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Bloomberg News
August 27, 2018
December 2006
Edition Date: 
Friday, December 1, 2006
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Books of Note

India’s Nuclear Bomb and National Security
By Karsten Fey, Taylor & Francis Books, August 2006, 208 pp.

Karsten Fey, a research fellow at the Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals, probes the motives and dynamics of India’s nuclear policymaking by examining more than 705 editorial and opinion articles published in India’s major newspapers from 1986 to 2005. Fey argues that considerations besides security drove India’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, downplaying, for example, the role played by attempts to counter China’s nuclear arsenal. Rather than focusing on security issues alone, Fey says other factors played a significant role, including India’s pursuit of international recognition and the strong, often obsessive sensitivities of India’s elite regarding “acts of discrimination” or “ignorance” by the West toward their country.


Japan’s Nuclear Disarmament Policy and the U.S. Security Umbrella
By Anthony DiFilippo, Palgrave-Macmillian, October 2006, 288 pp.

This book appears at a particularly timely moment as North Korea’s Oct. 9 nuclear test has prompted renewed debate in Japan over whether Tokyo should consider developing nuclear weapons. Until now, Japan, the only country ever to be attacked with nuclear weapons, has been a global leader in efforts to abolish nuclear weapons. Indeed, Japan has championed nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation even as the U.S. nuclear umbrella has played a vital role in maintaining Japan’s security throughout the Cold War and into the 21st century. Tokyo has also become a “virtual nuclear-weapon state,” able to produce such weapons quickly if it so chooses. Anthony DiFilippo, a professor of sociology at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, examines this paradox. He provides an in-depth analysis regarding the internal and external dynamics shaping Japan’s international nuclear policy, worldwide counterproliferation efforts, and technological advancements in its civil nuclear program and the prospects that it will develop its own nuclear deterrent.


Verifying Treaty Compliance: Limiting Weapons of Mass Destruction and Monitoring Kyoto Protocol Provisions
By Rudolf Avenhaus et al., eds., Springer, July 2006, 629 pp.

This volume of expert analyses includes a comprehensive overview of arms control treaties, a unified framework for analyzing their performance, and an approach for improving the structure and operation of existing and future treaties. Based on results from meetings of the European Safeguards Research and Development Association’s Working Group on Verification Technologies and Methodologies conducted over a two-year period, the volume seeks to lay the groundwork for forming a specialized discipline in compliance verification. It aims to fill the gap in existing literature on arms control, which the editors say either focuses on political analysis or technological tools. Their verification framework brings together treaty objectives, operation, monitoring, and evaluation, as well as proposed improvements to the treaty process. Such an interdisciplinary approach, they say, would build confidence in international treaties, encourage the establishment of binding commitments from member states, and enable appropriate compliance verification, all critical to stemming the spread of sensitive technologies that can be used to produce weapons of mass destruction.


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India's Nuclear Bomb and National Security. By Karsten Fey, Taylor & Francis Books, August 2006, 208 pp.

Japan's Nuclear Disarmament Policy and the U.S. Security Umbrella. By Anthony DiFilippo, Palgrave-Macmillian, October 2006, 288 pp.

Verifying Treay Compliance: Limiting Weapons of Mass Destruction and Monitoring Kyoto Protocol Provisions. By Rudolf Avenhaus et al., eds., Springer, July 2006, 629 pp.

The Conference on Disarmament: Means of Rejuvenation

Michael Krepon

After a long and successful run, the Conference on Disarmament (CD) has fallen on hard times. The negotiating forum that has produced treaties setting norms against nuclear testing and chemical and biological weapons has, for the last 10 years, sat on its hands. CD ambassadors who once worked on deadline to hammer out key provisions governing on-site inspections and schedules of prohibited substances now moonlight on other assignments in Geneva.

The CD’s work agenda is in dispute, and its procedures are knotted by the rule that all matters must be agreed by consensus.

The consensus rule, which has remained unchanged since this forum originated as the Ten Nation Committee on Disarmament, has become unwieldy in a body consisting of 65 members. In effect, the CD has outgrown its mission. As the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission chaired by Hans Blix concluded earlier this year, it makes little sense for a single country to prevent all others from negotiating something that could help make the world a safer place.[1]

The consensus rule is a vestige of the Cold War and was originally designed to allow one superpower to veto the nefarious designs of the other. It has since become more widely employed by other nations, mostly those with nuclear weapons or nuclear ambitions. The CD’s rules of procedure have thus become yet another reason to rue nuclear proliferation. We cannot, however, limit the blame for the CD’s inaction on its anachronistic rules of procedure. In exceptional cases, these procedures can be circumvented. For example, in 1996 the CD maneuvered around an Indian roadblock to present the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) to the UN General Assembly, where it was overwhelmingly approved and opened for signature.

A second factor contributing to the stalemate at the CD has been the tectonic shift in international relations after the demise of the Soviet Union. The CD and its most important accomplishments were essentially products of the Cold War. Even the two major treaties produced by the CD that postdated the fall of the Soviet Union—the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the CTBT—were deeply rooted in bipolar politics. The first superpower discussions about a test ban occurred during the Eisenhower administration. The lineage of the CWC dates back to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. The key negotiating breakthroughs for both agreements, relating to intrusive inspections, can be carbon-dated to the second Reagan administration, when Gorbachev overturned sclerotic Soviet negotiating practices.

After two of the Cold War’s major pieces of unfinished business were completed, the CD became rudderless. Its remaining agenda items have been fixed in amber, even after new challenges became more evident following the terrorist attacks of September 11. The champions of the traditional agenda have lacked clout, while the champion of the Cold War has lacked interest in new multilateral treaties. The CD has thus been orphaned during the “unipolar moment,” to use U.S. columnist Charles Krauthammer’s memorable phrase, when U.S. leaders enjoy unparalleled power, are beset by new challenges, and are disinterested in agreements that would constrain military options. In this new world, “democratic realists” such as Krauthammer have chosen “power over paper.” In their view, the negotiation of multilateral treaties would simply help weaker states tie Gulliver down. Besides, treaties are for well-behaved states; the problems of international relations lie elsewhere.[2]

A central tenet of this mode of thinking is that the world remains divided, this time between responsible states— U.S. friends and allies—and evildoers. Because these two camps operate by very different rules, the Bush administration postulated and sought to enforce separate norms for each camp. The Bush team has strongly asserted, for example, that responsible states should retain the right to hold and modernize nuclear weapons, rights that should not be granted to evildoers. This is a profound shift in thinking from the global nonproliferation system embodied in the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and reflected in the previous work of the CD.

The global nonproliferation system could only be built on norms that applied to all, especially in a world divided by nuclear weapons. The norm of nonproliferation and the norm of nuclear disarmament had to be intricately linked in the NPT in order to bridge this divide. The NPT could not be sustained and the basis for constraining outliers could not be maintained unless these norms applied to all states. The unity of norms also had been central to the functioning of the CD when it was negotiating multilateral treaties that reinforced the NPT.

The norms of nonproliferation and nuclear disarmament are now faltering for many troubling reasons, and the Bush administration is entirely correct in seeking new compensatory steps to halt dangerous trends. But these efforts are undercut by the administration’s attempt to seek one set of rules for good guys and another set of rules for bad actors. There most certainly are responsible states and dangerous ones, although disagreements persist as to which states fall into which category. We are wise to distinguish responsible states from dangerous ones by comparing their actions against universal norms; we invite trouble by trying to impose different norms for friends and potential adversaries.

One size has never fit all proliferation cases, but every case becomes more intractable by trying to impose two sets of rules governing proliferation. At the very time when U.S. military dominance could have been effectively used to reaffirm global norms of nonproliferation and nuclear disarmament, the Bush administration has made hard proliferation problems even more difficult to reverse.

To be sure, the loss of U.S. interest in the CD as a means of reinforcing the global nonproliferation system began during the Clinton administration. Once the CTBT was negotiated, the Clinton team neglected follow-on negotiations at the CD on space security. This disinterest turned to disdain in the Bush administration. Now the correlation between the global nonproliferation system and the CD is very weak, as is evident by the Bush team’s continued expressions of fealty for the former and the CD’s weak standing in Geneva.

The Bush team has adamantly ruled out the mere discussion of space security as a CD agenda item, which, in turn, enables other states to rule out a negotiating mandate on a fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT). The Bush administration has taken the offensive by charging other states as hostage takers at the CD. This amounts to blaming the victim, however, as the CD’s logjam begins with the administration’s rejection of talks on space security and its a priori assertion that an FMCT is unverifiable. No other nation at the CD has embraced these positions although some might, if and when the CD actually applies itself to these topics. In the meantime, the administration remains isolated in Geneva, as well as at the United Nations, where the most recent resolution calling for space security initiatives was approved by a vote of 166-1-2. The no vote came from the United States; Israel and Cote d’Ivoire abstained.

Where does the CD go from here? The Tokyo Forum, a group of international experts convened by the Japanese government, concluded in 1999 that:

the Conference on Disarmament should suspend its operations unless it can revise its procedures, update its work program, and carry out purposeful work. It adheres to an agenda that has long been outdated but cannot be changed for lack of a consensus to do so. The consensus rule, even on minor procedural matters, is now causing perpetual deadlock. Consensus among CD members should not be necessary to begin or, indeed, conclude a multilateral convention. If a country does not like a treaty, it does not have to sign it. The structure of the CD’s groupings of states, based on outdated Cold War alignments, also needs to be changed to better reflect the contemporary world.[3]

It is a sad commentary on the nonworkings of the CD that, seven years later, these remedies remain largely unexplored. The CD is unlikely to return to its former role anytime soon. Nonetheless, there are still ways to derive good works from diplomats posted there. Creative diplomacy seeks opportunity out of adversity. By this measurement, opportunities abound.

One consequence of the Bush administration’s dualistic approach to proliferation has been to offer India what Washington hopes will be a single-country exception to the rules of nuclear commerce established by the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). Because the NSG also operates by consensus, some of its members might be inclined to attach conditions to the proposed U.S.-Indian deal before providing their consent. These conditions could either have further negative or some positive effect on proliferation. If some NSG members insist that, as a condition of their support, the United States drop its opposition to talks on space security in the CD, negotiations could also begin on an FMCT. This outcome could at least attach something positive to a deal that is likely to further weaken global norms against proliferation.

Space security and the fissile material cutoff are extremely complicated subjects. Even if the CD continues to be deadlocked, coalitions of the willing, including nongovernmental as well as governmental experts, could convene periodically in Geneva to lay the groundwork for agreements in both areas. Future agreements need not be confined to treaties, which take prolonged periods of time to negotiate and enter into force. Less-formal agreements that could be implemented more quickly than treaties might be considered by expert groups for subsequent consideration by the CD.

The CD has gingerly begun down this path, with annual workshops on space security initiated by Canada, China, and Russia with the assistance of the UN Institute for Disarmament Research. One worthwhile idea discussed at these workshops is creating a code of conduct for responsible spacefaring countries, which could serve as a near-term instrument to reinforce norms that prevent dangerous practices in outer space.[4] The pace of these deliberations might well be quickened with well-structured workshops between technical experts and diplomats on the key elements of a prospective code.

Global norms supporting nonproliferation and nuclear disarmament are undercut by ongoing fissile material production for nuclear weapons. It is therefore important for the CD to conclude an FMCT, but reaching agreement on such a treaty will be an arduous task. The governments that are most needed to sign up— India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, and Pakistan—may also be the most resistant to such a treaty. Monitoring arrangements for a cutoff agreement will be sensitive and far from simple. Verification workshops at the CD would be helpful to widen the circle of those familiar with these challenges.

A coalition of the willing could also pursue interim steps while awaiting a formal cutoff treaty. One step would be for the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, along with India, Pakistan, and perhaps Israel, to discuss a voluntary moratorium on fissile material production for nuclear weapons. France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States have publicly announced such moratoria. China has privately but not publicly said that it has stopped producing such material. A seven- or eight-party discussion might focus on how the current moratoria could be extended and how the parties might gain sufficient confidence that pledges are being honored. These talks could take place in parallel with CD deliberations.

Other workshops at the CD could be devoted to learning about cooperative threat reduction programs, such as how to improve border security to intercept the transport of dangerous materials. The CD also could host regular training sessions for the implementation of international codes of conduct, such as UN Security Council Resolution 1540.

These informal agenda items would not require consensus. Although modest, they could prove useful, leading to constructive governmental/nongovernmental partnerships and paving the way for more ambitious agenda items. The CD has had a distinguished past. With suitable adaptation, it could still have a useful future.


Michael Krepon is co-founder of the Henry L. Stimson Center and author of Cooperative Threat Reduction, Missile Defense, and the Nuclear Future (2002).


ENDNOTES

1. Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission, “Weapons of Terror, Freeing the World of Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Weapons, 2006, p. 180 (recommendation 58).

2. Charles Krauthammer, “The Unipolar Moment,” Foreign Affairs Vol. 70, No. 1, (Winter 1990-1991), pp. 23–33; Charles Krauthammer, “The Unipolar Moment Revisted,” The National Interest 70 (Winter 2002/2003), pp. 5-18; Charles Krauthammer, “In Defense of Democratic Realism,” The National Interest 77 (Fall 2004), pp. 1-12.

3. “Facing Nuclear Dangers: An Action Plan for the 21st Century: The Report of the Tokyo Forum for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament,” July 25, 1999. The author participated in the Tokyo Forum’s deliberations.

4. Michael Krepon with Michael Katz-Hyman, “Space Weapons and Proliferation,” Nonproliferation Review, Vol. 12, No. 2 (July 2005), pp. 323-341.

The Conference on Disarmament: Getting Back to Business

Ambassador Paul Meyer

The 65-member-state Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva last negotiated a treaty in 1996, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and for the intervening decade has been engaged in on-and-off discussions that often seemed remote from its mandate as the world’s “sole multilateral disarmament negotiating forum.”

