Video On Demand

PONI Debates the Issues: Non-Strategic Nuclear Weapons in Europe

June 14 – 15, 2012

Resolved: The United States should withdraw its nuclear weapons from Europe.

Jon Wolfsthal on the affirmative; Kori Schake on the negative

The Project on Nuclear Issues (PONI) is pleased to invite you to a debate about whether the United States should withdraw its nuclear weapons from Europe. With the recent conclusion of the Chicago Summit and the release of its Deterrence and Defense Posture Review (DDPR), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization reaffirmed that “nuclear weapons are a core component of NATO’s overall capabilities for deterrence and defense.” Specifically, while the DDPR stated that “NATO will continue to seek security at the lowest possible level of forces,” it did not recommend any force posture changes regarding U.S. nuclear weapons stationed in Europe.

The deployment of U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe has been a controversial issue, which has risen in prominence given President Obama’s Prague vision, coupled with an Alliance-wide defense drawdown that puts increasing pressure on funding NATO defense capabilities. Within this context, some commentators argue that these weapons lack military utility and therefore, their removal could reap benefits for U.S. foreign policy at minimal cost. In contrast, others argue that U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe serve a critical assurance role to NATO member-states, and that their removal would remove an important symbol of the U.S.’ commitment to its allies. These questions will be debated by two experts on the issue:

Jon Wolfsthal, Deputy Director, Monterery Institute of International Studies, will present his argument that U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe should be removed. Kori Schake, Research Fellow, Hoover Institute, will defend NATO’s recent decision to maintain their presence.

This event is the 16th installment of PONI's ongoing live debate series, which is an extension of the PONI Debates the Issues blog. The objective of the series is to provide a forum for in-depth exploration of the arguments on both sides of key nuclear policy issues. Please join us for what promises to be an exciting debate on a crucial issue for the nonproliferation community, international security analysts, and regional specialists focusing on Europe.

A cocktail reception with appetizers will begin at 6:00pm. The debate will commence at 6:30pm.

RSVP to David Slungaard at

Clark A. Murdock

Clark A. Murdock

Former Senior Adviser (Non-resident), International Security Program