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Obama might remove US nukes from Germany
Photo: DPA

Obama might remove US nukes from Germany

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

US President Barack Obama is reportedly planning to reduce his country’s sizable nuclear weapons arsenal, which could lead to the elimination of the few remaning bombs still stored in Germany.

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)

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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.
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