"[Arms Control Today is] Absolutely essential reading for the upcoming Congressional budget debate on the 2018 #NPR and its specific recommendations ... well-informed, insightful, balanced, and filled with common sense."

– Frank Klotz
former Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration
March 7, 2018
June 2007
Edition Date: 
Friday, June 1, 2007
Cover Image: 

LOOKING BACK: The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty

Rose Gottemoeller

On January 26, 1988, Ambassador Maynard Glitman, the chief U.S. negotiator at the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty talks, wound up his testimony in support of the treaty with the following:

It remains fundamentally true that improved East-West relations cannot be based solely on arms control…. To be of lasting benefit, movement in arms control must be paralleled by the resolution of problems in other areas, such as human rights and regional issues. Nevertheless…the knowledge that agreement can be achieved in a sensitive area despite major obstacles should be among the most important legacies of the INF negotiations and Treaty.[1]

Twenty years after its signing, it is worthwhile to reflect on the INF Treaty’s legacies. The treaty was unique when negotiated and remains so. It was designed as a global ban on all U.S. and Soviet missiles having a range of 500-5500 kilometers and, for the first time in U.S. treaty history, contained verification measures that permitted the presence of U.S. inspectors on Soviet soil, and vice versa.[2] The fact that inspectors could for the first time enter sensitive U.S. and Soviet missile facilities was a breakthrough and harbinger of the end of the Cold War.

Glitman’s words have a special resonance now, when the mood in Moscow and Washington is sour and at times seems to be turning back toward the Cold War. Major disputes have sprung up over several issues, including U.S. plans to deploy missile defenses in Europe, the independence of Kosovo, and Russian accession to the World Trade Organization. In addition, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced during his State of the Nation address in April 2007 that Russia would cease to implement the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, pending resolution of a dispute with NATO over ratification of an adapted version of the treaty, which is linked in turn to disagreements about the withdrawal of Russian troops from Georgia and Moldova.

The INF Treaty has received some knocks as well, with Russian military leaders calling for Russia to withdraw from the treaty in order to free up the possibility of deploying intermediate-range missiles against certain neighbors, such as China. They also argue that this step would be an appropriate response to U.S. deployments of missile defenses in Europe.[3] Thus, the INF Treaty could become a source of tension between the United States and Russia, despite its reputation as a major stepping stone on the road to ending the Cold War.

Looking back at the history and legacies of the INF Treaty thus provides an opportunity to reflect on how far the United States and Russia have come since the end of the Cold War. It also allows us to measure how much farther we must go to address the key security issues that remain between the United States and Russia. Many of these issues are still linked to the detritus of the Cold War, whether nuclear weapons, fissile material, chemical and biological weapons, or vast stocks of unneeded missiles and conventional weapons. Finding enough mutual confidence to come to grips with these security issues despite worsening relations between Russia and the West is a critical and urgent matter.

The legacies of the INF Treaty are remarkable. The treaty not only eliminated an entire class of nuclear missiles but also “brought about a new standard of openness by creating a 13-year on-site verification regime of unparalleled intrusiveness.”[4] Furthermore, the treaty came about during a period when publics were incensed by their governments’ nuclear-weapon decisions. The INF Treaty negotiators displayed a responsiveness to those concerns that is today difficult to imagine, mostly because the public has lost interest in nuclear issues. Most importantly, the INF Treaty proved the main principle of what is required in international negotiations: the outcome might not be symmetrical, but each side must see that it has gained a result that is right for its own national security.

The Ghosts of Old Issues

When one considers the period during which the INF Treaty took shape and was negotiated, 1979 to 1987, it is enlightening to see how few of the ghosts of old issues remain. The demise of the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact had a profound effect, rendering some issues immediately obsolete but in some cases having a follow-on effect that has taken a longer time to unfold. Changing attitudes toward NATO’s role and missions and the whole U.S.-European relationship is a good example of this phenomenon. It would be ironic if Russia’s temper tantrum over the CFE Treaty drove the United States and Europe back into each others’ arms.

In the 1970s and 1980s, the security elites on each side of the Atlantic were gripped by the notion of “strategic coupling,” ensuring that the United States would be linked to its NATO allies not only through a standard conventional alliance, but also through the presence of nuclear weapons on the territory of Europe. Under the theory of flexible response, if the Soviet Union attacked NATO, it would receive an appropriate response from nuclear systems in Europe, but it also risked an attack from U.S.-based systems. The link would extend from the nuclear systems in Europe directly back to U.S. strategic nuclear systems. The Europeans feared that if any link in this chain were broken, then the United States might not respond to an attack on Europe. Some feared the United States would not be willing to risk a nuclear attack on its territory to defend Europe from Soviet aggression.

In fact, that fear underlay one of the original reasons why the INF issue arose: when the Soviets began deploying the highly accurate, intermediate-range SS-20 missiles in the 1970s, they disturbed the logic chain, for NATO had no missiles of the same range or accuracy. In theory, the Soviets could have attacked NATO with the SS-20 and, having a choice between a short-range response that would not touch Soviet territory and a response involving U.S. central strategic systems, NATO would be left with no choice at all. Again, the Europeans feared that the United States might not be willing to respond to an attack. As Lynn Davis wrote in 1988, “NATO governments argued that the capability to strike the Soviet Union with systems based on land in Western Europe was necessary in order to convey to the Soviet Union a real sense of risk from any aggression on the continent.”[5]

Today, strategic coupling involving nuclear weapons has receded as an issue in Europe, partially as a result of the INF Treaty, which allowed the Soviets to achieve a part of one of their key strategic goals: a significant denuclearization of NATO Europe. Their accomplishment was tempered by what the United States and NATO were able to achieve through the treaty: the dismantlement of a class of highly accurate Soviet missiles that had threatened Europe. Just as in any good treaty, the INF Treaty allowed both sides in the negotiation to succeed.

All that is left in NATO Europe is a small number of nonstrategic nuclear weapons that can be delivered by aircraft; estimates place the number of warheads at about 480.[6] To be sure, the United States and its NATO allies have shied away from removing this final nuclear link between them, seeing it as a sign of continuing political ties and a hedge against Russian revanchism. Meanwhile, the Russians continue to deploy a large number of strategic and nonstrategic nuclear weapons that could be delivered against NATO Europe in a conflict.[7] In fact, Russian military doctrine has in latter years put a greater emphasis on a possible range of nuclear responses to aggression against Russian territory. This resurgence of flexible response, however, this time in Russian hands, has not generated a desire to mirror-image the policy in NATO Europe.

Instead, NATO is today obsessed about its future as an alliance. Members argue about the ways in which it should operate outside of Europe, how far it should enlarge, what to do about terrorist threats, and what the relationship should be with the United States. NATO’s future has little to do with nuclear weapons. They have faded from the policy calculus.[8]

Public Interest, Public Protest

Another legacy of the INF Treaty is the limited debate on NATO nuclear policy that is now the norm. Nowadays, rather than stumping the strategic value of such arms, European governments prefer to keep quiet about them, concerned that public opinion could be aroused against the continuing deployment of U.S. nuclear weapons “close to home.” This tendency appears to reflect the loud and politically painful protests that took place around the deployment of new intermediate-range missiles in NATO countries during the buildup to the treaty.

The role of the public in the INF debate was quite pronounced from the mid-1970s, when the United States and its European allies first broached the idea of deploying offensive systems to balance the new Soviet SS-20s.[9] In part to respond to public concerns, President Jimmy Carter in 1979 suggested a policy that was unique at the time, the so-called dual-track decision. Strobe Talbott described it succinctly: “The U.S. would offset the Soviet missiles by deploying a new generation of its own ‘Euromissiles’—the Tomahawk cruise missiles and Pershing II ballistic missiles—while at the same time making a good-faith effort to negotiate with the U.S.S.R. a compromise that would scale back the missiles on both sides.”[10] Thus, the United States and its NATO allies would be deploying weapon systems only to hope to bargain them away in an arms control negotiation.

This “bargaining chip” approach was one facet of U.S. and NATO strategy throughout the INF Treaty negotiations, although the dual track was tempered in 1981 by President Ronald Reagan’s offer of a “zero option.” Always the great communicator, Reagan apparently told his negotiators that he wanted a proposal “that can be expressed in a single sentence and that sounds like real disarmament.”[11] Reagan did not like the notion of deploying some missiles in Europe in exchange for Russian restraint in deploying the SS-20, the proposal that was being touted by the Department of State as “negotiable” with the Soviets. Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Perle posed a one-sentence idea: the United States would cancel its Tomahawk ground-launched cruise missiles (GLCMs) and Pershing II deployments if the Soviet Union would dismantle its SS-20, SS-4 and SS-5 intermediate-range missiles.

Perle’s rationale was that this zero option would not be negotiable with the Soviets, but it perfectly fit Reagan’s demand for a simple, succinct disarmament proposal. In the next few years, the Soviets did respond angrily to the proposal because it would have required them to give up already deployed missiles for systems that had not yet been built. Thereafter, Undersecretary of State Richard Burt engineered a marriage between the dual-track strategy and the zero option that became known as the “interim solution”: the United States would deploy some missiles in Europe, with the goal of negotiating them all away in the future.

In retrospect, Reagan had the right idea in making a proposal that was comprehensible and appealing to the public. His instincts were important because publics in the United States and Europe had been angered over U.S. plans to deploy a new neutron bomb in Europe, and their protests extended quickly and seamlessly to new NATO INF deployments. In the 1980s, this led to well-orchestrated, long-lasting protests. The best known of these took place at Greenham Common, the British air base that was to be the site of the deployments of GLCMs under the interim solution. Colin Powell, who at the time of the protests was national security adviser to President George H.W. Bush, recalled them in a 2002 interview when he was secretary of state for George W. Bush:

Greenham Common...It’s where we put the GLCM, the ground launch cruise missile. And nobody knows what a GLCM is anymore. But in those days...every capital in Europe was in arms over this problem. Remember the ladies at Greenham Common? Surrounding the place and marching—don’t you dare bring these missiles here. We brought the missiles there, and we survived that, and the alliance was strengthened. And what did we do about it four years later? We took the missiles out when the INF Treaty was signed. I was proud to sign that one, to be one of the negotiators in that one.[12]

As Powell so clearly expressed it, “nobody knows what a GLCM is anymore,” and that is the crux of the difference today. The INF interim solution did produce results, in part because of strong public engagement.

