The new nuclear weapons ban comes into force – an important sign. Germany is not included, but its deterrent policy is outdated.
This Friday is a good day for world peace: the new nuclear weapons ban treaty comes into force. It prohibits the development, production, possession, storage and use of atomic bombs. 122 states agreed on this milestone in disarmament policy in the General Assembly of the United Nations in 2017. But Germany is not there. How can that be?
The truth is: Germany is not just watching – it is actively participating in the armament. There are still 20 US atomic bombs stationed in Büchel, Rhineland-Palatinate. In an emergency, Germany will not just “sit there”, but will bring these bombs to their destination in German aircraft. In addition, the carrier system is to be modernized soon, for which the federal government even wants to buy new combat aircraft for at least 7.7 billion euros. Disarmament through new fighter jets?
In an emergency, this will actually have fatal consequences: the stationing of the US bombs will make Germany the target of a nuclear first strike. The danger is more acute than many know. Experts estimate the probability of a nuclear attack to be as high today as it was in the times of the Cold War and higher.
The Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty sends an important international signal towards a world free of nuclear weapons, even if the states that have nuclear weapons have not yet signed it. Under international law it is only binding for the signatories. But experience with the comparable biological and chemical weapons conventions shows that the non-signatory states and especially banks and companies from all states observe the regulations.
The logic of deterrence in German politics is historically outdated. Not threats, but cooperation and understanding guarantee security and peace. Germany must therefore end nuclear participation and sign the nuclear weapons ban treaty. Politically, both would be possible without risking exclusion from NATO.