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Transcript Available - The Arms Trade Treaty: Just the Facts



Briefing for Reporters

Organized by the Arms Control Association and the Stimson Center

Thursday, November 7, 2013, 12:30 to 2:00 pm
The Stimson Center, 1111 19th Street NW, 12th Floor, Washington, DC

Transcript available here.

Video of the event is here.

The United States signed the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) on Sept. 25 at the United Nations in N.Y. The treaty opened for signature on June 3 and now has 114 signatories.

Calling the ATT a significant step toward controlling the illicit trade in conventional weapons, Secretary of State John Kerry said, "This is about keeping weapons out of the hands of terrorists and rogue actors."

The ATT breaks new ground by establishing common international standards that must be met before states may authorize transfers of conventional weapons. The pact also prohibits transfers that would lead to war crimes and attacks on civilians and requires states to report annually on all authorized arms exports. It does not create export controls beyond what the United States already requires for itself, nor does it place any restrictions on U.S. domestic gun ownership.

The Obama administration has not indicated when it might send the treaty to the Senate, where it faces an uphill battle for approval. On Oct. 15, 50 senators sent a letter to President Obama pledging to oppose ratification. Instead of rushing to judgment, senators first need to hear the facts about the ATT and how it benefits U.S. and global security.


Tom Countryman, Assistant Secretary for International Security and Nonproliferation, U.S. Department of State

Rachel Stohl, Senior Associate, The Stimson Center

Adotei Akwei, Director of Government Relations, Amnesty International USA

Moderated by Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association

This event is made possible by the United Kingdom Foreign Commonwealth Office and ACA members and donors.


Transcript by
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.

DARYL KIMBALL:  Welcome to the Stimson Center, everyone.  We’re going to get started.  I’m Daryl Kimball.  I’m executive director of the Arms Control Association.  And we are an independent government organization that has been around since 1971 to deal with the security challenges posed by the world’s most dangerous weapons.

And we are here today – along with my colleagues at the Stimson Center, Amnesty International USA and Assistant Secretary of State Tom Countryman – to discuss the Arms Trade Treaty, which as most of you know was concluded this past spring after many years of negotiations and signed on September 25th by Secretary of State John Kerry at the United Nations.  And along with dozens of other national and international arms control, human rights development, religious organizations, we applaud the United States’ strong support for the ATT and for its leadership in negotiating the treaty.

The treaty has now well over a hundred signatories.  It’s well on its way to entering the force in the next few years.  And today we’re going to be discussing the value and significance of the treaty and the details of the treaty.  But I think some of the key provisions – and I’ll just cite a couple here – are that it breaks new ground by establishing common international standards that must be met before governments can authorize transfers of conventional weapons to other countries.

The treaty also prohibits transfers that could lead to war crimes and attacks on civilians and requires that states report annually on all authorized arms exports.  So bottom line of all that, and other aspects of the treaty, in my view and the view of the executive branch is that the ATT can help bring other countries into line with existing U.S. best practices, which will have a positive humanitarian impact and reduce the chances that illicit arms go to terrorists and those who might commit human rights violations.

So today we have a great panel of folks to help explain the treaty – what it is; what it isn’t.  We have with us the lead U.S. negotiator on the Arms Trade Treaty, Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation Tom Countryman, and two other nongovernmental colleagues who’ve worked for years on the treaty.  We’re going to talk about why it matters for U.S. security, why it matters for civilians in war-torn regions across the globe.  And we’re also going to address some of the misperceptions about the Arms Trade Treaty that have bubbled up and then have been perpetrated by some organizations over the past few years.

And in the months ahead, we hope that the Senate and senators of staff will take a look at the facts about the Arms Trade Treaty and to examine this complex treaty much more carefully than have had a chance to thus far.  I think it would be irresponsible for any senator to rush to judgment about the treaty – or any other serious issue in the Senate – without taking a close look or on the basis of incomplete understanding of the treaty.  And when the Senate gets to the point where they’ve done that, we’re confident that there’ll be much greater support for the Arms Trade Treaty in the Senate.

So we’re going to start with Rachel Stohl, who, here at the Stimson Center, is senior associate with the Managing Across Boundaries initiative.  She was the consultant to the U.N. ATT process from 2010 to 2013 and was previously a consultant to the U.N. group of governmental experts on the treaty in 2008 and did work on the U.N. register for conventional arms at the U.N. in 2009.  And she’s also, I’m glad to say, a member of the Arms Control Association’s board of directors.

Then we’re going to be hearing from Adotei Akwei, who’s director of government relations at Amnesty International, USA, with whom we’ve had the pleasure of working over the last few years in the campaign here in the U.S. for the Arms Trade Treaty.

And then, of course, we’ll hear from Tom Countryman, who I want to thank for your leadership and your hard work on this.  You, along with your team, did an excellent job in taking this treaty through the multilateral talks to fruition, making it a better treaty in the end than it would have been without U.S. participation.

So with that, let me turn it over to Rachel.  And after each of the speakers provide their opening remarks, we’ll take your questions and get into a discussion about the Arms Trade Treaty.


RACHEL STOHL:  Thank you.  And thank you, Daryl, and to my colleagues at Stimson for putting this event together, which I think is both timely and necessary to try and lay out really what the facts about the Arms Trade Treaty are.

And of course, thank you to Tom and his team.  I think the signing of the Arms Trade Treaty by the United States in September was really a symbol of U.S. leadership, not only for this treaty but also for their commitment to the values of insuring that U.S. arms sales and arms sales around the world are not used to harm innocent civilians and that foster the goals of foreign policy and national security that are codified in U.S. law.

I want to start by talking about what the Arms Trade Treaty is and what it is not, what it will do and what it will not do.  I think there are unfortunately – I’m sure not everyone reads the text of the treaty every day.  And there are a lot of nuance and details in this treaty that have unfortunately, I think, been misunderstood or misrepresented, primarily because people just don’t sit down and read it.  So they read a summary of what someone else is saying and come to their own conclusions.

So let’s start with what it is. The Arms Trade Treaty is a legally binding international treaty that regulates only the cross-border trade in conventional arms.  And conventional arms is a very large category of weapons and is everything from small arms and light weapons but all the way through to things like fighter aircraft, naval warships.  So it’s a very large classification of weapons.  The reason this treaty was created was these are the weapons that are responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths in conflicts every year.  So while we know about the threat of nuclear weapons or chemical and biological weapons, on a daily basis these are the weapons of war.

I want to point out that this treaty does not cover the trade of weapons within a country.  It does not control national regulations of weapons within a country.  And this is important because this treaty really has nothing to do with the domestic gun control debate that we see in the United States.  We’re really simply talking about the cross-border trade of government-authorized transfers of conventional weapons.  So in a nutshell, this treaty does three important things.  The first is that it establishes common international standards for the trade and arms that states have to incorporate into their national control systems.

And I should point out when I say “states” I’m referring to countries.  I’m using the U.N. shorthand.  But we’re not talking about the state of – or, I should say, the commonwealth of Virginia – the state of Virginia or the state of Washington.  We are talking really about what’s happening between the United States, Canada, Mexico, Syria, Russia, China – those are the states I’m referring to.  And I think that might actually be responsible for some of the misunderstanding of what this treaty does and does not do.

The second is the treaty provides a sense of oversight of the global arms trade by enhancing transparency for what has been traditionally been a murky trade.  And we can talk about what some of the reporting requirements of this treaty are, but for the first time we may be able to have a better global picture of what arms are actually flowing to what countries and why.  Third, the treaty creates an environment of accountability where states are now responsible for ensuring that their arms sales meet global standards and norms.

And that’s really important.  There haven’t been rules of the game.  Countries can make transfers for whatever reason they want.  Now, we have not only rules of the game but we have the means by which we can hold states to account and ask difficult questions.  And I think that’s a really important advancement.  This treaty is really long overdue and is truly a landmark treaty.  For the first time in history, we have an outright ban on arms shipments that would be used to commit the horrors of genocide, war crimes and attacks on civilians. And I don’t think that should be taken lightly.

This treaty will prevent irresponsible arms trading by stigmatizing arms transfers to war criminals.  It will require arms exporters to seriously take human rights into account before selling arms to dealers in countries.  It will mandate signatories to close down their safe havens for rogue arms dealers that exploit their weak laws and transfer arms to war criminals with impunity.  And it will require that states are transparent in their arms transfer decisions. These are all really important advancement.

But I do want to say that the ATT is not a panacea.  Having a piece of paper, as thick and wordy and verbose as this is, is not going to stop all of the consequences of the poorly and unregulated trade and conventional arms.  It is one tool in what has to be a larger toolbox of strategies to address the negative consequences that happen when arms are diverted, illegally traded or irresponsibly traded.

But it will help us encourage predictability and transparency in the arms trade.  It will help clamp down on the diversion of arms from the illegal to the illicit market.  It will support information exchange and encourage governments to work together to address known trafficking routes or the activities of known arms dealers.

It will clarify national arms trade networks, which is important.  Companies can know what the rules are in the countries in which they’re operating and how to better facilitate their global trade.  It will help develop best practices for national export control frameworks, including regulations for transit and transshipment countries, countries which notoriously have had fewer export – or fewer control regimes.

It will help regions harmonize their own national and regional laws and regulations that are related to the import and export of conventional arms.  It provides a dispute settlement mechanism for questions that arise on particular arms sales.  It creates a multilateral forum for us to discuss arms trade issues which, if you know anything about the United Nations or the Conference on Disarmament, has been less than functional in the last two decades.  And so that’s quite important as well.

The treaty that came out of the U.N. conference is robust, but I do want to mention that it reflects probably the best compromise that could have been achieved on this complex issue.  And it really takes into account the views of exporters, of importers, of transit and transshipment states, of small and developing countries, of countries with sophisticated export control regimes.

So by no means is this text perfect, but it is, I think, the best compromise that could have been achieved.  And I think the vote at the United Nations demonstrated the capacity for this treaty to bring so many countries on board and the sheer number of countries that have already signed and ratified also reflect that this treaty has widespread acceptance.

I believe that the text is strong where it needs to be strong.  It’s balanced where it needs to be balanced and, if it is implemented according to the obligations that are outlined, does have the potential to be effective in stopping the irresponsible illegal arms trade.  And we can talk in the Q-and-A about some of the specific areas of the treaty text that I know have caused some concerns or questions.

The treaty will go into effect 90 days after the 50th ratification of the Arms Trade Treaty.  The treaty opened for signature of June 3rd of this year, so just a few months after the text was negotiated.  Since then, already 114 countries have signed on and eight have ratified.  So best guess would be probably – particularly with the number of EU countries that are holding their instruments of ratification waiting for their EU instructions, my assumption would be probably in the next two years we’ll see the Arms Trade Treaty go into effect.

But I do want to stress that even if every country in the world signed the treaty, every country ratified the treaty, it’s not going to change things overnight.  This is a long-term process.  This is creating global norms and standards.  And so it’s, as I mentioned, just one piece of a larger puzzle that we can use to tackle some of these complex challenges.  But I do believe the ATT was a good start to having a multilateral discussion on these issues and providing a multilateral forum to address these issues.

Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thanks.  Adotei, why don’t you tell us about this from the human rights angle?  The floor is yours.

ADOTEI AKWEI:  Sure.  Thank you.  I would also like to thank Assistant Secretary Countryman and his team for the leadership and perseverance they showed in getting us to a place that there were doubts that we would get to along the way, especially for Amnesty that has worked on this treaty for over 25 years.

This treaty is fundamentally about human rights, human security and seeking to curb the laissez-faire mentality of the unregulated global arms trade.

We know that it is not a silver bullet, and the proof of the pudding will be in securing the signatures of all of the major arms-exporting countries, including China and Russia, the treaty coming into force and ensuring transparency and effective compliance by all of the signatories.  We have just taken a major step, but it is only one step forward.

For over 50 years Amnesty International has produced reports on the impact of light arms and intergovernmental transfers of conventional weapons.  These reports include ongoing violence in countries such as Somalia, Sudan, Syria and many others.  During a 10-year period, between 1991 and 2002, Amnesty concluded that 60 percent of the human rights abuses and atrocities that we documented, from mass rapes and disappearances to executions and the recruitment of child soldiers, involved the use of light weapons, weapons that flow unregulated into conflict zones and also outside of conflict zones.  So there are many, many reasons why the treaty was desperately needed.

The numbers in terms of mortality included about roughly 200,000 in conflict zones and another 300,000 outside of conflict zones.  Those are just deaths by violence linked with small arms.  There are also the displacement of about 28 million people, who have had to flee conflicts, those people who are cut off from medical assistance, from their homes, from security, those who are no longer able to enjoy secure livelihoods.  The cost in development to those regions and to those countries are massive.  And our colleagues at Oxfam and other development organizations have done incredible research showing the human and economic cost of armed conflict, as well as violence in nonconflict zones.

There are also, of course, the role that the arms trade contributes or facilitates in terms of gender-based violence and mass rape.  While many may be aware of what’s going on in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as a primary example, there are also many parts of the world where violence against women done at gunpoint is standard and daily fare.  And hopefully, those things are now going to be challenged and corrected.

So there are also the positives.  And I know that Rachel has already started to talk a little bit about some of the potential impact of the ATT, but I’d just like to run through a few of them in terms of our assessment in terms of human rights.

First, the ATT asserts the principle, which is already enshrined in U.S. law, that states have an obligation to weigh the human rights implications of a proposed arms transaction before authorizing a weapons export.  This provision will help level the playing field among weapon suppliers by applying the same high standard across all would-be exporters, and it removes the argument that someone else will sell the weapons to them, even if we don’t.

It demands accountability for gender-based violence.  I just mentioned that.  The ATT explicitly recognizes that civilians bear the main burden of armed violence and requires exporting countries to assess the risk that weapons that they propose to supply will be used to commit gender-based violence and violence against civilians.

The Arms Trade Treaty is comprehensive.  It covers not only transportation and transit but also brokering.  And hopefully, this will prevent the diversion of lawfully supplied weapons to the black market.

It makes it harder for armed groups and criminals to get weapons.  It makes it harder for warlords to get weapons.  It outlaws the most egregious arms transfers.  The ATT prohibits transfers to those who use them to commit atrocities, including crimes against humanity, attacks against civilians, rape as a war crime and other great violations of international humanitarian law.  Making this principle explicit and legally binding is a critical step towards protecting civilians from attack.

The ATT will also help make war profiteering harder.  It will be harder for weapons traffickers to profit from conflict by funneling arms to warlords who terrorize civilians.  It will significantly raise the cost of making irresponsible transfers and hopefully will reduce or even remove the profit motive for those who only care about money.

The ATT will also keep states from pouring what we call gas onto the fire.  It will keep states from pouring weapons into conflict zones, making bad situations far more violent and deadly and for their own political ends.

It provides international support for securing weapons.  The Arms Trade Treaty creates a mechanism to financially support the implementation of arms export control systems in poor countries, helping authorities to, in these countries, prevent weapons from going to those who will use them irresponsibly.

There is quite a lot of work still ahead of us.  The leadership of the United States is going to be critical in helping ensure compliance.  And organizations like Amnesty and other NGOs will have to take on quite a lot of work in terms of effective compliance and exposing the platform of transparency that this treaty affords us.  But like the others in this room, I think we all understand it.  This is a major step forward, and we are very excited about it, and we see it as a victory for human rights.  Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you, Adotei.

Tom, thank you again for being here, for your hard work.  Please share with us your perspectives on the ATT and where we go next.

TOM COUNTRYMAN:  OK.  Thanks very much, Daryl, for the opportunity to be here.  Thanks to the Stimson Center for organizing this.

We are ready to discuss at every opportunity the Arms Trade Treaty.  We’re ready to discuss it with people who don’t agree with us and have offered to do so with people who don’t agree with us repeatedly with very little response.  So we will seize this opportunity as every other opportunity.

It was a great pleasure for me to be present when Secretary Kerry signed the Arms Trade Treaty.  It was a significant milestone, represented the culmination of years of work in order to limit the black market and illegal trade in conventional weapons.

We’re grateful to those outside of the U.S. government – and I see a number represented here today – who participated in preparations, not just in preparing the public ground for adoption of the ATT but in helping the U.S. delegation to sharpen our focus, to consider every issue.

As a consequence, an interagency team that every American ought to be proud of for their excellent work was able to conclude an agreement that every involved agency of the executive branch agreed would only strengthen and would not detract from American commercial, political and economic interest and security interest.  So it’s a significant achievement, and we thank partners across the world and across society.

Let me build on what Rachel said to compare briefly what the treaty requires with what the United States already does.  Becoming a party to the treaty would not require any additional export or import controls for the United States, full stop.  Let’s look at the provisions that Rachel mentioned.

Most plainly, it requires states parties to establish and maintain an export control system.  The United States has one.  It is comprehensive.  It is complex.  And it exceeds the requirements of the Arms Trade Treaty.

The treaty requires that this export control system include a process to conduct risk assessments and proposed exports, requires an exporting state to deny an export authorization when there’s an overriding risk that a proposed transfer could be used to commit serious violations of international humanitarian law or acts of terrorism.

These criteria, with which every exporting state party would assess an export of conventional arms, are fully consistent with existing practice.  United States law passed by Congress exceeds the standards of the Arms Trade Treaty here as well.

The treaty requires state parties to license exports of ammunition or munitions fired, launched or delivered by the conventional arms covered by the treaty.  We do this now.  U.S. law passed by the Congress exceeds the standards of the ATT.

The treaty requires parties to control parts and components if they would allow the end user to assemble a conventional weapon covered by the treaty.  Here again, U.S. law passed by Congress exceeds the standards of the ATT.

The treaty lays out provisions for controlling imports that are consistent with what the United States already does.  The same with transit and transshipment provisions, the same with brokering provisions.  In each case, United States law and regulations approved by the Congress exceeds the standards of the treaty.

Finally, the ATT requires states parties to create national control lists to make clear which conventional arms are controlled for imports and exports.  These are not lists of users.  These are not lists of owners.  These are lists of categories of weapons.  We have had exactly such a list in place for several decades.  It’s called the U.S. Munitions List.

The items that the ATT would require to be placed on such control lists are based on the U.N. register of conventional arms, with the addition of small arms and light weapons.  That list, mandated by the treaty, is not as extensive as the U.S. control list.  Once again, U.S. law passed by the Congress exceeds the standards of the treaty.

Why is the treaty in our national interest?  Because in most countries of the world, their standards are far below those mandated by the Arms Trade Treaty.  Most states in the world, including some important exporting states, do not have a national system in place to make such decisions on exports of conventional arms.

This is in our interest, not because it will prevent every questionable transfer in the world, but because it will increase the likelihood that transfers to undesirable actors, whether they are states or criminal organizations or terrorists, will become more difficult.

It also provides us with another tool in our toolbox, in our diplomatic and political interaction, with states that are acting irresponsibly in conventional arms transfers.  It is another pressure point that the United States, other states and civil society can utilize in order to discourage poor judgment in arms exports and bad and brutal behavior by the world’s worst regimes.

And it requires cooperation with other states to combat unlawful diversion of conventional arms.  It provides yet another opening for something that the United States already does, to work together with other nations to prevent the diversion of conventional weapons into the black and gray markets.

Let me deal rapidly with some of the inaccurate allegations that are made about the effects of this treaty.

It does not imperil the rights of United States citizens, including those secured by the Second Amendment.  It does not undermine national sovereignty.  It does not require any measure that would impact the rights of American gun owners, which are guaranteed by the Second Amendment.  That responsibility lies with the Congress and lies with the states.  It does not lies with the United Nations, and the United Nations treaty does nothing to require any such action by the United States.

President has said that he strongly believes in the Second Amendment guarantee of an individuals’ rights to buy arms.  Our instructions were clear, that we could not agree to any treaty that infringed upon such rights.  We did not.  This treaty is focused on international trade in conventional weapons.  The treaty itself recognizes the freedom of both individuals and countries to obtain, possess and use arms for legitimate purposes, including in commercial trade.

This treaty does not undermine national sovereignty.  It reaffirms explicitly the right and responsibility of each country to decide for itself, consistent with its own constitution, with its own legal requirements, how to deal with conventional arms use exclusively within its own borders.

And finally, it’s fully consistent with existing United States law and practice on the international transfer of conventional arms, as I’ve already explained.

How do we move forward?  How do we realize some of the humanitarian benefit that Adotei has sketched and that we all hope for?

First, it’s important to have more countries become party to the treaty.  If we do so, we build a stronger network of states committed to preventing a flourishing black market in conventional weapons.  If we improve export and import controls in each state around the world, as the ATT seeks to do, this will help to slow illegal arms trafficking.  In order to fully realize the benefits of the ATT, however, it must be part of an integrated strategy that each state should pursue, and that more developed states should assist other states to realize.

Let’s start with the most basic things that are necessary.  An export control system on the part of every exporting state on the planet is a good beginning, but it does not immediately solve the humanitarian crisis in a number of countries in Africa and elsewhere that provided the original ethical impulse to this treaty.

What else is needed?  First, those states that are facing these kinds of civil violence have to focus, even more than on export controls, on import controls.  States in Africa need credible legislation to control imports of conventional weapons, and the U.S. and the European Union are ready to assist on that.

Second, to back up that legislation, states facing civil conflict need effective border control and effective noncorrupt customs services.  The United States, the European Union and others are ready to build on already-existing programs to strengthen these capacities.

Third, states that face civil violence need to develop further their capabilities and what we call stockpile management.  How do you prevent weapons legitimately acquired for use by national police or military officials from going out the back door?  How do you maintain accountability for stockpiles of weapons and ammunitions?  Department of Defense and Department of State already assist a number of countries around the world in this crucial endeavor, and we’re prepared to do more.

We need to see states build legal frameworks that will enable them to effectively prosecute illegal traffickers, and to make illegal arms markets a priority for their investigative and prosecutorial and judicial capabilities.  Again, there’s lots of help available from countries around the world in building the rule of law, in fighting corruption.

And finally, states also need to stop exporting weapons to neighboring states in order to support a particular party or faction.  It was occasionally frustrating to hear some of the states at the negotiations that made the most emotional pleas about what was necessary to stop civil violence, and to hear that coming from the representatives of the same states who were actively sending weapons – as a matter of policy, not as a matter of customs inefficiency – into neighboring states.  That needs to stop.  We need to talk about it openly.  These are the steps that can build upon the extremely important foundation of the arms trade treaty to truly realize the humanitarian benefits that the treaty promises.

Working together, I’m confident that using both this treaty and all the other tools of international cooperation available to us, we can make a real dent in the illegal trade and make a real contribution to human welfare.  Thanks.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you.  Thank you all for your excellent overview.  We’ve got a lot of material to discuss, and I want to open up the floor to questions so that we can have a discussion on some of the issues that have been raised.  And we have a couple of microphones on either side, so raise your hand.  Go ahead.

Q:  Thanks.  And congratulations to all three of you.  It was very, very helpful.

Tom, you raised such a nice menu of follow-on activity that would make the treaty even more meaningful for the countries that do have trouble controlling the movement of weapons within their countries.

Could you talk to us a little bit about how much of this is a kind of whole-of-government experience in the U.S.  Is the Treasury Department involved?  Tell us a little bit more who the American players are.  And is there any role for the private sector in some of this outreach activity?

MR. COUNTRYMAN:  That’s a good question.  I’m certain I could not make a comprehensive list of all the different U.S. agencies and bureaus that are involved in helping other countries deal with the issue.  I know within my own Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, our export control and border security program makes real contributions to countries around the world in developing legislation and regulations, and in actual training of Border and Customs personnel, and some provision of necessary equipment to back it up.  In that, the essential partner is Department of Homeland Security, and trainers both active and retired from the Customs and Border Patrol Service.

I know that our colleagues in Political Military Affairs and the Weapons Removal and Abatement Office do extensive work in helping countries deal with excess munitions.  It’s a big problem in a number of countries that have stockpiles of weapons left over from previous conflicts that are not secured and that find their way into new conflicts in other countries.  So WRA has not only destroyed millions of landmines around the world, but they’ve helped countries to destroy weapons that are far in excess of what that country needs.  Department of Defense manages, as I said, the stockpile management program that helps countries to secure and prevent diversion of legitimate stockpiles needed by military and police officials.  I think if we sat around long enough, we’d think of several more programs that we’re already doing and that we’re happy to expand, especially upon those countries that show the most determination to address the humanitarian conflicts within their borders.

MS. STOHL:  Can I just add to that as well that one of the provisions in the treaty – it’s actually two provisions, but they go hand in hand – is international cooperation and assistance.  And it is not just – it’s up to states to identify what they need, but the providers of the resources and the capacity-building exercises that would be required can come from a whole variety of stakeholders that are listed, including, you know, nongovernmental entities, regional organizations, civil society.  So there is the realization that this is not just something for governments to singlehandedly try to address, that it does require kind of creative problem-solving capacity building that would involve everyone from the private sector to nongovernmental organizations as well.


Yes, sir.  Why don’t we wait for the microphone.  Ed Levine.

Q:  Tom, you ran down a very important list of requirements in this treaty that are already exceeded by U.S. law or regulation policy.  I would think that it will be important for people to have available to them a roadmap to those elements of law, regulation and policy so that they know where to find them and don’t have to guess as to whether you were accurate in your presentation.  I wonder whether that is in the section-by-section analysis and whether that’s completed, or whether there will be some other document that will provide that information.

MR. COUNTRYMAN:  No, it’s an excellent idea to have it readily available.  It will certainly be in the section-by-section analysis that ultimately goes to the Senate.  I think if anybody has any doubt about it, all they need to do is talk to any major United States arms exports about the thoroughness of current U.S. regulations and ask them to compare it with the ATT requirements.

MR. KIMBALL:  And on the – now you bring up some of those actors.  Could you also just comment on – you can’t necessarily speak for them, but the response or some of the views that you’ve gotten from industry representatives following the negotiation and signature?  And I know that you and others in the administration were in close touch with industry on the negotiations, on concerns they had but, I mean, would you say they’re – they are comfortable with the – with the final product?

MR. COUNTRYMAN:  You’re not trying to put words in my mouth.

MR. KIMBALL:  I’m not trying to – I’m asking you what your assessment is.

MR. COUNTRYMAN:  Oh.  (Laughter.)  We did consult closely with industry – I feel never closely enough when you’re in a negotiation that’s moving that rapidly, as it did the final week or two in New York.  We could have always used more input.

I feel confident that the commercial interests of the United States were well defended.  It was never a primary purpose of the treaty to advance U.S. commercial interests.  And in fact, I’m surprised by how nonexistent the discussion of economic and commercial matters was throughout the entire negotiation of the treaty.

But certainly the United States did not want a legitimate, strong industry such as the U.S. defense industry disadvantaged by anything in the treaty.  We succeeded in that, and I haven’t heard anything contrary to that from any United States industry representative.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right, we had a couple of other questions.  Yes, sir?  And then we’ll come over here.

Q:  Hi.  I was wondering, is there any organization provided for in the treaty or other kind of means for consultation or anything of that sort?

MS. STOHL:  So there is – Tom’s pointing at me.  (Laughter.)  There is a Conference of States Parties that is provided for under the treaty, but there is also a secretariat that will, at some point as decided by the Conference of States Parties, administer the logistical functions of that conference.  So there will be a forum for states to discuss issues that come up related to the treaty as well as kind of, is the treaty having the impact we desired?  If not, why?  How can we better coordinate our implementation of the treaty, work together on perhaps intelligence sharing or cooperation on border controls?  That might be of help.

So there is a mechanism provided.  Currently everything is very provisional because the treaty has not yet entered into force.  But once it does, there will be a meeting of the Conference of States Parties that will kind of lay out some of those ideas.  The treaty just provides a framework.  It will be up to the state’s parties themselves to decide what best fits the needs of the states.

MR. KIMBALL:  And I would just also add that, you know, contrary to some of the claims of some of the critics, the opponents, what you see in the treaty described for that secretariat is extremely minimal, right?  This is not a new U.N. bureaucracy by any stretch of the imagination.

And in order to facilitate a meeting of states parties involving well over a hundred states, you do have to have a handful of people to simply shuffle the paper.  And so in my estimation, based upon what’s in the text – I mean, we’re looking at an administrative function primarily, but it will be, as you say, up to the states parties to determine the role.  And there are a lot of issues that will have to be discussed over the years by the states parties regarding implementation and reporting as the treaty evolves over time.

I think – yes sir.  Over here, please.

Q:  Hi.  I was wondering, how did the treaty impact, say, U.S. policy or programs such as foreign military sales, foreign military financing, where relations with a country – take Egypt, for example, what some might call a military coup d’état or others call a people’s liberation action – how that might impact or, some might say, tie our hands regarding those programs in the future due to the treaty?

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.

MR. COUNTRYMAN:  I see no impact.  Our hands are already tied by our own legislation and policies.  And more importantly, our hands are already tied by the difficult political and ethical judgments that we have to make every day when we talk about arms sales.  The treaty in no way either raises those standards or complicates the decision.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right, why don’t we go to the back?  And then we’ll come over here to the left.

Q:  Hi.  My question is for Tom.  I think there are recently 50 senators that sent a letter to the president that they just want to oppose this ratification of the treaty.  So it seems that it’s very unlikely for the Congress to approve this treaty.  So how do you comment this?  Thank you.

MR. COUNTRYMAN:  I read the letter because I think it’s important, before one comments on an important document like the letter from a senator or a treaty, that one should read that document first.  I understand their arguments.  I think some of them are inaccurate allegations.

We have offered, we’ll continue to offer, to brief senators one at a time or 50 at a time, to listen carefully to their concerns, to express some of the same points that I made today.  They bear a heavy responsibility in making such a decision.  I don’t expect it to be a decision that they need to face in the immediate future, but I think it’s important to have that conversation and have an honest exchange of views as early and as frequently as possible, and I look forward to such an opportunity.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Yes, in the middle, Linda Delgado, and then we’ve got one other here in the front.  Linda.

Q:  Hi.  Thanks, Daryl.  Linda Delgado with Oxfam.

Adotei mentioned our research, and I just wanted folks to know that I arrived late but I put copies of our “Saving Lives with Common Sense,” which is about the Arms Trade Treaty – it was recently approved for release in September – out on the front desk.  Please take a copy on your way out.

And I had a quick question for Assistant Secretary Countryman.  In relation to the New York Times editorial that came out October 18th on the loosening of laws, the loosening of regulatory controls of military exports, I was just whether you could comment on that and on the critique that’s emerging around that.

MR. COUNTRYMAN:  On export control reform.

Q:  Yes.

MR. COUNTRYMAN:  I did not read the article.  We believe – I’ll just make the most general comment, which it has – it has been the objective of this administration to follow through on what several administrations in a row and generations’ worth of both congressional leaders and industry leaders have seen as a need to reform the export control system to maintain high standards for those goods that are most sensitive to our national security, but to seek to simplify the process for items that are less sensitive, perhaps less sensitive than they were a generation ago.

The administration has pursued that to the maximum extent it can through administrative action, and the results have been welcomed, I think, by the majority of American industry.  It does not solve all problems, but it also does not weaken our commitment to having high standards on decisions on conventional arms exports.  More specifically I can’t comment on the article.

MR. KIMBALL:  And I would just mention that there was a healthy exchange of views in Arms Control Today, the journal of my organization.  There was a very detailed reply to an article that ran critical of the export control reform initiative that was put forward by Tom’s boss, Rose Gottemoeller, acting undersecretary of state, so you might take a look at Arms Control Today for that discussion about some of the issues with the export control reform initiative.

All right, here in the front, Jeff, and then the person in the back in the green.

Q:  Hi, and thanks for having this event and for all your comments so far.  It’s good to see you all. I’m wondering how you’re feeling about what’s happening at that international level.  One of the criticisms we hear in the U.S. on the Arms Trade Treaty is about, well, if X country or Y country doesn’t join that that’s going to be problematic.  I think you addressed that in some of your comments.  But you know, we had very positive statements from both China and Israel were some of the things that happened.  But I wonder if you have a feel sort of at that international level about what we’re seeing and whether the U.S. is getting accolades along the ways and helping – (inaudible).

MR. KIMBALL:  And you’re referring to the U.N. First Committee debate that just concluded?  All right, just to be clear.

MS. STOHL:  Sure. I’d always defer to Tom.  That’s usually a good policy.  (Laughter.)  But since he’s pointing, I think that there was a lot of enthusiasm for the ATT in the recent First Committee debate.  I think there was also a lot of interest in ensuring that the ATT is more than just the paper that it’s written on and that there is clear guidance and assistance for what the obligations actually are, what states need to do to comply with its obligations and how they can acquire the assistance that they may need to ensure that they are able to function in a way that is consistent with the ATT.

I think, as you mentioned China, I heard that the U.S. signature was actually a good motivator for the Chinese to take this issue up again.  They had always been – you know, this – as I mentioned in my comments, this treaty was very carefully negotiated.  It really did represent a compromise where the major arms exporters and importers felt as though their needs were being best addressed.  And I think that China’s – we’ve talked in the past, China’s vote in the General Assembly in April was really more about the process rather than the treaty itself.  And so they were much more forthcoming in their interest in pursuing signature in October during the First Committee than they have been, I think.

I think there were other countries that also had been a bit skeptical about the Arms Trade Treaty that now are seeing that there is a political will not only within individual governments but within regions, that there might be benefits to joining the treaty, that it wasn’t just an exporters’ treaty, that there were benefits for importers, for small countries, for transit, trans-shipment countries.  So I think there was generally enthusiasm, but also tempered with this concern that they will understand what they need to do and to be in compliance and not be called out for somehow violating an aspect of the treaty they didn’t understand entirely.

MR. COUNTRYMAN:  I don’t know what folks have been saying about the United States in the First Committee the last couple of weeks.  I do know that we don’t do this for the accolades.  If our primary concern was what our colleagues from Europe or Africa or somewhere else thought about us, then in July of 2012, we would have stepped aside and allowed a draft treaty that had some good ideas but was utterly defective as a treaty to move ahead and be adopted.

Our concern is – this will shock you coming from an American, I know, but our concern in foreign policy is not to be loved but to get it right.  And that’s what we do when we’re negotiating with Iran or on Syrian chemical weapons or on the Arms Trade Treaty.  And I think our determination to stick to that standard is what led to a stronger treaty this year than what we could have accomplished last year.

In terms of whether that influences other countries, I think there are certain countries that care very much and will base their decision on signature upon the fact that the United States has signed.  And I can’t speak for the Chinese government, but I think China falls into that category, that our signature is important to their decision on participation in the treaty.

In general, the trend is positive in that countries that were deeply skeptical earlier this year are thinking about it.  Countries that abstained on the General Assembly vote in April are now looking at this positively, as something they may be able to sign.  It is not a fatal defect of the treaty if a major arms exporter fails to sign, but obviously, the more countries that sign, the stronger the treaty will be.

MR. KIMBALL:  One other thing just to remember with respect to treaty – the history of treaties and how they evolve over time.  You know, as we all know, at the moment, the ATT has 114 signatories.  Three other major countries, India, Russia, China, are not yet signatories.  But if we look back to the history of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which came into force in 1970, negotiated in 1968, China and France were not signatories to the treaty for many years after entry into force, two of the other nuclear-armed states at the time the treaty came into effect.

So, you know, going back to the theme that Rachel hit in the opening, this is the first step.  Diplomacy does not occur at Twitter speed.  (Laughter.)  The Russians will realize over time that they are outside the mainstream on the Arms Trade Treaty, and there will be more pressure over time for countries like Russia and China to be part of the mainstream.  I mean, the value of the ATT is that there is now a standard that all states recognize, even if they are not signatories to the treaty yet.

Q:  To build on what the woman in the back row was asking, many of the senators who are opposed to the treaty have said the reason that they’re opposed is because they made it clear to the U.S. delegation and to the U.N., U.N. officials as well, that the treaty needed to specifically exempt civilian firearms.  They say that didn’t happen.  How do you deal with that?

MR. COUNTRYMAN:  Well, if the United States were writing the treaty all alone, it would have looked just like the U.S. Constitution.  That’s not an option that we have in diplomacy.  What we can do is to vigorously defend the rights of United States citizens and the interests of the United States as a nation.  Yes, it would have been nice if the entire Second Amendment were replicated in the preamble of the treaty.  It would have no legal effect.

There would be no manner in which replicating the Second Amendment in the preamble would better protect the rights of U.S. citizens than what is in the preamble, because there is nothing in the preamble, but more importantly in the operative paragraphs, that impinges upon the rights of United States citizens, nothing that requires the U.S. government to change its practices in any way, specifically nothing that would require a restriction of individual rights of American citizens and nothing that could impose upon the Congress and the states a decision that belongs only to the Congress and the states.

There’s a lot of things that I would love to change in the treaty that would make it less verbose, that would have the kind of elegant language that our Founding Fathers were able to put into our Constitution.  There were a lot of good people in New York, but none of them were named Franklin or Washington.  (Laughter.)

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Yes, sir.

Q:  Thank you.  Tom, under international law, a state that has signed a treaty but has not ratified it is obliged not to take any action inconsistent with the object and purpose of a treaty.  Has the administration given any consideration to what kind of action would be inconsistent with the object and purpose of this treaty by the United States or any other power that has signed but not ratified the ATT?

MR. COUNTRYMAN:  You’re correct; that’s an obligation of states that have signed.  We won’t take any such action.  I haven’t thought about going out looking for trouble – (laughter) – looking for examples that would be contrary or making such a list.  It’s an interesting question to think about.  I guess I just don’t see the immediate practicality of the question.

MR. KIMBALL:  And I would just add that we also have to remember this treaty was just negotiated in April, opened for signature in June, signed by the United States in September.  Tom has been doing a few other things since September, like getting rid of Syria’s chemical arsenal.

You know, I think some of these questions will be addressed over time.  I mean, what I think is the most important next step in terms of process is – you referenced this earlier – the article-by-article analysis that the executive branch will put together in connection with the ATT that will, like other article-by-article analyses of other treaties, outline what the United States’ views are of what the treaty’s provisions do.  It will not reinterpret that, but it will provide some further detail about this.  So I will just say that will probably be the first place to look for some answers to your question.

Mr. Levine, who knows a few things about article-by-article analyses from his time at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Q:  Tom, you indicated that the U.S. action to hold up agreement last year was beneficial.  It might be useful to get a list of what was achieved between the 2012 version and the 2013 version.  And on one particular issue, I would be interested in knowing how things went on the ammunition issue and what you think of those provisions.

MR. COUNTRYMAN:  They went swimmingly.  (Laughter.)  I think the provisions achieved the purpose of not requiring the United States to adopt new detailed regulations that would have little or no humanitarian benefit while leaving open the possibility for other states to adopt such measures if they wish.

I don’t think that we want to jump into the paragraph-by-paragraph comparison of the July text with the March text.  Anybody else can do that.

Q:  Yeah.  Hi.  Let me just offer one specific example of an important change that had to be made that was made between the two texts.  And as Tom just said, though, if you go and carefully read them, you’ll find other ones as well.  But the language on amendments changed, because the way that the amendments article was originally written in July, states would have been bound by amendments that they had not actually accepted, and that absolutely had to be fixed between the two texts, and it was fixed in the March text.  And it’s one that people are signing.

Now you actually have to accept an amendment, and there is – it lays out, you know, the numbers required and stuff, but you actually have to – for a state to be bound by an amendment after it signed the treaty, it actually has to accept it, and that was an important change.

MS. STOHL:  I think, as someone who was perhaps quite intimately involved in the both – drafting of both texts, I think the biggest improvement is that there is clarity where there needed to be clarity and flexibility where there needs to be flexibility.

I think also there was the misframing of the treaty as really an exporters’ treaty and that importers weren’t getting anything out of this treaty, that it didn’t help them in any way.  Excuse me.  I think the new section on diversion, which wasn’t there in 2012, I think, addresses not only the concerns of importing states but also gives practical ways in which exporters can work in partnership with importing countries to ensure that legal arms do not end up – that are – that are legitimate, responsible, well-intended are not used for illicit and harmful purposes.  I think that was a real strengthening as well that I think sometimes gets missed because it doesn’t have a lot of operational teeth, but it provides, again, a framework whereby states can work together, which I think is, again, quite important.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Let’s take maybe one or two more questions before we start to wrap up.

Q:  Thanks.  My question goes to the domestic gun rights debate.  Is there something in the treaty that is being misconstrued or could be clarified to make it clearer that there are no domestic gun controls in this treaty?  Or in your view is this just something that’s been cooked up out of the opposition to be critical?

MS. STOHL:  Well, I can’t presume to guess what critics are – why they’re making arguments that they’re making.  But I will say that one thing that I’ve been asked a lot about is this idea of the national control list and people misinterpreting that as a gun registry – in other words, a list of people who own, purchase weapons within a state’s borders.  I think that is just a misunderstanding of what a national control list is.  As Tom mentioned, we have the U.S. munitions list.  We also have the commerce control list.  Under the new reform there’s a third list of other items.  So we’re drowning in national control lists in this country.

MR. KIMBALL:  And they’ve been around for many, many, many years.

MS. STOHL:  And they have been around for many years.  I think the confusion is – what this treaty does – and perhaps it hasn’t been articulated precisely enough – is it doesn’t say your list has to have A, B, C and D; your national export control system, with very great detail, has to do these things.  What it – it establishes a framework for states to incorporate.  Not everybody needs a system – I hope not everybody needs a system like the United States – for its export controls or for its import controls.  But many states have no system whatsoever and have a patchwork of maybe policy decisions.  So the intent here is to create a national framework to address conventional arms transfers that occur internationally in a way that is consistent and understood around the world.  So it’s establishing that global framework.  It is not saying within a country you have to have a list of everybody that purchases a weapon.  It’s saying you have to have a system to deal with exports, imports, brokering, transit and transshipment for cross-border trade of conventional weapons.  So I think that’s one area where there’s been some misunderstanding.

MR. KIMBALL:  Adotei?

MR. AKWEI:  I think, you know, one is reminded of the – was it the “Dragnet” phrase? – you know, “just the facts.”  And I think Rachel has been fairly gracious, but I think Tom has been a little bit more forceful in saying if you read the facts, it’s pretty hard to misinterpret, you know, what the treaty does and what it doesn’t do.  And so, you know, I think that we should be concerned, perhaps, about a deliberate misinformation effort, and we need to counter that, and especially on something as important as this, which is just not impacting, you know, hundreds of thousands of people in terms of mortality, in terms of millions of people, in terms of displacement, you’re – there are clear benefits to the United States.  It’s hard to see how you can continue to argue against something that is both good globally as well as nationally, and that, I think, demands a little bit more accountability about just going to the facts and having an honest, accurate discussion.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  I wanted to just raise one other question for the panelists that was raised by the 50 senators in their letter from October 15th that I find a little confusing in their letter regarding the process by which the treaty was eventually adopted at the U.N.  As we all know, the United States entered the negotiations with the ATT in 2009 on the basis of the consensus rule for negotiations, and that was the basis for the negotiations through the spring of 2013.  But then there were three countries, Syria, Iran and North Korea, who blocked consensus at the last minute, which led a group of states, including the United States, the U.K. and others, to take the treaty text that they all supported and agreed to to the U.N.  General Assembly.  The senators’ letter argues that – it says, and I quote, “We fear that this reversal of the approach going off the consensus rule has done grave damage to the diplomatic credibility of the United States.”  I find it a little befuddling as to why they believe that taking a treaty that we support and most other countries support that’s not supported by Iran, North Korea and Syria does grave damage to our credibility.

Can any one of you address this or – and maybe explain the circumstances for the U.S. decision to work with our allies to take this treaty to the U.N. General Assembly so we could see it through.  I think I just said two things.  I’m certain none of the senators meant to endorse the blocking of consensus by Iran, North Korea or Syria.  I understand their theoretical argument about why this could cause a loss to United States diplomatic credibility.  I would give credence to that argument if I heard it from a single foreign government or diplomat.  Every one of them involved in the process believes that U.S. credibility has been enhanced rather than diminished by this process.

MS. STOHL:  Could I say two things to that?  One, I’ll say as an American, I would hope that Syria, North Korea and Iran don’t dictate the policy of my government.  So I’m just – as an American, I would like to say that.  From a process perspective, however, when the – when Secretary Clinton made that statement in October of 2009 in supporting the consensus-based process, that was in a response to the U.N. resolution establishing the treaty negotiations that culminated, in 2012, in failure because there was no consensus.

A new process was begun in October of 2012, a new resolution that established the process to negotiate the treaty in March 2013.  That was a different resolution with a different set of rules of how the treaty would be negotiated and what the process for its conclusion would be.  The United States supported that resolution, did not make a new statement about its involvement in the negotiation process, but that process, that resolution, allowed the treaty to be moved from the conference, where the consensus was blocked, to the General Assembly.

So there actually was no contradiction with U.S. policy.  It was something that was continued by the resolution.  And so I am not concerned that there was a break in – I mean, not that I need to defend the U.S. here, but that has never been an argument that’s made any sense to me because we had a new – it really was a new and final process in March of 2013.

MR. COUNTRYMAN:  I don’t quite agree with that argument, but I’ll let it go.  (Laughter.)

MR. KIMBALL:  All right, are there any other questions from the crowd?  If not, I just want to ask each of you if you have any closing thoughts that you want to finish with.  I want to – yes?  No?

I mean, let me just – let me just sum up a couple things.  I mean, first of all, I want to thank each of you for your very thorough and expert presentations.  And I think – speak for myself and Adotei and Rachel, I mean, I hope that, you know, this is the beginning of a serious process to take a look at the key components of the treaty and what it is and what it isn’t.  And as Tom said, I mean, we’re looking forward to opportunities to engage the public and members of Congress about what the treaty is and what it isn’t, and we’ll continue to do this in the days ahead, and we have a lot of work that we need to do in order to see the treaty to its full value.  It’s going to be a many-years-long process.  It’s going to require many more governments than the United States just to make this a success, but the U.S. has done a very important part in getting us to this stage.

So I want to thank you all for being here.  Please join me in thanking our panelists.  (Applause.)  And we will see you again.



The United States signed the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) on Sept. 25 at the United Nations in N.Y. The treaty opened for signature on June 3 and now has 114 signatories.

TRANSCRIPT AVAILABLE - The 50th Anniversary of the Limited Test Ban Treaty (LTBT)




Looking Back on Its Legacy and the Future of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban

Organized by Green Cross International, the Arms Control Association, the Embassy of Kazakhstan

Thursday, September 12, 2013, 1:30pm-3:30pm
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1779 Mass. Ave. NW

Concluded by Presidents John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev only months after the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Limited Test Ban Treaty (LTBT) was an historic first step toward reining in the U.S.-Soviet nuclear arms race. The LTBT, which banned nuclear test explosions above ground, underwater, and in space, led to the end of the most visible and strongly opposed aspects of the arms race: hundreds of open-air explosions that spewed dangerous levels of radioactive contamination far beyond the test sites of the nuclear powers. Fifty years ago, the Senate debated and approved ratification of the LTBT.

Negotiations of a global, comprehensive test ban were finally concluded in 1996, but the treaty has not yet entered into force. This special event will explore the origins, the negotiations and the legacy of the LTBT and the role of the CTBT in curbing further nuclear competition.

Introductory Remarks - Transcript
His Excellency Kairat Umarov, Ambassador of Kazakhstan to the United States
Dr. Paul F. Walker, Program Director, Green Cross International

Panel One: The Legacy of the 1963 Limited Test Ban Treaty - Transcript
Chair/Discussant: Thomas J. Putnam, Director, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum


Ambassador James Goodby, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution, former U.S. LTBT negotiator
Dr. Timothy Naftali, former Director, Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum

Panel Two: The Role and Future of the Test Ban Treaty - Transcript
Chair/Discussant: Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association


Ambassador Thomas Pickering, Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and Russia
Linton Brooks, Committee on "Technical Issues Related to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty," National Academy of Sciences
Roman Vassilenko, Ambassador-at-Large, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kazakhstan
Karipbeck Kuyukov, Honorary ATOM Project Ambassador, Kazakhstan
Anita Friedt, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear and Strategic Policy, U.S. Department of State

Transcript by
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.

PAUL WALKER: So welcome to all of you.  Welcome to our distinguished speakers.  If you look at the program, you’ll see that we have two panels.  We have a panel on the Limited Test Ban Treaty, which is three individuals you see sitting in front of you here now, and we have a second panel on a comprehensive test ban treaty.

So we’re doing a bit of a historical adventure here from prior to 1963 up through 1963, when the Limited Test Ban Treaty was signed, on up, of course, to 1996, when the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty was signed, and then up to today, talking about the prospects for ratification. We’re really fortunate to have a good number of expert panelists.  And I really thank a couple of the panelists who came a long way to Washington to be with us today.

Let me also when we start off, thank the host of this event and the organizers, particularly the Embassy of Kazakhstan, and I’ll subsequently introduce Ambassador Umarov; and also, the Arms Control Association and Daryl Kimball, who is here; and my own organization, Green Cross International.  And as you know, in Washington, D.C., we’re – or in the United States, our affiliate is called Global Green USA.  So there’s loads of confusion around branding, whether we’re Green Cross or Global Green or Global Green or Green Cross.  But it’s all the same – the same organization.

And we just celebrated, actually, our 20th anniversary in Geneva, Switzerland, just a week ago, with a fellow, whose name you’ll all recognize, Mikhail Gorbachev, who came in – he’s now 82 years old, he chaired three days of meetings with us.  And we were actually very involved with the sort of Russian-American discussions on the topic of the day, Syria and chemical weapons.

Let me first extend apologies from Senator Edward Markey.  He can’t come today.  We ran the risk of organizing this this week; it was the best for everyone’s schedule, including Senator Markey, and then, of course, we were all hit with a small issue like Syria and chemical weapons and the threat of Western attacks.  So Senator Reid apparently – a couple of hours ago, called a Democrat Caucus meeting in the Senate around Syria and chemical weapons.  So Senator Markey just called me half an hour, apologized, said to say hello to everybody, and he’s very supportive of this issue, would like to do something in the future in the Senate when it’s better timing.  But he’s very sorry he can’t be here.

So with that – oh, let me first say, this panel will go to about 2:30.  We’ll break for five minutes; there will be actually a video while you’re having a slight coffee break on Kazakhstan and Semipalatinsk I believe.  And then – and then we’ll come back for the second panel, switch seats and move forward.

So it’s my pleasure now to introduce Ambassador Kairat Umarov, the ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United States.  Ambassador Umarov has held a number of posts – some of you, I’m sure, know him – in the Kazakh foreign ministry, including ambassador to India, to Syria and has served actually twice before here in Washington, D.C., right in early to mid-1990s.

Also of interest to all of us, I think, because the fact that he was very active in the Nevada-Semipalatinsk movement and to close both the U.S. and Soviet weapons test sites in the late 1980s.  And I think, as many of you know, this led to the closure of Semipalatinsk – some of you actually were involved in that, I know, in the audience – on August 29th, 1991, 22 years ago.

So we’re here also, I think, a bit to celebrate the closure of Semipalatinsk; we’ve done that the last couple of years too.  And you also know that that date is the annual United Nations Day Against Nuclear Testing, so it’s sort of a combination of 50th anniversary of the – of the Limited Test Ban Treaty, U.N. Day Against Nuclear Testing, closure of the Semipalatinsk site, and also, moving forward on the Comprehensive Test Ban.

So with that, I turn it over to you, Mr. Ambassador.  (Applause.)

AMBASSADOR KAIRAT UMAROV:  Thank you very much, Paul, for organizing and helping – all to organize this event.  I would like to thank all the panelists who are right now here and who will be coming for the next session.

I think it’s a very important session, just once again, to highlight the importance of everyone to struggle and fight for the ban of nuclear weapons.  I think that everybody has already heard today the news that the DPRK has restarted the nuclear reactor, and I think it brings again to the focus of attention the dangers of nuclear testing and nuclear weapons development.

So I think that it’s very timely, and I would like just to say that we have a special say in this particular issue, because for us, it’s an emotional and political issue.  And I think today, you will have a chance to talk about both political issues and emotional side of the story.

Sixty four years ago, a tragic page was turned in the history of my nation.  The Soviet Union conducted the first test of nuclear device at the Semipalatinsk testing ground in eastern Kazakhstan.  In the course of the next more than 40 years, there were 450 tests of over than 600 nuclear devices with the cumulative capacity of around 2,500 Hiroshima bombs, which, you know, were dropped on Japan.

About ½ million citizens of Kazakhstan have suffered from the effects of radiation and continue to suffer today.  Vast territories comparable to the size of Germany have been exposed to radioactive contamination, and you know, we cannot use this territory for another thousand of years.

I am telling all these facts because, you know, at some point, someone has to say no to nuclear testing and nuclear weapons development, and Kazakhstan actually did a good example of it.  Being still a part of the former Soviet Union, fresh from the Cold War era, President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, by his decree, shut down the world’s second largest nuclear testing site.  And it was done because of his own conviction and because of the strong popular movement in Kazakhstan to close the testing ground.  It was mentioned that I was really involved with this movement.  It was really a huge – first, huge grassroots movement to close the testing sites and to show to the world – to the world that it is possible; it needs to be done.

And Kazakhstan succeeded in this.  On August 29, 1991, unconditionally, the testing site was closed.  That is a good demonstration that by political will, some good things could happen in this world.  And we, today, call upon other countries to follow our suit, to follow our example, and show this political will.

It was an initiative of Kazakhstan that in the U.N. General Assembly on August 29th was proclaimed as an international day of – against nuclear tests, and this year, we – the fourth time observing this day all over the world, with different events.  And today’s event, we also wanted to dedicate to this particular date.

The historical act – it was a historical act made by the will of people of Kazakhstan, 21 years ago, and I think it has a great civilizational significance.  Throughout all those years, Kazakhstan has been strongly committed to the principles of nonproliferation.  The reasons for that are quite obvious:  We have first-hand experience of how deadly and appalling the consequences of nuclear tests could be.  The radioactive fallout left, as I mentioned, 1.5 million people in Kazakhstan with nightmarish health problems, horrific tumors, radiation-caused genetic mutations and defects, and this is going on up till now.

On that ground, we have every right to stress the need for further decisive actions aimed at reducing nuclear threat.  We have strong reasons and we have a strong record of our own laws toward that direction.  Kazakhstan was the first to close down the nuclear test site, we voluntarily renounced the world’s fourth largest nuclear missile – nuclear missile arsenal from the territory of Kazakhstan, the leftover from the former Soviet Union.  We declared a nonnuclear status, we were the founding members of the nuclear weapon-free zone in Central Asia, and we initiated this international day of – against nuclear tests.  And it is a good reminder of the horrific consequences of the nuclear test.

We continue to urge all nuclear weapon states to start developing international, legally binding document on providing security assurances to nuclear weapons-free states.  It is time that some countries overcome the misperception or illusion that acquiring nuclear capability will bolster their security, national security.  We think it’s a very great delusion and we very strongly believe that what we lack today is not the – any more nuclear weapons or weapons of mass destruction, but what we lack today is the mutual trust and understanding.  We lack political will.  And whatever initiatives Kazakhstan today has come with, it comes from the genuine belief of Kazakh people that we have to overcome the lack of trust and to build a safer, nuclear weapon-free world.

An early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which could serve as a catalyst of process of nonproliferation, effective implementation of NPT, is among the steps in that direction.  We welcome the progress made by CTBTO since 1996, and in increasing global support of the concepts of the summit on nonproliferation.  At this juncture, the international community should, through joint efforts, convince eight states that have yet to either sign or ratify the treaty to do so.  We are encouraged by U.S. President Barack Obama’s intention to give a new impetus to that process during his speech in Berlin, casting nuclear reductions as the centerpiece of his address.

Kazakhstan itself continues to contribute significantly to disarmament and nonproliferation, as reflected not only in our active antinuclear position, but also in recent progressive actions.  Our country is actively engaged in settlement of situation of Iranian nuclear program, by providing Almaty platform for the 5-plus-one negotiations.  We actively participate in the CTBTO Preparatory Commission, promoting the development and functioning of International Monitoring System and onsite inspections.

Five stations functioning in Kazakhstan have been integrated into the International Monitoring System, and used to provide a 24-hour monitoring of natural and manmade seismic events in the region.  They demonstrated their effectiveness and quality performance when they had timely detected and located nuclear explosions carried out by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  We strongly condemned the nuclear tests of May 2009 and February 2013, and called upon the DPRK to take note of our positive track record of nuclear disarmament and successful, peaceful development in cooperation with the national community.

Our example becomes very actual today, as I’ve mentioned, since the – North Korea is starting again its nuclear program.  At the Global Nuclear Security Summit in Washington in April, 2010, Kazakhstan introduced a concrete proposal:  In exchange for the nuclear club guarantee for non-use of nuclear weapons and the protection in case of an attack, the entire world must abolish – abandon its nuclear ambitions.

The president also called for U.N. to adopt a universal declaration on the achievement of a nuclear-weapon-free world – and we’re currently working on it in the U.N. – to advance the commitment to Global Zero.

Kazakhstan today works with IAEA to prevent the countries to acquire nuclear technologies by allocating the International Nuclear Fuel Bank, under the auspices of IAEA, on its territory.  We also call upon the states not to delay the drafting of a fissile material cutoff treaty, which will become an important step towards nuclear disarmament and prevention of proliferation of nuclear weapons.

We are very much sure that even more decisive steps have to be made in the area of nonproliferation.  With the political will and mutual understanding, mutual trust, it could be done.

The ATOM Project, which you will see today – it will be presented today, is an initiative of President Nazarbayev coming on top of the more than 22 years of commitment and actions to achieve global nuclear disarmament.  The ATOM Project reminds the world of the tragic consequences of nuclear tests.  We call on the global community to take more decisive action to a final and irrevocable ban of these tests.

Today it is my great pleasure to welcome you all to see the exhibition of the artist who is among us today whose life is a testament how the human spirit can overcome the physical disabilities.  He is using his works to speak clear and loud that nuclear testing and nuclear weapons are the – very harmful for the entire world community.  I would like him, of course, today to talk about his experiencing and his ideas.  And it is Mr. Karipbek Kuyokov, who is among us today and who will give his words in order to speak about sad story which stands behind nuclear testing.

With this, I would like to say thank you, and if at any time anyone would like to talk to us, we will be ready to continue asking and answering questions.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

MR. WALKER:  Thank you very much, Mr. Ambassador, and also welcome to Karipbek Kuyokov.  This – the signs you see here – you’ll see him on the second panel and hear from him, and also the video from the break will also be on what the ambassador has talked about as the ATOM Project, Abolish Testing:  Our Mission, which is a Kazakh-led project.

Before I turn the panel over to Tom Putnam, let me just say a couple of words about nuclear testing, remind ourselves what’s been done to date.  There have been 2,055 nuclear tests that have taken place since 1945, the Trinity test and Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  The United States has tested, by my count, 1,032 times.  They top the list.  The Soviet Union tested 715 times.  And then of course we have the British, French, Chinese.  And the only recent tests have been the North Korean.  So there’s been a de facto moratorium on testing in the United States and in Russia since 1992.  And some of us were involved, actually, in putting that moratorium in place.  The North Korean tests, of course, were 2006, 2009 and 2013, and then there’s a question about a test some time ago, whether it was an Israeli and/or South African test that some of you may know about.

So the Limited Test Ban Treaty was an enormous accomplishment in 1963, and I know it took years under the Eisenhower administration and finally the John F. Kennedy administration to put in place.  But we’ll hear more about that in a – in much more detail, I’m sure.  But I want to remind everybody, it was actually signed in Moscow on August 5th, 1963, so just over 50 years ago, by Dean Rusk – you all know that name – Andrei Gromyko and Alec Douglas-Home, the British representative.  And it was ratified, after some considerable debate in the U.S. Senate, on September 24th, 80 to 19 votes.  So I think all of us are hoping that we can get close to that vote count for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in the foreseeable future.  And it was signed in a very famous picture – you’ve probably all seen the photo, with many political luminaries around – by John F. Kennedy in the Treaty Room of the White House on October 7th, and it entered into force on October 10th.  So we’re in between all of these dates right now, so this is actually a very appropriate time.

And the reason that I think, in the end, it came about was because of the outrage in the United States and elsewhere, but particularly the United States, over the radioactive fallout and strontium-90 in children’s teeth – do you remember that – back then, particularly from the enormous thermonuclear tests that were taking place atmospherically, and both by the United States and by the Soviet Union.

We had the Threshold Test Ban Treaty in 1974, didn’t enter into force until 1990, so very slow process, to limited underground tests to 150-kiloton or lower, and then the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which was voted on September 10th – so we’re just two days off that anniversary – in 1996, by 158 countries in the United Nations General Assembly.  And today the CTBT – we’ll hear a lot more about it in the second panel – has 159 states parties who’ve signed and ratified.

So we still have 37 countries that have not joined, although a number of those are signatories; they just haven’t ratified.  And you probably all recall that the first Senate vote on the treaty was on October 13th, 1999, here in the United States, and it was voted down 51 to 48.  So it was 19 votes short of a 67-vote two-thirds majority.

And as Ambassador Umarov has said, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty requires the 44 nuclear-capable states to join the treaty regime for entry into force.  And those – eight countries of those 44 that are still outstanding are China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the United States.

So I’m very much looking forward to this panel and the second panel to see how in fact our lessons learned from 1963 interact with our efforts these days to ratify and enter into force the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

So with those few words, let me turn the program over to Tom Putnam.  And I want to thank Tom for coming down from Boston from the – he’s the director of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.  And I also want to welcome Ambassador James Goodby, in the middle of the table there, who was a negotiator of the Limited Test Ban Treaty, so we have a firsthand – a firsthand account here, and also Dr. Timothy Naftali, who’s a historian and co-author of the 2001 book on JFK, “John F. Kennedy:  The Great Crises.”

So the podium’s all yours, gentlemen.

Panel 1

THOMAS PUTNAM:  Well, I know I speak on behalf of my colleagues.  It’s an honor to be here.  We thank you for inviting us.  It looks like we have about a half an hour, so we’re each going to speak for about 10 minutes, and if one of us is short, you’ll have a few minutes to ask questions.

It’s no secret that for John F. Kennedy, really, he – his greatest accomplishment, he felt, was the signing of that first nuclear test ban treaty.  And I want to just give a few opening comments to set that achievement in context, and I hope I can kind of paint, actually, a very general picture with wide brushstrokes and perhaps use a few of President Kennedy’s words to just capture that moment, and then my colleagues, I think – obviously Ambassador Goodby, who was there, will give us really that internal view, and then my colleague Tim Naftali will give us a little bit more of a historical analysis.

I always remind people that to understand John F. Kennedy, you really have to go back to World War II.  His father was ambassador to England.  He actually traveled through Europe as a young man and visited both pre-war Germany and the Soviet Union and made his own impressions, came back to Harvard, wrote his honors thesis, which became a book called “Why England Slept.”  And the essential thesis there was that in the contest between democratically elected governments and totalitarian ones that when competing militarily, the totalitarian regimes will always have an advantage because they’re able to conscript their citizens into military service, and they can spend as much money on their military as their budgets will allow without the consent of their citizens.

And in my mind, that’s really the essence of his famous inaugural address when he spoke – it’s very much a Cold War address.  He spoke to the American people, and he was saying the only way that the U.S. could compete in the Cold War against the Soviet Union were if Americans were willing to sacrifice and care as much about the common good and the national interest as they were about their own individual well-being.

The second essential feature of JFK’s life experience was actually his service in World War II, where he really developed a skepticism of military authority.  Again, this was not only forged during his service on the PT-109, but it’s captured by his comical remark at the height of the missile crisis.  When an errant U-2 pilot mistakenly flew into Soviet airspace and really almost set off a nuclear catastrophe, JFK quipped, “There’s always one son of a bitch who doesn’t get the message.”  (Laughter.)

He was of course both devastated and disappointed in himself that he actually followed the advice of his military generals in the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion, but the world avoided catastrophe when he disregarded their advice during the Cuban missile crisis.  And it’s such a remarkable story, and one we’ll hear more about from the panel, of how in less than a year’s time, we went from the Cuban missile crisis, the highest level of nuclear brinkmanship in world history, to the historic signing of the nuclear test ban treaty.

Really, the over-arching theme of both the missile crisis and JFK’s quest to sign the test ban treaty was his fear that humanity was being gripped by forces it could not control, and he endeavored to do what he could to be sure that that didn’t happen.

A couple of observations.  In the aftermath of the Cuban missile crisis, he sees the nuclear issues as the greatest threat to the world and the greatest challenge for him and other world leaders to solve.  He gives a press conference in May of 1963.  He said, “If we don’t get an agreement this year, I would think the genie is out of the bottle, and we will never get him back again.  Personally, I’m haunted by the feeling that by 1970, unless we’re successful, there may be 10 nuclear powers instead of four.  I regard that as the greatest possible danger and hazard, and I think we ought to stay it.”

He believed that the arms race was not only costly but was inherently unstable to the world, and he gives a famous address at American University, really the first presidential address in 18 years to reach beyond the Cold War.  And that speech began with a commitment to genuine, lasting peace, and I would like to quote from it:  “Not a Pax America enforced on the world by American weapons of war, not merely peace for Americans, but peace for all men; not merely peace in our time, but peace for all time.”  And he goes on to say, “Our problems are man-made, and therefore they can be solved by man.  Some say it’s useless to speak of a world peace until the leaders of the Soviet Union adopt a more enlightened attitude.  I hope they do.  I believe we can help them to do it.  But I also believe we must re-examine our own attitude towards peace and the Soviet Union.”

There’s two other lines from that speech I like.  In regard to the Soviet Union, he says, “No government or social system is so evil that its people must be considered lacking in virtue.”  And he describes peace as “based not on a sudden revolution in human nature but on a gradual evolution in human institutions.”

But of course, he had to overcome many obstacles to get the test ban treaty signed.  First he had to convince the Soviets themselves, and he had a kind of a difficult dance.  He was both extending an olive branch to them, but he also gives that famous speech in Berlin at the time where really he excoriates communism, and McGeorge Bundy, after the speech, worried that Kennedy had gone too far and could have actually damaged the effort they were making to try to sign the test ban treaty with that speech.

Even after the treaty was initialized, it needed to be ratified, and the American people needed to be convinced.  Congressional mail at the time, like the White House mail, was running 15 to 1 against the treaty, and JFK was truly worried that he would face the same failure that Woodrow Wilson had with the League of Nations.  So he did what he did best, and he addressed the American people.  Again, they continued to believe what their leaders had been telling them, that for years the U.S. was in imminent danger of a massive nuclear attack by the Soviet Union and that the communists were evil liars never to be trusted.  So the treaty was very high politics and a tough sell.

And let me just read briefly from the famous address he gave to the American people in August of 1963.  He said, “I speak to you tonight in a spirit of hope.  Since the advent of nuclear weapons, all mankind has been struggling to escape from the darkening prospect of mass destruction on Earth.  But yesterday a shaft of light cut into the darkness.  This treaty is not the millennium.  It’s an important first step, a step toward peace, a step toward reason, a step away from war.  This treaty is for all of us.  It is particularly for our children and our grandchildren, and they have no lobby here in Washington.  And according to the ancient Chinese proverb, a journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step,” and he challenges the country to take that step.

He made four points in that speech.  The reasons that he was for the test ban treaty was that it would reduce world tension, prevent radioactive fallout, prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, and he argued that limiting the arms race with the Soviet Union would actually strengthen American security, not weaken it.  The treaty, nevertheless, encountered tremendous attack.  There were nuclear scientists, like Edward Teller, who were against it.  He was facing a growing military-industrial complex that had an inherent interest in continuing to build and test weapons.  Influential senators like Senators Stennis, Goldwater and Russell all came out against the treaty. And JFK was truly worried that a coalition of conservative Southern senators who were especially angry with him over the civil rights legislation he had proposed would band together with Republicans to prevent the two-thirds needed for ratification.

The heroes of the story were Scoop Jackson and especially Everett Dirksen.  Dirksen was known to have said, when he endorsed it, that he would not like it written on his tombstone that he knew what happened at Hiroshima but did not take the first step.  And while I wish I could play the tapes for you – and my colleague Tim Naftali’s an expert on the tapes – there’s a fascinating tape where Everett Dirksen is in the Oval Office working with the president to figure out which votes they could get to be on their side, and in the end, they did get a number of Republican votes.  And it’s hard to imagine, for instance, President Obama and Mitch McConnell in the Oval Office working together on figuring out which senators could vote on a piece of legislation they both agreed on.

So as was mentioned, in the end 11 Southern Democrats and eight Republicans were opposed, and 35 Democrats and 25 Republicans supported.  So it was essential to have that Republican support to get it passed.

Again, JFK stated that no other accomplishment gave him greater satisfaction.  And as was mentioned, he signed it in a newly restored Treaty Room, and he probably did that because the desk in the Treaty Room belonged to him and he wanted to sit at his own desk and sign the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

We actually have it on display now at the library because it is one of his greatest accomplishments.  Tim was there last week and we went and looked at it together.  It’s on loan to us from the National Archives and Records Administration.

I just want to make a couple more points and to conclude.  After he gave that speech, he actually went out and gave almost a pre-campaign tour.  He was getting ready for his re-election campaign.  He went out to some Western states.  And the thing that surprised him was – it was supposed to be a tour about the environment and conservation, but he was getting the greatest applause lines when he actually talked about the Test Ban Treaty.  And he discovered that there – he felt that there really was a thirst amongst the American people for this – for the
Test Ban Treaty and for a call for peace, and that’s why he decides to run his re-election campaign on peace and prosperity.

And this, I think, is captured – and this is my last remark – in the final address he gives to the United Nations, which literally was 50 years ago this week, and I just wanted to read that speech for you.  He’s addressing the United Nations, and he calls for, quote:  further agreements which spring from our mutual interest in avoiding mutual destruction, for a new approach to the Cold War on both sides and for changes in the U.N. Charter to enable conventions of peace to pull abreast and then ahead of the inventions of war.  But peace – and this is what I want to conclude with – does not rest in charters and covenants alone; it lies in the hearts and minds of all people.  And if it is cast out there, then no act, no pact, no treaty, no organization can hope to preserve it.  So let us not rest all our hopes on parchment and on paper; let us strive to build a desire for peace in the hearts and minds of all our people.

So I thank you for listening to me.  And I’ll now turn the panel over again to my two colleagues, as been introduced before, historian Tim Naftali, who I promise, because I’ve heard him speak many times, is one of the most engaging speakers on JFK that I know – and Tim is in the process of writing a new biography – and Ambassador James Goodby of the Brookings Institution, but most importantly, again, he was a true eyewitness to this history, having served as the officer in charge of nuclear test ban negotiations at the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency from 1961 to 1963.

So Ambassador Goodby.

JAMES GOODBY:  Thank you very much.  And thanks to all the sponsors of this.  I think it’s very important to commemorate these days of the Limited Test Ban Treaty’s anniversary.

I’d like to say that I actually began working on the Test Ban Treaty in 1954.  And you say:  What?  It didn’t really get underway until 1958, at least.  But I really see the scientific miscalculation, as I call it, of March 1, 1954, as the beginning of the test ban negotiations.  That scientific miscalculation was the Bravo shot in the Castle series thermonuclear device, which instead of having something like six megatons, as they had expected, turned out to have 15 megatons and threw debris over a sizable part of the Pacific Ocean, resulting in the sickness and the death of at least one Japanese fisherman and fairly dangerous levels of radioactivity over a lot of the islands in that area.  So I really think the serious talks about should we continue to do this began in that year and continued really throughout that period.

The legacy of the Test Ban Treaty has been mentioned already.  I don’t need to dwell on it.  Children don’t have to drink strontium-90 in their milk, at least that caused by fallout.  Had the Limited Test Ban Treaty not been put into effect, maybe people would have done something unilaterally, but the fact of the matter is it did cause us to stop doing something that was devastating to human health.  So that’s an important legacy in itself.

But there’s another legacy, a lesson, if you will, that I think people don’t take note of, and I was glad to hear Dr. Putnam mention this today.  It is that in a sense, I think – I’ll underscore this – what it proved was that adversaries can cooperate.  It doesn’t have to be a zero sum game between two adversaries.  That lesson, I think, is very relevant today.  If you think about what happened in the year 1961, we had the Bay of Pigs disaster; we had a terrible summit meeting between Khrushchev and Kennedy; we had the building of the Berlin Wall; we had the breaking of a moratorium that had been started by Eisenhower, with a 50-megaton-yield Soviet nuclear bomb; and finally, a termination of the talks which looked as though that might in fact be the end of it.

In 1962, we saw the Cuban missile crisis, and yet by January of 1963, I was in New York with Bill Foster and others, Charlie Stelle, talking with the Russians – and the British came later – about how can we revive these talks.  So I think if you think about today and we think about then, there seemed to be a greater willingness in those days to negotiate with adversaries, to do something that would be in the interest of both countries even if it was only limited in scope.  So I regard that as really one of the major lessons of that time, and I think we ought to keep that in mind.  We had leaders in those days who were ready to, you know, turn their attention fully to getting something done that would benefit all of humankind.

I attended the 25th anniversary of the Limited Test Ban Treaty.  It was at the Kennedy Library in 1988.  And of course on that occasion, all the veterans of the Test Ban Treaty were there.  My colleagues at that time were Ted Sorensen and McGeorge Bundy and Carl Kaysen and Ros Gilpatric, a number of others.  I mention that because I think Ted Sorensen, Ros Gilpatric, former defense – deputy defense secretary and I were the only people there among the group of eight or 10 who thought we had really done as much as we could do when we arranged this Limited Test Ban Treaty.  Most of the others were saying, oh we could have done more.  I thought they were kind of bellyaching about their hopes that were unfulfilled.  Even McGeorge Bundy said, you know, I wish you really had done more, and maybe we should have done better at trying to convince Kennedy to go this route.

Well, my sense of it, frankly, is we’re very, very lucky that he got even that much.  And I say even that much in the sense that I think we did a great deal of good through that treaty, because there were innumerable obstacles.  Bear in mind this whole thing started in 1958 under a Republican president, Dwight Eisenhower, who convened a scientific conference held in Geneva, which resulted in an agreement between the Soviet Union and others, ourselves included, about a verification system that became known as the Geneva system.  And it included virtually all those things we are now talking about in terms of verification – seismographs and detecting fallout and what have you.

The talks began later that year.  And at that same time, Eisenhower, to his great credit, declared a moratorium, which continued until 1961.  But almost immediately there was resistance to it, and so rather than smooth sailing and negotiating, there were backs and forths, new data came up and so forth.  I say this because that was really the story of the negotiations.  I can go through each of these years and show you that it was a very close call.

Even the speech of June 10 at the American University that Dr. Putnam just mentioned, a very, very important speech, was fortunate, in a sense, in that it had two items in it that I think Ted Sorensen basically collected and put into it.  I don’t think that President Kennedy had in mind initially putting those things into it.  One was the idea of a mission to Moscow.  He was able to announce that the Russians had accepted that and it would be a mission to Moscow, which became the place where the treaty was actually finished.

That ran into a lot of trouble with the State Department, to be blunt.  I had come up with the idea.  We talked to the British.  The British came back and said it’s a great idea.  And then we found that the Soviet people – the Soviet experts in the State Department didn’t think it was a good idea at all.  I was astonished to hear that, because generally they favored the test ban.  But what they thought was that Khrushchev was too busy with the emerging split with China to pay much attention to it; we didn’t want to bother him.  Fortunately, he was overridden and we did go ahead and propose this, and Khrushchev eventually accepted.  But it could have gone the other way.

And the same thing with this idea of not testing in the atmosphere, which is the other big thing, I think, in that speech.  That was a proposal that we had made a couple of times in 1962.  We even had begun consultation with Congress about it.  But for one reason or another, it was put aside.  It was lying in the White House, and nobody was pushing it at that particular time in 1963, but Sorensen picked it up and put it in the speech.

And so a lot of good luck, along with a lot of bad luck, is what I’m saying to you.  And it was certainly not an easy thing to get even a limited test ban treaty.

A little bit about the characters involved.  It was interesting to me how much the scientific community got involved in this, I think perhaps more so than any other negotiation that I’m aware of.  And it was both good and bad.  In a way, they were kind of re-fighting the Oppenheimer-Teller argument about should we go into thermonuclear or not.  Bitter, bitter fights between the scientists, which reflected in the ups and downs of negotiations.  So that was one of the major elements I saw.

People in the State Department connected with John Foster Dulles, many of whom had actually served in the Atomic Energy Commission, as I had, were very supportive; I think, frankly, during the years ’59-’60, the latter two years of the administration of Eisenhower, managed to keep the thing afloat.

Beyond that, looking at Eisenhower, he deserves a lot of credit for getting this done.  Kennedy was able to say, look, my predecessor wanted this done very badly – and which was true.  A man who doesn’t ever get much of any credit in this country, Harold Macmillan, Macmillan was close both to Eisenhower and Kennedy and kept pushing both of them to keep on working on this test ban treaty.  At one time or another, I think he was probably the key to keeping this whole thing on the tracks.

Khrushchev, to me, is kind of an enigma.  He supported the – he did really support the test ban treaty when it first began.  By 1961, he had turned against it.  He began to link the Test Ban Treaty to general and complete disarmament, which meant basically turning his back on it.  In some point in the spring or summer of 1963, he began to say, OK, maybe this is a good idea.  People attribute this – Russians do, as well – to the experience of the Cuban missile crisis, but I’m not so sure about that.  I saw the Soviet negotiating team close up in January of ’63 in New  York, and they didn’t show any signs of that whatsoever, and there was no evidence to me that there was a willingness to negotiate.  So I put it down more to other factors – Khrushchev’s internal position, break with China and so forth.

Anyway, I think that’s probably enough time for me to talk, and I’ll turn it over to my friend here.

TIMOTHY NAFTALI:  Thank you very much, Ambassador Goodby.

When we commemorate the 50th anniversary of a world-historical event, it makes sense to take time to see what we have learned about the event since its initial reporting and also to highlight some elements of the event that have current relevance.

In that spirit today, I will focus on three aspects – I promise, quickly now – of the history of the Limited Test-Ban Treaty of 1963.  And I’m focusing on them because you won’t know these stories:  the personal commitment of John F. Kennedy to banning nuclear tests – this is not a matter of idolatry but history – the role that the Soviets and the British actually played in the achievement of the test ban, one crucial and one peripheral; and the ugly political environment in 1963 that President Kennedy faced – Candide’s evil seems everywhere today; it is so easy to fall into the habit of assuming we now live in the worst of all possible political environment.

Although members of the president’s inner circle have long said that the test ban treaty was John F. Kennedy’s most treasured White House achievement, it was not until the opening of Russian archives that we had a sense of not only the depth of the president’s commitment to achieving a test ban but the political risk he was willing to take.  Funny that it took the archives of an adversary for us to understand U.S. history better.  But this was the case.  And I am pleased to say that my Russian co-author, the late Aleksandr Fursenko, and I were able to bring this information to light for the very first time, and the material is still astounding.

Three weeks after the Bay of Pigs, John F. Kennedy asked his brother to initiate secret talks with the Soviets to conclude a comprehensive test ban with Moscow that Kennedy and the Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, could conclude at a summit in a neutral country.

