International Workshop "Arms Control and Europe: New Challenges and Prospects for Strategic Stability"

On October 15-16, 2021 Odessa Center for Nonproliferation conducted the workshop and the roundtable "Arms Control and Europe: New Challenges and Prospects for Strategic Stability".

The transformation of the world nuclear order brought drastic changes to strategic stability. On the one hand, nuclear arms control has entered the phase of the crisis, especially after the collapse of the INF Treaty while New START, remains the last bilateral nuclear arms control agreement.

On the other hand, strategic stability is losing its bilateral configuration. The introduction of the new actors with the most developed warfighting systems (nuclear and/or conventional ones) as well as the new missile technologies such as precision-guided long-range conventional weapons makes the future deterrence complex and strategic stability in an old sense collapsing. The situation in Europe is substantially aggravated with the shrinking security architecture: the situation around CFE and Open Sky Treaties, political conflicts, the insufficiency of the confidence-building measures system and failure to progress with the development of the Vienna Document since 2011.

In this environment Europe which used to be part of the strategic stability structure finds itself at the crossroads. Today, it continues to adhere to a familiar framework entrusting military-political portfolio to NATO and leaving the rest of the agenda to the EU itself. That said, there are ideas about developing a European “defense face”.

The team of the experts from different institutions consisted of William Alberque (IISS, Germany), Mykola Bielieskov and Oleksii Izhak (NISS, Ukraine), Alexandr Graef (University of Hamburg, Germany), Benjamin Hautecouverture (Fondation pour la recherche stratégique, France), Tom McKane (European Leadership Network), Tom Sauer (Universiteit Antwerpen, Belgium), Hanna Shelest (Foreign Policy Council “Ukrainian Prism”, Ukraine), Petr Topychkanov (SIPRI, Sweden), Timothy Wright (IISS, United Kingdom), Sebnem Udum (Hacettepe University, Turkey), Polina Sinovets and Iryna Maksymenko (OdCNP, Ukraine).

The workshop has addressed a range of important, perhaps even controversial issues, especially in the light of choices faced by Ukraine, a state that aspires to become a member of both NATO and the EU:

In particular,

  • If the United States continues to disengage, how will extended nuclear deterrence be implemented for Europe?
  • Can Europe, in fact, assume „strategic autonomy‟ in defense?
  • How could Europeans pursue arms control when the US is not leading the effort and what might be the role of European countries?
  • Should Europeans contribute to saving an old arms control structure or transfer their efforts to create a separate pole in the new environment?
  • Should they join the arms race of missile technologies or lead the control and limitation regimes?
  • How Europe should react to the US-Russian acceleration of the arms race and the possibility of the new deployments at the continent?
  • How the strategic stability collapse affects regional security architecture and in particular the Black Sea and the Baltic regions?