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The Arms Control Association is an "exceptional organization that effectively addresses pressing national and international challenges with an impact that is disproportionate to its small size." 

– John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
January 19, 2011
January/February 2009
Edition Date: 
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Cover Image: 

January/February 2009 Bibliography

Of Special Interest

The Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States, Interim Report, December 11, 2008.

Graham, Bob, and Talent, Jim, "How to Prevent Terrorists from Using Weapons of Mass Destruction," New York Daily News, December 22, 2008.

 Lavrov, Sergey, "Forging a New Partnership: Russia and the United States Must Work Together in a Multipolar World," Newsweek, December 31, 2008.

 Rood, John, Special Briefing on Bilateral Strategic Security Dialogue Talks, U.S. Department of States, December 17, 2008.

 Ross, Dennis, "Iran: Talk Tough With Tehran," Newsweek, December 8, 2008. Setrakian,

 Setrakian, Lara, "Fmr. Weapons Inspector on Nuclear Iran, Syria, and Barack Obama," ABC News, December 10, 2008.

 Stott, Noel, du Rand, Amelia, and du Preez, Jean, A Brief Guide to the Pelindaba Treaty, The Institute for Security Studies (South Africa), October 2008, 37 pp.

I. Strategic Arms                                                             

 Grossman, Elaine M., "U.S. General Eyes Nuclear Weapon Improvement," Global Security Newswire, December 19, 2008.

 O'Hanlon, Michael, "A New Old Nuclear Arsenal," The Washington Post, December 25, 2008, p. A19.

 Pincus, Walter, "Strategic Command Chief Urges Quick Nuclear Weapons Modernization," The Washington Post, December 5, 2008, p. A09.

 Pincus, Walter, "U.S., Russia Split Over Scope of Arms Treaty Follow-Up but Concur on Goal, Negotiator Says," The Washington Post, December 22, 2008, p. A19.

 Podvig, Pavel, "Formulating the Next U.S.-Russian Arms Control Agreement," The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, December 18, 2008.

 RIA Novosti, "Russia Hopes for Deal on START-1, Missile Defense by 2010," December 15, 2008.

 Stringer, David, "US Firms Now Control UK's Nuclear Weapons Plant," Associated Press, December 19, 2008.

 II. Nuclear Proliferation

 Broad, William J., "Hidden Travels of the Atomic Bomb," The New York Times, December 9, 2008, p. D1.

            India

Agence France-Presse, "India, Russia Sign Nuclear Energy, Space Deals," December 5, 2008.

Aroor, Shiv, "26/11 Prompts India to Seek Cluster Bombs," India Today, December 23, 2008.

Norris, Robert S., and Kristensen, Hans M., "Indian Nuclear Forces, 2008," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, November/December 2008, p. 38-41.

Pronina, Lyubov, and Pradhan, Bibhudatta, "Russia, India Sign 'Milestone' Nuclear Agreement," Bloomberg, December 5, 2008.

           Iran

Albright, David, Shire, Jacqueline, and Brannan, Paul, Has Iran Achieved a Nuclear Weapons Breakout Capability? Not Yet, But Soon., Institute for Science and International Security, December 2, 2008, 3 pp.

Asculai, Ephraim, and Landau, Emily, "Engaging Iran is the Means, Not the Solution," The Jerusalem Post, December 9, 2008.

Cordesman, Anthony H., The US, Israel, the Arab States and a Nuclear Iran, Part One: Iranian Nuclear Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies, September 23, 2008. 

Daragahi, Borzou, "Head of Nuclear Watchdog Calls Efforts Against Iran 'a Failure'," Los Angeles Times, December 6, 2008.

Daragahi, Borzou, "Tehran Diplomat Says Nuclear Sanctions Have United Iran," Los Angeles Times, December 13, 2008.

Eran, Oden, Eiland, Giora, and Landau, Emily, "Let Russia Stop Iran," The New York Times, December 21, 2008, p. WK11.

Fitzpatrick, Mark, The Iranian Nuclear Crisis: Avoiding Worst-Case Outcomes, Adelphi Paper 298, The International Institute for Strategic Studies, December 2008.

Fulghum, David A., and Barrie, Douglas, "U.S. Sources: Iran Buying Russian SA-20s," Aviation Week, December 10, 2008.

Iran: Breaking the Nuclear Deadlock, A Chatham House Report, 2008, 42 pp.

Keinon, Herb, "'Iran Talks Should Last 12 Weeks Max'," The Jerusalem Post, December 18, 2008.

Kessler, Glenn, "U.S. Links Iranian Bank To Fifth Avenue Building," The Washington Post, December 18, 2008, p. A16.

Perthes, Volker, "A New Approach, No Illusions," The International Herald Tribune, December 4, 2008.

Seib, Gerald F., "New Team, Little Time on Iran," The Wall Street Journal, December 2, 2008.

Slavin, Barbara, "Official Stands by Iran Nuke Report," The Washington Times, December 10, 2008.

Takeyh, Ray, "Playing Power Politics with Iran," The Boston Globe, December 17, 2008.

The Times of India, "Russia Denies Supply of Powerful Missiles to Iran," December 25, 2008.

Israel

Hider, James, "Gaza Rockets Put Israel's Nuclear Plant in Battle Zone," The Times, January 2, 2009.

          North Korea

 Agence France-Presse, "US Says No More Fuel Shipments to NKorea Until Nuke Verification," December 12, 2008.  

The Economist, "Six-Party Standstill," December 17, 2008.

Global Security Newswire, "Nations Differ on Cutting Off North Korean Fuel Aid," December 15, 2008. 

Kang, Hyun-kyung, "Kissinger Invited to Visit Pyongyang," The Korea Times, December 5, 2008.

Kessler, Glenn, "Uranium Traces Found on N. Korean Tubes," The Washington Post, December 21, 2008, p. A25.

Myers, Steven Lee, "In Setback for Bush, Korea Nuclear Talks Collapse," The New York Times, December 11, 2008.

The New York Times, "Firm and Patient," December 28, 2008.

Takahashi, Kosuke, "Fallout From Pentagon's Gaffe Spreads," The Asia Times, December 13, 2008.

          Pakistan

Page, Jeremy, "Hoax Phone Call 'Almost Took Pakistan to War'," The Times (UK), December 8, 2008.

Stephens, Bret, "Let's Buy Pakistan's Nukes," The Wall Street Journal, December 16, 2008.

            Syria

Karam, Zeina, "UN Atomic Chief Calls for Syria to Cooperate," Associated Press, December 21, 2008.

Melman, Yossi, "Israel Bites Back at UN Watchdog Over Alleged Strike on Syria Reactor," Haaretz, December 22, 2008.    

III. Nonproliferation

Grossman, Elaine M., "WMD Panel Advises Dramatic Steps to Stem Nuclear Spread," Global Security Newswire, December 2, 2008.

Kassenova, Togzhan, "The Struggle for a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia," The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, December 22, 2008.

Reuters, "Bush Signs Nuclear Inspection Pact with U.N. Watchdog," December 31, 2008.

The Japan Times, "Japan Sent Uranium to U.S. in Secret," December 28, 2008.

IV. Missiles and Missile Defense

Agence France-Presse, "US Successfully Tests Anti-Missile Shield: Pentagon," December 5, 2008.

Fathi, Nazila, "Tehran Says It's Getting Missiles," The New York Times, December 22, 2008, p. A11.

Faulconbridge, Guy, "Russia Starts Production of New Ballistic Missiles," Reuters, December 1, 2008.

Global Security Newswire, "Financial Crisis Might Delay U.S. Radar, Czech Foreign Minister Says," December 9, 2008.

Meyer, Henry, "Russia Allocates $2 Billion on New Arms, Countering U.S. Shield," Bloomberg, December 6, 2008.

RIA Novosti, "Test Launch of Russian Bulava ICBM Unsuccessful - Defense Official," December 23, 2008.

RIA Novosit, "Moscow Says Offer to U.S. on Joint Radar Use Still Stands," December 29, 2008.

Spillius, Alex, "U.S. Laser Warplane Under Threat From Barack Obama," The Telegraph, December 24, 2008.

V. Chemical and Biological Weapons

Cohen, Roger, "Cohen:  A U.S.-Iranian Conversation," International Herald Tribune, December 10, 2008.

Schmitt, Eric, "Panel Fears Use of Unconventional Weapon," The New York Times, December 1, 2008, p. A11.

Warrick, Joby, "Nuclear or Biological Attack Called Likely," The Washington Post, December 2, 2008, p. A02.

Xinhua, "China Urges Chemical Weapons Owners to Destroy Stockpiles by 2012 Deadline," December 3, 2008.

Xinhua, "Japan Begins Trying to Remove Chemical Weapons Abandoned in China During WWII," December 13, 2008.

U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency, "Last VX Nerve Agent Munition Eliminated from CMA's Destruction Stockpile," December 29, 2008.

VI. Conventional Weapons

Agence France-Presse, "US Stands By Refusal to Sign Cluster Bomb Ban," December 2, 2008.

Agence France-Presse, "Some 100 Countries Ban Cluster Bombs As Signing Begins in Oslo," December 3, 2008.

Choong, William, "Today's WMD of Choice-the AK-47," The Straits Times, December 25, 2008.

The Economist, "Collateral Damage," December 11, 2008.

Gibbs, Walter, "Treaty on Cluster Bombs: Global Norm Without Teeth," International Herald Tribune, December 3, 2008.

Reuters, "China Tells U.S. to Cancel Arms Sales to Taiwan," December 8, 2008.

Schweid, Barry, "Study: US Arms Sales Undermine Global Human Rights," Associated Press, December 10, 2008.

Schwirtz, Michael, "Claims of Secret Arms Sales Rattles Ukraine's Leaders," The New York Times, November 30, 2008, p. A24.

VII. U.S. Policy

Bender, Bryan, "New Leadership Planned to Fight WMD Terrorism," The Boston Globe, December 3, 2008.

Global Security Newswire, "Air Force Revamping Nuclear Control Procedures, Chief Says," December 5, 2008.

Hoagland, Jim, "Nuclear Crossroads," The Washington Post, December 14, 2008, p. B07.

Hoffman, Michael, "F.E. Warren Missile Wing Fails Nuke Inspection," Air Force Times, December 18, 2008.

Mandelbaum, Michael, "Stop Baiting the Bear," Newsweek, December 31, 2008.

Wood, David, "Codes for Armageddon: A New President to Hold Nuclear Launch 'Football'," The Baltimore Sun, November 30, 2008.

Weitz, Richard, "Global Insights: Prompt Global Strike Remains Strategically Problematic," World Politics Review, December 23, 2008.

VIII. Space

Hoey, Matthew, "The Proliferation of Space Warfare Technology," The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, December 11, 2008.

Holmes, Kim, "Keep Space Open Like the Free Seas," The Washington Times, December 11, 2008.

IX. Other

Agence France-Presse, "Russian Nukes in Belarus?," December 23, 2008.

Broad, William J., "After 4 Years, Switzerland Frees Man Suspected of Smuggling Nuclear Technology," The New York Times, December 30, 2008, p. A8.

Erlanger, Steven, "Europeans Seek to Revive Nuclear Ban," The New York Times, December 9, 2008, p. A17.

Grossman, Elaine M., "U.S. House Bill Would Set Conditions on UAE Nuclear Deal," Global Security Newswire, December 10, 2008.

International Atomic Energy Agency, Fuel Bank Initiative Received Critical EU Support, December 10, 2008.

MacFarlane, Allison, Asselstine, James, and Ahearne, John, "The Future of Nuclear Energy: Policy Recommendations," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, December 11, 2008.

Odair Dias Gonçalves, "Brazil: Why Go Nuclear?," Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, November 21, 2008.

RIA Novosti, "Ukraine Moves to Join Russia's Uranium Enrichment Project," December 1, 2008.

Samuels, David, "Atomic John," The New Yorker, December 15, 2008, 11 pp.

Sokolski, Henry, "Nuclear Cooperation with the UAE?," The National Review, December 15, 2008.

Solomon, Jay, "U.S. Plans to Sign Nuclear Deal With U.A.E.," The Wall Street Journal, December 12, 2008.

2008 ACT Index

Author Key for ACT Staff


JA: Jeff Abramson
DA: Dan Arnaudo
WB: Wade Boese
SB: Stephen Bunnell
PC: Peter Crail
KF: Kyle Fishman

 

BG: Brittany Griffith
ZMH: Zachary M. Hosford
MK: Manasi Kakatkar
DGK: Daryl G. Kimball
JLF: Jessica Lasky-Fink
ML: Meredith Lugo

KM: Kirsten McNeil
OM: Oliver Meier
JP: Jeremy Patterson
MAP: Miles A. Pomper
BR: Brian Radzinsky

 

Subjects:

Additional Protocol: PC, "Bush Issues Directive on Additional Protocol," March, p. 35.

Australia: Lantis, Jeffrey S. "Elections and Enduring Realities: Australia's Nuclear Debate," April, p. 22; KM, "Nuclear Disarmament Panel Members Named," Oct., p. 32.

