By Tom O'Meara
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Extra resources for A Miscellany of Britain: People, Places, History, Culture, Customs, Sport
If Germany was to be rearmed, better to embed those armaments in alliance. And even if Germany was to be rearmed, it still had to remain non-nuclear. Germany accepted those limitations, even sought them, as a reasonable price to pay for re-joining the West and rebuilding its economy. So long as Germany was consigned to non-nuclear status in the alliance, it literally had no alternative to dependence on the United States - a fact which is much of the reason why the anomaly has been prolonged. In the last three decades the concerns of Germany's neighbors about the German role have become less in evidence, but they are still present beneath the surface.
To the extent that specific trans-Atlantic differences are fairly described as free riding, the logic suggests several lines of response. One, especially when money burdens are to be shared, is the attempt to devise schemes that apportion costs according to negotiated shares. ) A nation whose share is five percent knows that in agreeing to a new project it will also receive the benefits from its partners providing the other 95%. There is no gainsaying the difficulty of negotiating and implementing these agreements.
Then, as now, deterrence in Europe rested on the confidence that the United States would respond with nuclear weapons if need be, despite the risk to its own cities. Yet, more recent implications of strategic parity do matter in militry terms. One is the theoretical vulnerability of American land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) to a Soviet first strike. This is vastly overrated as a general problem for American strategic forces; it is, however, a specific concern in extending deterrence to Western Europe.
A Miscellany of Britain: People, Places, History, Culture, Customs, Sport by Tom O'Meara