HAVE EUROPEAN ARMS CONTROL NEGOTIATIONS MADE LITTLE CONTRIBUTION TO INCREASING SECURITY IN EUROPE ?

By Jeffrey Peter Bradford European security during the cold-war was of key importance, as during the darkest times of East-West confrontation, the failure to maintain it had, as its consequence global catastrophe. In the nuclear and conventional field, attempts were made to improve the security of Europe through negotiations, to alleviate the worst excesses of East-West confrontation, and it is three of these processes; the Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions (MBFR), Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE), and Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty which are the concern of this paper. In order to assess the contribution of these regimes the paper will first describe them each in turn, looking at their utility alone, and in conclusion their contribution to an overall framework for European security, as well as commenting upon their relevance to a Europe which is no longer in a confrontational relationship with the former Eastern bloc in the post cold-war era. MUTUAL AND BALANCED FORCE REDUCTIONS In 1968 the NATO ministerial conference proposed negotiations on conventional force levels with the USSR, because of three key factors. Firstly, there was a common perception that a reduction in military confrontation could allow a reduction in defence expenditure, indeed the Harmel report commissioned by NATO in 1967 expressly forbade any further cuts in forces by members pending the start of MBFR, as the unilateral actions by European NATO governments were adversely affecting the chances of reaching a common negotiation position. Secondly the West wished to regain the initiative in the propaganda war from the USSR who had recently proposed the CSCE, and lastly the talks were seen as a way of relieving domestic pressure in the US to unilaterally reduce its forces, as negotiations would act as a brake on any timetable for disengagement. In 1971, a member of the US congress proposed an amendment to the draft laws. The Mansfield amendment was defeated with the assistance of Premier Brezhnev, who announced his intention to participate in the MBFR talks, serving as a catalyst to the commencement of MBFR negotiations. Shortly after negotiations were opened, problems became apparent. The United Kingdom and West Germany wanted Soviet nuclear forces included, but not NATO nuclear weapons whereas the Soviet Union did not, instead wanting ground and air forces included, whereas NATO only wanted manpower in the armies of both sides to be considered. Eventually the ceilings issue was resolved by setting manpower limits of 900,000 on ground and air forces, and a 700,000 ceiling on ground forces. Another problem was that of definition, what did "balanced" in MBFR actually mean ? Did it refer to quantities, or quality ? The Soviet Union introduced another proposal whereby foreign forces would be included under the ceilings, and be gradually returned to their home state. This created obvious problems for NATO, as the difference in distance between the West German border and the USSR, and the West German Border and North America was 4,300 miles, in the Soviet Union's favour. Other problems emerged such as the nature of verification, especially difficult in the case of mobile armed forces, as compared to nuclear missile silos, as noted by one observer; "Counting troops and arms in the territory of the other party can become a charade - as was the case in summer 1980, when allied intelligence staffs lost track of the Soviet 6th armoured division - which had been declared withdrawn from the Wittenberg region of East Germany to the Soviet Union since October 1979" (1) Another issue that arose was that of how should the geography of the area be related to force balances ? Does the terrain favour attack or defence, and should the manpower ceilings be altered accordingly ? In sum, should the reductions by symmetrical (equal) or asymmetrical ? When the talks began to stagnate over technical issues, NATO played its trump negotiating card, the "option 3" - this involved the direct offer to have NATO withdraw 1,000 US nuclear weapons in return for the withdrawal of one Soviet tank army. In effect NATO broke its own negotiation rules, by including nuclear weapons, increasing internal arguments concerning the vulnerability to surprise attack, and the effects a shortfall in nuclear weapons may have. The talks degenerated from this point into various proposals and counter-proposals. However several one-off withdrawals were made, before the talks lapsed into mediocrity with the end of détente and the start of the second cold war with the invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.

