By John LaForge
“Hypocrisy is the respect that vice pays to virtue.” — Anonymous
When it comes to double-standards, sheer hypocrisy, and laughable duplicity, Germany takes the cake this week — for nuclear weapons two-facedness.
The country helped create the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), along with China, France, Russia, the UK, and the US, in which Iran agreed to dismantle most of its nuclear program and open its facilities to extensive inspections in exchange for sanctions relief.
President ‘Rump tore up United States obligations to the JCPOA, but the Biden White House has said it wants to reestablish the US commitments. Negotiations began last April aimed at just that.
Now comes a spokeswomen for Germany’s Foreign Ministry Monday Dec. 6, saying that since April Iran had “violated almost all” agreed compromises.
This is rich coming from the Germany, but at least its Foreign Ministry is familiar with nuclear lawlessness.
To be clear Iran has no nuclear weapons, according a Dec. 6 statement by CIA director William Burns. On the other hand, Germany is home to 20 US hydrogen bombs known as B61s. These H-bombs are at Germany’s Büchel air base under a program called “nuclear sharing” which stands in open violation of binding international treaties.
With US H-bombs at Büchel, both Germany and the United States violate the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which is regarded by both as international treaty law to be applied domestically under Art. 59.2 of Germany’s Basic Law or constitution, and under Art. 6 of the US Constitution. The NPT’s Article 1 prohibits Germany from receiving nuclear weapons from the United States, and its Article 2 prohibits the United States from placing its nuclear weapons in other countries.
Furthermore, the stationing of US nuclear weapons in Germany violates Art. 3 of the 1990 Two-Plus-Four Treaty of re-unification, or Final Settlement Treaty, in which Germany renounced the possession of nuclear weapons and reaffirmed its commitment to the NPT.
Additionally, in its July 1996 Advisory Opinion the International Court of Justice ruled unanimously that: “There is an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control.” This opinion applies to Germany and all UN member states with the status of treaty law.
Regular planning and rehearsals of attacks with the US H-bombs at Büchel are conducted by German Tornado jet fighters of the 33rd Fighter-Bomber Wing, with the help of the US Air Force’s 702nd Munitions Support Squadron, as is often reported. For example NATO announced on Oct. 18, 2021 the start of its nuclear attack “exercise” named “Steadfast Noon.” German Tornadoes participated as usual. According to NATO’s statement, “This exercise helps to ensure that NATO’s nuclear deterrent remains safe, secure and effective.” Headlines from last year’s rehearsal declared: “NATO Holds Secret Nuclear War Exercises in Germany;” “German Air Force training for nuclear war as part of NATO;” and “NATO Holds Secret Nuclear War Exercises in Germany.” From 2017: “NATO nuclear weapons exercise unusually open.” In 2015: “NATO nuclear weapons exercise Steadfast Noon in Büchel.”
These unlawful and even criminal violations of the NPT, the 2+4 Treaty, the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice, as well as the UN Charter, and the Nuremberg Principle’s prohibition of any “planning and preparation of wars in violation of international treaties…” make Germany’s chastisement of nuclear weapons-free Iran particularly absurd.
In order to earn more than a comic’s voice in the JCPOA negotiations, Germany must end its violations of binding international law, by seeing the US nuclear weapons permanently withdrawn.
John LaForge is a Co-director of Nukewatch, a peace and environmental justice group in Wisconsin, and edits its newsletter.