• Germany's news in English
 

Obama might remove US nukes from Germany

Published: 01 Mar 2010 17:02 GMT+01:00

According to a report in Monday’s edition of the New York Times, senior aides said the president’s new strategy, set to be outlined in a document called the “Nuclear Posture Review,” would clarify under what conditions the Obama adminstration might use nuclear weapons.

“It will be clear in the document that there will be very dramatic reductions — in the thousands — as relates to the stockpile,” a senior administration official told the paper.

These reductions would likely come from storage sites in Europe, including Germany, Italy, Belgium, Turkey and the Netherlands, the paper reported.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has repeatedly called on the United States to remove its nuclear weapons from German soil, but such a decision would have to be approved by the NATO miltary alliance.

US forces are thought have between 10 to 20 nuclear bombs at the Büchel airbase in the western German state of Rhineland-Palatinate left over from the Cold War.

Internal US government discussions have included questions over whether these “tactical” weapons provide real defence or just “political reassurance,” the paper said.

The president has embraced the goal of world free of nuclear weapons, despite criticism from conservatives who have said this is naive given the situation in Iran and North Korea. Main points include focusing on non-nuclear defences, non proliferation agreements, and possible new forms of deterrence.

But Obama’s new strategy will likely still avoid ruling out a first nuclear strike by the United States in the case of a serious threat.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

17:57 March 1, 2010 by Major B
This decision ist gut!!
19:33 March 1, 2010 by wood artist
The obvious question to answer is simply this:

Does the presence of these weapons provide any enhancement to the level of security for either Europe or the United States?

If the answer is yes, then they should probably stay. If the answer is no, then there is no reason for them to remain. Any other conclusions are simply somebody posturing, and we've seen enough of that.

wa
20:06 March 1, 2010 by mixxim
Are these weapons ever likely to be used? Who is the enemy? Can they be used against terrorists? Even conventional weapons score many 'civilians' among their victims. The answer is to scrap them and spend the money on efficient security services, police and manpower. This would have the added benefit of giving employment to more personnel.
22:46 March 1, 2010 by Celeon
I dont know which weapons are stored in the other countries but the 20 remaining in Büchel are B-61 freefall bombs.

These are tactical nukes that were meant to be delivered by the Tornado fighter bomber mainly against soviet tank divisions.

But i have it on good authority that they were also supposed to be used against specified airfields and military installations in Poland which would likely have provided re-supply and aircover for soviet troops advancing west.

Basically, i see no reason to remove them. At least not all of them. A certain further percentage could be shipped back to the USA.

The storage of the remaining weapons doesnt cost much as the USA is anyway paying the major share of their maintencance and they are still a good bargaining chip when it comes to do diplomacy with Russia and Iran.

Secondly, as a nuclear sharing member, Germany still has a certain say over the deployment of u.s nuclear weapons in Europe.

If the weapons should be removed from here alone but others stay for instance in Turkey , Germany would have that say not any longer.
23:16 March 1, 2010 by CPT/USA
So let me understand this. Germany needs the approval of the American President to remove nuclear weapons from German soil? Interesting!!!
00:15 March 2, 2010 by wxman
If they're not needed, they should go, and even if they are, they should still go. Europe is a big boy, or should be.
00:26 March 2, 2010 by Fredfeldman
Europe may or may not be a "big boy" but the Russian's continental ambitions remain unchanged despite their economic/political problems at the moment. A leopard doesn't change its spots. The only weapon that effectively counters the Russian huge advantage in troop numbers and proximity is, unfortunately, an atomic one.
04:12 March 2, 2010 by 1FCK_1FCK
There's no such thing as a "tactical" nuclear weapon. The damage even a small one would do is massive, as are the lingering effects. Take a trip to Hiroshima if you doubt that. For anyone to talk rationally about the use of nuclear weapons betrays the insanity underneath. The US possesses enough nukes stateside & in submarines that keeping them in any other country is simply unnecessary and an unnecessary provocation.

Everyone realized we're talking about atomic bombs, right?
07:48 March 2, 2010 by design
3 words Nuke the Swiss
07:56 March 2, 2010 by abemarch
They are on German soil and Germany should decide if they stay or go.
12:20 March 2, 2010 by Celeon
@ CPT/USA

Agreement is the better word. The nukes are stored on a Luftwaffe base but the WS3 bunkers are technically u.s territory. Just like a embassy.

They are jointly guarded by the Luftwaffe and the 38. Munitions Maintenance Group (38 MUNG) but only the soldiers of 38. MUNG are allowed into the bunkers, nobody else.

This means that even Angela Merkel or god himself would need a special permit first to go down there.

