Russia Seeks Nonstrategic Talks with US

According to the Global Security Newswire, ITAR-Tass reported  that on November 8 Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said his country wants to join the United States in discussions on short-range atomic armaments,.

“Dismantling the infrastructure of tactical nuclear weapons in Europe and deploying them in the U.S. is the condition for efficiency. These aspects should be discussed within the multilateral format in full compliance by Washington with the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty,” he stated.

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A Personal Note

As coordinator of this blog, I have been on a sabbatical from this endeavor for the last six months as my wife and I downsized our possessions, sold our house, moved into a retirement community, and got acclimated there.    In May NATO had a summit meeting in Chicago that made little change in the Alliance nuclear policy.  Russia and the United States held presidential elections, which in effect put on hold any progress toward European disarmament.

 During this period I didn’t making any postings of significant articles and reports related to European disarmament.  Now I am making a fresh start.  I invite others to post their entries and make comments on the entries of others.

New Report on NATO’s Nuclear Options

On the issue of sharing of nuclear weapons within NATO, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has issued a report entitled “Looking Beyond the Chicago Summit: Nuclear Weapons in Europe and the Future of NATO”.  The authors are George Perkovich, Malcolm Chalmers, Steven Pifer, Paul Schulte and Jaclyn Tandler.

 Go to full report.


Making Progress on Non-Strategic Nuclear Weapons

Des Browne, former United Kingdom Defense Secretary, in a speech on “A Mistrustful NATO-Russian Relationship” at the Russian Council on International Affairs in Moscow on March 23, 2012, made the following points about non-strategic nuclear weapons in Europe.

In my view, the current U.S. non-strategic nuclear weapons stationed in Europe are militarily useless and should be reduced in number, consolidated to fewer bases, and eventually removed altogether. Not everyone in NATO agrees with me and it is not clear what the future of these weapons will be.

I know the Russian position up to now has been that these weapons must be removed to national territory before any discussion of Russian weapons in this category can begin. I say to this audience in all honesty that Russia is strong in this category of weapons systems and is known to station some of them very close to NATO territory, especially in the Baltic region. The nearest NATO non-strategic nuclear weapons to Russian territory are, on the other hand, at In cirlik airbase in Turkey, some 800 km away.

Now, I know that for Russia there is nothing non-strategic about these NATO weapons. I also believe, in its own security interests, Russia should be willing to negotiate their removal from Europe in return for a small reduction in its own stockpile, increased transparency on total numbers and locations of weapons held in this category, and some removal of Russian systems to points further away from NATO borders.

 There will be no hope of progress without reciprocity.

Non-strategic nuclear weapons are in my view a dangerous terrorism risk and should be eliminated altogether but even if people believe they provide a valuable source of security I think there is a worthwhile deal to be done here. Russia, in my view, would also be well within its rights to trade increased transparency on NSNW for greater transparency and increased warning time in relation to NATO conventional forces.

Read more of his address.

Open secret: NATO tactical nukes

 Francesco Calogero and Giorgio La Malfa from Italy, writing inThe Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, indicate:

  • With the end of the Cold War, the military justification for tactical weapons in Europe has disappeared — as has the need for a neither-confirm-nor-deny secrecy policy on the details of these weapons.
  • Presumably, if the United States were to remove its tactical weapons from Europe, Russia would move in the same direction. But, today, some NATO host countries of US tactical nuclear weapons are eager to see their withdrawal, while others are emphatic that they stay both for security and symbolic purposes.
  • If NATO were to state in the upcoming Defense and Deterrence Posture Review the exact numbers and locations of its tactical nuclear weapons, a more open, frank, and democratic discussion would unfold on the relevance of these deployments. It would also be a gesture of sincerity toward NATO’s nonproliferation goals.

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Germany pushes for changes in NATO’s nuclear posture

Oliver Meier, writing in the blog of the Arms Control Association, indicates: “As NATO works to revise its nuclear and deterrence strategy in time for its May 2012 Summit in Chicago, Germany is pushing for changes in the Alliance’s declaratory policy and for a stronger role of NATO in arms control and disarmament. Yet at the same time, Berlin is trying to dodge a debate about the deployment of new types of U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe.”

Read more.

Better off without Trident

From the United Kingdom we learn: “The Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church, and United Reformed Church have been outspoken in their opposition to a replacement of the Trident nuclear submarines. Renewal of Trident is incompatible with the UK’s desire to encourage global nuclear non-proliferation.

“Trident is likely to cost the UK a staggering 3.7 billion per year over the next 15 years. In addition to moral and ethical concerns, there are also serious economic arguments against renewing it. Trident is a large drain on our budget with very little to show for it. Consequently we would all be better off without Trident.”

 Read more.

Removing U.S. and Russian Tactical Nuclear Weapons from European Combat Bases

Recommendations of Global Zero NATO-Russian  Commission Report

“Following on the New START treaty recently brought into force, Global Zero calls for the United States and Russia to begin comprehensive nuclear arms negotiations in early 2013 to reduce their arsenals to as low as 1,000 total weapons each, and, as part of these negotiations, to pursue the expedited removal of all of their tactical nuclear weapons from combat bases on the European continent to national storage facilities in the United States and Russia.

“These comprehensive negotiations would, for the first time in history, include all nonstrategic nuclear weapons (commonly referred to as tactical or sub-strategic nuclear weapons) and all non-deployed strategic weapons (‘reserve’ strategic vehicles and warheads in storage) in addition to the deployed strategic warheads and delivery vehicles that are constrained by New START.”

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POGO Asks Panetta to Stop Funding B61 Nuclear Bombs in Europe

Dana Liebelson of the Project on Goverment Oversight (POGO) on February 2, 2012 reported: “When Defense Secretary Leon Panetta unveiled his plan to achieve $487 billion in budget cuts over the next ten years, he hinted  that a smart strategy would mean cutting the number of nuclear weapons.  Today, POGO sent him a very timely letter:  the U.S. should cease funding the B61 nuclear bombs stationed in Europe, or pass the costs on to the countries where they’re stationed. This would save taxpayers more than $2 billion dollars.

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NATO allies grapple with shrinking defense budgets

Craig Whitlock writing in the January 30, 2012 Washington Post indicates: “NATO allies are confronting a sustained weakening of the military alliance as ailing economies are forcing nearly all members, including the United States, to accelerate cuts to their defense budgets at the same time.

“The Pentagon’s recent decision to eliminate two of the Army’s four brigages in Europe  is the latest blow to NATO’s military capabilities. It extends a year of grim announcements from members of the alliance that they can no longer afford their security commitments and that a long period of austerity is in the offing.”

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