In summary the MBFR talks were a failure in so far as they failed to achieve any tangible results, however, they did facilitate contact and exchanges of positions for both parties, as well as establishing a basis for the CFE process. The process highlighted the difficulty that verification posed in the realm of conventional arms control, the thorn by which the talks collapsed. As summed up by Ambassador Blackwill of the US delegation, "the good news is that we now have permanent check-points; the bad news is that nobody goes through them" (2) The talks also had the by-product of quelling demands in the US domestic political system for the withdrawal of troops, as noted by one writer, the defeat of the Mansfield amendment easing pressure for a unilateral withdrawal of US servicemen "significantly decreased the likelihood of an accord." (3) CONVENTIONAL FORCES IN EUROPE The key difference in assessing the CFE and MBFR was in the intentions of the participants. The NATO call for negotiations at Halifax, Canada and Premier Gorbachev’s Budapest address, coupled with the distinct thaw in superpower confrontation, engendered a climate for meaningful discussions to take place. The guiding aim of the CFE talks were to "eliminate disparities prejudiced to stability and security, and to eliminate as a matter of priority the capability to launch surprise attack and to initiate large-scale offensive action" (4) The talks also avoided the problem which had dogged the MBFR process, that of manpower, deciding instead to focus upon key forms of equipment which could be monitored, and counted more easily, within four zones comprising the ATTU area. The CFE talks also took place at a time of general progress in arms control, on one hand the CSCE Stockholm Accord was nearing fruition, placing tighter controls on military movements, and the INF Treaty was in its final stages of preparation, indicating a common interest between Europe, the US and the Soviet Union to curb the military excesses of East-West confrontation. From a technical standpoint, advanced satellites were available to both superpowers, making verification in both the nuclear and conventional realms more practical. The negotiations moved along at a rapid pace, in comparison to its predecessor, with the Soviet Union particularly making concessions initially, then with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, as noted by one writer the concessions "dried up" (5) The WTO negotiating team became increasingly independently minded, leading to the Soviet military representatives taking over negotiations in a de facto sense. Further the impending break-up of the Union was making CFE problematic for Russia as the sufficiency rules placing limits on equipment holdings per country, were based on the Eastern Blocs continued existence. The US, keen to reach an agreement were prepared to drop aircraft from the talks, as they had proven a sticking point, due to problems of definition of aircraft types and role, but the European members were not prepared to accept this, and thus they were included in the treaty. There then followed problems over certain forces which the Soviets re-designated as "naval" units thus removing them from the treaty. Rather than a malevolent move, this was perceived as being an attempt to squeeze every concession possible from the treaty, and in 1991, after the treaty was signed the Soviet ambassador announced a resolution to the problem (6) By limiting equipment in geographical regions, along with stringent verification procedures, and an element of disarmament (the level of which has been a source of disagreement between observers/participants), the agreement provides for the security of all the participants, prompting one observer to note that, "in many ways the CFE treaty is a combined peace treaty for WW II and for the cold war" (7) Since the original treaty, 33% of surplus equipment has been destroyed, and an agreement concluded on manpower, through the CFE-1A talks. The problem faced by the CFE has been a simple one. The treaty was designed to provide security between confrontational blocs, not several states. The key role of the CFE-HLWG has been to incorporate the states formed in the dissolution of the Soviet Union. the first HLWG meeting, concluded with a statement to the effect, "that Treaty obligations assumed by the former Soviet Union should be wholly accounted for by all the newly independent states in the area of application and apportioned among them" (8) A further complication arose in September 1993, when Boris Yeltsin formally requested a suspension of Article V of the Treaty, regarding the limitations imposed on military deployments within the flank zone in Russia. This move did not surprise the other signatories, as Russia had significant amounts of hardware deployed around Ukraine and Belarus, where it was not needed, as opposed to the North Caucasus MD where there existed, "serious out-of-Europe risk, growth of separatism and fundamentalism, [which] call for a more effective military presence" (9) In conclusion,

Yeltsin also suggested that "Russia could be forced to take measures that wouldn't respond fully to the spirit of the treaty" (10) On a practical level, the destruction of excess equipment has proven quite difficult both in financial and technical terms for the East European states to achieve, for example, "the Azeris found the most practical way to get rid of antique Soviet tanks was to drive them into the Caspian sea" (11) Some commentators speculate further as to whether or not they can achieve the 100% reductions specified by November 1995 (12) The table below lists the categories of equipment covered by CFE, the limits and the scheduled reductions (13) NATO TANKS ACV ARTILLERY AIRCRAFT HELICOPTER TOTAL Nov. 1990 22,092 28,408 18,604 5,332 1,573 76,009 Post CFE 19,142 29,822 18,286 6,662 2,000 75,912 Change -2,950 +1,414 -318 +1,330 +427 -97 WTO Nov. 1990 32,646 43,556 25,836 8,368 1,662 112,068 Post CFE 20,000 30,000 20,000 6,800 2,000 78,800 Change -12,646 -13,556 -5,836 -1,568 +338 -33,268 Sufficiency 13,300 20,000 13,700 5,186 1,500

INTERMEDIATE NUCLEAR FORCES The INF Treaty (14) solved a problem which had been the result of a previous arms control agreement, the SALT I Treaty. Part of the SALT provisions enabled, and proved a catalyst for the development of a new generation of more accurate, potent nuclear weaponry. The Soviet deployment of the mobile, highly accurate SS-20 missile proved of some concern to the NATO alliance who feared that this deployment would at best undermine deterrence, and at worst leave NATO vulnerable to a surprise decapitation strike, aimed at the political leadership. The United States, keen to allay these fears planned to deploy at first neutron bombs enhanced radiation weapons that killed people, but had `minimal` effects on property. However, these weapons caused great public anxiety in Europe, and their withdrawal was forced, both from the public concern generated, and from political leaders, who realised that these weapons would undermine rather than reinforce deterrence. In response NATO adopted its `two-track` approach, whereby it would develop the next generation INF, the Ground Launched Cruise Missile, whilst simultaneously negotiating with the Soviet Union limits on these future weapons, in return for reductions in the current Soviet holdings of INF weaponry. Should these talks fail (a deadline of December 1983 was set), then the deployment of new US INF forces would go ahead (15) There then followed a period of turmoil in Europe as governments attempted to gain public opinion for the deployment of these weapons, but somewhat ironically the depiction of the SS-20 threat had raised public anxiety about all nuclear weapons as opposed to merely Soviet ones. In 1981 President Reagan announced the `zero-option` whereby NATO would not deploy any new INF if the USSR eliminated all its older SS-4 and SS-5 missiles, and SS-20s in Europe, and Asia. Alexander Haig the then Secretary of State noted that this proposal was intended to "take the high ground in propaganda, without real expectation that the Soviet Union would ever accept this outcome" (16) One week later, Premier Brezhnev made a counter-proposal involving staged reductions, West of the Urals. Negotiations started, but there was significant reluctance on the part of the US negotiators. President Reagan was against cancellation of the deployment of Pershing II which caused great concern to the Soviet Union, and this alone was enough to reduce the chances of any positive outcome. However, it could be suggested that one key event changed the attitude of the US, making them more willing to negotiate constructively. After Europe had gained enough support for the stationing of the new INF forces, the superpower summit at Reykjavik, Iceland saw the new Soviet premier Gorbachev, and Reagan come close to an accord without consulting the NATO allies. Gorbachev had come to Iceland with concrete proposals to eliminate INF in order to reduce some of the burden on the Soviet economy, Reagan surprised at this, and the Soviet moves towards the US position virtually bargained away INF without European input. Prime Minister Thatcher apparently was furious to hear this, having endured substantial domestic opposition to facilitate the deployment of cruise, and the update of the strategic deterrent.