This disappointing state of affairs in turn reflects CD members’ inability to agree on what issues they should take up and how they are to be treated.

For years, the CD has continued with the same underlying agenda, which consists of seven broad, substantive items ranging from “cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament” to “transparency in armaments.” Yet, it has failed to agree on a program of work that would translate the general categories of the agenda into a plan for tackling specific issues.

At the root of this failure are differing national priorities, interests, and threat perceptions among the CD member states. To break the logjam, several proposals have been put forward over the years for a CD work program, all entailing activity on four core issues: nuclear disarmament, a fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT), the prevention of an arms race in outer space (PAROS), and negative security assurances, which are guarantees by nuclear-weapon states not to threaten or use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states. Yet, so far no proposal has received the general acceptance that this consensus-based body requires.

Developing countries have consistently emphasized the need for nuclear disarmament while developed countries have cited conclusion of an FMCT as their top goal. Russia and China consider PAROS to be their priority issue. The differences are exacerbated when some states insist that only their preferred item should figure in an eventual CD work program. For instance, the United States has insisted on limiting the work program to an FMCT while Russia and China demand attention to PAROS. The United States decries this Sino-Russian “linkage” as others are equally vocal about the necessity to ensure that their priorities are also accommodated. Whether one prefers to speak of “linkage” or “respect for the concerns of others,” it has long been evident that, in a body that follows a strict consensus rule for decision-making, it will not be feasible to obtain agreement on a program of work that does not at least address these four core issues.

Frustration over the impasse at the CD has been steadily mounting in the wake of the failed nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference in 2005 and the absence of any agreed text on nonproliferation and disarmament in the UN Summit Outcome document later that same year. In response, the six presidents of the CD for 2006 ( Poland, South Korea, Romania, Russia, Senegal, and Slovakia) launched an initiative to have a “common platform” to govern CD activity during the year. Previously, each president had acted independently during his or her tenure. The so-called six presidents’ (P6) initiative established a timetable for 2006 that included one week of “focused structured discussion” for each of the seven substantive items on the CD agenda.

The P6 initiative was a major experiment and yielded some distinct benefits. It provided much needed continuity among all six presidents. It identified specific times for the focused discussion, thus allowing for proper preparation, including the possibility for expert participation. As a presidential initiative, it did not require formal agreement by the conference and could simply proceed. The exchanges that did occur during the designated “theme” weeks were intense, involving in many cases experts from capitals, and generated several useful working papers that complemented the oral interventions. During a week in mid-May that focused on an FMCT, the United States tabled a draft negotiating mandate and draft treaty text. That marked an important sign of U.S. re-engagement in the conference after a protracted period in which Washington was enmeshed in an internal review of the FMCT issue and did not take a position on the question within the CD.

A swallow does not a summer make, however, or a week’s discussion a negotiating forum. Although the P6 initiative brought some benefits, it also had some clear deficiencies, which became more apparent and irksome as the year proceeded. The process only provided for one week of focused discussion per agenda item, and its rigidity did not allow work on a given topic to continue after its week in the limelight was over. It also did not differentiate between an issue such as an FMCT, which enjoys wide support and is ripe for negotiation, and an item such as “Comprehensive Program of Disarmament,” with no current proposal for action. Finally, as the P6 initiative was an informal one, there was no official status granted to the work done pursuant to it and no formal way of carrying this work forward. The prospects for next year remain wide open and in the hands of the incoming president, Ambassador Glaudine Mtshali of South Africa. Mtshali is already actively consulting with member states as to what could be done with the CD in 2007.

The view that next year’s deliberations at the CD cannot be a simple repetition of 2006 is widely held. At a minimum, many delegations would want to see a program that would provide for sustained work and a far greater utilization of the time available to the conference (the conference often meets only one or two half-days per week when it is in session). In addition, an improved program would need to differentiate between issues instead of applying an artificial equality of treatment among the different agenda items. Finally, it should allow for some official status to its proceedings so that progress is built on and appropriately recorded.

Ideally, the conference would agree next year to establish one or more subsidiary bodies to focus activity on the selected issues. Subsidiary bodies, such as ad hoc committees or working groups, would enable the various issues to be treated at their own pace, as decided by the chairs of the respective bodies, and would thus avoid the problem of the conference having to decide on an equitable allocation of time per issue. Contrary to what some suggest, nothing in the CD’s rules of procedure equate the establishment of an ad hoc committee with acceptance of a negotiating mandate. Subsidiary bodies are simply organizational tools that assist the conference in its functions.

From a Canadian perspective, a CD work program that would be both substantive and generally acceptable would have three components: a negotiating mandate for an FMCT, a discussion mandate for PAROS, and a discussion mandate for nuclear disarmament under which rubric the topic of negative security assurances could be subsumed. This would represent a manageable work program reflective of these issues’ relative state of development. Further, such a program would enable all key constituencies of the CD to claim that their priority issue was being addressed. It is worth recalling that the immediate commencement of negotiation of an FMCT and the establishment of a subsidiary body on nuclear disarmament were two specific tasks that the 2000 NPT review conference assigned to the CD. The failure to deliver on these agreements has been one of the factors contributing to the current crisis of confidence surrounding that treaty.

Similarly, the international community for many years has called for the establishment of an ad hoc committee on PAROS at the CD in a series of UN General Assembly First Committee resolutions. The most recent resolution was adopted with the support of 166 states. Only the United States stood in opposition, while two countries, Israel and Cote d’Ivoire, abstained ( Cote d’Ivoire’s representatives subsequently stating that they had intended to vote yes). These indicators demonstrate the wide political support for the CD taking action on an FMCT, nuclear disarmament, and PAROS.

The outgoing and incoming CD presidents are tasked with conducting consultations during the current intersessional period and recommending a program of work that could be agreed on. It is Canada’s hope and that of many other CD members that the consultations will yield a breakthrough in identifying a program of work that could command consensus support when the CD reconvenes next month. A promising indicator in this regard was the statement made to the CD on May 18 by Stephen Rademaker, then assistant secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation, which included the affirmation that the U.S. delegation “believes that the CD could continue to discuss other, so-called traditional issues as it conducts FMCT negotiations.” This stance appears compatible with a program of work that would combine negotiation of an FMCT with discussion of PAROS, nuclear disarmament, and possibly nuclear security assurances.

All the elements of a generally acceptable work program for the CD are at hand. All that is required now is an act of political engagement by some key member states to realize an agreement. Some have decried the “linkage” politics that they see being applied at the CD, but realistically, in a consensus-based, multilateral forum, there needs to be something for everyone if a universally acceptable outcome is to be arrived at. At the St. Petersburg summit this July, the Group of Eight states dedicated themselves to the reinvigoration of multilateral disarmament and nonproliferation fora “beginning with the Conference on Disarmament.”

Progress on multilateral arms control and disarmament is particularly critical now, given the grave challenges facing the global nonproliferation, arms control, and disarmament regime and the growing concern that we are sliding back into an anarchical nuclear world. There is nothing wrong at the CD that a little concerted diplomacy cannot fix. The alternative is another year of “going through the motions” at the CD while failing to progress on issues of real importance for the health and future viability of the regime.

Ambassador Paul Meyer is Canada’s permanent representative to the United Nations for disarmament. In that capacity, he has led Canada’s delegation to the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, to the Conference on Disarmament, and to meetings of states-parties to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and the Biological Weapons Convention. He has served in Canada’s Foreign Service for three decades, including as director-general of the international security bureau from 1998 to 2001. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada.

The Conference on Disarmament: Time is Running Out

Stephen G. Rademaker

The problems confronting the UN Conference on Disarmament (CD) were succinctly and correctly diagnosed in the June 2005 final report of the congressionally mandated bipartisan Task Force on the United Nations:

As the multilateral negotiating body responsible for the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), and other agreements, the CD has in the past made major contributions to arms control and nonproliferation. But for nearly a decade, it has produced no new agreements and has spent most of its time wrangling over priorities and procedural matters. Having grown to 65 members and 37 observers, it has become much too unwieldy to do serious work, especially for an institution that operates by consensus. It has become a debating society, not a negotiating body. Moreover, the CD remains focused mainly on the traditional state-to-state arms control and nonproliferation agenda and has been slow to take up measures addressing the non-state actor threat. As it has become gridlocked, governments have begun to downgrade their participation in the forum.

The task force, co-chaired by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell (D-Maine), was established by Congress in 2004 to develop recommendations for making the UN more effective. Its members came from across the U.S. political spectrum, ranging from former Senator Malcolm Wallop (R-Wyo.) to former Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark, a former NATO commander, and Donald McHenry, a former ambassador to the UN under President Jimmy Carter. Yet, this ideologically diverse membership had no problem coming to a consensus recommendation: “The CD has outlived its usefulness and should be abolished.”

The CD’s period of prolonged inactivity extends back to the end of 1996, when it completed work on the CTBT. That year, the CD decided to admit 23 additional countries to full membership. Although some of the new members, such as Israel, South Africa, and South Korea, are well situated to contribute positively to the work of the conference, others, such as Belarus, Iraq, North Korea, and Syria, have been less clearly committed to advancing the conference’s objectives. Eleven of the new members belong to the Nonaligned Movement (NAM), which has predisposed them to support positions taken by other NAM members, such as Pakistan and Iran, that have contributed to gridlock at the conference.

As suggested by the task force report, it is clear that the decision to expand the conference was a mistake because, under the CD’s consensus-based rules of procedure, 23 additional members equates to 23 additional potential vetoes over any proposed action by the conference. The problem was underscored again this year when Syria single-handedly prevented the adoption of a substantive final report on the conference’s work for 2006. There is an obvious lesson here for those who might be tempted to believe that the UN Security Council can be made more effective by expanding its size and increasing the number of veto-wielding members.

The CD’s consensus requirement for decision-making has proven very useful over the years. It has prevented the CD from wasting time negotiating doomed instruments by ensuring that negotiations on proposals that lacked essential support never got off the ground. On other occasions, it has given countries that have doubted a particular proposal the confidence necessary to enter negotiations knowing that they could deny consensus should their core interests be jeopardized. In these respects, the CD’s consensus requirement has strengthened the CD and enhanced its ability to produce arms control and nonproliferation instruments of enduring value.

Since 1996, however, the consensus requirement has been systematically utilized by some countries not just to block negotiations on proposals they oppose, but also to try to force negotiations on proposals opposed by others. These countries have, in other words, intentionally denied consensus in one area in order to try to create an artificial consensus in other areas. Cloaked behind euphemistic calls for a “balanced program of work” at the CD, this misapplication of the consensus requirement has amounted in practice to nothing more than hostage-taking.

The proposed fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT), which would end the production of fissile material for weapons purposes, is a meritorious idea that all CD members profess to support in principle. Yet, it has been blocked for nine years in an effort to coerce holdouts to acquiesce in the progress of other, unrelated ideas that they oppose, such as instruments regarding nuclear disarmament, negative security assurances, and the prevention of an arms race in outer space ( PAROS). In diplomatic parlance, negative security assurances are guarantees by the nuclear-weapon states that they will not use nuclear weapons against states that have formally renounced them.

Some have tried to suggest that the sole obstacle to adoption of a “balanced program of work” is the opposition of the Bush administration to PAROS, but both the United Kingdom and France have serious reservations to negotiations on nuclear disarmament or negative security assurances. Moreover, the Bush administration did not invent the U.S. policy of opposing negotiations on PAROS. The Clinton administration also was opposed to such negotiations, and it would be more than a bit strange for the Bush administration to retreat from that position, particularly given its relatively stronger commitment to missile defense as a national policy.

It is not surprising that members of the CD with strong attachment to particular ideas, such as nuclear disarmament and PAROS, would consider using all tools at their disposal, including hostage-taking, to advance their favored ideas. What is surprising is the tolerance of other countries for the tactic. Currently, the vast majority of delegations in Geneva pay lip service to the need for a “balanced program of work” at the CD. The accumulated frustration from nine years of inactivity is directed primarily not at the hostage-takers—after all, they are merely seeking to compel adoption of a “balanced program of work”—but rather at those countries that have refused to pay the ransom demanded.

This mindset on display today in Geneva is nothing less than a diplomatic manifestation of the Stockholm syndrome. After nine years of captivity, most of the prisoners in Geneva today identify more closely with their captors than with those who are working for their unconditional release. This attitude, widely embraced by those in Geneva with the purest of intentions and unquestioned commitment to the CD as an institution, is in fact no less of a threat to the CD than continued inactivity because, as everyone knows, paying ransom does not end hostage-taking. Rather, it encourages more of it. Virtually every country at the CD either has or could quickly come up with some favored arms control or nonproliferation idea that today is a nonstarter. The moment the CD grants the demanded negotiations, other countries that until now have exercised self-restraint will decide to join the queue.

The CD’s salvation lies not in propitiating this behavior but in returning to what has worked for it in the past: finding a single serious idea that can command consensus on its own merits and negotiating on it until a consensus product emerges. For nine years, delegations in Geneva have put forward new ideas in hopes of sidestepping the gridlock over a “balanced program of work,” but so far no idea has come close to an FMCT in terms of the seriousness of its subject matter or the degree of consensus it commands. Unless a brilliant new proposal emerges that has eluded CD members for nine years, the CD will only regain its relevance if it commences negotiations on an FMCT. It will continue its drift into irrelevance if it does not.

A key point that needs to be made at the outset of any discussion of an FMCT is that the United States is not the obstacle to concluding such a treaty. An FMCT would ban the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons purposes. It would not ban the production of fissile material for other purposes, such as the manufacture of medical isotopes or naval propulsion systems. The United States stopped all production of fissile material for weapons purposes in 1988 and has no foreseeable need to resume production of such material in the future.

