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"I actually have a pretty good collection of Arms Control Today, which I have read throughout my career. It's one of the few really serious publications on arms control issues."

– Gary Samore
Former White House Coordinator for Arms Control and WMD Terrorism
Events

Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction: Reassessing the Prewar Assessments

Sections:

Body: 

Arms Control Association
Press Briefing

National Press Club, Murrow Room
529 14th Street, NW
Washington, D.C.

Wednesday, July 9, 2003
1:00 - 2:30 P.M.


Panelists
Greg Thielmann, former director, Strategic, Proliferation, and Military Affairs Office, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, U.S. State Department

Gregory V. Treverton, senior analyst, RAND; former vice chair, National Intelligence Council

Joseph Cirincione, director, Non-Proliferation Project, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Moderator: Daryl Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association

Questions and Answers

Transcript by:
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.


 

KIMBALL: Good afternoon, everyone. My name is Daryl Kimball. I'm the executive director of the Arms Control Association. We're an independent, non-partisan organization dedicated to effective arms control strategies and education about those issues. I want to welcome you to this afternoon's press conference on the subject of "Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction: Reassessing the Prewar Assessments." I'm going to make a few opening remarks, introduce the panelists. They will speak each for about 10 minutes or so and then we're going to take your questions. So let me begin by framing this subject, which has gained a good deal of attention. And if you could all keep your cell phones and other things off while we're going here, that would be helpful.

So to frame this, as we know, the stated rationale for President Bush's decision to invade Iraq was based on what he said -- the administration said were intelligence assessments that made it clear that Iraq continued to posses chemical and biological weapons and that it had renewed its nuclear weapons programs. Now, to be sure, Iraq possessed chemical and biological weapons, it used chemical weapons, and it pursued nuclear weapons in the past. This is not a matter of dispute. We're not here to take issue with that matter, but other issues.

During the 1990s, we should recall, the first group of U.N. inspectors destroyed the bulk of Iraq's chemical and biological weapons and dismantled its nuclear bomb program, but the Iraqi government failed to cooperate fully, leading to the departure of U.N. weapons inspectors in 1998. And for this very reason, the Arms Control Association, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and other pro-arms control, nonproliferation organizations pressed hard for the prompt return of U.N. inspectors to Iraq with expanded capabilities and authority.

Now, clearly, after this latest round of inspections we saw that more time and more cooperation from Iraq was needed to resolve the serious questions about unaccounted for nerve and mustard agents as well as chemical and biological munitions. Nevertheless, as chief weapons inspector Hans Blix warned, one should not equate not-accounted-for with existing. However, numerous administration officials did exactly that. The president and his top advisors told the American people, the Congress, and the international community that the failure of Iraq to account for the destruction of the suspected weapons meant that they must have them. And despite the October 2002 CIA assessment that Saddam Hussein was unlikely to initiate a WMD attack unless provoked, the president insisted that the Iraqi threat was imminent and that a preemptive military invasion was the only way to deal with it. But now, after three months, as we all have seen, the United States and the Pentagon have searched Iraq, have interviewed former weapons scientists in Iraq, but the Pentagon has failed to uncover clear evidence proving the administration's dire prewar claims.

In our view, and in the view of my colleagues here, it is now clear that Iraq was not an immediate threat to the United States that the Bush administration portrayed. We, along with an increasing number of others, believe that the administration made its case for going to war by misrepresenting intelligence findings as well as citing discredited intelligence information. Despite the growing evidence to the contrary, Bush administration officials continue to assert that their prewar intelligence supported their dire assessments and claims and that more time is still needed to find Saddam's chemical and biological weapons, that U.N. inspectors do not have any further role to play in Iraq in dismantling its suspected programs, and that there were other reasons for the United States to go to war in Iraq.

The White House and its allies in Congress are still resisting suggestions for an independent investigation of this matter. They are dismissing skeptics like ourselves as revisionist historians. And now we hear this morning from Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld that the United States did not invade Iraq because it had new evidence about Iraq's weapons programs, but because the administration saw the existing evidence in a new light because of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. This approach in our view is, in the very least, disingenuous, irresponsible, and unsustainable. If telling the truth and sticking to the facts is revisionism in the mind's eye of this administration, then we accept that label.

We're here today as experts on intelligence gathering, in analysis and on weapons of mass destruction to help set the record straight, to respond to the administration's failure to take responsibility for its exaggerated claims, and to underscore what we see as the core issues in this debate about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction with respect to the responsible use of intelligence, with respect to the limits of national intelligence in combating weapons of mass destruction threats, and to take another look at the much-overlooked success of the U.N. weapons inspectors in Iraq over the course of the last decade and over the course of the last few months leading up to the war.

We have with us three people, experts with substantial direct experience on these subjects. First we'll hear from Greg Thielmann, who's sitting here, who was, until September of last year, the director of the Strategic, Proliferation, and Military Affairs Office in the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, more often referred to as INR. He will discuss the Bush administration's misuse of intelligence about Iraq's weapons capabilities from his perspective.

Next we'll hear from Gregory V. Treverton, who is now a senior analyst at RAND and former vice chair of the National Intelligence Council, on why U.S. intelligence alone cannot support the administration's policy of preventive or pre-emptive military action to deal with WMD threats.

And finally we'll hear from Joseph Cirincione, director of the Non-Proliferation Project at the Carnegie Endowment, who will set the record straight, or will try to, on the performance of U.N. arms inspectors in Iraq compared to that of U.S. forces following the fall of Baghdad a couple of months ago.

And as I said, following their opening remarks we'll take your questions. Thank you. And, Greg, the podium is all yours.

Thielmann: Thank you, Daryl. I come before you today as a recently retired U.S. Foreign Service officer with firsthand managerial experience in the use of intelligence on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. I always use that expression in quotation marks.

In the latter part of my 25-year career I served two tours in the State Department's intelligence bureau, INR, the last two years as director of the Office of Strategic, Proliferation and Military Affairs. This office was responsible for monitoring, reporting on and analyzing all source intelligence on a wide range of political and military subjects for the senior leadership of the State Department.

Now, from my perspective as a former mid-level official in the U.S. intelligence community and the Department of State, I believe the Bush administration did not provide an accurate picture to the American people of the military threat posed by Iraq. Some of the fault lies with the performance of the intelligence community, but most of it lies with the way senior officials misused the information they were provided.

After three months of intensive searches on the ground, no weapons of mass destruction have yet been found. But while the search is not yet over, I am confident in concluding that as of March 2003, when we began military operations, Iraq posed no imminent threat to either its neighbors or to the United States. Its military, exhausted by the long war with Iran, severely depleted by Desert Storm, and hobbled by continuing sanctions, was significantly less capable than it was when Iraq invaded first Iran and then Kuwait.

Its nuclear weapons program, largely dismantled by U.N. inspectors in the 1990s, was dormant. Its chemical and biological weapons programs, while illegal and potentially dangerous, were apparently directed at contingent rapid production capabilities rather than maintaining ready stockpiles. Iraq probably [did not have] ballistic missiles capable of delivering weapons payloads to population centers in Israel, Saudi Arabia, or Iran. There was no significant pattern of cooperation between Iraq and the al Qaeda terrorist operation, which had attacked the United States on 9/11. So the question arises: were these realities understood by the intelligence community? My answer would be, some were. Iraqi conventional military weakness, the status of ongoing missile developments there, the lack of a meaningful connection with al Qaeda, these areas were understood by the intelligence community, and the community's assessments were accurately conveyed to the executive and legislative branches.

There were other issues that were subjects of controversy inside the intelligence community, reflecting inadequate information and the difficulty of uncovering closely-held secrets: whether or not the nuclear weapons program was being reconstituted, for example; whether or not Saddam had retained a small number of extended-range SCUD missiles; whether or not he had chemical or biological weapons available for immediate use. Now, the ambiguity in these assessments was not faithfully conveyed in intelligence community reporting, so how did we in the intelligence community fail to understand the full reality, because some of the characteristics we describe today we would have described a little bit differently before the war.

Sometimes we made honest errors, basing our conclusions on reasonable logic, prudent worst-case assumptions, information from otherwise reliable sources. Sometimes our tradecraft was wanting. Occasionally malfeasance occurred. But I want to be very careful to separate error from wrongdoing, just reminding you that intelligence analysis is a very tricky business. You never have all the information that you want; information is often contradictory. Trying as an analyst to reduce the information to a form that can be digested by non-specialists, or even knowledgeable specialists who have a limited amount of time to absorb it, is a serious challenge. And of course you have to expect occasional mistakes. An organization that is not willing to risk making mistakes is not providing good intelligence analysis and is not doing its job.

And just to give you a little bit of an example of what I mean here, the National Intelligence Estimate in October 2002 contained what I think we would assess today as an error. It said, quote, "Saddam probably has stocked a few hundred metric tons of chemical weapons agents." Well, we may have been wrong, but this was still, I would argue, not an irresponsible call based on Saddam's past behavior. The gaps in Iraqi accounting, the efforts of Iraq to hide elements of his program, and/or knowledge of current production capabilities based on industrial capacity and capabilities all make this not an unreasonable judgment at all.

There were notable deficiencies in the producing and packaging of intelligence community products. I would argue the intelligence community continues to be fixated on the warning function. Warning is part of the job of the intelligence community, but so is prediction and analysis. And to put it in other words, the intelligence community works very hard, sometimes too hard, to warn what could happen. It doesn't really work as hard as I think it should on what is likely to happen or what it would mean if it did happen. This is not a new problem or a new phenomenon in the intelligence community, the tendency, the temptation to stress the improbable and the implausible over the likely. And if you want a case study of this, I would cite my article in Arms Control Today, looking at the Rumsfeld Commission Report on the ballistic missile threat which was issued five years ago today, to this month, a threat with has not at all materialized in the way the Rumsfeld Commission said that it would.

There also have been some misleading public summaries of classified material. One would notice in the October National Intelligence Estimate that there is a fairly equal treatment of the nuclear, biological, chemical and missile categories. I would argue this is really a bureaucratic requirement, which tends to give the reader the wrong impression. If you look again at that nuclear section, there's not much meat there. It's mostly about what Iraq did prior to 1990, very little discussion and detail about what evidence we have, and we'll get into some of the evidence we had later. But there was a misleading impression given, but how can you, when you're making a case-and I'm afraid this was partly a document making a case-you can't just have a couple of sentences saying, and the nuclear program, which was largely dismantled in the 1990s, is still pretty much quiescent.

There is also a problem of cloaking areas of controversy in ambiguity. And to me the classic example of this is the aluminum tubes issue. The 27-page classified summary of the October National Intelligence Estimate, reported to the Congress and to the nation, if anyone was listening, that most analysts said that the intercepted aluminum tubes that Iraq was trying to acquire was for Iraq's nuclear weapons program to make centrifuges that would enrich uranium. And then almost parenthetically it noted that some analysts thought it was not; it was for other purposes. What the estimate meant to say, or to give you some sensitive information so you can break the code in the future, was that the larger agencies, CIA and DIA, supported this interpretation. Smaller agencies, like INR and the Department of Energy (DOE), did not. Well, there is no poll of intelligence analysts on these issues. We can't say "most analysts" and "some analysts." The relevant questions are, which analysts knew the subject, what was their opinion? And on issues like this there is a long and comprehensive and thorough vetting of the cases to be made, the evidence available, and it was somewhat disingenuous not to let the public know that the agencies like DOE, that knew the most about using aluminum for centrifuge enrichments, happened to be in that "some analysts" category.

There were also some inaccurate formulations. The Director of Central Intelligence, in prepared, considered statements to Congress in February of 2003 said, "Iraq retains, in violation of U.N. resolutions, a small number of SCUD missiles that were produced before the Gulf War. This information is based on a solid foundation of intelligence," unquote. This was not what the intelligence community said; the intelligence community said, it probably retains. What it said actually was, "We cannot confirm that all of those over 800 missiles that Iraq obtained have all been destroyed. The vast majority we can confirm that they are destroyed, but there are a few that we cannot yet account for." I would argue that's an important difference, and I cannot, for the life of me, understand how, in a prepared segment to Congress, that very important precision would have become so imprecise.

Now, the principal reason that Americans did not understand the nature of the Iraqi threat, in my view, was the failure of senior administration officials to speak honestly about what the intelligence showed. This administration has had a faith-based intelligence attitude, its top-down use of intelligence: we know the answers, give us the intelligence to support those answers. When you sense this kind of attitude, I would say, do you squash the spirit of intellectual inquiry and integrity that is absolutely necessary in order for the intelligence community to be well used? You have to suspend your judgments, at least for a little while, to hear what the experts on the subject who are closest to the intelligence think is going on, and that so often was not done. But I would make an important exclusion here because it would be very unfortunate if this were interpreted as a statement that we had this impression in the Department of State. I would say we never had this impression in the Department of State with regard to the secretary and the deputy secretary. We had a very good atmosphere, I think, within the State Department and INR bureaucracy in that we had the impression that what the secretary wanted to hear was our best assessment of what was happening. And I really say that without exception. That was the atmosphere that we worked under in INR, and I'm very grateful for that, especially when I draw some conclusions about how it may have been in other agencies.

Going down the list of administration deficiencies, or distortions, one has to talk about, first and foremost, the nuclear threat being hyped. I've already said I don't think there was a reconstitution or active rejuvenation of the nuclear weapons program. Most of the stories here are familiar to you: the uranium from Niger story, the aluminum tube story. But I would just remind you that much of the critical assessment of this occurred months before it became known to the public. And on both of these things, in the case of Niger, at least from the State Department's perspective, INR's perspective, this was a bad report; it wasn't worth wasting any more time on. In the case of the aluminum tubes, there was a genuine controversy, and yet that genuine controversy was not honestly described when you had senior administration officials talking about it. Condoleezza Rice said the aluminum could only really be used for centrifuges. No one party to the debates would have ever made a statement like that. U.S. news quoted an administration official saying, "What turnip truck do you think we fell off of? There's no doubt about whether the aluminum tubes could be used for gas centrifuges" - an unnamed administration official. Well, there were doubts about it. There were doubts that increased over time and there were doubts by serious people who had serious knowledge of the issue.

I won't elaborate on the inflation of the al Qaeda/Saddam connection except to say it's extremely unfortunate, I think it's obvious, that it occurred.

I would mention just briefly that there was another kind of distortion, and that is the absence of honest intellectual discussion about the other threats existing in the world concurrently with the Iraqi threat. Where was the discussion of comparison with the threat posed by either Iran or North Korea? I mean, they were, after all, all part of the "axis of evil," but in those days leading up to the October National Intelligence Estimate and a vote on the war resolution, we didn't know that North Korea had just told us they were proceeding with their nuclear weapons program. We did of course know that Iran had a very active missile development program and was not constrained, unlike Iraq. We knew about the terrorist threat in Afghanistan, the continuing threat there and the much greater ease of al Qaeda operating there than in Iraq, but you heard very little comparison being made about one threat against another threat at a critical decision point for the Congress.

I had earlier tried to differentiate error from malfeasance, but I should also differentiate inconsequential malfeasance from consequential distortion. And I'm afraid I would have to cite some of the examples of the president in looking at some of the most striking examples of distortions that have weighty consequences. When President Bush spoke to the nation on March 17th, he said, "Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised" - "leaves no doubt." Obviously what he was probably referring to was the continued Iraqi interest in chemical and biological weapons. He assumed that there was a possession of these weapons. It was not a known fact within the intelligence community. The most lethal weapons ever devised? Well, ladies and gentlemen, nuclear weapons are the most lethal weapons ever devised. Iraq had no nuclear weapons and it had a program that was not being actively rejuvenated. I think you could even argue that a B-29 with an incendiary bomb, or a fleet of them, is a much more lethal weapon than the biological and chemical weapons programs of Iraq.

Then there's the connection to al Qaeda, and just to give you a flavor - remind you of what President Bush said, "Terror cells and outlaw regimes building weapons of mass destruction are different faces of the same evil." The president said, "Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of al Qaeda. Imagine those 19 hijackers with other weapons and other plans, this time armed by Saddam Hussein." And then, in his end-of-combat-operations speech on the carrier, Abraham Lincoln, he said, "The liberation of Iraq is a crucial advance in the campaign against terror. We have removed an ally of al Qaeda." Saddam and Osama allies; different faces of the same evil. This is not according to most of the experts on terrorism and the Middle East that I talked to. I didn't take a poll, I admit, but since I couldn't find any experts who had this point of view, I feel confident in saying this.

I'll just conclude by noting that Congressman Tom DeLay was quoted in today's paper defending the president's approach, noting it's very easy to pick one little flaw here and one little flaw there. Well, my response is, a little flaw in presentation here and a little flaw there and pretty soon you have fostered a fundamentally flawed view of reality, seriously eroding the credibility of the U.S. government in the process.

Kimball: Thank you, Greg. (Applause.) We'll now hear from another Greg, Gregory Treverton.

Treverton: Thanks, Daryl. It's a pleasure to be here, particularly on a panel in which Gregs are appropriately represented. I should make the ritual disclaimer that anything I say should not be attributed to RAND. RAND, as you know, doesn't take stands, and more to the point, anything I said would be disagreed with by at least someone else at RAND. Most of what I'll say in my brief opening remarks really will complement rather than continue what Greg Thielmann said. I can't, however, resist just two quick comments. They're very supportive of what Greg said.

It takes me all to the bureaucratics and theology of doing national intelligence estimates. That's a subject that would keep us here until tomorrow. We won't do that, but I think point one would be if you look at the public documents, the public release of the NIE, the National Intelligence Estimate, and its companion piece by the British, the Joint Intelligence Committee, last fall, those stand pretty well on their merits as solid, careful pieces of intelligence in an area that is politically loaded, as we know, and where there's too little evidence.

Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence [Stephen] Cambone recently said-he got it exactly right- "Intelligence is not evidence. It's a piece of a mosaic on which you base policy." The difficulty is, at least from my perspective, that the administration, for understandable reasons, mostly of public presentation, did turn intelligence into evidence, or seek to, in making the best bumper-sticker, quickly apprehendable case for moving into Iraq that it could.

Let me then turn to what is my complementary subject. It's the subject of my remarks, and as well my piece in Arms Control Today. There the central argument is that Mr. Bush has begun to articulate a quite stunning doctrine. It's not yet codified as a doctrine, and it's always dangerous to do so in Washington, but one that is anticipatory, preemptive and unilateral if need be. There's a lot to be said for that doctrine, but the point is-from my perspective-for all its technical wizardry, the U.S. intelligence community still lacks the ability to locate, target and take out some opponents' weapons of mass destruction capability with any precision. Still, and for the foreseeable future, taking out a foe's WMD means, as it did in Iraq, taking out the foe.

Let me embellish that with just a couple quick points. First, the record of intelligence in the war against Iraq I think is a quite impressive one, and it ought not to be lost in the controversy we're having now. It was in the context of absolute air supremacy. The United States had layers of sensors, from satellites all the way down to Special Forces and troops on the ground. It managed what is now called multi-int. This is bright, young, computer-savvy analysts, mostly working around the edges of existing organizations rather than through them, working together to try and put signals from different sources, from signals from imagery, from interviews or espionage reports together very quickly to provide support for the war fighters. It was very impressive at making the battlefield transparent for American forces, at reducing American casualties and making it easier to target opponents. The kinds of communications problems both organizational and in terms of civil bandwidth that we had in Desert Storm were much less in evidence. We're very good at getting information together and back to the war fighters.

Second point, though, would be that no matter how impressive that was, it's plain that before the war we weren't anywhere near the capacity to even know about the exact state of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, much less destroy them, much less destroy them preemptively without a major war. As you know, the U.N. weapons inspectors were expelled in 1998, but at least their years provided some baseline of work. And if you ask about the other instant case, North Korea, there too it shows even more graphically how difficult it is to know about, still less locate, still less hit weapons of mass destruction in any selective, surgical or preemptive way.

As you know, since my time in the National Intelligence Council, we've judged that North Korea, probably the best one can do, has one or two nuclear weapons but no idea where they might be; no idea where they might be in the myriad of tunnels that the North Koreans dig. There is also the unhappiness of geography that puts Seoul within easy artillery range of North Korea, so selective preemption is not an option. We look at the history of 1994, the last nuclear crisis. The Clinton administration also talked about, thought about, looked at military options against WMD, including selective ones, and realized that they just didn't exist.

More generally, while what's called ISR in the intelligence community-intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance-has gotten very much better. We're in a class by ourselves in the world. It still isn't good enough and won't be good enough to locate a few weapons of mass destruction. Indeed, the things that are difficult read like a catalogue of things that would-be proliferators will do to make it hard for us to find them. It's very difficult to locate things that are buried or that are concealed. Those are exactly what you do with your weapons programs of mass destruction. We're making progress at identifying signatures from chemicals or other emanations from facilities, but we're only getting better at that. We're getting a lot better at detecting things that are moving, though that's still difficult when there's lots of clutter on the ground. But typically adversaries would hide not-convenient-enough-to-move weapons of mass destruction. So the point is that as we think about trying to hit others before they hit us, perfectly understandable, we're a long ways from having the intelligence capability to find things with that kind of precision, still less hit them.

Let me make just one concluding point, and that is it seems to me this state of affairs suggests the continuing value of multilateral inspections through the U.N. or other bodies. Are they a panacea? Of course not. Could we verify certain kinds of bans on North Korean programs, even with lots of onsite inspection? Probably not. But if you look, interestingly, at the contrast between Iraq and North Korea, it is instructive. Well, as I said, the inspectors, as you know, were kicked out of Iraq in 1998. They did roam around for seven years and found a lot, destroyed a lot, built at least some baseline for further analysis. In the case of North Korea, by contrast, there was only one inspection by the IAEA, and that's 10 years ago. So we lack the kind of baseline that might permit multilateral efforts to work as closely with national intelligence as circumstances permit, to do much better, not at pinpointing locations for preemption of weapons of mass destruction, but at giving ourselves some sense for what's there and what's not.

Thanks.

(Applause.)

Kimball: Thank you, Greg. Now we'll hear from Joe Cirincione.

Cirincione: Thank you very much, Daryl, and I'd like to thank the Arms Control Association for sponsoring this press conference today. It's an honor to be in the panel with both these fine experts, and I must say Greg Thielmann in particular. I admire your courage and your forthrightness in coming forth and sharing the information that you have accumulated through so many years of dedicated service to our nation.

I'm going to just make a few brief remarks. I'd like to focus my remarks on three essential points, and the first follows from what Greg Treverton had to say, and that's a subject that has been little discussed in the past few months, and it's part of our necessary reassessment, reassessing the effectiveness of the U.N. inspection process and of inspections in general as a tool for preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

In light of the past three months of fruitless searches by U.S., British, and Australian experts, the UNMOVIC inspection process in Iraq now looks much better than critics at the time claimed. It appears that the inspection process was working, and if it had been given enough time and enough resources, could have continued to work and effectively stymied and prevented any new Iraqi efforts on weapons of mass destruction. Never have so few been criticized by so many with so little justification.

Second, the three months of U.N. inspections and the three months of U.S. searches now make it increasingly clear that the nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and the missile programs did not exist on the scale that the administration claimed before the war. We can now conclude with a fair degree of confidence that a large number of the claims made by senior officials before the war was simply not true. We can judge that others are unlikely to be proven true, and reserve judgment on others pending developments over the next few months.

Three, it appears that Iraq may have continued programs of research on some weapons, trying to keep intact elements for restarting weapons programs after international inspections or sanctions had ended, but there were not programs involving the large-scale production of ready-to-use chemical or biological weapons or missile systems, nor the prospect that Iraq would soon have a nuclear weapon.

Let me fill in some more details on the inspection process. Before the war, U.N. inspectors from UNMOVIC and from the IAEA visited over 600 suspect sites in Iraq, including 44 sites never previously inspected. They discovered several items in violation of the prohibitions imposed by the U.N. resolutions and supervised the destruction of 72 al Samoud missiles, which exceeded the allowed 150-kilometer flight-range by some 30 kilometers, as well as related prohibited missile launchers, missile engines, and casting chambers for missile parts. They also discovered and destroyed fuel spray tanks and 122-millimeter rocket warheads that could have been used to deliver chemical or biological warfare agents. These were all violations of U.N. resolutions, but they were in the process of being discovered and corrected.

At the time, their work was heavily criticized and even mocked by administration officials and pro-war advocates in the media and many research institutes. Now, with the benefit of these three months of searches by thousands of U.S., British and Australian troops and imported experts, we can conclude that in fact the U.N. inspections were working remarkably well. As the Foreign Affairs Committee of the British House of Commons reported this week, these U.S., British and Australian troops have now visited over 230 suspected sites but have uncovered, quote, "little evidence of proscribed weapons and materials." This is just an official finding of the obvious. They have scoured all the sites specifically mentioned in pre-war claims as having expanded their production facilities or believed by the administration to be engaged in large-scale production of chemical or biological warfare agents.

They have not found any evidence of any prohibited activities at any of these sites, nor have the troops found any evidence of unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, which formed a central and very dramatic part of Secretary of State Colin Powell's testimony before the United Nations in February. Nor have they found any evidence of the dozens or more Scud missiles, which were said to exist. In his U.N. testimony, Secretary Powell cited very specific intelligence of Iraqi movements of Scud and Scud warheads filled with biological and chemical warfare agents from Baghdad into western Iraq. It made the U.N. inspectors look like fools. But they were not fools; they had not missed these Scuds. These Scuds did not and do not exist. No sign of these missiles or warheads have been found.

It is now fair to say that the U.N. inspection process was working, and if given the time and resources necessary, could have had a good chance of both preventing any ongoing programs, discovering any activities that were underway, and ending a good deal of this low-level activity, such as the hiding of critical blueprints and parts recently unearthed in the backyard of an Iraqi scientist who came forward, and preventing the restart of any of these programs as long as the UNMOVIC plan had been allowed to continue. Remember, the inspectors were never going to leave Iraq. This was an onsite monitoring and verification regime. There would never be a time when Saddam would be allowed to roam free to restart these programs without inspectors looking over his shoulders and being able to discover it.

Let me just say a word on the threat assessments. I've only got four more minutes. It's clear by now, as you go and you look back at what happened with the threat assessment process, that the assessments and warnings from the administration followed a bell curve. From 1998 to 2001 they followed a fairly low-level of concern about Iraqi programs. It then rose dramatically in 2002, peaking in warnings about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program in 2003 at the start of the war, and then declined in the weeks and months after the war to lowered expectations about the size of the arsenals and apparently little concern about the use or transfer of these weapons or capabilities. How little concern the administration now has about these programs is how little planning went into guarding and seizing the nuclear facilities and how little concern there apparently is about the transfer or sale of any weapons of mass destruction that they apparently still believe may exist in Iraq.

In many cases during this period, as Greg has pointed out, the public statements went beyond the consensus intelligence estimates at the time. At the Carnegie Endowment we have spent a lot of time over the last few weeks scrubbing these assessments, and two things are clear. One is that the public statements went far beyond the now-unclassified and publicly available intelligence assessments. All the "could-be" and "may-have" and "possibly" were dropped from the public statements, and they became "is," "has" and "definitely." So the administration officials repeatedly went beyond the existing intelligence assessments, and in some of these cases this included the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, who should have known better.

But a second process was underway, and that's the transformation of the assessments themselves. When we went back and looked at the intelligence assessments on Iraqi programs-and you can all do this; you can just go to the CIA website, cia.gov, and look at reports and look on the unclassified portions of the biannual intelligence assessments provided by the intelligence agencies to the Congress, reporting on the "Activities of Foreign Governments in Regards to Weapons of Mass Destruction;" long title, short reports. You can go there or just go to our website, proliferationnews.org, and click on "threat assessments" and we'll give them there for you.

We've done an assessment of this, which we posted on proliferationnews.org called "Follow the Assessments." And what it details is this: from 1998 to 2001, the consensus of the intelligence agency was that most of Iraq's chemical, biological, nuclear and long-range missile capability had been destroyed by and during the 1991 Gulf War and that U.N. inspections and subsequent military actions destroyed the rest. Two, there was not hard evidence-not hard evidence-that any chemical or biological weapons remained in Iraq, but there were some concerns about renewed production. Three, as Iraq rebuilt some of the equipment for civilian use, it could also be used to manufacture chemical or biological weapons. And, four, an inspections regime was necessary to determine the status of these programs.

What happened in 2002 was that these assessments dramatically changed, but not because of new evidence. As Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said today in testimony before the Congress, quote, "The coalition did not act in Iraq because we had discovered dramatic new evidence of Iraq's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. We acted because we saw the evidence in a dramatic new light, through the prism of our experience of 9/11." Well, this is a shocking statement. If Secretary Rumsfeld had made this statement a year ago or six month ago, there would have been a very different debate about the war. The administration officials repeatedly gave the impression, and in fact said, that they had new evidence. They repeatedly cited very specific instances where there were weapons: we know without a doubt, we know with great certainty. Donald Rumsfeld himself said, we know they're here, here, and here. Well; that has got to be new evidence because it sure wasn't in the CIA reports. There was no hard evidence, the intelligence agency said, of any of these weapons existing. We had to have an inspection regime to find out if these weapons were actually there. That reference to the inspection regime was also dropped in 2002.

Here's how I think you can best understand this, and I'll conclude with this. Lacking any hard evidence on Iraqi programs, government officials seem to have developed an outline of a threat picture and then accumulated bits and pieces of information that filled in that picture. As National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice explained to George Stephanopoulos on June 8th, the White House did not have one single assessment but rather formed a, quote, "judgment." The judgment was, quote, "not about a data point here or a data point there, but about what Saddam Hussein was doing, that he had weapons of mass destruction. That was the judgment." Close quote. This, she said, was a picture that they developed when they, quote, "connected a lot of dots from multiple sources."

Former British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said of a similar methodology in the United Kingdom, quote, "I think it would be fair to say that there was a selection of evidence to support a conclusion. I fear we got into a position in which the intelligence was not being used to shape and inform policy but to shape policy that was already settled." I agree with Secretary Cook. I believe (audio break, tape change). How can we depend on the intelligence assessments unless we know and have confidence that the intelligence assessment process is not being politicized by whichever party happens to hold the White House at any given time. Thank you very much.

Kimball: Thank you very much, Joe and Greg and Greg. We will now move to questions. If you could please state your name, I'm going to briefly restate your question so that it can be recorded. We will start with reporters. Barry Schweid, please.

Q: (Off mike.)

KIMBALL: Thanks, Barry. Why didn't people walk out over this? Greg?

THIELMANN: Well, it's no secret the U.S. has a different culture than Britain does. I mean, in Britain, people resign in protest; in America, people don't resign in protest. So it's partly a cultural issue. There are whole books written on this, "Resignation in Protest" is one that comes to mind; I have read it. (Chuckles.)

I would remind you that three Foreign Service officers resigned over the handling of the Iraq war. I don't think it got very much press attention. I have told people that the metaphor that comes to mind for me is canaries in a cage-the way that miners used to take canaries in a cage to find out whether there was poisonous gas in the air because the canaries would die first. And my rule of thumb is whenever you see a cluster of U.S. Foreign Service officers resigning, you better take a deep breath and check and see what kind of policy you have. It happened in Kosovo, it happened again in Iraq, but no one paid much attention.

It's not career enhancing to resign. That's the easiest answer. Loyalty is so valued. Resigning in protest is so valued that you're basically burning a bridge you will never re-cross. There are a few exceptions. So that's mainly my answer. The culture of the foreign service is that you try to serve honorably one president after another, you try to do the best job you can, you try to minimize the times when you're put in a situation when your conscience finds it intolerable-and there are ways to do that-and then you try to limit damage.

And I would argue that you could even find examples in the testimony of Colin Powell to the U.N. Security Council in February of him limiting damage to his own integrity and to the credibility of the U.S. He did not mention the Niger story; little-noticed at the time, I don't know why not. It was only eight days earlier the president had cited that as one of the only two pieces of evidence he wanted to talk about on the reconstitution. No one pointed out this non-barking dog at the time. Colin Powell -

[NOTE: ALL QUESTIONS WERE OFF MIKE. THE TEXT OF QUESTIONS THROUGH OUT THE REMAINDER OF THE TRANSCRIPT ARE PARAPHRASED BASED ON ARMS CONTROL ASSOCIATION NOTES OF THE CONFERENCE.]

Q: What about Secretary's Powell's inclusion of the disputed aluminum tubes in his UN presentation?

THIELMANN: Well, he certainly knew what we thought of it. The IAEA had come out with a tentative conclusion that it was used for artillery rockets and not for a nuclear weapons program. So that was one example, but also in the way that he talked about the aluminum tubes. I noted how the administration previously said they can only be used for centrifuges. He said: "they can be adapted for." Well, that's a big difference; and so it's less of a distortion, less of a deception than others have used. That's what people do, trying to serve the president and serve the truth.

Q: Was the intelligence put to the president in simpler terms so it could be more easily understood?

THIELMANN: I'm not the best source on that because I didn't do the presenting. The CIA has to talk to that. They're the ones that met the president every day. They presented him information that was not even cleared with the heads of other U.S. intelligence agencies, so we were operating in the dark about what the president was being told on a lot of these issues. They would have to describe that. I think part of the answer is obvious.

KIMBALL: Other questions? John?

Q: Were intelligence analysts worried about how worst-case estimations might be used to justify going to war?

KIMBALL: That's to Greg Thielmann.

THIELMANN: And I think that Greg Treverton would be able to address that also because the different functions of the intelligence community assessments are what you're alluding to there. There are some different functions, and we really have to do it all, really. But you are identifying a very important point, and whenever a nation is getting ready to go to war, one of the things you want to make sure that you do-and this is especially the case of the Defense Intelligence Agency-is to use prudent worst-case analysis. You do not want to be surprised by underestimating an enemy, and you're much less concerned in those circumstances and our military should be less concerned than the dangers of overestimating, in terms of having too many horses on the ground.

Other intelligence entities like INR have a somewhat different perspective on it. I mean, the people we serve in the State Department have to use finite diplomatic resources to apply to crises and national security threats; and so, that puts a premium on identifying what is likely to happen, not what could happen in the worst circumstances. And so we do have different institutional perspectives here, but ideally I would say that the National Intelligence Council that produces NIEs has to try to serve everyone.

So it's both legitimate and probably a good idea to say: this is what we think is going to happen, but we could be wrong, and if we're wrong it is for the following reasons; and if we're wrong, this could happen, it could be as bad as this. I think both of those things belong there, and it's partly a question of how you package them and present them. And one of my complaints in the past has been that NIEs sometimes, in order to make political points, they frontload implausible theoretical developments and kind of bury in the details. Oh, by the way, we actually think this not going to happen and this is what is really going to happen. That is not doing a service to the Congress, to the other people who use these things, and to the American people.

KIMBALL: Greg Treverton, you want to take a cut at that?

TREVERTON: Just add two quick points. One is that, in a funny sense, we're now having a debate about intelligence when, in fact, it seems to me that it's mostly not about intelligence. As I said earlier, it looks to me, if you read the intelligence out there, Joe may be right; but there was some evolution, perhaps under pressure, over time. But on the whole, it seems the intelligence stands on its own. So the discussion is really not about that, but about whether the administration improperly characterized that intelligence in making a public case for war in Iraq, and maybe whether or not the director of Central Intelligence is included in that set of people that may have improperly characterized the intelligence.

The second point I want to make is that-I know none of us will hold this view-but there is a sort of view out there that policymakers are clean slates and they listen attentively to what intelligence says and act accordingly. There are at least two things wrong with that. One is that the most interesting issues, the difficult questions, begin where the evidence ends, and so you do get lots of probablys/may-haves that are susceptible to very different interpretations.

The more important problem with that is that policymakers aren't blank slates; they come into office with very strong preconceptions, at least on some issues. And this is an administration that, as Paul Wolfowitz was honest to say some months ago, had a lot of reasons for a lot of years to want to take down Saddam Hussein's regime, and in that sense, for it, maybe the weapons of mass destruction issue was only the easiest part of the public presentation. So then if we're saying what's the issue, the issue is did they not make an entirely fair argument with the American people about why it was necessary in their view to take out Saddam.

KIMBALL: We have got lots of hands. Yes, sir? If you could identify yourself, please?

Q: (Off mike.)

KIMBALL: Joe, do you want to reply? I mean, I think there is one thing that might be worth saying with respect to the issue you're bringing up, which is should any of us be surprised that there have been no dramatic weapons finds since the end of the war. I would say, and there are others, including Hans Blix, who are not so surprised. In part, that is because of our view that the weapons inspectors were effectively constraining militarily significant Iraqi weapons of mass destruction programs.

Would we be surprised if there is dramatic evidence that shows up or at least even some relatively small direct finds? I personally would not be surprised about that either because, after all, Iraq did have chemical and biological programs and munitions. These could be debris left over from those programs. They could be materials that were, indeed, secreted away before the war. So, I mean, I think those observations are important as we evaluate this, these questions. Joe, do you want to try to take a whack at that?

CIRINCIONE: Well, the first one is easy. No, we have got Iraq and we're not giving it back. I don't think there's any prospect in the near future of withdrawal of U.S. troops. Whatever we thought about the war beforehand, we are in Iraq and we are going to be there for a quite a long time, and it's in everybody's interest to make sure that this occupation goes as smoothly as possible with as few lives lost on all sides as possible. We cannot afford to have Iraq devolve into the kind of chaos that is happening in Afghanistan, that's number one.

Number two, most people in this field believed that there were weapons or weapons program activity going on inside Iraq after inspectors left in 1998. And so, when you hear people citing the fact that many people-Carnegie Endowment, Clinton administration officials-have said there were chemical or probably were chemical or biological weapons or weapons activity in Iraq, that's true. This was never a debate about weapons; it was a debate about war. Did we need to go to war to solve this problem? What we're finding now is, I think, is a surprise to most of us, that there appears to be far less activity going on. There appears now to have been far less activity going on in Iraq than we thought.

I fully still expect to find some chemical weapons, to find some anthrax samples, but it appears that what Saddam did with the chemical and biological and missile programs was pretty much what he did with the nuclear program; contracted it back to core elements, a cadre of scientists and technicians perhaps doing low-level research work; the core elements of it, perhaps some precursors, perhaps some actual chemicals, perhaps some anthrax, but waiting for the time when he could rebuild. In part, this is because he was having significant problems with the pre-1991 programs. So they were waiting to reconstruct these efforts. That is a threat, that is a problem, that is a violation, but it was not an imminent and clear danger to the national security of the United States.

KIMBALL: Yes, sir?

Q: Why are concerns about the war and the lack of WMD findings playing out so much different politically in the United States and Britain?

KIMBALL: Greg Treverton?

TREVERTON: This will be a California perspective, not a Washington perspective. My impression is that it's mostly that the American people have been convinced that the Saddam regime was a very bad thing for lots of reasons for a long, long time, and that why they were focused on mass destruction, because that's where the administration pointed them. On the whole, there was, particularly after 9/11, a general support that says let's take care of bad guys, maybe they're connected to terrorism. You see the polls; lots of Americans believe that there was a link between Iraq and al Qaeda despite the lack of intelligence evidence on that score.

So I think it is that the general climate here after 9/11 and the long experience with Iraq and the perceived unhappy inspections process. Although I much agree with Joe, it was a lot more effective than it looked. But most Americans do, at least so far, give the administration the benefit of the doubt. Getting rid of Saddam was good for lots of reasons, and if there aren't weapons of mass destruction, that's a concern but not the same kind of concern as there is in a parliamentary system like Britain.

It's interesting, as a reader, that the best arguments for the war in Iraq were made by Tony Blair, not by George Bush, because Blair was willing to admit that there were arguments to the contrary, that it was a close call, and that you could have a debate. That makes it, in some sense, interesting, maybe surprising, that he's now being roasted worse for being, in some ways, more open about his argument beforehand.

KIMBALL: If I might just try to address part of that. To me, and it's an interesting question, it's difficult for us to try to understand fully British politics or culture, but I think we can say a few things about the American system. One of which I think is important is that those parties in the United States government who are responsible for keeping the executive branch accountable, for asking the tough questions, are themselves, some of the people who were pushing for this war, who were making some of these dire assessments based on the administration's interpretation of the intelligence information.

And we see, right now, the key congressional committees who would investigate-whose role it is to investigate these types of matters-refusing to pursue the issues. I think that that is highly unfortunate. I think that that is an abdication of responsibility. I won't question or try to address their motivations. I think that might be obvious to some. But I think that this problem points to the need for a new type of independent investigation, perhaps in the form of a commission that does investigate the issues related to this episode, that is not tied to, as many members of Congress are, their votes on the resolution for the war.

So I think the lack of inquiry points, in Congress, points to the need for this kind of independent investigation so that we can understand the truth behind these issues and hold the administration accountable for what it should and what it shouldn't be held accountable for in this case.

KIMBALL: Yes, I'm sorry. Okay.

Q: Are you aware of any intelligence analysts feeling pressure to change their assessments?

THIELMANN: During my time in INR, I'm proud to say that I can't remember any specific examples of an INR intelligence analyst that changed his or her views because of intelligence pressure. That's partly because of the culture that the bureau maintains of being absolutely independent of the other part of the State Department. One of the benefits was that people in the policy bureaus knew that INR would do its analysis independent of whether it was embarrassing or inconvenient for State Department policy.

That we were under pressure sometimes from parts of the State Department policy side is also indisputable. I had already said that I didn't feel that we had any signals from the secretary himself that he wanted anything other than our best shot, but there were others in the Department who we did feel pressure from on a variety of issues.

Q: So you are not aware of any analysts who felt pressure?

THIELMANN: I'm saying you should ask the CIA and DIA; I can only speak for INR.

KIMBALL: Questions from other reporters, please. Yes, sir?

Q: Senator Kennedy has said that North Korea was a bigger threat than Iraq. What is your assessment of where Iraq fell in the threat spectrum?

CIRINCIONE: I have always considered North Korea a much more serious proliferation threat than Iraq was. In fact, well, just quickly, in my view of the world, the most serious proliferation threat we face is from Russia because, like Willie Sutton said about why he robbed banks, that's where the weapons are. You have got 20,000 to 40,000 nuclear weapons in Russia, some of them in very insecure conditions. We have got to lock those up before terrorists get their hands on them. The second-greatest proliferation threat, in my view, is Pakistan. We have a serious problem with Pakistan because what is going on now with transfers of technology and what could happen should that government destabilize.

The third most serious threat is North Korea. These people are building nuclear weapons; they have what Saddam only wanted. Could the president make a case for military action against North Korea? No, there is no good military option with North Korea. Any military strike, including a strike on the Yongbyon reprocessing facility, would likely trigger a peninsula-wide war. This is why the president of South Korea calls any military action very, very dangerous. He is right. This is why the president is trying to pursue a diplomatic strategy; he is right. The problem is the diplomatic strategy has been fairly incoherent at this point because the policy process has broken down between the State Department and the Defense Department. That's a short answer to a very complicated question.

KIMBALL: That's well said, and I think also in North Korea we have to be conscious of the fact that intelligence plays a role in U.S. policy. There have been reports recently about implosion devices that have been faithfully reported by some reporters without much question. This is reminiscent of some of the coverage of Iraq. I think we, again, need to be careful about taking some of these could be and maybe intelligence assessments at face value. Yes, sir?

Q: Were U.S. officials lying to President Bush about Iraq attempts to buy uranium from Africa?

KIMBALL: I think that's a question for Greg Thielmann.

THIELMANN: I agree with the thrust of your question. It certainly requires scrutiny and answers. I have enough experience in how senior officials use information related to intelligence to know that this is not done casually or off-the-cuff. And whatever pressures there are for State Department people speaking publicly on an issue, there is even greater pressure when the president of the United States, in essence, reveals specially-compartmented information, top-secret information, to the world. When he attributes it to a foreign government, this kind of information is the kind of thing that the president's staff would want to be very careful that they were protecting him; that they are not putting him out on a limb. The obvious thing to do is to check and check twice with the intelligence people and say: are you sure about this information, can we really say thing, does this jeopardize voices and methods?

So all of my experience leads me to the conclusion that something was seriously amiss here. There was not only our assessment in INR that this was bad information, but I have the impression-not personal knowledge, but the impression from the press-that this was widely discredited throughout the U.S. government. So it's a very important question, it seems to me, how this got into the president's speech, particularly when the category of weapons that this addresses is the most important issues regarding Iraqi weapons of mass destruction developments, and this was one of only two specific pieces of information cited to justify it.

KIMBALL: Yes, sir?

Q: Was the case for war with Iraq an intelligence failure or misrepresentation?

THIELMANN: isrepresentation on the part of the administration.

KIMBALL: Okay. Yes, sir?

Q: Two questions. You said the Secretary of State was careful about how he presented intelligence, but what about his assertions about Iraq moving Scuds and Scud warheads around in western Iraq? And, Mr. Treverton, you said your remarks were complementary to Mr. Thielmann's but I read them differently, could you explain?

THIELMANN: On the Scud issue, I'm afraid I'm going to have to defer because I would have to review what the secretary said, when he said it. I think this happened after the time that I was there and I don't know to what he was referring. I just can't answer that question.

KIMBALL: Greg Treverton?

TREVERTON: I'm not sure if Greg and I disagree. What I said was that I thought that the public presentations, the estimate, the JIC paper in the fall were pretty responsible, frank, honest intelligence assessments that said what they were confident of and what they weren't. Greg had mentioned one area in which he thought they had made a kind of honest error, about chemical and biological weapons, but on the whole I thought that they were pretty good and clear about what they knew and what they didn't know with respect to the terrorist connection, the nuclear angle; and the chem/bio was harder, and maybe there they did make what, in retrospect, Greg would characterize as an error. But they looked to me like pretty responsible pieces of intelligence, done in the context of an awful lot of pressure, as we know, implicit or explicit. I thought, in that sense, they held up pretty well.

THIELMANN: One qualification of my own on evaluating this is that one of the flaws in the process I have noticed in the past on National Intelligence Estimates is there is a great deal of scrutiny and long coordination sessions on the classified part of estimates. Oftentimes, the public summary of those estimates is seen as an afterthought; and I can cite instances in my own personal experience where INR has been told don't worry about it by the person in the National Intelligence Council doing it, saying we will take care of it.

Well, it's enormously important how you summarize something, in terms of staying faithful even without the details, faithful to what is included in the classified portion of the estimate. My guess is, in this October estimate-and I can't swear to it because I don't have access, now having retired, to the classified part of the estimate-but I bet the classified part of the estimate looks better than the unclassified part, in terms of explaining what we knew, what we did not know, and that I think there was some damage done to the truth in the way it was packaged.

KIMBALL: All right, we will just take a couple more questions, please. Yes, sir?

Q: Rumsfeld said the United States knew where WMD was and was sharing that information with the inspectors. The inspectors never found much. Was this a plan to make the inspectors look bad?

KIMBALL: Joe, do you want to take a shot at that?

CIRINCIONE: I think I follow the question. There is no doubt that in the month or two before the war, administration officials were increasingly specific about their allegations of large weapons stockpiles, citing 100 (tons) to 500 tons of chemical agents, enough biological agent to kill millions, a dozen or more Scud missiles; and Secretary Rumsfeld in particular kept naming sites. And the reference you are referring to was in a Sunday news show, he says: we know where they are, they are in the area between Baghdad and Tikrit, a little north northwest of that; we know exactly where they are.

Well, we have now been to all the specific sites that were mentioned by officials. Just in the last couple of days at the Carnegie Endowment, we have gone over all the specific references and just checked and double-checked and UN inspectors had been there and now allied troops have been there and there's nothing there. I mean, in many cases, the alleged expansion of production facilities didn't even happen; a shed was built rather than any ongoing new production capability.

And I believe that this was a conscious effort to discredit the inspectors. In order to build their case for war, the administration had to discredit the inspection process. That was the viable alternative to going to war. If the American public came to believe that the inspection process could work, then why needlessly risk hundreds of American lives? Why needlessly risk the potential chaos that we're now seeing in Iraq? Why risk the possibility that terrorism would actually increase by going to war? You wouldn't have to.

So they had to eliminate the viable alternative, and they did that through escalating their specific claims about this imminent danger posed by Saddam's large stockpiles of chemical/biological weapons, kept hammering away on the idea that he could soon have a nuclear weapon, or in some cases went so far as to say that he might actually have one already, and then hammered away at the al Qaeda threat. And that was the key connection: the nuclear threat and the possible operational ties to al Qaeda. As Condoleezza Rice and several other officials all said together on the same Sunday, we don't want the first evidence of a smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud. A very effective sound bite; you all picked it up, it played, it clearly implied that Saddam had or soon could have a nuclear weapon and could slip it to a terrorist group, and the inspectors could not possibly stop that.

As we now know, that is not true. He did not have a nuclear weapon. He was not close to having a nuclear weapon. There is no evidence of al Qaeda ties. The inspection process should have been allowed to continue. This war, for all the benefits that it may be bringing to the Iraqi people, was unnecessary from a national security standpoint.

KIMBALL: Yes, sir?

Q: Do you think the American people will support an investigation into these issues?

CIRINCIONE: American public opinion is clearly shifting on this issue, turning against the administration and in favor of congressional investigations. I don't believe it's going to be possible to stop a congressional investigation at this point, and here's the reason why. If everything was going well in Iraq, the American public would continue with their feeling that they had a month ago, two months ago, that it didn't really matter if we found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

But the euphoria over the quick military victory is fading, both in the public and on Capitol Hill. American soldiers are dying at the rate of one every other day. As the newspaper reports today, there are serious attacks on U.S. forces every day. We have not set up an alternative government. We have not been able to guarantee basic infrastructure for the Iraqi people. They do not yet see any evidence of democracy.

If the chaos in Iraq continues to grow, it is inevitable that the American public will link this to questions of why we got there in the first place. And if the American public begins to conclude that soldiers have died because administration officials have lied, this is going to be an extremely serious problem for this administration. And I believe Republicans and Democrats are recognizing the seriousness of this. The efforts to contain this to just oversight hearings are failing. Investigations, I believe full-fledged investigations, open hearings, subpoenaed witnesses are inevitable in this case. And I expect to see them start off if not by the summer recess then shortly thereafter.

KIMBALL: I would agree with Joe's remarks and also just note another reason why I think the public and other policymakers are going to continue to be interested in looking into this; which is-going back to some of our original remarks and the importance of dealing with weapons of mass destruction as a threat to the United States-the fact that the Bush administration has, in our view, exaggerated the threat assessments of Iraq's weapons capabilities. It is going to become harder and harder for the United States to mobilize international action to deal with other threats in other countries in the future, and the integrity of the United States' effort in that regard, which is paramount, is going to be undermined unless there is some clarity about how this episode played out and how it can be fixed in the future, so that the mistakes that we have outlined are not repeated.

We will take a couple more questions. We're going to conclude. Let me just note, before we take those questions, we do have information in your packets from ACA on several topics. I want to note that the extensive interview with Hans Blix from June 16, published in this month's Arms Control Today, which I think also speaks to many of the issues that are being raised here. And in addition, the Carnegie Endowment has put together an excellent report on kind of a broader post-conflict issues relating to Iraq, and Joe has an excellent article about whether this is going to be a good or a bad precedent for dealing with future proliferation problems. Ma'am, in the front?

Q: (Off mike.)

THIELMANN: Well, I have shared this with other members of the press before. There was really a double reaction. The first reaction I had was I wondered what new intelligence has come in since I left government. And then I realized, particularly after the secretary didn't mention anything about this eight days later, that he must have been talking about that same non-credible report that we dismissed months earlier. And so, it was a combination of surprise and disgust at realizing the gravity of what had happened with it.

KIMBALL: Thank you. Yes, sir?

Q: Does INR have a way of communicating with other intelligence agencies?

KIMBALL: So, in a sound bite, Greg, how does the intelligence community work? (Laughter.)

THIELMANN: Very well. It is exactly as you describe it. We work upwards, supporting the senior leadership of the State Department. But we're also a constituent part of the intelligence community. So INR is on the phone frequently and attending interagency intelligence community meetings frequently on many of these subjects. At the managerial level, it's a little bit less frequently. It's mostly the action officers in the office who maintain daily contacts on all these issues. And unfortunately, on some of the issues we have been talking about, much of my information is secondhand. I would hear from my action officers what the buzz was elsewhere in the intelligence community and arguments they had had with others.

