Russian military experts believe that the Americans are deploying a new missile defense elements in close proximity to the borders of the Russian Federation for purely political reasons, because of the threat of war, neither the US nor its allies no no. In addition, the United States placed a new base without any cooperation with Russia, just informing about their actions. What can cause such unilateral steps, “MK” was told by a former Secretary of defense William Perry. The interview took place not so long ago in Amsterdam, during the conference of the Luxembourg forum on preventing nuclear catastrophe.
Mr. Perry, do you think in the current international situation, real threat of a nuclear conflict between the US and Russia, and under what circumstances, in your opinion, the leaders of the two countries can decide to order the use of nuclear weapons?
— I don’t think that Russia and the United States today, there are planned nuclear war. Leaders of the two Nations, of course, realize the unimaginable effects of the use of atomic weapons. Answering the second part of your question, I would say: nevertheless, the danger of nuclear war exists and may be due to miscalculation or error. Today, as during the cold war, both sides have missiles of strategic designation, and their staff is obliged to follow the protocols run. Not exclude the situation where either party may mistakenly launch missiles with a nuclear warhead, if you get a false signal. The problem today is not that the leaders of the great powers deliberately start a nuclear war. Power PRO can make a mistake, which will lead to an unexpected nuclear war. I see this as the main danger.
— A journalist from a leading British publications, present at the conference of the Luxembourg forum on preventing nuclear catastrophe, asked participants the question about the problem of outdated computer systems, which control the nuclear missiles. You share his concerns or believe these systems are still safe?
— With regard to computer systems, they do provide control over the American nuclear weapons systems, but the same is true for the Russian computer systems. This is a very complex system, there is the possibility of dual protection, but even so, all of the computer system, at least theoretically, can be vulnerable to cyber attacks. And I believe no party can be one hundred percent sure in their computer systems. This risk applies both the USA and Russia and any other country possessing nuclear weapons.
— In your opinion, what should be the behavior of modern world leaders in a situation when a nuclear conflict could be caused by an error in military or provocative actions of a third party?
— First of all they must know and remember the sad lessons of the past. Let’s go back a hundred years and look at the events leading up to the outbreak of the First world war. And, of course, remember the nuclear arms race during the cold war.
In 1913, life in Europe was successful in all respects, and the political situation is so favourable that people even thought it could not admit about the likelihood of war emergency. Europe received all the possible benefits of electrification, the conveyor production of cars, aircraft produced in large numbers. The United States had very good relations with Kaiser Wilhelm and the German authorities. I would even say that we were one step away from concluding treaties of Alliance. Nevertheless, a year later, we have sunk to a catastrophic confrontation.
An unexpected war has had terrible consequences for everyone, including the leaders of the countries taking part in it, in particular for the Kaiser. The situation after the First world war, served as the basis for further disaster, expressed in the great depression and world war II.
What lessons should we learn from painful historical experience? I think the main lesson is that, even if the leaders are not planning military action, they can easily slip into war. In particular, this can happen if the leaders are too confident that will be able to keep further developments under control. In addition, any leader can incorrectly estimate the probable impact of a possible war.
These two important factors were placed on the surface on the eve of the First world war and led ultimately to the fact that no one expected war broke out.
After the outbreak of hostilities, each party was confident about his victory and the early conclusion of the war. As we now know, the winners then appeared, and the world was waiting for disastrous consequences, which became the prologue for an even more bloody events in the war against fascism.
Another lesson related to the period of the cold war. In particular, we are talking about the development of nuclear weapons and the arms race. Both the US and the Soviet Union believed that national security should be based on the powerful arsenals of nuclear weapons. Hoping that thus they will be able to ensure the possibility of nuclear deterrence of the enemy.
But if you assess the situation in retrospect, the question would arise: whether these objectives have been achieved? Indeed, the cold war has not resulted in a nuclear standoff, and this achievement can hardly be overestimated. There are, however, this “achievement” and the negative side that we often overlook.
First of all, the arms race put the world on the brink of disaster. In particular, to the brink of nuclear war. This is not because the leaders of the countries really sought to unleash a nuclear war, and the fact that the arms race could get out of control and result in nuclear war.
She could start, even in the absence of the leaders of the two countries plans to unleash a nuclear war on purpose. God forbid, would be admitted a strategic miscalculation happened or accidental start-up…
— And in the years of the cold war there were situations when the United States and the USSR really were on the brink of nuclear war?
— This is the situation during the Cuban missile crisis, and the world should not forget how close then we stood on the brink of nuclear war. False alarms sounded in both the United States and the USSR, in a moment putting the world on the brink of a nuclear abyss.
Remembering those years, often said that nuclear deterrence has had a positive effect. However, we forgot about the real dangers of nuclear weapons.
Today, unfortunately, we recreate the conditions observed in the era of the cold war and closer to a possible disaster. It is about these history lessons, I would like to remind all who influence the security in the world.