It is interesting to consider how greater indifference to nuclear weapons might also influence legislative decision-making. In the 1970s and 1980s, the interplay between Congress and parliaments in European countries made for some interesting outcomes in the INF debate. In 1979 the German Social Democrats took an explicit decision to tolerate the NATO dual-track approach as long as the West would forgo deployment in exchange for substantial reductions of Soviet INF. The Soviets in their turn attempted to influence this dynamic, proposing a moratorium on INF deployments while negotiations were ongoing. NATO rejected this proposal.[13]

Reagan’s zero-option decision also produced a powerful dynamic. As Michael Gordon reported, few experts thought that the proposal could actually be implemented, but they welcomed it as an opening gambit in the play for Western European public opinion. Congress, moreover, backed up the effort. “Congress hastened to support a popular president in his first arms control initiative by passing a supportive, nonbinding resolution.”[14]

Today, such involved interplay among governments, parliaments, and publics is difficult to imagine. Nuclear decisions, such as they are, are played out in national environments with relatively few interested parties. Examples of this phenomenon were the recent British parliamentary decision on Trident submarine modernization and the congressional decision not to proceed with the new nuclear warhead known as the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator, or RNEP. Although they attracted a great deal of attention in expert communities, these decisions generated relatively little public or legislative attention and certainly not much in the way either of protest or celebration. They also did not draw attention among other parliaments, even those who should have been interested, such as the Russian Duma.

Effective Verification: Necessity or Mania?

Verification is a third critical legacy of the INF Treaty that has since faded from view. In his 1988 testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Secretary of State George Schultz took care to portray how unique the INF verification regime was at the time:

We are breaking new ground with this treaty. On-site inspection is a major forward step in the U.S./Soviet nuclear arms control agreements. We shouldn’t be surprised if the process is not always smooth…. When differences surfaced we worked them out. Some of these problems were resolved at the working level, others required attention from more senior people…. [D]uring my meetings with Foreign Minister [Eduard] Sheverdnadze last week, we ironed out the nine key technical details related to the onsite inspection regime.[15]

The INF Treaty was helped by the fact that it was a total global ban on short- and intermediate-range nuclear missiles, which made the treaty easier to verify. The Soviet SS-4, SS-5, and SS-20 missiles and the NATO Pershing-2 and GLCMs were to be totally destroyed. Although other long-range, land-attack cruise missiles would remain in deployment in both countries, they could be air- or sea-launched but not ground-launched.

Thus began a rapid move to more intrusive verification, which culminated in the 1991 START and its 500-page Verification Protocol. START came into force in 1994 and played a vital role in the stable downsizing of U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals during what could have been a chaotic period after the breakup of the Soviet Union. Without the existence of START and its verification regime, the denuclearization of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine would have been difficult, perhaps even impossible. The INF Treaty paved the way for this accomplishment, establishing many important precedents, especially in the realm of on-site inspections.

With the advent of the administration of President George W. Bush, however, intrusive verification fell out of favor. Since coming to office in 2001, Bush has essentially embraced two principles in his arms control policy: emphasize unilateral action and be willing to discard arms control mechanisms perceived as outdated.

Verification fell victim to both principles very early, with the president and his top officials stating repeatedly that, unlike during the Cold War, the Russians are currently friends of the United States. The administration argued that legally binding treaties are not needed among friends, nor are strict verification measures. The Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT), signed in 2002, was a partial expression of this model. It was a legally binding treaty without any verification measures attached. In 2006 this argument further evolved into a U.S. unwillingness to extend START beyond its expiration at the end of 2009.

Bush was no doubt correct to challenge the arms control assumptions of the Cold War and to consider how to simplify and expedite the U.S.-Russian relationship in this sphere. There is danger, however, in too much revolutionary activity of this sort. As I have argued in other writings, “[W]ithout broad consensus in both capitals that U.S.-Russian cooperation is vital, the two countries might be tempted to walk away from interaction in sensitive arenas such as nuclear arms reduction once the binding regimes are lost.”[16] Today, with the United States willing to let the START regime lapse and Russia taking aim at the INF Treaty and with relations between the two countries at a new post-Cold War low, the two countries seem perilously on the brink of this outcome.

Thus, the concern for effective verification that was a hallmark of the INF Treaty has been forced out in recent years by a strong policy drive that has had some logic to it, needing to balance the stringent verification mechanisms of the Cold War with some recognition that our relationship has changed. Even if the mood between Moscow and Washington has turned sour, we still have far greater mutual access and transparency than we had during the Cold War. That logic, although imperfect and unevenly implemented, in part guided Bush administration policies in the area of verification.

As a result, the policy community needs to look forward, beyond the arms control assumptions of the Cold War—this was the partial accomplishment of the Bush administration—and back, to the major arms reduction agreements achieved during the 1980s and 1990s. The search should be twofold. The first goal should be to look for constants to provide a firm foundation for mutual confidence and cooperation; the second should be to look for innovations that will help the agenda to move forward quickly and efficiently, without the burden on operating flexibility that Cold War-era measures sometimes carried with them. These goals should apply to cooperative efforts regarding arms reduction and control as well as nonproliferation. Here, once again, the legacies of the INF Treaty are important to consider.

Stocktaking on INF Legacies

For most of the years since he uttered the phrase, Reagan’s admonishment to “trust but verify” has been a watchword in U.S. and Soviet/Russian arms negotiations. Both sides recognized the value of the simple concept, but both also recognized its limitations. As Schultz said during his Senate testimony in support of the INF Treaty, “There is no such thing as absolute, 100 percent verification. But it is our judgment that this treaty, through its successive layers of procedures, contains the measures needed for effective verification…. The bottom line is that the verification provisions of this treaty get the job done.”[17]

Today, with many years of mutual experience in implementing new programs that have taken shape since the Cold War, it makes sense to consider whether we now have the correct layers in place. Some no doubt can be discarded, while others adjusted and still others strengthened. The programs that should be considered for the roles that they already play in enhancing mutual confidence are cooperative threat reduction, military-to-military contacts, and the science and technology programs carried out under the aegis of the Warhead Safety and Security Exchange Agreement and other laboratory-to-laboratory contacts.

Taking stock of the relationship that the United States and Russia have established under these programs would provide some perspective on the greater mutual knowledge accumulated during the 15 years since the breakup of the Soviet Union and would also enable an assessment of continuing problem areas. Military-to-military contacts, for example, have often fallen prey to political differences between the two capitals and therefore might have only a limited value for modernizing verification concepts. Others, however, particularly the science exchanges, might provide some new ideas for verification technologies that could simplify and benefit not only U.S.-Russian verification efforts, but also broader multilateral efforts to enhance safeguards in any number of arms control and nonproliferation regimes. These would be “new layers” in the model that Schultz described for effective verification.

These new layers, however, should be designed to take account of the new realities, in particular the more open and extensive interactions between Russia and the United States. Again, even if we are not great friends, our relationship is far more mutually transparent than it was during the Cold War. New layers of effective verification should therefore have one basic characteristic: to ease the burden that Cold War intrusiveness placed on operations in the U.S. and Russian armed forces. For example, a number of notifications of missile and aircraft movements required by START could be streamlined or eliminated at this time.

Yet, the base layers—data exchanges, on-site inspections—will continue to play a role and so should not be discarded. In this sense, the INF Treaty was in itself a vital innovation, and its legacy continues intact.

Another important legacy of the INF Treaty is the basic rule that drove the negotiations: asymmetric reductions may result in equal security. Glitman stated it succinctly when he said, “[R]ecognition of the principle of equal rights and limits and of asymmetrical reductions to reach equality can be useful precedents in other arms control negotiations.”[18]

Today, this rule will be important if the United States and Russia are to consider further reductions in nuclear systems that would begin to touch nuclear warhead stocks. Up to this point, the elimination of central strategic weapons as well as intermediate-range nuclear weapons has focused on launch systems rather than on warheads. The two countries have been free to stockpile warheads or eliminate them per national policy, with no impact or influence from arms control negotiations.

This was a judicious approach while the numbers of deployed systems still remained high. As deployed numbers of warheads have come down under successive treaties—the INF Treaty, START, and SORT—imbalances have emerged that have given rise to tension between the two countries. For example, Russia has complained that the United States is converting launchers removed from strategic nuclear missions to conventional missions but stockpiling all of the warheads. According to the Russian argument, the conventional launchers could therefore be returned to nuclear missions at any time.

The U.S. side counters that technical and operational changes to the launchers would preclude this from happening. Furthermore, the United States argues that its policy and budgetary processes are quite transparent and the Russians would have considerable warning if such a reversal were to be contemplated. Both of these arguments have truth to them.

Russian concerns have been exacerbated by decisions they took with regard to their own nuclear warhead elimination program. When negotiating the withdrawal of nuclear weapons systems from Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine in 1993-1994, the Russians committed to eliminate all the strategic nuclear warheads that were returned from Kazakhstan and Ukraine, a number that amounted to more than 3,000 warheads.[19] As a result, the Russian warhead elimination program has focused on strategic warheads, resulting in the elimination of warheads from some of the most powerful and effective Soviet-era nuclear systems, the SS-18, the SS-19, and air-launched cruise missiles.

Now, when the Russians observe that the United States is not destroying but stockpiling warheads from the U.S. counterpart systems, Trident and Minuteman, they are concerned, even though there were no mutual commitments to eliminate particular warheads. The United States, for its part, argues that it has been destroying a large number of nonstrategic nuclear warheads while the Russian Federation has not or at least has not provided information about its destruction program for nonstrategic warheads, as was agreed by Presidents George H.W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev and later confirmed by President Boris Yeltsin under the Presidential Nuclear Initiatives (PNI) of the early 1990s.[20]

Thus, with regard to warhead elimination, the United States and Russia have arrived at a complicated juncture in which discussion, never mind negotiation, is difficult. This is a good example of a situation where the INF legacy rule that asymmetric reductions may result in equal security is important. If the United States and Russia could begin a consultation aimed at a better mutual understanding of their warhead elimination programs, they might be able to proceed in the future to agree that reductions will continue in a way that is asymmetric but will produce equal security results.

