Alliance A Nasty Spat Among Friends

A missile maelstrom threatens NATO's nuclear balance

The day was warm, so the four men sat for a while on the State Department's eighth-floor balcony, overlooking beds of red and yellow tulips. But the meeting was a good deal less pleasant than the surroundings. Across from West Germany's Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher and Defense Minister Gerhard Stoltenberg sat a grim-faced American duo: Secretary of State James Baker and Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney. After the four-hour meeting, Baker declared himself "furious" that the Germans had come at all.

The nasty falling-out between normally amicable allies was the result of renewed German demands that the U.S. open talks with...

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