Issue No. 42, December 1999
NATO Ministers Fudge The Essentials
By Nicola Butler
NATO's first Ministerial meetings since the end of the war in
Kosovo and the Alliance's high profile Washington Summit took place
in December, against a background of the intensifying Russian war
in Chechnya and deteriorating NATO-Russia relations. Divisions over
ballistic missile defence (BMD), US pressure for greater defence
spending and tensions over EU defence plans dominated the winter
Ministerial meetings in Brussels. Little progress was made on the
arms control review initiated at April's Washington Summit.
Peace support operations in the Balkans remain high on NATO's
agenda, with increasing recognition that the Alliance's goal of a
"multi-ethnic" Kosovo is still out of reach. If law and order are
to be restored and civil society rebuilt, greater resources are
urgently needed for the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and Kosovo's
new police force, the Kosovo Protection Corps.
Defence Ministers Meeting
The key issues addressed at the meeting of defence ministers on
2-3 December were BMD, defence spending and Kosovo.
The meeting opened with a session of the Nuclear Planning Group
(NPG), at which US Secretary of Defense William Cohen highlighted
the potential threat from ballistic missile proliferators,
especially Iran and North Korea. US officials briefed the Allies on
Russia's draft military strategy, published in October in Krasnaya
Zvezda. They also reported on co-operation with Russia on Y2K
issues, including the establishment of a permanent US-Russia shared
early warning system in Moscow next year. Cohen strongly denied
earlier media reports that the last remaining US tactical nuclear
weapons would soon be withdrawn from Europe.1 A US
official said that NATO's Strategic Concept (updated at the April
1999 Washington Summit) committed the Alliance to continue to
maintain nuclear forces and that the US would "continue to maintain
its contribution in that connection".
Following the NPG, Ministers met in the Defence Planning
Committee to discuss defence capabilities. Both NATO
Secretary-General Lord [George] Robertson and Secretary Cohen urged
the Allies to "spend more" and to "spend smarter" on defence.
Speaking after the meeting, Robertson told the media: "The time for
a peace dividend is over because there is no permanent peace - in
Europe, or elsewhere… we can no longer expect to have
security on the cheap".
US plans for a national missile defence (NMD) system were
discussed with French Defence Minister Alain Richard
present.2 Although Cohen "reassured" Allies that no
decision on NMD would be taken without consultations within the
Alliance, the Presidential decision currently scheduled for June
2000 is widely believed to be a foregone conclusion. NATO's
communiqués made no reference to the subject, reflecting
lack of consensus.
Defence Ministers then met "at 19" (i.e., all NATO countries
represented) in a session of the North Atlantic Council. KFOR
Commander General Klaus Reinhardt briefed the Council, warning that
despite some progress in restoring order to Kosovo, the area is
still "not very far away from war" and that on the ground
"intolerance is almost tangible". Reinhardt stressed the need for
more money to be provided to UNMIK and the Kosovo Protection Corps,
to which only three NATO Allies have yet contributed.
The second day of Defence Ministers meetings included sessions
of the NATO-Ukraine Commission and the European Atlantic
Partnership Council (including NATO's Eastern European partners and
the neutral countries of Europe). There was no meeting of the
NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council (PJC), as Russian Defence
Minister Igor Sergeyev declined to attend, highlighting the
breakdown in NATO-Russia relations. Instead Russia's Ministry of
Foreign Affairs released an angry statement responding to language
in the NATO Defence Minister's Communiqué that called for
Russia to exercise restraint in Chechnya.3
Foreign Ministers Meeting
NATO's Foreign Ministers' meetings on 15-16 December were low
key, with only nine out of 19 foreign ministers in attendance. They
focussed primarily on European defence and Kosovo. Coming shortly
after the EU Helsinki Summit, ministers started with a session on
developing a European Security and Defence Identity (ESDI) within
NATO. Although the foreign ministers were able to initiate
discussions within the Alliance on the next steps towards
developing ESDI, underlying disagreements over European defence
persist, with Turkey openly opposed and the US reluctant to support
anything other than straightforward increases in European military
capabilities within NATO.