Presently, the United States is grappling not with the problem of too little fissile material but rather with the problem of too much. As a result, the United States is spending billions of dollars to dispose of excess fissile material left over from the Cold War. Highly enriched uranium (HEU) that was produced at great expense is being downblended to produce fuel for civil nuclear reactors, and a facility is being constructed to convert weapons-grade plutonium into mixed-oxide fuel for power reactors. If the United States had any concern that its need for fissile material might grow in the future, the first thing it would do is stop spending billions of dollars to eliminate fissile material it currently has, not block the negotiation of an FMCT.

The principal obstacle to conclusion of an FMCT is countries, such as Pakistan and China, that today either are producing fissile material for weapons purposes or harbor plans to do so in the future. None of these countries will say that it opposes an FMCT. To the contrary, they insist that they favor a properly constructed treaty. It is no coincidence, however, that they are at the forefront of those CD delegations that have conditioned commencement of FMCT negotiations on progress on other unrelated issues, such as PAROS. Nor is it a coincidence that these countries are among the most outspoken advocates of including extensive verification measures as part of an FMCT.

It is counterintuitive that countries wanting to produce fissile material would be so keen to undergo intrusive international inspections of their most sensitive nuclear facilities, until one considers that the elaboration of such verification measures is sure to prolong the conclusion of any FMCT negotiation for many years, if not indefinitely. In the case of Pakistan’s insistence that FMCT verification extend beyond new production of fissile material to include existing stocks of such material—a demand that has been rejected by all nuclear-weapon states—one has to suspect that the real objective is indefinite postponement.

It was in part to avoid such delays that the United States proposed in July 2004 that the CD negotiate an FMCT containing no verification provisions. Not only would this expedite the conclusion of the treaty, but it would avoid creating a costly yet ineffective new verification mechanism.

A careful U.S. review had determined that even an ideal international verification mechanism would have serious deficiencies and would have great difficulty detecting cheating by countries determined to produce fissile material in violation of the treaty. Moreover, U.S. officials had concluded that, as a practical matter, an ideal international mechanism would not emerge from FMCT negotiations at the CD. Inevitably corners would be cut in order to minimize the financial costs of establishing and operating such a mechanism as well as to avoid intrusion into facilities of national security concern. The United States is not alone in having these concerns. Taking into account the limited effectiveness of the verification mechanism that was likely to be agreed at the CD, as well as the lengthy delays in concluding an FMCT that necessarily would be required in order to reach agreement, the United States had come to the view that seeking to establish such a mechanism was more trouble than it was worth.

The United States stressed that this approach did not mean that an FMCT would be unverified, any more than the BWC is unverified because it has no international inspectorate. Rather, responsibility for making compliance judgments would fall to the parties to the treaty, each of which would be expected to use its own capabilities to detect cheating. Such national capabilities have often been able to detect covert nuclear activities, the detection in 2002 of North Korea’s centrifuge-based enrichment program being a recent case in point. That program was first detected on the basis of intelligence information relating to suspicious procurements by North Korea, precisely the kind of information that an international inspectorate would never be able to generate on its own. If such an inspectorate existed today, it still would not be able to generate proof of the existence of that program using the tools available to it, primarily because it would not have the slightest clue where to go in North Korea to find the program.

In May this year, the United States followed up on its July 2004 announcement by tabling the text of a proposed FMCT. The United States said it can no longer support a mandate for FMCT negotiations that presupposes an outcome contrary to its position on verification, such as the so-called Shannon Mandate, with its requirement that an FMCT be “internationally and effectively verifiable.” Yet, the United States has not called for a mandate that requires its preferred outcome on verification. The mandate proposed by the United States is simply silent on the issue of verification, allowing all parties to come to the negotiations and advocate whatever outcome they prefer with respect to verification. Therefore, although the U.S. proposals are controversial among those who want an FMCT to include verification measures, no one should question the good faith of the United States in putting forward its ideas.

In a similar vein, some details of the U.S.-proposed text for an FMCT have drawn the fire of critics. Some have faulted the U.S. proposal for permitting the continued production of HEU for naval propulsion purposes. This criticism is somewhat strange, given that even the widely supported Shannon Mandate provided only for the negotiation of a treaty “banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.” Inasmuch as naval vessels are plainly neither nuclear weapons nor nuclear explosive devices, there would have been no basis under the Shannon Mandate for negotiating a ban on the production of HEU for naval propulsion purposes.

Therefore, those who fault the U.S. proposal for permitting the continued production of HEU for these purposes are really faulting an FMCT as traditionally conceived. They are essentially calling for a treaty banning the production of all fissile material, full stop. There are arguments to be made in favor of such an approach, but there is one compelling reason to reject it, namely that it would be flatly unacceptable to many of the key governments at the CD. All nations with nuclear-powered navies stand with the United States in rejecting the notion that an FMCT should extend to the production of HEU for naval propulsion purposes. Further, those states that are investing in the full nuclear fuel cycle, including plutonium reprocessing, would never agree to prohibit the production of plutonium for nuclear fuel-cycle-related purposes. The United States, of course, is not among the latter group of states.

Some critics of the U.S. proposal have also quarreled with the provision that would have an FMCT expire after 15 years, subject to the ability of the parties to extend it at a review conference. Critics of this provision gloss over the fact that the NPT contains a similar provision, albeit one that provided for expiration of the treaty after 25 years. Obviously, there is a difference between 15 years and 25 years, but certainly the figure of 25 years set forth in the NPT was the product of a negotiation in which some countries initially advocated a shorter period. The larger point is that this particular provision, as well as the rest of the U.S.-proposed text, is merely a proposal. It was put forward to provide a basis for discussion and expressly not as a “take it or leave it” offer.

The record of the past nine years provides little basis for optimism that the CD is going to be able to rise to today’s challenges. International organizations being what they are, the recommendation of the Task Force on the United Nations that the CD be abolished caused hardly a stir in Geneva. The international civil servants there have continued their work secure in the knowledge that they will be collecting their paychecks long after hard copies of the task force’s final report have been removed from the shelves of research libraries. Meanwhile, countries will likely follow the example set by New Zealand and Sweden and withdraw their full-time ambassadors from the CD. The real work of confronting today’s security threats will shift to other fora that are producing results for the international community, such as the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Proliferation Security Initiative, and (one hopes) the UN Security Council.

Stephen G. Rademaker is policy director for national security affairs and senior counsel for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.). During 2002-2006, he served as an assistant secretary of state, heading at various times the Bureaus of Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and International Security and Nonproliferation. Over the previous two decades, he held high-level positions in the House of Representatives and in the White House during the George H. W. Bush administration.

December 2006 Bibliography

Of Special Interest

Arms Control Association, The 2006 Biological Weapons Convention Review Conference: Articles and Interviews on Tackling the Threats Posed by Biological Weapons, November 2006, 68 pp.

Handicap International, Fatal Footprint: The Global Human Impact of Cluster Munitions, November 2006, 59 pp.

JASON, Pit Lifetime, The MITRE Corporation, November 20, 2006, 17 pp.

Johnson, Rebecca, Nicola Butler and Stephen Pullinger, Worse Than Irrelevant? British Nuclear Weapons in the 21 st Century, Acronym Institute, November 22, 2006, 75 pp.

Kristensen, Hans M., Robert S. Norris and Matthew G. McKinzie, Chinese Nuclear Forces and U.S. Nuclear War Planning, The Federation of American Scientists and The Natural Resources Defense Council, November 2006, 261 pp.

Perkovich, George, “Democratic Bomb”: Failed Strategy, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Policy Brief, November 2006, 8 pp.

Steinmeier, Frank-Walter, and Støre, Jonas Gahr, “Two Sides of the Same Coin: Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Nuclear Disarmament,” Frankfurter Rundschau, November 11, 2006.

I. Strategic Arms

Arieff, Irwin, “Annan Fears World Paralysis on Nuclear Arms Threat,” Reuters, November 29, 2006.

Arnold, John, “Nuke Cores Should Last; Study Brings Bush Plan into Question,” Albuquerque Journal, November 30, 2006, p. A1.

Blair, Bruce G., and Chen, Yali, “The Fallacy of Nuclear Primacy,” China Security, Autumn 2006, p. 51.

Associated Press, “Putin: Russia Must Maintain Nuclear Capability Guaranteeing Destruction of Any Aggressor,” November, 16, 2006.

Brown, Colin, “Blix vs. Blair (But This Time it is Over Our Weapons of Mass Destruction),” The Independent, November 27, 2006.

Department of State, Annual Report on Implementation of the Moscow Treaty, October 2006, 5 pp.

Hebert, H. Josef, “Study Shows Plutonium in Warheads Last Longer Than Expected,” Associated Press, November 30, 2006.

Hodge, Nathan, “US Commences Warhead Upgrade for Minuteman Missiles,” Jane’s Defence Weekly, November 22, 2006, p. 7.

Hoffman, Ian, “Bomb Scientists Say Old Nukes Not Enough,” Inside Bay Area, November 30, 2006.

Hoffman, Ian, “Report Undercuts Administration Push for More Nukes,” Inside Bay Area, November 29, 2006.

Hoffman, Ian, “New, Safer Nuke Re-Enters U.S. Arsenal,” Inside Bay Area, November 27, 2006.

Kortunov, Sergei, “ Russia Must Remain a Major Nuclear Power,” RIA Novosti, November 29, 2006.

Lewis, J A C, “France Test Fires Nuclear Missile,” Jane’s Defence Weekly, November 15, 2006, p. 5.

Mendelsohn, Jack, “The New Threats: Nuclear Amnesia, Nuclear Legitimacy,” Current History, November 2006, p. 385.

Natural Resources Defense Council, “Where the Bombs Are, 2006,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, November/December 2006, p. 57.

Pincus, Walter, “Plutonium Lifespan in U.S. Weapons Much Longer Than Thought,” The Washington Post, November 30, 2006, p. A9.

RIA Novosti, “ Russia Prioritizes Strategic Forces on Security Agenda,” November 16, 2006.

RIA Novosti, “ Russia to Buy 17 ICBMs in 2007,” November 17, 2006.

Safranchuk, Ivan, “Beyond MAD,” China Security, Autumn 2006, p. 90.

Sterngold, James, “Summary of Classified Plutonium Study Released; Feinstein, Others See Less Urgency for New Nuclear Warheads,” The San Francisco Chronicle, November 30, 2006, p. A10.

Sterngold, James, “Doubts Cast on Need for New Nukes; Study Finds Plutonium May Last Twice as Long as Expected,” The San Francisco Chronicle, November 15, 2006, p. A13.

II. Nuclear Proliferation

Broad, William J., “The Struggle for Iraq: U.S. Web Archive is Said to Reveal Nuclear Primer,” The New York Times, November 3, 2006, p. A1.

Butler, Kenley, Sammy Salama, and Leonard S. Spector, “The Khan Network: Where is the Justice?” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, November/December 2006, p. 25.

Costa, Keith J., “Commission: China Hampers International Nonproliferation Efforts,” Inside Missile Defense, November 8, 2006, p. 3.

Hibbs, Mark, “The Unmaking of a Nuclear Smuggler,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, November/December 2006, p. 35.

Langewiesche, William, “How to Get a Nuclear Bomb,” The Atlantic Monthly, December 2006, p. 80.

Linzer, Dafna, “Optimism Turns to Anxiety on Curbing Nuclear Arms,” The Washington Post, November 3, 2006, p. A23.

Linzer, Dafna, “ U.S. Shuts Web Site that Contained Nuclear Details,” The Washington Post, November 3, 2006, p. A8.

O’Hanlon, Michael, “What if a Nuclear-Armed State Collapses?” Current History, November 2006, p. 379.

Sokolski, Henry, “Too Speculative? Getting Serious about Nuclear Terrorism,” The New Atlantis, Fall 2006, p. 119.

Squassoni, Sharon, India and Iran: WMD Proliferation Activities, Congressional Research Service, November 8, 2006, 6 pp.

Yamaguchi, Mari, “ Japan Capable of Making Nuclear Weapons,” Associated Press, November 30, 2006.

Zimmerman, Peter D., and Lewis, Jeffrey G., “The Bomb in the Backyard,” Foreign Policy, November/December 2006, p. 33.

India

Costa, Keith J., and Bishnoi, Rati, “Senate OKs Bill to Implement Landmark U.S.-India Nuclear Trade Deal,” Inside Missile Defense, November 22, 2006, p. 1.

Gentleman, Amelia, “ U.S. Senate Vote on Nuclear Deals Draws Guarded Praise by India,” The New York Times, November 18, 2006, p. A6.

Linzer, Dafna, “Senate Backs White House Plan for India Nuclear Deal,” The Washington Post, November 17, 2006, p. A14.

Linzer, Dafna, “Lawmakers Concerned About U.S.-Indian Nuclear Trade Deal,” The Washington Post, November 15, 2006, p. A14.

Milhollin, Gary, “The US-India Nuclear Pact: Bad for Security,” Current History, November 2006, p. 371.

Mistry, Dinshaw, and Ganguly, Sumit, “The US-India Nuclear Pact: A Good Deal,” Current History, November 2006, p. 375.

Mukherjee, Krittivas, “ India Nuclear Deal Likely Final by May: U.S. Envoy,” Reuters, November 29, 2006.

Rajesh, Y. P., and Giacomo, Carol, “ India Cautiously Welcomes U.S. Nuclear Vote,” Reuters, November 17, 2006.

Stephenson, John, and Tynan, Peter, Will the US-India Civil Nuclear Cooperation Initiative Light India? Dalberg Global Development Advisors, November 13, 2006, 57 pp.

Wonacott, Peter, “ India Nuclear Pact May Create a Broad Opening for U.S. Firms,” The Wall Street Journal, November 18-19, 2006, p. A4.

Iran

Albright, David and Shire, Jacqueline, Latest IAEA Report on Iran: Continued Progress on Cascade Operations, No New Cooperation with the IAEA, The Institute for Science and International Security, November 14, 2006, 2 pp.

Broad, William J., “As Iran Seeks Aid, Atom Agency Faces Quandary,” The New York Times, November 19, 2006, p. A1.

Center for Defense Information, UN Security Council and IAEA Grapple with Iranian Nuclear Defiance, November 23, 2006.

Broad, William J., and Fathi, Nazila, “ Iran’s Leader Cites Progress on Nuclear Plans,” The New York Times, November 15, 2006, p. A8.

Clawson, Patrick and Eisenstadt, Michael, Forcing Hard Choices on Tehran: Raising the Costs of Iran’s Nuclear Program, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, November 2006, 56 pp.

Dreazen, Yochi J., and King Jr., Neil, “Why Iran Shares the U.S. Spotlight with Iraq,” The Wall Street Journal, November 14, 2006, p. A4.

Feinstein, Lee and Levi, Michael, “To Persuade Iran, Back Talk with Sanctions,” International Herald Tribune, November 10, 2006.

Freedman, Robert O., Russia, Iran and the Nuclear Question: The Putin Record,” Strategic Studies Institute, November 2006, 54 pp.

Fox, Jon, “ Iran Nuclear Bomb Imminent, Former CIA Chief Says,” Global Security Newswire, November 16, 2006.

Hassan, Hussein D., Iranian Nuclear Sites, Congressional Research Service, November 13, 2006, 4 pp.

Hoagland, Jim, “Ping Pong Diplomacy for Iran,” The Washington Post, November 5, 2006, p. B7.

International Atomic Energy Agency, Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran, November 14, 2006, 4 pp.

Karimi, Nasser, “Ahmadinejad says Iran will be Self-Sufficient in Nuclear Fuel by Next Year,” Associated Press, November 20, 2006.

Karimi, Nasser, “Iranian Ayatollah Remains Firm on Nukes,” Associated Press, November 8, 2006.

Kerr, Paul, “Divided From Within,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, November/December 2006, p. 17.

Leopold, Evelyn “ Russia Seeks to Calm Europe on Iran Nuclear Arms,” Reuters, November 9, 2006.

Muravchik, Joshua, “Bomb Iran,” Los Angeles Times, November 19, 2006.

Pollack, Kenneth M., “Bringing Iran to the Bargaining Table,” Current History, November 2006, p. 365.

Shire, Jacqueline, and Albright, David, Iran’s Nuclear Program: Flawed House Intelligence Committee Report Should be Amended or Withdrawn, The Institute for Science and International Security, November 9, 2006, 4 pp.

Sokolski, Henry, “Here’s What to do if Iran Really Starts to Play Tough,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 14, 2006.

Takeyh, Ray, “Confronting Iran: Take Ahmadinejad with a Grain of Salt,” Los Angeles Times, November 19, 2006.

United Press International, “UN Nuclear Probe of Iran Hampered by Blind Spots,” November 28, 2006.

Williams, Stuart, “ Iran Wants 60,000 Centrifuges in Nuclear Drive: Ahmadinejad,” Agence France-Presse, November 14, 2006.

Israel

Karpin, Michael, “Will Israel Join the Nuclear Club?” Haaretz, November 24, 2006.

North Korea

Associated Press, “Ex-U.N. Weapons Inspector Blix Says Matter of Time Before North Korea Perfects Nuke Bomb,” November 17, 2006.

Bennett, Bruce, “ North Korea Policy Options,” United Press International, November 24, 2006.

Bliss, Jeff, “ N. Korea Cargo-Screening May Miss Nuclear Contraband,” Bloomberg News, November 3, 2006.

Carpenter, Ted Galen, “Nuclear Neighbors Might Thwart N. Korea,” The Chicago Sun Times, November 11, 2006.

Cooper, Helene. “ North Korea Talks: Back to the Table, Some Reluctantly,” The New York Times, November 2, 2006, p. A8.

Cooper, Helene, and Sanger, David E., “ U.S. Signals New Incentives for North Korea,” The New York Times, November 19, 2006, p. A8.

Dreazen, Yochi J., and Ramstad, Evan, “ U.S. Stance on North Korea Hits Hurdles at Summit,” The Wall Street Journal, November 20, 2006, p. A5.

Kahn, Joseph, and Cooper, Helene, “ North Korea Will Resume Nuclear Talks,” The New York Times, November 1, 2006, p. A1.

Kralev, Nicholas, “N. Korea Agrees to Six-Party Talks,” The Washington Times, November 1, 2006, p. A1.

Mathewson, Judy, “Carter Says Claim that North Korea Cheated is False,” Bloomberg News, November 3, 2006.

Nabeshima, Keizo, “What are Kim’s Objectives?” The Japan Times, November 14, 2006.

Nye, Joseph S., “Nonproliferation after North Korea,” The Washington Post, November 5, 2006, p. B7.

Paulus, Andreas L., and Müller, Jörn, Security Council Resolution 1718 on North Korea’s Nuclear Test, American Society of International Law Insight, November 3, 2006.

Ramberg, Bennett, “Why North Korea Loves the Bomb: Its Nuclear Weapons Program Plays a Major Role in Propping up Kim Jong Il’s Repressive Regime,” Los Angeles Times, November 1, 2006, p. A19.

Ramstad, Evan, “ South Korea Imposes Package of Mild Penalties on the North,” The Wall Street Journal, November 14, 2006, p. A6.

Sigal, Leon V., “The Lessons of North Korea’s Test,” Current History, November 2006, p. 363.

Valencia, Mark J., “Resolution on Korea: Now Comes the Hard Part,” Asia Times, November 7, 2006.

Zhang, Liangui, “Coping with a Nuclear North Korea,” China Security, Autumn 2006, p. 2.

III. Nonproliferation

Coleman, Joseph, “IAEA Chief Urges Ban on Nuclear Tests,” Associated Press, November 30, 2006.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, Global Partnership Program: Making a Difference, 2006, 30 pp.

Heinrich, Mark, “ U.S. Urges Europe to Prevent WMD Proliferation,” Reuters, November 8, 2006.

Marsh, Gerald E., and Stanford, George S., “Batteries Included: How to Spread Nuclear Power without Sharing Nuclear Know-How,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, November/December 2006, p. 19.

Perkovich, George, “The End of the Nonproliferation Regime?” Current History, November 2006, p. 355.

RIA-Novosti, “ Russia Scraps 145 out of 197 Decommissioned Nuclear Submarines,” November 29, 2006.

Schwellenbach, Nick, and Stockton, Peter D. H., “Nuclear Lockdown,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, November/December 2006, p. 45.

Sprenger, Sebastian, “Global Initiative Members Green-Light Governing Principles in Morocco,” Inside Missile Defense, November 8, 2006, p. 5.

Wier, Anthony and Bunn, Matthew, “Bombs That Won’t Go Off,” The Washington Post, November 19, 2006, p. B7.

The Yomiuri Shimbun , “Poll: 80% Support Upholding Japan’s Nonnuclear Principles,” November 21, 2006.

IV. Missiles and Missile Defense

Agence France-Presse, “ Pakistan Test Fires Nuclear-Capable Missile,” November 29, 2006.

Bousso, Ron, “ Israel Seeks New Technology to Shoot Down Rockets from Gaza,” Agence France-Presse, November 23, 2006.

Coyle, Philip E., “The Limits and Liabilities of Missile Defense,” Current History, November 2006, p. 391.

Deutsche Press-Agentur, “ India Successfully Conducts First Missile Interceptor Test,” November 27, 2006.

Karimi, Nasser, “ Iran Test Fires 3 New Missiles in Gulf,” Associated Press, November 3, 2006.

Kyodo News, “Aso, Rice to Put Missile Shield on Fast-Track Status,” November 17, 2006.

Liang, John, “Skeptics Call for Reining in Missile Defense Spending,” Inside Missile Defense, November 22, 2006, p. 1.

Liang, John, “DOD: Should BMDS Programs Get High-Production Priority?” Inside Missile Defense, November 8, 2006, p. 1.

RIA-Novosti, “Causes of Bulava Missile Test Failure Still Unknown: Space Agency,” November 28, 2006.

Roosevelt, Ann, “NATO, SAIC, Sign Contract for Theater Missile Defense Test Bed,” Defense Daily, November 29, 2006.

Rubin, Uzi, The Global Reach of Iran’s Ballistic Missiles, Institute for National Security Studies Memorandum 86, November 2006, 48 pp.

Sieff, Martin, “The Geopolitics of Japan’s BMD,” United Press International, November 24, 2006.

V. Chemical and Biological Arms

Associated Press, “Russian Officials Deny Report of Accident at Chemical Weapons Reprocessing Site,” November 23, 2006.

Center for Strategic and International Studies, The Biological Weapons Threat and Nonproliferation Options: A Survey of Senior U.S. Decision Makers and Policy Shapers, November 2006, 43 pp.

Eisler, Peter, “Pentagon Delays Chemical Weapons Disposal,” USA Today, November 20, 2006.

Fox, Jon,“ Russia, U.S. Discuss New Path for CW Disposal Plant,” Global Security Newswire, November 2, 2006.

Ha, K. Oanh, “Chemical’s Legacy of Suffering: Many Say U.S. Should Help Victims of Wartime Poison,” Mercury News, November 21, 2006.

Harrell, Eben, “Worlds’ Most Deadly Bugs…In the Hands of Terrorists,” The Scotsman News, November 14, 2006.

Rosenberg, Barbara Hatch, “Watching While They Work,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, November/December 2006, p. 64.

Ruppe, David, “Biological Weapons Threat Has Shifted, U.S. Official Says,” Global Security Newswire, November 10, 2006.

Schneidmiller, Chris, “Nations Seek CW Treaty Relief,” Global Security Newswire, November 28, 2006.

Stringer, David, “Bid to Buy Chemical Weapons is Alleged,” Associated Press, November 14, 2006.

Tinger, Brooks, “More Focus Needed on Aftermath of Bio-Attacks,” Defense News, November 6, 2006, p. 26.

United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, Disarmament Forum: Toward a Stronger BTWC, 2006, No. 3, 63 pp.

VI. Conventional Arms

Associated Press, “Civilians the Overwhelming Victims of Cluster Bombs, Report Says,” International Herald Tribune, November 2, 2006.

Beehner, Lionel, The Campaign to Ban Cluster Bombs, Council on Foreign Relations Backgrounder, November 21, 2006.

Beehner, Lionel, Russia-Iran Arms Trade, Council on Foreign Relations Backgrounder, November 1, 2006.

Bender, Bryan, “US is Top Purveyor on Weapons Sales List,” The Boston Globe, November 13, 2006.

Berrigan, Frida, “United States Rides Weapons Bonanza Wave” Foreign Policy in Focus, November 16, 2006.

Blagov, Sergei, “ Russia Eyes Global Lead in Arms Exports,” ISN Security Watch, November 24, 2006.

Farah, Douglas, and Braun, Stephen, “The Merchant of Death,” Foreign Policy, November/December 2006, p. 53.

Forero, Juan, “For Colombians, A Growing Peril from Land Mines,” The Washington Post, November 2, 2006, p. A1.

Hartung, William D., “Pushing Democracy, or Arms?” The National Interest, November 3, 2006.

Human Rights Watch, “ Norway Opens Way to Cluster Munition Treaty,” November 17, 2006.

Kahaner, Larry, “Weapon of Mass Destruction,” The Washington Post, November 26, 2006, p. B1.

Klapper, Bradley S., “Red Cross Steps up Campaign Against Cluster Bombs, Urges Ban,” Associated Press, November 6, 2006.

Leigh, David, “Saudi Arms Deal Inquiry Closes in on Secret Papers,” The Guardian, November 20, 2006.

Leigh, David, and Evans, Rob, “BAE Secret Millions Linked to Arms Broker,” The Guardian, November 29, 2006.

Lewis, J A C, “France Posts Arms Sale Upturn,” Jane’s Defence Weekly, November 1, 2006, p. 16.

Lynch, Colum, “U.N. Report Cites Outside Military Aid to Somalia’s Islamic Forces,” The Washington Post, November 15, 2006, p. A13.

Myre, Greg, “Israeli General Orders Lebanon Inquiry,” The New York Times, November 20, 2006, p. A8.

Norton-Taylor, Robert, “Civilians Main Cluster Bomb Victims,” The Guardian, November 3, 2006.

Schroeder, Matthew, and Lamb, Guy, “The Illicit Arms Trade in Africa: A Global Enterprise,” African Analyst, Third Quarter 2006, p. 69.

Sengupta, Kim, “Study Says Almost All Cluster Bomb Victims are Children,” The Independent, November 3, 2006.

Stohl, Rachel, and Murphy, Tim, U.S. Arms Still Dominate International Market, Russia Leader to Developing World, Center for Defense Information, November 15, 2006.

Stohl, Rachel, Matthew Schroeder and Dan Smith, The Small Arms Trade: A Beginner’s Guide, One World Publishers, November 2006.

Wayne, Leslie, “Foreign Sales by U.S. Arms Makers Doubled in a Year,” The New York Times, November 11, 2006, p. C3.

Weinberger, Sharon, “Seller’s Market: The U.S. Arms Industry is Experiencing an Unexpected Boom Year with a Near Record-Setting $21 Billion in Foreign Military Sales,” Aviation Week & Space Technology, November 20, 2006, p. 42.

Williams, Jody, Shirin Ebadi, Wangari Maathai, Rigoberta Menchu Tum, Betty Williams, and Mairead Corrigan Maguire, “Ban the Bomblets,” Ottawa Citizen, November 15, 2006, p. A17.

