Throughout its existence, the Atlantic Alliance has reflected a complex and dynamic process-a "transatlantic bargain." The former U.S. Ambassador to NATO, Harlan Cleveland, has described this "bargain" as partly an understanding among the European members of the Alliance, but mostly a deal between them and the United States. NATO, he contends, is an arena of organized controversy. "Each year the mix of NATO defense forces and the character of allied political collaboration change, adjusting to the shifting technology of war and to ... the tides of domestic politics in each of the fifteen NATO countries. But while the bargain changes, the constant is a consensus among the allies that there has to be a bargain."

This notion helps explain how NATO has survived over the years of crises, both external and internal, that, measured by the historical yardstick of alliances, might long ago have ripped apart a less cohesive pact. Yet the optimism can be overdrawn. Beneath the periodically rough, periodically serene surface of the Alliance an undertow has steadily gained strength. The "transatlantic bargain" is strained by "transatlantic drift"-a growing divergence between the security interests and perceptions of the United States and those of its West European partners. Unless the Alliance soon addresses, and takes steps to redress, the basic causes of this drift, all of the temporary accommodations among the Alliance partners may finally fail to prevent an ultimate crisis of mutual confidence.

The fact of transatlantic drift has long been recognized. Indeed, the massive literature on the Atlantic Alliance yields by now almost a standard lexicon of perceived causes. Thus, it is alleged, the "cement of fear" which bound NATO in its formative years has crumbled with greater stability and détente. As the once devastated and helpless European members of the Alliance have regained their economic muscles and political self- confidence, they have progressively chafed under and rebelled against American domination. Their resentments have been fueled by economic rivalry and fiscal quarrels with the United States. Even more fundamentally, it is contended, the national interests of the United States and those of Western Europe have gradually strayed in separate ways, prodded by historical momentum, geography and contemporary power. While European horizons of policy and influence have narrowed to continental dimensions, American interests sweep the globe and seem to focus, if anywhere, on Asia.

All of this may be more or less true, and its impact on the Alliance is undeniable. Yet, since NATO is first and foremost a security "bargain," we must look for fundamental causes of the drift not so much in external factors, but rather in fissures in the security consensus itself. A central cause has been the faltering faith of our European partners in what they have embraced as the pillar of their security: namely, the NATO strategic- nuclear deterrent.

II

The emphasis on the NATO strategic deterrent may be difficult to understand, especially in the light of the by now chronic preoccupation in the Alliance with the question of American conventional force levels in Europe. This in itself bespeaks a general flaw in the NATO consensus: our mutual failure to understand each others' interpretations of it. The unhappy truth is that in more than 20 years of give-and-take in the Alliance, neither side in the NATO partnership has ever bluntly and honestly spelled out its basic assumptions and expectations of the Alliance bargain. As a consequence the Alliance debate has been couched in ambiguous euphemisms and slogans ("American presence," "flexible response," "realistic deterrence," "burden-sharing," etc.) which have tended more and more to obscure the real issues and motivations at stake.

The dialogue has been distorted primarily by disparate U.S. and European interpretations of the principles of "deterrence" and "forward defense" which have guided Alliance planning from the beginning of NATO, of the interrelationship of these two principles, and of their application to NATO force postures.

Except for the short-lived period of "massive retaliation" (1953-57), American policy in NATO has consistently embraced a concept in which effective deterrence has been more or less equated with effective defense- "that deters best which defends best." In its application to NATO forces, this American concept has been expressed in a relative emphasis on the buildup of effective NATO conventional forces.

In the immediate postwar period, this American stress reflected the extension of the wartime experience in which massed armies had triumphed over massed armies, as well as the gnawing uncertainties in the United States about the terrible new power it had unleashed over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Yet, already in the mid-1950s there began to emerge a rationale which took its cue less from traditional military thinking than from emergent changes in the global environment. This was the concept of "limited war"-the notion that potential conflict in Europe could be (and, by implication, should be) confined to European battlefields without flaring into a general conflagration between the United States and the Soviet Union.