NATO's arms control review was set in train with a brief
reference in the North Atlantic Council Communiqué, but
received little attention in the official briefings.
Secretary-General Robertson made no reference to it in his
statements, instead reaffirming the role of "credible deterrence"
in combating proliferation.
Once again, Russia stayed away, so there was no meeting of the
PJC. The rest of NATO's European partners did, however, meet with
the Allies in the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC), where
the focus was on Kosovo. EAPC Foreign Ministers were briefed by the
head of UNMIK, Dr Bernard Kouchner. He told them that without
greater resources there would be "no success" in Kosovo.
Divisions Over BMD
Ballistic missile defences featured at both Foreign Ministers'
and Defence Ministers' meetings. The US prepared the ground on both
occasions with presentations highlighting the ability of
proliferators to threaten the territory of European NATO partners
as well as the United States. A declassified report from the US
National Intelligence Council was released to the media, spelling
out the threat from "Russia, China, and North Korea, probably from
Iran, and possibly from Iraq".4 Secretary Cohen was keen
to emphasise that "the threat is real; that it will, in all
likelihood, intensify in the coming years as countries continue to
acquire chemical, biological and nuclear capabilities".
US Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott (attending the
Foreign Ministers' meeting in place of Madeleine Albright) pitched
BMD as part of a three-pronged NATO strategy for dealing with
weapons of mass destruction (WMD). According to Talbott, NATO's WMD
policy "must have three parts: first we must pursue diplomatic
prevention, including arms control; second, we need strong
conventional and nuclear forces capable of acting as a deterrent;
and third, we must consider how missile defense - national and
collective - fits into the equation."
Although many of the Allies share US concerns about the nature
and growth of the threat from the proliferation of ballistic
missiles and WMD, they disagree on whether NMD is the right way to
address this threat. Britain and France are reportedly concerned
that the effectiveness of their own nuclear weapons could be
undermined if other nuclear-weapon States (NWS), such as Russia or
China, responded to the current US proposals for a NMD system by
enhancing their nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities.
France, supported by a number of Allies, has repeatedly warned
of the effect of NMD on arms control and relations with Russia and
China. At the Ministerial meeting, French Defence Minister Richard
urged caution about a project "that could end up damaging our
security if it offers indirect encouragement to an arms race".
Richard also warned about the potential cost of missile defence -
money that he argued could be better spent on other military
projects. He questioned whether NMD would be "a gain in security
equivalent to the expenditure".
Britain shares French concerns about the impact of NMD on
relations with Russia and China, but is also concerned about
potential "decoupling" of US security interests from those of
Europe. Unlike France, its priority is to maintain the
transatlantic relationship and it is therefore reluctant to
criticise publicly, preferring to characterise the issue as a
"bilateral" question for the US and Russia.
Germany's Defence Minister, Rudolf Scharping, was more
conciliatory than Richard, repeating reassurances from Cohen that
the project was "being pursued with great care". Speaking with
Cohen on the eve of the Defence Ministers' meeting, Scharping was
"optimistic" that NMD would "not cause any disruption in the
disarmament and arms control process. Nevertheless, Scharping
acknowledged that publicity about NMD could fuel anti-Western
feeling in Russia during the election campaign, a concern many NATO
Cohen attempted to address Allied concerns about arms control by
reiterating that the current US proposals are for a limited system
that is "not directed against the Russians" and "would not undercut
the Russian strategic deterrent". According to a US official, the
Americans were "committed to working very hard with the Russians to
do what the ABM Treaty provides for, which is to update its
provision in light of the changing strategic situation". The US
view is that NMD can "coexist" with "a state of full strategic
stability and… substantial further reductions on strategic
Cohen acknowledged that there is "by no means a consensus within
the Alliance" on the utility of even a limited missile defence
capability, but insisted that Allies' views would be taken into
consideration before President Clinton takes a final decision next
June on whether to proceed.
