L’illusion nucléaire de l’Ukraine

GENÈVE – Un argument très répandu de nos jours voudrait que l’Ukraine ne connaisse pas les difficultés qu’elle vit actuellement si elle avait conservé son arsenal important d’armes nucléaires à la fin de la guerre froide. Cette affirmation a des conséquences politiques dangereuses et ne doit pas rester incontestée.

Même si, en surface, l’argument reste plausible, il ne résiste pas à l’examen des faits dont nous disposons sur la façon dont les États se comportent. Les armes nucléaires n’ont tout simplement pas les effets dissuasifs que le commun des mortels lui attribue, que le contexte soit d’empêcher la guerre entre deux grandes puissances nucléaires ou de protéger les États plus faibles contre les attaques conventionnelles.

La théorie veut que l’équilibre de la terreur nucléaire entre les États-Unis soit ce qui aurait maintenu la paix tout au long de la guerre froide, et aurait ainsi joué un rôle important pour refroidir les ardeurs d’autres belligérants éventuels (notamment entre l’Inde et le Pakistan, l’Inde et la Chine ainsi qu’entre les États-Unis et la Chine). Cette théorie n’est toutefois pas aussi fondée qu’elle paraît. Dans toute la période de la guerre froide, aucun événement ne peut venir confirmer l’hypothèse que l’Union soviétique ou les États-Unis auraient été empêchés d’intervenir militairement par crainte de l’arsenal nucléaire de l’autre camp.

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