But because we have extensive horizontal interaction with others, I can say with some confidence that anytime there was an issue that we were very skeptical about, other intelligence agencies would know about our skepticism. For one thing, many of the products we produced were available to them, and then the officials that we serve would of course meet with the head of the CIA or other cabinet officers who would be reflecting what their agencies said. So there was quite a bit of intermingling.

It's not stove-piped to the extent that we kept secret from other intelligence community colleagues our assessments on issues. In fact, the way we work, we often wanted to make sure that we understood what all the arguments were that were being advanced by the other agencies before we arrived at our argument. And, doing memoranda for the secretary of state, we wanted to make sure that we can explain to him if our assessment is divergent from that of another agency; we want to be able to describe that.

KIMBALL: Yes, sir?

Q: Some say the real reason behind the war was to scare terrorists or other rogue states. Did it achieve that objective? Are we safer now?

KIMBALL: You're talking about the war on terror? Either of the Gregs, would you like to take a crack at that, please?

TREVERTON: I will tell you the answer with the famous Chinese line about the French Revolution: "too early to tell." I suppose that is the best quick answer. It doesn't seem to ask what didn't happen. One of the things that the intelligence community and others worried about during the war was an upsurge in terrorist activity; on the whole, that didn't happen, so that was a happy circumstance.

My guess is it will take some time for this to play out. It depends on whether the demonstration effect of this kind of American power applied so effectively -- that has got to be a big effect on lots of countries and lots of groups. On the other side, there is the how well the aftermath works. And I think at this point those are the two kind of competing images out there, and it is, in essence, a bit early to tell. Surely, the deterrent effect of this demonstration of American power, that will remain. But if the aftermath makes it look like, boy, they ain't going to do that again, then even that effect will be short-lived.

KIMBALL: Joe, you might want to talk about this, too. I just wanted to comment on the weapons of mass destruction/nonproliferation side. I mean, there is also a point that needs to be made, which is that one of the purposes here the administration articulated was that this action in Iraq might deter/dissuade North Korea and Iran from pursuing chemical/biological/nuclear weapons. The jury is still out on that, but there is some very disturbing evidence that is emerging about the take-home lessons that the leaders in Tehran and Pyongyang are taking from this.

We have seen the North Koreans accelerating their program, not scaling it back. In their public statements, they are citing the aggressive U.S. policies and their fears about invasion. People in Tehran are still trying to decide which direction their nuclear weapons program is going to go in. So I think that we have to consider the effect in these other areas. In my view, the effect so far has been negative, and the Iraq model is a very poor, terrible blueprint for dealing with proliferation in other states that we described before, particularly North Korea and Iran.

(Audio break, tape change.)

CIRINCIONE: Apart from everything we've discussed today, the Iraq War was the first application of this theory that preventive war could be an effective tool against proliferation. As Greg points out, it is still a bit early to tell, but in order to be effective, a preventive war has to both remove the direct threat and dissuade would-be proliferators. Clearly we removed the threat, but I believe that other would-be proliferators have so far drawn the opposite conclusions. Instead of what the administration officials said-that they would increasingly decide that they would not pursue program-Iran and North Korea appear to have decided to speed up their weapons-related efforts. It's unclear what conclusions other countries have drawn yet. We don't know enough about some of the activity in some of these other countries.

On terrorism, the president argued that the day Baghdad fell, terrorism would decline. That clearly hasn't happened. I believe that while there wasn't a large upsurge during the war, there has been major terrorist incidents since the war. It does not appear to have had any effect on al Qaeda operations, and depending on how you judge what the military operations are inside Iraq now, you could argue that these are terrorist operations, and therefore, American soldiers are now the targets in Iraq of increased terrorist activity in a way that U.S. troops were not before the war. So far, I would agree with Daryl it had a negative effect on major U.S. national security concerns on both proliferation and terrorism.

KIMBALL: With that, we're going to conclude. I want to thank you all for being here with the Arms Control Association and our speakers. More information is available through our website and our speakers, I think, will take your questions.

(END)

Description: 
ACA Press Conference

Country Resources:

The North Korean Crisis: What's Next?

Sections:

Body: 

Participants
Robert Gallucci, Georgetown University
Lawrence Scheinman, Center for Nonproliferation Studies
David Albright, Institute for Science and International Security

Moderator: Daryl Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association

Questions and Answers

At the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace,
Washington, D.C.
Wednesday, May 7, 2003


 

Kimball: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to this morning's press conference of the Arms Control Association on the North Korean nuclear crisis. We are going to discuss what comes next. The Arms Control Association is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization devoted to supporting effective arms control, and educating the public and policymakers about arms control strategies to deal with weapons of mass destruction. We have organized this briefing this morning because this long-simmering crisis is now getting too close to the boiling point. Clearly the crisis is a problem for the international community, but the United States has a central role in solving the issue in a peaceful fashion. And many of us believe it's past time for the United States to put together a more effective diplomatic approach to verifiably dismantle North Korea's nuclear capabilities as well as its missile programs.

We are seeking here at the Arms Control Association to offer a range of views on this subject. And I would just like to point out that in our May issue of our journal of Arms Control Today, we have five articles providing different perspectives, a wide range of perspectives, including analysis on Chinese, South Korean, and Japanese perspectives. And there are preprinted copies outside, and it's also available on our website, www.armscontrol.org.

Before we introduce our panelists, I wanted to make a couple of brief points on the situation. First of all, it should be obvious to everyone that we believe that the North Korean government is clearly responsible for its own provocative and dangerous actions. But it should also be obvious that by now the administration's "axis of evil" approach has not produced the right kinds of results. Since the administration has come into office, we have seen a deterioration of this situation with regard to North Korea.

Second, as the United States and its allies consider next steps, they must be careful not to make statements or pursue actions at this stage that cause further harm, such as threatening economic sanctions or openly discussing military options. That could worsen the situation, undermining the prospects for a peaceful resolution.

Third, while the resumption of talks last month in Beijing was positive, this cannot be and should not be the end. This was just the second direct meeting between high-level U.S. and North Korean officials since the Bush administration came to office. And each time substantive proposals to resolving the crisis for denuclearizing North Korea have been withheld or overshadowed by dramatic accusations and threats. And as Ambassador Gallucci can tell us, diplomacy still requires a realistic negotiating strategy.

Currently the administration is demanding that Pyongyang dismantle all of its nuclear capabilities before agreeing to substantive negotiations on achieving that very goal. That approach does not seem to me to be very practical or effective.

And then finally as we look toward the visit of the South Korean president next week, I'd just like to point out that a truly multilateral approach, as the administration has said it wants to pursue, means, I think, from time to time that the United States needs to follow the advice of our allies. And while our friends and allies in the region clearly agree with us that a nuclear-armed North Korea is unacceptable, the administration has for the most part spurned the advice and suggestions of our allies, China and South Korea in particular, about how to achieve that result. And it's also important that when President Roh arrives here in Washington next week that we don't see the kind of open disagreement that we saw when President Kim Dae Jung visited Washington in 2001.

So we are pleased this morning to have three distinguished and expert speakers on this topic, to help us dissect the issues, outline the choices that are before the United States and the international community, and to offer their ideas about some solutions to this crisis.

First, we are very honored to have Ambassador Bob Gallucci here with us. He is the dean of the Georgetown University's Edmund Walsh School of Foreign Service. He is going to speak on the prospects and difficulties of negotiating with North Korea, based on his firsthand experience from the 1993-94 crisis. Those talks eventually led to the [1994] Agreed Framework. We also have with us Dr. Larry Scheinman, who is with the Monterey Center for Non-Proliferation Studies, and former assistant director for non-proliferation and regional arms control at the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. He will address how this crisis affects regional security, and he will describe the perspectives of North Korea's neighbors on how this crisis should be resolved.

And finally we'll hear from David Albright, who is president of the Institute for Science and International Security. He's an author of numerous books and articles on North Korea's nuclear program. David will speak on the subject of the mechanisms and methods that would be necessary to verify with confidence that North Korea has dismantled its nuclear programs.

We will hear from each of them and then we'll take your questions. Bob, we'll start with you. Thanks for being here. The floor is yours.

Gallucci: Thanks very much, Daryl. Good morning, everyone. It's almost irresistible, therefore I won't resist saying that when we look at the North Korea case it is deja vu all over again. Ten years ago-I mean, literally a decade ago this month-we were in a process that looks spookily like this one. North Korea is caught cheating on a safeguards agreement, apparently cheating on a safeguards agreement. The IAEA reported the matter to the Security Council of the United Nations. The North Koreans pull out of the NPT at the threat of sanctions and inspectors are thrown out of North Korea.

Ten years later the North Koreans get caught cheating again. The first time it was on their safeguards agreement negotiated with the IAEA, pursuant to their obligations under the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). This time you could argue it's the same agreement, but you could also add the Agreed Framework that was negotiated to deal with the problem last time. Again, inspectors are thrown out. Again, IAEA reports the matter to the Security Council of the United Nations. Again sanctions are discussed. Again, North Korea pulls out of the NPT.

Now, of course last time they didn't actually pull out. They announced their intention, and then withdrew their intention. This time having announced their intention before, they said they didn't have to wait the three months' time. But the overall context, the structure of the crisis, looks remarkably similar to what we went through 10 years ago. But of course 10 years ago that led the United States into what was essentially 16 months of on-again/off-again, mostly off-again initially, negotiations with the North Koreans that resulted in the Agreed Framework.

That framework agreement was not perfect, but it did stop the program we were concerned about a decade ago, a program aimed at the production of plutonium. There are lots of estimates of how much plutonium North Korea would have had the framework not been negotiated. But I would say it is not unreasonable to estimate that North Korea would now have a hundred or so nuclear weapons had that program been allowed to proceed apace. We knew at the time that the framework was not perfect; there were areas in which we did not have the capacity to monitor or verify North Korean compliance. We said it at the time. We'd have to rely on national technical means. And, as it turned out, those national technical means caught the North Koreans cheating. But the world is a better place because the Agreed Framework was negotiated, and those 100 nuclear weapons were not manufactured.

That was then, and this is now. This administration has been, I think it's fair to say, less enthusiastic about engaging the North Koreans in negotiations. That may be an understatement, but I think that is at least accurate.

There are other things that are different now from the situation a decade ago. North Korea has announced that it has nuclear weapons. It did not say that 10 years ago. I don't know that that's a new situation on the ground. In fact, I would submit to you it is not a new situation on the ground. If North Korea does have nuclear weapons now and they are telling the truth, it is likely in fact-as they say in the intelligence community, more likely than not-that North Korea has one or two nuclear weapons. That's a judgment that's a decade old. So they are the same one or two and maybe three or four, but in that range, nuclear weapons would have been built in the early '90s, or would have been built from plutonium separated around 1990-1991. So that's nothing new. But the declaration by the North Koreans that they have the weapons is new.

It is also true that they, the North Koreans, may have begun reprocessing. Again, I don't know that we know they have begun reprocessing any of the 8,000 [spent fuel] rods, but we have heard from the North Koreans that they have. We have also heard that they haven't, but they may. We have various indications, we are told in the press, that they might be doing something. I would say we don't know whether that situation is changed and whether they've separated more plutonium. We don't know for sure. But it's possible. Certainly they do have a secret uranium enrichment program, which is what we caught them at. They did not have that in 1994. We don't think that program has produced any enriched uranium as yet, as best I can tell from reports.

It is also true, I think, fair to say, that North Korea's ballistic missile program, wherever it was a decade ago, it's further along now. Not only in the Nodongs being deployed, but in the development of the Taepo Dong series I, II, and III-that is to say a greater capability for North Korea to reach the United States, whatever that precise capability may be at the moment.

Politically the situation is greatly changed with respect to our ally in Seoul. South Koreans a decade ago, I think it is fair to say, would have supported the United States and worked with us if we needed to move down the road to pressure the North Koreans with the use of force. They would not have been enthusiastic about the use of force, I am sure. But I think there was less reluctance to embrace that as an option than we see now. I think it is also fair to say that the popular perception in South Korea is that there is indeed a threat from the North, but there is also in a sense a threat from Washington, coming from the way Washington has dealt with the North Korean threat.

Finally, it seems to me one of the most critical differences is the North Koreans have given explicit substance to the fear that we have had that North Korea might some day transfer fissile material or nuclear weapons. They included that in a series of comments they made, undoubtedly intended to raise the stakes and get the attention of the United States and the international community. But that at least from my perspective is a qualitatively different kind of threat to the United States and the international community. The idea that the North Koreans would transfer fissile material and nuclear weapons to the highest bidder creates a prospect of a threat which the United States would have great difficulty defending against or deterring if that transfer would be to a terrorist group, such as al Qaeda. So I would like to put a line under that possibility as a new element with the North Koreans pointing to it.

The question always comes after one reviews where we are of what we ought to do next, and I do want to say something about that. One can desegregate these options any number of ways. I'll do it the following way. One of the first options one thinks of now, as we did then, was the possibility of United Nations sanctions. Sanctions are almost always appealing, because they are doing something, but they are usually not thought to be quite as provocative as actual military action. So one gets to do something with a slightly or significantly less risk than the use of military force. One gets to do it multilaterally if one is successful at the United Nations. And one usually feels good when one is doing something like that. The problem with sanctions is that I think now, as then, we could not have confidence that they would indeed end up solving the problem. If the problem is a nuclear weapons program in North Korea, sanctions would have to bring the North Koreans to their knees, and I don't know anyone in 1994 who thought they would produce that outcome, and I wonder if many think they would now, particularly if China did not fully support sanctions. And there is reason to believe they would not. The Chinese would wish to avoid a collapse, an implosion of North Korea, which would cause enormous difficulties for China in a variety of different ways. So I question whether sanctions would be effective.

I think a variation on sanctions, which you can find in today's Washington Post, which is a strategy of encirclement and cutting off the North Koreans from the money they gain from selling drugs and through counterfeit activity is one that you could not argue with. Those are things that they should not be allowed to do, and if we could stop them from doing them, I think, that would be a good idea. But it is an enormous leap to go from that good idea to that being the strategy to deal with the North Korean nuclear weapons program. And I don't understand exactly how that leap could be made.

A second option is the military option. The military option usually comes in two varieties. One is the airstrike, sometimes called the surgical airstrike, intended, in a sense, to do a nuclear- weapons-program-ectomy from North Korea by picking out those facilities and striking them. There are a couple of problems with this. The first is of course now that there is an [uranium] enrichment program, and I don't know that we know where that enrichment program is. A second problem is of course that it would have to be a significant airstrike and one could not be confident that it would not result in a large-scale North Korean reaction. There is no question that the known buildings associated with the plutonium program could be targeted. Secretary [of Defense William] Perry testified as much in 1995.

The second variation of the military option is regime change, and I do believe that some in this administration find that the only plausible long-term solution to the North Korean problem. I would suggest that once again we confront the prospect of a war on the Korean Peninsula. Such a war would not be the Gulf War again. Such a war would be the Korean War again, and that would be one that would involve, by anybody's estimates, enormous casualties-not tens of thousands, but more likely hundreds of thousands or even possibly more. Many of those would be Americans. Many of them would be South Koreans, and of course North Koreans as well. So this is not an option that one would elect quickly because of the loss of human life, but also because the South Korean government and people are unlikely to be brought to a point of being able to support such an action. One would have to contemplate the fracturing of the alliance.

It is however, the military option, always an option. The assertion that it is going to be taken off the table I find to be nonplausible. Even when we wish to take it off the table, it is always on the table. We have the capacity to project force in a unique way in the international community, and everybody knows that. That can be a useful thing in negotiations, I thought, in 1993 and 1994, and it can be useful again. It doesn't mean we have to talk about it. It is just there.

A third option is what you might call the "free lunch option"-very attractive. There are two varieties of the free lunch option. One is let China do it. And there's great enthusiasm of late for this option. I like it myself, if it were to work. The idea is that China would be stimulated out of a fear of the implications of the North Korean threat-the North Korean threat either leading to an American military response and the Chinese finding America on its doorstep with that enormous military capacity we have or, even worse, the North Korean threat leading the Japanese to reassess their non-nuclear weapons status and thus threatening the Chinese. Either one of these leading the Chinese to decide they must take a much more active role in pressuring Pyongyang. That's one version of the free lunch where we don't have to do anything, but we get the outcome we want anyway.

Another version would have the North Koreans respond with shock and awe at our success in Iraq, as the president I think suggested when the Beijing meeting was being scheduled, that the North Koreans had learned something from our victory over the Iraqis. And that also is appealing, because it allows us without firing a shot to take advantage of our capacity to project force and, in a sense, to intimidate the North Koreans into doing what they ought to do and abide by agreements, and caving to the pressure that comes from the threat of the use of American military force. That is also appealing.

I don't find either of these options to be options we could depend upon. Moreover, they will take a long time to test. I see instead the risk of a slow-motion failure. If we wait for the Chinese or wait for the North Koreans ultimately to be intimidated into the concessions we require, I worry that we don't have the time to wait for the free lunch options to work out. Time is not on our side. We see reports daily about how the situation in North Korea may be deteriorating further and their capabilities in the nuclear weapons area increasing. I am concerned.

If one of these options were to work, I would like everyone else, I suspect, embrace it. I'd much rather get the North Koreans to comply without giving them anything. I just don't see this as a strategy we can count upon.

Fourth, there is the contain-and-manage option. This can be combined with sanctions and a free lunch. The contain-and-manage option accepts the North Korean nuclear weapons programs. And we have heard that some in the administration believe this is the way to go, that we draw a red line someplace else, perhaps at transfer. But we accept the North Koreans having nuclear weapons, developing nuclear weapons, mating them to extended-range ballistic missiles, and we seek to contain them with our sanctions, U.N. or otherwise, cutting off the drugs and the counterfeit money, but we just don't let them do anything.

There are a couple of problems with this that make it an unacceptable option to me. The first and most obvious is this is not an outcome that South Korea or Japan can live with over the long term. What I am concerned about, what I think others are concerned about, is if you accept North Korea building a substantial nuclear weapons arsenal mated with ballistic missiles, then ultimately South Korea will find it necessary to move out of the Nonproliferation Treaty. Ultimately, Japan will decide to move out of the Nonproliferation Treaty because North Korea presents too much of a threat to rely upon the deterrent umbrella of the United States. So I see an unraveling of the nonproliferation regime beginning in Northeast Asia-not a happy prospect to contemplate.

Even worse though, even worse, is the idea that the North Korean program would be generating-just the plutonium program-would be generating 150 kilograms of plutonium a year. That estimate is conservative. At 150 kilograms, we are talking roughly about 30 nuclear weapons a year. That's a very large program. Add to that the uranium enrichment program, and add to that a starving North Korea, which we would have decided to starve and encircle, and ask yourself how we would stop North Korea from selling this material. If you would like to draw the red line there, I ask you how will you know when they cross it? How will you know for sure that material is being transferred? You know that the amount of material for, the amount of plutonium for a simple fission device can be the size of a baseball. Is it plausible we would have such trigger? I worry about this more than anything else, that's why I underline the threat or risk of transfer.

Finally, there's the option of negotiating. Unfortunately, there's a view that's been expressed by the administration that we can embrace diplomacy but flatly reject negotiation. I don't frankly understand that. I am told over and again, over and again, we are for diplomacy, but we shan't negotiate. We certainly won't give them anything. I think the North Koreans have told us in more than one way at different times that this program is on the table…for negotiation. They are prepared to give in order to get. I believe we should test that proposition and see whether what we are prepared to give will get us what we want. We should be prepared to test. And I don't think you can test without engagement. You can have a standard of only multilateral talks. You can have a standard of we will only talk after you make all the concessions required for us. But it doesn't seem to me that that is a prudent way to proceed.

Last time we did this we were concerned about negotiating with a gun to our head. We didn't like the idea of the North Koreans having thrown the inspectors out, and perhaps reprocessing their spent fuel. So we told them in that first meeting, the series I had in New York in 1993, that we would continue to negotiate, provided we had inspectors there to assure -- and the phrase was "continuity of safeguards." We couldn't settle a problem of the past, but we had to make sure we didn't create new problems while we were talking. No gun to our heads, we'll keep talking.

In 1994 we raised the bar just slightly, and we said you also couldn't produce plutonium while we are talking. So you couldn't run your 5-megawatt reactor while we are talking. You know, that seems to me a very reasonable proposition now. While we are talking, you have to turn off that 5-megawatt reactor. You have to get inspectors in there. We have to make sure you are not making the situation worse.

But to try to reach out and achieve all our objectives before we start talking to them sounds to me not like negotiation but a recipe for avoiding negotiation.

So, I conclude with the proposition that none of these options are ideal. Either they are not ideal because they sound terrific but they don't work, or they might work but they are painful, such as negotiations. And I am looking for something that works. And so I would suggest we explore the idea of negotiation, have very minimal prior conditions. The kind of conditions we had a decade ago seem to me to be reasonable.

In Q and A we can talk about what an outcome might be like. I 'd be happy to do that. I am sure others would as well. Thank you very much.

Kimball: Thank you, Bob. Larry, we'll turn to you.

Scheinman: Bob is always a hard act to follow. In a sense I'm here pinch-hitting a little bit, so you will have to bear with me on this.

But something Bob said at the very end is something I'd like to begin with. On the deja vu point that he mentioned a couple of times during his presentation, I think there's another aspect to this that he didn't bring out as much as might be, which is an attitude in this administration that whatever [the Clinton administration] did before we don't do it again. Don't repeat what was done in 1994, because in our view it didn't work and, as Bob said, we don't negotiate, even though we carry out diplomacy.

There's another aspect to this, however, and that is, what about more for more? If more for the same is not a very good idea, as something that Bob has already alluded to, but more for more might be a different thing. Enlarging the basket of things to be dealt with and then to go from there to get more out of this from North Korea, and at the same time to provide to the North Koreans some of the things that they seek.

My task here is supposed to be to talk about some of the attitudes and the concerns of the states in the region, namely South Korea, China, and Japan. Let me begin with Japan. I will make a couple of comments. I hope that they'll hold together. We'll have to wait and see.

Japan is not terribly much unlike the United States. Within the administration in Tokyo there are differences on how to proceed with the North Korean case. For example, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Asia-Pacific Bureau, they prefer the talks, while others in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are prepared to do whatever the United States thinks is best. And that may not be further talks; that may be playing hardball.

For the Japanese generally the goals are three in number. First of all, to prevent a military conflict, if it is at all possible. Secondly, to sustain the U.S.-Japan and the South Korean-U.S. alliances. And, thirdly, to prevent the emergence of North Korea as a nuclear-weapon state. If you look at the Japanese agenda it's actually much broader than ours. First of all, as I say, avoid military conflict on the Korean Peninsula if at all possible; secondly to terminate the nuclear weapons program. But beyond the nuclear weapons program there is also the question of the missile program because the missiles that are being produced in North Korea have a direct potential impact on Japan. In other words, getting to the Nodong missile question.

Then there's the big issue, which is not to mention it here, but for the Japanese is very big, which is dealing with the abduction question. And if you look at the way that the Japanese public has kind of weighed the importance of the North Korean nuclear challenge on the one hand and the abduction question on the other, the abduction question gets a lot more attention. One of my responsibilities is chairing the U.S.-Japan Arms Control and Nonproliferation dialogue. We have this dialogue twice a year. We had one in March in Japan. We met with 10 key members of the Diet, and they kept on telling us during the course of this discussion, "Yes, yes, the nuclear question is very, very important. We are going to have to deal with it. But that abduction question, we have to be responsible to our voters. Our voters are concerned about resolving this abduction question, getting answers to all the questions which remain at this point unanswered and that's where we need to put our effort and attention among other things with respect to North Korea."

Then there's been the problem of spy ships, including in Japanese territorial waters; spy ships coming out of North Korea. And then there's been of course, as Bob has mentioned, narcotics trafficking and counterfeiting, which is also on the Japanese agenda. So from the Japanese point of view, there is a whole range of things that need to be taken into consideration, and that's one of the reasons why the Japanese would like to be involved as part of a multilateral dialogue, while at the same time encouraging the United States to of course go ahead and talk face-to-face, to communicate with the North Koreans.

Japan is also concerned about the sustainability and the credibility of the nonproliferation regime. They would hate to see an outcome here that undermined that regime and led them, forced them to think about going in the direction that Bob mentioned of possibly having to find alternative ways of dealing with their own security, other than relying upon a U.S. nuclear deterrent or an effective nonproliferation regime, which has proven to be ineffective, and the like.

They're also concerned to avoid China or Russia having a dominate influence over the entire Korean Peninsula, because the Japanese see this as also potentially running averse to their interests.

There's been a lot of discussion about what happens if? And this has been mentioned as one of Bob's alternatives, you know, maybe the Japanese or the South Koreans go nuclear as an alternative to finding other ways to dealing with their security.

There's a very good article in Arms Control Today by Kamiya. And he makes this comment: "There's talk outside of Japan that in Japan, resurgence of a North Korean weapons program could cause Japan to reconsider the decision to forgo nuclear weapons"-and here I underscore-"but despite such speculation, only a small number of extremists have taken that stance."

And that is consistent with what I have found. There's a lot of discussion about what might have to be done with respect to the existence of a North Korea that is nuclear-armed. The nuclear option is not sitting there on the table as the primary outcome that Japan ought to be thinking about, although it's also the case that it's not entirely off the table. Things can go from bad to worse, and as they roll down the hill, it's altogether possible that the Japanese will give more and more consideration to the possibility of a nuclear alternative.

But what they are thinking about more directly at this point is missile defense: increasing the role of missile defense; looking at consequence management in the event of a CBW attack launched against Japan; looking at ways in which they could increase their deterrent capability without necessarily doing that through a nuclear means. For example, acquiring tomahawk missiles that might be used to strike at Nodong sites that might be the source of missiles being fired against Japan at some point in the future. The [August 1998] Taepo Dong experience has led, of course, to a deepened interest in missile defense in Japan, and they are going to acquire a PAC-3 and probably will be acquiring other capabilities, as well.

These all fall short of the nuclear option or nuclear response on the part of Japan, but it demonstrates that they are concerned about their security. They are concerned about how they are going to be able to respond to the situation that confronts them with respect to North Korea at this time and they are an important player in this process.

Secondly, South Korea. They want to focus on a peaceful resolution through dialogue, through diplomacy, and through persuasion. Their basic principle is that there must be dialogue, meaning that the United States has to step up and engage in negotiation, as well as talking, as Bob said. There's a need to develop trust and reciprocity in this dialogue and there needs to be international cooperation, which includes an element of Korean initiatives, and not just initiatives coming from the outside.

The South Koreans are not focused on regime change in the way that some in the United States may be. They would not countenance the launching of an attack from South Korean territory on North Korean sites. And an attack by the United States that did not have the approval of the Seoul government could put the U.S.-South Korean alliance at risk.

Going beyond this, however, they want to come to a conclusion in which there will be zero tolerance for and zero presence of nuclear weapons in North Korea, that there will be a peaceful resolution, and that South Korea will play an active role in bringing about this conclusion in the final analysis. It has a major stake in a peninsula-wide approach to this problem, bridging the gap between the North and the South. And it will, I believe, resist policies that lead to divisiveness, add to tensions, or that will enlarge the existing gaps that exist on the peninsula.

The third party that's important here, of course, is China. China, as Bob said, has taken on a more active role. Again, there's a very good article by Bates Gill and [Andrew Thompson] in Arms Control Today, which points out that China has taken a more comprehensive and strategic approach, given the fact that North Korea is right next door and that what happens on that peninsula can have some very unpleasant consequences for the Chinese that they would like to avoid. They don't want to have a violent situation on the peninsula that would result in a massive flow of refugees across the border into China, as they have had in the past.

Their basic positions are:

Peace and stability on the peninsula should be preserved.

The peninsula should remain nuclear-free. The Chinese are dedicated achieving the outcome of denuclearization of the peninsula.

And that the dispute that now exists should be settled through diplomacy and through a political approach.

China took the initiative to join the IAEA board of governors' resolution, which sent the North Korea case to the Security Council. But once it got to the Security Council-this has to do with the violation of the safeguards and NPT obligations of North Korea-the Chinese ended up saying, "Well, we're not going to go for a sanctions approach to this," because that would lead to unanticipated consequences that hopefully could be avoided.

From the Chinese point of view, a nuclear North Korea is bad news for at least three reasons. First of all, there's a potential for it leading to a totally nuclearized Northeast Asia in the longer run. In other words, North Korea, then eventually South Korea, and eventually Japan, and that can't possibly serve China's core security interests in the region.

Secondly, that ballistic missile testing and development by the North Koreans could also cause instability and lead the United States to step up theater missile defense, as well as lead Japan to take more steps in this direction, which also could become a concern for China and have some impact on the Chinese [military] modernization program insofar as their own weapons capabilities and security are concerned.

And thirdly, a military confrontation that leads to the demise of the North Korean regime would mean a loss of a strategic buffer that now exists with China, and they could suddenly end up-I think Bob made the comment here as well-the United States, with all of its power, could be right there on its doorstep because the peninsula then would no longer be a North and South Korean peninsula, but a Korean peninsula with an American presence and an American involvement.

So, China sees pressure on North Korea as not being very much of a promising way to approach things, potentially escalating problems and making things worse.

Now, there is the additional question that was raised at the end about North Korea not necessarily nuclearizing and threatening people all around the neighborhood, but passing on the fissile material or actually selling nuclear weapons to third parties. And that, indeed, is kind of another level of problem, as Bob suggested, but it's a very, very serious problem and one which probably can be even less tolerated in certain respects by the international community because it would have not just a regional, but a global implication if fissile material or weapons were being sent out to any and all customers willing to pay the price. Under those circumstances, I think that the nuclear nonproliferation regime probably would become unraveled, and at that stage we would be into a totally different kind of a framework which would not be an easy one for us to manage, and which would serve in no way, shape, or form the national interests or the security interests of the United States, the regional countries in Asia, or the world at large.

Kimball: Thank you, Larry, for that overview. David Albright from the Institute for Science and International Security.

Albright:An important implication of the current crisis with North Korea is that verification arrangements must be more central to the implementation of any nuclear agreement with North Korea. And in addition, during any negotiations that may take place with North Korea, the United States and its allies are going to have to scrutinize much more carefully any proposed agreements with respect to their impact on achieving effective verification. In a sense, this is the idea that we really don't want to have to do this again, and whatever is done has to be done more carefully.

And one immediate implication of that is what I'd call the verifiers must play a central role in the negotiations. And this would refer not just to the U.S. side to people who are expert in verification, but also the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). And that typically has not been the pattern.

The ultimate goal of any negotiations with North Korea is to ensure that North Korea's free of nuclear weapons or banned nuclear activities and North Korea's in compliance with its safeguards agreements with the NPT. But the verification arrangements will need to be implemented simultaneously with other aspects of any agreement. I think one of the things that made the 1994 agreement work so well was that a lot of these intrusive verification arrangements could be kicked down the road. And unfortunately, I don't think we can do that any more.

What I'd like to do is briefly discuss sort of the main verification tasks facing any negotiations. I'll mention these in a step-wise fashion, although in no particular order. But I would like to make the point that you don't have to verify everything at once. I think there is a view that North Korea needs to make an overarching commitment to come into compliance with its safeguards agreement to commit to a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, but that you could in practice achieve that in a step-wise manner. Let me just mention four tasks.

One is-and it's been mentioned by Bob and Larry-that there's a need to re-establish the freeze at Yongbyon. I don't think the freeze can be re-established by just sending inspectors there. Unfortunately, the extent of what will define the freeze will really depend on how much plutonium North Korea has separated from the spent fuel. And I don't want to go into the details of that. But over some period of time-and I would agree with Bob that it shouldn't be a precondition-but over some period of time North Korea's going to have to provide a lot more information than it typically has done about any activities at its reprocessing plant and allow the inspectors to actually do much more. And then in the end of that you would re-establish the freeze. And, in a sense, you would know the fate of the spent fuel that was once previously stored in its spent fuel pond. And you'd have confidence that if North Korea did separate plutonium, that you would know how much.

The next item is-and the administration has talked about this often-is verifiably dismantling parts of North Korea's nuclear weapons program. And there's two main parts to that. One is to verifiably dismantle the gas centrifuge program, the uranium enrichment program that North Korea apparently has. And the other is to verifiably dismantle what I would call the nuclear weaponization program, where they actually develop, test, and build nuclear weapons. And that program may actually involve nuclear weapons.

The third is a traditional one: resolving past issues raised by the International Atomic Energy Agency in the early 1990s about how much plutonium North Korea has separated at Yongbyon.

And the last one is the IAEA goal to ensure that all activities are under safeguards. And what that means in an operational sense is that you need to develop confidence that North Korea doesn't have undeclared nuclear activities. I use the word "confidence" in a technical sense, that there is a whole series of steps you go through that are of a very technical nature, and in some cases very intrusive, to test the theory that North Korea doesn't have any undeclared nuclear activities. And over time you develop confidence that those activities aren't there. You can never be 100 percent certain because North Korea has, according to the U.S., cheated. Extra steps will be needed to ensure confidence.

Key to all of this will be North Korean cooperation and transparency. And if I could just say a few words about the dismantlement of the gas centrifuge and the nuclear weapons program I could illustrate this.

Most people, when they are confronted with an intrusive verification system, their first reaction is it's not possible to do. And I would say that that's not true. It's been done in South Africa, it's been done in Ukraine, it's actually been done in Iraq. Not all of [Iraq's] WMD programs were dismantled in a strip search form. There were actually programs dismantled cooperatively with the Iraqis, and those experiences have been quite valuable in trying to understand how you would design a cooperative verification system.

But I think all those experiences show, though, that the North Koreans, in order to be transparent, are going to have to do three or four basic things. One is they're going to have to allow the inspectors access anywhere and any time. They're going to have to provide detailed information about their nuclear activities defined in a broad sense. They're going to have to allow access to the people who are in the program. And they're going to have to permit environmental monitoring. And believe it or not, North Korea at one stage or another has agreed to all these conditions, and that it's a question of them living up to them. And they understand this. There have been discussions with the North Koreans. So they clearly understand that these are the kinds of issues at stake.

There's always a question of who does it. Traditionally we always think of the International Atomic Energy Agency doing this kind of verification. In terms of dismantlement, you at least are going to need to supplement the IAEA with experts on gas centrifuges, with experts on nuclear weapons. And you could actually design a verified dismantlement scheme where you don't involve the IAEA at all. It's not very hard to design a system where the United States and North Korea could sit down and agree to dismantle verifiably, let's say, a declared, North Korean-declared gas centrifuge program. You don't particularly want to use that model more broadly than a specific dismantlement goal, but you can do it. And if you're talking about nuclear weapons, you may want to, particularly if North Korea does have nuclear weapons, think beyond using just the IAEA. I think there will be a lot of resistance to that, and I think both from the IAEA's point of view they wouldn't support it, but even from the U.S. point of view they may not want to take the risk or the responsibility for this kind of situation. In a cynical way, if the IAEA does it, you can always blame them for missing something and then hide behind that in designing successive actions. But if it is a finite program declared and you're just seeking to do that, seeking to just accomplish that, then it could actually work and facilitate the process.

Another thing is that the dismantlement must be irreversible. And typically, what that means is things are going to have to be destroyed. If there are centrifuges, they have to be destroyed. If there's equipment or machine tools to make centrifuge parts, those have to be destroyed. You don't need to destroy buildings, but you do need to destroy a lot of items. You would also want to-at least for no other reason than to perhaps better understand the program-you'd like to collect and destroy all the documents, just burn them.

You also need to have ongoing monitoring, and the monitoring applies to non-nuclear activities. It could be dual-use machine tools that were part of centrifuge manufacturing. They could be used again for centrifuge manufacturing. So you do want to be able to verify that. And for these kind of activities, certainly the IAEA is the best choice. And then traditional activities on nuclear material would have to be brought in play. Let's say North Korea has enriched uranium-we don't actually know if any's been enriched-but that material would be subject to IAEA inspection.

Also, I just want to make a point that if you're designing a system to verifiably dismantle nuclear weapons, it really doesn't matter if there's one or five, it's essentially the same. It certainly matters if there's zero or one, but if it's a few, you essentially would do the same thing. And again, there's, particularly because of South Africa, there's a considerable amount of experience with that, and there's also a lot of cooperative attitudes among people who design verification and then people who have actually participated in nuclear weapons programs in countries like South Africa. And now with Iraq, I mean the Iraqis are making it very clear that they want to cooperate.

Let me close with just what I imagine will be a question, which is plutonium separation activities at Yongbyon. And I'd like to just give you sort of our own assessment at ISIS. And Mary Sigh (ph), who's in the back, has been doing some of this work.

We've more or less concluded, and I think it's fairly obvious, that reprocessing activities have probably restarted. I mean, North Korea always said it would, and I think the indications are that it's done something. We don't know if it's hot testing or if it's separating a significant amount of plutonium.

And with that in mind, I'd like to just add more confusion to North Korea's statement that it has nuclear weapons. If we accept it at face value that it does, what we've been seeing is that we can't actually tell if North Korea has had nuclear weapons for years or days. And let me just end it there.

Kimball: Thanks very much to our panelists. Appreciate your comments.

And just before we go to Q's and A's. We've focused a lot here on nuclear weapons, nuclear material. We haven't talked a lot about missiles. And one other aspect of the administration's approach here that I think is lacking and worth noting because of some recent statements of Ari Fleischer on the subject of missile defense. The administration has pointed out that the United States is pursuing missile defenses to deal with the North Korean missile program. But of course this, while it may have some marginal benefits down the road, does not provide us with any reliable fashion of dealing with North Korean missile threats, short-range existing threat or a future long-range threat, and it does nothing to deal with the nuclear material trade and proliferation problem. So again here, the first priority really needs to be to get at the source through negotiations leading to a verifiable end of that program.

So with that, let me open the floor to questions to any of our panelists. Please identify yourself before you ask your question. Yes, sir, in the front row.

Q. Al Milletin (ph), Washington Independent Writers. Is there reason to believe the United States will be more patient with North Korean arms inspections than with Iraq? And why should North Korea believe that its ultimate fate will be any better than the fate of the axis powers of World War II, Germany, Italy, and Japan? And hasn't North Korea shown themselves increasingly and emphatically to be not with the United States in the war on terrorism, but against it? And is it possible for the United States to be blackmailed or intimidated?

Kimball: That's several questions there, sir.

(To panelist.) Do you want to take a stab maybe at one of the first ones from the list?

Gallucci: I normally feel bad when I don't remember the second part of a two-part question, but there's no chance on this one.

Look, first of all, I think the enthusiasm everybody seemed to have for months to, I think, needle the administration over "how come you're not dealing with North Korea the way you're dealing with Iraq"-I mean, there's a short answer to that. It's because there are big differences between the two. There's history that's different between the two. And right now that kind of observation that the contexts are different, the politics are different, capabilities are different, the allied situation is different, all that is useful, I think, to go to the first part of your question and say-and turn it around and say the North Koreans-we're always concerned about lessons, but it would be the wrong lesson if they concluded that were the United States to make a deal, that the United States would not abide by the terms of the deal.

We abided by the terms of the deal that we made in 1994, in my view. I know some people have a different view, but I think we did. And I think if we made another one, we would, and the North Koreans should believe that. That is to say, if they accept inspections as part of, as Larry used a phrase, "give more and get more" kind of deal, it'll stick.

The Iraq situation was one in which there was never, in my view, a clear standard for what the inspectors needed to find, or the level of cooperation. And ultimately the United States, together with the U.K. and some other states, decided the inspection process was not going to adequately address the problem. There's no reason, I think, to transport this situation up to Northeast Asia. I just don't see it.

If I was going to cherry-pick from a few other of your questions, one of my favorite is always, "Will the United States be blackmailed?" I really like that one.

I think that you can turn any negotiation into a morality play, if that's what you wish to do. What I wish to do is try to figure out the best way to protect this nation's security, at the least cost in the loss of human life. And when we do a negotiation that stops a nuclear weapons program, which I think is what we did-stop the plutonium program in 1994-and someone says that we submitted to blackmail or suggests that this was appeasement, those are heavy, morally laden terms. And I don't think they help much. They don't help much to clarify what's happening.

Is there a threat from North Korea? You bet. All right? Would we be dealing with North Korea or have this press conference otherwise for a small, poor country? No, there are a lot of small, poor countries in the world. We're having this press conference because there is a threat. The question is how do you deal with it? I don't find anything immoral about negotiating with North Korea. I find something immoral about skipping negotiation because you don't like the image of that and going directly to the use of force or accepting the implications of the vulnerability of the United States because you won't negotiate. Now, that's immoral. So, please don't give me the blackmail and appeasement question again. Thanks.

Albright:Can I add one quick thing?

Kimball: David.

Albright: I think one lesson of the Iraq case is that the United States has to work harder on its intelligence to make sure that it doesn't create a bunch of phantom nuclear weapons in North Korea that don't exist and then expect the inspectors to find them. So, I think looking back at the Iraq case, the inspections actually didn't work too bad in the sense of containing the program, making it hard to break out, pushing it into the margins. And I think that in North Korea, that the inspection process could be extremely powerful.

Kimball: Okay, thanks. Yes, sir?

Q. (Name inaudible) with Radio Free Asia. My question is for Dean Gallucci. You said regarding the military option, it's not that effective of an option in terms of addressing, dismantling North Korean nuclear weapons program, and also, it's a very risky option. And you also said we still need to have that option on the table. So I was wondering exactly what you are suggesting here by saying that?

And also, this is the point, if my understanding is correct, where South Korea and the U.S. side has disagreement, whether we have to have military option on the table. So, I'd appreciate it if you can give me thoughts on that.

Gallucci: Sure. I don't think I said-and if I did say it, I misspoke-that the military option was ineffective. If the measure of effectiveness is the ability to destroy facilities so that they don't produce fissile material, I think the known facilities, and they are the ones that (are) known-these are facilities we've known about for a long time, principally the five- or 25-, depending on how you rate it, megawatt reactor reprocessing facility, the 15- to 20-megawatt reactors under construction-the secretary of Defense said in the last administration that we could target them and we could destroy them. So if that is your measure of effectiveness, it would be effective.

There are now some other problems. There is a uranium enrichment program, and from what I understand from the press, we do not know where that program is located, where the facilities are, facility or facilities. So that makes it hard for the airstrike to be executed, because you don't know where to go.

The second problem is-if the North Koreans have nuclear weapons or have separated additional plutonium-I don't know that we know where they are. So we don't solve that problem. There are these limits, therefore, on the surgical strike.

What about a regime change? What about a strategy of the kind we adopted to deal with another point on the axis of evil, Iraq? Okay? Would we win another Korean War? I think the answer to that is yes. I don't know anybody who says that a war against North Korea would be cheap in terms of human life. I think everybody is prepared to stipulate that that is a very high cost, it's not just high risk, it's high cost. The cost is what you fully expect to pay; the risk is what you may pay, that you hope not to have to. But the cost is high. You don't have to go to risk. We know that.

So it's not an option that you would want to embrace quickly or first or even second. You'd want to try other things, it would seem to me. You would only do it in extremis.

What would lead you to contemplate such an option? For me, the thing that I think about certainly is if the North Koreans seem to be making good on their threat ultimately of transferring fissile material or nuclear weapons to the highest bidder.

As an American, I find it unacceptable just in terms of the national security of this country to contemplate al Qaeda with nuclear weapons. I don't know how we defend against an unconventional threat on this country. I don't know how we deter those who would die for their cause. So I believe under those circumstances the use of military force would be a very plausible option to elect if we saw that as an outcome that was coming. As I observed before, we might not see that coming, though; that's why we ought to be looking for other ways to deal with the problem long before it gets to the point of the North Koreans considering that they would actually transfer this material.

There is now, as I've understood it, no support in South Korea on the part of the government or largely on the part of the population for the use of force to deal with this threat from the North. That should also condition American thinking about the viability, the political viability, of the option, as well as the other costs associated with it.

I don't believe you can ever take the military option off the table. I think even when you say we're not contemplating the use of force, and I believe that to be true about the administration. I certainly hope that when President Roh comes here and meets with President Bush that the conversation goes to other ways of dealing with the problem and that they might well say that the military option is not being considered. I think that's fair enough. What I submit to you is that, in logical terms, everybody knows of the capability the United States has. Everybody knows there could be a point, a red line, even if it isn't announced, that we would not allow North Korea to cross without the use of force in response. I think it is always a backdrop.

And I also believe that it was true in 1994 that it was a backdrop to the negotiations, and I believe it helped. I believe those negotiations benefited from the concern the North Koreans needed to have that the United States would perhaps at some point decide that the North Koreans had gone farther than they could be allowed to go in the interests of international security and the relationship we have with our allies in Japan and South Korea. That is always a backdrop.

I hope that helps.

Kimball: Yes, sir?

Q. Thank you. Massimo Calabresi from TIME magazine. In most of your remarks, it seems to have been taken as a given that the North Koreans might be willing not to develop a nuclear arsenal. I would like to ask all of the panelists how confident they are that North Korea is not in fact determined to get and maintain a nuclear weapons arsenal and, if they're not confident of that, what they think the policy implications for the U.S. are.

Kimball: Who's that question directed to?

Q. Any of the panelists.

Kimball: Any of the panelists. Larry Scheinman.

Scheinman: Okay. Why the North Koreans might be seeking to have nuclear weapons could be answered in two different ways. One could be that they've read the Bush statements. They've seen that they're on the "axis of evil." They've seen what happened to the first country that was on the axis and fear that they are basically next in line, no matter what, so they need to have this as a deterrent, and that they therefore will have to continue to develop this to whatever point is necessary, until such time as they've reached an acceptable outcome in a negotiation, which gives them all the things that they're seeking or most of the things that they're seeking from the United States.

Another possibility is that it's not for deterrence out of weakness, they're perceived self-weakness, that they're trying to develop the nuclear capability, but rather that they have an agenda, and that agenda is to remain as a nuclear-weapon state in the region, not simply for deterrent purposes but perhaps also to be able to continue their so-called lifestyle for as long as they possibly can without fear that they're going to be interdicted. So, there are two possibilities.

Q. (Off mike.)

Scheinman: That's a good question. Can we live with a nuclear North Korea? There have been suggestions made by some members of the administration that we may have to live with it for some indeterminate period of time.

But what do you mean by living with a nuclear North Korea? Does it mean accepting them into the club, welcoming them with a handshake? Absolutely not. What it would it mean would be de facto recognition of we've got a problem that we're going to have to continually try to address. What is the source of the North Korean interest in having a nuclear capability? What can we do to bring change about? And I don't think this is something that the United States would be alone in. I think that China, Russia, Japan, South Korea, and the United States would all share a common concern about the continuation of that kind of a situation so that North Korea would find itself under pressure from five sides rather than from just one and that efforts to try to accommodate legitimate concerns that the North Koreans have would eventually be put on the table and the North Koreans would have to back away from their nuclear capability in order to reap the benefits of what's being offered.

Kimball: What do we do about it? I think in simple terms, Bob might want to jump in here also, is that it's important for the United States to correct North Korea's misperception that it is next on the axis of evil list after Iraq [and] that it is more secure with nuclear weapons. Instead, we need to very clearly and forthrightly communicate that its pursuit of nuclear weapons is going to lessen its security over the long term; [and] that if it also does not pursue nuclear weapons, there is the possibility of engaging not just with the United States, but with the international community and becoming a full partner in the international community, and that its security is not threatened. That's a general answer, but I think it gets to one of the fundamental issues here.

Scheinman: Could I just add one point? Taking off from what Daryl just said, go back to the Ukraine situation. The Ukrainians found themselves instantly in charge of a lot of nuclear weapons at the time of the break-up of the Soviet Union. They were persuaded, among other reasons, because they were on our target list as long as they had those weapons, that their security was not going to be benefited by having those weapons, but, in fact, they would be at greater risk. But if the weapons were gone, then they could get a security assurance, such as we negotiated with them, our negative security assurance that we negotiated with them along with the British, and took them off our target list. And I think that the same message could be given to the North Koreans: as long as you've got these, you're on our target list; you get rid of them, and the situation changes.

Kimball: Bob?

Gallucci: I'm just going to pile on a little bit.

I don't know that we know whether or not the North Koreans are unalterably committed to acquiring nuclear weapons. I think we know the program's a couple of decades old. We certainly know they gave up in '94 some significant capability in the freeze, in the commitment to dismantle. We also know, then, they started this enrichment program. We can all try to figure out why.

But the insight of the Perry process-and by the way, before there was a Perry process, there was a process at the National Defense University that Rich Armitage, now the deputy secretary of State that essentially went in the same direction. When you don't know, you really don't know what the North Koreans' strategy is, one reasonable, rational approach is to test it. And the North Koreans have said they are prepared to give up this program. Now, you don't have to accept their terms right now, which is you give us everything, then, when you're done giving us everything, we'll give up our program, which is kind of like, you know, you give up everything, then we'll start talking about normal relations. This is how negotiations begin. That's how we began in 1993 and 1994. You state a most extreme position.

The idea is you test them with negotiation. You see whether you can construct an arrangement that's acceptable to you to test them. And David went quite a bit down the line to say, okay, what kind of stuff do we need in the verification side of this to test them? Because we had some last time on the plutonium side; we didn't have any on the enrichment side. And so we need certain things now, you know? We've got a list here: no plutonium production, dismantlement of the facilities that was envisioned in the framework a little sooner, shipment of the spent fuel out, shipment of any separated plutonium out. We have special inspections as a matter of course so that you have an ability to use the agency anywhere that you're concerned about; dismantlement of, as David said, weapons if there are weapons; the facilities to fabricate the weapons, if you can get them; end of ballistic missile tests and exports; all kinds of things. And you make this list, you know, and it struck me when I was listening to David, it sound a little bit like the kind of list you have when you've just beaten a country at war, which is what we did, you know, with [UN Security Council Resolution] 687 in Iraq. Well, we haven't done that. And so this may be a little bit demanding as a list for negotiation. But then, of course, we did catch the North Koreans at cheating, so we have an argument that we need a little more transparency or a lot more transparency then we had before.

So all I'm saying to you in answer to your question here is that a logical way of dealing with the uncertainty over the strategic objectives of North Korea is to test them with a negotiation in which you have as a negotiating objective a specific set of requirements which would indeed test what they're doing.

Q. If I could follow up?

Kimball: Very quickly.

Q. Yeah, whether you call it testing or accepting their assumptions, it still means following the path of negotiation. And your argument, Mr. Kimball, was that, one, if they were determined to have nuclear weapons it was -- (inaudible) -- to convince them that they shouldn't have them for security. So it seems to me that negotiations may not be at this point the best way to convince them that they shouldn't have them.

Gallucci: No, wait. No, wait, look, let's slow down a bit here. (Laughs.) You and I can probably agree that we don't know what North Koreans are thinking right now, okay? Alright?

Q. Mmm hmm.

Gallucci: We don't know whether they are unalterably committed to acquiring nuclear weapons or that, if they can strike the right deal, they would give them up. Alright? So I'm saying let's test them with a negotiation. Now, suppose they are unalterably committed to acquiring nuclear weapons? You can then ask, okay, the negotiations should fail, if it's properly constructed, and then we're confronted with that problem. And then you can ask me, suppose they are? What would you do, Bob? Okay, well, first-this is not a trivial point-first, since I don't know, I don't want to leap to that, thank you very much. I want to test them.

What do we have now in the United States of America over North Korea policy? We have an argument. We have an argument over those people who want to negotiate and those people who don't. And I'm telling you there's a very rational reason for wanting to negotiate first before you push me to say, well suppose they're unalterably committed? Then what would you do? Okay, well, the last administration held out the prospect of the use of military force to even stop reprocessing and separation of plutonium. Now, I don't know what President Clinton would have done. President Clinton can say, and I think he has, that he would have used force. But, you know, that was then and this is now. We really can't redo history. But there is a thought that we might have used force then.

I'm not now saying at what point I think we ought to use force. I am saying clearly that I wouldn't take force absolutely off the table. You've got to have your eyes wide open about the costs associated with it. And under those circumstances, you ought to negotiate first.

I am saying that one thing that is absolutely unacceptable is the transfer of this material. And if you ask me and push me now would I use force to stop that? You bet.

Kimball: Yes, ma'am?

Q. I'd like to come back to Dr. Albright's point about the need to improve intelligence. And it also bears on Dean Gallucci's point about the proposition of testing them. We're told that U.S. intelligence on North Korea is far worse than it is on Iraq. And given the fact that we've had…

Albright:Not sure about that.

Q. Whether that's true or not, that's the first question. But I do have a question. Why can't we say conclusively, given how much intelligence resources must, we presume, is devoted to this problem, whether or not they've reprocessed? You just said you think that they are. People said last night, including the CIA, that the conclusion is they're not.

Albright:They said they're not reprocessing?

Q. Yes.

Albright:They said that with assurance, they could tell they're not reprocessing?

Q. They said they don't think…

Kimball: Wait a minute; who's "they"?

Albright:I thought there was a report in The Washington Post today that said they thought they may be.

Q. We can quibble about that. It's very messy. And I guess my question to you is, why is it so messy? Why don't we know? And if we don't know, what does that mean about our ability to verify all of the other steps on your list, which sound great, but how capable is the U.S. of verifying that they're not going to cheat again? And if there's a significant amount of doubt, then how do we test them if we can't really measure whether they're cheating or not?

Albright:Okay. Well, the first answer is that the reason you use inspectors on the ground who have considerable inspection rights is because we recognize that intelligence is such a poor tool. That was proven over and over again in Iraq in the 1980s, the 1990s, and now. And so you have to have the intrusive inspections on the ground to gain confidence that there isn't cheating going on. And then you'll never know for sure that there's not something, but you'll gain confidence that it's at the margins or that you'll have confidence that you'll detect it quickly if there's a breakout.

I think that's enough on that. The inspections are to compensate for the lack of intelligence. If the U.S. could look into a country and know everything, then they'd know where to bomb, they'd know how to intervene, and they can't. And it's just a very poor tool.

On the question of reprocessing, you're using essentially distant means: Satellite imagery to first order, praying for defector information, but not finding any, to look at a facility that's large, and you're looking for indications. There's a steam plant that produces process steam for the radiochemical laboratory operating and it's been (inaudible) and there's also a lot of cloud cover that's been over North Korea for the last couple months. You're looking for kind of a brownish smoke coming off the radiochemical laboratory, to show that fuel's been -- or that nitric acid has dissolved something and emitted these fumes. It's not a very large plume.

You're hoping that if North Korea really is separating plutonium, and there's going to be radioactive material emitted, namely, krypton- 85, which is inert and travels a long way. For 50 years, we've used that as a technique to detect reprocessing, and so you can be guaranteed that there's embassies in Pyongyang with krypton detectors, stuff in China, there may be stuff on ships, there's stuff in Japan, there's stuff at the demilitarized zone. I don't know; these are highly classified facts, but you would have (seen it ?) in other cases where they'll be looking for krypton-85.

I would say all this collectively would say it's kind of -- they haven't separated much plutonium. The lack of indicators would say they haven't separated much plutonium. On the other side, we do know there were a lot of activities at the plant in March. [ISIS] didn't get the satellite images ourselves, but we know people who did that tell us that. We know that there's been recent activity at the plant. And it could be that they're reprocessing very old, low-burn-up fuel, and that we just would miss it. And so, I would say that our uncertainty would say that they could get enough for a bomb from that kind of fuel and there wouldn't be krypton-85 emissions that would be detected. And so, they would just slip through. But eventually, it will show up that reprocessing is going on. It just has to. You can't hide it.

The other possibility, which you can't dismiss, is that they have another reprocessing plant and that we don't know where it is. There's a huge tunnel complex not far from the radiochemical laboratory. Inspectors were in it in the early 1990s, taken on a tour of it as a weekend visit when they used to be there more regularly. Perhaps there is another facility.

But again, all this would argue for accepting the limitations of intelligence and understand that the only way to know is to have people on the ground who have considerable rights to investigate what's going on.

Kimball: And to get those people on the ground, negotiations are necessary to work out the agreement that allows the details for that verification regime.

Albright:Yeah. I don't know what the U.S. government thinks, but I think a stepwise approach makes sense. And part of testing, to me, is that North Korea would allow what I would call a proper refreezing of Yongbyon, or take the step of dismantling verifiably its gas centrifuge program. Maybe it wouldn't give up its nuclearization program right away, but there does need to be something up-front, from my point of view, that really tests them in a concrete way that they are willing to make these commitments to transparency.

Kimball: Yes, sir. Right here on the left. Thank you.

Q. Do any of the panelists see any link between the North Korean situation and the situation in Iran in dealing with, for instance, engaging Russia, perhaps, in helping us in North Korea, given their activities in Iran?

Kimball: Anyone? Comparisons between the Iranian…

Gallucci: I'll make one observation, and that is that one of the critiques of the Agreed Framework with North Korea used to be that the wrong lessons would be learned; that Iran would learn the wrong lesson. You could say right now if we did a deal with North Korea, what lesson would Iran learn? And I kind of like the lesson Iran might learn. Given that Iran is proceeding as it is with uranium enrichment, heavy-water production, presumably for a heavy-water reactor, if they learn that a negotiation was possible and these programs could be turned off and a relationship could be struck with the United States, I think that would be a terrific lesson.

Kimball: Next question. Yes, sir?

Q. David McGlinchey from the Global Security Newswire. You're talking about the differences between Iraq and North Korea. State Department officials have said recently that if current negotiations fail, they want to take the situation to the U.N., even though after and during the Iraq situation a lot of U.S. officials were bad-mouthing the U.N. saying it wasn't getting the job done. What's the difference? Why would the United States want to go to the U.N. this time? How would it be more effective in dealing with North Korea than with Iraq?

Kimball: You're talking about through the Security Council?

Q. Yes. Yes.

Gallucci: Let me just take a shot at this. I can imagine there being a political advantage at some point in going to the United Nations, taking the North Korea situation to the United Nations, because I believe the administration is correct; this is not a bilateral issue only between the United States and North Korea. The North Koreans are acting inconsistent with the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, as well as the Agreed Framework. They're a threat to the United States, to Japan, South Korea, and the international community. So it is appropriate for the administration to wish to multilateralize this in the negotiations and also at the U.N.

My concern about the multilateralization of the negotiation is that I don't know that I would wait for that. I think it's a desirable objective, but I see a certain urgency to the current situation.

With respect to the U.N., there is an issue, of course, and I think it has impacted the administration's assessment of when it's a good idea to have the U.N. take up the issue and consider sanctions, and that is-as the North Koreans once pointed out to me-the U.N. is not a neutral international organization to them. The U.N. was the belligerent in the Korean War and the armistice is with the United Nations. And so an act by the U.N. of adoption of sanctions would be regarded, they told me a decade ago, as a violation of the armistice and an act of war.

Now the North Koreans are capable of extraordinary hyperbole, and this may be part of it. But I don't think that you would move to sanctions lightly. You would want that to be a deliberate step in a strategy. And I don't know what the administration's plans are with respect to the overall approach to North Korea, so I don't know where this would fit. But at some point, it would make sense.

And again, I would caution you not to sort of transpose, you know, North Korea on top of what you think you may have learned from the Iraqi experience. I think they're really quite different. And indeed, as time passes, that was then and this is now.

Kimball: Part of the reality of a multilateral approach is also what do the other members of the Security Council think. One of the key members, China, does not support going to the Security Council specifically to pass a resolution that might impose or threaten sanctions on North Korea at this stage.

I think we just have time for one or two more questions. And before we do, I wanted to ask you, Bob, to touch upon your reading of the current tea leaves, what a negotiation might lead to, what would some of the elements be that might provide an appropriate solution from the United States' perspective? Is this within reach, or is this out of reach?

Gallucci: Yeah, I'll do this briefly, and I know Larry wanted to make a point.

I would continue to do what we've done in the past with North Korea, which is, in the first instance, focus on the nuclear issue. I don't mean to the exclusion of ballistic missiles, to the exclusion of the conventional force deployment issues, but I would deal with the issue that has the sharpest cutting edge, and that is the threat posed by the North Korean nuclear weapons program. I'd make that the centerpiece and see how much of the other issues were in fact open to negotiation with North Korea. If a big deal was possible, I think that would be preferable, but better to have a small deal and a narrowly focused one than no deal at all because you failed to get the big deal. That is the first point about what it looks like.

Second, I would look for everything we achieved in the framework and then a lot more is one way to put it. That is to say not only the freezing of the plutonium program but the dismantlement, which is envisioned in the Agreed Framework, sooner, rather than later; the special inspections that are envisioned in the framework, sooner, rather than later; the shipment of the spent fuel, so that is not a gun to our head, assuming it has not been reprocessed, sooner, rather than later.

And we have the new elements that have to be factored in. The enrichment program has to be dismantled. Now we have a declaration that they have weapons. Well, they're NPT parties. You want them back in the NPT as non-nuclear-weapon state. We have the South African case as an example for dismantlement under inspection. David will give you the details of what all that looks like.

So on the nuclear side, you want to do all that, and then you want to get the inspection process and the transparency, to make sure they're not cheating on the deal. I mean, there are other elements, but that's on the nuclear side.

I don't know that we can really stop there, though I would think that would be a success if we achieve that. Given our concerns about the ballistic missile transfers, I think we need to get to ballistic missile testing and transfers-the testing, which so antagonizes Japan, and the transfers, which bother us and a lot of countries in the Middle East that are impacted by those transfers.

The forward deployment of forces would come next on my list. And I think the thing that would come last would be, except in a rhetorical way, concern about the human rights abuses of North Korea. That's not because I am not troubled, concerned, find outrageous the way North Korea treats its own people, but I think we have a security issue to deal with, and I think if we are moving in to make those kinds of changes a condition of an arrangement, we may make the deal that we need to make on security grounds difficult to impossible.

On the plus side, I think we should be certainly willing to resume the construction of those lightwater reactors, which may or may not have been stopped; I really don't know. And if they were prepared to switch out conventional plants for one or two of those reactors, it would be far preferable. If they're not, I think we should be prepared to complete the reactors as we indicated we would; delivery of the heavy fuel oil, food aid, normalized relations, and if nonaggression language or an arrangement of some kind, including some formal arrangement, with respect to nonaggression commitment was desired, I'd be prepared to go there, as well, provided we got all of the other things that we wanted. That's kind of the outline.

Kimball: Okay, thanks. Larry, did you have a comment on the previous question?

Scheinman: Well, just on the Security Council. You can take something to the Security Council without ending up with a resolution that implies sanctions, but which demonstrates on two sides to the target state that, gee, all these people are together on this point. This is what happened when the IAEA reported noncompliance with the safeguards business to the Security Council just about a month and a half ago. China went along with getting that to the Security Council, but did not go along with the idea of getting a resolution on sanctions. But it was a signal that everybody was willing to take at least one step, and that there was a consolidation potential here with regard to an issue that the Security Council could deal with as one.

It's also an indication that the United States, as the lead state, is willing to use a multilateral institution to try to make it work to get a common consensus approach to a particular problem, rather than just going out on its own. We have to send messages not only to the North Koreans, we have to send messages to our friends and allies that we are prepared to work together to achieve certain outcomes.

Kimball: All right. I think we have time for one very quick question and…

(End of Available Audio)

Transcript by
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.

Description: 
ACA Press Conference

Country Resources:

Subject Resources:

New Nuclear Weapons vs. Nonproliferation: The Choice Before Congress

Sections:

Body: 
&

MODERATOR:

DARYL KIMBALL,
ARMS CONTROL ASSOCIATION


SPEAKERS:

SENATOR EDWARD KENNEDY

DR. SIDNEY DRELL,
STANFORD UNIVERSITY

DR. MATTHEW MCKINZIE,
NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL

Tuesday, APRIL 29, 2003
Hall of States

 

Transcript by:
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.

 

The Arms Control Association held a press briefing on the dangers posed by the Bush administration's initiatives to research new nuclear weapons. Congress is expected to begin debate on these proposals in upcoming weeks. This is a rushed transcript of the event.

The Panelists:


DARYL KIMBALL: Good morning, everyone. I'm Daryl Kimball - and we are having a few sound problems this morning and I apologize for that. Welcome to this morning's Arms Control Association briefing on "Nuclear weapons versus non-proliferation: The choice before Congress." The Arms Control Association is a private, non-partisan organization devoted to supporting effective arms control and nonproliferation strategies to reduce and eliminate the dangers of weapons of mass destruction. We're pleased to have this morning with us three very distinguished speakers to help us understand the choices facing Congress in the next few weeks on the Bush administration's proposals for research on new bunker busting nuclear weapons capabilities and its proposal to appeal the existing prohibition on research and development leading to production of low-yield nuclear weapons. That is five kilotons or below. We hope to address not only the political dynamics of these proposals but also the technical realities and the proliferation implications.

We have a couple of handouts on the table that elaborate on these issues, an Arms Control Association briefing paper. We have Dr. Sidney Drell's recent article from our journal, Arms Control Today, "New Bunker Busters Versus Nonproliferation," and I believe there's a draft report from NRDC that will soon be available on this subject that we'll let you know about.

Now, all of us here agree that these proposals are but the latest in a series of imprudent steps by the administration to develop a more flexible and aggressive nuclear force posture that threatens to undermine U.S. and global nonproliferation objectives. This includes the National Security Presidential Directive 17 that clarifies that nuclear weapons may be used in response to chemical or biological threats, and the Nuclear Posture Review that asserts that nuclear weapon capabilities are needed to defeat deeply buried and hardened targets. And the administration has taken steps to lower the barriers to resume nuclear testing which might be necessary to field these types of weapons.

Now, Congress is going to decide soon about whether to continue funding for the research on bunker busters and to repeal the ban on low-yield weapons research. The House and Senate Armed Services Committee will soon evaluate these issues, and our next speaker, Senator Edward Kennedy, is going to be in the middle of that discussion on Capitol Hill.

We're very honored to have Senator Kennedy of Massachusetts with us here today to share his perspectives on the Bush administration's more aggressive nuclear weapons policies in the upcoming debate. Senator Kennedy hardly needs an introduction but I'd just like to say that he certainly is, in the view of the Arms Control Association, one of our nation's foremost and stalwart advocates of sane nuclear policies from arms reduction agreements with Russia, to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty over the years, to vigorous inspections in Iraq. After he speaks I hope he'll have a few minutes to take some questions.

Thank you very much for being here, Senator Kennedy. The floor is yours.

SENATOR EDWARD KENNEDY (D-MA): Good morning. I'm grateful for the invitation to be here today and I thank Daryl Kimball for that generous introduction. I have great respect for the Arms Control Association and the wise leadership it continues to provide on key issues of arms control, especially nuclear arms control.

Of all the challenges we've faced over the past half-century, the prevention of nuclear war may be the most difficult and the most important. Preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons to other nations and to terrorists is the most urgent aspect of that challenge today. We all hope that the Bush administration will be successful in the current negotiations with North Korea and that the progress made in recent weeks will continue. Many of us are concerned, however, that certain steps taken by the administration in recent months are raising doubts about our own long-standing policy on nuclear weapons.

"More has changed on proliferation than on any other issue." CIA Director George Tenet made that statement to the Senate Armed Services Committee last February. Nowhere is this clearer than in the modifications that the Bush administration is making in nuclear weapons policy. Because of their unique and massive destructive power, nuclear weapons have always been kept separate from other weapons as part of our strong commitment to do all we can to see that they are never used again.

The reason the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty of 1968 has been so successful is the presumption that nuclear weapons will not be used except in the most extreme circumstances. For 25 years, Republican and Democratic administrations alike have emphasized our commitment not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear nations. The assurance to other nations that nuclear weapons will not be used against them has been a major factor in avoiding nuclear war and reducing the nuclear arms race and preventing the proliferation of these weapons to other countries and to terrorists.

Control of current stockpiles is more critical than ever and the danger is very real that terrorists may be able to acquire nuclear material or nuclear warheads. Even before 9/11, Congress and the administration had recognized this threat. We enacted the Nunn-Lugar threat reduction program in 1991 to safeguard and reduce the arsenals of Russia and other former Soviet states, and it's been effective in deactivating or destroying literally thousands of nuclear warheads and intercontinental ballistic missiles, and hundreds of tons of fissionable material.

Nevertheless, shortly before President Bush's inauguration, the taskforce reported that the most urgent national security threat to the United States today is the dangers that weapons of mass destruction, or weapons-usable material in Russia could be stolen and sold to terrorists or hostile nation states and used against American troops abroad or citizens at home. On September 11th, terrorists clearly demonstrated their willingness and their ability to cause catastrophic damage to America, yet the Bush administration continues to spend less on the Nunn-Lugar program than we did before 2001. In January, the administration released a Nuclear Posture Review that could take us in a new and far more dangerous direction than before.

The review blurs the line between conventional and nuclear weapons. It suggests that certain events might compel the United States to use nuclear weapons first, even against non-nuclear nations. It also relies much more strongly on a nuclear threat by America in dealing with the difficult challenges we face in the world. The administration has even indicated that it might use nuclear weapons in response to a chemical or biological attack.

There is no justification for that kind of escalation. Our conventional weapons are more than adequate to deal with that threat. We gain no greater deterrent by threatening to go nuclear. It makes no sense to break down the firewall that we have always maintained between nuclear weapons and other weapons, and that has succeeded for over half a century in preventing nuclear war. Other nations have complied with this basic principle, too. A nuclear weapon is not just another item in our arsenal and it's wrong to treat it like it is.

The Review specifically discusses circumstances in which the United States might engage in the first use of nuclear weapons, such as a North Korean attack on South Korea or a military confrontation over the status of Taiwan. We also appear to be considering the use of nuclear weapons against Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Iran. We reap what we sow, and if we brandish our nuclear weapons, we only encourage other nations to develop their own.

It's ominous as well that the administration is asking the weapons laboratories to consider the possibility of resuming nuclear testing to protect our current stockpile and to meet new requirements in the future. They've budgeted $700 million for fiscal year 2004 budget, including funds that could be used for new tests, and cut in half the time needed to conduct them. It makes no sense to abandon our moratorium on nuclear testing. That moratorium has stood for over a decade and it has served us well.

Last year the administration also requested $15 million, and it wants another $15 million this year, to study the feasibility of modifying existing warheads to create what they call "a robust nuclear earth-penetrator," a bunker buster with 10 times the size of the Hiroshima blast to be used to destroy hardened enemy targets buried deeply underground. The scientific community has raised serious questions about the need for this type of nuclear weapon and the danger it presents. A nuclear explosion in a bunker could spew tons of radioactive waste into the atmosphere, with a devastating plume that could poison huge areas in its path. Obviously developing such weapons would distract us from strengthening conventional weapons to fulfill this purpose.

Finally, the administration wants to lift the current statutory ban on low-yield nuclear weapons which now prevents the development of weapons with yields under five kilotons, about half the size of the Hiroshima blast. The precision guided munitions and standoff weapons we have today make these many nukes unnecessary. They would be no more effective than conventional munitions and would be far more dangerous to our troops. Some say that the long-standing firewall between nuclear and conventional weapons is making us more vulnerable to nuclear blackmail, and that lowering the threshold for using nuclear weapons will make our own nuclear threat a stronger and more credible deterrent. That's the last thing we need. The obvious danger of change in policy is that they will encourage other nations to develop nuclear deterrents of their own. The entire world will be at greater risk that these weapons will be used, and used against us.

The real debate on these all-important issues of nuclear policy is only just beginning. Clearly these issues demand far more attention from Congress and the country. They have been eclipsed for too long by the war on terrorism and the war against Iraq. We can ignore them no longer. We have an obligation to our nation and our people and to all nations and all peoples to see that nuclear weapons are never used again.

I'll be glad to answer questions.

KIMBALL: Thank you, Senator Kennedy. Questions from the audience, please.

SEN. KENNEDY: If it doesn't make any difference I'll take them sitting down.

KIMBALL: Sure.

Q: -- from the Guardian. Do you feel this administration is serious about considering breaking the U.S. test moratorium? Do you see that on the horizon?

SEN. KENNEDY: Well, what I'm outlining today, the statements and actions that they have made to date and also their request of the defense authorization legislation which is before our Armed Services Committee, I think what we ought to do is just take those actions and interpret them reasonably as to what their intention is. And I think that's going to be a matter that will be considered by the Armed Services Committee, the authorization, and I also think that there will be floor action as well. And I expect that debate to be some time probably before the Fourth of July.

I think we ought to follow the money request. The best way to follow - to get the indication of the seriousness of the administration is to follow the request of the money, defense authorization in the various categories, and it is as I've outlined here today, and that's, I think, the clearest indication of where they're going besides the statements that they've made.

KIMBALL: Thank you. Other questions? Pat Towell.

Q: Pat Towell, Congressional Quarterly. Senator, on the Spratt-Furse amendment that they want to repeal, last year they said - and they said again this year their intention is not, in fact, to begin developing a warhead but rather to pass - this legislation is drafted so broadly that it inhibits research intended for other purposes that could theoretically be seen. And so, in the House they were willing last year to work out a deal that would narrow the scope. I mean, does that final approach appeal to you at all?

SEN. KENNEDY: Well, I think Congressman Spratt has addressed that and is the author of that amendment for very good and sound purposes and still strongly committed to it. We would certainly consider any proposal, but the underlying principle I think still remains sound and is one that should be defended. Obviously, if the administration has some other points in mind they can be considered, but the basic concept, the basic principle, is still as compelling today as it was at the time that it was adopted and is a principle that I would strongly support and urge my colleagues to.

KIMBALL: Yes, sir.

Q: (Off mike.) You mentioned the Bush report about the possible use of weapons in a North Korea/South Korea situation, Taiwan, China. Can you give us your sense of what the situation is now with North Korea, and if these weapons - if there's any connection between bunker busters and developing them and asking for money for them and the administration's policy toward North Korea?

SEN. KENNEDY: Well, I think their position is independent, maybe. In terms of the particular negotiations that are taking place now, I think - there may be others that want to draw other conclusions - but I think that their position in terms of the development of bunker-busters has been there for a longer period of time than these more recent negotiations with North Korea.

I think what is happening in the North Korean situation - the nature of these discussions is basically positive. I think both sides have been stating their positions. As negotiators we understand that the North Korean position as stated is not going to be wholly acceptable to us, and either is our position to them. That's the nature of the negotiations. And I think that that is certainly hopeful; I think it would be. And it's quite clear from the statements and comments that the actions that have been taken by the administration in opening up these discussions have been supported by the Chinese, by the South Koreans, and by the Japanese as well. And I think that we should certainly pursue them, and very hopefully we will.

I think it's understandable that you have a variety of different issues that are involved: the nuclear weapons grade plutonium and the nuclear weapon that the North Koreans have, the danger that that poses as well as their missiles; their desire, if they are going to give those up, about the dangers of aggression to them, their own security; and they've obviously got economic challenges as well. And these are matters that I think are pretty increasingly well understood by all the sides of this and I would certainly hope that the continued discussions would take place. Don't call them discussions, call them negotiations, but whichever word you want to use, it's very important, I think, in terms of trying to work through a safer and more secure region.

KIMBALL: Yes, ma'am.

Q: (Off mike) Can you discuss the report on the [robust nuclear earth penetrator] that the Pentagon released last month to the Armed Services Committee, and are you or anyone else on the committee fishing for an unclassified version to be released?

KIMBALL: The robust nuclear earth-penetrator report that was filed earlier.

Q: Last month, was it?

SEN. KENNEDY: Yeah, well, I can - rather than just on the particular details, I think that, quite clearly, as I mentioned, I have very serious reservations about it. I think that whatever can be achieved in terms of any projections that I've seen in the Armed Services Committee about nuclear [use] are well within the range in terms of conventional, and that obviously has very important and significant advantages, for the reasons I've outlined: the dangers of using the nuclear weapons and the risks that are out there in terms of our own personnel.

And I think that that's also true with regards to the statement that the administration has at least left open for countries that are going to use weapons of mass destruction, for example, whether they use bioterrorism or chemical warfare. We can deal with those situations with a conventional force. Again, the use -- we can clean up a chemical and biological attacks but cleaning up a nuclear is far more dangerous and more difficult and poses much greater threats in terms of American troops.

Finally, I think, going down that road in terms of threatening use against countries, the fact is that the terrorists today are going to be - if they're going to use any of these they're going to use them from countries that may very well be countries which are not harboring or supporting these terrorist activities and which the surrounding populations are completely innocent from these kinds of situations. I think we're much better off not threatening [nuclear use in] these situations and I think we ought to continue what steps have been taken, and they're very robust steps in the development of conventional forces, and maintain what is the most basic and fundamental issue, and that is the firewall that has existed between the use of nuclear weapons of all forms and shapes and conventional forces. That is a firewall. You have to understand, it's a firewall.

Many of us have serious questions about the administration's statements and comments that seem to blur this, the whole series of comments. Even [British Prime Minister] Tony Blair in the Iraq situation indicated very clearly that he could not foresee any circumstances whatsoever where nuclear weapons would have been used. That kind of clarification was not as clear in terms of our own homeland.

KIMBALL: Thank you. Yes, sir.

Q: David Kassomel (ph), National Public Radio. Do you worry at all about the loss of expertise in the weapons (inaudible)?

SEN. KENNEDY: I think others who are more competent to really speak to that. I think it's better that those that can answer that more completely, knowledgably and competently, speak to that.

DR. SIDNEY DRELL: Just look at their budgets recently.

KIMBALL: Yes?

Q: Senator Kennedy, I was hoping that you could just comment on your concerns vis-à-vis developments with the Nuclear Posture Review and the reduction of tactical nuclear weapons and Russia.

SEN. KENNEDY: Well, we still have, obviously, a very important ways to go, with regards to tactical nukes, with [Russia]. I mean, we welcome the fact of this last treaty with [Russia], but the fact remains that the tactical nukes are still out there, and this remains a very important factor and force and more has to be done in that area. There was a criticism in the last treaty. It was that we did not take more - well, there's several, but this is certainly one of them - that strategic weapons weren't being disposed - destructed - but the fact that we were not taking steps in the tactical area, and that remains an area of enormous potential and importance and it ought to be an objective of national policy to address that in a more comprehensive way.

And I imagine -- as I see heads nodding here -- there will probably be some important recommendations on it, but clearly that's an area that I think ought to be a prime area of interest and initiation, hopefully, in terms of [reducing] the dangers and the proliferation not only in tactical weapons but also there ought to be additional kinds of support in terms of Nunn-Lugar, and there also ought to be an extension in terms of Nunn-Lugar to deal with bioterrorism. That's an area where the security issues are in terms of the protections of the materials in the Soviet Union, particularly of greatest concern.

Here this morning you can hear a great deal of information about the nature of the protections of materials and the dangers of proliferation of the nuclear, but in the area of bio it is much more significant and much - I mean, in terms of security, the protection of it, it needs a lot more attention, and many of us are hopeful that the extension and expansion of Nunn-Lugar would include those scientists and researchers and also those security interests as well. Very little is being done, but I know Senator Lugar has been interested in that as well.

KIMBALL: I think it would be fair to say that the further U.S. pursuit of new types of nuclear weapons or modifications, whether they're high-yield or low-yield, would complicate efforts to try to deal with the tactical weapons in the former Soviet Union.

If there are no further questions we'll go on to our next speaker. I want to thank Senator Kennedy very much for his remarks and leadership, and we wish him -

SEN. KENNEDY: I'm going to stay here a little while and listen.

KIMBALL: Because you want to see the presentation. Excellent, thank you. So, thanks again.

SEN. KENNEDY: Thank you very much.

KIMBALL: So, Dr. Drell.

(Applause.)

DRELL: Senator Kennedy has touched just about every important point and I'm going to make some comments upon technical issues, but I have to make a few comments based upon his statement, which was excellent, because the firewall between nuclear weapons and any other weapon is an extraordinarily important wall to protect. Nuclear weapons are the only weapon of mass destruction. There are weapons of terror, like biological and chemical; nuclear weapons are unique.

I want to read a very brief statement made 15 years ago at a conference out at Stanford by Father Bryan Hehir, a priest and also for a while headed the Divinity School at Harvard, who played such a major role in the Catholic bishops' letter in the '80s, pastoral letter on nuclear weapons. It just puts what we're talking about in context before we get down to technical details. This is what he wrote:

"For millennia, people believed that if anyone had the right to call the ultimate moment of truth, one must name that person God. Since the dawn of the nuclear age, we have progressively acquired the capacity to call the moment of truth, and we are not gods but we must live with what we have created."

And I think one should keep that in mind, this terrible idea that nuclear weapons are an answer to chemical or biological weapons, or that they might be usable in tactical situations against a bunker or for this purpose. I think that's the most dangerous idea in the world that we face. For 58 years, since Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we have built the norm of nonuse of nuclear weapons, even though we've been involved in unwinnable wars, and so has the rest of the world, the Russians in Afghanistan for example. We have built a norm of non-possession. The nonproliferation regime has been a tremendous success. Only eight nations are known to have nuclear weapons today, out of 189. That's a far smaller number than was thought to be the case as one looked at prospects 40, 30 years ago.

We have found, with even an inadequate verification system, that Iraq and North Korea and Iran were on their way to nuclear weapons long before they got them. Let's make the nonproliferation regime stronger. Let's give the United Nations or the International Atomic Energy Agency broader power to inspect suspect sites that it does not have now. But we must preserve the nonproliferation regime. Look at the alternatives if more countries or terrorists get their hands on this material. And as Senator Kennedy said, the report by former Senator Howard Baker and White House counsel, Lloyd Cutler, said there's hundreds of tons of material in the former Soviet Union. Those are the greatest threats we face, and here we're spending one-third - less than one-third of 1 percent of our defense budget on that problem. That's terribly out of whack. So there are major problems, and I want you - please remember every major point the senator made because there was a wonderful summary. I'm going to talk about a few technical details, and they're important.

So you have to look at bunker busters and say, you know, what are they good for? What are they going to do? Well, why are we interested in them? It is true that there are now some 70 or so nations in the world that have become adept at digging deep bunkers, deep for storage. There are estimated by the intelligence community to be about 1,000 such sites for command and control, for storage of weapons. We have to do something about them. But what have nuclear weapons got to do with that? What have nuclear weapons got to do with that?

In fact, if you take those bunkers of serious concern that we talk about, they are things that have been hardened, like with concrete or granite or in hard rock, to stand 1,000 atmospheres of overpressure, and they're as deep as 1,000 feet. Let me tell you, you can look at all the small nuclear weapons you want, but if you're going to do any damage to some hard target at 1,000 feet, that's going to be more than 100 kilotons. I mean, this is physics; this has nothing to do with policy.

You're not talking about small, usable, low-collateral-damage weapons. If I just detonate one kiloton, one-thirteenth of Hiroshima, at a depth that I can reach physically without destroying the material that the bomb is encased in, which means at depths of less than 50 feet, there is no material that will take us lower that that, even if we slam them in at supersonic speeds. That one-kiloton is going to create a crater larger than the World Trade Center, larger than a football field. It's going to put a million cubic feet of radioactively contaminated dust into the atmosphere. That's much more collateral damage. And what's more, one kiloton isn't even going to get close to a deep, hardened, buried target. You have to get up to 100 kilotons. To contain 100 kilotons or so, you would have to detonate the weapon more than 1,000 feet below ground.

So what are we talking about when we talk about bunker-busters? We're not talking about low collateral damage, low-yield weapons. That's a physical myth - that's a myth. And so what we can do, as the senator said, what we can do is improve our conventional forces. It's important to be able to make our bombs, our conventional weapons, penetrate before they detonate. If you can penetrate an explosion on the order of 10 to 20 feet below the surface before it detonates -- you know, it's hardened enough so it doesn't destroy itself and it digs down on the order of 20 feet or so before it detonates, you can increase the shock delivered to a target by order of magnitude by a factor of 10 to 20. That is something very important to do.

Also, you have to know where the target is. Is it a tunnel of miles length? Where do you want to hit it, except finding an entrance and blocking it off? But you have to have accuracy. You have to know, where are the underground targets, what's their character, where, if there are serious materials in there that you want to destroy like biological agents or chemical weapons, where are they? You can't just - the need for good intelligence to increase the effectiveness on conventional forces, identifying targets, characterizing them, locating them, that's far more important than any marginal gain you're going to get out of a nuclear weapon.

Also the ability to deliver the munitions accurately. We've shown a great improvement in that capacity, especially most recently in Iraq. The effectiveness with which conventional weapons can increase their - the ability to increase their effectiveness goes up radically with good accuracy of delivery. In fact, over the years the laboratories, particularly Sandia, has had programs where they make, for conventional weapons, pilot holes. It takes one detonation to create a hole, and now, using GPS, the global position satellites, to follow beacons into the hole and have successive explosions, you can increase the depth to which you penetrate.

There have been some experiments that I'm aware of, done by people like Patterson and Young (sp). People have been working this problem for 30 years, which show that in hard granite-type targets, you can increase your penetration depth if you have a pilot hole from the previous explosion by as much as 30 percent. Against ordinary soil you can get 10 percent - 10-foot increases in depth.

So these are real things to do with conventional weapons, but the lure of nuclear weapons and trying to weaken that firewall that has, for 58 years, been so important to our survival in this world, that is a terrible thought, that's a dangerous thought. I want us to work hard to preserve what we have done so well at so far.

One final comment. When we talk about the nonproliferation regime, in getting the extension of the Nonproliferation Treaty at it's fifth and final schedule of review in 1995--that took place at the United Nations - in getting 185 nations of the world out of 189 to sign onto the nonproliferation treaty, the nuclear powers had to agree--it's not in writing on a treaty but they understood that the condition to get these countries to sign on was the assumption, the commitment that we would not test. That was explicit in getting the signature of many of these countries. If we were to, for some minor advantage, illusionary in part, of improving our ability to get buried targets by violating the Comprehensive Test Ban and resuming testing, we would lose enormous support for the nonproliferation regime.

As I said, all but four countries have signed on to that: India, Pakistan, Israel and now North Korea, which pulled out. So the Comprehensive Test Ban, or at least continuing the moratorium on testing, is a very important part of our facing the threat of nuclear weapons. And the Comprehensive Test Ban has been signed by 166 countries, been ratified by 97, and 31 of the 44 nuclear-capable powers that have to sign it before it comes into effect. There is the challenge to not only preserve the moratorium but to strengthen it, because once the Comprehensive Test Ban comes into effect there will be further strengthening of our ability to verify compliance.

So that, I think, is the challenge we face. And I think the senator has put out every important reason why.

KIMBALL: Thank you, Dr. Drell, for those excellent remarks. Let me just remind the audience that Dr. Drell is one of the nation's most trusted advisors on nuclear weapons issues--nuclear policy issues for decades. He's a member of the advisory committee for the National Nuclear Security Administration, a member of the JASON group at the MITRE Corporation, which has advised the Defense Department and the Department of Energy for many years on these issues.

Next we'll hear from Dr. Matthew McKinzie, who is with the nuclear program of the Natural Resources Defense Council, who is a physicist who has worked as a post-doctoral associate at the Cornell University Peace Studies program before joining NRDC in 1997. Dr. McKinzie is going to provide us with a visual demonstration of many of the facts that Senator Kennedy and Dr. Drell have laid out, demonstrating the potential effects of the collateral damage of an earth-penetrating nuclear weapon on possible targets.

Matt, are we almost there?

MATTHEW MCKINZIE: Almost there. One second.

KIMBALL: Okay. Let me also note, for those of you who may have come in late, that one of the reasons why we're putting together this press briefing today is because the Senate Armed Services Committee will, in the next few days, be considering the proposal put forward by the administration in it's defense authorization request for fiscal 2004. The committees are scheduled to look at this issue over the next two to three weeks. A bill will then move to the floor by probably the July Fourth recess, or thereabouts. These issues are very much on the agenda of the Congress and these watershed decisions will be happening very soon.

Matt, are we -

MCKINZIE: I think we're ready. All right, well, sorry for the change in venue here. It's an honor to be on this panel, I have to say, as the junior member. The topic of my presentation, I wanted to provide some sort of graphical examples of both the properties of these weapons and their employment. And what I'll first discuss, at NRDC, as of yesterday, our understanding is that in fact there may be two contexts in which these weapons could be developed and employment options that could be considered.

One context should be called - really thought of as strategic. Earth-penetrating weapons were originally developed in a strategic context in which targets were in Russia and, to a much lesser extent, China, countries with which the U.S. has a deterrent relationship. These weapons were thought of as part of the SIOP, or Single Integrated Operational Plan, the nuclear war plan of the U.S., and targeted destruction for earth-penetrating weapons is really the primary criteria when considered in a strategic mode. So this is the region of higher nuclear explosive yields.

The other context is regional or tactical use, and that has already been discussed in this panel, but here we're talking about targets in countries with regional or emergent weapons of mass destruction capabilities, such as Iran, Syria or North Korea. In this case, target destruction criteria for weapons design is really balanced against minimizing what's called collateral effects, or death and injury due to the radioactive fallout. So those are really the two contexts in which earth-penetrating weapons will be designed - may be designed and employment considered.

Now, I wanted to address two technical issues which Dr. Drell has already addressed. One is the coupling of the energy from the nuclear explosion to the earth to destroy underground structures. What do you buy with an earth-penetrating weapon as opposed to one that explodes on the surface? And the second is the fallout from a nuclear explosion. How does that fallout change if you bury the nuclear burst before it goes off?

Now, about a week ago we got an unclassified paper by a weapons designer named Gerald Marsh. It was tremendously informative. On paper at least, it looks like you can replace, in terms of target destruction capabilities, a megaton-class thermonuclear weapon, which is a weapon with a nuclear explosive yield in the range of tens of kilotons. And that's what this graph right here would show you, which is a combination of data points and a fit to those data points.

Basically this--it's a logarithmic graph; on this side the fraction of nuclear explosive energy that goes into destroying an underground target. And on this axis you have what's called the scaled depth of burst. So for contact burst, or a proximity burst of a nuclear explosion, you're looking at basically a factor of 10 or more compared to penetrating even several meters into the ground. So this is the amount of energy available - a small fraction of the energy is available down here to go into the ground and destroy things. Much larger fractions, 50-60 percent, of the energy is available when you bury the weapon even a short distance, several meters. So on paper at least, this is the quote, unquote "appeal" of an earth-penetrating nuclear weapon.

Now, the issue of fallout. I'm going to show you some fallout calculations that we put together for this briefing at NRDC. When you calculate the fallout of a nuclear explosion, there are basically several important variables. One is the explosive yield of the nuclear weapon, obviously higher yield, more fallout. The second factor is what's called the height of burst, or how high above the ground the weapon goes off, or the depth of burial, how deeply it's buried. Above a certain height of burst, above a certain altitude, no local fallout is predicted, and that's what happened at Hiroshima and Nagasaki where the weapons went off about half a kilometer above the surface of the earth.

The type of nuclear weapon really matters a lot for fallout, whether it's a simpler fission design or a thermonuclear weapon, which would produce yet less fallout per kiloton of yield. The winds are tremendously important. The mushroom cloud basically is blown by winds, not just the winds acting at the surface of the earth but tens of miles up if the explosion is large enough. And finally, weather: if it's raining out, whether there are mountains in the vicinity, all these things enter into assessment of fallout.

Now, if the weapon is buried below a certain depth in the medium, then no fallout would be predicted. You would have what's called a contained burst. In the fallout code we use in the Department of Defense there's a simple formula for calculating how deep the weapon needs to go not to produce fallout, and it's actually quite deep, even for fairly low-yield weapons. This is half a kiloton. The code would estimate that there would be no fallout if it was buried more than about 55 meters or so, 150 feet. At the Nevada test site they have a slightly more conservative formula for predicting no fallout, based on preventing exposure to test personnel.

Now, I used our code, and I'll show you more explicit calculations in a bit, but I wanted to explore how the extent of fallout varies as you vary a weapon. And I was very surprised to see this result, that as you penetrate the earth and the weapon goes off, you actually produce more fallout for fairly shallow dept of burst, and then the fallout diminishes. And that's because the fireball is more efficiently scooping out material from the earth; that material is mixing with the radioactive debris and falling out within tens of kilometers or more around the ground zero.

Now, what computer code did we use to calculate fallout for this presentation? It's really an amazing piece of software called HPAC. It's produced by SAIC, a Department of Defense contractor to the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. It is unclassified. It's not generally available, but an NRDC officially obtained a copy, with the intervention of a member of Congress, and the code is incredibly capable. It calculates a variety of things, not just nuclear weapons but also radiological weapons, so-called dirty bombs, chemical or biological weapon use, or accidents at nuclear facilities. It has data in the code for all nuclear facilities worldwide.

Now, HPAC itself is very close to the U.S. nuclear war-planning process. Despite the fact that it's unclassified, what you're seeing here are fallout patterns - lt;em>(audio break) - and what we've done at NRDC in years past, we've used a code called KD53 (ph), developed at Livermore, to understand in greater detail the U.S. nuclear war plan, or SIOP. So this is the fallout pattern we calculated using a Livermore code from attacking Russian - alert Russian ICBM silos at a place called Kozalsk (ph), and this is the equivalent calculation using HPAC. So I feel fairly confident that at least as far as fallout goes, we do have a handle on the phenomenology and on the many inputs to the code.

There's a lot in there and I - in this code, and probably the subject of a report, but one piece of information that I just found utterly fascinating was buried in the help file for the code. It was a tutorial on how you use nuclear weapons to target biological facilities. There was a training objective--there was a test afterwards for the individual who went through this exercise, and basically this training manual was about how you choose proper yield and height of burst to target a biological weapons facility so as to minimize the amount of agent released and the amount of fallout produced.

Now the last topic of my presentation: earth-penetrating nuclear weapon employment. I thought here what I would do is sort of step through the different phases of employment and then choose hypothetical targets for such an earth-penetrating nuclear weapon in North Korea. And in doing so I came to believe that no rational decision-maker would choose to use the existing earth-penetrating nuclear warhead that we have on our arsenal, the B61 Mod 11, of which we have about 50 in our arsenal.

This map here shows sort of the backend of deployment. It's a map of the United States, obviously, and what I've labeled on this map are three sites in the United States: the White House, the Office of the President -- the president of the United States has the ultimate authority to authorize the use of nuclear weapons -- Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, which is the location of all nuclear weapons planning, targeting, acquisition and planning for the use of nuclear weapons; and Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, where the B-2 bombers are deployed.

Thanks to the Internet revolution we can actually see what a U.S. nuclear bomber base looks like simply by downloading an aerial photo from an Internet site. So the U.S. conducts aerial photo surveys and then typically state governments post these aerial photo surveys on their Internet sites. And, in fact, this was an aerial photo survey of Missouri, and this is the B2 bomber base, and if one zooms in one can actually see a B2 parked in the parking area. And more disturbingly, one can also see the nuclear weapons storage bunker. That bunker is associated with this base, so it's a facility within the Air Force base quite close to the B2 parking area. And it's a little hard to make out, but these are drive-in bunkers where nuclear weapons would be stored, and presumably the B61 Mod 11s are there awaiting use.

Now, actual calculations. I looked at really two scenarios, two simple scenarios. One looked at how an earth-penetrating warhead and the nine-megaton bomb that the B61 Mod 11 was intended to replace and what the fallout patterns would look like if those weapons were targeted against a bunker outside Pyongyang or the mountainous area just across the border near Seoul. So let's zoom into the Pyongyang area. Now, again, quite incredibly, the U.S. National Imagery and Mapping Agency, which is an agency within the Department of Defense, actually publishes 10-meter resolution imagery of all of the Korean Peninsula, so this is - and it's painstaking to sort of download it all and get it into focus, but I've done so for this and for other presentations.

And you can learn a lot about North Korea, about the demilitarized zone, from this 10-meter imagery that, again, is freely available for those who have the time to download from NIMA's website. And if you look just west of Pyongyang there is an interesting--there is a mountain here, or hill, and what I postulated in this calculation was that this hill, which is adjacent to both military airfields and heliports, might have a leadership or command and control function in a bunker inside it.

The second target--potential scenario I looked at--again, I tried to be plausible here without knowing an awful lot, frankly, about the deployment of - without knowing a lot about North Korean leadership sites, but it's been widely reported that in the mountains just across the border from South Korea are many tunnels in which there are artillery guns on rail cars, and these can be rolled out, and because they are sort of between 40 and 60 kilometers from Seoul, they could represent a threat to the--an immediate, quickly deployed threat to the South Korean capital. So, again, here's the 10-meter image that shows this sort of mountainous area and you do see sort of hints of facilities in this sort of one mountainous area and then another one here even closer to Seoul.

So, just to show you the calculations quickly--it never ceases to sort of stun me how comprehensive the fallout patterns can be from a large-yield nuclear explosion, but here is the fallout patterns from the weapon that the B61 Mod 11 was intended to replace. So it's a nine-megaton weapon--nine-megaton gravity bomb that was replaced by a weapon that probably has a yield around 100 kilotons, so it's--but with its earth-penetrating capabilities it has presumably equivalent, or nearly equivalent capabilities to damage underground facilities.

So this is the fallout pattern that would be produced, using historical weather data from the month of April. The fallout from a nine-megaton weapon is just immense, and you can see why it - the innermost fallout pattern is for a lethal dose to an individual who was in this zone and had no sheltering for the first 48 hours after the attack. And one caveat too, this fallout pattern was calculated irrespective of mountainous terrain that might be in the path of the fallout pattern. And then, similarly, this is the same fallout pattern from a nine-megaton nuclear weapon targeted at that mountainous area here, so in fact covered with substantial fallout. So, again, it's just impossible to imagine that a rational leader would choose to employ such a weapon in such a context.

The code calculates casualties. The casualties from such a calculation are based on a worldwide gridded population density that was developed by the U.S. National Laboratories specifically for nuclear weapons modeling. And the casualties from the nine-megaton explosions are from six to 14 million people. By comparison, here is the weapon that's in the U.S. arsenal today. These are the smaller fallout patterns, less extensive fallout patterns produced by 100-kiloton earth-penetrating weapon. But again, the casualties from the intense fallout patterns--and this was not for--these calculations were not sort of a worst-case scenario where the fallout would blow directly over in an urban area, this was just typical weather in April, but the casualties there number in the hundreds of thousands.

So with that I'll conclude this presentation. What I wanted to do was to provide an overview of some technical issues associated with earth-penetrating weapons and then to make this issue more concrete by showing an exclusive targeting of a country of concern with these nuclear weapons and the fallout patterns produced.

Thank you.

KIMBALL: Thank you. Thank you very much, Matthew. I think that gives us a very disturbing look at what we're talking about here beyond the words and the intellectual theories. We'd be happy to take questions, further questions from the audience about these presentations for the next few minutes for Dr. McKinzie or Dr. Drell.

Senator Kennedy.

SEN. KENNEY: Dr. Drell talked earlier in his presentation about the limitations that you had in terms of the penetration, except in those charts that you showed it showed a very extensive penetration with very extensive kilotons.

MCKINZIE: In the bar graphs?

SEN. KENNEDY: In the bar graphs. So, can you relate those together? I mean, how realistic, given what Dr. Drell said--your other, going up to 160 meters underground. I have to--probably some misunderstanding. What is the current technology in terms of being able to reach that other depth?

MCKINZIE: I'll just clarify. The bar graph was meant to illustrate, irrespective of what the capabilities are to penetrate to a certain depth, how far you had to penetrate to preclude fallout. And then if you actually put a line on that graph as to where we are, it was almost all the way to the left. The B61 Mod 11 penetrates maybe several meters in frozen tundra.

KIMBALL: Dr. Drell?

DRELL: Yes, the fact is - he just showed that you'd have to penetrate much deeper than we are able to, or we will ever be able to, given the limits of material because you're not going to, without the material, the metals liquefying, ever get below 50 feet unless you develop a tactic for successive pilot holes and drilling your way in, in which case then you can be dealing with conventional weapons just as well.

SEN. KENNEDY: So it's basically theoretical.

DRELL: Absolutely.

SEN. KENNEDY: Everything to the right of that is all just theoretical in terms of physics, but in practical terms, where the technology is as reflected in that presentation, that showed the plume effect, that's where we are today.

DRELL: Just make sure the numbers are right. A five-kiloton weapon, the kind that is limited by the Spratt legislation, you have to dig down about 350 feet deep in order to get no fallout, but in fact we don't know how to go below 50. So that gives you the perspective.

KIMBALL: David?

Q: How bad is the fallout from a five-kiloton weapon if it's not 350 feet but it's 50 feet?

MCKINZIE: If it's 50 feet?

Q: So that's sort of the limit of what we can do, right? We can go down 50 feet, and say it's the lower-yield weapon.

MCKINZIE: Well, I can calculate that for you in a second, but -

Q: I mean, those are all big - those are all 500 - what was it, 100 kilotons, right?

DRELL: A reference number that's useful is that, again, your one-kiloton will give you a million cubic feet of dirt with radioactive contamination, and from there on it depends upon the weather patterns, the terrain and whatnot. But it's a huge crater--it's a huge crater. That's from one kiloton down at a level of 20 to 50 feet. It doesn't matter where you put it.

KIMBALL: In the back please.

Q: (Off mike.)

MCKINZIE: Well, I wouldn't expect such a weapon to be appropriate for missile sites because of the long time it takes to deliver a bomb to a target, and a missile site is a high--in terms of nuclear war planning, it's a high-priority target. The intent would be to destroy it as soon as possible so the missiles couldn't be launched.

Perhaps Dr. Drell has a -

DRELL: What was the question?

KIMBALL: The question was about the potential fallout effects of nuclear use in the Taiwan Straits situation. So I don't know if you can answer that because there are a lot of variables there.

DRELL: There are many variables, and it depends upon the weather and whatnot. I can't give you a number. The fact is you'll get radioactive surge coming from these craters, which is quite extensive. I would not give a number without saying - this assumption of weather and whatnot, it's considerable.

KIMBALL: Other questions? Yes, Tim?

Q: Matthew, can you explain a little bit more the two diagrams you did. Are those weapons that we have now?

MCKINZIE: The two diagrams -

Q: If you could just be more - explain more carefully, you know, the two diagrams, the two estimates you made. Are they weapons that we now have and that could be used, or are you talking about something not developed?

MCKINZIE: You mean the larger and the smaller fallout patterns.

Q: Yes.

MCKINZIE: The larger was from the nine-megaton gravity bomb. That is a weapon no longer in our arsenal that the B61 Mod 11 replaced with a lower yield because it had earth-penetrating capabilities. The B61 Mod 11, we have about 50 in our arsenal right now. So I was contrasting an old retired weapon and a currently deployed weapon.

Q: Okay, so what I'm trying to get at is what is the current capability then, the threat of dropping or using a nuclear - a weapon like that in those mountains north of the DMZ or in the area near Pyongyang? What is your estimate of what the ramifications of such a use of a weapon - what you said, probably no one sane would do but -

MCKINZIE: Well, it was the second set of estimates. That was for the B61 Mot 11.

DRELL: This is one of the problems that we face, which can have various people giving different views. We had a nine-megaton, the old B53. It was an unsafe, huge bomb. That was the first set of calculations. By taking an existing bomb, the B61, one of its many versions, B61-7, and putting it in a hardened reentry vehicle, we made it possible for that to dig into the earth some few meters. I can't give a number; it depends on the soil very much, and that gave the second set that he gave.

That raises the question - and this is what one has to answer seriously--well, maybe if we were to work on taking a smaller-yield bomb and putting it in a hard reentry vehicle so it could penetrate to the full 50 feet, or at least more than a few meters down to 30 or 40 feet, you could reduce casualties further. Therefore, isn't that a good thing to do? You've made it a more credible part of your deterrent but you've also opened the question, are you making nuclear weapons more usable for tactical situations?

And so you have to join the problem: what are nuclear weapons for? Are they for defensive last resort or are they part of the tactical battlefield? If we, the [world's] most powerful country, stand up in front of the world and say, they're for our deterrent; we have to make better and more usable nuclear weapons, how can we encourage the rest of the world to think that they shouldn't do that too?

KIMBALL: Exactly.

DRELL: So, to go back to what Senator Kennedy said, we have to work to improve our conventional forces to meet our national security needs and not brandish the notion that we're going to use these terrible weapons, except for defense, as a last resort.

KIMBALL: I would just add also that the Nuclear Posture Review, which was the document that came out about a year and half ago that kind of undergirds a lot of this thinking, it was contradictory. On the one hand it suggested that the United States should minimize the role of nuclear weapons in its military and foreign policies, but it, at the same time, recommended the development of new capabilities. So the Bush administration is Jekyll and Hyde on this subject, and what is key right now is for the Congress to make it clear that we should not extend the role of nuclear weapons into this new realm, for all the reasons that Dr. Drell and the others have said.

Other questions? Yes, sir.

Q: Dr. Drell, one of the more seminal articles came out in the Federation of American Scientists by Dr. Nelson when he went through the reasons why we're looking at earth-penetrating weapons. He looks at the labs and he points out the fact that the labs are looking for munitions, that sort of thing, that they're looking for more exciting work. (Inaudible.) I'm wondering, if it's physically impossible, given the technology we have now, to accomplish the mission we've set out, why then are the labs so willing to lobby for this effort?

DRELL: Again, the labs, like the administration, you talk to different people you get different answers. First of all, the need to do this to attract good scientists or whatnot -- I think Senator Kennedy commented, you know, the labs have a very healthy budget for the Stockpile Stewardship Program, and the leaders of the laboratories have all made statements now which say that the Stockpile Stewardship Program is maintaining the current arsenal.

You know, in the beginning there were a lot of statements, when the Stockpile Stewardship program first started and we had the moratorium on testing, that we couldn't maintain a deterrent. That article, I believe, has been put to bed and it has now been replaced by another one by people who want to test, which says, well, we may need new weapons for new missions. And again, as Daryl said, you have Jekyll and Hyde statements. Read the testimony on April 8th by Admiral Linton Brooks, the administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration. He says, we don't want to lower the threshold; we don't want to build more usable bombs. If you read his statement, there's nothing unexceptional in it, it's a good statement, but then you read the Nuclear Posture Review and they say, well, maybe we have to develop new ones.

Now, where do the labs come in on this? Obviously the laboratories are trying to maintain something I support, a good technical credibility to monitor and maintain our deterrent. We have a deterrent. In my mind we want to know that that deterrent we have is reliable and is safe, and that takes a very strong program with good people. So I believe the laboratories have to stay first rate because the argument that we can maintain a deterrent without testing depends upon confidence in our laboratories being able to assure us that our deterrent is safe and reliable, as long as we have one.

So the laboratories want to be able to challenge scientists with new work. Obviously it rankles them to say, I can't have somebody think about something, which in one interpretation of the Spratt amendment says, you know, I can't think about things less than five kilotons. There's something funny about that argument because first of all, as the papers Daryl has put together show, what the Spratt amendment limits is weaponizing for deployment, not thinking about it. And one shouldn't confuse that. I mean, how do you stop somebody from thinking about something?

You should also know--and the point I didn't make--the fact is that if you look at our arsenal--not our deployed arsenal, now, but weapons we have developed over a thousand tests during 50 years we have tested and developed every conceivable type of weapon, from a primitive one to a fancy one, from very low yield, even battlefield--like old Davy Crockett rockets and artillery shells, to very high-yield ones. The issue is not testing or developing new designs, it's deciding if you want to package one so it can penetrate deeper without destroying itself before detonating.

So there is understandably a tension, which I can appreciate, from the labs, saying, don't tell us we can't think about something. But in fact, I don't believe the Spratt amendment says you can't think about something. I think the proper answer on that question was given by the senator before he left. So they can think about many things. The only limit is, do you really want to go weaponize something for deployment? And their big question is, first of all, if you believe the danger of using low-yield nuclear weapons, but to my mind even more worrisome immediately is you tell the rest of the world, we're going to continue developing and deploying new weapons because we need them for our security but we're going to tell 188 other nations, you know, don't do it; you don't need them.

And so it's the impact on the nonproliferation regime that I consider far more important than being in the minutia of whether a lower-yield weapon that goes a little deeper will do a little bit more for a deterrent or not. And that's why I say the emphasis is on intelligence and accuracy in our conventional forces.

KIMBALL: I think we've got time for a couple more questions. Yes, sir?

Q: Jason Forrester, the Nuclear Threat Reduction Campaign. Matthew, on the North Korea side of things, back in the early '90s it's been widely reported that the Clinton administration considered the possibility of preemptive strikes against North Korea in the months before the agreed framework. I mean, with the great investigative skills that you all have, have you been able to ferret out exactly what were the strike packages they were considering at that point, in '93, '94, that Bill Perry and others were considering, whether it included nuclear weapons considerations, what Pyongyang - (inaudible) - the business of trying to get those hardened artillery positions in the mountainous region, it numbers in the hundreds, or something like that - something like 250 or something like that, artillery pieces.

So I was just wondering if you all have -

MCKINZIE: No, the closest thing we've got are nuclear - discussions about the use of nuclear weapons at the RAND Corporation in the Korean War context, which are most interesting, but that's it. And our capabilities were very different at that time.

Q: But I guess - and maybe Dr. Drell and maybe Daryl as well - have you all had any indications that the Clinton administration at that time had considered nuclear weapons to try to - (inaudible)?

DRELL: I know nothing about it.

KIMBALL: I don't think we were privy to those discussions, and I would be very surprised if nuclear weapons were the lead component in that discussion.

Q: Matthew, could you discuss again - I think maybe you touched on it in your presentation, but why does the fallout increase in these weapons?

MCKINZIE: The radioactive to reproduce a nuclear explosion--and, Dr. Drell, you may want to comment on this, too--they're very fine, very light particles, and unless they adhere to material from the ground in the vicinity of the explosion, they are lofted into the upper atmosphere, circulate around the hemisphere in which the explosion takes place, and fall down weeks later, much diluted, much less radioactive. But if the nuclear explosion--if the fireball comes into contact with the earth, then it scoops up material which mixes with the radioactive debris. And for a depth of burial, a shallow depth of burial, that's happening in a more efficient way.

DRELL: That's right. I mean, you're just digging up more dirt.

MCKINZIE: Yeah, another way to put it.

KIMBALL: Okay. Any other questions? Thank you very much.

DRELL: Daryl, I just want to comment on a previously - it occurs to me to say when you look back at the problem of 1993, 1994 when the Clinton administration was almost ready to go, remember what saved us. It was President Carter going over there and talking to someone. It shows you that what we really have to be dealing with in this era of non-usable nuclear weapons: diplomacy. We're not going to make progress in reducing nuclear danger by threats and coercion or whatnot; it's diplomacy. That's even more important when especially dealing with unusable weapons, and there is a very important lesson in that, I believe; the fact that President Carter went over there and headed off the confrontation before it got out of control.

KIMBALL: Yes, exactly. Preventing the threats before they emerge is our best and first line of defense, and at this stage in the Korean crisis we certainly can't give up on that. There is a lot further to go, but that's the key approach there, perhaps the only approach.

I want to thank everyone for being here, for paying attention to this issue. Just to sum up, there are key issues before Congress. We think it's clear that the costs of pursuing a path of new nuclear weapons development is extremely high. The benefits are, at best, marginal, and realistically, they're unrealistic.

There are four key things that can be done by the administration and Congress, I think, to set us on a better course. First of all, maintaining the prohibition on low-yield nuclear weapon research leading to production, the Spratt-Furse prohibition. Second, shifting the funding, the $15 million in the fiscal '04 defense authorization bill request from robust nuclear earth-penetrator research to conventional alternatives. [Third], reaffirming the United States' commitment to the nuclear test moratorium and making sure that the Stockpile Stewardship resources are focused on the surveillance and maintenance activities that most directly address the reliability issues of the existing arsenal. And finally, it's important for the president to clarify that the role of nuclear weapons in the post-9/11 age, so long as they exist, should be focused on deterring the use of nuclear weapons by others and not to cross the firewall that has existed for 58 years of nonuse.

So thank you very much for being here. I appreciate it. And we are adjourned.


(END OF EVENT.)
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ACA Press Conference

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Countering The 'Axis of Evil': Assessing Bush Administration Policies Toward Iran, Iraq, and North Korea

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Monday, January 13, 2003
Panel Discussion
10:30 A.M. - 11:45 A.M.


At the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington, DC

 

The Arms Control Association's annual membership meeting and luncheon were held Monday, January 13, 2003 from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington, DC.

The Panelists:


Daryl Kimball: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. If you could find your seats, please, we are going to get started. For those of you who have coats to deal with, there is a coatroom in the back.

Thank you very much for coming this morning and for coming to this briefing on countering the so-called "axis of evil," assessing the Bush administration's policies toward Iran, Iraq, and North Korea.

I'm Daryl Kimball, the executive director of the Arms Control Association. We're a private, nonpartisan organization that has, for the last three decades, dedicated itself to education about arms control, promotion of effective arms control policies to make America and the world safer.

We've organized this briefing this morning, I think, at a very, very interesting time. We are here to assess how the United States and the international community can most effectively address the urgent chemical, biological, and nuclear proliferation challenges in Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, and how the actions of these three states are influenced by regional security issues and by United States policies.

Before I introduce our panel of experts who are going to address each of these states, let me begin by making a few remarks to frame our discussion and to raise some issues that I hope the panelists will cover.

As you will recall, 40 years ago the Cuban missile crisis and the prospect of dozens of nuclear weapon states drove U.S. leaders-Democratic and Republican-to pursue arms control strategies to manage the dangerous nuclear, chemical, and biological arms competition with the Soviet Union, and also to stop the dangerous spread of weapons of mass destruction to new states.

In the last decade, the bedrock of that effort that emerged out of that period-the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty-has been under tremendous stress as the recognized nuclear-weapon states have not fulfilled their nuclear disarmament commitments and as states such as India, Pakistan, and Israel have maintained and advanced their nuclear weapons programs with relative impunity.

At the same time, a new wave of nuclear proliferation and chemical and biological weapons proliferation has erupted, particularly concerning Iran, Iraq, and North Korea. How the United States and the United Nations respond to these immediate challenges will profoundly affect American credibility, the future of the nonproliferation regime, and the future security of millions of people in the United States and around the globe.

In many ways, the security debate surrounding these cases right now has been shaped by last year's State of the Union address by President Bush in which he prominently labeled Iraq, Iran, and North Korea as part of an axis of evil that is supporting terrorism and seeking weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them. The president is to be commended for focusing attention on the ongoing threat of nuclear, chemical, and biological proliferation and missile proliferation from these dangerous states, but I would say that his administration's gratuitous name calling and its allergy to multilateral diplomatic and arms control strategies, and its strong rhetorical emphasis on coercive pre-emption, including the possible use of nuclear weapons to defeat chem and bio threats, has complicated the United States' task in addressing these proliferation problems, particularly in North Korea, where recently, as we all know, North Korea has unfrozen its plutonium facilities and declared that it will leave the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty-I would say a reflection of the failure of the administration's approach toward North Korea in the last couple of years.

And though the recent announcement by the United States that it will resume talks or is willing to talk with North Korea and Governor Bill Richardson's mediation efforts is a good sign that provides some hope, there are many, many obstacles that lie ahead.

With Iraq, of course, we are on the verge of a war to deal with its weapons of mass destruction capabilities. After leaning toward unilateral military action this summer, the president did respond to domestic and international opinion and criticism and sought a new and stronger UN Security Council resolution aimed at returning UN inspectors to Iraq under a stronger mandate, with better tools and greater cooperation. But as the process continues, it's not clear whether Iraq will continue to comply with Resolution 1441-if it is, some would say-whether inspectors will find positive evidence that Iraq maintains WMD, or whether the United States will or should pursue an invasion without such evidence and without Security Council backing.

In Iran, President Bush has all but given up on establishing a dialog with Iran's reformists and seems to be resting hopes on cutting off nuclear cooperation from Russia, which continues to this day, and we now have new, fresh news reports that suggest that Iran might be building secret nuclear facilities, facilities that the IAEA will soon be inspecting. So a year after the president's "axis of evil" speech, it's clear that blunt talk and practical accomplishments are not quite the same thing.

To help us explore how U.S. policy can better address these proliferation challenges, we have three expert panelists, and I'm going to briefly introduce each one, and then we're going to hear from them, and then we're going to take questions from the audience.

First we'll hear from Michael Eisenstadt. He's senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy where he specializes in Arab, Israeli, and Persian Gulf security affairs. He is going to provide us with his perspective on Iran's WMD capabilities and motivations, the impact of administration policies, and the challenges to address in the near future.

Following him, we will hear from Michael O'Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a very active writer and commentator on a wide range of issues. Michael will provide his assessment of Iraq's nuclear ambitions, chemical and biological weapons capabilities, and the differing threats these weapons pose as well as whether military action against Iraq is justified under the current circumstances that we have.

Finally we'll hear from Joel Wit, who has been very busy in the last few days. We're happy to have him with us here today. He is senior fellow with the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He served for 15 years in the Department of State in various positions; most recently and most relevant to our session today as the coordinator for the 1994 U.S.-North Korea Agreed Framework, and was responsible for implementation of that agreement. And Joel has also authored a comprehensive article on the current North Korean crisis in the most recent issue of Arms Control Today, and there will be copies of that article outside as you leave when the panel session is over.

So following their comments, we'll take questions. The floor is yours, Michael.

Michael Eisenstadt: Thank you, Daryl, and thanks to the Arms Control Association for inviting me here today to talk about Iran.

If Iraq is a crisis at our doorstep and North Korea is a crisis we keep kicking down the road, then Iran, I believe, could well turn out to be the crisis just around the bend in the road. This is not only because Iran is the example par excellence of a state that supports terrorist groups with global reach and it possesses weapons of mass destruction. To paraphrase from President Bush's last State of the Union address, it is also because Iran may, within just a few years, be standing at the nuclear threshold, either through its own clandestine efforts or as a result of the emergence of North Korea as a supplier of nuclear technology and, perhaps in the near future, nuclear weapons.

In the past 10 to 15 years, Iran's missile and WMD programs have been plagued by numerous problems and delays. These continue. As a result, progress in these programs has generally been slow and incremental, though in the nuclear arena, recent revelations about heretofore unknown nuclear facilities hint at greater progress than previously appreciated.

With regard to ballistic missiles, during the tenure of President Bush, Iran has continued to expand its family of strategic rockets, tested its first solid fuel short-range ballistic missile, the Fateh 110, in May 2001, and conducted its fifth test flight of the Shahab 3 medium-range ballistic missile in July of 2002. This last flight test was reportedly a failure, indicating that Iran is still encountering problems with the Shahab 3, and most of the speculation circles around the engines, and reportedly, Iran has acquired additional engines from North Korea to put in the indigenously produced airframes. Despite these problems, the Shahab 3 has probably been introduced into operational service in small numbers.

Iran's missile programs continue to benefit from assistance from Russia, China and North Korea. Iran is also involved in a Chinese-led consortium to produce a civilian earth-imagining satellite. This could eventually abet long-standing Iranian ambitions to build a military reconnaissance satellite of their own.

In the nuclear arena, the Bushehr 1 reactor may finally be completed in the next year or so. According to Russian press reports, Iran may take delivery of reactor fuel from Russia by the end of this year or early next year, so the status of efforts to conclude an agreement on the return of reactor fuel to Russia for reprocessing remains uncertain. And as an aside, I would say the Russians, under U.S. pressure, have stated that the fuel will not be shipped to Iran until such an agreement is signed.

Delays have, however, dogged the nuclear program from its inception, and additional delays during the final stages of construction or teething problems during the break-in period are likely to arise, further delaying start-up of the reactor.

On the other hand, the successful completion of Bushehr 1 could pave the way for the construction of additional reactors at Bushehr and Ahvaz and eventually result in the production of prodigious quantities of plutonium in the form of spent fuel sitting in cooling pools awaiting shipment back to Russia. In a protracted crisis or a war, the temptation to divert the spent fuel in order to separate the plutonium and use it for proscribed purposes could be overwhelming.

Iran is also apparently constructing a number of fuel-cycle-related facilities, including a heavy water production plant at Arak and a uranium-enrichment facility of some sort, and the speculation centers around the gas centrifuge plant at Natanz.

The existence of these facilities, which was first revealed publicly last August and confirmed by U.S. government officials last December, raises troubling questions. If there is a heavy-water-production plant, where is the heavy-water-moderated reactor, and if there is a gas-centrifuge plant, where is the uranium-conversion facility? And are there other such facilities in Iran, and what else do we not know about Iran's nuclear program?

Finally, Iran continues its cooperation with other proliferators. In the past, it has cooperated with Syria on its missile program, and there have been reports in the past year that Iran has been providing support for Libya's missile program, in particular, the production of Scud-type missiles in Libya. And according to a report by an authoritative Israeli journalist, this year North Korea has been engaged with Iran in building a gas-centrifuge-enrichment plant, though it's unclear what the article is referring to-whether this is a small lab or a pilot-scale plant, or perhaps the aforementioned plant at Natanz, which reportedly is very large.

Given past close cooperation between North Korea and Iran in the missile arena and recent reports of cooperation in the nuclear arena, one must seriously consider the possible transfer of nuclear material or weapons from North Korea to Iran following start-up of the reactor at Yongbyon, if it occurs.

Now with regard to U.S. policy toward Iran, thus far the Bush administration's nonproliferation policy toward Iran has been marked more by continuity than change over the policies of its predecessors. The U.S. continues to rely on policy instruments that have in the past yielded some notable successes, such as political pressure, export controls, interdiction operations and sanctions, to disrupt and delay Iranian proliferation efforts. Moreover, the U.S. continues to hold formal nonproliferation consultations with Russia regarding the latter's missile and nuclear-related technology transfers to Iran, though with no more success than past efforts by the Clinton administration.

There are, however, hints of possible changes in store, which can be found in the emphasis on pre-emption in the speeches of President Bush and in various U.S. government strategy documents published since September 11. More on that in a minute.

Be that as it may, there has been a dramatic, albeit largely unheralded change in overall U.S. policy toward Iran. At various times in the past, the U.S. has sought to bolster moderates or reformers against their conservative rivals and has sought to alter Iranian policy concerning various issues of concern to the U.S.

Today it is doing none of the above. Rather it is encouraging the Iranian people in their struggle to change the Iranian political system. The U.S. is pursuing regime change in both Iraq and in Iran, though the means to the end in each case are very different. And just to give you a flavor of how much has changed in about the past decade, what I'd like to do is read to you some passages from Martin Indyk's original dual containment speech, which was given in 1993; in particular, the sections having to do with Iran, and then I would like to read excerpts from a speech given by Dr. Zalmay Khalilzad, who is a senior national security council official who is responsible for U.S. policy toward Iran, so you could see the contrast.

Now in Indyk's original speech, which was given as I said in 1993, and which in many ways was a template and really set the tone for U.S. policy for nearly a decade after that, he identified what he called a five-part challenge to the United States in terms of Iranian policy, which was problematic for us, and he talked about Iran being the formal state sponsor of terrorism and assassination, their efforts to thwart peace talks between Israel and the Arabs, Iran's efforts to subvert governments that are friendly to the U.S., their efforts to acquire offensive weapons-conventional weapons, that is, and their pursuit of weapons of mass destruction.

He then goes on to say, and I quote, "I should emphasize that the Clinton administration is not opposed to Islamic government in Iran. Rather we are firmly opposed to these specific aspects of the Iranian regime's behavior as well as its abuse of the human rights of the Iranian people. We will not normalize relations with Iran until and unless Iran's policies change across the board. We are willing to listen to what Iran has to say, provided that it comes through authoritative channels."

Now the talk-Khalilzad's speech, which was given in August of this year. He starts off by saying that the United States is pursuing a dual-track policy toward Iran, based, quote, unquote, "on moral clarity." One, tell the world specifically what is destructive and unacceptable about Iran's behavior: sponsorship of terror and pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and repression of the clearly expressed desires of the Iranian people for freedom and democracy; two, while laying out a positive vision of partnership and support for the Iranian people.

What's interesting is that the emphasis is not on changing the behavior, but I think policymakers have come to the conclusion, after a decade of trying, that there is probably not a lot we can do to change its behavior, and that's I think why-where we get to or why we are looking at regime change, in addition to the fact that I would also mention that conditions in Iran are considered by many specialists on the country to be ripe for-or may in the near future be ripe for change, and provide a congenial environment for U.S. efforts to encourage an evolution of the system there.

Further on, he states that U.S. policy is not to impose change on Iran, but to support the Iranian people in their quest to decide their own destiny. Our policy is not about Khatami or Khamenei, reform or hardline. It is about supporting those who want freedom, human rights, democracy, and economic and educational opportunity for themselves and their fellow countrymen and women.

The U.S. government's vision for a future of Iran, however, is unclear. Exactly what a post-clerical regime would look like is not spelled out in U.S. policy documents, nor are the implications of regime change for proliferation. As best we can tell, Iranian motivations to proliferate are not specific to the current regime. The Shah wanted the bomb, so do the mullahs, and whoever follows him is likely to follow suit. Moreover, support for these efforts, to the degree that these matters are discussed and debated in Iran-which for the most part they are not, as far as I could tell-comes from across the political spectrum. For many Iranians, the issues of WMD, the country's military power, is not a partisan political issue but a matter of national pride and national security. There is therefore no reason to believe that political change will necessarily lead to changes in Iran's proliferation policies.

That is not to say, however, that proliferation by Iran is inevitable or that a regime change will not create new opportunities to deal with Iran's proliferation. A deal with a new regime may be do-able if Iran's nuclear capabilities are still relatively immature and if the new regime can be convinced that by acquiring the bomb, it will pay a high price in terms of its other vital or key interests, such as its ability to attract foreign investment, to resuscitate the economy, and to improve its relations with the United States.

At the very least, even if a deal with the new regimes proves untenable or unworkable, a new regime that eschews the use of terrorism and the pursuit of an aggressively anti-Israel foreign policy would be easier for the United States to deal with, and in this way, the U.S. might at least be able to mitigate the consequences of a nuclear Iran if and when it happens.

That change in Iran will occur seems certain. When change will occur is unclear. Accordingly, the U.S. has to consider the possibility that the current regime may be around for a number of more years, that relations with Iran might get worse before they get better, and that Iran might acquire the bomb before it's increasing beleaguered, conservative clerical leadership can be removed from power.

Now where does this lead us in the future with regard to policy recommendations? First, because the current regime in Tehran might be around for awhile, the U.S. needs to continue with its policy of delaying Iran's efforts to acquire missiles and WMD through arm twisting, arms control, and sanctions in order to buy time for political change in Tehran and for the U.S. and its allies to strengthen their defense against missiles and WMD.

At the same time, Washington must continue seeking ways to curtail Russian assistance to Iran's missile and WMD programs and strengthen safeguards on ongoing activities, and the U.S. should continue to urge the IAEA and its allies to press Iran to adopt the additional protocol under the IAEA 93+2 program.

Second, the U.S. must seek to leverage regime change successes in Afghanistan and, perhaps in the near future, Iraq, by ensuring stability and successful political transitions in both countries in order to encourage and embolden those seeking political change in Iran. We should likewise use these military successes to bolster (unintelligible) capability vis a vis Iran.

Third, the U.S. government needs to seriously and systematically contemplate the risks and benefits of pre-emptive action against Iran's nuclear infrastructure, if it isn't doing so already.

Now again, this is not an imminent threat or imminent necessity, but it's something that might have to be considered down the road. In considering U.S. options regarding pre-emption, the United States will need to balance the imperative of preventing an Iranian nuclear breakout against the imperative not to squander the reservoir of pro-American goodwill among the Iranian people or to derail the positive evolutionary trajectory of the Iranian political by a reckless act that could discredit Westward-leaning Iranians and generate a popular backlash against the United States. Perhaps the only way to square the circle is through covert action so that the U.S. can preserve at least a thin veneer of deniability.

Finally, North Korea must be part of the solution. North Korea must not be allowed to become an exporter of nuclear technology, materials, or weapons, for then, should Tehran's own efforts to acquire nuclear weapons fail or be thwarted to the U.S., it might have the option of buying from the North Koreans. For these reasons, the coming year is likely to be a fateful year, a year of decisions that will influence the future of nuclear proliferation in East Asia and the Middle East for many years to come.

Thank you.

(Applause.)

Kimball: We'll move on to our other Michael-Michael O'Hanlon.

Michael O'Hanlon: Thanks, Daryl. It's a treat to be here. I'm, I think, the least specialist on my assigned topic talking about the most over-analyzed issue of the three, so I'll try to make up for that by being brief, and the overall theme of my short remarks is that I'm becoming a reluctant supporter of the administration's apparent proclivity now to go to war to overthrow Saddam. I'm not a major proponent of this, but even given the evidence available now, I would not personally fall on my sword to oppose this war. I'm going to give you my reasons why in just a second. I hope there will be clearer evidence, however, that will allow those of us who are in my sort of shoes to feel more comfortable advocating one way or another whatever decision is made. We would like to have that final convincing piece of evidence if we have to go to war, and we'd like most of all to still figure out how not to go to war. I think there's some small chance of that, but the chance is pretty tiny. So let me explain how I get to this nuanced position of being willing to support the president's apparent decision to go to war without being a major proponent of it myself.

There's pro and con, clearly, for any decision about going to war to overthrow Saddam, and I'm going to focus primarily on the WMD aspect of this question. I'm not going to get into questions of estimating casualties in a war or this or that, but focusing primarily on the WMD issue.

If you want to argue against war, you can say that, listen, Saddam has chemical and biological weapons. He is denying that he does, but we all know he almost certainly does, but big deal. He's had them for a quarter century, he's generally been deterrable in his use of those weapons when we've made it clear that we care a lot about whether or not he does. He probably does not have smallpox; there is some worry that he might -- these longstanding ties to certain Soviet-era scientists, but there's, to my mind-and others in this room may know this question much better-to my mind, not a convincing enough stream of data or circumstantial reports to lend a lot of credence to this worry, so chances are he has sort of a garden variety arsenal of chemical and biological agents, and what's the big deal. Granted, it's a big deal in the 1980s if you're an Iranian or a Kurd, but at this point in time, Saddam is not going to be able to use those weapons, even against those populations, without almost certainly incurring a major international response, and he won't use them against us out of the blue based on the track record. So that's one argument that says let containment work, let sleeping dogs lie.

Another argument would be that even if you're worried that the nuclear question is a different sort of issue and that a Saddam Hussein with nuclear weapons might become emboldened to again attack his neighbors, or again become aggressive in the region, or again threaten Israel, believing that those weapons gave him some measure of protection or regime survival insurance because we would surely not dare go after him if he had a nuke, just as we apparently don't dare go after the North Koreans because-perhaps Saddam's thinking is that their nuclear program gives them some insurance. Even if that's your worry, that this possible Iraqi acquisition of a nuclear capability is something that would radically change the whole situation and make Saddam less deterrable, it appears that he's not making much progress toward nuclear weapons. The recent discussion about why he was trying to buy aluminum tubes last summer seems to suggest that, one, he didn't get them-which is the most important fact of all; and two, he may not have been trying to get them for a nuclear program in any case.

So if you look at the evidence of how far he's come, granted, as [Secretary of Defense Donald] Rumsfeld says, we don't know what we don't know, but what we do know is actually a fair amount on the nuclear issue, and it tends to be pretty reassuring. Of course Saddam Hussein hasn't given up his desire for nuclear weapons. No one in his right mind is going to argue that Saddam has reformed himself in some fundamental way. The question is not his intention so much here as his capability or his progress toward a future capability, and there the evidence suggests there isn't much progress. And moreover, the evidence suggests that inspectors can actually do a fairly good job of keeping a nuclear program from getting started because, unlike chemical and biological programs, nuclear issues, nuclear programs, even if they are basement-bomb-style technologies, they're pretty elaborate, pretty sophisticated, and fixed technology. It's hard to put these things into an 18-wheeler and move them around the country or to somehow make it look like they are a hospital laboratory one day and producing illicit weaponry the next day.

So the kinds of worries we have about chemical and biological production in Iraq probably are not nearly as serious for the nuclear question. There is a very good chance that especially now, with inspectors inside of Iraq, we can be pretty confident Saddam is not making any progress toward a nuclear capability. So you put all this together and the WMD argument doesn't seem all that compelling for war, and it looks like deterrence and containment can continue to work here pretty well.

A couple more quick points sort of arguing against war and then I'll get to the case for why I'm not quite so confident as these considerations may sound or make me sound.

Saddam has generally been deterrable, as I mentioned earlier, and certainly when we have made it clear what we oppose and which actions of his we would take counteraction against, he has tended to be deterrable, and this is not just in regard to the last few years, but even in 1994 he thought about testing Bill Clinton, moving some brigades south toward Kuwait, and we responded with Operation Vigiliant Warrior, and he backed down. There are a number of other situations. He hasn't used WMD since the late 1980s, he didn't use WMD against us in Desert Storm, he hasn't attacked our allies in the region since Desert Storm, and so it looks like he is deterrable, that for the most part he values his own neck more than he does willy-nilly aggression or adventurism.

Another argument is that he doesn't seem to have any major ties to al Qaeda, and this is something where Donald Rumsfeld again has tried to make a mountain out of a molehill. There may be a tie we don't yet know about, and some of these occasional passings through Baghdad by one al Qaeda operative or another may really just be the tip of the iceberg, but from what we can tell, there has been no material Iraqi collaboration in any major anti-Western terrorism since the attempted assassination of President Bush in 1993. That's the bottom-line view of the U.S. intelligence community last I was able to ascertain, and that suggests that the links between Saddam and al Qaeda, if they exist at all, are very tenuous, very limited, and really have to do as much as anything with the fact that some of these terrorist organization do have joint and multiple memberships, and sometimes there may be sort of a-almost a circumstantial or accidental contact, but it doesn't seem to be advanced to the point of material collaboration. That could be false, but based on the evidence that I've seen, that's the best assessment.

Finally, Richard Betts just wrote a very good article in Foreign Affairs talking about the risk to the homeland of possible Iraqi response to any American invasion, and that suggests that-it's sort of a different sort of argument against war, but it suggests that to the extent Saddam does have WMD today, chemical and biological agents in particular, the overall logic of the situation suggests that leaving him alone is the better course of action and the one that's more likely to produce our best security because going after him changes the whole logic of deterrence. He no longer has reasons to hold back; he has reasons to threaten, certainly, and perhaps even carry out terrorist action against Western or American targets, and that, too, argues against war.

That's the overall argument. It's mostly an argument about containment and deterrence, but it has also got that little asterisk at the end, the Richards Betts argument about how we maybe should be a little bit nervous that if we upset the apple cart, Saddam will no longer be deterred the way he has been.

Moving now quickly-in a talk that I promised would be brief-to arguments for using force, let me go quickly down the list because these are all familiar to everyone in this room.

First of all, Saddam may have only limited links to al Qaeda, if any, but he has enough links to other terrorist organizations, and there are enough sort of occasional contacts with al Qaeda that you have to be a little bit worried. And you combine that with the attempted assassination of former President Bush in 1993, and you recognize in Saddam a certain over-developed sense of vengeance and a certain willingness, perhaps, to go after people if he thinks he can get away with it. If he can convince himself there's a chance he'll get away with a vengeance attack against the United States, his own personal track record, specifically the '93 attempted assassination, suggests that we'd better be a little more worried than some proponents of containment and deterrence are.

And here I think that Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer went a little too far in their Foreign Policy article of recent times suggesting that deterrence was relatively airtight. I think you have to take the '93 attempted assassination into serious account when you're trying to understand Saddam's mentality, and granted, maybe it was just one aberrant example, but can you imagine if it had succeeded? What if he had actually carried out that attack successfully? And there is little doubt any more about the fact that Iraqi intelligence was behind that attempt and their real clear goal was to kill the former president. What does that tell us about Saddam's deterrability?

We also have to be a little bit nervous that Saddam passed up $150 to $200 billion in oil revenue in order to hang on to weapons that he probably could have manufactured again in the future if he had just let us come in, inspect, eliminate them, set up some long-term monitoring, and then found a way to produce a little bit on the side here and there. He probably could have had his cake and eat it too. Somehow his desire or attachment to these WMD capabilities was so great that he was willing to forego perhaps $200 billion now in oil revenue to thwart the international community's efforts and his own obligations to disarm. That has to make you a little bit worried, too, about where he is coming from.

Finally, his own track record-he has used WMD in the past, so there is clearly a stronger argument for going after someone who has already done this than just the average person who is holding WMD as sort of a deterrent of last resort. For Saddam it's clearly not a weapon of last resort. It's also not a weapon of first resort, and so he's not in the category, perhaps, of al Qaeda. He would clearly recognize that there are different qualities to these weapons, and if he uses them, he's running risks above and beyond the use of other weapons, but he has used them before.

And the whole integrity of the UN system, to some extent, is at stake here, and I think on this point President Bush is correct, that the idea that Saddam could be required to give up his WMD and not do it for a decade should be of concern to all of us who care about nonproliferation, not just because it's one more country keeping it's WMD stocks, but because it suggests the international community, even in this extreme case, was unable or unwilling to back up its demands with enough action to produce the results that were required.

And the December 7 declaration by Saddam in this regard has to be seen for what it is. [Secretary of State] Colin Powell-who many of us in this room, I suspect, see as the most pragmatic, moderate, reasonable, thoughtful member of this administration's senior foreign policy team-nonetheless was scathing in his assessment of the December 7 declaration. The polite way to describe it is incomplete. The blunt way to describe it is a bunch of lies, and I subscribe to the latter more than the former.

Right now that declaration is not a sufficient basis for doing inspections in Iraq. He told us nothing about weapons of mass destruction that he almost certainly has, and people in this room, again, are familiar with the evidence, but it's not just U.S. evidence; it's a whole body of UN-accumulated evidence throughout the 1990s about precursor chemicals and growth media and all sorts of things that Saddam imported and never could account for.

Now you can believe if you want to that they spilled them off in some hole in the ground near Baghdad and just forgot to write it down. That's the sort of thing you have to believe multiple times over to believe that Saddam really has no weapons of mass destruction today, and if we let him get away with small lies right now, even as we have nearly 100,000 American troops in the Persian Gulf, what's going to happen in a year or two once that troop presence can no longer be maintained at that level, and perhaps George Bush is no longer president, and the whole international consensus in favor of action has eroded? What's going to happen to the WMD elimination and inspection process at that time?

So I come reluctantly to believing that something has to give. It's not good enough to just sort of play this process out indefinitely, and therefore, while I still hope for more clear evidence before we have to make a decision on war, I would be prepared to support the administration even today should it make that decision-let's say after the January 27 report by the UN inspection teams to the UN Security Council.

My overall preference-and I'll finish on this point-is still that we can convince Saddam, with the threat now of 100,000 American forces soon to be in the region and pushing 150,000 by February, that under those circumstances he will finally see the light-that we are serious, that he'd better not try to split the international community too much because at some point we'll do it with a small coalition, if necessary, and without a second resolution, if necessary-and he'll see the light and realize he's got to take some action to come clean on his WMD holdings.

If that is finally his decision, I think he has to take irreversible action at that time-not simply admit to a few little holdings here and there, but actually produce and come clean on most of the weaponry we know he had and allow us to destroy it quickly-the chemical and biological stocks and production capabilities. If we can still produce that outcome this winter and eliminate these stocks, then I think as an arms controller and as a believer in trying to resolve this problem, if possible, without force, that we could be satisfied. But otherwise, my bottom line is we're in a tough position here, and the overall ledger is pretty mixed, but given the UN demands on Saddam, given the history of 12 years of resolutions, and given his blatant lies on December 7, I am in the reluctant position of having a hard time seeing how we can avoid war unless we get a fundamental change in his behavior from this point on.

Thanks a lot.

Kimball: Thank you, Michael.

(Applause.)

Kimball: Joel Wit, the floor is yours. Are you going to stay there?

Joel Wit: Yes, I think I'll just stay here and talk a little. Thanks, Daryl.

Michael mentioned that Iraq is over-analyzed, and I think North Korea is rapidly overtaking Iraq as being over-analyzed, so I'm not sure if I'm going to have a lot new to say, particularly since I see in the audience there are some of our Korean colleagues from the embassy who have heard a lot of this before, and people like John Steinbruner, who participated in discussion groups on this. But let me just try to give you kind of a brief overview of the situation today in terms of North Korea's programs, the U.S. administration's policies, and maybe what we should be doing next.

I think it's fair to say that we stand now at the threshold of North Korea becoming a growing nuclear power for everyone to see. And let me just briefly go through what their programs are just so you have a sense of where they are at the moment.

There are three components to North Korea's nuclear program. The first is, as everyone knows, it has a very well developed plutonium production program that was frozen by the 1994 agreement and now probably will restart within the next month or two. Initially that program will churn out small amounts of plutonium, at least until the end of 2004, but at that point, if North Korea resumes construction of two larger reactors, their production may start ramping up to a point where they will be able to produce about 250 kilograms of plutonium a year, and depending on how much they use for a bomb, that could be as much as 35 to 40 nuclear weapons a year.

The second component of their program is the one we've heard a lot about recently, and that's this secret uranium-enrichment program they've had. It's much smaller, as far as we know; the information is very sketchy about it. It's not clear where it's located, although I'm sure that there are some sites that are suspected. The best we can tell, this program started in the late 1990s as a research and development effort. If you go back to that time period, there are press reports of North Korea looking to acquire equipment for uranium-enrichment overseas, and there were also press reports about contacts with Pakistan.

According to more recent information, this program took off in 2001, the first year of the Bush administration, when Pyongyang started to buy large amounts of material to build a production facility. And as best as I can tell from the press, the estimates are that it will be completed in one to three years, which is a pretty broad range of uncertainty, and when it is done, it will be able to produce enough enriched uranium for one to two bombs by mid-decade.

The third component of the program is the weaponization effort. Once again, as far as we can tell, North Korea has been trying to produce a weapons design for at least 15 years, if not longer, and the reason I say that is we know that in the late 1980s North Korea conducted high explosives tests at its nuclear facilities, and there are also press reports more recently, in the late 1990s, of more high-explosive tests-maybe not at those facilities, but at other places.

Still, it's not clear whether North Korea can actually build a bomb, although some of us would probably give them the benefit of the doubt after all this time. The 1993 intelligence estimate, which is cited in the press so often, said that there was a better-than-even chance that North Korea had one to two nuclear weapons, but there were no smoking guns that led the intelligence community to that conclusion, and it was the most controversial part of the estimate.

The nonproliferation and security implications are, of course, quite clear. On the first count, having a hostile North Korea in the middle of Northeast Asia with a growing nuclear weapons arsenal right next door to two major U.S. allies-Japan and South Korea-and also with 37,000 American troops across the DMZ [demilitarized zone] is not a good situation, and it's really amazing that the administration could say publicly that this really doesn't matter, it's not a big deal.

I'm not sure whether this development would trigger South Korea and Japan to acquire nuclear weapons, but it would certainly set off a new political dynamic in the region, and, at the very least, it would trigger a debate in both of those countries about whether they should re-evaluate their defense posture, and I'm almost certain there will be other military countermeasures that will follow, including possibly a stepped-up effort for theater missile defense.

On the second count, the proliferation risks-once again they are fairly obvious. Aside from the negative impact on the nonproliferation treaty, it's quite possible that North Korea could send plutonium to other countries or even sell it to terrorists, although I think that is still something of a stretch for the North Koreans. But this link between North Korea and countries like Iran, I think, is very interesting, and North Korea would be the only game in town in terms of being able to supply technology and material to these other countries.

Michael is taking his watch away, so I need to see how much-(audio break, tape change)-policy been and why? Well, I think the answer is pretty clear. The administration's policy has been not only ineffective, but I would say very ineffective. The fact is the Bush administration has never had a policy toward North Korea. There have always been deep splits in the administration about how to deal with the North, and those splits have never been resolved. And those deep splits are between what my colleague, Bob Einhorn, has called the far right, the near right, and the center.

The far right in the administration wants North Korea to go away. They want them to collapse. So they see North Korea building nuclear weapons as an avenue to getting what they want. And the theory is that if North Korea builds nuclear weapons, everyone will band against them, isolate them, and then they will collapse. Well, it's a nice idea, and it has a certain logic to it, but I think it's pretty risky, particularly if North Korea doesn't collapse. And in the past, North Korea has, of course, confounded many predictions that it was about to go away. The near right-extremely leery about talking to North Korea under any circumstances, and particularly the current circumstances where we would seem to be succumbing to blackmail-I'm not sure if they really know what to do about the situation. The center, well, it's an endangered species in this administration, and I think that the center at least realizes that at this point we have no choice but to sit down and talk to North Korea and maybe even cut a deal with them.

These splits have been manifested in a number of different ways, if you look back over the past two years of U.S. policy, and I'll just briefly mention a few of them.

The initial policy review that was conducted during the first half of 2000 never resolved anything. It just papered over the differences and actually came to a conclusion only because the South Korean foreign minister was about to visit the United States in June 2001. The second manifestation has been the administration's inability to engage North Korea over the next year, in spite of statements that it would meet anywhere, anytime, and in spite of periodic feelers from Pyongyang that it would like to talk to the United States. The third manifestation has been periodic hostile statements about North Korea by administration officials and the president himself. The fourth one, [Assistant Secretary of State James] Kelly's visit to North Korea in October, which essentially threw the gauntlet on the table in terms of dealing with North Korea's uranium-enrichment program; it was not a problem-solving approach, and I think that is the reason why the meeting ended so badly. And finally, and most obviously, these splits are reflected in the administration's current approach, which, as far as I can tell, consists of no negotiations, no economic sanctions, and no military measures, but we would be willing to talk, not negotiate, and provide incentives to Pyongyang after it unilaterally quickly dismantles its uranium-enrichment program.

The other, I think, really major manifestation of this mismanagement has been the deterioration of relations with South Korea, which in the past has been our closest ally in dealing with the North. Now, to be fair, South Korea is undergoing a number of dynamic domestic changes that would make it difficult for any administration to deal with Seoul. But nevertheless, I think the administration's track record in U.S.-South Korean relations is particularly bad. It got off on the wrong foot from the very beginning with [South Korean] President Kim's visit to Washington in 2001, and it really hasn't recovered since then. It's made no secret of its distaste for his policies-his Sunshine Policy toward the North-and it's made no secret of its hope that a more conservative candidate would be elected president. Unfortunately, that hasn't happened.

In short, the United States, in this administration, has maneuvered itself into a position that every U.S. government official in the past has realized must be avoided at all costs when dealing with South Korea, and that is that it looks like we are sacrificing South Korean interests for our own interests. That creates an enormous amount of tension between our two countries.

This close relationship, and the deterioration of it, I think in part accounts for why we're in such a bind now, because in order to take tough measures against North Korea, such as seeking sanctions or even considering some military steps, we need South Korean support. We don't have that now, and indeed, what we have is a South Korean effort to mediate between the United States and North Korea, and that's something that most of us thought we would never see in our lifetime.

For the moment, I'll just skip over the other regional players, but needless to say, the others are not going to pull our bacon out of the fire. In spite of what the administration says publicly, China, Russia, and others are not going to support the current U.S. approach. So the third question I was asked to answer is, what should the U.S. and allies now do to curb proliferation dangers? Someone told me-I haven't read the Wall Street Journal today-but someone said that there was an op-ed or an article or an editorial that's in there that said the best way to deal with the North is to deal with Iraq first, and that will send a message to the North Koreans. Well, you know, I would submit that's probably one of the worst ways to deal with North Korea. It's not quite as bad as some of the other trial balloons I've seen floated, like encouraging Japan to become a nuclear-weapon state or withdrawing U.S. troops from South Korea, but it probably ranks third behind those two.

The fact is there are a couple of problems with that approach. First of all, we can't wait that long. We are not determining the pace of events here. I think it's very clear to most of us-and maybe not to some in the administration-but to most of us that North Korea is determining the pace of events. And the next event will be when North Korea actually restarts some of the nuclear facilities that it has said it will restart, particularly its reprocessing plant. That could come in February or March. So time is not on our side. But secondly, there is no substitute for a real policy here. You know, we're not going to find a magic bullet by waiting until after we deal with Iraq, or by doing these other crazy things. We need a real policy for dealing with North Korea, and unfortunately we've dug a very deep hole for ourselves.

As far as I can tell, the only way to recover our footing at this point is to sit down with North Korea and hold a true dialogue with them on what it will take to stop the current crisis. And I'm not advocating that we should sit down and negotiate and, you know, that's all we should be doing, but negotiations, sitting down with Pyongyang, are key to being able to regenerate our ability to take some of these tougher measures. We can't move forward very far in the United Nations without the support of other countries like South Korea, China, and Russia, and yet we are not going to get that support without starting some sort of dialogue with North Korea and demonstrating that it may be them, not us, who are intransigent. We can't get support for maybe taking military steps-and I'm not talking about pre-emptive strikes; I'm talking about other steps short of that-we can't get support for that from South Korea unless we demonstrate that we've tried to negotiate. So it's key that we move into this negotiations phase and also start to regenerate these other two tracks that I'm talking about.

Immediately I think what we need to do is to seek a freeze on the current situation on both sides; no more steps that will make it get worse until we can sit down and talk. The other thing we need to do-and this is purely from the U.S. angle-is I think the U.S. seriously needs to consider appointing a Korea czar. We've heard this idea before, and indeed the Clinton administration did it at the end of the administration when it appointed [former Defense Secretary William] Perry. I think this administration is desperately in need of someone, some senior American, with enough prestige and influence to pull our policy together.

And it's not only to deal with the current crisis, but the fact is-and this will be my last point-the fact is that I think there is a 50-50 chance that even if we take this approach we can't resolve the situation. It may be-and none of us know for sure-but it may be that North Korea has already decided that it's going to move forward no matter what, and that its public statements that it's interested in negotiating may just be a smokescreen for moving forward with their nuclear weapons program. If that's the case, I think the czar is still important because in the aftermath of that, when it becomes apparent to everyone that North Korea is moving forward no matter what, there's going to be a lot of serious work that needs to be done between the United States-certainly first and foremost between the United States and its regional allies, South Korea and Japan.

So I'll stop there. I think my 15 minutes are up.

Mr. Kimball: Thank you very much for your presentation. We'll move to the questions. Actually, before we do, if someone has a large SUV outside illegally parked, it's going to soon be pre-empted by the D.C. police.

So let's move to the floor and questions. Miles Pomper, and then we'll go to John and others.

Question: You mentioned military measures other than pre-emption. Can you give us some examples of that?

Wit: I see all my South Korean colleagues are poised to write this down (chuckles), but the fact is this is no mystery. During the 1994 crisis, in fact, the United States took a number of military steps to prepare for whatever contingencies might take place if the crisis deteriorated. A lot of those steps had to do with ensuring the readiness of U.S. forces on the peninsula and in the region, as well as moving some additional forces to the Korean Peninsula in the guise of modernization programs, which in fact were supposed to happen but which were accelerated at that time.

So there is a broad range of steps that you can take without provoking a North Korean response, and that was very critical. The North Koreans knew that we were taking these steps, yet they were not major enough to provoke some sort of military response on their part. And it's just a way of communicating to them that we're serious. Right now, I can't see how they would think we were serious about anything. We've said no sanctions, we've said no military measures; we're not going to negotiate. I mean, if I was sitting in Pyongyang I would [think] that, you know, the United States is pretty confused about what it's going to do, and I may use this opportunity to kind of run for the door and start building more weapons.

Question: Do you think it was a mistake to take the military option off the table?

Wit: I don't want to be too unfair here. I think the fact is that without South Korean support, it's very difficult to take some of these steps. And unfortunately we've mismanaged our relationship with South Korea so much that it's going to be very hard to regenerate these possibilities.

Kimball: John Rhinelander.

Question: Let me ask a question for each of these sequentially, and that's on what I would call the U.S. decision-making process, or absence of it.

I'd like to hear your views in terms of the involvement of the president and the involvement of the vice president in each area, kind of from inauguration date forward, because I see in some cases there has been, at least recently, I think, a well-coordinated one (off mike)-a total absence of what we used think as a process. But I would like to get the views of each of you in the areas you've addressed today.

Kimball: Gentlemen, if you can try to answer that-it may not be possible. (Chuckles.)

Eisenstadt: Sitting where I sit, the process is rather opaque, so it's really hard for me to make a judgment. All I'll say is this though: I think in the Middle East, the administration has been heavily preoccupied with planning for Iraq, and recently-well, it's receding into the past now, the efforts to manage the Arab-Israeli-the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Despite that, I think it's interesting to see that the administration did unveil a new policy toward Iran, despite its preoccupation with these other issues. And this was, as I read to you before, a dramatic departure from past policy. But, again, I think our ability to get there will have to be deferred until after a war with Iraq, although I think for a lot of people in this administration, war in Iraq is seen as a facilitator for achievement of our policy objectives in Iran-if you will, a necessary condition-or at least successful regime change in Iraq and the creation of a transition toward a broad-based representative government and eventual democratization there for many people in this administration is seen as a facilitator for achieving our policy objectives in Iran.

I can't talk about the process, but I can say that-I'll just throw out this prediction: just as after the 1991 Gulf War, the profile of Iran grew dramatically after the defeat of Iraq in Desert Storm. I believe that after, barring a quagmire in Iraq, we'll see Iran's profile rise dramatically, and that will be quite possibly the next major issue in the Middle East after Iraq. But I can't really speak to the process and the role of the president and V.P.-I'm sorry.

O'Hanlon: This is just a guess, but I think in short the story on Iraq is that after September 11, the hardliners in the administration succeeded in putting Iraq on the policy agenda on a very high position, right after al Qaeda. And, clearly, during the summer of 2002, you heard [Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul] Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, and Vice President Dick Cheney all very clear in their desire to go to war promptly at a time when the president, you know, was subjecting himself to parody by saying things like, my Iraq policy is they've got to get serious-now watch this drive. And we all remember that golf course episode; he didn't quite seem to have his mind on the issue. Meanwhile, Cheney is out giving speeches about how inspections can't work, and Rumsfeld is alleging major ties between al Qaeda and Saddam.

And so in the summer, the hardliners had not only won in elevating Iraq high as the policy issue, they seemed to be foreshadowing an eventual decision to go quickly to war. And then I think, in a very historically important situation and set of events, Powell and Bush put the hardliners in their place. And I think the hardliners flat-out lost, at least on the tactics of how to address the Iraq situation, and created the entire U.S. process ultimately leading up to UN Security Council Resolution 1441, which gave Saddam a way out of this if he had been smart enough to choose it. And unfortunately, from my point of view, he didn't choose it. The way to choose it was to 'fess up on the chemical and biological stuff in his December 7 declaration. And maybe Saddam thought this administration was going to find a way to go to war against him no matter what he said and decided to do, so you might as well not admit to previous crimes, but I think he made a fundamentally incorrect decision.

Nonetheless, I think Powell and Bush told Cheney, Wolfowitz, and Rumsfeld, we're doing this through the UN, which means focusing on the WMD and giving Saddam the final, clear chance to avoid war, should he want it. Now, again, at this point I don't know what Cheney's role will be because now we're into sort of act four. If act one was getting the issue high on the agenda, act two was the summer set of speeches, act three was Powell and Bush going through the UN, now we're into act four. We're in this murky area where Saddam did not come clean the way he should have, and yet there is no smoking gun and the inspections are working sort of visibly on the surface okay. We're back in a tough position from a policy point of view, and maybe Cheney will now win act four the way he won, or seemed to win, act one and then lost his momentum by act three.

That's the way I would sum it up. It's obviously all speculative, and I can't do nearly as good of a job as Bob Woodward, so I probably should just pass, but that's how I would sum it up.

Kimball: Who's in charge, Joel?

Wit: Oh, boy. You know, it's very interesting. I think we've all read periodic public blurbs from the president about how he feels about [North Korean leader] Kim Jong Il, and I can't quite figure out where these have come from, but he seems occasionally to blurt out how much he hates Kim Jong Il. I mean, he called him a pygmy once and, you know, other statements like that, which, you know, I think we could all agree that North Korea is an awful place, but I'm not sure how that plays into the decision-making process, except I think it gives you a flavor for, you know, what it might be like sitting in a principals committee meeting talking about North Korea.

I have friends in the State Department who have told me that the interagency papers are really fascinating because, you know, they of course read the North Korean party newspaper, and you've heard about it in the press recently; all the shrill statements about the United States. And my friends say, well, you know, the administration's interagency papers sound like the North Korean party newspaper, except from the opposite vantage point.

