the existing defense budget was sufficient, but only bad managed by the wrong allocation of resources, and that this sum would mean the end oft he social welfare state and mean cuts in infrastructure investments which are urgently needed. Horst Teltschik, former adviser of Chancellor Helmut Kohl and former chief oft he Munich Security Cnference proposed that Germany says the USA that it doesn´t want to raise ist defense budget and that Germany should promote an disarment initiatiove and an arments controll treaty after INF and New Start with Russia in NATO. Therefore the NATO-Russia Council shoulkd be revitalized, but not at ambassador leven, but minister or head of state level. However the deployment of US troops to Poland seems tob e a clear warning, that the USA will act different than former US goverments..Does the 2% benchmark make military sense as NATO has already much more defense expenditures than Russia? As NATO enlarges its theater of wars since 2016 to cyberspace, since 2019 to space and maybe next tot he Arctic will these resources be needed?
We must be very clear: the 2% benchmark was decided at the NATO-Summit in Wales, UK, in 2014, after the illegal annexation of CRIMEA by Russia. Then US-President Obama and all the other Heads of States and Governments (incl. DEU) decided that they had to do more in order to maintain NATO’s ability to defend its people and territories against any aggression. They agreed at aiming to reach 2% GDP for defence expenditure by 2024.
Rightly or wrongly, the fact is that the DEU Government obviously no longer aims at 2%, and will reach 1.3% by 2020, and probably 1.5% by 2024, which is considered to be not in-line with the Wales-agreement. The “price-tag” for this miss-behaviour, is a loss in trust if words and deeds do not match! Very regrettably!
The other question is whether this 2% rule is a wise decision – I doubt it. DEU could easily fulfill it by reducing it’s economic power, an unintended effect that shows the agreement is not really very smart. Also, it does not distinguish between the costs of infrastructure, nuclear power, missions in EU / UN etc. Obviously there is room for improvement, however, it is not easy to create a new consensus. In particular, when you do not fulfil the given promise. Horst Teltschik’s proposal is worth discussing. In addition, the EDF is something that aims at improving Europe’s capabilities by spending the money more intelligently. Getting more bang for your buck.
Finally, NATO or the EU is a strong coalition of sovereign nations. Each nation has it’s own interests, ambitions, culture, and industries, just to name a few points of contention. Together, they decide common goals and how to reach them. That is the reason why we find “x” types of different armoured vehicles, “y” types of ships and “z” types of airplanes. In order to maintain KEY industries, nations are prepared to develop own equipment instead of buying it. This obviously costs a lot, however, is the price of independence. As long as we will not see “The United States of Europe”, you have to accept this phenomenon. Russia spends less than the European Nations because of our diversity but also because they don’t have “minimum wages”. Based on this, I’m not really worried about the noise surrounding the 2% question.
Regarding “new theatres of war”, I’m not sure what you are suggesting. CYBER capabilities are required because of technological developments. In NATO countries, in RUSSIA, in CHINA, everywhere. You always have to adopt your forces, procedures and structures. Every nation has to do that. The same is true for SPACE. Today, it is possible to utilize SPACE much better than in the old days. For example, GPS, dual-use systems, are used by everyone. This is similar to mountain infantry tactics: if you want to control the ground, you must own the high ground.
I do NOT see any connection between the ARCTIC and the 2%. As far as I know the Arctic states cooperate without problem.
Global Review: The NATO-Russia Founding Act of 1997 prohibited the deployment of regular and substantiional NATO forces in Eastern Europe. Isn´t the regular deployment of US troops and the building of military basis in Eastern Europe and Poland the cancelletion of this act? Will Trump retreat the US forces from Germnay and deploy them in Poland, the Baltics and Eastern Europe, if the 2% goal is not achieved? Does this make any military sense? The Gazprom adviser to the EU and Russia expert Prof. Rahr thinks that Trump´s plan is already to retreat from the multilateral NATO and to build a cordonne santitaire with some key states as Poland, the Baltic states, Romanaia, Bulgaria and Great Britian as in the 20s and 30s oft he last century.Poland also seems to become a regional power by its 3-Sea-Initiative and ist 12 Eastern Europen memmber states, similar tot he Intermarium strategy of former Polish president Pilsudski. Do you think NATO will survive in ist present form or will it become an empty cocon which will be replaced by a more bilateral security system of some key states under US leadership? The Stars and Stripes already called NATO an „shaky alliance“ at ist 70th anniversary. Does Germany need US troops as if the USA would deploy them in Poland, this would mean that Russia cannot attack Poland and therefore Germany? Aren´t Trump´s threats empty talk
Let’s look into your assumptions/statements one by one:
First and foremost, forces are designed to meet a threat and are deployed accordingly. Should the US move forces from DEU, today hinterland, to the front-states, i.e, Poland (and Romania, Bulgaria) then it has nothing to do with punishment of DEU because they do not fullfil the 2% rule, but because of a real perception of threat. It is a clever move by the US government to assure the Polish people that they are protected while at the same time sending a clear signal to Russia. It is wise, because the US-deployment does – indeed stick to the NRFA and does NOT violate the treaty! You are allowed to deploy forces up to a divisional strength, which is considered to be “a substantial force”. Everything “below a division”, is in line with the treaty.
