Login/Logout

*
*  

"Though we have acheived progress, our work is not over. That is why I support the mission of the Arms Control Association. It is, quite simply, the most effective and important organization working in the field today." 

– Larry Weiler
Former U.S.-Russian arms control negotiator
August 7, 2018
Daryl Kimball

Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard and the Government of Mexico Voted 2021 Arms Control Person(s) of the Year

Sections:

Body: 

Recognized for Novel Initiative to Combat Illicit Arms Trafficking

For Immediate Release: Jan. 14, 2022

Media Contacts: Tony Fleming, director for communications, 202-463-8270 ext. 110; Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, 202-463-8270 ext 107

(Washington, D.C.)—Mexico’s foreign minister, Mr. Marcelo Ebrard, and the government of Mexico were selected as the 2021 Arms Control Persons of the Year through an online poll that drew thousands of participants from dozens of countries. The annual contest is organized by the independent, nongovernmental Arms Control Association.

Mr. Ebrard and the government were nominated for their lawsuit against U.S. gun manufacturers and distributors that takes a novel approach to combat illicit weapons trafficking from the United States into Mexico that is fueling violence and criminal activity.

The lawsuit, filed in a Massachusetts federal district court, alleges that several major firearms manufacturers and wholesalers “design, market, distribute, and sell guns in ways they know routinely arm the drug cartels in Mexico,” and that contributes to a decline of life expectancy in Mexico. It said the named companies sell about 340,000 of an estimated half-million guns that illegally flow each year from “Massachusetts and other U.S. states to criminals south of the [U.S.-Mexico] border.”

“The Mexican Foreign Ministry’s lawsuit against the U.S. firearms companies represents an important new way to hold rogue actors accountable for their role in the violence caused by small arms trafficking across international borders,” according to Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association.

“The Arms Control Person(s) of the Year contest is a reminder of the diverse and creative ways that dedicated individuals and organizations from around the globe can contribute to meeting the difficult arms control challenges of today and the coming decades,” he said.

This year, eight individuals and groups were nominated by the Arms Control Association staff and board of directors. “All of the nominees demonstrated extraordinary leadership in raising awareness of and advancing effective arms control solutions for the threats posed by mass casualty weapons during the course of 2021,” Kimball said.

The runners-up in this year’s contest were Sébastien Philippe, an associate research scholar of the Princeton Program on Science and Global Security, and French journalist Tomas Statius, for their groundbreaking investigation that challenges the French government’s official public story of the health consequences of French atmospheric nuclear tests in the South Pacific. Their new findings suggest more than 100,000 people in Polynesia may be eligible to claim compensation from France for harm caused by the tests, which is about 10 times more than estimated by the existing French government.

Online voting was open from Dec. 8, 2021, until Jan. 12, 2022. A list of all of this year's nominees is available at https://www.armscontrol.org/pressroom/2021-12/2021-arms-control-persons-year-nominees-announced

Previous winners of the Arms Control Person of the Year are:

  • Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins and Women of Color Advancing Peace and Security for catalyzing support and action from leaders and practitioners in the national security and foreign policy communities to increase diversity into their ranks (2020);
  • Areg Danagoulian and colleagues at MIT for development of an innovative new nuclear disarmament verification process using neutron beams (2019);
  • 4,000 Anonymous Google Employees whose open letter to company leadership led to Google ending its work on “Project Maven” with the Pentagon (2018);
  • Diplomats from Austria, Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, and South Africa, and Costa Rica who secured the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (2017) ;
  • Tony de Brum and the government of the Marshall Islands (2016);
  • Setsuko Thurlow and the Hibakusha of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, (2015);
  • Austria's Director for Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Ambassador Alexander Kmentt (2014);
  • Executive-Secretary of the CTBTO Lassina Zerbo (2013);
  • General James Cartwright (2012);
  • Reporter and activist Kathi Lynn Austin (2011);
  • Kazakhstan's Deputy Foreign Minister Kairat Umarov and Thomas D'Agostino, U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration Administrator (2010);
  • Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) (2009);
  • Norway's Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and his ministry's Director-General for Security Policy and the High North Steffen Kongstad (2008); and
  • Congressmen Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.) and David Hobson (R-Ohio) (2007).
Description: 

Mr. Ebrard and the government were nominated for their lawsuit against U.S. gun manufacturers and distributors that takes a novel approach to combat illicit weapons trafficking from the United States into Mexico that is fueling violence and criminal activity.

    U.S., Russia Must Elevate Action on Arms Control in Strategic Stability Dialogue

    Sections:

    Body: 

    Volume 14, Issue 1, Jan. 13, 2022

    As U.S. and Russian diplomats engage in a high-stakes negotiation on a broad range of challenging European security and nuclear arms control issues, it is in the interest of both sides to ensure that progress on new nuclear arms control arrangements does not fall victim to deep, and perhaps irreconcilable, differences over NATO’s relationship with Russia and the delays on the implementation of the Minsk II agreement, which was designed to avoid further conflict over Ukraine.

    It has been nearly a year since U.S President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to extend the only remaining treaty limiting their massive nuclear arsenals, the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), which limits each side to no more than 1,550 deployed strategic warheads and 700 deployed strategic delivery platforms.

    It has been more than six months since Biden and Putin agreed in June 2021 to restart a Strategic Stability Dialogue (SSD) in order “to lay the groundwork for future arms control and risk reduction measures.”

    Since then, too little progress has been achieved to negotiate a new agreement or agreements before New START expires in early 2026.

    On Monday, Washington and Moscow concluded the third round of the bilateral strategic stability dialogue, which was focused on Russia’s new and broader package of proposals on mutual security guarantees. The initial two rounds of the SSD were held in July and September 2021.

    Russia’s decision to inject additional demands on “security guarantees” has, unfortunately, further complicated the equation. As we and other U.S., Russian and European experts have suggested, the two sides can and need to develop new understandings on four sets of nuclear arms control issues through this process:

    • deeper verifiable cuts in the bloated U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear arsenals,
    • achieving new understandings designed to limit and account for Russian and U.S. non-strategic (or tactical) nuclear weapons,
    • new measures to prohibit or limit the reintroduction of intermediate-range missiles in Europe, and
    • new understandings on how to limit strategic missile defense capabilities.

    On Jan. 10, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman noted, correctly, that “these kinds of arms control negotiations – as President Putin himself has said – don’t happen in just a day or even a week. They’re generally quite complex, very technical, and take some time. But we’re certainly ready to move as expeditiously as one possibly can in these circumstances.”

    Concluding durable, new arrangements to supersede New START will ensure there are verifiable limits on the massive and deadly U.S. and Russian nuclear stockpiles, which are critical to U.S. and Russian national, as well as for international, peace and security. Without such guardrails, U.S.-Russian relations will become even more dangerous.

    We call on the two sides to redouble their efforts to keep their nuclear disarmament discussions moving forward so new, follow-on nuclear disarmament agreements can be concluded no later than 2025, and preferably sooner.

    INF Missile Restriction Options

    While some Kremlin demands, including Putin’s call for legally-binding assurances regarding NATO expansion, may reflect serious Russian concerns, they are non-starters. On the other hand, some other Russian proposals on arms control challenges are quite serious and deserve a substantive response from the United States.

    For instance, Russia has reiterated its concept for a moratorium on U.S. and Russian deployment of missiles formerly banned by the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which Putin first proposed in 2019 and expanded in 2020 to include mutual verification measures.

    Russia’s INF missile proposal needs further work, but it can serve as a starting point for negotiations on a deal with the United States that can help avert a new Euromissile race.

    It is incumbent upon the Biden administration, in coordination with NATO, to put forward a constructive counterproposal regarding an INF-range missile moratorium.

    One approach would be for U.S./NATO leaders to pledge not to field any INF Treaty-prohibited missiles in Europe so long as Russia does not deploy treaty-prohibited systems where they could hit NATO territory.

    Other options that might be considered include agreeing to a verifiable ban on all nuclear-armed ground-launched and sea-launched cruise missiles and ballistic missiles of intermediate range (500-5,500 km) or a prohibition on ground-launched ballistic missiles of intermediate range. This would require a return to an INF Treaty-like verification system and would require Russia to move or destroy its currently deployed 9M729 missiles, which violated the terms of the original INF Treaty.

    The U.S. and Russian presidents could codify these INF missile restrictions through an executive agreement. Progress on this issue could build momentum in other areas of nuclear arms control and improve the climate for talks broader security matters.

    On Jan. 3, the United States, Russia, France, China, and the United Kingdom issued a rare joint statement reiterating the 1985 Reagan-Gorbachev principle that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”

    Now, the two countries with the largest nuclear arsenals can start to put these words into action by empowering their negotiators to reach new agreements that sharply reduce nuclear risks and the number of nuclear weapons. —SHANNON BUGOS, senior policy analyst, and DARYL G. KIMBALL, executive director

    Description: 

    It is in the interest of both the United States and Russia to ensure that progress on new nuclear arms control arrangements does not fall victim to deep, and perhaps irreconcilable, differences. 

    Country Resources:

    On Nuclear Weapons, Actions Belie Reassuring Words


    January/February 2022
    By Daryl G. Kimball

    On Jan. 3, the leaders of the five nuclear-armed members of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) issued a rare joint statement on preventing nuclear war in which they affirmed, for the first time, the 1985 Reagan-Gorbachev maxim that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”

    (Photo by Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament/Henry Kenyon)The U.S., Chinese, French, Russian, and UK effort was designed in part to create a positive atmosphere for the 10th NPT review conference, which has been delayed again by the pandemic. It also clearly aims to address global concerns about the rising danger of nuclear conflict among states and signals a potential for further cooperation to address this existential threat.

    The question now is, do they have the will and the skill to translate their laudable intentions into action before it is too late?

    U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price hailed the statement as “extraordinary.” A more sober reading shows that it falls woefully short of committing the five to the policies and actions necessary to prevent nuclear war. In fact, the statement illustrates how their blind faith in deterrence theories, which hinge on a credible threat of using nuclear weapons, perpetuates conditions that could lead to nuclear catastrophe.

    The statement asserts that “nuclear weapons—for as long as they continue to exist—should serve defensive purposes, deter aggression, and prevent war.” Yet, such broad language suggests they might use nuclear weapons to “defend” themselves against a wide range of threats, including non-nuclear threats. Given the indiscriminate and horrific effects of nuclear weapons use, such policies are dangerous, immoral, and legally unjustifiable.

    At the very least, if the leaders of these states are serious about averting nuclear war, they should formally adopt no-first-use policies or, as U.S. President Joe Biden promised in 2020, declare that the sole purpose of nuclear weapons is to deter or possibly respond to a nuclear attack.

    Even this approach perpetuates circumstances that could lead to nuclear war by accident or miscalculation. The only way to ensure nuclear weapons are never used is “to do away with them entirely,” as President Ronald Reagan argued in 1984, and sooner rather than later.

    But on disarmament, the statement only expressed a “desire to work with all states to create a security environment more conducive to progress on disarmament with the ultimate goal of a world without nuclear weapons with undiminished security for all.” This vague, caveated promise rings hollow after years of stalled disarmament progress and an accelerating global nuclear arms race.

    A year ago, Russia and the United States extended the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, but they have not begun negotiations on a follow-on agreement. Meanwhile, both spend billions of dollars annually to maintain and upgrade their nuclear forces, which far exceed any rational concept of what it takes to deter a nuclear attack.

    China is on pace to double or triple the size of its land-based strategic missile force in the coming years. Worse still, despite past promises “to engage in the process leading to the total elimination of nuclear weapons,” Chinese leaders are rebuffing calls to engage in arms control talks with the United States and others. The United Kingdom, meanwhile, announced last year it would increase its deployed strategic warhead ceiling.

    Fresh statements by the five NPT nuclear-armed states reaffirming their “intention” to fulfill their NPT disarmament obligations are hardly credible in the absence of time-bound commitments to specific disarmament actions.

    At the same time, the five, led by France, have criticized the good faith efforts by the majority of NPT non-nuclear-weapon states-parties to advance the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). Contrary to claims by the nuclear-armed states, the TPNW reinforces the NPT and the norm against possessing, testing, and using nuclear weapons.

    Rather than engage TPNW leaders on their substantive concerns, U.S. officials are pressuring influential states, including Sweden, Germany, and Japan, not to attend the first meeting of TPNW states-parties as observers. Such bullying will only reinforce enthusiasm for the TPNW and undermine U.S. credibility on nuclear matters.

