"Stefano Del Cont, mayor of Aviano since June, said he and Anna Giulia Guarneri, the mayor of Ghedi, joined hundreds of other city leaders around the globe in seeking the ban. They’re all members of Mayors for Peace, an organization started in the 1980s by the mayor of Hiroshima — one of two Japanese cities hit by atomic bombs at the end of World War II."
(Stars and Stripes, December 18, 2007)
The references to Hiroshima by both the Turkish and Italian opponents of nuclear warheads in their nations under NATO obligations are not alarmist.
In January of 2008 an 150-page manifesto was prepared for the then upcoming NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania by General John Shalikashvili, the former chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff and NATO Supreme Commander, General Klaus Naumann, Germany's former top military commander and ex-chairman of NATO's Military Committee, former Dutch chief of staff General Henk van den Breemen, former French chief of staff Admiral Jacques Lanxade and British field marshal and ex-chief of the general staff and the defence staff Lord Inge.
It stated inter alia that "The first use of nuclear weapons must remain in the [NATO] quiver of escalation as the ultimate instrument to prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction" as well as demanding the "end of European obstruction of and rivalry with Nato," and "the use of force without Security Council authorisation...."
As recently as this January NATO Supreme Commander General John Craddock reinforced the point, stating:
"[T]he fact is there is strategic need and advantage for nuclear weapons....The alliance has made the decision to have them. There has been no debate to retrograde them out."
(GovExec.com, January 9, 2009)
Pentagon chief Robert Gates commissioned a report that was released on January 8 of this year which urged that the "United States should keep tactical nuclear bombs in Europe and even consider modernizing older warheads on cruise missiles...."
The report included the contention that "The presence of U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe remains a pillar of NATO unity."
(Washington Post, January 9, 2009)
NATO has come full circle. Or rather it has never abandoned its plans for nuclear superiority, only now not only in Europe and the so-called Euro-Atlantic sphere, but globally. And it no longer hides its intention to use nuclear weapons first and against non-nuclear nations.
Since the accession of the three Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania into NATO in April of 2004, Alliance warplanes have flown air patrols over the Baltic Sea region in six month rotations by member states.
Most all the NATO partners have used the jet fighter of choice for most Alliance members, the US Raytheon-produced F-16. (France has used Mirages and Poland and Romania MIGs.)
Though a jet fighter, the F-16 is a modern multirole combat aircraft which among other capabilities has that of dropping 1,000-pound bombs as it has in Iraq and Afghanistan and of firing cruise missiles. Cruise missiles can be equipped with nuclear warheads.
Raytheon has recently successfully tested its Network Centric Airborne Defense Element missile defense system on the F-16 with the intercept of a test ballistic missile.
The US Baltic rotations have employed the F-15 Eagle, the latest version of which, the F-15E Strike Eagle, is equipped with laser-guided Bunker Buster bombs and anti-satellite missiles.
NATO warplanes flying over the Baltic Sea states are within a four minute flight from Russia's second-largest city, St. Petersburg.
Baltic Sea: Flash Point For NATO-Russia Conflict
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