VII. U.S. Policy

Congressional Budget Office, Long-Term Implications of Current Defense Plans: Summary Update for Fiscal Year 2007, October 2006, 32 pp.

Gertz, Bill, “ U.S. Speeds Attack Plans for N. Korea: Pushed by Nuke Test, Pentagon Targets Plant,” The Washington Times, November 3, 2006, p. A1.

Hersh, Seymour M., “The Next Act: Is a Damaged Administration Less Likely to Attack Iran, or More?” The New Yorker, November 27, 2006.

Slackman, Michael, and Sanger, David E., “Envisioning U.S. Talks with Iran and Syria,” The New York Times, November 19, 2006, p. 1, Section 4.

VIII. Space

Anderson, Hil, “Space Cost Controls Urged,” United Press International, November 28, 2006.

Associated Press, “Report: Russian Official Sharply Criticizes Assertive New U.S. Space Policy,” November 29, 2006.

Government Accountability Office, Space Acquisitions: DOD Needs to Take More Action to Address Unrealistic Initial Cost Estimates of Space Systems, November 2006, 56 pp.

Johnson, Rebecca, Europe’s Space Policies and Their Relevance to the EU’s Security and Defence Policy, European Parliament Policy Department External Affairs, November 2006, 70 pp.

Liang, John, “GAO: DOD Should Address ‘Unrealistic’ Space System Cost Estimates,” Inside Missile Defense, November 22, 2006, p. 1.

Scott, William B., “Space Control Redux,” Aviation Week & Space Technology, November 6, 2006, p. 54.

IX. Other

Baker, Deborah, “Report: Los Alamos Security Flawed,” Associated Press, November 29, 2006.

Beeston, Richard, “Six Arab States Join Rush to go Nuclear,” The Times, November 4, 2006.

Interfax-AVN, “Defense Minister Says Russia ‘Duped’ by NATO over Expansion,” November 1, 2006.

Linzer, Dafna and Pincus, Walter, “Taliban, Al-Qaeda Resurge in Afghanistan, CIA Says,” The Washington Post, November 16, 2006, p. A22.

Shanahan, Dennis, and Kerr, Joseph, “Howard to Defy US on Nuclear Plant,” The Australian, November 11, 2006.

Vartabedian, Ralph, “Breach at Lab Called Significant,” Los Angeles Times, November 2, 2006.

Editor's Note

Miles A. Pomper

The nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) has suffered a number of blows in recent years, from the disappointing outcome of the 2005 treaty review conference to an inability to staunch Iran’s nuclear ambitions and concerns that a pending U.S.-Indian nuclear cooperation deal will further undermine the shaky regime. In this month’s cover story, however, Jean du Preez says that states-parties can shore up the NPT if they embrace the kind of bargains they struck when the treaty was signed in 1968 and extended indefinitely in 1995.

The challenges confronting the NPT are evident in the 65-member Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva. In past decades, the CD, the United Nation’s primary arms control negotiating forum, and similar predecessors helped craft such essential accords as the NPT. Yet in recent years, the forum has effectively ground to a halt, unable to break a stalemate involving the United States and Russia and China. U.S. officials would like to restrict the forum to negotiating a fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT) that would seek to end the production of plutonium and highly enriched uranium for nuclear weapons. But China and Russia have insisted that the forum also begin discussions on a treaty aimed at preventing an arms race in outer space. Other countries want talks on nuclear disarmament.

In this month’s issue, we asked two experienced participants and one knowledgeable observer to suggest how to break this logjam. Former Bush administration official Stephen G. Rademaker expresses little optimism that the standoff can be ended, saying that states such as China are not genuinely interested in crafting an FMCT. Ambassador Paul Meyer of Canada says all states, including the United States, need to support a “balanced” work program including both FMCT negotiations and outer space talks.

Michael Krepon suggests a third path. For example, he proposes that, as an interim measure, many of the states with nuclear weapons agree to a voluntary moratorium on fissile material production for nuclear weapons.

North Korea’s Oct. 9 nuclear test delivered perhaps the strongest recent shock to the NPT. C. Kenneth Quinones writes that the handling of a previous North Korean nuclear crisis more than a decade ago offers lessons for resolving this one. He reviews A Moment of Crisis, which focuses on the role former President Jimmy Carter played in that 1993-1994 confrontation.

Our news section includes coverage of the effort to restore negotiations aimed at ending the North Korean crisis and tracks other developments from Senate approval of the U.S.-Indian nuclear trade deal to efforts to advance a global conventional arms trade treaty.

Half Full or Half Empty? Realizing the Promise of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty

Jean du Preez

Some analysts are already writing the epitaph for the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). Others are dusting off Cold War prognosis about nuclear chain reactions, arguing that the treaty has failed and that more and more states will break out or creep out from the almost 40-year-old regime. Still others are looking into ways to establish a new nuclear nonproliferation regime, arguing that the NPT cannot meet today’s challenges.

These gloomy forecasts on the future of the NPT follow a number of setbacks: the disappointing outcome of the once-every-five-years treaty review conference in 2005; the inability of the 2005 UN summit to express itself on the threats associated with nuclear weapons; North Korea’s blatant disregard for the treaty’s goals, including its October 2006 nuclear test; increasing concerns over Iran’s nuclear intentions; and the impact of the U.S.-Indian nuclear cooperation deal. There now seems to be a growing belief that the goals embedded in the treaty and upheld for almost four decades have become “missions impossible.”

The nuclear nonproliferation regime is in deep trouble and facing unprecedented challenges. NPT states-parties should be seeking to build bridges between each other on ways to strengthen the treaty’s core bargains as they did in 1995 and 2000. Instead, they are taking singular approaches. Some focus only on the nonproliferation side of the NPT bargain, including a few key parties who prefer threats of sanctions and military action to diplomacy. Another group, meanwhile, is quick to make linkages aimed at stalling progress on nonproliferation or in an attempt to force equal treatment on issues such as nuclear disarmament, the crises in the Middle East, and assurances against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.

Yet, has the NPT failed? Although a bit dated and despite some noncompliance concerns, it is fair to say that the vast majority of its members continue to believe in and fully support the treaty’s objectives and principles. Contrary to growing perceptions in Washington, both in governmental and nongovernmental circles, the treaty has a good track record. Although the only four states that remain outside the treaty are now armed with nuclear weapons, this problem relates to long-standing regional and bilateral political issues that the NPT was not necessarily designed to address. Convincing these countries to renounce nuclear weapons or control their nuclear-related technologies and material will require tailor-made diplomatic approaches outside the context of the NPT in which the United States and other NPT nuclear-weapon states have a leading role.

The “glass-half-empty” protagonists seem to believe that because less than a handful of NPT members have cheated— Iraq, Libya, North Korea, and Iran—the NPT and its safeguards system have failed to prevent proliferation. Of these “cheaters,” Iraq and Libya are no longer of nuclear proliferation concern, while the verdict is still out on Iran’s intentions. In their analysis of the treaty’s well-being, those who foresee a demise of the NPT seem to forget that several states, such as Argentina, Belarus, Brazil, Kazakhstan, South Africa, and Ukraine, gave up their nuclear weapons or related programs and joined the NPT as non-nuclear-weapon states in good standing. Moreover, the overwhelming majority of other non-nuclear-weapon states have laudable compliance records.

Instead of finding ways to reward good behavior, more and more initiatives are surfacing on ways further to curtail the right of states in good standing to use the atom for peaceful purposes. Others argue that the nuclear cooperation deal between India and the United States will tear the treaty apart because it would essentially reward India for staying outside the regime. They seem short on ideas, however, on how to incorporate the world’s most populist democracy into the nonproliferation fold while providing its citizens with a sustainable energy source. Many others believe that the nuclear-weapon states have not met their legal disarmament obligations, but they have little legal ground to judge these states, given the weaknesses of the treaty in this regard.

The treaty is not yet on the brink of failure. Talk of such failure plays into the hands of those who wish to pursue nuclear weapons or use unilateral action in pursuit of national counterproliferation objectives. Yet, the continued inability to adapt the treaty from its Cold War framework to one more responsive to today’s security environment will, over time, erode the treaty’s relevance as a cornerstone of international security. As they now begin formal preparations for the 2010 review conference, states-parties must move quickly to lay the groundwork for success by establishing an effective preparatory process, defining balanced and achievable goals, and building political will and momentum to implement them.

For if states-parties approach the next review cycle with the same business-as-usual approach as they did the past one, the outcome of the 2010 review conference could be in jeopardy long before it starts. Another failed conference could pave the way for greater involvement and intervention by the most powerful states, acting either as coalitions of the willing or through the UN Security Council, on the grounds that the multilateral machinery has ground to a halt and that the NPT is no longer functional. Others may start questioning the security framework that the treaty promises and seek their security through other means, including nuclear weapons.

Opportunities to advance the treaty’s goals in the run-up to the 2010 conference remain. Taking advantage of them requires visionary leadership, strong political will at the highest levels, and innovative and constructive cooperation among all key players—national, intergovernmental, and nongovernmental—to strengthen the core bargains on which the treaty was founded almost 40 years ago. In so doing, the treaty’s inherent weaknesses should be recognized with a view to finding ways to address these limitations in a holistic manner. What is needed urgently is not a new treaty or lopsided ways to deal with current threats, but a balanced plan of action to implement the treaty’s core bargains, taking into account developments since its adoption, including the way in which it was extended in perpetuity.

Going Back to the Future

When the member states of the 18-nation Disarmament Commission, later the Conference on Disarmament (CD), agreed to the text of the NPT in 1968, they did so knowing that the treaty was not perfect and that its provisions might not stand the test of time. In part, this led to the agreement that the treaty would not last in perpetuity but that its future would be determined 25 years after entry into force. The text of the treaty was the best that could be achieved at a time when the United States and the Soviet Union had large arsenals of nuclear-tipped missiles aimed at each other and when it was feared that several other states might follow the example of those states that had acquired a nuclear weapons capability.

While states without nuclear weapons agreed to forgo that option immediately, nuclear-weapons states made two rather vague concessions. They agreed in Article IV that the restrictions embedded in the treaty would not affect the “inalienable right” of all states to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and that states should share technology and material for the peaceful use of the atom. In Article VI, they agreed to pursue negotiations in “good faith” to stop the arms race and, in what appears to have been an afterthought, made a similar commitment to nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament. No time frame was set for these negotiations. A withdrawal provision was also added, requiring advance notice and an explanatory statement. Finally, they came up with a formula to define those countries temporarily entitled to possess nuclear arms by recognizing as legitimate nuclear-weapon states only those countries that had detonated a nuclear explosive device prior to January 1, 1967.[1]

Over time, these sweeteners helped encourage almost all states to join the pact.[2] Despite the inherently discriminatory nature of the treaty, states with the capability to develop nuclear weapons decided not to do so but instead accepted in good faith the requirements set forth by the treaty to remain nuclear weapons free. They saw in the treaty a “grand bargain,” one they hoped would ensure their own national security and lead to the elimination of nuclear weapons. These incentives, however, are now considered by some as loopholes as they allow states to use peaceful nuclear energy as cover for weapons development before exercising their right to withdraw from the treaty. Others argue that the retention of nuclear weapons by a few states allows them to threaten those without weapons.

The 1995 agreement to extend the treaty indefinitely was yet another grand bargain. Instead of making the treaty’s future conditional, it was agreed to strengthen the review process[3] as a yardstick to measure progress on nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament during every five-year review cycle. As recalled by Ambassador Thomas Graham Jr., who led the U.S. delegation to the 1995 conference, the treaty was extended indefinitely based on a set of “political conditions,”[4] a major component of which was a set of principles and objectives for nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament anchored to three clearly defined disarmament actions,[5] and on an agreement that a legally binding instrument should be considered to assure non-nuclear-weapon states against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.[6] These negative security assurances and the nuclear disarmament promises, especially from the United States, played an important role in winning indefinite extension of the treaty.[7] Today, many states feel that this decision was a mistake because it effectively eliminated the little leverage that non-nuclear-weapon states had over nuclear-weapon states to stick to their end of the bargain and ultimately disarm.

By contrast, the much-heralded 2000 review conference actually watered down some of the important agreements reached in 1995. For instance, the clearly defined nuclear disarmament program of action was no longer intact. Instead it was replaced with a basket of items, the so-called 13 practical steps on nuclear disarmament, without attaching clear priority to them. Many of these steps, offered as concessions by the nuclear-weapon states to ensure successful adoption of a final document as validation of the 1995 indefinite extension decision, were not real concessions at all, such as the agreement to achieve the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) after the Senate had already categorically rejected U.S. ratification of the treaty the previous year.

Similarly, knowing full well that breaking the deadlock in the CD was improbable, states-parties agreed to conclude negotiations on a fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT) within five years, provided it were done in the context of the CD’s program of work. The only real achievement among the 13 steps was step six, representing the first “unequivocal undertaking” by the nuclear-weapon states to eliminate their nuclear arsenal. Although no time frame was attached to this undertaking, the notion of “eventual” progress toward this goal was removed, and a clear de-linkage was made to the idea of general and complete disarmament.

Even the limited successes of the 2000 conference were soon eroded. As early as 2001, at least two nuclear-weapon states (the United States and France) negated several of the intensely debated bargains. For instance, soon after taking office, the Bush administration stated that many of the 13 steps were no longer valid, among other reasons, pointing to the Senate’s rejection of the CTBT. France continues to argue that any progress toward nuclear disarmament be part and parcel of general and complete disarmament.[8]

In contrast to the high level of cooperation between all states-parties in 1995 and 2000, the legacy of the 2005 conference is one of negative tactics and a lack of political commitment. Had the United States and France not so blatantly provoked other states-parties by attempting to roll back some of the key decisions and agreements taken at the 1995 and 2000 conferences, the 2005 outcome could have represented progress. From the perspectives of Washington and Paris, however, the 2005 conference was a mission accomplished. Not only were the 1995 and 2000 agreements sufficiently undermined, but initiatives to counter new proliferation threats outside the treaty regime are now gaining more support. Likewise, for the other main culprits, Egypt and Iran, the 2005 “failure” prevented both a rollback of previous decisions, in particular those related to the Middle East, and any reference to Iranian noncompliance.