Lest you think that all he wanted was a political victory after the defeat in Cuba, the decision reflected a mature assessment of the Cold War.  Kennedy had just learned that the United States was not in fact behind the Soviet Union in missiles; the infamous “missile gap” that had helped JFK get elected was a chimera.  But Kennedy did not yet know that the United States was far, far ahead of the Soviets.  As far as he knew, the Cold War was a military stalemate, and Kennedy’s goal was to freeze it there to reduce the chances of World War III.

Since 1958, as Ambassador Goodby not only described but knows very well, the United States and the Soviet Union had been observing a moratorium on atmosphere tests while negotiating a treaty banning all tests.  Verification was the sticking point in these negotiations.  Given the number of seismic events in the Soviet Union, which could easily be mistaken for underground nuclear tests, the United States had requested a set of annual on-site inspections to confirm that the Soviets had not broken the agreement.  Senate confirmation, as you can imagine, depended on reaching whatever threshold number was required to build confidence that the Soviets could not cheat.  The outgoing Eisenhower administration position was 20 on-site inspections a year, and the Soviets seemed prepared to offer three.

Without notifying any other member of his national security team, including National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy or Secretary of State Dean Rusk or Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, Kennedy sent RFK to tell the Soviets that if Khrushchev increased the number of acceptable on-site inspections, the United States would be willing to accept 10, and he would sign an agreement in the neutral country, which later turned out to be Austria.

Imagine the political storm if these backchannel negotiations had leaked.  RFK told the Kremlin secretly, quote, improving U.S.-Soviet relations was job number one for the new administration.  But he also explained the domestic political situation the United States president was in and why he couldn’t say these things publicly.  A later administration would use the term “reset” and probably now regrets having admitted this goal publicly.

The secret backchannel negotiations continued until JFK boarded Air Force One for Europe at the end of May 1961 for the summit in Vienna.  But as we know, they were unsuccessful.  The Soviet leader, as we know from Soviet records now, had no interest in achieving an arms control agreement so long as in his mind, the problem of Berlin remained unresolved.  What we also only learned with the opening of Soviet records is that Khrushchev consciously withheld a test ban from Kennedy, seeing it as a reward for good behavior and not as a strategic need for the Soviet Union.  As he told the Kremlin, no test ban until Berlin is solved.

Kennedy’s other key partner was Great Britain.  Although Kennedy’s commitment to achieving a test ban can be explained in terms of his general desire to reduce what one might call nuclear danger, one must also take note of the supportive role played by family friend and later British ambassador to the United States, David Ormsby-Gore, or Lord Harlech, the British Conservative Party’s expert on arms control, who did lobby John F. Kennedy to give test – to put test ban on the forefront of his agenda once he became president.

Until 1963, however, the Soviets and the British were pulling Kennedy in opposite directions.  Khrushchev toyed with Kennedy by unleashing a powerful set of nuclear tests in 1961, breaking the informal moratorium that the two sides had been observing after he did not get the agreement he wanted on Berlin in the summer during the Berlin crisis.  Meanwhile, the British placed increased pressure on Kennedy not to resume testing in response

Meanwhile, Kennedy faced enormous pressure at home to resume testing in 1961 in light of the Soviet challenge.  Quote, personally, I hate the idea of resuming atmospheric tests, Kennedy told Arthur Schlesinger in late 1961 in some unpublished diary.

In response to these pressures, in April of 1962 Kennedy once again used his brother RFK to make a secret test ban offer to the Kremlin.  If Khrushchev would accept a partial test ban and give up seeking an agreed number of on-site inspections to verify underground testing, Kennedy would not go ahead with the nuclear tests that he was planning for the summer of 1962.  Again, imagine the political cost to the president of the United States if the U.S. military, U.S. nuclear laboratories, elements in State and CIA and Congress, all of which supported a resumption of U.S. testing, had learned of this secret offer to the Kremlin.

Kennedy had tried to make this offer publicly.  It was in the first draft of his State of the Union message.  But Dean Rusk and McNamara had forced it out of the draft, January of 1962.  So Kennedy had to maneuver secretly using Bobby.

Once again, Khrushchev turned Kennedy down.  Instead, he decided to put missiles in Cuba and push for a Berlin agreement once again in 1962.

So why did JFK get the partial test ban in 1963?  It was, I believe, because of his deft handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis.  It particular, it was because Kennedy had tried to help Khrushchev save face by agreeing – again, secretly, using Bobby – to remove the Jupiter missiles in Turkey.  The Kennedy brothers struck a deal with Khrushchev:  If he said nothing publicly about the offer, it would happen within three to four months of the end of October 1962.

Both sides stuck to the bargain.  From Soviet records, we know how obsessively the Soviets followed events in Turkey, sending their ambassador constantly to check whether the missiles had been removed.  And in March of 1963 the Soviet leadership learned that indeed, the missiles had been removed.

And so in late April Khrushchev announced to the Kremlin in a top-secret session we only learned about 10 years ago that he was ending the hold he had placed on the partial test ban.  He would no longer block the agreement because of Berlin.  When the time was right, he would tell Kennedy he could have it.  As Kennedy had hoped in 1961, the test ban became for Khrushchev a symbol of a better working relationship with Washington.

And so when was the time right?  When Kennedy gave his American University speech, Khrushchev said, OK, he can have it now.  He had already prepared his colleagues for a test ban.  He said, Kennedy has now done what we need him to do; he has earned the right to a test ban.  And that’s why it happened.

Most of the test ban story, the real story, took place in secret and involved a handful of the very top leaders of the two superpowers.  And for that reason, we didn’t know it until a few years ago.

Why did it happen in secret?  Why was it not the product of a somewhat more public discussion of what international mores and humanitarian interests ought to be?

It was not because test ban negotiations were a political problem for Khrushchev or for his political standing or because he had opponents in the military.  Khrushchev had fired all the opponents in the military in 1960; he could do whatever he wanted.  The problem was us.  It was our side.

And now, with the few minutes I have left, I’d like to explain to you why John F. Kennedy felt he could not publicly be as pro-test ban as he was secretly with his brother Bobby.

The U.S. military, especially the Joint Chiefs, opposed a test ban.  The nuclear scientific community was split, but the scientists who ran laboratories – most famously, as you mentioned, Edward Teller – against the test ban.  The director of the CIA, John McCone, the president’s director of intelligence, opposed the test ban.  The secretary of state, Dean Rusk, was actually cynical about what arms control could achieve.  Vice President Lyndon Johnson, whose national security views were largely shaped by the Joint Chiefs, had doubts about détente with the Soviet Union.  Other southern Democrats, who were angry at Kennedy’s new civil rights policy, as Tom mentioned, were eager to oppose a test ban, not because they disliked it on strategic terms but because Kennedy would get a victory.

But worst of all, from Kennedy’s point of view, the most revered military history in the country and the one man who could make a test ban a bipartisan achievement, former President Dwight Eisenhower, had changed his mind about a test ban since leaving office and now had serious reservations.  With Eisenhower’s opposition to a test ban, most Republicans in the Senate would not be able to support it.

Eisenhower is an interesting case because so little of the true story is known.  Eisenhower’s legacy is currently going through a revival based on some ahistorical assumptions about what he thought about the Cold War.  Yes, he had supported a test ban in the late 1950s, absolutely.  But he did so because the United States was ahead in nuclear technology.  A ban would freeze the U.S. advantage.  By 1963 Eisenhower concluded that the Soviets had caught up, and a ban might well favor them more than it would favor us.

The Kennedy administration sent Dean Rusk to sell the test ban to Eisenhower before Kennedy gave his speech to the nation.  Rusk, speaking for himself, told Eisenhower not to worry; the test ban would not mean a détente with the Soviet Union.  Privately, Eisenhower, who had a passionate dislike of his successor, called what Kennedy was doing a snow job in the Senate.  Nevertheless, he decided not to speak out against the treaty because there was so much international support for it.  However, he did confess to CIA chief John McCone, who had served in his administration before joining the Kennedy administration, that he would not have signed this treaty.

Kennedy did not have to pay any price for Ike’s support.  Eisenhower, in fact, publicly supported the treaty.  But he did have to pay a price to get the U.S. military to come along.  It is a quaint notion that the U.S. military does not play politics.  The Pentagon leaks as well and as strategically as the White House when it feels the need.

The price that Kennedy had to pay, you’ll be surprised to know, was Angola.  Kennedy sacrificed briefly the administration’s progressive policy in favor of decolonization in Portuguese Africa to ensure continued access to air bases in the Azores that were controlled by Portugal.  This was done to calm Portugal’s allies in the Air Force.  As Schlesinger wrote in his unpublished diary at the end of July, there is now a general feeling that an agreement, especially one confined to self-policing environments, would get through without much difficulty.  I think that the president still has some concerns about it, though; he has made it clear that he wants no trouble over the Azores in order to husband his strength for the test ban ratification.

As a result, I believe it would be impossible to imagine the U.S. signing a limited test ban agreement if anyone else had been in the White House.  Eisenhower would not have signed it.  Given Eisenhower’s personal opposition, the Nixon of the early 1960s would not have signed it.  Nelson Rockefeller, a leading candidate for the GOP nomination in 1960 and ’64, opposed the test ban treaty.  Among leading Democrats, Kennedy was the most skeptical about the Cold War, and as his secret RFK diplomacy illustrated, he was willing to outmaneuver Washington’s national security establishment for the sake of arms control.

The Limited Test Ban Treaty, therefore, is truly the product of political courage.  The historical record now speaks volumes about JFK’s role.  But it also, sadly, shows the constraints on creative presidential foreign policy making in Cold War America.  In policy terms, Washington was a very conservative place in 1963.  It is not clear that it is harder to be a progressive president today.

Thank you.  (Applause.)

Panel 2

DARYL KIMBALL:  If I could ask everyone to take their seats once again, so that we can resume our program.  Thank you.  And my name is Daryl Kimball.  I’m the executive director of the Arms Control Association, one of the cosponsors of today’s event.  The Arms Control Association was established in 1971 by several of the men that we heard about in the previous panel, who were part of the Limited Test Ban Treaty and Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty efforts.

And ACA, along with many of our colleague organizations who are here today, including Women’s Action for New Directions and Physicians for Social Responsibility, Natural Resources Defense Council and others have been working for decades to bring about a halt to nuclear testing.

And I want to join Paul Walker in thanking our co-organizers and hosts, the Embassy of Kazakhstan and of course Paul and Global Greens USA for pulling all this together.

Before we begin with our second panel on the role and future of the Test Ban Treaty, we’re just going to take a moment to see a video – it’s about five minutes long – that describes the ATOM Project that was established to highlight the dangers of nuclear testing, particularly in Kazakhstan, but as I’ll say in a few minutes, those dangers extend far beyond the Semipalatinsk test zone in Kazakhstan.  So let’s just take a look at this.

(Video plays.)

Narrator:  On August 29th, 1949, the former Soviet Union detonated what would be the first of more than 450 nuclear warheads at their new testing site in Eastern Kazakhstan.  Just 100 miles away, the people in the industrial city of Semipalatinsk watched as the sky lit up and radiation filled the air.  Today, that city is called Semey.

It has been more than 20 years since a nuclear bomb was tested here, but for the people of Semey, nuclear testing is not a thing of the past.  Every day, many residents in Semey live with the legacy of those tests.  For these people, the consequences of nuclear testing, the devastating effects of nuclear radiation are clear.

Over the four decades of nuclear tests, approximately 1.5 million people in the region were affected.  Today, one in 20 children is born with deformities.  The cancer rate is 50 percent higher here than elsewhere in the country.  Many of the population die before reaching 60.

Not many of the people who lived in Semey throughout the tests are alive today to tell their stories.  But the lives of their children and grandchildren tell their own cautionary tale.

Governments around the world know with certainty that the side effects of nuclear weapons and testing are illness, unending environmental devastation, and death.  The people of Semey, the Bikini Atoll, the Marshall Islands, Nagasaki and Hiroshima have lived it.

Some countries, such as Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Belarus and South Africa have already eliminated their nuclear weapons or abandoned their nuclear weapons programs.  Through the decisions of its president, Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan has also shut down the infamous Semipalatinsk nuclear test site, yet other countries could have done much more to help create a nuclear safe world.  The United Nations is working to build national and global security without nuclear weapons, establish regional nuclear weapons free zones, put an end to testing, and ultimately free the world of its nuclear arsenal.

One of the most concrete steps towards achieving this goal would be pushing through the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.  The very existence and availability of weapons-grade fissile material in nuclear states such as North Korea, as well as the appeal of nuclear devices as the ultimate weapon, increase the risk of global nuclear terrorism.  If we stop nuclear weapons testing and secure all fissile material, then we also substantially reduce the threat of nuclear terrorism.

The people of Semey, Nevada and the Marshall Islands didn’t know they’d become the victims of nuclear radiation, but if you’re watching this, you now know that their fate could be your own.  But together we have the power to stop nuclear weapons testing.  Today, we have the power to create a nuclear safe world.  By joining together, we can let the people all over the world affected by nuclear weapons testing know we heard their story.

Make your mark by telling the world leaders that you want to live in a nuclear safe world.  Go to theATOMProject.org and sign the petition.  Let’s act now and stop nuclear weapons testing.

(Video ends.)

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Well, as we heard in the previous panel, the United States and Great Britain and the Soviet Union came close but did not complete the effort for a comprehensive test ban.  As successful as the Limited Test Ban Treaty was in stopping the most visible and dangerous aspect of the arms race, the hundreds of open air explosions that spewed dangerous levels of radioactive contamination at the test sites and far beyond that caused this kind of damage was the result.

And one thing that’s important to note is that the same kind of citizen movement that we’re hearing about with the ATOM Project, that did occur in the lead-up to the Limited Test Ban Treaty.  The organization I used to work for, many years ago, the Physicians for Social Responsibility, along with other citizen activists were a critical part of the efforts to bring about an end to testing in the late ’50s and ’60s and was one of the reasons why, in my view, John F. Kennedy’s efforts were so strong in terms of trying to end testing.

And one thing to note also is that though the damage around – immediately around the test sites, Semipalatinsk, Nevada and elsewhere, was – has been extremely great, the damage caused by that radiation, even after the Limited Test Ban Treaty has been tremendous also.  According to a 1992 calculation by experts from the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research and the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, there were between – there have been between 320,000 and 650,000 additional cancer fatalities worldwide through the year 2000 as a result of global nuclear fallout.

And so knowledge about the harm of nuclear testing is still not complete.  And the job of ending testing is not complete.  The next best chance for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty would not come for another three decades after the ratification of the Limited Test Ban Treaty on September 24th, 1963, and its entry into force weeks later.

As we heard already, in 1989, Kazak people rose up to call for an end to further soviet testing in their homeland.  And here in the United States, about a year later, there was a renewed movement to push the United States Congress to introduce legislation to match the Soviet moratorium that was announced in 1991 by Mikhail Gorbachev in response to that citizen movement in Kazakhstan.

And four years later, multilateral negotiations on the CTBT were finally concluded.  And so this panel is going to look at the Test Ban Treaty, the issues relating to the U.S. ratification issue, the technical issues, some of the political issues, and we’re also going to hear again about some of the reasons why we need to move ahead to close the door on testing.

And I would just note that we’re talking about this today because – the Test Ban Treaty, here in Washington, because U.S. and Chinese ratification is critical to moving forward to its formal entry into force.  They’re among the few holdout states that must ratify in order to bring the treaty into force.

President Obama, as we heard before from the ambassador at the top, has repeatedly expressed his support for U.S. ratification of the CTBT.  In 2009, he said that he would immediately and aggressively pursue U.S. ratification.  And again in June, President Obama said we’ll work to build support in the United States to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

It’s a lot of work to be done.  That pledge is important, but there’s much more work to be done in order to move forward to develop a concrete plan of action, to pursue the steps necessary to win support in the Senate.  My organization and many others believe that such an effort will take time.  The results may not be clear anytime soon.  But to move forward, we can and must begin that effort.  And it’s important for the White House to name a coordinator to help lead that effort and to use some of the tools that the president now has to help inform the Senate about the key technical issues regarding the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

And this panel is going to take a look at some of those issues.  We are very happy to have with us here today Ambassador Linton Brooks, who was a member of the National Academy of Sciences panel on Technical Issues Related to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which issued its report in March 2012.  And Linton is going to describe to us the findings of the panel which addressed some of the key issues that were at the center of the previous debate in the Senate in October 1999, when the treaty was rejected by the Senate.

We’re also going to be hearing from others on the panel.  We’re going to be hearing from Ambassador Roman Vasilenko.  He serves as ambassador at large for the Foreign Ministry of Kazakhstan.  And he has been central to the ATOM Project’s efforts.  He will be speaking second and describing his views about how we can move forward with Test Ban Treaty entry into force, as well as other issues.  And we’ll also be hearing from Karipbek Kuyukov, who’s the honorary ATOM Project ambassador, third.  And then, at about 3:25, we’ll be hearing from Anita Friedt, who is principal deputy assistant secretary for nuclear strategic policy at the U.S. Department of State, on the Obama administration’s perspective on the legacy of the LTBT and the value of the CTBT.

So with that transition and introduction, I want to welcome Ambassador Linton Brooks to begin outlining the results of the National Academy study.

Thank you, Linton.

LINTON BROOKS:  Thank you.  At the request of the United States government, particularly the vice president’s office and the State Department, the National Academies undertook a technical study.  That’s the first thing you have to understand.  There are some important issues – will ratification help nonproliferation; if we ratify, can others be brought to – that I am going to say absolutely nothing about because that’s not what we were tasked to do.

So we’ll talk about technical issues.  That’s the first thing you need to keep in mind.  Second thing you need to keep in mind is that the Academy’s process is thorough but majestically slow.  And the government’s review process is equally.  So I’m not going to talk at all about money.  There’s a good deal in the report about spending.  It’s based on the budget situation in 2010 and is now largely of historical interest.

The report was done in a classified version.  You’re just going to have to take my word for it that if you had the classified version, it would not be inconsistent with anything I am saying.  The recommendations are in almost all cases verbatim the same in the two versions.  Classified version has a good deal more about U.S. unilateral capabilities.

We got asked to look basically at four questions.  Can we maintain the U.S. stockpile without nuclear testing?  How well can we detect, locate and identify nuclear explosions?  What do we need to do to make the answers to those first two questions continue well in the future?  That’s the money part, which I’m not going to talk about.  And what could be done under the CTBT?  What kind of evasion could happen and would it matter?

Maintaining the stockpile was most straightforward.  It’s most straightforward because compared to the last look, we now have substantially more experience with a program called Stockpile Stewardship.  And that has led to systematic capture of past information, major improvements in computing to manipulate the data, major construction of facilities to look at individual aspects of the physics that we used to look at in explosions.  And the conclusion of the committee was, quote, “provided the sufficient resources and a national commitment to stockpile stewardship were in place, the committee judges the United States has the technical capabilities to maintain a safe, secure and reliable stockpile into the foreseeable future without nuclear explosion testing.”

That judgment was fairly straightforward and a good deal of detail in it.  The adequate resources mostly means a program of surveillance which has not always fared as well in the budget process as we thought it should.

Second question we looked at was monitoring, monitoring primarily underground, but also underwater, atmosphere and space.  And here too, the committee drew on the substantial improvements since the last time a National Academy panel looked at this, which is a report that came out in 2002, but probably reflects the situation around 2000.

The majority of the international monitoring system is completed, so instead of talking about what will be, we’re talking about what is.  We’ve improved our xenon radiation – radionuclide detection capabilities.  We’ve implemented regional seismic detections.  And as a result, we’re seeing more and more international capability.

Now, the report is very general on U.S. unilateral capability.  I think it would not be unfair to say that most observers believe that the United States’ national technical means are at least as good as the international capabilities.  So as you see that improvement in monitoring internationally, it’s fair to assume that it’s been matched by internal effort.

The report spent much of its technical effort on seismology.  Seismology is the most effective technology for detecting underground explosions.  Unlike past efforts, we had a separate panel of distinguished seismologists.  This will become important for one aspect when we talk a little bit about evasion.

And the basic conclusion is that threshold levels for detection are well below one kiloton worldwide and in Asia, Europe and North Africa, which are the places that most people are most concerned about detecting, the detection thresholds are substantially better down to 0.9 to 0.2 kilotons, so 900 to 200 tons.

We also looked at on-site inspection and concluded, as others have, that on-site inspection, if conducted without hindrance and if there was sufficient precision in location would have a high likelihood of detecting evidence of an explosion with a yield greater than 100 tons.

So what that suggests to you is that we concluded that there’s a very strong probability of detection and characterization of nuclear tests.  But that assumes no evasion.  So what did we look at on evasion?

First, we concluded that if you wanted to evade, the most obvious way is simply to test at very low levels.  All of these things scale down so that they are harder to detect at low level.

Now, it’s important here to distinguish between our confidence in detecting something and an evader’s confidence that we wouldn’t.  So you don’t look and say we have a 90-percent confidence.  That’s important for us, for building our system.  But the evader has to be much more certain that we won’t detect.  And so typically, when you see numbers in our report that there’s a 90-percent probability we’ll detect something, you should reduce that by about three and say that that’s a 10-percent probability.  Would someone take a 10-percent risk of non-detection?

There are two scenarios that have floated around about evasion.  One is mine masking.  You’re doing things in a mine and when the right seismic event happens, then you take advantage of that to hide a nuclear test.  We concluded that for a variety of technical reasons, that’s a much less interesting scenario than it was thought to be 10 or 12 years ago.

Cavity decoupling, of which you will hear great deal in the press, says this.  If you take a relatively small device and you put it in a large cavity of the correct geological conditions, that you can decouple.  This is based on two-and-a-half tests from a very long time ago and a whole bunch of extrapolation.  And it is an increasingly challenging scenario with higher yield.

So when you see things in the press that you can decouple by a factor of 70, that doesn’t mean somebody can go out and conduct a 70-kiloton test and have it undetected.

There’s an extensive amount of information in the report for those of you seismologically inclined to do this.  But we concluded that these efforts are credible at most for a few hundred tons and well monitored explosions.

And so we concluded that there are three countries that could probably pull off this kind of complex evasion scenario.  One’s the United States, one’s the Russian Federation, one’s the People’s Republic of China.  But for both China and Russia, we concluded that anything they could gain by that wouldn’t add significantly to the very robust and complex stockpile they have.  So basically, the people who are capable of cheating already have the stuff they could gain from cheating.  The people who don’t have that stuff are less capable of cheating.

There was one subset of this, which is what’s called a hydronuclear explosion.  There’s a debate in the CTBT about the absence of a definition of a nuclear test.  We do not engage on the question of whether that’s good treaty-making or bad treaty-making.  We do, however, engage at some length on saying we take all of the definitions people think they use and we can’t find anything that a state could do under one but not the other.  So technically, we could – now I’m being very precise – doesn’t mean there’s not something there.  Simply means we could not identify anything where are these very low yield tests, exactly how you defined them, makes any difference.

It is fair to note, however, the Russian Federation appears to place much more value on hydronuclear, these very low yield, but under our interpretation of the treaty, actual itty-bitty nuclear tests.  That the Russian Federation appears to place much more value on those tests than we do, we don’t fully understand why.

Our important conclusion, therefore, was we could not identify a potential threat that could arise through undetected nuclear explosion testing that would require the United States to return to nuclear explosion testing.  The only thing that we could identify as a possible reason for returning to testing was the need to develop some fundamentally new type of weapon.  And there, sort of by definition, you don’t know whether you believe you can do it without testing and we note that that is what the supreme national interest clause appears to be intended for.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you very much, Linton.  (Applause.)

We’re now going to hear from Roman Vasilenko.  He’s been with the diplomatic service of Kazakhstan since 1996.  And he is presently ambassador at large with the Foreign Ministry and has been in charge of various issues in very recent years, including the ATOM Project.

So over to you, thanks for being here.

ROMAN VASILENKO:  Thank you so much, sir.  And good afternoon to everybody and thank you so much for your great interest in this panel and in this whole event.  Needless to say, I’m deeply humbled to be able to speak to such a distinguished audience and with such distinguished panelists.

As we heard on the first panel and as we heard just now from Ambassador Brooks, I think that between all of the people who have been engaged in nuclear disarmament or disarming the Semipalatinsk nuclear test ground and testing site in Kazakhstan, we can easily get up to dozens of years or up to hundreds of years, I think.  There are so many people here who I know have been to Semipalatinsk or have dealt with nuclear disarmament issues for decades over their lives and it would be hard for me to really say something which will be surprising to people who are gathered here today.  However, I’ll try.

I would like to mention a few of the initiatives that our ambassador already mentioned, but I would like to a little bit expand on them.

One is the initiative that Kazakhstan has launched and jointly with our four other neighbors in Central Asia and signed the Central Asian Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone.  The significance of that treaty of Semey signed in 2006, entered into force in 2009, is that it created the first nuclear weapon-free zone in – completely located in Northern Hemisphere and a zone that is bordering on two nuclear weapons states, Russia and China.  And that it was a zone created in a place where there used to be nuclear weapons, which is Kazakhstan, obviously.

Kazakhstan right now is a coordinator of that zone and working with the P5 to get the so-called “negative guarantees” for the zone so that the zone is finally recognized internationally and is accepted by the nuclear five countries, by the five nuclear weapons states.

However, we think that this was a major step forward and as you well know the whole of South Hemisphere is nuclear-weapon-free.  And because of – there has been at least four prior nuclear weapon free zones in – before Semipalatinsk.  So there are – there is this process that’s – by which countries declare the intention to free themselves from nuclear weapons and create legal frameworks for this.

One other initiative I’d like to mention is the Universal Declaration of a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World, which our president has proposed accepting through the United Nations.  It has nothing to do with taking away the power from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or the yet to be entered into force CTBT.  The idea behind this convention is to sort of jumpstart the rather stalled process on nuclear disarmament that we have seen over the past 17 years since the CTBT treaty was opened for signing.  And to reconfirm through consensus that nuclear disarmament is indeed the ultimate goal of the mankind and we all are prepared and we all are working towards that goal.

And I know that our colleagues are now working at the United Nations in New York and in other locations to advance this vision.

There has been at least several occasions, even at today’s events, where we heard the words “political courage” or “trust,” when especially we heard this fascinating story of how the Limited Test Ban Treaty was signed and how it took a lot of behind the scenes negotiations and how lack of trust – of mutual trust hindered these negotiations for quite some time.

I think that I would completely agree with the assessment that – and with the phrase that – with the notion that it is indeed a matter of trust.  And it is indeed a matter of confidence in each other, which the world, unfortunately, is lacking.

And I was particularly impressed by Ambassador Brooks recounting of the technical sides of why a test ban is possible for the United States.  But I was also mindful of the fact that the panel looked at this whole issue from the technical side obviously and the panel looked at it from the side of how were the United States to respond if somebody violates this ban basically and how we can introduce the verification mechanisms.

Of course, we all heard – we all remember the phrase verify – trust – doveryai no proveryai – and I think it’s all relevant today.  What was it in English?  Trust but –

MR. BROOKS:  Trust but verify.

MR. VASILENKO:  Trust but verify, yes.  And it’s important, indeed, but I think the world is particularly lacking on the first part of that phrase, trust.  There is plenty of verification mechanisms and Kazakhstan is proud to be part of that mechanism through the hosting of five tracking stations of the CTBT.  But trust is the hardest thing to come by.  And once the world gets around, I know maybe it sounds utopian, maybe it sounds a little bit out of this world, but truly we have seen in many occasions where only through trust things can happen.

And the other component of the success, as Daryl Kimball mentioned, is civic activism.  We have seen over the past 17 years how it is – how hard it was to push for the ratification of the CTBT.  However, as we all know, out of 183 signatories, 159 ratified, including three nuclear weapons states – Russia, the United Kingdom and France.  So basically, these countries have shown that they are willing to go along with the agreement that they signed in the United Nations.

And in order to really add – not put, but add human elements in the – in order to remind of the horrific human consequences of nuclear weapons testing, Kazakhstan and our president launched the ATOM Project.  You have seen the video and I’m not going to talk much about the project, as we have described it in the video and as we have the honorary ambassador of ATOM Project, Mr. Kuyukov.  But I would say that already people from more than 100 countries signed the petition, the online petition, calling on the leaders of the world to abandon nuclear weapons, to make sure the CTBT enters into force and to work towards a nuclear-weapon-free future.

It was amazing to hear from Mr. Naftali the history of the backstage negotiations before the Limited Test Ban Treaty was adopted, but it – just as it was amazing to hear the behind the scenes talks during those times, it was amazing to realize that the leaders of the world, indeed, act from the best interests not only of their own countries, but of humanity.  And there is hope that they will listen to the people’s voices.  And we certainly hope.  And with this amazing verification mechanism in place, the United States and other countries that are the holdouts will show leadership and will make good on their promises.  We certainly hope so.

I will not take too much of your time and I’d like to – if you don’t mind – OK – to turn over to my colleague.  We came jointly to here.  We first, actually, on this visit, went to the United Nations General Assembly and there we heard very positive response from many, many dozens of countries who spoke at the special informal meeting of the United Nations General Assembly devoted to the International Day against Nuclear Tests on what the United Nations as an organization and what the country members can do to move forward this process.

But we’re here with my good friend and colleague and distinguished person Karipbek Kuyukov.  He really truly is an embodiment of the fact that mind can be stronger than the matter.  And we’re honored to have him with us.  He’s a longtime activist and he can tell you directly what the people in Kazakhstan think about nuclear disarmaments and the way forward.

Thank you.  (Applause.)

KARIPBEK KUYUKOV (provided through an interpreter):  Good afternoon.  First of all, I would like to thank all the organizers of today’s event and I also want to thank you for all that you have done to ensure the nuclear-free world for us.

I’m visiting you from Kazakhstan, from a small village, Yegyndybulak, that is located about 100 kilometers from Semipalatinsk test site.  And I’m very proud to say that I come from the former Semipalatinsk test site because I’m very proud that Kazakhstan became the first one to close it and I think we’re a good example for the others to follow in our footsteps.

And now, I have asked my parents, my mom and dad, often, why was I born without arms?  And then, while I was asking, I actually found out that before, there was a brother and sister of mine that didn’t live past their six months on this earth.

And my dad was an eyewitness of the testing and so he was telling me how they were instructing when the testing was announced to come outside of their houses and to lay down on the ground and to cover themselves with something.  But people who were living there also knew that it was an amazing sight to see.  As my father was describing it, it was a beautiful flash that they could see from the explosion.  And so they would climb the hills near the village and they would watch how the sky and the ground would come one and how the day will become night.

And as they would go back home, in the streets they would see dead chickens and they would see dogs without any hair.  And not only our people, but also animals suffered.  We have seen calves born with two heads, six legs, and so this was also a very commonplace occurrence in our area.

And I can tell you that I have been active in this area on the subject for a long time and I have been involved with different people who suffered, families and children.  I saw children who couldn’t see, who couldn’t hear, who couldn’t talk, and their parents were very shy to show them to everybody.  So they would hide them at home.

And it was hard to look in the eyes of the mother who would have a baby who couldn’t move, who couldn’t talk.  And she would just put him in a bucket that she would use for laundry and just put him outside so he can be outside this way.

And so the most amazing was that those people just quietly lived with it for 40 years, being next to the test site, not realizing that there was a quiet war being waged against them.

And so probably for the suffering of those children and for the suffering of those parents that I decided to dedicate my life to this movement.  And I started some time ago participating in the movement that united Semipalatinsk and Nevada.  This is not my first time in the United States.  I have been here before.  And I remember, back in ’91, I came here with a peace march.  And we went all over the country ending up in Nevada, where we organized a protest by the U.S. test site.

And so this takes a lot of time from my art.  And here today, you can see it.  This is some of the latest portraits, some people who have no voice to tell the world what happened to them, what they had to live through.  And this is my way to show, and this is sort of their soul screaming through my art.

And I’ve been to Japan.  I have seen what hurt the radiation caused there in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  And as you can see, radiation doesn’t choose its victims, doesn’t choose the color of the skin.  We can all be happy, we can all cry together.  But this is something that we can do together in order to stop it from happening.

And so I’m here today as a goodwill ambassador of the ATOM Project and I would ask you to go online to look at the petition, to sign it, to tell people about it, about our site, about what you can do, so we can be living in a new world, where we can look differently at things and not have these problems occurring.

And so the fact that you have gathered here tells me that you’re the people who give me – like the people who give me strength, the people who let me continue my fight against this.  And what I’m trying to reach at the end is to be the last one who has suffered from the radiation and so we don’t have the suffering anymore.

And so I want to thank you personally.  I would like to wish you all success, and I think that this is probably the time when we can hold each other’s hands and change this world and get the success in what we’re doing.

Thank you.  (Applause.)

MR. KIMBALL:  Karipbek, thank you so much for your powerful testimony, your hard work and your perseverance.  And we will succeed in the end in the effort that you just outlined.  And before we hear from our final speaker, I wanted to allow the audience, you’ve been very patient with this program to have an opportunity to ask a question, make a brief comment of any of our panelists on the wide range of issues that we’ve just talked about here today.  And I would just ask that you identify yourself and wait for the microphone to come by

And before we do that, let me just note that unfortunately, Ambassador Tom Pickering will not be able to make us.  He was hoping to come, but I just got a message that he has a hand ailment that requires going to the doctor.  So it’s not life threatening, but it’s something that is keeping him from being here.  So we’re sorry that he’s not with us.

And so with that, let me open up the floor and ask for any questions, comments.  Yes, right here, Alex.

Q:  Alex Leibowitz (sp), retired from the State Department.

I think Ambassador Brooks’ presentation was very persuasive, but in some sense, you could have – I mean, it was less persuasive, whatever it was, 13 years ago, but you could still have made, to some extent, the same kind of arguments even back then, especially when, on the other side, we’re not really giving up anything, since we’re not testing anyhow.  And so I’m wondering what can we do – what kind of arguments would really be persuasive in this kind of environment that we face in the United States and in the Senate in particular to – I mean, it’s not directly what your mandate was, but I’m wondering whether – because you’ve obviously been around this business for a very long time and probably have some insights into this, whether you have any thoughts as to what we can do to, you know, gain a momentum for ratification in the United States.  Thank you.

MR. BROOKS:  Well, you’re about to hear it from a representative of the administration who’s much better positioned to answer that.  I’ll give you an answer with the understanding that this is not the view of the committee or of anybody else.  And it’s not the view of this administration.

Comprehensive Test Ban will be ratified in the United States when there is a Republican president who supports it because then – now, look back – look back.  New START is the first time since John F. Kennedy that we’ve ratified anything negotiated by a Democrat.  It – historically, in the United States, you get all the Democrats because they like arms control and you get enough Republicans because it’s their guy.  And when we have that again, I think the treaty will have a shot.

The important – it’s important to note – and here I can speak for the previous administration – there’s not been five minutes worth of discussion about resuming nuclear testing in a very long time.

If you talk to your friends running the labs, their view is you can do what you want about the CTBT.  We’ve been living under a no-testing regime for 20 years and expect to live under it forever.  And so I think there’s no chance of resumption of testing and no constituency for it.  But I – no disrespect to my colleagues in the administration who are trying very hard to deliver on the president’s promise – I think in this partisan environment it is going to take a Republican president to bring this off.  I wish that weren’t true, but it’s – probably is.

Q:  Thanks a lot.

MR. KIMBALL:  OK.  Just a couple of quick thoughts to the same question, I don’t want to pick a fight with Linton Brooks, you never do because you usually lose, but there was one treaty that was negotiated by a Democratic president that has been ratified, and that was the New START treaty.  But that was a different treaty, a different time, if – it’s hard to imagine, but it was a different time.

But what I’ll say, and I alluded to this in the beginning, is that any treaty ratification effort takes a lot of preparation.  That preparation has really not begun on the CTBT in the way that the administration did it for New START.  And it’s time to begin that process.

Now, you were asking about the arguments for moving ahead.  I mean one of the key questions I think you’re alluding to is why take the trouble to do this in the first place?  And the issues that Linton outlined, yes, those were arguments and issues that were there in October of 1999.  In my estimation, you know, the report of the National Academy makes it clear that, you know, that was then, this is now.  A lot of things have changed from the technical perspective.

But you know, now I think one of things that is crucially important to consider as we look ahead, not to 2015 or ’16, but you know, five, 10, 15 years down the road, is, you know, what do we need to do to create higher barriers for future potential nuclear-armed states to develop sophisticated arsenals.  And you know, we are looking at North Korea, as was alluded to earlier that is outside of the test ban regime.  They are going to, if nothing else is done, slowly amass a more capable arsenal.

So it’s the kind of problem that we need to be thinking about.  And because the United States no longer needs nuclear testing, this is manifestly in our interest and the international security interest.  And it’s that kind of argument that has really not been brought to bear in this debate to date that I think could be very powerful with a Senate that is – you know, is different in many ways than in 2010, when New START was ratified, very different from 1999.  There’s less than a quarter of the senators there today who were there in ’99.

So I’m confident this will be done.  Perhaps maybe we should make a wager to see how many presidents from now we’re going to be, but perhaps it’s going to take a Republican, but I think that the task, the work has to begin now.

Any other questions from the crowd here?  Shocking.  OK, very well.

Well, with that, what I’m going to do is I’m going to invite our next speaker up.  We’ll take some more questions, and then I’ll make some brief concluding remarks and we’ll adjourn.

And our next speaker, very honored to have her with us, is Anita Friedt.  She’s the principal deputy assistant secretary for nuclear and strategic policy in the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance.  I’m glad I don’t have to put that on my business card.  It’s – I don’t think there is enough space.  We’re glad that she’s here.  She has been working at the State Department and in the government for 33 years.  And this is the second time Anita has been at one of our events.  She has a wide range of expertise on nonproliferation, New START, and the CTBT.

We’re very glad you’re with us.  Why don’t you come to the podium, please?  Thank you.

ANITA FRIEDT:  Thank you very much – good to see you. Thank you very much.  As the last speaker of the day, here I am – see, maybe that will help with the number of hard-hitting questions.  But thank you very much for the very nice introduction, Daryl.  And thank you very much for inviting me to speak here.  It really is wonderful to be back at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and to be speaking along such distinguished leaders as Ambassadors Umarov, Goodby, and Ambassador Brooks, of course.

Now, I’m at somewhat of a disadvantage since I wasn’t here to hear most of the speeches and the discussion today, but I know I will quickly catch up because as Daryl says, I have followed this issue, certainly CTBT and these issues very closely throughout my career, but most especially now.

As has certainly been discussed today, it has been 50 years since the Limited Test Ban Treaty entered into force.  It was limited in the sense that it did not ban underground nuclear weapons test explosions or any other underground nuclear explosion.  But of course, at American University, in 1963, President Kennedy called for a complete ban on nuclear explosive testing.

“The conclusion of such a treaty,” President Kennedy said, “so near and yet so far –  would check the spiraling arms race in one of the most dangerous areas.  It would place the nuclear powers in a position to deal more effectively with one of the greatest hazards which man faces in 1963 – the further spread of nuclear arms.  It would increase our security and it would decrease the prospects of war.”

A goal was in sight and it was clear how we could monitor tests in the water, in space, and on land.  There was, however, widespread concern that states would have difficulty in detecting and distinguishing underground nuclear explosions from other naturally occurring events.  So without the inclusion of underground nuclear tests, the LTBT was a good start, but it wasn’t enough.

Moving on.  So we pressed on.  In 1976, a group of scientific experts, the GSE, was established by the Conference on Disarmament to address the issue of effective seismic monitoring of underground nuclear explosions.  The work of this GSE helped propel the successful negotiation of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in the Conference on Disarmament.

So I won’t spend too much time extolling the many virtues of CTBT today, as I certainly know that this is an expert audience, but I will state definitively that a global, verifiable ban on explosive nuclear testing is in the national security interests of the United States of America.

The treaty is central to leading nuclear weapons states toward a world of diminished reliance on nuclear weapons and reduced nuclear competition.  Furthermore, with a global ban on nuclear explosive tests in place, states interested in pursuing or advancing their nuclear weapons programs would have to either risk deploying weapons with uncertain effectiveness or face international condemnation and possible sanctions for conducting nuclear explosive tests.

As you all know, the Senate chose not to give its advice and consent to ratification of CTBT in 1999.  For almost a decade, this treaty languished with some fearing that the United States would withdraw its signature and that it would not be the end of a – that it would not be possible to have a global ban on nuclear testing.  But those fears were not realized and what we have today, I’d argue, is a stronger case for ratifying the treaty than ever before.

There are two primary reasons for this.  First, as I know Ambassador Brooks has talked about, Stockpile Stewardship.  Stockpile Stewardship was at its infancy in 1999.  Today, it is a marvel of modern science.  From 1945 to 1992, the United States conducted 1,054 nuclear explosive tests, more than any other country.  The United States has observed the moratorium on nuclear explosive testing since 1992.  So our policies are already consistent with the central prohibition of the treaty.  In fact, our scientists at our weapons labs say that they know more now about our arsenal and under the Stewardship Program than we ever did while we were actually testing.

We have proven that we can maintain a safe, secure, and effective arsenal without resorting to explosive testing.  And as Ambassador Brooks said in the answers to the question here, I mean, that really is true.  There’s – I don’t think anyone would say that we would go back to testing.

Second, the treaty’s primary verification mechanism, the International Monitoring System, or the IMS, was not even an infant.  It was more a twinkle in the eye of the world’s best and brightest scientists, when the treaty was first considered by the Senate.

Today, the IMS is roughly 85 percent complete and when fully completed, there will be an IMS facility in 89 countries spanning the globe.  At entry into force, the full body of technical data gathered via the IMS will be available to all states parties.  And this is really impressive in terms of where we’ve come with the facilities over the last decade.

The system has already demonstrated its capabilities under real world conditions, detecting and helping states identify three nuclear explosive tests conducted by North Korea over the past several years.  Following the Fukushima nuclear crisis, we saw how the IMS can be useful for non-verification related purposes, such as tsunami warnings and tracking radioactivity from reactor accidents.

Moreover, the United States will always rely on our robust national technical means to provide even greater confidence that we can detect any illicit nuclear explosive tests.

Another area of progress in recent years is preparation for the on-site inspections or OSI, which is another of the treaty’s verification – element of the treaty’s verification regime.  Such inspections would be key to clarifying any ambiguity regarding a possible nuclear test.

U.S. experts have been deeply involved in the development of an OSI framework by contributing our extensive inspection expertise to the development of procedures, manuals, training, testing, exercise planning, and inspection equipment and specifications.  The United States has helped build up the CTBTO’s capability to conduct robust and effective inspections at entry into force.

In addition to the general preparations for the on-site inspection element, the Provisional Technical Secretariat or the PTS is in the midst of planning and preparing for the second major integrated field exercise in 2014.  And this will take place in Jordan.  Like the previous integrated field exercise conducted in Kazakhstan in 2008, the 2014 test will test the capabilities of the OSI elements under realistic field conditions.  This integrated field test will also test for the first time the integration of various inspection techniques allowed under the treaty in order to provide states parties with the most detailed and robust set of technical data and information on which states could make a judgment of compliance with the treaty.

So as taken as a whole, the treaty’s robust verification system, which supplements and reinforces the existing U.S. state-of-the-art nuclear monitoring capabilities, will make it extremely difficult for any state to conduct militarily significant explosive nuclear tests with confidence that they will escape detection.

I was just in Vienna a few weeks ago, in August, at a P5 CTBT technical experts meeting.  It was in this environment, which I have to say there were – the Ph.D.s far outnumbered politicos such as myself, that P5 experts really got into some interesting technical discussions about the treaty.  As nuclear weapon states, the P5 have a unique knowledge in the conduct of nuclear explosive tests.  And this knowledge gives us distinct perspectives on what is required to verify a ban on nuclear explosions.

It is this sort of collaborative and creative work among technical experts at the PTS that will have to shore up and support the treaty’s entry into force.

It is for these reasons and more that President Obama expressed his support for the treaty in Prague in 2009 and then reaffirmed that support in Berlin just a few months ago, pledging to work to build support in the United States for ratification.  Whether it is a senator or a staffer, a schoolteacher or student, we know that it is our job to make the case for this treaty.  First and foremost, what we hope to get is a commitment to listen with an open mind.

We need to make sure that people are updated with the latest information about CTBT.  We know that this agreement involves a very technical set of issues.  And we want people to absorb and understand the basics of the treaty and how it benefits us.

We have no timeframe for Senate action, as discussed here today.  And the political situation is dicey here in terms of ratification.  So we will continue to be patient, but we will also be very persistent in our education effort.  And as Daryl pointed out, we need to start this campaign.  I would argue we have, but we can go into detail there.

We will continue to call on all governments to move forward with ratification and, as appropriate, declare or reaffirm their commitment not to test.  The CTBT is in the security interest of every nation.  There is absolutely no reason for any other state whose ratification is required by the treaty for entry into force to wait on the United States.

So let me stop here, but I do want to leave you with a thought.  Fifty years ago, we formally started the process to ban nuclear explosive testing.  The reason we will keep pushing, the reason we will keep trying is that this treaty is good for American national security.  And we will continue to make that case to the country and we certainly will count on your continuing help in this effort.

Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you.  Why don’t you stay here for a moment and we’ve got time for a few questions for Anita Friedt.  And just before we do it, let me amend and revise my remarks, as they do in the Senate, to say start in earnest.

MS. FRIEDT:  Start in earnest, OK, all right, Daryl.

MR. KIMBALL:  Start in earnest.  OK.  So maybe we can – so we’ve got one more microphone.  If you could go over to the other side.  Tom Cochran, please.  There we go.

Q:  You know, Ambassador Brooks mentioned that seismology was our best method for detecting nuclear tests.  And I’m wondering if that’s true today or whether signal intelligence is not a better method in light of the revelations about the NSA capabilities.  And I’m reminded, back in the ’70s, when defense programs used to conduct small secret tests at the Nevada test site, we discovered how to detect them by calling up the test site and asking when the weather briefing was, which always occurred 24 hours before the test.  (Laughter.)  We would pretend we were from Washington, D.C., and they would tell us the time of the briefing and we would know that the next day there would be a test.  So I think maybe signal intelligence now is a pretty good way for confirming whether the North Koreans are testing.

MS. FRIEDT:  I certainly agree with you.  That’s an interesting story.  (Laughs.)  But I certainly agree with you that national technical means or signals intelligence is an important asset.  But the seismic remains, so it’s got to be both.  As I mentioned, national technical means are a priority.

I think as everyone sees and knows here, collection efforts, NTM, I mean, and our priorities over the last – certainly since the end of the Cold War have changed in many ways.  I mean, whereas 30, 40 years ago, we looked at – we have a lot more to look at now, let me just say.  I mean, with the threats with Iran, North Korea, elsewhere, there’s a lot more for our national technical means to look at.  So we really need both.

MR. KIMBALL:  Linton, from a technical standpoint, anything to add?

MR. BROOKS:  The National Academy tasking as we understood it was direct detection, not knowledge.  And as I indicated the area in which the public report is substantially smaller than the classified report has to do with U.S. so-called national technical means.  I mean, take the most obvious case.  We detected the North Korean test because the North Koreans announced they just tested.

MR. BROOKS:  But you can’t necessarily depend on that, so I don’t – this is not the venue to get into a debate about the relative merits of signal intelligence.  We did not cover that because we saw our task as direct detection.  But your point’s a good point.

MS. FRIEDT:  Yeah.  And as Linton – it’s a very good point you make – open source is by far – I mean, it’s bigger and bigger and more important than ever.  As you point out, North Korea announced it.  And so we can get a lot from open source.

Q:  Rachel Oswald, Global Security Newswire.  Anything you can tell us about a timeline for doing something like naming a coordinator for the ratification campaign effort?  Anything about whether the chemical weapons issue before Congress is in any way bringing more concern for WMDs or taking away, you know, scant attention for WMD concerns?

MS. FRIEDT:  Well, on the latter point, certainly – thanks, those are good questions.  On the latter point, no, I mean, it certainly makes clear that this is – these WMD issues are more prominent than ever.  There’s no question about that.

In terms of naming a coordinator or anything like that, as I’ve mentioned, there really are no timelines set.  And I think there are good reasons for no timelines set in terms of naming coordinators or doing anything, at least at this point.  We just have to see where we are because it’s – politically it’s – we just have to see where – test the waters and see where we are.  So I’ll leave it at that.

MR. KIMBALL:  Test the waters, so to speak.  Yes.

MS. FRIEDT:  Test the waters, yeah, not the – (laughter).

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Any other questions from the floor?  The gentleman in the front here, Paul Walker.

Q:  First of all, thank you, Anita, very much for coming and speaking today.  We’re very happy to include you in the program.  I want to follow up, I guess, on Rachel’s question, not about the naming of a coordinator, but the last two major arms control agreements that we’ve signed and ratified, but had a real struggle to ratify, was the 1997 fight over the Chemical Weapons Convention.

And part of doing that under the Clinton administration was to in fact name a coordinator out of the White House, in fact, then organize the civil society, NGO, arms control community.  And we worked – many of us worked every single month.  We met at least every two to three weeks for over a year in coordinating, in fact, the campaign around ratification of the CWC.

Similarly for New START, we had a pretty active campaign around ratification of New START.  And it was very uncertain that either treaty, at that point, would be ratified.  And we – as you know – obviously ratified them, you know, sort of by the skin of our teeth in the end.

So I’m wondering whether the State Department or the NSC or the White House has actually begun to reach out to the larger community.  I personally know of no effort or campaign effort to bring NGOs, arms control community into the discussion at this point.  And that’s what a lot of us have, as you know, written State Department and the White House about – that we really feel it’s time to begin this.  It can be a year, a year and a half, two years.  As you say, no schedule is predictable at this point.  But I wonder whether there’s been discussion on building a campaign around the CTBT, regardless of the head count in the Senate at this point.

MS. FRIEDT:  It’s a good point and thank you very much.  I certainly – well, I was front and center in the New START ratification effort, so I know firsthand.  And it was, yes, more than dicey.  And it was – if it were not for the massive effort and the very welcome help from NGOs and from the community at large, we would not – and the campaign – we would not have ratified the treaty.  There’s no – the chances – it was an uphill battle.  The negotiation was quite – in some ways, the negotiation was very tough, but it was almost a cakewalk compared to the ratification, if I – it really was when it was done an eye-opener, to say the least, for me and for many others.

And after that, I mean, the original plan, when President Obama came into office and gave his famous Prague speech in 2009 was to go for ratification of New START, to negotiate and then ratify New START, and then immediately move on to CTBT.  Because of the uphill battle and many other political and other factors, it was clear that we couldn’t just kept – keep going because it just was not – it just didn’t make sense.

At this point, we certainly welcome your help.  I know you’re ready and willing and out there.  And yes, you will be hearing from us soon.  I think it’s – again, it’s a delicate – a delicate issue.

MR. KIMBALL:  I have a question I wanted to ask Anita or Roman to address, which is that there’s the international aspect to entry into force.  There are other countries that do need to sign and ratify.  And coming up on September 27th is the eight Article XIV Conference on facilitating the entry into force the CTBT, where almost 100 representatives will gather to exhort the CTB holdout states to get going.  And there will be NGOs there making some key points, too.

I was wondering if, you know, each of you could offer your thoughts about, you know, what some of the other countries around the world can do and why to move forward on CTBT entry into force.  And as one small example, I think it’s quite interesting, that has been noted in Washington is that just about a month and a half ago, at the behest of the new executive secretary of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Provisional Technical Secretariat, Lassina Zerbo, China agreed to transmit the data from their certified IMS stations to the international data center in Vienna, which they had not been doing for some time.  And so that’s a small step forward for China, which has also, like the United States, signed but not yet ratified.

But there’re other countries that have their part to do.  The U.S. is, of course, critical.  But I was wondering if you could just address, you know, that aspect of the problem, what kind of diplomatic strategy could be organized in order to help that effort and what you expect out of this next entry into force conference, which, you know, is an opportunity to help pull together a serious multilateral diplomatic strategy for the Test Ban Treaty.

MR. VASSILENKO:  Thank you so much.  And I thought it was going to be quick, but it seems like we have a lot to discuss here.

Well, I wouldn’t be inventing the wheel when I say that there are countries, and not just Kazakhstan, but many others, who are trying to chip in and to contribute to the whole discussion and to move the process forward, trying to influence the remaining eight countries.  I would particularly mention Norway, which hosted the conference on humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons testing in March this year.  A hundred and thirty-five countries participated, but no P5.  That just tells you the challenges of even maintaining the dialogue on this issue.  There were India, Pakistan, Iran there, but no P5.

The next event that this group of countries is organizing is in Mexico, in February 2014, which is just next door to the United States.  So I hope that this is – this gets more attention from P5.

In terms of the next conference on the entry into force, I would just revert back to what I said earlier, that there is obviously a great need in a better and more open dialogue.  And once this dialogue is in place, everybody knows what can be done.  And there are dozens of specialists from every country who are part of this process.  I’m sure that they will be able to find even incremental steps forward to convince the remaining holdouts to move forward.

MR. KIMBALL:  Any thoughts on this topic, Anita?

MS. FRIEDT:  Sure, yeah.  No, no, we’re certainly looking forward to the Article XIV Conference next – well, the week after next.

In terms of getting other states to ratify, as I mentioned in my remarks, I mean, the fact that the United States has not ratified should not hold other countries back from ratifying.  I thank you for mentioning the Chinese.  They’re putting their stations on – that really was – it was a small, but it’s arguably also a very large step.  And that was an extremely welcome step forward.

As I mentioned, I think that the work of the CTBTO in Vienna is really – I’ve been out there twice now, which is not a lot, and I’m sure many of you have much more experience – it really is an impressive, impressive organization which has come so far.  The organization has been doing a lot in terms of getting out and trying to get Annex II countries to ratify.  And we certainly support those efforts.

Other than that, I really – I’m big on supporting the organization, also keeping up monetary support.  I mean, the United States has paid all its bills and then some and I think that’s another – it’s an argument that we have there sometimes, but in terms of contributions to the organization, keeping that organization and building out the organization is really of very high importance and something that we need to continue.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right, yeah.  I think we have time for one or two more questions.  Jennifer, why don’t you take the microphone?  Thanks.

Q:  Hi, I’m Jenifer Mackby and I served as secretary of the Group of Scientific Experts, not back in 1976, but more recently when the treaty was being negotiated, and also served on the negotiations for the treaty and then in Vienna and – on the verification work.  And I was just wondering just a technical thing, how far along you perceive the OSI manual is and how close to being finished that is.

And the other thing, at this next Article XIV Conference, Sweden and Mexico were the previous outgoing two coordinators on this.  They didn’t do a whole lot, quite honestly.  And I’m wondering if the next two could be prevailed upon by U.S. and the rest of the NGO community to do a little more.

MS. FRIEDT:  I support that.  In terms of the manual, now you really have – I’ve got my technical – I’ve technically advanced to some point, but not to the point where I know where the manual is.  But I know there are other people, including my colleagues here who can answer that maybe when we finish.

MR. KIMBALL:  Yeah, just what we’re talking about here is the finalization of the manual that will provide the protocols for the on-site inspections, which can only take place when the treaty enters into force and if there’s a challenge inspection authorized by the executive committee.

Any other questions from the audience?  None?  Yes, sir.  Yes, Mr. Ambassador.  Here we go.

Q:  I just want to comment saying that, you know, of course, probably it’s more theoretical thought, but of course if U.S. will show the leadership in ratifying the treaty, I think the other countries will follow.  And the – why I think so is that China, as you said, has already started to move.  And of course, they won’t do anything without having U.S. as a superpower just to move in that direction.  But if this is to be done, I’m sure that China will follow and India and Pakistan, you know, it’s again, the pair which is looking at each other.  And if one of the countries will follow, the other one also follow the suit.

And you know the position of India, which is actually for equal position for all other countries, especially P5 countries, if they go for the reduction of nuclear weapons, they will join NPT and they will be just, again, for all of this anti-nuclear movement.

So we have here a good situation when, if the West shows the leadership and as we hear today in the panel that there is no any reasons why U.S. has to kind of stop itself from ratifying the test ban because verification system is there, everything, technologically we have all the capabilities to check and verify.

So I think that at this point of time, U.S. should show the leadership.  And if that is done, then the rest of the countries will follow the suit.  Of course, I understand the internal political situation which does not permit it, but with all of this data, with all of this good information which you have, research and opinions, I think today is more probably in the hands of NGOs who can really galvanize the public opinion and make a bigger push on those in the Congress who really should be accountable to what is going on and what is the opinion of the public on this issue.

So I think that probably today we have to start from the other side, from the side of the public opinion to grow and just provide the conditions for Senate to go ahead and do that.  Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  One thought about that, if I could actually comment on your remarks.  I would say that historically speaking, victory has 1,000 fathers and mothers.  It’s going to take all of us to make this happen.  And if you look throughout the history, prior to 1963, after 1963, just before 1991, there were a combination of people – local leaders, national leaders, legislators, doctors, physicians, ordinary mothers, NGOs, all together.

So it’s – we’re going to have to stitch together a campaign to achieve this.  As somebody who’s been working on this for a long time, I appreciate the support for the NGOs and the recognition of their importance, but we can’t do it alone either.

So one other thing I would just also mention that is important about the Article XIV Conference and non-governmental organizations – we’re going to mention this in our statement – is that there are powerful reasons for some countries in Central Asia, Iran in particular, to take steps towards ratification, too.

And I know that Kazakhstan has a very good dialogue with Iran.  And President Nazarbayev just met recently with Hassan Rohani, the new Iranian president.  And you know, that Iranian ratification could be a useful step in proving that their program is for peaceful purposes.  And I say that reminds me of an incident in 1996 when I was in Geneva lobbying countries for the negotiation of CTBT.  And I was praising the Iranians for a draft treaty that they had just put down for negotiations.  And I came back to Washington and some people criticized me for giving the Iranians praise, in 1996, quoted in the Financial Times.  But, you know, they have played a role and they can play a helpful role in the future still on this issue.

Any other questions from the audience?  OK.  I think we are running out of time.  I want to thank everyone here for their remarkable contributions.  I want to thank, in particular, Karipbek for your inspiring testimony and your hard work.  I think everyone here has been moved and motivated to work harder on this.

I want to thank Roman and Linton and Anita for your contributions.  I think we’ve had a very diverse and rich discussion.  Our thanks to our friends at the Embassy of Kazakhstan for helping to make this possible, to Paul Walker and Global Green USA, and everyone here for your attention and your interest.  We look forward to seeing you again at some point in the future.

And let me just also note that the – there’s a video – there will be a video of this discussion and a transcript for those who want to go back and relive the experience.  So thanks everyone.  (Applause.)


The Arms Control Association (ACA) is an independent membership organization dedicated to promoting public understanding and effective policies to address the threats posed by the world's most dangerous weapons: nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, as well as certain types of conventional weapons that pose a threat to noncombatants. ACA publishes the monthly journal Arms Control Today.


Concluded by Presidents John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev only months after the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Limited Test Ban Treaty (LTBT) was an historic first step toward reining in the U.S.-Soviet nuclear arms race. The LTBT, which banned nuclear test explosions above ground, underwater, and in space, led to the end of the most visible and strongly opposed aspects of the arms race: hundreds of open-air explosions that spewed dangerous levels of radioactive contamination far beyond the test sites of the nuclear powers. Fifty years ago, the Senate debated and approved ratification of the LTBT.

Sept. 5 Event: Guarding Against A Nuclear-Armed Iran: Proliferation Risks and Diplomatic Options



Thursday, September 5, 2013
9:00-10:30 am

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Choate Room
1779 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C.

The recent election of Hassan Rouhani as president of Iran provides a new and important opening for the United States and its P5+1 partners to secure an agreement that limits Iran's nuclear capabilities in exchange for easing tough international sanctions.

As Iran continues to improve its nuclear capabilities in the coming months and sanctions continue to undermine Iran's economy, it is in the interest of all sides to revise  earlier diplomatic proposals and to seize the opportunity to achieve progress in the next round of talks, which are expected to resume in September.

Join the Arms Control Association (ACA) and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace for an assessment of Iran's nuclear capabilities and the elements required for a deal that could provide both sides with a "win-win" outcome.

Panelists are:

  • Dr. Colin Kahl, Senior Fellow; The Center for a New American Security;
  • George Perkovich, Director, Nuclear Policy Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace;
  • David Albright, founder and President of the Institute for Science and International Security;
  • Daryl Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association (moderator).

Please RSVP online.

Digital copies of the newly updated edition of ACA's 44-page briefing book on "Solving the Iranian Nuclear Puzzle" will be available at the event.

# # #

The Arms Control Association (ACA) is an independent, membership-based organization dedicated to providing authoritative information and practical policy solutions to address the dangers posed by the world's most dangerous weapons. ACA publishes the monthly journal Arms Control Today.


The recent election of Hassan Rouhani as president of Iran provides a new and important opening for the United States and its P5+1 partners to secure an agreement that limits Iran's nuclear capabilities in exchange for easing tough international sanctions.

Country Resources:

Summary of International Workshop on “Prospects for Russian-U.S. Arms Control”



May 16, 2013, Moscow

On May 16th, 2013 a roundtable workshop on prospects for the next round of nuclear arms control talks between Russia and the United States was jointly held by the Center for Energy and Security Studies (CENESS), Arms Control Association (ACA), the British American Security Information Council (BASIC), and the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy Hamburg (IFSH), with support of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

A group of 40 officials, diplomats, and experts from Russia, the United States, and NATO considered each party’s objectives, political and technical opportunities, and possible areas and ideas that could help advance progress for discussions and possible negotiations on strategic and nonstrategic nuclear weapons, as well as offensive and defensive ballistic missiles.

This conference report includes a summary of key points and issues discussed, the conference agenda, and many of the opening presentations.

This summary is published under the joint ACA/BASIC/IFSH project on “Reducing the role of tactical nuclear weapons in Europe” funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

More information on the project can be found at http://tacticalnuclearweapons.ifsh.de/ and http://www.basicint.org/issues/projects/natos-nuclear-posture.


On May 16th, 2013 a roundtable workshop on prospects for the next round of nuclear arms control talks between Russia and the United States was jointly held by the Center for Energy and Security Studies (CENESS), Arms Control Association (ACA), the British American Security Information Council (BASIC), and the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy Hamburg (IFSH), with support of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

Country Resources:

Annual Meeting on North Korea, the Arms Trade Treaty, and Obama's Next Steps on Nuclear Risk Reduction



"Reducing Global Weapons Dangers:
Bolstering the NPT and Building the New ATT Regime"

Monday, May 6, 2013
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Root Room
1779 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.



Daryl G. Kimball
ACA Executive Director



Presentation of the Finding of ACA's 2010-2013 Report Card on Nonproliferation and Disarmament


Panel 1

Understanding the Tensions on the Korean Peninsula and the Next Steps for Washington

Leon Sigal, Social Science Research Council,
Joel Wit, U.S.-Korea Institute at SAIS
Fabrice Vareille, the European External Action Service (EEAS)

Panel 2

The New Arms Trade Treaty - Assessing Its Impact and Accelerating Its Implementation
Rachel Stohl, Stimson senior associate and ACA board member
Paul O'Brien, Oxfam America
Richard Tauwhare, UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Tauwhare Prepared Remarks)



Prague 2.0 - Next Steps for the Second Term
Ellen Tauscher, former Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security (Prepared Remarks)

ACA's Annual Meeting is made possible with support from the Heinrich Böll Foundation and other generous ACA donors and members.

Transcript by
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.

DARYL KIMBALL:  All right.  Good morning, everybody; I’m Daryl Kimball, I’m executive director of the Arms Control Association, and I wanted to welcome everyone here to this year’s 2013 Annual Meeting of the Arms Control Association on bolstering the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, dealing with North Korea and building the new Arms Trade Treaty regime.  And before we get started, if I could just remind everybody to turn off your cellular devices so that we’re not interrupted, that would be great.

So with the support and assistance of you, our members, and our donors, who include the Ploughshares Fund, the MacArthur Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and others, including the cosponsor of today’s event, the Heinrich Böll Foundation, we brought together, I think, a very good program with some very distinguished guests from here in the United States and abroad.  Our program today is going to focus on one of today’s most pressing nuclear proliferation challenges, North Korea, and the next steps for the new Arms Trade Treaty.

And to close out today’s events, we were honored to have former undersecretary of state for arms control and international security Ellen Tauscher, and she’s going to be outlining her views on the next steps for President Obama’s Prague nuclear risk agenda.

And so this event today is just one of the many things that the Arms Control Association does to provide information and ideas for reducing and eliminating the threats posed by the world’s most dangerous weapons: nuclear, biological, chemical and certain conventional weapons.  And as many of you here know, one of our key products is Arms Control Today, and I just wanted to highlight the fact that the latest issue of Arms Control Today is on that cute little thumb drive that you all should have received when you came in on the lanyard.  That is the digital version, as we call it.  It’s not even back from the printer.

And that digital edition is available for all Arms Control Association members and subscribers, and one of the things I just wanted to take a moment to highlight is that if you’re a member or a subscriber and you want to get the digital edition the day it goes to press, you just have to log on your account on our homepage.  And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, check in with Tim Farnsworth, a program associate or somebody at the table about how to do that so you can get to Arms Control Today as quickly as possible.

So in addition to Arms Control Today, we publish a large number of issue briefs, fact sheets and research reports on a wide range of topics.  And to start us off today, we wanted to take a few minutes to highlight ACA’s most recent report – the 2011-2013 report card on nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament, which we released last week.  And that is also available on that thumb drive – full PDF copy of the report is on that drive and on the website.

And to run through some of the top-line findings of that report, I wanted to invite ACA’s nonproliferation analyst, Kelsey Davenport and our Herbert Scoville Peace Fellow Marcus Taylor to run through, very briefly, some of the key findings of the report, and then we’ll turn to the first panel of the day.

So Kelsey, why don’t you come on up, please.  And I should also add that at the table is a handout with some of the highlights of the report card.

KELSEY DAVENPORT:  Before I start, I just wanted to thank Daryl and all of the rest of the ACA staff for their support on this project, which was invaluable. So, since the beginning of the nuclear age, there has been a debate about the obligations that states have as responsible members of the international community to reduce the nuclear threat, and the question of whether or not they’re doing enough.

Our 2011-2013 report updates a study that ACA originally published in 2010 that measures the performance of 11 key states in 10 universally-recognized nonproliferation, disarmament and nuclear security standards.  By tracking this progress over time, or the lack of progress, we hope that this report will encourage policymakers to increase efforts to reduce the risk posed by these weapons and inform the general public about which countries are and which countries are not living up to their international obligations.

In sum, our 2013 report finds that the pace of progress on nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament in the past two and a half years has been slow and is not equal to today’s urgent threats.  The report reviews the actions of the nine nuclear-armed states, as well as Iran and Syria, which are under investigation for possible nuclear weapons-related activities.  Now, the standards – the 11 standards that we chose that are identified in the report are derived from the obligations under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty as well as multilateral agreements, U.N. Security Council resolutions, ad hoc coalitions and multilateral agreements, which, together, we believe provides a baseline for what constitutes responsible behavior for all states.

The report then grades these 11 states on an A through F letter scale, with the highest grade, of course, being an A, which we deem as full compliance with the international standard, and the lowest grade as an F, which means the state has taken steps that are inconsistent with or in rejection of that standard.  The grades B, C, and D are awarded for partial compliance with criteria identified as necessary to meet the standard.

And to get a better idea of what the criteria are and what the standards are, I would encourage you to look at the methodology section of our report, which, as Daryl said, is available online or on your flash drives.  It also has a summary of the overall and sort of country-by-country findings.  And in addition, it compares each country to the grades to where they were in 2010.  Overall, the study shows that while some states are taking important steps in key areas to reduce the dangers caused by nuclear weapons, overall progress remains quite limited, and key states of proliferation concern are continuing to engage in activities that severely undermine nonproliferation and disarmament norms.

So the bottom line is that all states must act with greater urgency to combat the threat posed by nuclear weapons.  And now, my coauthor, Marcus Taylor, is going to share with you some specific highlights from the last 32 months.

MARCUS TAYLOR:  All right.  Thank you very much, Kelsey. So as we mentioned, some states have taken limited progress on nuclear disarmament.  However, the pace and progress over the past two and a half years has not been equal to the threats posed by nuclear weapons.  Several nuclear states have reduced the size of their nuclear arsenals; however, nearly all nuclear-armed states are investing enormous resources to develop and field new nuclear weapons systems, an action which reinforces the perceived necessity of a nuclear deterrent and calls into question their commitment to pursue complete disarmament.

The 2011 entry into force of New START by Russia and the United States was a step in the right direction.  However, Russia in particular has taken a leadership role in nuclear disarmament by reducing its deployed strategic forces well below New START deployed numbers of 1,550 years before the treaty’s 2018 deadline.

Since the entry into force of New START, Washington has slowly reduced the size of its deployed strategic forces to 1,654 nuclear weapons – 100 weapons above the treaty’s limits.  While significant progress was achieved during President Barack Obama’s first two years in office, the administration’s nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation effort has lost energy and focus.  In particular, the United States’ grade on negative security assurances was lowered to a C as a result of both its 2010 Nuclear Posture Review, which stated that the United States may use nuclear weapons against a state that is not in compliance with its safeguards agreement, combined with its increasingly bellicose rhetoric towards Iran, with President Obama stating that he will take no options off the table.

This leaves open the possibility that Washington may use nuclear weapons against a nonnuclear state that is in violation of its safeguards agreement with the IAEA.  Like Iran, this brought down the overall grade of the United States to a B-.  The United Kingdom once again received the highest grade of all 11 states measured in this report.  London has also reduced its nuclear arsenal to the lowest level of any of the five original nuclear weapon states and continues to lower the size of its nuclear forces.

India and Pakistan continue to build up their nuclear arsenals and produce fissile material for nuclear weapons.  The nuclear rivalry in South Asia continues to escalate and is inhibiting progress on a fissile material cutoff treaty.  North Korea once again received the lowest marks of all 11 states, earning an F on seven of the 10 standards.  Pyongyang continues to flout the established international nonproliferation and disarmament norms, making it a serious nonproliferation concern.

Iran and Syria’s continued failure to comply with international nuclear safeguard commitments and basic export controls bring down their grades and increases the suspicion that they are engaged in illicit nuclear activities.  In conclusion, this report indicates that further action must be taken by all 11 states if they are to live up to their international disarmament and nonproliferation responsibilities.  President Obama’s vision of the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons can only be realized if the United States remains resolute in its commitment to sustain nuclear disarmament.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you very much, Marcus and Kelsey, for your hard work on this very extensive report, which we’re going to continue to update as the years go on so that we can track the trends.  Let me invite the next set of panelists to come on up as I begin the introduction for our next panel, which is, strangely enough, about North Korea, which received that F in our report card.

(Off mic.)

(END) (Top of the Page)

Panel 1

DARYL KIMBALL:  So to begin our first panel today on understanding the tensions on the Korean Peninsula and the next steps for Washington and our allies in dealing with North Korea, we have a great set of speakers with deep experience.  We’re meeting here today to discuss this issue as U.S. President Barack Obama and South Korea’s President Park meet here in Washington.  This is an important opportunity for them and all of us to reassess the U.S. and allied policy of strategic patience, which is obviously not working adequately to freeze and reverse Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs.

Marcus mentioned this just a second ago, but in recent weeks and months, we’ve seen North Korea conduct its third nuclear test explosion.  It’s conducted a long-range rocket launch and may soon conduct a medium-range missile test.  We’ve seen the rhetoric ratcheted up as the U.S. and the ROK conduct their annual military exercises.

So we thought it would be a good opportunity to explore what explains these rising tensions, to explore the risks of the North growing nuclear and missile capabilities and how Washington, Beijing and the international community as a whole can improve the results, with respect to freezing and reversing North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.

And so very pleased to have three gentlemen here with us today to look at these issues.  We have beginning our panel, Joel Wit, who is a visiting scholar with the U.S. Korea Institute at SAIS.  He was among other things, involved in the negotiation of the 1994 Agreed Framework.

We also have with us Lee Sigal, who is director of the Northeast Asia Cooperative Security Project at the Social Science Research Council in New York.  He has traveled to, studied and written about North Korea for many years.

And from Brussels, we have Fabrice Vareille, who is deputy head of the Division for Relations with Japan, the Koreas, Australia, New Zealand at the European External Action Service under EU High Representative Catherine Ashton.  We’re very pleased that he is here in Washington to share perspectives from Europe on the Northeast Asia situation.

So after each of them speaks, we’ll take your questions and have a lively discussion, I’m sure.  So Joel, if you could please begin, thank you very much.

JOEL WIT:  Thanks, Daryl.

I’m really glad to be here today.  I have a long association with the Arms Control Association that dates back to people like Pete Scoville and Bill Kincaid, Stan Resor and Spurgeon Keany, who were all very nice to me when I first got out of graduate school.  So I’m happy to be here talking.

Second point – and this is sort of a disclaimer I always like to make, particularly in Washington – and that is that I am going to be critical of U.S. policy, but this does not mean that I sympathize with North Korea.  (Laughter.)  It means that I am dismayed at our inability to deal with this issue when I think we can be doing a better job.  And as someone who played a lot of high school sports, I never liked being on a losing team.

So having said that, let me just make three points, since I have a limited amount of time.  The first point, Daryl has alluded to the policy of strategic patience, which has been in place since the Obama administration took office.  And I’m usually pretty critical about how I describe this publicly, so I was kind of shocked when recently, after I was done talking, a senior Republican came up to me and said I was being very gracious in my description of strategic patience.  And he described it as we’re basically – we were waiting for Kim Jong Il to die so we could get better deals out of the North Koreans.  And that’s not a bad description, but the point is it’s failed.  The policy never made sense, whether we’re talking about stopping North Korea’s WMD programs, the non – the proliferation threat, building regional peace and security – and anyone who had dealt with North Korea before knew it wasn’t going to work.  And indeed, the administration was told by these people that it wasn’t going to work.  But that didn’t really matter.

Just to understand what’s driving the policy, it’s really not driven, I don’t think, by national interests.  It’s driven by domestic politics and alliance politics.  On the first score, that means basically, the administration wanted to keep North Korea off the front pages.  In the second score, the administration was willing to follow a very conservative South Korean government that was essentially driven by ideology; I’m talking about the last government, not this government.

Second point I want to make is that I’m sure we’ve all noticed that there are no more front-page articles on North Korea and you know, we’re not being bombarded on CNN by stories every 10 seconds about this issue.  So it’s obviously calmed down.

But I would say that it’s only going to get worse.  And actually, General Dempsey alluded to this during his trip to China, when he said that this situation is going to keep coming back over and over again and we’re going to have a continuous problem here.

The North WMD program, I think, has been driven mainly by defensive needs.  But I think now it’s starting to serve offensive requirements, one of which is to intimidate its neighbors.  Of course, we have to be cautious about how we project where this program is going in the future, but we can’t dismiss it. A friend of mine recently said to me, it’s like North Korea’s Manhattan Project.

The danger here, though, is not just WMD – and I know that’s the focus of many people in this audience – but the danger here is, quite frankly, that there’s an increasing probability of a Second Korean War.  And that may sound alarmist to some of you who don’t follow this issue, but crisis stability on the peninsula is taking a big hit, not only because of North Korea’s actions, but because of how South Korea is responding.  And by that, I mean that South Korea is now moving towards a preventive strike doctrine and also is going to retaliate the next time North Korea launches a provocation.  And I don’t think Pyongyang is just going to roll over and play dead at that point.

Lastly, I would say there may be a glimmer of hope, although I don’t hold out much hope, that the recent developments can help us adjust our policy.  Quite honestly, many people in the administration think our policy is working, or that’s the way, at least, they portray it publicly; whether they privately believe that or not, I don’t know.  So I’m not sure if they will adjust.  But also, I think the situation has gotten worse and worse and worse over the past four years.  And that leads me to question, or to at least think about, whether it’s too late to solve this problem.  I’m not willing to concede that point yet.

So here are kind of ideas for what we should do:  First, we need to jettison the myths we have about North Korea that dominate not just the press, but the way government officials think about North Korea.  And there are so many of them, I can’t begin to describe all of them, but the bottom line is we’re not dealing here with a failing hermit kingdom led by a crazy dictator.  That’s not what’s going on here.  We are dealing with a country that is driven mainly by national interests and their leaders are maybe somewhat eccentric at times, but not crazy. They are realists, in the purest sense of the word.

There’s another myth here that I think impacts our ability to form a strategy.  And that is – and you’ve seen this over and over and over again in the media – the idea that they threaten us, squeeze out benefits from us and then threaten us again.  That’s not the case.  And of course, the poster child for this myth is the Agreed Framework, which in my mind, was an enormous success.  And it was an enormous success because North Korea was on the brink of building maybe a hundred nuclear weapons over the decade after the agreement and when the agreement collapsed, they only had enough material for five.  So to me, that’s a big – that’s a big win for our side.

Second, we need to figure out how to turn the U.S. ocean liner onto a different course.  The administration clearly, I think, still wants to sweep this policy under the rug.  So one idea is that maybe somehow, there could be a policy review that would give the administration cover to kind of shift course.  You know, whether that’s going to happen or not, I doubt it, but at least in the recent bill passed by the Senate, there was a provision requiring the administration to conduct such a review.

It’s funny; I was sitting in the office of a Senate staffer when he was getting comments from the State Department on that.  And he got an email from the State Department saying, well, gee, we really don’t want to do a review; can we just come up there and give you a briefing on our policy?  And my friend sent back an email saying to them, I wasn’t aware we had a passed legislation for you to give us briefings.  So this is the mindset of where we are inside the administration.

Third, if I was king for a day, I would say that we need what I would call a policy of strong diplomacy, versus our policy of weak diplomacy that we’ve had for four years.  By strong diplomacy, I don’t just mean, oh, if we would talk to them, everything would be better.  That’s not what I mean,  I mean we need to be doing all the things that aren’t diplomacy, like sanctions, military steps when they’re required, we need to do it seriously.  But we also need to have a strong diplomatic track here.  And we don’t have that.

And for those of you who follow Iran, I noticed there was a recent report written by some prominent American saying we need a stronger diplomatic track dealing with Iran.  Well, if you feel you need a stronger diplomatic track dealing with Iran, you know, the diplomatic track dealing with North Korea is almost nonexistent at this point.  So we need strong diplomacy – that means at senior levels, focused on core peace and security issues, not just trying to the North Koreans off with food assistance or economic assistance.  Core security issues means ending the Korean War and denuclearization.

Fourth, we need to understand this is going to be a long and difficult process.  If it actually happens, it’s not going to happen overnight.  The trick is going to be to shift the political relationship with North Korea in a way where their building their own nuclear weapons seems less important to them.

Fifth, strong diplomacy means dislodging China from its support for North Korea.  There are a number of ways to do that, some of which we aren’t doing.  First of all, the North Koreans themselves can do stupid things that are going to make the Chinese unhappy.  And we’ve seen that recently.  Secondly, we do have to take tough steps in the context of our overall strategy to protect ourselves and our allies.  Some of those steps, the Chinese aren’t going to like.  And thirdly, the missing piece of this puzzle is the United States needs to work cooperatively with China on diplomatic initiatives.