Despite Cohen's reassurances, it is widely believed that the US
will decide to proceed with NMD and that the consultation process
is more about 'public relations' than substance. One American
official indicated that the US expects to be able to "reach a
resolution of this issue by negotiation" with the Russians. Talbott
also suggested that although the US proposals had "generated
controversy on both sides of the Atlantic" there was still "enough
common ground" on the issue "for us to move forward together as an
Although a number of European Allies have made clear their
objections to NMD, many are also hedging their bets, watching
closely to see how the technology develops. One of the US selling
points for NMD, as Cohen suggested in his briefing, is the
possibility that some European NATO members might want access to
missile defence technology in the future.
Despite European concerns, the US has now put missile defence
firmly on the table for discussion within NATO over the next year,
even proposing that the Allies consider the possibility of having
some form of "limited" missile defence capability "within the NATO
Towards a New Cold War?
Although General Rheinhardt described relations between NATO and
Russian military forces in Kosovo as "excellent", at a political
level NATO's relationship with Russia has fallen to its lowest
point since the 1980s. When he started his job as NATO
Secretary-General in October, Lord Robertson described establishing
closer relations with Russia as one of his "immediate priorities".
Instead, differences of opinion over Chechnya, President Yeltsin's
comments in China on Russia's status as a nuclear power (see News
Review), and Russia's boycott of the Ministerial meetings led one
journalist to suggest that NATO was entering a new Cold War.
The language on Chechnya in the NATO communiqués was
reasonably restrained, acknowledging Russia's right "to preserve
its territorial integrity and to protect its citizens against
terrorism and lawlessness", and recalling the commitments Russia
had made at November's OSCE Summit.5 It prompted a
furious reaction, however, from Russia's Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, which dismissed the statement as "cynical", and coming
from those who "so recently carried out massive aggression against
The Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty is also affected
by deteriorating NATO-Russia relations over Kosovo and Chechnya. In
May, Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs accused NATO of breaching
CFE limits in Macedonia and Albania.7 Although a newly
adapted CFE Treaty was agreed at the OSCE Summit in November, NATO
Foreign Ministers noted their concern about "continued Russian
non-compliance with the Treaty's Article V ('flank') limits". The
North Atlantic Council called on Russia "to honour its pledge to
comply with CFE limits as soon as possible and, in the meantime, to
provide maximum transparency regarding its forces and weapons
deployed in the North Caucasus".8 Russia has indicated
that it only intends to exceed CFE limits for a temporary period,
but this is an inauspicious start for the newly adapted treaty.
NATO Defence Ministers also noted "with concern" that "Russia
appears to be moving towards a greater reliance on nuclear forces
to ensure its security".9 Russia's draft military
strategy reserves "the right" to use nuclear weapons in response to
nuclear weapons, other weapons of mass destruction, and in response
to "wide-scale aggression using conventional weapons" in situations
critical to Russian national security.10
A US official was reluctant to criticise Russia's nuclear
doctrine, however, recognising its similarity to NATO's Cold War
doctrine of Flexible Response, elements of which still persist in
current NATO nuclear doctrine. Referring to Russia's nuclear
doctrine, he said "it would be unseemly for NATO to denounce that
doctrine, because it does bear some resemblance to another nuclear
doctrine, which was advocated at various points in the past."
The real question according to the US is whether Russia is
prepared "to carry on working on a system of arms control for
strategic stability and the real conditions that apply now as
contrasted to those conditions that applied during the Cold War".
Russia, which walked out of the PJC earlier in the year in protest
over NATO's bombing of Serbia (Yugoslavia), is still refusing to
engage in discussions on anything other than practical arrangements
in Kosovo. Since the NATO bombing, the PJC has not met above
ambassadorial level. The NATO Defence Ministers indicated their
willingness to resume "reciprocal exchanges with Russia on nuclear
weapons issues" and called on Russia to "review further its
tactical nuclear weapons stockpile with a view toward making
The underlying problem since the earliest meetings of the PJC is
that Russia has not wished to engage on an agenda aimed at greater
transparency and reductions in tactical nuclear weapons. NATO,
also, has been unwilling to embark on any agenda item - such as
de-alerting - that might result in changes to its nuclear doctrine.
If Russia had wanted an excuse to close down talks on these issues,
Kosovo might have been designed to provide it.