Such agreement may or may not result in a legally binding arms control treaty. The two sides might come to an understanding that because of continuing sensitivity to access at warhead-elimination facilities, they would proceed on unilateral tracks to eliminate warheads while providing for a greater exchange of information on the activities. They might decide that they are ready to negotiate a transparency arrangement that would accompany such unilateral elimination activities. They might decide that they are ready to negotiate a legally binding treaty with a full verification regime.

The final legacy of the INF Treaty that has powerful resonance today is the understanding that INF systems were never central to deterrent capabilities for the United States or Russia. After all, theater targets can be covered by strategic missiles. This is a notion that was quite well understood when the INF Treaty was completed. Gordon commented at the time that “eliminating American missiles from Western Europe is such a desirable foreign-policy objective (for the Soviet Union) that it is worth accepting a disproportionate cut in deployed weapons that are not central to its deterrent capability.”[21] Gordon also commented that “it would be easy for the Soviet Union to circumvent an INF pact by deploying more strategic missiles.”[22]

Some Russian experts who have been insisting that the country should withdraw from the INF Treaty have ignored this reality, focusing on the fact that other countries around the Russian periphery—China, North Korea, Iran—are acquiring intermediate-range missiles while Russia, constrained by the treaty, has none. More recently, however, the Russian debate on the INF Treaty has begun to recognize the argument and, further, to acknowledge that a Russian withdrawal from the treaty could negate the security gains that the Soviet Union realized in Europe after its entry into force.[23] Whether this realization will prevent the Russians from taking action to withdraw from the treaty is another matter. Much will depend on political dynamics between Moscow and Washington and Moscow and European capitals.

The INF Treaty’s Contribution

Looking back on the INF Treaty, its story mirrors the history of U.S.-Russian relations and European security policy during the transition from the Cold War. Many of the legacy issues of the INF Treaty have faded in importance because of the radical changes in geopolitical circumstances, particularly the breakup of the Soviet Union and demise of the Warsaw Pact. Issues such as the need for strategic coupling, which so drove INF deployments in the 1970s and 1980s, have largely disappeared.

It is possible that they could return to importance if, for example, Russia insists on withdrawing from the INF Treaty and redeploying intermediate-range missiles facing Europe. With that step, however, the Russian government would undo one of its great negotiating coups of the Soviet era, which was to put NATO Europe well on the road to denuclearization. The Kremlin should see its interests served in continuing down that road rather than reversing course. A focus on gaining the exit of the remaining nonstrategic nuclear weapons from Europe would much better serve Russia’s strategic interests, especially if it is truly concerned, as the Russian General Staff insists, about nuclear weapons being deployed in the new NATO countries of Eastern Europe. This remains an open question.

Some INF issues deserve new attention. The future of verification and transparency is especially fertile ground and demands attention, given the Bush administration’s preference to see START and its verification protocol go out of force at the end of 2009. Although some in the administration seem to prefer that nothing replace it, others have embraced the notion that some new transparency approaches should be developed.

Jolting the process with the Russians seems to be one goal of the meetings that have been urged at the ministerial level in September 2007.[24] This date is late in coming, given the looming demise of START, and it behooves the expert community to think urgently and creatively about how to address this problem.

Of course, START’s very complexity underlies a number of frustrations in the bilateral relationship and has led to calls for a simpler approach more in line with post-Cold War realities. Even given current tensions between Moscow and Washington, this is a goal worth pursuing. We should be paring verification requirements to the essence and at the same time considering what additional transparency and mutual confidence can be gained through other mechanisms, such as joint technology cooperation and cooperative threat reduction. How to broker this link-up between some essential verification measures and new, more flexible transparency mechanisms is the critical challenge. Certainly, the INF Treaty is a good place to start, for its verification regime is a proven foundation that led straight to the more developed regime in START. It is a legacy worth preserving.

Rose Gottemoeller is director of the Moscow Center of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. She was formerly deputy undersecretary for defense nuclear nonproliferation at the U.S. Department of Energy. She also served as the department’s assistant secretary for nonproliferation and national security, with responsibility for all nonproliferation cooperation with Russia and the Newly Independent States. In 1993-94, she served as director on the National Security Council staff responsible for denuclearization of Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus.

1. Max M. Kampelman and Maynard W. Glitman, “The [Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty]: Negotiation and Ratification,” Testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, January 26, 1988 (hereinafter Kampelman and Glitman testimony).

2. Previously, arms control treaties had depended on so-called national technical means of verification (NTM), satellites and high-flying aircraft that could see what was going on in a country without setting foot in it. NTM have important limitations, however, that can only be overcome by on-site inspections.

3. This issue surfaced first in 2005, when Minister of Defense Sergei Ivanov asked Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld how the United States would respond if Russia withdrew from the INF Treaty. Reportedly, “Mr. Rumsfeld told Mr. Ivanov that he did not care…but the Pentagon denied this.” See Hubert Wetsel et al., “Russia Confronted Rumsfeld With Threat to Quit Key Nuclear Treaty,” Financial Times, March 9, 2005.

4. Ambassador Stephen Steiner, “U.S. Envoy Welcomes Conclusion of INF Treaty Inspections,” Talk given at INF Treaty Commemoration, Moscow, May 21, 2001.

5. Lynn E. Davis, “Lessons of the INF Treaty,” Foreign Affairs (Spring 1988), p. 721.

6. Hans M. Kristensen, “U.S. Nuclear Weapons in Europe: A Review of Post-Cold War Policy, Force Levels, and War Planning,” Natural Resources Defense Council, February 2005.

7. Amy F. Woolf, “Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons,” CRS Report for Congress, January 9, 2007, p. 20. The Congressional Research Service estimates that the total number of Russian nonstrategic nuclear weapons is 3,000-8,000, the lower number being deployed weapons, the higher including those in central storage facilities.

8. For an excellent review of current NATO policy debates, see Martin Butcher, “NATO, Riga and Beyond,” Disarmament Diplomacy, No. 84 (Spring 2007).

9. For a useful chronology of the INF Treaty process, see Thomas Risse-Kappen, “Did ‘Peace Through Strength’ End the Cold War? Lessons of INF,” International Security, Vol. 16, No. 1 (Summer 1991), pp. 162-188.

10. Strobe Talbott, “The Road to Zero,” Time, December 14, 1987. Talbott’s account of the negotiation of the INF Treaty is detailed and entertaining.

11. Ibid.

12. Office of the Spokesman, U.S. Department of State, “Does Greenham Common Ring a Bell?” Washington, DC, May 20, 2002 (interview of Secretary of State Colin L. Powell by European journalists).

13. See Risse-Kappen, “Did ‘Peace Through Strength’ End the Cold War?”

14. Michael Gordon, “Dateline Washington: INF: A Hollow Victory?” Foreign Policy (Fall 1987), p. 164.

15. George Schulz, “Achievements of the INF Treaty,” Statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, May 16, 1988.

16. Rose Gottemoeller, “Arms Control in a New Era,” The Washington Quarterly, Vol. 25, No. 2 (Spring 2002), p. 46. I would add that this problem could seriously affect cooperation on important nonproliferation issues, such as nuclear material protection, control, and accounting.

17. Schultz, “Achievements of the INF Treaty.”

18. Kampelman and Glitman testimony.

19. According to Susan Koch, “A total of 3,300 strategic nuclear warheads have been removed from Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus.” Susan Koch, Statement before the Senate Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, March 6, 2000.

20. For more information on the PNI, see Woolf, “Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons,” p. 1.

21. Gordon, “Dateline Washington,” p. 178.

22. Ibid., pp. 168-169. See Davis, “Lessons of the INF Treaty,” p. 730.

23. For more on this debate, see Rose Gottemoeller, “Reading Russia Right,” The New York Times, May 4, 2007; Nikolay Khorunziy, “Will Russia Withdraw From the INF Treaty?” OLO.Ru, April 9-19, 2007 (in Russian).

24. See “U.S. OKs ‘2+2’ Missile Talks With Russia,” Reuters, May 4, 2007, found here. The meetings would involve the secretaries of state and defense of the United States and the ministers of foreign affairs and defense of Russia.

NEWS ANALYSIS: Missile Defense Five Years After the ABM Treaty

Wade Boese

Five years after President George W. Bush orchestrated the June 13, 2002, U.S. withdrawal from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty to build an “effective” missile defense, the system remains unproven or insufficient in the eyes of many.

Yet, Bush administration officials say that their fledgling strategic missile defense system proved its worth when North Korea fired several ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan last July. Right before the tests, the Bush administration activated the system as a precaution.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates penned an April 26 Daily Telegraph piece claiming that the defense had helped “promote stability” by allowing U.S. leaders “to consider a wider, more flexible range of responses to a potential attack.” John Rood, assistant secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation, declared in a Feb. 27 speech that the system’s activation had “heartened” him.

North Korea’s missile launch preparations were no secret last June and had been reported generally as being for testing purposes. Still, Rick Lehner, a spokesperson for the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency (MDA), told Arms Control Today May 29 that North Korea’s intentions were not known and, therefore, the “system was brought to alert status in case it was needed to defend the country.” As it turned out, the system was unneeded because North Korea was conducting flight tests, and the Taepo Dong-2, the missile of greatest U.S. concern, flopped approximately 40 seconds into its inaugural flight.

The MDA asserts the defense would have stopped the Taepo Dong-2 had the test been a real attack. Lieutenant General Henry Obering, the head of the MDA, told the Senate Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee April 11, “I am confident [the system] would have worked.”

Not everyone has such confidence. Skeptics and critics point to what they say is skimpy and rudimentary testing of the system, which has components stretching from radars in Japan and the United Kingdom to 18 interceptors deployed in Alaska and California. On the other hand, some missile defense supporters criticize the administration for not being ambitious enough after pulling out of the ABM Treaty, which barred Moscow and Washington from developing nationwide strategic ballistic missile defenses.

Although Russia initially had a muted reaction to the U.S. treaty withdrawal, Russian leaders now more strongly assert that U.S. missile defenses, particularly a plan to base interceptors in Poland, are provocative. They imply that if Washington continues to proceed, it could trigger another arms race, which is what Bush and other senior administration officials said would not result from a U.S. ABM Treaty exit.

No Consensus on Capability

Despite its proclaimed confidence in the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD), which was the system activated last summer, the administration has had trouble convincing others to share the same view, largely because it has performed few visible tests over the past several years. Indeed, since Bush’s December 2002 decision to deploy the GMD system, only one successful intercept test has been conducted.