One should NOT speculate whether RUSSIA could attack only ONE country and keep the others out. This will not happen! An attack on ONE, is considered to be an attack on ALL ( Art 5.). There are no different security zones in NATO-territory. You cannot divide NATO-Nations !
NATO vs. Bilateral Security agreements:
No! NATO is, and will be, the security organisation of the free world. The US, however, has certain additional bilateral agreements with some nations. There is nothing wrong with that. Take, for example, DEU and our nuclear participation. One can assume that DEU, and the US, will have agreed and signed a certain security treaty, that outlines rules and responsibilities. That brings me to the importance of the US within NATO:
It is obvious, that the US are our strongest ally. Their nuclear power is a guarantee of deterrence. Neither the UK, nor France, ever offered a “nuclear umbrella” for other countries.
To conclude: Regardless of certain irritations I’m one hundred percent convinced that the US will stay in NATO because it is to their own advantage to do so. We are family, we are free peoples. We share common values and interests and only together can we solve the challenges that lie ahead of us.
Global Review: Is the USA still capable to defend the West or other alliues? A Pentagon study revealed that the industrial base for the US military has nearly vanished as a result of globalization. Critical components of the US military hightech sector, but also many conbentional arments technology and production was outsourced overeseas and hast o be imported. The Pentagon study claims that the US military is at a high degree dependent from imorts and technology transfers.Are the USA still capapble of fighting a worldwide war or wars at different theaters of wars at one time?
Daily reality shows: yes, the US can!
But what is a war? A conflict? A competition? Against whom? How long? Etc.
Militarily, we talk about smaller or bigger (major) operations.
AFG, IRAK, SYR are smaller ops, and can be conducted “easily” and almost “for ever”. At the same time the US can deter North Korea and Iran. They can together with their allies prevent hostile actions against NATO countries. But, as we are not aiming at having wars, I’m not really worried about US capabilities. What, if anything, worries me, is European weakness regarding defence and security.
Global Review: At the moment NATO is focusing on Russia. But if Marine Le Pen would seize power in France, couldn´t this lead to an totally new secruity enviroment in Europe? If Marine Le Pen and the nuclear armed France retreats from NATO, the Euro and the EU, makes an alliance with Putin-Russia, was this the end of NATO? And couldn´t such a constellation be a danger for Europe, especially for Germany and Poland which could face a potential 2 front war? Could Germany still rely on protection by Great Britain after the Brexit and the Trump-USA or had it to develop its own nuclear and military arsenal for deterence?
This “what-if-question” is based on a strange scenario with crazy assumptions, if I may say this.
Firstly, I fully trust my French friends, and I’m convinced that the majority will not vote for “Madame la Presidente”! They love their wonderful heritage, the French revolution from 1789 and their freedom. Vive la libertè ! They would NOT want to have an alliance with a non-democratic RUSSIA, notwithstanding a good relationship.
Secondly, France never left NATO-they left the military organisation while maintaining their political mandate under President de Gaulle in 1966. This worries me less!
Thirdly, should I be wrong, then you are right.
Global Review: Macron and Merkel signed an new Elysee treaty and a mutual defense pact. Does this include the protection for Germany by the force de frappe and could this defense pact be the nucleus of an European army which all German politicians except the Left Party and the AfD want to built by 2030? How do you see the chances for an European army? Could it replace NATO or would it just be a Coalition oft he willing for ad hoc-militay interventions at the size of Mali operations? Is PESCO enough to build such an European army? The German Foreign Ministery already financed a study by the IISS in London how much a European military would cost in the case of an US retreat from NATO and calculated 350 billion Euro- including the capability for a limited landwar with Russia. Is this realistic?
