NATO: Abandon First
De-Alert Nuclear Weapons
by David Krieger, April 21, 1999
Teach-In at UCLA
The world has changed dramatically, even NATO
itself has changed, not necessarily for the better, but NATO nuclear
policy, based upon nuclear deterrence and a first use option,
has not changed.
For its first 40 years NATO was a defensive alliance.
Its purpose was to defend against an attack on Western Europe
by the Soviet Union. NATO relied heavily on the threat to use
nuclear weapons to thwart such an attack. Regardless of what one
thinks of this policy, it must be recognized that the need for
such a strategy has passed.
The Cold War ended. There is no longer a Soviet
Union. The Warsaw Pact was dissolved. No threat against Western
Europe currently exists, and the Russians have sought friendly
relations with the West.
How has NATO responded to this situation?
First, it has expanded. George Kennan, an American
elder statesman who crafted the containment policy against the
former Soviet Union, has called NATO expansion the single greatest
mistake in American foreign policy in the post Cold War era. It
is a mistake because it threatens the Russians.
Second, NATO has changed from a defensive alliance
to an offensive alliance in disregard of its own Charter.
NATO, is currently engaged in hostilities that
are in clear violation of international law.
Third, NATO has resisted any change in its nuclear
doctrine. It continues to have a nuclear first-strike doctrine,
meaning that NATO refuses to declare that it will use nuclear
weapons only against attack by nuclear weapons.
Fourth, NATO continues to maintain U.S. nuclear
weapons in Europe, and continues to employ a nuclear sharing policy.
U.S. nuclear weapons are located in Germany, UK, Turkey, Italy,
Greece, Netherlands, and Belgium.
It is important to note that all of this takes
place under strong pressure from the United States, and is the
result of U.S. leadership of NATO.
When the new German government came to power and
wanted to pursue a No First Use (of nuclear weapons) policy for
NATO, the U.S. put strong pressure on them to fall into line.
Similar pressure has been applied to Canada and to other NATO
What is wrong with NATO’s nuclear
It is terribly dangerous. It could have catastrophic
results, by accident or design.
It forces the Russians to greater reliance on their nuclear arsenal.
It encourages nuclear proliferation.
It violates international law, both the Non-Proliferation Treaty
(Articles VI, and I and II) and the opinion of the International
Court of Justice.
Most tragically, it undermines the best opportunity we may have
to rid the world of nuclear weapons.
What should NATO do?
1. Immediately declare a policy of No First Use,
and a policy of Non-Use against non-nuclear weapons states.
2. Remove all U.S. nuclear weapons from Europe,
including withdrawal of Trident submarines from European waters.
3. Express its support for the World Court decision
on the illegality of nuclear weapons.
4. Make an unequivocal commitment to the elimination
of nuclear arms and take practical steps to accomplish this end,
as called for by the New Agenda Coalition.
5. De-alert its nuclear forces, and begin to separate
warheads from delivery vehicles.
6. Begin negotiations on a Nuclear Weapons Convention,
setting forth an agreed upon plan for the phased elimination of
all nuclear weapons.
7. Declare an immediate cease fire in the Balkans,
and return the issue of peace in the former Yugoslavia to the
United Nations Security Council or to the UN General Assembly
under Article 20 of the Charter and a "Uniting for Peace"
Resolution if the Security Council is deadlocked.
In concluding, I’d like to share with you
a message I received by email from a friend in Russia, Alla Yaroshinskaya,
who is an advisor to President Yeltsin:
"We are very close to theatre of war in Yugoslavia
and have information from both sides. And I am very afraid we
are on the eve of 3rd world’s war. NATO and USA, bombing
Yugoslavia, help very much our crazy communists to take into force
sooner than they dreamed about that. And I think that USA has
good chance to feel destruction on their own territory if power
in such country like Russia with nuclear strategical weapons fall
down to the hands of bloody Bolsheviks."