I find hope in the work of long-established groups such as the Arms Control Association...[and] I find hope in younger anti-nuclear activists and the movement around the world to formally ban the bomb.

– Vincent Intondi
Author, "African Americans Against the Bomb: Nuclear Weapons, Colonialism, and the Black Freedom Movement
Issue Briefs

One Step Forward

The new Presidential Decision Directive (PDD-60) on nuclear war plans constitutes a major step forward from Cold War thinking about nuclear weapons. In abandoning the requirement that the U.S. military be prepared to fight and win even a protracted, all-out nuclear war with Russia, the new guidance relieves the Joint Chiefs of an impossible task at any force level. By substituting the requirement that U.S. forces provide a secure deterrent, President Clinton has made it possible for the Joint Chiefs to support the force levels proposed for START III and much lower levels in the future.

During the Cold War, U.S. war plans in the event of a Soviet nuclear attack called for immediate and devastating nuclear retaliation against the Soviet Union to eliminate any remaining strategic or other threatening military assets and to destroy its economy, its leadership and, collaterally, its society as well. Presumably, the Soviet Union had similar plans. Each side pursued the will-o'-the-wisp strategy that somehow, with enough weapons, it could emerge the winner of such an exchange despite the fact that both countries and their allies would certainly be utterly destroyed in the process. The prospect of such an apocalyptic end of civilization perhaps served as an effective deterrent to conflict between the superpowers.

The catastrophic domestic and global consequences of such gross overkill—involving force levels far in excess of those necessary to deter any adversary—became increasingly clear to a growing number inside and outside the military establishment. And with the end of the Cold War, it became obvious that deterrence could be accomplished with much smaller strategic forces. Now, with the elimination of the formal requirement to be able to fight and win a nuclear war, the Joint Chiefs—who long ago outgrew their initial infatuation with nuclear weapons for all purposes—are in a position to accept lower force levels with full confidence that any potential adversaries, including a highly unlikely recidivist Russia or aggressive China, will be deterred.

Some critics here and abroad have denounced the new guidance for continuing to embrace the concept of deterrence, clearly directed at Russia and China, with which we are seeking to develop friendly relations. Deterrence, however, is not a declaratory policy that can be repudiated but a fact of life as long as nuclear weapons and potential adversarial relationships exist. Any national leader with aggressive intentions will have to take existing nuclear arsenals into account before acting. In fact, nuclear weapons will continue to provide "virtual" deterrence even if they are eliminated because today's nuclear powers would retain the inherent capability to reconstitute nuclear forces relatively quickly in the face of unacceptable threats.

Some press reports have suggested that the new guidance calls for a nuclear response if chemical and biological weapons are ever used against the United States. If correct, this would indeed be a dangerous relaxation of existing constraints on the use of nuclear weapons. However, senior government spokesmen have stated that this is not the case and that U.S. policy will continue to honor the negative security assurances set forth in 1995 by Secretary of State Warren Christopher on behalf of the president in connection with the indefinite extension of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). This pledge committed the United States not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states that are members of the NPT unless they are engaged in an attack on the United States, its troops or allies in association or alliance with a nuclear-weapon state. This precludes the use of nuclear weapons against all countries except a few most unlikely U.S. adversaries that are also NPT hold-outs (Israel, India and Pakistan) and the other nuclear-weapon states (Britain, China, France and Russia). It is difficult to imagine any credible scenarios where an American president would initiate the use of nuclear weapons against any of these countries. With this guidance, the United States is moving, as it should, closer to a no-first-use posture, where its nuclear weapons serve only to deter the use of nuclear weapons against the United States or its allies.

The fine print in the classified directive could of course contain troublesome features. Given the confusion at home and abroad as to the nature of the guidance, the president should clarify the new U.S. nuclear doctrine. But the central thrust of the policy appears to move in the right direction by abandoning a nuclear war—fighting and war—winning doctrine and declaring in its place deterrence as the only role for nuclear weapons. This doctrine will facilitate the negotiation of much lower levels of nuclear arsenals and eventually the elimination of nuclear weapons if there are no nuclear threats to deter.