The "limited war" concept as a strategy option grew in the late 1950s under the burgeoning shadow of Soviet missile power. It solidified with the advent of the Kennedy administration in 1961. The doctrine of "flexible response" propounded by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara encompassed a total strategy for NATO, whose aim was to muster a "countervailing" option for every aggressive option within the grasp of the Warsaw Pact. The stress of the new strategy, however, was on conventional ground forces. This was highlighted by American pronouncements, notably Secretary McNamara's warnings to the European allies (e.g. in Athens in 1962) that the Alliance could no longer rely categorically on the U.S. nuclear sword to deter all levels of aggression. The emphasis was implicit in the downward revisions of American estimates of the Warsaw Pact conventional threat, thus suggesting the viability of a NATO conventional strategy. And it was reinforced by the locks and double-locks placed on American tactical nuclear weapons in Europe.

Furthermore, it was primarily from the platform of conventional strategy that the American campaign for greater European "burden-sharing" was launched. The basic themes of that campaign were (and continue to be) that the West European nations should shoulder a greater share of the conventional military burden, or should help defray the costs of maintaining U.S. forces in Europe, or both.

III

So much, briefly, for the basic themes in the American approach to NATO. In general, the West European policy-makers' view, as it evolved after 1950, has been markedly different.

In tracing this view, it must be remembered that NATO was formed just four years after the end of battle in Europe. Alert to the rumblings of a new and massive danger from the East, the governments of Western Europe, groping their way from war and postwar chaos, eagerly entered into the alliance offered by the United States in 1949. What they grasped for primarily was the U.S. commitment to their defense that was spelled out in Article 5 of the NATO treaty and which radiated from America's relatively undamaged national power, her victorious armies and her armadas of bombers, now armed with atomic weapons. From the beginning, "deterrence" in NATO was equated by the West European members with the American commitment, and primarily the awesome atomic dimensions of that commitment.

Not that the Europeans did not accept the idea that something more than the overall American protective guarantee was needed-and was needed on the ground in Europe-to stem the tide of the Red Army. As General André Beaufre, one of the group of early planners of the Atlantic Alliance, reminisces: "At the outset this concept of deterrence was founded on the threat of nuclear retaliation, although the instrument for powerful retaliation was not yet in existence and the threat did not yet have the absolute character it was to take on later. It therefore appeared that genuine deterrence would be the result of a conventional defense system capable of effectively protecting Western Europe."

And so the Europeans went along with the early, ambitious plans pressed by the Americans for the creation of massive NATO ground armies. Yet, they looked upon these goals with trepidation that has lingered to this day. Some of this was a result of "negative" motives: the unwillingness to squeeze the sacrifices demanded of them from their battered economies, combined with the defeatist view that it would be, in any event, impossible for the Alliance to match Soviet power on the ground. Perhaps even more compelling was the specter of a new war sweeping over Western Europe's already devastated landscape-a specter which almost rivalled in its numbing magnitude the threat of a Soviet takeover. This fear generated the abiding European schizophrenia on the question of NATO conventional strategy which has perplexed American planners to this day, and which might be expressed in the proposition: not enough NATO conventional divisions will convey Western weakness and invite aggression; too many NATO divisions will signal lessened reliance on the strategic deterrent and invite aggression. The simple European answer to the dilemma has been : whatever you do, rely on the strategic nuclear deterrent.

West European apprehensions eased with the embrace by the Eisenhower administration in 1953 of the doctrine of "massive retaliation," only to revive with the assumed "missile gap" of 1958-61. The fears subsided when the "gap" proved to be illusory, and rose again with the unfurling of the American doctrine of "flexible response." Henry Kissinger described the European reaction in the January 1963 issue of Foreign Affairs: "To our European allies, the shift in emphasis in American defense thinking after January 1961 was a cause of profound concern. Ideas about conventional warfare which we derided as outdated not three years previously were suddenly resurrected. The tactical nuclear weapons . . . were now sharply downgraded."

