Some NATO member states find increasing value in U.S. nuclear arms deployed in Europe, amid continued worries about Russian actions in Ukraine.
Current and former officials from Poland and the Czech Republic spoke of the importance of maintaining the role that nuclear weapons play in NATO in a Tuesday Newsweek article.
“Nuclear deterrence is a very important factor that NATO has at its disposal, and it’s becoming increasingly important,” Polish National Security Bureau chief Stanislaw Koziej said in an interview.
Jiri Schneider, who served as the Czech Republic’s first deputy foreign minister until two months ago, said it was important for NATO to “show some muscle” in the face of Russia’s ongoing destabilizing actions in Ukraine and elsewhere.
Sources close to Schneider said that means continuing to deploy U.S. B-61 nuclear warheads in Europe and maintaining the air capability to deliver the gravity bombs in an attack. Less than 200 of the weapons are broadly understood to be fielded in five NATO countries — Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey.
Before the recent tensions with Russia, there was a strong movement among some Western NATO members to send the tactical weapons back to the United States, based primarily on the argument that their deployment did not provide much military value to the alliance. Proponents of that view now acknowledge there is little chance of a tactical nuclear withdrawal happening in the near future.
A March paper by the Center for European Policy Analysis recommended that NATO weigh ending its voluntary prohibition against the deployment of U.S. nonstrategic weapons in Central and Eastern Europe.
“Nuclear deterrence in Europe should have some kind of European participation, simply for reasons of burden sharing,” Schneider said.
Currently, the five NATO states that host U.S. gravity bombs each maintain nuclear-capable aircraft that can deliver the weapons in an attack. But many of those planes are scheduled to be retired in the next decade and not all five of the countries are planning to buy dual-role planes to replace them.
Schneider suggested the Czech Republic could be willing to participate in a potential new NATO basing arrangement for the U.S. weapons.
What We're Following See More »
"The Senate approved the Republican-proposed budget Thursday night, a major step forward for the GOP effort to enact tax cuts. The budget, which now moves to the House, is projected to expand the deficit by $1.5 trillion over 10 years. Its passage will allow the GOP to use a procedural maneuver to pass tax legislation through the Senate with 50 or more votes, removing the need for support from Democratic senators."
"President Donald Trump overrode his own advisers when he promised to deliver an emergency declaration next week to combat the nation’s worsening opioid crisis ... Blindsided officials are now scrambling to develop such a plan, but it is unclear when it will be announced, how or if it will be done, and whether the administration has the permanent leadership to execute it, said two administration officials. 'They are not ready for this,' a public health advocate said of an emergency declaration after talking to Health and Human Services officials enlisted in the effort."
"The number of U.S. adults without health insurance is up nearly 3.5 million this year, as rising premiums and political turmoil over 'Obamacare' undermine coverage gains that drove the nation’s uninsured rate to a historic low. That finding is based on the latest installment of a major survey, released Friday. The Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index asks a random sample of 500 people each day whether they have health insurance."
The initial data Twitter gave to the Senate's Russia Probe was "a batch of tweets that the Kremlin’s English-language news network paid the company to promote, The Daily Beast has learned. That’s just a sliver of what investigators believe to be Russia’s propaganda campaign on the social network—which helps explain the dissatisfaction that followed those first disclosures."
"Senate Democrats on Thursday failed in their first attempt to save the state and local tax deduction, which helps many residents of California and other high-cost states reduce their federal income tax bills. The Republican-controlled Senate voted 52-47 to reject an amendment that would have prevented the Senate from considering any bill that repeals or limits the deduction as part of a planned tax overhaul."