Wednesday, May 15, 2002
National Press Club, Zenger Room
9:30 A.M. - 11:00 A.M.
John D. Holum
Vice President for International and Governmental Affairs, Atlas Air, Inc.; Former Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security; Former Director, U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
Ambassador Karl F. Inderfurth
Senior Adviser, Nuclear Threat Reduction Campaign; Former Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs; Former U.S. Representative for Special Political Affairs to the United Nations
Ambassador James E. Goodby
Senior Research Fellow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Nonresident Senior Fellow, the Brookings Institution; Former Special Representative of President Bill Clinton for Nuclear Security and Dismantlement; Former Chief Negotiator for Cooperative Threat Reduction Agreements
Daryl G. Kimball
Executive Director, Arms Control Association
A question-and-answer session followed the panelists' remarks.
DARYL G. KIMBALL: Good morning. Welcome to the Arms Control Association's briefing on nuclear arms control and the Bush-Putin summit. I congratulate those of you who have trooped out here and find this a little bit more interesting than Paul Wolfowitz along the way. I think we'll be able to provide you with some information that's going to be useful over the next few days as the summit approaches.
I'm Daryl Kimball. I'm the executive director of the Arms Control Association. We're a private non-profit research and public education organization that's been around since 1971. We have organized this press briefing today to clarify some of the facts regarding the expected signing of a new U.S.-Russian arms control agreement this coming week in Moscow and St. Petersburg, and to provide what we think is a clear-eyed assessment of the value of this treaty in the years ahead.
Now, before I introduce our distinguished panel, let me briefly outline some of the essential facts that we're dealing with in connection with this agreement, and offer a few comments on behalf of the Arms Control Association about the agreement as we know it at this time.
The agreement will take the form of a treaty, requiring two-thirds approval by the United States Senate and approval by the Russian Duma. Previously, President Bush, and especially the Pentagon, had wanted a handshake agreement; a political agreement that stated each nation's intention to make these reductions, but President Putin and many other observers, including the Arms Control Association and members of Congress, were concerned that that kind of agreement might not outlast the two presidents' terms in office. So it is a treaty.
Though the form of agreement is more to the liking of Russia and to the Senate, the content is much more consistent with the United States' position that has been pushed over the last five or six months in these negotiations, and it is very consistent with the nuclear posture review which came out earlier this year. It is consistent with the nuclear posture review and the Bush administration's goal of maintaining maximum strategic flexibility with respect to strategic nuclear offenses and strategic missile defenses. The agreement only requires the two sides to reduce operationally deployed strategic warheads from today's 5,000 to 6,000 levels, to 2,200 to 1,700 by the year 2012 when the agreement will also expire.
Now, what does this mean? Let me just roughly outline a little bit of what this will mean. This agreement would allow each side to maintain existing strategic bombers, submarine-launched missiles and land-based intercontinental missiles, as well as the downloaded warheads, leaving each side with the capability of quickly uploading or re-deploying these retired warheads out of storage. For instance, the United States will be able to re-deploy as many as 2,400 warheads from its active reserves, which the Bush administration is calling "the responsive force," within three years of the conclusion of this agreement, giving the U.S. the capacity to deploy at least 4,600 strategic nuclear warheads by the year 2015. In addition, the United States will keep several thousand more warheads at lower stages of readiness that could also be re-deployed over a longer period of time.
The ongoing and excessive U.S. "hedge" arsenal, this reserve arsenal, creates a strong disincentive for Russia to implement even deeper cost-saving nuclear reductions. So, in effect, this is a strategic arms rearrangement treaty. It's a START treaty, but it's not so much a reduction treaty but a rearrangement treaty.
Is this agreement a step in the right direction? Yes, of course it is, even if it is long overdue and could be effected much more rapidly than the 10-year period that we're talking about. But clearly it falls well short of the greater degree of stability and security that verifiable dismantlement of delivery systems and warheads would accomplish. Nor does it provide the new transparency measures and data exchanges that the United States and Russia have been exploring for quite some time, which some of our panelists have been working on, which would better baseline for tracking the U.S. and Russian arsenals and eventually eliminating their strategic and nuclear weapons systems.
Now, another issue that I think needs to be addressed is the question of whether this agreement "liquidates the legacy of the Cold War," as President Bush said on Monday morning when he announced that this agreement would be concluded. He apparently believes this will liquidate the legacy of the Cold War. Does it move us beyond the condition of mutual assured destruction, as President Bush has said he wants to do? Absolutely not. The Bush administration's actions and laudable rhetoric do not match the actions over the last several months in his negotiations and the outlines of this agreement.
Consistent with the nuclear posture review, this agreement, as I said before, would allow each side to maintain approximately 2,000 deployed strategic nuclear warheads until 2012, many of which are going to be available on ready-launch status, which could create the possibility of-which will perpetuate the possibility of accidental or inadvertent nuclear war, and it will guarantee that the United States and Russia will be able to hold each other at risk by 2012 and beyond, 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union. The U.S. and Russia may be friends, but friends shouldn't target friends with thousands of nuclear weapons.
Now, to help us explore some of these issues in greater depth and to talk about how this agreement fits into the larger U.S.-Russian relationship which will be explored and perhaps furthered at this summit next week, we have three speakers with substantial in-depth experience on strategic nuclear arms negotiations and U.S.-Russian relations.
First we'll hear from John Holum, who was the undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security, and therefore the chief U.S. strategic arms negotiator for the later years in the Clinton administration, and he was also the former director the U.S. Arms Control Disarmament Agency. He's currently vice president for International and Governmental Affairs at Atlas Air. John is going to comment on how this agreement fits into the Bush administration's overall approach to arms control and international security, and perhaps he can size up how this agreement compares to the START process-the arms reduction process that had been pursued previously.
Then we'll hear from Ambassador Inderfurth, who is senior advisor with the Nuclear Threat Reduction Campaign and who was former assistant secretary of State for South Asian Affairs. Among other points, Rick is going to discuss how this agreement affects implementation of programs to safeguard nuclear weapons in the former Soviet Union.