Two opposing perceptions emerged from the ashes of the 2005 conference: that the agreements reached in 1995 and 2000 remain supreme and that the 2000 bargains were a mistake and that the value of consensus final documents to reflect common approaches is of less importance. Of further concern is the split that emerged among non-nuclear-weapon states. Key Western states now promote minimalist approaches at the expense of their own traditional positions and important measures agreed in 1995 and 2000. On the other hand, developing countries are stonewalling attempts aimed at restricting their treaty rights. They argue that they should not be forced to accept additional obligations when the nuclear-weapon states are allowed to ignore their previous disarmament commitments and agreements. If in 2010 the states-parties fail to learn from this experience, then the treaty’s relevance as the cornerstone of the nuclear nonproliferation regime would be in serious jeopardy.

Where We Are Now

Only a few months away from the first preparatory session, or PrepCom, for the 2010 review conference, there is already a deep sense of pessimism about its prospects. As if challenges from North Korea to Iran to India were not enough reason to doubt any positive outcome, the events at the 61st General Assembly First (Disarmament) Committee in October (see page 40) showed that the 2005 divisions now run even deeper.

Instead of a setting a positive tone for the 2007 PrepCom by adopting more conciliatory approaches, Washington apparently decided to entrench itself as an obstacle by casting negative votes on 24 of the 52 resolutions recommended by the committee. Of these, the United States was alone in voting no on 12 occasions, even in the face of overwhelming support, including from its closest allies.

At the expense of being isolated with a country it holds in utter contempt, the U.S. delegation alone joined North Korea in voting against the principles of a CTBT, while Washington leads the charge to isolate Pyongyang and demand that it never test nuclear weapons again. Washington again joined North Korea in voting against a rather innocuous resolution put forward by Japan on a “renewed determination towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons.” Shattering any hopes that the non-nuclear-weapon states might be granted one of their long-standing aspirations—not to be threatened by the use of nuclear weapons— Washington for the first time and on its own voted against a resolution that called for legally binding negative security assurances.

As if this was not enough, the U.S. delegation rubbed it in by stating that it “opposes” a negative security assurances treaty “or any other legally binding instrument on security assurances.”[9] This dangerous message could heavily impact how states perceive their security within the context of the NPT. They may come to believe that protection against U.S. aggression requires a nuclear arsenal. No wonder North Korea voted in favor of this resolution.

Washington’s backpedaling from its own 1995 and 2000 commitments to back an “effectively verifiable”[10] FMCT caused Canada[11] to withdraw its traditional resolution in support of the treaty. It did so ostensibly to prevent further damage to the already fragile support for an FMCT and to avoid confrontation with the United States.

Instead of welcoming the signing of a long-awaited Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (CANWFZ) treaty,[12] the United States, the United Kingdom, and France voted against a resolution put forward by five Central Asian states and pressured some of their allies and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to withhold their endorsement of the treaty. Not only is the signing of the CANWFZ treaty one of few positive developments in a maze of pessimism about the future of nonproliferation, but it clearly underlines the commitment to nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation by a group of states that previously had nuclear weapons on their territory and continue to live in a nuclear-armed neighborhood. The United States and other opponents may have legitimate concerns about some aspects of the treaty, but what they seem to ignore is that this is the first treaty that requires its members to adhere to enhanced International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards, which include the Model Additional Protocol. The treaty also requires its members to meet international standards for the physical protection of nuclear material.

Of course, the United States is not alone in undermining prospects for a smooth start to the next review cycle. Tehran’s continued intransigence to cooperate fully with the IAEA and heed resolutions by the IAEA board and the UN Security Council has already divided the NPT membership and could make Iran the focal point of the first preparatory session in 2007. What is now most needed is a responsible approach by the leadership in Tehran. It needs to prove to the international community that Iran can be a responsible possessor and user of nuclear material and technology.

The intense focus on Iran’s nuclear aspirations also holds negative consequences for other developing countries that want to develop the means to use the atom for nuclear energy and other peaceful purposes. A number of initiatives intended to curtail this right have sprung up over the last two years, ranging from multilateral controls over the nuclear fuel cycle to eliminating the use of highly enriched uranium (HEU) in the civilian nuclear sector.

Already, several developing countries have reacted sharply. Some, such as Algeria, Argentina, Egypt, South Africa, and Saudi Arabia, recently declared their intentions to develop their own civilian nuclear energy programs. Moreover, the leaders of the Nonaligned Movement, which brings together 115 developing countries, reiterated in September 2006 that “each country’s choices and decision in the field of peaceful uses of nuclear energy should be respected without jeopardizing its policies or international cooperation agreements and arrangements for peaceful uses of nuclear energy and its fuel-cycle policies.”[13] The reaction by these developing countries to initiatives to curtail their Article IV rights is forewarning that this is likely to become the dividing line between success and failure in 2010.

Another early warning is the deepening frustration over the lack of progress on nuclear disarmament. Key nonaligned states, such as Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia, and South Africa, have already linked progress on issues such as standardization of the Model Additional Protocol, limitations on the nuclear fuel cycle, and civilian HEU elimination to appropriate progress on nuclear disarmament.

Toward 2010: A Strategy for Success

Given deep differences on how to resolve the challenges facing the treaty today, it is crucial for states-parties to consider new ways to regain confidence in the treaty’s core bargains. Attempts to address these challenges, however, must focus on the achievable, must be balanced, and should not appear to reinterpret, negate, or diminish existing obligations, commitments, and undertakings.

The first order of business for the PrepCom in 2007 should be to get the process right. The experience at PrepCom sessions since the adoption of the 1995 strengthened review process has demonstrated that, for the process to be effective and to yield the expected results, it is vital that states-parties show the required political will and be prepared to carry out discussions and negotiations with a view to reaching results on procedural arrangement and substantive matters.

While it is important at next year’s PrepCom to have a genuine and frank exchange of views on current challenges facing the treaty with a results-oriented approach, care should be taken not to create an even deeper divide among states-parties that may not be bridgeable before the 2010 conference. Instead, the first PrepCom should primarily focus on the procedural mechanisms that would enable agreement on both procedural arrangements and substantive recommendations reflecting the views of all states. These should take into account the recommendations, deliberations, and results of its previous sessions. Mindful of the full cycle leading up to the conference, state-parties should keep the process alive, dynamic, and responsive. The possibility of a fourth PrepCom session shortly before the review conference should also be considered. If, however, it proves unlikely for the PrepCom to produce substantive consensus recommendations, it should adopt a report consisting of procedural arrangements for the conference and a summary of the proposed recommendations.

Building on and in no way diminishing the significance of the 1995 “Principles and Objectives,” the 2010 review conference should adopt a plan of action in support of the full implementation of the treaty’s objectives, taking into account the changes in the geopolitical and international security environment. The action plan should stand on its own and serve as a “lodestar”[14] to regain confidence in the treaty’s core bargains, as the Principles and Objectives document did in 1995. Such an action plan should include a number of elements.

Universality

While reaffirming the importance of universal adherence to the treaty, states such as India, Pakistan, and Israel are unlikely ever to join the treaty as non-nuclear-weapon states. Ways to capture them must be explored without rewarding them for staying outside the norm. For instance, they should be required as a precondition for any civilian nuclear cooperation to accept an additional protocol in the same manner as NPT nuclear-weapon states. Making an exception for one state, as envisaged in the U.S.-Indian deal, without securing sufficient assurances that technology and material will not be diverted to a nuclear weapons program should not be an option. These states should also be required to sign on to a future FMCT.[15]

Nonproliferation

Both nuclear- and non-nuclear-weapon states should reaffirm their nonproliferation obligations and recognize the need to strengthen these obligations without undue restrictions on the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Further strengthening of nonproliferation measures must be packaged with equal obligations on the nuclear-weapon states. Although nuclear cooperation with a state found to be in noncompliance with its nonproliferation obligations should be suspended, criteria should be developed to distinguish between the degree of seriousness of violations as well as the violator’s willingness to take steps to correct the matter. UN Security Council Resolution 1540, which is aimed at preventing nonstate actors and terrorists from gaining access to “weapons of mass destruction” and related material, has the potential to plug the gaps in the nonproliferation regime, but significant skepticism remains among many states about its application. A broader understanding needs to be developed about the role of the resolution in strengthening states’ NPT nonproliferation obligations.

Preventing Nuclear Terrorism

The fear of nuclear terrorism is not equally shared by all states-parties, but they should recognize that an act of nuclear terrorism anywhere in the world could have severe consequences for all. The role of the IAEA Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources, the need to implement fully and strengthen Security Council Resolution 1540, and universal adherence to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material should be emphasized. Although eliminating the use of HEU in the civilian sector would contribute toward preventing terrorist access to this material, agreement on this approach would best be linked to the inclusion of excess military fissile material under an FMCT.

Nuclear Disarmament

Here the focus should be on the achievable over the medium term. Of highest priority should be maintaining moratoria on nuclear testing and the expansion of existing moratoria on military fissile material production. At the same time, all states-parties should recommit themselves to achieve the early entry into force of the CTBT and work toward a future verifiable FMCT. This assumes that CD negotiations for such a treaty would commence before 2010. Other commitments by nuclear-weapon states to verifiable and transparent arms reduction measures also should be emphasized. Although most urgent with respect to Russia and the United States, all nuclear-weapon states should agree to reduce the operational status of their nuclear forces.

Diminishing the role of nuclear weapons in security policies would serve to address fears among non-nuclear-weapon states that they are potential targets of these weapons. Nuclear-weapon states should also pledge not to adopt nuclear doctrines or develop new weapons systems that blur the distinction between nuclear and conventional weapons or lower the nuclear threshold.[16] At the same time, Russia and the United States should implement their undertakings to eliminate specific types of nonstrategic or tactical nuclear weapons and agree to withdraw all these types of nuclear weapons to central storage on national territory for eventual elimination.[17]

Safeguards

All non-nuclear-weapon states should agree to accept comprehensive safeguards agreements further strengthened by an additional protocol. The application of these strengthened safeguards should be a condition of supply of technology and material for peaceful purposes. It should also be emphasized that these measures are not designed to limit the right of states to peaceful nuclear energy but rather to enhance international confidence in every state’s ability to be a responsible possessor and user of advanced nuclear material and technologies for peaceful purposes. Of equal importance should be the requirement that civilian nuclear cooperation with states outside the NPT be preconditioned on the application of an additional protocol to all related nuclear facilities and material.

Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy

It is essential to reaffirm Article IV rights for states in full compliance with their nonproliferation and full-scope safeguards obligations (Articles I, II, and III of the treaty). States found to be in violation of these obligations should forfeit their rights under Article IV. The IAEA should continue to be used as an active forum for exploring ways to reduce proliferation risks associated with the nuclear fuel cycle without jeopardizing peaceful uses of nuclear energy, including these technologies. The results of the September 2006 IAEA Special Event on Assurances of Nuclear Supply and Non-Proliferation[18] and the IAEA Secretariat’s expected recommendations on potential nuclear fuel-supply mechanisms next year could increase support for multilateral fuel-cycle controls.

Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones

Existing and future zones should be considered as mechanisms to address both the nonproliferation and disarmament objectives of the NPT. States should be encouraged to urgently ratify these treaties. The entry into force of the African Nuclear-Weapons-Free Zone treaty (Pelindaba) should be a high priority for all states. It is equally important that the nuclear-weapon states ratify the relevant protocols to all existing zone treaties.

Security Assurances

In an effort to defuse a potential deal-breaker, the nuclear-weapon states should reaffirm prior to the 2010 conference and in the context of the Security Council their political pledges not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states.[19] The conference should establish a mechanism to consider ways to provide legally binding negative security assurances to NPT states-parties in full compliance with their nonproliferation obligations.

Accountability

To address the imbalance inherent in the design of the NPT, ways should be considered to increase the accountability of all states-parties to their obligations under the treaty. Holding annual meetings of state-parties and extraordinary state-party conferences to respond to serious challenges, such as a withdrawal or a nuclear test, could be one possible way. Admittedly, this idea is controversial, but nothing in the treaty precludes a PrepCom from adopting consensus decisions and resolutions on matters of urgent concern relating to the authority, integrity, and implementation of the treaty. The reporting mechanism built into the 13 steps toward nuclear disarmament also could be used as a template for all states to report on the implementation of their NPT obligations.

Civil Society and Outreach

Increased participation of civil society, including academic institutions and the corporate sector, should be encouraged as a means to inform wider audiences about the danger of nuclear proliferation. Enhanced participation of nongovernmental organizations as observers in NPT meetings would also have mutual benefits for states-parties and civil society. States-parties should be encouraged to promote nonproliferation and disarmament training and education in academic institutions and diplomatic training courses. International organizations such as the IAEA and the CTBT Organization should support this goal.

Although political will derives from each state-party’s own perception of the treaty, a number of initiatives could foster political momentum in support of the action plan and a successful conclusion to the 2010 review conference. First, the nuclear-weapon states should start by reaching agreement on how to deal with North Korea, resolving their differences over Iran, and dispelling any suspicion over possible new weapons development and nuclear testing. Another positive political message to the broader NPT membership would be for congressional Democrats to restart a process in support of the CTBT. This could re-energize the ratification process in other states, such as China, Colombia, Egypt, and Indonesia. These states also must ratify the treaty for it to enter into force. This in turn would create a more favorable environment for success in 2010.