Biological Weapons: OM, "BWC States Tackle National Implementation," Jan./Feb., p. 50; JP, "Weapons Labs Biological Research Raises Concerns," March, p. 38; ML, "BWC Experts Discuss Biosecurity, Awareness," Oct., p. 48.

Book Reviews: Potter, William C. "Using Murphy's Law Against Nuclear Terrorists," April, 53 (review of Michael Levi, On Nuclear Terrorism); Boyer, Paul, "'Moral Clarity,' Ideological Rigidity, Strategic Myopia," June, p. 43 (review of J. Peter Scoblic, U.S. vs. Them: How a half Century of Conservatism has Undermined American Security); William Burr, "Keeping a Tight Lid on Pandora's Box," Sept., p. 54 (review of Nina Tannenwald, The Nuclear Taboo: The United States and the Non-Use of Nuclear Weapons Since 1945); Brian Weeden, "Space Weaponization: Aye or Nay?" Nov., p. 57 (review of Paul G. Gillespie and Grant T. Weller, Harnessing the Heavens: National Defense Through Space, and James Clay Moltz, The Politics of Space Security: Strategic Restraint and the Pursuit of National Interests.)

Chemical Weapons: OM, "Chemical Weapons Parlay's Outcome Uncertain," March, p. 47; Feakes, Daniel, "Getting Down to the Hard Cases: Prospects for CWC Universality," March, p. 12; Trapp, Ralf, "Advances in Science and Technology and the Chemical Weapons Convention," March, p. 18; OM, "CWC Review Conference Avoids Difficult Issues," May, p. 32; KM, "Destruction Complete at U.S. Chemical Weapons Site," Oct., p. 54; OM, "U.S., Russia Step Up Chemical Weapons Destruction," Dec., p. 57.

China: JP, "Hotline to Link U.S.-Chinese Militaries," April, p. 46; JA and JLF, "Chinese Arms Shipment Sparks Outrage," June, p. 30.

Cluster Munitions: Goose, Stephen D. "Cluster Munitions: Ban Them," Jan./Feb., p. 6. MAP, "Cluster Munitions Talks Gain Steam," March, p. 52; JA, "Senate Mulls CCW Edits; Cluster Munitions Debated," May, p. 48; JA, "Unexploded Weapons Clearance Plan Progresses," June, p. 42; JA, "107 Countries Approve Cluster Munitions Treaty," July/Aug., p. 31; JA, "Russian Cluster Use Alleged; U.S. Clarifies Policy," Sept., p. 47; JA, "CCW Considers Limits on Cluster Munitions," Oct., p. 43; JA, "Quick-Reaction Force Contract Awarded," Nov., p. 51; JA, "CCW Fails to Reach Cluster Munitions Pact," Dec., p. 48; JA, "Treaty Analysis: The Convention on Cluster Munitions," Dec., p. 49.

Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty: David Hafenmeister, "The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty: Effectively Verifiable," Oct., p. 6; OM, "Special Report: Major Exercise Tests CTBT On-Site Inspections," Nov., p. 32; DGK, "CTBT: Now More Than Ever," Dec., p. 3.

Conference on Disarmament: MK, "Conference on Disarmament Comes up Empty Again," Oct., p. 47.

Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty: WB, "Russia Suspends CFE Treaty Implementation," Jan./Feb., p. 46; WB, "Russia Unflinching on CFE Treaty Suspension," May, p. 29; WB, "Georgian Conflict Clouds Future Arms Pacts," Sept., p. 33.

Conventional Arms Control: JA, "Mandates Zero In on Certain Conventional Arms," Jan./Feb., p. 39; JA, "U.S. Joins Study of Arms Trade Treaty," March, p. 53; JA and JLF, "Chinese Arms Shipment Sparks Outrage," June, p. 30; JA, "Small Arms Conference Nets Agreement," Sept., p. 46; ML, "Israel: Hezbollah Violating Arms Embargo," Oct., p. 36; WB, "Senate Approves Pacts Regulating Conventional Arms," Oct., p. 54; JA, "Defense Trade Treaties Stall in Congress," Nov., 49; JA, "Quick-Reaction Force Contract Awarded," Nov., p. 51; JA, "Arms Trade Treaty Discussion Creeps Forward," Dec., p. 53.

Conventional Weapons Transfers: Stohl, Rachel, "Questionable Reward: Arms Sales and the War on Terrorism," Jan./Feb., p. 17; WB, "Congress Slows Saudi Arms Sale," Jan./Feb., p. 34; JA, "White House Aims to Expedite Arms Exports," March, p. 36; JA, "Alleged Top Arms Dealer Arrested," April, p. 51; WB, "Global Arms Exports Soar in 2007," Oct., p. 44; JA, "UN Register Captures Expanded Small Arms Trade," Oct., p. 45; KM, "Long-Delayed Arms Sales to Taiwan Announced," Nov., p. 29; JA, "U.S. Atop Expanding Global Arms Market," Dec., p. 56.

Czech Republic: WB, "Europe Anti-Missile Plan Faces Hard Sell," Jan./Feb., p. 47; WB, "U.S. Edges Closer to Europe Anti-Missile Deals," April, p. 31; WB, "U.S. Signs European Anti-Missile Deals," Sept., p 34.

Defense Spending: WB, "Hill Reviews Defense Policies; Nixes Warhead," Jan./Feb., p. 36; DA, "Congress Ups Nonproliferation Spending for '08," Jan./Feb., p. 40; WB, "Hill Adjusts Bush's Proposed Military Spending," Nov., p. 42.

Disarmament: DGK and MAP, "A World Free of Nuclear Weapons: An Interview With Nuclear Threat Initiative Co-Chairman Sam Nunn," March, p. 6; DGK, "Getting Real About Nuclear Disarmament," April, p. 3; Persbo, Andreas, and Bjorningstad, Marius, "Verifying Nuclear Disarmament: The Inspector's Agenda," May, p. 14; MK, "Conference on Disarmament Comes up Empty Again," Oct., p. 47; Jim Wurst, "UN Sets Ground for Future Disarmament Battles," Dec., p. 54.

European Union: OM, "The EU's Nonproliferation Efforts: Limited Success," May, p. 20.

Export Controls: WB, "U.S. Joins Others Seeking Nuclear Export Criteria," May, p. 36; PC, "UN Report Urges Progress on WMD Controls," Sept., p. 48; JA, "Defense Trade Treaties Stall in Congress," Nov., 49; JA, "Arms Trade Treaty Discussion Creeps Forward," Dec., p. 53.

France: WB, "France Upgrades, Trims Nuclear Arsenal," April, p. 35.

G-8 Summit: SB, "G-8 Nonproliferation Effort to Shift Focus," Sept., p. 49.

In Memoriam: ML, "In Memoriam: Charles Van Doren," Oct., p. 56.

India: WB, "U.S.-Indian Deal in Limbo as Clock Ticks," March, p. 41; WB, "India Test-Launches Submarine Missile," April, p. 44; WB, "Indian Politics Stymie U.S.-Indian Nuclear Deal," April, p. 43; Ferguson, Charles D. "Reshaping the U.S.-Indian Nuclear Deal to Lessen the Nonproliferation Losses," April, p. 15; WB, "U.S.-India Nuclear Deal Reaches NSG Brink," Sept., p. 27; DGK, "Unfinished Business for the NSG," Oct., p.3; WB, "NSG, Congress Approve Nuclear Trade with India," Oct., p. 27; WB, "Nuclear Deals Adding up for South Asia," Nov., p. 30.

Intelligence: PC, "Intel Report Reshapes Iran Sanctions Debate," Jan./Feb., p. 31; PC, "Senate Still Examining Pre-War Iraq Intel," March, p. 28; PC, "Swiss Destroy Key A.Q. Khan Evidence," July/Aug., p. 35; PC, "Senate Committee Completes Iraq Intel Probe," July/Aug., p. 47.

International Atomic Energy Agency: ZMH, "Conference Addresses Illicit Nuclear Trafficking," Jan./Feb., p. 51; PC, "IAEA: Iran Work Plan Progress Incomplete," March, p. 25; KF, "High-Level Panel Calls for Stronger IAEA," July/Aug., p. 36; PC, "Iran Presented With Revamped Incentives," July/Aug., p. 37; PC, "ElBaradei Says Iran Stalls IAEA Inquiry," Oct., p.33; MK, "ElBaradei to Leave IAEA in 2009," Oct., p. 42; ML, PC, "ElBaradei Warns of Nuclear Trafficking Threat," Nov., p. 38; PC, "IAEA Report Raises Suspicions on Syrian Site," Dec., p. 59;  PC, "Iran Forges Ahead on Enrichment," Dec., p. 62.

Iran: PC, "Iran Lauds Development of Solid-Fuel Missile," Jan./Feb., p. 34; PC, "IAEA: Iran Work Plan Progress Incomplete," March, p. 25; PC, "Iran Starts New Centrifuge Installation Campaign," May, p. 42; PC, "Proposals Offered on Iranian Nuclear Program," June, p. 28; PC, "Iran Presented With Revamped Incentives," July/Aug., p. 37; PC, "EU Levies Sanctions on Iran," July/Aug., p. 39; PC, "Candidates Differ on Iran, Agree on Sanctions," July/Aug., p. 39; BR, "States Divest From Businesses Tied to Iran," July/Aug., p. 40; PC, MAP, "The Middle East and Nonproliferation: An Interview with Nabil Fahmy, Egypt's Ambassador to the United States," Sept., p. 6; PC, "Iran Not Receptive to Revised Nuclear Proposal," Sept., p: 40; PC, "Iran Space Launch Raises Missile Concerns," Sept., p. 41; BR, "Treasury Tightens Sanctions Net on Iran," Sept., p. 42; PC, "ElBaradei Says Iran Stalls IAEA Inquiry," Oct., p.33; WB, "Type, Targets of Sanctions Shift in Bush Administration," Oct., p. 50; Chuck Freilich, "The United States, Israel, and Iran: Defusing an "Existential" Threat," Nov., p. 6; PC, "US Wields Financial Sanctions Against Iran," Nov., p. 47; PC, "West May Seek Alternative Sanctions on Iran," Nov., p. 55; PC, "Iran Forges Ahead on Enrichment," Dec., p. 62.

Iraq: PC, "Senate Still Examining Pre-War Iraq Intel," March, p. 28; PC, "Bush Says Iraq Oil May Fuel Al Qaeda WMD," April, p. 41; PC, "Senate Committee Completes Iraq Intel Probe," July/Aug., p. 47; ML, "U.S. Removes Uranium From Iraqi Nuclear Site," Sept., p. 44.

Israel: Ramberg, Bennett, "Should Israel Close Dimona?," May, p. 6; ML, "Israel: Hezbollah Violating Arms Embargo," Oct., p. 36; Chuck Freilich, "The United States, Israel, and Iran: Defusing an "Existential" Threat," Nov., p. 6; PC, "Israeli Officials Wary of U.S. Shift on Iran," Dec., p. 61.

Japan: KM, "Nuclear Disarmament Panel Members Named," Oct., p. 32.

Landmines: WB, "Some Countries to Miss Mine Treaty Deadlines," Jan./Feb., p. 49.

Libya: PC, "Libya Ads New Pieces to Its Nuclear History," Oct., p. 35; PC, "Germany Convicts Khan Associate," Nov., p. 40.

Looking Back: Hart, John, "The Continuing Legacy of Old and Abandoned Chemical Weapons," March, p. 55; Krepon, Michael, "The 1998 Indian and Pakistani Nuclear Tests," May, p. 51; Bunn, George, and Rhinelander, John B., "The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Then and Now," July/Aug., p. 56; John Steinbruner, "Looking Back: Carter's 1978 Declaration and the Significance of Security Assurances," Oct., p. 57.

Missile Defense: WB, "More States Step Up Anti-Missile Work," Jan./Feb., p. 51; WB, "Europe Anti-Missile Plan Faces Hard Sell," Jan./Feb., p. 47; WB, "Missile Defense Budget Boosts Requested," March, p. 30; WB, "U.S. Edges Closer to Europe Anti-Missile Deals," April, p. 31; WB, "Missile Defense Role Questioned," July/Aug., p. 43; WB, "Shorter-Range Missile Defenses Show Progress," July/Aug., p. 45; WB, "U.S. Presses Poland on Anti-Missile Site," July/Aug., p. 54; WB, "U.S. Signs European Anti-Missile Deals," Sept., p 34; WB, "Hill Adjusts Bush's Proposed Military Spending," Nov., p. 42; WB, "Reports Fault U.S. Anti-Missile Approach," Nov., p. 45; MK, "UK Auditor Criticizes Trident Renewal Plan," Dec., p. 40; WB, "Anti-Missile Systems Uncertainty Grows," Dec., p. 42.  

Missile Tests: PC, "Iran Lauds Development of Solid-Fuel Missile," Jan./Feb., p. 34; WB, "Anti-Missile Test Shelved By Technical Glitch," June, p. 40; WB, "Shorter-Range Missile Defenses Show Progress," July/Aug., p. 45; PC, "Iran Space Launch Raises Missile Concerns," Sept., p. 41.