The INF Treaty was unique in being the first accord which actively involved the dismantling of nuclear weapons with ranges of 500 - 5000 km. Verification procedures were settled, and future production of such weapons was banned. Although this still left significant numbers of nuclear weapons in superpower arsenals, it was an agreement that, with the benefit of hindsight, gave great promise to future treaties such as the START talks, and in the conventional field that of the CFE. However, the INF process resulted in a rift in transatlantic relations, which writers in NATO publications attempted to limit, by reinterpreting the culture of the United States and the personality of its President, in an attempt to limit the damage (17) I wish to turn now to my conclusions, bringing together the arms control regimes, and their future prospects. CONCLUSIONS Having analysed each of the initiatives separately, it could be suggested that an understanding of European arms control can best be discovered by examining the three regimes as an ongoing process. The CFE and INF treaties provided substantial, ongoing improvements in European security. The INF treaty was the first programme which actually resulted in the destruction of a class of weaponry, and banned development of such weaponry in future by the signatories. Whilst detractors could suggest that this still left the protagonists with an arsenal of other tactical nuclear weapons, such as artillery shells and free-fall bombs, the INF accord is as significant as the CFE treaty, in that, if anything, it codifies political intentions between parties. The CFE treaty is proving to be arguably most effective for its participants, due to its restrictions on conventional armaments, those far more likely to be used in minor incursions or suppressions short of inter-alliance warfare. However, a cascading effect is taking place whereby excess weapons above the destruction limits are being transferred from the rich North and Western European arsenals to the south-east of Europe where at present there is great instability. It could be suggested also that in the long term, the Treaty could prove a tool for a resurgent hard-line movement within Russia, where the military see CFE as another humiliation, alongside the loss of East Germany, the defeat of a major ally (Iraq), exacerbated by the collapse of the WTO, and the disintegration of the Union itself. Some Russian analysts, however, defend CFE more rationally on the basis that its provisions also encompass some thirty European states. The MBFR talks, whilst portrayed easily as a failure, due to their inability to arrive at an accord, could be suggested as proving more effective in an intangible way. They facilitated for over a decade a dialogue, and despite it being referred to "as a dialogue of the deaf" by the head of the US delegation, communication, however negative, in itself is arguably a form of communication (18) The MBFR regime in sum, helped establish negotiating positions, such that when the international political climate began to thaw out, the negotiating teams were in a far stronger position to come to a rapid accommodation. The 20 months to finalise CFE compared to 13 years for MBFR, it could be suggested bears out this statement. The three processes have resulted in tangible reductions, in both the conventional and nuclear balance of power in Europe, whilst also they have helped to set the scene for other political agreements within forums such as NATO and the CSCE. The negotiation process in itself can be seen as enabling former enemies to articulate their security needs through an exchange of ideas, relating to their own distinct cultural values and perceptions, providing the participants with enhanced security, which after all is to a large extent, a psychological concept. The examination of the three processes, both alone, and taken together, show that arms control is a slow, tedious process, heavily dictated to by the nature of international politics at the time, and often subordinate to goals such as propaganda, and the necessity of the parties to be seen to be taking the moral high ground. It could though be suggested that the use of propaganda has been shown to be a two-edged sword, as when the United States tabled negotiations to eliminate INF, and the Soviet Union accepted, the Americans were forced to begin negotiations, rather than lose face, and in the case of INF it resulted in an agreement, once relations improved, bearing out Lawrence Freedman's statement that "arms control involves a compromise between strategic logic and political convenience" (19) In conclusion, the arms control problem for the 1990s, could be suggested as being two-fold. Firstly there is the challenge of integrating the successor states of the Soviet Union, into the CFE Treaty process, and other related regimes, such as the confidence building measures of the CSCE. The second is to find new patterns of negotiation to cope with the arising security agenda. The threat posed by the former Yugoslavia is, it could be suggested, that established modes of negotiation, between groups, over long periods of time is proving irrelevant at best, and a forum for manipulation at worst. It is with some irony that, had the cold war continued, Europe would have probably felt itself to be