Testing the CTB Regime

After a 10 week delay, the CIA finally conceded that the much publicized seismic event on August 16 in the Arctic Ocean was not caused by a nuclear explosion as it had previously strongly suggested. This conclusion was quietly revealed on November 4 in a press release that was more concerned with justifying the agency's dilatory performance than clarifying the nature of the event. The statement could simply be dismissed as an egregious example of self righteous bureaucratic protectionism were it not for the unwarranted doubt it cast on the ability to monitor the Comprehensive Test Ban (CTB) Treaty, even though the so called Novaya Zemlya seismic event actually demonstrated that the CTB regime can be "effectively" verified.

Having detected renewed activity at the old Soviet underground nuclear test site on the island of Novaya Zemlya, U.S. intelligence was understandably alarmed when reports were received of a seismic event whose initial location was deemed sufficiently uncertain to possibly include the test site. As more information became available, however, both U.S. government seismologists and the international seismological community concluded that the event had occurred 130 kilometers from the test site and beneath the bottom of the Arctic Ocean. The location alone should have established that it was a natural earthquake unrelated to the test site activity. But the CIA continued to insist that the event could be a nuclear explosion despite a growing consensus among U.S. and foreign seismologists, working with open data, that the seismic signals were consistent with those from earthquakes and similar to a small earthquake recorded previously in the same general area. Moreover, a very small aftershock, characteristic of an earthquake, had occurred several hours after the main event at the same location. For its part, the Russian government promptly denied there had been a nuclear test and explained that activity at the Novaya Zemlya site related to permitted subcritical tests similar to those being conducted concurrently at the U.S. test site in Nevada.

In the end, Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet, unable to resolve the issue internally, convened an outside panel which concluded that the event was indeed not a nuclear explosion. Unfortunately, the panel inexplicably avoided identifying the event unambiguously as an earthquake, an evasion that incorrectly left a misleading impression about the capabilities of the regime's international monitoring system. The CIA's failure to take a clear stand on the nature of the event is most unfortunate given the critical importance of the powerful array of U.S. national intelligence assets to the discovery of potentially suspicious activities relating to any of the very large number of natural seismic events that occur (averaging some 50 a day more powerful than the recent event). Suspicious activities, however, do not turn an earthquake into a nuclear explosion. To insist that seismic events may be nuclear tests when the technical information available to the international community demonstrates the contrary undercuts the credibility of U.S. intelligence, which is rightfully internationally respected and will be critical to marshaling support to respond to suspected clandestine tests under the CTB Treaty.

The lesson of the August 16 event is not, as the CIA emphasized in its statement, that very small seismic events are hard to identify, which is well known, but rather that the capability exists to verify the CTB effectively. Even before becoming fully operational, the international monitoring system was able to locate the event accurately and identify it as an earthquake with an equivalent yield of around 100 tons of TNT, or one tenth the system's advertised identification threshold of 1 kiloton, as well as an aftershock of around 10 tons, or one hundredth of the identification threshold. At such low yields, undetected tests would not constitute a threat to U.S. security. Such tests would not give the nuclear powers confidence in new designs for higher yield weapons and would not provide potential proliferators with an exploitable path to a first weapon. Moreover, the success of U.S. intelligence capabilities in detecting activities at the Novaya Zemlya test site should help deter others because such activity collocated with a truly suspicious seismic event or other incriminating information would indeed be persuasive evidence of a nuclear test.

The CTB regime successfully passed the test presented by the August 16 earthquake, demonstrating its effectiveness and underscoring the imperative of maintaining the international credibility of U.S. intelligence as a central input to verification of the CTB Treaty. The power and objectivity of this unique U.S. capability must not be called into question by crying wolf when other countries are capable of judging for themselves whether there are any wolves or by failing in the future to draw obvious conclusions about treaty compliance when the evidence is clear.