NATO: WB, "NATO Summit Results Fall Short of Bush Goals," May, p. 28; WB, "Georgian Conflict Clouds Future Arms Pacts," Sept., p. 33; OM, "NATO Mulls Nuke Modernization, Security," Sept., p. 37.

Nonproliferation: DA, "GAO Report Chides Energy Department Program," March, p. 37; PC, MAP, "The Middle East and Nonproliferation: An Interview with Nabil Fahmy, Egypt's Ambassador to the United States," Sept., p. 6; SB, "G-8 Nonproliferation Effort to Shift Focus," Sept., p. 49; DA, "Threat Reduction Programs Continue Despite Rifts," Oct., p. 40; PC, "U.S. Launches New Safeguards Initiative," Oct., p. 48; Christopher A. Ford, "A New Paradigm: Shattering Obsolete Thinking on Arms Control and Nonproliferation," Nov., p. 12; Joseph Cirincione, "Strategic Collapse: The Failure of the Bush Nuclear Doctrine," Nov., p. 20; DA, "New Global Nuclear Security Institute Formed," Nov., p. 39; MK, "NNSA Reports Progress in HEU Removal," Nov., p. 52.

North Korea: PC, "U.S.-NK Clash on Nuclear Deadline," Jan./Feb., p. 43; PC, "North Korea Slows Nuclear Disablement," March, p. 42; PC, "Declaration Snags U.S.-North Korean Talks," April, p. 45; PC, "U.S. Shares Information on NK-Syria Nuclear Ties," May, p. 38; PC, "U.S., NK Seek Compromise on Nuclear Declaration," May, p. 45; PC, "NK Delivers Plutonium Documentation," May, p. 25; PC, "House Agrees on NK Sanctions Waiver," May, p. 26; PC, "North Korea Delivers Nuclear Declaration," July/Aug., p. 51; PC, "Verification Dispute Stalls NK Nuclear Talks," Sept., p. 29; PC, "North Korea Moves to Restart Key Nuclear Plant," Oct., p. 29; PC, "U.S., NK Agree on Draft Verification Plan," Nov., p. 27; PC, "North Korea Hedges on Nuclear Sampling," Dec., p. 58.

Nuclear Black Markets: PC, "Swiss Destroy Key A.Q. Khan Evidence," July/Aug., p. 35; PC, "Libya Ads New pieces to Its Nuclear History," Oct., p. 35; ML, PC, "ElBaradei Warns of Nuclear Trafficking Threat," Nov., p. 38; PC, "Germany Convicts Khan Associate," Nov., p. 40.

Nuclear Forensics: Chivers, Daniel, Goldblum, Bethany F. Lyles, Isselhardt, Brett H., and Snider, Jonathan, "Before the Day After: Using Pre-Detonation Nuclear Forensics to Improve Fissile Material," July/Aug., p. 22.

Nuclear Fuel Cycle: MAP, "Congress Alters Bush's Fuel Cycle Plans," Jan./Feb., p. 41; MAP, "Bush Calls for More GNEP, MOX Facility Funds," March, p. 34; JLF, "Brazil, Argentina Pursue Nuclear Cooperation," April, p. 49; Lyman, Edwin and von Hippel, Frank N. "Reprocessing Revisited: The International Dimensions of the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership," April, p. 6; PC and JLF, "Middle Eastern States Seeking Nuclear Power," May, p. 40; MAP, "Key GNEP Decision Left to Next President," May, p. 49; MAP, "Bush's Nuclear Reprocessing Plan Under Fire," July/Aug., p. 50; PC, MAP, "The Middle East and Nonproliferation: An Interview with Nabil Fahmy, Egypt's Ambassador to the United States," Sept., p. 6; Fiona Simpson, "Reforming the Nuclear Fuel Cycle: Time is Running Out," Sept., p. 12; Frank N. von Hippel, "National Fuel Stockpiles: An Alternative to a Proliferation of National Enrichment Plants?" Sept., p. 20; MAP, WB, "Efforts to Limit Fuel Cycle Capabilities Falter," Sept., p. 50; MK, "NNSA Reports Progress in HEU Removal," Nov., p. 52; PC, "Iran Forges Ahead on Enrichment," Dec., p. 62.

Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty: Store, Jonas Gahr, "Envisioning a World Free of Nuclear Weapons," June, p. 7; Subrahmanyam, K., "Elimination or Irrelevance," June, p. 9; Pickering, Thomas R., "New Opportunities for Nonproliferation," June, p. 11; Dhanapala, Jayantha, "Fulfill and Strengthen the Bargain," June, p. 14; OM, "NPT Meet Buoys Hopes for 2010 Conference," June, p. 35; PC, MAP, "The Middle East and Nonproliferation: An Interview with Nabil Fahmy, Egypt's Ambassador to the United States," Sept., p. 6; Jean du Preez, "Avoiding a Perfect Storm: Recharting the NPT Review Process," Oct., p. 13.

Nuclear Suppliers Group: WB, "U.S. Joins Others Seeking Nuclear Export Criteria," May, p. 36; WB, "Nuclear Export Criteria Lacks Consensus," June, p. 38; Fiona Simpson, "Reforming the Nuclear Fuel Cycle: Time is Running Out," Sept., p. 12; WB, "U.S.-India Nuclear Deal Reaches NSG Brink," Sept., p. 27; DGK, "Unfinished Business for the NSG," Oct., p.3; WB, "NSG, Congress Approve Nuclear Trade with India," Oct., p. 27; MAP, "Nuclear Suppliers Make Progress on New Rules," Dec., p. 52.

Pakistan: PC, "Pakistan Defends Nuke Security Amid Instability," March, p. 43; PC, "Swiss Destroy Key A.Q. Khan Evidence," July/Aug., p. 35; WB, "Nuclear Deals Adding up for South Asia," Nov., p. 30; PC, "Germany Convicts Khan Associate," Nov., p. 40.

Poland: WB, "Europe Anti-Missile Plan Faces Hard Sell," Jan./Feb., p. 47; WB, "U.S. Edges Closer to Europe Anti-Missile Deals," April, p. 31; WB, "U.S. Presses Poland on Anti-Missile Site," July/Aug., p. 54; WB, "U.S. Signs European Anti-Missile Deals," Sept., p 34.

Proliferation Security Initiative: WB, "Interdictions Initiative Success Assessed," July/Aug., p. 33; PC, "GAO Report Calls for Revamped PSI," Dec., p. 45.

Russia: Steinbruner, John and Gallagher, Nancy, "If You Lead, They Will Follow: Public Opinion and Repairing the U.S.-Russian Strategic Relationship," Jan./Feb., p. 24; WB, "Russia Halts Missile Launch Notices," March, p. 46; MAP, "Courts Threaten Russian Weapons Uranium Cuts," April, p. 34; WB, "U.S., Russia at Odds on Key Arms Issues," April, p. 33; WB, "Bush, Putin Leave Arms Disputes Unsettled," May, p. 27; MAP, "Bush Sends Russia Nuclear Energy Pact to Hill," June, p. 32; WB, "Russia Wants Limits on Prompt Global Strike," June, p. 39; Arbatov, Alexei, and Gottemoeller, Rose, "New Presidents, New Agreements?: Advancing U.S.-Russian Strategic Arms Control," July/Aug., p. 6; SB, "Russian Plutonium-Producing Reactors Closed," July/Aug., p. 55; WB, "Georgian Conflict Clouds Future Arms Pacts," Sept., p. 33; MAP, "U.S.-Russian Nuclear Agreement Faces Delay," Sept., p. 37; JA, "Russian Cluster Use Alleged; U.S. Clarifies Policy," Sept., p. 47; SB, "G-8 Nonproliferation Effort to Shift Focus," Sept., p. 49; WB, "U.S.-Russia Dialogue in Limbo," Oct., p.38; MAP, " Hill Pushes Russian Weapons Uranium Elimination," Oct., p.39; DA, "Threat Reduction Programs Continue Despite Rifts," Oct., p. 40; DGK, "Jump-STARTing U.S.-Russian Disarmament," Nov., p. 3; WB, "Bush Administration Sets Russian Arms Talks," Nov., p. 53; DGK, MAP, "A Fresh Start? An Interview with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak," Dec., p. 6.

Sanctions: PC, "New UN Sanctions on Iran Proposed," March, p. 27; PC, "Security Council Adopts More Iran Sanctions," April, p. 37; PC, "EU Levies Sanctions on Iran," July/Aug., p. 39; BR, "Treasury Tightens Sanctions Net on Iran," Sept., p. 42; WB, "Type, Targets of Sanctions Shift in Bush Administration," Oct., p. 50; PC, "US Wields Financial Sanctions Against Iran," Nov., p. 47; PC, "West May Seek Alternative Sanctions on Iran," Nov., p. 55.

Small Arms: JA, "Small Arms Conference Nets Agreement," Sept., p. 46; Ambassador Dalius Cekuolis, "Tackling the Illicit Small Arms Trade: The Chairman Speaks," Oct., p. 19; JA, "UN Register Captures Expanded Small Arms Trade," Oct., p. 45.

South Korea: MAP, "Concerns Raised as South Korea Joins GNEP," Jan./Feb., p. 44; KF, "IAEA South Korea Concerns Resolved," July/Aug., p. 52.

Space: WB, "Russia Pushes Pacts as U.S. Kills Satellite," March, p. 50; PC, "Iran Space Launch Raises Missile Concerns," Sept., p. 41; MK, "Conference on Disarmament Comes up Empty Again," Oct., p. 47.

Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty: Arbatov, Alexei, and Gottemoeller, Rose, "New Presidents, New Agreements?: Advancing U.S.-Russian Strategic Arms Control," July/Aug., p. 6; WB, "U.S.-Russia Dialogue in Limbo," Oct., p.38; DGK, "Jump-STARTing U.S.-Russian Disarmament," Nov., p. 3; WB, "Bush Administration Sets Russian Arms Talks," Nov., p. 53; DGK, MAP, "A Fresh Start? An Interview with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak," Dec., p. 6; WB, "START Decision Put Off to 2009," Dec., p. 39.

Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty: Arbatov, Alexei, and Gottemoeller, Rose, "New Presidents, New Agreements?: Advancing U.S.-Russian Strategic Arms Control," July/Aug., p. 6; WB, "U.S. ICBM Cuts Completed," Sept., p. 53; WB, "U.S.-Russia Dialogue in Limbo," Oct., p.38; WB, "Bush Administration Sets Russian Arms Talks," Nov., p. 53.

Syria: PC, "U.S. Shares Information on NK-Syria Nuclear Ties," May, p. 38; Spector, Leonard S., and Cohen, Avner, "Israel's Airstrikes on Syria's Reactor: Implications for the Nonproliferation Regime," July/Aug., p. 15; PC, "Syria Shirks Follow-Up IAEA Probe," Sept., p. 44; PC, "IAEA Report Raises Suspicions on Syrian Site," Dec., p. 59.

Taiwan: JP, "Taiwan Fuse Shipment Reveals Nuclear Security Gaps," May, p. 46.

Threat Reduction: DA, "Bush Requests Less for Threat Reduction Program," March, p. 32; DA, "Threat Reduction Programs Meet Benchmarks," May, p. 30; ML, "U.S. Removes Uranium From Iraqi Nuclear Site," Sept., p. 44; DA, "Threat Reduction Programs Continue Despite Rifts," Oct., p. 40.

UN Resolution 1540: PC, "UN Renews Committee on WMD," June, p. 37; "UN Report Urges Progress on WMD Controls," Sept., p. 48.

United Kingdom: MK, "UK Auditor Criticizes Trident Renewal Plan," Dec., p. 40. 

U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy: DK, "Transforming U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy," Jan./Feb., p. 3; Arbatov, Alexei, and Gottemoeller, Rose, "New Presidents, New Agreements?: Advancing U.S.-Russian Strategic Arms Control," July/Aug., p. 6; JLF, "Air Force Issues New Nuclear Weapons Procedures," March, p. 39; WB, "Nuke Commander Unhappy With Status Quo," April, p. 48; JP, "Taiwan Fuse Shipment Reveals Nuclear Security Gaps," May, p. 46; SB, "Air Force Leaders Fired Over Nuke Handling," July/Aug., p. 42; OM, "NATO Mulls Nuke Modernization, Security," Sept., p. 37; KM, "Report Urges Changes in Air Force Nuke Operations," Oct., p. 53; Joseph Cirincione, "Strategic Collapse: The Failure of the Bush Nuclear Doctrine," Nov., p. 20; Jeffry Lewis, "After the Reliable Replacement Warhead: What's Next for the U.S. Nuclear Arsenal?", Dec., p. 18; "Arms Control Today 2008 Presidential Q&A: President-Elect Barack Obama," Dec., p. 31; Christopher F. Chyba, "Time for a Systematic Analysis: U.S. Nuclear Weapons and nuclear Proliferation," Dec., p. 24; DGK, MAP, "A Fresh Start? An Interview with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak," Dec., p. 6; WB, "START Decision Put Off to 2009," Dec., p. 39; KM, "Air Force Reorganizes Nuclear Commands," Dec., p. 44.

