The CFE Treaty: A Cold War Anachronism?

  • February 01, 1995
  • Dr Jeffrey D McCausland

On November 19, 1990, the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty was signed in Paris following the successful completion of 20 months of negotiations between the members of NATO and the Warsaw Pact Treaty Organization. At its completion President Bush hailed the agreement as ending the" . . . military confrontation that has cursed Europe for decades." Despite the dramatic nature of this document, the large scale reduction required of all signatories, and the complex inspection regime it established; the completion of the treaty was overshadowed by the ongoing deterioration of the Warsaw Pact, end of the Berlin Wall, and impending conflict in the Persian Gulf between Iraq and the coalition headed by the United States. Even these events paled to insignificance in comparison to the dissolution of the Soviet Union roughly 1 year later. In this study, the author examines the viability of this agreement in the post-Cold War era. He describes the scope of the treaty, how it was adapted to meet many of the changes that have occurred, and how it has moved towards final implementation in November 1995.