A Nuclear Posture Review for NATO

By Meier, Oliver; Ingram, Paul | Arms Control Today, October 2010 | Go to article overview

A Nuclear Posture Review for NATO


Meier, Oliver, Ingram, Paul, Arms Control Today


NATO leaders seem ready to adopt a new Strategic Concept defining the alliance's core mission for the next decade when they meet at the Lisbon summit November 19-20. Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen submitted his draft to member states on September 28; a more extensive conversation will take place in the NATO Council among foreign and defense ministers on October 14.1

This schedule does not give the 28 member states much time to reach compromise, a point worth emphasizing in light of the serious remaining divisions on a number of key problems. Not least among them is the future role of nuclear weapons in NATO's defense posture, which Rasmussen, at a September 7 press briefing in Washington, called a "very central question."2

Rasmussen admitted "that there are different positions when it comes to our nuclear posture." In fact, the divisions among the allies are so serious that NATO defense ministers decided at their June 2010 meeting in Brussels to delete all references to NATO's nuclear policies from the final communiqué as there was no agreement on the wording.3 Rasmussen said that his "task will be to find the right balance and platform on which we can trace consensus," but it is highly unlikely that he will come up with a formula that will satisfy the divergent views on all the political and strategic elements of NATO's nuclear policy needed to develop military guidance. Thus, allies will probably merely agree to a lowest common denominator around the fundamentals of alliance nuclear policy within the new Strategic Concept, confirming a continued if reduced reliance on nuclear deterrence within a broader suite of capabilities for the immediate future but leaving many key issues ambiguous or open.4 "We will adopt a new strategic concept which, in broad terms, will give direction," Rasmussen said at the September 7 briefing. "And then, of course, it is for follow-up negotiations to produce more concrete facts and figures."

This phased approach presents an opportunity for NATO to commit itself in principle within the Strategic Concept to reducing the salience of nuclear weapons in its deterrence posture. Practical details of that policy, including the future of nuclear sharing arrangements and NATO's future declaratory policy, should be discussed among all allies in the context of a full review of NATO's nuclear posture.5 The alliance could launch that review at the Lisbon summit and conclude it within the following 12 months. Such an initiative would follow a similar effort recently completed by the United States and result in public policy guidelines determining the parameters of NATO's nuclear policy. In order to bring NATO's nuclear posture in line with requirements of the 21st century, such a review should:

* reduce NATO's reliance on nuclear weapons, open the way for transparency and reductions of U.S. and Russian tactical nuclear bombs, and endorse the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons, in line with the policy of its member states to encourage moves toward global nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation;

* comprehensively address all political and military aspects of NATO's nuclear policy, including declaratory policy, and thus reduce the commitment to ambiguity about the conditions under which the alliance might use nuclear weapons; and

* be conducted in an open and consultative manner by a group of member states' political representatives separate from the Nuclear Planning Group, which has had rather limited and more technical ambitions, but with military advice and within a clearly defined time frame.

Without such a thorough, public review, the Strategic Concept itself will likely establish only general principles and be too nebulous to shape operational doctrine. That would leave the real operational decisions to be made behind closed doors in a "business as usual" mode by the nuclear hawks among the military establishment at NATO headquarters and within national military establishments, which have an interest in maintaining the status quo. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A Nuclear Posture Review for NATO
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.