The U.S. announced last month that it will no longer share information with Russia on European-based conventional weapons and troops as required by the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty. In an email interview, Jeffrey D. McCausland, a distinguished visiting professor of research at the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College, discussed the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty.
WPR: What is the intent and purpose of the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty, and what is the nature of the dispute between Russia and NATO over the treaty?
Jeffrey D. McCausland: The Treaty on Conventional Armed forces in Europe (CFE Treaty) was signed in 1990 between NATO and the Warsaw Pact. The treaty was intended to reduce the possibility of a large-scale conventional attack by either side or a destabilizing concentration of forces. This was accomplished by limiting the number of each side’s tanks, artillery, armored troop carriers, attack helicopters and combat aircraft in the area between the Atlantic Ocean and the Ural Mountains. Each alliance subsequently negotiated national limits for each category with its respective members. The successor states of the Soviet Union, within the area of application, negotiated national limits in 1996 in the aftermath of the demise of the USSR.