• 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
Presented by the Croatian National Tourist Board
10 surprising things you didn’t know about Zagreb
Zagreb is a hot spot for tourists from Germany. But why? Photo: Shutterstock

10 surprising things you didn’t know about Zagreb

The Croatian capital is the latest trendy destination among Germans seeking warmer weather. So what’s the lure? The Local investigates ten reasons why the Deutsch are flocking to Zagreb. READ  

Greece crisis
Varoufakis begs for calm in war of words
Greek Independence Day celebrations on March 24th. Photo: DPA

Varoufakis begs for calm in war of words

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis called on German and Greek leaders to calm their rhetoric over his country's bailout programme in an op-ed published in Germany on Monday. READ  

Lufthansa fear second black box won't be found
A flight data recorder. Photo: DPA

Lufthansa fear second black box won't be found

Germany's national airline Lufthansa says that the flight data recorder which could provide key evidence about the causes of the Germanwings plane crash last Tuesday may never be found. READ  

Rail in north and east delayed by storms
Photo: DPA

Rail in north and east delayed by storms

Rail passengers will have to deal with delays on several key rail lines after storms on Sunday night caused damage to infrastructure. READ  

Germany grab vital win in Georgia
Photo: DPA

Germany grab vital win in Georgia

Marco Reus and Thomas Müller's first-half goals sealed a 2-0 win in Georgia on Sunday to put the world champions' Euro 2016 qualifying campaign back on track. READ  

Ethiopia's Legese wins Berlin half marathon
Ethiopia's Legese (R) crosses the finish line just ahead of Kenya's Kogei. Photo: APF

Ethiopia's Legese wins Berlin half marathon

Ethiopia's Birhanu Legese won the Berlin half marathon on Sunday as African runners dominated the top ten finishers in the men's race. READ  

Spectator killed in Nürburgring crash
A section of the Nürburgring's north circuit

Spectator killed in Nürburgring crash

A man has been killed and several others injured in an accident at Germany's Nürburgring racetrack. READ  

Alps Plane Crash
Germany to hold April service for crash victims
Photo: DPA

Germany to hold April service for crash victims

Germany will hold a national memorial ceremony and service on April 17 for victims of the Germanwings flight that crashed in the French Alps, killing all 150 aboard, regional authorities said on Saturday. READ  

Scientists aiming to redefine the kilogram
The world's roundest sphere. Photo: DPA

Scientists aiming to redefine the kilogram

The German Nation Metrology Institute (PTB) in Braunschweig has set itself the enormous task of finding a new formula for measuring a kilogram. READ  

Alps Plane Crash
Germanwings co-pilot 'hid illness' on crash day
Photo: DPA

Germanwings co-pilot 'hid illness' on crash day

Germanwings said on Friday that it had no knowledge of a doctor-signed sick note found by investigators at flight 4U9525 co-pilot Andreas Lubitz's flat. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Can the 'nightmare' of a pilot downing a plane be prevented?
National
LIVE: Co-pilot suspected of crashing plane
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
National
Last-minute drama of Germany's Eurovision 2015 entry
National
German photographer takes world's top prize
Features
Meet the woman getting Germans to drink more – and better – beer
Gallery
Get inspired for International Women's Day with German heroes
Sponsored Article
Expert US tax preparation for Americans in Germany
Green party proposes first-ever cannabis legalization plan
Gallery
In pictures: Germany's seven most livable cities
National
Singapore canes Germans for train graffiti
Politics
Surprise! Germans love feeling like they run the EU
Politics
Anger over plan to show women what men earn
Travel
Munich tram fans bicker over new bell
Features
Kafka: puzzling translators 100 years on
Business & Money
France or Germany: Which country really is the best country to work in?
Photo: Police
Rhineland
Student driver crashes tank into family garden.
Photo: DPA
Politics
There was a notable absence at the Anti-Semitism Commission
National
How Dresden bombing still divides Germany, 70 years on
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Take a cute break with this gallery of baby animals
International
What's keeping UK expats from voting?
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
All you ever needed to know about Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
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

7,127
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd