chapter  4
20 Pages

Developing a European Nuclear Identity

The political role of US nuclear weapons in Europe is long-standing, supposedly fostering Alliance cohesion and coupling the US to Europe. But a second, emerging political role concerns only British and French nuclear weapons. For some, these arms could be instruments of European political autonomy, including in relation to the US, and could promote a general European defence identity. The challenge for Alliance countries, in particular the three nuclear powers, will be to maintain the transatlantic link while developing some form of European 'nuclear identity', resulting in a net political and security gain.