For Immediate Release: April 2, 2004
Press Contacts: Daryl Kimball, Executive Director, (202) 463-8270 x107;
Wade Boese, Research Director, (202) 463-8270 x104
(Washington, D.C.): Top arms control and national security experts gathered recently for a one-day conference to analyze current and emerging dangers posed by nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and ballistic missiles and to recommend solutions to curb these threats. A record of the conference's proceedings, including keynote speeches by Senators Joseph Biden (D-Del.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.), is now available online in a PDF booklet at <http://www.armscontrol.org/system/files/WarnkePDFTranscript.pdf>.
At the conference, more than a dozen leading current and past security policymakers and practitioners spoke to a whole host of arms control issues.
The most immediate challenges to world security arise from long-standing conflicts in the Middle East, South Asia, and on the Korean Peninsula, where states already possess or are pursuing nuclear weapons. George Perkovich of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace argued that the "operational objective" in dealing with all nonproliferation cases is to prevent the use of nuclear weapons, followed closely by the need to make sure nuclear materials are not passed or leaked to terrorists. Robert Gallucci, Robert Einhorn, and Daniel Poneman all offered proposals on how to accomplish these goals for North Korea and Iran.
Senator Biden warned that Washington must not simply focus on other states' behavior. He said that U.S. research into new nuclear weapons sends the wrong message to other capitals. Biden declared, "Our search for new nuclear weapons has an aura of mindless devotion to nuclear war."
General Eugene Habiger, who was formerly responsible for all U.S. nuclear forces, urged that more must be done to get all current nuclear-weapon states involved in negotiations to reduce their arsenals. He criticized as too slow U.S. and Russian efforts to cut their nuclear forces and recommended, "It's time for us to get down to lower levels."
Although these tasks appear daunting, UN Under-Secretary General for Disarmament Affairs Nobuyasu Abe said past experiences promise hope. He asserted that the nuclear nonproliferation regime accomplished a "significant achievement" by preventing the world from becoming home to tens of nuclear-weapon states as had been predicted in the early 1960s. Still, Abe said it's time for states to "revitalize the arms control process, expand our common search for the practical means to achieve disarmament and nonproliferation goals, and to strengthen the ability to verify and secure compliance with nonproliferation and disarmament commitments."
Some Bush administration officials, however, have dismissed arms control as outdated and ineffective. Senator Reed argued otherwise, "Our nation must pursue comprehensive and practical efforts to deal with the shortcomings and unfinished parts of the global nuclear, chemical, and biological arms control regime in order to adapt to the new threats and the new technologies of the post-Cold War world. Let us expand and improve arms control, not condemn it."
The Arms Control Association, Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, and its Center for Peace and Security Studies sponsored the Jan. 28 conference in honor of the late Paul C. Warnke. A member of the Arms Control Association Board of Directors for nearly two decades, Warnke was a leading architect of U.S. arms control policy as a former director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency under President Jimmy Carter.
# # #
The Arms Control Association is an independent, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to promoting public understanding of and support for effective arms control policies. Established in 1971, the Association publishes the monthly journal, Arms Control Today.