The MDA hoped to double this tally with a May 25 test, but the experiment was scrubbed when the target missile failed to fly properly. Obering said the agency would try again this summer.

The sole, recent success came Sept. 1, 2006, when a GMD interceptor fired from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, obliterated a mock warhead launched south from Kodiak Island, Alaska. (See ACT, October 2006.) The interceptor is comprised of powerful boosters that lift into space an exoatmospheric kill vehicle (EKV) that detaches from the boosters and, using radar updates and onboard sensors, hones in on and collides with a target at a combined closing speed of 35,000 kilometers per hour.

MDA officials heralded the test as proof that the system works. Speaking Jan. 29, Brigadier General Patrick O’Reilly, MDA deputy director, contended there is “very little more we can do to make [tests] more operationally realistic.”

The test differed significantly from its 10 predecessors, five of which ended in intercepts. The September experiment involved an interceptor model that was the same as those currently deployed and also involved operational crews and radars, as well as a target trajectory more closely resembling one that a North Korean missile might travel. Previously, targets were shot away from California west over the Pacific Ocean toward the Marshall Islands, from where the test interceptors were fired.

Some critics dispute the claim that the recent test was realistic. In a May 23 Arms Control Today interview, Philip Coyle, former director of the Pentagon’s Office of Operational Test and Evaluation, said the latest test was “the simplest” to date and “less challenging than tests that I oversaw,” highlighting the absence of decoys in the recent test. Previous tests included one to three decoys, although they did not closely resemble the target.

Coyle, who is currently a senior adviser at the nonprofit Center for Defense Information, contends that the Achilles’ heel of the system is countermeasures, including decoys, because the system cannot discriminate between real targets and fake ones. He contends that adversaries capable of launching a long-range ballistic missile would employ decoys or other countermeasures to penetrate the system.

That assertion is based on U.S. intelligence. Robert D. Walpole, a national intelligence officer, informed lawmakers Feb. 9, 2000, that North Korea and Iran “could develop countermeasures based on [readily available] technologies by the time they flight-test their missiles.” Neither Iran nor North Korea has successfully flight-tested a missile with a range greater than approximately 2,000 kilometers.

Obering defends the MDA testing strategy. At the April 11 hearing, he argued, “We think that there are many situations where we will not be faced with complex countermeasures.” At an April 25 Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee hearing, the general stated, “Just because you do not have countermeasures does not mean that [tests are] not realistic.”

The MDA has deployed a sea-based X-band radar, which would have been prohibited by the ABM Treaty, that the agency claims will help with target discrimination. The agency also is working to miniaturize EKVs so that a single interceptor can carry several at a time to engage separate objects in a target cluster. Flight testing of this Multiple Kill Vehicle program is set to start in 2012.

The current head of the Pentagon’s testing office, Charles McQueary, testified April 11 that the current system has “demonstrated a capability to intercept a simple foreign threat.” Meanwhile, his office’s annual report, released earlier this year, stated that a lack of flight-test data “limits confidence in assessments” of the defense. It recommended that future program decisions should “stress reliable and repeatable performance in integrated system testing.”

Similarly, a March report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which conducts investigations for Congress, concluded the system “has not completed sufficient flight testing to provide a high level of confidence that [U.S. missile defenses] can reliably intercept ICBMs.” It applauded the MDA for generally reducing missile defense test failures and improving quality control procedures but reported that previous shortcomings may have permitted “less reliable or inappropriate parts” to be incorporated in the deployed interceptors, raising questions about their “reliability.” According to the GAO, the MDA plans to spend $65.5 million to retrofit the interceptors beginning in fiscal year 2009.

Stable of Programs Remains Similar

When running for president, Bush derided the Clinton administration’s ground-based system as too modest. (The ABM Treaty permitted Moscow and Washington each to field up to 100 strategic ground-based interceptors at one site.) He suggested that if the United States truly wanted to shield itself against ballistic missiles, it had to break free from ABM Treaty rules against air-, sea-, space-, and mobile land-based systems as well as foreign deployments. This position reflected decades-long complaints of missile defense advocates that the only thing blocking effective defenses was treaty limits making certain technologies and basing modes off-limits.

Writing in The Wall Street Journal a day after the U.S. treaty withdrawal took effect, then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz hailed the possibilities that the MDA could now exploit. “We can now move forward with the robust development and testing program that the Department of Defense has designed to take advantage of new technologies and basing modes,” he stated.

Yet, five years after the administration shed the treaty constraints and spent some $41 billion on the MDA, the U.S. inventory of systems has changed little (see table 1). Air-, sea-, space-, and mobile land-based systems to counter strategic long-range missiles or ICBMs have not materialized.

The MDA has programs that fit these basing modes, but they are systems geared toward stopping shorter-range missiles and were under development prior to the treaty withdrawal. To be sure, the MDA contends some of the programs have an inherent capability against longer-range missiles or that they can be upgraded for the mission, but such claims remain unproven.

The Airborne Laser (ABL) is a prime example. Initiated under the Clinton administration, the ABL program called for arming a Boeing 747 with a powerful laser to destroy shorter-range ballistic missiles shortly after their launch. Following the U.S. treaty withdrawal, program officials announced the system also could shoot down longer-range missiles. Prolonged development delays, however, have postponed the first ABL intercept attempt from 2003 to at least 2009. Not yet armed with its main laser, the aircraft recently tracked a target, but Obering noted in the April 25 hearing that the program is not “out of the woods.”

Some ABM Treaty antagonists also saw great promise in fielding ship-based strategic interceptors, pointing to the then-Navy Theater Wide program as a possible model or starting point. Now known as Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense, the program has recorded eight intercepts in 10 tests involving shorter-range missiles, and MDA officials are seeking to expand its capabilities. As with the ABL program, however, the schedule has slipped. Whereas a first attempt to hit a long-range target had been predicted for as early as 2007, now it is set for 2014.

The MDA’s only mobile land-based system nearing deployment is the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), which is supposed to collide with missiles during their last minute or so of flight. Intercept testing of the system resumed last July after completion of an interceptor redesign that started in 1999. In the three intercept tests since then, THAAD has not missed. The system is designed to destroy missiles below the strategic threshold.

A mobile land-based strategic system, the Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI), is in the works, but it has suffered frequent budget cuts from lawmakers who question the program’s utility. As a result, the MDA has pushed back possible deployment of the system, which has yet to be flight-tested, from 2010 to at least 2014.

Space-based interceptors remain just a gleam in Obering’s eyes. “Space offers a lot of flexibility, and it offers a lot of attraction,” he testified April 25. But his agency has requested relatively modest sums to explore the option. Congress, particularly Democratic members, have signaled strong reservations about basing interceptors in orbit. In its defense authorization bill passed May 17, the House of Representatives cut nearly $800 million, including all $10 million for the space project, from the MDA’s fiscal year 2008 $8.8 billion budget request. The Senate has yet to pass its version of this bill, which will have to be reconciled with the House measure.

For some missile defense doubters and opponents, the administration’s failure to bring any new systems to fruition might be bittersweet vindication of their arguments that it was premature on technical grounds to withdraw from the ABM Treaty.

A number of missile defense supporters, however, knock the administration for not being aggressive enough. Daniel Goure, vice president of the nonprofit Lexington Institute, contended in an April 23 paper that the administration “went on to squander the opportunity” presented by scrapping the ABM Treaty. He suggests the KEI program be ramped up and put on ships.

Other missile defense proponents such as Ambassador Henry Cooper, who headed one of the MDA’s predecessors, issued a 2006 report criticizing the administration for sticking with the ground-based system. They recommended limiting work on that system and devoting more time and effort to sea- and space-based interceptors. The report noted that the current approach ignores defending against Chinese and Russian missiles.

Russian Reactions

A major point of contention when the Bush administration was maneuvering to withdraw from the ABM Treaty was how other states, particularly Russia and China, would respond. The possibility that either country might build up its arsenal in reaction to a U.S. treaty withdrawal and construction of a nationwide defense induced anxiety within Washington and worldwide.

The Bush administration dismissed such concerns as exaggerated. It argued that future U.S. defenses would not be aimed at China or Russia and that the withdrawal would help usher in a new era of better relations between the United States and Russia by removing an irritant and a vestige of Cold War competition. White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer noted Dec. 12, 2001, that the president often remarked that withdrawing from the treaty would “lead to a strengthening of U.S.-Russian relations.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin characterized the withdrawal at the time as “mistaken,” and the Kremlin has grumbled ever since. But a U.S. proposal to nullify a potential Iranian missile threat by stationing 10-ground-based U.S. interceptors in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic now has Russia growling. (See ACT, April 2007. )

Putin set the tone in a Feb. 10 speech, saying the U.S. plans “cannot help but disturb us.” He asked, “Who needs the next step of what would be, in this case, an inevitable arms race?”

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also suggested May 15 that an arms competition was certain. “In questions of military-strategic stability, there are its own immutable laws: actions, counteractions, defensive, offensive systems,” he explained, adding that “these laws operate regardless of how somebody would like to see this or that situation.”

Although 10 interceptors would clearly pose no threat to Russia’s roughly 530 ICBMs, Russian officials indicate their concern is that the deployment is just the tip of the iceberg. The Russian news agency Itar-Tass May 14 published a Russian Foreign Ministry statement that “one cannot ignore the fact that U.S. offensive weapons, combined with the missile defense being created, can turn into a strategic complex capable of delivering an incapacitating blow.”

How seriously Russia fears such a scenario and how it would really respond is difficult to gauge. Moscow is seeking a new arms reduction agreement with Washington (see ACT, May 2007 ), but it also regularly speaks of retaining older weapon systems with multiple warheads and tripling the warhead capacity of its new class of Topol-M ICBMs.

Bush administration officials say Russia is overreacting and that a difference exists between the Kremlin’s private and public comments. They speculate that Russian officials might be trying to drive a wedge between the United States and Europe or engaging in electoral politics at home. Regardless, Rice said May 15 in Moscow that the United States would not give Russia “a veto on American security interests.”

U.S. officials have made a pitch to soften Russia’s rhetoric by proposing cooperation on missile defenses. Moscow so far has shunned the offers, perhaps recalling that nothing much came of Bush’s June 13, 2002, pledge to Russia to “look for ways to cooperate on missile defenses, including expanding military exercises, sharing early warning data, and exploring potential joint research and development of missile defense technologies.”