Aftershocks From the Novaya Zemlya Earthquake


Spurgeon M. Keeny, Jr.

A small earthquake beneath the Arctic Ocean off the coast of Novaya Zemlya has led to reports that Russia conducted a clandestine nuclear explosion at its former test site on the island. Although it is now clear that the earthquake occurred over 100 kilometers from the test site, some in the U.S. intelligence community apparently have not abandoned their initial assessment that the seismic signal was produced by a nuclear explosion. Failure of the Clinton administration to acknowledge the natural origin of the event will call into question the verifiability of the Comprehensive Test Ban (CTB) Treaty and Russia's good faith in honoring its testing moratorium and signature of the CTB.

The current flap became public on August 28 when The Washington Times quoted one Pentagon official as confirming that a seismic event on August 16 was suspected of being caused by a nuclear explosion, and reported that Pentagon officials had "high confidence" that the activity detected was a nuclear test equivalent to between 100 tons and 1,000 tons of TNT. In addition to being in the "vicinity" of the Russian test site on Novaya Zemlya, the seismic event was alleged to have "explosive characteristics" and to have been accompanied by suspicious activity at the test site.

In sharp contrast to this alarming report, U.S. and foreign non governmental seismologists, who have studied extensive unclassified data from many nearby seismic stations, have concluded that the event was located over 100 kilometers from the test site beneath the bottom of the Arctic Ocean and had the characteristics of other small earthquakes in the area. Subsequently, it was reported that the Air Force Technical Applications Center, which monitors worldwide seismic activity, had located the event 130 kilometers from the test site.

Immediately after The Washington Times story, the Russian government unequivocally denied that there had been a nuclear test on Novaya Zemlya. With regard to the reported activity at the test site, the Russian minister of atomic energy said Russian scientists were carrying out "hydrodynamic" explosive experiments there, and other Russian spokesmen indicated that Russia would also be conducting "subcritical" experiments. Such experiments, which are too small to produce measurable seismic signals, do not result in any nuclear yield and are therefore not banned by the CTB.

Ironically, the aboveground activity observed at Novaya Zemlya closely paralleled similar activity at the U.S. nuclear test site in Nevada where preparations were also underway for a mid September subcritical experiment deep underground. To complete the parallel, a few days before the scheduled U.S. subcritical experiment, a comparable earthquake occurred in the vicinity of the Nevada Test Site.

Failure to resolve the nature of the Arctic seismic event promptly could adversely affect the Senate's advice and consent to ratification of the CTB. An official position that the matter is under "continued study" will be seized upon by treaty opponents both as an attempted cover up of a clandestine Russian test and as proof that the treaty is unverifiable. This would be a tragic outcome to what has actually been an impressive demonstration of the ability of the treaty's not yet fully operational monitoring system to identify as an earthquake a suspicious event which was of a smaller magnitude than the completed system's estimated capability.

Looking to the future, unless the U.S. government can establish a rapid and secure decision making process without premature charges of violations, the United States will lose its credibility as the objective agent of verification for this important treaty. There will be a daily average of more than 50 seismic events worldwide with magnitudes equal to or greater than this event. Unless obvious screening criteria, such as location, depth and aftershocks are given the overriding weight they logically warrant, the system will soon be overwhelmed with unresolved events. Once the treaty is in effect, on site inspections will be useful to resolve truly difficult cases; however, the factual basis for such inspections will have to be persuasive and consistent with available technical intelligence. In this case, the event was so located that treaty provisions would not provide for an on site inspection of the test site or even any land area on Novaya Zemlya because the inspection would be limited to a 1,000 square kilometer area beneath the Arctic Ocean where the event occurred.

Verification will be the most difficult issue in the Senate's debate on advice and consent to ratification. How the administration handles the Novaya Zemlya event will be a key to that debate. Equivocation on identification will feed doubts about the treaty's verifiability; a reasoned and decisive stance on identification will demonstrate the power of the monitoring system and the value of the treaty.