And then finally we're going to hear from Ambassador Jim Goodby, who is now senior research fellow at MIT and a fellow at Brookings Institution. And he was former special representative for President Clinton for Nuclear Security and Dismantlement, and the former chief negotiator on the Cooperative Threat Reduction agreements. And Jim is going to discuss how this agreement fits into the other issues that are going to be addressed at this summit, including NATO-related issues.
And then following each of the panelists' opening remarks, we'll take questions from you.
So, John, the floor is yours.
JOHN D. HOLUM: Thank you, Daryl.
First, I want to congratulate the Bush administration, the president and his team, for accomplishing an arms control treaty, and for doing so in a timely way prior to an important summit between President Bush and President Putin, and a month before the United States is scheduled to withdraw from the ABM Treaty. The treaty, announced on Monday, as well as President Bush's descriptions of it, defines further an important truth: that the Cold War is long over and that the United States and Russia are not adversaries.
Now, recognizing that there are still some specific details to emerge, what I thought I'd do, as Daryl said, is try to put this agreement in the broader context of the Bush administration's overall approach toward arms control and weapons of mass destruction, and then briefly assess what it does for each side, and finally, raise a concern relating to the issues of proliferation and terrorism.
First, on context. As compared to previous administrations, including those of President Reagan and the first President Bush, this one, it's fair to say, is not generally enamored of formal arms control, whether multilateral or bilateral. That's not an attack; it's simply an observation that I don't think anyone in the administration would dispute. It's reflected in the approach to the Biological Weapons Convention Protocol, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and in U.N. efforts to control small arms, as well as the most prominent case of the ABM Treaty.
It was also reflected in the original approach on strategic offensive arms to reduce the number of deployed offensive arms, but essentially by unilateral decisions, confirmed by a handshake rather than a legally binding agreement. As reflected in January's nuclear posture review, the administration also apparently sees a larger and more durable role for nuclear weapons in international affairs; for example, more explicitly suggesting their use in response to non-nuclear attacks.
In that context, this treaty represents, to some extent, a reversal of the basic approach. At the insistence of President Putin, as you know, it is a legally binding agreement, a treaty. It's a short one, to be sure -- something less than three pages, we're told -- but that's possible in large part because it imports verification provisions from START I, which goes on at some length in that area.
But it's not such a major reversal. Aside from warheads and delivery vehicles actually deployed, the treaty essentially regards each side's nuclear posture as its own business. Whether or not any of the nuclear weapons removed from deployment will actually be eliminated is also up to each side. It also sets aside some earlier gains. The START II treaty would have eliminated all remaining land-based missiles with multiple warheads. It focused mainly on the remaining Russian SS-18 heavy missiles. With START II now abandoned, that limit is also gone.
And because of the 2012 timetable for getting down to the 1,700 to 2,200 range, even the deployed numbers through the balance of President' Bush's administration -- assuming he has a second term -- the deployed numbers are likely to be higher than they would have been under START II. START II, as extended, would have taken us down to 3,500 warheads by 2007, and the relevant delivery vehicles would have been deactivated by 2003. Under this treaty's timetable and the nuclear posture review, we'll have some 3,800 warheads by 2008, so more warheads at an even later date.
So, arms controllers should welcome this step, but will not likely be transported by elation. The advantages for the United States are primarily in predictable lower numbers and greater flexibility in planning forces without the need to meet detailed treaty limitations, and of course the omission of any constraints on missile defenses. It's a disappointment that apparently in the closing days of the discussions, efforts to adopt new transparency measures that may have gone to getting a handle on large numbers of Russian tactical nuclear weapons were apparently dropped.
Now, how will the treaty go down in Russia? I think fairly well. President Putin came to the table with virtually no leverage. His ability to hold up amendments to the ABM Treaty evaporated when President Bush gave notice in December that the United States would withdraw from the treaty. And on offense, of course, Russia has been continuously pushing for lower numbers for years because it can't afford to maintain the forces it has now. But in the end Putin got, first, a legally binding agreement; second, a U.S. legal obligation to come down to the deployed numbers Russia will have to go down to for economic reasons; third, the ability to meet that number by keeping land-based MIRV missiles-and the SS-18s could account for more than 1,500 warheads by themselves-and fourth, compared to START II, savings from the cost of eliminating systems that are now not controlled.
So, despite some early criticism, I would expect in the end a relatively smooth path to confirmation by both the Senate and the Duma. What we should consider closely however is the impact elsewhere, and more specifically on what all agree is the much greater worry than an arms race or military conflict with Russia, and that is the spread of weapons and technology to rogue states and potentially to terrorists.
There are two general areas of concern I see here. First is the practical one. To the extent both we and Russia presumably keep large numbers of extra warheads and bombs around, there's a greater risk that dangerous materials will fall into the wrong hands. Jim Goodby of course is the world's greatest expert on this, having negotiated the Cooperative Threat Reduction agreements. Now, though they don't have to be interdependent, formal arms control has been an important channel to press Russia in those areas, and also to live up to other binding arms control obligations, including the ones not to assist countries like Iran to acquire nuclear weapons and to stop proliferating missile technology.
The second concern is political. The international community, I suspect, will have a hard time figuring out why we need to keep so many weapons on the shelf. If Russia is not our adversary, the next highest number is in China, and they have far fewer weapons, and less than two dozen that can reach the United States. The non-nuclear weapons states see the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty as a bargain under which they agree to forgo nuclear weapons entirely and the nuclear weapons states agree to negotiate toward their elimination. An arms reduction agreement under which most of the weapons will be kept around could be a hard sell. Now, of course the treaty does not require us to keep the weapons, and I expect actual performance will be closely watched.
In the same vein, going back to 1978 and also when the NPT was permanently extended in 1995, non-nuclear countries have relied on the so-called negative security assurances that nuclear weapons would not be used against them, essentially, unless they attacked a nuclear country in alliance with another nuclear weapons state. Now, together with a nuclear posture review that undercuts those assurances, a treaty that allows retention of thousands of weapons will be questioned as other countries consider how serious they should be about the NPT, the chemical and biological weapons conventions, and other measures that constrain them. Terrorists, of course, don't join these regimes, but to the extent the regimes are weakened or undercut and the atmosphere is permissive, terrorists have an easier time gaining access.
In the end, therefore, perhaps the biggest open question about this agreement must be, will it help or could it hurt in addressing that dominant security challenge of proliferation? Thank you.
AMBASSADOR KARL F. INDERFURTH: I think I'll just stay seated if that would be acceptable to everyone.
Let me pick up on some of the things that John has already referred to and broaden out what we'd like to see occur at the summit about to take place in Moscow and St. Petersburg. First of all, though, a comment about the announcement of the agreed treaty.
President Bush has said that the treaty will liquidate the legacy of the Cold War. Well, not exactly. It will eliminate part of the legacy of the Cold War, but many more steps will be necessary. This is indeed an important first step; I think we all agree on that. But if this is the last step by this administration, then we have, I think, some serious issues to continue discussing with the Bush administration.
Secretary Powell has said-and he said this in testimony before the Senate-he said that, "The philosophy of the Bush administration is to continue driving down the number of nuclear weapons." Well, this treaty does that, but they should continue driving down the numbers of nuclear weapons. We do not need the thousands that will still remain, either on a deployed status or in reserve, that is envisioned in this agreement. So if this is the beginning, it's a great step. If it's the end, I think we have serious, serious problems in doing what President Bush has said repeatedly, even as a candidate for this office, that he wanted to remove the legacy and the Cold War relics that he said we still have.
So, a comment about the treaty, and I think that Ambassador Goodby will make others as well, and then we'll answer your questions there.
I want to take you back just for a moment to the last summit between the two leaders, in Washington and in Crawford. At their press conference at the end of their summit, President Bush, speaking, said, "Our highest priority is to keep terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction." While these numbers in the treaty are important, I think we have to keep our focus on the issue of nuclear terrorism. That is the issue of greatest urgency that we're facing.
All of you, and members of the press, are certainly well aware of this; that Time magazine had this account on March 11, "Can We Stop the Next 9-11?" The centerpiece of that report was that a 10-kiloton nuclear weapon was out there and could be making its way to New York City. Now, had that happened, obviously this would have made the tragedy of 9-11 pale in comparison to the numbers of people that would have been killed as a result of that.
We've also seen reports of the interrogation of the al Qaeda leader, Abu Zubaydah, who has said, apparently to those that have been interrogating him, that they have come close to-I think actually the words are that, "close to building a crude nuclear device and may try to smuggle it into the United States." Now, I don't know if Abu Zubaydah has actually said those things; I certainly have not been part of the interrogation. I don't know if he is doing a little bit of disinformation, but the fact that al Qaeda and bin Laden have wanted to acquire a nuclear weapon or nuclear materials for a radiological weapon, a dirty bomb, all that we know very well. And that is what I hope at the summit President Bush and President Putin will devote a great deal of attention to.
Now, part of that relates to what John has already said: tactical nuclear weapons. This is an issue that is in the forefront of the work that I'm doing with the Nuclear Threat Reduction Campaign, working with members of Congress in this regard to try to get a handle-a comprehensive inventory of not only weapons but materials that would see that these things are safely secured and don't disburse either through theft or diversion or anything of that nature.
Tactical nuclear weapons is an issue that does need, at this time, greater attention, and I hope that there will be that attention at the summit in Moscow and St. Petersburg. We simply do not know how many tactical nuclear weapons the Russians have. Important initiatives were taken in 1991 and '92 with the first President Bush and President Gorbachev and then Yeltsin, to try to reduce these numbers. The United States did. We're down to about 1,650. The Russians say they did, but we do not know. There was no agreement. That's why many of us have been saying that a formally binding agreement -- legally binding agreement was important. And I'm glad to see that this has now been agreed to by the administration with respect to this treaty. But we need to do something to capture and to learn about the size of that Russian tactical nuclear arsenal. It could be anywhere from 4,000 to 5,000 on the low end and to up to 15,000 to 17,000 on the high end. We simply do not know.
Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith has stated, in response to a question back in February on the issue of tactical nuclear weapons, he says-in answer to a question from the press, he says, "You're correct. It gets very little attention. The Russians have lot of tactical nuclear weapons. We view them at this point not as a big military headache for us but more to the point of view of the danger of nuclear proliferation. It is a very large arsenal, and your general point that it's not paid enough attention to is true." It's time to pay attention to tactical nuclear weapons.
So, it's time to pay attention to tactical nuclear weapons. It's also time to do more-and again, this is something that, with the Nuclear Threat Reduction Campaign, we are working on: do more to strengthen the Cooperative Threat Reduction and nonproliferation cooperation with the Russians. This is a terribly important and timely issue for the two presidents to work on.
As Senator Nunn has recently said, the administration's request this year for Cooperative Threat Reduction and related programs is the same as it was last year. We think that more should be done in this regard in terms of funding. The administration did come around from its initial decision when it came into office to cut these programs, then they heard a lot from Congress, including the members that we're working with-d Congressman Spratt and Tauscher and Senator Landrieu, and now we're working with Representative Curt Weldon and Senator Gordon Smith. Congressman McHugh and Tauscher have a bill that has been introduced on these issues.
More needs to be done, and Congress, we hope, will take steps to actually move the funding more in the direction of what came through in the Baker-Cutler report of Senator Howard Baker and former White House counsel, Lloyd Cutler, where they said $30 billion over 10 years would be their recommended funding levels. We're well below that now, and so more should be done there. Again, this is something that the two presidents recognized when they met the last time, and I hope that they will reaffirm that in their upcoming meeting.
Let me mention just two other items. One has to do with the issue of missile defense, not really discussed so much at this point. There is some question about whether or not there will be more said at the summit, but let me just call your attention to something that Ambassador Sandy Vershbow, our ambassador to Russia, said in a speech in St. Petersburg in February of this year, where he said-and I think this is-we need to be working with the Russians on all of these issues; on reductions, on Cooperative Threat Reduction, nonproliferation. We need to be working with them also on missile defense. The treaty which the administration has formally withdrawn from will end in June. We need to find a way to work cooperatively with Russia on this as well. And Ambassador Vershbow has said that, in his view, "Missile defense," and this is a quote, "is another potentially fruitful area for NATO-Russia cooperation. All of our nations must face the fact that efforts to prevent the proliferation of technology for ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction have not been fully successful."
What Ambassador Vershbow was suggesting in this speech was that there should be cooperation among all these parties on joint Early Warning, joint exercises, and even joint industrial development of missile defense systems. Let's see how we can work with the Russians: theater missile defense. Let's do what, actually at one point, President Reagan said, that we will pursue missile defense but we will share the technology. Let's see what we can do in a cooperative way with the Russians.
Finally, another issue that should be, at some point, readdressed, and that has to do with nuclear testing. We have recently seen reports, which the Russians have said are untrue, of possible preparations to resume nuclear testing at the Russian nuclear test site. Apparently there was some concern in the administration that these reports were accurate. Of course, there have also been issues raised about a resumption of U.S. nuclear testing. The nuclear posture review, which John referred to, raised some questions in that regard.
If you read the article about the Russian nuclear testing preparations-reports of-if you went down to the very end of that article you'll see there was a reference to debate within the Bush administration about un-signing the CTBT. Now, as you know, the administration recently did that with respect to the International Criminal Court: unsigned a treaty that President Clinton had signed, and not sent for ratification but had done that. This debate, if there is a debate about un-signing, is a very serious matter, and I would hope that since we do not want Russia to resume testing, which could lead to a China resuming testing and could lead to, therefore, an India resuming testing, could lead to a Pakistan-this is not the world I think we want to see. These are Cold War relics as well, and we should put them in those categories.
So I would hope that at some point the issue of the CTBT could be revisited, and do it by, you know, looking on the shelf with what General Shalikashvili did after the Senate defeated that treaty in terms of ratification. General Shalikashvili was asked to work with Senate leaders to start saying, what could be done to address concerns about this treaty, what are the concerns that led to this defeat, and what might be done by the United States to meet those concerns? We might need to look again at the Shalikashvili report and start working on that because we do not want to see Russia resume testing, or other countries. And in that case, the moratorium that's in place by President Bush should be continued, but we should certainly not be thinking about un-signing comprehensive nuclear test ban treaties. Thank you.
MR. KIMBALL: Thank you. Our next speaker is Jim Goodby, who happened to work with General Shalikashvili on that report. Welcome, Jim.
AMBASSADOR JAMES E. GOODBY: Thank you very much. And let me try to be very brief so we can get on to the discussions and questions.
My bottom line here is that I think the month of May is going to turn out to be a very good month, politically and in many other ways, for President Bush and President Putin, and potentially-potentially a very good month for Russia, the United States and Europe. The reason I use the word potential is that I think everything depends on the follow up to these agreements that have been predicted and no doubt will occur later this month. Some of them already have occurred.
First, I think that one has to look at the success of an American policy towards Russia and towards Europe in terms of the contribution that policy makes to the development of democracy and of constitutional liberalism in Russia. If the experiment with democracy in Russia works, security for Europe will be much, much improved, as for us as well.
How do I rate these agreements that have taken place or will take place soon? I would put in first place the agreement reached yesterday on "NATO at 20." I think that is of tremendous value, and not simply because it engages Russia in discussions about European security issues on a par with other NATO members, but even more importantly because it contributes to the feeling that they are a part of Europe and a part of the West. And it's that sense of being excluded that has been one of the most damaging things in terms of progress towards democracy in Russia. So I think that we need to give a vote of thanks to those in this country and overseas who also wanted that kind of a relationship with Russia; that is to say inclusion rather than exclusion.
Second, I think that the agreement we haven't heard much about yet, namely the new strategic framework-which is the second of the two documents that I gather will be announced and agreed to later on in Moscow this month-I think potentially that also is a major contribution to Russian-U.S. relations. I say that on a basis of only hearing a little bit about it, but it does seem to include one of the points that Rick just made, namely the idea that we should be able to cooperate with Russia in ballistic missile defense. And my feeling there is that if we could work out a joint NATO-Russia program-which is already, by the way, on the agenda for NATO at 20 as well as in this document that will be agreed at Moscow-if we can do that I think we will have made a tremendous step forward in practical military cooperation with Russia because it would include development and possible deployment probably of a theater missile defense to begin with. That would make the prospect of an arms race very much less than would be the case if they seemed, again, to feel they were being excluded.
In third place in the contribution that these agreements this month will make to democracy in Russia I would have to put the treaty that we have been talking about. And there, I think the main contribution it makes is frankly to strengthen Putin's hand. I noticed the Washington Times has a story saying that he's being attacked domestically in Russia. I think in the end what Putin will be seen to have achieved this month will make him even more popular in Russia. This agreement with NATO is a very positive thing for them. The new strategic framework, again, potentially is a very positive thing. And I think in the end this new treaty will be seen, by many sectors at least in Russian opinion, as positive for them too.
I might add that in some respects this is not for reasons that I would welcome, because what I'm suggesting to you is that perhaps the Russian military will find this treaty more interesting and reasonable for them than START II would have been. There were many in the Russian military who felt START II was a very unfair kind of treaty. They no longer have to worry about that. Instead they have a treaty that allows them to keep SS-18s, that allows them to MIRV, allows them to keep their missiles rather than destroy them. And so, from the military standpoint in Russia, this is not a bad deal for them. And I think they will support this treaty, and I think it will be ratified handily.
