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Top secret. In Germany, discuss a new strategy for NATO
Material posted: Publication date: 26-11-2010

"NATO: relic of the cold war or an instrument of peace?" No, this is not the announcement of the transfer of one of Russian TV channels is the theme of the conference on security, which met the German green party in the run-up to the Lisbon NATO summit on November 19-20, where, as expected, will adopt a new strategic concept of the Alliance. Discussion of this document is not broad public and political debate including because the project is not subject to public disclosure.

Therefore, although some provisions of the future strategy appear in the press, the upcoming summit is, rather, an occasion for speculation about the prospects of the Alliance as a whole.

In Germany are of particular interest to the nuclear strategy of NATO. About how badly the Germans react to everything connected with nuclear safety, they say the current mass protests against the government's decision on extending the term of NPP operation (according to the polls, this decision dissatisfied 61% of Germans) against the storage of highly radioactive waste. In early November, with the arrival from France of a train with nuclear waste, in protest rallies attended by about 50 thousand people – the share of this scale, Germany is not seen for a long time. Anti-war protests, numerous and noisy in the 90-ies, do not collect such a large number of participants, largely due to reduced U.S. nuclear Arsenal in Europe. Official data on stockpiles of U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe are not published, but, according to experts, in Germany, Belgium, Holland, Italy and Turkey are now from 150 to 240 units of tactical weapons with nuclear warheads.

After 2007, when nuclear warheads were withdrawn from the U.S. base in Ramstein (it is estimated that there were 140 bomb), Germany remained the only place of its dislocation is the village of büchel, where they live a little over a thousand people, a school, a kindergarten and a base with 20 warheads in underground mines. Although this is also assessment, the order of the numbers leads to the conclusion that nuclear weapons on the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany has rather political than military significance, and is an element of NATO policy, not Germany. Now in this country, not only people, but also all political forces have called for the withdrawal of nuclear weapons. The relevant provision was made in the programs of all political parties currently represented in the Bundestag: the ruling CDU/CSU and the liberal-democratic and the opposition social democratic, green and Left party (1).

The very existence of nuclear weapons violates the Constitution of Germany, as the country adopted the principle of "nuclear participation" suggests that the German Tornado jets can carry nuclear weapons – that is, in case of war Germany would be on nuclear power. In the opinion of the Left party, the principle of "nuclear participation" exposes the Bundeswehr in a bad light. The MP of this party Wolfgang Gerke from the rostrum of the Bundestag, addresses a question: I understand that during the cold war, nuclear weapons were directed against the Soviet Union, and against whom it is directed now? The question is rhetorical, but the answer, although on the verge of absurdity, all we have heard is "Not against anyone", – said the Deputy from the CDU. The position of the Christian Democrats on issues of nuclear disarmament is contradictory: on the one hand, they have to reckon with the sentiments of voters, on the other, they never allow themselves to depart from the principles of Euro-Atlanticism. And Americans believe Germany's desire to withdraw from its territory nuclear weapons, while at the same time under the American cover, a manifestation of "irresponsibility". Therefore, Chancellor Angela Merkel, she is also the Chairman of the CDU/CSU, said that while in the world there are nuclear weapons, NATO needs to have them. The left party has been very critical of such obedience, defending the democratic principle: the Germans through their Parliament to decide whether their lands to be nuclear weapons or not. Meanwhile, according to the weekly magazine der Spiegel, the new NATO strategic concept does not imply the withdrawal of U.S. nuclear weapons from bases in Germany.

Criticism from the Left party should cover not only the aspects of the strategy related to nuclear weapons. In a statement this party course, which offers a new strategy of NATO as weapons. The Alliance is not ready to disarm, neither nuclear nor conventional weapons; instead, all member countries of the block are now required to buy new weapons. The left also considered it unacceptable that NATO is seeking to appeal to new non-military fields.

The latter circumstance raises suspicion of all opposition parties and joined the ruling coalition of the liberals. New areas – countering cyber attacks, protection of transport routes and energy supplies. The question of whether threats in these areas be considered in the spirit of article 5, an attack on the entire Alliance or on each occasion will be made a special decision, is still open. At a recent (November 4), the hearings in the Bundestag, dedicated to the discussion of NATO strategy, only deputies of the CDU/CSU stated that the attack perpetrated by a hacker attack on one country may be dangerous for the whole unit (for example, an attack on a nuclear power plant). According to the Minister of foreign Affairs of Germany Guido Westerwelle (he is the leader of the liberal party), such an attack is not comparable to an armed attack, and to protect themselves from these countries can take advantage of computer networks.

It would be a mistake to think that in discussing the strategy, NATO, Christian Democrats oppose a cohesive block other parliamentary parties. Between these parties, and sometimes within them, there is no unity. Especially noticeable exclusion from the green Left party, to which its representatives respond very painful. German leftists call "the former party of peace", that is green, to remember their principles and to stand together for the liberation of Europe from nuclear weapons, as well as for the creation of a unified system of collective security in Europe with Russia's participation.

Note that at the conference the green, the voices in favor of bringing Russia to create a missile defense system, but none of the speakers did not put the question of the dissolution of NATO – fear of the weakening of the "transatlantic link" by inertia still exists. At the same time there is an increasing trends towards strengthening the European component of NATO to counterbalance American hegemony. Egon Rams, the former commander of the United NATO forces in Brunssum, told the conference that under this condition the number of NATO troops stationed in Europe, could be reduced in two times, up to one million soldiers. And frithjof Schmidt, the Deputy of fraction green in Bundestag, advocated the transformation of NATO into a collective security system that makes necessary the admission of Russia into NATO. This passage was followed by an objection by attending the conference by the NATO Secretary General, de Russian leadership is not interested in accession of their country into NATO. However, Schmidt is not an obstacle. Such extremes in your environment green is not endorsed Chancellor Merkel, and her low profile looks more realistic. Angela Merkel is convinced that to speak about integration of Russia into NATO sooner, it should be about strategic partnership, which will be translated into specific projects. Here we should listen to the military. In particular, parliamentary state Secretary to the Minister of defence of Germany Christian Schmidt said recently that the missile defense system NATO will be effective only in case of cooperation with Russia.

Discussion on the future of NATO, gave a rare insight on a wide variety of views on issues of defense strategy, NATO among German politicians. A peculiar result of this discussion sounds like the name of the conference green: "Wohin mit NATO?" – "Where are we going with NATO?" In the atmosphere of secrecy that surrounds the project of the new NATO strategy, the future strategy of the military-political bloc known only to the elite, which may not disclose its contents. And the German political class is guided by the well-known rule of comic songs:

Where is the king? Big secret. And we always go to him after...

(1) According to the regular polls at the end of October, the CDU/CSU had the support of 36% of the population, the liberals – 3%, social Democrats – 30%, green – 21%, the left – 7%.


Natalia Copper


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