Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Good Advice for NATO from the European Leadership Network

NATO Monitor didn't post on the release of this European Leadership Network statement on NATO nuclear policy at the time. But now NATO has agreed to hold a deterrence review, it is worth a good look.

The ELN is a trans-European network of senior statesmen and women who are working for multilateral nuclear disarmament, and for a secure Europe. They come from most European countries, north south east and west, from Ireland to Russia, from Norway to Greece. The network is comprised of former defence, foreign and prime ministers, as well as senior generals. They are conservatives, christian democrats, liberals, social democrats, socialists and greens. They have enormous experience in international security work, and their views merit attention.

In the case of NATO nuclear policy, their statement notably calls for a greater emphasis by NATO on arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament as tools for security-building and asks some very pertinent questions:

  • What can NATO do to help establish safe conditions for the adoption of deterring nuclear attack as the sole purpose for its nuclear weapons, consistent with the declaratory policy goal as stated in the US NPR and with our suggested ambition to reduce the number and roles of nuclear weapons in the NATO arsenal?

  • Are NATO’s current nuclear arrangements the only available and credible option for providing European allies with reassurance against nuclear threats? What alternative options are available that could provide this reassurance while also allowing NATO to do more to support international moves toward multilateral nuclear disarmament? What might the risks and benefits of each of these alternatives be?

  • What alternatives to current nuclear burden-sharing arrangements might be available, if any, that could both maintain the political cohesion of the alliance and maintain the principle that nuclear risks and burdens are shared across the alliance?

  • How can NATO best maximise the security of nuclear weapons on its own territory?

  • What would the implications of any changes to NATO nuclear policy be for NATO relations with Russia, approaches to reassurance on Article V commitments within the alliance, and consideration of issues such as missile defence and conventional forces in Europe?

  • This is exactly the kind of debate NATO needs, and Secretary General Rasmussen could do much worse than to convene a meeting with the ELN for an in-depth examination of NATO's future deterrence policy.

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