What alternatives to nuclear weapons are there?

Can Germany legally own or build nuclear weapons?

The Scientific Service of the Bundestag declares that this is possible under international law through "nuclear participation" and the co-financing of foreign nuclear weapons

Protect nuclear weapons. North Korea is demonstrating this to the world public, so far with success, and sees itself as another nuclear power. In Germany, when Donald Trump took office and his initially hesitant relationship with the NATO assistance pact, a discussion arose as to whether Germany should get its own nuclear weapons as a deterrent. In an emergency, German tornadoes would also be equipped with atomic bombs via so-called nuclear participation, which would mean that Germany would actively participate in a nuclear war.

A conference is currently taking place at the United Nations in New York until Friday, attended by 134 states to draw up a draft treaty to ban nuclear weapons. It is recalled that the nuclear powers, which also have a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, entered into the obligation to end the nuclear arms race and negotiate "in the near future" with the conclusion of the Non-Proliferation Agreement or the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT or NPT) take up disarmament of nuclear weapons. The promise, binding under international law, to prevent other states from acquiring nuclear weapons - thought had been given in Germany as well - was made 50 years ago.

One could no longer talk about the near future today, even if the nuclear powers were to start now. But they see no reason to do so and have just as little participated in the conference as the other NATO countries, only the Netherlands are there - and also the EU. While Iran is participating, Israel, Pakistan, India and North Korea are not interested either. The left and the Greens had asked the federal government to "actively" support the negotiations, which the black-red coalition did not want (discussion in parliament).

While the German government refused to participate, the CDU member and former general staff officer Roderich Kiesewetter, who acts as chairman of the CDU / CSU parliamentary group in the Foreign Affairs Committee, raised the question of German nuclear weapons again last year and commissioned the scientific service, to examine Germany's obligations under international law when dealing with nuclear weapons. He was particularly interested in whether "Germany could co-finance foreign nuclear weapons potentials".

Since the nuclear power Great Britain would probably no longer be an option after Brexit, it would probably be about France and the question of whether Germany can participate directly or via the EU in the financing and thus also in the modernization of French nuclear weapons - perhaps in the With regard to an EU nuclear force, not just nuclear participation. If what Der Spiegel reported in 2007 is true, then French President Sarkozy had offered the German government nuclear participation. At that time, then Foreign Minister Steinmeier and Chancellor Merkel turned down the offer.

The Scientific Service published the study in May, but it was not of interest in Germany, as Thomas Wiegold noted. However, this discussion is being followed abroad. Wiegold refers to an article in the New York Times on Wednesday that boldly records the result in the title, namely that a European nuclear weapons program would be legal according to the study: European Nuclear Weapons Program Would Be Legal, German Review Finds.

Even the inquiry to the scientific service invites speculation

The NYT sees the report as the first indication that the considerations for a pan-European nuclear umbrella or the financing of French or British nuclear weapons in order to also deploy them in Germany have advanced "from the informal discussion to official channels of political decision-making" . This is not true, because every member of parliament can turn to the Scientific Service, but one can still assume that Kiesewetter is not acting in isolation here either, but that after Brexit and with Trump one is thinking about German and European alternatives to NATO in Union circles, Nuclear weapons included.

In any case, the scientific service sees no legal obstacles. Article 2 of the NPT would not prohibit nuclear participation. According to the article, every non-nuclear weapon state that is a party to the contract is obliged to "not directly or indirectly accept nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices or the power of disposal over them, neither to manufacture nor to acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices in any other way and not to seek any support for the manufacture of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or to accept ". The reason seems tricky, because in the case of nuclear participation, both states decide jointly on the use and so it is not a matter of "passing on nuclear weapons to a non-nuclear weapon state or obtaining sole power of disposal". Actually, Germany would either station nuclear weapons or indirectly receive power of disposal.

In the two-plus-four treaty, the united Germany also affirmed that it would renounce the manufacture and possession of nuclear weapons. Since Germany apparently does not take part in the UN negotiations on a nuclear disarmament agreement, this does not play a role either. Did the federal government not only refuse to participate under pressure from the USA and NATO, but rather to leave an option open to Germany itself? There would be a ban on support or co-financing that the NPT, according to the report, does not "explicitly" prohibit, and there is no obligation in it to complete disarmament. Here one seems to favor a very idiosyncratic interpretation that preserves the status quo and thus wants Germany to secure access to nuclear weapons:

The NPV basically wanted to "cement" the status quo and limit the possession of nuclear weapons to the five nuclear-armed states that existed at the time (USA, USSR, France, Great Britain and China). The vaguely formulated disarmament obligation in Art. VI of the NVV does not change this either.

This may in fact have been intended by the nuclear powers, but without an obligation to disarm, however vaguely worded, many states would probably not have signed the agreement.

The Scientific Service even vaguely reports that the Federal Foreign Office has stated that it is not aware of Germany's "nuclear participation" in American nuclear weapons stationed in Germany, "in the financing of foreign nuclear arsenals of a NATO partner country was involved ". One sneaks past yet another point, especially since Germany did not join the NPT until 1975: "The specialist press reported that Germany in the 1950s and 1960s co-financed Israel's nuclear weapons potential under the strictest of secrecy; officially confirmed can not provide this information. "

While rules or a military budget would first have to be created in the EU for co-financing, there is allegedly free rein for Germany:

As a result, the lack of state practice does not legally rule out the possibility of financing foreign nuclear weapons potentials. Also from the general international law there is currently no ban on financing and support for foreign nuclear weapons potentials.

And because there is (still) no international law prohibition on owning nuclear weapons and modernizing one's own nuclear arsenal, financial support for these potentials would not be of any help or support in committing a wrongful act. "Only acquisition is prohibited However, the report mentions that co-financing of British or French nuclear weapons actually makes little sense, because NATO and the EU obligation to provide assistance in the event of an attack on Germany would ultimately also have to include nuclear assistance There is no nuclear participation, which, however, which the report does not consider, could be of interest to France and Germany, especially under the conditions of Great Britain's impending exit from the EU, in order to modernize and expand French nuclear weapons capacities and to take a first step in that direction to go to an EU that is more independent from NATO .

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