Blindsided by Peace?
by Laurie Meadows
19 February 2022 1730 NZDT (18 February 2022 0430 UTC) (updated 25
The mother of all security Treaties
Russia has moved to bring security to all in the 'EuroAtlantic'
space. It is in the form of a 'take it or leave it' European
Now, it is very unusual for a fully formed Treaty to be born without
at least months and probably years of negotiation. However, Russia
has had nothing but stonewalling, silence, and derision over years
to bring the West to the table to sort out security for all, without
exception. No one listened. It's not the first time it has taken the
initiative to bring peace for all in Europe.
In 2008, under the Medvedev Presidency, Russia produced a draft
European security treaty:
"Based on the results of discussions that
have taken place in the last year at various
venues, Russia has prepared a draft European Security Treaty.
The Russian President has sent this draft
to the heads of relevant states
and to chief executives of international
organisations operating in the Euro-Atlantic region such
as NATO, the European Union, the CSTO,
the CIS, and the OSCE. Dmitry Medvedev emphasised
that Russia is open to any proposals on the subject
matter of its initiative and counts
on the positive response from its partners
and the beginning of a substantial discussion
on specific elements of the draft treaty, which
text is given below."
It was simply either ignored or rejected.
New security treaties, one for NATO and one for USA
In April 2008 NATO said at Bucharest that the expansion East would
now include Georgia and Ukraine. Russia regards such expansions on
it's borders as - literally - existential threats. In August
there was a war against Russia in Georgia, with American training
and assistance. Russia underscored that Ukraine cannot become part
of NATO. The West started pumping "defensive" weapons into Ukraine,
and training their military. So-called 'military training' was a
revolving door that allowed for a de facto military base. And these
bases they expanded to accommodate aircraft capable of delivering
guided nuclear bombs to Russia. Russia's concerns were ignored.
There had to be an alternative to these provocations.
In December 2021 Russia presented new draft Security Treaties. These
are aimed at NATO as an organization, and at the United States in
particular. The provisions are short and the language
uncompromising. They secure Russia's security while at the same time
securing European security.
Unlike the 2008 draft treaty, which is very inclusive of other
countries, these two Treaties deal only with US and NATO.
The Russian draft presented to NATO has an extremely important
Article 5: The Parties shall not
deploy land-based intermediate and short-range missiles in
areas allowing them to reach the territory of the other Parties.
Article 5 gives Europe (including Russia) security. It seems a
generous move, as it means land based missiles would have to be
removed from Russia's isolated Baltic Oblast, Kalingrad, which
borders Poland and Lithuania. But Russian surface ships carry
missiles, as do it's aircraft. But then so do NATO surface ships and
aircraft - and they deploy close to Russia's borders. These facts
mean that even if this draft Treaty is signed, there is a lot of
work to do. In fact whatever the Treaty, there is still a lot of
technical and verification work to do. It needs to be done by
experts. But we have been here before, and similar work has been
Even so, in conjunction with other mutual work on reducing nuclear
weapon threat, it has real potential. And now the USA has a dilemma.
As has NATO. Sign to settle peace, or face 'military-technical
measures'. This is diplo-speak for 'if you hold a gun to our head we
will hold a gun to your head'. But the Russian gun is faster than the
American one. This is creates an extremely unstable setup.
The 2008 Security Treaty
says let's talk softly and everyone carry a communal stick
The 2008 Treaty avoided prescriptive language in favor of abiding by
the letter and intention of international law, and promoting a
spirit of equal cooperation. The Treaty authors were guided by a
number of Instruments of International Law, but they have leaned
very heavily on the ponderously titled 'Declaration
on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly
Relations and Cooperation among States in accordance
with the Charter of the United Nations (1970)'.
This declaration came at the end of the cold war, and expresses the
almost happy confidence of the General Assembly at that time. A
re-affirmation that embrace of the principles of cooperation and
good faith was the only ways to a secure future.
"Desiring to promote their relations in the spirit
of friendship and cooperation in conformity
with international law,
by the principles set forth in the Charter
of the United Nations, Declaration on Principles
of International Law concerning Friendly Relations
and Cooperation among States in accordance with
the Charter of the United Nations (1970),
Helsinki Final Act of the Conference for Security
and Cooperation in Europe (1975), as well
as provisions of the Manila Declaration
on the Peaceful Settlement of International
Disputes (1982) and Charter for European Security
that the use of force or the threat
of force against the territorial integrity
or political independence of any state,
or in any other way inconsistent with the goals
and principles of the Charter
of the United Nations is inadmissible in their
mutual relations, as well as international relations
and supporting the role of the UN
Security Council, which bears the primary responsibility
for maintaining international peace
the need to join efforts in order
to respond effectively to present-day security
challenges and threats in the globalized
and interdependent world,
to build effective cooperation mechanisms that could
be promptly activated with a view to solving
issues or differences that might arise, addressing concerns
and adequately responding to challenges
and threats in the security sphere,"
However, the language is very different in Russia's 2021 draft
Treaty 'offer' to USA :
Why do I even mention a Treaty that has had its day in the
sun, a Treaty that has long since faded into the blackness of night?
