With the election of Barack Obama, European governments had hoped that the unilateralist character of US policy would be changed and that they would be dealt with as Washington’s partners. Despite cosmetic and tactical shifts, however, the US continues to pursue its interests unilaterally, demanding that Europe accept its decisions and line up accordingly.
In ordering the escalation of the Afghanistan war and the deployment of an additional 30,000 US troops, for example, the Obama administration acted without any consultation with the European states, despite the fact that the war and occupation are ostensibly being carried out under NATO’s banner.
Sharp divisions have also emerged over NATO expansion, with Germany and France reluctant to bring Washington’s client states in Eastern Europe into the alliance and wary of provoking Moscow by pushing NATO to Russia’s borders.
Der Speigel, meanwhile, reports that Germany is demanding that “the US remove its nuclear weapons from German soil.” It has allied itself with Norway and the Benelux countries in seeking a discussion of the issue at a NATO conference set for April in Tallinn, Estonia.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton preceded Gates’ remarks with her own speech on Monday, ratcheting up intra-NATO tensions and speaking directly to Germany’s position on nuclear arms, insisting that they should stay put.
“This dangerous world still requires deterrence and we know there’s a debate going on in Europe and even among some of our leading member nations about, well, what does that mean,” she said. “We would hope that there is no precipitous move made that would undermine the deterrence capability.”