Reducing the Role of NATO ’s Nuclear Weapons

Where do we Stand after Tallinn? The questions and conflicts affecting NATO's position on Nuclear Weapons.

By Simon Lunn, Associate Fellow


After years of obscurity, NATO's nuclear forces are back on the discussion agenda. The April informal meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Tallinn raised expectations in some quarters that the alliance's nuclear policy may undergo its most radical change since the end of the Cold War. Whilst the outcome fell well short of these expectations, it is clear that, with the completion of a new Strategic Concept by late 2010, the alliance has entered a new phase in which its nuclear policy will be subject to intense review.

NATO's nuclear posture and its ongoing deployment of non-strategic nuclear weapons across Europe present many difficulties, particularly with respect to alliance cohesion, and corresponding Russian nuclear policy. This briefing note, authored by Simon Lunn, former Secretary General of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, explores the most salient questions affecting policymakers as a new momentum of working towards a world free of nuclear weapons clashes with many states' more cautious interpretations of NATO alliance solidarity and nuclear burden-sharing.


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