Like-minded coalitions, new and existing, could be used to promote achievable options to develop and strengthen confidence in the treaty. In the past, groups of like-minded states such as the New Agenda Coalition[20] and regular collaboration between state-party representatives and nongovernmental experts have shown remarkable results. Unfortunately the divisive relationships among NPT states-parties seem to have crept into these like-minded groups. Given Germany’s influence in the nonproliferation and nuclear disarmament debates, Berlin could use its presidency of the European Union next year to promote a balanced and flexible role for the EU during the next review cycle. Likewise, the nonaligned leadership should avoid being entrapped by the hard-line positions of some of its members. Yet, although like-minded coalitions and political groups remain important vehicles to promote common approaches in support of the treaty’s objectives, it would be important not to force like-mindedness on states where the political will or the belief in common approaches does not exist.

To generate high-level political will in support for concrete action at the 2010 conference, a NPT heads of state summit should be convened on the margins of the 64th UN General Assembly in New York in 2009. A strong but balanced political declaration issued by such a summit just prior to the 2010 review conference could provide much needed political momentum. Adding even more weight would be a joint statement at this summit by the permanent five members of the Security Council in which the nuclear-weapon states commit themselves to work toward a positive outcome in 2010.

Of significant importance could be a change in U.S. political leadership. Many countries hope that the outcome of the 2008 presidential election could lead to a change in U.S. nonproliferation and arms control policies and have been buoyed by the outcome of the November 2006 elections. Such a change could send a powerful and positive message to the wider NPT membership.

Conclusion

Although the NPT has not been mortally wounded yet, there is a real possibility that a failure in 2010 could make the treaty irrelevant as an effective instrument for maintaining international peace and security. The challenge facing the states-parties during the next review cycle is ensuring that the treaty’s continued validity, including its indefinite extension, remains intact. That can not be ensured if individual elements of the NPT’s bargains are approached singularly; neither can one or another of these elements be ignored or minimized. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan emphasized this need for balance when he recently compared it to an aircraft that can remain airborne only if both wings are in working order. He sternly warned that the international community is “asleep at the controls of a fast-moving aircraft. Unless we wake up and take control, the outcome is all too predictable.”[21]

Any desire, be it by the non-nuclear-weapon states or the nuclear-weapon states to address only one aspect of the NPT bargains—be it nuclear disarmament, nuclear nonproliferation, safeguards, the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, or universality—is a recipe for failure and should be guarded against. To avoid an NPT crash and burn, a new grand bargain, at the highest political levels is needed to reinvigorate the 40-year-old treaty.


Jean du Preez is director of the International Organizations and Nonproliferation program at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies in the Monterey Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California.


ENDNOTES

1. Article IX of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) defines the nuclear-weapon states as China, France, the Soviet Union (now Russia), the United Kingdom, and the United States, all of whom tested nuclear weapons before this date.

2. Only India, Israel, and Pakistan have not signed the NPT. North Korea joined but announced its withdrawal from the treaty in 2003 and detonated a nuclear device in October 2006.

3. “Decision 1: Strengthening the Review Process for the Treaty” (1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference, New York, April 1995).

4. Ambassador Thomas Graham Jr., remarks, Global Security Institute Forum on “Lessons for the Future From the Crucible of Experience,” New York, May 24, 2005.

5. “Decision 2: Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament” (1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference, New York, April 1995). Paragraph four contains a program of action on nuclear disarmament: the conclusion of negotiations on a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), the start of negotiations on a fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT), and the pursuit by the nuclear-weapon states of systematic and progressive efforts to reduce nuclear weapons globally with the ultimate goal of eliminating those weapons.

6. Ibid. Paragraph eight states that, “[n]oting United Nations Security Council resolution 984 (1995), which was adopted unanimously on 11 April 1995, as well as the declarations of the nuclear-weapon states concerning both negative and positive security assurances, further steps should be considered to assure non-nuclear-weapon states party to the treaty against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons. These steps could take the form of an internationally legally binding instrument.”

7. See George Bunn, “The Legal Status of U.S. Negative Security Assurances to Non-Nuclear Weapon States,” Nonproliferation Review 4, No. 3 (Spring-Summer 1997), p. 1.

8. At the 2000 NPT Review Conference, France argued that Article VI links nuclear disarmament to general and complete disarmament. Although it initially acquiesced that these items are not linked, it continues to claim that its French version interprets this differently.

9. Explanation of vote by the U.S. delegation on draft resolution A/C.1/61/L.45, adopted at the 61st session of the General Assembly’s First Committee.

10. Shannon Mandate, adopted by the Conference on Disarmament March 23, 1995.

11. Canada is the traditional sponsor of a First Committee resolution dealing with the FMCT.

12. The foreign ministers of the five Central Asian states— Kazakhstan, Krygyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan—signed a treaty establishing CANWFZ on September 8, 2006, in Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan.

13. Final document of the 14th Summit Conference of Heads of State or Government of the Nonaligned Movement, Havana, Cuba, September, 16, 2006 (based on paragraph 2 [Article IV] of the Final Document of the 2000 NPT Review Conference).

14. At the 1995 Review and Extension Conference, South Africa proposed that the review process be strengthened by adoption of “set of principles for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament which would be taken into account when the implementation of the treaty is reviewed” and that these principles would “take into account the current international environment.” These principles were offered not as amendments to the treaty but to serve as a lodestar to focus attention on the importance of the treaty’s objectives and the changing security environment. The South African ideas provided the basis for the decision to indefinitely extend the treaty. They are as relevant today as they were in April 1995.

15. The U.S. draft FMCT introduced to the CD does not list India, Pakistan, and Israel as states whose ratification is required for entry into force of the treaty.

16. Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission, Weapons of Terror: Freeing the World of Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Arms ( Stockholm: WMD Commission, June 2006), p. 98 (Recommendation 21).

17. Ibid., p. 99 (Recommendation 23).

18. “New Framework for the Utilization of Nuclear Energy: Assurances of Supply and Non-Proliferation,” 50th International Atomic Energy Agency General Conference Special Event, Vienna, September 19-21, 2006.

19. In 1995 the pledges by the five nuclear-weapon states were formally acknowledged by the Security Council in Resolution 984, adopted just prior to the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference, marking the first real politically binding commitment both on positive and negative security assurances. This resolution was seen as an effort by the nuclear-weapon states to secure support for the indefinite extension of the NPT.

20. The New Agenda Coalition was launched in 1998 by the foreign ministers of eight non-nuclear-weapon nations—Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Slovenia, South Africa, and Sweden—with the purpose of pressuring the nuclear-weapon states to fulfill the obligation they undertook in Article VI of the NPT to eliminate nuclear arsenals. The coalition officially consists of the above states except Slovenia.

21. Lecture by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan at Princeton University, November 28, 2006.

BOOK REVIEW: Back to the Future

A Moment of Crisis: Jimmy Carter, The Power of a Peacemaker, and North Korea’s Nuclear Ambitions
By Marion Creekmore, Jr., PublicAffairs, August 2006, 406 pp.

C. Kenneth Quinones

Not even North Korea’s October 2006 nuclear test could make Pyongyang’s persistent pursuit of a nuclear arsenal a priority for the Bush administration. Its preoccupation with the Middle East, particularly Iraq, and the war on terrorism has relegated the potential collapse of the global nuclear nonproliferation regime to a regional issue for Northeast Asia.

Ambassador Marion Creekmore’s recently published book, A Moment of Crisis, takes us back to the first North Korean nuclear crisis of 1993-1994, when preventing a nuclear-armed North Korea and preserving the integrity of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and the credibility of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) were Washington’s national security priorities. His very readable and authoritatively documented book focuses on former President Jimmy Carter’s June 1994 intervention in the crisis, including a visit to Pyongyang and meetings with North Korean leader Kim Il Sung.

For the first time, Carter has permitted research into his personal papers and the Carter Center’s records to tell the story of how and why he and his wife Rosalyn, who accompanied him as his sole note taker in all meetings with Kim Il Sung, intervened in the crisis. Revealed are the detailed personal accounts of Carter’s thoughts at the time and the unedited record of his discussions with President Bill Clinton, South Korean President Kim Yong-sam and North Korea’s leadership.

A Moment of Crisis, however, is as much about the present and future as it is about the past. Creekmore demonstrates that the United States, to succeed in negotiations with Pyongyang, must avoid humiliating North Korea’s leadership and engage North Korea as an equal worthy of diplomatic dialogue and negotiation. He also reminds us that the proliferation of nuclear weapons is an issue of global concern.

Creekmore’s work complements and expands on previously published works about the crisis, such as Leon Sigal’s Disarming Strangers—Nuclear Diplomacy With North Korea and Going Critical: The First North Korean Nuclear Crisis by Joel Wit, Dan Poneman, and Robert Gallucci. These accounts concentrate on examining U.S. policy toward North Korea through the eyes of those in Washington who made the policy and the U.S. journalists who reported it. Creekmore relies on these books to portray the backdrop for Carter’s trip to Pyongyang but then goes beyond them.

In 1994 the United States and North Korea were on the brink of war. Their year-long bilateral negotiations were at an impasse. Despite Washington’s warnings that it would press for UN sanctions if North Korea refueled its nuclear reactor, Pyongyang did so. It then announced that it would consider UN sanctions “an act of war” and declared itself to be in a “state of semi-war.” Washington began reinforcing its military forces in South Korea to defend its ally better and to deter a possible North Korean attack more effectively.

At root, it was these developments that prompted Carter to act; but the direct spur came from Carter’s frequent communications with his longtime friend and then-U.S. Ambassador to South Korea James Laney—Creekmore provides new information about these exchanges. Laney and General Gary Luck, the United National and U.S. Combined Forces commander in South Korea, shared the fear that war would become inevitable if UN sanctions were imposed. Creekmore explains that Laney’s concerns motivated him to encourage Carter to meet Kim Il Sung. We learn of Carter’s extensive preparations for his trip, his efforts to reassure officials in Washington and Seoul that he would not engage in negotiations with North Korea, and the details of his meetings with Kim Il Sung and his most senior advisers.

Despite his promise not to do so, Carter did engage in negotiations with Kim Il Sung. Kim enticed Carter with offers to break the deadlock and to return to talks with the United States. Carter was eager to build trust with his counterpart. Also, he sensed that Kim Il Sung’s stance was more flexible than that of his subordinates, especially North Korea’s chief negotiator, First Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang Sok Ju. Carter decided to take advantage of this situation and pursued an agreement with Kim Il Sung aimed at keeping the IAEA inspectors at North Korea’s nuclear center, marginalizing Kang’s more assertive stance, and restarting bilateral talks without the use of coercive tactics, i.e., UN sanctions.

In doing so, however, Carter erred. He assured Kim Il Sung that North Korea did not have to forgo the reprocessing of spent uranium into plutonium, the core ingredient of a nuclear weapon. Carter was correct that the NPT does not rule out reprocessing under IAEA monitoring. At the same time, however, North Korea in 1991 had joined South Korea in a Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. This bilateral understanding did rule out the possession and production of plutonium by the two Koreas. Later, Kim Il Sung, alluding to the North-South agreement, rectified Carter’s error by stating, “Let’s move ahead to de-nuclearize the peninsula.”

Creekmore attempts to minimize the significance of Carter’s error, but even Carter recognized its gravity and moved promptly to rectify the situation. Kim Il Sung was surprisingly accommodating in this regard and did not attempt to exploit Carter’s misstep, which preserved the Carter-Kim understanding to the benefit of all the concerned parties.

Washington, however, proved to be less forgiving. Creekmore recounts Carter’s dismay when Clinton’s closest foreign policy advisers reacted negatively to the understanding that Carter had forged. Relying on Carter’s notes made at the time, Creekmore laments that Clinton’s closest advisers seemed more preoccupied with Carter’s errors than the fact that he had set the stage for the resumption of bilateral negotiations. In Carter’s view, these advisers’ priority was blunting domestic political criticism that they were too lenient with North Korea, not concentrating on avoiding another Korean War. Creekmore describes how Carter adroitly took advantage of CNN to compel Clinton’s advisers to give the Carter-Kim understanding tentative approval.

Clinton, closely advised by his chief negotiator, Robert Gallucci, then calmly reclaimed the initiative by telling the press that Pyongyang would have to inform the U.S. government through diplomatic channels about the terms of the Carter-Kim understanding. He then subtly raised the bar for Pyongyang. Clinton, reading his advisers’ statement, emphasized that if North Korea was “genuinely and verifiably prepared to freeze its nuclear program while talks go on, then we [the United States] would be willing to resume high-level talks.”

Creekmore is in a unique position to tell this story. He was at Carter’s side throughout the odyssey. Creekmore’s career as a diplomat and former ambassador instilled in him a concern for accuracy and a careful use of words that is evident throughout the book. His avowed and obvious purpose is to provide the public a comprehensive understanding of this first North Korean nuclear crisis and how it was resolved. He does not glorify either Carter or himself. He writes with refreshing candor, admitting, albeit somewhat reluctantly, that Carter did make errors. He promptly points out, however, that they were minor relative to the potentially adverse consequences had Carter failed.

Given today’s tense reality on the Korean Peninsula, A Moment of Crisis reads like déja vu. Six-party talks to end North Korea’s nuclear program remain stalled, although prospects appear to be improving for their resumption. UN sanctions have been imposed on North Korea. Fortunately, they have not triggered a second Korean War. Alas, they have neither deterred North Korea’s drive for a nuclear capability nor halted the upward spiral of tensions in the region. North Korea’s new nuclear status has intensified concerns, mostly in Washington, that Japan might eventually decide to develop its own nuclear capability. At the same time, South Korea, once a strong advocate of the NPT and IAEA, has opted to marginalize the significance of North Korea’s disregard for the international nuclear nonproliferation regime so as not to disrupt its pursuit of reconciliation with North Korea. Meanwhile, the Bush administration persists in refusing to engage North Korea in bilateral talks and the exchange of concessions, a strategy that over the past six years has failed to bolster the international nonproliferation regime in East Asia.

