Members of US Congress propose placement of nuclear weapons in new NATO countries

Two US Representatives in the House Armed Services Committee have written to US Secretary of State John Kerry and US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to request information related to deploying US nuclear weapons into new NATO countries. PAX is urging the Dutch government to let the US government know that this would be utterly unacceptable.

The letter asks for information to develop capacity or use existing capabilities to store nuclear weapons in NATO member states admitted since 1999. Today, two Dutch Members of Parliament raised the US proposal during a parliamentary debate. In response to their questions, the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs expressed his willingness to stick to the 1996 agreement that no nuclear weapons are to be placed in new member states of NATO. PAX is hoping that this clear message will be repeated next week during the meeting of the EU Ministers of Foreign Affairs.

Non-proliferation treaty
Placing nuclear weapons in non-nuclear weapons states is contrary to the spirit of the NPT and incites proliferation. This proposal is in conflict with the existing agreement within NATO not to place nuclear weapons in new member states, known as “the three no’s”: “NATO countries have no intention, no plan and no reason to deploy nuclear weapons on the territory of the new members.”

Furthermore, the idea of placing nuclear weapons in new NATO members is contrary to security interests across Europe because it is an escalating signal and increases the risk of accidental or intentional use of nuclear weapons. The proposal is irresponsible and unnecessary. There are enough opportunities without including nuclear arms to respond to the rising tensions with Russia.

Majority of the world
A proposal to increase the role of nuclear weapons stands in stark contrast to the wishes of the majority of the world community. It is important to recall that recently 155 UN Member States stated clearly that nuclear weapons should never be used again, under any circumstances, and that all NATO members have agreed that the reliance on nuclear weapons should be reduced in security strategies.

The authors of the letter have said that this would be in response to rumours about Russian placement of nuclear weapons in Crimea, however there has been no indication of movements of materials or weaponry that could suggest nuclear capability has passed into the Crimea areas, whereas placing US nuclear weapons closer to the Russian border will certainly result in a similar response.