NATO chief backs Germany’s vow to keep war-ready US nukes,

 NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has waded into Germany’s fiery debate about the decades-old pledge to retain American atomic bombs in the European nation as a way of deterring Russia.

Stoltenberg argued that only sticking to the doctrine of “nuclear sharing” would ensure Berlin’s continued seat at the table of strategic decision-making within the alliance.

“NATO’s nuclear sharing is a multilateral arrangement that ensures the benefits, responsibilities and risks of nuclear deterrence are shared among allies,” he wrote in an op-ed first posted on the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung website. “Politically, this is significant. It means that participating allies, like Germany, make joint decisions on nuclear policy and planning, and maintain appropriate equipment.” […]

In the case of Germany, there are 20 B61 bombs reportedly stored at Büchel Air Base in western Germany’s state of Rhineland-Palatinate. If called upon, German Tornado pilots would fly the weapons into enemy territory and toss them at the targets in a lofting maneuver, releasing them during a sharp upward and backward turn to maximize bomb airtime.

Debate has flared up in recent weeks about Germany’s nuclear role, following the German Defence Ministry’s recommendation to purchase 30 F-18s for the job, as the Tornado fighter jets are expected to reach the end of their useful life by 2030. […]

Led by Rolf Mützenich, the chairman of the Social Democrats in parliament, a group within the governing coalition’s junior party want to exit the NATO atomic arrangement, arguing that deal, too, has outlived its usefulness. Läs artikel