By announcing that the USA will be withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) on the grounds that Russia is not respecting it, President Trump has just increased the pressure placed on the Europeans.
This treaty, concluded in 1987, brought the high tension of the Euromissile crisis to an end and heralded the end of the Cold War. Russia's neighbour, Europe, was and is still the first to be affected. Intermediate-range nuclear arms can be used in the battle field, unlike strategic arms, whose power and targets would lead to mutual destruction and which are therefore designed to dissuade any attacker and threaten him with unacceptable damage. This doctrine seems to be abandonned and this leaves the Europeans to face their dependency.
However, you are never better served than by yourself or at worst, by your closest allies.
In Europe only the UK and France are deterrent powers. Together they have deemed that there would be no situaiton in which the vital interests of one, which define the implementation of deterrence, might be engaged without engaging the vital interests of the other.
Three Presidents of the French Republic, (Chirac, Sarkozy, Hollande) stated in their nuclear policy speech (2006,2008, 2015) that they delivered like every Head of the Armies does during his mandate, that they believed that the security of their allies in Europe was also part of France's vital interests, calling on our partners to open consultations about the matter. This means that French deterrence, which is French and will remain so, also protects Europe. And so is it not the time to take our dialogue together further?
But politicians, especially in Germany, are hesitating to do this, deeming that their public opinion is not ready for this. But what would they say if their country found itself defenceless or if they had to rely on others for their country's security, thereby taking the risk of having to submit to interests which are not theirs? Do they really realise that this is a so-called non-use policy guaranteeing our fundamental interests via its credibility alone? Will the French President, who in turn will have to give his vision of deterrence, want to go further and offer our neighbours the perspective of real protection? Is it not time to take a step in this direction, even if everything cannot be revealed to the public in this rather sensitive area?
By leaving the Europeans uncertain and alone as far as their final security is concerned, the American President has pushed Europe to the wall. If it wants to be independent in terms of its foreign policy, its economic, trade and social policies it must also be credible as far as its security is concerned. Europeans, as a small group to start with, must put deterrence on the table.
In no way does this affect our alliance with the USA, NATO and its commitments of collective security. It simply guarantees them.