The 1960s were marked by explosive internal debate in NATO, climaxed by the defection of France from the inner sancta of the Alliance in 1966. NATO survived that crisis, albeit at the loss of the active participation of one of its most important members. The Alliance achieved ostensible harmony again in 1967, when the European, members of the Alliance, after some six years of wrangling, formally accepted "flexible response" as the new Alliance strategy. But they did so with grudging reservations and with an interpretation of "flexible response" which continued to place a premium on the strategic-nuclear deterrent as the safeguard of the security of Western Europe. Above all, the acceptance reflected the deepening fear that failure to go along with this strategy would hasten the calamity of a large-scale American withdrawal from Europe. This fear persists, coloring and distorting (from the American vantage point) the signals emanating from Western Europe.

And these signals seem distorted even more by current West European détente policies. In this connection, another dimension of the "European view" also badly needs to be explained to Americans who have not shared the same historical experience. As the heirs of Talleyrand, Castlereagh and Bismarck, Europeans are keenly sensitive to the political shadow cast by military power. For centuries, this shadow has covered the chessboard of European politics-in the modern age, from Napoleon to Adolf Hitler. There is recognition in Europe of the revolution which nuclear weapons have wrought in military power and its political utility. Yet, while appreciating (and, indeed, relying on) the blanketing effect of mutual nuclear deterrence on conflict, Europeans have not lost sight of the political implications of even subtle shifts in the nuclear balance of power.

This view explains in large part the preoccupation in Western Europe with "military balance'' on the Continent as a prerequisite both of Western security and meaningful East-West relations. What West Europeans really dread-and what they have long dreaded more than the danger of a massive Soviet military sweep into Western Europe-is the threat which has been popularly characterized in Europe as "Finlandization." The term alludes to a process whereby the Soviet Union, acting in the context of its strategic- military superiority in Europe and subtly mixing threat with blandishment, would gradually establish hegemony over all of Europe.

The disparity in current American and European perceptions amounts to a scenario that is reminiscent of the fable of the blind man and the elephant. The U.S. administration has defended the current American military presence in Europe against congressional critics largely on the bases of "flexible response" and "realistic deterrence;" the official argument has been that the present bulk of American forces in Europe is needed to sustain a credible deterrent against aggression beneath the overhanging American-Soviet strategic-nuclear parity. While it is difficult to divine the motives of the critics in Congress, they seem to be animated largely by pique at our European allies for their alleged failure to carry more of the Alliance burden, and by the assumption that, in any event, Western Europe is safe from aggression. West Europeans, on the other hand, react with panic to the prospect of significant American force reductions because they see in U.S. troops in Europe the last measure of the American strategic-nuclear commitment to Western Europe-"the hostages to American intent."

The intent here, however, is not to spotlight the irony of clashing perceptions in NATO, but rather to argue that in order to endure, NATO must lean on something other, and more substantial, than an increasingly fragile crutch whose strength is gauged by the number of American soldiers on guard duty or in the Bierstuben and post exchanges of West Germany.

IV

The West European traumas can better be understood as a confluence of at least three basic fears and concerns. Each of these has functioned in its own right, but the three have intermingled and reinforced each other.

First and foremost is the fear in Western Europe that the United States is withdrawing its strategic-nuclear umbrella from Europe-in the morbid language of deterrence, that the United States is no longer willing to "risk Chicago for Paris."

A second fear relates to the presence in western Russia of some 600-plus medium-range missiles presumably targeted on Western Europe. This, too, is of long standing, dating back to 1956, when Khrushchev first brandished them against France and Great Britain during the Suez crisis. More recently, the growing preoccupation with this threat in Western Europe indicates European concern with their fate in the wake of a de facto American strategic disengagement from Europe. In that event, with American intercontinental nuclear forces kept at bay by Soviet long-range power, the Soviets would be able to wield their "Europe missiles" as a psychological bludgeon in a drive for hegemony over Western Europe (the prospect of "Finlandization" referred to earlier).

