U.S. Nuclear Weapons Withdrawn From the United Kingdom

More than 100 U.S. nuclear bombs have been withdrawn from RAF Lakenheath, the forward base of the U.S. Air Force 48th Fighter Wing.  Image: GoogleEarth

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By Hans M. Kristensen

The United States has withdrawn nuclear weapons from the RAF Lakenheath air base 70 miles northeast of London, marking the end to more than 50 years of U.S. nuclear weapons deployment to the United Kingdom since the first nuclear bombs first arrived in September 1954.

The withdrawal, which has not been officially announced but confirmed by several sources, follows the withdrawal of nuclear weapons from Ramstein Air Base in Germany in 2005 and Greece in 2001. The removal of nuclear weapons from three bases in two NATO countries in less than a decade undercuts the argument for continuing deployment in other European countries.

Figure 1:
US Nuclear Weapons in Europe 2008

Withdrawal of U.S. nuclear weapons from three European bases since 2001 means that two-thirds of the arsenal is now on the southern flank.

Status of European Deployment

I have previously described that President Bill Clinton in November 2000 authorized the Pentagon to deploy 110 nuclear bombs at Lakenheath, part of a total of 480 nuclear bombs authorized for Europe at the time.

President George Bush updated the authorization in May 2004, which apparently ordered the withdrawal of nuclear weapons from Ramstein Air Base in Germany. The withdrawal from Lakenheath might also have been authorized by the Bush directive, or by an update issued within the past three years. This reduction and consolidation in Europe was hinted by General James Jones, the NATO Supreme Commander at Europe at the time, when he stated in a testimony to a Belgian Senate committee: “The reduction will be significant. Good news is on the way.”

Last week I reported that security deficiencies found by the U.S. Air Force Blue Ribbon Review at “most” sites were likely to lead to further consolidation of the weapons, and that “significant changes” were rumored at Lakenheath.

Table 1:
US Nuclear Weapons in Europe 2008

Derived from more extensive table. Click table or here to download the full table.

The withdrawal from Lakenheath means that the U.S. nuclear weapons deployment overseas is down to only two U.S. Air Force bases (Aviano AB in Italy and Incirlik in Turkey) plus four other national European bases in Belgium, Germany, Holland and Italy, for a total of six bases in Europe. It is estimated that there are 150-240 B61 nuclear bombs left in Europe, two-thirds of which are based on NATO’s southern flank (see Table 1).

Some Implications

Why NATO and the United States have decided to keep these major withdrawals secret is a big puzzle. The explanation might simply be that “nuclear” always means secret, that it was done to prevent a public debate about the future of the rest of the weapons, or that the Bush administration just doesn’t like arms control. Whatever the reason, it is troubling because the reductions have occurred around the same time that Russian officials repeatedly have pointed to the U.S. weapons in Europe as a justification to reject limitations on Russia’s own tactical nuclear weapons.

In fact, at the very same time that preparations for the withdrawal from Ramstein and Lakenheath were underway, a U.S. State Department delegation visiting Moscow clashed with Russian officials about who had done enough to reduce its non-strategic nuclear weapons. General Jones’ “good news” could not be shared.

Figure 2:
History of U.S. Nuclear Weapons in Europe 1954-2008

While NATO boasts about its nuclear reductions since the Cold War, the Alliance is more timid about the reductions in recent years. Click on graph to see full-size version.

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By keeping the withdrawals secret, NATO and the United States have missed huge opportunities to engage Russia directly and positively about reductions to their non-strategic nuclear weapons, and to improve their own nuclear image in the world in general.

The news about the withdrawal from Lakenheath comes at an inconvenient time for those who advocate continuing deployment of U.S. non-strategic nuclear weapons in Europe. By following on the heels of the withdrawal from Ramstein Air Base in 2004-2005 and Greece in 2001, the Lakenheath withdrawal raises the obvious question at the remaining nuclear sites: If they can withdraw, why can’t we?

What is at stake is not whether NATO should be protected with nuclear weapons, but why it is still necessary to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Europe. Japan and South Korea are also covered by the U.S. nuclear umbrella, but without tactical nuclear weapons deployed in Asia. The benefits from withdrawing the remaining non-strategic nuclear weapons from Europe far outweigh the costs, risks and political objectives of keeping them there. The only question is: who will make the first move?