Because good things return in time. When the sun slips below
the horizon it is not gone forever.
The USA and NATO as an organisation may or may not sign Russia's
December 2021 mutual security Treaty. Those who believe diplomacy is
the poor child of military potential would say they have to
sign - Russia is militarily superior. But USA has enormous resource
depth - minerals, energy, education, innovation - and these may
cancel military potential; and in any case the US potential is still
formidable, even although no longer dominant. Neither you nor I know
what the US will do. But the USA has neither time on its side, nor
'friendly' space. That 'friendship' is more fear of trade embargo
than anything else. And the balance of trade is shifting, just as
the balance of military power already has.
Therefore, it seems to me that Russia will bring the 2008 Treaty
back into the light, essentially unchanged. It's easy to 'overread'
the comments that diplomats make, but I did wonder if President
Putin was giving a hint when talking to the French President Macron
on February 8th 2022, when, in discussing Ukraine, he urged
President Macon to think about Ukraine's development and
relationship with Russia,saying "I urge you to take
the high road and think about the historical
and strategic prospects for Ukraine’s development, its
interaction with Russia, and think about creating stable
security conditions for everyone, equal for all
participants in international affairs.
Although it was framed in the context of Ukraine, the same phrase
appeared in the Russian reply to the US response to Russia's draft
"In this respect, it should be noted that, during the
news conference following the talks with French President Emmanuel
Macron in Moscow on February 7, 2022, President Vladimir Putin
stressed that we are open to a dialogue and urge everybody to
“think about creating stable security conditions
for everyone, equal for all participants
in international affairs.”" - Russian Foreign Ministry
Press Release 17 February, 2022
Update: On February 21, 2022, the Russian President announced the
intention to recognise the break-away Eastern Ukrainian Oblasts of
Donetsk and Lugansk as independent states (The People's Republic of
Donetsk, and the People's Republic of Lugansk).
"We are well aware of our enormous responsibility when
it comes to regional and global stability. Back in 2008, Russia
put forth an initiative to conclude a European Security Treaty
under which not a single Euro-Atlantic state or international
organisation could strengthen their security at the expense of the
security of others. However, our proposal was rejected right off
the bat on the pretext that Russia should not be allowed to put
limits on NATO activities." - President Putin, February 21, 2022
A 'Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance
Between the Russian Federation and the Lugansk
People’s Republic' and an identical (presumably) Treaty with the
Donetsk People’s Republic were signed on February 21,
What's good about the 2008 security treaty?
It is an attractive security Treaty. It does not suborn the UN
Charter or Security Council, but supports it.
It is not superior to international law, but is happily subject to
Its stated aim is to strengthen security of each other.
Its mechanisms allow prompt and effective reaction.
Many of the 193 countries of the world will become parties in a
heartbeat - especially African and Asian countries. Why?
1. The 2008 Treaty is styled as a 'European Security Treatment'. It
"all States of the Euro-Atlantic
and Eurasian space from Vancouver to Vladivostok
as well as by the following international
organizations: the European Union, Organization
for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Collective
Security Treaty Organization, North Atlantic Treaty Organization
and Community of Independent States"
It was designed to deal with the urgent needs of the times. But once
the US and NATO are forced to make a decision on bilateral security
with Russia - and they have to make a decision right now, they are
cornered and can't wriggle out - then it settles the matter, one way
or the other. Space then opens up for Russia to offer the world
either a 'mother of all security deals' or a whole series of
identically worded regional security treaties.
Everybody is treated equally, as the wording is the same.
There is no real delay to implementation. These treaties are
designed to come into force with only some countries signing. No one
needs to wait for a 'holdout' to come on board. There could be a
treaty for Europe, a treaty for Eurasia, for Asia, South East Asia,
for Asia Pacific, for the Americas (minus the North), for the
Caribbean...Russia could initiate treaties in whatever regional
designations that would work best.
2. It is very flexible. Any given regional treaty could overlap with
a country that is also in another regional treaty, if that was a
practical necessity. After all, the wording is the same.