U.S. Nuclear Weapons R&D and Testing: WB, "Bush Budget Revives Cut Warhead," March, p. 29; WB, "Hill Adjusts Bush's Proposed Military Spending," Nov., p. 42; Richard L. Garwin, "A Different Kind of Complex: The Future of U.S. Nuclear Weapons and the Nuclear Weapons Enterprise," Dec., p. 13.

U.S. Security Policy: SB, "Pentagon Calls for More DTRA Support," July/Aug., p. 49; OM, "NATO Mulls Nuke Modernization, Security," Sept., p. 37; JA, "Russian Cluster Use Alleged; U.S. Clarifies Policy," Sept., p. 47; WB, "Panel Backs Long-Range Conventional Missile," Sept., p. 52; KM, "Report Urges Changes in Air Force Nuke Operations," Oct., p. 53; WB, "Senate Approves Pacts Regulating Conventional Arms," Oct., p. 54; Richard L. Garwin, "A Different Kind of Complex: The Future of U.S. Nuclear Weapons and the Nuclear Weapons Enterprise," Dec., p. 13; "Arms Control Today 2008 Presidential Q&A: President-Elect Barack Obama," Dec., p. 31.

WMD Terrorism: BG, "Panel Formed on WMD, Terrorism," June, p. 41; WB, "U.S. Issues Broad Threat to WMD Accomplices," July/Aug., p. 45; PC, "UN Report Urges Progress on WMD Controls," Sept., p. 48; ML, PC, "ElBaradei Warns of Nuclear Trafficking Threat," Nov., p. 38.

Correction

On page 44 of Arms Control Today's May 2008 issue, the news article "African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Nears Realization" stated that Mozambique "became the 24th country to ratify the Pelindaba Treaty, which means that the treaty needs only four more ratifications..." It should read that Mozambique "became the 26th country to ratify the Pelindaba Treaty, which means that the treaty needs only two more ratifications..." Table 1 should also list "26" as the number of ratifying countries for the Pelindaba Treaty.

Editor's Note

Miles A. Pomper

Barack Obama faces a daunting array of arms control and nonproliferation challenges as he becomes the 44th U.S. president. In this month's issue, we have asked some of the country's leading experts to offer him guidance on how to cope with issues from arms control negotiations with Russia to the standoff over Iran's nuclear program.

There is no other country whose nuclear program poses as great a potential danger to the United States as Russia, yet strategic dialogue and overall relations between Moscow and Washington are at a low ebb. ACA Board Chairman John Steinbruner suggests that Obama has a unique opportunity to fundamentally alter what, in many ways, is still a Cold War nuclear relationship between the former superpowers.

China's changing nuclear arsenal poses a particular risk at a time when the U.S. strategic arsenal is also changing. Christopher Twomey warns that unless Obama steers things correctly, this "dangerous dynamic" could lead to an arms race between two countries with deep mutual suspicions.

Mark Fitzpatrick offers ways to make it more difficult for Iran to become a nuclear-weapon power and to lessen the risk of a regional nuclear arms race in the Middle East. Of fundamental importance, he argues, is finding ways to draw and enforce a clearer redline between Iran's legitimate civilian nuclear activities and illegitimate weapons efforts.

North Korea, alas, has already tested a nuclear explosive. Joel Wit contends that the Obama administration will have to engage in "diplomatic warfare" to persuade Pyongyang that it cannot attain its ultimate goal: retaining its nuclear arsenal while obtaining normal relations with the United States.

Last fall's terrorist attacks in Mumbai again raised the specter of a nuclear war between India and Pakistan. Zachary Davis argues that the Obama administration can support a number of steps to lower this risk significantly.

Our news section this month includes an extended map tied to December's signing of a convention to ban cluster munitions, an article by Peter Crail on a dispute over verification that has tied up talks on North Korea's nuclear program, and a piece by Daniel Arnaudo on a congressional commission's recommendations and controversial predictions involving "weapons of mass destruction" terrorism.

Drawing a Bright Redline: Forestalling Nuclear Proliferation in the Middle East

Mark Fitzpatrick

If Iran goes nuclear, so too will more of its neighbors, or so says the established wisdom.

It is a logical deduction given the extent to which Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey feel a need to maintain power and political parity with Iran and the security concerns that Persian Gulf countries already harbor about the would-be regional hegemon to their northeast. If any of them follow Iran or if Israel abandons its policy of nuclear opacity, the domino effect could spread further and include counties, such as Algeria, that have sparked proliferation concerns in the past.

A proliferation cascade in the Middle East is not a foregone conclusion. Adroit policy choices and practices by the Obama administration can build a bulwark against a Middle East nuclear tipping phenomenon.

Of course, the best is to dissuade Iran from going nuclear in the first place. Given that Iran is already producing enriched uranium, however, clarity is needed on what it means to "go nuclear." Operating gas centrifuge cascades does not equate to having the bomb. Treating Iran's enrichment capabilities as equivalent to nuclear weapons status empowers its hard-line leaders and exaggerates the perception of danger among Iran's neighbors, increasing their own security motivations for keeping open a nuclear weapons option. Iran's enrichment technology gives it a latent breakout capability, but size matters, as does warning time. The West has several policy tools to help keep Iran's enrichment program constrained.

Deterrence is one of the most important tools. Not just deterring Iran's use of nuclear weapons but also deterring any production of them is a reasonable policy objective. Iran must be convinced that crossing the redline of weaponization would result in dire and certain consequences. The problem is that today the line between latent capability and weaponization is almost invisible. If Iran were to withdraw from the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), expel inspectors, and reconfigure its enrichment facilities at Natanz in an overt breakout, it would not be difficult to calculate the small number of weeks before one weapon's worth of highly enriched uranium (HEU) could be produced using declared facilities. In the more likely case of Iran continuing ostensibly to adhere to the NPT, it would not be possible to know if it were operating clandestine facilities. Some things would be clear indicators of a weapons decision, however, including the discovery of clandestine enrichment facilities, HEU production, new or ongoing weaponization work, a declaration by Iran that it indeed possessed nuclear weapons or the unveiling by intelligence of such a status, and a nuclear test explosion. Meanwhile, the line between a latent capability and weaponization can be made wider and more visible in various ways.

Accepting the reality of Iran's enrichment progress does not mean that it or Iran's plutonium-production program based on the Arak heavy-water reactor should be granted legitimacy. The history of concealment and nature of these activities gave the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors reason in September 2005 to conclude that Iran's actions could threaten international peace and security. There is no economic justification to these programs and ample evidence that their purpose is military. Operating the cascades in defiance of five UN Security Council resolutions is an ongoing violation of international law. If Iran is seen as "getting away with it," there will be inevitable repercussions elsewhere, including increasing the potential for a proliferation cascade.

By contrast, sanctions that make Iran pay a price for defying the Security Council send an important signal to others who might wish to follow the same route. As long as Iran remains under increasing pressure to stop its sensitive nuclear activities and is penalized for failing to do so, its neighbors have a disincentive to seek enrichment or reprocessing capabilities of their own. Sanctions on Iran thus must remain in place and be strengthened significantly to complement the engagement that then-Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said he would pursue and the incentives already on the table, in order to try to persuade Iran and to deter others. The most defensible redline for triggering military action against the facilities, however, is compelling evidence of Iran crossing the line to weaponization.

An admission of past weapons development work need not trigger punishment if the admission were part of a strategic change on Iran's part that also facilitated international inspection and dismantlement of associated work and facilities. Iran's coming clean on past activities should not be a sufficient condition in itself for legalizing uranium enrichment if there were still grounds for suspecting its intentions.

The United States and its allies should continue to seek to restrict Iran's fissile material production capability through tight export controls, financial isolation, the Proliferation Security Initiative, and other means. Tough sanctions can help to keep the capability latent by denying Iran technology and investment in industries that contribute to the programs and by creating negotiating leverage for insisting on conditions that would contribute to keeping the programs limited and more transparent. The legal barrier between latent capability and weaponization could be strengthened if Iran were to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which will require the United States to exercise leadership in following through with its own ratification. It may be argued that the CTBT has little significance for Iran if it acquired a weapons design from the Abdul Qadeer Khan network that it would not need to test anyway, but CTBT ratification would add to the overall legal framework constraining Iran's options.

Controlling Enrichment and Reprocessing

The Obama administration should continue the Bush administration goal of controlling the spread of enrichment and spent fuel reprocessing technologies. One way is to offer access to state-of-the-art nuclear power technology with fuel cycle services provided externally.

It is far better for states to decide of their own sovereign will not to pursue the sensitive nuclear technologies. Given the ready availability of enriched uranium fuel on the international market, enrichment does not make economic sense for states newly seeking nuclear power. In most cases, states that agree voluntarily to purchase enriched reactor fuel on the international market rather than develop indigenous facilities will find it easier to attract foreign support for nuclear power projects. Reprocessing is an expensive operation subject to large economies of scale and is unjustified on economic grounds. (Until fuel leasing arrangements can be worked out or an international repository for vitrified nuclear waste can be created, temporary spent fuel storage remains the fallback option for the back end of the fuel cycle.)

Realizing this, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2008 all affirmed an intention to forgo sensitive indigenous fuel-cycle technologies. The UAE did so most explicitly in a nuclear energy white paper published in April 2008. Bahrain and Saudi Arabia made the commitment in memoranda of understanding with the United States (one of the little-heralded nonproliferation achievements of the Bush administration).

According to UAE officials, a nuclear cooperation agreement between the United States and the UAE that was signed on January 15 usefully locks in this commitment in the form of a provision specifying the right of return of technology and material if the commitment is abrogated. It would be inadvisable to hold up the proposed 123 agreement with the UAE on other grounds, such as the past history of Dubai as a hub for the Khan nuclear black market network. The UAE is implementing new export control laws put in place at Washington's recommendation. In order to crack down on Iranian front companies, the UAE in 2008 sharply reduced the number of business licenses and work visas to Iranian citizens. Nevertheless, UAE export controls still need to be tightened, particularly in the emirate of Dubai, in order to stem the flow of illicit transshipments to Iran in contravention of UN sanctions. One way to assist the UAE in this effort would be to give the UN Iran sanctions monitoring committee real responsibility and a hands-on role by stationing customs experts in Dubai.

Delaying the 123 agreement with the UAE would weaken the strong political signal that is sent by offering nuclear cooperation to a country that has accepted all of the nonproliferation conditions asked of it and that can make a legitimate economic case for nuclear power. If a state that forswears any interest in weapons-usable technology and accepts full transparency is thereby able to hasten its prospects for nuclear energy development, this can be a powerful lesson for others and serve as an important regional precedent, in stark contrast with Iran. The Iranian people might well ask their leaders why they pursue policies that lead to increasing isolation and economic sanctions while their neighbors can benefit from peaceful nuclear cooperation with the world.

If market mechanisms and guaranteed fuel-cycle services do not persuade recipient states to forgo enrichment and reprocessing, the responsibility for ensuring that nuclear energy in the Middle East does not become a proliferation risk will have to be borne by suppliers. Exporting states could make it clear they will not supply nuclear power plants unless the buyer makes a commitment to sign a version of the 1997 IAEA Model Additional Protocol, which grants inspectors greater rights, and forgo enrichment and reprocessing.

Although there is no legal prohibition on these technologies, a consensus is emerging that they need somehow to be controlled. In the case of the Middle East, this will certainly be necessary if nuclear power is ever to flourish in a manner that does not spark proliferation concerns.

Ideally, the entire Middle East would be a zone free of enrichment and reprocessing. The WMD Commission headed by former UN weapons inspector and IAEA Director-General Hans Blix recommended that all states in the region commit themselves for a prolonged period of time not to have any enrichment or reprocessing activities. This would mean that Iran's uranium enrichment at Natanz and Israel's production of plutonium at Dimona would halt. If estimates are correct that Israel has produced enough fissile material for some 200 weapons, it might be argued that this is sufficient to meet its deterrence needs. Unfortunately, prospects for a regional agreement at the moment are not bright given the compliance problems with existing nonproliferation norms, the challenges of verification, and the need for an accompanying peace process if any country is to unilaterally reduce its security posture. These must all be addressed, including by more meaningful enforcement of the existing nonproliferation rules and obligations. In the meantime, a Middle East enrichment- and reprocessing-free zone is still a useful goal to which to aspire.

This goal was given a boost in November 2007 when Saudi Arabia, on behalf of the Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC), publicly announced an offer to launch a regional joint enrichment consortium to establish an enrichment facility under the supervision of the IAEA in a neutral country, such as Switzerland, for all users of enriched uranium in the Middle East. The GCC suggestion would offer a face-saving way for Iran to forgo enrichment as part of a voluntary regional arrangement. By doing so, Iran would at the same time meet its obligation to respect UN mandates and provide the best means of assuring the world that its nuclear program is not intended for weapons purposes. The GCC plan also would be a practical step toward a zone in the wider Middle East free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. Unfortunately, Iran is more interested in the technology than the fuel, which is why it dismisses the idea of obtaining its reactor fuel from Russia's international enrichment center at Angarsk or through proposals such as the Nuclear Threat Initiative project for a fuel bank under IAEA auspices, for which the UAE has pledged $10 million.

