NATO Nuclear Drawdown Now Seems Unlikely
By Ralph Vartabedian and W.J. Hennigan
September 19, 2014
Over the last 15 years, this U.S. nuclear umbrella has extended over an additional dozen Eastern European nations that gained entry into NATO.
As the Ukrainian crisis has unfolded, Obama has asserted that the alliance needs to “make concrete commitments to help Ukraine modernize and strengthen its security forces.”
Pressure has built in Washington for the Obama administration to do more than increase the economic sanctions on Russia that seem to have had little effect.
Air Force Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, NATO’s current supreme allied commander, told National Public Radio this month that Russia’s actions were contrary to a future that allows European nations to choose their own destiny. “What’s happened recently in Ukraine is what we thought would never happen again,” he said.
The situation is unfolding at a critical juncture for the U.S. nuclear weapons complex.
Philip Coyle, who recently served as a security advisor in the Obama administration, said he believed the B61s should be withdrawn from Europe under a program that would allow for rapid deployment in the case of a military emergency.
“The more places you have them, the more opportunity there is for things to go wrong,” said Coyle, formerly the deputy director of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the nuclear weapons design center in the Bay Area.