Sixth, we need to work more closely with our allies.  We have that opportunity now with Madam Park – or I should say President Park – visiting Washington.  And working closely with our allies means more than just flexing military muscle; it means exercising leadership for peace.

And lastly – and I’ll wrap up right here – and I’m going to be very open and honest about this – for the past four years, this issue really has not gotten a lot of attention; certainly not in the Obama administration, but outside the administration, it has not gotten a lot of attention.  In the NGO community, the discussion has been confined to a bunch of Korea experts, Northeast Asia experts.  And I – to me, the most obvious manifestation of this was the recent conference, the big nuclear conference, held by the organization that owns this building.  And there was no panel on North Korea.  There was nothing except a South Korean politician who is seen in South Korea as being fairly right-wing who wants to withdraw from the NPT, build nuclear weapons, redeploy U.S. tactical nuclear weapons.  That was it.

So I guess what I’m saying is as someone who has been involved with this community ever since I came to Washington, which is a long time now, I’m hoping that the recent problems we’ve had with the North will energize people to become much more engaged in this issue.

Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you very much, Joel.  (Applause.)

And now, we’ll turn to Lee Sigal, for your perspectives on the situation and how to move ahead.

LEON SIGAL:  Well, my perspective is I live in New York, not Washington.  And that makes a lot of difference, because everybody in Washington talks to one another and convinces one another how they are geniuses about North Korea.  I’m not so sure and I’m not so sure any of us are – including me, of course – are geniuses about North Korea’s – but that is preamble.  Let me just go into some things.

The February 12th nuclear test, I think, has actually prompted to shift in the Obama administration’s stance from strategic patience to strategic impatience, but not yet to strategic rethinking.  The strategic impatience has been manifested in a couple of main ways:  First, after the nuclear test prompted renewed talk in Seoul and Tokyo about acquiring their own nuclear arms, Washington moved to reassure the allies by flexing its deterrent muscles, conducting practiced bombing runs by B-52 and B-2 bombers – that hasn’t been done in decades – dispatching F-22 stealth fighters and an attack submarine to Korea, expanding missile defenses and helping South Korea develop longer-range ballistic missiles to supplement the long-range cruise missiles it recently deployed.

Now, U.S. muscle flexing triggered a barrage of verbal threats from Pyongyang.  Unlike Washington and Seoul, which have far superior forces, Pyongyang for now has escalation dominance only in the domain of rhetoric.  Its threats all seem to underscore its own deterrent posture and were explicitly predicated without exception on prior action by the United States or South Korea.  As a senior U.S. military official in Seoul saw it on April 16, North Korea’s threats have, quote, “always been conditional.”  So if the U.S. does this, then the North says, we’re going to do that.

In its second manifestation of strategic impatience, and this is really important to me, the administration keeps trying to pressure China to bring North Korea to its knees.  As a senior U.S. official told The New York Times on March 15, planned deployments, missile defenses were meant to signal Beijing, quote, “we want to make it clear that there’s a price to be paid for letting the North Koreans stay on the current path.”  It seems to me, picking a fight with Beijing will only deepen insecurity in Northeast Asia, not put more pressure on Pyongyang.

Pyongyang now says it plans to restart its reactor at Yongbyon to generate more plutonium and to enrich enough uranium for dozens of weapons.  Construction of its new light water reactors nearing completion.  It will need more nuclear and missile tests if it is to perfect a compact weapons design capable of delivering by missiles, but these threats are real, as opposed to the surreal rhetoric out of Pyongyang amplified by the news media.  The news media only pays attention to rhetoric, as far as I can tell.

Strategic rethinking begins with the realization that negotiations to stop an unbounded weapons program that could stabilize Northeast Asia are needed.  But the way to get there, it seems to me, is to reconcile with Pyongyang, that is to say, to take steps away from enmity, starting with North-South re-engagement and U.S. accommodation with China.

Holding up negotiations to get Pyongyang to reaffirm its commitment to complete denuclearization is a waste of time.  In the midst of North Korea’s rhetorical volleys, a foreign ministry spokesman on March 16 reiterated its decade-long negotiating position:  First, quote, “it will never reach out to anyone to get it recognized as a nuclear weapon state.”  I don’t know where this recognition stuff came from.  There are a lot of people in Washington who keep saying it; the North Koreans don’t say that.  And it is important not to listen to people in Washington, but to listen to people in Pyongyang; after all, it’s them we have to persuade.

Second, the U.S. is seriously mistaken if it thinks the DPRK had access to nukes as a bargaining chip to barter them for what it called economic rewards.

Third, its weapons serve as all-powerful treasured sword for protecting the sovereignty and security of the country and are not negotiable” – and here it’s interesting – “at least as long as the U.S. nuclear threat and hostile policy persist,” close quotes.

Now, that wording suggests Pyongyang’s perception a nuclear threat could dissipate with an end to the hostile policy.  That has long been their position.  I’m not sure whether it still is.  But, what we do know, if we know anything, is its nuclear diplomacy has never been about money.  It’s about reconciliation, an end to enmity, as its foregoing food aid in the so-called Leap Day deal and its temporary shutdown of Kaesong is designed to underscore.

On March 31st, however, Pyongyang announced a new strategic line laid down by Kim Jong-un himself on, quote, “carrying out economic construction and building nuclear armed forces simultaneously”  – and here’s the key phrase – “under the prevailing situation,” and said it would restart its shuttered reactor at Yongbyon to generate more plutonium as well as enriching weapons-grade uranium.  It said that “the nuclear armed forces should be expanded and beefed up qualitatively and quantitatively until the denuclearization of the world is realized.”

That’s trouble, folks.

Now, does this spell an end to any negotiated limits on its nuclear programs?  Notice I didn't say weapons; programs.  Or was it just Kim Jong Un’s version of Eisenhower’s bigger bang for a buck, intended to justify reallocation of some military resources to civilian use?  We don’t know yet.

On April 16, however, a foreign ministry spokesman hinted it was not the former; not any ban on negotiated limits.  “The DPRK is not opposed the dialogue,” he said, “but has no idea of sitting at the humiliating negotiating table with the party brandishing a nuclear stick.”  That’s a reference to the bombers flying practice runs.

It went on:  “Genuine dialogue is possible only at the phase where the DPRK has acquired nuclear deterrent enough to diffuse the U.S. threat of nuclear war” – and here’s the key phrase – “unless the U.S.” – “unless the U.S. rolls back its hostile policy and nuclear threat and blackmail against us.”

Now, second, it seems to me strategic rethinking requires recognition – and, here, Joel has emphasized – has pointed that out – that the very steps each side in Korea takes to bolster deterrence increases the risk of deadly clashes.  The instability on the peninsula.  The White House decision to ratchet down tensions acknowledged as much, as a senior administration official said on April 2nd, and I quote:  “The concern was that we were heightening the prospect of misperceptions on the part of North Koreans and that that could lead to miscalculations,” close quotes.  That risk, by the way, was also evident in the sinking of the Cheonan in March 2010 in retaliation for a November 2009 shooting up of a North Korean naval vessel and a November 2010 artillery exchange in the contested waters off Korea’s west coast.

In short, deterrence alone will not assure morning calm in Korea.  The way to reduce the risk of further clashes is a peace process in Korea parallel to any nuclear talks.  As one route to reconciliation, Pyongyang has long said it wants a peace treaty ending the Korean War, probing whether it means what it says is in U.S. and allied security interests, especially now that North Korea’s nuclear-armed.

Third, strategic rethinking entails acknowledging that the military steps taken to reassure U.S. allies also antagonized China – all of them; not just the missile defense piece.  No chorus of disclaimers from Washington will persuade Beijing that the U.S. military rebalancing to Asia is not aimed at containing it.  Washington needs to accompany that military rebalancing with a political and diplomatic rebalancing toward China and encourage its allies to do the same. Cooperation has to be a two-way street.  A sustained effort at rapprochement could include military – sustained military-to-military as well as diplomatic talks to address, among other things, the two states’ mutual vulnerability through mutual restraint in the domains of cyberspace, nuclear weaponry and space.  That might include commitments to forego cyberattacks on each other’s critical infrastructure, acknowledgment of mutual deterrence by accepting China’s retaliatory capability as legitimate and a ban on attacking or interfering with one another’s satellites.

In conclusion, in my view, the only way to head off looming instability in Asia is to try to move toward peace in Korea and rapprochement with China.  Sustained diplomacy and political rebalancing may not succeed.  But unlike more stringent sanctions, more muscular deterrence, diplomatic disengagement and military rebalancing, they just might work.  Thank you.


MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you, Lee.  And now we’ll turn to Fabrice Vareille of the EU for a European perspective.

FABRICE VAREILLE:  Thank you very much, and first of all, thank you very much to the Arms Control Association for inviting me to this forum, and also thank to the Heinrich Böll Foundation for making this possible.

I’m very glad to be – to be able to give you an EU perspective on the situation in the peninsula and what the EU can – what the EU’s role can be there.  So, first, I will – I will maybe talk very quickly about how we see the current situation and then I will try to elaborate a little bit on what are the implications of the situation for the EU and what the EU can do to help address the issue are at stake on the peninsula.

In the past few months, we’ve seen tensions on the peninsula reaching a very, very high point, probably at a level we’ve not seen since 1994, when plans to strike a nuclear reactor at Yongbyon were being drawn up.  Fortunately, tensions have been subsiding in the last few weeks, but we are still – the situation is still very serious and there is still room for an unprovoked incident or from – for some new and unexpected provocation by the DPRK, who has always been very adept at wrong-footing everyone.  And we are now in a – in a – it seems, in a – in a cycle of engagement or we are moving toward a cycle of moderation.  And this way of blowing hot and cold does resemble traditional DPRK behavior where a period of relative or moderation and negotiation succeeds periods of heightened tensions and aggressive acts and rhetoric.

Rather than trying to explain what could be the motives or the specific tactical considerations at play in Pyongyang to explain the recent cycle, I would like to underline maybe that behind this, what looks like maybe a usual pattern of behavior, we think that there are a number of factors that make the current situation a little bit different.

First, we have a new, young, inexperienced leader, untested leader in North Korea who needs to assert his control over the party and the army, and he’s still sort of an unknown quantity.  It is reported that even the Chinese have encountered difficulties to reach out to him.  So, he’s – he brings a factor of uncertainty into the equation.

Second, we have new governments in office in the further region.  In Seoul and in Tokyo, we have new governments which have the political wield and technical means to react by beefing up their deterrence capability.  And Mr. Wit has touched on that previously.  We have also new leadership in China, which probably sees its strategic interest increasingly undermined by DPRK behavior and actions and is worried that the 6 party process might be in jeopardy.

Last but not least, and what maybe is a key change in the situation, is that there is a steady progress in the DPRK programs – nuclear and ballistic programs.  Assessments diverge as regards the DPRK’s actual capability in terms of militarizing and weaponizing a nuclear device, but I think we can – we can argue with a degree of certainty that the DPRK is progressing step by step, and the willingness of countries whose security is affected, to acquiescing that situation is correspondingly less.  So, all this create a new situation where the traditional freeze approach which was pressured in the past is perhaps not an option on the table anymore.

So, what are the implication of all of this – of the situation for the – for the EU?  What is the EU role in the international efforts to resolve the North Korea problem?  I would argue that even if the EU is not a direct actor, even if the EU doesn’t have strategic assets deployed in the region, even if the EU is not under direct threat from the DPRK, the question of a – of the implication of the EU should not surprise because the EU has a strategic interest at stake.  It has an history of active involvement in the peninsula and it has some assets that other like-minded players do not contribute to addressing the situation.

Our strategic interests, I think they are very, very clear.  On the one hand, we have a very significant economic and political presence in East Asia.  The EU has strategic partnerships with China, with Japan, with South Korea.  All three are very important economic and trade partners for the EU.  And a risk of instability in the region or reaction to propaganda efforts by the DPRK can have an impact on business confidence and disturb capital flows, thereby affecting directly the EU interests and economy.  So, that’s one aspect.

But we also have a stake in the security sphere.  The EU – one of the main pillar of the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy is the objective of preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  This is a policy on which there is a very strong and united EU position, and naturally North Korea’s actions, North Korea’s withdrawal of the NPT threaten that regime, and that’s an issue of very high concern for the – for the – for the EU.

In this context, also, the EU is concerned because of risks of proliferation from the DPRK towards its own neighborhood.  There has been evidence in the past of proliferation of nuclear technology or nuclear materials towards Syria, and there is – there are suspicions of possible contact between the North Korean and the Iranian nuclear program, and this brings the North Korea issue much closer to us.  So, because of a risk of interaction, the EU cannot be indifferent to the development of DPRK programs and to the responses by the international community.

These interests, which are real, explain why the EU has already been quite active on the – on the peninsula.  In 1997, the EU was invited to join the KEDO project to build a light water reactor and commit 100 million euro for this project at that time.  And I think this was a clear recognition that the EU cannot be left out of any major international initiative to achieve the denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula both as a donor and as a leading force internationally for nonproliferation.

Back in the early 2000s, also, in the – against a background of improving inter-Korean dialogue, most EU member-states established diplomatic relations with the DPRK, and the EU stepped up its activities with – in the DPRK.  In particular, there were high-level contacts and visits, including at the level of then-president of the European Council, Swedish Prime Minister Persson, but there was also – there were also – we stepped up our assistance activities at the time to include training activities of various kinds, like economic reform, human rights, governance, in addition to humanitarian-related activities.

So, this engagement of the peninsula and with the DPRK also reflects the fact that the EU has some specific assets that it can use to make a contribution to finding a solution.  As I said, most EU member-states – member-states have diplomatic relations with the DPRK, and seven member-states have an embassy in Pyongyang, providing us with channels of communication with North Korean authorities that other players don’t have.

I already mentioned our long-standing, even if limited, assistance activities in the country in response to humanitarian needs and emergencies.  We have several NGOs on the ground delivering our assistance, and this is another form of presence – of EU presence in the country and another link with North Korean authorities.

We have a long-standing policy of critical engagement with North Korea, which takes the form of regular political dialogue with the DPRK at senior official level.  And given the volatility of Pyongyang’s relation with other players such as the U.S., Japan, South Korea, the EU is the only major democracy which has remained continuously engaged with North Korea over the past decade, including at times of heightened tensions.  And this has been appreciated and supported by our like-minded partners as it keeps a channel of influence and communication which they themselves are not in a position to maintain.  So, in the meantime, we have the advantage of being seen by the DPRK as a relatively neutral actor with no recent historical baggage in the region.  So, that, I think, characterizes the EU stance vis-à-vis the situation.

So, what do we do with this?  For it – I think the EU priority for the time being is to contribute to ensuring that the winding down of tensions continues and that an environment is created that – is created that facilitates substantive engagement by the DPRK.  In our view, the diplomatic priority is to sustain and possibly to re-enforce the newly formed international consensus in condemnation of DPRK and persuade China and Russia to use their influence to induce change in the DPRK.

The ultimate aim is to show the DPRK that threats don’t work and that it must negotiate.  And I think that in this regard, Secretary of State Kerry’s visit to China sent very positive signals regarding the joint resolve of China and the U.S. to work closely on this.  So, in this context, the justification for EU engagement continues to be valid.  Sanctions by themselves will probably not do the trick.  And the need for EU political engagement is widely recognized, and this is what we hear from our partners when we are talking to them about the situation in the peninsula.

If talks about talks begin, as it seems is now the case, it will be timely – could be timely for us to resume the EU political dialogue that we have with the DPRK in order to encourage Pyongyang to re-engage on terms that offer a credible prospect for denuclearization.  If that turned out positively, it could also be followed by a few low-key actions as a tangible sign of EU goodwill.  For example, resuming periodic small-scale training visits by the DPRK diplomats to Brussels; focus on the EU and how it functions, and this is a way of exposing DPRK diplomats to the outside world – organizing activities on economic reform issues, which could be held either in Pyongyang or, as previously – or in neighboring countries.  So that’s the sort of small thing that the EU can do to induce change in the country.

We could also look at scope for Track 2 activities.  Over years, a number of member states have sponsored such events, even if the outcome of this initiative remain unclear.

And then there is the issue of what role for the EU if talks resume.  Should there be an involvement of the EU in future talks?  It’s a bit – it’s a bit difficult to say.  When the six-party talk process was launched in the early 2000s, the EU was interested in joining, but for some – for different reasons.  This finally did not materialize, and the EU has rather aimed at making a supporting contribution to the 6 party talks.  And I think that in looking at the future, there would be no fundamental change.  If 6 party talks were to resume or if new modalities for talks with the DPRK were designed, the EU would probably not play a leading role or look immediately for a seat at the table.  But again, our channels of communication could – with Pyongyang could prove useful.

And I’ll stop there.  Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  All right, thank you.

Gentlemen, we have quite a number of ideas, thoughts, analysis on the table, hopefully thought-provoking.  We have a couple of our staff members who are going to be available with microphones for your questions, so if you would like to ask a question, please raise your hand, as these folks are doing quite well, identify yourself, ask your questions.  And why don’t we start right here, and then we’ll go to Ambassador Wulf after that.

Q:  Mike Mosettig with PBS Online NewsHour.  What should we be looking for in terms of statements, communiqués from the two presidents starting tomorrow to indicate either they are moving ahead or perhaps they’re not?  And I say this partly in view that you’re hearing some talk in Washington that the administration is looking for President Park to be taking the lead on some of these negotiations.  I don’t know whether that means she’s the canary in the coal mine or what, but – (laughter) – anyway, just some guidance on what we should be looking for in these talks the next two days.

MR. KIMBALL:  Joel, you want to start us off?

MR. WIT:  There are a couple of points here.  Yes, there is this new idea – although it’s not so new; it keeps coming back over the past 20 years – that South Korea can kind of conduct this dialogue with North Korea, build confidence, and then maybe at some point the U.S. would sort of gradually get into the game.  To some degree, it’s not a bad idea, but I can’t help but feel the motivation behind it is that the administration still doesn’t want to talk to North Korea, so it’s looking for other ways, other avenues of dealing with this.

And the bottom line here is that South Korea cannot deal with the core security issues that need to be addressed here.  The United States has to be at the table for that discussion.  If we’re not, then South Korea’s not going to go – get very far, and indeed, they may get nowhere with the North Koreans.

Second point on what can we look out out of the – for out of the communiqué, I don’t have any inside information, but if you see a communiqué that sort of trots out the usual suspects – you know, the strength of the alliance, the need for sanctions, the – you know, we don’t want to buy the same horse twice from North Korea, you know, other things in that context, then you’ll know that not much has really happened in terms of the North Korea issue.


MR. SIGAL:  I’d just add a couple of things.  One is President Park has clearly indicated she wants to resume economic engagement with the North, starting in Kaesong.  The question is whether she’s ready for a peace process.  And here she has not come out.  And that is critical to this because, as I say, North Korea – this is not about money.  Kaesong is an opening move in the negotiation, but it’s got to go beyond that.  So I think sounding out the North about a peace process – the South can contribute to that.  I agree absolutely with Joel in the end, the U.S. has to be at that table, but not necessarily at the start.  So the question is, is she prepared to go beyond attempts at resuming economic engagement to the political?

Secondly, I think she, ideally with the North, has to create a little distance – not real distance, but a little distance from Washington.  It wouldn’t hurt if some administration officials criticized her for entering into talks with the North at this point.  That wouldn’t hurt her.  I’ll just leave it at that.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.

All right, why don’t we go to our other question, I think Norm Wulf – yes.

Q:  Yes, an observation.  I would remind that in 1996 and 1997 there were four-party talks:  North, South Korea, China and the United States.  And the agenda included a peace treaty, recognition, et cetera.  So we’ve tried this.  We’ve been down this road before.  My own view is that the big threat North Korea presents is I think it’ll sell, at some point, if it hasn’t already, nuclear material or nuclear weapons to other countries or other actors.  And I think the best position for the United States is that if we don’t buy it, someone else will.  That means I’m sort of where Joel is, that we need to have a dialogue.  And I would just sort of note that, yes, they will lie, cheat and steal, but no one thought the Soviets were clean when Jack Mendelsohn and others negotiated arms control treaties with them, and they did contribute to our national security.  So what’s wrong with our doing the same now, sitting down, recognizing that the guy on the other side is not totally trustworthy but trying to enhance our national security?

MR. WIT:  Yeah, you know, if I could say, I mentioned that the people who’ve been fixated with this issue, you know, are the Korea, Northeast Asia regional expert community.  And so, you know, you hear this over and over again:  Oh, they’re cheaters; they’re serial cheaters.  You know, and it’s like, from people like me, who, you know, I kind of was very junior, but I participated in U.S.-Soviet negotiations, it’s like, yeah, OK, so what?  You know, so were the Soviets, but you know, you get your verification measures in place, they give you some assurance that you know what’s going on, and you move forward because agreements can still serve your interest.

MR. SIGAL:  I’d just add two things.  One, anybody who looks closely at the history might be dismayed to find out that North Korea was the – was not the only one that reneged on agreements.  That’s really centrally important here.

Second, just to remind people of what happened in the ’97 talks on peace, that was an attempt to get the North and South talking again, and the president of South Korea at that time did not want to engage in talks and had to be threatened with the denial of a presidential visit in order to compel him into those four-party talks, and the North Koreans knew it.  So nobody thought that was going to move very far.

Furthermore, the North Korean position at that time was rather interesting, and it underscores a point that’s often lost in Washington.  They asked, what the hell are the Chinese doing in these talks?  For North Korea, for 25, 30 years, the name of the game is to beget – to get the United States, South Korea and, indeed, even Japan into the game so that they have a counterweight to China and alternative sources of aid and investment to China, so that they’re not dependent on China.  That game has been lost on most people in Washington.  That’s why I think they said what they did in ’97.

MR.  KIMBALL:  Before we go to the next question, I mean, to pick up on a couple of things that were just raised here – and Norm Wulf, you mentioned the earlier four-party effort – the six-party talks – if each of you could just briefly address whether that is the right formula, if a different formula is necessary or if it really doesn’t matter and what’s important is that the key parties are actually talking.  I mean, we have had, over the years, a lot of debate, some of it maybe useful, not useful, about the shape of the table and how many seats are at the table.  I mean, but as we think about, you know, the resumption of talks, which are clearly necessary, is that the right formulation?  Your thoughts?

MR. WIT:  You know, it’s always a tricky question.  It’s a – it’s a question of balancing process with substance.  And if you’re too – you emphasize process too much, it hurts substance.  If you emphasize substance too much, it may hurt process.

So – but you know, where I come out is that I think we need just to kind of wipe the slate clean here.  And what I would suggest – and I think this is something the Chinese are very interested in – is new talks that are four-party talks – I think I disagree with Lee – that are four-party talks, the United States,  China, South Korea and North Korea, that focus on four agenda items:  denuclearization, peace treaty, cross-normalization of relations and economic assistance.  I think that kind of structure – if the North Koreans are interested in trying to move down the road towards denuclearization, which is maybe a big “if,” I think that kind of structure would serve our interests.

Now, of course, the downside is what do we do about Russia, what do we do about Japan, what do we do about the European Union.  You know, we may be able to figure out a way where the six-party talks can sort of be some big umbrella and maybe bring in other countries, and somehow they would participate but not be at the core of the discussion.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right, Lee, Fabrice, any other thoughts about that?

MR. SIGAL:  Just – look, what’s critical here is what the United States is prepared to negotiate with North Korea about and what South Korea is prepared to negotiate with North Korea about.  The modalities are, to me, secondary.  I have no problem with China being at the table.  The question is does North Korea have a problem – (chuckles) – with China being at the table?  OK, let me just leave it at that.  It’s about what we’re prepared to talk about.  And we have, in the past, hinted at peace talks.  It’s in the six-party September 2005 communique.  But the serious effort at a peace process, I think, has not been looked at in this town or, I think, to some extent in Seoul either.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right, I think we have a couple other questions.  There’s one in the rear, and then we’re going to come back to Ambassador Culp.  But why don’t we take the one in the rear first.  Thank you.

Q:  Good morning.  Anne Charlotte Merrell Wetterwik from the Center for International Trade and Security.  Thank you very much for a very good panel.  I have a question for Mr. Vareille and the European Union, if you don’t mind.  You mentioned the KEDO project that has a very long track record of at least being talked about as a way of getting the European Union as a – as an entry point to discussions with the DPRK.  So I was just wondering if you could elaborate a little bit more about the results that you have seen so far under this project and if you see a future for this project being a trigger point of DPRK’s potential capricious pragmatism of seeing the EU and this particular project as a way out of the dead end.

MR. VAREILLE:  Thank you.  I referred to this project more as a way to show that the EU had been our – had been involved in the past already in dealing with our nuclear issue on the – on the peninsula that I don’t think the KEDO project is a success story, basically.  It looks as if the project now is dead in the water.  It didn’t achieve what it was intended to achieve, so this is not something on which we can build for the future.

I think that what the EU is ready do now is perhaps less to engaging to large-scale project of this kind, for which the conditions are not there anyway, but if circumstances allow, we are maybe better placed to do a small thing at small scale where we can engage with the North Koreans, with different groups in North Korea with assistance project or small-scale activities and training project that bring in, little by little, some changes in the way the economy functions in the DPRK and the way officials in the DPRK can be – can have contact with and experience with external actors.  So this is more the sort of thing that we can do, and the KEDO project now is not something that can be resurrected in any way, I think.

MR. KIMBALL:  Right.  David Culp, in the middle, please, and then in front.

Q:  We hear some members of Congress and other people here in Washington that say if the Chinese would just use their influence, they could bring North Korea to the negotiating table or get an agreement.  Other people say, no, they don’t really have that much influence.  So I’m curious what the panel members think.  What’s the real state of the degree of influence that the Chinese have with North Korea?

MR. SIGAL:  David, the heart of this is if we’re right – and we’ve heard it a number of times from the North Koreans – they want the U.S. as a counterweight to China, and therefore that gives us influence, potentially, if we engage.  We tend to think of Chinese influence in terms of threatening North Korea.  There are limits to what the Chinese are prepared to do.  But most important, if you actually look at when the U.S. and China cooperate at the U.N., in – on Security Council resolutions three times – more than that, actually, but three very notable times after the nuclear test – the North Korean reaction is always the same, which is they really hyperventilate.  They really up the threat scale because they have to drive the Americans and the Chinese apart, and what they know is the Chinese will come to try and calm them down, and the Americans will blame the Chinese for not bringing them to their knees.  And it works every time

So the notion that the Chinese have independent influence – yes, they have some.  But the negative influence that some people in this town hope for, that they’ll cut them off from aid and investment – most of the investment, by the way, is private – that’s something the Chinese are not going to do, and the North Koreans know it.  So the limit of the pressure side of this – it’s limited.  When you’re in a negotiation, when the Americans are actually negotiating, the Chinese, at the margin, have some influence, but at the margin.  Again, this is mainly, it seems to me, has always been about the North Koreans looking for counterweights to China, and that gives us influence, a point that seems totally lost on this town.

MR. KIMBALL:  Joel, Fabrice, any thoughts on this?

MR. VAREILLE:  Just maybe very quickly, I think that we can, however, see some – I wouldn’t say a shift, but a change in the China position in the way it has allowed your recent UNSC resolution to be adopted.  And we also detect willingness of China to implement more effectively the sanctions which are in – adopted in the context of this UNSC resolution.  This willingness is – I mean, this is in a very measured way.  But from what we see on the ground – so again, from reports that we receive from the organization that are working for us in implementing small project, we see that, for instance, cash transfers from China to the DPRK have become much more difficult.  We see that some of the sanctions that are – have been decided are implemented more effectively than in the past.

MR. KIMBALL:  OK, we’ve got a question up here.  Jennifer.  Thank you.

Q:  Well, thank you very much for a great panel.  And I was going to ask the question that David just asked about China and what it could do, but instead I will now ask about the more recent test that North Korea has just carried out.  I mean, they’ve now had three tests, and each time it seems to get less attention.  And I wonder what influence you think that might have on Iran in terms of red lines that we drew even for North Korea.

MR. KIMBALL:  And maybe also – I mean, just to add to this question – I mean, Joel you run this very excellent 38 North website, and just keeping an eye on some of the actual facilities.  I mean, could you give us a brief assessment of what you’re seeing, what we can expect in terms of the physical capabilities of the North on its fissile and missile programs?

MR. WIT:  You know, I’m really – I don’t know how Iran views these red lines or red lines in Syria or any other make-believe red lines we lay down, so I really don’t know the answer to that.  I’m sorry, Jennifer – others may.  But on this – on what’s going on at their facilities, you know, it’s very interesting how much satellite photography – commercial satellite photography can help websites like ours analyze what’s going on, particularly since there’s a large pool of retired photo analysts out there.  And so what we’ve been seeing at the missile facilities – not any signs of missile tests at the moment, but it’s been pretty clear for a while now that they are building facilities that are able to handle much larger space launch vehicles than the one they fired off, for example, in December – much larger.  Those won’t be done, probably, till the middle of this decade.

Secondly, on the nuclear test site, there have been some recent pictures there, and we’re working on some analysis of that.  You know, it’s really – it’s really squishy.  You can’t predict exactly what’s going to happen, and I mean, all we can see is a lot of activity at different parts of the site.  But beyond that, you know, it doesn’t indicate whether a test is going to happen tomorrow or next month or the month after that.  But clearly, you know, this is a place that is active and will continue to be active.  And there are probably a number of additional tunnels there that can be used for future tests.

MR. KIMBALL:  Yeah, one thing about Iran that’s clear is that Iran doesn’t want to be thought of like people think of North Korea.  So to some extent, that’s a good thing.  But at – recently at the NPT prepcom, the agenda was organized in such a way that North Korea and Iran were in the same session, and that really bothered the ambassador of Iran in Geneva.

All right.  I think we had another question up front here, please, and maybe a couple of others.  Thanks.

Q:  My name’s Li Yan (ph).  I appreciate the panelists’ discussion.  My major concern always is the people’s interests.  You know, you have all the talk from the bureaucracy and upper officials or their representative – they are basically sort of propaganda by some interest group.  So I was just wondering if, when they have a peace talk or negotiation do they really enforce it – inject the public interest and to tell just how they damage the people or their nation – the resources that this or the people or how the people lost their home and everything that the nuclear arm or anything of the sort that is really basically try to destroy people and their communities.  So when they have a peace talk, do they bring all this issue up?

MR. WIT:  I’m happy to try to answer you, but when you say “public interests,” whose – are you talking about the North Korean people or – in North Korea?

Q:  Every country – (off mic) – North Korea – (off mic) – the upper level – (off mic) – negotiate with American officials.  So after the peace talk – (off mic) –

MR. WIT:  Well, I – that’s a tough question to answer.  I mean, I’m assuming that the United States and South Korean governments are negotiating or having policies that they believe are in the public interest.  In terms of North Korea, well, you know, I don’t know how to answer that.  But there is a – you know, and your bringing up public interest is useful, because there’s another agenda here.  It’s not just the WMD agenda here or the peace agenda.  I mean, those are the main agendas, I think.  But there is the agenda that is not spoken of a lot, is, how do you encourage change in a system like North Korea, which everyone knows is horrendous?  How do you encourage peaceful change inside North Korea?

There are a number of different ways of doing it.  You can try to make them collapse, and that’ll result in big change, or you can try to do it slowly through a strategy that involves interaction – increasing interactions with North Korea, at the center of which are the security issues.  But there are other issues, and our EU colleague here has sort of alluded to them.  So, you know, that’s another piece of this puzzle, and I guess it’s one that is mainly aimed at the South Korean – I mean, the North Korean public interest.  I don’t know how to deal with the rest of, you know, your – what your question is.  Maybe others on the panel –

MR. SIGAL:  Joel’s just done something very important, which is reminded us that there are actually people in North Korea besides bureaucrats.  But part of the American strategy, even under the Obama administration, is to go beyond sanctions approved by the Security Council, which are focused on weapons-related transactions to try to impede any financial transactions by any North Korean entities, including those engaged in legitimate trade.  That is something the Chinese rightly won’t go along with, because the Chinese understand that the most important political and economic change that has taken place in North Korea was that – partly as a consequence of the famine, there was this spontaneous development of markets, and those markets would not function were it not for Chinese goods flowing privately, by and large, into those markets.  That reduces ordinary North Koreans’ dependence on the state, and that, in that system, is a profound change.

Yes, it’s not the change we all seek, but it is something very important, and it is absolutely perverse for us to cut off – try to cut off or impede legitimate trade with North Korea.  That makes no sense, and Treasury is about it, continuing to do so.

Q:  Jim Leonard.  I had an involvement in Korea from ’68 through the late ‘90s, and to the best of my memory, the only really meaningful interaction with the Korean government during that time was agreed framework talks – the famous visit of President Carter.  My question is whether there is the opportunity – the possibility for diplomats in Pyongyang or for high-level visitors to Pyongyang to really interact on a give-and-take, informal, what do you think about this, what do you think about that basis with real policymakers, not simply the people who were sent to talk to the barbarians, as the Chinese used to put it.

MR. SIGAL:  I think the key here is to get the secretary of state or somebody at that level to talk.  We have the experience that, when Albright went, she talked to Kim Jong Il and he put the missile program on the negotiating table, OK?

So I do think that’s important.  And I think the diplomats are constrained in their system, and so there is a point at which you want to go high.  I don’t think we’re there right now, but I do think that’s critical.  We don’t know much of what we need to know about North Korea.  We don’t know the state of their programs with any high degree of accuracy, but we learn a lot by talking to North Koreans.  Not always the truth and the whole truth and nothing but the truth – this is negotiations, you know, 1A, but not talking to them denies us the possibility of seeing what’s doable.  Talking to the diplomats helps, but it’s not ultimately the only way to do things.  We’ve gotten a lot further when we go high up, and to have a basketball player be the only one to meet Kim Jong Un is bizarre in my view – bizarre.

MR. KIMBALL:  I was wondering if we’d get through this session without mentioning Dennis, but I guess we couldn’t.

MR. WIT:  Yeah, we actually – a colleague and I wrote an article for ForeignPolicy.com about how Dennis Rodman’s trip was actually very useful and helpful, which, of course, wasn’t the view of most people.  But just to reinforce what Lee said, you know, the agreed framework process – certainly, there was substantive back and forth on that, and the guy involved negotiating it for the North Koreans was, you know, one of Kim Jong Il’s right-hand men.  The process of substantive back-and-forth continued throughout the 1990s, and it wasn’t just at higher levels, although it got to higher levels by 2000 when Madeleine Albright visited North Korea after a very senior North Korean met with Bill Clinton.

But the lower-level processes during the 1990s, which I was very much involved with in terms of the government-to-government, were very useful and very straightforward.  And that’s because there was a political anchor in place on the bilateral relationship.  There were developed patterns of discussion, there were things we were working on together.

Whether we can get back there again, I don’t know.  You know, I – the situation has changed a lot since the 1990s.  It’s gotten a lot worse.  The problem is, people have kind of convinced themselves that since it’s gotten a lot worse, we really shouldn’t try anymore.  And, you know, I just am not willing to walk off the ball field like that.  You know, I want to give it a shot.

MR. KIMBALL:  We’ve got a couple more questions before we wrap up; in the middle, thank you.

Q:  This is a question about China.  Sort of – I sense there’s – two points have been made.  One, that when the U.S. responds to turmoil on the peninsula, the Chinese read it as actually aimed at them, and the other point was that North Korea would very much like to use the West or the United States as a counterweight to China, which leads me to the following question.  What – can you speculate – what, from the Chinese point of view, would be a good outcome to the turmoil on the peninsula?  It’s a little unclear to me where their interests lie on this.

MR. SIGAL:  Well, look, the Chinese are well aware of the North Korean desire to have the Americans come in.  And the Chinese have actually encouraged that.  They have not been afraid of it; they know it won’t come – it won’t eliminate their role in Korea.  Where the Chinese literally don’t have an interest – I mean, they’re watching the United States strengthen its alliances and calling on China to throw North Korea overboard.

That makes no sense from Chinese national interest, OK.  So the Chinese can live with a lot of alternative possibilities.  What they can’t live with is an – you know, what makes them unhappy is a North Korea that keeps on using the nuclear – you know, building up their nuclear and missile capacity.  That is dangerous for China, but they know that in the end, they can’t do it.  The Americans might be able to.  Less likely now, as Joel has said, but we don’t know until we try.  So that’s where we are.

Do we know what the Chinese deep view is?  Probably not, but my guess is – I’m just giving you my hunch as where they are – they don’t have a problem with the Americans developing a relationship with North Korea if it produces stability on the peninsula.  What they worry about is instability on the peninsula, and we’re heading down that road.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  I see a hand in the rear.

If you could just identify yourself and maybe stand up so the speakers can see you, thanks.

Q:  Stanley Coburn (sp).  Last week, the North Koreans sent an American visiting their country to 15 years of hard labor.  They have now said they’re not interested in negotiating his release.  I’m looking at a story here – Foreign Ministry spokesman told the officials news agency, quote, “The DPRK has no plan to invite anyone of the U.S., unquote, to negotiate for this guy’s release.”  So this raises the question of what kind of negotiations we can have they’re interested.  Why did they sentence this guy to 15 years’ hard labor?  Why are they saying, we’re not interested in having anyone visit?

MR. SIGAL:  Notice that there is a difference between having a – someone important visit and the possibility that this guy might be released.  The North Korean statement did not say the latter, despite all the misreporting by the wire services and everybody else.  All they said was, you know, we didn’t sentence this guy to have Bill Richardson come or somebody like him.  What has happened in the past – and we don’t know if it’ll happen in the future – notice that the original charges against this guy were reduced.  That’s important.  Secondly, nothing happens until there’s a judgment in North Korea, a sentencing.  And then the possibility of his release at least is a possibility, and the North Koreans, so far, have not ruled that out.  They just said, we’re not – we didn’t do this in order to get some high-level visitor to come.

Again, the fundamental issue seems to be, from the North Korean vantage point, what’s going to happen after the exercises?  Are things going to calm down?  Are we going to move away from what they call a hostile policy?  In that context, my guess is it’s possible this guy will come home.  And it might not, we hope, take that long.

MR. KIMBALL:  OK.  I want – go ahead, Joel.

MR. WIT:  I – you know, I’m hesitating to say something about this, but – you know, I don’t know the details of this guy’s case.  I don’t know what exactly he did as opposed to what he’s accused of doing.  I don’t know any of this.  And it’s, of course, kind of makes me hesitate to say something.

But I – you know, to me, whether they sentence this guy to prison, whether they don’t, they’re not trying to bargain with him – it’s important, and – certainly for this gentleman and his family, but to leap from that to the conclusion, therefore, that we can’t negotiate on WMD with them, I just don’t – I don’t quite understand that.  And to me, there’s a national interest here.  That’s the first priority.  Dealing with this gentleman and his situation certainly should be part of what we’re about, but how are we going to do that if we’re not even talking to them?  We’re not going to be able to do it.

And so, you know, I can see the North Koreans kind of sitting there reading the press saying, oh, North Koreans sentenced this gentlemen to jail because they want a senior American to come to North Korea.  If I was a North Korean, I’d find that very insulting.  And I would say, you know, I have my laws and, you know, this is the way it is.

MR. KIMBALL:  I want to ask a final wrap-up question before we close out this panel, which is to kind of flip the question around about what happens if we don’t re-engage with North Korea in a – in serious talks on freezing and reversing their programs on a peace process, as you’ve all been saying.  I mean, each of you have in different ways said it’s important to get those talks going again.  Some of you have said very strongly that it’s important for the United States to reassess its current approach.  What happens if we don’t do that in the next one or two years?  Where do you see things winding up maybe five years from now, both in terms of North Korea’s nuclear missile programs and the overall security situation?  So if you could look into that dark crystal ball for a second to close us out, that would be helpful.