Previous reports: USAF Report: “Most” Nuclear Sites in Europe do not Meet US Security Requirements (FAS, June 2008) | United States Removes Nuclear Weapons from German Base, Documents Indicate (FAS, July 2007) | U.S. Nuclear Weapons in Europe (NRDC, 2005)

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18 Responses to “U.S. Nuclear Weapons Withdrawn From the United Kingdom”

  1. Paul Ingram June 26, 2008 at 5:10 am #

    Great detective work, and we in the UK are pleased with this result. While you are right to point to the wasted opportunity, it is nevertheless very good news, and thanks to your exposure, we can make the most of it. Nevertheless, of all the US tactic nuclear weapons in Europe, those in Lakenheath were always the greatest anachronism, as US nuclear weapons were never needed to demonstrate UK commitment to NATO’s nuclear policy, as UK already has nuclear Trident forces linked in to NATO strategy. The bigger wins are to be had within Europe.

    But as I said in the comment in the Guardian this morning, even the political reasoning for these weapons pales into insignificance for two reasons:

    a) as far as NATO’s future cohesion is concerned, all eyes are focused on Afghanistan today, and any possible future actions like it.

    b) Nuclear weapons are at best irrelevant to NATO’s future, and at worst an embarrassment that could create divisions between the allies as much as play a cohesive role. Earlier this week senior opposition politicians in Germany called for the removal of these weapons in response to your earlier exposure of the Blue Ribbon review.

    The withdrawal of all the tactic nuclear weapons from Europe is a crucial example of how a unilateral action could put strong pressure on Russia to respond with their arsenal, that itself presents significant and unacceptable risk to Europe today, without undermining NATO’s deterrence policy one jot.

    Keep up the good work!

    Paul Ingram
    BASIC

  2. John Ainslie, Scottish CND June 26, 2008 at 11:00 am #

    It is interesting that the two recent withdrawals are of nuclear weapons allocated to the US Air Force rather than to local air forces. If this is what is happening, then could Aviano in Italy be next in line? It also stores weapons allocated to USAFE. Incirlik in Turkey might be more complicated politically.

    With regard to Trident Replacement, former MoD Permanent Secretary Kevin Tebbit has questioned whether the NATO argument holds water any more:

    “Where NATO fits into it all now is an interesting question. Preservation of NATO’s nuclear posture remains formally one of our reasons for possessing the deterrent. We say that we are still helping to defend countries who have forsworn nuclear weapons themselves, notably Germany. It is unclear how far we shall be able to emphasize this dimension as we go through the public debate in the next few years.”

    Reply: The withdrawal from two USAF bases rather than national bases in Europe reflects a decision to reduce the posture in Europe without changing the principle of nuclear burden-sharing in the alliance. The deployment competes with scarce resources needed for real-world nonnuclear operations, so the U.S. Air Force would probably prefer that all weapons were withdrawn. But a small group of civil servants in the Belgian, German, Dutch and Italian governments – and here in Washington – are resisting. Aviano is probably the last U.S. base we’ll see weapons withdrawn from. In fact, the weapons at Ghedi Torre will probably be moved to Aviano soon – if it hasn’t already happened.

    As for Incirlik, yep the picture is murky. There’s no permanent fighter wing there, but they continue receiving nuclear inspections. The national Turkish nuclear strike mission, however, probably was ended at around the same time Greece opted out of the NATO nuclear strike mission in 2001. HK

  3. Vijai K Nair June 27, 2008 at 1:59 am #

    My complements on this excellent piece. However, what really bothers me is the fact that the US and concerned European recipients, who are members of the NPT, therefore, have been in blatant violation of Article II of the NPT, George Bush and his Soviet counterpart’s secret agreement in 1967 notwithstanding. And what’s even more unacceptable is the Western allies’ maneuvers to deny Iran the right to nuclear technology for peaceful means as mandated in Article IV of that very same Treaty. This makes it quite obvious that the NPT – as far as Washington is concerned – is dead as a dodo and its only utility is to use it as a whipping instrument to serve Western individual or collective ‘national interests’. May I suggest that such a nuclear theology is self defeating as has been proven by my country, India. With your deep knowledge of how Washington functions it should be quite obvious to you as it is to me that the ‘Indo-US Nuclear Deal’ will never mature, and that notwithstanding, India will achieve its objectives, albeit over a larger time frame. Considering the undeclared demise of the NPT it would be in the Western interest to stop flogging a dead horse.

    Reply: The majority of the NPT countries accepted the nuclear sharing mission for years during the Cold War, but now we’re in a new era and it is reasonable to reassess the acceptability of training non-nuclear NPT member countries in receiving and delivering U.S. nuclear weapons.

