THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION formally briefed NATO defense and foreign affairs ministers for the first time on the proposed architecture for a limited U.S. national missile defense (NMD) system at the alliance's annual December ministerial meetings. Led by France and Germany, many European allies expressed concerns that the proposed NMD would damage relations with Russia, endanger arms control and decouple U.S. and European security. U.S. officials reassured the allies that no deployment decision has yet been made and that allied views, among other factors, would be taken into account prior to such a decision.
DEFYING OUTSPOKEN U.S. opposition, the new German coalition government raised the issue of a nuclear no-first-use policy at the NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on December 8, while Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy challenged NATO to question its nuclear policy. Berlin indicated, however, that it does not want a break with NATO as the alliance approaches its 50th anniversary and the unveiling of a revised strategic concept in April 1999.