Deterrence

As a vital component to the mix of strategies necessary to forestall a regional proliferation cascade, the United States must also pursue robust deterrence and reassurance policies in the Middle East. It should be made clear to Iran that the major powers would take whatever action was necessary to stop it from crossing the line to weapons acquisition.

Such action should not include providing an extended nuclear deterrence to Middle Eastern states, as has sometimes been proposed as a measure to contain Iran and to pre-empt any felt need to seek nuclear options themselves. Under current circumstances, the idea is problematic and without credibility. Would the United States really want to tie its nuclear policies to the volatile politics of the Middle East? The potential recipients of the nuclear umbrella are not formal U.S. allies, and after the war in Iraq, the U.S. public is unlikely to want to take on new defense obligations in the Middle East, especially with countries seen as not sharing the same values of democracy and civil rights. Meanwhile, public opinion in most Arab states is strongly opposed to the U.S. nuclear posture, and a nuclear assurance could damage rather than bolster such states' security by sparking domestic upheaval and possibly terrorist attacks.

Instead, reassurance should include the reaffirmation of security commitments to Israel, Turkey, and the Gulf states; the deployment of theater ballistic missile defense systems; and the continuation of Bush administration policies regarding enhancement of other in-theater capabilities and strengthening the defensive capabilities of Iran's neighbors through joint training and other measures. By addressing their security concerns, the United States can reduce the motivations that states in the region might otherwise have to seek a nuclear hedge.

 


Mark Fitzpatrick is director of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Program at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. He is author of The Iranian Nuclear Crisis: Avoiding Worst-Case Outcomes (2008) and editor and chief author of Nuclear Programmes in the Middle East: In the Shadow of Iran (2008).


 

 

 

 

If Iran goes nuclear, so too will more of its neighbors, or so says the established wisdom.

It is a logical deduction given the extent to which Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey feel a need to maintain power and political parity with Iran and the security concerns that Persian Gulf countries already harbor about the would-be regional hegemon to their northeast. If any of them follow Iran or if Israel abandons its policy of nuclear opacity, the domino effect could spread further and include counties, such as Algeria, that have sparked proliferation concerns in the past. (Continue)

Dealing With North Korea: “Diplomatic Warfare” Ahead

Joel S. Wit

U.S. presidents have struggled with the challenges posed by a hostile North Korea since the end of the Korean War and with the dangers of a nuclear North since the mid-1980s. The diplomatic struggle over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program has had many ups and downs, from the near outbreak of a second war in 1994 to an agreement a few months later to end the nuclear program, from the prospect of a visit to Pyongyang by President Bill Clinton in 2000 to the breakdown of the 1994 agreement in 2002 and the North Korean nuclear test in 2006, from limited arrangements over the past few years that have constrained Pyongyang's plutonium production program to recent disputes over verification.

For the new Obama administration, the imperatives remain the same. Ending the North Korean threat would cut off a global source of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) technology, prevent an erosion of the nonproliferation regime that could trigger the acquisition of such weapons by other countries in East Asia, and provide a political boost to international efforts to stop the spread of dangerous technologies. In a regional context, ending the threat posed by Pyongyang would make U.S. allies and forces safer. How the United States copes with the North Korean challenge could also have important political ramifications for U.S. efforts to maintain close relations with Japan and South Korea, build better ties with China, and keep a strong U.S. presence in the region. Failure could undermine those efforts. Success would bolster them.

Solving the North Korean problem, however, is much more difficult now than eight years ago when the last presidential transition took place. After quadrupling its fissile material stockpile, conducting its first nuclear test, building new missiles, and withdrawing from the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, Pyongyang has embarked on a gambit to secure better relations with Washington while holding on to its nuclear arsenal. Indeed, that objective seemed feasible to Pyongyang even before the recent U.S. deal with India that essentially traded acceptance of India's nuclear status for better relations. Pyongyang seeks to trade the aging Yongbyon plutonium-production facility for normal relations while constructing a diplomatic firewall around its nuclear weapons stockpile by insisting on an end to "hostile relations" between the U.S. and North Korea before denuclearization. That strategy is becoming even more painfully apparent with the North's recent statements that begin to sketch out a new path into the future-that if hostile relations are not ended, its nuclear disarmament will be tied to the disarmament of other nuclear powers in the six-party talks-as well as the need for the verifiable end to the U.S. nuclear umbrella protecting South Korea and reciprocity in ensuring South Korea is denuclearized as well.

The challenge is also more difficult today because the potential for instability in the North seems greater. With the recent illness of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, there appears to be a real possibility that negotiating with Pyongyang could become much tougher in the absence of one strong hand on the diplomatic steering wheel. Moreover, there is the prospect that North Korea could collapse, creating a political, security, humanitarian, and economic nightmare for the region. Part of that nightmare would be a loss of control by the North over its WMD stockpile, technology and work force.

Washington's coalition in opposition to a nuclear North, if it ever existed, is in tatters. Japan is unhappy with the United States over substance-agreements with Pyongyang that strike Tokyo as too conciliatory-and process-what Japan feels is a lack of serious consultations between allies. Although less disaffected, South Korea has concerns that the United States will eventually accept a nuclear North or veer to the other extreme and use "sticks" without sufficient consultation. Moreover, North-South relations, already at a low, will probably get worse in the near future, creating potential gaps between Washington and Seoul if a new U.S. administration pushes ahead with engaging Pyongyang. As for China and Russia, neither has proven to be as strong a supporter of the United States as the Bush administration had hoped.

Finally, the Bush policy of engaging North Korea has proven fragile. It is politically fragile because it is based solely on the nuclear negotiation. It has proven to be technically fragile because, contrary to the administration's assertions that reversal of disablement measures at Yongbyon would take a year, a more realistic estimate is that Pyongyang could begin to produce new bomb-making material in as little as two months.

The shortcomings of the Bush administration, however, have helped to create a centrist, bipartisan coalition that supports realistic, active diplomacy. That spectrum will be buttressed by larger Democratic majorities in Congress. This domestic support is likely to remain stable in the near term although recent statements by outgoing neoconservatives in the Bush administration emphasizing the North's alleged but unconstrained uranium-production program could be intended to lay the groundwork for further attacks on a pragmatic new U.S. policy. Support could also erode over time in light of skepticism about the North's intentions, the lack of significant progress in negotiations with Pyongyang, or new revelations about its past or present behavior, such as reports of more nuclear assistance to Syria or other countries.

Compounding the difficulty of ending the North Korean threat will be the magnitude of other domestic and foreign challenges facing a new administration. Those challenges may argue for adopting a warmed-over Bush approach of seeking very small steps forward because such a strategy requires a minimal commitment of bureaucratic, financial, and political resources. Such an approach, however, runs the serious risk of allowing Pyongyang to think that its strategy of playing for time can succeed and emboldening the North to grab opportunities for WMD exports. It also encourages the dangerous misperception among U.S. allies that Washington will indeed be willing to live with a nuclear North Korea.

Preserving progress made in negotiations over the past few years will be the first challenge facing the Obama administration. With the failure of the last six-party meeting involving China, Japan, North Korea, Russia, South Korea, and the United States to secure North Korea's written agreement on verification, the situation facing a new administration will be precarious and could lead to the unraveling of recent arrangements on disabling the Yongbyon nuclear facility. One approach to cope with that immediate challenge would be to negotiate a "bridging agreement" that not only resolves the verification disagreement but also pushes the disablement process forward. Of course, such an agreement will require Washington and the other six-party participants to provide the North with economic and perhaps political benefits in return.

Beyond preserving progress already made, the new administration should formulate its own approach designed to make North Korea understand that it has to choose between remaining a nuclear power and establishing normal relations with the United States. The top priority must be to secure, in as much detail and as quickly as possible, a clear path leading to North Korea giving up its nuclear weapons. In order to have its best chance of achieving that objective, Washington will need to take a number of steps at home and abroad designed to improve its ability to formulate policy, to strengthen diplomatic support among key players, and to effectively engage Pyongyang.

The foundation of this strategy must be rebuilding a strong coalition in support of U.S. policy. Washington should restore the trilateral consultative process with Japan and South Korea that was so successful during the Clinton years, striking the right balance between taking into account the views of allies while never losing sight of the need to address the challenges posed by a nuclear North Korea even if that sometimes means taking steps despite Seoul and Tokyo. Second, it will mean building confidence in China. Although Beijing has been reluctant to use its leverage over the North because of concerns about destabilizing Pyongyang, the best way to enlist its support will be to demonstrate a commitment to diplomacy and to reject regime change in the North. That will place the United States in a tactically strong position if the time comes to enlist China in increasing pressure on North Korea.

Another critical step will be to establish proper bureaucratic arrangements. The new administration will not have the same divisions between "regime changers" and "engagers" that plagued its predecessor. Conducting effective diplomacy will require bringing into play U.S. political, technical, and financial resources as well as those of other countries; coping with a justifiable American preoccupation with other domestic and international challenges; and selling policy at home. Appointing a senior envoy with the clout to formulate and implement policy is essential.

The third key component of a new U.S. policy will be to launch a diplomatic offensive designed to crack the denuclearization nut. That will require using process and substance in new ways to advance U.S. interests while signaling to Pyongyang a willingness to address its political, security and economic concerns. Washington should not hesitate to deal directly with Pyongyang at whatever level is necessary, ranging from special envoys to the president. That does not mean rushing off to high-level encounters, but it does mean being ready to deploy the diplomatic card with maximum effect to move negotiations forward. A meeting between leaders, which will be a clear sign of Washington's peaceful intentions, should be possible but only under carefully orchestrated circumstances where significant progress has been made in demonstrating that Pyongyang is willing to move toward giving up its nuclear arsenal. Even with accelerated bilateral contacts, the six-party talks should continue as an important mechanism to build multilateral support for the denuclearization push.

Part of the U.S. offensive should also be to broaden the process of diplomatic engagement beyond the nuclear issue through establishing new venues for bilateral and multilateral negotiations. Such an approach would show Pyongyang that Washington is serious in pursuing better relations (at a price), and enable the two sides to address important issues not covered in the six-party talks. An additional objective should be to establish lines of communication with critical segments of the North Korean elite, particularly the military, which may play an even more important role in the post-Kim Jong Il North Korea. Potential initiatives include starting a peace process with the two Koreas and China to replace the armistice ending the Korean War as well as resuming cooperation between the U.S. and North Korean militaries in retrieving the remains of Americans killed or missing in action as a result of the Korean War.

Because preventing WMD exports is a key U.S. priority, Washington might seriously consider establishing a U.S.-North Korean nonproliferation dialogue. The purpose would be to secure results through elevating discussion beyond merely insisting that North Korea disclose past suspicious activities. Such a dialogue would seek immediate progress, perhaps by reaching a deal with the North to stop its ballistic missile exports. New allies could be enlisted. During the early 1990s, Israel was seriously interested in ending North Korean exports to the Middle East. The new dialogue could also help develop barriers against future nuclear exports through securing specific, detailed North Korean pledges and setting clear U.S. redlines. Moreover, export incentives might be dampened through measures such as redirecting North Korean nuclear scientists who because of denuclearization might otherwise turn their focus to exporting technology to earn hard currency.

All of these steps will help establish the right context for progress toward real denuclearization, but securing a concrete road map leading to the elimination of North Korea's nuclear weapons stockpile as soon as possible will require much more. Directly addressing Pyongyang's political, economic, and other demands, such as full normalization of relations and large-scale energy assistance, including the possible provision of new light-water reactors, will be essential to pin down the North. Even if Washington and the other participants in the six-party talks are willing to pay the steep price for success, there is no guarantee that Pyongyang will respond positively. That may be true also because North Korea will have to begin to address other U.S. concerns, such as the North's poor human rights record, that have nothing to do with denuclearization in order to make progress on the key normalization front.

Beyond these steps, the United States might consider new approaches to denuclearization. Washington could try to short-circuit the current slow-motion negotiating process by proposing that the North be allowed to reprocess its current batch of spent fuel rods as long as the one bomb's worth of plutonium separated from them is immediately shipped out of the country. Such a proposal conjures up all sorts of objections from possible North Korean cheating to allowing the North to restart a reprocessing plant that is currently disabled. Just as importantly, if not more, it would allow the United States to begin drawing down the North's plutonium inventory very quickly. Moreover, an initiative pursued jointly with the other nuclear powers in the talks, China and Russia, would make cheating even less likely. Whether the North would agree is unclear although the price would be high. The alternative, moving forward with constructing storage canisters for those rods and then shipping them out, could drag on for years.

