If The Balloon Goes Up, Do You Want 200 or 5400?

Posted: October 13, 2010 in Uncategorized
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Spiegel Online reports German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has lost out to the NATO foreign ministers regarding nuclear weapons on German soil.  The weapons Westerwelle described as “relic(s) of the Cold War” which “no longer have a military purpose” will instead continue to meet a post Cold War NATO need in serving the military purpose of deterrence.

NATO has some 200 short-range nuclear weapons stationed in Europe with an estimated 20 of those in Germany. Russia is thought to have many times that amount. In an interview with SPIEGEL earlier this year, former NATO Secretary General George Robertson said Russia had 5,400 such weapons. In that interview, Robertson was very critical of Westerwelle’s desire to remove all atomic weapons from German soil, calling it “simply dangerous.”

The demand from Berlin, he said, “does not deny the idea of extended nuclear protection. It just says that Germany does not want to share the risks of providing it.” He also said that “instead of making unilateral demands for weapons to leave Germany, the priority should be to do something about this huge imbalance.”

That’s the sort of plainspokeness that only a former Secretary General would be likely to offer up.  Of course, an astute observer might offer the rest of NATO is largely a security free-rider as well…



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