Transatlantic Security in numbers
As part of its military doctrine, NATO relies on nuclear weapons for deterrence against Russia. Yet, in an increasingly uncertain security environment, states continue to modernise their nuclear arsenals bringing about new risks and challenges.
The United States and Russia have a combined stockpile of 8,350 nuclear warheads.
B61 gravity bombs
The United States continues to forward deploy nuclear weapons in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey, as it has since the end of the Cold War.
NATO Nuclear States
France, the UK and the US, NATO's three nuclear weapon states, have a combined stockpile of 4,515 nuclear warheads deployed and in storage.
How do we ensure the future of euro-transatlantic security? And what is the role of nuclear weapons in that future?
For over 30 years, BASIC has worked with governments, academics, think tanks and journalists on issues relating to nuclear deterrence in NATO and strategic relations with Russia, on both sides of the Atlantic. At a time when transatlanticism is being strained by the Trump Presidency, BASIC provides analysis of the diverse European responses to the strategic US-Russian relationship, and how this interacts with the United States and NATO nuclear posture.
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Since the advent of the Trump Presidency, BASIC has highlighted the risks and consequences of increasing reliance on nuclear weapons for Europeans. Read our Washington Dispatches and latest publications on the US nuclear weapons policy
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Analysis and Publications for this Programme
BASIC aims to translate US nuclear decision-making for Europe, and be a voice for European states in Washington D.C.
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Whether Americans vote Democrat or Republican on 3 November, there will likely be much continuity in US nuclear weapons policy, despite declarations in campaigning.
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This report arises from a roundtable on ‘Developing European Perspectives on Nuclear Risks’ on 7 May 2019, hosted at the Polish Mission to the UN in New York and under the sponsorship of the Dutch Foreign Ministry during the 2019 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Preparatory Committee.
Nuclear disarmament has fallen off the public agenda. Media attention is sporadic and reactive, focusing on short-term trends like summits with North Korea or sanctions on Iran. But the longer-term process of global disarmament rarely features in the news cycle and where there is reference it is treated with disdain as unrealistic. This has serious costs to public engagement and democratic accountability.
On 20th October, President Trump announced his intention to “terminate” the INF Treaty, indicating that the United States would abrogate the deal. His move comes as a blow to international arms control, and especially to US allies in Europe, showing a careless disregard for diplomacy.
The transatlantic alliance is strained. That’s a problem. NATO matters because it is critical to the U.S. strategy of keeping World War III at bay.
As in many other policy realms, Trump’s nuclear mission also seems to be aimed at reversing the legacy of his immediate predecessor, while having no notable contribution to the initiatives pursued by his Republican predecessor to curb proliferation, even if through proactive means.
In advance of the NATO Summit in Brussels on 11-12 July 2018, BASIC, ICCS Birmingham, NATO Watch and King’s College London examined trends in transatlantic security, nuclear weapons proliferation and the attitudes and assumptions underlying current NATO policy.
BASIC believes in making progress on nuclear disarmament, arms control, and non-proliferation through multiple complementary approaches. We continuously develop our programmes – streams of research – through sustained engagement with a wide range of stakeholders, collectively searching for the art of the possible.
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