Many people in Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands wonder why there are still U.S. tactical nuclear weapons on their soil. These B-61 nuclear gravity bombs were stationed in Europe during the Cold War to deter the Soviet threat, but while this may (or may not) have once made sense, most pundits nowadays agree that at least from a military point of view, the weapons are irrelevant.
Or should I say “agreed?” Russian President Vladimir Putin’s expansionist policy over recent months is not of much help to those who would like to see the B-61 bombs withdrawn. “Prospects for nuclear reductions in Europe are bleak,” as Polish expert Lukasz Kulesa recently wrote. Even before the crisis in Ukraine, Eastern European NATO members, and especially the Baltic states, resisted withdrawal. The issue was at the heart of the internal deliberations of the NATO Deterrence and Defense Posture Review in 2011-2012. At that time, Germany asked for the warheads to be withdrawn, while the Baltic states (supported by France) preferred the status quo. Others held in-between positions.
For more on this story, visit: Ukraine shows uselessness of NATO nukes in Europe | Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.