The rules regarding the bunkers are pretty strict anyway.

If someone goes down there to change a single lightbulb, at least two armed people go down with him. There is never anyone alone down there.
15:38 March 2, 2010 by lordwilliams629
Hey frenemy is your wife's feet still smelling up the house?
17:08 March 2, 2010 by xyz_79
IRAN or No IRAN, North Korea or no North Korea, but America & NATO needs missile launch & defense sites to cover the whole world, if NATO ( AMERICA ) intends to be the army of the future...

I think so...
19:21 March 2, 2010 by Major B
@ Frenemy

Last time I was in Deustcheland I loved the building codes, standards and the architecture. Years ago I read in the Int'l Herald Tribune how how a carpenter who was repairing an attic was fined because he made a SIMPLE roof repair. He was qualified/certified to ceiling work. Reason I cite this is to ask if prefab homes/ "trailers" are even allowed in Germany?

These weapons are really a leftover from Cold War and the occupation. Thankfully long gone are the days when young Germans took to the streets claiming "the shorter the weapon(US INF's), the deader the Germans". We all owe a debt of gratitude to Presidents Reagan and Gorbachev.
01:41 March 3, 2010 by CPT/USA
@ Celeon

So there must be some sort of lease on the property that the Americans have and the accompanying agreements to store and maintain nukes on German soil. My point is this, beyond all the arguments for and/or against having American nukes in Germany, If the aggregate consensus of German public opinion is not to have American nuclear weapons on German soil, then the German government has the right to require the Americans to remove them. Another words, it can not be up to the President of the US to determine if Germany should have nuclear weapons on their soil.
18:06 March 3, 2010 by Major B
@ CPT/USA

The standard aggreements whereby the US stations military forces on a foreign country's territory is the SOFA -- Status of Forces Aggreement, covering everything from military units, weaponry,resources, supplies, facility usage, foreign nation contributions, etc. These are tailored for each nation and the requirements. Of course, there are many ultra-secret assets deployed abroad, including nuclear weapons.
18:07 March 3, 2010 by Talonx
In reality the only way we'll see an arms reduction is if superman really does toss them all into the son, but then of course we will have to deal with evil superman.
23:48 March 3, 2010 by Beachrider
There have already been massive arms reductions in Europe, especially Germany. The stresses have receded in the past 20 years, but they are not altogether gone. Germany and the USA are still in a key military alliance. Fantasizing about an abrupt about-face on that alliance is obtuse.

I am an American and I believe that we should not waste any more taxpayer money on an obsolete weapon. It is important to recall that this kind of expense is MUCH cheaper than fighting a battle because the other side didn't think that you would fight back.

I don't see any concern here about it being used as an offensive weapon. It is likely just a bargaining chip for countries with ulterior motives. FYI, this is a much larger issue within the continental USA. We are both dealing with the costs of living in a nuclear world.
19:04 March 4, 2010 by Celeon
@ CPT/USA

Yes of course this is a two sided agreement.

If Germany says it doesn't want to take part in nuclear sharing any longer then Obama has to bring the nukes home as soon as possible.

Its more about the tone in which you say that to him.

Westerwelle, chose a non-diplomatic populist way by issuing statements through the media instead of using the diplomatic channels to suggest a withdrawal in private.

Logically as he wants to ride on the populist peacenik wave and hopes that this will bring him approval and votes. (Rather doubtful after his Hartz IV amok run:-D )

If he would have used the normal and friendly way through the diplomatic channels, the voters may had never recieved word that it was him who brought the nuke withdrawal on the way. ;-)

Such things are discussed in private and not through the media and you certainly one doesn't issue wild demands before even having heard the opinion of the USA on that matter.

Of course dragging his suggestions that were practically demands through the media mudpit like a Hugo Chavez was populist, unprofessional and brought Washington into a emberassing situation.

It clearly shows that Westerwelle is a very bad diplomat and not suited for being a foreign minister.

If i was Obama , i would call Merkel now directly and suggest to discuss that matter with her directly, completely circumventing the german foreign minister.