    I don’t agree with your assessment that NPT is dead and it’s sole utility is to serve Western interests. It certainly has its flaws, but I think the NPT regime has played a huge role in stigmatizing and curtailing nuclear arms and proliferation. Each member state, whether it has nuclear weapons or not, has selfish national interests that its seeks to forward within the regime. You see NPT as an instrument for Western nuclear powers; I see it as a forum to challenge them.

    Until 1998, India had a moral high-ground for criticizing the nuclear weapon states. But after choosing to follow them and become a full-fledged nuclear weapon state instead, that moral high-ground is gone. Rather than feeding India’s millions of poor, Indian leaders instead have chosen to spend billions of rupees to create a credible nuclear deterrent against Pakistan (although India already had conventional superiority) and an emerging strategic competition with China (although India had been existing just fine within range of Chinese missiles for decades). Unlike the nuclear arsenals of the Western nuclear weapon states in the NPT you criticize, the Indian nuclear arsenal is increasing.

    My point is not to down India by saying this – all the nuclear powers certainly have their flaws, I guess I’m just a little confused about the objectives that India are pursuing. HK

  4. Joe Cirincione June 29, 2008 at 7:10 pm #

    Very nice work, Hans. And a beautiful layout. Your blog has critical information attractively presented–a relative rarity in our field.

    I had heard (maybe from you) that Secretary Rumsfeld had originated this policy of quietly removing short-range nuclear weapons from NATO bases. Some, particularly in Democratic circles, oppose unilateral reductions, arguing that we should get something for the withdrawals, like Russian reductions and transparency. What do you think the policy should be?

    Reply: Thanks for the question and kind words. It is only because of the steadfast support from funders like the Ploughshares Fund that it is possible to do this work. Seriously, it takes years to get to this kind of information.

    The quiet – or should I say timid – reductions have emerged under the last two presidents. The Clinton administration announced in 1994 that it would maintain the existing force level in Europe, but went on to withdraw nuclear weapons from national Turkish bases and Greece. Bush came in with a strong commitment to extended deterrence, only to withdraw nuclear weapons from several German bases and the United Kingdom.

    As for getting something for something, that would make sense if the Russians wanted to trade. But my sense is that their pointing to the weapons in Europe has been a convenient excuse for hardliners – one we have handed them for nothing – who have little interest in negotiating anyway. It is not clear to me that a few hundred tactical nuclear bombs in Europe are that important to Russia to yield reductions and transparency on their side. Besides, the way NATO has already been reducing the weapons in Europe for years – more than 50 percent since 2000, for nothing – should tell Russia that it’s only a matter of time before they’re all gone anyway.

    So I think those who argue that we shouldn’t withdraw from Europe without getting something in return are living in the past. Of course it would be good to get the Russians to reduce. But that’s what the argument used to be when we lived in a strategic competition with the Soviet Union. So to make a withdrawal dependent on Russian reciprocity now would, in my view, surrender the initiative and reinstate a concept of nuclear tit-for-tat in Europe that we left behind nearly two decades ago.

    This is not about whether NATO should be defended – if necessary – with nuclear weapons or not, but whether U.S. tactical nuclear weapons deployed in Europe serve this role anymore. I can’t see that they do, and the little we get for them by far is outweighed by the costs and risks of having them there, not to mention the highly criticized practice of equipping and training four non-nuclear NPT countries in NATO to deliver U.S. nuclear weapons in times of war. I think our policy should be to finish the withdrawal of tactical nuclear weapons from Europe that was begun – but not completed – in the early 1990s. HK

  5. John - UK July 6, 2008 at 4:14 am #

    Great article – wish we had more like this in our main stream media.

    One disagreement.

    You criticise the lack of publicity regarding the move. But in your own article you effectively demonstrate the probably reason for their policy.

    Far from rejoicing in the fact that more nuclear weapons have left Europe and that the numbers are now at the lowest since the 1950s you use the move to justify criticism of the remaining weapons. If Bush etc had publicised the Lakenheath move – that is exactly how the anti-nuclear movement would have responded.

    In the same way that the elected leaders have to take criticism for the unintended consequences of their action: so do unelected leaders of protest groups. If your response to this was not so predictable, it undoubtedly would have been publicised more.

    All the same – great article.

  6. Talbot N. Vivian July 8, 2008 at 10:11 am #

    Your accusation that the US and NATO missed an opportunity to engage with Russia on nuclear weapons reduction is quite naive. Nuclear talks have never been truly held in the open. Any reduction from one side or the other is closely monitored and discussed in great detail. I would be most surprised if the Russians haven’t given something in return.

