Strategic Collapse: The Failure of the Bush Nuclear Doctrine

Joseph Cirincione

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in September that the Bush administration will leave the proliferation “situation…in far better shape than we found it.”[1] If only this were true. Instead, Bush officials leave office like financiers fleeing busted Wall Street banks, with precious assets squandered on risky ventures, once-solid institutions crumbling, surpluses turned into gaping deficits, and a string of problems mismanaged into crises that threaten to bring down a decades-old global regime.

Nearly every proliferation problem President George W. Bush inherited has grown worse with his stewardship. Every member of the “axis of evil” is more dangerous than they were in 2001. Iraq did not have a nuclear weapons program before the war and does not now, but the unnecessary war destabilized the region and increased the risks of nuclear terrorism, while Iran and North Korea advanced further on their nuclear programs in the past five years than they had in the previous ten. With Osama bin Laden entrenched in an unstable, nuclear-armed Pakistan and protected by a new Pakistani Taliban, he is closer to a nuclear bomb than ever before. Thousands of Russian warheads remain ready to launch on minutes notice even as U.S.-Russian tensions rise. A nuclear arms race continues unabated in South Asia. More countries seek the technologies necessary for weapons, and fewer nations trust the word of the United States. The interlocking network of treaties, controls, and security agreements known collectively as the nonproliferation regime is closer to collapse now than ever in its history, as proliferation drivers increase and barriers weaken.
Failure of economic regimes threatens global depression; failure of the nonproliferation regime threatens global catastrophe. It must be addressed with at least the vigor devoted to financial concerns. If the new administration is to design an adequate rescue plan, it must understand what went wrong over the past eight years.

Failures of Doctrine

There was nothing inevitable about the current dire predicament. Like the financial crisis, deeply flawed policies created the proliferation crisis. It was not a matter of good ideas poorly implemented; these were terrible ideas from the start.

Neoconservative institutes had spent years developing radical alternatives to the existing security policies. These policies heavily influenced the new Bush administration, in many cases when experts from these institutes were appointed to key positions. John Bolton, who served as undersecretary of state for arms control and international security in Bush’s first term, had summarized his contempt for arms control as a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in 1999. The Clinton administration, Bolton wrote, suffered from a “fascination with arms control agreements as a substitute for real nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction.”[2] National security adviser Stephen Hadley’s special assistant, Michael Allen, said, “We’re like ‘Arms control, what’s that?’… I often hear about arms control from the old-timers, but it’s so different now.… Most of the times it’s isolate, how can we isolate a country even more?”[3]

Gary Schmitt, at the neoconservative Project for the New American Century, explained, “Conservatives don’t like arms control agreements for the simple reason that they rarely, if ever, increase U.S. security.… The real issue here, and the underlying question, is whether the decades-long effort to control the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them through arms control treaties has in fact worked.” He contended that it was no longer “plausible to argue that our overall security was best served by a web of parchment accords, and not our own military capabilities.”[4]

Although many neoconservatives assumed high government positions in the new administration,[5] it was not until the attacks of September 11, 2001, that they were able to profoundly change the course of U.S. proliferation policy. In the wake of the attacks, their views overwhelmed the pragmatist views of Secretary of State Colin Powell and others who supported existing treaties, favored continuing the negotiated elimination of programs in North Korea and other states, and saw U.S. global leadership as part of traditional great-power relations. Rather than the realism prescribed by Rice in her 2000 Foreign Affairs article outlining the purported policy Bush would follow, the administration ended up supporting the concept of a “benevolent empire ”[6] championed by neoconservative thinker Robert Kagan in his 1998 Foreign Policy article.[7]

Hegemony trumped realism. Pragmatists denounced or suppressed their former convictions for a new order built on three interrelated principles, developed by neoconservatives but now known collectively as the Bush doctrine.

