CFE Agreement 1990: Understanding the Treaty that Shaped Europe`s Security Landscape
The Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, signed in 1990, was a landmark agreement that aimed to reduce the risk of conflict between NATO and the Warsaw Pact countries by restricting the number of conventional military forces each side could deploy in Europe. The agreement was a key part of the wider process of European security and stability following the end of the Cold War. In this article, we`ll explore the details of the CFE Agreement 1990 and its lasting legacy on the continent`s security landscape.
Background: The End of the Cold War
The CFE Treaty came about as a result of the changing security environment in Europe following the end of the Cold War. With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, the balance of power in Europe shifted dramatically. The potential for conflict was reduced, but the issue of how to manage the remaining military forces on both sides became a pressing concern.
The original idea for the CFE Treaty was proposed by the US in 1989, and negotiations formally began in March 1990. The treaty was signed by representatives of 22 countries in Paris on November 19, 1990. The signatories included the United States, Canada, NATO countries, and Warsaw Pact countries such as Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus.
Key Provisions of the CFE Treaty
The CFE Treaty sought to reduce the number of conventional military forces that each side could deploy in Europe. The agreement was divided into two parts: the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe and the Vienna Document. The former was the main treaty that set limits on the number of tanks, armored combat vehicles, artillery, and combat aircraft that each side could have in Europe. The latter was a confidence-building measure that required each party to provide information on their military forces and activities.
The CFE Treaty established a “flank” region in Europe where limits on military forces were particularly strict. The flank region included areas such as the Baltic states, Poland, and Czechoslovakia, which were seen as particularly vulnerable to attack. The treaty also had provisions for inspections to verify compliance, as well as procedures for resolving disputes.
Impact of the CFE Treaty
The CFE Treaty was seen as a major success in promoting stability and reducing the risk of conflict in Europe. By setting limits on military forces, the treaty helped to establish trust between NATO and the former Warsaw Pact countries. It also paved the way for wider cooperation on security issues, such as the Partnership for Peace program and the OSCE.
The CFE Treaty did have its critics, however. Some argued that it unfairly favored NATO by allowing it to retain a larger number of military assets than the former Warsaw Pact countries. Others argued that the treaty did not anticipate the rise of non-state actors and asymmetric threats, such as terrorism, that have become increasingly important in the years since the treaty was signed.
The Future of the CFE Treaty
The CFE Treaty has had a significant impact on Europe`s security landscape over the past three decades. However, the treaty has faced challenges in recent years. In 2007, Russia announced that it was suspending its participation in the treaty, citing concerns over NATO`s eastward expansion and the US missile defense system in Europe. Since then, there have been numerous attempts to revive the treaty, but progress has been slow.
In conclusion, the CFE Treaty of 1990 was a significant agreement that helped to promote stability and reduce the risk of conflict in Europe following the end of the Cold War. The treaty set limits on the number of conventional military forces that each side could deploy in Europe, and established trust between NATO and the former Warsaw Pact countries. However, the treaty faces challenges in the present day, and its future remains uncertain.