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.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Netherlands Joins German Effort to Oust US Nukes

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle traveled to the Netherlands today, where he met with his Dutch counterpart Maxime Verhagen, in what were described as 'getting to know you talks'. At the press conference afterwards the ministers were asked a whether they had discussed the new German coalition's policy of asking for withdrawal of US nuclear weapons, and replied that this was something they would work on together.

Westerwelle will soon discuss the issue with Belgian Foreign Minister Yves Leterme, and is also due to follow Chancellor Merkel to Washington for talks with Secretary of State Clinton that will touch on the nuclear issue.

For those who read Dutch, you can read an account here.