First, the United States would favor direct military action over diplomacy and containment. Bush explained why: “Deterrence—the promise of massive retaliation against nations—means nothing against shadowy terrorist networks with no nation or citizens to defend. Containment is not possible when unbalanced dictators with weapons of mass destruction can deliver those weapons on missiles or secretly provide them to terrorist allies.”[8]

Second, the United States would take these military actions before actual threats developed. As Bush argued, “Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late.”[9]

Third, the administration pivoted from terrorist groups to nation-states, linking the September 11 attackers directly to regimes officials believed hostile to U.S. interests. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz proclaimed, “[I]t’s going to be a broad campaign; it’s not going to end quickly. One of those objectives is the [a]l Qaeda network. The second objective is state support for terrorism, and a third is this larger connection between states that support terrorism and states that develop weapons of mass destruction.”[10]

The new, action-oriented approach was detailed in two key documents: “The National Security Strategy of the United States of America,” released in September 2002, and the “National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction,” released in December 2002. The latter called it “a fundamental change from the past.”[11] The Nuclear Posture Review, made public in early 2002, reflected these ideas, detailing expanded missions for nuclear weapons including against underground bunkers, mobile targets, and many conventional military situations, requiring thousands of nuclear weapons in the U.S. arsenal. “A broader array of capability is needed,” said Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, summarizing the new posture, “to dissuade states from undertaking political, military, or technical courses of action that would threaten U.S. and allied security.”[12]

In this view, nuclear proliferation was part of a larger, global struggle. The threats today were different than during the Cold War and greater, Bush officials argued. The primary threat came from a small number of outlaw states that had no regard for international norms and were determined to acquire nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. Whereas previous presidents sought the elimination of these weapons through treaties, Bush focused on the nexus of these states, weapons, and terrorists. Bush changed the focus from “what” to “who.” The new strategy sought the elimination of regimes rather than weapons, believing the United States could determine which countries were responsible enough to have nuclear weapons and which ones were not. U.S. power, not multilateral treaties, would enforce this judgment.

The strategy seemed to succeed at first. The war in Afghanistan was fast and cheap. Even though U.S. forces failed to capture bin Laden, al Qaeda was in disarray and the Taliban routed from power. Flush with victory, Bush announced the U.S. withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in December 2001 with none of the immediate consequences opponents had predicted, as Russia resigned itself, reluctantly, to its abrogation. The administration and the Republican Congress swiftly increased funding for anti-missile programs and the entire defense budget. Anti-missile program funding increased from $4 billion in fiscal year 2000 to more than $9 billion by fiscal year 2004; overall military spending spiked from $280 billion to $380 billion over the same period, not including the price of the wars. (These trends would continue with the defense budget for fiscal year 2009 at $542.5 billion while wars in Iraq and Afghanistan cost an additional $12 billion per month.)[13]

The administration cowed congressional Democrats more concerned with political positioning than policy into approving military action against Iraq and defied traditional patterns by gaining Republican seats in the 2002 congressional elections, taking control of the Senate (and increasing their margins in 2004). In 2003, Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney bulldozed skeptics in their drive for war with Iraq, cheered by the media and a small army of Washington experts warning of “gathering storms,” “mushroom clouds,” and the catastrophic consequences of any delay to invasion. Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency and the UN Special Commission on Iraq found no evidence of any weapons or weapons program in the months they were allowed to search, but administration officials mocked their work and asserted there was “no doubt” the weapons existed. Inspectors estimated that they could have certified the absence of any weapons with just a few more weeks of investigation.

The initial phase of the Iraq war appeared to accomplish the mission and began paying dividends. In April 2003, Iran, which had cooperated in the overthrow of the Taliban and welcomed the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, quietly offered to talk with the United States about its nuclear program, its support for Palestinian groups, and its relationship with Israel. Bush officials rejected the offer and instead began talking of campaigns to overthrow regimes in Iran, Syria, and even North Korea.[14]

In December, in the most significant proliferation success of the Bush administration, Libya agreed to give up its nuclear, chemical, and long-range missile programs. Although the presence of 250,000 U.S. troops in the region undoubtedly played a role, the victory became possible only when the administration departed from its strategy of forcing a change in regimes and sought instead a change in a regime’s behavior. The combination of years of sanctions, threats of force, and credible assurances of security won Libya’s reversal. Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi went from being the poster child for rogue-state leaders to a man Bush called a “model” that others should follow.

Information Libya provided, along with information from Iranian officials after the disclosure of their secret enrichment program, led to the public exposure of the Abdul Qadeer Khan nuclear black market, another success story although a partial one, as explained below.

Finally, in April 2004, Bush officials won passage of UN Security Council Resolution 1540, requiring all nations to take greater legal and diplomatic efforts to block proliferation, a major step forward and one that, again, relied on diplomacy and existing international institutions rather than ad hoc coalitions and forced regime change. Administration officials also were able to ignore the 2005 nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, sending only low-ranking officials and rebuffing efforts to get a compromise agreement without apparent consequences.
The new strategy, however, could not hold. By 2005 it was clear that their plans were falling apart.

Ten Policy Failures of the Administration

The most consequential failure of the Bush doctrine was the invasion of Iraq. The war was the first implementation of the counterproliferation strategy and justified almost exclusively by the claim that Hussein had or soon could have nuclear weapons that he would give to terrorists to attack the United States. Bush told the nation on the eve of war, “The danger is clear: using chemical, biological or, one day, nuclear weapons, obtained with the help of Iraq, the terrorists could fulfill their stated ambitions and kill thousands or hundreds of thousands.” Bush dismissed entreaties from U.S. allies to delay the war. “No nation can possibly claim that Iraq has disarmed,” he said. “We are now acting because the risks of inactions would be far greater.” In passing, at the end of his remarks, the president spoke of his desire to advance democracy, liberty, and peace in the region.[15]

By 2005, government and independent reviews had proven false each of the prewar claims. Iraq did not have nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons, save for a few obsolete chemical weapons shells; programs for producing such weapons; or plans to restart these programs shut down in the early 1990s by UN inspectors. None of the key findings in the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq were accurate, with the exception of the finding that Hussein was highly unlikely to transfer any weapons to terrorist groups. U.S. and British officials went far beyond the intelligence findings in their public statements.

As Americans realized the war was not necessary and saw the mounting war casualties and costs, they turned decisively against the war and for withdrawal.[16] International opinion of the United States plummeted even faster to historic lows. A 2005 Pew Study found that when the publics of 16 nations were asked to give favorability ratings of five major leading nations—China, France, Germany, Japan, and the United States—the United States “fared the worst of the group. In just six of the 16 countries surveyed does the United States attract a favorability rating” of 50 percent or higher.[17] Not surprisingly, the United States drew the most negative responses from countries in the Middle East, including U.S. allies Jordan and Turkey.

The failure of the war and of the analysts and officials who championed it has been well documented elsewhere, although few have had their careers harmed by having been so catastrophically wrong. The damage the Bush doctrine caused to other areas of U.S. national security has been less well examined.

In addition to the massive failure in Iraq, there were 10 key failures of the administration’s policies against proliferation:

1. The danger of nuclear terrorism has increased. The turn from Afghanistan to Iraq allowed al Qaeda and the Taliban to regroup in nuclear-armed Pakistan and counterattack in Afghanistan. U.S. intelligence officials concluded in February 2005 Senate testimony that U.S. policy in the Middle East has fueled anti-U.S. feeling and that the Iraq war has provided jihadists with new recruits who “will leave Iraq experienced in and focused on acts of urban terrorism.”[18] After the Iraq invasion, the number of terrorist attacks rose globally, and al Qaeda grew in influence and adherents.[19] Nuclear sites around the world, not just in Pakistan, remain vulnerable to terrorist attack, theft, or diversion. The amount of nuclear material secured in the two years after September 11, 2001, was at best equal to the amount secured in the two years before that date. [20] Brian Finlay of the Henry L. Stimson Center noted, “Top-line nonproliferation funding has remained largely static since 2005, increasing only marginally from $1.25 billion…to $1.4 billion” during fiscal years 2005-2007. [21] In 2008 a report from former September 11 commission chairmen Lee Hamilton and Thomas Kean gave the administration a “C” on its nuclear efforts. [22]