A Moment of Crisis provides essential perspective on today’s North Korean nuclear crisis. It enables us to compare the Clinton and Bush administration strategies for dealing with North Korea. In some respects, the Bush administration is repeating what the Clinton administration had done a decade ago. President George W. Bush, like Clinton, referred to a “military option.” For Bush, this took the form of a “pre-emptive counterproliferation strategy” stated as a national policy in December 2002 and in his 2003 State of the Union speech. Clinton took steps to reinforce the U.S. military in South Korea and considered but ruled out a “surgical” air strike on North Korea. Also like Clinton, Bush has resorted to intensifying economic pressure and UN sanctions on North Korea in the hope of compelling Pyongyang to submit to U.S. demands.

Creekmore’s book also allows us to decipher some of the key differences between the two presidents. Clinton pursued a strategy of engaging North Korea in bilateral negotiations and offered inducements in exchange for concessions. Bush has adamantly rejected such an approach. While calling for a “peaceful negotiated settlement,” he has rejected bilateral negotiations and emphasized coercive tactics. Clinton engaged in direct, bilateral talks with North Korea while maintaining close consultations with key allies South Korea and Japan and key concerned parties, such as China and Russia. Bush has emphasized unilateral goals (complete, verifiable, irreversible dismantlement of all North Korean nuclear programs) within a multilateral context. Instead of offering North Korea concessions, Bush strives to concentrate international diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea to compel its submission to Washington’s demands. Thus far, Bush’s approach has fallen far short of his goals.

The book also highlights another key difference between the two administration’s nuclear nonproliferation strategies. Clinton, like Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, sought to sustain the credibility of a global nonproliferation regime as established by the NPT and the IAEA. Bush, however, has preferred to “regionalize” nonproliferation strategy. He has dealt separately with the clear or potential nuclear weapons ambitions of Libya (a negotiated accord), Iran (EU negotiations) and India (a bilateral deal on civil nuclear cooperation). The North Korean nuclear issue also has been regionalized in six-party talks that involve China, Japan, Russia, and South Korea. Bush’s approach has achieved mixed results in terms of nuclear nonproliferation. Libya has given up its nuclear ambitions, but the United States has agreed to aid India’s nuclear program despite its possession of nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, the outcomes with respect to Iran and North Korea remain to be seen.

A Moment of Crisis essentially reaches the same conclusion as Disarming Strangers and Going Critical. History, as recorded in these books, teaches that the most effective way to achieve Bush’s avowed goal of a “peaceful negotiated resolution” of the North Korean nuclear crisis is through direct diplomatic dialogue with Pyongyang. Also vital for success would appear to be diplomatic negotiations that encompass a carrot-and-stick strategy that includes the exchange of concessions between all parties. Most participating nations except for the United States have long argued in favor of direct dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang.

During a recent wait at Washington’s Reagan National Airport, I searched book stores for A Moment of Crisis. My search began in the current affairs section, but the book was not to be found. Titles about Iraq and the war on terrorism dominated. I turned to the politics section but found only works on domestic political issues. I next went to the history section where at last it appeared sandwiched between books on twentieth-century European and Asian history. What happened in 1994 in North Korea, however, is not history.

It would appear that the lessons of 1993-1994 are finally being relearned. Advocates in Washington of the give-and-take negotiation have become increasingly audible. This emerging bipartisan consensus dates from early in the current administration when former Secretary of State Colin Powell urged bilateral talks with North Korea. Others who have joined the call include the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Richard Lugar ( Ind.), and the senior Bush’s former top advisers General Brent Scowcroft and Secretary of State James Baker.

Creekmore reminds us that the North Korean nuclear crisis is but one of several crises sparked by disregard for the international nuclear nonproliferation regime. The Bush administration’s regionalization of nuclear proliferation has seriously eroded the effectiveness of the NPT and the IAEA. A single, consistent global standard has been fractured into inconsistent regional standards. One could argue that these inconsistencies have contributed to the quickening pace of nuclear proliferation of recent years. Consequently, whereas the world was once concerned about a second Korean War, now we face the possibility of nuclear war in Northeast Asia and possibly elsewhere.


C. Kenneth Quinones is director for global studies and a professor of Korean studies at Japan’s Akita International University. A retired diplomat, he served as the Department of State’s North Korea affairs officer from 1992 to 1994 and as de facto liaison officer with North Korea from 1995 to 1997. He is the author of numerous articles and books about U.S. relations with North and South Korea, including Beyond Negotiations: Implementation of the Agreed Framework (2003).


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A review of A Moment of Crisis: Jimmy Carter, The Power of a Peacemaker, and North Korea’s Nuclear Ambitions by Marion Creekmore, Jr.

U.S. Reports on Nuclear Treaty Implementation

Wade Boese

The Department of State recently reported to lawmakers that the United States and Russia appear on pace to fulfill the terms of a 2002 nuclear treaty but also admitted that Washington has no plan on what should happen in relation to the 2009 expiration of an earlier bilateral nuclear accord.

An unclassified version of the October report on implementation of the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT) states that “all indications are that both parties are fully committed to fulfilling the [treaty] reductions, and no obstacles are envisioned to their capability to do so.” The report is an annual congressional requirement that is supposed to be submitted April 15 each year.

But the report also notes that “the administration has no formal position, as yet, with regard to the end” of the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). SORT did not include verification measures, so the United States relies on its national intelligence capabilities and START’s verification regime to assess Moscow’s SORT implementation.

SORT obligates the United States and Russia to reduce their deployed offensive nuclear forces to 1,700-2,200 strategic warheads apiece by Dec. 31, 2012, which is also the day that the limit expires. At the time Presidents George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin signed the agreement, the target warhead level was roughly equivalent to a cut of two-thirds in the deployed forces for each side. (See ACT, June 2002. )

Warheads do not count against the treaty limit if they are stored separately from ICBMs, submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and long-range bombers. No warheads or delivery vehicles need to be destroyed as part of the SORT reduction process.

Also known as the Moscow Treaty, the agreement set no interim force benchmarks. Yet, Washington indicated that it would work to lower its deployed strategic arsenal to 3,500-4,000 warheads by 2007.

U.S. deployed offensive strategic warheads numbered 3,878 as of the end of last year, according to the October report. This marks the first time that Washington has provided such a precise figure in the unclassified report.

In a projection of the 2012 composition of U.S. strategic nuclear delivery vehicles, the report reaffirms Bush administration plans announced earlier this year to retire 50 Minuteman III ICBMs and cut 38 B-52H bombers. This would leave the United States with 450 Minuteman IIIs and 56 B-52H bombers in addition to 21 nuclear-capable B-2 bombers and 14 nuclear-armed Trident submarines. However, Congress restricted moves to begin these reductions in a defense authorization bill signed Oct. 17 by the president. (See ACT, November 2006. )

The unclassified report does not detail existing Russian warhead levels or reduction plans, although the classified version reportedly contains such information. Under START warhead-counting rules, which are different from those under SORT, the Kremlin reported July 1 that it had 4,384 strategic warheads and 912 strategic nuclear delivery vehicles.

START and its verification mechanisms are scheduled to lapse Dec. 5, 2009, three years before the SORT reductions are supposed to be completed. Although Putin has called for negotiations to “replace” START, the Bush administration has not been receptive. (See ACT, October 2006. )

Other governments have also expressed concerns about the expiration of START. Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre joined with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier Nov. 11 to urge the United States and Russia to negotiate a follow-on agreement to START.

Some nongovernmental nuclear experts have raised the possibility of extending START or at least some of its verification provisions, but Washington has been largely silent on the issue.

In comparison to its predecessors, the October report appears to diminish the value of the START verification regime. Whereas all earlier reports noted START provides “important data” for the U.S. intelligence community, the latest version uses the phrase “additional data.”

Citing improved U.S.-Russian relations, Bush administration officials have repeatedly downplayed the necessity of formal nuclear agreements or talks with Russia. The annual SORT reports have consistently predicted that there will be “increasing openness” in the two sides’ strategic relationship.

Still, there are indications that the two government’s nuclear relations remain rocky at times. The October report confirms a September Arms Control Today article that the United States and Russia have replaced an offensive nuclear transparency working group established in conjunction with SORT with a new channel of talks between Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Robert Joseph and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak. The disbanded group reportedly only met four times over three years because of agenda disputes.

Meanwhile, Putin emphasized in a Nov. 16 speech the need for Russia to retain a strategic arsenal capable of destroying any potential foe regardless of how advanced or modern its weapon systems. He said this posture requires Russia to maintain the quality of its strategic systems, no longer necessarily to match an adversary weapon for weapon.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov announced the same day that Russia plans to procure 17 new ICBMs next year. This is about triple the acquisition rate of previous years. (See ACT, January/February 2006. )

The new missiles likely will be a combination of silo-based and road-mobile SS-27 Topol-Ms. Since 1997, Moscow has deployed 42 of the silo-based missiles, according to the July START data exchange. Subsequently, Russia reportedly deployed its first road-mobile version of the missile and plans to field up to two more before the end of the year.

Development of a new submarine-based missile, the Bulava, is progressing more slowly. The missile has failed its last two flight tests, the latest of which occurred in October. It is unclear when the missile might be ready for deployment.

Despite the Bulava and Topol-M programs, Russia’s aging nuclear inventory is projected ultimately to decline below the lower SORT limit.

The Department of State recently reported to lawmakers that the United States and Russia appear on pace to fulfill the terms of a 2002 nuclear treaty but also admitted that Washington has no plan on what should happen in relation to the 2009 expiration of an earlier bilateral nuclear accord. (Continue)

Anti-Nuclear Terrorism Principles Issued

Wade Boese

Led by the United States and Russia, 13 countries recently promulgated eight general principles for averting and responding to nuclear terrorism. The group will meet in February to discuss further actions.

The principles emerged from the inaugural Oct. 30-31 meeting in Rabat, Morocco, of the voluntary Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism. Presidents George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin announced the initiative in July on the eve of the Group of Eight (G-8) summit in St. Petersburg. (See ACT, September 2006. )

In addition to host Morocco and the other six G-8 members—Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom—Russia and the United States invited Australia, China, Kazakhstan, and Turkey to participate in the meeting and the International Atomic Energy Agency to observe.

A Department of State official told Arms Control Today Nov. 18 that Moscow and Washington wanted to limit the initial meeting to a “manageable size.” Invites were extended to China and Australia, according to the official, because they are seen as “very important” to the initiative’s success, while Kazakhstan and Turkey are “important geographically.” The latter three countries also were among the first publicly to welcome the initiative’s unveiling.

The October principles outline basic steps governments should take to deny terrorists the means to conduct nuclear attacks as well as measures to mitigate the consequences if governments fail. The principles also emphasize developing capabilities to trace and prosecute terrorists and their accomplices or suppliers.

Many of the principles essentially have already been accepted in existing international agreements or legal mandates. The 2005 International Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism obligates adherents to protect their radioactive material against theft, while UN Security Council Resolution 1540 and its successor, Resolution 1673, require all governments to take an array of steps to prevent nonstate actors from acquiring nuclear arms or biological and chemical weapons. (See ACT, May 2005 and May 2004. )

The State Department official said the U.S.-Russian initiative and its principles are to serve as a “vehicle” to help implement these other instruments. Ideally, the official said, the initiative will “foster activities” between not only governments but also between the private and public sectors to implement these international obligations and to take on additional responsibilities beyond them.

Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Robert Joseph, the U.S. co-chair of the initiative, said July 18 that participating governments would seek a work program at the inaugural meeting, but this is now the objective of the second meeting scheduled for February 2007 in Turkey. The Russian co-chair is Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak.

The work plan is expected to include exercises, information sharing, task forces, and workshops to promote the initiative’s goals. Participating states also will seek to agree on “terms of reference for implementation and assessment to support effective fulfillment of the initiative,” according to an Oct. 31 State Department press statement.

The initiative will be open to all countries that endorse the principles. The State Department official said that the aim is to create a “steady and growing network” of participants because “we cannot [combat nuclear terrorism] alone.”

Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism Principles

The following eight principles were agreed to by the 13 countries participating in the inaugural October meeting of the voluntary U.S.-Russian Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism.

  1. Develop, if necessary, and improve accounting, control and physical protection systems for nuclear and other radioactive materials and substances;
  2. Enhance security of civilian nuclear facilities;
  3. Improve the ability to detect nuclear and other radioactive materials and substances in order to prevent illicit trafficking in such materials and substances, to include cooperation in the research and development of national detection capabilities that would be interoperable;
  4. Improve capabilities of participants to search for, confiscate, and establish safe control over unlawfully held nuclear or other radioactive materials and substances or devices using them;
  5. Prevent the provision of safe haven to terrorists and financial or economic resources to terrorists seeking to acquire or use nuclear and other radioactive materials and substances;
  6. Ensure adequate respective national legal and regulatory frameworks sufficient to provide for the implementation of appropriate criminal and, if applicable, civil liability for terrorists and those who facilitate acts of nuclear terrorism;
  7. Improve capabilities of participants for response, mitigation, and investigation, in cases of terrorist attacks involving the use of nuclear and other radioactive materials and substances, including the development of technical means to identify nuclear and other radioactive materials and substances that are, or may be, involved in the incident; and
  8. Promote information sharing pertaining to the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism and their facilitation, taking appropriate measures consistent with their national law and international obligations to protect the confidentiality of any information which they exchange in confidence.

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