For Immediate Release: May 31, 2005
Washington, D.C. -- Today, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice hosted several foreign ambassadors to commemorate the 2 nd anniversary of the administration’s Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI). While PSI is a promising adjunct to the international nonproliferation regime anchored by the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), the initiative’s actual impact on halting the worldwide spread of deadly weapons remains unsubstantiated.
PSI aims to improve countries’ capabilities to intercept shipments of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, as well as related materials and delivery vehicles, at sea, on land, and in the air. For more information on PSI, visit the Arms Control Association’s subject resource page on the initiative at <http://www.armscontrol.org/subject/cppsi/#psi>.
Although the administration asserts that the initiative has been a huge success, it says that the sensitive nature of PSI prevents discussion of its specific accomplishments, except for the much publicized October 2003 interdiction of the BBC China transporting nuclear contraband to Libya.
Yet, some foreign government and former U.S. officials dispute this assertion, arguing that the BBC China interdiction was not a PSI operation. These claims will be detailed further in a forthcoming article in the monthly journal Arms Control Today, which is published by the Arms Control Association.
The interdiction of dangerous cargo was not novel to PSI and it does not legally empower countries to do anything that they could not do before. All actions under the initiative are completely voluntary.
The administration’s high-profile support for PSI contrasts sharply with its recent participation at a month-long international conference dedicated to reviewing and strengthening the NPT. Neither President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, nor Rice attended the once-every-five-years conference in New York, and it concluded without any agreements on how to improve international efforts to stop nuclear proliferation. This outcome resulted, in part, from the administration’s refusal to own up to past U.S. disarmament commitments. For additional information on the NPT and U.S. participation at the conference, visit <http://www.NPT2005.org>.
# # #
The Arms Control Association is an independent, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to promoting public understanding of and support for effective arms control policies.