Trump Envoy Accuses Germany of Undermining NATO’s Nuclear Deterrent
BERLIN (May 14, 2020) — The US ambassador in Berlin has accused Germany of undermining NATO’s nuclear deterrent, taking aim at Chancellor Angela Merkel’s junior coalition partners after some of their leaders called for nuclear
Rolf Muetzenich, parliamentary leader of the Social Democrats (SPD), called earlier this month for the withdrawal of all US nuclear weapons from Germany — a view that divides his left-leaning party and is not shared by Merkel’s conservatives.
In an opinion piece for German newspaper Die Welt, Ambassador Richard Grenell wrote: “Instead of undermining the solidarity that forms the basis of NATO’s nuclear deterrence, it is now time for Germany to meet its commitments to its allies and to continuously invest in NATO’s nuclear participation.”
“Germany’s political leadership, especially that of the SPD, must now make it clear the federal republic is honouring these commitments and standing by its allies,” added Grenell, who is also US President Donald Trump’s acting national intelligence chief.
The remarks are the latest twist in relations between Berlin and Washington that have often been strained during Trump’s presidency. The president has pressed Germany to raise its defence spending and accused Berlin of being a “captive” of Russia due to its energy reliance.
But Grenell’s comments also come a day after Merkel cited “hard evidence” that Russia was behind a 2015 hacker attack on her Bundestag office — an assault that she said “pains me”.
“The dangers threatening peace in Europe are not an ‘anachronism’, as some would have us believe,” Grenell said.
“The Russian invasion of Ukraine, the deployment of new nuclear-weapon-capable missiles by Russia on the periphery of Europe and new capabilities of China, North Korea and other countries make it clear that the threat is all too present.”
The coalition agreement between Merkel’s conservatives and the SPD cites successful disarmament talks as a prerequisite for the withdrawal of tactical nuclear weapons stationed in Germany and Europe.
However, the debate over nuclear weapons was sparked by news last month that the Defence Ministry wanted to purchase 45 F-18 fighter jets from Boeing to replace ageing Tornado aircraft and take over the German military’s task of so-called nuclear sharing — under which the planes would carry US nuclear bombs to target in a crisis.
If Germany does not buy new jets, the nuclear sharing would end with the planned retirement of the Tornadoes from service in 2030.
Beginning of the End of German Support for NATO
(May 11, 2020) — Make way for the Greens and the Leftists. They do not want US nuclear weapons on German soil. Angela Merkel will soon be gone. The next German coalition already shares new ideas in many areas including NATO.
- Germany will cease its nuclear sharing agreement with the US.
- It will ask the US to remove its nuclear weapons from German soil.
- Germany will abandon plans to purchase US military equipment such as the F/A-18 Hornet.
Justyna Gotkowska from the OSW think tank in Warsaw, laments in a Twitter Thread that Germany may soon abandon a key pillar of its NATO defence policy.
Eurointelligence picked up on the thread in its report Will Germany cease to host US nuclear weapons on its soil?
Gotkowska argues that it is highly probable that Germany will end its participation in the nuclear-sharing program within ten years. While the government itself, including the SPD leadership, is committed to it, the program is not supported by the rank-and-file of the SPD. We would add that it is not supported by the Greens either.
Rolf Mützenich, the SPD leader in the Bundestag, has now formally come out supporting withdrawal of US nuclear weapons from Germany, and quitting nuclear sharing. The SPD has also nominated an anti-nuclear MEP for the job of Bundeswehr ombudsman.
Gotkowska concludes that there is no longer a majority in the Bundestag for the procurement of the F/A-18 Hornet tactical aircraft, which forms a key component for the nuclear sharing strategy. The government has now pushed a decision on the F/A-18 into the next parliament, which is even less likely than the current one to support it. Germany’s exit from the program poses important questions for NATO: whether Germany can still be useful in other ways, and whether others member will, or should, pick up the slack.
Fake News Headline: Defense News reports NATO chief backs Germany’s vow to keep war-ready US nukes
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has waded into Germany’s fiery debate about the decades-old pledge to retain American atomic bombs in the European nation as a way of deterring Russia.
Stoltenberg argued that only sticking to the doctrine of “nuclear sharing” would ensure Berlin’s continued seat at the table of strategic decision-making within the alliance.
Led by Rolf Mützenich, the chairman of the Social Democrats in parliament, a group within the governing coalition’s junior party want to exit the NATO atomic arrangement, arguing that deal, too, has outlived its usefulness.
Vow? What Vow?
Both Eurointelligence and Gotkowska lament this result. I view this as a good thing. I suggest we remove the nukes and the troops, not just from Germany, but everywhere.
If Germany or Japan or any other country wants US weapons or troops, they should pay for them, not US taxpayers.