A third area of West European concern derives from more complex motives. Broadly expressed, this is the perceived lack of a European voice in the nuclear decision-making of the Alliance. This concern animated the search in NATO, beginning roughly in 1958, for a formula which would somehow cut the Gordian Knot of the NATO nuclear problem-the problem of how to reconcile the cherished nuclear prerogatives of the United States with the demands of Alliance partnership. The road of that search is littered with abandoned concepts and projects, e.g. the "Norstad Plan" of an integrated NATO nuclear force of mobile medium-range missiles under the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), the proposals by the then West German Defense Minister Franz Josef Strauss for a system of weighted voting in the NATO Council on nuclear decisions, the U.S. concept of a sea-based Multilateral Nuclear Force (MLF), and the British-championed notion of an Allied Nuclear Force (ANF) which would embrace all of the long-range nuclear capabilities of the Alliance in the European area.

The search for a solution ground to a halt after the French departure in 1966 amid the ruins of the American "MLF diplomacy." The muting of the NATO nuclear debate in recent years can be traced, in addition to the French defection, to a number of factors and circumstances : a sense of despair in Western Europe, following the MLF débâcle, that the question of "fifteen fingers on the nuclear trigger" could ever be solved ; the palliative of the new NATO Nuclear Planning Group (NPG) which opened an Alliance forum for greater information exchange and planning, if not shared decision- making; and the growing reluctance by West European governments to rub further what they recognized to be an exposed policy nerve in Washington, especially in view of the growing danger of a more general American retrenchment from Europe.

So much for the past strains in the West European sense of insecurity. How will they be affected by future prospects?

Only a modicum of empathy is needed to recognize that the realistic security outlook from Brussels, Bonn, London and even Paris is fairly bleak. The realization pervades these capitals that, in depending on the maintenance of the current U.S. force levels in Europe, they are leaning on a thin reed which may soon be snapped. As they watch current negotiating trends, hope is waning that any agreement from the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) that might be struck between the United States and the Soviet Union will influence in any meaningful way (if at all) the disposition of Soviet medium-range missiles pointed at Western Europe. As for the future of the strategic weapons race in the absence of a comprehensive SALT agreement, Europeans listen with anxiety to voices- including those emanating from U.S. governmental circles-that forecast substantial shifts in the strategic-nuclear balance toward the Soviet Union by the late 1970s.

The hope has been rekindled in recent months of mutual and balanced force reductions (MBFR) in Europe. The prospect, however, continues to be laced with suspicions and uncertainties. Why, one wonders, would the Soviet Union, never exactly known for altruism, be willing to pay a price for American withdrawals from Europe, the eventuality of which already seems to be accepted widely? Even should the Soviets approach the conference table with some measure of sincerity, the complexities and asymmetries of the European security equation are such (of a magnitude even greater than that faced in SALT) that negotiations might at best stumble on for years. Furthermore, there is scant hope that the Soviets would toss their mid- range missiles onto the MBFR bargaining counter. Even if they did, what could NATO offer in return?

The more general hope has grown, particularly in Bonn, that the broader tides of détente and East-West confluence might sweep away the major sources of insecurity and instability in Europe. Even from the wistful vantage point of Bonn, however, the prospect of knitting any short-term gains of détente into a comprehensive new security system for Europe is at best a long-range one-and the dangers of insecurity and instability loom immediately ahead. The Brandt government's recognition of the short-range perils is mirrored in its almost doctrinaire stress on the need to sustain a European balance of military power as a prerequisite for a meaningful East-West confluence in Europe. The Federal Republic also shows its anxieties in leading the campaign to keep the American military presence solidly anchored in Central Europe.

V

In order to heal the transatlantic rift, NATO must come to grips with these European fears and concerns. A solution must meet at least the following criteria :

(1) It must embody a continued U.S. strategic commitment to the defense of Western Europe-at least for the next decade-and in more credible terms than are now embodied in the number of American forces encamped in Europe.

(2) It must entail the emergence of a credible counter in Europe to the Europe-oriented missile capabilities of the Soviet Union. "Credible counter" in this context does not suggest matching the Soviet missiles in kind and number. Required are NATO capabilities modest enough not to seem aggressive, but sizable enough to convince Soviet military planners that a Soviet nuclear strike against Western Europe will run the palpable risk of nuclear retaliation against the Russian homeland.

(3) Such capabilities must be responsive, in large part if not entirely, to the control of the potentially threatened West European nations themselves.