Estimated to have an arsenal of approximately 20 ICBMs capable of reaching the continental United States, China has stayed relatively silent about U.S. missile defense developments, even though it would appear to have greater reason than Russia to be concerned. Beijing has had a secretive, yet slow strategic modernization program underway for years, and there is little evidence that its pace or scope has changed. Chinese unease with U.S. plans, however, is viewed as stoking Beijing’s push for negotiations on the prevention of an arms race in outer space at the Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament.

Washington has gained some greater international acceptance of missile defenses. In addition to winning consent from the United Kingdom and Denmark to upgrade and integrate U.S. radars on their territories into the U.S. GMD system, the Bush administration also deployed a mobile radar to Japan and is cooperating with Tokyo on improving the ship-based Aegis defense. The ABM Treaty barred any of these actions. Other countries with ongoing projects with the United States include Australia, Germany, Israel, Italy, and the Netherlands.

Still, some governments, including a few U.S. missile defense partners, are uneasy with the seemingly deteriorating U.S.-Russian relationship, of which missile defense appears partially responsible. In a March 18 article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier cautioned that, in protecting against a possible Iranian threat, “the price of security must not be new suspicion or, worse still, fresh insecurity.” He also wrote, “[W]e cannot allow a missile defense system to be either a reason or a pretext for a new arms race.”

Five years after President George W. Bush orchestrated the June 13, 2002, U.S. withdrawal from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty to build an “effective” missile defense, the system remains unproven or insufficient in the eyes of many. (Continue)

Editor's Note

Miles A. Pomper  

When and why do states pursue nuclear weapons? It is a question that has long been debated among arms control and nonproliferation analysts. This month’s issue looks at one state that has crossed the nuclear Rubicon and another that some analysts fear may do so. It also touches on a Bush administration initiative to try and interdict relevant technology involved in nuclear and other forms of proliferation.

North Korea’s Oct. 9, 2006, nuclear test sounded alarm bells in Washington not only because of Pyongyang’s newly demonstrated capabilities. Commentators and policymakers fretted that other countries in the region, particularly Japan, might feel it necessary to develop nuclear weapons as well. But in this month’s cover story, Hajime Izumi and Katsuhisa Furukawa say that such concerns are overblown and perhaps intentionally manipulated by some Japanese officials. What Tokyo wants, they write, is a closer nuclear relationship with the United States.

Drawing on new sources, Avner Cohen looks at when and how Israel made its crucial decision to produce nuclear weapons, a fact widely known but not officially acknowledged by the Israeli government. He finds the key in the stressful days leading up to the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. That crisis, he writes, pushed Israel, which already had developed the relevant technology, to make the fateful leap to assemble weapons.

Mark J. Valencia evaluates the success of the Bush administration’s much-touted Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI). An initiative first unveiled four years ago, the PSI is designed to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction, their delivery systems, and related materials from entering or leaving “states of proliferation concern.” Valencia concludes that the PSI has improved the awareness of the danger and urgency of the problem and constrained some relevant illicit trade, but that several shortcomings have hampered its effectiveness.

Our news section this month contains two news analyses. One examines the state of U.S. missile defenses five years after the U.S. withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. The other is a first-hand report from Vienna on this year’s preparatory meeting for the 2010 nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty review conference.

In “Looking Back,” Rose Gottemoeller recounts the history of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and its current status. Her article comes after Russian leaders have publicly mulled withdrawing from the treaty to gain strategic flexibility and to retaliate for the planned construction of U.S. missile defenses in Europe. Gottemoeller concludes that such a withdrawal is unlikely and that the treaty’s precedent-setting negotiating principles and verification standards offer a valuable tool for future arms control efforts.

June 2007 ACT Print Advertisers

June 2007 Bibliography

Of Special Interest

ElBaradei, Mohamed, “Nuclear Security Today: The Global Context,” Address to Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, May 18, 2007.

Gottemoeller, Rose, “Back to Concrete Business,” Nezavisimaya Gazeta (English translation available online from Carnegie Moscow Center), May 25, 2007.

Gottemoeller, Rose, “Reading Russia Right,” New York Times, May 4, 2007, p. A23.

Kitfield, James, “The Decline Begins,” National Journal, May 19, 2007.

Stroupe, W. Joseph, “The Cold War: Fears of an unfinished victory,” Asian Times, May 31, 2007.

Wortzel, M. Larry, “China's Nuclear Forces: Operations, Training, Doctrine, Command, Control and Campaign Planning,” Strategic Studies Institute of the US Army War College, May 11, 2007.

I. Strategic Arms

Agence France-Presse, “Britain Orders 4th Astute-Class Submarine,” May 21, 2007.

Coyle, Philip, “Proponents Lose Sight of New Warhead’s Arms Control Implications,” Defense Monitor, May/June 2007, pp. 6-7.

Gill, Bates and Kleiber, Martin, “China’s Space Odyssey,” Foreign Affairs, 86(3):2-6, May/June 2007.

Krepon, Michael, “New warheads and non-proliferation,” Daily Times, June 1, 2007.

Matthews, William, “U.S. House Panel Strips Funding for Nuke Warhead,” Defense News, May 24, 2007.

Pincus, Walter, “New Nuclear Warhead's Funding Eliminated,” Washington Post, May 24, 2007, p. A6.

Spring, Baker, “Congress’s Critical Role in the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) Program,” The Heritage Foundation, May 11, 2007.

II. Nuclear Proliferation

Arab Times, “IAEA Experts to Study Creation of Gulf Nuclear Program: Salema; Ties with Kuwait Praised,” May 13, 2007.

Associated Press, “Jordan Has Uranium to Build a Reactor,” May 5, 2007.

Cohen, Avner, “Israel and the bomb,” International Herald Tribune, May 31, 2007.

Dutt, Vijay, “Threat Will Not Work with Iran, says India,” Hindustan Times, May 29, 2007.

Fisher-Ilan, Allyn, “Peres Biography: Israel, France had Secret Pact to Produce Nuclear Weapons,” Reuters, May, 9, 2007.

International Institute for Strategic Studies, “Nuclear Black Markets: Pakistan, A.Q. Khan and the Rise of Proliferation Networks,” May 9, 2007.

Jenkins, Brian, “Nuclear Terror: How Real?” Washington Times, May 13, 2007.

McCawley, Tom, “Indonesia Looks to a Nuclear Future,” Asia Times, May 30, 2007.

Rademaker, Stephen, “Blame America First,” Wall Street Journal, May 7, 2007, p. A15.

Torquemada, Jesús, “Analysis: The atomic ghost returns,” Basque News and Information Channel, May 30, 2007.

Zaw, Aung, “Suspicion Hardens over Burma’s Nuclear Ambitions,” May 25, 2007.


AFP, “US ‘Positive’ on Clinching India Nuclear Accord,” May, 30, 2007.

Gentleman, Amelia, “India and U.S. Try to Rekindle Stalled Talks on a Nuclear Pact,” New York Times, June 1, 2007.

Giacomo, Carol, “U.S., India Continue Contacts on Nuclear Deal,” Reuters, May 21, 2007.

Murphy, Katharine, “No Uranium for India: Macfarlane,” The Age, May 23, 2007.

Reuters, “Considerable Work Left on India Nuclear Deal: U.S.,” May 30, 2007.

Squassoni, Sharon, “Giving an Inch, Taking a Mile,” Washington Post, May 9, 2007.


Albright, David, and Shire, Jacqueline, and Brannan, Paul, “IAEA Safeguards Report on Iran: Iran making progress but not yet reliably operating an enrichment plant,” The Institute for Science and International Security, May 25, 2007.

Dahl, Fredrik, “Iran Says ‘Evil Approach’ by U.S. Prevents Talks,” Reuters, May 1, 2007

Drogin, Bob, “Iran Bomb Possible by 2010, U.N. Official Says,” Los Angeles Times, May 25, 2007.

ElBaradei, Mohamed, “Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and Relevant Provisions of Security Council Resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran,” International Atomic Energy Agency, May 22, 2007.

Gearan, Anne, “U.S. has two-part strategy with Iran,” Houston Chronicle, May 27, 2007.

Goldschmidt, Pierre and Perkovich, George, “Correcting Iran’s Nuclear Disinformation,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, May 27, 2007.

Hafezi, Parisa, “Iran rules out key demand before atomic meeting,” Reuters, May 31, 2007.

Harrison, Frances, “Iran’s Nuclear Negotiator ‘Spied’,” BBC News, May 5, 2007.

Heinrich, Mark, “Iran Deal Sought to Avert Atom Pact Talks Collapse,” Reuters, May 6, 2007.

Jahn, George, “Iran Standing Firm against Language in Nuclear Nonproliferation Document,” Associated Press, May 1, 2007

Kessler, Glenn, “Rice: U.S. Will Not Change Conditions for Iran Nuclear Talks,” Washington Post, May 31, 2007.

Kralev, Nicholas, “Rice Slams U.N. Nuke Watchdog on Iran,” Washington Times, May 30, 2007.

New York Times, “Iran Frees Former Atomic Negotiator on Bail,” May 10, 2007, p. A4.

Reuters, “Iran Has Installed 1,600 Atomic Centrifuges: Report,” May 17, 2007.

Reuters, “Iran Offers to Help Gulf States with Atom Technology,” May 28, 2007.

Reuters, “US, Allies to Complain to ElBaradei on Iran,” May 22, 2007.

RIA Novosti, “Iran, EU to Hold New Round of Nuclear Talks May 31 in Spain,” May 19, 2007.

RIA Novosti, “Iran Resolved to Export Nuclear Fuel – Ahmadinejad,” May 25, 2007.

Sanger, David, “Inspectors Cite Big Gain by Iran on Nuclear Fuel,” New York Times, May 15, 2007, p. A1.

North Korea

Agence France-Presse, “US Ex-Envoy Sure North Korea had Secret Nuke Programme,” May 14, 2007.

Hutzler, Charles, “U.S. Nuclear Envoy in Beijing, Meets with Chinese Officials in Korea,” Associated Press, May 30, 2007.

Martin, Simon, “Hopes Rise for North Korea Nuclear Deal,” Agence France-Presse, May 16, 2007.

