Courtesy Reuters

Nuclear Diplomacy: Britain, France and America

The Atlantic nations are moving toward a new security relationship which may in time involve the role of European strategic nuclear forces. We are in a period of widespread questioning of the nature of future American participation in the defense of Western Europe. In the squalor of American cities, the increased racial and social tensions of our society and the demands for a shift in national priorities away from defense toward domestic problems lie the seeds of change. If we add to these the economic recovery of Europe, the U.S. view that the allies are not carrying a fair share of their own defense, the balance-of-payments deficit toward which the U.S. forces abroad make a substantial contribution, the squeeze on the Pentagon budget, the tendency resulting from the traumatic experience in Vietnam to shed responsibilities, we find the ingredients of a reduced U.S. military involvement in Europe.

Western Europe will, however, remain dependent upon the American commitment to its security. As long as the western end of the Eurasian land-mass is not politically united, and so long as the need for "security" from the East exists, the United States must continue to act as the balancer. The only alternative to the American nuclear umbrella is a full-scale European nuclear deterrent, and this is not feasible for as far ahead as we can see. The military requirements of such a deterrent are roughly equal to the panoply of nuclear forces of the superpowers; the political requisites are even more daunting. The control arrangement for such a force would require a political authority capable of deciding on its use on behalf of Europe. No nation in the present European system will be prepared to place its survival in the hands of another, since the use of the deterrent could invite the destruction of its homeland. The necessary psychological cohesion, political unity and institutional loyalty are lacking. Only a President of Europe with full authority in a nuclear crisis could endow

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