MR. WIT:  I’ll just go quickly.  I’ve been – I’ve actually been giving a briefing on this starting from last fall.  And, you know, there are various scenarios, of course, and it’s hard to predict exactly where things will go.

So there’s one scenario that is based on some work by David Albright that’s based on, you know, looking at the satellite photos of their space launch facilities.  And that scenario goes that by 2016, they might have as 50 nuclear weapons, they’ll certainly have the regional capability to deliver them, and they’ll be working on the long-range capability.  I don’t – I don’t think they’re going to have an ICBM by then, but it’s going to get steadily worse because there’s a lot of momentum behind this program now.  It’s built up over the years, and it’s gaining speed.

And secondly, on the other front, the – you know, the issue of crisis stability, I don’t know what to say except that the North Koreans, whether they’re right or wrong, view their growing nuclear capability as giving them more free rein to be aggressive in terms of provocations and other activities like that.  That’s a very dangerous situation.  And so you can see the possibility of more provocations, more tensions.  And I don’t know where they’re going to lead.


MR. SIGAL:  That’s sort of my scenario too, I’m afraid.  We know certain things.  We know the third test worked.  We don’t know how much fissile material was used.  If they didn’t use very much, then it was a very efficient device.  They probably need another test or two.  Again, we don’t know for sure.  We don’t know why they didn’t test the so-called Musudan.  Is it because it doesn’t really exist yet, or is it because they chose not to?  But I wouldn’t bet on the long-term possibilities that that thing and some other things they have won’t come along.

The ICBM is further away.  The third stage is not ready for prime time – as far as we know.  Again, what we don’t know dwarfs what we do know here.  On the other hand, the trajectory is very clear.  It’s clear with respect to fissile material, it’s clear with respect to the development of a weapon, it is clear with respect to the development of missiles.  And one should not assume that the North Koreans can’t master what they’re trying to do and can’t acquire the technical – the technology and the materiel they need to get there.  Sanctions have not stopped them a bit from getting what they needed.

MR. KIMBALL:  Fabrice?

MR. VAREILLE:  At every stage of our reaction towards recent events in North Korea, the missile launch via nuclear tests, when we adopted sanctions, when we have implemented the U.N. sanctions and opted additional EU sanctions, we’ve always made a point to underline the fact that the door for dialogue was open and that we were urging the DPRK to re-engage with international community, so there is no doubt for us that there is no other option than engaging enough – the DPRK that we have to – and the main players in this issue have to create the circumstances that allow this engagement to take place.  Even when they were talks with the DPRK about the nuclearization, the DPRK was, in fact, developing its nuclear capability, so there is no doubt that if we are stuck in a – in a situation of antagonism, they will continue to develop their program.  And as I’ve already outlined, they are making incremental progress in developing these programs.  And it means that East Asia will become a more dangerous place, and this is not something which we want to see.  There are other security issues in East Asia, and this could create a cocktail of tensions and risks that would be very dangerous, so I think that for all these reasons, the only way to go is to find ways of engaging with Pyongyang.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Thank you all.  Please join me in thanking our panelists this morning.  (Applause.)  In about two minutes we’re going to turn to our next panel.  I want to invite our three panelists to come up to the stage as we shift.  Everyone else, you have about two minutes to take a brief break.  Just want to let you know that we’re not going to wait that long to begin the next session.

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Panel 2

DARYL KIMBALL:  All right, welcome back, everyone.

Now we’re going to shift from one of the most confounding nuclear proliferation problems to discussing one of the most promising developments in the field of conventional arms control in many years, the new Arms Trade Treaty.

As many people here know, armed violence, much of it fueled by the illicit and irresponsible trade in conventional weapons and ammunition, kills hundreds of thousands of civilians each year and contributes to human right abuses and facilitates war crimes and atrocities against civilians from places like Syria to the Congo to Central America and beyond.

And in response to these challenges, on April 2nd the U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly approved the first global Arms Trade Treaty with the support of the United States, other arms suppliers including the U.K., and many of the affected countries around the world.

And so to explain what this treaty does, why it’s important, why it’s an important historic first step for human rights and civilian protection, and to discuss what needs to be done in the coming weeks and months and years to bring it into force and ensure its effective implementation, we’ve brought to you three of the world’s top experts on the subject.

To open our panel discussion on the Arms Trade Treaty, we have with us Rachel Stohl, who is a Stimson Center senior associate and a member of the Arms Control Association board of directors as of last year.  For the past several years she’s served as a consultant to the president of the ATT talks, and was an important behind-the-scenes player in making sure that we have a strong treaty.

Also with us here today is Paul O’Brien, who is the vice president for policy and campaigns with Oxfam America, which has worked hard for the ATT for many years.  Armed Control Association was pleased to have worked with Oxfam, Amnesty USA, Control Arms and other NGOs over the past couple of years to help push the Obama administration to support a stronger treaty.  And we will continue working with them in the weeks ahead to encourage the United States to sign the treaty on June 3rd in New York when it opens for signature.

We’re also very honored to have with us from London Mr. Richard Tauwhare, who is the head of the Arms Export Policy Department for the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office.  We appreciate the leadership of Richard and his U.K. colleagues, who have been, also for many years, among the leading government champions of the Arms Trade Treaty.

So with that introduction, I want to invite Rachel to come up here and speak, if you’d like.  No, you want to sit there?  OK, they’re all going to sit here and –

MS. STOHL:  Thanks, Daryl.  And thanks to the Arms Control Association for this important panel, because I think in Washington we don’t get a lot of victories, and I think not only do we have one here to talk to you about today, but we should take the time to savor and celebrate this before we get back to the hard work of seeing this treaty actually come to fruition.  So I’m delighted that ACA has taken the time to recognize this important achievement today.

What I want to do in my remarks is to really talk about what the Arms Trade Treaty is, and perhaps – to some – more importantly, what it isn’t, and how it can potentially make a difference to regulating.  I would say “regulating” is the word I would use instead of “controls.”  This isn’t an arms control or disarmament treaty, but really in terms of regulating what until now has been a very unregulated conventional arms trade.

So the reason that we’re here today is the Arms Trade Treaty is actually the first legally binding international treaty that regulates the cross-border trade in conventional arms.  And this ranges from everything from the fighter aircraft you think about to warships and small arms and light weapons.  So it’s a huge category of weapons.  As Daryl mentioned, these are the weapons that are responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths and conflict and violence around the world.  So this is really kind of the meat of the weapons systems that are causing such devastating casualties around the world.

As I said, this is not a disarmament or arms control treaty, and it is not a treaty that covers the domestic trade of weapons.  It doesn’t look at what happens within a country, the internal transfer of weapons.  And this is really important, particularly in the United States.  This treaty has nothing to do with the domestic gun control debate in the United States.  We are really talking about the cross-border governmental authorized transfers of conventional arms.  And I think I could say it 20 times and people will still leave with the false impression, that that’s really an important distinction of what this treaty does.

In a nutshell, this treaty does three very important things.  One, it establishes common international standards for the trade in arms that countries have to incorporate into their national systems, or develop national systems to do those things.  Two, the treaty provides for oversight of the global arms trade by enhancing the transparency of what traditionally has been very murky and opaque.  And three, the treaty creates an environment of accountability where states are responsible for ensuring that their arms sales meet those global standards and norms that have been created.

This treaty is long overdue.  The absence of such standards has negatively impacted national security, foreign policy, threatening the lives of not only countless civilians but of service men and women around the world.  It has fueled foreign conflicts, armed violence and crime.  It allowed human rights abusers, terrorist organizations and criminals to be armed with impunity.  Really, the time for this was very overdue.  And it’s a landmark treaty.  It really is, for the first time, an international recognition that there are some arms transfers that just should not be authorized.  And I think we shouldn’t lose sight of that.

Why do we need an arms trade treaty?  This didn’t just come out of nowhere.  This wasn’t like, oh, the United Nations thought, well, we probably need some success; let’s find something to do.  This is a process that’s been going on for several decades.  It took the United Nations itself more than seven years to negotiate this treaty.  So I don’t want it to be seen like this was a victory, and we all just went to the U.N. one day and had it negotiated quickly.  This was a long effort, and I’m sure Richard will talk about the importance of key governments in making sure that it happened.

But I also want to recognize the role of civil society in this effort.  Firsthand, the civil society organizations see the consequences of these weapons.  They push governments for action.  Also importantly, countries that are affected by conflict and by crime and by the violence caused by these weapons gave a credible voice to the need for this treaty, and that was really important.

And perhaps – I don’t know if it was most importantly, but it was certainly what was the tipping point was – the exporters, the major exporters of these weapons, including the United States, the United Kingdom and other members of the Security Council said, you know what?  In order to ensure the legitimacy of the legal arms trade, we probably should look at something that will make sure that all states abide by certain rules of the game.  And that will not only level the playing field for our defense industries but it also gives us some credibility in terms of the transfers that we make.

And so having that commitment not only from the exporting states and the importing states, and then the push from civil society, it was really an important combination of events.

So what does this treaty say?  What does it do?  I would argue – although there are some critics of the text – that this is probably the best compromise text that could have come out of the United Nations.  If it is implemented, it would be potentially effective in stopping the irresponsible and illegal arms trade.  I believe it’s strong, I believe it’s balanced, and I think that it impacts those countries that have sophisticated export control systems as well as those who have centered on existent systems equally, and I think that’s important.

So there are many articles of the treaty, and I’m not going to go through all of them, but I have it with me if anyone is interested – (laughter) – because as you know – as some of you know, I could talk about every article and why every word is the way it is.  But I do want to highlight a few key points.

One is the scope of this treaty and what it applies to.  As I said from the beginning, it applies to the full range of conventional weapons.  And I think that’s important to note, that it’s not just fighter jets, it’s not just warships and other weapons that are identified in the U.N. Register of Conventional Arms, but also small arms and light weapons.

In some ways it also covers parts and components for those weapons as well as the ammunition for those weapons, and ammunition for not only small arms and light weapons but also the munitions that are responsible for more heavy conventional and more sophisticated weaponry.  And I think that’s really important, that we’re looking at an entire class, an entire category of weapons that hasn’t really been treated equally before.

There is an article that lays out what the minimum obligations for each state will be in terms of their national system.  So it does – every state doesn’t need to have a system that looks like the United States’ export control system.  In fact, I would encourage them not to have a full system that looks like the U.S. system.

But there are minimum standards that states need to make sure that they can incorporate because every state is somehow involved in the international arms trade as an importer, as an exporter, as a brokering state, a transit or trans-shipment state.  There’s some way that every state is involved, and I think that’s important.  It also requires states to have a designated national point of contact so that we know who to go to when questions about the treaty or its implementation arise.

What some might consider the meat of the treaty – the prohibitions and the export assessments that are required by the treaty – are incredibly important, because as I said, for the first time we actually have rules that say if these conditions are met, a state shall not transfer conventional weapons.  And those are things that, again, seem very obvious, very commonsense, but up until now were not enunciated clearly.

One is that if a transfer would violate a U.N. arms embargo, a state shall not transfer.  While that was true for international, that wasn’t necessarily required to be in states’ national laws.  So that’s important.

Violations of obligations of relevant international agreements to which it’s a party – again, seems obvious – those that would be used for the commission of genocide, crimes against humanity, grave breeches of the Geneva Conventions, attacks directed at civilian objects or civilians protected as such, or war crimes as defined by international agreements to which it’s a party, very important to say:  If those conditions occur, you shall not transfer.

The second part of the export assessment kind of enunciates the way that states should make decisions.  I think it’s very clear that states must go through a process to determine whether or not to make a transfer.  Does the transfer potentially assist your national security or foreign policy objectives?  But could it also undermine peace and security at the same time?  What does that look like?  What does that process look like?

And this treaty lays out a very clear progression of steps that states must take when they consider an arms transfer.  And if, when they consider all of those factors, the bad stuff overrides the good stuff, you don’t get to make the transfer.

And I think, again, putting that in writing, making it very clear, the process that states have to follow, is a really important step.  The arms trade is, by its nature, legitimate.  There are reasons why states want to acquire conventional arms and small arms and light weapons.  And so allowing them to still do that within a framework that makes sense to the international community and establishes norms and standards is very important.

I won’t go into all of the requirements for states that import weapons that are transit or transshipment states, how brokering will occur or should be regulated, but all of those things are also contained within the text of the treaty.

And a new article that didn’t appear, or hadn’t been discussed at length before, was the issue of diversion.  How do you prevent transfers that are in the legal market that are going to a legitimate end user – how do you prevent those from entering the illicit trade, because that’s a huge problem with the legal trade in conventional arms.  And so there’s also an article that says:  Here are steps that states can take to prevent that diversion.

There are also standards for record-keeping and for reporting.  Again, enhancing the transparency of this trade was incredibly important in terms of the objectives.  And so in terms of reporting, there are two main reports that every state party will have to – there are others, but two big ones that every state will have to submit.  One looks at the measure that it’s taken to implement the treaty.  How has it fulfilled the obligations, which is helpful for states to understand what the national processes of a particular state might be.

And the second is a report that looks at the authorizations or actual exports of – or exports and imports of conventional arms that are covered under the scope of the treaty.  And the intent here was to give us a broad view of what the conventional arms trade looks like.  We have some voluntary transparency mechanisms.  We have countries like the United States, which are incredibly transparent about its arms trade, but you also have states that refuse to participate in any voluntary mechanism, and so having this be a requirement really allows us to get a wider view of what this trade looks like.

Another key aspect of the arms trade treaty is that it provides for international cooperation and assistance to help those states that don’t have well-developed export control systems.  Countries like the United States, which already has incredibly sophisticated programs through its export control and border security program, or even through programs through weapons removal and abatement and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, that help states better create better conditions for border controls and stockpile management.  Those will all assist in preventing that diversion that I talked about a few minutes ago.  So that’s an incredibly important aspect of this treaty, to kind of match those that have the resources and those that require the resources to implement the treaty.

So I think I’ve made the case that this treaty was much needed and that it’s a really important step, but I do want to caution you that this is not the end-all, be-all of conventional arms regulations.  It’s not a panacea.  It’s one tool in a very big foreign policy and national security toolbox, and it’s one way that we can try to mitigate the consequences of the poorly and unregulated trade in conventional arms.

And we’re not going to see results tomorrow or six months from now, or I would dare to say even two or three years from now.  I think it’s going to be over the next five to 10 years that we’ll be able to see that this treaty has made a difference in stopping this – in stopping this trade.

We can talk about certainly the role for the United States and what it means for the United States.  I would just say that the shadow of the United States as the world’s largest exporter is very large, and this treaty gives the United States another way to have influence over the arms trade in terms of using this treaty as a tool to encourage other states to act more responsibly.  There is nothing in this Arms Trade Treaty that the United States doesn’t already do as part of its export control system.  There are no impediments for the United States to fully not only decide and ratify but also to just fully implement this treaty today.

We were very careful in terms of the drafting of this treaty to make sure it was very consistent with U.S. law.  And it makes sense for U.S. policy, for a variety of ways.  It’s based on the values of the United States in terms of its national security and foreign policy objectives, but also in terms of the values of helping those who are suffering, and trying to provide assistance to those that need it.  It also of course could provide a very – a safer environment not only for U.S. service men and women but for eight agencies and companies that are working aboard to operate in areas where they don’t have to be in fear of the conventional arms trade.

So what happens next?  The treaty gets to be opened for signature on June 3rd at the United Nations.  Countries are currently going through their own domestic processes.  What does signature mean?  And once the treaty is signed on June 3rd, it will enter into force 90 days following the 50th instrument of ratification.  So best guesstimates based on other treaties and what needs to be done would probably be within the next two to three years we would see the Arms Trade Treaty enter into force.

Certainly it would be a very strong and symbolic statement if the world’s largest exporters as a group were able to sign on June 3rd.  And I think in terms of the long-term legitimacy and credibility of the Arms Trade Treaty, you need to have the large exporters on board.  So having that initially will encourage others to join in.

And lastly, I just want to make one point, because I think as we’re seeing what’s happening in Syria and in other places around the world, there’s a lot of criticism of the United Nations.  And I want to point out that I think this treaty was actually very important for the credibility and legitimacy of the United Nations as well.  It highlights that the U.N. can be a body, if states want it to be, that can make important decisions and deliver outcomes that are important to international peace and security.

We could have had an arms trade treaty 20 years ago, negotiated outside of the U.N. system, probably stronger than what we have now.  I don’t think anyone would deny that.  But I don’t think it would have had every single country in the world having an equal voice at that negotiating table where you have exporters and importers having to talk to each other, or you have countries that are affected making pleas for stronger language, and where countries can really, over the last seven years, hear each other’s points of view.  I think that’s really important.

And I think I’ll leave it there and let Paul take it from here.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right, thank you.

I’m going to turn it over to Paul, but before I do, I just wanted to say a word about what a pleasure it’s been for the Arms Control Association, beginning with the work that our former deputy director, Jeff Abramson, led three years ago when we started working on the ATT, to work with some of our colleagues at Oxfam, at Amnesty USA, the National Association of Evangelicals, the U.S. Congress of Catholic Bishops on this campaign.

It really has been an energizing and inspiring effort.  And in my 20-plus years of work in the nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation field, I mean, I haven’t seen an NGO campaign put together quite so well, so creatively as I’ve seen with the ATT.  So I want to congratulate my colleagues.  And I want to welcome Paul O’Brien from Oxfam America to address the topic.


MR. O’BRIEN:  Thanks, Daryl, and same back to you for your leadership in this effort over the years.

And to Amnesty – I see Adoty (ph) there – this has been an almost uniquely, coherent effort over a long period of time.  And for those of you who know, NGOs are like cats, and herding us is not easy, and somehow we managed it.

So, Rachel, thanks for the great setup, because I get to talk now a little bit about politics and you’ve been talking about policy.  And I want to say why I think the politics of this is so fascinating.  And it’s great – I know some of you in the room – to have such an august group to talk about this with.

So why would a development and humanitarian organization like Oxfam be so excited to talk about politics?  We survived for years in difficult places by saying we have none, and now we have come around.  We’ve changed as a group.  And let me say a little bit about what makes us a little different and how this hits the sweet spot for us, and why I want to talk to you so much about politics.

So what makes us a little different from the think tanks that do such great work in this town is not just that, you know, there are prestigious and thoughtful individuals that will want to work for institutions like Carnegie and Brookings, but really what we bring to the table, because we’re not trying to compete at that level, is that we work in 90 countries and we try, on our good days, to listen to where people are at.

So when somebody tells a colleague of mine in the DRC a few weeks back that their child got kidnapped by a local group – because kidnapping is on the rise, just like it’s on the rise in Syria and elsewhere.  It’s a very good way to make money in a money-flush environment.  And their son gets returned to them mutilated, and this was because one of the 25 groups operating in that area had more guns than they knew what to do with, we try to hear that and do something about it.

I lived in Afghanistan for five years working on policy and spent a lot of time wandering around the country, and I couldn’t go anywhere where I didn’t come across a 15-year-old boy who knew more about an AK-47 than I ever will.  And that country has to recover from that ground.  I worked in Northern Uganda.  Everybody knows what that’s like.

I was in Sudan three months ago where folks there are trying to recover in Darfur, but they just discovered oil.  Well, guess what?  The guy whose land on which the oil sat, which should have been a great source of revenue, was confronted by another local leader and 50 of his armed men.  He got killed.  Then there was a set of revenge killings by the original owner.  And so far there have been 600 deaths.  And whether the revenues will actually do anything for the people of Sudan is – you know, is an optimistic thought.

So that’s why we come to this equation because we’re trying to witness what we’re hearing and seeing in the field.  But what does make us different as an organization to say a CARE or a Mercy Corps or an IRC – because they too are in these countries; they too are trying to witness this – that we put a lot of effort into trying to take those stories and do something about it in the policy space.

So 70 people sitting here in Washington trying to help shape policy.  And as you said, Rachel, it’s really hard to shape policy in this town, not just because we’re many concentric circles away from the center of power, but because any policy change in Washington is difficult not just now when it’s particularly difficult, but it always is.  And many of you have read the data and the studies.

What we’ve come to realize is that if we’re going to actually validate our existence, we have to be able to explain what we do in something other than the major policy win, like an arms trade treaty which comes every 10 years.  So what we talk about – that’s optimistic – what we talk about is political wins:  How can you create the kind of momentum politically so when it comes time for that moment of policy win, something good actually might happen?  There’s enough momentum there.

And I think the political wins around the ATT, Arms Trade Treaty, may be as important for those of us who care about contributing to a safer world with less arbitrary use of small arms and big arms and so on – and just to be – I assume we’re largely among – hopefully completely among friends here.  Let’s be honest about some of the political dimensions of what we were able to get with the Arms Trade Treaty.  It is, as Rachel said, the strongest compromise we could have gotten under the circumstances.

But as Rachel said, we already have good laws on arms trade in the United States.  We hope that it will be ratified and become part of law in the United States, but we’re not dependent on that.  It may not be ratified by the United States, and yet we still think that it’s politically relevant.

There were compromises made in the language.  For those of us who care profoundly about the strongest forms of enforcement, we would have liked to have seen more.  We have some good standards, but it is everything we wanted?  No.  So we ended up with a treaty that has a lot of potential to be relevant politically, but it’s not certainly going to be so.  And so what I want to advocate to you is that what happens now between now and June 3 and in the immediate weeks afterwards is profoundly important from a political perspective.

And just at the risk of belaboring the history, this has always been the case with the arms trade journey.  It started 100 years ago, immediately after the First World War when we tried to build potential for an agreement with the small League of Nations.  That failed.  Twenty years ago Nobel Peace Prize winners came together and tried to get it passed.  That failed.

And then 10 years ago this group of actors and three small countries – Costa Rica, Cambodia and Mali – came together and said, we need one.  And this time, miraculously, it succeeded, and the United States played an incredibly important role in driving the political will towards the moment that we got on April 2nd.

So we had a big day on April 2nd, perhaps a uniquely big day.  Well, hopefully not, but it was a moment when, despite everything – despite the NRA arguing that this was going to undermine 2nd Amendment rights; despite a whole set of constituencies, including the United States, that were worried about misinterpretation, we ended up where the only folks who were against it were Syria, Iran, North Korea and the NRA.  I think Steve Colbert called that “the axis of freedom” – (laughter) – which was an important moment politically.

So that’s where we are.  So why am I doing this big setup in saying we have an important moment between now and June 3?  So just a little bit more on the technical details around what “entry into force” means.

To get a treaty to go into force in the U.N. system, you have a number of different mechanisms available to you.  This mechanism is very inclusive.  It allows the treaty to enter into force not just with ratification but basically with signature.  So it doesn’t have to be acceded to, it doesn’t have to be ratified; it just has to be approved or signed.  And so as Rachel said, once we get those 50 signatures we have another great political moment to build momentum around the inevitability of better regulating small arms.

I worked many, many – just to give you a sense that that is actually important in itself – worked years ago as a human rights lawyer to try and push on the United States to ratify the central human rights – one of the central human rights documents, the International Covenant for Economic – economic, civil – sorry – Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.  The other one is Civil and Political Rights.

It was approved by the U.N. in December 1966, the height of the Cold War.  We all know how difficult that was.  It entered into force in 1976, 10 years later.  And yesterday – yesterday it finally got an enforcement mechanism so that you could bring complaints against it, because 10 nations under the new U.N. law had ratified it, not the United States.

So that’s quite a journey.  And what we are trying to do now, because we have a global crisis around the free-for-all flood of arms into markets where increasingly civilians are the vast proportion of victims of those arms, is we are trying to build political momentum for a serious global discussion around how to regulate that.  And we have a moment on June 3 that could help bring global attention to that crisis.  That’s when it’s opened for signature.

So what do we want?  What is the political win that will continue to generate momentum?  Three things.  One, we want high-level representation.  This is how we’ll know if it’s a win:  If Secretary of State Kerry shows up and says, we want this to happen, that’s a huge win.  If Ambassador Rice is able to get everything done between now and then and sign the treaty and be a champion for others signing the treaty, that’s a pretty huge win.

If she goes there and says, we’re not quite ready to sign it because there’s still some issues that need to get resolved but I strongly encourage others to do so, it will depend on how she – how much political capital she puts into it and the United States put into it to create that moment that will determine for organizations like ours whether that should be characterized as a huge win that continues the momentum or should be treated with more caution.

We are hoping for a big win on June 3.  The administration has done so many things right on this.  We would love to see them close the deal by giving the highest level of representation possible and asking other countries to do so too.  We’re going to be looking at whether other heads of state come or send their foreign ministers or send their U.N. ambassadors.  That matters.

What would it be like if we had a lot of heads of state saying the time for the unregulated use of arms is coming to an end, and this moment today is part of that journey?  That’s a very different political moment globally than if we have a quite non-news-breaking set of U.N. ambassadors say, yep, let’s start getting to 50.

The second thing is they have a moment on June 3 to use interpretive language around what this treaty means and what it doesn’t mean.  And that matters because there actually aren’t enforcement mechanisms in the treaty to say, if you violate the Prohibitions Clause, this is what happens to you.  This is about setting in place a set of global norms that make it very difficult politically for a country to violate what is becoming – I won’t say common international law, but common shared norms across all these countries.

So the interpretive language that these heads of state or ambassadors or foreign ministers use around what this treaty means to them is going to be fundamental to how much political relevance this treaty has.

And finally – and this is the question for many of us – will the public engage?  Will Americans care?  Will other publics care?  And will publics care in the countries that are most in danger around this?  If this is not – if it’s not politically costly for the countries that have signed – that have pushed for its approval in the UNGA to sign it, we as campaigners are going to be worried that we will get the kind of political momentum.

So we want to both reward and champion and honor the good work that this administration and others have done, but also challenge them to do what’s right by creating public debate around that.  And the question is, is how do we create the kind of urgency that’s going to get the attention of both this administration and others?  So you will be seeing from us and others an attempt to try and ask the Obama administration to exercise political leadership as well as policy leadership in this effort towards the end.

So my core point for today is, you know, we’ve got the policy as right as we could get it, and now the real challenge will be to get the politics as right as we can get them.  And that is still in play.  Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you very much, Paul.

All right, we’re going to turn to our third panelist.  Richard, thank you for being here all the way from London.  Welcome to Washington.

RICHARD TAUWHARE:  Thank you very much indeed.

MR. KIMBALL:  The floor is yours.

MR. TAUWHARE:  Thank you very much indeed, Daryl, and thank you for your kind invitation and the opportunity to join this distinguished panel.

And I’ve been asked to look at three particular issues, and first the U.K.’s approach to the treaty; secondly, why we consider that it’s important; and thirdly, what are the next steps?  I’ll try not to repeat too much of what Rachel and Paul have already said, but you may find some common themes coming though.

And that’s not a coincidence.  It’s a reflection of the fact that we are all part of what we’ve been talking about, this global coalition, if you like, of interests that have been working together over such a long period to reach the result of an agreed Arms Trade Treaty.

So first, what’s the U.K.’s approach to the Arms Trade Treaty?  This is my moment to put traditional modesty aside for a moment and point out that the U.K. has played a leading role over the last seven years or so to secure this treaty.  It’s the first arms control treaty to be adopted by the U.N. since the CTBT back in 1996.

From its conception we’ve worked jointly with the U.K. defense industry, with civil society in designing the process, building global support, and bringing home the vote in the General Assembly on the 2nd of April.  So the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty is truly an historic achievement, and it’s one that we believe we can rightly feel proud of.

Now, there’s long been a clear need for responsible standards in legal trade and conventional weapons, as well as for expanded international cooperation to combat the illicit trade in conventional weapons.  And our approach to those standards has been based on five main principles.

First, the treaty should be legally binding but nationally enforced.  And this would ensure that there was global consistency to ensure that the treaty was effective, but it maintains state parties’ right to take their own decisions on their own arms transfers.

Secondly, the treaty should do two things.  It should both regulate the international arms trade to ensure it’s responsible, but it should also address illegal arms flows.  And for us those are two sides of the same coin.

Thirdly, to have maximum impact on the ground, the treaty should include the major current and future arms producers.  That’s why we went to great lengths to work for consensus.  As Rachel said, we could have had an arms trade treaty years ago.  If we’d just got the like-minded together in a room, we could have agreed on very easily.  But we’ve gone to great lengths to try to ensure that we built support from the ground up.

Now, very regrettably, Iran, Syria, North Korea, as you know, cynically insisted in blocking consensus despite all efforts to dissuade them.  Nonetheless, the 154 votes in favor of the treaty in the General Assembly on the 2nd of April clearly demonstrate the overwhelming level of support for it.

The fourth principle was that clearly states legitimately used conventional weapons for their internal security, for self-defense, and for peacekeeping operations.  So the trade for legitimate purposes had to be protected.

And fifth, the treaty should set a floor for the standards which govern the global arms trade, not a ceiling, and they should allow states to operate higher standards than those prescribed by the treaty.  We didn’t want to have a treaty which in any way legitimized low standards or in any way compromised on our fundamental values.  And we made that clear all the way through the negotiations, that we were not prepared to compromise on a number of issues.

We consider that the outcome of the negotiations is a strong treaty.  As has been said, no delegation secured everything that they wanted, and the same goes for ours.  But we all achieve much more than many thought would be possible.  And if what has been agreed is adopted and implemented broadly, it will have a real impact.

And that brings me onto my second set of issues, which is why is the treaty important for the U.K.?  Or to put it another way, what difference will it make?  For us, we think there will be five main impacts – or there’s those two sets of five here, but the first of these five impacts will be saving lives.  You may have heard the figures, that a man, woman or child dies every minute from armed violence.  That’s over 740,000 a year.

Two-thirds die in countries not officially in conflict.  Poorly regulated or illegal flows of weapons destabilize societies, states and regions.  Paul has already made the point.  I won’t belabor it.  The treaty will help stop arms from reaching vulnerable regions.  It will promote stability and it will reduce ungoverned spaces.

Secondly, the treaty will promote development.  Violence fueled by unregulated or illegal weapons diverts resources from schools, health care, critical infrastructure.  It undermines sustainable development and it erodes stability.  One example:  Conflict in Africa is estimated to cost $18 billion a year, which is roughly exactly the same as it receives in development assistance.

Thirdly, the treaty will help combat terrorism and crime.  When terrorists benefit from unfettered proliferation of weapons, they threaten the security not only of the countries where they base themselves, but also of course their neighbors and the rest of the world.

Fourth, the treaty will reduce human suffering.  Up to three-quarters of grave human rights abuse involve misuse of weapons.  The treaty will require governments not to authorize arms exports if there’s unacceptable risk that they could be used to violate human rights or international humanitarian law.  It comes back to the fundamental values that I mentioned at the outset.

And fifth, the treaty will protect the legitimate arms trade.  It will allow states to access and acquire weaponry for their legitimate self-defense, whilst at the same time helping to ensure that this legitimate process is not circumvented or abused or exploited by unscrupulous arms traders.  International industrial collaboration in arms reduction will be promoted through the introduction of common standards.

I might add, the U.K. industry – and we had a meeting with them again last week.  We’ve met with them pretty much monthly over the last seven years – they say it is helping to level the playing field.  They operate under very strict export controls.  The treaty will extend at least some of those controls to their competitors, operating out of jurisdictions with currently less robust controls. So the U.K. defense industry has been very supportive of this treaty and has worked closely with us all along.

The ATT will not solve all the problems caused by unregulated and illicit arms, but it does offer the prospect of a better future to millions who live in the shadow of conflict, at the same time as protecting a legitimate and responsible arms trade.

Thirdly, what should be the next steps?  Only when exporters and importers implement the treaty’s provisions fully and with vigor will it start to deliver on these promises of safety, security and prosperity.  We now need a sustained and concerted campaign to persuade, and where necessary to assist, governments around the globe, particularly the major current and future arms exporters, to sign and to ratify the treaty, and to secure, as soon as possible, the 50 ratifications that are required to bring it into force.

Like the negotiations on the treaty itself, this is bound to take time and require considerable effort and persistence, again, of that broad coalition of treaty supporters, parliamentarians, civil society and industry.  Universal adherence to the Arms Trade Treaty is clearly our ultimate goal.

Now, while the likes of Syria, Iran and North Korea seem unlikely to join the treaty in the foreseeable future, the vote in the General Assembly does demonstrate the very high level of political support which is behind the treaty, and gives us good reason to expect that with the necessary assistance, a large majority of states should be both willing to sign and able to ratify it within a few years.

In the United Kingdom, we expect the treaty will not require new primary legislation, and it will need only minor amendments to our regulations and processes.  We therefore aim to sign the treaty when it opens for signature on the 3rd of June.  We will have a minister there, and we will ratify it as soon as possible.  I’m not sure exactly how long that will take, but we hope by the end of this year.

We hope this will similarly be the case for those other governments which already have well-established export control systems where the arms treaty will not impose significant or, in fact, in most cases, any new legal or regulatory burdens.

Just as an aside, it’s a striking feature of the treaty that in return for the very extensive gains it can deliver – those five points that I mentioned – the corresponding costs in terms of the changes that we need to make to our own systems, are extraordinarily modest.

But we also recognize that before many governments are able to ratify the treaty, they may need to introduce or raise the standards of their own national systems to regulate international weapons transfers to at least the minimum laid down by the treaty, though we will be encouraging them to go further than what is laid down in the treaty.

We’re proud of our rigorous national and EU standards and we will be offering support and advice to others on how to put similar measures in place for themselves.  We aim to coordinate our efforts with other donors to ensure this is done in a coherent manner.  We will also work with industry and others to ensure that where the U.K. is a world leader in the field of export control, that that form of best practice becomes the accepted norm under the Arms Trade Treaty.

Our immediate focus is on identifying priorities for action in order to deliver early ratification, entry into force and implementation.  So the questions we’re asking ourselves for right now are, where should our assistance be targeted in terms of which countries, on what issues – for example, on export controls, on brokering, transit and transshipment rules, and in what form?  Do they need help with drafting legislation and regulations, or establishing effective border controls, or in simply building government capacity?

We want to explore what needs to be done to ensure the Arms Trade Treaty achieves its object and purpose and makes a genuine difference on the ground.  As I said, we recognize these changes will take some time, but we will be encouraging states to make this a priority.  The world has already waited too long for this process, and we should not lose the momentum that’s been gained.  Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you.

All right, thanks to each of you for some great presentations.  We now have time for some discussion, some questions.  And I would invite those of you with questions to raise your hand to one of our staffers.  Why don’t we start here in the middle?  We’ll bring you the microphone.  Just identify yourself, tell us who you’re directing your question to, please.  Go ahead.

Q:  Thank you.  Susan Burk, formerly with the State Department.  And I have never worked on conventional issues, but I applaud the effort.  I think this is a very exciting time.

But for the NGO representatives, you know, we’re faced with a situation where the facts – you’ve got legislators that are not constrained by the facts.  (Laughter.)  The facts of this treaty clearly you’ve laid out – anybody who wants to read it, but it’s going to be too long for most people to wade through it.  And there’s a large constituency that won’t have the intellectual curiosity to look at this.

What are your plans for building a constituency in this country – where I think, you know, our focus would be – that would get the facts?  The Carol Giacomo article that was outside says it’s inconceivable that any senator could justify agreeing with Iran, North Korea and Syria on this issue.  I’m not so sure I agree.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Paul, do you want to take the first whack at that?

MR. O'BRIEN:  We love the question.  It is a head-scratcher to us that we’ve had such difficulty.  If you look at where the American public is on arms control generally and you look at where the Senate came out on recent domestic issues, this may amount to us having – as campaigners but also the administration having, as deciders – more political space than they have otherwise had to should courage on international arms, and to push back.

There is a theory that is out there right now that the NRA spent too much capital on domestic arms control and is not willing to expend any more on international arms control, even though they are on record as having said – frankly, we’ve put ads out on it so I can be a little hostile about this – a lie that this treaty would undermine 2nd Amendment rights.

But we’re not going to capitalize on the moment or space that that offers if we don’t make a robust argument and the administration does not make a robust argument to the American people that the U.S. has a leadership role to play in the proper regulation of global arms transfers.  And we think that moment exists, which is why we think it’s as important a political moment as a policy moment.

MS. STOHL:  No, I agree with Paul.  I mean, I think there is a lack of understanding and education on the Hill about this.  I don’t think that more education and more information would necessarily help.  You don’t even have to read very far.  It’s in the 13th paragraph, bearing in mind that – sorry, I just lost it – “mindful of the legitimate trade and lawful ownership and use of certain conventional weapons for recreational, cultural, historical and sporting activities where such trade, ownership and use are protected by law.”

It’s very obvious – it says over and over, international – it doesn’t matter.  It doesn’t matter what the words say.  I think at this point if the administration decided that this was an important priority and an opportunity to demonstrate leadership – no one wants to see “Made in the U.S.A.” on pictures on the television of innocent civilians being slaughtered.  I mean, it’s just not something that’s good for U.S. industry; it’s not something good for U.S. public relations and for our policy.  It just doesn’t make sense.

And so this really is an opportunity to say, you know what, we’ve had enough of the lies and the misrepresentation of the truth and we’re going to stand up to it.  There’s no cost to the U.S. government to do this.  It doesn’t require any changes in U.S. law.  These interpretive statements can provide the protection that the U.S. government needs in terms of making sure that the treaty does what it needs to do for the United States’ system.  It’s just really, you know, only a win as far as I’m concerned.

MR. KIMBALL:  Just to add a small bit on this.  I mean, looking at this from an NGO campaigning standpoint, it has been very difficult over the past three years to get the message out about what this treaty is about, in part because there hasn’t been enough high-level statements, descriptions from the U.S. government on this issue.  And so the press has not paid too much attention, which has allowed the lies and misconceptions to enter – to fill the vacuum.

But we’re at the point now where, as Paul and Rachel just said, the Obama administration has helped lead the way to where we are today.  They were part of the consensus on April 2nd.  And now it’s important for the United States to continue the momentum by sending a high-level representative to sign on June 3rd.

The issue of Senate education for an eventual ratification debate is a long way off, and there will be plenty of things to do between now and then to get us to that point.  But the immediate opportunity is signature, and that doesn’t really require Senate education, to be quite frank.

Other questions?  Let’s see; we have so many people here.  Why don’t we go right here with this gentleman with the handsome bowtie?  Then we’ll head back towards the back.

Q:  Thank you, Daryl.

I wish you were all – you know, I wish this treaty was going to be a great success, but I’m a little skeptical, especially because it does seem to me that all these things, countries could do without the treaty if they wanted to.  And so I’m really wondering what additional results could come from the treaty that wasn’t there before.

I mean, if countries did – you know, if importing countries didn’t want, you know, a wash of small arms and light weapons in the country, they could or could not stop them, but I’m not sure that, you know, having a treaty really makes that much difference.  And the same thing with exporters.  So I’m wondering how you would answer that question.

MR. O'BRIEN:  I have one answer.  Well, briefly, Syria.  Before this treaty was agreed, when Russia was asked, why are you selling arms to a regime that is, in a demonstrated way, causing huge numbers of civilian casualties, it said, well, from a legal perspective there is no arms embargo, there is no legal censure at all, and we are engaging in legitimate international commerce.

Having approved a treaty now – while you’re right at a core level that the enforcement mechanisms are weak, there is now something to point to, to say the countries that went to the UNGA on April 2nd agreed that this area of commerce needs better regulation, and it creates, in our view – aside from the policy implementation and enforcement, it creates a much higher political bar to justify it in international arenas.

MR. KIMBALL:  Rachel or Richard, do you want to take that?

