June 16, 2020

German participation is a voice for non-nuclear states

Prof. Dr. Alexander Mattelaer, Egmont Institute, Belgium

German participation in NATO’s nuclear sharing (together with that of other DCA nations) helps ensure that the NATO’s nuclear posture is not shaped by the nuclear weapon states alone and that the voice of other allies gets taken into account – at least to some extent. By sharing the effort and risk the nuclear mission entails, these nations contribute to sharing the overall burden within the Alliance in a way that is unique – and therefore difficult to compensate conventionally. DCA constitute a unique tool for signaling purposes and strengthening the credibility of extended deterrence. Finally, NATO’s indivisible nuclear bond has helped to pacify (inter alia) the Franco-German rivalry for European dominance – the ultimate specter haunting Belgian national security thinking. In essence, discontinuing nuclear sharing would raise the question of how committed Germany remains to its own security as well as that of its neighbors.

Dr. Alexander Mattelaer photo plus pull quote
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Prof. Dr. Alexander Mattelaer, Senior Research Fellow, Egmont Institute

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