Germany’s participation in the NATO nuclear sharing initiative only increases the risk of catastrophic miscalculations, since Berlin has no real influence over Washington’s foreign policy decisions, a top Social Democrat argued.

The Pentagon’s latest Nuclear Posture Review and the development and deployment of low-yield tactical nukes makes it increasingly clear that the US administration no longer sees them as purely defensive weapons of deterrence, said Rolf Mutzenich, the chairman of the SPD parliamentary group that is allied with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling conservatives. 

Does anyone really think that if Donald Trump were planning a nuclear assault that he would be held back by Germany just because we’re transporting a few warheads?

His strong opposition to the continued presence of American nukes on German soil was shared by both SPD co-leaders, Norbert Walter-Borjans and Saskia Esken, who reiterated their firm stance against any nuclear weapons deployment, sharing and use.

Senior coalition partners immediately accused the SPD of populism, with CDU lawmaker Patrick Sensburg expressing concern that statements like this undermine NATO solidarity and partners’ trust in “Germany’s ability to fulfil its future role within the Transatlantic security apparatus.”

The SPD is in total nirvana about security policy… the American nuclear weapons serve above all to protect us.

The opposition in the meantime accused the ruling CDU/CSU–SPD coalition of damaging Germany’s reputation with their ongoing quarrel, which, according to the Free Democratic Party (FDP) defense affairs spokeswoman, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, sends the “wrong signal at the wrong time.” She also reiterated the original justification for hosting the nukes, claiming that “some” control is better than nothing at all. 

It is naive to believe that Germany would have the same influence on NATO’s nuclear strategy if US nuclear weapons were withdrawn.

The US has had an estimated 100 nuclear weapons deployed in Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, and at Buechel Air Base in Germany since the Cold War. The debate over the nuclear sharing arrangement heated up recently as Berlin seeks to replace its aging fleet of Tornado jets, capable of delivering American bombs, with either Eurofighter Typhoons or US-made Boeing F-18s.

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