Europe is Quietly Debating a Nuclear Future Without the US


“Ever since the advent of nuclear arms, Europe has been protected by an American nuclear umbrella. It was the United States that promised NATO allies that any nuclear aggression by the Soviet Union, and later, by Russia, would be answered with a barrage of U.S. missiles. For seven decades, this arrangement allowed Western Europe to focus on recovering from the devastation of the 20th century’s two world wars instead of developing costly nuclear capabilities. Only France and the U.K. developed small national arsenals, and they were just a fraction the size of those controlled by the Cold War superpowers. But now, some European countries have begun to question whether that nuclear status quo will hold much longer. Nuclear calculations in Europe have been shifted by two developments, one external to NATO, and one internal. ”