That should teach him.
Today's headlines
Extreme heat causes Autobahn to rupture
A fissure on the Autobahn near Heidelberg. Photo: DPA

Extreme heat causes Autobahn to rupture

The heatwave sweeping across the country may have Germans flocking to the sea this weekend, but the extreme temperatures are also causing Autobahns to break apart. READ  

Nazi island resort to be turned into luxury flats
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Nazi island resort to be turned into luxury flats

A vast Nazi mega-complex meant as holiday homes for German workers and later used by the Soviets as a Cold War barracks is about to be turned into luxury flats. READ  

Greece crisis
'Bundestag must vote on new bailout': Schäuble
A poster of German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble in Athens reads "For five years he has sucked your blood. Now tell him NO." Photo: DPA

'Bundestag must vote on new bailout': Schäuble

UPDATE: Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said on Friday that there would be no quick release of bailout funds to Greece after the country's referendum on whether to accept its creditors' terms on Sunday. READ  

Activists give Dalai Lama 80th birthday stamp
The new Deutsche Post stamp showing the Dalai Lama. Photo: DPA

Activists give Dalai Lama 80th birthday stamp

Pro-Tibet activists have created a new limited-edition stamp featuring the Dalai Lama to mark the Tibetan spiritual leader's 80th birthday. READ  

Women's World Cup
'Germany will crack England': top coach
Star striker Celia Sasic. Photo: DPA

'Germany will crack England': top coach

The manager of European champions FFC Frankfurt told The Local he expects Germany to beat England in the third place play-off in the Women's World Cup, and predicted his protege Celia Sasic will grab a goal or two. READ  

NSA surveillance scandal
Calls grow for govt to act on NSA spying
Chancellor Angela Merkel, the highest-profile German victim of NSA spying, speaking on the phone. Photo: DPA

Calls grow for govt to act on NSA spying

Green Party security expert Konstantin von Notz told The Local on Friday that Chancellor Angela Merkel is failing to restore faith in the German-US partnership following fresh spying revelations. READ  

Germany reach semis of beach volleyball worlds
Ilka Semmler and Katrin Holtwick. Photo: DPA file

Germany reach semis of beach volleyball worlds

Germany's top beach volleyball pair are storming the world championships in Holland and prepare to face Brazil in the semis on Friday. READ  

Environment minister blasts Merkel, colleagues
Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks. Photo: DPA

Environment minister blasts Merkel, colleagues

Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks loosed a broadside against her cabinet colleagues on Friday in a guest article for Die Welt, saying that they had decided to do too little to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in a way that would cost too much. READ  

Greece crisis
BILD polls readers in own 'Greece referendum'
Image: BILD/screenshot

BILD polls readers in own 'Greece referendum'

Tabloid Bild continued its campaign against bailouts for Greece on Friday by calling its own "referendum", asking readers to fill out a poll on whether Germany should keep stumping up. German politicians were divided on how the Greek vote would affect Europe. READ  

Police confiscate WW2 tank hidden in cellar
The Panther tank removed from a cellar in Kiel, with a prosecutors' evidence label attached to its barrel. Photo: DPA

Police confiscate WW2 tank hidden in cellar

Police searched a villa in a wealthy suburb of Kiel on Wednesday and found a Second World War tank, a torpedo and other weaponry in the cellar. On Thursday they were still working on removing the tank. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Police seize pensioner's WW2 heavy weapons haul
National
How to survive the Europe-wide heatwave
Sport
Is Schweini already out of the door at Bayern?
Politics
How German media shaped the Greece crisis
National
Car assembly robot crushes worker at Volkswagen
Rhineland
Weathermen red-faced over heatwave snow warning
Society
An eye for an eye? Mum protects child in playground with pepperspray
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's final day in Germany
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's second day in Germany
National
Queen Elizabeth II's first day in Germany - as it happened
National
Bus passengers tell fake racists where to get off
Politics
What's really in the Queen's handbag?
National
Germans say USA doesn't respect freedom
National
Yes, you CAN buy adult e-books before 10pm in Germany
VIDEO: Watch a 93-metre turbine crash to earth in slow motion
Gallery
Who's got a shot at the German Film Awards
Rhineland
Anger over 'child-free' beer garden
National
How do you do, Majestät?
National
Man defends right to pee in public with tear gas
Features
The Germans who won Waterloo for the British
Frankfurt
Should Germany ban circus animals?
Hamburg
Where people are having the most sex in Germany
Culture
Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Not this student...
National
Dresden's three-decade-long red light
Politics
Upper house calls for gay marriage now
Berlin
Berlin named 3rd-best city worldwide
Sport
In search of the toughest firefighter
Business & Money
German firms shine for European engineering students
Gallery
Hitler's paintings up for auction
National
German's 70-year search for murdered US pilot
Politics
What the G7 leaders agreed at Elmau
Business & Money
What really makes Germans happy
National
Playmobil builder leaves worldwide legacy
National
The car share that became a drug run
Politics
What Snowden revealed to Germany
Rhineland
Why wolf cubs are being raised by hand
National
Hitler's booze cave found
National
Environment makes Germany worth living in
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

6,945
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd