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NATO Nuclear Reductions and the Assurance of Central and Eastern European Allies

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Recent years have seen a debate within NATO over the issue of whether U.S. nonstrategic nuclear weapons in Europe should be retained in their current status, reduced in number, or withdrawn from the Continent. Some countries, including Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium, have advocated removal of the weapons. Others, notably member states in Central and Eastern Europe CEE, are wary of changes in the nuclear posture of the alliance. The position of the United States and NATO as a whole is that future arms talks with Russia should include discussion of greater transparency, relocation, or reduction of nonstrategic nuclear arsenals. Russia has demanded a number of conditions for talks that indicate an unwillingness to begin negotiations anytime soon. These conditions include complete withdrawal of U.S. nonstrategic nuclear weapons from Europe before reductions are considered, discussion of limits on other types of arms, bringing additional countries into the talks, and full implementation of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty New START, which is scheduled for 2018. Assuming negotiations eventually take place, this report examines the question of how the pursuit of limits on U.S. nonstrategic nuclear weapons might be balanced with the concerns of CEE allies regarding dangers posed by Russia and the value of nonstrategic nuclear weapons in mitigating those dangers. More specifically, how might nonstrategic nuclear weapons be reduced while assuring these countries of the credibility of NATO and U.S. commitments to their security The report begins by looking at the security environment as perceived by the eastern members of NATO. This context affects the type and extent of assurance needed. The next section describes the roles NATO and the United States play in assuring CEE allies of their security, but also points to some concerns those countries have about U.S. and NATO commitments.

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  • Government and Political Science
  • Nuclear Weapons

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