German and Norwegian Perspectives on Euro-Atlantic Security
Chapter 3: Closing Pandora’s Box: Germany, Nuclear Weapons, and Another New START
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Closing Pandora’s Box:Germany, Nuclear Weapons, and Another New START
After the September 2009 elections, the German coalition government promised to work within NATO to ensure that US nuclear weapons in Germany are withdrawn. The Liberal Party (FDP) in particular had insisted on including disarmament in the coalition treaty, making it one of the key foreign policy positions. This position had broad popular support: the pro-disarmament position of the government was backed by a joint Bundestag resolution, in March 2010 urging the government “to work vigorously” toward the implementation of that goal;1 moreover, anti-nuclear sentiments run high in the German population, which resulted in the July 2011 decision to phase out nuclear energy.
At the international level, however, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle (FDP) got quite a harsh reaction after declaring that he wanted to support US President Barack Obama’s initiative for a world free of nuclear weapons not only with words but also with deeds – “so that the last of the nuclear weapons stationed in Germany, the relics of the Cold War, can finally be removed”.2 A few days after his first trip to Washington in November 2009, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton replied that one could certainly use Germany’s help when it comes to preventing nuclear materials from falling into the wrong hands. But with regard to the reduction of NATO’s nuclear arsenal, she said:
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