The question of what the treaty does for us otherwise in terms of nonproliferation, in terms of its enabling Russia to make a transition to a democracy, is a little open to question because I think there are now left on the table some what I would call enticements to competition. I imagine that it will not be too long before people in this country begin to worry about the SS-18s still MIRVed, perhaps some of them downloaded but easily uploaded. I imagine that some in Russia will begin to worry about the potential we have for rapid breakout, based on the idea of this responsive nuclear force. And those are, I think, enticements to move away from the cooperative spirit that this month seems to be engendering and towards a kind of competition that we really don't want to have.
Now what I would recommend in terms of a future-and I do hope this is the beginning and not the end, as Rick mentioned, I think there are-I would say there are 3 Ds, as I call them. One is deduct. We need to lower the number of deployed warheads from the 1,700-2,200 range to something more like 1,000-1,500. I think that would be a much more reasonable kind of contribution for these countries to make in terms of nonproliferation and the impact on other countries, including China by the way.
Second is deactivate. We have experience with early deactivation. That is to say, one method would be to remove warheads from missiles so there could not be a launch quite so readily. This was foreseen also in the Helsinki Agreement that Clinton reached with Yeltsin. It apparently is not foreseen in this treaty, and it seems to me that it ought to be looked at. Early deactivation would mean that you don't have to wait all these many years, 10 years, to get down to the number of active ready-to-launch weapons that we have.
And the final thing is dismantling. Like other people that have spoken about the issue, I really do think that some transparency on dismantling-which I think is apparently going to be built into this in some fashion-is very important. I think that the idea that you would retain a responsive force able to break out at a moment's notice is something that generates instabilities and suspicions. It does not contribute to the kind of cooperation we ought to have.
So if I were amending this treaty, I would urge that those would be the three things to do. And the treaty actually couldn't be amended fairly easily, it sounds like.
Finally, this new strategic framework. If I'm led to believe it, it constitutes an agenda that I think is important for both Russia and the United States. What I'm concerned about is, frankly, accountability. I have suggested in the past that there ought to be a high-level commission responsible directly to Putin and to President Bush that would work on issues like this; that would be charged with the day-to-day responsibility for making sure those things happen, because nothing is easier than to come up with a wonderful document on how we ought to cooperate in this, that and the other area, and then nobody's responsible for it. And I think somebody ought to be named, perhaps even Vice President Cheney, to see that something happens day by day, year by year, so that all of the ideas that are in the strategic framework actually do happen.
I will conclude simply by saying that I think, above and beyond the things we are talking about today, our relations with Russia and with Western Europe require a very broad strategy, and one not limited to security issues. And therefore, what I hope this summit will also achieve is a somewhat broader agenda in the field of economics, in the field of healthcare, in a number of other areas where really a grassroots support for democracy could be greatly enhanced by things that really don't cost us very much.
So I'll conclude there so we can get on to a discussion. Thank you.
Questions and Answers
MR. KIMBALL: Thank you, Jim. We'll now take your questions. Right here, Mr. Schweiss (ph).
QUESTION: I've long since given up trying to get an answer from the administration why it would let such a lopsided, favorable-to-the-U.S. treaty like START II go by the boards. In fact, almost a year ago-maybe a year ago I asked somebody in the administration, "Why?" and he looked at me and he said, "Because it's an arms control agreement." That was all he had to say.
I wonder, maybe you know why we would allow something so much in the U.S.' favor go by. But more to the point, if the administration retains at least-I think the fact that it is a treaty is probably Powell's influence as much as anyone, but he's not the whole administration. The administration still has this suspicion of arms control. Where are all these wonderful things going to germinate? I mean, how would you expect them to consider trying to do something about START II, tactical weapons-I mean, the strategic statement-I mean, apparently you at least, Ambassador, expect something to come out of it. Where is it going to germinate? Where is it going to-is this an administration suddenly that likes arms control?
MR. KIMBALL: Jim, do you want to take a first shot, then John?
QUESTION: I mean, this was a no-brainer, this treaty. How about real arms control? Where is it going to come from?
AMB. GOODBY: Well, I can't answer your question because I don't know what the administration is thinking or will do, but clearly they see a new relationship with Russia which they describe as one of almost alliance. And their feeling therefore is that all of the elaborate limits that were in START II are not required when you have two friends.
Now, the fact of the matter is we haven't quite gotten to that point. The nuclear posture review itself says that the Russian nuclear forces are "a matter of concern," and that's a quote. And a lot of the reason for the responsive force, the ability of building up very rapidly, is because we're concerned about Russia. Russia is not yet like Germany or France or Great Britain, in our view. And it's going to take a long transition before we get to that stage. That's why I emphasize democracy so much, because not until we get to that political point will we actually be able to put mutual assured destruction behind us.
But I think the administration has lost something in giving up START II. It's gained something too in trying to create a new relationship, and the balance that we strike will not be really known until history writes the book on this subject.
MR. KIMBALL: John, do you want to take a shot? And we need the microphone over here, please.
MR. HOLUM: Just to amplify slightly on the notion that-I agree with the proposition that the-as I said earlier that the main concern here is not an arms race or a military conflict with Russian. That possibility is exceedingly remote. But the areas where we still have differences and where we still need to do an enormous amount of work is on the proliferation-related concerns.
Now, one way you can get to those is through formal arms control, and by extending, as we were attempting to do, the formal agreements on strategic reductions to include warhead transparency and to include things beyond that, including dismantlement and elimination of the materials in the end. Now, I don't say it's impossible to do that without formal arms control, without continuing the START process. You can do it with a gap: you'd start at the other end and work those issues.
My concern is that if you take a negative attitude more broadly toward multilateral as well as bilateral arms control, you leave out an important part of the equation. Arms control isn't going to do it by itself, but prevention, to the extent it succeeds, simplifies the defensive requirements and reduces their costs and makes them more practical.
So, I think it's important to emphasize both sides, and I hope the administration will do more of that, both bilaterally with Russia on the proliferation-related questions, and more broadly.
MR. KIMBALL: Let me just also point out a couple of facts about Russia's future perspectives on this agreement; that we might be announcing Russia's acceptance of this a little bit soon. I think I would agree with my colleagues that eventually this agreement will be approved by the respective legislatures, but it was just on Monday, a few hours before President Bush came out on the South Lawn to announce the agreement would be concluded and that a deal had been reached, the Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said, "Stockpiling the warheads is not equal to their reduction." Russia may still consider some of the issues that have been at the heart of these negotiations over the last five months still to be open.
My reading of this agreement is that the two sides have agreed to agree on what they can agree on, and they have left issues which they cannot agree on to the sides, perhaps to be dealt with in the future, perhaps not to be dealt with in the future.
QUESTION: They're going to agree to disagree and let it go at that?
MR. KIMBALL: I think that's yet to be seen. I think we need to see how this plays out over the next several days. We are still several days away from the summit itself.
AMB. GOODBY: Daryl, if I could just inject-I mean, the one thing they've done is establish a-
MR. KIMBALL: Microphone please.
AMB. GOODBY: The one thing they've done is establish a bilateral commission to help manage this treaty. And it seems to me that a lot of the kinds of questions that we're talking about now are actually going to be referred to that commission, which is going to have a very tough job on its hands.
And I think for example that this SS-18 is a real potential for bad feelings because since it is, as we've always thought of it, a kind of a first-strike weapon, they are going to have to keep this on high alert, so the idea of somehow getting down to lower-alert status, which many people advocate, is going to be very, very difficult to do under the circumstances. And that in turn is going to feed worries about what the Russians are up to and, you know, the kind of suspicions that have surfaced regarding what's happening in-(unintelligible). It's still there. So all of these worries are going to still be there. And this commission, unless it operates at a much higher level than I think it's going to, is going to have a tough problem.
MR. KIMBALL: Rick, did you want to take a cut at Barry's question?
AMB. INDERFURTH: Yeah. Barry, I think that you're right about the dismissive quality by many in the administration about arms control, about the formal arms control process, and indeed about the nature of the Soviet arsenal, now Russian threat. If you look at the NIPP report of January 2001, that was really a precursor to what we now see in terms of the form of this agreement, if there would be any agreement at all; whether it should be legally binding. In fact, this report suggested that legally binding agreements were not necessarily important any longer, as well as issues of uses of nuclear weapons and adaptability to go up and down depending on the nature of the threat.
So, yes, there is that, but at the same time I do believe that the administration-and this is where you do get an opportunity to make progress. If you're not going to look at this through the prism of arms control then look at this through the prism of non-proliferation. And I think there that the administration has a solid core of those wanting, including the president, to address this. And trying to keep weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of terrorists will allow you to obviously pursue cooperative threat reduction programs and Nunn-Lugar related programs; will allow you to address the question of the storage of nuclear warheads that the Russians will be doing as opposed to the elimination. Perhaps that will open the opportunity later for more decisive measures with respect to elimination.
It may also allow you over time to address the timetable. Now, many people feel that 10 years is too long to see this agreement put into effect. Why 10 years? Members of Congress are saying, why not eight years, why not six years? Maybe at some point that can be looked at again through the prism of nonproliferation and say, why should we have these weapons and delivery systems sort of hanging around? Do we really need them? That's one way to get at the problem.
MR. KIMBALL: Okay. Other questions? We've answered all your questions.
Yes, sir? If you could identify yourself and take the microphone. Thank you.
QUESTION: I'm John Parker from The Economist magazine.
I take all the point you have to make, as it were, about third parties and the proliferation issue. But just on the purely Russia-U.S. bilateral relationship, you're fairly critical of the treaty. Aren't you being sort of more Catholic than the Pope here? I mean, it was the Russians that wanted the treaty. They've got a treaty. They say they're happy with it. I accept the reservation of the Defense minister, but by and large they like what they've got. And, as you've said, they've got good reason for liking what they've got.
So given that, I'm not quite clear why you're so strongly stressing, as it were, the reservations you have with the treaty, which, you know, the main party that was looking for it likes.
MR. KIMBALL: Well, let me take a quick cut and then perhaps others have some comments.
In my opening remarks, I pointed out that this is clearly a step in the right direction. This reflects the direction that both sides have been going in, reducing operationally deployed warheads. But I think it's very important that the public is aware, allies are aware of what this is not. And I think one of our chief roles here is to point out that this is not, as the president is under the allusion of, a liquidation of the legacy of the Cold War.
And as our panelists have pointed out, there remain a number of key issues on the bilateral agenda and the international nonproliferation agenda that are left to be addressed. And this also allows for the potential of future tension between the two countries, and this is an enormous missed opportunity to lock-in, through verifiable dismantlement of delivery systems and warheads, this much better relationship between the U.S. and Russia. Others, please.
AMB. INDERFURTH: The most important thing about this treaty-and that's why I think that actually we have said more positive than negative about it-the most important thing about this treaty is it demonstrates that the United States and Russia are working together. That is a key, whether it be with respect to this treaty or with respect to NATO in the future. To work together with the Russians is a key to further progress. And again, my comment was this is an excellent first step, but it should not be the last step in terms of reducing the legacy of the-and eliminating-liquidating the legacy of the Cold War.
I also think another step that could be taken to further this concern about nonproliferation is to do what many have suggested: that at the summit that President Bush propose to President Putin that we initiate a swap of their long-standing debt to the Paris Club of $45 billion for their dedicating that to nonproliferation activities within Russia. Now, the United States has a smaller part of that debt than, for instance, the Germans. I think that the Germans have the largest part. But to take those funds, that would help the economic concerns of President Putin and also go into non-proliferation.
I mentioned earlier that Congressman McHugh and Congresswoman Tauscher in the House, and Senators Biden and Lugar in the Senate, have introduced legislation to do that. I hope President Bush will take that idea and run with it. It would be an important step to take.
MR. KIMBALL: Okay. Other questions please? Yes, sir?
QUESTION: (Unintelligible)-with Asahi Shimbun, a Japanese newspaper.
I'd like to ask the number-what's the rationale-what base for the number-the range 1,700 to the 2,200? Do you know or can you guess why the Bush administration came up with this particular number? Does this have something to do with the number of targets Russia has in terms of military, or any other political reasons?
MR. KIMBALL: John, I think that's a fairly familiar number to you.
MR. HOLUM: It's probably more inertia than anything else, but that requires an explanation.
Remember that the Clinton administration had agreed with President Putin, or I guess previously with President Yeltsin, on a number of 2,000-2,500. There had also been further deliberations in the administration about the possibility of a lower number. The number tends to be dictated by a target-set related to fighting a war with Russia. And that's one of the reasons why many people who have analyzed this have been saying it doesn't eliminate the legacy of the Cold War because the basis for the number is still Russia. It's certainly not China, certainly not any other country.
But I don't think it's quite that nefarious. I think it's basically inertia. That's a number that is out there that has been in the planning process and they haven't come up with a new process to replace it.
Now, why the difference between 2,000-2,500 and 1,700-2,200? It's basically, as I understand it, that this agreement changes the counting rules; that it doesn't count-at least this is what the Posture Review aimed for-it doesn't count weapons, for example, on submarines that are in overhaul or aren't on-station. And if you subtract those, or account for that difference, you come up with almost identical numbers between what had previously been agreed and this one.
MR. KIMBALL: Other questions? Yes, sir?
QUESTION: I'm a correspondent for a Chinese newspaper, China East Daily. I just have a quick question. The U.S. and Russia will sign an agreement, and the U.S.-Russia relationship is warming up again. Do you think this situation will have implications, negative or positive, toward China? Thank you.
MR. KIMBALL: John? Rick?
AMB. INDERFURTH: I think we would all certainly hope so. I think that the steps being taken by the United States and Russia should be reassuring to China in terms of its status as a nuclear power. What we have also referred to in terms of missile defense, I think that there should be cooperation with China on that issue so that China is not put in a position of not understanding fully what that missile defense is designed to counter and what it's not designed to counter.
So I hope that as this treaty goes forward and relations improve, numbers go down, greater transparency, greater cooperation on all strategic-related issues. I would hope that China would be reassured and the beneficiary of that, and that the United States and China could also engage in these discussions and this dialogue.
MR. HOLUM: Let me just add on point. I think it's very important for the United States and China to have a regular dialogue on strategic issues. We started something like that in 1994. It was interrupted over the bombing of the embassy, the tragedy in Belgrade, and resumed in 2000.
I think that kind of discussion, the ability to clarify issues, explain positions, understand each other's strategic doctrines, is extremely important and I hope that will be continued.
MR. KIMBALL: All right. Yes, sir?
QUESTION: Adam Herbert (ph) with Inside Defense.
I'd have to assume that if strategic nuclear weapons are being cut by two-thirds over the next 10 years that there will be some cuts to tactical nuclear weapons as well, even though this isn't really being discussed. I'd like to hear your thoughts on what are the prospects for cutting tactical nuclear force levels and what are also the prospects for getting these incorporated into some sort of future negotiated agreement with the Russians?
AMB. INDERFURTH: Well, I think that, again, the United States has brought its tactical arsenal down substantially over the last decade. The numbers now are around 1,650. Actually, it was then-General Powell who was very much in the forefront of saying that the military did not need nor want these weapons in its arsenal. He indeed spoke about this action in his autobiography if you want to check out what General Powell said about that then.
I think that again the concern right now has to do with the nature of the Russian tactical nuclear arsenal: how many, where are they, are they under sound lock and key? And I think that one can get at that through a number of ways; not necessarily through a treaty but through an agreement to conduct a comprehensive inventory of nuclear weapons and materials, transparency, and then to talk to them about ways to bring these numbers down. But, Jim, as a treaty measure, as an agreement measure, how would you deal with the tactical nukes?
AMB. GOODBY: I would pick up where the first President Bush left off and try to add something to the statements that were made at that time, which would provide greater transparency, as Rick has said.
What is needed is some kind of assurance that the weapons which were supposed to be destroyed-and some doubt that they have been completely-in some way has to be found to measure-get a handle on the number of remaining tactical nuclear weapons on both sides. Exchanging data that requires, and probably some degree of on-site inspection. And you have to do that by having at least some limited access to the places where these tactical nuclear weapons are stored. That will not be easy to achieve, but perhaps in the new euphoria that we have, maybe something that can be done about that.
But you're quite right, something should be done because the numbers of tactical nuclear weapons seem to be far larger than the number of strategic weapons, and they are vulnerable in many ways, including to theft, so we want to do something about that.
MR. KIMBALL: If I might add, I don't think it is safe to assume that if there are strategic reductions in operationally deployed warheads that there will be progress on tactical nuclear weapons at all. These are some useful steps that have been outlined here, but this requires political will and attention, and it appears as though the Bush administration is interested in signing this agreement and turning its attention to other issues.
In February, when our Arms Control Today editor interviewed John Bolton, who is the current undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security, he said, "We are willing to discuss tactical nukes, but they are not a top priority." They should be a top priority, particularly after this meeting. And I think the problem of tactical nuclear weapons, which is also described in a feature article in this month's Arms Control Today, illustrates the problem of informal arms control. As Jim Goodby mentioned, in 1991 Presidents Bush and Gorbachev unilaterally drew down the tactical nuclear weapons deployments to improve security in the aftermath-the immediate aftermath of the Soviet Union's collapse, but there has been scant progress since then. And as a result we did not have good information on the location and the number of Russia's tactical nuclear weapons.
So this is something that should be on the regular agenda and needs more attention.
QUESTION: Yes, I was wondering if the panelists could discuss the possible dangers of an agreement, in a little bit more detail, of having the Russians store rather than destroy warheads.
MR. KIMBALL: John?
