New arms race: As nuclear treaties dissolve, Germany wakes up to new responsibilities

The announcement by the United States and Russia that they both plan to abandon a key nuclear arms limitation agreement has stoked German fears of a revived nuclear arms race…

Speaking to Handelsblatt, Wolfgang Ischinger, the chair of the conference and a former German ambassador to Washington, said Europe should engage in a two-pronged strategy. It should bolster its conventional defenses while also supporting negotiations to reduce the risk of a nuclear arms race: “There is a downward spiral here and someone has to try to stop it,” he said…

Just holding speeches doesn’t mean anything will get done, Ischinger argued. Germany has to face up to the reality of the dangerous security situation now facing the world. “I’m no pessimist, but we have to face facts. We are facing an incurable political disease: the collapse of the existing international order.”

This did not mean Germany or Europe were powerless, he added. But Europe needed a more coherent policy-making environment. This should begin with majority voting on defense and foreign policy issues in the European Union: Germany should take the lead on this, he suggested…

In recent months, the German government has called for a revision of EU treaties to allow security decisions to be taken by qualified majority. Chancellor Merkel has also suggested the establishment of a European Security Council, which would allow for quicker decision-making.

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