I mean, what we're talking about here, I think, is a decision-making process that is colored, to a large degree, by these very ideological thoughts, and at times is dragged back into reality, it seems to me, not just by the current crisis but also by our need to deal with South Korea and our alliance relationship with South Korea. And I'm pretty sure that centrists in the administration use that as a way of banging the right and the far right over the head about how the U.S. needs to change its position. I'm not sure whether ultimately that will work or not, but it seems to be the only lifeline that the center people have at the moment.

Kimball: All right. We'll take a couple more questions. Greg, please.

Question: I've been especially struck lately that using the term "weapons of mass destruction" will ultimately lead to confusion rather than clarity, and I'm afraid Michael Eisenstadt has given me another example in a statement he made about Iran, and I want to deconstruct a little bit.

For Iran, developing WMD is a matter of pride and national security. If I'm not mistaken, Ayatollah Khomeini said that nuclear weapons were immoral. The Iranians developed chemical weapons very reluctantly in response to continual usage by Iraq against them. So I would assume that for CW and BW-and I'm not knowledgeable about what kind of BW Iran has-it is a matter of national security and not national pride. And I assume from your statement that you're really talking about nuclear weapons, but I wonder if you could break that down, without asking you to publish a matrix, which WMD are you talking about, and (off mike)?

Eisenstadt: Yeah, I think you raise some valid points there, but I would say I think nuclear weapons most of all, you know, have the greatest psychological cache. And clearly this is what separates the big boys-or the men from the boys internationally. So I think, from the point of view of national pride at least, nuclear weapons are probably the most important, but the fact is those are not capabilities that they have right now. And right now their capabilities are limited, at least as far as we know, and their capabilities are limited to chemical and biological weapons.

The idea, though, you know, the reason I use the term WMD, it's because I'm not sure that people in Iran-there isn't, as far as I can tell, a sophisticated public debate on these issues. You know, people tend to be focused more on the issues of day-to-day survival and the economy and social and political conditions in the country. I think in general, you know, the category of WMD can be subsumed under the larger category of national strength, and most Iranians want to have a strong country in order to preserve their independence, in order to ensure that Iranian national interests are preserved, and to the degree that chem and bio, or in the future, nuclear weapons, are seen as key to ensuring the country's national security, Iranians, I think, of all political stripes will support the country's pursuit of WMD even though they are also signatories to every major arms control agreement.

Now, this poses a dilemma for some people of a certain political stripe in Iran. For the conservatives, who are not so much interested in relations with the Western world and Iran's integration into the international community and who see the Islamic world as more Iran's natural milieu, they're not so concerned about the impact of the violation of arms control treaties, although I think they recognize it's important to go forward with these programs in a certain way in order to minimize unnecessary costs to Iran.

But for those Iranians who do want Iran to be integrated into the community of nations, who want to improve the economy and want to attract foreign investment, they have a dilemma, because on the one hand they want Iran to be strong, and WMD writ large, nuclear weapons in particular, are the fastest way to that route for them, given their economic circumstances. On the other hand, they realize if they go down that route and violate their arms control obligations, it could be at the price of attracting foreign investment and fixing the economy and improving relations with the outside world.

Again, you know, I gave kind of a wave-top assessment here. If you go down one level further, things are more complicated. I would say that, you know, the differences among Iranians on these issues provide policy opportunities for us in the future. But, you know, the bottom line is I think national pride is extremely important in the context of Iran, and the power of Iranian nationalism cannot and should not be underrated. I subscribe to a number of Iranian news groups, and it comes through on the e-mails-you know, when you have debates about, you know, the Persian versus Arab Gulf, and you know on any number of issues you could raise you could see how it's a factor.

So I would not underrate the importance of national pride with regard to the full range of WMD, especially nukes, but they don't have nukes now, so CBW is important in that context.

Kimball: Admiral Turner-and we'll take one more question.

Question: Michael O'Hanlon, I wonder if we're being realistic with expecting Saddam Hussein to comply completely with 1441 right off the bat. In our culture, we make an agreement, and we try to live up to it exactly. This (unintelligible) a Middle Eastern desire. Isn't this a negotiation in which the UN made the first move-1441? Saddam Hussein made the second move with much greater compliance than he did in 1991 in terms of letting the inspectors in and so on. The third move comes on January 20 when Blix goes back to Iraq-and who knows what Saddam may put on the table? And then the fourth move will be the UN response to that.

I mean, are we not asking too much from a Middle Eastern mentality to say, I'm going to come totally clean in one sweep here? You bargain this thing down the line. Don't we have a chance of getting a reasonable deal out of this in the long term?

Kimball: That's a good question. If I could just add one question to that, which is that in your case for possible military action you cited the importance of maintaining the integrity of the UN system, the international rule of law. What would it do to the UN system, the international rule of law, if the United States decides to take military action, absent positive evidence from the inspectors that there has been a violation of 1441?

O'Hanlon: Well, two good questions. Admiral Turner, it seems to me that we do have to force this issue within roughly, say, a year. I think Rumsfeld, again, is up to his ways, and he's trying to force the issue this winter by making troop deployment at such a high level that we can't sustain them very long. And I question just how much internal dialogue led to that consensus decision; of how much really Powell has to understand that too, as do you, as do other people who know the military well. But somehow this seems to be getting a little bit ahead of the game. I'd rather keep the numbers in sort of the 50,000 to 75,000 range until we've made a decision. But if you were to do that, and walk back a little from what Rumsfeld's doing in the way of a buildup, I think you have maybe a year.

I'm not sure you have a lot more than that-maybe you wouldn't disagree, I don't know-but it seems to me you do have to take advantage of the fact that we have forced this to the top of the policy agenda, and it won't stay there naturally unless we do something about this, and once we do something about it, it's fairly short order.

I'm not sure Saddam is behaving fundamentally better than he did in 1991. In the early years, it seems to me, he did not impede inspectors very much; he just hoped we wouldn't find anything. And for a while that strategy worked. Then we did start to find things, and he let us find whatever we found-it didn't help-and then his son-in-law defected-you know the history better than I.

But, in any case, all he's doing now is letting us walk around in places that have no illicit weaponry inside of them. That's not a great concession on his part. My real worry is over time, if we seem uncommitted to resolving this, at some point he'll start to thwart the inspectors, put conditions on their movement, and that will give his nuclear scientists more confidence they can begin a nuclear program. That's my real worry. If he keeps the few chemical and biological agents for a long time, I don't really care that much-you can live with that and deter that-but to the extent he can weaken the inspection process over time and then ultimately start a nuclear program, that is worse. So I think we have to push this within the next year and a half or so-maybe not this winter.

In terms of international law, again, here I'll take the point that right now our case is-I think the case is convincing. But it's convincing to me; it's not convincing to most of the world. And part of what international law is is a body of well-accepted judgments and principles. And, so to the extent that you can make the case in sort of a lawyerly point-by-point manner-and I think you can-international law should not be seriously impeded. And I don't believe 1441 really requires a second resolution. It certainly requires a second debate, but I think we can again argue that we don't have to have a second resolution to go to war.

On the other hand, international law is partly about politics and partly about consensus and partly about international public opinion. And in that sense, if we have to go to war based on current evidence, we are in a bit of a pickle. So it's going to be-there will be some strengthening elements and some weakening elements if we have to go to war under current circumstances.

Kimball: All right. One last question, sir, and if the panelists can keep their answers brief, that would be helpful.

Question: James Rosen, McClatchy Newspapers. There has been talk on and off for the last six to eight months about the timing of a war in Iraq, with all sorts of constraints that are mentioned. Some of them, Mr. O'Hanlon, you just mentioned-(off mike) and so forth. People talk a lot about climate and weapons.

The question for either you or any of the panelists is, do you believe that there are absolute constraints of any sort on the timing of a war happening late winter, early spring? In other words, is there an absolute last deadline, beyond which if it doesn't happen, then we're into a waiting period? And if so, what do you think the constraints are?

O'Hanlon: I'll give a quick start, and anybody else can follow-up. First of all, if you could fight at night, you could fight any time. The desert cools enough at night that-at least in Iraq and Baghdad-it's in the 70s even in July, at night. So if you wear chemical protective gear and you can fight at night, you'd be okay. The problem is, of course, that we can't always dictate the length of tactical engagements. And if you want to make sure that most of your fighting occurs when the temperature is in the 70s because you think you have to be in chemical protective gear, you really have to finish this thing by sometime in April. By mid-April, average daily highs in Baghdad are 85; by early May they're 90; by mid-May they're 95. And I think you have to work under the assumption that we're going to have to wear chemical protective gear and that we're sometimes going to have to fight in the heat of the day.

So based on that set of arguments, I would say you want to either have this war, if you have to have it at all, in March-primarily in March of 2003, or wait until next fall and winter and do it in 2004. But I personally would say that even though we certainly can win the war anytime of year, the difficulty of fighting with chemical protective suits will go up astronomically. We may have to make that terrible choice of whether we want to fight without chemical protective gear or wear our troops down in the space of 15 to 20 or 30 minutes while they are wearing it during the summer.

Kimball: All right. Thank you.

Yes, Stanley? Please.

Question: Just one more question. On the inspection, we apparently haven't given Blix much of our classified information. From today's Times, I gathered that the French and the Russians are indicating that they want to have some of our (off mike) before they act. How do you see that playing out? Have we really hard data? Will we produce it? And if we don't appear to, then what do you see at the result?

O'Hanlon: It's a tough question, and maybe I want to, again, invite others who may want to comment on this as well. My sense is we don't have a smoking gun at any site because if we did we would have already either bombed it or produced that evidence in the course of making our case for war earlier. So I think what we have is places we're highly suspicious about that you might want to send inspectors to, but even there it's going to take some luck, good or bad, depending on your perspective, to find anything. And I think all we have, again, is the set of-we've watched a lot going on there; we know where trucks are coming in and out at different hours, we know where there is more electricity usage than there probably would otherwise be, based on certain data about those facilities. We have reasons to be suspicious about a number of places. We have some defector reports that the Iraqis moved things around, so whatever the defectors knew a year ago may no longer be true.

My guess is we don't have hard data, and I think it's not going to provide a clear answer in the end unless we get awfully lucky.

Kimball: We're going to have to stop there. This conversation is obviously incomplete, and there are more developments that we will see in the days and weeks ahead. I want to thank everyone for coming. Please thank our panelists for their presentations. (Applause.) And for those of you who are joining us upstairs for the luncheon with Congressman John Spratt, please move upstairs, either the elevators or the stairs, register outside, and we'll look forward to seeing you there in a few minutes.

(End of panel discussion.)

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ACA Panel Discussion

Country Resources:

Congressman John Spratt (D-SC) on Stopping the Spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction

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Representative John M. Spratt, Jr.

The United States is facing an increasingly diverse set of threats from weapons of mass destruction. War is looming in Iraq, a crisis is developing on the Korean Peninsula, and Iran is moving to develop nuclear weapons. The terrorists who assaulted the United States on September 11, 2001 may have lacked nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, but they did not lack the malevolence to use them. We find ourselves in a new arms race: one between the efforts of terrorists and rogue states to acquire them and our efforts to stop them.

There may never have been a more appropriate time to ask how we can more effectively reduce the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction and to assess how our nuclear policies help or hinder that goal. Clearly, business as usual is not enough, but we should not slight the steps we have taken—they have helped. A prime example is the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program, initiated by former Senator Sam Nunn (D-GA) and Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN), which seeks to secure the arsenals of Russia and other former Soviet states in order to prevent proliferators from obtaining nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.

The Nunn-Lugar program, based in the Department of Defense, and its companion nonproliferation programs at the Energy and State Departments are entering their second decade, and they have made major progress. As of November 2002, the Pentagon’s threat reduction programs had helped to deactivate 6,020 warheads, destroy 486 intercontinental ballistic missiles, and eliminate 347 submarine-launched ballistic missiles and 97 strategic bombers. Perhaps the best known of the Energy Department efforts, the Material Protection, Control and Accounting (MPC&A) Program, has also established a strong track record. With only a modest budget, the MPC&A program has improved safeguards for 192 metric tons of fissile material, enough for some 8,000 nuclear devices.

Still, much remains to be done. It may seem evident that these programs have proven their mettle and merit more funding, but it is not clear to everyone. From the start, those protective of the defense budget looked upon Nunn-Lugar as an interloper, a way of siphoning money off real defense programs and into “foreign affairs.” A few years ago, when I sponsored the second step of this bill, called Nunn-Lugar-Domenici, I could not convince a single Republican on the House Armed Services Committee to join me as a co-sponsor. And when threat reduction measures are passed, they have often been hampered by “certifications” requirements that have held up funding.

Today’s emerging dangers not only validate the concerns that gave rise to those programs; they call for us to do more. Unfortunately, instead of accelerating our nonproliferation efforts, we are allowing threat reduction to tread water. Perhaps worse, after more than a decade of arms control progress, U.S. policy is now drifting in a dangerous direction as the Bush administration contemplates a resumption of nuclear testing and the development of new “bunker-busting” nuclear weapons.

The Bush administration and the Congress need to boost threat reduction activities and halt efforts to increase the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. national security policy. Morally, these steps will enhance our authority as we move to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. Practically, they will help strengthen safeguards and keep weapons of mass destruction from terrorists and rogue states.

Tepid Support for Nonproliferation

Cooperative threat reduction efforts are slowly but surely undoing the legacy of the Cold War. They are succeeding in spite of impediments, and they deserve more money, more emphasis, and more recognition for what they have accomplished. These programs represent a textbook example of how Congress can innovate and initiate national security policy, but in our system there is no substitute for presidential commitment. Although the Bush administration is officially supportive, its support is hardly zealous. Its stated policies are correct but often not backed up by its budget policies, and the White House seems more inclined toward counterproliferation than nonproliferation.

For example, in the “National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction,” published in December, President Bush declared, “We must accord the highest priority to the protection of the United States, our forces, and our friends and allies from the existing and growing WMD threat.” I agree. But the statement lists “Counter-Proliferation to Combat WMD Use” as first among the “Pillars of Our National Strategy,” coming ahead of efforts to “Strengthen Non-Proliferation to Combat WMD Proliferation.” Certainly, nonproliferation efforts cannot rid the world of all the threats posed by weapons of mass destruction, and we have to have a wide range of counterproliferation programs. But counterproliferation, even when founded on “active defenses,” interdiction, and a “strong declaratory policy” may do little to actually reduce the spread of—and thus the threat from—weapons of mass destruction. The administration’s priorities seem misplaced.

Ballistic missile defense is a prime example of how the emphasis on counterproliferation comes at the expense of nonproliferation. The administration has increased spending on missile defense systems by nearly 60 percent—from about $5 billion two years ago to almost $8 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2003. The request for FY 2004 is more than $9 billion. Yet, during that time, the administration’s funding requests for nonproliferation were comparatively flat. I am a supporter of ballistic missile defense in certain configurations, such as those centered on ground-based interceptors, but I consider it our last line of defense. Furthermore, today’s greatest threats are not ballistic missiles launched by a nation-state, with return address attached, but an aerosol-spray can with biological agents, chemicals released into a ventilation system, nuclear devices buried in cargo containers, or a radiological weapon in the back of a truck. The heavy emphasis on missile defense draws funding and attention away from these other, more likely threats.

The president’s December strategy statement says that “maintaining an extensive and efficient set of non-proliferation and threat reduction assistance to Russia and other former Soviet states is a high priority.” The stress on “maintaining” implies that we are doing all that we can in the realm of nonproliferation and cooperative threat reduction, but that contention is at odds with the evidence. For example, the administration has said it will “encourage friends and allies to increase their contributions to these programs,” but it has not pledged to enlarge our own efforts. There was much clamor over the “10 Plus 10 Over 10” arrangement made among the G-8 nations last June, under which the United States and Europe would spend a total of $20 billion on threat reduction over the next 10 years. But, in truth, that pledge merely committed the United States to its existing level of nonproliferation spending.

The Bush administration’s support for threat reduction efforts certainly does not reach the level suggested by several independent assessments, most notably that chaired by Howard H. Baker, Jr. and Lloyd Cutler, who, in their January 2001 report, urged tripling the funding of the Energy Department’s threat reduction programs. Although the overall defense budget has grown substantially under Bush, funding for nonproliferation stands essentially where it stood in President Clinton’s last budget. And without congressional support, it would not stand there.

In FY 2001, $443.4 million was appropriated for the Pentagon’s CTR program. Bush’s first real budget, FY 2002, proposed to cut 10 percent from the CTR program, and Congress followed his lead, appropriating just $403 million. The president increased his request by only 3.4 percent in his FY 2003 budget, to $416.7 million, and Congress approved that amount. The administration argued that the CTR budget dipped in FY 2002 only because the first part of a major project—construction of the Mayak fissile material storage facility—had been completed, but that does not explain the modest request for FY 2003.

In fairness, the administration has just proposed a robust increase in the Pentagon’s CTR program for FY 2004, including an especially welcome request for accelerated work at the Shchuch’ye chemical demilitarization facility. But two-thirds of nonproliferation funds flow through the Energy Department, and the president’s FY 2004 request for those efforts is essentially flat compared to last year. The new request follows a trend that dates back to Bush’s first budget. After $864 million was appropriated for Energy Department nonproliferation programs in FY 2001, President Bush proposed a cut of nearly $100 million in his FY 2002 request. Only congressional action, spurred by the reaction to September 11, boosted funding to $803.6 million, and with emergency supplemental appropriations approved later, the total amount eventually reached $1.06 billion.

At first glance, the president’s initial FY 2003 budget request of $1.11 billion for the Energy Department’s nonproliferation programs seemed to represent an increase over the 2002 enacted level. However, the increase was deceptive for two reasons. First, the FY 2003 request included $49 million for a program transferred from the Department of Defense (elimination of weapons-grade plutonium at the Tomsk and Kransnoyarsk reactors). Second, the U.S. plutonium disposition program received a $108 million (45 percent) increase in the president’s budget, going from $241 million in FY 2002 to $350 million in FY 2003. If the president’s request is adjusted to exclude the transfer of the Pentagon program and include only the nonproliferation activities outside the United States, the president’s budget for Energy Department nonproliferation programs actually represented a $71 million (9 percent) decrease from the 2002 enacted level.

The FY 2004 request for Energy Department programs, released earlier this month, is similarly deceptive. The total appears to jump by 30 percent, from an amended FY 2003 request of $1.03 billion to an FY 2004 request of $1.34 billion. But the funding request is skewed by an increase of more than $300 million for a mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel fabrication facility in Aiken, South Carolina. The MOX facility is crucial: it could eventually process about 34 metric tons of weapons-usable plutonium into commercial nuclear fuel as required by a 2000 agreement that commits Russia to doing the same. But the vast majority of funding for MOX remains in the United States, it does not go to Russia. With the $309 million boost to construction in South Carolina set aside, the president’s budget proposes simply to maintain our current level of effort in the former Soviet Union—there is no increase at all.

Signs of a Dangerous Drift

Even with this unimpressive record, my greatest concern is not the administration’s tepid support for threat reduction programs or the questionable wisdom of sinking billions into missile defense as opposed to nonproliferation. My greatest concern is that some in the administration and in Congress seem to think that the United States can move the world in one direction while Washington moves in another—that we can continue to prevail on other countries not to develop nuclear weapons while we develop new tactical applications for such weapons and possibly resume nuclear testing.

The official position of the Bush administration is that it intends to maintain the moratorium on underground nuclear explosions. At the same time, this administration has made plain that it does not support a permanent ban and that it will not seek ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Furthermore, it has voiced doubts about the effectiveness of the Stockpile Stewardship Program, which is intended to maintain the effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear deterrent without testing. In certain quarters of Congress, there has long been skepticism of the program, and it is not news that a cadre of members wants to see the United States resume testing. What is new is that the administration itself has voiced doubts about Stockpile Stewardship.

In the January 2002 Nuclear Posture Review, for example, the administration raised concern that two to three years are required to prepare for a new test. The review argues that “a two- to three-year posture may be too long to address any serious defect [in the arsenal] that might be discovered in the future.” This concern led to a 2002 study at the Energy Department’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) of options for reducing the lead time required for a test. Last spring, NNSA’s top scientist, Everett Beckner, told my staff that the study would probably conclude that 18 months is the shortest feasible lead-time. But testing advocates in the House pushed for shorter lead times. In the final conference agreement on the FY 2003 defense authorization bill, we reached a compromise by asking NNSA to examine the options both shorter and longer than 18 months and to offer a recommendation among those.

Despite testimony last spring and summer that the administration had no plans to resume testing, a memo was leaked in November from Pete Aldridge, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics. The memo was directed to the nuclear weapons labs and urged exploration of possible tests. It asked the weapons labs to “assess the technical risks associated in maintaining the U.S. arsenal without nuclear testing” and suggested that “the United States take another look at conducting small nuclear tests.” The memo went on to say, “We will need to refurbish several aging weapons systems” and should “be prepared to respond to new nuclear weapons requirements in the future.”

Indeed, during the 107th Congress, two related efforts were launched to pursue new nuclear weapons. The first supported research, development, and possibly testing of new, low-yield nuclear weapons because some believe they will be needed to counter post-Cold War threats. This proposal went against a law that banned the development of low-yield nuclear weapons—a law that I co-authored 10 years ago with former Representative Elizabeth Furse (D-OR) because I was afraid that pursuing low-yield weapons would lower the threshold for nuclear use. Last year, during debate over the FY 2003 defense authorization bill, House Republicans attempted to overturn that ban via an amendment offered by Representative Curt Weldon (R-PA). I urged Representative Weldon to reconsider his proposal, and we were able to negotiate a modification to the law, rather than outright repeal. In the end, however, the law remained untouched, as the Senate included no such modification in its version of the defense bill, and the House language was dropped in conference. But the issue remains contentious, and repeal of the ban on low-yield weapons was formally endorsed in February by the Republican Policy Committee, an arm of the GOP House leadership.

Support for new nuclear weapons also came from the Bush administration, which requested $15 million last year to study the feasibility of modifying existing warheads to create a “robust nuclear earth penetrator” that could destroy hardened and deeply buried targets. The administration has argued that the nuclear arsenal’s existing earth penetrator, the B-61-11 bomb, has “serious limitations for a wide range of target conditions” and that the study would simply investigate options for “repackaging” an existing warhead to survive earth penetration. The Pentagon has vigorously denied that the study will lead to the development of new nuclear weapons; it argues that the study will almost certainly conclude that its goals can be met by hardening the casings of existing warheads. I was unenthusiastic about funding, but it was authorized and appropriated anyway. Conferees to the Defense Authorization Act did, however, agree to require the National Academy of Sciences to study the effects of using nuclear weapons to attack hardened and deeply buried targets and report to us this summer. The development of these so-called nuclear bunker-busters was also endorsed by the Republican Policy Committee.

One of the early dividends of the Cold War’s end was the drastic reduction in the number of tactical nuclear weapons that the United States and Russia deployed. On our side, the follow-on to the Lance, a battlefield missile, was canceled, and after that, the warhead for a new nuclear sea mine. Then, atomic landmines and artillery shells were retired from service. Once these weapons were removed, senior officers acknowledged that they had had doubts as to their military worth, particularly given the consequences of going nuclear early in any war. General Charles A. Horner came home from the Persian Gulf War in 1991 and told me, “I have seen the future, and it works. Precision-guided munitions and stand-off weapons make nuclear weapons obsolete.”

The United States would be backsliding badly if it resumed reliance on tactical nuclear weapons. That step would be tantamount to saying, “These weapons are like any other.” Surely, that is not the message we want to convey.

Charting a Better Course

Congress has made some attempts to address the existing deficiencies in U.S. nuclear policy and threat reduction efforts. For example, Representative Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) and I introduced the Nuclear Threat Reduction Act in 2001 and again in 2002, and I feel sure we will do the same in 2003. The 2001 bill proposed the following:

  • Reducing the overall number of nuclear weapons in the U.S. stockpile;
  • Reducing, where feasible, the alert status of weapons in our active stockpile; and
  • Increasing threat reduction funding to about two-thirds of the amount the Baker-Cutler report recommended.

In 2002, we called for five steps:

  • Authority that would allow the president to waive congressionally mandated certification requirements that prevent CTR funds from being spent;
  • Expanded accounting and inventory of weapons of mass destruction in the United States and Russia;
  • Targeted funding increases for select nonproliferation and counter-proliferation programs, including MPC&A and Shchuch’ye;
  • Clarification of the Nuclear Posture Review, especially of its implications for the size of the U.S. stockpile; and
  • Codification of the nuclear testing moratorium and a 12-month notification requirement to resume testing.

Some of these provisions have become law in one form or another. But as I noted earlier, funding for CTR and nonproliferation programs has been essentially flat for two years. And our proposal regarding the nuclear test moratorium was, of course, not approved. Here are a handful of steps that should be made a priority in the 108th Congress.

Additional Resources for Nonproliferation

Threat reduction programs at the Defense, Energy, and State Departments have proven their mettle. They have already reduced direct threats to the United States more than even a robust missile defense system could hope.

Virtually every independent analysis of U.S. programs to secure and eventually destroy nuclear weapons and materials in Russia has said we should increase the resources we devote to those efforts. In 2001, the bipartisan Baker-Cutler commission recommended spending $30 billion over the next decade, calling the threat posed by poorly secured nuclear weapons and materials the single greatest security threat facing the United States. Nevertheless, the Bush administration has proposed only select, modest increases for threat reduction programs, and the nonproliferation budget is still dwarfed by the budget for less urgent efforts, such as missile defense.

There is a broad bipartisan consensus that the national security interests of the United States demand more than the status quo on nonproliferation programs in the former Soviet Union and, increasingly, in other nations as well. The president should reconsider his FY 2004 budget request for these critical programs and work with Congress to devote a more appropriate share of our national security budget to them—one that gets us closer to the levels recommended by the Baker-Cutler report.

Codify the Testing Moratorium

With an ever-expanding number of nations looking to develop nuclear weapons, it is critical that the United States affirm its commitment to the nuclear test moratorium by codifying it. Demonstrating our commitment will enhance our standing to argue for a continued worldwide moratorium. The law I proposed last year would provide that the administration can resume tests provided that it gives Congress 12 months’ notice, so that we can thoroughly debate what would represent a major shift in our nuclear posture. I tried to add this language to the FY 2003 defense bill during Armed Services Committee deliberations. When my amendment was defeated in a party-line vote, I offered it as a floor amendment to the defense bill. Although this is serious policy and relevant to the defense authorization bill, the Rules Committee would not allow consideration of my amendment.

Establish a Nonproliferation “Czar”

U.S. nuclear and nonproliferation policy is in a period of transition. In this context, we need someone with the power, access, resources, and ability to focus attention on the issue—a kind of Tom Ridge for nonproliferation. That’s not just my opinion. Panel after panel has recommended creating such a position. In 1995, a panel of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology recommended it. The 1996 Nunn-Lugar-Domenici legislation called for it, after extensive congressional hearings documented the need. In 1999, the “Deutsch Commission” recommended it. And most recently, the Baker-Cutler report called for it. The United States needs a nonproliferation czar, and the position should be established at the president’s initiative. If Congress imposes the requirement on the president, the position is not going to enjoy the stature, clout, and cachet needed to be effective.

Accelerate HEU Disposition

Our nonproliferation programs need support to keep on doing what they have been doing, but it seems time for them to have a new target, a more ambitious goal. For starters, we should expedite the disposal of Russia’s highly enriched uranium (HEU). The United States has taken a few successful steps, chiefly the 1993 HEU agreement, under which we pay Russia to blend down 500 metric tons of HEU into a non-weapons-usable form suitable for reactor fuel. Under the existing agreement, however, the full 500 tons will not be eliminated until 2013. If Russia proceeds with dismantlement of all its nuclear weapons scheduled to be removed from deployment, there will be hundreds of additional tons of HEU in storage, posing one of the world’s greatest proliferation risks. We should accelerate the 1993 agreement and move aggressively to dispose of any additional Russian HEU.

Last year’s Defense Authorization Act authorized $10 million for exploring options to accelerate the disposition of Russian HEU, and the State Department Authorization Act empowered the administration to pursue “debt for nonproliferation” swaps with Russia. The United States should negotiate with Russia to transfer ownership of its HEU stocks to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in exchange for the IMF discharging some part of Russia’s $6.7 billion debt. The IMF would take title to the HEU and, under our leadership, arrange for it to be blended down. The resulting low-enriched uranium would then be sold as reactor fuel, recouping part or all of the value of the forgiven debt. Russia would reap a financial reward and the global community a significant nonproliferation victory.

Russia’s HEU is a compelling problem because the stockpile is enormous, and the risk that some of it could be pilfered is alarming. However, smaller quantities of enriched uranium are also scattered around the world at some 40-50 research reactors. Most of it is not adequately accounted for, and much of it is poorly secured. These nuclear materials are probably at greater risk of being stolen or misappropriated than Russian HEU, and their security would be another worthy project for the Department of Energy.

If we are to avoid an international security environment even more dangerous than the one we face today—one undeniably even more inimical to U.S. security interests—we must seek new and more effective ways to prevent production and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. We must not merely settle for measures designed to counter proliferation that has already occurred.

We must also re-establish our credibility as an adherent to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. This means we should abandon any push for development of new nuclear weapons, low-yield or otherwise, and reaffirm our commitment to a moratorium on nuclear tests. Only in so doing can the United States credibly urge other nations to cease pursuit of nuclear weapons.

The United States must respond to the unprecedented challenges facing us with a reinvigorated commitment to reduce the threat posed by nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. This is no time to drift back into dangerous thinking and policies discarded—with good reason—more than a decade ago.

 


John M. Spratt, Jr., congressman from South Carolina, is the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee and a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee.

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ACA Annual Membership Luncheon

Disarming Iraq: How Weapons Inspections Can Work

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An ACA Press Conference

On October 7, the Arms Control Association held a press conference to discuss the capability of United Nations inspections to disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction. Panelists spoke on the successes and difficulties of previous inspections, which ended in 1998, and offered suggestions for strengthening future inspections. The briefing came amid debate in the UN Security Council and the United States regarding potential U.S.-led military action against Iraq.

The panelists were Robert Gallucci, dean of the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and former deputy executive chairman of the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM); Jessica T. Mathews, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, which recently produced a report on “coercive inspections” called “Iraq: A New Approach”; and Jonathan B. Tucker, a senior fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace and a former UNSCOM inspector in Iraq. Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, moderated the briefing.

The following is an edited version of the panelists’ remarks and the question-and-answer session that followed.

Daryl G. Kimball

Despite the overall success of the nonproliferation regime, a small number of states threaten to undermine the norm against the development, possession, and use of weapons of mass destruction. Among them is Iraq, which has violated nonproliferation treaties and resisted UN Security Council mandates for the disarmament of its proscribed weapons of mass destruction capabilities.

Even without full Iraqi cooperation and Security Council support over the last decade, the UN Special Commission on Iraq [UNSCOM] and the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] succeeded in ridding Iraq of most of its prohibited weapons capabilities. But with the absence of inspectors since 1998, the United Nations, the Bush administration, and the Congress are once again debating the nature of the threat posed by Iraq, its unfulfilled disarmament obligations, and what actions are most appropriate and effective to deal with that threat. Central to that debate is whether and how weapons inspections can be effective in disarming Iraq. This is the main subject of this morning’s press briefing.

Just a few weeks ago, it was not clear whether President Bush would pursue renewed UN weapons inspections in Iraq at all or whether he would attempt a pre-emptive, unilateral military strike against Iraq. But for now the president appears to have made the common sense choice to work through the Security Council to reach agreement on a strengthened inspections regime. Also significant is the fact that Iraq, under pressure from the international community, has expressed its willingness to allow unfettered access to its facilities, including the presidential sites, which had been off limits in 1998.

Over the course of the next few days and weeks, the sincerity of President Bush’s appeal to the UN, the will of the Security Council’s support to uphold nonproliferation norms, and Iraq’s willingness to cooperate with the United Nations will all be tested. Top-level Bush administration officials continue to assert that strengthened inspections are bound to fail and that pre-emptive military invasion is necessary. In fact, the stated goal of the administration is the removal of Saddam Hussein from power. Such talk suggests to many that the administration supports the new and extremely tough new resolution at the United Nations only to provide a convenient trigger and justification for all-out military action against Baghdad. This should not be the purpose of renewed and strengthened UN inspections. Instead, the Arms Control Association and the expert panelists we have here today all agree that for now the most prudent and feasible means to deny Saddam Hussein access to weapons of mass destruction is a strategy of multilateral prevention through effective UN weapons inspections.

To explain, we have three panelists with substantial experience on Iraq and weapons inspections. First, we’re going to hear from Bob Gallucci, who’s currently dean of the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He’s a former assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, and in 1991 he was appointed deputy executive chairman of UNSCOM. Then we’ll hear from Jonathan Tucker, currently a senior fellow at the United States Institute of Peace, who served as an UNSCOM biological weapons inspector in Iraq in 1995. Finally, we’ll hear from Jessica Mathews, who is president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and who is responsible for the Carnegie Endowment’s recent report, “Iraq: A New Approach.”

Robert Gallucci

It seems to me that U.S. policy has come a long way in a relatively short period of time. We have come from a situation in which regime change was essential to a situation in which regime change in Iraq is still desirable but not necessarily essential in order—to use the administration’s phrase—to separate Saddam Hussein from his weapons of mass destruction. In fact, Secretary [of State Colin] Powell seems to be saying that, if Iraq accepts the intrusive inspections that are described in the American draft UN resolution, it will have effectively changed the regime. I like that.

The United States is now pressing for a new inspection regime that, among other things, would eliminate any sanctuaries, would do away with any requirement for advance notice of inspections, would be guided by intelligence, would be permissive of interviews with Iraqi experts, would be accompanied by an armed military unit of some kind, would follow Iraq’s full and complete declarations, and would require Iraqi cooperation in the logistics of an inspection.

This type of inspections regime, it seems to me, can indeed work if Iraq understands two things: one, that rejecting the regime will mean that it will have to suffer an invasion and two, that acceptance of the regime will mean that it does not have to suffer an invasion. Both of those must be true. The question then becomes whether an inspection regime will ensure our security in the face of the threat from Iraq.

A few observations about the inspections. First, the threat derives from Iraqi capabilities in weapons of mass destruction. There are some uncertainties, but we have high confidence that Iraq has a chemical weapons capability in mustard and nerve agents, and a biological weapons capability in toxins and bacteriological weapons. There are uncertainties beyond that, and there are questions with respect to when Iraq might have a nuclear weapons capability.

Second, the threat is urgent in Iraq to the extent that the transfer of this capability to a terrorist group like al Qaeda is perceived to be imminent. Al Qaeda or another terrorist group, one could well argue, is open to neither defense nor deterrence by the United States and therefore cannot be tolerated with that capability. There is at the same time, to the best of my knowledge, no good evidence that Iraq would transfer such a capability to such a group.

Third, Iraq itself, even with weapons of mass destruction, could be open to deterrence and therefore be a manageable threat. But over time, it seems to me, it’s an unacceptable threat. Over time, Iraq will improve its capabilities and add a nuclear weapons capability. Given its past violation of UN Security Council resolutions, its invasion of Kuwait, and other indications that it is a rogue-like regime, deterrence and containment are too passive a response to the Iraqi threat over time. By saying that, however, I don’t mean to endorse the strategy of preventive war described in the new National Security Strategy.

The fourth point I’d like to make is that we should have confidence in the effectiveness of an inspection regime in a reasonable way, which is to say that we ought to compare an inspection regime to realistic alternatives—an invasion, for example. If the United States does eventually resort to military force, hopefully in coalition with its allies, an Iraqi threat could arise again a year after that or five years after that because we could not be absolutely sure that the regime that we initially installed would remain and because the capabilities to produce weapons of mass destruction could always be rebuilt. The technology is not reversible. We must, I think, look at Iraq the way we look at other states with emerging weapons capabilities and ask how we deal with them. We have concerns about Iran, Syria, Libya, North Korea, and other countries, but it is not a good idea to plan on invading all of them.

Finally, then, we are at a moment when we have an opportunity to use diplomacy to broaden the consensus on the nature of the threat and the need to respond with UN Security Council allies and those in the region. We are also at a point where we have an opportunity to let arms control work—and by arms control, I mean an intrusive set of inspections that will give us high confidence that we can separate Saddam from his weapons. This is not the instinct of this administration—at least it has not been up until now. So, the Iraqi case could well be the administration’s first test-case in its new strategy of pre-emptive war, or it could be a counterpoint to that strategy in which diplomacy and arms control prove to be effective. I hope it is the latter.

Jonathan B. Tucker

In assessing the successes and shortcomings of the UNSCOM inspection regime, it’s important to recall its main objectives. There were three phases of the inspection process. First was the discovery phase, in which the inspectors tried to obtain a full accounting of Iraq’s past programs and supplier networks and to compile a comprehensive inventory of its dual-use facilities—that is, factories that were ostensibly engaged in legitimate commercial production but could be easily diverted to weapons production. Second was the destruction phase, in which the UN agencies, both UNSCOM and the IAEA, sought to eliminate Iraq’s stockpile of prohibited weapons, to the extent they could be found, as well as facilities that were specifically involved in weapons of mass destruction programs. And finally, there was the ongoing monitoring and verification phase, during which the inspectors kept a close watch on Iraq’s dual-capable facilities and tracked its imports and exports of sensitive technologies, with the aim of preventing Baghdad from reconstituting its weapons programs in the future. In practice, the three phases of the UNSCOM operation overlapped extensively.

What can one say about the accomplishments of the inspection regime and how well it worked? Well, first, it was clear from the outset that Iraq was not going to cooperate fully with UNSCOM. Iraq’s declarations of its weapons and facilities were incomplete and contained numerous false statements and distortions. When confronted with contradictory evidence, Iraqi authorities typically responded with partial admissions, indicating at each stage they were making a full disclosure, but each “full, final, and complete” declaration was far from full, final, or complete.

The Iraqi authorities tried to lead the inspectors away from sensitive sites, and they developed elaborate and sometimes preposterous cover stories to protect their clandestine programs. They also conducted counterintelligence operations, infiltrated the inspection system, destroyed evidence, used various means to impede and delay inspections, confronted and intimidated inspectors, and employed what are called “deception and denial” techniques. Deception involves the use of active or passive measures to convey a false or inaccurate picture of a clandestine activity, such as disguising a biological weapons facility as a vaccine plant, whereas denial involves the use of active measures to conceal the very existence of a clandestine activity. Iraq became quite skilled at these techniques, which included camouflage, control of electronic emissions and chemical pollution from weapons plants, and various forms of personnel and communications security.

Nevertheless, the Iraqi declarations were useful as a point of departure and provided a basis for planning and carrying out the initial inspections. Discrepancies between the declarations and other evidence often gave the inspectors valuable leads. Despite pervasive Iraqi noncooperation, UNSCOM’s detective work and dogged persistence produced a broad overview, if not every last detail, of Iraq’s prohibited weapons programs. UNSCOM inspectors, who had initially told the Iraqis what they knew, soon learned to make it harder for Baghdad to tailor its declarations by withholding some of their information. They placed greater emphasis on technical means of verification, including the use of a U-2 aircraft provided by the United States and other forms of aerial surveillance, and they conducted no-notice inspections of undeclared sites. So in response to Iraq’s noncooperation, the inspectors became more aggressive and used more intrusive techniques.

UNSCOM analysts also learned how to piece together bits of information from a wide range of sources, including aerial and satellite imagery, confidential trade data from Western companies that had supplied dual-use materials and equipment to Iraq before the Gulf War, ongoing monitoring of Iraq’s imports of sensitive technologies, and reports by Iraqi defectors.

In particular, UNSCOM inspectors made excellent use of what are called “mass-balance” calculations. They determined the amounts of raw materials Iraq had imported, compared this information with the quantities of biowarfare agents Iraq had admitted to having produced, and then calculated the differences to obtain estimates of undeclared production. For example, UNSCOM learned from Western suppliers that during 1988 alone, Iraq had imported nearly 39 tons of complex growth media suitable for cultivating large quantities of bacteria such as anthrax, as well as for culturing patient specimens for hospital use. So, this was a dual-use material. UNSCOM could only account for 22 tons of the media imported by Iraq, leaving 17 tons unexplained. That’s a huge quantity of material.

When confronted with this evidence, the Iraqi authorities stated that the missing media had been imported for medical diagnostics and had been destroyed in riots affecting health clinics in the aftermath of the Gulf War. There were three problems with this explanation. First, Iraq’s total hospital consumption of diagnostic media from 1987 to 1994 had been less than 200 kilograms per year, yet 17 tons of media were unaccounted for. Second, the imported media did not include the types most often used for hospital diagnosis, but they were suitable for culturing agents such as anthrax. Third, since culture media spoils rapidly once a package has been opened, hospitals typically use small packages of a tenth of a kilogram to a kilogram, yet Iraq had imported the media in large drums of 25-100 kilograms.

These discrepancies made it clear that the official Iraqi cover story was false and provided strong circumstantial evidence for large-scale production of anthrax, botulinum toxin, and other biological agents. When the Iraqi authorities were confronted with this information, they ultimately admitted to large-scale production. So, that’s an example of how UNSCOM’s use of analysis forced the Iraqis to acknowledge prohibited activities.

At the end of the day, was the glass half full or half empty? Different analysts have come to different conclusions about the effectiveness of the inspection regime. I would argue that the glass was at least half full. UNSCOM’s successful detective work, as in the case of the culture media story I just told you, persuaded the Security Council to maintain economic sanctions on Iraq despite political pressures from France and Russia to lift them.

The new revelations also put senior Iraqi officials in the increasingly untenable position of getting caught telling outright lies, creating serious tensions within the Iraqi regime. Arguably, those tensions contributed to the defection to Jordan in August 1995 of the mastermind of the Iraqi weapons programs, Lieutenant General Hussein Kamel. Kamel’s defection proved to be a key break in the UNSCOM investigation because he revealed that, prior to the 1991 Gulf War, Iraq had loaded biological agents into aerial bombs and Scud missile warheads.

The UN inspection regime was also successful in eliminating major elements of Iraq’s weapons programs, setting them back several years. Tens of thousands of chemical munitions were destroyed, as well as key facilities involved in the nuclear, chemical, biological, and missile production complexes.

In addition, ongoing monitoring and verification at dual-capable facilities, including the installation of closed-circuit video cameras and air-sampling devices, helped to increase the difficulty, expense, and political cost to Iraq of attempting to reacquire weapons of mass destruction, serving to deter further violations. And monitoring of Iraqi imports of sensitive dual-use technologies made it more difficult for Iraq to reconstitute its weapons programs.

On the negative side, UNSCOM could not account for major historical gaps in the chemical and biological weapons programs and never found Iraq’s stockpile of VX, the most deadly type of chemical nerve agent, or any filled biological munitions. Although ongoing monitoring and verification prevented Iraq from using its dual-use facilities to reconstitute its chemical and biological programs, the monitoring continued only as long as the inspectors were on the ground.

It’s also important to point out that the inspectors were unarmed and that their authority derived from a united Security Council and the implicit threat of military action if Iraq did not comply. The political foundation of the inspection regime was gradually weakened, however, as Iraq shrewdly played the permanent members of the Security Council against one another. Iraq also managed to negotiate directly with the UN secretary-general over special inspection procedures for so-called presidential sites, such as Saddam’s palaces, seriously undermining UNSCOM’s authority and credibility.

Finally, the revelation that the United States was piggybacking on UNSCOM to conduct its own intelligence operations, and reports that UNSCOM Executive Chairman Richard Butler was working closely with the Clinton administration, lost the public relations war for UNSCOM.

In terms of lessons learned for a future inspection regime under UNMOVIC, it’s clear that the inspectors must have access to all facilities of interest throughout Iraq and that presidential and “sensitive” sites (such as government ministries) must not be subject to less intrusive inspection procedures, as they were under UNSCOM. Of course, even with an “anywhere, anytime” inspection system, Iraq will be able to constrain the timeliness of inspections to some extent by means of logistical delays. But there should be a general principle that any suspect site in Iraq can be subjected to immediate inspection on demand.

Also, it’s important that UNMOVIC have the authority to interview Iraqi weapons scientists without the presence of Iraqi officials. During the UNSCOM period, Iraqi government “observers” sat in on all such interviews, which had an intimidating effect and prevented cooperative sources from revealing much of what they knew.

Some carrots as well as sticks will be required to secure Iraqi cooperation. As Bob Gallucci pointed out, the Security Council should make it clear that the Iraqi regime will be allowed to remain in power if—and only if—it cooperates fully in eliminating its stocks of weapons of mass destruction and submits to ongoing monitoring and verification for a period of years. Absent an assurance of regime survival as a quid pro quo, Saddam Hussein has no long-term incentive to cooperate.

Another key factor is that UNMOVIC can be effective only to the extent that the inspectors know where to look. Iraq is a large country, about the size of California, with many places to hide weapons and clandestine production facilities, so the inspection process must be supported with accurate and timely intelligence. This need will require the United States and like-minded countries to share sensitive data on clandestine Iraqi weapons production and storage sites. UNMOVIC must also have, as UNSCOM did, intelligence-gathering assets such as U-2 aircraft and its own analytical unit.

Short-notice inspections can increase the likelihood that Iraq will make mistakes and leave behind telltale indicators of illicit activity. In addition, the combined use of various tools, such as overhead surveillance, trade flow monitoring, visual inspection, sampling and analysis, and other techniques, can yield valuable synergies. Overhead surveillance can serve both to cue onsite inspections and to monitor the Iraqi response while an inspection is underway—observing, for example, if Iraqi officials are trying to remove sensitive documents or materials out the back door.

In conclusion, a realistic goal of the UN inspection regime is not to eliminate every last weapon, which is probably impossible, but to deny Iraq a militarily significant mass-destruction capability. I believe that goal is probably achievable if UNMOVIC is given full access to relevant facilities throughout Iraq, supplied with accurate and timely intelligence, and supported by a united Security Council.

Jessica T. Mathews

I agree with virtually everything my colleagues have said, but I have a few additional thoughts. Let me describe some of the crucial elements behind the concept of coercive inspections and then give you a sense of where I think we are in terms of policies in the administration.

The Carnegie Endowment’s study on coercive inspections began with the belief that, among all the grievances the United States has against Saddam Hussein, his weapons of mass destruction are the only aspect of his regime that pose a threat to us. We therefore began with the premise that U.S. policy ought to be aimed at weapons of mass destruction rather than at regime change per se. At that time, that was a very radical belief.

Having determined that, we then asked the question of whether there was any policy that could get us beyond the more than half- decade of impotence in the face of Iraqi behavior, that could deal effectively with its weapons of mass destruction short of regime change, and we came to the conclusion that the answer was yes. In our view, however, such a policy required a radically different inspection regime than either UNSCOM or UNMOVIC.

We looked at the history of Iraqi behavior, the technical successes and failures of UNSCOM, and the political successes and failures of the Security Council, and we concluded that three factors accounted for the success of UNSCOM in its first five years. The first of these was the credible and immediate threat of force that began with the presence of U.S. Desert Storm forces in the region when UNSCOM was formed. The second was unity among the permanent five members of the Security Council, which persisted, I think, until the United States undermined it, beginning in about 1995, by equivocating about whether its goal was disarmament or regime change. After that, Iraq became increasingly confident and increasingly successful at the techniques of divide and conquer in the Security Council. And the third was Saddam Hussein’s belief, which he held at the outset of inspections, that he could successfully hide what he had.

Now, all three of those conditions for success are currently gone, but we believe the first two could be reconstituted—the third is obviously gone for good. We felt that because of Saddam Hussein’s political success over the past five years and also the relative painlessness and ineffectiveness of pinprick bombing against his weapons of mass destruction, the new inspection regime had to be more than just marginally strengthened. And we came to the conclusion that the tougher the inspection regime, the tougher the initial resolution under which inspectors begin their work, the more likely we will be able to avoid war.

The report therefore proposed not only strengthening UNMOVIC’s mandate, but a good deal more—namely, having inspectors accompanied by an armed force that would provide security for the inspectors themselves, major technological resources, and the ability to determine the pace of inspections and achieve go-anywhere, go-anytime inspections.

This is a regime we call “comply or else” inspections, and the “or else” is obviously an invasion, which is where I think we are at this point. It’s a regime that depends a great deal less on Iraqi cooperation but rather more simply on Iraqi compliance, and it was designed not to be negotiated but to be presented as a take-it-or-leave-it deal. I still believe, as I think most of us who worked on this do, that that is the only way to approach Iraq—that the only thing that will separate Saddam Hussein from his weapons of mass destruction is the immediate threat of the end of his regime, but that faced with that choice, he will choose even this inspections regime. Nobody knows whether we’re correct or not, but I believe that if you look at the record of his behavior over the last 15 years, there are solid reasons for believing that the man is not insane and will make the rational choice.

We also agreed that inspections can be successful in the way they have been in the past. So, why a military requirement now? First, the current situation is much more dicey and could end, if challenged, in failure, and therefore there is a much higher risk of hostage-taking. This force is designed to prevent, if it should come to that, any hostage-taking of inspectors. Second, we also feel that a military force is required to get Saddam Hussein’s attention and change his mindset. Third, it is designed to prevent Iraq from causing delays that affect what the inspectors can find and to provide the elements of really strong operational and communications security that we believe are essential.

The core of this plan is the ability to impose both no-fly zones, which we have used before and currently have in effect over part of Iraq, and military no-drive zones. For example, with little advance notice, Iraq would be told that in this broad region all day tomorrow there is both a no-fly and a military no-drive zone. The region would be large enough that the Iraqis would not know exactly where the inspectors intended to go.

Where are we now? Well, last week two core beliefs of administration policy changed, at least for the time being, and that is of enormous importance. The first is that inspections cannot effectively disarm Saddam Hussein of weapons of mass destruction, and the second is that even if they could that would not be enough, that it was necessary to get rid of him. Instead, we heard a statement by Minority Leader Trent Lott as he left the White House and several statements by Secretary Powell that, if Saddam Hussein could be divested of his weapons of mass destruction, that would be “ideal.”

This is a hugely important change, which I think the press largely missed in its attention to two secondary issues. One is this obsession about one resolution versus two, when what matters is not how many there are but what they say. And the second is the full coverage of what the Iraqis say, which matters not at all because whatever it is they say on day one will be different on day two and day three. This we know. So really, there should be no attention paid to that.

And that last comment encapsulates the spirit behind the proposal for coercive inspections: it is feckless to give Iraq another chance to prove its bona fides on inspections. We know that Saddam Hussein views inspections as the continuation of war by other means, so if we’re going to conduct inspections, we’ve got to do them in a way that really accomplishes their objective. Inspections under the old regime or the old regime-plus are almost certain to lead both to the embarrassment of the United Nations and ultimately to war.

I am not really clear where the administration stands right now. There are elements in what we know of the draft UN resolution that are very encouraging. There is no evidence, however, that the Pentagon is doing planning on the kind of coercive inspection regime that I believe is necessary, and of course, none of us knows what elements of the resolution are bargaining chips and what elements are bottom line, although we can make some inferences.

Finally, I want to just point out that it’s hard to look beyond Iraq right now, but this situation has broader implications for arms control and for the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. If war proves to be necessary to control weapons of mass destruction, that will almost certainly be a very heavy blow—perhaps somewhat paradoxically—to the strength and resilience and effectiveness of the nonproliferation regime because the United States is not going to go to war with country after country after country. If, on the other hand, the international community proves it is possible to levy a dire threat with determination and persistence and unity over time, that sends a very, very different message to current and possibly future proliferators.

Questions and Answers:

Question: Given UNSCOM’s experience with the technical aspects of inspections—like using the U-2 aircraft—what additional intelligence assets might be required for the new inspections regime?

Tucker: I think basically the same assets should be provided to UNMOVIC, although some new technologies could be applied—for example, rapid detection techniques for biological agents, which were not available 10 years ago. More broadly, it is essential not only for UNMOVIC to have its own analytic and intelligence-collection capabilities but for like-minded countries to provide information on suspect sites in Iraq because, of course, the intelligence-gathering resources of the United States and other countries are vastly greater than UNMOVIC’s. And just to reiterate, Iraq is a large country. There are many possible hiding places. It’s also likely that Iraq has built underground facilities, which are difficult to detect without advanced-technology systems. So sharing of national intelligence with UNMOVIC is really critical if the inspectors are to be effective.