How do you see the perspective of an European military?
Great question !
As discussed above, we/the European nations must do more regarding our defence capabilities. PESCO is certainly one important step in the right direction. For example: initiatives of three companies from three nations will be financially supported if they cooperate in the defence arena. You can get incentives if you do this. Together, reduce costs, reduce various types of vehicles and by doing so you get more for your money. You can call this Smart Defence, Pooling & Sharing or PESCO. All these initiatives are meant to strengthen the European Pillar within NATO, regarding DEFENCE. Other missions, independent from NATO, could be possible by European Defence Forces. For example, a training and educationmission in North Africa in order to. enable our southern brothers to secure their borders. SECURITY is the key word for potential EU-missions (whereas NATO stands for DEFENCE).
As a German, I am strongly convinced that ED does NOT aim at getting rid of NATO or the US: it is exactly the opposite. Europe demonstrates that it can add value to our SECURITY & DEFENCE posture . That is attractive to our US friends because they can shift their position and at the same time it sends a clear signal to RUSSIA to not underestimate Europe’s will and strength.
The challenge with a so-called European Army is who controls these forces; is it the European Parliament? The Commission ? Traditionally, it is the head of state or/and national parliament. I do NOT believe that we will give up our national responsibility as long as we do not have “United States of Europe”.
Global Review: Western experts on Russia speak of an Russian „strategy of dynamic defense“ and Russian geostrategist Karagamow of an „strategy of patience“. The hypothesies is that Putin´s startegy is a reivival oft he former Russian geostrategists Snesarew and Swetschin and takes their strategies, the lession of the collapse oft he Sovjetunion as blueprint for a modern Russian strategy with the goal to become an independent and important pole in a multipolar or polycentric world which consists of the following elements:
- No adventurism and massive boots on the ground as in Afghanistan, but hybrid warfare, selected strikes, special OPS , intelligence operations ,social media war and cyberwarfare
- No new arms race
- An independent Euraisan foreign policy which first relies more on China and the Asian pivot, but makes no alliance with China and uses innercapitalist contradictions of theWest and patiently waits that the West erodes because of his neoliberal ideology and economic system
- If the West declines, Russia will be in a position to renogotiate with him a new international, multipolar world order from a new position of strength
Do you agree that this is the strategy Putin and the nowadays Russian elites pratice and if yes, do you think this will have success?
I would be very fortunate if I knew what President Putin’s goal were. In general I do not believe in the given “strategy” although I admit that elements are reasonably true.
No massive and long wars. Correct. No nation wants that.
No new arms race – very understandable from an economic point of view. Russia cannot afford it, however, practises exactly that. Take hypersonic, or nuclear weapons for example. It is with great concern that we watch RUSSIA developing and deploying new weapons.
Independent Eurasian foreign policy with China – well, that would be dependent and NOT independent. RUS and CHN are P5-members, and cooperate closely together in the UN since decades. Russia needs China because they are economically strong and because both countries are similar in leadership and constitution: not democratic. But I do not believe that Russia wants to be “the second/small partner” in Eurasia. What about India, Pakistan, Korea etc.?
Declining West ? We struggled a lot but we always survived. Even the ugly Nazi regime could not stop the West from being the free peoples based on the principles of the age of enlightenment (French and American Revolution).
That brings me to “PATIENCE”: the demographic development in Russia and the inability to create a modern society and a modernisation of their economy cries for action. Putin has no time to wait until the Russian system collapses. Since he became president, the rubel lost 50% of its value. A dramatic loss! Leadership requires action – patience alone will not solve the challenges ahead. Action in times of fast-moving developments in times digitilization is urgently needed. The Russian administration knows that they are better off with the West!
Global Review: Anti-Putin forces in the West hope that a coloured revolution could be the soultion or they hope that after Putin Jelzinstyle political forces will emerge. But what if Putin holds to power or that after him even more nationalistic forces seize power? Wouldn´t it be better if Germany tries to push a New East Policy in the EU and NATO:
- Germany promotes the idea that Ukraine and Belarussia become neutral bufferstates like Austria after the Second World War and a bridge between the Eurasian Union and the EU
- Germany promotes the idea that Russia´s Black Fleet military base in Crimea is guarented and that there will be an autonomy agreement for Crimea in exchange that Russia withdraws its troops and stops supporting the seperatists in East Ukraine. Minimum standard: Russia fulfills ist obligantions oft he Minsk agreement, afterwards easening of the sanctions.
