NATO Chief Sides With France: Missile Defense ‘Not a Substitute’ for Nukes

Rasmussen Backs Massive Nuclear Arsenals as 'Complement' to Shield

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has made his position clear on the recent row between France and Germany and, as has so often been the case since he assumed the position, he took the hawkish side.

German officials had insisted that the forthcoming commitment to construct a NATO-wide missile defense shield ought to come with a commenserate reduction in the alliance’s massive nuclear weapons arsenal. France had angrily objected, insisted no cuts could be allowed.

Rasmussen expressed his agreement with France today, saying the missile defense system was never designed to be a substitute for the arsenal, but rather “is a complement” to it. The United States, France and Britain are all nuclear weapons states, though there have been recent debates in Britain regarding the possibility of ditching their arsenal as a cost-saving measure.

And while the morality of keeping an arsenal of literally several thousand weapons each capable of destroying a major city has never entered the official debate in any serious way, the cost issue seems like it might have found some currency, particularly as most NATO nations are scrambling to keep their military budgets under control.

Though the details have yet to be completely settled on, the missile defense shield’s cost will be a significant addition at a time when most nations are looking for ways to cut. If the shield provides no ability to offer a commenserate cut in NATO’s WMDs, the entire point must inevitably be called into question.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.