The danger is clear with Putin building up his forces, Trump pulling out of treaties and the ever-present terrorist risk
A hundred years after the armistice that ended the first world war heads of state and government gathered in France this month to commemorate the centenary and attend the opening of the Paris Peace Forum. The object of the forum – to spur international cooperation on global challenges to durable peace – is more essential than ever. But the meeting took place against a deteriorating multilateral landscape in which arguably the preeminent threat to international peace and security – nuclear weapons use – may be at its highest since the deep chill of the cold war.
Much attention in the aftermath of Armistice Day has focused on the concept of a “true European army” advanced by the leaders of France and Germany, a proposal linked to the evolving nuclear risk landscape. Indeed, French president Emmanuel Macron’s call for European defence came directly in response to the US announcement that it would withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty – European security was identified as the “main victim” should the Americans follow through. Yet even with a European army in place, and even if the US and Russia were to resolve their issues and abide by their INF obligations, the spectre of nuclear use on the continent remains.