2. Iran’s nuclear program accelerated. Iran went from nuclear research and experiments to the ability to produce industrial quantities of enriched uranium and from a few test machines to 4,000 working centrifuges. The United States failed to develop a coherent plan for stopping the program. Most of the construction and development of Iranian nuclear facilities occurred after 2000, including the opening of plants to produce uranium gas, the first successful operation of a centrifuge cascade to enrich uranium, and the construction of a vast facility to house more than 50,000 centrifuges. The administration stood aside and even thwarted European efforts to negotiate an end to the program, refusing until this year even to meet with senior Iranian officials about the program. Former Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns now says, “I served as the Bush administration’s point person on Iran for three years but was never permitted to meet an Iranian.” [23] The United States has also failed to contain Iran’s regional ambitions. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) says, “America’s refusal to recognize Iran’s status as a legitimate power does not decrease Iran’s influence, but rather increases it.”[24] In response to U.S. failures, five former secretaries of state and two former national security advisers have urged U.S. officials to engage in direct negotiations with Iran at very senior levels. [25]

3. North Korea detonated a nuclear bomb and expanded its weapons program. Pyongyang went from enough material for perhaps two weapons to enough for up to 12. Since 2002, North Korea ended the freeze on its plutonium program, claimed to have reprocessed the plutonium into weapons, withdrew from the NPT, and detonated a nuclear device. North Korea may have also traded nuclear technology to Syria and continued transfers of missile technology to Syria as well as Pakistan and Iran. The inability of the administration to organize a consistent approach to North Korea caused the process to collapse repeatedly, and the internal struggles jeopardized vital national security interests. By September 2008, the “pragmatists” appeared to have prevailed over the hard-liners opposed to negotiations and resuscitated a process for a verifiable end to the Korean nuclear program.

4. Nuclear technologies useable for weapons programs proliferated around the world. More nations declared their intentions to develop the ability to enrich uranium for nuclear reactor fuel, the same technologies that can be used to enrich uranium for nuclear bombs. U.S. proposals to curtail these technologies failed to win any significant support. In February 2004, Bush called for current nuclear exporters to provide nuclear fuel at reasonable costs for countries that renounce enrichment and reprocessing. He also urged members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group to cease sales of reprocessing and enrichment equipment to nations without functioning programs. [26] The plan drew little support, follow-up was ineffective, and efforts to dissuade nations from pursuing nuclear enrichment programs have failed. Brazil has continued its enrichment programs, [27] and other nations considering engaging in enrichment activities include Argentina, Australia, Canada, South Africa, South Korea, and Ukraine. Further, more than a dozen Middle East nations have expressed interest in pursuing nuclear energy and research programs, including Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates. [28] If these programs proceed, can additional enrichment programs be far behind?

5. Thousands of Cold War nuclear weapons remain poised for attack. The process of negotiating additional verifiable reductions in U.S. and Russian arsenals ended as the administration concluded a toothless treaty without verification provisions or limits on launchers (the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty) and then shut down the negotiation processes supported by every U.S. president since Harry Truman. [29] The administration’s desire to expand NATO by bringing Georgia and Ukraine into the alliance, coupled with plans to deploy strategic missile interceptors and a radar in Poland and the Czech Republic, aggravated Russian concerns over U.S. intentions. The Russian-Georgian conflict has brought U.S.-Russian relations to their worst point since before the collapse of the Soviet Union. The failure to better manage Russian relations predates this administration and is aggravated in no small part by Russian policies. There was no coherent plan, however, for addressing the danger from the almost 1,300 Russian nuclear warheads poised for attack within 15 minutes, even as the deterioration of its radars and surveillance satellites introduces grave doubts about the reliability of its early-warning system. Former Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sam Nunn (D-Ga.) warns, “It’s insane for us, 16 years after the Cold War, to think of the Russian president having four or five minutes to make a decision about whether what may be a false warning requires a response before he loses his retaliatory force.”[30]

6. The currency of nuclear weapons increased in value. The administration’s nuclear doctrine and its proposals for new nuclear weapons encouraged the view among other nations that nuclear weapons could substitute for conventional weapons. As Stephen Hadley signaled before becoming national security adviser, “It is often an unstated premise in the current debate that if nuclear weapons are needed at all, they are needed only to deter the nuclear weapons of others. I am not sure this unstated premise is true.” [31] Hadley developed his ideas further as a participant in the National Institute for Public Policy’s January 2001 report “Rationale and Requirements for U.S. Nuclear Forces and Arms Control.” [32] The group called for a more “flexible” nuclear deterrent against a wide range of targets. Accordingly, the Nuclear Posture Review delivered to Congress in December 2001 advocated developing new nuclear weapons capabilities for use against non-nuclear targets, including chemical and biological weapons stockpiles, underground bunkers, mobile targets, and states without nuclear weapons, such as Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and others. Congress refused to fund these new weapons, but Russia and France mirrored the U.S. logic in policies justifying use of nuclear weapons against conventional threats.[33]

7. The nonproliferation regime moved closer to catastrophic collapse. The 2005 NPT Review Conference ended acrimoniously, failing to act on the consensus of the majority of states for stronger nonproliferation and disarmament efforts or to adopt any of the dozens of useful suggestions proposed by many of the nations present. As other nations concluded that the United States had no intention of fulfilling its NPT-related disarmament obligations, including ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty or moving decisively toward nuclear disarmament, they balked at shouldering additional anti-proliferation burdens. In 2004 a high-level advisory panel whose members included Brent Scowcroft, President George H.W. Bush’s national security adviser, warned the UN secretary-general, “We are approaching a point at which the erosion of the non-proliferation regime could become irreversible and result in a cascade of proliferation.” [34]

8. The U.S.-India deal blew a hole through the barriers to the spread of nuclear weapons. Bush’s July 2005 decision to reverse U.S. policy toward India and begin selling sensitive nuclear technology and fuel seems to reward India’s nuclear proliferation. By providing India with supplies of uranium, the deal will allow the country to accelerate its production of nuclear weapons, a capability Pakistan will be quick to mirror. The action is a de facto recognition of India as a nuclear-weapon state, with all the rights and privileges reserved for those states that have joined the NPT, yet without the same obligations, raising concerns that states such as Pakistan and Israel might follow. Indeed, Pakistan has already demanded a similar deal with the United States, [35] and China reportedly has agreed to sell Pakistan two nuclear reactors. The deal will make it even more difficult to enforce existing rules with states such as Iran and North Korea and convince other states to accept tougher nonproliferation standards. Representative Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said, “There are many ways to deepen U.S.-India ties without damaging the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.” [36]

9. Nuclear smuggling networks remained active.
Although the Abdul Qadeer Khan nuclear black market was disrupted in 2004, failure to do so earlier allowed Iran, Libya, and possibly North Korea to acquire key components for nuclear weapons production (first detected under the Clinton administration, who also did not shut it down). The failure to get more cooperation from Pakistan, which used the network for its own nuclear imports, made it difficult to determine if the network had been shut down completely or simply gone further underground. European intelligence reports indicate that illicit nuclear sales continue to thrive in the region. [37]

10. Anti-missile programs failed to fulfill their promise. From 2000 to 2007, the United States spent almost $60 billion on anti-missile systems without realizing any substantial increase in military capability. These systems were to have been a core part of the administration’s plan to prevent proliferation. The ground-based strategic anti-missile system under construction in Alaska, however, is widely regarded as ineffective. [38] If current plans, including construction of a U.S. anti-missile system in Europe, are implemented, spending from fiscal years 2009 to 2013 on all anti-missile programs would balloon an additional $62.3 billion. The rush to deploy an ineffective technology against a nonexistent long-range Iranian missile threat has aggravated relations with Russia, a nation key to any effective plan to contain and engage Iran, while passing up a Russian offer of radar bases near Iran that could help counter the existing threat of Iran’s short- and medium-range missiles.

Repairing the Damage

There is now a broad recognition of the failure of the Bush approach, if not yet agreement on all the specifics. Council of Foreign Relations President Richard Haass summed up the problem with the administration’s attraction to regime change as a solution to proliferation: “It is not hard to fathom why: regime change is less distasteful than diplomacy and less dangerous than living with new nuclear states. There is only one problem: it is highly unlikely to have the desired effect soon enough.” [39]

Burns argues, “The next president needs to act more creatively and boldly to defend our interests by revalidating diplomacy as a key weapon in our national arsenal and rebuilding our understaffed and underfunded diplomatic corps.” Rather than defaulting to the idea of using U.S. military force against Iran or other nations, Burns says, “dialogue and discussion, talking and listening, are the smarter ways to defend our country, end crises and sometimes even sow the seeds of an ultimate peace.”[40]

It is more than just a turn to diplomacy; the nation needs a new course of action. The collapse of the Bush doctrine is a chance for the new administration to change U.S. nuclear policy fundamentally toward one that “would take into account the limited present-day need for a nuclear arsenal as well as the military and political dangers associated with maintaining a massive stockpile,” as Manhattan Project veteran Wolfgang Panofsky wrote just before his death. “Given that the risks posed by nuclear weapons far outweigh their benefits in today’s world, the United States should lead a worldwide campaign to de-emphasize their role in international relations.” [41]

A growing majority of U.S. national security experts across the political spectrum now embrace this view. So do both presidential candidates. Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill.) said, “It’s time to send a clear message: America seeks a world with no nuclear weapons.”[42] Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) pledged, “[T]he United States should lead a global effort at nuclear disarmament.”[43] A number of high-level and grass-roots efforts are underway that will encourage and help the new president to implement this vision.

Brookings Institution expert Ivo Daalder and former Assistant Secretary of Defense Jan Lodal in their seminal article, “The Logic of Zero,” argue that “[g]iven this remarkable bipartisan consensus, the next president will have an opportunity to make the elimination of all nuclear weapons the organizing principle of U.S. nuclear policy.”[44] They and other experts groups have developed concrete plans for practical steps toward elimination that promise to be far more effective than the failed policies of the past eight years.

Will the new president heed their advice? The struggle within a new administration is just beginning between the “transformationalists” who seek a new vision to transform U.S. nuclear policy and the “incrementalists” who would focus on gradual steps using the techniques of previous years. The president must choose, for the policy window now open will not last long. Delay and indecision could cost him the chance to bring about the visionary change he promised in his campaign and the relief from the nuclear dangers the world so urgently needs. ACT

Joseph Cirincione is president of Ploughshares Fund. He is author of Bomb Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons (2007). Previously, he served as senior vice president for national security and international policy at the Center for American Progress and as director for nonproliferation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Cirincione worked for nine years in the U.S. House of Representatives as a professional staff member of the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Government Operations.