Washington might also borrow from past experience. For example, as in U.S.-Soviet arms control negotiations, phased reductions of the North's small stockpile, keyed to political, economic, and security steps taken by the other parties, could help gradually build confidence and trust. A more far-reaching option might be a Korean nuclear-free zone, building on the North-South Denuclearization Declaration concluded in the 1990s but never implemented, and guaranteed by the other six-parties states. That would address key North Korean concerns, such as the need for the appearance of a peninsula-wide solution and a political guarantee that nuclear weapons will not be reintroduced to the peninsula by the United States. Care would have to be taken to ensure that it excludes neighboring countries because the North may try to include Japan and avoids undermining security ties between the United States and South Korea. Finally, because verification issues will permeate future talks, Washington could take a page from experience with the Soviet Union: both Democrats and Republicans were willing to accept agreements in the U.S. interest even if monitoring provisions were less than perfect as long as cheating could be detected in time to protect the national interest.

Because the road to denuclearization is likely to be difficult, Washington will also need to stand ready with disincentives. Even though such measures by themselves are unlikely to convince North Korea to reverse course, they would communicate political resolve and demonstrate to Pyongyang the potential downsides of clinging to its weapons. The list of potential disincentives includes withholding promised benefits if the North does not meet its obligations, multilateral sanctions, and realistic redlines such as imposing severe penalties if Pyongyang exports nuclear weapons technology, fissile material, or the bombs themselves in the future. Finally, Washington will need to plan for failure and the possibility that Pyongyang will be unwilling to relinquish its nuclear arsenal. Such a plan will clearly require political, military, and security countermeasures to be taken in concert with close allies and in consultation with China and Russia.

In short, the new administration could be in for a new, prolonged period of diplomatic warfare with North Korea. That warfare could start immediately because the Bush administration in its waning days has failed to complete its ongoing negotiations on verification. If and when those differences are resolved, the more important struggle over denuclearization will follow. That struggle is likely to prove difficult and protracted, requiring patience and flexibility.


Joel S. Wit is an adjunct senior research fellow at Columbia University's Weatherhead Institute for East Asian Studies and a visiting fellow at the U.S.-Korea Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He is a former official at the Department of State and co-author of Going Critical: The First North Korea Nuclear Crisis (2004).


U.S. presidents have struggled with the challenges posed by a hostile North Korea since the end of the Korean War and with the dangers of a nuclear North since the mid-1980s. The diplomatic struggle over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program has had many ups and downs, from the near outbreak of a second war in 1994 to an agreement a few months later to end the nuclear program, from the prospect of a visit to Pyongyang by President Bill Clinton in 2000 to the breakdown of the 1994 agreement in 2002 and the North Korean nuclear test in 2006, from limited arrangements over the past few years that have constrained Pyongyang's plutonium production program to recent disputes over verification. (Continue)

Chinese-U.S. Strategic Affairs: Dangerous Dynamism

Christopher P. Twomey

Many aspects of the Chinese-U.S. relationship are mutually beneficial: some $400 billion in trade, bilateral military exchanges, and Beijing's increasingly constructive diplomatic role. There are other grounds for concern. Each side's militaries view the other as a potential adversary and increasingly make plans and structure their forces with that in mind.

On the conventional side, there are many important areas to consider, but the potential for nuclear rivalry raises monumental risks. This article assesses the dangers in the bilateral nuclear relationship, the potential for traditional arms control to address these challenges, the broadening of the "strategic" military sphere, and the issue of proliferation beyond the bilateral relationship.

Strategic relations are not at the center of Chinese-U.S. relations today. They do not deserve to be tomorrow. They are, however, rising appropriately in importance and must be managed proactively.

The Core Bilateral Strategic Relationship

China and the United States are not in a strategic weapons arms race. Nonetheless, their modernization and sizing decisions increasingly are framed with the other in mind. Nuclear weapons are at the core of this interlocking pattern of development. In particular, China is the only permanent member of the UN Security Council expanding its arsenal; it is also enhancing its arsenal. The basic facts of Chinese strategic modernization are well known, if the details remain frustratingly opaque. China is deploying road-mobile, solid-fueled missiles, giving it a heighted degree of security in its second-strike capability. It is beginning to deploy ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs). It is researching a wide range of warhead and delivery systems technologies that will lead to increased accuracy and, more pointedly, increased penetration against ballistic missile defenses. The size of China's deliverable arsenal against the United States will undoubtedly increase beyond the few dozen that it possessed recently.[1] The pace of growth thus far has been moderate, although China has only recently developed reliable, survivable delivery systems. The final endpoint remains mired in opacity and uncertainty, although several score of deliverable warheads seems likely for the near term. These developments on the strategic side are coupled with elements of conventional modernization that impinge on the strategic balance.[2]

The relevant issue, however, is not simply an evaluation of the Chinese modernization program, but rather an evaluation of the interaction of that modernization with U.S. capabilities and interests. U.S. capabilities are also changing. Under the provisions of START and SORT, the United States has continued to engage in quantitative reductions of its operational nuclear arsenal. At the same, there is ongoing updating of warhead guidance and fusing systems. Ballistic missile defense systems of a variety of footprints are being deployed. The U.S. SSBN force now leans more toward the Pacific than the Atlantic, reversing the Cold War deployment. Guam's capacity to support heavy bombers and attack submarines has been enhanced. Furthermore, advances in U.S. conventional weaponry have been so substantial that they too promise strategic effects: prompt global strike holds out the promise of a U.S. weapon on target anywhere in the world in less than an hour and B-2s with highly accurate weapons can sustain strategic effects over a campaign.

What are the concerns posed by these two programs of dynamic strategic arsenals? Most centrally, the development of the strategic forces detailed above has increasingly assumed an interlocked form. The U.S. revolution in precision guided munitions was followed by an emphasis on mobility in the Chinese missile force. U.S. missile defense systems have clearly spurred an emphasis on countermeasures in China's ICBM force and quantitative buildups in its regional missile arsenals.[3] Beijing's new submarine-based forces further enhance the security of China's second-strike capability in the face of a potential U.S. strike but are likely to lead to increased attention to anti-submarine warfare in the United States. China's recent anti-satellite test provoked a U.S. demonstration of similar capabilities. Such reciprocal responses have the potential to move toward a tightly coupled arms race and certainly have already worsened threat perceptions on each side. The potential for conflict is not simply that of inadvertent escalation; there are conflicts of interests between the two. Heightening threat perceptions in that context greatly complicates diplomacy.

Further, the dangers of inadvertent escalation have been exacerbated by some of these moves. Chinese SSBN deployment will stress an untested command-and-control system. Similar dangers in the Cold War were mitigated, although not entirely overcome, over a period of decades of development of personnel and technical solutions. China appears to have few such controls in place today. U.S. deployment of highly accurate nuclear warheads is consistent with a first-strike doctrine and seems sized for threats larger than "rogue" nations. These too would undermine stability in an intense crisis.

Prospects for Improvement?

There is no simple solution for this set of problems. The differences in national interests held by Beijing and Washington are not likely to be materially affected by Barack Obama's inauguration as president. That said, the unilateralist and anti-institutional approach to arms control that characterized the Bush administration is likely to wane. The Chinese are not currently interested in discussing traditional bilateral arms control agreements for two reasons: doing so suggests an equating of the contemporary Chinese-U.S. relationship with the Cold War standoff between the Soviet Union and the United States and the U.S. arsenal remains much larger than China's. Yet, it is wrong to expect such views to hold in perpetuity. Beijing's emphasis on ambiguity about its arsenal, which is incompatible with serious negotiations over arms control, is not a cultural predisposition toward "strategic deception" any more than was the Soviet Union's early Cold War emphasis on secrecy. Instead, these are rational strategies when nuclear arsenals are small. Intrusive verification eventually became conceivable even to hard-line Soviet leaders. Certainly, economic exhaustion contributed to that change, but so too did fundamental changes in Soviet threat perceptions.[4] Although the former seems unlikely in China in the near term, the latter is something that might be fomented.

The further development of those U.S.-Russian arms control discussions will have critical implications for China. If follow-on agreements to START and SORT include further quantitative reductions, as is likely, they will again move the U.S. arsenal toward an important rhetorical threshold that China has used to justify its own stance on bilateral arms control. This poses risks and opportunities. The opportunity to bring the other nuclear powers to the table, even informally, as the Russian-U.S. discussions progress would be a useful vehicle to elicit China's interest in serious moves in this area. The risk of enticing China to engage in an arsenal buildup to U.S. levels is not one that should be overstated. At the geostrategic level as well as in operational doctrine as it is understood, China's approach to nuclear strategy has emphasized elements that would be inconsistent with a large buildup: counter-value rather than counter-force or war-fighting doctrines, a historical tolerance of much lower arsenal sizes given a perception of the limited utility of nuclear forces, and, explicitly, avoidance of a strategic arms race. The United States can actively reduce these risks further.

Deepening engagement on nuclear and nuclear-related strategic issues would be constructive in this regard. Bilateral confidence measures between China and the United States could be discussed, particularly in the area of declaratory policy. The Chinese have often asked why the United States is unwilling to offer a no-first-use pledge. A blanket no-first-use pledge might undermine U.S. credibility in other regions. Yet, a pledge narrowly confined to the Chinese-U.S. arena would seem to have fewer costs. What benefits would the United States garner from such a pledge from Beijing? Similarly, would Beijing view positively a definitive statement that the United States accepts the existence of a Chinese secure second-strike capability? For what might the United States hope in return? These questions remain unanswered.

Other steps could move beyond diplomacy alone. Detailed discussions with China of U.S. warhead modernization plans that take Chinese concerns seriously could be constructive. Similarly, a reinvigorated U.S. effort to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) would hint at a broader return to the commitment toward multilateral arms control that characterized U.S. foreign policy under both parties throughout the Cold War. Such reinvigoration of the broader regime is critical to making progress on narrowly bilateral issues as that regime provides a global context in which Beijing views the bilateral relationship. Finally, are there aspects of the U.S. modernization program, for instance, highly accurate guidance systems on Trident II warheads, that Washington and Omaha might be willing to forgo in exchange for tacit restraint in other areas from Beijing? Precisely these sorts of trades were at the heart of important arms control agreements between the Soviets and the United States in the Cold War. Although such steps are premature today, understanding the possible parameters of such exchanges is useful for laying the groundwork for future discussions.

Certainly, some of the onus for stagnation of dialogue on such issue rests with China. Direct U.S. interaction with Chinese nuclear strategists is extremely rare, and the Bush administration is to be commended for prioritizing an official dialogue on this topic with the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and the Second Artillery (its nuclear force) in particular.[5] Still, even scheduling meetings has been fraught with difficulties. Most recently, Beijing used a Taiwan arms sales package as a pretext to derail official discussion of these topics. The Obama administration should advocate rapid resumption of these important confidence-building measures. At the same time, it is important for the United States to discuss Chinese concerns about U.S. plans openly and honestly. The increasing coupling of strategic modernization and development suggests this issue needs added attention from both sides.[6]

Broadened Meaning of "Strategic"

Space and missile defense are increasingly intertwined with traditional nuclear issues. U.S. missile defense certainly complicates the calculus of potential adversaries, but it also greatly complicates traditional approaches to reducing dangers of strategic weapons. International relations theory has trouble putting nuclear weapons and missile defense systems into an "offensive-defensive" dichotomy because most theorizing about nuclear weapons took place in the era of mutually assured destruction when the utility of nuclear weapons for anything other than retaliation made little sense. The space realm is clear in that area. Anti-satellite weapons are clearly offense dominant today: first-strike attacks against satellites confer great advantages, and defenses are costly and not currently deployed. This emphasizes the dangers of spirals and security dilemmas. Other issues are less straightforward. The dual-use potential for launch capabilities complicates verification of any potential arms control agreement. More broadly, communications and data collection satellites are directly connected to economic markets in ways most military technologies are not.

Beyond applying these general concerns to its own situation, Beijing sees a fairly integrated package that seems designed to undermine the security of its second-strike capability. Improved accuracy and capacity for hitting silos call into question China's older missiles. Advanced intelligence assets would be useful for tracking China's nascent mobile missile force. Accurate conventional weapons, global strike or otherwise, could reduce the scale of damage imposed on Chinese society writ large in some cases. Even a moderate-scale missile defense system-the Pentagon is planning on 50 interceptors by 2012-provides important capabilities against any surviving Chinese missiles.

The incoming Obama administration can do much to improve on existing policy. The Russians have received extensive briefings on U.S. missile defense systems and were offered the right to observe control rooms in eastern European missile defense facilities. What steps along that range might be appropriate for China? In the area of space policy, numerous small steps can be taken in terms of codes of conduct, launch notifications, noninterference pledges, and other issues.[7] Again, even discussing these issues has been quite simply off the table under the Bush administration. Chinese proposals on "Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space" require much further development before they can be adequately evaluated. Several issues are critical from the U.S. perspective: the status of various missile defense technologies under that proposal, dual-use technologies, and the nature of verification in general. Still, more active U.S. diplomacy on this issue, whether at the Conference on Disarmament or in other fora, would be beneficial. An administration less wedded to complete freedom of action on missile defense technologies and scale should be willing at least to begin these discussions.

