Strategic Concept leak reveals decision on NATO nuclear weapons

Mark 7 (MK VII) Nuclear Bomb at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, OH.

From Julian Borger, the Guardian:  According to a leaked Nato document seen by the Guardian, a move to withdraw US tactical nuclear weapons from Europe has been omitted from the alliance’s draft strategic doctrine , due to be adopted by a summit this weekend in Lisbon. …

In the latest draft of Nato’s "new strategic concept", seen by the Guardian, nuclear weapons remain at the core of Nato doctrine, and an attempt to withdraw an estimated 200 American B-61 nuclear bombs from Europe, a legacy of the cold war, is not mentioned.

Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium – who all have B-61 bombs on their soil – had pushed to have the tactical weapons removed, with the encouragement of supporters of disarmament in the Obama camp including the US ambassador to Nato, Ivo Daalder.

However, in a victory for France, which led a rearguard action against diluting nuclear deterrence in Nato doctrine, the draft strategic concept states that the weapons would only be removed as a trade-off with Moscow.

"In any future reductions, our aim should be to seek Russian agreement to increase transparency on its nuclear weapons in Europe and relocate these weapons away from the territory of Nato members," the draft states. "Any further steps must take into account the disparity with the greater Russian stockpile of short-range nuclear weapons."

Advocates of disarmament still hope the door to withdrawal could be left open in another strategic review, possibly next year.  (photo:  National Museum of the United States Air Force)

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