RIA Novosti, “Russia Makes U-turn, Joins UN Sanctions against N. Korea,” May 30, 2007.

III. Nonproliferation

Agence France-Presse, “Russia Throws Wrench in S. Korea’s Global Hawk Plan,” May 10, 2007.

Chivers, C.J., “Radioactivity Sensors for Russia,” New York Times, June 1, 2007.

Gupta, Virendra, “It’s the NPT, Not Iran,” Rediff News, May 17, 2007.

Heinrich, Mark, “Iran and NAM Countries Downgrade Atom Treaty Text,” Reuters, May 11, 2007.

Hughes, Llewelyn, “Why Japan Will Not Go Nuclear (Yet),” International Security, 31:4 (Spring 2007).

Kralev, Nicholas, “Unpaid US Dues Hit Nuke-Test Monitoring,” Washington Times, May 24, 2007.

Jahn, George, “Iran and West Clash Over Nuclear Treaty,” Associated Press, May 11, 2007.

Miller, Judith, “From the Shores of Tripoli,” The National Interest, May 2007-June 2007.

Robbins, Carla, “Wrestling Nuclear Genies Back Into the Bottle, or at Least a Can,” New York Times, May 9, 2007, p. A24.

Tannenbaum, Jeffrey, “‘Fourth-Rate’ Nations Love Their A-Bombs, 9/11 Reporter Warns,” Bloomberg, May 17, 2007.

IV. Missiles and Missile Defense

Agence France-Presse, “Key U.S. Missile Test Aborted,” May 26, 2007.

Agence France-Presse, “Report: Australia to Join Japan-U.S. Missile Project,” May 22, 2007.

Agence France-Presse, “Russia Seeks Review of Landmark Arms Control Pact,” May 23, 2007.

Agence France-Presse, “U.S., Poland to Open Formal Missile Shield Talks May 24,” May 22, 2007.

Associated Press, “Russia Test-Launches New ICBM,” May 29, 2007.

Dickle, Mure and Sevastopulo, Demetri, “US fears over China Long-Range Missiles,” Financial Times, May 25, 2007, pp. 1 and 3.

Gera, Vanessa, “U.S., Poland Upbeat on Missile Defense,” Washington Post, May 25, 2007.

Greimel, Hans, “N. Korea Test-Fire Missiles as South Launches U.S.-Equipped Destroyer,” Associated Press, May 26, 2007.

Gutterman, Steve, “Russia Says New ICBM Can Beat Any System,” Associated Press, May 30, 2007.

Heintz, Jon, “Russia test-launches new ICBM,” Houston Chronicle, May 29, 2007.

Holland, Steve, “Bush Sees Tensions between Russia and West,” Reuters, May 21, 2007.

International Herald Tribune, “Czech, U.S. Officials Hold New Round of Talks on Missile Defense,” May 22, 2007.

Matthews, William, “U.S. House Panel Cuts Funds for Missile Defense, New Warhead,” Defense News, May 2, 2007.

“Minister: Russian Army To Receive New Missiles ‘Soon,’” Agence France-Presse, May 31, 2007.

Mohammed, Arshad, “U.S. Says Russia Cannot Veto Missile Defense,” Reuters, May 15, 2007.

News Services, “Pentagon Warns that China is Adding Missiles and Building Capacity to Fight Abroad,” May 26, 2007.

Nishiyama, George, “North Korea Fires Short-Range Missiles,” Reuters, May 25, 2007.

O’Hanlon, Michael, “A Defense We Just Don’t Need (Yet),” New York Times, May 17, 2007

Raghuvanshi, Vivek, “Indian Army Awaits BrahMos,” Defense News, May 21, 2007.

Ramstad, Evan, “Diplomacy Stays Course after North Korea's Test,” Wall Street Journal, May 26, 2007, p. A3.

“Report: North Korea Fired One Missile, Not Several,” Reuters, Seoul, May 26, 2007.

Reuters, “Russia Says Suspect Sold China Rocket Technology,” May 24, 2007.

RIA Novosti, “Lithuanian Minister Denies Inviting U.S. to Deploy Missile Shield,” May 30, 2007.

RIA Novosti, “Putin says missile tests were response to NATO’s actions,” May 31, 2007.

RIA Novosti, “S-400 Missile Defense Systems to Start Defending Moscow July 1,” May 21, 2007.

Shchedrov, Oleg, “Putin Still Opposed to U.S. Missile Shield,” Reuters, May 23, 2007.

Scully, Megan, “House Affirms Missile Defense Cuts, Approves Defense Bill,” CongressDaily, May 17, 2007.

Shanker, Thom, “Antimissile Test Comes Amid Financing Debate,” New York Times, May 23, 2007.

Shanker, Thom, “House Panel Considers Cuts in Budget for Missile Defense,” New York Times, May 10, 2007, p. A5.

Shchedrov, Oleg, “US ‘imperialism’ means new arms race: Putin,” ABC, May 31, 2007.

Spencer, Richard, “Reports: N. Korea Tests Missile in Iran,” The Daily Telegraph, May 17, 2007.

Wolf, Jim, “U.S. House Seeks Tighter U.S.-Israeli Missile Defenses,” Reuters, May 19, 2007.

V. Chemical and Biological Arms

Butrin, Dmitry; Sborov, Afanasy; and Taratuta, Yulia, “Russia Warily Eyes Human Samples,” May 30, 2007.

“Iran to File Complaints Against Chemical War Facilitators: Accomplices in Saddam’s Chemical Weapons Program Should be Brought to Justice: Deputy FM,” Mehr News, May 12, 2007.

Strohm, Chris, “Advocates of State Chemical Security Laws Plot Next Move,” CongressDaily, May 31, 2007.

United Press International, “Last Chemical Weapon Facility Demolished,” May 17, 2007.

VI. Conventional Arms

Agence France-Presse, “U.N. Team To Report On Alleged Arms Smuggling To Lebanon,” May 28, 2007.

Agence France-Presse, “U.S. Delivers Arms to Lebanon,” May 25, 2007.

Agenzia Giornalistica Italia, “Cluster Bombs: Japan Against Ban,” May 25, 2007.

Amnesty International, “Sudan: Arms Continuing to Fuel Serious Human Rights Violations in Darfur,” May 8, 2007.

Cisneros, Luis Jaime, “Latin America, Caribbean pledge to get rid of cluster bombs,” Agence France-Presse, May 25, 2007.

Integrated Regional Information Networks, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, “Horn of Africa: ‘Improved approach needed towards disarmament,’” May 30, 2007.

Lederer, Edith, “U.N. Resists U.S. on New Sudan Sanctions,” Associated Press May 30, 2007.

Media Newswire, “New Grants to Deal With Explosives Remnants of War and Landmines,” May 30, 2007.

Minnick, Wendell, “Shipbuilding Boom: $108 Billion Market Predicted for Asia-Pacific Over 10 Years,” Defense News, May 21, 2007.

Raghuvanshi, Vivek, “S. Korea May Build Ships for Indian Navy as Countries Boost Ties,” Defense News, May 30, 2007.

Stohl, Rachel and Rhea Myerscough, “Sub-Saharan Small Arms: The Damage Continues,” Current History, May 2007, pp 227-232

Stolberg, Sheryl Gay, “Bush to Tighten Fiscal Penalties Against Sudan,” New York Times, May 29, 2007..

VII. U.S. Policy

Hess, David, “Appropriations Subpanel Moves Energy and Water Bill,” CongressDaily, May 23, 2007.

Scully, Megan, “Senate Panel Boosts Funding For Subs, Missile Interceptor,” CongressDaily, May 31, 2007.

Shanker, Thom, “Administration Rebukes Putin on His Policies,” New York Times, June 1, 2007.

Squassoni, Sharon, “Giving an Inch, Taking a Mile,” www.washingtonpost.com, May 9, 2007.

Tollefson, Jeff, “Subcommittee Goes Its Own Way on Energy-Water Measure,” CQ Weekly, May 28, 2007.

Wald, Matthew L., “Uranium Windfall Opens Choices for the Energy Dept.,” New York Times, May 29, 2007.

VIII. Space

International Security Advisory Board, US Department of State, “Report on US Space Policy,” April 25, 2007.

Kislyakov, Andrei, “New Wars Require New Weapons,” RIA Novosti, May 25, 2007.

Katz-Hyman, Michael; Krepon, Michael; and Hitchens, Theresa; “Preserving Freedom of Action in Space: Realizing the Potential and Limits of US Spacepower,” The Henry L. Stimson Center, May 2007.

Singer, Jeremy, “Pentagon Weighs Options for Quick Space Launches,” Defense News, May 28, 2007.

IX. Other

Agence France-Presse, “NATO Reassures Russia over Eastern Moves,” May 28, 2007.

Associated Press, “China Blasts U.S. Report,” May 28, 2007.

Bodeen, Christopher, “U.S. terror expert says nuclear risk low,” Houston Chronicle, June 1, 2007.

Brown, Cameron S, “Analysis: US, Iran Talks Open Door to ‘Grand Bargain,’” Jerusalem Post, May 29, 2007.

Burns, Robert, “Pentagon: China Building Military Might,” Associated Press, May 25, 2007.

Chandler, Michael, and Warrick, Joby, “Thousands of Nuclear Arms Workers See Cancer Claims Denied or Delayed,” Washington Post, May 12, 2007, p. A1

Drogin, Bob and Daragahi, Borzou, “Arabs Make Plans for Nuclear Power,” Los Angeles Times, May 26, 2007.

Hall, Mimi, “Phones Studied as Attack Detector,” USA Today, May 4, 2007.

Kilner, James, “Russia to Build Nuclear Reactor in Myanmar,” Reuters, May 15, 2007.

Kreisher, Otto, “General Says More U.S., NATO Troops Needed In Europe,” CongressDaily, May 18, 2007.

RIA Novosti, “Moscow Says Nuclear Ties with Iran to Continue Despite Sanctions,” May 25.

RIA Novosti, “Russia, Kazakhstan Sign Deal on Uranium Enrichment Center,” May 10, 2007.

Stolar, Alex, “The Implications of Unrest in Pakistan for Nuclear Security,” The Henry L. Stimson Center, May 18, 2007.

Stroupe, W Joseph, “The Cold War: Fears of an Unfinished Victory,” Asia Times, May 31, 2007.