MS. STOHL:  No, I mean, I think that having this level of accountability, naming and shaming, is powerful, whether it’s at the United Nations or otherwise.  States don’t like to be called out for their misdeeds.  And so having a tool that you could use as both a carrot and a stick to encourage either a change in behavior or the creation of standards that didn’t exist before I think is important.

And I also think that many of these states, particularly some of the developing states that you mentioned, that perhaps don’t want arms to just come into their countries, now have a tool to say, can somebody help us develop the systems that we need, whether it’s training our border security, whether it’s helping us develop an import control system so that customs officials know what’s coming in and out – I mean, very basic things that we take for granted in some countries just didn’t exist.

And whether it was lack of capacity or resources or political will, there is now a mechanism that can be used as a lever to encourage that change.  So I think there are – political will is huge.  I mean, it’s no better than the piece of paper if nobody takes it seriously.  But we now at least have that piece of paper that people can draw on.  I think that’s important.

MR. KIMBALL:  Richard?

MR. TAUWHARE:  Yeah, I’d agree with all of that.  I think the only one thing I’d add is that we see this as the start of a process.  We’ve been talking about, you know, trying to negotiate the treaty and getting this far.  Now we have this process of getting ratification and entry into force.

Once we’ve got entry into force, we’ll have a conference on state parties, we’ll have reporting mechanisms.  As Rachel said, there’s a whole series of mechanisms worked into the treaty that will establish a framework through which we can begin to build up and establish common standards across the global community, put political pressure on those who are outside to come in, put political pressure on those who are inside to stick to the rules, and put political pressure on all of ourselves to continue to improve on those rules.

And we’re very pleased that one of the things that came out of the negotiations in March was the possibility to amend the treaty.  So we will be looking to update it, to keep it future-proofed so that as new weapons are invented, they get covered, and as new ways around the current rules are invented, they get blocked off, so that we’ve established a framework now that we’ll continue to build on.

So it’s not going to be perfect from the start but it will be something that will bring the world community together and give us, if you like, a basis and a form in which we can work to improve the standards that we’ve got.

MR. KIMBALL:  Just one other small point, to put an emphasis on what you just said, Richard.  I mean, Al (ph), there’s a lot of the countries that could theoretically put in place export controls today.  They don’t have the laws on the books, the vast majorities of these countries.  So the treaty mandates that their political authorities put those in place.

And so what, over time, we will see is we will see countries that currently don’t have export control laws, laws on transshipment, laws on brokering have to put those laws in place, and that’s going to provide an opportunity for accountability, for government cooperation in enforcing those laws that we simply do not have today that would not otherwise be there if this international instrument had not been created.

All right, we have several other hands.  We’ll just go to this gentleman here, with Paul Walker, and then the gentleman to his left.  And then we’ll head back that way.

Q:  Thank you all.  I’m Paul Walker with Green Cross, International.  I want to thank all of you.  We all know you have worked very hard on this, and Daryl too.  And I also want to congratulate the Arms Control Association for actually raising this issue at the annual meeting that – as someone who has worked off and on on arms trade for the last 30-odd years, going way back to my graduate school days, I’m very pleased and proud to see that an arms trade treaty was finished finally, after a lot of work.

I want to ask just a couple of practical questions on implementation.  I heard that we needed 50 ratifications, or that we needed 50 signatures.  And I wondered –

MR. O'BRIEN:  Signatures.

MS. STOHL:  It’s 50 instruments of ratification – acceptance, accession or approval.  So –

MR. O'BRIEN:  And our signature would be one of those.

MS. STOHL:  No.  It depends on your national system and the way – in some countries, like in the United States we have this dual system where the president or an appropriate appointed person signs and then it goes to the Senate for ratifications.  Other countries have different processes.  So under normal treaty law you don’t have to say, you know, it has to be ratified by the Senate, because that doesn’t make sense, but it’s appropriate to that political system.

But there is an instrument.  When they sign on June 3rd, there’s one additional step, which is they have to take whatever their instrument is and actually deposit that with the secretary general of the United Nations.  So for some countries it may just be the signature.  In the United States it is not.  It just depends on the political system.

Q:  OK, so if the United States signs, which I assume it will –

MS. STOHL:  Well, I would assume it would too, but I hope perhaps some of our colleagues here might provide some clarification.

Q:  But I just think a lot of us would have questions about if we can get – if we can’t get the Law of the Sea Treaty passed through the Senate, or the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, whether we could ever get, at least at this stage, the ATT passed through the U.S. Senate.

And the second question – they’re related.  What’s actually established?  Is there an organization established, the headquarters, the secretariat, or is this simply an annual reporting declaration mechanism to the United Nations?  Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  What is created, Rachel?

MS. STOHL:  So between now and the entry into force, the treaty provides for a provisional secretariat.  That is still being ironed out, where that is.  It will most likely provisionally be in the United Nations’ system, just because the depositary right now is the secretary general.

However, once the treaty enters into force, there is this conference of states parties that will create an independent secretariat, which there’s no rules about it but it most likely will not be within the U.N. system.  It will be small and independent.

It’s not just a depository for the reports, but it also will help organize future meetings of Conference of States Parties, but also kind of – I like to think of it as a matchmaker so that if someone has assistance to provide for a country that requires assistance, there is that resource/need matchmaking service.

It will also serve as kind of the public voice in terms of what’s happening, and make those reports public that states are depositing.  So it’s clearly – it’s laid out but in very vague details in the treaty because it’s really going to be up to the Conference on States Parties to determine the process.

In terms of your first question on ratification, I would like to say I would see this treaty ratified in my lifetime, but I’m not holding my breath.  But it doesn’t matter, to be honest with you.  The signature of the United States matters in the sense that that demonstrates this political buy-in by the United States.

As I mentioned in the outset, everything in this treaty the United States already does.  And so as long as the United States has the political will to not only implement the treaty nationally but to help other states fulfill their obligations, that to me is almost more important than the actual ratification, because the ratification doesn’t change U.S. practice.  It doesn’t have to.

But the political will behind it – I think the signature, on the other hand, is an important symbol that the United States stands by the words that it stated not only at the conclusion on March 28th when it was not accepted by consensus, but also in the statement that Secretary Kerry made once the General Assembly vote occurred, the importance of this treaty.  So in that sense I think there is that political buy-in that’s important.

MR. O'BRIEN:  And I believe – just one quick addendum.  The one – and, Rachel, correct me if this is wrong, but our understanding is once it’s been signed there is an obligation on the United States even prior to ratification to – not to obstruct the underlying purpose and object of the treaty.  And more progressive elements interpret that as you cannot do anything that is fundamentally opposed to the core principles of the treaty, which for U.S. purposes is a lot.

MR. KIMBALL:  Right.  Article 18 of the Vienna Convention on treaties obligates the United States not to take any action or purpose that is contrary to the – contrary to the purpose of the treaty.

So signature does matter.  And I think your point still holds that the entry into force mechanism of this treaty of 50 ratifications is a relatively low bar.  It should be achieved relatively quickly in historic treaty terms, which is in contrast to things like the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which require a specific set of states to ratify.  So there is a big difference – big difference there.

We’ve got a question over here.

Q:  I’m Steve Colecchi with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.  I have one comment from the Conference of Bishops and one personal comment.

The first comment is that first of all I just want to thank Oxfam and all the other NGOs that work very closely in supporting this whole process.  That was, I think, really critical.  I know the Holy See took the lead for the Catholic community, and we were very proud of their efforts in that regard.

Now for my personal comment.  It’s about the NRA.  As long as the NRA is going to use the ATT as a fundraising technique, and as long as they’re going to be making major contributions in various campaigns, we’re going to need a much stronger response, particularly on technical questions like the – you know, allegation that the control lists somehow require us to sign up everybody in the United States who buys a gun, and that kind of thing, which is absurd because we’re talking about international trade.

So I know that the signature is important, but I think truth is important also.  And just from a moral perspective, I think it’s really, really important that we tell the truth and tell it repeatedly so perhaps at some point this won’t be a fundraising mechanism; it will be an embarrassment for the NRA.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thanks, Steve.  That is important.  I mean, we do have a responsibility to continue to describe what the treaty does and what it doesn’t do.  And, I mean, many of us continue to plan to talk to people on the Hill about this, to explain this, to talk to the media.  I would recommend to everybody Rachel’s great op-ed in the New York Times, which is aptly called “Tell the Truth about the Arms Trade Treaty.”

Paul, did you have a thought about this?

MR. O'BRIEN:  I love the question, but just a quick little anecdote around how this may be playing.  We work closely with faith communities on this because we believe that there is a constituency out there that does want to engage in a more truthful dialogue that the NRA deeply cares about.

So at Oxfam we are very reluctant to take on direct hostile campaigns against particular individuals.  We prefer to go after institutions or patterns of behavior and let our adversaries come to us.

But for weeks we thought about this and we said, we just cannot not call out the NRA on these lies.  So we published, in every newspaper we could find in Washington, on videos, on ads, “The NRA is lying to you.”  And we had a whole team of people ready for the blowback.  This is an organization that spent $5 million in one day in order to get the Senate to do what it needed on domestic arms control.

So frankly, we’re scared of what was coming and whether we could actually manage it.  They said almost nothing.  Now, there’s two – one, we didn’t get their attention.  That’s something that we’re concerned about, honestly.  (Laughter.)

But secondly, they made a thoughtful decision in terms of their overall priorities that it did not behoove them to continue if faith communities and others were saying, well, what actually is the truth here?  Because actually their membership is filled with people who are deeply, deeply responsible and sympathetic on the ideas of not letting people die from arbitrary – I mean, that’s what their whole organization, the genesis of it, was, was to get more responsibility around the use of arms.

So our feeling is they made a calculated decision that this just wasn’t a win for them, and that was partly to do with the faith communities and others joining, and the politics around this.  And we hope it stays that way.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  I think we’ve got time for maybe one more question on this topic.  Why don’t we go right here, please?

Q:  Good morning.  I’m Nick Wundra (ph), a student at SAIS Johns Hopkins.  I’m very impressed with this treaty.  It seems like a good effort to regulate the unregulatable.  And the American domestic issues have really been beaten to death in this discussion, but what about counterpart countries that don’t necessarily have the will or, more importantly, in conflict areas, the capacity to enforce the terms of this treaty?

You mentioned a provisional secretariat.  When arms arrive at a conflict zone and there’s no capacity or will to enforce the terms of the treaty at the port of entry, what happens then and where do we go from here.  Assuming we get ratification or signatures or whatever instrument we need to make this treaty come into force, what’s the next step in terms of international regulation?

MR. KIMBALL:  All right, good question.  If I could just put a finer point on this for the panelists too, I mean, there were three big countries that abstained on April 2nd.  There was China.  There was Russia and India, which is now the world’s largest arms buyer, if not to the world’s largest.

So what can we do to make sure that other key countries are part of this?  And as the gentleman just said, you know, what can we do to make sure that the treaty is enforced over time as best as possible?

MS. STOHL:  I should have probably said from the outset that this treaty is not – we did not create some international behemoth that’s observing every arms transfer and, you know, coming up with a verdict if it’s good or bad.

MR. KIMBALL:  Why not, Rachel?

MS. STOHL:  Because this treaty – there’s this pesky thing called sovereignty, and this treaty really creates the impetus for national implementation.  So not only are arms transfer decisions authorized by national governments, but implementation in terms of what is allowed to come in and out of your country is also up to national governments.  And I think that’s important that, yes, there are those that would prefer that certain arms did not enter their countries, but there are also those that are very complicit in the international arms trade moving from the legal market to the illicit market.

So the idea that suddenly countries are going to be saying, help me, help me; there’s illicit arms coming into our country, is perhaps not more likely from this treaty, but the treaty will provide resources for those that are saying, help us, help us; there’s things coming in that we don’t prefer.

MR. O'BRIEN:  One short addendum on that.  That’s right, but, you know, the big political question is whether you think the tide of history is with global regulation and constraints on sovereignty, the U.N. system and so on, are against it.

And if you read the treaty, the Arms Trade Treaty, what it does is it basically attempts to fill a serious hole, which is countries are obligated under the U.N. system, under a whole range of treaties, not to do things like genocide and gross violations of human rights and so on.

And what this treaty says is, OK, if we are going to make sure that arms trade isn’t used to contribute to these existing international obligations, then you have to adhere to this when it comes to transferring arms into a country.

So a country that may have weak systems is already obligated not to commit gross violations of human rights and so on and so forth.  Now what we’re placing is a burden on the trading country not to facilitate that by putting arms into that country when it knows it will be used to violate existing treaty obligations.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right, Richard, you have the last word on this question.

MR. TAUWHARE:  Thanks.  I’ll come back to the point you raised about, you know, the big exporters.  How are we going to ensure that they’re on board this treaty?  And that is where, in a way, we started because, as we said, we could have had this treaty ages ago if we had just gone with the likeminded, but we wanted to create a framework that would bring them on board and put political pressure on them to get them on board.

That’s why we’ve so regretted that we didn’t get consensus on the 28th of March.  But it was interesting that in that debate on the final day of the negotiations, no big country was ready to break consensus.  And if it hadn’t been for Iran, DPRK and Syria, we would have got consensus.  So we would have had a consensus agreement, including all those major exporters.  They weren’t prepared to stand aside.

Now, it’s regrettable that we had to go to a vote, and that gave them the opportunity to abstain, but this is where we’re going to come down to the sort of political arguments that we’ve be making here this morning about particularly getting U.S. signature, getting all – if you like, all the good guys in the international community out there signing on the first day and then joining a concerted effort, not just from the West, but from the Southeast, the North, where every country, every region has been engaged and involved in this exercise.

And we want to ensure that we’ve got a global coalition that continues and strengthens what we have in the work on the negotiations, to put the pressure on all of the major exporters to sign up to and ratify this treaty as soon as possible.  And we remain, as I say, hopeful.  And the more countries we get on board, the more the momentum will build and the more pressure will be on those major exporters to come on board.

And one final point is that, you know, we’re now at the cusp now where we’re getting a lot of emerging powers coming out whose current arms production may be relatively modest, though are currently rather large arms importers, but it won’t be long before they’re large – they have their own substantial arms manufacturing industry, mainly maybe for their domestic purposes but it won’t be long before they start getting to exporting as well.

So it’s important that we establish rules now and get them on board for those rules before those new weapons factories come on stream and begin to start to export into the international market.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Well, I want to thank the three of you for your excellent presentations, and more importantly for your hard work on the treaty – Rachel Stohl, for your work with the president, and more on the negotiations; and, Paul and Oxfam America, for your advocacy work; and to the U.K. government for its stalwart leadership on this.  This is one of the few highlights in the last few years, and we’re going to keep talking about this.

For those who want to learn more about this, there is a special report in the current issue of Arms Control Today, which I’m sure you’re going to put in your computer when you get back to the office, which will tell you more about it.  But that’s all the time we have for this session, so please join me in applause for our three panelists.  (Applause.)

We’re going to take about 15-20 minutes to allow you all to fortify yourselves with the lunch that’s outside.  Let me just note that there are two buffet lines.  There’s one buffet table but two lines.  So if the line looks long, start the second line.  So bring your lunches back in and we will be restarting at about 12:20, 12:25 with our keynote luncheon speaker, Ellen Tauscher.  Thanks.

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DARYL KIMBALL:  All right, welcome back, everyone.  Daryl Kimball from the Arms Control Association once again.  I hope you’re enjoying your lunch.  Don’t forget the dessert just outside, and the coffee.

As everyone finds their seats again, I want to thank all of you once again for being here, for this great turnout today.  I want to thank in particular our members and our Arms Control Today subscribers.  Without you, we would not be here.  It’s always energizing for me and the rest of the staff to see many of you again after weeks, in some cases, since our last events.  And we very much appreciate your support.

And I would just like to remind everybody that our membership is relatively small, but you all are very generous people, those of you here and outside of Washington.  Individual members of the Arms Control Association and subscribers to Arms Control Today make up about 13 percent of our annual budget, which remains at about or just over $1 million a year, and we make the most of every contribution.

And let me just mention a couple other quick things regarding our financial status.  Just want to note, as many of you heard, with a major bequest from our late board member Jonathan Tucker, ACA’s board of directors agreed last fall to establish an endowment for the organization that will be guided by a new investment policy and investment advisory committee, and combined with our 2010 MacArthur Award for creative and effective institutions, that means that we’re going to be in an even better position to put member contributions and grants from other foundations to maximum work and effectiveness.

For the rest of our program work, we depend on the ongoing support of several foundations for our core education research and policy advocacy work, among them the Ploughshares Fund – we’ve got Joel Rubin from the Ploughshares Fund here, perhaps others – the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, as I mentioned; the Carnegie Corporation of New York; the Hewlett Foundation; the Prospect Hill Foundation in New York; and others.

And today we’re particularly grateful for the support of the Heinrich Boell Foundation, which has supplied us with a grant for the last, I think, four years now to help support our annual meeting and to bring into the conversation European views and perspectives on today’s weapons-related security challenges.  And I just wanted to ask Sebastian Gräfe from the Boell Foundation’s Washington office to say a few words about the foundation’s work before we move forward with our luncheon speaker.


SEBASTIAN GRÄFE:  Daryl, thank you very much.  While you are enjoying your lunch – and don’t forget the cake outside – (laughter) – as Daryl mentioned already – looks very delicious – while you are enjoying your lunch, a few words from the Heinrich Boell Foundation.  We are headquartered in Berlin, of course, as a German political foundation, but we have an office also here in Washington, D.C., and 29 other offices around the globe.

As Daryl mentioned, this is the – I think, the third annual conference of the Arms Control Association, where we try to – as a European organization, try to include a European perspective.  And I’m happy that it worked out this time again.  I think both panels showed that even though a lot of European countries are right now in a difficult economic situation that Europe still remains your most important foreign policy ally, but I think also the second panel especially showed that arms control is no longer a purely intergovernmental affair; it’s also – it requires also the involvement of nongovernmental organizations to achieve its objectives.

This year Arms Control Association and the Heinrich Boell foundation decided to take our cooperation even further, beyond the annual meeting.  We are happy to provide young upcoming experts – policy experts in the arms control community – we will provide travel stipends for them to go to Europe and to research there on common foreign policy approaches with regard to nonproliferation and arms control.  So I’m looking forward to working with you on this.

And last but not least, I just want to thank again Daryl Kimball, Tom Collina and Tim Farnsworth for their efforts to put this conference together.  And now we are looking forward to Ellen Tauscher’s remarks.

Back to Daryl.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right, thank you very much, Sebastian.  (Applause.)

And just one thing you said reminded me of the importance to which we attach training the next generation of specialists in this field, and the support that you’re providing us is going to help us do that.  That’s part of our long tradition.  And as I was listening to the speakers this morning, it reminded me that we have several people who were on the stage today that were here because of the Herbert Scoville Peace Fellowship program, named after the former president of the Arms Control Association.  I was a former Scoville Peace Fellow in 1989, such a long, lovely time ago, but also Kelsey Davenport was a Scoville Fellow with ACA, also Marcus Taylor is our current Scoville Fellow here at ACA, and Rachel Stohl was a Herbert Scoville Peace Fellow.  So you have quite a few people here today as a result of the efforts of various people to bring in the next generation of people here to Washington to work on these issues.

So as Sebastian said, we’re now going to turn to our keynote luncheon speaker, Ellen Tauscher.  And Ellen, my introduction is not too long, so I would like to invite you to come on up.  For nearly seven – or seven decades – seven terms she was a member of Congress – (laughter) – seven terms a member of Congress, which means that over the last two decades she has been a leader on arms control and international security issues.  She was, from 2009 to 2011, the undersecretary of state for arms control and international security.

Many of us in the field have looked to her for advice and for leadership to help shape sensible policies on issues ranging from stockpile stewardship, nuclear testing policy and the CTBT, the conventional arms trade.  We worked with the State Department and Ellen three years ago on one of the first policy statements by the Obama administration on the Arms Trade Treaty, back in 2010, I think it was.  We’ve worked with her and looked to her for advice on missile defense, nuclear arms reductions and other issues.  And so I’m really pleased that she remains involved and engaged in these issues, and we’re looking forward to working with her in the weeks and months ahead.

And we’ve asked her, with the benefit I think she’s had of being outside of government for just over a year now, to share with us her assessment of what the Obama administration accomplished in its first term, what things might be possible in the second term on the president’s so-called Prague Nuclear Risk Agenda.

So Ellen, thank you for being here.  (Applause.)

ELLEN TAUSCHER:  Thank you.  Thank you, Daryl.  Thank you.  Thanks very much.  Hello, everyone.  It’s good to see so many old friends.  It certainly is nice to be here as someone who’s out of government.  (Laughter.)  Let’s see.  Thank you very much, Daryl, for having me, and thank you, Tom, for all your help.  And it’s always wonderful to be with my friends at the Arms Control Association and all of the groups and people that support it.

Fifty years ago next month, on June 10th, 1963, President John F. Kennedy delivered a game-changing speech at American University, addressing threats posed by nuclear weapons.  He said that America, and I quote, “would do our part to build a world of peace where the weak are safe and the strong are just.”  He also said that “confident, not afraid, we labor on, not toward a strategy of annihilation but toward a strategy of peace.”

Today the Obama administration and all of us labor on, for as much progress as we have seen over the last four years to move toward a world free of nuclear weapons – and there has been a lot of work – our work is not done.  Now is the time to renew the effort and to complete key elements of the agenda that the president laid out so eloquently four years ago in his Prague speech.

As we see in Iran and North Korea, nuclear dangers will not wait, and they will not go away.  We must address them head-on.  And to those who say the politics are too hard, that just means we need to redouble our efforts.  Anything worth doing will not come easily.

Case in point, the New START treaty, one of my proudest achievements, was a very heavy lift.  But we got it done because the administration and all of you rolled up our collective sleeves and did not waver on the long march toward our goal.  And if President Obama sets his mind to it, we can win victories like this again.

New START, of course, has been in force since 2011 and is bringing United States and Russian nuclear forces down to the lowest levels since the 1950s.  Under President Obama’s leadership, we also completed the Nuclear Posture Review, which will, when implemented, further reduce the role and number of nuclear weapons.  We launched Nuclear Security Summits, working with world leaders to keep nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists, and we strengthened the Non-Proliferation Treaty – thank you, Susan Burk, if she’s still here – by contributing to a successful 2010 review conference and a final document that points us in the right direction for the future.

So what should that future hold?  How can we best, as President Kennedy put it 50 years ago, labor on toward a strategy of peace?  There are three things that I believe this administration can and must accomplish in its second and last term.  First, we need to complete another round of significant nuclear reductions with Russia.  Second, we need to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.  And three, we need to make the nonproliferation regime even stronger.

Let’s talk for a moment about Russian-U.S. reductions, round two.  The Pentagon’s March decision to restructure Phase 4 of its plans for missile defense in Europe has, we hope, opened the door for missile defense cooperation with Russia that has the potential to transform the strategic relationship between Washington and Moscow.  This is a bipartisan goal.  Both President Reagan and President Bush supported cooperation on missile defense with Russia.

The cancellation on Phase 4, which actually was done by the United States Senate when they took the money out of the bill last year, also removes one of the major reasons that Russia has been, so they say, resisting another round of nuclear arms reductions.  As President Obama has been saying since 2010, he wants another round that includes strategic and nonstrategic tactical warheads, both deployed and in storage – the hedge weapons; we call them nondeployed.  As the president said in March of 2012 in South Korea, even under New START, the president said, we have more nuclear weapons than we need.

Additional reductions would mean fewer Russian weapons potentially aimed at us and fewer U.S. weapons, which could translate into billions of dollars in savings on maintenance and modernization of the U.S. nuclear triad.  We could also get a better handle on Russia’s tactical weapons, which the senators on both sides of the aisle say they are eager to do.  Also, further reductions would help our overall nonproliferation efforts by bolstering the NPT and encouraging cooperation from other nations.

Unfortunately, some senators – Senator Inhofe, Senator Corker – are of the view that the administration has not kept nuclear modernization promises it made during New START ratification and thus are not willing to even consider a new treaty.  But this view misrepresents what the administration said it would do on modernization during the course of the 2010 debate of New START.

The Obama administration has more than demonstrated an unprecedented commitment to maintaining a safe, reliable and effective nuclear stockpile and to reinvesting in nuclear weapons production infrastructure.  Back in 2010, the White House made budget projections as to what it thought the task would require and what the nation could afford.  It did not promise specific dollar figures no matter what, but made clear they were subject to change.  And in fact, change they did.  The Budget Control Act came along in 2011, and the sequester this past March.  The administration requested full funding in 2012, but the Republican-controlled House cut the budget by $400 million.  But even though the initial budget projections had not been realized, funding for the NNSA has still gone up significantly at a time when other budgets are tanking.  The weapons activity budget of the NNSA has gone up by $1.2 billion, almost 20 percent, from 2009 to 2013.  Find me a program manager who wouldn’t want to welcome that.

Moreover, all senators should be open to finding more efficient ways to achieve the mission.  For example, the NNSA originally said we needed a $6 billion plutonium facility in New Mexico to help make new warhead parts called pits.  But then the national laboratories found that pits can last decades longer than expected, and they can reuse them over and over again.  So now when the NNSA extends life of a warhead, they don’t need to make a new pit; they can just reuse an existing one.  This approach meets the mission requirement and can save billions of dollars.

So my plea to certain senators is this:  Let’s not focus on specific budget numbers, but the job at hand.  There is bipartisan agreement that the infrastructure needs to be modernized and the arsenal maintained.  There should also be bipartisan agreement that if we can find more efficient ways to do that, we should take the opportunity to save money for the American taxpayer.

But most importantly, we should not let this misunderstanding get in the way of an agreement that could make the United States safer and more financially secure.  How can we move forward with additional reductions in Russian and U.S. stockpiles?  Well, there are at least three options, and none of them are mutually exclusive.  First, and ideally, as President Obama has said he would like to do for some time, Presidents Putin and Obama can direct their negotiators to begin work on a follow-on New START treaty that addresses not just deployed, but nondeployed warheads, and not just strategic weapons, but also nonstrategic or tactical weapons.  Russia’s concern about a more capable SM-3 interceptor should fade away with Secretary Hagel’s recent announcement that for budgetary and technical reasons, the Phase Four of the European Phased Adaptive Approach on missile defense will be indefinitely postponed.

But as the Secretary of State’s International Security Adviser Board noted in its November 27, 2012, report, called Options on Implementing Additional Nuclear Force Reductions, this new negotiation will be far more complicated than New START.  It will involve resolving issues concerning counting and monitoring of nondeployed warheads and substrategic nuclear warheads, which never have been part of a formal treaty as of yet.  Even if President Obama and President Putin can agree to begin such a process soon, after their meeting next month, this would likely mean that the talks would take longer to complete, much longer than New START.  And as the ISAB report noted the New START verification tools are already in place, further reciprocal U.S. nuclear reductions need not wait for a formal follow-on treaty.

To accelerate progress, President Obama can and should follow through on his 2009 pledge to end Cold War thinking and signal that he will further reduce the role and number of nuclear weapons.  To do so, the White House must finally implement a saner, nuclear-deterrence-only strategy outlined in the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review.  The NPR implementation has the potential to eliminate outdated targeting assumptions and remove a significant number of deployed U.S. weapons from prompt launch status.

The president also announced that he’s prepared to accelerate reductions under New START and, along with Russia, move below the treaty ceiling’s 1,550 deployed warheads.  Russia is already below this level, and the United States is approaching it.  Mutual reductions to about a thousand deployed strategic warheads are possible and prudent, and they can be achieved promptly.

In my view, there is no reason why U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear forces should remain at arbitrarily higher levels.  While the United States and Russia are uneasy partners and still have a number of disagreements, we can and should move away from the current condition of mutually assured destruction and closer to what I call mutually assured stability.  This would help reduce the enormous costs of planned strategic force modernization by both countries in the coming years.  Such actions would put pressure on China to halt its slow increase in nuclear forces and open the door for serious multilateral disarmament discussions with other nuclear-armed states, a process that the Obama administration has already started to pursue with consultations with the P-5 group.

At the same time, the United States, in consultation with NATO, could engage in parallel talks aimed at accounting for the remaining tactical nuclear weapon stockpiles held by Russia and the United States, including the forward-deployed U.S. weapons in Europe, with the aim of providing clarity about the numbers, consolidating the warheads at a smaller number of secure sites, and moving them further away from the border between Russia and our European allies.

Now let me turn to banning nuclear tests, an idea first introduced by President Eisenhower in the late 1950s and continued by President Kennedy.  In his 1963 speech, President Kennedy announced that high-level discussions would begin with Moscow on comprehensive test ban treaty.  The president said:  Our hope must be tempered with the caution of history, but with our hopes go the hopes of all mankind.

President Kennedy achieved a limited test ban treaty, ratified by the Senate in September of 1963 by an unbelievable vote of 80 to 19, but aspired to do more.  Fifty years later, the process started by Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy is still not over.  President Obama vowed to pursue ratification of the CTBT in his speech in Prague.  In doing so, the United States is once again taking a leading role in supporting a test ban treaty.  But this being Washington, everything is seen through a political lens.  So before discussing the merits of the treaty, let me talk about this in a political sense for a moment, because after all, I am a recovering politician.

The New START debate in many ways opened the door for CTBT.  Months of hearings and debate and nine long days of floor deliberations gave to the Senate, especially its newer members, an extended seminar on the composition of our nuclear arsenal, the health of our stockpile, and the relationship between nuclear weapons and national security.

When the Senate voted for the New START treaty, it inherently affirmed that our stockpile is safe, secure and effective and can be kept so without nuclear testing.  More importantly, the New START debate helped cultivate emerging new arms control champions.  Before the debate, there was not a whole lot of muscle memory on treaties, especially nuclear  treaties, in the United States Senate, and now there is.  So we are in a strong position to make the case for the CTBT on its merits.  We have had two elections subsequently, in 2010 and 2012, so we have about 15, 20 new senators, and they need to be educated too, and we need to bring them along.  And to maintain and enhance that momentum that we had in 2010 with the New START ratification, the Obama administration has been engaging the Senate and the public on an education campaign focusing on three primary arguments.

First, the United States no longer needs to conduct nuclear explosive tests, plain and simple.  Second, a comprehensive test ban treaty that has entered into force will obligate other states not to test and provide a disincentive for states to conduct such tests.  And third, we now have a greater ability to catch those who cheat.  Let me take these points one by one.

From 1945 to 1992, the United States conducted more than a thousand nuclear explosive tests, more than all other nations combined.  The cumulative data gathered from these tests have provided an impressive foundation for knowledge for us to base the continuing effectiveness of our arsenal.  But the historical data alone is insufficient.  Well over a decade ago, we launched an extensive and rigorous stockpile stewardship program that has enabled our national weapons laboratories to carry on essential surveillance and warhead life extension programs to ensure the credibility of our deterrent.

Every year for the past 15 years, the secretaries of defense and energy from Democratic and Republican administrations and the directors of the nuclear weapons laboratories have certified in letters to the president that our arsenal is safe, secure and effective.  And each year we have affirmed that we do not need to conduct explosive nuclear tests.  The lab directors tell us that stockpile stewardship has provided a deeper understanding of our arsenal than they ever thought of while testing was commonplace.

Think about that for a moment. Our current efforts go a step beyond explosive testing by enabling the labs to anticipate problems in advance and reduce their potential impact on our arsenal, something that nuclear testing could not do.  I for one would not trade our successful approach, based on world class science and technology, for a return to explosive testing.  So when it comes to the CTBT, the United States is in a curious position.  We abide by the core prohibition of the treaty because we don’t need to test nuclear weapons.  We also have an executive order and a law that says that we can’t.  And we have contributed to the development of the international monitoring system.

But the principal benefit of ratifying the treaty, constraining other states from testing, still eludes us.  So, effectively we live under the constraints of the treaty but get none of the benefits.  That doesn’t make sense to me, and it shouldn’t make any sense to the members of the United States Senate.  I do not believe that even the most vocal critics of the CTBT want to resume explosive nuclear testing.  What they have chosen instead is a status quo where the United States refrains from testing without using the fact to lock in a binding global ban that would significantly benefit the United States’ national security.

Secondly, a CTBT that has entered into force would hinder other states from advancing their nuclear weapons capabilities.  Were the CTBT to enter into force, states interested in pursuing or advancing a nuclear weapons program would risk either deploying weapons that might not work or incur international condemnation and sanctions for testing.  While states can build crude first-generation nuclear weapons without conducting nuclear explosive tests, they would have trouble going further, and they probably wouldn’t even know for certain the yield of the weapon they built.  More-established nuclear weapon states could not with any confidence deploy advanced nuclear weapons capabilities that deviated significantly from previously test designs without explosive testing.

Nowhere could these constraints be more relevant than in Asia, where you see states building up and modernizing their forces.  A legally binding prohibition on all nuclear explosive testing would help reduce the chances of a potential regional arms race in the years and the decades to come.

Finally, we have become very good at detecting potential cheaters.  If you test, there is a high risk of getting caught.  Upon the treaty’s entry into force, the United States would use the international monitoring system to complement our own state-of-the-art national technical means to verify the treaty.  In 1999, not a single certified IMS station or facility existed.  We understand why, back then, some senators had some doubts about its future capabilities, but today there should be no question and doubt.  The IMS is more than 80 percent complete; 275 of the planned 337 monitoring stations are in place and functioning.  The IMS detected all three of North Korea’s announced nuclear tests.  The IMS detected trace radioactive isotopes from the 2006 and 2013 tests.  In all three cases there was significant evidence to support an onsite inspection, but onsite inspections are only permissible once the treaty enters into force.  While the IMS continues to improve its value, our national technical means remain second to none and we continue to improve on them.

Senators can judge our overall capabilities for themselves by consulting the National Intelligence Estimate.  Taken together, these verification tools would make it difficult for any state to conduct nuclear tests that could escape detection.  In other words, a robust verification regime carries an important deterrent value in and of itself.  Could we imagine a far-fetched scenario where a country might conduct a test so low that it would not be detected?  Perhaps.  But would a country be willing to risk being caught cheating?  That’s doubtful because there are significant costs to pay for those countries that test.

The National Academy of Sciences, a trusted and unbiased voice on scientific issues, released an unclassified report in 2012 examining the treaty from a technical perspective.  The report looked at how the United States’s ratification would impact our ability to maintain our nuclear arsenal and our ability to detect and verify explosive nuclear tests.  The NAS report concluded that without nuclear tests – and I quote from the report – “the United States is now better able to maintain a safe and effective nuclear stockpile and to monitor clandestine nuclear explosive testing than at any time in the past.”

Moving forward on the CTBT will be tough, I have no doubt.  I recognize that a Senate debate over ratification will be spirited, vigorous, contentious and definitely partisan.  The debate in 1999, unfortunately, was too short and too politicized.  The treaty was brought to the floor without the benefit of extensive committee hearings or significant input from administration officials and outside experts.  We will not repeat those mistakes.  Just as we did in New START, the Obama administration can and should make a more forceful case when it is certain the facts have been carefully examined and reviewed in a thoughtful process.  I know that Rose Gottemoeller is committed to taking a bipartisan and fact-based approach with the Senate.

For my Republican friends who voted against the treaty in 1999 and might feel bound by that vote, I have one message:  Don’t be.  The times have changed.  As my good friend and fellow Californian George Shultz says, and has repeated even this year, those who opposed the treaty in 1999 can say they were right, but they would be more right to vote for the treaty today.  So we have a lot of work to do to build the political will to ratify the CTBT.

Nuclear testing is not a front-burner issue for most Americans, in part because we have not tested in over 20 years.  To understand the gap in public awareness, just think of the fact that in 1961, some 10,000 women walked off their jobs as mothers and housewives to protest the arms race and nuclear testing.  Mother’s Day is Sunday. Maybe we should find another 10,000 if we can.

Now, that strike did not have the same impact as the nonviolent marches and protests to further the cause of civil rights, but the actions of mothers taking a symbolic and dramatic step to recognize global nuclear dangers show that the issue has resonance beyond the Beltway, beyond the think-tank world and beyond the ivory tower.  That level of concern is there today, and we need your energy and your organizational skill and your creativity to tap into it.

In 1963, President Kennedy also said, and I quote:  I see the possibility of the United States having to face a world in which 15 or 20 or 25 nations may have nuclear weapons.  I regard that as the greatest possible danger and hazard.  The possibility was avoided in large part by the NPT, which was concluded 45 years ago this summer.  Today the NPT has nearly 190 members and requires states without nuclear weapons to refrain from getting them and states with them to seek to move to eliminate their stockpiles.  We must polish both sides of the coin to keep it shiny.

Additional U.S.-Russian arsenal reductions and U.S. ratification of the CTBT would not only strengthen U.S. security in its own right but they will facilitate greater international cooperation on other elements of the president’s nonproliferation agenda.  U.S. and Russian leadership on disarmament will strengthen our leverage with the international community to pressure defiant regimes like those in Iran and North Korea as they engage in illicit nuclear activities.  We will have greater credibility while encouraging other states to pursue nonproliferation objectives, including universality of the additional protocol.

In short, progress on disarmament is essential to preventing proliferation.  Specifically, the 2010 action plan underlines the importance of resolving all cases of noncompliance with IAEA safeguards.  Noncompliance by Iran, North Korea and Syria are a serious threat to the nonproliferation regime.  NPT states must demand they return to full compliance with the NPT.  States must be held accountable for treaty violations and abuses of the withdrawal provision.

I must also highlight the important role of nuclear security in preventing nuclear terrorism.  Through the Nuclear Security Summit process, we need to expand partnerships, accelerate cooperation and create long-lasting institutions to continue this critical work.  The IAEA Conference on Nuclear Security in July will be an important opportunity to advance this urgent priority.

Finally, the action plan called for a conference on a WMD-free zone in the Middle East.  The United States supports this goal, although the conference could not be held in 2012, and I hope that states in the region can agree to hold it soon.

To ensure that the Middle East zone meeting involves all states, including Israel, it is important that all states in the region meet for consultations on the agenda, and the agenda needs to be comprehensive, addressing steps that states can take on nuclear nonproliferation, as well as chemical weapons elimination, biological weapons and ballistic missiles.

The bottom line is that to remain effective the nuclear nonproliferation system must be updated.  New commitments must be implemented, and progress on disarmament must be accelerated.  The next opportunity to measure success will be in two years, in the 2015 NPT Review Conference.

Even with the NPT, political and military tensions continue to drive nonproliferation behavior in regional hotspots.  If U.S.-led talks with Iran and North Korea fail to persuade them to curb sensitive nuclear fuel cycle activities and meet their nonproliferation obligations, the risks of arms races and conflicts will continue to grow.  To paraphrase what President Kennedy said five decades ago, we must work faster and harder to abolish nuclear weapons before they abolish us.

Doing nothing is not an option.  It is time for the president, working with the Congress and with the support of Russia and other major global partners, to take the next steps to reduce and eliminate nuclear risks.  That effort will require that the Arms Control Association is able to carry on with its vital research and public education work, and that we all do our part.

I want to thank you very much for your attention today.  I look forward to working with all of you on these issues in the weeks and months and years ahead.  And I would very happy to entertain any easy questions.  (Laughter, applause.)

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Are there any easy questions out there?  And I think we just need to get the microphones from my colleagues here.

Q: Thank you, Secretary Tauscher, for your presentation.  You had noted that the most preferable way by which to go about U.S.-Russia nuclear reductions would be through a treaty process, which would generate a legally binding agreement, verification regime and agreed-upon transparency measures.  If that is not possible and some politically binding way were to be regarded as a sort of second-best option, how would the U.S. and Russian Federation go about that to ensure a stabilizing agreement would include verification measures or perhaps some transparency measures as well?  Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  If you could just also identify yourself –

Q:  Yes.  I’m sorry.  Justin Anderson, SAIC.  Thanks.