1. Glenn Kessler, “Rice: U.S. Has Aided in Nuclear Regulation,” The Washington Post, September 8, 2008, p. A13. See “Remarks With Moroccan Foreign Minister Fassi Fihri,” September 7, 2008, (press conference with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice).
2. John Bolton, “A Legacy of Betrayal,” Washington Times, May 12, 1999.
3. Dafna Linzer, “The NSC’s Sesame Street Generation,” The Washington Post, March 12, 2006.
4. Gary Schmitt, “Memorandum to Opinion Leaders,” Project for a New American Century, December 13, 2001.
5. Elliot Abrams, special assistant to the president and senior director on the National Security Council for Near East and North African affairs (2002-2005) and deputy national security adviser (2005-present); John Bolton, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security (2001-2005) and U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations (2005); Richard Perle, Defense Policy Board chairman (2001-2003); Donald Rumsfeld, secretary of defense (2001-2006); Paul Wolfowitz, deputy secretary of defense (2001-2005) and State Department International Security Advisory Board chairman (2008-present).
6. Condoleezza Rice, “Campaign 2000: Promoting the National Interest,” Foreign Affairs, January/February 2000.
7. Robert Kagan, “The Benevolent Empire,” Foreign Policy, June 1998.
8. Office of the Press Secretary, The White House, “President Bush Delivers Graduation Speech at West Point,” June 1, 2002.
9. Office of the Press Secretary, The White House, “President Bush Delivers ‘State of the Union,’” January 28, 2003.
10. Paul Wolfowitz, “Campaign Against Terror,” Frontline, PBS, April 22, 2002.
11. “National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction,” 2002, p. 1.
12. Department of Defense, “Nuclear Posture Review,” December 31, 2001.
13. The Congressional Research Service calculates that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan had cost $859 billion by mid-2008. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the wars would eventually cost $2.4 trillion. See Amy Belasco, “Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations since 9/11,” CRS Report for Congress, July 14, 2008; Peter Orszag, “Estimated Costs of U.S. Operation in Iraq and Afghanistan and of Other Activities Related to the War on Terrorism,” Statement Before the House Committee on the Budget, October 24, 2007. See also Center for Arms Control and Non-proliferation, “Analysis of House-Senate Agreement on FY2009 Defense Authorization Bill,” September 24, 2008.
14. See David Sanger, “Aftereffects: Nuclear Standoff,” The New York Times, April 21, 2003, p. A15.
15. Office of the Press Secretary, The White House, “President Says Saddam Hussein Must Leave Iraq Within 48 Hours,” March 17, 2003.
16. Jeffrey M. Jones “Opposition to Iraq War Reaches New High,” Gallup Inc., April 24, 2008.
17. “U.S. Image Up Slightly, but Still Negative: American Character Gets Mixed Reviews,” Pew Research Center, June 23, 2005.
18. Porter Goss, “DCI’s Global Intelligence Challenges Briefing,” Testimony Before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, February 16, 2005. See Vice Admiral Lowell E. Jacoby, “Current and Projected National Security Threats to the United States,” Testimony Before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, February 16, 2005.
19. In 2002 the number of “significant” international terrorist incidents was 136; in 2003 it was 175; and in 2004, it was 651. See U.S. Department of State, “Patterns of Global Terrorism 2002”; U.S. Department of State, “Patterns of Global Terrorism 2003.” See also National Counterterrorism Center, “A Chronology of Significant International Terrorism for 2004,” April 27, 2008.
20. Matthew Bunn and Anthony Weir, “Securing the Bomb 2005: The New Global Imperatives,” May 2005, pp. 30-32. See National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), “NNSA Expands Nuclear Security Cooperation With Russia,” October 2005 (fact sheet).
21. Brian Finlay, “Nuclear Terrorism: U.S. Policies to Reduce the Threat of Nuclear Terror,” Partnership for a Secure America, September 2008.
22. Lee Hamilton and Thomas Kean, “WMD Report Card: Evaluating U.S. Policies to Prevent Nuclear, Chemical & Biological Terrorism Since 2005,” Partnership for a Secure America, September 2008, p. 3.
23. Nicholas Burns, “We Should Talk to Our Enemies,” Newsweek, October 25, 2008.