- Germany is pushing an disarments initiative or arments controll initiative for NATO and Russia in conventional and nuclear arms as well as in cyberspace and space
- Germany is promoting an economic cooperation with Russia: A European Silkroad from Lissabon to Moscow and a modernisation programme
- Germany is promoting an ecological cooperation with Russia as China is exploiting the Siberian woods and is damaging the world climate.
Of course, such a New East policy as the former under Willy Brandt would need green light from Washington. But couldn´t this become a possibility if there is a Trump-Putin deal? How realistic do you think is such an approach?
I do not speculate whether a colored revolution will occur in Russia nor whether President Putin will stay forever, or his successor eventually is a kind of nationalistic dictator.
Regarding the sanctions that were imposed because Russia illegally annexed the CRIMEA, and interferes in eastern Ukraine: for me it is crystal clear, that even today those, sanctions could be lifted if Russia sticks to the Minsk agreement. RUSSIA can decide – the West is prepared to do what they promised. That’s why an autonomy agreement for the Crimea is not what we should aiming at. The Crimea belongs to UKR. !
What would you say if a foreigner proposes to “liberate Bavaria” and calls for autonomy ?? I guess that would be not very well received.
A so-called NEW OSTPOLITIK sounds great, however, we must look into the details. First, what do we want to achieve ? A good relationship, I assume. Fine.
Why should DEU want BELARUS and UKRAINE become neutral bufferstates. A nation is a nation and decides on its own. We don’t want to create bufferstates – sounds like a barrier between two hostile parties. No ! Old thinking .We want to promote freedom, stability, and economic wellbeing based on the rule of law. In UKR, BELARUS, and RUSSIA, in other words: everywhere !
One vehicle to achieve this is an arms control regime, I agree. Here, DEU is not in the driving seat, I’m afraid. Take the INF-treaty. DEU was extremely supportive to this initiative , however, it was a treaty between RUS and the US. Obviously RUS violated this agreement, sadly. Unintended effect: DEU nuclear participation in NATO’s defence policy is increasingly important. Re cyber and space: again, good idea but we, the UN, have not even agreed to an international convention to limit the use of AI like NBC, medicine etc. This would be an excellent starting point to limit the arms race.
Realistically, DEU does what you propose. DEU has always been a good and honest partner to the East and Russia in particular. DEU has excellent cooperation with RUS regarding “space & science”, as you can see. They do lot of challenging things together. However, DEU foreign policy is always embedded in NATO & EU policy knowing that we can best achieve stability and security TOGETHER.
Finally, I should mention that regrettably RUSSIA is perceived not as a soft power but as a nation that is always AGAINST something.They are against freedom of speech, free elections, rule of law, etc. What they should think of is changing their attitude into positive approaches.The WEST is NOT against RUSSIA. Based on free values we could achieve great things together, I’m convinced. Let’s try.
Global Review: What does Trump´s withdrawal of troops in Afghanistan and Syria and his confrontation with Iran on the other side mean for NATO and the European security enviroment in the Greater Middle East?
Regarding AFG we are currently – again – in a decisive phase; elections and peace talks with the Taliban may end up in a wonderful compromise that stops brutal and cowardly attacks on innocent people. The talks offer participation to Talibans, and on the other hand, security to the people. As long as the AFG people can decide “their way ahead” it is okay. The US, we NATO can then reduce our footprint dramatically after 20 years of deployment. That would be awesome. Think of IRELAND: it is possible that adversaries come to a fair peace deal, and stop blood shed. Let’s be optimistic.
In SYRIA, the case is different, as you know. Here we see a very complex scenario that involves far more than just one nation. IRAN, TURKEY, LIBANON, SAUDI-ARABIA, etc. It is the whole region, including the only democratic state: ISRAEL. And also it includes RUSSIA and the US. I believe, that the US announcement of withdrawal is more a political dream than reality. Both RUS and the US should supervise a process that eventually stops the bleeding and offers a concrete perspective to the poor people: peace, reconstruction, workforce, health care, schools, etc. If that is achieved NATO-Nations and others could start to help rebuild the country.
