Courtesy Reuters

Atlantic Policy


IT is hardly too much to say that the future not only of NATO but of the Atlantic Community as a whole depends today on the ability of Western statesmanship to find a politically acceptable and militarily sensible solution to the problem of how to give all the NATO allies a share in a common responsibility for defense of the West in the nuclear age. This is not merely a question of satisfying the amour propre of General de Gaulle; nor of whether or not a future government in Bonn will remain satisfied with the present limited status of Germany in the nuclear field-a question on which some divergence of views in Washington and London is relevant but not critical. It is a problem simple in conception but infinitely complex in definition, which has been stated succinctly by M. Jean Monnet. ". . . the United States," he said in New York on January 23, "must realize that the claims of Europe to share common responsibility and authority for decision on defense, including nuclear weapons, is natural, since any decision involves the very existence of the European peoples. On the other hand .. . Europeans must understand that the nuclear terror is indivisible and that they too must shoulder an adequate share of the common defense."

Note this great European's repeated use of the word "common." He does not say that since our national survival is at stake none but our own governments can assume responsibility for our own national defense. On the contrary, he knows that is impossible-knows that today the only defense policy that makes any sense whatever is an Atlantic defense policy. And he goes on to say that "Europe and America must both acknowledge that neither of us is defending a particular country, that we are all defending our common civilization."

"Common responsibility and authority for decision on defense, including nuclear weapons"-that is the problem of control. But, of course, in those words it is oversimplified. One of

Loading, please wait...

Related Articles

This site uses cookies to improve your user experience. Click here to learn more.