Little Progress on Arms Control
There has been no substantive progress so far in the review of
arms control policy, contained in paragraph 32 of the 1999
Washington Summit Communiqué. What little discussion has
taken place, has concentrated on what the timetable and product of
the review should be and which NATO committee should co-ordinate
Canada, one of the key proponents of the review, has proposed
that NATO revise its Comprehensive Concept of Arms Control and
Disarmament of 1989. The Canadians would like a wide ranging and
high profile review that demonstrates renewed Alliance commitment
to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation at the time of the
2000 NPT Review Conference. Canada has also urged the Allies to
consider the impact on potential nuclear proliferators of Alliance
policy statements on the role of NATO nuclear weapons.
NATO's Foreign Ministers' meeting confirmed that the review
would address Alliance "policy options in support of confidence and
security building measures, verification, non-proliferation, and
arms control and disarmament".12 The review, which is
intended to be "comprehensive and integrated", will be carried out
by NATO's Senior Political Committee with the object of producing a
report for Ministers at the December 2000 NATO meetings. Canadian
Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy described this announcement as an
important signal that NATO is ready to move forward on the issue.
He stressed the significance of the timing in the run up to the NPT
The NWS are less enthusiastic and would prefer to keep a lower
profile and to focus essentially on improving the "presentation" of
NATO nuclear policy, in particular previous reductions in NATO
nuclear force levels. They question whether NATO - as an Alliance -
can really play a significant role in arms control. They argue that
the only major area in which NATO itself plays a role is the CFE
Treaty, and that beyond CFE the Alliance can do little more than
encourage its members to contribute positively to the arms control
regimes as individual states. But in doing so the NWS turn a blind
eye to the impact of NATO nuclear doctrine and posture on arms
control, and the restrictions which this imposes on the positions
of individual NATO member countries in arms control fora.
In a speech covering the full range of NATO issues, US
Deputy-Secretary Talbott did not even mention the arms control
review, saying only that "NATO has a solid arms control record" and
repeating that "the Alliance has radically reduced its reliance on
nuclear forces". With the NWS eager to minimise the scope of the
review, there is a danger that it turns into little more than a
convenient way of quietly closing down the debate on "no first
use", initiated by Germany at the December 1998 NATO Foreign
Although it suits the NWS for the arms control review to have a
limited scope in the area of nuclear posture, the US, backed by
Britain, has pushed for the review to be "comprehensive and
integrated", insisting that NATO's response to the proliferation of
WMD and conventional weapons would be an integral part.
It is clearly important for NATO to consider how it can support
the biological, chemical and missile technology control regimes.
The US, however, appears to prefer a "comprehensive" review in
order to deflect attention from NATO nuclear policy by putting the
emphasis on the risks of WMD. Placing the review in this context
allows the US to promote military responses to proliferation, many
of which have a counterproductive effect on arms control, such as
deterrence, counter proliferation and NMD. There is already some
evidence of this approach in the NPG's Communiqué, which
includes in the paragraph on arms control, reference to the
"evolving threats from proliferant states" and reaffirmation of
"our belief that Alliance forces deter the use of weapons of mass
Although Canada describes the arms control review as an
important step in the direction of its long-term objective of
"getting rid of nuclear weapons", it is not yet clear for what
specific goals the Canadians will be aiming. The removal of the
last remaining US tactical nuclear weapons from NATO states in
Europe, the declaration of a "no first use" policy, and a
commitment by NATO to the elimination of nuclear weapons in line
with Article VI of the NPT, remain the obvious areas in which NATO
could send a clear signal of its commitment to the
non-proliferation regime. If NATO is serious about rebuilding
relations with Russia it should also consider making its assurances
that the Alliance will not deploy nuclear weapons in the territory
of new members legally binding and subject to verification.