NATO Expansion: A Decision to Regret


Jack Mendelsohn

The NATO allies, led by the United States, have taken the fateful decision to invite three nations—Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic—to join the North Atlantic alliance. Although the new members' formal accession is timed to coincide with the alliance's 50th anniversary celebration in April 1999, the prospects for U.S.-Russian arms control have already suffered as a result of NATO's move.

Since NATO first announced its intention to expand eastward, we have seen evidence of hardening of Russian security policy. Ratification of START II has been postponed indefinitely by the Russian Duma because of the persistent opposition to NATO expansion across the entire political spectrum, notwithstanding the promise of NATO-Russian cooperation, as laid out in the NATO-Russian Founding Act, and the five-year extension of the START II implementation schedule along with the further nuclear reductions to be negotiated in START III that were agreed to at the Helsinki summit in March.

If START II remains unratified, a host of other arms control issues will probably be adversely affected as well. Congress may call into question continued support for the destruction of weapons in Russia under the Nunn-Lugar program, which in turn will make it more difficult for the Russians to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention. Perhaps the most strategically significant repercussion from Russia's non-ratification of START II would be in the area of missile defense, where the U.S. administration's strongest argument against unnecessary and unconstrained national missile defense deployments—that it will interfere with START reductions—will become moot.

Sensing its deteriorating security situation, Russia has also abandoned its longstanding nuclear "no-first-use" policy and is in the midst of a debate over whether, given the deplorable state of its conventional forces, the lack of budgetary resources and NATO's creep toward Russia, it should increase its reliance on nuclear weapons. If Russia reemphasizes tactical nuclear systems, of which it has retained large numbers, it would make it more difficult to limit these weapons as envisaged in the Helsinki Joint Statement.

Russian re-emphasis on nuclear weapons could well be accompanied by an unsettling analogue within NATO. If collective defense continues to be NATO's primary function—and all indications are that it will—the alliance will be hard pressed to defend the longer borders of its three new members with fewer, less well-equipped conventional forces. And when NATO expands to the Baltics, which is clearly anticipated by NATO's "open door" policy, it will be unable to defend those countries except by threatening the use of nuclear weapons. As a result, NATO's military doctrine could well come to mirror Moscow's re-emphasis on nuclear weapons.

The Clinton administration has put forward a variety of arguments for NATO expansion, all of which are either unconvincing or irrelevant. The first is that expansion will foster democracy and market economies in the new member-states. But surely someone in the White House must realize that a defensive alliance facing the high costs of expansion and modernization, which the European allies have made clear they will not share and the new members can ill afford, is not an appropriate means for ensuring the growth of strong democratic market economies. If spreading democracy is the objective of the Western alliance, the European Union should have opened its doors to these nations instead of deferring the issue until at least 2002.

Another of the administration's principal arguments in favor of expansion is that it will "spread" security to Central and Eastern Europe. But as the "Open Letter to President Clinton" in opposition to NATO expansion notes (see NATO Letter), just the opposite is likely to happen. Rather than enhancing security in Europe, expansion has the potential to turn Russia against the entire post-Cold War settlement and put severe pressure on the emerging Russian democracy by giving a popular cause to the nationalist and communist opposition. Even the independent-minded General Alexander Lebed, the most popular political figure in Russia, has already expressed his view that "any partial revision of [the post-Cold War order in Europe] places in doubt all the other components, including the inviolability of national boundaries . . . ." [Emphasis added.]

The profound implications of NATO expansion for U.S. national security and U.S.Russian relations demand a rethinking of the policy by the Clinton administration, a wide-ranging public examination and a thorough hearing in both the Senate, which must approve the new members, and the House, which will have to fund the project. The nation deserves nothing less than a full-fledged debate before ratifying this unwise, and by no means pre-ordained, decision.

Send Senate CTB Treaty Now


Spurgeon M. Keeny, Jr.

President Clinton should move quickly to send the Comprehensive Test Ban (CTB) Treaty to the Senate for its advice and consent to ratification. Although Senate debate on the treaty, which the United States signed almost a year ago, threatens to be long and heated, any further delay will not improve the prospects for the treaty's approval and will raise serious questions internationally as to the U.S. commitment to the treaty.

When the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was extended indefinitely in 1995, the nuclear-weapon states agreed to complete the CTB Treaty in 1996. Largely through Clinton's policy initiatives, agreement on a text was reached on schedule, and the treaty has now been signed by 144 countries, including the five nuclear-weapon states.

In the eyes of the world, the next step depends on the willingness of the nuclear-weapon states to ratify the treaty, and Russia and China will certainly wait for the United States to act. Failure by the administration to start the CTB Treaty ratification process would be widely viewed as a repudiation of the political commitment it gave to obtain consensus support for the indefinite extension of the NPT. Extended delay would severely undercut the U.S. leadership role in efforts to strengthen the nuclear nonproliferation regime. Paradoxically, the United States and not India, which has stood virtually alone in refusing to sign the CTB, would then be seen as the barrier to achieving the long-sought goal of ending nuclear testing.

Despite the international imperative to act promptly on CTB ratification, some administration officials and outside observers have counseled delay on the grounds that the necessary 67 votes for approval cannot be mustered in the present Senate. It is far too early, however, to forecast the vote on this issue, and the composition of the Senate is unlikely to be more favorably disposed on this issue after the next election. The debate on the CTB will not really be joined until senators are faced with the prospect of an actual vote. Then, undecided senators will have to face the fact that public opinion, editorial commentary and knowledgeable experts overwhelmingly support the treaty. Treaty opponents cannot look for support from the military, which has outgrown its earlier infatuation with nuclear weapons. Moreover, the weapons laboratories, which have historically been outspoken opponents of a test ban, will not plead the need for continued testing, having accepted a new role as managers of a well-funded stewardship program designed to assure the long-term reliability and safety of existing weapons without nuclear testing.

In the debate, the oft-repeated arguments against a CTB Treaty will have lost much of their force and will be easily rebutted. The reliability and safety of the existing U.S. nuclear arsenal is assured by a gold-plated stewardship program. The U.S. deterrent is overwhelming and secure and will not depend on the development of new nuclear warheads, which would require testing. With provisions for on-site inspections of suspicious events, the treaty's international monitoring system, buttressed by independent U.S. technical intelligence assets, will be capable of verifying whether any significant nuclear testing has occurred anywhere in the world.

When all is said and done, individual senators will have to decide whether they want to be identified as advocates of a resumption of nuclear testing that would seriously set back nuclear nonproliferation efforts when it is most unlikely there will ever be a need for another U.S. nuclear test. As a harbinger of this decision process, Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS), who originally opposed the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), supported the convention when the final vote was taken. While it is true that the CWC was President Bush's treaty and the Republican Party in recent years has opposed the CTB, it is also true that the CTB, which was first championed by President Eisenhower in 1958, will be a much higher profile issue than the CWC and the political penalty for holding it hostage or killing it will be far greater.

Senate approval of the CTB Treaty will be a hard fight that can, and will, be won. In fact, obtaining Senate approval should be much easier than negotiating the detailed treaty in the Conference on Disarmament with 60 participating states, some of which, in addition to India, did not really want the ban. But to win, the president must submit the treaty as soon as possible and no later than early September if there are to be Senate hearings this year leading to a vote in 1998. If the president should be persuaded to wait for a more propitious moment, he runs a serious risk that Senate action on the CTB will not be completed during his term in office, with far-reaching adverse implications on the prospects for progress on his nuclear non-proliferation agenda.

In Memoriam: ACDA (1961-1997)


Spurgeon M. Keeny, Jr.

As part of the price for Senate approval of the Chemical Weapons Convention, President Clinton announced plans to abolish the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA) and fold its functions into the State Department. Although it has received little public attention, ACDA's demise as an independent voice for arms control will impair national security by narrowing arms control options for presidential decisionmaking.

A subdued Clinton administration quietly claimed the abolition was a planned component of the program to "reinvent government." But the State Department, which had sought the elimination of ACDA from the beginning of the administration, proclaimed that its new acquisition will eliminate one of the vestiges of the Cold War, and allow arms control to be handled as an arm of foreign policy.

ACDA was created as an independent agency by President Kennedy 36 years ago, not to serve as an instrument in the Cold War but to provide future presidents with a source of arms control policy options as an alternative to the ongoing arms race. Kennedy and his advisors rejected the State Department as the location for the new organization because it would be dominated by a foreign service bureaucracy preoccupied with relations with client states. Similarly, the Defense Department was rejected because of its preoccupation with seeking security by building rather than limiting arms.

While ACDA's success has always been dependent on presidential interest in arms control, the new agency proved its worth as a component of the national security establishment in a succession of administrations. During the Johnson administration, ACDA's persistent efforts to negotiate the nuclear NonProliferation Treaty (NPT) despite State Department opposition gave Johnson the opportunity to go forward with the treaty over objections by major allies. During the Nixon administration, a strong ACDA team working with Henry Kissinger negotiated the ABM Treaty and the SALT I agreement despite a less than enthusiastic Defense Department and an apathetic State Department. During the Carter administration, ACDA played the lead role in the president's ambitious arms control agenda, including the negotiation of the SALT II agreement.

The second half of ACDA's short life was less propitious. During the Reagan years, ACDA's leaders were as often opponents as advocates of arms control. When President Bush and Secretary of State Baker had to deal with the collapse of the Soviet Union, they demonstrated that a few senior State Department officials working with the president could quickly accomplish major steps by bypassing the bureaucracy, including ACDA. But the arms control agenda and implementation of past accomplishments has become too complex to be handled routinely in this topdown manner. During the first Clinton term, ACDA demonstrated its value by delivering a consensus agreement to the indefinite extension of the NPT and spearheading the successful completion of the Comprehensive Test Ban (CTB) Treaty. The administration, however, treated ACDA shabbily by delaying appointments and permitting its frequent exclusion from interagency activities.

As the victim of an unfriendly takeover, ACDA will be in a poor position to bargain with the vastly larger institution that will absorb it. Nevertheless, an effort is being made to give arms control some measure of titular independence by allowing the responsible undersecretary to have access to the president through the secretary of state. If Congress approves, this may work with the present incumbents. However, such an unnatural bureaucratic arrangement cannot long endure. With its budget; personnel; and its legal, public and congressional relations in the hands of the State Department, the arms control function and its experienced practitioners will not fare well in the face of declining budgets, and the department's many other pressing responsibilities as well as concern for furthering the careers of foreign service officers.

In the coming year, the administration will be faced with many critical arms control policy issues, including Russian ratification of START II, negotiation of START III, defense of the ABM Treaty and Senate approval of the CTB Treaty. It remains to be seen how these difficult issues will be handled within a State Department consumed with the crusade to expand NATO and faced with extraordinarily difficult congressional relations.

In merging ACDA into the State Department, President Clinton has taken a major step without serious congressional or public debate. Thus, he must take responsibility to assure that ACDA's demise does not deprive him and his successors of independent arms control and national security recommendations which the State Department might judge to be in conflict with some tactical foreign policy objective. If the process fails to meet presidential needs, his successors will have to resurrect ACDA.

Helsinki: A Pyrrhic Victory?

Spurgeon M. Keeny, Jr.

At the Helsinki summit, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin, despite deep differences over NATO expansion, agreed on arms control proposals intended to obtain the Russian Duma's ratification of START II. Despite the appearance of progress, however, it is unlikely that a nationalistic Duma and a conservative U.S. Senate will accept these measures.