    By the way, all movement of nuclear weapons are kept secret to protect them from attack from the many unsavory characters that exist in today’s world.

  7. Dr David Lowry July 9, 2008 at 12:02 pm #

    [combined from two comments] I thought followers of this blog might be interested in reading how the British Government has formally responded to the nuclear withdrawal revelations, as demonstrated in the contemporary written Parliamentary answers set out below. However, some Members of Parliament have taken a much more positive reaction, publishing an Early Day Motion (EDM) marking the news. [An EDM acts like a formal political grafitti to gain attention of fellow Parliamentarians and the media.] Keep up the excellent atomic sleuthing, Hans. Dr David Lowry/UK

    8 July 2008 : Column 1463W

    RAF Lakenheath
    Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the United States withdrew from RAF Lakenheath the last of its nuclear weapons stored there. [216815]
    Des Browne: It is both UK and NATO policy to neither confirm nor deny the presence of nuclear weapons at a given location.

    7 July 2008 : Column 1153W—continued
    USA: Nuclear Weapons

    Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many US nuclear weapons are maintained at (a) RAF Lakenheath, (b) other UK mainland bases and (c) UK bases overseas; and if he will make a statement. [215792]
    Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether all US nuclear weapons have been removed from the UK; and if he will make a statement. [215449]

    Des Browne: NATO’s Strategic Concept (paragraph 63) states that, “nuclear forces based in Europe and committed to NATO provide an essential political and military link between the European and the North American members of the Alliance. The Alliance will therefore maintain adequate nuclear forces in Europe.”

    It is NATO and UK policy to neither confirm nor deny the presence of nuclear weapons at a given location.

    And here is a Parliamentary response:

    Early Day Motion
    EDM 1986 REMOVAL OF US TACTICAL NUCLEAR WEAPONS FROM THE UK08.07.2008

    Corbyn, Jeremy
    That this House welcomes the news that 110 US tactical nuclear weapons have been withdrawn from Lakenheath airbase in Suffolk; notes that there are now no US nuclear weapons in the UK for the first time since 1954; further notes that this move follows the withdrawal of similar weapons from Greece in 2001, and the April 2005 resolution passed by the Belgian Senate calling for the withdrawal of all US nuclear weapons in Europe; congratulates the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the Lakenheath Action Group, which have tirelessly campaigned against US nuclear weapons at Lakenheath; is concerned that the weapons withdrawn from Lakenheath may be replaced by the installation of interceptor missiles as part of the US missile defence system; and calls on the Government to disregard the request by the former Prime Minister Tony Blair to the US in February 2007 to consider Britain as a possible location for US missile interceptors.

    Signatures( 2)
    Corbyn, Jeremy
    Cryer, Ann

  8. Dr David Lowry July 9, 2008 at 12:02 pm #

    [combined from two comments] I thought followers of this blog might be interested in reading how the British Government has formally responded to the nuclear withdrawal revelations, as demonstrated in the contemporary written Parliamentary answers set out below. However, some Members of Parliament have taken a much more positive reaction, publishing an Early Day Motion (EDM) marking the news. [An EDM acts like a formal political grafitti to gain attention of fellow Parliamentarians and the media.] Keep up the excellent atomic sleuthing, Hans. Dr David Lowry/UK

    8 July 2008 : Column 1463W

    RAF Lakenheath
    Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the United States withdrew from RAF Lakenheath the last of its nuclear weapons stored there. [216815]
    Des Browne: It is both UK and NATO policy to neither confirm nor deny the presence of nuclear weapons at a given location.

    7 July 2008 : Column 1153W—continued
    USA: Nuclear Weapons

    Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many US nuclear weapons are maintained at (a) RAF Lakenheath, (b) other UK mainland bases and (c) UK bases overseas; and if he will make a statement. [215792]
    Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether all US nuclear weapons have been removed from the UK; and if he will make a statement. [215449]

    Des Browne: NATO’s Strategic Concept (paragraph 63) states that, “nuclear forces based in Europe and committed to NATO provide an essential political and military link between the European and the North American members of the Alliance. The Alliance will therefore maintain adequate nuclear forces in Europe.”

    It is NATO and UK policy to neither confirm nor deny the presence of nuclear weapons at a given location.