    The leaders of the nuclear five, especially Biden, can and must do better. Before the NPT review conference later this year, Russia and the United States should commit to conclude by 2025 negotiations on further verifiable cuts in strategic and nonstrategic nuclear forces and on constraints on long-range missile defenses. China, France, and the UK should agree to join nuclear arms control talks no later than 2025 and to freeze their stockpiles as Washington and Moscow negotiate deeper cuts in theirs.

    Instead of belittling the TPNW, the five states need to get their own houses in order. Concrete action on disarmament is overdue. It will help create a more stable and peaceful international security environment and facilitate the transformative move from unsustainable and dangerous deterrence doctrines toward a world free of the fear of nuclear Armageddon.

    On Jan. 3, the leaders of the five nuclear-armed members of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) issued a rare joint statement on preventing nuclear war in which they affirmed, for the first time, the 1985 Reagan-Gorbachev maxim that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”

    U.S., Russia Broaden Strategic Dialogue


    January/February 2022
    By Daryl G. Kimball and Shannon Bugos

    Senior U.S. and Russian officials have agreed to meet in Geneva on Jan. 10 to discuss a long list of security issues, including a wide-ranging set of Russian proposals that Moscow says are designed to provide “security guarantees.” In recent weeks, tensions have flared as Russian President Vladimir Putin stepped up Russian military activity near Ukraine, which Russia invaded in 2014, and complained about NATO military support for Ukraine and Georgia.

    President Joe Biden speaks to the press as he departs the White House on Dec. 8, a day after a virtual summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Another virtual summit was held on Dec. 30 as tensions over Ukraine heated up.  (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)On Dec. 15, Karen Donfried, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, met Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who transmitted two draft agreements outlining political and military security guarantees Moscow wants from the United States and NATO. They include demands that NATO renounce any expansion eastward into states of the former Soviet bloc, including Ukraine, and limit troop and weapons deployments and military drills on NATO’s eastern flank.

    Two days later, Russia published its proposals, one between Russia and the United States and another between Russia and NATO. “We hope that the United States will enter into serious talks with Russia in the near future regarding this matter, which has critical importance for maintaining peace and stability, using the Russian draft treaty and agreement as a starting point,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

    The White House quickly announced it would engage on the proposals, but insisted its European partners would also be involved. The Russian-U.S. strategic stability dialogue in Geneva is expected to be followed on Jan. 12 by talks in Brussels within the NATO-Russia Council, which has not met in more than two years.

    “We’ll listen to Russia explain its proposals and the underlying concerns motivating them. We’ll respond and share our own concerns, and we do have many,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Jan. 4 of the Geneva meeting.

    He stressed that the talks are narrowly focused on strategic stability matters and described the U.S. goal as being able to “identify a few issues where there might be enough common ground to continue discussions and ultimately address together.”

    Price also emphasized that the talks would deal strictly with bilateral matters and “we’re not going to talk above the heads of our European allies and partners.”

    On Dec. 30, President Joe Biden spoke with Putin on security matters, the second such conversation that month. According to a statement released by the White House, Biden “… urged Russia to deescalate tensions with Ukraine. He made clear that the United States and its allies and partners will respond decisively if Russia further invades Ukraine. President Biden also expressed support for diplomacy, starting early next year [and] reiterated that substantive progress in these dialogues can occur only in an environment of deescalation rather than escalation.”

    The January meetings were scheduled as fighting between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine continues and as concerns linger about Russia’s military activities along its common border with Ukraine. Last month, U.S. officials said Russia has amassed around 100,000 troops near the Ukrainian border that could be used against Ukraine. On Dec. 25, Reuters reported that more than 10,000 Russian troops were leaving regions near Ukraine, including Crimea, Rostov, and Kuban, and returning to permanent bases in Russia.

    The Russian-U.S. talks will occur in the context of the strategic stability dialogue launched after the June summit between Biden and Putin to discuss nuclear weapons-related issues. The previous two rounds, in July and September, were led by Ryabkov and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman.

    The dialogue was originally designed to explore future arms control options. After the September dialogue, Moscow and Washington agreed to establish two working groups, one on “principles and objectives for future arms control” and the other on “capabilities and actions with strategic effects.”

    How the broadened dialogue will affect progress toward negotiations on new nuclear arms control arrangements is not yet clear. Both sides have indicated interest in a new agreement or agreements to supersede the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), which expires in February 2026. The treaty caps Russian and U.S. strategic nuclear arsenals at 1,550 deployed warheads and 700 deployed delivery vehicles and heavy bombers each. The Bilateral Consultative Commission, the treaty’s implementing body, last met Oct. 5–14 in Geneva.

    One Russian security proposal calls for the United States not to deploy outside its borders any missiles formerly banned under the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. Under that treaty, the United States and the Soviet Union banned all nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers, leading to the elimination of a total of 2,692 missiles.

    After Washington withdrew from the accord in 2019, Putin proposed that the two countries impose a moratorium on the deployment of INF Treaty-range missiles and later added mutual verification measures to the proposal. Russia also indicated that its 9M729 cruise missile, which the United States alleged was a violation of the INF Treaty, would be covered by its proposal.

    At the time, the Trump administration and NATO dismissed the Russian proposal. The Biden administration has not clarified whether it would consider the Russian concept or offer a counterproposal.

    The draft Russian-U.S. agreement proposes that the two countries “shall undertake not to deploy ground-launched intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles outside their national territories, as well as in the areas of their national territories, from which such weapons can attack targets in the national territory of the other party.”

    The draft Russian-NATO agreement also includes a moratorium, proposing that “the parties shall not deploy land-based intermediate- and short-range missiles in areas allowing them to reach the territory of the other parties.”

    Additionally, Moscow proposed that Russia and the United States “refrain from deploying nuclear weapons outside their national territories” and “not train military and civilian personnel from non-nuclear countries to use nuclear weapons.”

    This refers to the U.S.-NATO nuclear sharing agreement, under which Washington is estimated to deploy more than 100 B61 gravity bombs across Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey, with all but the Turkish air force assigned and trained to carry out nuclear strike missions with the U.S. weapons.

    Bonnie Jenkins, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, outlined the key concepts for U.S. arms control efforts in a Sept. 6 speech. “First, we will look to capture new kinds of intercontinental-range nuclear delivery systems. Second, we will seek to address all nuclear warheads, including those which have not been limited previously, like so-called non-strategic nuclear weapons. Third, we will seek to retain limits on Russian intercontinental-range ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments after New START expires in 2026,” she said.

    It remains unclear how the two sides could bridge their nuclear differences and when they might transition from the dialogue to more formal negotiations on a successor to New START. Biden said in June that “we’ll find out within the next six months to a year whether or not we actually have a strategic dialogue that matters.”

    Russian, U.S. officials planned security talks for Jan. 10.

    NPT Review Conference Again Delayed


    January/February 2022
    By Daryl G. Kimball

    Days before the Jan. 4 start of the 10th review conference of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), states-parties postponed the meeting yet again due to a surge in COVID-19 cases. They acted by consensus after officials from the United Nations said the world body could not safely support what was supposed to be a month-long, in-person event.

    In a Dec. 30 letter to the states-parties, the president-designate of the conference, Gustavo Zlauvinen, said he will ask the UN Secretariat to place a tentative hold on the dates of Aug. 1–26 for the rescheduled meeting, assuming the pandemic abates. “A formal decision on the dates will need to be taken at a later time, but not later than 3 months before the opening of the review conference,” he wrote.

    Repeated COVID-related delays are preventing the states-parties from a pivotal opportunity to address a growing array of nuclear dangers.

    In an opinion essay published on Dec. 25, UN Secretary-General António Guterres wrote that “the existential threat that cast a shadow over the first half of my life no longer receives the attention it should. Nuclear weapons have faded from headlines and Hollywood scripts. But the danger they pose remains as high as ever and is growing by the year.”

    “What happens in the NPT negotiating rooms in January matters to everyone—because any use of nuclear weapons will affect everyone,” Guterres said. “I hope people everywhere will push governments to step back from the abyss and create a safer, more secure world for all: a world free of nuclear weapons.”

    The 10th review conference of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty is delayed until August.

    Pages

    Subscribe to RSS - Daryl Kimball