The dilemma which has haunted NATO's search for a solution in the past has been that of bracketing the first and third criteria-of creating an Allied Nuclear Force which could reconcile the cherished superpower prerogatives of the United States (with its insistence on retaining ultimate control) with the West European demands for co-determination. Clearly, the time for an "American solution," no matter how camouflaged, has long since passed.

Another alternative has become more prominent with the harbingers of Franco- British rapprochement: this is the notion of an independent European deterrent force based upon French and British nuclear capabilities. Andrew Pierre has analyzed this prospect searchingly in his article "Nuclear Diplomacy: Britain, France and America," in the January 1971 issue of Foreign Affairs.

This alternative may well represent a road-marker on the route to a long- range solution. Yet, in terms of critical shorter-range requirements, it falters on several grounds. Above all, the incubation period for really effective French and British nuclear-strategic capabilities is projected even by optimistic observers to stretch well into the 1980s. The nuclear programs of both countries (notably the French) face fairly formidable economic constraints and technological hurdles, which may be compounded by Soviet counterprograms and developments (for example, advances in missile defenses and anti-submarine warfare).

As Andrew Pierre implies, an active American policy of technological aid to its allies could shorten this incubation period. Yet, there looms also a political obstacle course. Even should Great Britain and France successfully embrace in the European Community, progress toward an effective nuclear combine between the two countries would take time and agonies of negotiations. Beyond that lurks the weightier question of the likely "Europeanness" of such a force or forces. Short of dramatic breakthroughs toward West European unification, would the West Germans (as a prominent example) be willing to trade doubtful American protection for the even more questionable safeguards of modest French and British forces?

In short, the American nuclear commitment must remain prominently in the picture. It must remain as a shield-a protective and encouraging shield- pending the necessary convergence of political trends and military capabilities on the Continent into the making of truly credible and cohesive European forces.

VI

There is, however, a possible solution which would encompass the three criteria that have been postulated : a Tripartite NATO Deterrent Force of American, British and French nuclear capabilities within the framework of a broader Alliance enterprise.

In rough outline, the force might be composed of some 200 land-based, mobile ballistic missiles (e.g. successor systems to the presently deployed Pershing missiles) with sufficient range to strike the major population centers of western Russia from launchpoints anywhere in NATO Europe. The United States, Great Britain and France would each contribute one-third of the total number of nuclear warheads in the force. As far as its domestic legal constraints permit, the United States would extend to its allies the technical assistance they need to muster their warhead contributions.

The proposed size of the force reflects an estimate of the number of targets to be covered in peacetime by that portion of the force (probably one fourth) which is on "Quick Reaction Alert" (QRA). Thus, since about 20 percent of the population of the Soviet Union resides in its 40 largest cities, most of which are in western Russia, a QRA force of about 50 missiles would appear to constitute a reasonably credible deterrent. Warhead design would be keyed to "countervalue" use (i.e. against population centers) ; consequently, the force would have only a limited capability as a "counterforce" system and would clearly signify retaliation rather than aggression.

The missiles would be mobile, self-contained firing units, capable of being launched from unprepared sites, connected via satellite communications to NATO and national control centers, and with warhead security ensured by electronic means. The launchers, control systems, and perhaps the missiles themselves, would be developed and produced by a NATO consortium, with the costs shared by the participating nations.

The force would be deployed on the territories of NATO members that elect to participate in the plan. Although obvious political constraints would bar countries like Norway and Denmark, at a minimum the enterprise might embrace (in addition to France and Great Britain) the Federal Republic of Germany, Italy and the Benelux nations. The precise distribution of the force among participating countries would be negotiated within the Alliance. As a general rule, simplicity would dictate that in most cases the arrangements between warhead-providing and host countries be kept bilateral (for example, missiles in the Benelux countries might be equipped only with British warheads, and those in Italy only with French warheads). The one exception might be the Federal Republic of Germany, where a case could be made for contributions from all three providing powers.

