NATO Commander Pushes European Weapons Buildup
Calling the Soviet Union's primary to "dominate Western Europe without ever having to fire a shot," Bernard Rogers, the Supreme Commander of NATO stressed the importance of maintaining U.S. and allied conventional and nuclear forces in Europe at a Kennedy School seminar yesterday.
Speaking to more than 100 people on the topic of "Alliance Security in the 1980s," Rogers called for NATO defense budget increases and renewed emphasis on conventional forces. He also stressed the importance of NATO unity.
Rogers said NATO's mission is to "deter war by maintaining peace with freedom" and defined diplomatic success as achieving "equitable arms control measures"
The main obstacle to alliance unity is what Rogers called reciprocal American and European resentment of each other. The Americans think the European allies are not pulling their share of the military burden, while the Europeans perceive the Americans as unwilling to negotiate rather than fight, and not sensitive to the fact that the war would probably take place of European soil Rogers added.
The anti-American feelings which seems to have been sweeping Western Europe lately represents only 5 per cent of the population, Rogers added.
Aggravating the problem of discord among NATO members are the growing European anti-nuclear movement and the resulting sentiment that the U.S. should withdraw its forces from Western Europe Rogers said.
Rogers said his priority is the fulfillment of the December 1979 NATO decision on theater nuclear forces an agreement to modernize the medium range nuclear weapons deployed in Europe including the deployment of the Pershing II and to renew efforts at arms negotiations with the Soviet Union.