Nonproliferation: Global Regimes and Specific Cases

A global approach to nonproliferation will fail without China's active support. Bush administration policies have eroded the current system, already under stress due to globalization and the end of the Cold War. The U.S.-Indian deal on nuclear energy was highly salient for China because of its rivalry with India and friendship with Pakistan. In the North Korean case, inspections may well move forward on a bilateral basis rather than through existing global fora.

The United States can take steps to begin to repair this damage, regaining the initiative on the global nonproliferation regime. Quick ratification of the CTBT will send a positive signal. Reinvigorated diplomacy on a treaty cutting off the production of fissile material for weapons might do so as well. On that issue, however, China's objections need to be taken seriously. China's stockpile of fissile material is a miniscule fraction of that of the United States. Freezing that ratio in place in perpetuity is something China would only concede in response to other inducements. These should be discussed frankly.

Beyond these small-scale steps and more fundamentally, a new nonproliferation architecture is needed. China must be integrally involved in its design. In the wake of the U.S.-Indian nuclear deal and with failures to stop proliferation in North Korea, it is unclear if the current hodgepodge of overlapping institutions (nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, International Atomic Energy Agency, Nuclear Suppliers Group [NSG], etc.) will continue to form the basis of the global approach to containing proliferation. As new global approaches are developed, it should be recognized that China's participation in the World Trade Organization and in the recent G-20 meetings on the financial crisis has generally been responsible, if not entirely to U.S. liking. In the current global context, the United States cannot dictate the design of that architecture; Beijing, as well as others, must play a constitutive role.

It should be noted that Beijing's behavior in several specific cases has improved in this regard. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has hailed Chinese leadership of the six-party talks. Chinese policy on Iran hardened notably in 2006, supporting UN Security Council Resolution 1696. In both cases, U.S. preferences would have been for still-firmer action, but the progress in Chinese policy is clearly discernable. On the other hand, China's recent apparent regression in deciding to sell additional nuclear reactors to Pakistan seemed to flout common sense and its previous commitments to the NSG. Again, however, the U.S. role in undermining the framework within which the NSG exists by pursuing the India deal is notable.

Creating the same degree of engagement and, indeed, internalization of goals that China has on North Korea in the other two cases-Iran and Pakistan-will be elusive. Iran serves important energy security needs for Beijing,[8] and Pakistan's role in traditional Chinese security concerns on its flank is substantial. Still, a U.S. nonproliferation policy that discriminates based on regime type rather than nonproliferation behavior is unlikely to resonate in authoritarian China. A creation of international institutions that can judge proliferation behavior impartially would be more successful. Chinese analysts voice increasing concern that proliferation is a problem for China rather than merely a Western concern.

Tailored...Diplomacy

It is critical that policymakers recognize the rapidly changing nature of the way foreign policy is practiced in China today. Although deep-seated strategic cultural norms are of limited utility in understanding China's policy today, the interplay between civilian and military leaders and the proliferation of inputs available to policymakers is. On arms control issues, the tensions between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the PLA strain the policy formulation process. Understanding Chinese space policy requires an immersion in the economic actors that shape PLA policy. Proliferation issues bring a different set of economic actors into the process. Even asking whether there is civilian control in any of these policy areas grossly oversimplifies. China is in the midst of substantial political change, a pluralization of actors, and a new set of political responses to a range of domestic challenges. This process complicates any interaction with China on security issues as well.

These domestic changes complicate the dynamism in the strategic arena itself. The interaction of the U.S. shift in approach toward strategic weapons coupled with modernization of China's arsenal has much potential to destabilize the relationship. Further tightening of the interlocking moves by each side has the potential to lead to an arms race, at least in qualitative terms. This would move the strategic issue to the foreground of the relationship. Given that there are pre-existing contentious issues to be dampened and more positive aspects to the relationship to be managed, this outcome would be inflammatory. Strategic nuclear competition between the two nations would be extraordinarily costly. Taking prudent steps to keep this issue out of the center of the relationship today is valuable. The policies suggested above would be important first steps in dampening dangerous dynamics in Chinese-U.S. strategic relations.

 

 


Christopher P. Twomey co-directs the Center for Contemporary Conflict and is an assistant professor in the Department of National Security Affairs, both at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California. He manages an annual “track II” meeting between China and the United States on strategic issues. His views are not those of any government office.


ENDNOTES

1. For a comprehensive discussion of what is known about the Chinese nuclear arsenal in open-source literature, see Robert S. Norris and Hans M. Kristensen, "U.S. Nuclear Forces, 2008," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Vol. 64, No. 1 (March/April 2008), pp. 50-53.

2. For instance, a rapidly increasing conventional ballistic missile threat against Taiwan and targets further afield in Japan and Guam, a range of anti-satellite technologies, cyber warfare, and certain elements of China's "anti-access" strategies aimed at holding off U.S. carrier battle groups.

3. Chinese interlocutors speak about the role of penetration aides in this context. See Christopher P. Twomey and Kali Shelor, "U.S.-China Strategic Dialogue, 3rd Annual Meeting, Conference Report," 2008.

4. Thomas Risse-Kappen, "Ideas Do Not Float Freely: Transnational Coalitions, Domestic Structures, and the End of the Cold War," International Organization, Vol. 48, No. 2 (1994); Matthew Evangelista, "Turning Points in Arms Control," in Ending the Cold War: Interpretations, Causation, and the Study of International Relations, ed. Richard K. Herrmann and Richard Ned Lebow (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004).

5. The author would like to thank Brad Roberts for highlighting the importance of this point.

6. For a useful discussion of some possibilities in this regard, see Brad Roberts, "Arms Control and Sino-U.S. Strategic Stability," in Perspectives on Sino-American Strategic Nuclear Issues, ed. Christopher P. Twomey (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008).

7. For detailed discussions of these and others, see James Clay Moltz, The Politics of Space Security: Strategic Restraint and the Pursuit of National Interests (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 2008).

8. For a masterful treatment of the history of the Chinese-Iranian relationship, see John W. Garver, China and Iran : Ancient Partners in a Post-Imperial World (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2006).

 

Many aspects of the Chinese-U.S. relationship are mutually beneficial: some $400 billion in trade, bilateral military exchanges, and Beijing's increasingly constructive diplomatic role. There are other grounds for concern. Each side's militaries view the other as a potential adversary and increasingly make plans and structure their forces with that in mind.

On the conventional side, there are many important areas to consider, but the potential for nuclear rivalry raises monumental risks. This article assesses the dangers in the bilateral nuclear relationship, the potential for traditional arms control to address these challenges, the broadening of the "strategic" military sphere, and the issue of proliferation beyond the bilateral relationship. (Continue)

Engagement With Russia: Managing Risks, Repairing Rifts

John Steinbruner

The U.S. security relationship with Russia is a matter that is more significant to the U.S. government and the American people than was apparent during the presidential election. Elections are primarily about attitudes. The exercise of power is about the management of consequences.

As Barack Obama assumes the burdens of the presidency, he will acquire direct responsibility for the fact that the nuclear deterrent force operated by Russia represents by far the greatest physical threat to the United States and the only one that might plausibly put the viability of our society into immediate question. He will need to be continuously aware that he alone bears direct responsibility for managing that situation under our constitutional system. No one can contest or share his exclusive authority on the basis of experience, institutional position, personal stature, or anything else.

The prevailing attitudes that will surround the new president assume with nearly unshakeable conviction that the actual use of Russian nuclear weapons is decisively precluded by the countervailing threat posed by U.S. deterrent forces. As the person with prime responsibility, the president cannot entirely rely on that simplistic conception. It obscures an unacknowledged risk more ominous than those that generated the recent financial meltdown. In the reality that Obama will inherit, the operational coupling of U.S. and Russian nuclear forces creates an inherent danger of inadvertent catastrophe, and the measures of reassurance necessary to manage that danger have been weakened by the Bush administration's contemptuous denigration of bilateral diplomacy, an indulgence of belligerent ideological attitudes so far tolerated in deference to bipartisan etiquette by many who know better. As a consequence, the security relationship with Russia is in urgent need of emergency repair, and there is a strong case for attempting fundamental transformation.

Emergency Repair

Amid the clamor of many competing priorities, Obama will not have time to absorb and ponder all the relevant history of nuclear deterrence before he is forced to make decisions of consequence, and there is serious danger he will be trapped in the legacy of defective policies. A great deal depends on how he reacts to the specific problem most likely to command his immediate personal attention: the fate of START.

That treaty, scheduled to expire December 5, provides the legal basis whereby Russia and the United States inform each other in some detail about the disposition of their respective nuclear forces. For each country's intelligence establishments, understanding and specifying the opposing deterrent threat is a primary obligation, whatever else they are asked to do. The reporting process established by START allows that obligation to be met with much greater accuracy and efficiency than either could do with their own resources alone. It has become a central measure of reassurance that is especially important to the United States because U.S. involvement in several wars means that its intelligence gathering assets are severely burdened by competing obligations. The entire process of arms control diplomacy has been so seriously damaged, however, that the treaty and the reporting arrangements it provides are in jeopardy.

However much Russia's dual leadership might have been affected by the widespread hope for constructive change inspired by Obama's presidential campaign and however rattled they might be by the global economic crisis, they are unlikely to agree without conditions to the obvious emergency expedient: a simple five-year extension of START that is explicitly allowed under its terms. The Russian leaders surely understand the practical importance of the reporting arrangements to the United States, and they cannot be expected to confer the benefit without raising at least some of their accumulated grievances. They will predictably demand credible reassurance that NATO will not extend membership to Georgia or Ukraine in defiance of their objection and that the Obama administration does not commit to the deployment of strategic missile interceptors in eastern Europe in a manner that could impinge on Russia's deterrent capabilities. Regardless of Russia's views, the missile defense proposal does not improve U.S. or European security because the system has not been proven operationally effective and the threat it is designed to address, an Iranian long-range ballistic missile force, does not exist and will not for at least five to 10 years.

Those issues might seem to be peripheral from a U.S perspective, but they reflect the underlying precariousness of Russia's security circumstances and have deep resonance in the federation's formative history.

Provided the president is willing to defend his subcabinet appointments against ideological assault, the emerging Obama administration will certainly present Russia with a constructive change in attitude. Still, even the limited agenda of emergency repair is likely to require significant and potentially controversial policy innovations as well. The central issue so far preventing a negotiated extension of START has been the Bush administration's refusal to accept verifiable and legally binding reductions of deployed warheads below a level of 1,700 to 2,200 on each side, to maintain clear and verifiable limits on the number of strategic delivery systems, and to further reduce delivery system levels below the START ceilings.

As a candidate, Obama embraced the principle of legally binding commitments and deeper reductions in nuclear warheads and strategic delivery systems. It is at least as strong an interest of the United States to have legally binding arrangements as it is for Russia. Although many Republican moderates such as Senator Richard Lugar (Ind.) support this approach, there will be resistance from conservative ideologues who resist international security treaties and significant nuclear weapons reductions as fiercely as they do economic regulation.

That difficulty will be compounded to the extent that negotiated restraints on nuclear weapons deployments are substantively as well as legally binding. The dominant practical fact is that the United States has a very large conventional military advantage over Russia that will progressively increase under realistically projected rates of relative military investment. Negotiated agreements will necessarily constrain the U.S. advantage in order to protect the element of mutual reassurance that is critical to safe management of the deterrent relationship. Regulatory protection is as important to the responsible conduct of security as it is to the financial markets, but there will predictably be major battles within the United States over both applications. The current balance of judgment will have to be altered before constructive consensus can be established.

With respect to START and the agenda of emergency repair, U.S. and Russian negotiators will need to discuss further reductions in nuclear warhead inventories and associated delivery systems. Russia's rate of defense investment cannot indefinitely support the numbers of 1,700 to 2,200 operationally deployed warheads mentioned in the 2002 Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT). Those numbers are legally binding only on the single day in 2012 on which the treaty expires. Because reasonable deterrent requirements can clearly be met at much lower force levels, it makes compelling sense for Russia and the United States to set more restrictive ceilings as they work out streamlined arrangements for verifying compliance.

A good faith effort to do so would be important and perhaps even essential to demonstrate continued progress toward disarmament and successfully manage the review conference for the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) scheduled for May 2010.

If Obama directs the Department of Defense and other cabinet agencies to conduct a nuclear posture review based on the principle that nuclear weapons shall only serve the role of deterring the use of nuclear weapons by others, U.S. and Russian negotiators could reach an agreement that mandates reductions to 1,000 or fewer total warheads without excessive division in the U.S. national security establishment.

The more fundamental point would be the declared purpose of those nuclear forces that remain in service. The most significant provision of mutually reassuring restraint would be a formally agreed restriction on the legitimate purpose of nuclear weapons, confining them exclusively to preventing the use, as distinct from the possession, of other nuclear weapons.