Global Review: Arye Sharuz Shalicar . chief of the department for international relations in the Israeli ministery for intelligence at the bureau of primeminister Netanjahu threatened Iran that Israel would launch a cyber war against Iran that would paralyse the whole country. Maduro claimed that the blackouits in Venezuela were products of an US cyber attack and Russia sent cyber experts to Caracas to counter potential US cyber attacks. Now we face a blackout in Argentine and Uruguay and nobody knows the reason. The New York Times in published an article in June claiming that the Trump administration launched digital attacks on the Russian electricity system. Trump didn´t deny this, but said that this was treason.Trump also decvklared that he was already launching a cvyberattack against Iran. In the 80s NATO had Airlandbattle as a concept combined with the idea of linited nuclear warfare (Colin S. Gray in the NSC directive 57). If a war between NATO and Russia breaks out, would NATO still rely on the Airland battle or has itnew concepts and strategies? Especially today cyberwarfare and spacewarfare have to be included in all operations? Could a NATO-Russian war be limited to a cyberwar without conventional or limited nuclear strikes? Are we already in an era of cyberwar and can a war be fought only by cyberwar and without convention and nuclear arms?
I am really very concerned about a potential nuclear war ! I do not know why RUSSIA deploys INF-Type – WEAPONS in their western territory. RUS knows that this is not only a violation of the INF-treaty but is perceived as an unfriendly if not hostile threat to NATO in Europe. Reading their GERASSIMOV-Strategy it is a kind of warfare-tactics that includes the use of conventional power, cyber, nuclear forces and stratcom/information warfare.
We are worried, and hope to be able to discuss these threats with RUS, in order to draw the right conclusions. A new arms race is NOT in our interest, and should not be in RUS interest either.
Cyber-attacks have been observed for ten years or so. Yes, we have already entered a kind of “cyber competition”. Think of the attacks on the DEU parliament (Bundestag), or those on Estonia, or STUCNEX, or, or.
The BUNDESWEHR has established a CYBER COMMAND. Other nations have also created their own cyber forces. In this regard, you are absolutely right in assuming that “modern warfare” would include the cyber domain. The idea to discuss a “cyber-treaty” is fine, however, I’m not an expert and I do not know how you would want to limit cyber attacks.
Global Review: The USA set up a Comitee for the Protection of Critical Infrastructures in the 90s and a cybercommand as own military command in the 2000s. Germany and NATO have now also opened cybercommands. The agressor in a conventional war can be identified as his troops, tanks, aircraft, ships or missile are known, while in an cyberattack it is unclear who the agressor is , when the attack starts and ends and how to react. Will this imply problems for article 5 of the NATO treaty and the cyberdefense oft he West?n Has Russia a cybercommand and could it paralyze NATO and the society and the economy of NATO states and vice versa? Should there be a cybersecurity treaty between Russia and NATO?
See no 9:
I fully support the idea of including cyber and AI into “arms reduction talks”.
Global Review: NATO published a Space strategy. What are the key elements and will there be a NATO space force similiar as the USA. This reminds us ot the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) and Starwars-programme of Reagan.What is the role of Europe? Will Europe have to rely on the US Spaceforce, will there be an integrated NATO command for that purpose or will the European civil space architecture as Gallileo also be militarized? Will NATO deploy killer and military satellites as the USA, Russia, India and China have already done?
I don’t know any details about a space strategy, however, the new technological opportunities opens up many possibilities. For example, everybody benefits from navigation-systems in our cars. There are many dual-use capabilities based on space, such as CYBER, and AI etc. It is our task to formulate barriers or international conventions so that NOT everything that is possible will happen. Think of NBC or medicaline science where the UN has set rules. In other words, yes, we’ve got to do something.
Global Review: Russia held the Zapad exercises and Putin gave an order that Russia´s industry should be organized for a possible war in its main strategic industries and infrastructure. NATO Generalsecretary Stoltenberg demanded that the infrastructure of NATO states have also be prepared for a possible war. Is a war between Russia and NATO becoming more likely or is this just sabberrattling? Putin warned of the danger of a nuclear war. The Center for Strategic Budgetary Assessment (CSBA) spoke of a second nuclear age which because of ist military multipolarity, spectrum of new weapon systems and trigger-alert constellations would be much more unstable than the First Nuclear Age oft he Cold War. There are some military strategists who think that a great power war could be possible below the treshold of a nuclear war. TX Hammes Offshore Controll or Airseabattle are two examples.