Mathews: We have urged the deployment not just of U-2s but AWACS, JSTARS, Global Hawks, Predator—the whole panoply of the top of the line U.S. intelligence collection, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities—as being vital to the success of this effort.

Gallucci: When we talk about this range of intelligence collection, it can sound awfully intrusive, which makes some people uncomfortable. But it needs to be understood that this is a very special case. I direct this comment mostly to those in Paris and Moscow who are contemplating this new resolution. It should go without saying, but apparently it doesn’t, that this is not a cooperative arrangement. The Iraqis have established themselves as hostile to inspections. This is not a game, but it certainly is a contest where an inspection regime is trying to find things that the Iraqis are trying to hide. So, there should be no arguments about Iraqi sovereignty being compromised because Iraq compromised Kuwait’s sovereignty when it invaded it in 1990.

The intrusiveness of the inspection regime and the intelligence that must go along with it should not be thought of as compromising an international organization—this is the argument about whether there are spies associated with the regime. We have to understand that the inspection teams are not simply looking to hire chemists or biologists or nuclear engineers; they’re looking for experts in chemical weapons and biological weapons and nuclear weapons. These people come from the governments of various countries and sometimes from intelligence communities. A certain amount of maturity about this is absolutely essential.

So, using intelligence from various governments is not compromising an international organization; it is supporting an international organization in conducting inspections against a member state that has violated international rules and laws. If it’s understood that way, I think it should be more acceptable in those capitals that appear to be having some difficulty with the intrusiveness of the regime.

Question: Will the Security Council, particularly the Russians and the French, agree to such a tough new resolution for inspections?

Gallucci: First, to underline what Jessica said, that’s the right question. The question is not what Iraqis will accept. Second, I think that the decision for countries on the Security Council has to be put in terms of “compared to what?” The United States has been very clear in saying that the alternative will be military action, so that should provide an incentive. I can’t say whether they’ll end up doing the right thing, but it seems to me that this is a way to have an inspection regime in which you can have reasonably high confidence of separating Saddam from his weapons.

Mathews: I think the elements of a compromise are clearly on the table. That is one of the reasons that I mentioned how major the U.S. shift was last week and how underplayed I think media reports of this have been. The French and the Russians both have, in effect, won a major victory in the shift of the administration’s position from defining regime change as the removal of Saddam Hussein to defining it as a change in his behavior. That is a huge reversal. And it is exactly what the other permanent five members of the Security Council were arguing for in August.

Even this hang-up on the question of whether military action would be automatic if the inspections fail has the elements of compromise. It is essential to the success of inspections that the link to war is explicit. It’s essential for the Iraqis to believe that the choice is totally unfettered inspections or invasion for regime change. That’s absolutely essential. It is also essential, as Bob said, that they have to believe that if they do comply we won’t invade, or else there’s no reason for them to comply.

The French don’t mind that link being made in the first resolution, but they don’t want military action to be triggered by violation of that resolution. In other words, they want some kind of second action to approve military action, and now they are suggesting that it doesn’t have to be a formal Security Council resolution. So, a compromise is to leave the linkage in the resolution but not include the actual trigger, which is what the United States has been rightly insisting on. You have to spell out the consequences.

Of course, there are a million ways this could fail between now and whenever a vote takes place, but the elements of a compromise are clearly there.

Question: The inspections, at least initially, were predicated on a cooperative Iraqi regime, which might have allowed us to be certain that Iraq had disarmed. But clearly, Iraq did not cooperate and, even with a coercive arrangement, how do you get around the fact that the inspectors would still be in a position of trying to prove a negative—that is, that Iraq no longer has weapons of mass destruction?

Gallucci: I would disagree with the premise that when we began inspections we thought that were working with a cooperative state. We didn’t. The International Atomic Energy Agency, which was implementing a part of Resolution 687, I think had an ethic of cooperation with the host government, but that fell away very quickly. Within the first two inspections, the IAEA team that was working with UNSCOM was extremely aggressive. So, I don’t really think that we proceeded on any assumption of cooperation.

With respect to the proposition that inspectors are trying to prove a negative, that there’s nothing there, I’m not sure I consider that the political challenge to the inspection regime. It seems to me that what they need to do is to find what’s there that is not supposed to be there and to continue the inspection process, which makes it very difficult—hopefully nearly impossible—for Iraq to regenerate militarily significant programs in any of the weapons areas. The idea that they’re trying to prove that nothing is there may, in fact, be captured in some of the language of the resolution, but it is not the political charge of the inspection regime.

Question: But you’re still left with a predicament, are you not, of proving the negative? If Saddam Hussein doesn’t tell you where the bodies are buried, so to speak, how can you certify that the country is disarmed?

Tucker: Well, for one thing the United States and the British governments have claimed recently that Iraq retains significant capabilities in the chemical, biological, and missile disciplines. It is to be hoped that both governments will provide some or all of their information to UNMOVIC for the inspectors to track down.

Second, the inspection regime, as I mentioned, is not focused exclusively on finding weapons and destroying them but also on preventing reconstitution of the various weapons programs through ongoing monitoring and verification of dual-use facilities, which presumably will continue for a period of years. That element of preventing Iraq from reacquiring its mass-destruction capabilities in the coming years is complementary to efforts to ferret out whatever weapons Iraq may currently possess.

Kimball: This is a question that comes up in arms control all the time: how do you verify with 100 percent confidence that a particular state is not violating a particular legal obligation? One hundred percent confidence is impossible, but one of the chief advantages of a strengthened inspections regime is that it can provide high confidence that Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs are contained and do not pose a threat.

Mathews: I think Jonathan Tucker gave a nice feel for how this thing proceeds. It is a huge puzzle, and when you start it, it’s kind of like a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle. At first you think it’s impossible, that you’ll never get through this, but the more pieces you put in place, the smaller the number of unknowns that remain. It is true that Saddam Hussein has had a number of years to alter records, to hide things, to move things, to improve his capabilities. But the UNMOVIC team has had a lot of time to learn what we do know and, as Jonathan has said, there’s a lot more intelligence that they can get access to.

Another key point is that a lot of what inspectors do is interview people. And while there are an awful lot of places in a country the size of California, there are fewer people that are key to the success of these weapons programs. So, one can look at where those people are, where they were trained, where they work, what trucks go to and fro. There are a thousand pieces to put together, but over time you can zero in with higher and higher confidence on what’s around.

Question: The president has focused national and world attention on Iraq as an imminent threat, but aren’t there other, similar threats? Is this the most important one? Why go to war at this moment?

Gallucci: I think the most salient threat posed to the security of this country is al Qaeda, and as a citizen I hope, expect, and believe that the Bush administration is doing everything it can to deal with that threat. I know that there are those who have suggested that a military engagement with Iraq might distract us from the war against terrorism broadly and al Qaeda specifically, but I rather think we can, in fact, do both, particularly if we judge that the Iraqi threat is getting worse with each passing day.

I don’t think that you can say that a switch has been thrown that has made the threat from Iraq catastrophic today where it wasn’t six months ago. But there haven’t been inspectors in Iraq since 1998, and we have good evidence that the Iraqis have been working to regenerate programs in the nuclear, chemical, and biological areas, as well as their ballistic missile program. So, the threat is getting worse over time, and it will not simply grow incrementally. When Iraq does enrich uranium to high levels or acquire plutonium or highly enriched uranium, the threat will all of a sudden jump in seriousness, and that will be an enormous concern. And we don’t want to get to that point, given Iraq’s past behavior.

I understand the administration has been making an effort to link Iraq to al Qaeda specifically, and what I have heard has not been overwhelmingly persuasive to me. But from my perspective, absent that, there is still a good reason for concluding that passively containing Iraq is not a prudent, durable policy for the United States and that we have been driven to our current course of action by the Iraqi resistance of inspections over time. Containment has failed as a policy. The situation is worsening, and I think the administration and the international community does have an obligation to deal with it.

Tucker: I would just add that Iraq is a special case because it is a country that invaded its neighbors, both Iran and Kuwait, and lost the Gulf War. It was the object of a series of Security Council resolutions that it then proceeded to violate. So, I think that the Security Council does have an obligation to enforce those resolutions, to make sure that other countries are not emboldened by Iraqi noncompliance to acquire weapons of mass destruction or to invade their neighbors. A general principle of international law is at stake here.

Kimball: Let me add a different facet to the answer. Although quick action is needed, as many experts and observers have pointed out, the administration has not been able to present evidence about Iraq’s program that is particularly new. Nevertheless, action is needed to move weapons inspectors back in there under more effective rules.

I want to go back to one thing that Jessica Mathews said earlier about the administration’s shift toward embracing the idea that strengthened weapons inspections can work. I would just point out that the administration is not simply doing what its allies want, but that this approach is also clearly in the interest of the United States and the Bush administration because a war with Iraq could involve weapons of mass destruction. If the Iraqis do indeed have chemical and biological weapons capabilities, Saddam Hussein might use those weapons in a last attempt to stave off attack. That could have very serious consequences, of course, for U.S. troops and countries in the region. Israel, for one, has nuclear weapons and might respond. So, an all-out war to disarm Saddam Hussein could produce the very effect that we’re all so concerned about.

Question: There are stories where UNSCOM inspectors would enter an Iraqi facility and the Iraqis would simply go out the back door. How do you prevent that from happening again? And if you need to use force, how do you do that without putting the inspectors in danger?

Tucker: I’m uncomfortable with the idea of inspectors being accompanied by armed troops because I think it could put the inspectors in jeopardy. It would also make their work more difficult because the inspectors need to talk to Iraqi scientists, technicians, and plant managers, and people generally won’t talk with a gun pointed at their head, at least not freely.
So, I think there should be a credible threat of military force if Iraq refuses to comply, but the forces should not be right there on the scene. They should perhaps be deployed nearby in the region, but it would be highly problematic for troops and inspectors to be intermingled.

Gallucci: There’s a nice contrast here that can be built between what we had in UNSCOM in one of our more aggressive inspections that was successful and what we could have had if we’d had more aggressive inspections. If you remember in September of 1991, we had what inspectors called the “parking lot tour,” where we spent four days in a parking lot because we wouldn’t give up some documents on the design of Iraqi nuclear weapons.

Now, what people have forgotten is that the day before the parking lot standoff happened, we were at another building where we tried to do without any military capability what the Carnegie report recommends with coercive inspections. We had inspectors armed only with little Sony Handycams, and we arrived at o-dark-thirty and surrounded the building before we started to search. The idea was to contain the situation and then launch a thorough search of the building. In the course of that, there was an awful lot of movement by the Iraqis as they began to figure out that we had actually come upon the right place.

When the end of the day came and we had actually found nuclear weapons design information, the Iraqis took a lot of the material from us. They physically just took it away from us. We had boxed it up and put it in our vehicle. They shoved us aside and they took the material from us. The next day, we were a little smarter and we put the material on our bodies to raise the level that the Iraqis would have to go to to seize the material that we had found. They decided not to strip search 41 UN inspectors, so that led to the parking lot situation.

What we were trying to do was raise the threshold in a small way—and that could be done in a much more demonstrative way. There’s a proposal for a no-fly, no-drive zone so that you have military capability to contain an area for an inspection. Then you can make sure that, if the Iraqis want to prevent an inspection team from a successful inspection, they have to use force greater than the force that’s deployed, in which case they have tripped a wire, which unambiguously leads to an invasion, and that’s the whole point.

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Moving Beyond "MAD"? A Briefing on Nuclear Arms Control and the Bush-Putin Summit

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Wednesday, May 15, 2002
National Press Club, Zenger Room
9:30 A.M. - 11:00 A.M.

Panelists

John D. Holum
Vice President for International and Governmental Affairs, Atlas Air, Inc.; Former Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security; Former Director, U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency

Ambassador Karl F. Inderfurth
Senior Adviser, Nuclear Threat Reduction Campaign; Former Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs; Former U.S. Representative for Special Political Affairs to the United Nations

Ambassador James E. Goodby
Senior Research Fellow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Nonresident Senior Fellow, the Brookings Institution; Former Special Representative of President Bill Clinton for Nuclear Security and Dismantlement; Former Chief Negotiator for Cooperative Threat Reduction Agreements

Daryl G. Kimball
Executive Director, Arms Control Association

A question-and-answer session followed the panelists' remarks.

DARYL G. KIMBALL: Good morning. Welcome to the Arms Control Association's briefing on nuclear arms control and the Bush-Putin summit. I congratulate those of you who have trooped out here and find this a little bit more interesting than Paul Wolfowitz along the way. I think we'll be able to provide you with some information that's going to be useful over the next few days as the summit approaches.

I'm Daryl Kimball. I'm the executive director of the Arms Control Association. We're a private non-profit research and public education organization that's been around since 1971. We have organized this press briefing today to clarify some of the facts regarding the expected signing of a new U.S.-Russian arms control agreement this coming week in Moscow and St. Petersburg, and to provide what we think is a clear-eyed assessment of the value of this treaty in the years ahead.

Now, before I introduce our distinguished panel, let me briefly outline some of the essential facts that we're dealing with in connection with this agreement, and offer a few comments on behalf of the Arms Control Association about the agreement as we know it at this time.

The agreement will take the form of a treaty, requiring two-thirds approval by the United States Senate and approval by the Russian Duma. Previously, President Bush, and especially the Pentagon, had wanted a handshake agreement; a political agreement that stated each nation's intention to make these reductions, but President Putin and many other observers, including the Arms Control Association and members of Congress, were concerned that that kind of agreement might not outlast the two presidents' terms in office. So it is a treaty.

Though the form of agreement is more to the liking of Russia and to the Senate, the content is much more consistent with the United States' position that has been pushed over the last five or six months in these negotiations, and it is very consistent with the nuclear posture review which came out earlier this year. It is consistent with the nuclear posture review and the Bush administration's goal of maintaining maximum strategic flexibility with respect to strategic nuclear offenses and strategic missile defenses. The agreement only requires the two sides to reduce operationally deployed strategic warheads from today's 5,000 to 6,000 levels, to 2,200 to 1,700 by the year 2012 when the agreement will also expire.

Now, what does this mean? Let me just roughly outline a little bit of what this will mean. This agreement would allow each side to maintain existing strategic bombers, submarine-launched missiles and land-based intercontinental missiles, as well as the downloaded warheads, leaving each side with the capability of quickly uploading or re-deploying these retired warheads out of storage. For instance, the United States will be able to re-deploy as many as 2,400 warheads from its active reserves, which the Bush administration is calling "the responsive force," within three years of the conclusion of this agreement, giving the U.S. the capacity to deploy at least 4,600 strategic nuclear warheads by the year 2015. In addition, the United States will keep several thousand more warheads at lower stages of readiness that could also be re-deployed over a longer period of time.

The ongoing and excessive U.S. "hedge" arsenal, this reserve arsenal, creates a strong disincentive for Russia to implement even deeper cost-saving nuclear reductions. So, in effect, this is a strategic arms rearrangement treaty. It's a START treaty, but it's not so much a reduction treaty but a rearrangement treaty.

Is this agreement a step in the right direction? Yes, of course it is, even if it is long overdue and could be effected much more rapidly than the 10-year period that we're talking about. But clearly it falls well short of the greater degree of stability and security that verifiable dismantlement of delivery systems and warheads would accomplish. Nor does it provide the new transparency measures and data exchanges that the United States and Russia have been exploring for quite some time, which some of our panelists have been working on, which would better baseline for tracking the U.S. and Russian arsenals and eventually eliminating their strategic and nuclear weapons systems.

Now, another issue that I think needs to be addressed is the question of whether this agreement "liquidates the legacy of the Cold War," as President Bush said on Monday morning when he announced that this agreement would be concluded. He apparently believes this will liquidate the legacy of the Cold War. Does it move us beyond the condition of mutual assured destruction, as President Bush has said he wants to do? Absolutely not. The Bush administration's actions and laudable rhetoric do not match the actions over the last several months in his negotiations and the outlines of this agreement.

Consistent with the nuclear posture review, this agreement, as I said before, would allow each side to maintain approximately 2,000 deployed strategic nuclear warheads until 2012, many of which are going to be available on ready-launch status, which could create the possibility of-which will perpetuate the possibility of accidental or inadvertent nuclear war, and it will guarantee that the United States and Russia will be able to hold each other at risk by 2012 and beyond, 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union. The U.S. and Russia may be friends, but friends shouldn't target friends with thousands of nuclear weapons.

Now, to help us explore some of these issues in greater depth and to talk about how this agreement fits into the larger U.S.-Russian relationship which will be explored and perhaps furthered at this summit next week, we have three speakers with substantial in-depth experience on strategic nuclear arms negotiations and U.S.-Russian relations.

First we'll hear from John Holum, who was the undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security, and therefore the chief U.S. strategic arms negotiator for the later years in the Clinton administration, and he was also the former director the U.S. Arms Control Disarmament Agency. He's currently vice president for International and Governmental Affairs at Atlas Air. John is going to comment on how this agreement fits into the Bush administration's overall approach to arms control and international security, and perhaps he can size up how this agreement compares to the START process-the arms reduction process that had been pursued previously.

Then we'll hear from Ambassador Inderfurth, who is senior advisor with the Nuclear Threat Reduction Campaign and who was former assistant secretary of State for South Asian Affairs. Among other points, Rick is going to discuss how this agreement affects implementation of programs to safeguard nuclear weapons in the former Soviet Union.

And then finally we're going to hear from Ambassador Jim Goodby, who is now senior research fellow at MIT and a fellow at Brookings Institution. And he was former special representative for President Clinton for Nuclear Security and Dismantlement, and the former chief negotiator on the Cooperative Threat Reduction agreements. And Jim is going to discuss how this agreement fits into the other issues that are going to be addressed at this summit, including NATO-related issues.

And then following each of the panelists' opening remarks, we'll take questions from you.

So, John, the floor is yours.

JOHN D. HOLUM: Thank you, Daryl.

First, I want to congratulate the Bush administration, the president and his team, for accomplishing an arms control treaty, and for doing so in a timely way prior to an important summit between President Bush and President Putin, and a month before the United States is scheduled to withdraw from the ABM Treaty. The treaty, announced on Monday, as well as President Bush's descriptions of it, defines further an important truth: that the Cold War is long over and that the United States and Russia are not adversaries.

Now, recognizing that there are still some specific details to emerge, what I thought I'd do, as Daryl said, is try to put this agreement in the broader context of the Bush administration's overall approach toward arms control and weapons of mass destruction, and then briefly assess what it does for each side, and finally, raise a concern relating to the issues of proliferation and terrorism.

First, on context. As compared to previous administrations, including those of President Reagan and the first President Bush, this one, it's fair to say, is not generally enamored of formal arms control, whether multilateral or bilateral. That's not an attack; it's simply an observation that I don't think anyone in the administration would dispute. It's reflected in the approach to the Biological Weapons Convention Protocol, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and in U.N. efforts to control small arms, as well as the most prominent case of the ABM Treaty.

It was also reflected in the original approach on strategic offensive arms to reduce the number of deployed offensive arms, but essentially by unilateral decisions, confirmed by a handshake rather than a legally binding agreement. As reflected in January's nuclear posture review, the administration also apparently sees a larger and more durable role for nuclear weapons in international affairs; for example, more explicitly suggesting their use in response to non-nuclear attacks.

In that context, this treaty represents, to some extent, a reversal of the basic approach. At the insistence of President Putin, as you know, it is a legally binding agreement, a treaty. It's a short one, to be sure -- something less than three pages, we're told -- but that's possible in large part because it imports verification provisions from START I, which goes on at some length in that area.

But it's not such a major reversal. Aside from warheads and delivery vehicles actually deployed, the treaty essentially regards each side's nuclear posture as its own business. Whether or not any of the nuclear weapons removed from deployment will actually be eliminated is also up to each side. It also sets aside some earlier gains. The START II treaty would have eliminated all remaining land-based missiles with multiple warheads. It focused mainly on the remaining Russian SS-18 heavy missiles. With START II now abandoned, that limit is also gone.

And because of the 2012 timetable for getting down to the 1,700 to 2,200 range, even the deployed numbers through the balance of President' Bush's administration -- assuming he has a second term -- the deployed numbers are likely to be higher than they would have been under START II. START II, as extended, would have taken us down to 3,500 warheads by 2007, and the relevant delivery vehicles would have been deactivated by 2003. Under this treaty's timetable and the nuclear posture review, we'll have some 3,800 warheads by 2008, so more warheads at an even later date.

So, arms controllers should welcome this step, but will not likely be transported by elation. The advantages for the United States are primarily in predictable lower numbers and greater flexibility in planning forces without the need to meet detailed treaty limitations, and of course the omission of any constraints on missile defenses. It's a disappointment that apparently in the closing days of the discussions, efforts to adopt new transparency measures that may have gone to getting a handle on large numbers of Russian tactical nuclear weapons were apparently dropped.

Now, how will the treaty go down in Russia? I think fairly well. President Putin came to the table with virtually no leverage. His ability to hold up amendments to the ABM Treaty evaporated when President Bush gave notice in December that the United States would withdraw from the treaty. And on offense, of course, Russia has been continuously pushing for lower numbers for years because it can't afford to maintain the forces it has now. But in the end Putin got, first, a legally binding agreement; second, a U.S. legal obligation to come down to the deployed numbers Russia will have to go down to for economic reasons; third, the ability to meet that number by keeping land-based MIRV missiles-and the SS-18s could account for more than 1,500 warheads by themselves-and fourth, compared to START II, savings from the cost of eliminating systems that are now not controlled.

So, despite some early criticism, I would expect in the end a relatively smooth path to confirmation by both the Senate and the Duma. What we should consider closely however is the impact elsewhere, and more specifically on what all agree is the much greater worry than an arms race or military conflict with Russia, and that is the spread of weapons and technology to rogue states and potentially to terrorists.

There are two general areas of concern I see here. First is the practical one. To the extent both we and Russia presumably keep large numbers of extra warheads and bombs around, there's a greater risk that dangerous materials will fall into the wrong hands. Jim Goodby of course is the world's greatest expert on this, having negotiated the Cooperative Threat Reduction agreements. Now, though they don't have to be interdependent, formal arms control has been an important channel to press Russia in those areas, and also to live up to other binding arms control obligations, including the ones not to assist countries like Iran to acquire nuclear weapons and to stop proliferating missile technology.

The second concern is political. The international community, I suspect, will have a hard time figuring out why we need to keep so many weapons on the shelf. If Russia is not our adversary, the next highest number is in China, and they have far fewer weapons, and less than two dozen that can reach the United States. The non-nuclear weapons states see the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty as a bargain under which they agree to forgo nuclear weapons entirely and the nuclear weapons states agree to negotiate toward their elimination. An arms reduction agreement under which most of the weapons will be kept around could be a hard sell. Now, of course the treaty does not require us to keep the weapons, and I expect actual performance will be closely watched.

In the same vein, going back to 1978 and also when the NPT was permanently extended in 1995, non-nuclear countries have relied on the so-called negative security assurances that nuclear weapons would not be used against them, essentially, unless they attacked a nuclear country in alliance with another nuclear weapons state. Now, together with a nuclear posture review that undercuts those assurances, a treaty that allows retention of thousands of weapons will be questioned as other countries consider how serious they should be about the NPT, the chemical and biological weapons conventions, and other measures that constrain them. Terrorists, of course, don't join these regimes, but to the extent the regimes are weakened or undercut and the atmosphere is permissive, terrorists have an easier time gaining access.

In the end, therefore, perhaps the biggest open question about this agreement must be, will it help or could it hurt in addressing that dominant security challenge of proliferation? Thank you.

AMBASSADOR KARL F. INDERFURTH: I think I'll just stay seated if that would be acceptable to everyone.

Let me pick up on some of the things that John has already referred to and broaden out what we'd like to see occur at the summit about to take place in Moscow and St. Petersburg. First of all, though, a comment about the announcement of the agreed treaty.

President Bush has said that the treaty will liquidate the legacy of the Cold War. Well, not exactly. It will eliminate part of the legacy of the Cold War, but many more steps will be necessary. This is indeed an important first step; I think we all agree on that. But if this is the last step by this administration, then we have, I think, some serious issues to continue discussing with the Bush administration.

Secretary Powell has said-and he said this in testimony before the Senate-he said that, "The philosophy of the Bush administration is to continue driving down the number of nuclear weapons." Well, this treaty does that, but they should continue driving down the numbers of nuclear weapons. We do not need the thousands that will still remain, either on a deployed status or in reserve, that is envisioned in this agreement. So if this is the beginning, it's a great step. If it's the end, I think we have serious, serious problems in doing what President Bush has said repeatedly, even as a candidate for this office, that he wanted to remove the legacy and the Cold War relics that he said we still have.

So, a comment about the treaty, and I think that Ambassador Goodby will make others as well, and then we'll answer your questions there.

I want to take you back just for a moment to the last summit between the two leaders, in Washington and in Crawford. At their press conference at the end of their summit, President Bush, speaking, said, "Our highest priority is to keep terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction." While these numbers in the treaty are important, I think we have to keep our focus on the issue of nuclear terrorism. That is the issue of greatest urgency that we're facing.

All of you, and members of the press, are certainly well aware of this; that Time magazine had this account on March 11, "Can We Stop the Next 9-11?" The centerpiece of that report was that a 10-kiloton nuclear weapon was out there and could be making its way to New York City. Now, had that happened, obviously this would have made the tragedy of 9-11 pale in comparison to the numbers of people that would have been killed as a result of that.

We've also seen reports of the interrogation of the al Qaeda leader, Abu Zubaydah, who has said, apparently to those that have been interrogating him, that they have come close to-I think actually the words are that, "close to building a crude nuclear device and may try to smuggle it into the United States." Now, I don't know if Abu Zubaydah has actually said those things; I certainly have not been part of the interrogation. I don't know if he is doing a little bit of disinformation, but the fact that al Qaeda and bin Laden have wanted to acquire a nuclear weapon or nuclear materials for a radiological weapon, a dirty bomb, all that we know very well. And that is what I hope at the summit President Bush and President Putin will devote a great deal of attention to.

Now, part of that relates to what John has already said: tactical nuclear weapons. This is an issue that is in the forefront of the work that I'm doing with the Nuclear Threat Reduction Campaign, working with members of Congress in this regard to try to get a handle-a comprehensive inventory of not only weapons but materials that would see that these things are safely secured and don't disburse either through theft or diversion or anything of that nature.

Tactical nuclear weapons is an issue that does need, at this time, greater attention, and I hope that there will be that attention at the summit in Moscow and St. Petersburg. We simply do not know how many tactical nuclear weapons the Russians have. Important initiatives were taken in 1991 and '92 with the first President Bush and President Gorbachev and then Yeltsin, to try to reduce these numbers. The United States did. We're down to about 1,650. The Russians say they did, but we do not know. There was no agreement. That's why many of us have been saying that a formally binding agreement -- legally binding agreement was important. And I'm glad to see that this has now been agreed to by the administration with respect to this treaty. But we need to do something to capture and to learn about the size of that Russian tactical nuclear arsenal. It could be anywhere from 4,000 to 5,000 on the low end and to up to 15,000 to 17,000 on the high end. We simply do not know.

Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith has stated, in response to a question back in February on the issue of tactical nuclear weapons, he says-in answer to a question from the press, he says, "You're correct. It gets very little attention. The Russians have lot of tactical nuclear weapons. We view them at this point not as a big military headache for us but more to the point of view of the danger of nuclear proliferation. It is a very large arsenal, and your general point that it's not paid enough attention to is true." It's time to pay attention to tactical nuclear weapons.

So, it's time to pay attention to tactical nuclear weapons. It's also time to do more-and again, this is something that, with the Nuclear Threat Reduction Campaign, we are working on: do more to strengthen the Cooperative Threat Reduction and nonproliferation cooperation with the Russians. This is a terribly important and timely issue for the two presidents to work on.

As Senator Nunn has recently said, the administration's request this year for Cooperative Threat Reduction and related programs is the same as it was last year. We think that more should be done in this regard in terms of funding. The administration did come around from its initial decision when it came into office to cut these programs, then they heard a lot from Congress, including the members that we're working with-d Congressman Spratt and Tauscher and Senator Landrieu, and now we're working with Representative Curt Weldon and Senator Gordon Smith. Congressman McHugh and Tauscher have a bill that has been introduced on these issues.

More needs to be done, and Congress, we hope, will take steps to actually move the funding more in the direction of what came through in the Baker-Cutler report of Senator Howard Baker and former White House counsel, Lloyd Cutler, where they said $30 billion over 10 years would be their recommended funding levels. We're well below that now, and so more should be done there. Again, this is something that the two presidents recognized when they met the last time, and I hope that they will reaffirm that in their upcoming meeting.

Let me mention just two other items. One has to do with the issue of missile defense, not really discussed so much at this point. There is some question about whether or not there will be more said at the summit, but let me just call your attention to something that Ambassador Sandy Vershbow, our ambassador to Russia, said in a speech in St. Petersburg in February of this year, where he said-and I think this is-we need to be working with the Russians on all of these issues; on reductions, on Cooperative Threat Reduction, nonproliferation. We need to be working with them also on missile defense. The treaty which the administration has formally withdrawn from will end in June. We need to find a way to work cooperatively with Russia on this as well. And Ambassador Vershbow has said that, in his view, "Missile defense," and this is a quote, "is another potentially fruitful area for NATO-Russia cooperation. All of our nations must face the fact that efforts to prevent the proliferation of technology for ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction have not been fully successful."

What Ambassador Vershbow was suggesting in this speech was that there should be cooperation among all these parties on joint Early Warning, joint exercises, and even joint industrial development of missile defense systems. Let's see how we can work with the Russians: theater missile defense. Let's do what, actually at one point, President Reagan said, that we will pursue missile defense but we will share the technology. Let's see what we can do in a cooperative way with the Russians.

Finally, another issue that should be, at some point, readdressed, and that has to do with nuclear testing. We have recently seen reports, which the Russians have said are untrue, of possible preparations to resume nuclear testing at the Russian nuclear test site. Apparently there was some concern in the administration that these reports were accurate. Of course, there have also been issues raised about a resumption of U.S. nuclear testing. The nuclear posture review, which John referred to, raised some questions in that regard.

If you read the article about the Russian nuclear testing preparations-reports of-if you went down to the very end of that article you'll see there was a reference to debate within the Bush administration about un-signing the CTBT. Now, as you know, the administration recently did that with respect to the International Criminal Court: unsigned a treaty that President Clinton had signed, and not sent for ratification but had done that. This debate, if there is a debate about un-signing, is a very serious matter, and I would hope that since we do not want Russia to resume testing, which could lead to a China resuming testing and could lead to, therefore, an India resuming testing, could lead to a Pakistan-this is not the world I think we want to see. These are Cold War relics as well, and we should put them in those categories.

So I would hope that at some point the issue of the CTBT could be revisited, and do it by, you know, looking on the shelf with what General Shalikashvili did after the Senate defeated that treaty in terms of ratification. General Shalikashvili was asked to work with Senate leaders to start saying, what could be done to address concerns about this treaty, what are the concerns that led to this defeat, and what might be done by the United States to meet those concerns? We might need to look again at the Shalikashvili report and start working on that because we do not want to see Russia resume testing, or other countries. And in that case, the moratorium that's in place by President Bush should be continued, but we should certainly not be thinking about un-signing comprehensive nuclear test ban treaties. Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL: Thank you. Our next speaker is Jim Goodby, who happened to work with General Shalikashvili on that report. Welcome, Jim.

AMBASSADOR JAMES E. GOODBY: Thank you very much. And let me try to be very brief so we can get on to the discussions and questions.

My bottom line here is that I think the month of May is going to turn out to be a very good month, politically and in many other ways, for President Bush and President Putin, and potentially-potentially a very good month for Russia, the United States and Europe. The reason I use the word potential is that I think everything depends on the follow up to these agreements that have been predicted and no doubt will occur later this month. Some of them already have occurred.

First, I think that one has to look at the success of an American policy towards Russia and towards Europe in terms of the contribution that policy makes to the development of democracy and of constitutional liberalism in Russia. If the experiment with democracy in Russia works, security for Europe will be much, much improved, as for us as well.

How do I rate these agreements that have taken place or will take place soon? I would put in first place the agreement reached yesterday on "NATO at 20." I think that is of tremendous value, and not simply because it engages Russia in discussions about European security issues on a par with other NATO members, but even more importantly because it contributes to the feeling that they are a part of Europe and a part of the West. And it's that sense of being excluded that has been one of the most damaging things in terms of progress towards democracy in Russia. So I think that we need to give a vote of thanks to those in this country and overseas who also wanted that kind of a relationship with Russia; that is to say inclusion rather than exclusion.

Second, I think that the agreement we haven't heard much about yet, namely the new strategic framework-which is the second of the two documents that I gather will be announced and agreed to later on in Moscow this month-I think potentially that also is a major contribution to Russian-U.S. relations. I say that on a basis of only hearing a little bit about it, but it does seem to include one of the points that Rick just made, namely the idea that we should be able to cooperate with Russia in ballistic missile defense. And my feeling there is that if we could work out a joint NATO-Russia program-which is already, by the way, on the agenda for NATO at 20 as well as in this document that will be agreed at Moscow-if we can do that I think we will have made a tremendous step forward in practical military cooperation with Russia because it would include development and possible deployment probably of a theater missile defense to begin with. That would make the prospect of an arms race very much less than would be the case if they seemed, again, to feel they were being excluded.

In third place in the contribution that these agreements this month will make to democracy in Russia I would have to put the treaty that we have been talking about. And there, I think the main contribution it makes is frankly to strengthen Putin's hand. I noticed the Washington Times has a story saying that he's being attacked domestically in Russia. I think in the end what Putin will be seen to have achieved this month will make him even more popular in Russia. This agreement with NATO is a very positive thing for them. The new strategic framework, again, potentially is a very positive thing. And I think in the end this new treaty will be seen, by many sectors at least in Russian opinion, as positive for them too.

I might add that in some respects this is not for reasons that I would welcome, because what I'm suggesting to you is that perhaps the Russian military will find this treaty more interesting and reasonable for them than START II would have been. There were many in the Russian military who felt START II was a very unfair kind of treaty. They no longer have to worry about that. Instead they have a treaty that allows them to keep SS-18s, that allows them to MIRV, allows them to keep their missiles rather than destroy them. And so, from the military standpoint in Russia, this is not a bad deal for them. And I think they will support this treaty, and I think it will be ratified handily.

The question of what the treaty does for us otherwise in terms of nonproliferation, in terms of its enabling Russia to make a transition to a democracy, is a little open to question because I think there are now left on the table some what I would call enticements to competition. I imagine that it will not be too long before people in this country begin to worry about the SS-18s still MIRVed, perhaps some of them downloaded but easily uploaded. I imagine that some in Russia will begin to worry about the potential we have for rapid breakout, based on the idea of this responsive nuclear force. And those are, I think, enticements to move away from the cooperative spirit that this month seems to be engendering and towards a kind of competition that we really don't want to have.

Now what I would recommend in terms of a future-and I do hope this is the beginning and not the end, as Rick mentioned, I think there are-I would say there are 3 Ds, as I call them. One is deduct. We need to lower the number of deployed warheads from the 1,700-2,200 range to something more like 1,000-1,500. I think that would be a much more reasonable kind of contribution for these countries to make in terms of nonproliferation and the impact on other countries, including China by the way.

Second is deactivate. We have experience with early deactivation. That is to say, one method would be to remove warheads from missiles so there could not be a launch quite so readily. This was foreseen also in the Helsinki Agreement that Clinton reached with Yeltsin. It apparently is not foreseen in this treaty, and it seems to me that it ought to be looked at. Early deactivation would mean that you don't have to wait all these many years, 10 years, to get down to the number of active ready-to-launch weapons that we have.

And the final thing is dismantling. Like other people that have spoken about the issue, I really do think that some transparency on dismantling-which I think is apparently going to be built into this in some fashion-is very important. I think that the idea that you would retain a responsive force able to break out at a moment's notice is something that generates instabilities and suspicions. It does not contribute to the kind of cooperation we ought to have.

So if I were amending this treaty, I would urge that those would be the three things to do. And the treaty actually couldn't be amended fairly easily, it sounds like.

Finally, this new strategic framework. If I'm led to believe it, it constitutes an agenda that I think is important for both Russia and the United States. What I'm concerned about is, frankly, accountability. I have suggested in the past that there ought to be a high-level commission responsible directly to Putin and to President Bush that would work on issues like this; that would be charged with the day-to-day responsibility for making sure those things happen, because nothing is easier than to come up with a wonderful document on how we ought to cooperate in this, that and the other area, and then nobody's responsible for it. And I think somebody ought to be named, perhaps even Vice President Cheney, to see that something happens day by day, year by year, so that all of the ideas that are in the strategic framework actually do happen.

I will conclude simply by saying that I think, above and beyond the things we are talking about today, our relations with Russia and with Western Europe require a very broad strategy, and one not limited to security issues. And therefore, what I hope this summit will also achieve is a somewhat broader agenda in the field of economics, in the field of healthcare, in a number of other areas where really a grassroots support for democracy could be greatly enhanced by things that really don't cost us very much.

So I'll conclude there so we can get on to a discussion. Thank you.

Questions and Answers

MR. KIMBALL: Thank you, Jim. We'll now take your questions. Right here, Mr. Schweiss (ph).

QUESTION: I've long since given up trying to get an answer from the administration why it would let such a lopsided, favorable-to-the-U.S. treaty like START II go by the boards. In fact, almost a year ago-maybe a year ago I asked somebody in the administration, "Why?" and he looked at me and he said, "Because it's an arms control agreement." That was all he had to say.

I wonder, maybe you know why we would allow something so much in the U.S.' favor go by. But more to the point, if the administration retains at least-I think the fact that it is a treaty is probably Powell's influence as much as anyone, but he's not the whole administration. The administration still has this suspicion of arms control. Where are all these wonderful things going to germinate? I mean, how would you expect them to consider trying to do something about START II, tactical weapons-I mean, the strategic statement-I mean, apparently you at least, Ambassador, expect something to come out of it. Where is it going to germinate? Where is it going to-is this an administration suddenly that likes arms control?

MR. KIMBALL: Jim, do you want to take a first shot, then John?

QUESTION: I mean, this was a no-brainer, this treaty. How about real arms control? Where is it going to come from?

AMB. GOODBY: Well, I can't answer your question because I don't know what the administration is thinking or will do, but clearly they see a new relationship with Russia which they describe as one of almost alliance. And their feeling therefore is that all of the elaborate limits that were in START II are not required when you have two friends.

Now, the fact of the matter is we haven't quite gotten to that point. The nuclear posture review itself says that the Russian nuclear forces are "a matter of concern," and that's a quote. And a lot of the reason for the responsive force, the ability of building up very rapidly, is because we're concerned about Russia. Russia is not yet like Germany or France or Great Britain, in our view. And it's going to take a long transition before we get to that stage. That's why I emphasize democracy so much, because not until we get to that political point will we actually be able to put mutual assured destruction behind us.

But I think the administration has lost something in giving up START II. It's gained something too in trying to create a new relationship, and the balance that we strike will not be really known until history writes the book on this subject.

MR. KIMBALL: John, do you want to take a shot? And we need the microphone over here, please.

MR. HOLUM: Just to amplify slightly on the notion that-I agree with the proposition that the-as I said earlier that the main concern here is not an arms race or a military conflict with Russian. That possibility is exceedingly remote. But the areas where we still have differences and where we still need to do an enormous amount of work is on the proliferation-related concerns.

Now, one way you can get to those is through formal arms control, and by extending, as we were attempting to do, the formal agreements on strategic reductions to include warhead transparency and to include things beyond that, including dismantlement and elimination of the materials in the end. Now, I don't say it's impossible to do that without formal arms control, without continuing the START process. You can do it with a gap: you'd start at the other end and work those issues.

My concern is that if you take a negative attitude more broadly toward multilateral as well as bilateral arms control, you leave out an important part of the equation. Arms control isn't going to do it by itself, but prevention, to the extent it succeeds, simplifies the defensive requirements and reduces their costs and makes them more practical.

So, I think it's important to emphasize both sides, and I hope the administration will do more of that, both bilaterally with Russia on the proliferation-related questions, and more broadly.

MR. KIMBALL: Let me just also point out a couple of facts about Russia's future perspectives on this agreement; that we might be announcing Russia's acceptance of this a little bit soon. I think I would agree with my colleagues that eventually this agreement will be approved by the respective legislatures, but it was just on Monday, a few hours before President Bush came out on the South Lawn to announce the agreement would be concluded and that a deal had been reached, the Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said, "Stockpiling the warheads is not equal to their reduction." Russia may still consider some of the issues that have been at the heart of these negotiations over the last five months still to be open.

My reading of this agreement is that the two sides have agreed to agree on what they can agree on, and they have left issues which they cannot agree on to the sides, perhaps to be dealt with in the future, perhaps not to be dealt with in the future.

QUESTION: They're going to agree to disagree and let it go at that?

MR. KIMBALL: I think that's yet to be seen. I think we need to see how this plays out over the next several days. We are still several days away from the summit itself.

AMB. GOODBY: Daryl, if I could just inject-I mean, the one thing they've done is establish a-

MR. KIMBALL: Microphone please.

AMB. GOODBY: The one thing they've done is establish a bilateral commission to help manage this treaty. And it seems to me that a lot of the kinds of questions that we're talking about now are actually going to be referred to that commission, which is going to have a very tough job on its hands.

And I think for example that this SS-18 is a real potential for bad feelings because since it is, as we've always thought of it, a kind of a first-strike weapon, they are going to have to keep this on high alert, so the idea of somehow getting down to lower-alert status, which many people advocate, is going to be very, very difficult to do under the circumstances. And that in turn is going to feed worries about what the Russians are up to and, you know, the kind of suspicions that have surfaced regarding what's happening in-(unintelligible). It's still there. So all of these worries are going to still be there. And this commission, unless it operates at a much higher level than I think it's going to, is going to have a tough problem.

MR. KIMBALL: Rick, did you want to take a cut at Barry's question?

AMB. INDERFURTH: Yeah. Barry, I think that you're right about the dismissive quality by many in the administration about arms control, about the formal arms control process, and indeed about the nature of the Soviet arsenal, now Russian threat. If you look at the NIPP report of January 2001, that was really a precursor to what we now see in terms of the form of this agreement, if there would be any agreement at all; whether it should be legally binding. In fact, this report suggested that legally binding agreements were not necessarily important any longer, as well as issues of uses of nuclear weapons and adaptability to go up and down depending on the nature of the threat.

So, yes, there is that, but at the same time I do believe that the administration-and this is where you do get an opportunity to make progress. If you're not going to look at this through the prism of arms control then look at this through the prism of non-proliferation. And I think there that the administration has a solid core of those wanting, including the president, to address this. And trying to keep weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of terrorists will allow you to obviously pursue cooperative threat reduction programs and Nunn-Lugar related programs; will allow you to address the question of the storage of nuclear warheads that the Russians will be doing as opposed to the elimination. Perhaps that will open the opportunity later for more decisive measures with respect to elimination.

It may also allow you over time to address the timetable. Now, many people feel that 10 years is too long to see this agreement put into effect. Why 10 years? Members of Congress are saying, why not eight years, why not six years? Maybe at some point that can be looked at again through the prism of nonproliferation and say, why should we have these weapons and delivery systems sort of hanging around? Do we really need them? That's one way to get at the problem.

MR. KIMBALL: Okay. Other questions? We've answered all your questions.

Yes, sir? If you could identify yourself and take the microphone. Thank you.

QUESTION: I'm John Parker from The Economist magazine.

I take all the point you have to make, as it were, about third parties and the proliferation issue. But just on the purely Russia-U.S. bilateral relationship, you're fairly critical of the treaty. Aren't you being sort of more Catholic than the Pope here? I mean, it was the Russians that wanted the treaty. They've got a treaty. They say they're happy with it. I accept the reservation of the Defense minister, but by and large they like what they've got. And, as you've said, they've got good reason for liking what they've got.

So given that, I'm not quite clear why you're so strongly stressing, as it were, the reservations you have with the treaty, which, you know, the main party that was looking for it likes.

MR. KIMBALL: Well, let me take a quick cut and then perhaps others have some comments.

In my opening remarks, I pointed out that this is clearly a step in the right direction. This reflects the direction that both sides have been going in, reducing operationally deployed warheads. But I think it's very important that the public is aware, allies are aware of what this is not. And I think one of our chief roles here is to point out that this is not, as the president is under the allusion of, a liquidation of the legacy of the Cold War.

And as our panelists have pointed out, there remain a number of key issues on the bilateral agenda and the international nonproliferation agenda that are left to be addressed. And this also allows for the potential of future tension between the two countries, and this is an enormous missed opportunity to lock-in, through verifiable dismantlement of delivery systems and warheads, this much better relationship between the U.S. and Russia. Others, please.

AMB. INDERFURTH: The most important thing about this treaty-and that's why I think that actually we have said more positive than negative about it-the most important thing about this treaty is it demonstrates that the United States and Russia are working together. That is a key, whether it be with respect to this treaty or with respect to NATO in the future. To work together with the Russians is a key to further progress. And again, my comment was this is an excellent first step, but it should not be the last step in terms of reducing the legacy of the-and eliminating-liquidating the legacy of the Cold War.

I also think another step that could be taken to further this concern about nonproliferation is to do what many have suggested: that at the summit that President Bush propose to President Putin that we initiate a swap of their long-standing debt to the Paris Club of $45 billion for their dedicating that to nonproliferation activities within Russia. Now, the United States has a smaller part of that debt than, for instance, the Germans. I think that the Germans have the largest part. But to take those funds, that would help the economic concerns of President Putin and also go into non-proliferation.

I mentioned earlier that Congressman McHugh and Congresswoman Tauscher in the House, and Senators Biden and Lugar in the Senate, have introduced legislation to do that. I hope President Bush will take that idea and run with it. It would be an important step to take.

MR. KIMBALL: Okay. Other questions please? Yes, sir?

QUESTION: (Unintelligible)-with Asahi Shimbun, a Japanese newspaper.

I'd like to ask the number-what's the rationale-what base for the number-the range 1,700 to the 2,200? Do you know or can you guess why the Bush administration came up with this particular number? Does this have something to do with the number of targets Russia has in terms of military, or any other political reasons?

MR. KIMBALL: John, I think that's a fairly familiar number to you.

MR. HOLUM: It's probably more inertia than anything else, but that requires an explanation.

Remember that the Clinton administration had agreed with President Putin, or I guess previously with President Yeltsin, on a number of 2,000-2,500. There had also been further deliberations in the administration about the possibility of a lower number. The number tends to be dictated by a target-set related to fighting a war with Russia. And that's one of the reasons why many people who have analyzed this have been saying it doesn't eliminate the legacy of the Cold War because the basis for the number is still Russia. It's certainly not China, certainly not any other country.

But I don't think it's quite that nefarious. I think it's basically inertia. That's a number that is out there that has been in the planning process and they haven't come up with a new process to replace it.

Now, why the difference between 2,000-2,500 and 1,700-2,200? It's basically, as I understand it, that this agreement changes the counting rules; that it doesn't count-at least this is what the Posture Review aimed for-it doesn't count weapons, for example, on submarines that are in overhaul or aren't on-station. And if you subtract those, or account for that difference, you come up with almost identical numbers between what had previously been agreed and this one.

MR. KIMBALL: Other questions? Yes, sir?

QUESTION: I'm a correspondent for a Chinese newspaper, China East Daily. I just have a quick question. The U.S. and Russia will sign an agreement, and the U.S.-Russia relationship is warming up again. Do you think this situation will have implications, negative or positive, toward China? Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL: John? Rick?

AMB. INDERFURTH: I think we would all certainly hope so. I think that the steps being taken by the United States and Russia should be reassuring to China in terms of its status as a nuclear power. What we have also referred to in terms of missile defense, I think that there should be cooperation with China on that issue so that China is not put in a position of not understanding fully what that missile defense is designed to counter and what it's not designed to counter.

So I hope that as this treaty goes forward and relations improve, numbers go down, greater transparency, greater cooperation on all strategic-related issues. I would hope that China would be reassured and the beneficiary of that, and that the United States and China could also engage in these discussions and this dialogue.

MR. HOLUM: Let me just add on point. I think it's very important for the United States and China to have a regular dialogue on strategic issues. We started something like that in 1994. It was interrupted over the bombing of the embassy, the tragedy in Belgrade, and resumed in 2000.

I think that kind of discussion, the ability to clarify issues, explain positions, understand each other's strategic doctrines, is extremely important and I hope that will be continued.

MR. KIMBALL: All right. Yes, sir?

QUESTION: Adam Herbert (ph) with Inside Defense.

I'd have to assume that if strategic nuclear weapons are being cut by two-thirds over the next 10 years that there will be some cuts to tactical nuclear weapons as well, even though this isn't really being discussed. I'd like to hear your thoughts on what are the prospects for cutting tactical nuclear force levels and what are also the prospects for getting these incorporated into some sort of future negotiated agreement with the Russians?

AMB. INDERFURTH: Well, I think that, again, the United States has brought its tactical arsenal down substantially over the last decade. The numbers now are around 1,650. Actually, it was then-General Powell who was very much in the forefront of saying that the military did not need nor want these weapons in its arsenal. He indeed spoke about this action in his autobiography if you want to check out what General Powell said about that then.

I think that again the concern right now has to do with the nature of the Russian tactical nuclear arsenal: how many, where are they, are they under sound lock and key? And I think that one can get at that through a number of ways; not necessarily through a treaty but through an agreement to conduct a comprehensive inventory of nuclear weapons and materials, transparency, and then to talk to them about ways to bring these numbers down. But, Jim, as a treaty measure, as an agreement measure, how would you deal with the tactical nukes?

AMB. GOODBY: I would pick up where the first President Bush left off and try to add something to the statements that were made at that time, which would provide greater transparency, as Rick has said.

What is needed is some kind of assurance that the weapons which were supposed to be destroyed-and some doubt that they have been completely-in some way has to be found to measure-get a handle on the number of remaining tactical nuclear weapons on both sides. Exchanging data that requires, and probably some degree of on-site inspection. And you have to do that by having at least some limited access to the places where these tactical nuclear weapons are stored. That will not be easy to achieve, but perhaps in the new euphoria that we have, maybe something that can be done about that.

But you're quite right, something should be done because the numbers of tactical nuclear weapons seem to be far larger than the number of strategic weapons, and they are vulnerable in many ways, including to theft, so we want to do something about that.

MR. KIMBALL: If I might add, I don't think it is safe to assume that if there are strategic reductions in operationally deployed warheads that there will be progress on tactical nuclear weapons at all. These are some useful steps that have been outlined here, but this requires political will and attention, and it appears as though the Bush administration is interested in signing this agreement and turning its attention to other issues.

In February, when our Arms Control Today editor interviewed John Bolton, who is the current undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security, he said, "We are willing to discuss tactical nukes, but they are not a top priority." They should be a top priority, particularly after this meeting. And I think the problem of tactical nuclear weapons, which is also described in a feature article in this month's Arms Control Today, illustrates the problem of informal arms control. As Jim Goodby mentioned, in 1991 Presidents Bush and Gorbachev unilaterally drew down the tactical nuclear weapons deployments to improve security in the aftermath-the immediate aftermath of the Soviet Union's collapse, but there has been scant progress since then. And as a result we did not have good information on the location and the number of Russia's tactical nuclear weapons.

So this is something that should be on the regular agenda and needs more attention.

Others, please.

QUESTION: Yes, I was wondering if the panelists could discuss the possible dangers of an agreement, in a little bit more detail, of having the Russians store rather than destroy warheads.

MR. KIMBALL: John?

MR. HOLUM: Let me first of all put that in a sort of a continuum of concerns. If I were a terrorist and wanted access to or wanted to make nuclear weapons, the most remote thing -- the least attractive thing to me would be a warhead mounted on a missile; I couldn't get to it. Probably the next least attractive would be an actual warhead because it would likely have devices attached to it which would make it impossible for me to take it apart or make it work. What I'd really want to get is the material that's in the warhead that I could make my own crude device out of. The bomb itself is surrounded with high explosives and difficult to transport and relatively heavy. To the extent that there is a risk of someone extracting the materials out of a weapon, a tactical nuclear weapon is the most likely because they are smaller and there are more of them; they are stored in a variety of places that we don't have access to, that we don't have a good understanding of.

