By Stanley R. Sloan
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Extra resources for NATO’s Future: Towards a New Transatlantic Bargain
The alliance may, in fact, have benefited in one regard from the French withdrawal. The establishment of a truly independent alternative Western nuclear decisionmaking center produced additional complications for Soviet strategy. Whatever uncertainty French nuclear forces and strategies created for Moscow may have enhanced Western deterrence. On balance, however, the French rebellion was to the detriment of the long·term viability of the Western alliance. Most important, the withdrawal has made it more difficult for the alliance to translate increased European strength into a more substantial European role in the alliance.
Despite a continued substantial American troop presence and the rearming of West Germany, the Lisbon force goals had become little more than paper promises, even though the alliance was' not as yet willing to backtrack formally on the commitments made at the Lisbon ministerial meetings. As a result of these two changes in the goals agreed at Lisbon, the military strategy of the alliance came to rest heavily on the threat of the United States to use nuclear weapons against the Soviet Union should Soviet forces attack Western Europe.
The French withdrawal also raised serious political and structural obstacles to the chances for European defense cooperation within the alliance. Ever since the withdrawal, the allies have tried to develop ways to expand cooperation with the French. The West Germans have sought to exploit the avenue of bilateral Franco-German military cooperation which de Gaulle saw as preferable to such cooperation within the NATO framework. The West Germans have walked a fine line in such cooperation, attempting to expand the relationship in every way possible without jeop· ardizing in any fashion Germany's NATO obligations and her relations with the United States.