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Bombs Away: Removing Tactical Nukes from Europe

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

With the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference around the corner, President Barack Obama is in dire need of a credible arms control and disarmament achievement worthy of the lofty agenda he articulated almost a year ago in Prague. Although Obama's higher-profile disarmament goals remain out of reach for now, he could still arrive at the upcoming New York meeting with just such an achievement in hand: ridding Europe of U.S. nuclear weapons. But to do so, he will have to reject flawed and outdated arguments that stand in the way.

Support for removing the 150 to 200 tactical nuclear weapons still deployed in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey is currently gathering momentum. These bombs are remnants of the thousands-strong arsenal established during the Cold War as a deterrent to the Soviet Union, an objective that has long since outlived its purpose. Today, these weapons represent a dangerous anachronism, and are more likely to be stolen and used by terrorist organizations than they are to stand as effective deterrents against 21st century security threats. ...

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