So I think the risk is mainly in the tactical nuclear area, which this treaty doesn't cover and which we've been discussing, and also in the next steps beyond that: how do you extract-dismantle the weapon, store the physical material ultimately, dispose of the HEU or the plutonium? So that's the sort of realm of concern I've been talking about, at least.

AMB. INDERFURTH: Could I just add to that just to say, and it only takes one. Last night-maybe some of you were there as well-there was a preview of the new film, "The Sum of All Fears," and it was all fears. It was about nuclear terrorism, and it was about the possibility of the United States and Russia going to the brink of a massive nuclear exchange, and well after the Cold War is over, because of the-well, I will not reveal the plot of Tom Clancy's book, but everything we're talking about here, nuclear terrorism, materials, Russian scientists-that's another nonproliferation concern: those who have knowledge of how to build or to put these things together, perhaps finding that it is more important for their families' security to go somewhere else to make money where they can't do it-all of these things sort of come together in a way that sort of raises all of the concerns and all the fears that I think that we've been expressing here about the need to address the nuclear issue in all its dimensions, from nonproliferation to reductions to tactical nukes to doing something about this inertia of the Cold War which does leave a targeting strategy where, despite the fact that we are now good friends with Russia, our targeting strategy is still based upon that scenario. We've got to move away from it and do it quickly.

AMB. GOODBY: Could I just add two points? First is that we have spent I think at least $200 million of the taxpayers' money helping the Russians to build a facility in the Ural Mountains where they would store dismantled nuclear warheads under joint custody of the U.S. and Russia. That would be a fairly safe thing to do. In contrast, we've been trying to encourage the Russian military to consolidate its nuclear weapons stockpiles in fewer locations than now they are stored in, and we haven't had all that much success, partly because it costs them a lot of money and partly because access to such a facility, in their view, has to be very, very limited.

So we are on the one hand facing an opportunity that we created, namely a good, safe place to store dismantled warheads, and on the other facing the problem that is more of these warheads are taken off missiles and put in these many, many locations around the country. They may in fact be less secure. We should be worried about that.

MR. KIMBALL: Other questions?

Let me just expand upon a point that Ambassador Inderfurth raised earlier, related to nuclear testing and new nuclear weapons. As he said, the Sunday New York Times article described U.S. intelligence reports that raise concerns about Russian test site preparations. This is, in my view, another illustration of the ongoing suspicions between the United States and Russia that should be addressed in proactive ways.

One of the other issues that ought to be on the U.S.-Russian bilateral nuclear risk reduction agenda is to pursue measures to increase transparency at the test sites. This is a proposal that Republican Congressman Curt Weldon made on the floor last week. It's a proposal that Russia made formally in November at the New York conference on accelerating the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty entry into force. Russia suggested that test site transparency measures be implemented following the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which this administration, the Bush administration, refuses to ask the Senate to reconsider, and which also would provide for short notice on-site inspections that would clarify these kinds of concerns.

So, this is yet I think another area where the two sides ought to make some good faith efforts to resolve these issues, and the Bush administration in particular should take a common sense approach to this and drop its, I would say, rather ideological opposition to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and ideas related.

If there are no other questions -- and one last question before we close. Yes, sir? And then we will conclude.

QUESTION: Hello, this is-(unintelligible) -Japan. Quickly, do you agree with the notion that President Bush has gotten a boost by this agreement as he pursued the prior missile defense program? And also, will you elaborate: what kind of NATO-U.S. or mainly Russia-U.S. cooperation can be anticipated in the development of missile defense?

MR. KIMBALL: Could you just repeat the last part of your question, please?

QUESTION: Would you elaborate what kind of cooperation can be anticipated between Russia and the U.S. in developing the missile defense system?

AMB. GOODBY: Well, first, I don't think anybody has defined the type of cooperation. There's been a lot of back and forth between Russian experts and U.S. experts. So far as I know, there hasn't been any understanding reached about exactly what might be done.

What I think should be done is that the NATO at 20, the NATO-Russia Council, just established yesterday, which has this item on its agenda, should establish a working group to actually devise a program. Now, that will require a certain exchange of information that perhaps some in this country or elsewhere would not like to see exchanged. That will be the first hurdle. But I think there is a vast potential there that ought to be looked at very seriously. And one of the reasons I'm pleased by the new strategic framework document is that that item is also enshrined there. Again, it's the follow up that I think is important.

MR. KIMBALL: And while joint missile defense-theater missile defense cooperation between the United States and Russia might help smooth U.S.-Russian relations, if the two sides are really serious about dealing with the global missile proliferation problem, they also need to work together, and with China, on strengthening the missile technology control regime, on dealing with the regional missile proliferation problem areas in the Middle East, South Asia and especially Northeast Asia with North Korea, where there is an opportunity to permanently freeze North Korea's missile program if the U.S. and Russia and China can work together on that goal.

AMB. INDERFURTH: Daryl, you mentioned South Asia. It is an area of the world I was formerly responsible for at the State Department. I will just put a plug in for today's Washington Post. There was an article on the front page about the Cargill crisis of 1999. If you go to the-I sound like a Washington Post promoter here-if you go to The Washington Post Web site you can actually download the entire report that was written by Bruce Reidel of the National Security Council on that, which has a very significant nuclear dimension to that crisis. So I commend the report to you.

MR. KIMBALL: All right.

Well, thank you gentlemen, and thank you audience for your attention. We're going to be continuing to follow the course of the agreement that is likely going to be signed in Moscow, with also the Senate ratification debate in the next few months. Thank you for coming this morning.

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ACA Press Conference

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Progress and Challenges in Denuclearizing North Korea

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An ACA Press Conference

On April 10, the Arms Control Association held a press conference after the Bush administration decided that it would not certify North Korea’s compliance with the 1994 Agreed Framework, which requires North Korea to freeze and eventually dismantle its nuclear weapons program in exchange for two light-water nuclear power reactors.

The panelists were Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association; Robert Gallucci, dean of Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service; Marc Vogelaar, director of the Public and External Promotion and Support Division at the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization; and Leon Sigal, director of the Northeast Asia Cooperative Security Project at the Social Science Research Council.

The following is an edited version of the panelists’ remarks and the question-and-answer session that followed.

Daryl G. Kimball

Welcome to this morning’s Arms Control Association briefing. We have organized this meeting to provide what we believe is some much needed information and analysis on the challenges facing continued progress toward implementing the Agreed Framework of 1994. Before I introduce our expert panelists, let me briefly outline the background of the issues that we are going to be discussing.

As most of you know, the Agreed Framework calls upon North Korea to freeze the operation and construction of its nuclear reactors and plutonium separation facilities that were part of its covert nuclear weapons program in exchange for energy support, including the construction of two light-water reactors [LWRs] for energy production. The deal drew the region back from an 18-month-long standoff over the North’s weapons programs and its threat to pull out of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty [NPT].

So far, the deal has effectively frozen North Korea’s program, but difficulties clearly lie ahead. The Agreed Framework calls upon North Korea to comply with all International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] safeguards, which prohibit civil nuclear programs from undertaking military activities and include on-site inspections. North Korea must be in compliance, according to the Agreed Framework, when a significant portion of the two light-water power reactors are completed but before delivery of key nuclear components. When a significant portion of the construction is completed is a key issue here.

The Bush administration is now asserting that North Korea must agree to these inspections very soon because it asserts that the reactors will be completed in approximately three to four years and that IAEA inspections of declared and undeclared facilities could take up to three to four years. To underscore this message and to appease hard-line members of Congress, the administration recently announced that it cannot certify compliance by North Korea with all of the provisions of the Agreed Framework. Now, the North Koreans—who are still a bit stung by President Bush’s “axis of evil” remark in January and by reports about the U.S. nuclear posture review [NPR]—cite delays in the reactors’ construction and signals that Washington may be seeking to end the deal.

Now, the more we’re concerned about the threat posed by North Korea, the more important it seems to us at the Arms Control Association to maintain the freeze that currently exists on the North Korean weapons program. Though the North Korean regime is difficult, undemocratic, and uninterested in its people’s welfare, recent history shows that pragmatic and principled engagement can yield results that enhance U.S. and regional security. Timely initiation of inspections and progress toward construction of the reactors are both important for the Agreed Framework’s implementation. And with a U.S. envoy, Ambassador Jack Pritchard, headed to Seoul shortly and with the prospect of talks with the North restarting in the near future, the question now is how to move ahead to make sure that the Agreed Framework continues to be implemented by both sides.

To help us explore these and other related issues, we have three speakers with substantial hands-on experience on these matters. First, we’ll hear from Ambassador Bob Gallucci, who will provide us with his unique perspective on the agreement itself, its contributions, the undertakings of the parties to the agreement, and how the Bush administration is apparently interpreting the Agreed Framework.

Following Bob, we’re going to hear from Marc Vogelaar, who will update us on the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization’s [KEDO] progress. Finally, we’ll hear from Lee Sigal, who’s going to outline the issues in the agreement that the Bush administration must take into account if it seeks to keep the North on track with the framework and prevent a re-emergence of the nuclear crisis that gripped the region in the 1990s.

Robert Gallucci

I think it’s useful to first note where we’ve come from, what the past is. When I was an assistant secretary of state in the Bush administration in the early 1990s, we were concerned about a nuclear weapons program in North Korea, and when I was assistant secretary in the Clinton administration, we were still concerned about a nuclear weapons program in North Korea, but we were getting to know substantially more about it. In fact, there was a significant nuclear weapons program in North Korea that we estimated would, in five to seven years, be producing around 150 kilograms or so of plutonium a year, which is on the order of 30 nuclear weapons’ worth of plutonium. So, that’s a serious nuclear weapons program to worry about.

There was also a crisis that had emerged from a North Korean refusal to accept what the IAEA calls special inspections, and it was a crisis that involved the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and, of course, access to two North Korean radioactive-waste storage sites.

Furthermore, there was concern about a ballistic missile program in North Korea that included medium-range ballistic missiles, the Nodong, and longer-range, potentially intercontinental-range, Taepo Dong variations. We were concerned about what they were building in North Korea and what they were exporting to the Middle East and South Asia. We were concerned about the forward deployment of their conventional forces along the Demilitarized Zone [DMZ]: roughly a million-man army, a lot of it forward deployed, plus artillery that could reach Seoul and therefore hold that city, in a sense, hostage. We were also concerned about volatile relations between North and South Korea and between North Korea and the United States, which were manifested intermittently by incidents at sea and along the DMZ.

So, a very bad atmosphere in the early 1990s was the backdrop to the negotiations that produced the Agreed Framework. And by the way, during the course of those negotiations, while I would not claim that we reached the brink of war in 1994, I would certainly say we were on the road to war in 1994, before we produced a negotiated settlement.

Since then, I would say that the Agreed Framework has addressed but not resolved the problem of the known North Korean nuclear weapons program. That was the program I just mentioned to you: a five-megawatt research reactor, a 50-megawatt reactor, a 200-megawatt nuclear reactor, and a reprocessing plant. It addressed the threat posed by that program by stopping and freezing it and holding out the prospect of ultimately having it dismantled. It ended the crisis by offering some benefits to both North Korea and the United States immediately. But North Korea would only receive the big benefit, the light-water reactors, after it had satisfied the IAEA.

North-South relations improved, and so did North Korean-U.S. relations. Kim Dae Jung, the president of South Korea, made a historic visit north. Not quite as historic, but certainly important, Vice Marshal Jo came to the United States and the secretary of state of the United States went to Pyongyang. Pretty significant. And regarding the North’s ballistic missile program, well, there was a freeze put in place unilaterally by the North Koreans on testing. But missile exports continued and still continue; we have no reason to believe there’s been any halt to ballistic missile development; and conventional forces are still a problem.

So, against this backdrop the Bush administration comes to office, and initially it had a rocky start. Kim Dae Jung, who has championed a policy of engagement with the North, came to the United States. The day before Kim met with President Bush, Secretary of State Powell seemed to indicate that the administration would follow the same direction as the Clinton administration. But the very next day, the president himself, in a sense, says “not” and stakes out a different, tougher line that opens up the possibility of a disagreement between Seoul and Washington. This is the reverse of what we have experienced during the negotiation of the framework; now the South is actively enthusiastic about engagement and the United States is more resistant.

But within a matter of months, a policy review by the Bush administration concluded that it would be desirable to have an improved Agreed Framework and a posture to go with its willingness to have negotiations. Since that point a little more than a year ago, I would say the music has not supported the lyrics very well. We’ve had statements by the administration, particularly the president, indicating a lack of trust of the North. We’ve had the president’s comments about an evil axis that includes North Korea and Iran, as well as Iraq. We’ve had press reports about a nuclear posture review that indicates the United States would contemplate nuclear weapons strikes in a pre-emptive mode and that mentions North Korea in that context. And most recently, as Daryl noted, we’ve had the decision not to certify North Korea’s compliance with the Agreed Framework but instead to waive the requirements for compliance. In each of these points that the administration made, there is a fair amount of honesty, but this honesty provided a relatively poor backdrop for the conduct of negotiations, as honesty might in many human interactions.

Since I’m often asked to explain what’s happening in North Korea and what the North Koreans are thinking, I must tell you that I often say “I don’t know” because I don’t know. Moreover, I don’t have a lot of faith or high confidence that the experts know either. What’s odd now is that I feel comparably confused about what this administration is thinking now, and that’s not a good thing for me, and that’s what I really want to focus upon.

It is possible that the North Koreans are looking at the very tough posture the administration has adopted—no carrots and possible sticks—and have a certain amount of concern, given the robust character of American military capability, and are finding themselves in a position of desperation. Put these things together and they’ve decided that, under these circumstances, they will talk to the United States and to South Korea. But even if that is a correct characterization—which would present an arguable case that the administration is on the right track—I still wonder, without real negotiation, how we can deal with the problems that we have: the problem of gaining greater transparency into the North Korean nuclear program, dealing with ballistic missiles, and dealing with the conventional forces. These are all issues that the last administration had on its agenda at its end and that this administration still has on its agenda.

So, what is U.S. policy? Early on, some were suspicious that the administration’s apparent lack of enthusiasm for real negotiations with North Korea was connected in some way with identifying North Korea as the principal threat to which America’s ballistic missile defense would respond. In other words, this was a method of preserving that threat. I’m not embracing that myself, but that certainly was a frequently heard criticism. That seems to me less likely to be the case, partially because we hear these days less about national missile defense than we did a year ago.

We also have the administration’s decision not to certify on Pyongyang’s compliance with the Agreed Framework. I think, although I’m not certain of this, that the American decision to waive rather than certify embraces an argument that I think is captured by the phrase “anticipatory breach.” I am aware that at least two well-known analysts, Henry Sokolski, who is here, and Victor Galinsky, have made this argument.

The anticipatory breach argument is an interesting one, and I will try to shorthand it. It holds that the Agreed Framework requires North Korea to come into full compliance with its IAEA obligations before the shipment of nuclear components for the nuclear reactor takes place. Since we can anticipate the pace of delivery and can see that, within a few years, we’ll be at the point when nuclear components would be delivered, if the North Koreans do not start cooperating now with the IAEA to come into full compliance, since it will take some years to do that, they will not be in full compliance by the time it will be appropriate to begin delivering those nuclear components. Therefore, they are in anticipatory breach.

Well, with that argument, the North Koreans would have to start cooperating with the IAEA now on special inspections, or at least not put it off for years. This is a way, I would suspect, of improving the Agreed Framework, which is something the administration said it wishes to do. My problem with it is that this is the kind of improvement that drives a stake through the framework’s heart, which could be an objective for some. The point is that it is a unilateral reinterpretation of the Agreed Framework that is not supported by the framework’s language or any reading of the negotiating history.

The Agreed Framework essentially provides, together with its confidential minute, for the delivery of a nuclear power project, which will have components that are both non-nuclear and nuclear. The non-nuclear, conventional portion of the project would be delivered first, then the nuclear portion. The nuclear portion consists of items listed on the trigger list of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, and these can only be delivered after IAEA safeguards requirements permit.

In the language of the Agreed Framework, it says, “When a significant portion of the LWR project is completed, but before delivery of key nuclear components, the D.P.R.K. will come into full compliance with its safeguards agreement with the IAEA.” Now, a significant portion of the reactor could be completed and then the delivery of the nuclear components could commence immediately, or there could be a delay before nuclear components are delivered while the IAEA completes its work. The language does not specify either scenario and, I would say, therefore does not support an argument for the concept of anticipatory breach.

Then, there is over a year of negotiating record here, if for some reason you can’t understand the language. It is very clear what went on in these negotiations. Vice Foreign Minister Kang Sok Gu told me he didn’t trust the United States, and I of course told him that we didn’t trust the D.P.R.K. So how do we have this deal? Well, that’s what the framework is. The framework is not an agreement; it’s a set of steps that one side takes and the other side takes. It’s reciprocal, sometimes in parallel. And the North Koreans said quite clearly that compliance with the IAEA, particularly special inspections, is an act of transparency. That was the word Vice Foreign Minister Kang Sok Gu used. That is, they were granting us transparency over their program. And he said quite clearly that the promise of transparency was an incentive for the United States to deliver that first part of the reactor project. And when Washington does that, it will get the transparency; that will be its reward. No suggestion was ever made that North Korea was going to start giving the transparency earlier so that they can have a smoothly flowing construction of the light-water reactor project. It was to come afterwards.

However, at one point I did suggest that the North could start early and show their goodwill right away; in 1994, they could start the negotiations with the IAEA. He said, in effect, “Thank you very much for that suggestion of how we could show our goodwill. When you complete the first part of the project, then the transparency that we promised will take place.” I never had any question about this. I’ve been asked whether I knew how many years it would take for the IAEA to bring the North Koreans into full compliance, and the answer is, no, I didn’t. I knew it would take time. I don’t think anybody knows for sure right now, but it will take time. So, I find, first in the framework’s language and second in negotiating history, no support for this argument of anticipatory breach.

I am not a lawyer, but the whole idea of an anticipatory breach of a framework strikes me as odd. The Agreed Framework is not an agreement. Our lawyers were very clear about this; I testified on this. We are not legally bound by it; they are not legally bound by it. This is a framework for both sides to take action on. If we want to get up one morning and say, “We’re not going to deliver the reactors,” we will not have violated anything. We would not be acting consistent with the framework, but if we decide it’s in our interest not to, we can do that without violating any international agreement. They can do the same. We signed the framework document because we thought it was in both of our interests to do so; but if the administration should decide the framework was no longer consistent with the international security interests of the United States, I don’t think it needs to do anything in terms of explaining anticipatory breaches. So, I don’t understand the use of that phrase in this context.

However, I would note that President Clinton gave the North a side letter representing a political commitment to complete the LWR project and provide heavy-fuel oil, even without the assistance of other countries, if necessary. But the language of the letter makes the assurance contingent on a U.S. assessment that the North has acted consistently with the framework.

There is another reason, of course, why one might find North Korea acting inconsistently with the framework. If North Korea had a secret nuclear program of any kind, that would be inconsistent with the framework and the confidential minute. Is this the reason the administration waived rather than certified North Korea’s compliance with the framework? I have no idea. I would, however, observe that if it was, we would be back to 1998, when the Clinton administration was concerned about a secret nuclear program in North Korea, used the negotiations we were in to tell them so, implicitly and explicitly putting the Agreed Framework and the light-water reactor project and the 500,000 tons of heavy-fuel oil on the table, and we got access, twice, to the site of concern. That sounds like the framework’s working, even when it doesn’t have a specific provision for inspection.

So, when I look to the future, I’m concerned. If there is a secret program or we have concerns about a secret program, I’d like to be in negotiations with the North Koreans so we can resolve it. Ballistic missiles are also an enormous problem for us, as are conventional forces. And of course, the alliance with the Republic of Korea is an issue for us, one that we must continue to tend. I worry about all of these.

In sum, my concern is that an ideology is getting in the way of common sense and has the potential to undercut national security. Abba Eban is given credit for that short line, “You can’t make peace if you only talk with your friends.” Thank you.

Marc Vogelaar

In this rather august company, I’ll do my best to clarify to you some elements of the implementation of the Agreed Framework, part of which has been entrusted to us at KEDO.

The political landscape in which KEDO is implementing the light-water reactor project is, as you just heard, constantly changing and has been changing from the start. The prophets of doom have had a field day as of late. The D.P.R.K. has been called a part of an “axis of evil,” and critics of the Agreed Framework have predicted its imminent demise. Some have even been so cynical as to pretend that the United States never even intended to provide the North with two light-water reactors but that the project only served as a ploy to keep Pyongyang away from developing a nuclear weapon, pending the regime’s collapse.

The last fortnight and the last few days provide encouraging signs, heralding a renewed chance for engagement and sunshine on the Korean Peninsula. And let me add that even the occasional cloud on the Agreed Framework’s horizon doesn’t always mean that stormy weather is ahead. KEDO’s record, now seven years old, illustrates that implementing the Agreed Framework has never been and will never be plain sailing. KEDO’s mission is a political one, and the construction of a multibillion dollar project in a remote part of any country that lacks skilled labor and essential infrastructure is no easy task. In addition, carrying out such a task under the taxing political conditions that have prevailed on the Korean Peninsula for half a century makes this an uphill struggle.

I would like to give you a balanced assessment of our progress at KEDO along the winding road to security on the Korean Peninsula. This will not be a forecast; this is an in-flight report. I will argue that KEDO is on course and that the point of no return has passed, that our expected arrival time may be somewhat delayed, but that weather conditions are brightening.

There is, not only in this country, a sometimes heated debate on what policies should be pursued toward the D.P.R.K. In this atmosphere, it is well to remember that the nuclear power project undertaken by KEDO is a practical approach to removing the threat of a D.P.R.K. nuclear arsenal. KEDO’s objective goes beyond the rehabilitation of the North Korean energy sector. Its objective is political. The reports of delays of construction of the LWR project have fed the misconception that the project is treading water, that it will, at best, prove to be a white elephant, or worse, that it may never be completed.

If you go to Kumho on North Korea’s east coast and visit the KEDO construction site, you would quickly come to the opposite conclusion. An entire mountain has been removed to prepare a solid bedrock foundation for the reactor buildings. Geological surveys have been carried out to establish scientifically the suitability of the location. A complete harbor has been constructed to provide direct access to the site for the delivery of heavy equipment for the project. That harbor is actually about to be opened sometime next week. A whole village has been built to accommodate the thousands of expected workers employed at the site. We have built roads, health clinics, training centers, et cetera. Since the beginning, $750 million has now been disbursed to achieve all of this. In addition, $350 million has been spent on heavy-fuel oil supplies to the D.P.R.K. since the heavy-fuel oil program began in 1995. In other words, the KEDO project is real, and it is serious. The Agreed Framework is neither a pipe dream nor a Trojan horse.

But what about those delays? There have been delays, mainly caused by political complications that Ambassador Gallucci already referred to and that have occurred during the implementation of the project. Think of the test launch in 1998 of the multistage missile fired by the D.P.R.K. over Japan and other security-related incidents that have cast a shadow over the prospects for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. But perhaps the greatest challenge in the KEDO process has been, and is likely to continue to be, the time that we need to convince the D.P.R.K. of the need to accept its international obligations connected with the LWR project. This process is sometimes at the expense of efficiency, but at the same time it represents an opportunity for the D.P.R.K. to familiarize itself with international legal concepts and arrangements.

I’ll give you an example: nuclear liability. There is a need for a satisfactory legal framework protecting both North Korea and its neighbors against liability in case of a major nuclear accident. Pyongyang must adopt national legislation in this field and adhere to certain international conventions on nuclear liability. And another example of this process of familiarization is the training of future North Korean regulators and operators to meet international safety standards. For obvious reasons, it is vital that the D.P.R.K. develop a nuclear safety culture that will allow it to take full international responsibility after it takes possession of the plants. Under KEDO’s auspices, a group of North Korean nuclear experts recently visited Sweden and Spain to study safety procedures at nuclear plants in those two countries.

The best illustration, however, of how the Agreed Framework has jump-started beneficial interactions between the D.P.R.K. and the outside world is that the framework requires the D.P.R.K. to come into full compliance with its safeguards agreement with the IAEA when a significant portion of the project is completed but before delivery of key nuclear components, as Ambassador Gallucci has already said. KEDO is not responsible for the establishment of such compliance nor for the acceptance of inspections by Pyongyang, but the issue is obviously of direct concern to us because failure by the D.P.R.K. to comply with this requirement would stop the light-water reactor project in its tracks. No key nuclear components will be shipped unless International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors report satisfactory findings at the end of their inspections of the relevant North Korean facilities. So far, the D.P.R.K. has been reluctant to accept IAEA inspections, but, as Ambassador Gallucci has argued, we should not abandon hope.

It is widely assumed that Pyongyang believes that the inspections do not need to begin until several years from now, when shipment of the key nuclear components would be imminent. However, there is no evidence for this assumption. The IAEA, on its part, has made it abundantly clear that it will need somewhere between three to four years to complete the inspections, assuming that the North Korean authorities cooperate with them. KEDO expects that a significant portion of the reactor project will be completed within a few years; therefore, the inspections must begin without further ado. The resumption of the North-South dialogue and the prospects of resumed talks between Pyongyang and Washington may increase the chances of North Korean acceptance of IAEA inspections.

Now, what does all this portend for KEDO? Because KEDO’s mandate is no more and no less than implementing part of the 1994 Framework, the answer depends on many political variables. As long as its mandate remains unchanged, KEDO will continue to support its twin obligations: the LWR project and heavy-fuel oil supply. This won’t be easy, as I have explained. There are numerous pitfalls on the road to completion, and there are years of intensive negotiations ahead of us, both with the North Koreans and among ourselves. We should keep in mind that KEDO is given the task of implementing the LWR project, but it is not its job to overcome political hurdles. KEDO must leave that to the members of its Executive Board: the United States, South Korea, Japan, and the EU.

I believe that questioning the Agreed Framework is questioning engagement. In the ongoing political debate, some have referred to engagement as a dovish approach that has become obsolete, a view that has been reinforced by the State of the Union speech in January. Others believe the Agreed Framework has effectively served as a linchpin for security on the Korean Peninsula and that it has prevented recurrence of the crisis of 1993, when the United States demonstrated its willingness to go to war over evidence that North Korea might be diverting plutonium to make a nuclear bomb.

Of higher relevance than such speculations, however, are the official statements by the two parties to the Agreed Framework. The D.P.R.K., while continuing to accuse the United States of walking away from its obligations under the Agreed Framework, repeatedly reconfirmed the framework’s importance during the past few weeks through official radio broadcasts. And, in response to questions about the administration’s recent waiver of certification requirements for North Korea, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer confirmed, “We will continue to adhere to the Agreed Framework.” So, paraphrasing Mark Twain, I daresay that reports of the Agreed Framework’s death are exaggerated.

Whether or not one likes the Agreed Framework, it proves to be too valuable a tool to be thrown on the scrap heap of history. Before doing so, it is worthwhile to remember this: The Agreed Framework is the only existing international arrangement with North Korea offering a real alternative that prevents the D.P.R.K. from becoming a nuclear power. And KEDO is the only show in town offering economic interdependence on the divided Korean Peninsula. As a European, I’m convinced that ideological divides on any land can be overcome by creating common interests and goals. As in Europe in the 1970s and 1980s, the emerging détente between South and North may be a prelude to cooperation and ultimately unification. I’m very proud that KEDO stimulates this process. Thank you.

Leon Sigal

As you all know, [South Korean special envoy] Lim Dong-won came back from Pyongyang with word that the North is willing to resume talks with the United States. And you also know that the administration’s position is, “We’re prepared to talk anytime, anywhere.” The issue is not whether or when the D.P.R.K. will resume talks with the United States; the issue is whether the talks will go anywhere when they do resume.

It seems to me that no progress is likely while the Bush administration reneges on past commitments to North Korea and seeks to redraw the agenda unilaterally. Unless it shifts out of campaign gear, where the answer to everything is, “We’re not the Clinton administration, stupid,” and lives up to the word of the United States of America, we are headed for trouble on the Korean Peninsula. To understand why, let me offer two astounding propositions. First, it occasionally pays to listen to what others outside of Washington are saying. Second, negotiating tables have two sides, not one, and deals require diplomatic give-and-take. The United States cannot get something for nothing.

North Korea has been willing to cooperate. It seeks an end to its lifelong enmity with the United States. In return, it has shown willingness to give up its nuclear and missile programs. It may eventually even be ready to end its artillery threat to Seoul, but it will not do so unless it gets what it wants in return. The way to reduce the nuclear, missile, and conventional threats from North Korea is to put an end to enmity.

At the same time, the North has kept its nuclear and missile options open as leverage on Washington to live up to its end of the bargain. It has also demonstrated its displeasure in very nasty ways. Now, the administration is absolutely correct to say that it won’t yield to North Korean threats, but it is wrong to see Pyongyang as engaging in blackmail to get economic aid without giving up anything in return. It is not. It is playing tit for tat, cooperating whenever the United States cooperates and retaliating when the United States reneges. That is why it is prudent for us to keep our word.

Four accords matter to Pyongyang: the U.S.-D.P.R.K. joint statement of June 11, 1993; the Agreed Framework of October 21, 1994; the October 6, 2000, joint U.S.-D.P.R.K. statement on international terrorism; and the U.S.-D.P.R.K. joint communiqué of October 12, 2000. The Bush administration has called each of these into question, and that’s why we have a problem now.

First, in the joint statement of June 11, 1993, the D.P.R.K. and the United States agreed to a number of principles. With respect to the first principle, “assurance against threat and use of force, including nuclear weapons,” the U.S. nuclear posture review refers to requirements for use of nuclear arms in “unexpected contingencies,” such as “an opponent’s surprise unveiling of WMD [weapons of mass destruction] capabilities.” Note that WMD is not simply nuclear, and North Korea is the first country listed among those who “could be involved” in such a contingency.

Apart from raising doubts about the 1993 joint statement, the NPR also appears to contradict the negative security assurance given by Secretary of State Cyrus Vance to the UN Special Session on Disarmament in June 1978. On March 14, a D.P.R.K. Foreign Ministry spokesman reacted with a moderate warning, saying, “In case the U.S. plan for a nuclear attack on the D.P.R.K. turns out to be true, the D.P.R.K. will have no option but to take a substantial countermeasure against it, not bound by any D.P.R.K.-U.S. agreement.” That’s what I call tit for tat.

In the 1993 statement, the two sides also agreed to the principle of “peace and security in a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, including impartial application of full-scope safeguards, mutual respect for each other’s sovereignty, and noninterference in each other’s internal affairs.” These are mostly words taken from the UN Charter. They’re pretty anodyne. But here are the president’s words in his February press conference with Kim Dae Jung in Seoul, which spell trouble: “I will not change my opinion on Kim Jong-Il until he frees his people.” He went on, “My comment about evil was toward a regime, toward a government, not toward the North Korean people....We want them to have food. And at the same time, we want them to have freedom, and we will work in a peaceful way to achieve that objective.”

The D.P.R.K. Foreign Ministry spokesman responded two days later. “Bush made clearer the U.S. intention to violate the sovereignty of the D.P.R.K., openly interfere in its internal affairs and stifle it by force…. He talked about ‘change’ of its system and, furthermore, outrageously slandered the supreme headquarters during his current trip…. We are not willing to have contact with his clan which is trying to change by force of arms the system chosen by the Korean people. Useless is such dialogue advocated by the U.S. to find a pretext for invasion, not admitting the D.P.R.K. system.” That’s how the North is reading Bush’s statement.

Finally, the third principle of June 11 pledges “support for the peaceful reunification of Korea.” Here, the administration is inviting trouble with South Korea as much as with North Korea. Impeding reconciliation between the North and the South by discouraging the South from negotiating a peace agreement with the North or providing electricity I think will jeopardize eventually the American presence on the peninsula. Over a decade ago, when governments in Paris and London tried to keep the two Germanys from getting back together, a prudent George Bush knew better than to stand in their way. Another George Bush needs to do the same in the Koreas.

With respect to the Agreed Framework of October 1994, a number of reciprocal commitments were made, including delivery of heavy-fuel oil, which “will reach a rate of 500,000 tons annually, in accordance with an agreed schedule of deliveries.” That schedule has not been met, most recently this year.

Second, “the D.P.R.K. will engage in North-South dialogue, as this Agreed Framework will help create an atmosphere that promotes such dialogue.” Note that the commitment is not binding on the D.P.R.K. alone. It is also absurd for the administration to accuse the North of violating that provision when the North and South have been engaged in high-level talks since last fall. Just because some of those rounds have been held in secret doesn’t mean they weren’t held.

Finally, it provides that, “as progress is made on issues of concern to each side, the U.S. and D.P.R.K. will upgrade bilateral relations to the Ambassadorial level.” The phrase “issues of concern” refers to missiles, among other things.

Bob has talked to you about anticipatory breach. Let me go on to the joint U.S.-D.P.R.K. statement on international terrorism, in which the two sides “underscored their commitment to support the international legal regime combating international terrorism and to cooperate with each other in taking effective measures to fight against terrorism,” specifically “to exchange information regarding international terrorism.” It’s an interesting commitment, and there is at least some evidence the North has been living up to it. It has signed two international accords, and it has hinted it is willing to share information, although that doesn’t mean it has done so.

Finally, the U.S.-D.P.R.K. joint communiqué of October 12, 2000, which was issued on the occasion of Vice Marshal Jo’s visit, stated that “neither government would have hostile intent toward the other.” In plain English, this says that we are not enemies. The declared end to enmity opened the way to the missile deal and to conventional force talks once a missile deal is concluded and implemented. The joint communiqué addressed both matters.

The joint communiqué says, “The two sides agreed on the desirability of greater transparency in carrying out their respective obligations under the Agreed Framework. In this regard, they noted the value of the access which removed U.S. concerns about the underground site at Kumchang-ri.” Remember that the Agreed Framework is not simply about nuclear issues, but also about “other matters,” namely missiles. So, this is a very interesting statement about verification that the North issued in a joint communiqué with the United States.

Two weeks later, as you all know, Secretary of State Albright went to the North and met with head of state Kim Jong-Il. In the course of their talks, he offered to end exports of all missile technology, including under existing contracts, and to freeze testing, production, and deployment of all missiles with a range of 500 kilometers or more. That covers Nodong, Taepo Dong-1, Taepo Dong-2, and arguably the Scud C. Now, to turn that freeze into a verifiable ban, significant issues remain to be explored and resolved, including on-site monitoring to verify the freeze on missile production and deployment. We can monitor testing on our own.

In return, you all know that the D.P.R.K. wanted President Clinton to come to Pyongyang to seal the deal, but with the election hanging like a chad on the Florida ballot, the president got cold feet. Without his commitment to come, the talks stalled. But instead of picking up the ball where Clinton dropped it, Bush has moved the goal posts.

Now, first and foremost, no administration official has ever reaffirmed the October 2000 joint communiqué and its pledge of no hostile intent. And with the “axis of evil” speech, President Bush has repudiated it. Second, the president said in June 2001 that he seeks improved implementation of the Agreed Framework but offered nothing in return; in effect, he wants to rewrite it unilaterally.
People here have not paid enough attention to the North Korean response to that June White House statement. The first response came from the foreign ministry spokesman on June 18, calling on Washington to implement “the provisions of the D.P.R.K.-U.S. agreed framework and the D.P.R.K.-U.S. joint communiqué as agreed upon.” That’s what the North says matters.

North Korea followed that with an interesting statement on June 28, which linked the U.S. demand for nuclear inspections with its own demand for electricity as compensation for the delay in constructing the first reactor under the Agreed Framework. It was hinting at a deal: trading electricity for expedited compliance. That is something worth taking up in negotiations. The June 28 statement also warned of tit for tat: “If no measure is taken for the compensation for the loss of electricity the D.P.R.K. can no longer keep its nuclear activities in a state of freeze and implement the AF [Agreed Framework.]”

The administration has done nothing to pick up Kim Jong-Il’s offer of a negotiated freeze and the end of exports. John Bolton recently told Arms Control Today, “It’s not a deal that we would have agreed to…. And I don’t think they were close anyway.” Someone should ask him if he has personally read the record of Albright’s talks in Pyongyang. It’s absurd for the Bush administration to claim that the North is not complying with the Agreed Framework when it comes to other issues of concern, mainly missiles, while it avoids negotiating a missile deal with the North. It’s absurd that they are still doing bad things without trying to negotiate with them. The North Koreans are under no international or legal obligation of any kind with respect to missiles, but they’ve made an offer. The administration might want to see if they’re serious. That’s called diplomatic give-and-take, and until we seriously engage in it we’ll never know whether we can end the missile threat.

Convinced that it was getting nowhere with Washington, the North changed course last September and resumed ministerial-level talks with the South, which opens the way to a return visit to Seoul by Kim Jong-Il this year. That is an important shift for Pyongyang, which for the past decade has engaged seriously with Seoul only when it was sure Washington was cooperating as well. So, I would pay attention very closely to the North-South dialogue. Whether there are talks with the United States doesn’t matter much. They’re not likely to get anywhere, for the reasons I’ve suggested. Thank you.

Questions and Answers

Question: What has happened to the implementation of the Perry report?

Gallucci: I would say that the diplomacy that Lee referred to at the end of the Clinton administration was a manifestation of the implementation of the Perry report. The Bush administration came in and did its own policy review. My recollection is that the outcome of that review is not that the Agreed Framework ought to be put aside but that it ought to be improved, and the administration was planning and interested in engagement to do this. So, it seems like the Bush review was consistent with the Perry report. Now, I don’t know that I would say that the report was put aside, but neither would I say that the prescription of the Perry report has been implemented by this administration. I would say certainly the Perry report was closely reviewed in the course of this administration’s policy review. I remember hearing one of those involved in the policy review in an open session saying that they had looked at the Perry report very closely.

Question: There seems to be a dichotomy in Washington, using harsh language and then using diplomatic language on joint communication. What is the Bush administration’s policy? What are they trying to do? Are they trying to push the D.P.R.K. over the edge?

Gallucci: I myself feel uncertain about the direction that the administration wishes to go with North Korea. The administration seems to have an ideological posture, and the honesty that it has used in its language about the North Korean regime is consistent with it, which does not create the setting for diplomacy that I might hope for. That concerns me because I don’t know of another way to deal with this problem, short of the use of force. But I have not heard the administration suggest that it’s about to use force.

So, I’m unclear about this. But I would also note that this administration is filled with experts. I mean, these folks did not just arrive in town from no place. They are well familiar with political-military matters. They’re well familiar with the connection between diplomacy and the use of force. I can only conclude that as much as their emphasis is focused elsewhere in the world, that what they are doing is considered. I, however, don’t understand it entirely.

Sigal: A couple of things on that. First of all, on whether there is a policy behind the words, I have a sneaking suspicion that there isn’t. And that is even more troubling than the words. I think we are watching officials talk about their own ideological predispositions in public without an appreciation of how they sound both to North Korea and to South Korea and Japan. And I think most of the words have been unfortunate because they don’t help the United States preserve its alliances or negotiate further constraints on the North Korean threat.

Also, different administration officials may say very different things, but the president’s words matter a lot. And when the president says things that seem to be totally inconsistent with past words that the United States has used jointly with North Korea, I think that’s a problem. And I think we have to be careful with what we say if we want to move ahead on the Korean Peninsula in a way that might end up with no missiles and no nuclear weapons in North Korea.

I cannot understand the administration’s current tack because I do not believe it has a military plan that it’s serious about. In 1994 we nearly stumbled into a war in Korea, and I think we do not want to go back to the brink because that won’t work with South Korea or Japan, as we learned in 1994. We should not go that route, certainly not until we’ve explored negotiating options fully, which we have not done.

But this is not the first administration to start its term in office by rejecting cooperation for the shortsighted but superficially satisfying alternative of demonizing North Korea and trying to compel its collapse. Every administration has then gone through a period of benign neglect, only to experience a rude awakening. Maybe this administration won’t get to the brink of war before it wakes up and realizes there is a possibility of a serious set of deals: improved implementation of the Agreed Framework, for which the North has suggested a way; getting rid of all North Korean missile exports; and moving beyond a freeze to what we really need, which is a verifiable ban of missile deployment, production, and testing. It seems to me we should try that route and see how far we can get.

Question: Will the United States continue to provide heavy-fuel oil if North Korea doesn’t admit the IAEA inspectors, and is there some way that the United States should respond in that situation?

Gallucci: This is a complete hypothetical, right? We are now a couple of years down the road, and KEDO is ready to deliver the nuclear components that would be controlled by the Nuclear Suppliers Group trigger list and can’t do it because North Korea hasn’t yet accepted the full-scope safeguards. What is the United States supposed to do? Well, if the North Koreans were otherwise acting consistently with the framework—i.e., we didn’t think or have reason to believe there was a secret nuclear program somewhere and the IAEA was still inspecting and confirming a freeze on the known nuclear weapons program—it would seem to me that it would be a good idea for us to continue with the delivery of heavy-fuel oil if that was the price of stopping 150 kilograms of plutonium from being produced every year.

Now, I think that the light-water reactor project was not the best outcome that could be imagined. I think, at the time, it was the best outcome that could be negotiated. What I’m saying is that it would be better if we weren’t delivering two 1,000-megawatt light-water reactors to North Korea. It would be better if we were delivering something else that didn’t have potential security implications. Suppose we had made a deal in which KEDO delivered a couple of thousand megawatts of conventionally fueled energy. That would be better. It would be better for the North Koreans because they could have gotten it sooner and better for us because there would be no nuclear power and accumulation of plutonium involved. That is not as bad as what the gas-graphite system, which the North Koreans were building, would have produced, but it is still not ideal.

So, in your hypothetical, I would not be unhappy if the nuclear reactor project did not proceed. That would be okay with me. My perspective here is security.

Now, might we have to manage our alliance relations pretty well? Yes, but I’d be making the argument that everybody is well served as long as we’ve stopped that nuclear weapons program. Would it be better if we also engaged and stopped the missile program and the forward deployment of conventional forces? Sure. But the crisis was over a nuclear weapons program.

Question: Over the weekend, Japan’s opposition Liberal Democratic leader Ichiro Ozawa said that it would be “so easy” to convert Japan’s civil plutonium into thousands of nuclear weapons. North Korea has pointed to the Japanese nuclear program as a threat. How does this resonate in the context of the Agreed Framework?

Gallucci: I don’t believe that this directly bears upon the U.S. relationship with North Korea, South Korea, and even Japan, which we’ve been discussing here. I recognize it could and that there are connections that analysts may wish to draw, but I don’t think it is part of the political dialogue these days, nor do I think it ought to be.

Sigal: I think the more significant development is that when President Bush was in Tokyo, Prime Minister Koizumi, with Bush standing at his side, said, “On North Korea, Japan, through cooperation and coordination with the United States and the Republic of Korea, would like to work on the normalization of relations with North Korea.” This was a very polite, Japanese way of saying we’re not playing your “axis of evil” game; we want to resume normalization talks with the North.

I believe the North Koreans heard Koizumi and read him correctly because, since then, the North has resumed its search for missing persons that Tokyo suspects it kidnapped a couple of decades ago, released a journalist it accused of spying, and it’s about to resume Red Cross talks on missing persons. I think these moves could lead, in the very near term, to the resumption of normalization talks between the D.P.R.K. and Japan.

So, again, I would note that on a political track, the North has not only moved with the South but also with Japan and that it is not assuming that it’s going to get very far with the United States. However, officials in the North are smart enough to know that the politics of this issue in Seoul and Tokyo are such that they’re better off being at the table with the Americans, and I think that’s what we’re seeing. My guess is it will culminate in some very far-reaching news on the Korean Peninsula between the North and South.

Kimball: I think, as our panelists have explained to us very well, it is a time of important choices for the Bush administration and North Korea. We look forward to informing you on future events and appreciate your attendance this morning. Thank you.

Description: 
ACA Press Conference

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Parsing the Nuclear Posture Review

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An ACA Panel Discussion

Before its annual luncheon and membership meeting on January 22, the Arms Control Association held a panel discussion to examine the Bush administration’s nuclear posture review, which was first outlined in a Pentagon briefing January 9. The discussion addressed the results of the review, the differences between this review and the one the Clinton administration conducted in 1994, and the review’s impact on the Bush administration’s negotiations with Russia on strategic nuclear reductions.

The panelists were Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association; Janne E. Nolan, senior fellow at the Eisenhower Institute; Rose Gottemoeller, senior associate with the Non-Proliferation Project of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; and Morton H. Halperin, head of the Washington office of the Open Society Institute and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

The following is an edited version of the panelists’ remarks and the question-and-answer session that followed.

Daryl G. Kimball

Good morning, and welcome to this morning’s panel briefing on the nuclear posture review [NPR] and the prospects for U.S.-Russian arms reductions. Before I introduce our expert panelists, I would like to put the topic in the proper context. In December, President Bush broke his campaign pledge to “offer Russia the necessary amendments to the ABM [Anti-Ballistic Missile] Treaty” and abruptly announced his intention to withdraw from the treaty in June to develop, test, and deploy “limited” anti-ballistic missile systems to defend the United States and its allies.

But even without the ABM Treaty, missile defense testing cannot be significantly accelerated, and deployment of strategic missile defenses is many years away. Further, because it is too soon to tell whether the United States will deploy effective strategic missile defenses, it is too soon to conclude whether and how China and Russia may respond to them. Russia’s relatively subdued initial response was based, in part, on the expectation that deep nuclear force reductions might be codified in a legal agreement rather than through unilateral declarations.

It is important to remember that the ABM Treaty was based on the premise that limitations on anti-ballistic missile systems create more favorable conditions for agreements to limit and eliminate strategic nuclear weapons. Despite a number of missed opportunities on the part of U.S. and Russian leaders over the last three decades to reduce and eliminate offensive nuclear weapons, the ABM Treaty did create the predictability and confidence that allowed for important limitations and reductions in superpower arsenals that have benefited the United States and international security.

Along with the likely—though unnecessary and imprudent—withdrawal from the ABM Treaty, President Bush appears to have abandoned the goal of formal implementation of START II—a major accomplishment of his father’s administration—and the follow-on START III framework of 1997. It therefore becomes incumbent upon President Bush to demonstrate that he can succeed in achieving a new, effective, legally binding nuclear arms reduction agreement with Russia in the absence of the ABM Treaty.

The negotiation of formal agreements can be time consuming. But then again, the president’s proposed reductions would not be fully implemented until 2012. The president still has an excellent opportunity to lock in U.S. and Russian reductions and secure the detailed understandings, verification procedures, and warhead dismantlement procedures that the START process promised. Even with the prospect of U.S. strategic missile defenses, Russia is keen to secure an agreement codifying verifiable, irreversible strategic nuclear reductions in the range of 1,500-2,000 warheads.

Unfortunately, the president’s preference for unilateral, voluntary transfers of operationally deployed strategic warheads to a reserve force and the Pentagon’s nuclear posture review may have already poisoned the well. Though Bush’s goal of 1,700-2,200 deployed strategic warheads is welcome, the nuclear posture review would continue the policy developed in the early 1990s of maintaining a substantial “hedge” force that could be quickly redeployed to counter a resurgent Russia or another nuclear adversary. Not surprisingly, the official Russian reaction to this plan has been very negative so far.

Talks with Russia on strategic reductions have already begun. In a departure from usual practice, the Pentagon and the State Department are sharing the lead on the discussions. It is unclear at this stage whether President Bush will seek an executive understanding with President Putin that does not require formal legislative approval or whether he will opt for a legally binding treaty.

To help us explore these and other issues in greater detail, we have three speakers with substantial expertise on the nuclear posture review and U.S.-Russian nuclear reductions. First, we will hear from Janne Nolan, who will tell us how this nuclear posture review compares to the last one, which was conducted in 1994. After Janne concludes, we will hear from Rose Gottemoeller on how the posture review will likely impact the talks between the United States and Russia on the new strategic framework. I hope that Rose will also describe how the Bush proposal on arms cuts compares to the 1997 START III framework and review the thinking behind START III that she helped develop as a deputy undersecretary in the Energy Department. Finally, Mort Halperin will outline his vision of what an appropriate nuclear posture review in the post-Cold War era should look like and why. Following the panelists’ remarks, we will take questions from the audience.

Janne E. Nolan

Thank you. I spent part of this morning talking to some people who were directly involved in the drafting of this latest nuclear posture review, which still has not been released in an unclassified version. Just for historical context, there’s a long history of nuclear doctrinal innovations that come about as a result of mainly civilian thoughts about what should or might be done to change the nuclear posture, going back even before the Kennedy administration.

These episodes—and this is a gross overgeneralization—tend to involve civilian conceptions of nuclear doctrine that are superimposed on the resilient bedrock of operational realities. It is the requirements of the operational world—the plans and the targeting assumptions for nuclear war-fighting in case deterrence fails—that underlie the reasons that we have “x” numbers of nuclear weapons and how they will be used in crisis. Although political authorities are responsible for giving guidance to operational planners, it is operational plans that have a profound influence over how forces are structured.

This recent nuclear review differs from the 1994 Clinton review in several respects. Let me start with a quick comparison. First, the current review was congressionally mandated and inherited by this administration from the previous administration. In 1994, by contrast, there was an explicit commitment among the civilians in the Department of Defense to conduct a wholesale review—a new look, if you will—at the role of nuclear weapons after the end of the Cold War.

A second difference is that, during the 1994 review, there was no high-level, sustained commitment given to considering, let alone implementing, fundamental change. It started out as a very ambitious effort to scrub all of the assumptions of both declaratory and operational doctrine, to examine whether we needed a triad, why we needed to continue to rely on prompt counterforce, and so on. For many reasons, the review ended up as a pallid, little document that was not briefed around for very long and that essentially ratified the status quo. However, it did commit the United States to one “innovation”: establishing a hedge force. Whatever reductions were to be taken in the nuclear arsenal, according to this policy, we would have to have the ability to reload up to 100 percent of the downloaded force in the event that Russia returned to adversarial status or in the event that there was the ascendance of other so-called peer competitors.

When you look at the latest review, it suggests that there be a replacement of the current triad of forces—the traditional land-, air-, and sea-based forces that have long made up the U.S. deterrent—with a “new triad.” In this formulation, there is to be less reliance on strategic forces for massive attack. One element allows for the replacement of nuclear missions at some point with long-range, precision-guided munitions. A second emphasizes the introduction of defenses to further reduce reliance on nuclear weapons. And third is a plan for significant investment in the nuclear infrastructure, including to allow for some still-unspecified number of warheads that will become part of a reduced force to be held in a so-called responsive reserve. This third piece, the responsive reserve, is actually just one piece of a broader commitment to a serious investment in upgrading and revitalizing the nuclear infrastructure.

At any rate, these three components are seen by the authors to be very radical, even revolutionary, as I just heard this morning, and it’s important to try to understand what’s going on here. The review commits the United States to a really serious investment in nuclear capabilities. Now, the idea of maintaining the ability to wage nuclear war as the basis of deterrence is not new. The idea that you can derive deterrence from an infrastructure that can adapt by size and by capability according to the threat is an adaptation of that basic tenet. Rather than being seen as a new strategy, the so-called responsive reserve, which is what most people have paid attention to, is seen by critics not as actual reductions but simply taking weapons and putting them aside—with an emphasis on being able to redeploy them on relatively rapid notice.

One of the people I talked to this morning said, “Well, what’s the difference between what you’re doing and de-alerting?” And this participant responded facetiously, “Well, we didn’t want to give [Center for Defense Information President] Bruce Blair any credit.” And I actually think, to some degree, that that’s correct, that there was no consensus among the political authorities involved in this review on implementing deep reductions to the level that the president was talking about or on what is essentially a form of de-alerting, if these objectives had been stated explicitly.

Another important distinction between the Clinton administration’s review and this latest review is that there is no commitment to reducing the role of nuclear weapons in the foreseeable future. The Clinton review didn’t succeed in achieving any such goal, but the Bush review had no such focus from the outset.
It is nevertheless notable that this is the first statement of nuclear policy that acknowledges that conventional weapons could take the place of nuclear missions. What is not clear is to what effect, for what missions, and when. But the fact that that was stated is notable. It was explicitly rejected in the Clinton review.