Article 11 (3) allows for countries that are listed in the preamble
to a regional treaty to accede to the treaty at a later date. This
allows countries to accede as the political winds in their countries
Equally, countries can withdraw at any time if 'extraordinary
circumstances endanger it's supreme interests'. 'Supreme interests'
most likely refers to a state preserving its sovereignty. It is only
required to do an 'exit statement' of what these dangerous
'extraordinary circumstances' are. (This last is a sop to the United
States, whose Presidents regularly misuse statements of some
mysterious 'emergency' supposedly endangering the US in order to
impose trade embargoes and other restrictions on countries it
3. There are no immediate penalties. All disagreements are worked
out around the table, by an increasing cascade of conferences.
4. It is not fixated on military security alone. Article 1 says:
"1. A Party to the Treaty shall not undertake,
participate in or support any actions or activities affecting
significantly security of any other Party or Parties to the
Crucially, the word 'security' isn't defined. Think about security
between nations, There is security from military violence, security
from gangs of armed religious fanatics, security from human and
animal diseases sent into your country, security of water supply
from major rivers crossing many national boundaries, security of
access to food, security of access to medicine and medical treatment
(including vaccines), security from toxic wastes dumped into
communal littorals - the list goes on.
The list of actions affecting security is endless. The practice of
training, arming, and inciting irregular proxy forces (including
criminals) to overthrow or destabilise another countries government
has been made famous by both the West and some countries in the
Middle East and Gulf. But equally important is the fact that most
antibiotics are produced in China and India. If either or both
decided to restrict supply to other countries would be disastrous to
the population. More so if they use the American technique of adding
on third party restrictions. Resources are becoming more and more
restrained. Mineral resources are unequally distributed on earth.
While the EU, under US direction, has famously (and stupidly) ended
the purchase of Belorussian potassium fertilizer (a major export) in
order to 'punish' it, in future years the boot could be on the other
foot. No one wants that.
So this wide-ranging security concept simply stops harmful actions
between signatory states, and stops signatories supporting another
signatories harmful actions, whether malign or not. This includes,
by the way, trade embargos, which the West mis-names 'sanctions'.
Article 2 (3) is very specifically aimed at countries being put in a
position that would breach the treaty - preventative diplomacy, if
(3). A Party to the Treaty shall not
allow the use of its territory and shall not use
the territory of any other Party with the purpose
of preparing or carrying out an armed attack
against any other Party or Parties to the Treaty
or any other actions affecting significantly security
of any other Party or Parties to the Treaty.
This article would have helped prevent a lot of the crimes and
provocations that have happened in the world over the last few
5. The proposed treaty wording prevents a party already in another
security alliance (e.g. NATO) from joining if their obligations in
their prior security arrangement clashes with the articles of the
treaty (Article 9 (3)).
In a similar vein, no party can take on an International obligation
that clashes with the articles of the treaty. No more illegal
'coalitions of the willing'. The treaty strongly supports the United
Nations Security Council as the arbiter of world peace.
6. Any member can be neutral. Members of the treaty are not a 'bloc'
7. The treaty allows for any signatory to take issue with another
over violation (or threat of violation) of the treaty. This is done
through calling a consultation to sort out issue 'as soon as
possible' with other interested parties. Importantly, any signatory
can take part, even if it doesn't affect them. If it can't be sorted
out in mutual friendly cooperative consultation, a conference of
signatories can be called, as long as two thirds of
Early mediation prevents problems from growing.
8. But there are tools to deal with aggression. Article 7 is
worth repeating in full:
Let that sink in. "every Party shall be entitled to consider an
armed attack against any other Party an armed attack against
In case of an armed attack or a threat
of such attack against a Party
to the Treaty, immediate actions shall
be undertaken in accordance with Article 8 (1)
of the Treaty.
prejudice to the provisions of Article 8
of the Treaty, every Party shall be entitled
to consider an armed attack against any other Party
an armed attack against itself. In exercising
its right of self-defense under Article 51
of the Charter of the United Nations, it
shall be entitled to render the attacked Party,
subject to its consent, the necessary
assistance, including the military one, until the UN
Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain
international peace and security. Information
on measures taken by Parties to the Treaty
in exercise of their right of self-defense shall
be immediately reported to the UN Security Council.
Entitled to, but doesn't have to. It leaves the door open for urgent
assistance, including military assistance provided the party being
attacked consents. Syria, for example, did not consent to the US
incursion into it's territory to attack the armed gangs of criminal
religious fanatics of ISIS and other gangsters. The US
coalition deliberately drove them out from Iraq and across the
desert into Syria. If Syria was a signatory to the treaty, Russia
would be entitled to use force to remove the US from Syria (in fact
it wouldn't, as it prefers diplomacy, but in future circumstances,
well, who knows?).
