• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Obama might remove US nukes from Germany

The Local · 1 Mar 2010, 17:02

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.

Story continues below…

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
This Week in History
75 years since one of Holocaust's worst massacres
Photo: DPA

On Thursday, German president Joachim Gauck spoke in Kiev 75 years after the Nazis slaughtered 33,771 Jews during one of the worst single massacres of the Holocaust.

Six things you need to know about troubled Deutsche Bank

Shares in Deutsche bank plunged on Friday morning, dragging down other European banks and markets worldwide. Here are six things to know about Germany's biggest lender.

Deutsche Bahn jacks up prices for first time in 3 years
Photo: DPA

Germany's main rail provider, the state-owned Deutsche Bahn (DB), announced on Friday that it will raise prices on long-distance train travel.

Baby found alive in suitcase with skeleton in Hanover
File photo: DPA.

A baby has been found alive, along with the skeleton of another infant inside of a suitcase in Hanover, police reported on Friday.

Morocco to speed up repatriation of illegal migrants
Photo: DPA

Morocco has agreed to streamline the procedures for the repatriation of citizens living illegally in Germany, the royal court said late on Thursday.

890,000 refugees arrived in Germany last year - not 1.1m
Photo: DPA

Previous reports had suggested that around 1.1 million people entered Germany to seek asylum last year. But now the German government has confirmed the number was actually lower.

Racist attacks cast cloud over Dresden Unity Day planning
A police vehicle in Dresden. Photo: DPA.

As Dresden prepares to host Germany’s national Unity Day celebrations on Monday, the capital of the eastern state of Saxony is upping security after a mosque was targeted by a homemade bomb.

Sinking Deutsche Bank stock sends shock across Europe
Photo: DPA

Shares in Germany's biggest lender Deutsche Bank plummeted on the Frankfurt stock market on Friday, dragging other European banks and global markets down with it, after reports some customers were pulling money out.

The Local List
10 things you never knew about German reunification
Reunification celebrations in Hanover in 2014. Photo: DPA

With German Unity Day (October 3rd) happening on Monday, Germans are looking forward to a three-day weekend. But did you know these facts about reunification and German Unity Day?

Munich pharmacy’s nighttime porno show draws crowd
Photo: DPA

When a police patrol in Munich's Sendlinger Tor area noticed a crowd gathered outside a pharmacy window they went to investigate. But the onlookers weren't interested in a new line of flu medicine.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
Lifestyle
10 German films you have to watch before you die
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Lifestyle
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
National
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
6,718
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd