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NATO Reassurance and Nuclear Reductions: Creating the Conditions

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The first point in the preface of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Strategic Concept recon!rms the bonds between NATO nations to defend one another under Article 5. This was a response to the requirement by some Central and Eastern European (CEE) states that reassurance of Article 5 remains fully operative. The fourth point in the preface commits NATO to the goal of creating the conditions for a world free of nuclear weapons.This includes further reductions of U.S. nonstrategic nuclear weapons (NSNW) deployed in Europe. It also implies mutual reductions and closer cooperative relations with Russia.

In this paper, we undertake an ambitious research effort to examine Article 5 reassurance in creating conditions for further NSNW reductions. This research effort includes a series of interviews with critical leaders in Washington, DC, NATO capitals, and Moscow.

The task for NATO, we argue, will be to find the right mix of reassurance for the Allies and reset with Russia to create the conditions for additional NSNW reductions on the part of both NATO and Russia. Measures to reassure NATO Allies might be seen by Russia as assertive and requiring Russian military preparation, including maintenance of their NSNW systems. Measures to build confidence with Russia and mutually reduce NSNW systems might be seen by some Allies as weakening Alliance capabilities or resolve and hence undermining Article 5 reassurance.

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