Under START II Russia would have had to undertake an expensive buildup of new, single warhead strategic missiles to maintain nuclear parity with the United States. The Duma's concern about parity reflects not only the desire to maintain Russia's image as a nuclear superpower but also to counter any U.S. plans to deploy a nationwide ballistic missile defense system. These concerns have been severely exacerbated by the decision to expand NATO eastward, which is seen across the Russian political spectrum as an exclusionary and aggressive move directed against Russia.

The Helsinki solution is to initiate, as soon as START II enters into force, negotiations of a new START III agreement limiting both sides to 2,000 2,500 deployed strategic nuclear warheads by the end of 2007. At this level, which reduces permitted deployments by 1,000 warheads below START II levels, Russia would no longer be faced with a strategic buildup it can ill afford. In addition, since START III may take some time to negotiate, the date for the final elimination of missile systems under START II would be extended for five years. Russia would not have to eliminate all 150 of its 10 warhead MIRVed SS 18s, now scheduled for destruction by the beginning of 2003, until the end of 2007. Thus, Russia would not have to address the problem of new strategic missile forces during the next decade while reductions are carried out. Moreover, Russia would be in a stronger position if it decided U.S. ballistic missile defense plans or future NATO expansion endangered its security.

Responding to the Duma's fear that the United States might seek to deploy a national missile defense system, Clinton reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to the ABM Treaty. And, in a major policy shift, Yeltsin accepted the U.S. position on theater missile defenses (TMDs) which, except for space based kill vehicles, would allow any system designated as such provided only that it is not tested against targets traveling more than 5 kilometers per second (equivalent to a missile with a 3,500 kilometer range). Apparently, Yeltsin was persuaded that, if the Duma was given assurances on the sanctity of the ABM Treaty, coupled with the extension of the timing of the destruction of strategic offensive forces, it should be willing to accept a more permissive approach to the definition of TMD systems, which in turn would help persuade the Republican majority in the Senate to abandon efforts to repudiate the ABM Treaty.

On the central issue of NATO expansion, the presidents could only agree to disagree. Clinton rejected the notion of a formal charter between NATO and Russia, and Yeltsin was only able to get the promise of political commitments from the individual NATO leaders to as yet unspecified assurances. In the circumstances, Yeltsin saved the summit by separating the NATO impasse from arms control. But Russians were united in their indignation at the failure to respond to their concerns on this issue. The prospect of an expanding NATO, whose membership might include the Baltic states and even Ukraine, with the right to station Western forces and nuclear weapons on their territories, was looked upon as an egregious violation of understandings reached at the time of the unification of Germany and a serious threat to Russian security.

In these circumstances, it seems most unlikely that the Duma will move quickly to ratify the amended START II despite its favorable modifications from the Duma's perspective, or to agree to the new permissive definition of TMD systems, despite Clinton's reaffirmation of the ABM Treaty. Prospects for the package appear equally unpromising in the U.S. Senate. Republican leaders have already denounced the Helsinki TMD demarcation accord as unacceptable because it would not allow space based interceptor systems. The five year delay in eliminating the Russian SS 18 force, the principal accomplishment of START II, will also not receive an enthusiastic reception.

If Clinton and Yeltsin can persuade their legislatures to support this package in the face of NATO expansion, the Helsinki summit will be remembered as a remarkable victory against considerable odds. But if reluctant legislatures in both countries fail to act, as seems quite likely, Helsinki will be seen as a Pyrrhic victory, where the successful rejection of Russian efforts to hold back NATO expansion created a new adversarial relationship between Russia and the West and set back arms control for many years.

"Your Move, Mr. President"

Please contact ACA for a copy of this story.


Please contact ACA for a copy of this story.

CWC: Election Year Casualty

Please contact ACA for a copy of this story.


Subscribe to RSS - Issue Briefs