MR. HOLUM: Let me first of all put that in a sort of a continuum of concerns. If I were a terrorist and wanted access to or wanted to make nuclear weapons, the most remote thing -- the least attractive thing to me would be a warhead mounted on a missile; I couldn't get to it. Probably the next least attractive would be an actual warhead because it would likely have devices attached to it which would make it impossible for me to take it apart or make it work. What I'd really want to get is the material that's in the warhead that I could make my own crude device out of. The bomb itself is surrounded with high explosives and difficult to transport and relatively heavy. To the extent that there is a risk of someone extracting the materials out of a weapon, a tactical nuclear weapon is the most likely because they are smaller and there are more of them; they are stored in a variety of places that we don't have access to, that we don't have a good understanding of.
So I think the risk is mainly in the tactical nuclear area, which this treaty doesn't cover and which we've been discussing, and also in the next steps beyond that: how do you extract-dismantle the weapon, store the physical material ultimately, dispose of the HEU or the plutonium? So that's the sort of realm of concern I've been talking about, at least.
AMB. INDERFURTH: Could I just add to that just to say, and it only takes one. Last night-maybe some of you were there as well-there was a preview of the new film, "The Sum of All Fears," and it was all fears. It was about nuclear terrorism, and it was about the possibility of the United States and Russia going to the brink of a massive nuclear exchange, and well after the Cold War is over, because of the-well, I will not reveal the plot of Tom Clancy's book, but everything we're talking about here, nuclear terrorism, materials, Russian scientists-that's another nonproliferation concern: those who have knowledge of how to build or to put these things together, perhaps finding that it is more important for their families' security to go somewhere else to make money where they can't do it-all of these things sort of come together in a way that sort of raises all of the concerns and all the fears that I think that we've been expressing here about the need to address the nuclear issue in all its dimensions, from nonproliferation to reductions to tactical nukes to doing something about this inertia of the Cold War which does leave a targeting strategy where, despite the fact that we are now good friends with Russia, our targeting strategy is still based upon that scenario. We've got to move away from it and do it quickly.
AMB. GOODBY: Could I just add two points? First is that we have spent I think at least $200 million of the taxpayers' money helping the Russians to build a facility in the Ural Mountains where they would store dismantled nuclear warheads under joint custody of the U.S. and Russia. That would be a fairly safe thing to do. In contrast, we've been trying to encourage the Russian military to consolidate its nuclear weapons stockpiles in fewer locations than now they are stored in, and we haven't had all that much success, partly because it costs them a lot of money and partly because access to such a facility, in their view, has to be very, very limited.
So we are on the one hand facing an opportunity that we created, namely a good, safe place to store dismantled warheads, and on the other facing the problem that is more of these warheads are taken off missiles and put in these many, many locations around the country. They may in fact be less secure. We should be worried about that.
MR. KIMBALL: Other questions?
Let me just expand upon a point that Ambassador Inderfurth raised earlier, related to nuclear testing and new nuclear weapons. As he said, the Sunday New York Times article described U.S. intelligence reports that raise concerns about Russian test site preparations. This is, in my view, another illustration of the ongoing suspicions between the United States and Russia that should be addressed in proactive ways.
One of the other issues that ought to be on the U.S.-Russian bilateral nuclear risk reduction agenda is to pursue measures to increase transparency at the test sites. This is a proposal that Republican Congressman Curt Weldon made on the floor last week. It's a proposal that Russia made formally in November at the New York conference on accelerating the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty entry into force. Russia suggested that test site transparency measures be implemented following the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which this administration, the Bush administration, refuses to ask the Senate to reconsider, and which also would provide for short notice on-site inspections that would clarify these kinds of concerns.
So, this is yet I think another area where the two sides ought to make some good faith efforts to resolve these issues, and the Bush administration in particular should take a common sense approach to this and drop its, I would say, rather ideological opposition to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and ideas related.
If there are no other questions -- and one last question before we close. Yes, sir? And then we will conclude.
QUESTION: Hello, this is-(unintelligible) -Japan. Quickly, do you agree with the notion that President Bush has gotten a boost by this agreement as he pursued the prior missile defense program? And also, will you elaborate: what kind of NATO-U.S. or mainly Russia-U.S. cooperation can be anticipated in the development of missile defense?
MR. KIMBALL: Could you just repeat the last part of your question, please?
QUESTION: Would you elaborate what kind of cooperation can be anticipated between Russia and the U.S. in developing the missile defense system?
AMB. GOODBY: Well, first, I don't think anybody has defined the type of cooperation. There's been a lot of back and forth between Russian experts and U.S. experts. So far as I know, there hasn't been any understanding reached about exactly what might be done.
What I think should be done is that the NATO at 20, the NATO-Russia Council, just established yesterday, which has this item on its agenda, should establish a working group to actually devise a program. Now, that will require a certain exchange of information that perhaps some in this country or elsewhere would not like to see exchanged. That will be the first hurdle. But I think there is a vast potential there that ought to be looked at very seriously. And one of the reasons I'm pleased by the new strategic framework document is that that item is also enshrined there. Again, it's the follow up that I think is important.
MR. KIMBALL: And while joint missile defense-theater missile defense cooperation between the United States and Russia might help smooth U.S.-Russian relations, if the two sides are really serious about dealing with the global missile proliferation problem, they also need to work together, and with China, on strengthening the missile technology control regime, on dealing with the regional missile proliferation problem areas in the Middle East, South Asia and especially Northeast Asia with North Korea, where there is an opportunity to permanently freeze North Korea's missile program if the U.S. and Russia and China can work together on that goal.
AMB. INDERFURTH: Daryl, you mentioned South Asia. It is an area of the world I was formerly responsible for at the State Department. I will just put a plug in for today's Washington Post. There was an article on the front page about the Cargill crisis of 1999. If you go to the-I sound like a Washington Post promoter here-if you go to The Washington Post Web site you can actually download the entire report that was written by Bruce Reidel of the National Security Council on that, which has a very significant nuclear dimension to that crisis. So I commend the report to you.
MR. KIMBALL: All right.
Well, thank you gentlemen, and thank you audience for your attention. We're going to be continuing to follow the course of the agreement that is likely going to be signed in Moscow, with also the Senate ratification debate in the next few months. Thank you for coming this morning.