Die USA haben am (heutigen) Dienstag über ihren Außenminister Mike Pompeo zwei Ankündigungen gemacht, die die sicherheitspolitische Architektur weltweit und nicht zuletzt für Europa grundlegend verändern können. Am Rande des Außenministertreffens der NATO erklärte Pompeo unter Vorbehalt den – bereits angekündigten – Ausstieg seines Landes aus dem Rüstungskontrollvertrag über nukleare Mittelstreckenwaffen. Zuvor hatte er in einer Grundsatzrede das Ziel der USA deutlich, die Bedeutung der Nationalstaaten (zuvörderst der USA) wiederherzustellen und internationale Institutionen und Absprachen zurückzustellen.
Formal haben die beiden Ankündigungen des US-Außenministers nichts miteinander zu tun – inhaltlich aber um so mehr, und dass er beides am selben Tag am gleichen Ort sagte, dürfte auch gezielt so inszeniert worden sein. Der von US-Präsident Donald Trump seit seinem Wahlkampf verwendete Slogan America First wird damit in tatsächliche US-Außenpolitik umgesetzt.
Der Ausstieg aus dem zwischen den USA und Russland 1987 abgeschlossenen INF-Vertrag (Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty) hatte sich bereits seit Wochen abgezeichnet. Die USA, aber inzwischen auch die NATO, werfen Russland vor, bereits seit geraumer Zeit gegen diesen Vertrag zu verstoßen, der Entwicklung, Erprobung und Stationierung von landbasierten Flugkörpern mit Atomsprengköpfen und einer Reichweite von 500 bis 5.500 Kilometer verbietet. Insbesondere in der Kritik ist das russische 9M729-System, von der NATO als SS-C-8 bezeichnet.
Am Dienstagnachmittag, noch vor Pompeos Ankündigung, hatten die NATO-Außenminister erstmals in einer gemeinsamen Erklärung Russland konkret die Verletzung des INF-Vertrags vorgeworfen und Moskau aufgerufen, zu einer nachprüfbaren Einhaltung der Vereinbarung zurückzukehren.
In einer Pressekonferenz im NATO-Hauptquartier ging der US-Außenminister dann noch einen Schritt weiter. Für sein Land erklärte er die Aufkündigung des bilateralen Vertrages mit Russland – mit dem Vorbehalt, dass Russland 60 Tage Zeit habe, zu einer full and verifyable compliance mit dem INF-Vertrag zurückzukehren:
Aus dem Transkript der Pressekonferenz:
President Bush, during his entire lifetime, was a relentless defender of transatlantic security. Today, we strive to emulate his example by asserting powerful American leadership on behalf of our people and our allies. When the INF Treaty was inked in 1987, it represented a good-faith effort between two rivals to de-escalate the threat of nuclear war. President Reagan described it as the realization of “an impossible vision,” and Mikhail Gorbachev said it had “universal significance for mankind.”
But whatever successes this treaty helped produce, today we must confront Russian cheating on its arms control obligations. As I told my fellow ministers earlier today, our nations have a choice. We either bury our head in the sand or we take common-sense action in response to Russia’s flagrant disregard for the express terms of the INF Treaty.
It’s worth noting that Russia’s violations didn’t happen overnight. Russia’s been flight-testing the SSC-8 cruise missile since the mid-2000s. They’ve been testing it in excess of ranges that the treaty permits. All the tests of the SSC-8 have originated from a Kapustin Yar site from both a fixed and mobile launcher. Its range makes it a direct menace to Europe.
In 2017, General Selva of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told Congress that Russia had deployed its missile, and I quote, “in order to pose a threat to NATO and to facilities within the NATO area of responsibility,” end of quote. Russia continues to press forward, and as of late 2018 has filled multiple battalions of the SSC-8 missiles.
Throughout all of this, the United States has remained in scrupulous compliance with the treaty. In spite of Russia’s violations, we have exercised the utmost patience and effort in working to convince Russia to adhere to its terms. On at least 30 occasions since 2013, extending to the highest levels of leadership, we have raised Russia’s noncompliance and stressed that a failure to return to compliance would have consequences.
Russia’s reply has been consistent: deny any wrongdoing, demand more information, and issue baseless counter-accusations. For more than four years, Moscow has pretended that it didn’t know what missile or test the United States was even talking about, even when we provided extensive information about the missile’s characteristics and testing history. It was not until we chose to publicize the Russian name of the missile in November of 2017 that Russia finally acknowledged its existence. Then Russia changed its cover story from the missile that does not exist to the missile that exists but is treaty-compliant.
These violations of the INF Treaty cannot be viewed in isolation from the larger pattern of Russian lawlessness on the world stage. The list of Russia’s infamous acts is long: Georgia, Ukraine, Syria, election meddling, Skripal, and now the Kerch Strait, to name just a few.
In light of these facts, the United States today declares it has found Russia in material breach of the treaty and will suspend our obligations as a remedy effective in 60 days unless Russia returns to full and verifiable compliance.