Dutch Foreign Minister Van Aartsen has indicated that the
Netherlands had already been consulting with a number of countries
including Germany, Italy, Belgium, Norway and Canada. In 1999, a
similar grouping of five NATO countries (Belgium, Germany, Italy,
the Netherlands, and Norway) made joint proposals, first on a
working group to exchange information on nuclear disarmament at the
CD in Geneva, and then on security assurances at the NPT
A number of proposals had been made concerning possible topics
for the review, including increasing transparency, working towards
legally binding security assurances, and new initiatives on nuclear
arms control including tactical nuclear weapons. Van Aartsen told
the Dutch Parliament that over the next year NATO would have to
"discuss the possibility of reducing the numbers of NATO nuclear
weapons in the framework of simultaneously reduced and negotiated
reductions on the Russian side."14
The foreign ministers attending the Euro-Atlantic Partnership
Council meeting heard a powerful and strongly worded request for
resources from the head of UNMIK, Dr Bernard Kouchner. Kouchner's
message was simple: "We need money. Without money, no
success… Without money, no confidence… Without money,
no restarting of daily life." He said his repeated requests for
funding were making him feel like a "beggar".
UNMIK needs assistance in three principal areas: money to pay
the salaries of civil servants and teachers, help with finding
missing persons, and contributions of police officers to help
restore law and order to Kosovo. Although UNMIK has requested 6,000
police officers, only 1,800 have been provided, a situation that
Kouchner described as "ridiculous and a scandal".
In an impassioned presentation, Kouchner's frustration at the
lack of resources was clear: "If all the nations of the world
fighting for freedom and fighting to protect minorities cannot send
me 6,000 police officers, what kind of peacekeeping operation is
this?'' He did "not want to hear any comment or criticism" of law
and order in Kosovo until he had those police officers.
Secretary-General Robertson and KFOR Commander Rheinhardt, both
backed Kouchner's demands. According to Rheinhardt, the amounts of
money needed are small - US$120 million for civil servants'
salaries and US$10 million for the Kosovo Protection Corps.
Robertson "urged Ministers to devote the critical resources to the
UN and to the Kosovo Protection Corps necessary for success." He
reiterated that the resources are small, but said they would "make
all the difference between success and failure in Kosovo." NATO is
concerned that unless UNMIK gets the backing it needs, parallel
structures organised by sectarian elements in Kosovo's different
communities will start to emerge.
EU states have been generous with funding for projects that they
can be easily identified with, but less forthcoming with less
glamorous items of expenditure such as basic salaries. Domestic
shortages of police officers have contributed to the shortfall in
personnel provided for Kosovo.
Robertson made the obvious comparison between the efforts and
expenditure undertaken by NATO countries during the bombing of
Serbia, and the willingness of NATO members to commit resources
now. Telling foreign ministers to lobby their governments, he said:
"We used all the energies of NATO… to stop the
killing… We must now make that peace successful and that
requires extra efforts… The international community must do
In contrast to NATO's usual spin about "building a multi-ethnic
society" in Kosovo, Kouchner was more realistic, saying that
"multi-ethnic" was not the right word for Kosovo at the moment.
According to Kouchner, improvements are needed in security and
civil rights, before a multi-ethnic society becomes a realistic
goal. Robertson acknowledged that after "ten years of apartheid and
two years of the most savage violence" Kosovo was not going to be
an "ideal society".
Reassurances on European Defence
European defence was inevitably a central topic at both NATO
Ministerial meetings, especially as the defence ministers met
shortly after the annual Franco-British Summit and the foreign
ministers met just after the EU Helsinki Summit. The Franco-British
Summit has called for the EU to set itself the goal of a rapid
reaction force of 50-60,000 personnel, deployable within 60 days to
undertake the full range of crisis management
operations,15 an objective that was endorsed at
At the Defence Ministers' meeting France and Germany proposed
that Eurocorps, their joint force including Spain, Belgium and
Luxembourg, could take over next year as the headquarters for KFOR.
France and Germany see a revamped Eurocorps as providing a key role
in any EU rapid reaction force. Eurocorps has a controversial
background, however, being closely associated with French
aspirations for a future European army. Reactions were muted.
