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US Nukes in Europe

The removal of US nukes from German soil is an official German government goal. Westerwelle is also keen on changing NATO's nuclear policy. Both goals met resistance from our allies, but the government made decisions that support such a development anyway.

Brookings on the future of the US nuclear weapons in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey:

Although allies agree that they will take no unilateral decisions, there is an elephant in the room . or lurking out in the hallway: the German air force is in the process of replacing its nuclear-capable Tornado aircraft with the Eurofighter, which is not capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

While the Germans plan to stretch the life of some Tornados to maintain a nuclear capability to beyond 2020, at some point those aircraft will be retired. No one in Germany sees any prospect of continuing a nuclear delivery role after the Tornado. That will have a major impact on whether the Dutch and Belgians decide to maintain a nuclear role. (Although the Dutch plan to procure the F-35, which will have a nuclear delivery variant, it is questionable whether The Hague could sustain domestic support for that role-and for continued basing of U.S. nuclear weapons-if Germany is clearly on a course for withdrawal of the weapons based on its soil.) The reverberations could reach Italy and Turkey as well.


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