Monday, 16 November 2009

Pierre Harmel Has Died

At 98 years old, Pierre Harmel has died. The Belgian was famous as the author of the 1967 Harmel Report, formally known as The Future Tasks of the Alliance. As well as advocating a strong defence of western Europe, the report advocated detente with the Soviet Union. His report also ushered in the nuclear doctrine of Flexible Response, which at the time was seen as being progressive - as it moved away from the massive strategic use of nuclear weapons at the start of a general war. By the 1980s, it had become controversial as it threatened a tactical nuclear war that would leave Europe devastated and the United States and Soviet Union largely untouched. It would be interesting to know what Harmel would have made of recent moves to discuss the withdrawal of the last US nuclear weapons from Europe. NATO's statement on his death can be found here.

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