Conference on Disarmament Stalemate Persists

Wade Boese

The latest bid to end the prolonged negotiating impasse of the 65-member Conference on Disarmament (CD) is faltering primarily because China and Pakistan are raising objections to the March 23 proposal.

Western diplomatic sources and a UN official close to the conference indicated to Arms Control Today in May interviews that the prospects for the conference holding negotiations this year are growing dimmer as each day passes. The UN official said May 16 that there is a “definite sense of momentum being lost.”

The CD operates by consensus, and the last agreement it negotiated was the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Following the conclusion of that treaty, conference members have almost continuously clashed over negotiating priorities.

The sole exception was a few weeks in 1998 when the conference convened negotiations on a fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT), which would prohibit the production of plutonium and highly enriched uranium for weapons. No agreement resulted from those talks.

Renewing FMCT negotiations is a key element of the March 23 work package offered by Sri Lankan Ambassador Sarala Fernando. The package also includes less formal discussions on nuclear disarmament, prevention of an arms race in outer space, and negative security assurances, which are intended to assure states without nuclear weapons that they will not suffer nuclear attacks. (See ACT, April 2007. )

Most conference members announced support for or indicated they would not block the package before the end of the CD’s first of three annual working periods on March 30. But some delegations, most prominently China and Pakistan, said they had to wait for instructions from their capitals. Others not prepared immediately to adopt the proposal included Egypt, India, and Iran.

Aiming to get final approval for the four-item package before the CD’s second work period started May 14, Fernando proposed a special April plenary for this purpose. That meeting never occurred because some countries again said they needed more time.

China announced May 22 that the package, among other failings, does not adequately address the outer space issue. Beijing’s remedy for this perceived shortcoming is to specify that the proposed discussions on space could lead to negotiation of a treaty—an outcome staunchly opposed by Washington.

Concerned about U.S. missile defense developments, China puts higher priority on negotiations on outer space than an FMCT. Beijing reportedly has stopped fissile material production for weapons, but it has not publicly announced such a halt as have France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Although Pakistan claims to be still reviewing the package, Islamabad also raised some objections May 15. One of the diplomatic sources said May 16 that Pakistan appears intent on “killing” the proposal.

Pakistan suggested all four items in the package should be treated equally. Iran seconded this notion, an approach anathema to France and the United States. Iran, which the United States and several others allege is illicitly pursuing nuclear weapons, recently obstructed a separate conference on the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (see page 23 ).

Pakistan, as well as China, argued that FMCT negotiations should aim to produce a verifiable treaty, meaning one with mechanisms to detect cheating. Pakistan’s neighbor and nuclear rival, India, endorsed the same objective May 15, but it was unclear how firmly each of the countries was making this goal a precondition for negotiations.

Most countries support a verifiable FMCT, but they are not insisting this be a declared negotiating outcome because the United States opposes such an approach. Washington asserts that an FMCT verification regime would be time consuming to negotiate, costly to implement, and ultimately imperfect, potentially impinging on the national security interests of law-abiding states while not deterring determined cheaters. Before 2004, the United States supported a verifiable FMCT. (See ACT, September 2004. )

Although Algeria and Egypt also questioned certain aspects of the March 23 proposal, some of the Western diplomatic sources implied that China’s position was key because it provides other countries cover to raise objections.

Winning consensus on the proposal, a couple of the sources said, would be further complicated if Russia follows through on President Vladimir Putin’s February pledge to submit a draft treaty to bar space weapons. Such a move might further increase pressure to elevate the outer space issue from discussions to negotiations.

All the sources pointed out that time to conduct any negotiations this year was dwindling. The second work period ends June 29, and the third and final work period begins July 30 and expires Sept. 14. Moreover, some of the last period is consumed by end-of-the-year administrative work.

News ANALYSIS: NPT Preparatory Meeting Scores Some Success

Oliver Meier reporting from Vienna

Substantive discussions at the first of three preparatory meetings for the 2010 review conference of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), held April 30-May 11 in Vienna, were cut short because of an Iranian objection to the agenda. Yet, conference participants viewed the meeting as a success because of an improved atmosphere and despite continuing differences with regard to the appropriate balance between the treaty’s nonproliferation and disarmament commitments as well as on next steps to improve the operation of the treaty.

A Difficult Start

The Vienna meeting took place against the background of the failed 2005 NPT review conference, which stalled for more than two weeks because of disagreements over the agenda. (See ACT, June 2005. ) Therefore, many participants had a sense of déjà vu when Iran at the end of the first day of the meeting prevented the adoption of the agenda by objecting to discussions on “the need for full compliance with the treaty.”

Ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh, head of the Iranian delegation, told Arms Control Today May 21 that Iran proposed to amend the agenda to clarify that the meeting should discuss compliance with “all provisions” of the treaty in order to prevent “any sort of interpretation or misinterpretation and to avoid ambiguities” and enable, in particular, discussions on compliance with nuclear disarmament obligations.

Soltanieh also repeated allegations that the chair of the preparatory committee, Japanese Ambassador Yukiya Amano, had not shown the draft agenda to Iran before the meeting. In an unusual move, Amano publicly rebutted these accusations during the conference and listed the occasions that he had presented the draft text to Iran, which he said at that time had not voiced any objections.

In Vienna, Amano refused to reopen discussions on the draft agenda, apparently because he feared that other delegations might also push for amendments and cause the agreement to unravel. Soltanieh said this approach “forced Iran into a corner.” Thus, the meeting effectively came to a halt on May 2, after three days of general debate.

Many participants believe that Iran, which has been censured by the UN Security Council as well as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for the lack of transparency related to its nuclear activities, was trying to block or delay proceedings because it was afraid of becoming the center of criticism at the meeting.

“If it wasn’t this, it would have been something else,” Christopher Ford, U.S. special representative for nuclear nonproliferation, who headed the U.S. delegation in Vienna, told Arms Control Today May 16. This sentiment was shared by many Western delegates.

In contrast to past meetings, Iran was unable to get public support for its position from the group of nonaligned, or developing, states, of which it is a member. Iran remained all but isolated, with only Cuba, Syria, and Venezuela publicly supporting its stance. Privately speaking, some nonaligned delegates voiced a certain degree of sympathy for Iran’s position, arguing that the emphasis on compliance was indeed a U.S. priority and that singling out particular issues in the agenda could prevent a balanced debate.

The dispute over the agenda was finally resolved by a South African compromise proposal. Ambassador Abdul Minty, South Africa’s special representative on disarmament and head of the South African delegation, had proposed at the end of the first week to leave the agenda unchanged but to reflect Iranian concerns through a separate decision by the conference that “the reference in the agenda to ‘reaffirming the need for full compliance with the treaty’ to mean that it will consider compliance with all the provisions of the treaty.” Iran accepted this compromise language, linked via an asterisk to the agenda, on May 8, three and a half days before the scheduled end of the conference.

Differences on Disarmament

As a result of these delays, substantive debates on disarmament, nonproliferation, and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, as well as a number of proposals to improve the operation of the treaty, were cut short. Many delegates felt that debate on disarmament was “remarkable for its very constructive tone rather than its content” as a senior EU diplomat told Arms Control Today May 18. The debate was seen as useful primarily for fleshing out differences on nuclear disarmament rather than bridging these gaps. Because the preparatory committee did not have to agree on a consensus document, participants were not forced to resolve disagreements. The EU official cautioned that this year’s debate did not increase his expectation “that there will be a final document in 2010.”

Most non-nuclear-weapon states criticized nuclear-weapon states for not disarming fast enough and for abandoning nuclear arms control, increasing reliance on nuclear weapons, and especially for developing new types of nuclear weapons. There were repeated calls on states that have not done so to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty so that it can enter into force. There was also broad support for commencement of negotiations on a treaty to end production of fissile material for weapons purposes on the basis of the six presidents’ proposal tabled at the Geneva Conference on Disarmament.

One notable development was the revitalization of the New Agenda Coalition (NAC), an informal grouping of states formed in 1998 to advance nuclear disarmament, which issued a joint working paper and made joint statements. NAC members Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, and Sweden explicitly called on nuclear-weapon states “not to develop new nuclear weapons,” particularly if these weapons have new capabilities or are designed to take on new roles.

Nuclear-weapon states, by contrast, argued that nuclear weapons reductions since the end of the Cold War had contributed to the fulfillment of disarmament obligations under Article VI, which obliges nuclear-weapon states to pursue negotiations on nuclear disarmament.

The United Kingdom defended its position to pursue a replacement system for its Trident nuclear submarines. (See ACT, April 2007. ) British Ambassador John Duncan rejected criticism that it is “hypocritical” for the United Kingdom “to maintain its nuclear weapons while calling on others to desist from their development” by arguing that the United Kingdom “does not belong to an opposite camp that insists on ‘non-proliferation’ first.”

The United States went on the offensive. A U.S. working paper on disarmament submitted to the conference May 3 stated that the planned development of a reliable replacement warhead “advances the goals expressed in the preamble and Article VI of the NPT” by making it possible to reduce the size of the reserve stockpile of nuclear weapons and making it more unlikely that nuclear testing needs to be resumed.

This line did not find support among non-nuclear-weapon states, but many participants viewed the U.S. presentation of “A Work Plan for the 2010 Review Cycle: Coping With Challenges Facing the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty” as Washington’s attempt at least to appear more constructive than at past NPT meetings. “The United States was more forthcoming and prepared to engage where previously it was sitting back much more,” Minty told Arms Control Today May 17. A senior Brazilian diplomat, speaking to Arms Control Today May 2 pointed out, however, that U.S. positions on arms control issues had not changed despite the softened rhetoric.

Several parties urged the United States and Russia to agree on further cuts in strategic nuclear arms. The European Union in its statement noted that START I is due to expire in 2009 and the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty will end in 2012. It stressed “the need for more progress in reducing these nuclear arsenals through appropriate follow-on processes.” The 27 EU states “would welcome a further continuation of the above processes represented by a bilateral follow-on agreement to the expiring START I.”

With bilateral discussions about possible follow-on measures to the START verification provisions still taking place (see ACT, May 2007 ), the United States was reluctant to go into detail about its wish list for those talks. A senior U.S. official in a Vienna press conference April 30 only told reporters that Washington hopes that a “post-START way of living together would include significant transparency and confidence-building measures.”