more secure than at any other time this century. However, the reality is that conflict in Bosnia, threatens to spill over into the Balkans, along ethnic lines, providing a challenge for which the current accords have no relevance. APPENDICE A: ABBREVIATIONS ACV Armoured Combat Vehicle ATTU The Atlantic-To-The-Urals proposition CFE The Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty CSCE The Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe GLCM Ground Launched Cruise Missile HLWG High Level Working Group (CFE related body - see chronology) INF Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty MBFR Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions talks MD Military District. Geographical term used by the Russian armed forces NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organisation PFP Partnership for Peace agreement (NATO) START strategic arms limitation talks TLE Treaty Limited Equipment (CFE term for the five categories of equipment) US United States (of America) USSR Union of Soviet Socialist Republics WTO The Warsaw Treaty Organisation, more commonly known as the Warsaw Pact APPENDICE B: CHRONOLOGIES The Mutual and Balanced Force Reduction talks Jan 1968 Height of US commitment to South Vietnam. ‘Tet’ offensive. June 1968 NATO calls for MBFR at ministerial conference at Reykjavik. Aug. 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. Awareness of MBFR to consolidate détente. 1970 - 1973 NATO establishes negotiations position. Oct. 1973 Leonid Brezhnev sets out Eastern Block negotiation position. Yom Kippur War demonstrates advances in Soviet equipment and doctrine to Europeans. Dec. 1975 Option tabled at Vienna - 1,000 US nuclear weapons plus 90 launchers in exchange for the withdrawal of one Soviet tank army, with 1,700 tanks. Feb. 1976 Soviet counter-proposal. effectively mirrors NATO offer. June 1976 Brezhnev decides forces are similar and reductions should be equal. Apr 1986 Mikhail Gorbachev calls for radical conventional force cuts effectively ending MBFR July 1986 MBFR talks adjourned at 39th meeting. Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty May 1986 NATO council meeting at Halifax, Canada calls for new conventional negotiations. July 1986 Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev makes `Budapest Appeal` for negotiations. Mar. 1989 Formal commencement of CFE negotiations. Dec. 1989 Collapse of the Berlin Wall. Nov. 1990 CFE Treaty formally concluded. Negotiated in record time. Feb. 1991 Equipment holdings revised. Controversy over Soviet `naval infantry`. Jan 1992 CFE - HLWG established in part to handle the break-up of the Soviet Union. July 1992 CFE-1A agreement reached, concerning manpower ceilings. Sept. 1993 Boris Yeltsin officially requests suspension of Article V (concerning deployment) Nov. 1993 33% elimination target of TLE holdings achieved. Nov. 1995 100% elimination of TLE to be achieved by participants. Mar. 1996 CFE review conference planned. The Intermediate Nuclear Forces negotiations May 1972 SALT I agreement reached. Consequence: Superpowers develop new weapons. 1977 Soviet Union deploys mobile SS-20 nuclear missiles. Oct. 1977 Brezhnev withdraws one division from East Germany. Offers freeze on SS-20`s if NATO forgoes deployment of proposed US INF.

Dec.

1979

Nov. July Oct. Dec. May 6 May 12 June

1981 1982 1983 1987 1991 1991 1991

NATO adopts `two-track` approach. NATO to negotiate limit on future US INF forces in return for reduction in current Soviet INF. If the talks have no fruitful outcome by Dec. 1983, then NATO intended to go ahead with deployment, of the next generation INF. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan takes place. Ronald Reagan announces `zero-option` to end existence of INF. `walk-in-the-woods` compromise. No Pershing II missiles, 75 GLCMs each. Unilateral NATO withdrawal of 1,400 US nuclear weapons to alleviate European adverse public opinion. INF treaty signed in Washington. Last US INF weapon (Pershing II) eliminated in accordance with the Treaty. Last Soviet INF weapon (SS-20) eliminated in accordance with the Treaty. Deadline for INF elimination period.

