NRDC’s Hans Kristensen, sole proprietor over at Nukestrat.com, sends this little missive about the growing public opposition in Germany to US nuclear weapons stationed there:
Less than a month after the Belgian Senate unanimously called for a withdrawal of US nuclear weapons from Europe, Germany is going through what resembles a political landslide on the issue. Last month the Liberal Party (FDP) proposed a resolution in the Parliament asking the government to get the nuclear bombs out. This set off a number of news articles that led to Der Spiegel publishing a poll Monday showing that Germans overwhelmingly support a withdrawal. The poll asked the participants the following question:
“In Germany there are still 150 nuclear weapons under US command. Should these nuclear weapons be withdrawn from Germany?”
Y/N Total CDU/CSU SPD Greens FDP Yes 76 73 82 90 66 No 18 24 15 5 29
Even among conservative supporters the support for a withdrawal is very high. The number 150 is from the report US Nuclear Weapons In Europe.
This coverage motivated a number a high-ranking government party officials to go on record saying they also favor a withdrawal, including the foreign affairs spokespeople from both the Greens and Social Democrats (government parties). More supporters are apparently on their way, and just over the last 24 hours, some 60 articles have appeared in the German media repeating these demands, often commenting positively.
The German foreign minister is scheduled to speak tonight at the NPT review conference in New York, and told AFP earlier today that the proposal to withdraw the nukes from Europe was “a reasonable initiative” that the German government would “seriously” deal with.
Belgium and Germany are two of the NATO countries that store US nukes on their territory. They are also two of only five non-nuclear NATO countries that are assigned strike missions with US nuclear weapons in times of war(!). A bizarre arrangement in this era of non-proliferation that would not be tolerated anywhere else. Greece quietly withdrew from this scheme in 2001, and the Belgian and German revolt makes an interesting prelude to the NATO nuclear planning group meeting in Brussels next month. NATO’s long-held principle of nuclear “burden sharing” seems to be unraveling.
Last fall ALL the NATO countries (except the Bush administration) voted for a UN resolution calling for reductions in non-strategic nuclear weapons. That resolution coincided with the Pentagon’s Defense Science Board recommending that the nukes be withdrawn. In February, the New York Times reported that the U.S. Commander of European Command (EUCOM), General James L. Jones, has privately told associates that he also favors a withdrawal. So the question is: who’s keeping the weapons in Europe?
Defense Secretary Rumsfeld says he favors revolution in military affairs. Ending the Cold War nuclear deployment in Europe should be a no-brainer.