Perceptions and Reactions to SDI in the Benelux Countries

  • Robert J. Berloznik


In the literature on European defence policy, the position of the smaller countries, such as the Benelux Countries, has generally been overlooked. The reasons for this are found not only in the relative ‘weight’ other countries have in the existing military and political alliances, but also in the fact that their positions on specific defence topics do not differ substantially from that of the ‘bigger’ nations. This was true until recently. The position of Belgium and the Netherlands regarding the NATO dual-track decision indicates that their attitude can indeed differ. The internal political and public pressure on the governments in both countries forced them to postpone the deployment decision. This relatively new situation of a strong internal discussion on defence-related matters also influences the way SDI is being perceived and reacted to. The’Dutch government did not take its final decision on cruise missile deployment until 7 November 1985. Therefore the discussion on SDI has been influenced by this pre-deployment atmosphere: the two questions constantly appear related to each other. The Belgian SDI debate has a post-deployment character. Because a part of the cruise missiles have already been deployed in late March 1985, SDI is generally being perceived as a new controversial defence issue following on the cruise missile debate.


Liberal Party Parliamentary Debate Defence Minister Cruise Missile Peace Movement 
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Copyright information

© Hans Günter Brauch 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert J. Berloznik

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