Fundamental Transformation

It is reasonable to expect that the Obama administration will seek to repair the security relationship with Russia and will succeed to some extent. The more interesting question is whether the president who has emerged as the apostle for constructive change will attempt a more fundamental transformation of the Russian security relationship in an exercise of his unique responsibility.

The reasons for doing so are substantively compelling. Legitimate deterrent requirements do not remotely justify prevailing operational practices whereby thousands of nuclear weapons are kept on continuous alert and are programmed to execute mass attacks within a few hours independent of any immediate circumstance that would require it. That operational configuration derived from Cold War history reflects the impulse both to pre-empt against the opposing force in an effort to disarm it and to preclude pre-emption against one's own force by assuring rapid reaction to tactical warning. Virtually anyone with a grasp of common sense can recognize that as a perverse outcome of inadequately regulated competition. The United States, Russia, and the rest of the world would be much safer if all nuclear weapons were removed from active alert and locked in secure storage where they could be accurately counted, continuously monitored, and securely protected against any unauthorized access. Should a legitimate need for an immediate deterrent ever arise, weapons could be removed from monitored storage, restored to active status, and programmed for missions justified by immediate circumstances.

Such an arrangement would require very robust measures of continuous verification, but such measures are technically feasible. If developed and implemented, they would essentially remove the risk of a deliberate or inadvertent triggering of alert forces producing a massive catastrophe. They would also provide much stronger protection against terrorist seizure of a weapon and an accounting standard that could support the NPT goal of eventual elimination. In its mature stages, the arrangement would have to include all nuclear weapons of all states, but it would logically begin in bilateral discussions between Russia and the United States, which together possess 95 percent of the nuclear weapons believed to exist.

Compelling as that outcome is in common sense terms, in the practical world in which we all are obliged to live, it would be difficult to achieve, largely because it would require a massive change of entrenched attitudes and institutionalized procedures. We cannot reasonably expect Obama to accomplish such an outcome in the course of his presidential tenure, but there is good reason to hope he might recognize the opportunity to initiate a serious effort that ultimately does accomplish it. That would necessarily begin with Russia.


John Steinbruner is director of the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM) and chairman of the board of directors for the Arms Control Association.


 

 

Reassessing the Role of Nuclear Weapons

Daryl G. Kimball

Beginning Jan. 20, U.S. nuclear weapons policy can and must change. The U.S.-Soviet standoff that gave rise to tens of thousands of nuclear weapons is over, but the policies developed to justify their possession and potential use remain largely the same.

Previous post-Cold War efforts to update the U.S. nuclear posture fell woefully short. Deployed arsenals have been halved, yet the United States and Russia still retain approximately 5,000 warheads each, mainly to deter a surprise attack by the other. Current policies also call for the possible use of nuclear weapons to defend U.S. forces and allies against conventional attacks and counter suspected chemical or biological weapons threats.

There is broad agreement that yesterday's nuclear doctrines are no longer appropriate for today's realities. If President Barack Obama wants to fulfill his promise to "dramatically reduce" U.S. and Russian arsenals, restore leadership needed to strengthen the nonproliferation system, and make the elimination of nuclear weapons "a central element of U.S. nuclear policy," he should redefine and radically reduce the role of nuclear weapons.

There is no conceivable circumstance that requires or could justify the use of nuclear weapons to deal with a non-nuclear threat. Given the United States' conventional military edge and the twin threats of proliferation and terrorism, nuclear weapons are a greater security liability than an asset.

As an eminent National Academies of Science panel concluded more than a decade ago, "[T]he only remaining, defensible function of U.S. nuclear weapons in the post-Cold War era is 'core deterrence': using the threat of retaliation to deter other countries that possess nuclear weapons from using them to attack or coerce the United States or its allies."

According to the panel, which included Obama's new White House science adviser, John Holdren, this approach would also eliminate any need "to develop and test nuclear weapons of new types for new purposes."

If Obama directs the Pentagon to conduct a congressionally mandated nuclear posture review on the basis of this "core deterrence" mission, then Washington and Moscow could each slash their respective arsenals to 1,000 or fewer total warheads. This would open the way for Obama to fulfill his campaign pledge to initiate "a high-level dialogue among all the declared nuclear-weapon states on how to...move toward meaningful reductions and the eventual elimination of all nuclear weapons."

Unfortunately, a bipartisan congressional commission formed last year to advise Obama on the nuclear posture review appears to be plagued by "oldthink." Its December 2008 interim report accepts antiquated assumptions about the value of nuclear deterrence and implies that the United States is on the brink of losing the capability to maintain its nuclear weapons.

Although acknowledging that the program to maintain the enduring U.S. stockpile "has been a remarkable success," the interim report incorrectly suggests that "support for this program is at risk" and, as time passes, "becomes more difficult to execute."

In fact, since the last U.S. nuclear weapons test in 1992, Congress has supported a robust stewardship program that now costs approximately $6 billion annually. Through regular surveillance and periodic upgrades of the conventional explosives and non-nuclear components, each of the major warhead types has been certified annually as safe and reliable.

Although Congress rejected the Bush administration's expensive, multidecade plan to replace each warhead type with a newly designed warhead, political support for core stockpile stewardship activities is strong. Independent technical assessments suggest that new replacement warheads are not necessary to maintain the reliability of the U.S. nuclear arsenal under the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which Obama wants the Senate to reconsider and support "as soon as practical."

To maintain a smaller U.S. arsenal without resuming nuclear testing, the White House and Congress must ensure sufficient resources are focused on the core stewardship tasks, and the weapons labs must avoid unnecessary alterations to existing weapons during refurbishment.

The commission's interim report also claims that if the United States does not provide a nuclear deterrence umbrella for dozens of allies around the world, their leaders "would feel enormous pressure to create their own arsenals." Such claims exaggerate the value and ignore the risks of this approach.

For instance, with the end of the Cold War, U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in Europe serve no practical purpose for NATO's common defense. Furthermore, many other factors mitigate against a decision by a U.S. ally to go nuclear, not the least of which is the diplomatic and conventional military support the United States can and would provide. There is also the possibility that nuclear-armed enemies of the United States may themselves threaten nuclear attack in the name of an ally's security.

It will be unfortunate if the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States cannot provide better guidance on nuclear weapons policy. It would be a grave mistake if Obama does not provide the leadership needed to usher in a new and more realistic nuclear risk reduction and elimination strategy.

Beginning Jan. 20, U.S. nuclear weapons policy can and must change. The U.S.-Soviet standoff that gave rise to tens of thousands of nuclear weapons is over, but the policies developed to justify their possession and potential use remain largely the same.

Previous post-Cold War efforts to update the U.S. nuclear posture fell woefully short. Deployed arsenals have been halved, yet the United States and Russia still retain approximately 5,000 warheads each, mainly to deter a surprise attack by the other. Current policies also call for the possible use of nuclear weapons to defend U.S. forces and allies against conventional attacks and counter suspected chemical or biological weapons threats. (Continue)

Stepping Back from the Brink: Avoiding a Nuclear March of Folly in South Asia

Zachary Davis

Historian Barbara Tuchman described the trail of misperceptions and bad decisions that led to mankind's worst self-imposed disasters as a "March of Folly." Now is the time for India and Pakistan to take steps to ensure that another war or crisis between them does not result in a nuclear exchange that destroys both societies.

The prospects for rolling back India's or Pakistan's nuclear weapons programs during the Obama administration are zero. Nevertheless, the administration can help reduce the risk of nuclear war in South Asia. There is a growing recognition by New Delhi and Islamabad that a crisis, triggered by events such as the November terrorist attack in Mumbai, could escalate out of control and result in an unintended nuclear exchange. The Kargil crisis in 1999 and the 2002 cross-border attack on the Indian parliament brought the two nuclear rivals to the brink of war. Having survived two Cuban missile crises of their own, it is time India and Pakistan take steps to manage the risks inherent in their tense nuclear relationship.

War planners on each side recognize the risks of escalation, but instead of exercising caution to prevent mistakes and misunderstandings during a conflict, they have developed risky strategies they hope will enable them to fight a conventional war without crossing the nuclear threshold. India's Cold Start doctrine, formulated after the 2002 standoff to enable India to respond quickly to cross-border terrorism, is a good example of this dangerous reasoning. Under Cold Start, India would conduct quick, punishing strikes into Pakistan, hopefully without crossing Pakistan's fuzzy redlines for a nuclear response. The vague redlines include cutting off a major supply route, seizing key territory, defeating a major Pakistani military group, or blockading Karachi with Indian naval forces. Indian planners believe they can achieve a quick military victory and sue for peace without Pakistan resorting to nuclear weapons. Pakistani military strategists warn that Cold Start would cross their redlines. Despite President Asif Ali Zardari's recent off-the-cuff statement about adopting a no-first-use policy, Pakistan still depends on nuclear weapons to offset India's overwhelming conventional superiority and will use them as a last resort rather than accept military defeat resulting from an Indian invasion. Flirting with nuclear escalation is perilous business that should be avoided.

The risk of escalation is heightened by the fact that each side has deployed nuclear-capable, short-range ballistic missiles armed with conventional payloads as part of their conventional war plans. These missiles are likely to be used early in a crisis against a variety of targets. There is, however, a growing recognition that the use of these missiles in a conflict could easily be misinterpreted as a nuclear attack. A non-nuclear missile strike on an opponent's nuclear forces, or a nuclear facility despite their agreement to refrain from such attacks, or even an accident involving nuclear assets could escalate quickly and even provoke nuclear retaliation. Existing crisis-management measures, such as the underutilized hotline between New Delhi and Islamabad and the agreements to give advanced notice of nuclear accidents and missile tests, are insufficient. Negotiating the elimination of these missiles-India's liquid-fueled Prithvi I and Pakistan's Hatf I-could remove a significant risk of unintended escalation. Such an agreement could be verified, perhaps with international assistance, and pave the way for other restraints.

For example, the "restraint regime" discussed with U.S. officials after the 1998 tests would lengthen the nuclear fuse by establishing a formal agreement to codify the current practice of keeping nuclear warheads separate from missile airframes. Movements of warheads from declared locations would set off alarm bells and hopefully trigger efforts to cool down the crisis. Other risk-reduction options could include negotiated protocols to prevent incidents at sea, as India and Pakistan each plan to add a sea leg to their nuclear triads, and an agreement not to deploy nuclear weapons in provocative border locations such as Kashmir. Such arrangements do not address the root causes of insecurity but can add transparency and predictability to a potentially volatile relationship.

These modest first steps are aimed at preventing an accidental or unintended nuclear exchange and starting the bilateral arms control process. The next steps should focus on finding mutually beneficial arms restraints and codifying acceptable force asymmetries that increase the stability of their deterrent relationship. Such restraints might include limits on missile defenses, a ban on multiple warhead missiles, and a cap on the numbers of some deployed delivery systems, such as the extended-range Shaheens and Agnis. The professed adherence by both sides to the goal of minimum nuclear deterrence should make limitations of this sort acceptable, if not desirable. Eventually, these steps could lay the groundwork for someday reducing nuclear arsenals when India and Pakistan are able to resolve the disputes that underlie their enmity. Yet, the place to start is with quiet diplomacy to help South Asia's nuclear rivals craft bilateral agreements to prevent the fog of war from producing an accidental nuclear catastrophe.

As India and Pakistan reach new levels of nuclear maturity, they also inherit responsibilities to promote regional and global nuclear stability. The Obama administration should mount a renewed effort to bring India and Pakistan into the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and revisit the debate over the proposed fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT). The prospects for overcoming opposition to the CTBT rest heavily on persuading India's hard-line nationalists that joining the CTBT in no way diminishes India's nuclear status but rather enhances it by including India as one of the nations that has tested nuclear weapons. Pakistan would likely follow. The prospects for progress on an FMCT, however, were dimmed by the U.S.-Indian nuclear agreement, which stiffened Islamabad's resistance to a cutoff due to an assessment that such a treaty would lock Pakistan into permanent inferiority compared with India's larger stockpile of weapons-usable materials. The uphill battle to include South Asia in an FMCT might have to wait until both sides have produced mutually agreed stockpiles of weapons-usable materials. China will also have to support the treaty and endorse stockpile limits. Negotiations on stockpile limits, however, could start right away, and preliminary verification measures could also be explored. The initial bilateral visits to nuclear facilities that led to a bilateral safeguards regime between Argentina and Brazil might serve as a model to develop verification protocols.

Finally, the Obama administration should continue the successful programs that help India and Pakistan implement effective export controls and improve the security of ports and borders. More could be done to promote best practices in nuclear (and biological) safety and security. Still, the top priority for arms control should be bilateral agreements that address the two countries' shared interest in preventing nuclear war.

 

 

 


Zachary Davis is a research professor at the Naval Postgraduate School. His views do not represent policies or positions of the U.S. Navy or the Department of Defense.

 


 

 

Historian Barbara Tuchman described the trail of misperceptions and bad decisions that led to mankind's worst self-imposed disasters as a "March of Folly." Now is the time for India and Pakistan to take steps to ensure that another war or crisis between them does not result in a nuclear exchange that destroys both societies. (Continue)

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