We’re taking these steps for several reasons. First, Russia’s actions gravely undermine American national security and that of our allies and partners. It makes no sense for the United States to remain in a treaty that constrains our ability to respond to Russia’s violations. Russia has reversed the trajectory of diminishing nuclear risk in Europe, where America has tens of thousands of troops and where millions more American civilians are living and working. These Americans live and work alongside many more millions of Europeans who are put in danger by Russian missile systems.
Second, while Russia is responsible for the demise of the treaty, many other states – including China, North Korea, and Iran – are not parties to the INF Treaty. This leaves them free to build all the intermediate range missiles that they would like. There is no reason the United States should continue to cede this crucial military advantage to revisionist powers like China, in particular when these weapons are being used to threaten and coerce the United States and its allies in Asia.
If you ask the question why the treaty wasn’t enlarged to include more nations, including China, keep in mind that it has been tried three times without any success already, and it has failed each time.
Third, inertia will not drive policy in the Trump administration. As President Trump has made clear and as I spoke about this morning, the United States will not support international agreements that undermine our security, our interests, or our values.
Finally, and I want to be clear about this, America is upholding the rule of law. When we set forth our commitments, we agree to be bound by them. We expect the same of our treaty counterparts everywhere, and we will hold them accountable when their words prove untrustworthy. If we do not, we’ll get cheated by other nations, expose Americans to greater risk, and squander our credibility.
Earlier today, I spoke on America’s enduring leadership role in the international order and I reiterate that powerful American leadership means never abandoning our responsibility to protect our security and our nation’s sovereignty. I’ve stated our position in no uncertain terms. The United States remains hopeful that our relationship with Russia can get better, can get on better footing.
With that being said, the burden falls on Russia to make the necessary changes. Only they can save this treaty. If Russia admits its violations and fully and verifiably comes back into compliance we will, of course, welcome that course of action. But Russia and Russia only can take this step.
We appreciate NATO’s strong support for the United States decision as expressed in this statement released today. The United States and our NATO allies stand vigilant that Russia’s lawless conduct will not be tolerated in the realm of arms control or anywhere else.
Ob und wie diese Absicht zuvor unter den NATO-Außenministern debattiert wurde, ist noch unklar. Auch vorerst die Folgen, falls der vom US-Außenminister genannte Zeitraum ergebnislos verstreicht.
Pompeos andere Rede vor dem German Marshal Fund of the United States in Brüssel hatte eine etwas andere Zielrichtung – und enthielt zwar keine Einzelschritte, aber eine generelle Positionierung, die schon die Überschrift Restoring the Role of the Nation-State in the Liberal International Order klar machte.
Entscheidende Passagen im Auszug:
After the Cold War ended, we allowed this liberal order to begin to corrode. It failed us in some places, and sometimes it failed you and the rest of the world. Multilateralism has too often become viewed as an end unto itself. The more treaties we sign, the safer we supposedly are. The more bureaucrats we have, the better the job gets done.
Was that ever really true? The central question that we face is that – is the question of whether the system as currently configured, as it exists today, and as the world exists today – does it work? Does it work for all the people of the world? (…)
Every nation – every nation – must honestly acknowledge its responsibilities to its citizens and ask if the current international order serves the good of its people as well as it could. And if not, we must ask how we can right it.
This is what President Trump is doing. He is returning the United States to its traditional, central leadership role in the world. He sees the world as it is, not as we wish it to be. He knows that nothing can replace the nation-state as the guarantor of democratic freedoms and national interests. He knows, as George H.W. Bush knew, that a safer world has consistently demanded American courage on the world stage. And when we – and when we all of us ignore our responsibilities to the institutions we’ve formed, others will abuse them.
Critics in places like Iran and China – who really are undermining the international order – are saying the Trump administration is the reason this system is breaking down. They claim America is acting unilaterally instead of multilaterally, as if every kind of multilateral action is by definition desirable. Even our European friends sometimes say we’re not acting in the world’s interest. This is just plain wrong.
Our mission is to reassert our sovereignty, reform the liberal international order, and we want our friends to help us and to exert their sovereignty as well. We aspire to make the international order serve our citizens – not to control them. America intends to lead – now and always. (…)
The first two years of the Trump administration demonstrate that President Trump is not undermining these institutions, nor is he abandoning American leadership. Quite the opposite. In the finest traditions of our great democracy, we are rallying the noble nations of the world to build a new liberal order that prevents war and achieves greater prosperity for all.
We’re supporting institutions that we believe can be improved; institutions that work in American interests – and yours – in service of our shared values.
Die gesamte Rede enthält dazu weitere Details, bis hin zur Verdammung der Vereinten Nationen oder konkret des Internationalen Strafgerichtshofs als rogue international court, internationalen Schurkengerichtshof. Die einzige supranationale Institution, die halbwegs gut wegkommt, ist die NATO – unter US-Führung.
Unterm Strich: Die USA nahmen unter Trump schon vorher das Recht in Anspruch, international zu sagen, wo es lang gehen soll. Pompeo hat nur Schritte zur Umsetzung angekündigt.
(NATO-Foto: US-Außenminister Mike Pompeo, l., und NATO-Generalsekretär Jens Stoltenberg)