This is a powerful deterrent to non-signatories intent on
Article 8 allows an armed attack or threat on a party (by anyone) to
be met with collective action. 'Collective action' is not defined.
All signatories convene to decide on 'collective measures'. If an
attack on a party is so severe that it can't speak for itself, any
other signatory can request all parties be drawn together in an
Extraordinary Conference. As long as 80% of party members attend to
decide collective action, as decided by a vote, which must be
unanimous. If threats of attack, or the attack itself, is from a
party to the treaty, it's voted is discounted.
There is no prescription of what 'necessary measures' include, but
you can be sure they will be in line with International law,
because, I repeat, the treaty subordinates itself to international
law. But the UN Charter allows the right to self defense - and the
treaty wording explicitly points this out.
What you will have noticed by now is that this mechanism is very
similar to the UN Security Council. I suspect this is deliberate.
The Security Council is poorly representative of the real world.
There are no permanent members from Africa for example. This
mechanism brings democracy to collective responses to insecurity
And it is much easier to achieve a unanimous decision if members of
a given regional treaty are more or less of like mind. This, by the
way, is a powerful argument for numerous small treaties..
9. Currently, the Secretariat of the OSCE and the UN are poorly
balanced, being biased toward western countries. If a secretariat
develops around each regional chapter of these unified agreements it
will likely reflect the makeup of the countries in the treaty, in
contrast to the UN.
10. Important Institutions such as the Organization for the
Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) have become politicized and
in some cases no longer true to their original mandate.
There is nothing in the security treaty format that would prevent a
conference from deciding to use an extremely closely scrutinized
independent lab from analyzing chemical samples taken in full
compliance with best practice in preserving evidence. There is
nothing stopping such a treaty hiring leading experts, say in
ballistics, to analyze evidence in order to establish the truth. In
other words, if an organization corrupts its own functioning for
political purpose, it can be 'outsourced', and it will lose
How quickly can a Treaty be signed, sealed, and delivered?
The 2008 draft Treaty provided for the Treaty to enter into
force 10 days after 25 countries have signed up and ratified it.
Today, Russia, as the originator, may change the time needed to
bring any given treaty into force.
Changing the number of draft signatories required before the treaty
comes into force also changes the speed with which a treaty can come
into force. If there are a number of regional treaties (my
conjecture), they can be prioritized. Then there is time to deal
with more tranquil regions later.
Other treaties, say a EuroAtlantic one, encompassing maybe not the
full 61 countries, but Europe and China (recalling Russia is a
European country as well as a Eurasian country) may be a priority.
Even if only a handful of the countries listed in a EuroAtlantic
treaty as 'candidates' sign up straight away this could be enough -
depending on the number of founding signatories required. But this
handful would include the most consequential countries - Russia and
China. The number of signatories required could be dropped to
two...which means the treaty could come into force almost
Later, 'troublespots' can be dealt with. A regional grouping of
Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon could form a regional treaty.
Such a treaty could include strategically important countries listed
but not yet acceded. Turkey, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, for example.
This pacing creates a 'breathing space' for Russia, in particular.
The burden of putting out geopolitical fires and being the mediating
'meat in the sandwich' will be somewhat removed. Parties can sort
out their problems at an early stage. The Russian President will not
have to endure more 11 hour sessions pulling Azerbaijan and Armenia
away from each others throats. The legacy of the breakup of the
Soviet Union - borders that are in some cases are still not properly
defined will hopefully be resolved peacefully. And if not, treaty
parties can act quickly to apply pressure to the parties, without
having to wait for the UN Security Council, and without the risk of
peace-actions being vetoes for geopolitical reasons.
The treaty doesn't cover internal struggles
Consider if Russia, Belarus, China, and a few Central Eurasians
had joined in a treaty based on the 2008 treaty. How would it affect
the current struggle in Ukraine? As far as I can see, it wouldn't.
There is a Security Council Resolution requiring Ukraine to
implement the Minsk agreement. The resolution has never been
It is up to Ukraine to consult with the rebelling regions and find a
path to implement autonomy. Autonomous regions in Europe are hardly
new. There are 12
autonomous regions in Europe alone, and more in the rest of
But if Ukraine attacks Russia, China and Belarus would be entitled
to regard that attack as an attack on themselves.
If such treaties or treaty comes to pass, the United Nations will be
rendered more effective than it currently is. That has to be
If this treaty rises like the sun at dawn it will be a potent blow,
a blow against warmongers, a blow against manipulators, a blow
against propagandists, and a blow against the self-privileged
blood-sucking soulless parasites that infest our world.
If this, or something like it, is in Russia's plans, no one has seen
it coming. We will have been blindsided by peace.
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