Europeans also urged Russia and the United States to begin “negotiations on an effectively verifiable agreement to best achieve the greatest possible reductions” in tactical nuclear weapons. The nonaligned states went further and implicitly called for an end to NATO nuclear-sharing arrangements, under which the United States still deploys about 480 tactical nuclear weapons in six European countries, stating that “nuclear-weapon states, in cooperation among themselves and non-nuclear-weapon states, and with states not parties to the treaty, must refrain from nuclear sharing for military purposes under any kind of security arrangements.”

Preparing for a Nuclear Fuel-Cycle Debate

The debate on a reform of controls of nuclear fuel-cycle activities was muted because states were waiting for the IAEA Secretariat to prepare a report on the topic to be presented to the agency’s Board of Governors at its June 11-15 meeting. The IAEA in its statement to the conference did not provide details on the report but announced that it would entail “modalities and criteria for possible assurance mechanisms.”

According to the statement, the IAEA envisages a two-step approach and is likely to propose, first, that “mechanisms for assurances of supply of fuel for nuclear power reactors” would be established, including possibly for the acquisition of reactors. “The second step would be to encourage all enrichment and reprocessing operations to be under multilateral control,” the agency stated. From the IAEA’s perspective, “any assurance of supply of nuclear fuel should be formulated in a manner that is equitable and accessible to all users of nuclear energy.”

This point was echoed by many nonaligned states, and Minty told Arms Control Today that, for him, “it is very clear that the board cannot accept any discriminatory practice. That is just impossible to conceive of.” The EU official admitted to Arms Control Today that based on the debate in Vienna, “much work remains to be done” to convince potential recipients of a fuel-supply mechanism of the concept. There appears to be no clarity yet as to what will happen after the IAEA report has been presented to the board in June, but substantive discussions and possible decisions on the issue are not expected before the IAEA General Conference in September or a board meeting in November.

Meanwhile, the IAEA and Russia have agreed to set up a working group to establish an international uranium-enrichment center at the Angarsk Electrolysis Chemical Complex in Siberia as Moscow had proposed under its January 2006 Global Nuclear Power Infrastructure initiative. (See ACT, November 2006. ) According to a March 22 IAEA press release, IAEA Deputy Director General Yuri Sokolov told a press conference March 18 in Angarsk that the agency’s main point of concern about proposals discussed with Russia was the provision of a mechanism that would ensure that states are not cut off from fuel supplies for political reasons.

On May 10, Russia and Kazakhstan signed a bilateral agreement on the establishment of an international enrichment center at Angarsk. “We consider this document the first step in the implementation of our initiative to create a global nuclear energy infrastructure,” Russian President Vladimir Putin was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying. Kazakhstan holds 15 percent of the world’s uranium reserves. Sergei Kiriyenko, head of the Russian Federal Agency of Nuclear Power, was quoted in the same article as saying that “now that the agreement is signed, the process of establishing the center is complete” and inviting other countries to join the project by signing a similar intergovernmental agreement with Moscow.

On April 26, Germany proposed establishing a new enrichment plant on an extraterritorial site outside the current provider states. Germany introduced the idea during an IAEA special event on nuclear fuel-supply assurances in September 2006, but the proposal got caught up in bureaucratic infighting in Berlin between the Ministry of Economics and the Federal Foreign Ministry. According to the scheme published on the IAEA site as an official document, the plant would be “under sole IAEA supervision with regard to export controls.” The facility would be constructed by a commercial company but financed and owned by an international consortium of member states. The IAEA would supervise the plant and decide on the release of deliveries of low-enriched uranium on the basis of “a binding catalogue of criteria.” In a May 2 article in the German daily Handelsblatt, Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier emphasized that contrary to other proposals, the plan “would not prohibit anyone from enriching uranium. If a country wanted to develop and perform its own enrichment openly and in accordance with the IAEA, nobody would stop it.”

Raising the Hurdles for Withdrawal

The conference also debated whether and how to raise the bar for states to withdraw from the NPT. At the 2005 review conference, the EU had been a major proponent of related measures; at this year’s event, the issue was also endorsed by the United States. A U.S. working paper lists possible measures to dissuade states that have previously violated the NPT from withdrawing, including:

• the use of coercive measures by the UN Security Council;

• continued safeguards or withdrawal of nuclear facilities and technology through the IAEA in cases where such material was acquired during NPT membership; and

• “appropriate means to halt the use of nuclear material and equipment previously supplied to the withdrawing state and to secure the elimination of such items or their return to the original supplier.”

These proposals met mixed responses from nonaligned states, some of which placed the issue in a broader context. They argued that higher hurdles for withdrawal would be primarily aimed at non-nuclear-weapon states and that nuclear-weapon states in return should also accept new obligations, for example, with regard to nuclear disarmament. Minty, in his closing statement May 11, argued for limiting discussions on withdrawal to procedural matters. He warned against any discussion of penalties, which in South Africa’s view would require a formal amendment of the treaty. “It can be argued that if it had been the intention of the drafters to penalize withdrawal, then it would have been expressively provided for in the NPT,” Minty stated.

Soltanieh, when talking to Arms Control Today, described the debate as unnecessary and divisive. He argued that “any change or any interpretation of Article X needs an amendment conference” of NPT states-parties. The EU official, when talking to Arms Control Today, disputed the notion that the debate on withdrawal was “an attempt to develop new disciplinary measures.” He said that the perception of some nonaligned states in this regard was wrong and that it was not the EU’s intention to curtail the sovereign right to withdraw from the treaty.

Careful Criticism of the U.S.-Indian Nuclear Deal

Several states indirectly raised their concerns about the effects on the NPT of a possible lifting of nuclear sanctions on India. The NAC in their working paper reminded states-parties that, “at the Review Conference in 2000, states parties reaffirmed the unanimous agreement at the Review and Extension Conference in 1995 not to enter into new nuclear supply arrangements with parties that did not accept IAEA full-scope safeguards on their nuclear facilities.”

The EU official supported the view that the U.S.-Indian deal is of relevance to the NPT and argued that “it is wrong to focus this debate only on decisions to be taken in the Nuclear Suppliers Group.”

Nonaligned states, which are traditionally also critical of Israel’s nuclear program, argued in their statement to the conference, delivered April 30 by Cuba, that there should be a “total and complete prohibition of the transfer of all nuclear-related equipment, information, material and facilities, resources or devices and the extension of assistance in the nuclear, scientific or technological fields to states that are not parties to the treaty without exception.” Some delegations were even more explicit in their national statements. Egypt in a May 1 working paper maintained that it is in “direct contravention with the treaty, as expressed in the 2000 final document, to engage in nuclear cooperation with any state whose nuclear facilities are not under IAEA full-scope safeguards.”

The United States defended its plans to engage in nuclear cooperation with India. In a statement during the debate on regional issues, Ford argued that the U.S. interactions with Pakistan and India “continue in every respect to be consistent with our NPT obligations.”

When talking to Arms Control Today, Ford emphasized that the United States is committed to “ensuring that any nuclear cooperation avoids providing assistance to the military side” of India’s nuclear activity and that this remains “a critical consideration for being able to provide assistance” to India. Ford also stressed that India’s “separation plan is intended to separate the military aspects from the civilian aspects in such a way that there is no spillover between the two.”

The Role of the Review Process

Disagreements about the character of the review process itself loomed in the background of substantive discussions. The United States argued in its statement that review conference decisions are not binding on member states and that “suggestions” the 2010 review conference “might make in a consensus document would be recommendations.”

Ford elaborated in the interview with Arms Control Today that “[i]f we offer good advice to future policymakers in such a document, they should take it. But if our advice doesn’t address the challenges they face, they shouldn’t be shy about re-evaluating.”

According to Ford, this argument also applies to past agreements at review conferences. “I don’t see any reason for people to adhere reflexively to an obsolete recommendation just because one hasn’t gotten consensus on a replacement recommendation.” Such an approach “would be almost a sort of policymaker professional malpractice,” he said.

At the 2005 review conference, France and the United States argued that they felt no longer bound by the 13 practical steps on nuclear disarmament contained in the 2000 consensus final document because the global context had changed so dramatically after September 11, 2001. Yet, even nuclear-weapon states disagree on this point. Thus, Duncan reaffirmed in Vienna the United Kingdom’s commitment to “the unequivocal undertaking to accomplish the relevant disarmament measures contained in the 1995 Review Conference decisions and in the 2000 Final Document.”

Several non-nuclear-weapon states, while agreeing with Washington that decisions by review conferences are not legally binding, flatly rejected the U.S. line that review conferences only make suggestions. Minty in the interview with Arms Control Today pointed out that the U.S. line has broad implications.

“If you selectively decide how to deal with [decisions taken at review conferences], then you break the consensus on the regime because the regime is not just the treaty. The nonproliferation regime is the treaty plus the decisions taken at multilateral meetings.” This was echoed by the EU diplomat, who argued it would be difficult to strengthen any multilateral treaty based on the U.S. approach. Minty pointed out that “we have taken decisions before to which the United States has not objected to. In 1995, we extended the treaty. So, should we now say that the extension at that time should have been thought of as a recommendation? And then, who would have extended the treaty?”

Adopting the Report

In contrast to the slow start, the conference ended in a hurry. With the morning of the last day still occupied by substantive debates, Amato had little time available to finish his report. As a result, several delegations, including those of the nonaligned group and France, were unable to endorse the chair’s “factual summary.”

Soltanieh told Arms Control Today that the report is “biased” but also objected in principle to the chairman being entrusted with summarizing proceedings at a multilateral meeting without delegations being able to discuss and alter the report. Asked about a statement in Amano’s report that “serious concern was expressed over Iran’s nuclear program” during the meeting, Soltanieh called it “unacceptable that we come to a meeting of parties to a treaty and we criticize one of the parties explicitly in the report.” He warned that “[t]his will have serious consequences for the future of [the] NPT.”

In the end, Amano’s paper was issued as a working paper instead of being formally annexed to the conference report. This procedural downgrading was not seen as significant, and many echoed Minty’s assessment that no “real damage is done by the fact that the chairman’s summary will appear in another section of the conference proceedings.” Instead, many participants thanked the chair for successfully steering the meeting around multiple points of potential failure, obviously relieved that the meeting had not completely collapsed.


Subscribe to RSS - June 2007