In Russia in Global Affairs Alexei V. Fenenko, Doctor of Political Science at Moscow State University as Associate Professor of Faculty of World Politics wrote in his cointribution:“Long Peace” and Nuclear Weapons –Will They Prevent Big War? In 29 March 2019 about the possibility of nuclear wars and the development of nuclear weapons:
Technically and politically, a land-based regional war between Russia and the United States is now more likely than in the 1960s and it may be a great temptation for politicians. In this situation, nuclear weapons will hardly serve as a deterrent. We often forget that the use of nuclear weapons is not a military but a political factor: using them requires a top-level approval. Such an approval is unlikely not only during a limited war on the territory of a third state but also during a full-scale war. It would be appropriate to recall the “chemical precedent” when great powers fight without resorting to their weapons of mass destruction.(…)
Conditions are also developing for conducting major regional wars. Over the past ten years, there have emerged at least two conflict areas between Russia and the United States—the Baltic-Black Sea region and the Middle East—where the parties are deploying military infrastructures in close proximity to each other. In the future, Afghanistan may become a third such area, where U.S. bases are potential targets for Russian retaliatory strikes if Russian facilities are destroyed somewhere else. The U.S. and Russia are actively developing, and now deploying in crisis regions, various types of air defense systems and regional missile defense systems. Washington’s plans to recreate a fleet of medium and shorter-range missiles fit into this logic. They are an ideal means for taking hostage as many regional objects as possible.
Theoretically, one can imagine a limited war between great powers, in which nuclear weapons will not be used, just as chemical weapons were not used in World War II.
The key question of the 21st century strategy is: Can nuclear weapons be used in some other way, beyond the “air power” concept? There have been no such strategies so far. Yet, the past twenty years have seen new interesting studies in this area.
“Minimization” of nuclear weapons. In the early 2000s, publications appeared in the United States on the creation of “mini-nukes” with a yield of one to five kilotons (Caldicott, 2004). This weapon can theoretically be used to destroy hard and deeply buried targets with minimal environmental consequences. Nuclear weapons will repeat the evolution of artillery in the early mopern period, from heavy siege weapons of the Hundred Years’ War to light quick-firing guns of the 16th century.
Combination of tactical nuclear weapons and infantry actions. Similar experiments were conducted during military exercises in the United States and the Soviet Union back in the 1950s. However, this idea was revived in the U.S. “joint operations” concept of 2005. It provides for combining the use of rapid reaction forces and local nuclear strikes (Doctrine, 2005). There has been no data so far testifying to the continuation of these studies, but these may be secret.
“Weapon of genocide”. Russian expert Andrei Kokoshin back in 2003 wrote that nuclear war may have a political goal as a war waged by a nuclear state against a non-nuclear one (Kokoshin, 2003, p. 3). In this case, nuclear weapons turn into weapons of genocide of certain peoples. Perhaps, an ideal solution to this problem would be “a light version of nuclear weapons,” such as neutron bombs which destroy organic matter and inflict minimal damage on infrastructure. Genocide, the scale of which in the first half of the 20th century was limited due to a low technological level, is now becoming easier to commit.
There arises a seemingly unusual perspective. It is not nuclear weapons that help maintain stability; rather, a gradual decay of the “long peace” will raise the need for the transformation of nuclear weapons, perhaps, into some other type of weapon. Modern types of nuclear weapons are not suitable for large regional wars. Therefore, they may either die out (which, in fact, has happened to chemical weapons, which are now being destroyed) or adapt to new conditions and become an integral part of future regional conflicts. Nuclear weapons already act not so much as a guarantee against war as a guarantee that your enemy will not use them against you—like chemical weapons in World War II.“
This means that US and Russian military thinkers seem to believe that great power wars could be fought today, similar to Reagan´s NSC Directive 54 which claimed, that nuclear wars could be limited, lead and be won. How realistic is Putin´s warning and how big the chance that after the retreat from the INF treaty Trump´s arments pact between the USA, Russia and China could materialize?
Sorry, I disagree that western militaries believe nuclear war could be “limited, lead and be won”!
A nuclear weapon is a strategic and political weapon, regardless of whether it is small or big. The “logic behind a nuke” is that if a nation posses’ nukes you can no longer punish it because of the tremendous damage you might suffer. That is then, simplified, called a deterrence.
The INF is so dangerous because you could think of “Super-powers” who mutually agree to use those weapons against a third party. In order to avoid this theoretical scenario we are very interested in arms control talks about INF , as you mentioned between CHINA, RUSSIA and the USA:
Regarding NORTH KOREA: I believe the US administration wants China to guarantee a kind of security for NK (as US does for DEU) and in return, the US lifts sanctions in order to guarantee prosperity in NK, while NK abandons it’s nukes. Does this make sense ?