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United States Apparently Removes Nuclear Weapons from German Base Ramstein

Nuclear inspection documents indicate that the U.S. Air Force may have permanently removed its nukes from Ramstein. This would mean that Germany’s contribution to NATO's nuclear mission now is reduced to Büchel Air Base.
The Atlantic Review's long-time reader and friend Marian has recommended an excellent article by Hans M. Kristensen in the Strategic Security Blog by the Federation of American Scientists. Quote on "Germany's Nuclear Decline" and the prospect of throwing NATO's principle of nuclear burdensharing into disarray
A poll published by Der Spiegel in 2005 revealed an overwhelming support across the political spectrum for a complete withdrawal of nuclear weapons from Germany. The German government said in May 2005 that it would raise the issue of continued deployment within NATO, but officials later told Der Spiegel that the government had changed its mind. Yet the withdrawal from Ramstein indicates that the government has been more proactive than thought or that the Bush administration “got the message” and decided not to return the weapons.
The withdrawal reduces Germany from the status of a major nuclear host nation to one on par with Belgium and the Netherlands, both of which also only have one nuclear base. The German government can now safely decide to follow Greece, which in 2001 unilaterally left NATO’s nuclear club. This in turn would open the possibility that Belgium (and likely also the Netherlands) will follow suit, essentially throwing NATO’s long-held principle of nuclear burdensharing into disarray.
Mr Kristensen also points out that "Despite the apparent reduction, NATO's Nuclear Planning Group (NPG) as recently as June 15, 2007, reaffirmed the importance of deploying U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe."
Personal comment: We need to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our defense planning, if we want to convince Iran and other countries to give up their assumed nuclear weapons programs. Thus the removal of some US nukes from Germany is a good step.

RELATED, sort of: "Five more U.S. Army sites in Germany will be closed through 2009 as part of a wider effort to realign the military's overseas structure, the U.S. Defense Department said Wednesday." writes The International Herald Tribune.


Atlantic Review on : Reductions of US Troops in Europe Could Impede US Operations

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"Some American defense officials are reconsidering a plan to cut the troop force in Europe in half," writes Gordon Lubold in the Christian Science Monitor (HT: Marian) on April 24, 2007. The main reason for the criticism of the planned troop red


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Marian Wirth on :

The Kristensen article is really stunning, and so is the whole Strategic Security Blog. Thanks for recommending it.

Don S on :

I question whether there is significant support in Germany for any kind of burden-sharing. Whether nuclear or non-nuclear. The fact would seem to show otherwise....

Greg on :

Certainly makes you wonder if there is any future for NATO. As the article points out, NATO members are increasingly hostile to US military presence in their country. Also, poll after poll shows Europeans view the US as the greatest threat to peace - not Russia, Iran or any other foe. So, why would Europeans even want an organization based upon common defense with the country they see as threatening? And in the US, isolationism is rapidly on the rise. More and more people want the US to "mind its own business," especially when it comes to military matters. I used to think the demise of the USSR would make NATO stronger, but in fact the opposite is happening.

Don S on :

"Five more U.S. Army sites in Germany will be closed" There is something going on under the radar. In connection with a discussion a while ago I googled information about US military base closures in Germany. There have been a LOT of closures in recent years and the process is continuing - as the quote above shows. This has been happening almost since the collapse of the Berlin Wall, but the pace seems to have accelerated since 2003. I think it's an ongoing below the radar withdrawal from the continental portion of NATO - for reasons which shoulf be obvious. Even if one feels no sense of betrayal about the lack of particpation by NATO's major continental members in the current war one still has to question whether it makes sense to spend resources to defend large, rich, and technically sophisticated countries perfectly able to defend themselves? Particularly (as in Germany) when public support for the limited contribution Germany makes to it's own defense appear to be collapsing....

Don S on :

On the subject (which I raised above) of the absesnce of certain NATO allies from the Afghanistan war - the Beeb mentioned the critical need for wider participation by more NATO allies - and they weren't referring to Iceland, San Marino, or Andorra. It is a 'critical problem' and it is 'strongly affecting relations' The good news is that Romania and Ruritania are sending troops to the southern front of Afghanistan. Grand Fenwick is considering sending a few longbowmen. But there are two major countries in the cneter of Europe who are missing. Hmmmm. Whom could the Beeb possibly be referring to?!!!!

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