Europe Going Nuclear?

That’s what The New York Times says the European Union is talking about.

…a European Union nuclear weapons program.

Under such a plan, France’s arsenal would be repurposed to protect the rest of Europe and would be put under a common European command, funding plan, defense doctrine, or some combination of the three. It would be enacted only if the Continent could no longer count on American protection.

Leaving aside the cynically manufactured hysteria underlying this idea, there are a couple of flaws in it.  One is that it assumes that France remains a part of the EU.  A Marine Le Pen victory in this spring’s French presidential election cycle would toss the whole idea into the circular file.  Another is that the French, extremely individualistic when it comes to military action and their military, would agree to such a thing.  Another is that bit about American protection.  The idea that we’d withdraw it is someone’s straw man; we’ve only argued that it’s time for our treaty partners to pay the shares they committed to paying when they signed up to NATO.

And: would Germany trust France—could Germany trust France—to risk French existence defending an attacked Germany, or would Germany begin to acquire its own nuclear arsenal?  After all, this scheme depends on German financing for the French—to show solidarity, of course—and the money might be thought better spent on acquiring a German nuclear arsenal they could more directly and completely control.  On the other hand, could the Germans, with their guilt complex, trust themselves with nuclear weapons?

Of course, there’s an upside, too.  The notoriously unreliable French military participation in NATO would be ameliorated by getting those nuclear weapons more reliably included in the NATO (not EU) arsenal, fulfilling some of the requirement that NATO signatories actually live up to the they obligations incurred with their signatures.

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