FOOTNOTES (1) See Lothar Ruehl in "MBFR: Lessons and problems" (Adelphi Papers No. 176 IISS) pp 2 (2) See Michael Alexander "MBFR - Verification is the key" in NATO review Vol. 34 No. 3 pp 10 (3) See Coi D Blacker "Negotiating security: The MBFR experience" in Arms control Vol. 7 pp 215 (4) See Jane M.O. Sharp "Conventional arms control in Europe" in SIPRI World Armaments and Disarmament Yearbook 1990 pp 478 (5) See Jonathan Dean "The CFE negotiations" in Survival Vol. 32 No. 4 (July/August 1990) (6) See Jonathan Dean and Randall Watson Forsberg "CFE and beyond" in International security Vol. 17 No. 1. In June 1991, the Soviet ambassador announced the intention of Russia to destroy 50% of TLE allocated to the Navy, and a like amount beyond the Urals. (7) ibid. p. 93. (8) See Necil Nedimoglu "NATO and partner countries co-operate in implementing the CFE Treaty" in NATO Review Vol. 42 No. 3 (June 1994). (9) See Jane M.O. Sharp "Will the CFE Treaty survive the cold war ?" in Poole and Guthrie (ed.) (1994) Verification 1994 (Brassey's) p. 164. (10) SIPRI World Armaments and Disarmament Yearbook 1994 "Chronology 1993" p. 802. (11) Op. Cit. (Poole and Guthrie) p. 162. (12) SIPRI World Armaments and Disarmament Yearbook 1994 Part IV Ch 14 (13) From: Jonathan Dean and Randall Watson Forsberg "CFE and beyond" in International security Vol. 17 No. 1 (Summer 1992) p. 86. (14) The Treaty is known officially as the Treaty between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the elimination of their intermediate range and short range missiles, or INF for short. (15) The deployment itself involved a total of 572 weapons. 108 Pershing II missiles, and 464 Cruise missiles. Soviet concerns revolved more specifically around the Pershing II with both a short flight time to Moscow (5-8 minutes), high yield, and excellent accuracy. Cruise (by its nature) had a flight time measured in hours, and thus was less threatening strategically. (16) SIPRI World Armaments and Disarmament Yearbook 1988 "The INF Treaty" Ch 13 p. 381. (17) See Jan Feifenberg "transatlantic relations - a case of continental drift" in NATO Review Vol. 34 No. 5. This article discussed the 'Rambo' element of American culture, and in assessing President Reagan noted, "Most of Reagan's European critics simply do not realise, in his personality, the President reflects fundamental American characteristics such as optimism, belief in a better future, a capacity for constant renewal, self-reliance and a pragmatic approach free from historical determinants" p. 8. (18) Op. Cit. ( Michael Alexander) in NATO Review Vol. 34 No. 3 p. 8. (19) See Lawrence Freedman "The dilemma of theatre nuclear arms control" in Survival Vol. 23 No. 1 p. 8. BIBLIOGRAPHY C D Blacker "Negotiating security: The MBFR experience" in Arms control Vol. 7 pp. 215 - 240. J Dean "The CFE negotiations" in Survival Vol. 32 No. 4 (July/August 1990) pp. 313 - 324. J Dean & R Forsberg "CFE and beyond" in International security Vol. 17 No. 1 (1992) pp. 76 - 121. L Freedman "The dilemma of theatre nuclear arms control" in Survival Vol. 23 No. 1 pp. 2 - 10. NATO Review Vol. 34 No. 5 (Oct. 1985) "transatlantic relations - a case of continental drift?" p. 1 - 8. NATO Review Vol. 34 No. 3 (June 1986) "MBFR - verification is the key" pp. 6 - 11. NATO Review Vol. 35 No. 6 (Dec. 1987) "Conventional forces - time to redress the balance" pp. 16 19

NATO Review Vol. 42 No 3 (June 1994) "NATO and partner countries co-operate in implementing the CFE Treaty" pp. 18 - 21. J B Poole & R Guthrie (ed.) (1994) Verification 1994 (Brassey's) Ch 16 pp. 159 - 170. Pugh (ed.) (1992) European security - towards 2000 (Manchester UP) Ch 7 pp. 104 - 123. Ruehl L "MBFR: Lessons and problems" (Adelphi Paper No. 176 IISS). SIPRI World Armaments and Disarmament Yearbook 1976 Part III Ch 8 pp. 297 - 329. SIPRI World Armaments and Disarmament Yearbook 1988 "The INF Treaty" Ch 13 pp. 375 - 393. SIPRI World Armaments and Disarmament Yearbook 1990 Ch 12 pp 443 - 458, Ch 13 pp. 460 - 507. SIPRI World Armaments and Disarmament Yearbook 1994 Part IV Ch 14, Annexe B pp. 795 - 806. Strategic Survey 1987 - 1988 (IISS 1988) "Conventional arms control in Europe" pp. 47 - 54.

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