Britain's Defence Secretary, Geoff Hoon, gave the Eurocorps plan
qualified support, and said that Britain had "demonstrated the
abilities that are required to organise these kinds of campaigns
and if they need our help we would certainly be prepared to give
it". According to one British official, the UK would not attach
forces to Eurocorps permanently. The offer was "only providing a
particular part of the mission, for a limited period and as a part
The US was reluctant to give its backing to Eurocorps. Secretary
Cohen stressed that, "there was no decision made that the
Euro-Corps should take over the command of KFOR. It is a proposal
that has been offered and one that will be studied and we will see
how the Euro-Corps unfolds in the future." An American official
said that the US had "no objection in principle" to the Eurocorps
offer, but added the reservation that Eurocorps would have to be
"augmented" to be militarily effective.
NATO's Foreign Ministers were briefed by the EU High
Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy (and former
NATO Secretary-General), Dr Javier Solana on European plans to
develop an autonomous capability to conduct crisis response
operations. The North Atlantic Council in Foreign Ministers'
session formulated a cautious response to the EU plans and set out
NATO's plans for future development of ESDI within the
On most of the Helsinki decisions NATO "noted" rather than
"welcomed" EU aspirations. One exception was the commitment at
Helsinki to enhance future military capabilities, which the US
particularly commended. NATO Secretary-General Robertson also
endorsed this aspect of the European defence plans, but warned the
EU that it "must deliver on these commitments".
NATO also emphasised the need for the "fullest possible
participation" of the eight Alliance members that are not members
of the EU. Non-EU members of NATO argue that they must be included
since a future EU-led crisis management operation could escalate
resulting in a threat to NATO territory.
EU members attempted to "reassure" their non-EU Allies that they
would be properly involved and consulted in the EU plans. British
Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said he had been "reassuring them that
we are fully aware of the importance of having them as part of any
European security structure and indeed we want them to participate
because it will make it more effective." Portugal, which will hold
the EU Presidency for the first six months of 2000, undertook to
develop the links between NATO and the EU.
The North Atlantic Council Communiqué attempted to bridge
the gaps between the positions of EU and non-EU members on ESDI. It
used language supported by the EU referring to the initiation of
discussions on practical arrangements for "assured EU access to
NATO planning capabilities and for ready EU access to NATO
collective assets and capabilities". The Communiqué combined
this with language preferred by Turkey, emphasising that this must
be on a "case-by-case basis and by consensus"16 Turkey
continues to oppose greater EU defence co-operation despite the
EU's recent offer of member candidate status. By emphasising the
need for consensus Turkey hopes to retain the option of blocking EU
access to NATO assets if it chooses.
NATO has now initiated further discussions on its next moves on
ESDI. According to one NATO official, the Alliance will now work on
"how to make a generous offer" to the EU regarding access to NATO
assets. ESDI remains a sensitive subject within the Alliance.
Despite reassurances, Turkey was reported still to be taking the
view that the EU stance towards non-EU Allies was
Officially, the US declared that: "We are not against; we are
not ambivalent; we are not anxious; we are for it." But many
remembered Strobe Talbott telling a conference at the Royal
Institute for International Affairs (RIIA) in October 1999 that he
sensed "a basic difference of views on opposite sides of the
Atlantic". Talbott had continued: "Many Americans are saying: never
again should the United States have to fly the lion's share of the
risky missions in a NATO operation and foot by far the biggest
bill. Many in my country, notably including members of Congress -
are concerned that, in some future European crisis, a similar
predominance of American manpower, firepower, equipment and
resources will be neither politically nor militarily
NATO is now seriously looking at implementing decisions arising
from the Washington Summit and the lessons learned from the war in
Kosovo. The result is a new focus on ESDI, with much of the impetus
coming from EU members, but behind the scenes many of the old
tensions over European defence persist. At the same time there is
increasing pressure from the US for European Allies to increase