    And here is a Parliamentary response:

    Early Day Motion
    EDM 1986 REMOVAL OF US TACTICAL NUCLEAR WEAPONS FROM THE UK08.07.2008

    Corbyn, Jeremy
    That this House welcomes the news that 110 US tactical nuclear weapons have been withdrawn from Lakenheath airbase in Suffolk; notes that there are now no US nuclear weapons in the UK for the first time since 1954; further notes that this move follows the withdrawal of similar weapons from Greece in 2001, and the April 2005 resolution passed by the Belgian Senate calling for the withdrawal of all US nuclear weapons in Europe; congratulates the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the Lakenheath Action Group, which have tirelessly campaigned against US nuclear weapons at Lakenheath; is concerned that the weapons withdrawn from Lakenheath may be replaced by the installation of interceptor missiles as part of the US missile defence system; and calls on the Government to disregard the request by the former Prime Minister Tony Blair to the US in February 2007 to consider Britain as a possible location for US missile interceptors.

    Signatures( 2)
    Corbyn, Jeremy
    Cryer, Ann

  9. A G Smith July 22, 2008 at 2:14 pm #

    It’s about time….It’s ironic. The awful legacy of MAD left us with thousands of nuclear/atomic bombs, projects, missiles, etc etc that have to be dealt with. Unfortunately, we have much more to contend with (albeit both Russia and the US have substantially cut their ICBM/TBM forces since the end of the Cold War). Although I sincerely doubt the USAF will remove remaining B-61′s from Italy and Turkey…removing weapons from RAF Lakenheath is a huge step to denuclearization. The ONLY reason why we won’t see nukes removed from Italy and Turkey is primarily politics; the same type of “politics” that led to the abrogation of the ABM treaty—which was a HUGE mistake, IMO–for it breaks the balance of power (see MAD). Creating nuclear/atomic weapons was inevitable—but this Frankenstein of a weapon platform will not go away easily. We simply need to continue making progress with denuclearization. One day that will happen…but I know it won’t happen in MY life time…(or my son’s, or my grandchildren, etc etc).

    Reply: Indeed it may take a long time; this morning the head of U.S. Strategic Command said that the United States needs to retain nuclear weapons “for at least the remainder of this century.” This statement – which extends the nuclear era further into the future than it has lasted so far – is at odds with Senator Obama’s nuclear policy proposal and the plan for elimination put forward by Kissinger, Nunn, Perry and Schultz. HK

  10. John August 12, 2008 at 1:23 pm #

    Well, this is interesting, but several years late. The USAF hasn’t been sending Nuclear Weapons Specialist to Lakenheath for years. About 2004 or 2005 if I remember correctly, the same time as Ramstein closed shop.

    Reply: First, how do you know?

    Second, we in the public inevitably are late because these matters are so secret. Moreover, as late as in May 2006, F-15Es of the 48 FW at Lakenheath conducted a nuclear weapons drop exercise at Nellis AFB in Nevada. So the timeline might have been a little later, or the wing retained a nuclear mission even after the weapons were withdrawn. HK

  11. Al September 11, 2008 at 11:59 am #

    These are the secrets of the high and mighty and I respect you for sticking out your neck to make such research. Although it comes to me as a surprise because with the constant unspoken competition going on between Russia and America, why would such nuclear warheads be withdrawn from Lakenheath?

    Reply: The official justification is unknown, but one can speculate. First and foremost because the weapons in Europe are no longer tied primarily to what Russia does. The military mission evaporated in the early 1990s with the demise of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, and the weapons have since been justified by a vague political role of signifying the continued US commitment to Europe. That role was needed after 1993 when thousands of tactical nuclear weapons were withdrawn, but is hardly credible today. The removal from Lakenheath and Ramstein means that NATO’s nuclear posture today is focused – to the extent there is a military focus – on the situation in the Middle East. The situation in Georgia and relations with Russia will probably not affect the nuclear posture in Europe directly, but they will likely make it harder to reduce or even eliminate the European deployment because some officials will argue that this is the wrong time to do things that could been seen as rewarding Russia. HK

  12. gabriel domínguez September 28, 2008 at 2:39 pm #

    You know better than me that the deployment of elements of the U.S. missile shield in eastern Europe is a threat to Russian security far greater than the nuclear weapons of the USAF deployed at various bases in Europe and Turkey. After all this weapons is only effective if the bombers that carry it penetrate enemy territory and survive its air defenses, something unlikely if the enemy is Russia, the largest country in the world. Surely these weapons are a greater threat to U.S. allies in the countries that harbor them, as for potential U.S. enemies. And that is why they withdrew….