A key aspect of the plan would be the decision-making and control arrangements governing the force. These would focus on two principles :

(1) The three nuclear powers would retain the custody and control of their nuclear warheads. Although planning for the force would be coördinated by SACEUR (especially with respect to common target lists), each of the three nations would retain ultimate decision-making power over the use of its nuclear warheads, wherever deployed, at all times.

(2) The non-nuclear host countries would own and control those launchers and missiles that are deployed on their territories. Thus they would wield veto power over the use of weapons on their soil (similar to the power they now wield with respect to U.S. nuclear weapons assigned to national forces). Over time, they would probably gain increased influence in nuclear decision-making through their evolving bilateral relations with providing nations, as well as through broader Alliance institutions.

This design would satisfy the three criteria of the NATO nuclear solution suggested earlier. The American participation in the enterprise would demonstrate tangibly a continued U.S. nuclear commitment to Western Europe. The force would provide a credible counterweight (in both European and Soviet eyes) to Moscow's Europe-oriented missile forces. In the light of its modest size and clearly retaliatory function, it would do so without realistically conveying aggressive or provocative intent. Finally, the scheme would open the way to a meaningful nuclear role for Europe in NATO.

The formula of equal American, French and British contribution to the force need not be fixed over time. Until the French and British were able to muster their shares of the nuclear warheads, the United States would probably shoulder the main burden. In time, once the British and French reached their assigned quotas, the European share could be gradually increased. In short, the plan is open-ended, and points the way to an eventual "Europeanization" of an effective nuclear deterrent in Western Europe.

VII

The emphasis in the above plan on land-based as contrasted with sea-based forces is keyed to the objective of broad Alliance participation in the enterprise, particularly by the non-nuclear powers-an objective which is inherently more elusive in the case of a sea-based alternative (as the MLF experience has shown). Land-based forces also serve more aptly the important criterion of deterrent visibility, especially with respect to the American participation. Yet, visibility obviously works two ways: while the West Europeans have learned in the main to live with the presence of nuclear weapons on European soil, local sensitivities and other political considerations may well constrain the scope of new missile deployments. If this proves to be the case, then there would still be the option of augmenting whatever level of land-based deployments is deemed tolerable by the Alliance with explicit French, British and American commitments of sea- based (submarine) forces to the common deterrent. Whatever "mix" of forces might finally be agreed upon, the "tripartite principle" of equal French, British and American contributions should be the governing one.

Despite these considerations, the scheme as outlined would face some formidable hurdles. Thus, technical problems undoubtedly would interfere with coördinated development and production of the necessary weapons components (warheads, missiles and launchers), with infrastructure (storage sites, bases, electronic communications, etc.) and with the physical security of the weapons themselves. But their solution would seem to lie clearly within the "state of the art."

There is the question of the burden, and how to share it. Clearly, the kind of force that has been proposed will not be cheap. Yet, as has been suggested, the West European resistance to past American demands for burden- sharing has been motivated in large part by the belief that the part of the total burden pressed upon them by the United States has not really been keenly relevant to their perceived security requirements. The plan proposed here would cater more directly to these requirements. There is no question that, given the will, the allied economies can shoulder the load.

It will also be argued that the entire thrust of the plan defies the trend in Europe toward rapprochement with the Eastern bloc. There is little doubt that the scheme would draw Soviet fulminations. To carry through, the West European governments would have to brave not only some chilled winds from the east, but also likely domestic reactions.

The West German government, in particular, would probably face grave decisions. A decade ago the West Germans led the faction within the Alliance which pressed for a "hardware solution" to the NATO nuclear problem. Yet the times and leadership have changed. Largely in deference to Ostpolitik, the present Brandt government has, if anything, downplayed the Federal Republic's participation in NATO nuclear strategy. At the same time, however, Bonn continues to have the heaviest stake among the European allies in military balance on the Continent and in a visible and unstinting American strategic commitment in Europe-for the sake of the hard and durable dictates of security as well as real bargaining power in Ostpolitik. Critically at issue in Bonn, as well as elsewhere in Western Europe, is the willingness to look beyond the immediate and short-term promises of détente toward the longer-range requirements not only of security and stability, but also of confident bargaining with the East.