their defence spending. Tight budgets and competing domestic
priorities will make it difficult for most of them to spend any
more on defence, but the rhetoric that NATO intends to enhance its
already formidable forces signals an end to the period of optimism
that followed the Cold War. In Kosovo, Allies and others are now
reluctant to come forward with the comparatively small
contributions needed to make the UN Interim Administration there
Relations with Russia, already soured by NATO enlargement, the
wars in Kosovo and Chechnya, are further threatened by US plans to
develop NMD. Whilst it is possible that the US may strike a deal
with Russia on the ABM Treaty, just as public demonstrations of
reconciliation were achieved after NATO enlargement and the war in
Kosovo, the underlying damage to NATO-Russia relations is
manifested in Russia's nuclear doctrine. Prospects for a START III
Treaty with Russia, already hampered by US plans for NMD, are
further reduced as the US seeks to retain nuclear superiority and
seems unwilling to countenance the lower warhead limits preferred
by Russia. The US also ignores the impact of its NMD plans on the
wider non-proliferation regime, inciting potential proliferators to
attempt to acquire greater capabilities in order to overcome
There are several ways that NATO could make a positive
contribution to the current situation, particularly regarding arms
control, but to be of significance most measures will require
changes to the Alliance nuclear posture. For example, NATO could do
more to demonstrate its stated commitment to transparency by
declaring the number and locations of NATO nuclear weapons and
allowing independent verification of the reductions its members
have made in tactical nuclear weapons. NATO is also well placed to
undertake practical measures to reduce the alert status of nuclear
Above all, NATO needs to get talks with Russia in the PJC back
on track. The PJC was supposed to consult on nuclear arms control
issues including warhead accountancy, nuclear doctrine,
transparency, safety and security - all of which are important to
improve confidence in the non-proliferation regime and to prepare
the way for any further nuclear reductions.
Yet since the Washington Summit, NATO has prioritised the
defence aspects of its response to proliferation over its review of
arms control policy. If NATO continues to ignore the impact of its
military posture on arms control, the price may be that Alliance
predictions of WMD and ballistic missile proliferation become a
Notes and References:
1. See "Les USA vont retirer leurs bombes nucléaires
en Europe", Agence France Presse, Brussels, November 4,
2. France does not participate in the Nuclear Planning Group
or the Defence Planning Committee since it is not a member of
NATO's Integrated Military Structure.
3. "Russia Calls NATO 'Cynical' Over Chechnya",
Reuters, Moscow, December 3, 1999.
4. "Foreign Missile Developments and the Ballistic Missile
Threat to the United States Through 2015", US National Intelligence
Council, September 1999.
5. North Atlantic Council in Defence Ministers' session,
Final Communiqué, NATO Press Release, M-NAC-D (99) 156,
December 2, 1999 and North Atlantic Council in Foreign Ministers'
session, Final Communiqué, NATO Press Release, M-NAC2 (99)
166, December 15, 1999.
6. Op Cit, Reuters, December 3, 1999.
7. "Russia complains of CFE violation by NATO", Disarmament
Diplomacy, Issue 38, June 1999. See also Documents &
Sources and New Review in this issue.
8. Op Cit, NATO Press Release, M-NAC-2 (99) 166.
9. Ministerial Meeting of the Defence Planning Committee and
the Nuclear Planning Group, NATO Press Release, M-DPC/NPG-2 (99)
157, December 2, 1999.
10. Translation from BBC Worldwide Monitoring, October 11,
1999, provided courtesy of Georg Schoefbaenker. Original
source: Krasnaya Zvezda, Moscow, in Russian, October 9,
1999, pp3, 4.
11. Op Cit, NATO Press Release, M-DPC/NPG-2 (99) 157.
12. Op Cit, NATO Press Release, M-NAC-2 (99) 166.
13. See Geneva Update, Rebecca Johnson, Disarmament Diplomacy, Issue 33, and
Briefings from the Acronym Institute on the Third NPT PrepCom
available on the Internet at http://www.acronym.org.uk/nptdesc.htm.
14. Minister Van Aartsen (Foreign Affairs, Netherlands),
"Statement made in the parliamentary debate on the foreign affairs
budget", Lower Chamber, December 8, 1999. Unofficial translation by
15. "Joint Declaration by the British and French Governments on
European Defence", Franco-British Summit, London, November 25,
16. Op Cit, NATO Press Release, M-NAC-2 (99) 166.
17. "Remarks at a Conference on the Future of NATO", Strobe
Talbott, The Royal Institute on International Affairs, London,
October 7, 1999.
Nicola Butler is the Acronym Institute's Senior
© 2000 The Acronym Institute.
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