Publié le 29/04/2013

Lawrence FREEDMAN

Since the end of the Cold War, the international security environment has been transformed and nuclear weapons have been marginalized in the West. However, the NATO security policies remain almost unchanged: deterrence is still considered as a principle guiding the Atlantic Alliance, even though the actual policy statements lack target, direction and urgency.

Questioning the credibility of deterrence in Europe and its future, this text recalls that it lies first and foremost with solidarity and political cohesion among members of the Alliance, and only secondly with the threat of nuclear retaliation. As a consequence, the decreasing salience of nuclear weapons in the West seems less worrying for the robustness of deterrence in Europe than a long-term and lasting shift of US foreign policy away from the European continent.