The United States, too, would confront difficult decisions. The proposal implies a sharp reversal of the spirit (if not the declaratory letter) of past American policies in NATO : particularly the American anxiety to keep the nuclear genie in NATO securely locked in the American bottle. Then, too, the arrangement that has been suggested would in effect be a volte- face for us, from our contemptuous reaction to de Gaulle's similar concept of the late 1950s of a three-nation "directorate" in NATO. Yet, times and realities have changed, and they demand adjustment of U.S. priorities. The plan offers not only a way of translating past American lip-service to a "two-pillars" concept of NATO into rational Alliance policy, but, more important, portends a more stable transatlantic relationship.

With regard to its cherished nuclear prerogatives, the United States must finally face up to the fact that the nuclear genie has long left the bottle and is catering to the ambitions of other, friendly nations. The fundamental choice is between encouraging these ambitions to be harnessed coöperatively to an Alliance solution (where they can be amenable to American influence) or permitting them to continue to stray into uncertain, national directions.

There is the weightier question of impact on U.S.-Soviet relations. As has been suggested, a hostile Soviet reaction to the plan is predictable. Yet, in the light of ostensible current trends in the SALT negotiations, there is no reason to believe that technically the formation of such a force should upset the negotiations. The most that seems to be expected today from SALT (beyond possible agreement on ABM) is some general U.S.-Soviet understanding on overall limits to the strategic-offensive capabilities of the two countries. Depending on how such limits would be defined, the United States would have two general choices. If the Soviets continue to insist that their medium-range missiles in western Russia are not "strategic," because they are not aimed at the United States, and therefore are beyond the pale of SALT, the United States could similarly argue that its contributions to a nuclear force in Europe would be "regional" and therefore not "strategic." If, on the other hand, the agreement on an overall limit did embrace Soviet Europe-oriented missiles, the United States could make its own contributions to the allied force compatible with the given limit by in effect "transferring" the needed warheads to Europe from other parts of its nuclear inventory.

But, the argument will be raised, such technical justifications will not lull Soviet "sensitivities." Though one should be sensitive to Soviet "sensitivities," there is a limit to catering to Soviet anxieties (real or professed), and that limit must be determined by hard-core American interests. There is no reason why we cannot tell the Soviets in all frankness : "You want to regulate strategic-nuclear parity between ourselves, but at the same time wield your massive strategic sledge hammer over our allies in Europe. So long as you deem your medium-range missile forces in Europe inviolate, we and our allies reserve the right to create a counterweight which is modest by any comparison with your capabilities."

Finally, the plan would undoubtedly draw domestic fire in the United States. Questions would be raised about the legalities of America's nuclear coöperation with allies in the light of the nonproliferation treaty and U.S. domestic legislation. Offhand, there do not appear to be any real legal hurdles. The non-proliferation treaty does not bar the sharing of nuclear know-how (as contrasted with the actual transfer of weapons and their control) between existing nuclear nations. Great Britain already qualifies as a recipient of American information-sharing under the Atomic Energy Act of 1946, as amended in 1958. France could similarly qualify, if the President (probably with the coöperation of the Joint Atomic Energy Committee of Congress) were to make such an interpretation.

More telling, in any event, might be the broader political pressures in the United States. Although the caprices of American domestic politics are difficult to predict, there is bound to be an outcry against the plan, and American participation in it, on a host of grounds: legality, the alleged perils to U.S.-Soviet relations, a restrictive interpretation of nonproliferation, the larger issue of American commitments and "involvements" abroad, etc. Coping with these pressures would be the function, as always, of effective leadership. At the very least, however, the U.S. administration would be in a position to wield against the leading congressional critics of American NATO policies a telling argument: namely, that the plan portends not only a possible solution to the elusive issue of more equitable burden-sharing in the Alliance, but that it also points toward a gradual and eventual "Europeanization" of the security problem of NATO Europe, and a commensurate easing of the American military investment and obligations.

The imperative of effective leadership applies to NATO generally. The Alliance, as a unique and unprecedented enterprise in history, was created by enlightened and courageous leadership. It will take the same, if not greater, measures of imagination and boldness to chart a viable future.

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