NATO’s Chicago Summit in May provided the Alliance with its second opportunity in two years to re-think the presence of U.S. theatre nuclear weapons in Europe, but for the second consecutive time, NATO failed. In this report, BASIC policy consultant, Ted Seay, examines key decisions made (and not made) in Chicago, in relation to the future of NATO’s nuclear sharing arrangements and the Alliance as a whole.
The deterrence and defence posture review was an enormous task for NATO, especially with many Allies politically divided on the purpose of Alliance: Is the purpose of the Alliance to operationalize allied security concerns in places such as Afghanistan and Libya, acting as the tool of choice in dealing with the global security concerns of its members? Or is it to provide the mutual-defence security guarantees enshrined in Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty? Seay argues that there are political, economic and military reasons why the nuclear status quo cannot continue much longer without threatening the stability of the Alliance. The DDPR was also a missed opportunity for NATO to determine the appropriate mix of conventional forces and nuclear sharing.
Seay believes that real change in NATO policy must involve U.S. leadership and a push for specific actions at the next NATO Foreign Ministerial meeting (most likely to be held in December 2012. He writes, “NATO’s political mechanisms are deadlocked around the nuclear issue; allowing them to stay that way for much longer risks the very existence of the Alliance. For that reason, the U.S. government must recognise the danger and act soon to save NATO from a nuclear implosion.”
This is the 10th Nuclear policy paper published under the joint ACA/BASIC/IFSH project on “Reducing the role of tactical nuclear weapons in Europe” funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. More information on the project can be found at http://tacticalnuclearweapons.ifsh.de/
Click on the link below to read the full report.