Six European countries - Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands,Turkey and the United Kingdom - host 480 US owned and controlled nuclear bombs under NATO “nuclear sharing” arrangements. These weapons are illegal,irresponsible and unjustifiable. 2006 brings an opportunity to finally put an end to this dangerous cold war legacy, as NATO begins a review process of its fundamental purpose and objectives.
Executive summary: European leaders can use this opportunity to remove these nuclear weapons from NATO’s armoury and from Europe. NATO, like the rest of the world in the 21st century, should be free of 20th century nuclear weapons and policies. Each of the 480 US/NATO nuclear bombs has a destructive capacity of up to ten times of that which destroyed Hiroshima, with a combined power capable of wiping Europe off the map. Each of these bombs is a clear and present danger; each carries an unacceptable risk of accident and is a potential target.US nuclear policy, plans and scenarios include roles for the weapons deployed in Europe. It is the President of the United States that would make these scenarios and plans areality, and he can do so without the permission of the country hosting the weapons.This year, an article in the NewYorker exposed the frightening reality of current NATO nuclear sharing arrangements.Seymour M. Hersh revealed US scenarios that included the use of B61 bombs, the type of US bomb stored in Europe, in a potential strike on Iran.This demonstrates how European NATO nuclear sharing countries risk nuclear weapons being launched from their territories in a US conflict. Eliminating US/NATO weapons from Europe will enableEuropeans to disassociate themselves from dangerous US nuclear doctrines of preemptive attack and preventative war.The Russian Federation has been explicit about its unwillingness to negotiate further reductions in tactical nuclear weapons as long as the US continues to deploy nuclear weapons in Europe. Each of these 480 US/NATO nuclear bombs is a barrier to international negotiations for a more peaceful future. Each is a political stumbling block innegotiations with Russia. In addition, the existence of these nuclear bombs in Europe undermines other negotiating efforts by some European Union countries to stop and reversethe nuclear shadow that is spreading over the Middle East today.These bombs do not prevent proliferation; they provoke it.
This report is also available in French.
Num. pages: 28