    Reply: Actually, I’ll have to disagree with both of your points.

    The missile defense system planned for Europe is, as far as I can gauge, not a “threat” to Russian security. With 10 interceptors it can (assuming it will work) at most complicate Russian ballistic missile strike planning in limited scenarios, but it’s certainly no “threat.” If one believes there is a threat from NATO against Russia, which I don’t (only counterproductive defense posturing), then nuclear weapons on offensive systems represent a far greater “threat.” In such a scenario, Russia’s defenses would be a challenge, although hardly insurmountable.

    The suggestion that the US withdrew the weapons from the UK because they were a greater threat to Britain (and can’t penetrate Russian defenses) is, in my analysis, also not a correct reading of the situation. Rather, they were withdrawn because the Soviet threat they were deployed to counter had disappeared, because they compete with Air Force resources urgently needed for non-nuclear missions, and because the earlier force level in Europe was far in excess of what’s needed for the vague political mission they allegedly serve today. HK

  13. gabriel domínguez October 1, 2008 at 7:18 am #

    The information that I come to me suggests otherwise: the government and the armed forces of Russia believe that these U.S. interceptors and radars in Eastern Europe compromise the security of Russia. I do not know if that’s the conclusion after analyzing the strategic-military realistic, or whether it is a media-political maneuver. But I suspect that Washington (and The Pentagon) think-like Moscow, if the situation was the reverse: 10 interceptors and radars Russians just a few miles of U.S. territory … in Cuba, for example.

    I agree that the Russian nuclear force does not reach the same level as the Soviet and that allows US / NATO to reduce its arsenal in Europe. But I also believe that the air defense systems have improved faster than the offensive systems, and specifically the strategic bombers are now useful only against countries with poor air defense. The bombers are white increasingly easy to detect and shoot down.

  14. Anthony November 13, 2008 at 2:27 pm #

    I wonder if part of the reason the removal has been kept quiet is concern that the U.S. is leaving Europe. (Personally, I think NATO has served its purpose and we should close all our bases there, but that is another issue).

    Reply: That is an argument NATO uses officially. But it is not a very good one. It might have been valid immediately after the massive pullout of nuclear weapons in 1992-1993. But today there’s no real doubt about the U.S. commitment that other forces/relations adequately convey. Rather than recycled arguments from the Cold War or early 1990s, I would be more impressed with justifications that relate to the security situation of today. HK

  15. Anthony November 17, 2008 at 12:49 pm #

    HK — thanks for the response. But I wonder if European concern that the US is going to “leave” Europe is a big part of the concern. It is true that there are other forces and relations. But as the US becomes more Latino and Asian and the history of European immigration becomes a distant memory, I think the US will look to the south and the Pacific, not the Atlantic. And once US forces leave Europe, I doubt they will ever go back there again.

    For Europeans, that cannot be a good result, as that means they will have to spend more on their security.

    For one, I think it is time we removed the last of our troops there — given that the USSR is no more. I do not see Russia as a threat to the United States, unless we make her one. NATO policy made sense in that the USSR was a threat to the US. It was, however, primarily an ideological trheat, so it made sense to say to Europe we have so many troops here that if the Soviets attack, we are in it from the begining, I have trouble seeing that relevant today.

    Then again, I am not in our foreign policy decision making group, so I guess my views are not really counted by anyone.

  16. Omen February 26, 2010 at 6:51 pm #

    Is it by chance, that nukes where removed from instable countries – years before the instability came ? Or …

    Reply: Yes, entirely by chance. If you’re referring to the withdrawal from Araxos Air Base in Greece in 2001, the weapons were removed because Greece didn’t want to pay to equip its next generation aircraft with nuclear capability to carry them, although the official reason was poor overall security at the base. The withdrawal from the UK happened because the weapons were not needed on NATO’s northern flank and RAF Lakenheath had to focus on the conventional mission. HK

  17. Gideon Moulton April 29, 2010 at 2:44 pm #

    Nuclear weapons in the UK are part of the UK’s role in NATO alliance. The Alliance is actually undergoing a stage of restructuring, and there has been some good and innovative thinking on both sides of the Atlantic – see the recent Atlantic Council NATO Strategic Concept review by the Strategic Advisors Group that includes the Atlantic Council’s Board of Directors.

  18. Wolfcry044 May 15, 2010 at 11:35 pm #

    Good, we don’t need nukes there anyway. They should stay in the U.S with the capability to launch to anywhere in the world. We don’t need them over there in the first place.

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