The Bush review also has an explicit commitment to linking nuclear weapons targeting with deterring the use of other weapons of mass destruction. This was avoided in the first Clinton administration because the United States did not want to state explicitly that it would target non-nuclear-weapon states, with the Nonproliferation Treaty review conference around the corner in 1995. Once the conference was behind us, there was a lot of discussion about linking nuclear deterrence to non-nuclear contingencies. Over time, this has evolved into something short of a declaratory policy to use nuclear weapons for all kinds of contingencies.

One way to understand this recent review—and I think it’s an important way—is in the historical context of what happens to stated innovations and their actual translation into operational reality. Whatever one thinks about the statements of objectives in the current nuclear review, it’s important to remember that there’s a huge gap between what’s stated and its translation into policy change, for good or ill. The idea of having a responsive force and of using precision-guided munitions and moving to a “capability based” nuclear arsenal goes back to ideas of the 1970s. However, such objectives have proven elusive when it comes to actually planning strategic options.

We don’t have the precision-guided munitions to even begin to think about substituting conventional forces for nuclear weapons. The commitment to defenses, similarly, is nowhere near an operationally tested reality, and it will be, in my mind, a long time before the Joint Chiefs and STRATCOM [Strategic Command] believe that defenses can take the place of prompt response, to put it politely.

To sum, I think that this initiative fits into the context of a triumph of civilian bureaucracy, where there is a little bit of something to satisfy most constituencies, but it doesn’t amount yet to a military strategy in a way that you might otherwise be much more concerned about. Thank you.

Rose Gottemoeller

I will begin by making a few comments on the nuclear posture review itself, although the bulk of my remarks will be on the nuclear arms control relationship between the United States and Russia and, specifically, on the recent history of that relationship as it relates to limitations on warheads. I will also talk about how we might draw on that history in the coming months, as the two countries try to negotiate a new framework for strategic cooperation.

My first and strongest comment on the NPR is that it places too much emphasis on the utility of nuclear weapons in U.S. military doctrine and strategy. That, in my view, is the most negative aspect of the review, and it in fact reveals the underlying meaning of the hedge strategy: nuclear weapons are important for a whole host of reasons, and we have to keep them around on that account. This emphasis is strong in the NPR, despite the fact, as Janne Nolan has recounted, that the review also stresses shifting certain missions to advanced precision-guided conventional weapons.

My second comment is that among the reasons the hedge strategy is being maintained is the possibility that Russia will re-emerge as a threat to the United States, despite President Bush’s declaration that the Cold War is over. Although it’s not stated in written nuclear posture review briefing materials, as they were released to the public, this concept is very present in the way that the posture review was briefed: both Russia and China are noted as continuing possible resurgent threats and peer competitors of the future. To me, this concept profoundly undermines the new relationship with Putin that President Bush says he is trying to establish. Such an outlook could result in a lost opportunity for the Bush administration to build a new partnership with Russia, unless, in the next six months, it can negotiate a new strategic framework agreement, as the president has stated repeatedly he would like to do.

Given the NPR’s emphasis on this hedging strategy against Russia as well as against other, more inchoate threats, I believe that it is enormously important over the next six months to give Putin the one thing that he wants: a legally binding strategic framework. Certainly, that was the quid pro quo, in my view, for President Putin’s acquiescence to Bush’s announcement of the U.S. intent to withdraw from the ABM Treaty. He felt he got one thing, and one thing alone, that he needed: an agreement from Bush to move forward with some kind of legally binding document by the next summit, which will be held in the early summer in Russia.

With that in mind, I’d like to make a few remarks about how I think we can get out of the situation the United States is in now, where, the Russians are very strongly complaining about what they call the “irreversibility problem” emerging from the NPR. That is, the U.S. hedge strategy and the large number of warheads Washington plans to maintain on the shelf will, in essence, create a situation where Russia will not get any true reductions out of the strategic arms reduction process promised and previously announced by the two presidents.

So, I will first talk a little bit about the history from the last few years and then talk about a way forward. By the time Presidents Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin met in Helsinki in 1997, there was a clear consensus between the United States and Russia that it was time to begin to address warheads in the bilateral strategic arms reduction process. But I want to emphasize the word “begin.”

Warheads are among the most sensitive technologies that the two countries possess, and the two countries recognized that they would not, for many years, be on a path toward irreversibility in arms control that emphasized warheads alone. But they did recognize that they would be able to begin to develop procedures and techniques for warhead monitoring and controls, although these methods would have a somewhat experimental nature to them, and that the two sides would continue to depend on launcher elimination for progress on irreversibility in the strategic arms reduction process. The Helsinki statement, which emerged from that meeting in 1997 and set the framework for START III, took exactly this approach toward warheads.

Actually, during the Clinton administration, there were three forums that sought to work on issues related to irreversibility of warhead reduction. The first was START III and the Helsinki statement. The second was talks to bring about reciprocal monitoring of fissile material removed from nuclear warheads. If you haven’t seen it, there was a very good letter by Ambassador Jim Goodby in The Washington Post yesterday recalling those negotiations in the 1996 time period and talking about how they would have played a role in this particular problem area. And the third area, one that this audience may be less familiar with, was the so-called Warhead Safety & Security Exchange Agreement, or WSSX agreement, which has been in existence since the mid-1990s and was renewed for an additional five years in 2000. I will talk about each of these in turn, but before I do, I’d like to emphasize two points.

First, all U.S.-Russian efforts recognized that they were a long way from a comprehensive, verifiable, and irreversible warhead reduction regime. We have to bear this in mind now as the Russians are fulminating over this nuclear posture review and the hedge strategy.

The second point is related to this: the Russians themselves were the ones who walked away from two of these three forums that I have laid out. At the time we tabled and discussed a draft with them in 2000, they could not accept a warhead protocol in START III. Nor could they accept a reciprocal monitoring of fissile materials, which had been suggested earlier. And again, Ambassador Goodby raised this point in his letter to the Post yesterday. So, we are now trying to recover momentum that the Russians themselves had a hand in disrupting in the mid-to-late 1990s and 2000. And now the administration has changed, and the Bush team is clearly less interested in monitoring warheads and including them in the arms control and arms reduction process. The United States’ interest in the arms reduction process itself has diminished.

People ask me, why do I think the Russians were less able to grapple with these issues during the late 1990s and 2000? I have one answer: the Yeltsin administration was weak. President Yeltsin himself was weak. The bureaucracy was leaderless and was not able to engage the United States usefully during that period. I went to Geneva many times and was involved in those talks and just felt that there was no “there” there on the Russian side. They were not able to engage. They were not able to get their positions together during that period.

Now, let me say a few words in detail about the START III warhead protocol draft. It was, as I mentioned, discussed in several high-level visits to Geneva in 2000. I would say it has a typical structure for a monitoring regime. It included an information exchange; baseline inspections; and some early demonstrations of monitoring technologies, techniques, and procedures. But it did not include, as I mentioned, an ambitious effort to fully put in place a chain of custody verification and inspection regime for warhead elimination because that would take time to develop. But we tried to put a developmental process in place that would, over time, evolve into a more ambitious warhead elimination and verification regime.

Regarding the talks on monitoring fissile materials removed from warheads, the Russians suspended these talks in January 1996. Again, the weakened state of Yeltsin was at fault; there was no support in the Russian bureaucracy. Time and time again, in many different forums during that period, we heard complaints about the expense of undertaking these kinds of more ambitious monitoring efforts regarding fissile material and warheads, although the Russians were quite enthusiastic about our willingness to pay for launcher elimination through the Nunn-Lugar program. Indeed, even now we see this in the proposals laid out by [First Deputy Chief of the Russian Armed Forces Colonel General Yuri] Baluyevsky last week here in Washington. Despite their concerns about what’s going on with the NPR, the Russians have again expressed hope that the United States can establish some continuing cooperative financing for eliminating launchers.

So, that is something that is well established now as a way for the Russians to finance their arms control efforts, and their concerns about the expense of warhead transparency and fissile material controls I took to be a bureaucratic block rather than anything that, in the end, would prevent something from happening.

But a key point that I want to make is that while we talked about these fissile-material measures, in addition to the draft START III warhead protocol, we tried to take a comprehensive approach to nuclear warheads. We want to establish them, over time, as an element of an irreversible strategic arms reduction process, ensuring that warheads were tracked from cradle to grave—from their creation, through their operational deployment, through their elimination process, to their storage as fissile material and related components. So, it was a kind of comprehensive concept, and I would certainly hope that we can get back to that kind of comprehensive approach in the future.

The final forum that I wanted to talk about is the Warhead Safety & Security Exchange Agreement. This is a lab-to-lab agreement between Department of Energy laboratories and Ministry of Atomic Energy laboratories in Russia, but it also involves Ministry of Defense and Defense Department cooperation in the working groups that make up the overall forum. These groups do a lot of things to try to enhance the safety and security of warheads themselves. In other words, they are not only important to our material and warhead protection, control, and accounting but also to work on new technologies and procedures for warhead monitoring—transparency measures, in other words.

As I mentioned, WSSX was renewed in 2000 after five successful years. The financing of projects under the group has been somewhat weak in recent years, and I would like to see financing built up. But it is an extant, active process that continues to work on these problems, regardless of the level of enthusiasm in the current administration for negotiating active warhead measures.

So I would like to emphasize that, in terms of a way forward, a great deal of groundwork on warhead transparency has already been laid, at a policy level and at an ongoing technical level, which we should try to take full advantage of.

And an interesting point that I think is lost in the current debate is that the United States and Russia also have very similar views on the overall structure of the monitoring that would be part of this new strategic framework agreement. They both agree that a foundation should remain in place from the START I verification protocol, and they have both agreed that they should engage in a process to develop new transparency measures, as needed, to support the new framework agreement. So, there’s basic conceptual agreement between the two sides that could be built upon if we can get beyond the current tensions over the NPR.

I see two possible ways forward on warheads, two ways on trying to deal with this issue of irreversibility concerning warheads in the NPR. One way forward—and this is the easy way out—is to continue to engage in technical development of new techniques and procedures, depending on the extant process, and calling it a preparatory period for future, more ambitious efforts in the realm of warhead transparency.

The second way forward is slightly more ambitious. That is, we should seek to develop new techniques and procedures for the transparency of warheads in storage. We should not look forward to the elimination stage and should instead try to establish a chain-of-custody type of approach. And I have reason to believe that both the Russians and the Americans might be willing to move forward to that more ambitious stage, beyond a simple preparatory period. Thank you.

Morton H. Halperin

I want to talk a little bit about what a serious nuclear posture review would look like, conceding that that was certainly not done in the Clinton administration, just as I think that it has not been done in the Bush administration. Let me start with three of the criticisms that have been made of the Bush review and its conclusions. These criticisms are, in my view, valid. But even if the administration is correct, it still could have developed a fundamentally different nuclear posture.

The first criticism has to do with the notion that nuclear weapons have utility. I think they do not, and I think that the effort to find uses for them is extraordinarily counterproductive in terms of dealing with issues of nonproliferation. But in terms of the design of the nuclear posture, I think it is in fact, as I’ll suggest, irrelevant whether nuclear weapons have some utility or not.

Second, there is the question of replacing nuclear weapons with conventional warheads. And since I believe there are no nuclear missions, I find this quite extraordinary. It is not at all clear to me what anybody means by this because it assumes that there were or are or could be military purposes for the use of nuclear weapons.

This is a proposition that has continually been put forward but in my view has always been shown to be false. And I think one of the best discussions of this is in Colin Powell’s memoirs, which describe how people came to him during the Persian Gulf War and said, “We have uses for nuclear weapons.” And he said, “Go try.” You can also go back and read discussions from the 1958 Quemoy crisis, where once again people said, “There’s utility for nuclear weapons.” There is no such thing. There has never been such a thing. And so replacing nuclear weapons with conventional weapons is either impossible or easy, depending on how you want to think about it. But the notion that we could somehow come up with a better, more accurate, deeper-digging conventional weapon and that that would then change the need for nuclear weapons I think profoundly misunderstands what nuclear weapons have been useful for and might be useful for.

The third criticism is the notion that the posture review hedges against a revival of Russia or China. Now, it has already been suggested that establishing a hedge could be taken to mean de-alerting, which many people urged the Pentagon to do and which we’ve now criticized this administration for doing. I think the issue is not hedging. I think hedging is, in fact, the right thing to do. The issue is the size of the hedge—how many forces we need in the hedge. But I think we ought to grab at the hedging and say, “This is exactly right.”

Now, if you began with the assumption—which the president has assured us is his fundamental view of the world—that Russia is not a strategic enemy, at least at the moment, Washington should think of the Russian nuclear posture the way it thinks of the British and the French nuclear postures. Now, one could spend a lot of time talking about what we think of those, but basically it means, as the president and the secretary of defense have both said, that they don’t go to bed at night worrying that the Russians will fire large numbers of nuclear weapons at the United States before they wake up.

The nuclear posture of the United States has always been and, in fact, continues to be based on that fear—one that was relevant and important in an earlier period but that is now totally and completely absurd. No serious nuclear posture can continue to maintain that hypothesis, but the current posture will clearly not lead to any change from that.

Now, even if you believe in a hedge, even if you believe in the utility of nuclear weapons in a wide variety of circumstances, you could still have a very different and a much less dangerous American nuclear posture. Let me suggest quickly what that would look like.

The first and most important element is for the president to tell the military that he does not want the capacity to launch and has no intention of firing nuclear weapons quickly—either in response to a fear of an attack or an actual attack, whether that attack is nuclear, conventional, or biological—and that, therefore, the ability to fire quickly is something that should not be and need not be built into the nuclear posture.

Second, the president needs to tell the military that they need not fear a large-scale, out-of-the-blue attack on the American nuclear forces; that if such a capability and such an intention ever is to develop again, we would have very substantial notice—months and years—that it was coming; and that, in the meantime, they need not design the posture out of the fear that the force might be subject to a sudden, large-scale attack.

Then the question is, how many nuclear weapons does the president want to have the ability to use in a given period? Here, I would divide the question into hours and days versus weeks and months, if not years. And in the first category, the question is, even if you assume that nuclear weapons had to be used to deter or to retaliate against conventional, chemical, or biological attacks—none of which, I think, is what we should do—I would argue that it is impossible to come up with a scenario in which we would want to fire anything like 100 nuclear warheads. Therefore, a posture that gives us the capacity to fire up to 100 warheads, at a range of targets to be determined by the president, is a sufficient number of warheads to have in a posture where the missiles could be fired in hours or days.

Now, I would also hedge against the re-emergence of a large Russian, Chinese, British, or French nuclear posture by having another 900 warheads, so that we get to 1,000. These would be in a standby posture of the kind that the administration seems to be contemplating for a much larger force—a set of nuclear warheads that are protected and kept in functioning shape but where the notion of linking them to delivery systems is measured in weeks, months, or years rather than in hours or days.

Finally, I think the president needs to tell the military that there is no requirement to be able to destroy some fraction of a conceivable enemy’s military capability—the bridges, the industrial capacity—and that having 100 nuclear warheads and a range of military and other targets that the president might threaten to attack or might actually authorize an attack on will deter others from using nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons or from even engaging in conventional attacks.

So, the debate about whether the United States can go below 1,000 warheads needs to be settled, in my view, by the president simply by taking it off the table—by, in fact, doing what the Bush people have always said they wanted to do, which is to move away from assured destruction. And the way you move away from assured destruction is by precisely telling the military that deterrence does not require the certainty of surviving an attack—remember, we told them no attack is coming—and then launching a strike that destroys some predetermined percentage of a hypothetical enemy’s industrial capability or conventional or nuclear capability.

If you take those factors off the table, I think that you will end up with a nuclear posture that is much less likely to trigger accidental or inadvertent launches by the Russians. Such a posture also would be much less likely to trigger inadvertent use by the United States but still maintains the capacity to deter others from doing things that even the authors of the current nuclear posture would like to do. Thank you.

Questions and Answers

Question: I have gathered from your comments that you feel that the administration considers Russia a strategic threat, but what proof do you have of that? In its policy documents, the administration claims that that’s not the case and that it plans to keep these weapons to counter some unforeseeable future threat.

Halperin: What I have been driving at is that there is an extraordinary gap between the assertion that the administration no longer consider Russia an enemy, at least in the short run, and the directives that it has given to the military for the design of the nuclear posture. After all, I know nobody who believes that Britain, France, Iraq, or China could launch a surprise nuclear attack at the United States that would take out a large part of its nuclear force. So, if we continue to expect the military to have a nuclear force that is on high alert, ready to survive a large-scale attack, I guess it’s logical to say it must be from Russia, unless they know something about a threat from outer space that the rest of us don’t know.

And similarly, the numbers make no sense unless you are either talking about surviving a Russian attack and destroying Russia. There is no other purpose for which you would conceivably use anything like the numbers that the military apparently keeps telling the civilians it needs, and the military only gives these numbers because the civilians have not told them, “Assume this is not about Russia.”

Nolan: Again, this apparent disconnect is consistent with a long-standing history of presidential inattention to the details of reviews and, in most cases, operational plans. But evidently, the effort by political appointees was really to try to accommodate what Bush had already publicly stated to Putin while also taking into account the views of the office of the secretary of defense, the Department of Energy, and STRATCOM. One of the participants said to me that if the cuts outlined by Bush had been final and not linked to the notion of a flexible infrastructure that can be built up, that the group would have found Bush’s policy “unacceptable.”

So, this is definitely a metaphor for the absence of presidential authority in these matters. So, Mort, with whom I agree with on almost all things, when you talk about, “The president should say this and that,” note that no president has ever done that successfully. It’s like the Beach Boys’ song, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice?”

Question: Assume for a moment that the Bush administration is re-elected. At the end of eight years, will we see the development of a new nuclear weapon, and will we see the resumption of underground testing?

Gottemoeller: I think there’s no question from the briefing materials we’ve seen and the presentation of the nuclear posture review that there is a certain enthusiasm for moving in that direction among the high-level political appointees in this administration. But I would note that [Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy J.D.] Crouch again and again said, “We have no plans at this time to proceed in that direction.” But that little phrase, “at this time,” gave me considerable pause, I must say.

However, I believe that, if the administration is beginning to act on those enthusiasms, it perhaps hasn’t yet taken into account how difficult it will be domestically to restore those efforts. I particularly am thinking about what has been happening recently with Yucca Mountain in Nevada and the governor of Nevada being extraordinarily negative about moving forward on the Yucca Mountain nuclear repository. I think the administration will have heavy lifting to do if it wants to reopen the Nevada Test Site against public opinion in Nevada.

So, it may try to push in that direction, but I believe that it will have some barriers to jump over to accomplish it. I’m not saying that, in the end, those would be decisive barriers, but I consider them significant.

Kimball: Let me just add two quick points. I agree with what Rose said. But it was also clear from Crouch’s press briefing a couple of weeks ago that there still is no new military requirement for a new nuclear weapon. The administration will be pursuing an investigation of whether a modification of existing designs is desirable. There is already the B-61 Mod-11 earth penetrator. It is going to be undertaking a study beginning in April 2002 on further modifying existing weapons.

An additional barrier to resuming testing is the fact that the United States, despite the Bush administration’s policy on a test ban, is still a signatory to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. The president could notify the treaty’s depository, the UN secretary-general, that the United States has no intention of ratifying the treaty and thereby free the United States of its obligation under the Vienna Convention on Treaties not to violate the intent or purpose of the treaty. But if he were to take that action, I think that there would be a negative international and domestic reaction that far surpasses the reaction to the United States’ notification of its intent to withdraw from the ABM Treaty because the CTBT is a multilateral treaty and is very much a part of the nuclear nonproliferation regime.

Question: Given that the test ban was rejected and that the posture review points at least in the possibility of resuming testing, do you think that supporters of the Stockpile Stewardship Program might now be more critical of that program? Also, how much do you think the Stockpile Stewardship Program should invest in things like plutonium production and tritium production?

Gottemoeller: Many working on the U.S. nuclear weapons complex would like to resume testing, not to produce a new weapon but because some of them are concerned that they are not able to maintain the weapons with the degree of certainty that they would like to have. So, I think there is a certain feeling inside the complex now that stockpile stewardship should be sustained at a high level and that we should prepare the infrastructure for testing. Certainly, that was a part of the nuclear posture review.

But I would like to stress that the emphasis in the posture review on improving the infrastructure—and that includes being able to reopen the Nevada Test Site more quickly—has to do with this question of whether the stockpile is in fact a stockpile in which the president can have high confidence. There is a small band of people at the political level in the administration who are very interested in developing new, small, “usable” weapons. But I would say the great majority of people in the weapons complex are more concerned about maintaining the current stockpile.

Question: What do you think the Russians expect to get, in terms of content, out of a legally binding document? If anybody expects any limits on the deployment of offensive weapons, I think they don’t understand the current administration.

Gottemoeller: No, they don’t. I can tell you what the Russians have told me, and that is that they require only a very simple, straightforward, perhaps two-page document that would have a minimum of three points: One, a restatement of the unilateral reduction announcements that Presidents Putin and Bush have already made. Second, some kind of statement that the national missile defense system the United States is constructing and any missile defense system that Russia would construct would not be designed in such a way as to remove the viability of the other side’s offensive deterrent. The third point is that the two sides will engage in a continuing process to develop the transparency measures that will be required to build confidence in the implementation of the reductions that the presidents have promised.

What the Russians envision is not a legally binding verification measure to verify that reductions have taken place but a transparency measure to increase confidence that reductions are moving forward as promised by the president. So, they have a very minimalist approach as to what they need, and some other things are being embroidered into it. Many of you have probably seen Baluyevsky’s press conference in which he mentioned some other things like Nunn-Lugar.

Nolan: I agree with everything Rose said; it’s very astute. I just want to suggest that there’s a good possibility that, by the end of this year, the necessity of calibrating this relationship will require discussions that are formalized at least in an executive agreement.

Gottemoeller: If I could just add one point—and I maybe was a bit unclear—the document I’m talking about, two to three pages, must be a legally binding document. So, Janne is absolutely right. But I wouldn’t give the administration until the end of this calendar year. In my view, this legally binding document must be ready by the time the presidents meet again at the next summit, which is tentatively scheduled for May. President Putin made it very clear at Crawford that he does not want to have any more picture tours of the White House. He wants an agreement to sign the next time around, and I think that that will be an absolute necessity for their next meeting.

Question: I’ve heard that the administration’s planned reductions are no more than what the Clinton administration was proposing because the weapons in submarines that are being refitted, in part, aren’t counted. Is that true?

Gottemoeller: Yes.

Nolan: I believe the administration had to fight with certain parts of the Pentagon, not only with Strategic Command, about going below 2,000 for the first time. And frankly, I think that these large reserve numbers that we’re seeing now was part of the compromise that had to be crafted in order to enable Bush to make that rhetorical announcement.

I’m the world’s biggest optimist, but I also think that it is worthwhile paying attention to what the Bush administration has said about reviewing these numbers every two years. I think that this policy community, and others, perhaps on the Hill, might be able to push them to look more seriously at accelerating reductions.

Question: At the 2000 nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty review conference, a political commitment was made by the United States to an unequivocal undertaking to totally eliminate nuclear weapons. How do you believe the administration is going to square the nuclear posture review with this solemn undertaking to the international community?

Halperin: No senior official of the Clinton administration thought there was such a solemn commitment, and no official of the Bush administration thinks there’s such a commitment. So, I think they will not have trouble walking away from it because they don’t believe they made it, and they certainly were not told by their predecessors that they had made it, because they didn’t believe it either.

Nolan: Sadly, the worlds of diplomacy and nuclear planning are as far apart as you can possibly imagine. As was discovered clearly in the Clinton administration during discussions of the African nuclear-weapons-free zone protocol when there was reluctance on the part of the United States to sign, it became clear that few in the defense planning side believe that any of these agreements are binding. The view was, “They’re just policy.”

Kimball: Well, thank you everyone for your interest and attention. This will not be the last time that the Arms Control Association and, I’m sure, others of us here in this room will address this topic.

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The Impact of September 11 on Multilateral Arms Control

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On January 22, Jayantha Dhanapala, the United Nations undersecretary-general for disarmament affairs, delivered the keynote address at the Arms Control Association’s annual luncheon. In his speech, Dhanapala discussed the span of multilateral initiatives to halt the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and addressed how the importance and the viability of those efforts have changed since the terrorist attacks of September 11.

A career diplomat with extensive arms control experience, Dhanapala was a member of the Sri Lankan foreign service from 1965 to 1997. He served as ambassador to the United Nations, ambassador to the United States, and additional foreign secretary. In 1995, he chaired the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty review and extension conference, which resulted in unanimous support for indefinite extension of the treaty. He has held his current post since 1998.

The following is the text of Dhanapala’s remarks and an edited version of the question-and-answer session that followed.

Introduction

I would like to begin by thanking the Arms Control Association for honoring me as the speaker at your annual luncheon—my first chance to address the Association since my remarks at your annual dinner in 1996. I predicted then that the prospects for nuclear disarmament—despite the success of the NPT [nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty] review and extension conference and the imminent conclusion of the CTBT [Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty]—were “not good.” Looking around at the debris of multilateral disarmament endeavors, I am surprised to be invited again! But I must congratulate Daryl Kimball upon his assumption of the position of executive director of this highly respected institution and do predict confidently that the prospects today for the Association are good. I also pay tribute to the many years of service rendered by Spurgeon Keeny, who helped lay a solid foundation.

Daryl noted in his introduction that the world will soon mark the 56th anniversary of the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of its very first resolution, which aimed at the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction. Yet, two other anniversaries also deserve some note on this occasion. Today, 63 years ago, a cyclotron at Columbia University split a uranium atom, heralding the world’s first fission experiment. And a week from today will mark the 38th anniversary of the world premiere of the classic film “Dr. Strangelove,” a film some of you here today might recognize more by its subtitle—“How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.” All these events illustrate the issues on which ACA and its supporters have worked over the years—issues that remain with us and have acquired even greater urgency after September 11, 2001.

The Historical Significance of September 11

The historical significance of September 11, like the fall of the Berlin Wall, will be debated for years to come. Was it the end of history? Was it our entry into the 21st century through a “gate of fire,” as my secretary-general has put it? That it brought the issue of terrorism into the forefront of the global agenda—far from being a purely national or regional concern—is indisputable.

And yet, the rest of the global agenda before September 11 remains with us. That includes the problems posed by weapons of mass destruction [WMD] to international peace and security. The United Nations “Millennium Declaration” pledged to eliminate the dangers posed by such weapons. These dangers are accentuated by the efforts reportedly made by al Qaeda to acquire WMD. Yet, there are also other extremist groups in all regions who, in their blinkered vision, can only see civilizations clashing, not coexisting, and who are prepared to use unthinkable methods to bring about the crash of civilization in its entirety.

In the backlash to the events of September 11, my distinguished colleague, Mary Robinson, the UN’s high commissioner for human rights, along with other human rights bodies, has warned that human rights should not be sacrificed as we deal with terrorists. Secretary-General Kofi Annan put it unambiguously when he said, “There is no trade-off between effective action against terrorism and the protection of human rights.”

Seeing the escalation of global military expenditure, I must myself warn against the sacrifice of disarmament and arms control norms in the battle against terrorism. While some prefer paperless disarmament, that is surely no reason to jettison the treaties and conventions that do act as a legal barrier to the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction and the proliferation of their delivery systems. Our need to prevent terrorist groups from obtaining WMD material and technology demands the strengthening of existing norms and greater efforts to implement them.

Multilateral Efforts Against WMD

Prior to September 11, it was already evident that global military expenditure—after its decade-long decline following the end of the Cold War—had begun to rise ominously. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute has recently reported that world military expenditure in 2000 was about $798 billion in current dollars and that the largest volume increases were in Russia and the United States. The regions showing the steepest increases in military spending were Africa with 37 percent, and South Asia was not far behind with a 23 percent increase.

Since September 11, we have seen that both the United States and Russia have announced increases in their military budgets. Many other countries have cited terrorism as a reason to increase military budgets, although there is no correlation between such investments and counterterrorism. One U.S. commentator pointed out that the United States spends $20 billion annually on preparing to fight a large-scale nuclear war with Russia while spending less than $2 billion annually on homeland defense. News reports also show that the bombing in Afghanistan cost $1 billion per day. Yesterday, participants at an international meeting in Tokyo identified $15 billion in immediate needs for the rebuilding of Afghanistan over the next five years. That is equivalent to 15 days of bombing—surely an insurance premium for never having to bomb that country again and surely a better investment in preventing Afghanistan from becoming an incubator of deadly terrorism ever again.

The events of September 11 should be moving the international community toward a culture of prevention instead of toward a culture of reaction. The secretary-general’s report on the prevention of conflict, issued three months before that tragic date, identified disarmament as one of the key tools in achieving this new culture of prevention.

The United Nations and other multilateral organizations working on disarmament and nonproliferation goals are doing all they can to contribute to this goal, and they are doing so through concrete deeds, not just words. All of the UN’s efforts in this field should be considered within the context of the dozen international conventions that have been negotiated over the years to strengthen international cooperation against the scourge of terrorism. These treaties, combined with the treaty regimes for the elimination and nonproliferation of all WMD, offer the basic architecture for the world’s coordinated, global response to the gravest threats to international peace and security in the new century ahead.

The United Nations is no stranger to the issue of terrorism. Its various resolutions and declarations extend back several decades. The key to the fate of these efforts remains, as it always has, with the resources and the political will of its member states. The UN response to the attacks of September 11 was swift and is continuing to unfold in several important ways. Consider for a moment the following recent activities.

The UN General Assembly and the Security Council adopted resolutions denouncing the attacks the day after they took place. On September 28, the Security Council then adopted Resolution 1373, which aimed at targeting terrorists and those who harbor, aid, or support them. Through this resolution, the Security Council also established a new subsidiary organ called the Counter-Terrorism Committee [CTC], which is working with international, regional, and subregional organizations to find ways of expanding assistance to states on a host of financial, regulatory, and legislative issues. The resolution calls upon all UN member states to report to the CTC on the specific steps they are taking to implement Resolution 1373.

From October 1 to 5, the General Assembly held a special debate on measures to eliminate international terrorism. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, when addressing the General Assembly on October 1, called for developing a broad, comprehensive, and sustained strategy to combat terrorism. He specifically stressed the need to strengthen the global norm against the use or proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. He emphasized, for example, the need to redouble efforts to ensure universality, verification, and full implementation of key treaties; to promote cooperation among international organizations dealing with these weapons; and to tighten national legislation over exports of technologies needed to manufacture weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery.

From October 15 to 26, a United Nations working group on measures to eliminate international terrorism met to continue the elaboration of an overarching draft convention on international terrorism. Efforts are continuing to reach consensus on such a convention as well as on a separate convention on nuclear terrorism.

Also, in October the secretary-general established a policy working group on the UN and terrorism to identify longer-term implications and broad policy steps the UN system might make in the collective international effort against terrorism. This group, composed of many offices and departments inside the UN system, will produce a report by next June containing its recommendations on specific contributions the United Nations can make in addressing this global threat.

On November 29, the General Assembly re-emphasized the importance of multilateral responses to terrorism, disarmament, and proliferation challenges by adopting without a vote Resolution 56/54T, which reaffirmed multilateralism as a “core principle” in disarmament and nonproliferation negotiations. The resolution emphasized that “progress is urgently needed” in the area of disarmament and nonproliferation in order to help maintain international peace and security and to contribute to global efforts against terrorism, and it called upon all member states “to renew and fulfil” their commitments to multilateral cooperation in these areas.

On January 18, the Security Council had an open meeting on terrorism. The secretary-general called on the CTC to develop a long-term strategy that would enable all states to undertake the steps needed to defeat terrorism. The chairman of the committee, Britain’s ambassador to the UN, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, stated that the council’s aim was to improve the average performance level of governments against terrorism across the globe by upgrading the capacity of each nation’s legislation and executive machinery to fight terrorism. Speakers also called for more attention to be given to issues that fueled terrorism, including poverty, intolerance, regional conflicts, denial of human rights, environmental degradation, lack of access to justice and equal protection under the law, as well the lack of sustainable development.

This collective effort treats terrorism as a multidimensional subject, requiring diverse, synergistic contributions throughout the UN system. There are very strong reasons indeed for one to believe that the events of September 11, while not directly involving what are classically termed “weapons of mass destruction,” will lead to the strengthening of global disarmament norms. Multilateral efforts are already underway to create, maintain, implement, and extend such norms in a variety of global arenas.

With respect to nuclear weapons, the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] called the September 11 events a “wake-up call” for new efforts to enhance controls over security of nuclear materials. After having been handicapped by a zero-growth budget for many years, the IAEA is finally starting to get some of the additional funds it needs to confront new safeguards and physical security threats seriously.

In an effort to rekindle international efforts to enhance the physical security of fissile nuclear materials and other radioactive substances, the General Conference of the IAEA adopted a resolution on September 21 requesting the director-general to review the agency’s activities to strengthen its work relevant to acts of terrorism that involve such materials.

In late October, the IAEA organized an international symposium on nuclear verification and security of material, involving the participation of more than 500 national and international experts in the fields of nuclear safeguards, nonproliferation, security, and safety. The agency is looking closely at the adequacy of controls under the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material to see what more can be done to enhance these controls. Specifically, the director-general has decided to convene a group of legal and technical experts to draft an amendment aimed at strengthening the convention. The IAEA is also working hard to strengthen nuclear safeguards through its efforts to promote international acceptance of the Additional Protocol. The success of the IAEA’s multilateral efforts in all these fields will be not only laudable but also absolutely essential if there is any hope whatsoever for progress in eliminating the threat of nuclear terrorism.

Multilateral efforts against the possession or proliferation of chemical weapons are another intense focus of ongoing multilateral efforts. In response to two UN Security Council anti-terrorism resolutions last September, the Executive Council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons [OPCW] specifically addressed the issue of chemical terrorism in its autumn session. The council has stressed the need to focus on achieving universal adherence to the convention, enacting national implementing legislation, and ensuring the OPCW’s ability to respond to a request for assistance and protection in the event of the use or the threat of use of chemical weapons. The council also established a working group to develop recommendations for OPCW’s contribution to the global anti-terrorism effort. The working group will propose specific measures to the next session of the council, which will be held from March 19 to 22 this year.

Worldwide, 70,000 tons of chemical agents have been declared to the OPCW. These stockpiles have been completely inventoried, inspected, and reinspected. Furthermore, all the declared chemical weapons production facilities have been deactivated. The global chemical industry is subject to inspection by the OPCW. Dual-use chemicals, which could be misused as precursors of chemical weapons, are carefully monitored, and the trade in the most dangerous chemicals is limited to member states.

With respect to biological weapons, despite the inability of the states party to the BWC [Biological Weapons Convention] to reach a consensus on a verification protocol after many years of effort, efforts will continue at the treaty’s resumed review conference later this year to reach agreement on a common multilateral approach to reinforce the global ban on biological weapons. I hope that the growing public awareness of the threats associated with such weapons will inspire greater progress in this area, notwithstanding the absence of an organization to implement this norm.

For its part, the World Health Organization has compiled a final draft of international guidelines on responding to terrorist attacks using biological and chemical weapons. The draft emphasizes international cooperation, including through the OPCW, to prepare for possible terrorist attacks.

Historically speaking, the United States has played key roles in fostering multilateral approaches to alleviate these threats, particularly those arising from the global spread of weapons of mass destruction. With respect to nuclear threats, the United States recognized even before the end of the Second World War that efforts to address such threats would require extensive international cooperation. This led to the Baruch Plan, the Atoms for Peace program, the creation of the IAEA and its system of nuclear safeguards, and numerous other initiatives and agreements. Together, these led to the accretion of a body of international law founded both on numerous multilateral treaties and on the customary practices of states. In many cases, these multilateral control efforts originated in unilateral proposals by leaders of countries, and it is surely fair to say that the leadership of the United States has often been crucial in the success of these efforts. This leadership will continue to be vitally important in contributing to the success of multilateral organizations like the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the IAEA, whose efforts will also substantially reduce the risks of possible use of chemical or nuclear weapons not just by states, but also by terrorists.

Similarly, the successful conclusion of an international convention against nuclear terrorism—a goal that has eluded an international consensus for too long—would help significantly in confronting this enormous challenge. There is also a compelling need to upgrade physical security at facilities that produce, store, or use a wide variety of controlled radioactive substances—especially those of the fissile variety—and to re-examine internationally the adequacy of controls currently prescribed by the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. Strong U.S. leadership on behalf of these two important conventions would undoubtedly serve the interests of international peace and security.

The problem of nuclear terrorism was anticipated long ago. On April 25, 1945, a mere fortnight after the death of President Franklin Roosevelt, Secretary of War Henry Stimson wrote a memorandum to the new president warning that “the future may see a time when such a weapon may be constructed in secret and used suddenly and effectively with devastating power by a willful nation or group against an unsuspecting nation or group of much greater size and material power.” Yet, most of the early postwar efforts to address the global nuclear threat focused exclusively on nation-states as their primary subjects. Nuclear terrorism became a popular topic in the professional arms control literature in the mid- to late-1970s, though the urgency and global scope of this threat has only recently started to receive the attention it so richly deserves.

This important leadership role for the United States is not limited to initiatives of its government. Since its founding in 1971, the Arms Control Association has pursued the fundamental goal of promoting public understanding of effective policies and programs in arms control, a role it has fulfilled well over the years. The United Nations also appreciates the importance of such activities by numerous other academic and other nongovernmental groups in civil society around the world. In response to a General Assembly resolution, the United Nations itself has underway an experts study on disarmament and nonproliferation education. The group has already met twice and plans to submit its report later this year to the 57th session of the United Nations General Assembly. With public understanding and support as a foundation and strong multilateral norms and institutions to advance such norms, the world will have every reason to expect a significant reduction in both the threats posed by all weapons of mass destruction, including terrorist threats.

The terrorist acts of September 11 have shaken the world out of a dangerous complacency. The public, concerned groups, and legislators are now starting to take much more seriously not only the threat of terrorism but also the danger that WMD may actually be used against military or civilian targets. In this sense, the sarin nerve gas attack in Japan in 1995 and the anthrax incidents in the United States and elsewhere in recent months have encouraged leaders everywhere to reconsider old assumptions, reassess old policies, and explore new collaborative international ways and means of alleviating genuine common threats.

Longer-Term Implications of September 11 for Disarmament

It is, of course, premature to predict the specific, long-term impacts of the events of September 11 upon the prospects for nuclear arms control, nonproliferation, disarmament, and their common denominator—international peace and security. One can safely say, however, that the tragedy is already leading to calls for a profound reassessment of the doctrine of nuclear deterrence and for an entirely new approach to the whole notion of weapons-based approaches to defense.

It is regrettable, but surely indisputable, that the states that possess nuclear weapons remain quite unprepared to give them up anytime soon despite repeated formal and informal commitments, most recently their unequivocal undertaking at the May 2000 review conference of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals. There certainly has been some progress to note in recent years, including efforts by some nuclear-weapon states to declare publicly their holdings of fissile nuclear materials, to declare limitations or reductions in the size of their arsenals, to halt the production of new fissile materials, and in some cases to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

We hear of a reduced dependency on nuclear weapons but of a continuing need for a strategic “triad” that includes nonnuclear means of deterrence—recognizing that a country’s vast superiority in highly capable conventional weapons can conceivably inspire other states to seek WMD as an asymmetrical response. We hear reaffirmations of the doctrine of the first use of nuclear weapons and, from some nuclear-weapon states, words on behalf of the continuing value of tactical nuclear weapons. We hear of reductions in deployed, operational weapons but also of transfers of operational weapons to various reserve categories rather than to facilities for their verified physical destruction. We also hear that these reductions will occur unilaterally, outside of any binding treaty framework, and hence will be reversible and free from any bilateral or international verification. One senior U.S. official recently stated that “we are currently projecting to keep the nuclear forces that we have to 2020 and beyond—and longer and beyond.”

The NPT’s strengthened review process, however, will play an important role in holding all the treaty’s nuclear-weapon states accountable for their past commitments to eliminate their nuclear stockpiles. The first preparatory committee meeting of the states party to the treaty will get underway in April, and there will be two additional sessions before the 2005 NPT review conference. The fate of this ongoing process will provide some solid indicators of the future of both nuclear disarmament and nuclear nonproliferation.

Another area for potential progress in the years ahead lies in the field of controlling the dangers inherent in long-range ballistic missiles, though global multilateral disarmament efforts in this field are unfortunately still nonexistent. In April 1999, the secretary-general issued a statement noting with concern the lack of multilateral norms with respect to both missiles and missile defenses. A year later, the General Assembly asked the secretary-general to establish an experts group to examine the question of missiles in all its aspects. I hope that the events of September 11 will lend some new urgency to efforts to establish such norms, though I do not underestimate the difficulties ahead in achieving such a goal.

There are solid technical and economic grounds for doubting that terrorist groups will themselves acquire ICBMs anytime soon. In terms of nonstate actors, the missile “genie” is still inside its bottle. With sufficient political will, strengthened by the heightened public sensitivity to international threats, it is possible that the states that possess such weapons may in the years ahead be willing to conclude some new multilateral agreements to reduce substantially the dangers of such missiles. The MTCR’s [Missile Technology Control Regime] draft “code of conduct” and the Russian Federation’s Global Control System are examples of such proposals that are now under consideration. Multilateral progress in this area can build upon unilateral actions or agreements among specific countries.

Global missile and WMD threats can also be reduced via greater multilateral cooperation in export controls to ensure that the most sensitive components and technologies, as well as related dual-use goods, do not end up creating new risks to international peace and security. Such an effort, however, must be global and nondiscriminatory or it will have little chance of long-term success. The global goal, however distant it may now appear, of eliminating long-range missile delivery systems has some profound advantages over halfway measures that focus exclusively on nonproliferation, missile defenses, deterrence, or simply enhancing confidence in existing missile stockpiles. These advantages relate specifically to the basic fairness and equity of a nondiscriminatory disarmament goal and the practical advantages in verifying compliance with a global ICBM ban rather than arrangements that simply aim at regulating the development, stockpiling, and use of missiles.

It is vital, therefore, that these incremental steps in the field of missiles occur not just to stabilize the global missile status quo but also to serve a longer-term purpose—namely, the ultimate elimination of such missiles. The preamble of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty envisages the goal of the elimination from national stockpiles of all delivery vehicles for weapons of mass destruction, and I believe that incremental steps in this direction would undoubtedly serve the interests of international peace and security.

Toward a New Multilateral Approach to Security

What is perhaps most striking about many responses to the threats posed by both terrorism and weapons of mass destruction is the extent to which these responses rely upon weapons. What is missing from this weapons-based approach to security is an emphasis on the need for deeper multilateral cooperation rooted in binding legal norms that are implemented with the assistance of global international organizations.

The late Paul Warnke once referred to the nuclear arms race as a process much akin to “apes on a treadmill.” It is perhaps more apparent today than ever that real change, when it comes to thinking about nuclear weapons, is slow in coming and slower yet in implementation. Extensive international cooperation and public participation from civil society is needed to ensure that counterterrorism efforts will escape this familiar syndrome.

Effective measures against WMD terrorism and on the behalf of WMD disarmament simply cannot be accomplished by any single country acting alone. No one country controls all global exports, monitors all transfers of technology, and enforces all legal obligations. Certain dangerous weapons materials like plutonium, highly enriched uranium, and many strains of deadly bacteria and toxins are hazardous to whomever possesses them, given at the very least the risks of accidents, thefts, and sabotage. These materials are born dangerous. They are dangerous to produce, store, transport, or use even for ostensibly peaceful purposes. They are not dangerous simply when located inside so-called rogue states. They are dangerous everywhere and always.

For this reason, multilateral treaty regimes like the BWC, CWC [Chemical Weapons Convention], and NPT serve a triple security purpose: they serve to prevent the proliferation of such weapons to states; they make it much more difficult for terrorists to acquire significant WMD capabilities; and they promote an equitable, fair, and global public good called disarmament. While subject to improvement, they also serve these ends better than any single state, acting alone, can hope to achieve, and they surely serve these ends better than competitive arms races undertaken in the name of achieving or preserving military supremacy.

The United States, with all its material and intellectual resources, is destined to play a leadership role in world affairs. Of this, there can be no doubt. Whether this leadership will inspire the global elimination of WMD returns to the issue of political will, the same issue that inspired the creation of this Association over three decades ago. As the Arms Control Association, located in the most powerful country on Earth, you have a heavy burden to ensure that this leadership moves the world in the right direction.

In his Nobel lecture of December 10 last year, Secretary-General Kofi Annan spoke of three priorities of the United Nations in the century ahead: eradicating poverty, preventing conflict, and promoting democracy. This is the “triad” that will genuinely serve the interests of international peace and security. And in the realm of preventing conflict, the goals of disarmament, arms control, and the peaceful settlement of disputes must remain the triad within the triad. Let the United States put an end to the debate whether arms cause conflicts or vice versa and recognize that each continues to affect the other, as they have from time immemorial. Let the United States dedicate our triads to productive, not destructive, uses.

You have my very best wishes and my full support in all your efforts to bring the United States closer to a world free of all weapons of mass destruction—a world able to grow and prosper in peace, with security for all.

Questions and Answers

Question: What are the consequences of not having a legally binding verification mechanism for the BWC in place, and can the alternatives that the United States put forward serve as a viable alternative?

Dhanapala: I don’t think it was ever advocated by the strongest proponents of a BWC verification system that we could have a perfect verification system. However, the protocol would have strengthened the treaty with greater transparency, with greater cooperation, and with a greater ability of the states party to this convention to be able to have assurances that the BWC is, in fact, being implemented.

Now, we do not, at this point in time, have any process leading toward the protocol because the process was, as you know, abruptly ended in July of last year. And the review conference, at which many agreed on some intermediary measures, has also been adjourned. I hope that states party to the convention will spend the time between now and the convening of the review conference in November of this year developing arrangements that could help bring a greater sense of confidence that the convention is, in fact, being implemented.

We also need to universalize the convention. We only have something like 144 parties to the treaty. So, we need to have many more parties sign up and, of course, thereafter make the treaty as implementable as possible.

Question: You spoke at some length about all the agreements covering weapons of mass destruction. I didn’t hear you say much about the small arms and light weapons conference last summer, which was the pinnacle of several years’ worth of organizing by governments and nongovernmental organizations and just barely pulled out a statement of agreement. What are the next steps that are possible in that arena, given that the next review conference is many years in the future?

Dhanapala: Well, I confined myself deliberately to the weapons that fall within the classical definition of weapons of mass destruction—nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, biological weapons, and their delivery systems. It is true that small arms have been recently referred to as having the impact of weapons of mass destruction because of the colossal number of deaths they have caused, particularly since the end of the Cold War, and because they are widely used. We have an estimated 500 million of these small arms and light weapons in circulation.

The UN has been a pioneer in bringing this issue onto the global agenda. There were two very important, groundbreaking expert studies in 1997 and 1999 that were issued. And amongst them was a recommendation that we should convene an international conference on the illicit trade of small arms and light weapons in all its aspects. That conference was held in July of last year in New York, and after a great deal of negotiations that went on until the small hours of the morning, we were able to come out with a consensus document—a program of action.

This program of action sets out a series of measures at the national level, the regional level, and the global level; and we are in the process of implementing those measures. We have convened a number of workshops. This is a program of action whose implementation does not rest on the shoulders of the UN alone. A number of regional organizations like the OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe], the African Union in Africa, the OAS [Organization of American States] in Latin America, and several other subregional organizations are organizing efforts to try to bring these measures into action.

The 2001 program of action also calls for us to conduct a feasibility study, which will begin next year, on trying to have some kind of a global norm on marking and tracing weapons. This was an initiative by France and Switzerland, and we are in the process of identifying a group of experts that will undertake this feasibility study.

Question: What is the prospect of a UN forum more conducive to exploring ideas than the present, very large forum in Geneva being developed?

Dhanapala: Well, we have two groups of fora in the UN, and they owe their existence essentially to the 1978 Special Session on Disarmament. There are the deliberative fora, as you know: the First Committee and the Disarmament Commission. There is no dearth of ideas there. These ideas are discussed regularly—in the case of the Disarmament Commission, in a much more focused way. There are two agenda items that are discussed over a cycle of three years.

In the 66-member Conference on Disarmament, which is the negotiating forum to which you referred, they have not adopted a program of work for four years. Here again, it is not for want of ideas, but because those delegations represent the political will of governments. They have not been able to even agree on an agenda because there is no agreement on, for example, the establishment of an ad hoc committee to discuss the ban on a production of fissile material because others want, at the same time, two other committees established, on nuclear disarmament and the prevention of an arms race in outer space.

I know that the committee is resuming today for its new session. But I see no prospect of any work being done on the negotiation of fresh agreements.

Question: You mentioned the importance of establishing legal norms on disarmament. Morton Halperin responded to a question this morning about undertakings taken by the states party to the Nonproliferation Treaty in 2000 on meeting their Article VI commitments. His statement was, to paraphrase, that the leaders of the United States—the Clinton administration and the Bush administration—may not have taken those undertakings seriously. Could you share with us your perspective, based on where you sit and your experience, about how other states perceive their NPT Article VI commitments on disarmament and how the Bush administration’s current approach might affect other states’ views about the value of the NPT itself?

Dhanapala: Well, certainly it was a disappointing statement to hear this morning, but I have heard it from other diplomats as well, both from the United States and from other nuclear-weapon states, so it was not a total surprise. But it will stand in the way of our asking other member states of the United Nations who are party to treaties to honor their legal commitments if nuclear-weapon states consider commitments made in declarations to be ones that they can walk away from. So, we need to reassess the way in which treaties are implemented.

I myself presided over the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty’s review and extension conference in 1995. The only reason that we were able to have an indefinite extension of that treaty without a vote was because there was a clear prospect of a CTBT being achieved in the near term and because we had a set of decisions that strengthened the review process; a resolution on the Middle East; and a series of benchmarks against which the accountability of nuclear-weapon states could be measured at future review conferences.

Unfortunately, the experience of the treaty’s parties after 1995 has not given them the confidence that those commitments have been implemented. I fear that there may come a time in which we reach a threshold of tolerance on the part of treaty parties, and, with the kind of problems that we see developing in various regions, there may be strong pressures for countries to move away from their commitments to the NPT. This is a situation I think we should never reach. We should try very hard to implement the treaty in all its aspects, not merely Articles I and II.

Question: I wonder if you would carry that theme a little bit further. The commitments made in the final document in 2000 were political commitments. The commitments made in the Statement of Principles at the 1995 review conference were also political commitments, but they were linked to the legal decision to indefinitely extend the Nonproliferation Treaty. Would you talk a little further about the effect on the NPT’s status if the political commitments set forth in the Statement of Principles are not observed by relevant states, principally the nuclear-weapon states?

Dhanapala: You are quite right in making a distinction between the political commitments of the 2000 final declaration and the package of decisions that were adopted in 1995. However, I think a lot of countries will look upon the interplay of the political commitments and the legally binding aspects of the treaty as being very, very closely linked.

When, as you know, the 1995 conference took place, there was a very vocal minority of states who disagreed with the indefinite extension decision, but went along with the “no vote” formula that we were able to design. I fear that—depending of course on international circumstances and the evolution of global politics, in particular in regions where we know conflicts prevail—there may be pressures for neutralizing the advantage nuclear-weapon states have. There may be dissatisfaction with the way in which there has been an imbalanced implementation of the NPT.

I don’t want to be a predictor of bad events, but we have to be very, very conscious of the fact that various countries may not tolerate what they see as double standards, and this is not only a situation in the area of disarmament, but also in other areas as well. And this is why the UN has approached the whole issue of terrorism as a multidisciplinary issue. We need to ensure that we have strong norms in all countries that are linked to the legal treaties that we have, particularly on WMD, and this will enable those countries who are parties to the treaties to abide by the obligations, preventing WMD material or technology from falling into the hands of terrorists as well.


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ACA Annual Membership Luncheon with Jayantha Dhanapala

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