US and Europe Rethink Role of Cold War Alliance

From the AP:  Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is heading to a meeting of NATO ministers in Estonia at a time when the 61-year-old organization is suffering from a kind of mid-life crisis. …

The Tallinn meeting, in fact, could split over the question of whether it’s time to remove an estimated 200 U.S. nuclear bombs that remain at six air bases in five NATO countries.

The Obama administration hasn’t taken a public position on the fate of this small but politically nettlesome nuclear arsenal. Administration officials say NATO should debate the matter and make a collective decision.

But the U.S. is trying to persuade Russia to match any Western reductions of these short-range nuclear weapons with cuts of its own. Some in Europe, including the Germans, are less certain that such linkage is needed. …

Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb says the meeting could help the U.S. and its European allies air pent-up frustrations and ease tensions. "I feel it is time for the grumpy old Atlantic couples to renew their wedding vows," he said. (photo: AP)

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