24. Chuck Hagel and Peter Kaminsky, America: Our Next Chapter, Tough Questions, Straight Answers (New York: Harper Collins Press, 2008), p. 93.
25. Former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright, James Baker, Warren Christopher, Henry Kissinger, and Colin Powell said they favored talking to Iran as part of a strategy to stop Tehran’s development of a nuclear weapons program during a forum hosted by The George Washington University on September 15, 2008. Former national security advisers Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft also praised engagement at a July 2008 event at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
26. Office of the Press Secretary, The White House, “President Announces New Measures to Counter the Threat of WMD,” February 11, 2004.
27. Steve Kingstone, “Brazil Joins World’s Nuclear Club,” BBC News, May 6, 2006. See Leonor Tomero, “The Future of GNEP: The International Partners,” Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, July 31, 2008.
28. Sharon Squassoni, “Risks and Realities: The New Nuclear Energy Revival,” Arms Control Today, May 2007.
29. Presidents Bush and Vladimir Putin signed the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT) in June 2002. Now, for the first time since the negotiated threat reduction process began with SALT in the early 1970s, there are no plans for additional agreements. Under SORT, both sides are required to reduce their deployed strategic nuclear weapons to between 1,700 and 2,200 by the end of 2012. Under the proposed START III, negotiated by Presidents Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin in 1997, each side would have drawn down to similar numbers of deployed strategic nuclear weapons by 2007, five years earlier than envisioned under SORT. START III would also have provided a framework for discussions on reductions in tactical nuclear weapons and dismantlement of warheads. See Joseph Cirincione, Jon Wolfsthal, and Miriam Rajkumar, Deadly Arsenals (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2005), pp. 204-205, 209-211. See Hans Kristensen and Robert Norris, “Nuclear Notebook: U.S. Nuclear Forces, 2008,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, March/April 2008, pp. 50-53.
30. “A World Free of Nuclear Weapons: An Interview With Nuclear Threat Initiative Co-Chairman Sam Nunn,” Arms Control Today, March 2008, p. 6.
31. Stephen Hadley, “Policy Consideration in Using Nuclear Weapons,” Duke Journal of Comparative and International Law, Vol. 8, No. 23 (Fall 1997), p. 23.
32. Several of the participants were appointed to senior positions on nuclear policy in the administration, including Linton Brooks, Stephen Cambone, and Robert Joseph. See Keith Payne et al., “Rationale and Requirements for U.S. Nuclear Forces and Arms Control,” National Institute for Public Policy, January 2001.
33. Department of Defense, “Nuclear Posture Review.”
34. Kofi Annan, “A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility,” December 1, 2004, p. 3.
35. “Pakistan Demands U.S. Nuclear Deal,” BBC News, October 2, 2008.
36. Josh Loewenstein, “House Set to Approve Version of U.S.-India Deal With Added Oversight,” CongressNow, September 25, 2008.
37. Ian Cobain and Ian Traynor, “Intelligence Report Claims Nuclear Market Thriving.” The Guardian, January 4, 2006, p. 6.
38. In April 2008, former Pentagon Director of Operational Test and Evaluation Philip Coyle told the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs that “[t]he [anti-missile system being deployed in Europe] still has no demonstrated effectiveness to defend the U.S., let alone Europe, against enemy attack under realistic operational conditions.” Lisbeth Gronlund, a senior scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists, commented at the same hearing that “the United States is no closer today to being able to effectively defend against long-range ballistic missiles than it was 25 years ago.”
39. Richard Haass “Regime Change and Its Limits,” Foreign Affairs, July/August 2005.
40. Burns, “We Should Talk to Our Enemies.”
41. Wolfgang Panofky, “Nuclear Insecurity,” Foreign Affairs, September/October 2007.
42. Barack Obama, “A New Strategy for a New World,” Washington, D.C., July 15, 2008.
43. “Remarks by John McCain to the Los Angeles World Affairs Council,” March 26, 2008,
44. Ivo Daalder and Jan Lodal, “The Logic of Zero,” Foreign Affairs, November/December 2008, p. 81.