Theater nuclear weapons in Europe the contemporary debate
Polser, Brian G.
MetadataShow full item record
Are U.S. nuclear weapons still needed in Europe now that the threat that brought them there is gone? This thesis examines whether basing theater nuclear weapons in Europe is useful, irrelevant or counterproductive for maintaining European security. U.S. and NATO policymakers adhere to political and military utility arguments, while others argue TNWs in Europe are irrelevant-their utility has been supplanted by political, cultural and economic interdependence, modern conventional capabilities and the existential deterrent of U.S. strategic nuclear weapons. Nonproliferation and arms control advocates argue TNWs are counterproductive because they enhance, rather than deter proliferation, undermine the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), and impede cooperation in the NATO-Russia security relationship. This thesis demonstrates how economic and political ties, including widespread participation in nuclear planning, the increasing importance of the nuclear taboo, prospects for conventional deterrence and the U.S. strategic nuclear umbrella render TNWs in Europe irrelevant. Emphasizing their utility provides incentive for others to join the "nuclear club," degrades the nonproliferation regime, and creates a roadblock for NATO-Russian arms control and counterproliferation efforts. This thesis recommends withdrawing U.S. theater nuclear weapons from Europe, relying instead on a strategy of conventional deterrence and reassurance while maintaining general nuclear deterrence via strategic forces.
RightsThis publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Lambert, Stephen P.; Miller, David.A. (Monterey, California. Naval Postgraduate School, 1996-12);The United States and NATO are on the verge of major new policy debates regarding nuclear weapons in Europe, yet increasingly, U.S. and some NATO European policy makers find it difficult to articulate persuasive rationales ...
Gunning, Edward G. (Monterey, California. Naval Postgraduate School, 1992-12);The dissolution of the Soviet Union and the unification of Germany have fundamentally changed the politics of security in Europe. This thesis analyzes German perspectives on the international security environment and offers ...
Dossel, Carl William (Monterey, California. Naval Postgraduate School, 1985-03);This thesis, which examines the issue of nuclear weapons in Europe, is divided into two major parts. The first traces the history of nuclear weapons and doctrine associated with NATO and the Warsaw Pact from 1945 through ...