MS. TAUSCHER:  Well, as you know, both of our governments, the United States and Russia, are bound to ratify treaties, but there are things that we can do that we do independently, either unilaterally, on our own, or actually in what we call sequenced unilateralism, which is basically we both agree to do things that are in our self-interest.  We both take down our arsenal to a number that we both choose.  It could actually be symmetrical.  We’ve done it before.  We did it before with President Bush, the father, and we certainly could do that again.

It’s going to be important to see what the conversations between President Obama and President Putin are in June.  I’m glad to see that they’re meeting next month.  They originally weren’t going to meet until September.

As most people know, they’ve had at least a couple of conversations subsequent to the tragedy in Boston, and I was just recently over there on some Track II talks on missile defense.  So I think that everyone is weary of the relationship deterioration that we’ve had since Libya, and of course exacerbated by Syria.  The elections didn’t help, that we haven’t had any return to the kind of very cooperative relationship we had prior to the Russian election a year ago.

So I think it’s important that we understand that there are two pieces to this.  One is the policy side.  You know, I think Paul O’Brien and I – I’m an O’Kane, so maybe we’re related back in Ireland – but everything is about politics and policy, and in this case, we need to have enough of a political groundswell, a base, for the president, so that he doesn’t use what is his diminishing political capital in his second term on some of these very tough and transient issues, when he has a big agenda that’s already out there.  So now it is incumbent upon us to not only think about the policy; it’s also important for us to think about the political will and package it.

When we were doing the New START debate in the very unlikely time of the lame duck, at the end of 2010, we did a very aggressive public campaign.  Even though I was in treatment for cancer and couldn’t be seen publicly, I was on the phone talking to, you know, literally scores of newspaper editorial boards around the country in red, blue and purple states.  We asked them to do one of two things:  Either agree with us and write a very favorable editorial or disagree with us and not write anything.  (Laughter.)

Unbelievably, they did exactly what we wanted.  We didn’t really get any bad editorials, and we got them in some very crucial states because we needed people like Senator Corker and Senator Isakson to vote with us.

So we did some polling before the debate started in the Senate.  We actually had 73 percent of the American people with us to ratify the New START agreement, and we got 71 votes.  So it shows that there’s a real correlation between public opinion, the ability to call your senator and the ability for us to get those votes.

But I think that it’s a mistake for us to assume that even though in this president we have someone who has been more agitated, more animated and more aggressive about these issues than we’ve had for many, many years, that with all of these big domestic agenda items out there, whether it’s immigration reform or obviously our tough budgetary issues, or the gun bills, many of – all of which I’m for, we need to create some political will for the president.

So all of the organizations that you represent and all of the people that we can tap into need to be able to go out and help us make that case.  And once again we’re going to have to do the same thing and get a very strong political sense that this can be ratified, the CTBT actually can be ratified, so that the White House will be able to take it out.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Thank you.

A couple other questions.  Why don’t we take one over here with this gentleman on the right and the second one we’ll take right afterwards in the rear.  Yeah.  Yup.

Q:  Thank you, Undersecretary Tauscher.  I’m Nic Wondra from Johns Hopkins SAIS, and I want to ask about these budgetary constraints that you mentioned.  I spoke with some friends of mine at NNSA over the weekend, and they’re saying that their programs, such as the Nonproliferation Graduate Fellowship Program, are being rolled back.  So many personnel decisions are now beholden to the executive offices and the Office of Personnel Management.  And so given budgetary constraints, where does that leave us for our domestic verification capabilities and also our international obligations?  If the IAEA can’t pick up with the slack, with their limited resources, and our resources are diminishing, something has to give.  So what do you think is going to be the first to give?

MR. KIMBALL:  Before you answer, why don’t we take the second question.

Q:  Bruce MacDonald with the U.S. Institute of Peace and adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins SAIS.  Undersecretary, thanks for your comments and your years of public service as a politician and a public servant.  I hope that your recovery’s going well.

MS. TAUSCHER:  It is.  Thanks.

Q:  But I noticed that you may have fallen off the wagon recently, and I see that Minority Leader Pelosi has selected you for the new – let’s see what they – it’s a big name – the Congressional Advisory Panel on the Governance of the Nuclear Security Enterprise, which is supposed to get cranked up and operating soon.  Could you give us a little bit of your sense of what the – your view of the problems that the nuclear security enterprise is facing and what you might hope to accomplish in your service on that panel?

MS. TAUSCHER:  Sure.  Thank you very much, Bruce.

To the graduate student, to your comments, let me just say that it has worried me since I left the Congress in 2009 that – I was chairman of Strategic Forces on the House Armed Services Committee, which has about a $55 billion package that includes missile defense, national tactical means and all of the nuclear weapons complex, and I represented the only congressional district with two national nuclear labs in it, Sandia, California, and Lawrence Livermore.  And so no good deed goes unpunished, and so I actually represented my constituents on the committee of jurisdiction for the largest employer in my district.  For the first time in American history, somebody did that from that district.

That meant that I got to know a little bit more than other people did about this tough issue, and what’s disappointing is that there aren’t a lot of people that are out there understanding these issues.  You know, Sam Nunn left well over 10 years ago.  Dick Lugar has left.  And while we have everybody running at the speed of sound, not everybody is paying attention to these issues.

And as these weapons have gotten more and more into the political category, where we have a sense that, God forbid – they’ll, you know, never be used, less and less attention by the Congress as to what exactly they are and what they’re doing.

And so I worry that we don’t have enough expertise in the Congress of people that really pay attention.  I will tell you that Senator Feinstein, my senator, from California, chairs Energy and Water, and she really pays attention.  She’s also chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, so she also has an understanding of the national strategic importance and also of various intelligence issues.  Eric Swalwell, who just won in my district – he’s got about 40 percent of my district and represents Livermore – he’s on the Homeland Security Committee – he’s taken an interest.

But it’s a handful of people that really care about these issues, and that is not good for our ability to project into the Congress, get the attention, get the kind of funding that we need, the attention that we need, and to make sure that the ship is going in the right direction.

When it comes to the ship going in the right direction, as Bruce notes, I was called one of the mothers or the mother of the NNSA, which is kind of dubious, especially since there were two fathers – (laughter) – Mac Thornberry and Pete Domenici.  And like any child that has two fathers and one mother, it’s an ugly baby – (laughter) – very ugly baby.

And while I think that there is a lot of good, smart, well-intentioned people in the NNSA, we never quite got the mission description right, and we have a lot of criticism of the NNSA from everybody.

And so when Nancy Pelosi calls me and asks me to do anything, I say yes, for many reasons.  She’s not only my neighbor in California, but she was the speaker of the House.  Some of you may remember that when we were in the majority, I presided more than anybody else.  So I’m used to saying yes to her.

But I also wanted to be sure that there was somebody on the panel that had my perspective.

So to answer Bruce’s question, I don’t have any fixed ideas, because I’m trying to keep an open mind.  But what is clear is that we need an NNSA that is an advocate for the complex and one that is able to get the attention and the acquiescence of the Congress and the administration.  And it does that because it’s credible.  And I don’t think anybody believes that the NNSA right now has a lot of credibility.

So you know, how do you fix the NNSA?  I’m sure that there will be people with a lot of ideas on how to do that.  I’m sure the new secretary, Ernie Moniz, who we hope will be confirmed sometime soon, has a lot of ideas.

But you know, this is a panel made up of 12 people who have pretty good experience on this, people like Admiral Mies, who was head of the reactor program, and Frank Miller – six Democrats, six Republicans.  I think that we have a chance.

But there have been at least five other panels over the last 10 years, and all of their body of work is gathering dust someplace.  My first recommendation is that we read those previous panels, and I’d bet you 80 percent of the ideas of what we should do are in them.

But I think that the whole responsibility for the nuclear weapons stockpile and for maintaining its credibility as a deterrent is a national responsibility, so all the levers of power in government have some responsibility to it.  Certainly the executive branch does.  Certainly the Congress does.  And we’ve got to make sure that we have a very clear mission and set of goals, that these weapons get funded in a way that is efficient and responsible, that we’re not spending money we don’t need to do and that we’re not keeping too many weapons just because it’s convenient.

And so, you know, I’m for taking down the hedge weapons.  I’m for doing the things that are going to be responsible.  I singularly killed RRW, because it needed to get killed.  But at the same time, as long as other people and other countries have weapons, we have to have to a safe and efficient stockpile.  And we need a responsive agency, whatever it is – NNSA or whatever it’s going to be – that is going to be able to manage it and be accountable.

But we also need a Congress that is going to have oversight, and what worries me is that we don’t have enough people in Congress that know enough to know how to do that right, and I’m not sure we have the right agency right now.  So I will advocate that if there are any reforms to NNSA, that we have comparable reforms in the Congress, so that we find ourselves with a balance between the responsibilities and the oversight, so that we come out on the other end not having to do this again.

Q:  Thanks for your comments.  I’m going to ask you to step back a little bit and talk about U.S.-Russian relations.  And I often think about, over the last 20 years, how different things have turned out between Russian relations and the Chinese.  If you go into any store today, they’re filled with Chinese goods.  We have Chinese students in our graduate schools.

I was thinking I cannot remember buying a Russian product for years.  You don’t see Russian businessmen.  You don’t see Russian students –


Q:  Yeah.

Q:  Vodka, maybe.


Q:  And 20 years ago at the end of the Cold War, we had all these hopes of establishing a much more normal relationship with Russians. That didn’t happen.  But we’ve been able to establish relatively normal relations with China.

So is there something that we could, should be doing, or are we just going to stumble along – I think you used the term “uneasy partners” – or does it really matter for arms control if we have a more normal relationship with Russia?

MS. TAUSCHER:  No, I think that’s great.  When I was undersecretary and we got New START done, the Russians made it very clear that they had no appetite to rush back to the negotiating table for virtually anything.  And – but you know, we had missile defense, which was this 25-year irritant, and obviously we had a lot of need to look at the nonstrategic weapons, especially the tactical weapons in Europe, and figure out how to manage that.

We don’t have equanimity in NATO as to how to manage that, by the way.  The further east you go from France, the more willing some of these countries are to raise their hands and say, I’ll take them.  As those countries further west say, I don’t want them, countries further east say, I’ll take them, especially those closer to the former Soviet Union.

So I think that there’s a lot of things that we’ve done.

The Russians have an extraction economy, which is based on fossil fuels and other things.  President Putin’s got a lot of problems.  He’s got demographic problems, the aging of the population, a younger mortality rate than we have.  And you know, it’s basically two groups of people , 55 and above that can still have their nationalistic heartstrings pulled by someone that starts to talk about yearning for a past of domination and world power, and 55 and below that have both cellphones and the Internet, that want to leave.  And he needs $117-a-barrel oil to make his numbers work.  So it’s a tough situation.

But having said that, we have to do everything we can to get ourselves in a place where we can have a predictable relationship, and that’s why I took the talks away from specific talks in 2011 about arms reduction to what we call mutually assured destruction to mutually assured stability.  And we created a baker’s dozen issues – everything from arms control to cyber to many other different issues in the national security realm, including missile defense, that we could talk to each other about, that kept the conversation going and didn’t cause us to break one day or another because of something somebody else did or said, because it’s an enormously complicated relationship.

In the P-5 environment, we also need the Russians because it’s very difficult to get the Chinese to do anything, because they are so completely obsessed domestically.  And so when you kind of call them up and say, OK, we’ve got something to do in the P-5, they go, uh, uh, and they really don’t respond.

So what we do is, the United States, France and England, we quickly agree; we go get the Russians – that takes a little longer – and then with the help of the Russians, we go get the Chinese.  And that’s how the P-5 has worked for the last five or six years.

And so it’s important that we understand the different cultures.  The Chinese economy is a replicating economy, and it basically sees this glass, and it will make it in two weeks for half the cost and, you know, no environmental considerations.  You know, it’s probably going to have a little lead in it.  You know, those are the kinds of things that you have – that you deal with.

They don’t have that situation in Russia, but they’ve got to be able to get themselves into a much more of a world economy situation.  That’s why it was so important for us to get them into the WTO – not only because we need to have them start to be an emerging economy; we need to have them in an adjudicated setting, so that we weren’t having fights about this and that that would cause us to have, you know, irritants in the relationship.

So I agree with you; this is a very, very big relationship.  I would say it’s an indispensable relationship, one that we have to work every day to get ourselves to a sense of predictability and sustainability and normalcy.  That’s why I think recharacterizing our relationship – because the Cold War’s been over for so long, but we didn’t recharacterize what the new relationship is.  Mutual assured destruction is still the nomenclature, and I don’t think that that’s a healthy place for us to be.

So I suggested we move from mutually assured destruction to mutually assured stability.  Let’s find those things that we agree on, where we either think that there is an economic or a national security reason for us to cooperate.  Let’s build on that cooperation.  Let’s create a bigger base from which we can have more sustainability and more predictability in the relationship and kind of weather things like Libya and Syria and Iran and other things, so that we can go to work every day and get each other – get each other’s help when we need it and get each other’s help in a predictable way.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Thank you very much, Undersecretary Tauscher.  We’re out of time.  I want to thank you for your in-depth and comprehensive remarks.  And I think, as you say, there’s much more to be done.  A lot has been achieved, but there’s much more to be done, and we appreciate all your contributions.

MS. TAUSCHER:  Well, thank you for everything that the Arms Control Association and all its affiliated friends and relatives do, because it’s indispensable in our getting this agenda done in the next few years.  Thanks, Daryl.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you.  (Applause.)

All right.  And we’re happy to have gotten the family back together, all of our relatives – (laughter) – for this gathering.  We have now come to the conclusion of our program.  I want to thank everybody for your time and attention, and appreciate your work going ahead.  Thank you very much.  Until we see one another next time, at our next ACA event, take care.  Bye-bye.

(END) (Top of the page)


Four years ago, President Barack Obama outlined an action plan to reduce nuclear weapons-related risks. Significant progress has been achieved but momentum has slowed, proliferation problems in North Korea and Iran persist, and the slow-moving arms race in South Asia continues.

Country Resources:

TRANSCRIPT AVAILABLE: The Prague Nuclear Risk Reduction Agenda: Next Steps Forward in Obama's Second Term



Thursday, April 11, 2013
8:45am to 10:30am
National Press Club, Murrow Room
529 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC

Four years ago, President Obama delivered a speech outlining a series of concrete steps to move closer to a world without nuclear weapons. Since that April 5, 2009 address in Prague, the Obama administration has embarked on a number of steps to reduce the number and role of nuclear weapons, secure vulnerable nuclear material, prepare for reconsideration of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, strengthen the barriers against further nuclear weapons proliferation, and more.

Significant progress has been achieved, but there is much more to be done to stay ahead of evolving 21st century nuclear dangers. As Obama said in his February 2013 State of the Union address, "our ability to influence others depends on our willingness to lead and meet our obligations."

To mark the anniversary of the President's Prague address, the Arms Control Association will host a forum to review the progress achieved and, with the help of five prestigious speakers, outline key priorities and recommendations for nuclear risk reduction in the his second term.

Featured speakers are:

  • Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
  • Lieutenant Gen. Frank Klotz (USAF, Ret.), senior fellow for strategic studies and arms control at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is the former commander of the U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command.
  • Ambassador Steve Pifer, director of the Brookings Arms Control Initiative.
  • Ambassador James E. Goodby, research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He was involved in the creation of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the negotiation of the Limited Test Ban Treaty, the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, military transparency measures in Europe, and cooperative threat reduction.
  • Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, ACA (moderator)


Transcript by
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.

DARYL KIMBALL:  All right.  Good morning everyone.  If you could please find your seats, turn off your electronic devices or put them on buzz, please.

Welcome to this morning’s briefing.  I’m Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association here in Washington, D.C.  And the Arms Control Association is an independent membership-based organization established in 1971 to provide practical policy solutions and information to deal with the world’s most dangerous weapons, nuclear, chemical, biological and certain conventional weapons.

And today’s event will focus on some of the major steps that can be undertaken by U.S. leaders to further reduce global nuclear weapons risks.  We have four top notch speakers to outline some ideas and recommendations for what President Obama, working with the Congress, can do and should do to follow through on the step-by-step plan to move closer to the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons that the president outlined in his speech in Prague four years ago this month, in April 2009.

And before I do that, let me just provide a little bit of background about what some of the key elements of that Prague plan were, what’s taken place since then, and to touch upon some of the things that have not happened.

As you may recall, on that morning in April 2009 – it was an early morning for those of us in Washington watching it – the president called for several things: one, reducing the role and numbers of U.S. nuclear weapons.  He called for ending nuclear testing through renewed consideration of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty by the United States Senate.  He called for strengthening the commitments and improving compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the bedrock of global efforts for 40 plus years to hold back the spread of nuclear weapons.  He called for jump starting talks on a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.  And one of the other major recommendations was accelerating efforts to secure nuclear weapons usable materials from terrorists.

And in relatively short order, after the Prague speech, President Obama and his team negotiated the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia.  And, about a year later, won bipartisan Senate approval for the pact in December of 2010.

The administration helped secure support for a multi-point action plan to strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty at the once every five years 2010 NPT Review Conference.  The United States hosted in the spring of 2010 the first Nuclear Security Summit to accelerate and broaden global efforts to prevent nuclear terrorism.  And if you think traffic was bad today, the traffic the days of that conference were even worse because it was in the middle of downtown.

The administration also complete a top to bottom review of U.S. nuclear weapons policy and our posture, and, among other things, that NPR report says that the fundamental role of U.S. nuclear weapons is to deter the use of nuclear weapons by other countries against the United States or our allies.

And the administration also took steps to engage Iran in negotiations on its sensitive nuclear fuel cycle activities and build international pressure on Tehran to meet its non-proliferation commitments under the NPT and safeguards.  And the administration won U.N. Security Council support for even tougher sanctions on North Korea in response to its ballistic missile and nuclear tests.

But, in my view, following the significant progress achieved during the first two years of the president’s first term in office, the administration’s disarmament and non-proliferation efforts have lost momentum as other issues have dominated the attention of the White House.

We’ve seen that talks with Russia on deeper nuclear cuts below and beyond New START have not begun, in large part because Russia remains concerned about U.S. missile defense deployments.  The implementation of the Nuclear Posture Review report has been delayed.  It’s expected soon.  We’ll hear more about that from our speakers.  The technical studies that the administration commissioned in 2009 on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty have been completed, but the administration has not begun the high-level political effort necessary to win Senate approval for the treaty, despite the president’s pledge to do so in Prague in 2009.

Fissile material cutoff talks in the Conference on Disarmament have not begun, in large part, though not solely due to opposition from Pakistan.  And, of course, as we’ve seen just in the last few weeks, the on and off talks with Iran on its nuclear program have not yet produced results.  And renewed dialogue with North Korea on its denuclearization commitments and the normalization of relations have never gotten back on track since the administration came into office, and North Korea’s missile and nuclear testing has continued.

So a lot was accomplished in the first term, but there’s much more to be done.  As George Shultz, Henry Kissinger, Bill Perry and former Senator Sam Nunn wrote just a few weeks ago in their most recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, the pace of non-proliferation work today doesn’t match the urgency of the threat.

And to move the United States and the world farther away from the nuclear precipice, it’s clear to those of us at the Arms Control Association, and I think our speakers today will agree, that the president’s team has an opportunity and an obligation to advance some of the key unfinished parts of the comprehensive approach that he first outlined back in Prague, which, I should add, is a continuation of the commitments that the United States has made for five decades, dating back to President John F. Kennedy, who first spoke about some of these dangers in 1961 in his speech at the U.N. General Assembly.  And if you go back to that speech, you’ll notice that his framework for action, while not as detailed as the framework that we see today from the Obama administration and other countries, is very similar.  And perhaps Ambassador Jim Goodby who will speak later on can remind us of the origin of some of those ideas, which I know he played a part in shaping.

And so as President Obama himself said in February of this year, in the State of the Union address, our ability to influence others depends on our willingness to lead and meet our obligations.  So our speakers today are going to be explaining how, in their view, the president and the United States can lead on these issues and to address the still very grave threats posed by nuclear weapons.

And we’re going to be focusing today on just part of this comprehensive agenda.  The dangers posed by North Korea as a nuclear program, the possibility of an Iranian nuclear program are very much on the minds of everyone here in Washington, around the world.  But we need to continue to pursue a comprehensive strategy, and we’re going to be talking about, in particular, the kinds of things the United States can do to shape the global conversation, to reinforce the global non-proliferation system, to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our policies, and to prevent the emergence of new arms races.

And to start us off, I’d like to welcome Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire who’s going to be offering her observations on these issues.  She’s the senior senator from the Granite State and is a member of the Armed Services Committee and the Foreign Relations Committee.  She was a solid supporter of the new START Treaty when it was debated in the United States Senate in 2010 and has, since she came to Washington, been a very strong advocate for action to reduce nuclear dangers.

And I’m also pleased to say I think we have a couple of constituents in the room.  And I will be reporting back to my mother-in-law in Lancaster what you say.  (Laughter.)  And so I want to welcome you to the podium to offer your thoughts on these issues.  And after Senator Shaheen speaks, we’ll be taking your questions.  And following that, we’ll be picking up the conversation with our other distinguished guests.

Senator Shaheen, welcome.  (Applause.)

SENATOR JEANNE SHAHEEN (D-NH):  Thank you very much.  Just make sure your mother-in-law votes for me.

MR. KIMBALL:  I have high confidence she will.

SEN. SHAHEEN:  Good.  Well, thank you for that kind introduction.  And good morning, everyone.  Welcome.  I especially appreciate the leadership that the Arms Control Association and so many of you in this room have provided over the years on this, obviously, very critical, important international issue.

It’s a real pleasure to be here with all of you.  I know you had a great event yesterday on Capitol Hill with my friend, Ellen Tauscher.  You certainly – given Daryl’s description of what’s going to happen today, you’re going to have a very constructive day ahead as well with a very impressive panel of experts.  And I’m honored to join them today in talking about some of the arms control and non-proliferation priorities that I believe we should be focused on over the next four years.

Daryl did a good job of providing a foundation for my remarks because I’m going to start off with President Kennedy, because 50 years ago last month, in 1963, President Kennedy famously said that he was haunted by the possibility that the United States could face a rampantly growing number of nuclear powers in our world.

At the time, he predicted that by 1975, there could be as many as 20 countries with nuclear weapons.  Well, fortunately, due to strong forward thinking American leadership and innovative diplomacy, we have so far averted that nuclear nightmare.

The last several months, however, have tested the limits of our non-proliferation regime.  It’s been one bad news story after another in the WMD world.  Iran’s centrifuges keep spinning and negotiations seem to be stuck.  North Korea’s belligerent leadership threatens to push Northeast Asia over the edge.  And Syria’s chemical weapons are at risk.

I’m afraid we may be quickly reaching an important crossroads, one where we either prove President Kennedy wrong for a little while longer or find out that his nightmare prediction was simply a half century too soon.

As we watch the threat of proliferation grow more complex and diffuse, our focus and resource commitments need to match the severity of the challenge that we face.  We had some important successes in the beginning of President Obama’s first term, as Daryl outlined, including the New START Treaty and the Nuclear Security Summit, but we’ll need to do more as we look at the next four years.  We need to demonstrate to the world that the United States will continue to lead in curbing the threat posed by nuclear weapons around the globe.

Obviously, the three immediate proliferation challenges are Iran’s illicit pursuit of a nuclear weapon, North Korea’s nuclear and missile program, and Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile.  Any one of these issues could erode support for going further on the Prague agenda and would undercut the significant progress we’ve worked so hard to achieve on a bipartisan basis over the last five decades.  First and foremost, we need to do what is necessary to get Iran, North Korea, and Syria right.  And by that, I mean, to address the immediate crisis in each of these countries.

Beyond these tough issues, there are important steps we should be taking now to demonstrate our commitment to meeting the nuclear threat.  I recently joined with Senator Feinstein and a number of my colleagues on a letter to the president outlining a few of these steps.

First, there’s still work to be done on a bilateral basis with Russia.  As the two largest nuclear powers by far, the United States and Russia still control more than 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons.  As a result, we both have a special responsibility to maintain the credibility of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and to press all countries, nuclear and non-nuclear states alike to meet their commitments under that agreement.

I believe that the United States and Russia can go lower than the New START numbers.  Reports suggest that the administration is indeed considering further bilateral reductions in our deployed strategic weapons.  I hope they’ll move on that front, but I also believe that any further consideration of reductions should be combined with robust reinforcement of America’s security commitments around the globe, particularly as North Korea and Iran’s nuclear programs threaten some of their closest allies.  The United States will do what is necessary to defend our friends in the face of these threats.

And I think the world should be clear about that.  We should also consider working with Russia to reduce the risk of accidental launches around the world by de-alerting some of the hundreds of deployed weapons that could be launched in a matter of a few minutes.

As Kissinger, Nunn, Perry and Shultz argue in their most recent Wall Street Journal piece, the U.S. and Russia should consider taking a percentage of deployed nuclear weapons off prompt launch status in a verifiable way.

In addition to bilateral discussions with Russia, I think it’s important for all of us to shift more focus, time and resources back to the threat of nuclear terrorism.  It remains one of our gravest dangers.

As former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said, quote, “Every senior leader, when you’re asked what keeps you awake at night, it’s the thought of a terrorist ending up with a weapon of mass destruction, especially nuclear.”

To date, we’ve largely kept nuclear materials out of terrorists’ hands, but when it comes to nuclear terrorism in our world, the reality is that the international community can’t afford to make a single mistake.  We can’t be complacent because one miscalculation, one unprotected border, one unsecured facility could all lead to a mushroom cloud somewhere in the world.  We need to remain vigilant, to think ahead and to anticipate where the next threats will come from.

That’s why, in the coming weeks, I’ll be working with my colleagues in the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees to introduce new legislation aimed at modernizing our Cooperative Threat Reduction and Non-Proliferation Assistance programs and expanding them more comprehensively into the Middle East and North Africa.  We all know that the proliferation threat in this already dangerous and unstable region is growing.

Terrorist groups, like Hezbollah, Hamas and al-Qaida continue to operate throughout the Middle East and North Africa and their direct ties to the Iranian and Syrian regimes only add to the challenge.  In addition, the Arab spring and continued revolutions across the region have brought popularly elected but inexperienced governments into power.

While this region will likely represent the next generation of WMD challenges for the United States, our resources are not keeping ahead of the threat.  Estimates suggest that the U.S. spends less than 2 percent of our nearly 1 billion (dollars) in annual CTR and Non-Proliferation Assistance in this region.

Last fall, the administration finally completed the bureaucratic changes necessary to ramp up our CTR focus in the region.  But we need to do more.  And the legislation that I’m working on will be aimed at addressing non-proliferation and Cooperative Threat Reduction in a comprehensive and thoughtful way throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

Now finally, let me raise the potential consideration of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.  You all know the security arguments in favor of the treaty.  And there’s no doubt that technical advances and new monitoring techniques have changed the debate since the treaty was last considered in 1999.

But although there’s a good rational case to be made for CTBT ratification, the current political environment in the Senate is not favorable.  Of the 48 yes votes for ratification back in October of 1999, only 17 of those senators are still in the Senate today.  In addition, as we’ve all seen over the last several years, with the consideration of some seemingly non-controversial treaties, like the Disabilities Treaty or the Law of the Sea Treaty, the political challenge of getting 67 votes in the Senate has not gotten any easier since New START.  There’s a lot of work to be done before taking up CTBT.  But that just means we should start now to chart a path forward for its eventual consideration.

As the first nation to invent and then use nuclear weapons, the United States has spent the majority of the last half century trying to reduce the risk that they pose.  Over five decades ago, President Eisenhower committed the United States to meeting its special responsibilities on the nuclear threat and to counteract the awful arithmetic, as he said, of the nuclear question.  Eisenhower’s early pledge and America’s special responsibility have enabled continuous U.S. leadership in the world on the nuclear agenda.

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the cornerstone of global non-proliferation efforts was born out of Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peace vision.  The original START Treaty was a culmination of President Reagan’s entreaty to trust but verify.  The U.S. Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, which has led to the deactivation of over 13,300 nuclear warheads, was the result of two visionary and farsighted men named Nunn and Lugar.  President Obama’s 2009 Prague speech continued that long tradition.

At the end of the day, American leadership on the nuclear agenda has made the world safer.  There’s no question about that.  Now, in the face of growing threats and difficult challenges around our globe, it is not the time to take a step back from this legacy of leadership.  Now is the time to redouble our efforts, to find a way, in Eisenhower’s words, by which the miraculous inventiveness of man shall not be dedicated to his death but consecrated to his life.

I look forward to working with all of you on this critical agenda.  And I’m happy to take a few questions.  Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  If you could just raise your hand and just identify yourself, please, that would be great.  Why don’t we start here in the front?

Q:  Rachel Oswald, Global Security Newswire.  Could you give us a few more details about what this, I guess adapted CTR legislation will look like?  The original one was focused on, you know, disarming Soviet-era nuclear weapons, and, you know, protecting nuclear material, but in the Middle East and North Africa, they don’t have those kinds of weapons, nor beyond Syria, possibly Iran.  Do they have chemical weapons?

SEN. SHAHEEN:  I think what we’re hoping to do is to lay out a comprehensive approach to the region.  That will avoid the prospect that it will move in a nuclear and WMD direction and to have a more focused approach to that region.

MR. KIMBALL:  And there are.  I would point out there are nuclear materials in the region.  There are chemical weapons in the region.  So even though the weapons may not be there, are there still the raw ingredients for problems, if not dealt with properly.

SEN. SHAHEEN:  Yeah.  And the hope is to think about how to avoid that.

MR. KIMBALL:  Other questions.  There’s a gentleman over here on the left.  You might know him.

Q:  Hi.  John Isaacs, Council for a Livable World.

SEN. SHAHEEN:  Nice to see you.

Q:  Senator, the president submitted his budget yesterday.  And a little bit to our surprise and dismay, that some of the key nonproliferation programs that you just praised, in the Department of Energy, particularly, were cut, I think 72 million.  Is that something that the Armed Services Committee might be able to address this year?

SEN. SHAHEEN:  I haven’t had a chance to really go through the president’s budget.  I’m glad to hear that you have.  (Laughter.)  But, certainly, the Armed Services Committee has the opportunity to do that.  Whether the commitment is there I think remains to be seen.  And I would hope that that’s a discussion we can have and all of you in this room can help encourage a hard look at that and, hopefully addressing that issue.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Right here in the middle please.

Q:  Hi.  I’m Kathy Crandall Robinson with Women’s Action for New Directions.  Thank you so much for your strong leadership on these issues.  You talked about charting a course on the Test Ban Treaty, even in difficult political circumstances.  Do you have some specific ideas about things that could be done in the Senate or things that those of us outside, in the public community, could do to help?

SEN. SHAHEEN:  I was very surprised, though I suppose I should not have been, when I saw the reaction in the Senate to the Disabilities Treaty, because having sat through hearings on the treaty, I think most of us believed that what it would do is just set a model for the world, encouraging them to follow what has been a very positive U.S. example on disabilities rights.  And so I was quite surprised when, even with the presence of Senator Dole on the floor, there was not a willingness to support the treaty.  So I think what it will take is a massive education effort and a real effort to contact senators about why this is important.

You know, given the current situation that we have with Iran and North Korea and Syria, those are going to be preliminary discussions I assume because there’s going to be real reluctance, I think, to do anything that would suggest that we’re not serious about security issues around the world.  And while I’m sure you and I don’t believe that the CTBT undermines that, I think there are probably some in the Senate who would think that.

And so I think it needs to start with a real education effort for people, because there are so few people in the Senate now who were there in ’99 or who remember and were politically engaged at the time that the treaty was first brought forward that it really means going back and helping people understand what it was about.

MR. KIMBALL:  Maybe one or two more questions, please.  Yes, sir.

Q:  I’m Dr. Bill Durston with Physicians for Social Responsibility.  It would seem there’s a stumbling block in getting broader support within the United States for international treaties.  It is the argument that, well, countries such as Iran and North Korea are never going to abide by them anyway, particularly, seemingly irrational governments such as North Korea.  What can be done to get these governments to abide by international treaties and to overcome that stumbling block?

SEN. SHAHEEN:  Well, actually, I think the opposition has less to do with that than it does with a belief on the part of certain elements in this country that we undermine our own sovereignty by signing on to certain of these treaties, and I think we’ve got to overcome that before we can address what other countries around the world are doing.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Maybe one more question.  Yes, ma’am.  Over here.  Thank you.

Q:  Good morning.  I’m Valentina Cassar from the University of Malta.  You mentioned two priorities or the next steps that need to be taken has been the continued reductions with Russia and a reopening of the dialogue and refocusing on nuclear terrorism and particularly, the situation within the Middle East.  To what extent do you think that these two tracks can come together, whereby Russia can be still brought onboard in addressing issues regarding nuclear terrorism and especially proliferation in the Middle East?  And, also, is this also an area that provides opportunity to bring China as well onboard?

SEN. SHAHEEN:  I’m hopeful that as we have dropped phase four of the phased adaptive approach, that was one of Russia’s primary objections, that there will be of an opportunity to negotiate with Russia as we look at the follow on to the START Treaty and that that will provide and opening for us to encourage Russia’s engagement with us in the Middle East.  I mean, sadly, as we’ve seen in Syria, they’ve not been willing to do that.  They’ve obviously been more responsive on Iran but not on Syria at all.

And it’s not clear to me what China will do.  Their engagement in the Middle East has been primarily political, but they’ve sort of followed Russia’s lead.  And, you know, I think most of us believe – and we had quite an interesting hearing before the Armed Services Committee earlier this week on China’s role in North Korea and whether they should and would be very direct about North Korea to reduce tensions there.

And so I think it’s not clear, but I think we do have an opening and we should follow up with that opening.  And it would be very productive if they would join us in looking at how we can – and it’s in their interest.  I would argue it’s in their interest, as well as ours, to avoid further arming of the Middle East and North Africa.

Thank you all very much.  (Applause.)

MR. KIMBALL:  Well, thank you very much, Senator Shaheen.  Thank you for your time.  And we look forward to working with her and her staff on that new legislation and the other issues that she outlined.  And our other three distinguished speakers are going to be offering their thoughts on some of the points that Senator Shaheen just raised, as well as some others.

And first, let me just do introductions.  And each of them will speak and then we’ll get into a discussion after each of them is done.

And first, we’re going to be hearing from Retired Lieutenant General Frank Klotz, who has led a long and distinguished military career focused on nuclear weapons policy.  He was, among other things, commander of the Air Force Global Strike Command from 2009 to 2011 and is now a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

And he’ll be followed by Steve Pifer, director of the Brookings Arms Control Initiative.  He’s extremely productive.  He’s an Arms Control Association in and of himself.  He has more than 25 years of experience in the field while serving at the State Department.  And he’s the coauthor of an excellent 2012 book, “The Opportunity: Next Steps in Reducing Nuclear Arms.”  And there’s an abridged version of that book in an Arms Control Today article on the table outside.  And he’ll be talking more about the ideas in that book in a few minutes.

And last, but not least, is my good friend and someone I’ve turned to for advice and inspiration for many years, Ambassador James Goodby.  He has been advising and advancing U.S. disarmament and non-proliferation objectives in various roles inside and outside the government for more than five decades.  And I’m very pleased that he’s able to join us here today.

So thank you for joining us.  General Klotz, if you’d like to stay there and speak from there or come to the podium, whichever you prefer.

GENERAL FRANK KLOTZ (RET.):  I’ll stay here.

MR. KIMBALL:  OK, stay there.  The floor is yours.

GEN. KLOTZ:  Yeah, I apologize because I will not be able to make eye contact with the folks over here, but I think we’ll just stay here.

First of all, thanks, Daryl, for this opportunity.  I’m delighted to have been invited to participate in this forum and delighted to join Ambassadors Jim Goodby and Steve Pifer, who I’ve had the enormous good fortune to work with in the past, on several occasions, both in government and now in our post-government careers over more years than I dare to count, as it turns out.  I’m also delighted to see a number of friends and colleagues in the audience.

As Daryl has pointed out, this is an important month.  It was four years ago last week that President Obama gave his widely acclaimed speech in Prague.  And as Daryl also indicated, in his remarks, he expressed America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.

I think it’s also important that in the process of that speech, he laid out a fairly detailed and specific agenda about how to achieve the vision that he articulated.  It involved, essentially, pursuing three major treaties, one a strategic arms control agreement with Russia.  If you recall, START One was expiring or had expired and there needed to be a replacement for the treaty.

He also called for a global ban on nuclear tests, which in reality meant bringing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which had been signed in 1996, into force, which required those remaining so-called Annex Two nations that had not yet ratified the treaty to do so.  I would dare say first and foremost among those nations is the United States, even though it was the first nation to actually sign the treaty.  And he also called for a new treaty to cut off production of fissile materials that were designed for use in nuclear weapons.

Now, essentially, almost the same month, we also marked the successful negotiation and signing of the New Strategic Arms Treaty, New START, and it marked the first major accomplishment in that very ambitious work plan.

And almost immediately after the Senate voted in favor of its ratification, senior administration officials announced their intention to move out on other steps outlined in the Prague speech, including pursuing further reductions with Russia in strategic nuclear weapons, and for the first time, attempting to set limits on tactical, or non-strategic weapons and non-deployed or reserve nuclear weapons.

However, as Daryl has also pointed out, fundamental differences between the United States and Russia on missile defense, on conventional prompt global strike as well as a host of political issues essentially blocked forward progress on U.S.-Russian bilateral arms control.

Domestically, the highly charged political atmosphere that Daryl and the senator spoke to, here in Washington, with attention riveted on the federal budget and attention riveted on the 2012 election campaign left little space for arms control issues in the public discourse.  It also meant that any new arms control initiatives requiring congressional approval would have faced an uphill battle.

Now, this current state of affairs certainly impacted the CTBT.  During the first Obama administration, officials deliberately refrained from setting a timeframe for a renewed bid for Senate ratification, and, instead, they concentrated on laying the groundwork for a push when the time was right.  And they did this by emphasizing the non-proliferation merits of the treaty as well as the steps taken to mitigate previously expressed concerns about monitoring treaty compliance and ensuring the reliability of the U.S. nuclear weapon stockpile without nuclear explosive testing.

And, indeed, the National Research Council of the National Academy of Science has published a technical review, which updated one they had done 10 years previously, which addressed both of these issues in great detail from a scientific and technical point of view, and, essentially, in my view, bolstered the administration’s case on both counts.  If you haven’t read that, I highly recommend it.  It’s available on the National Academy of Sciences website and was abstracted and commented on by the Arms Control Association, among others.

As for a fissile material cutoff, there has been no progress within the Conference on Disarmament, which is the 65-member forum with responsibility for multi-lateral arms control and disarmament.  The CD, as most of you know, operates on consensus.  And one nation, Pakistan, has essentially blocked any movement toward a work program that would lead to fissile material cutoff negotiations.  And American officials have made no secret of their frustration with this state of affairs.

Well, with the election now behind it, the Obama administration appears intent on moving forward with the Prague agenda.  Two or three weeks ago, acting Under Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller laid out its second term priorities for arms control and non-proliferation in a speech in Geneva.  In many respects, it was a call to resume, renew and reinvigorate the Prague agenda.

Now much will, obviously, depend upon the state of U.S.-Russian relations going forward.  And I know Steve Pifer is going to talk about this so I won’t.  But let me say that much will also depend upon achieving a greater degree of consensus on nuclear weapons and arms control policy within the U.S. body politic and within the beltway.

That, in turn, requires two different but not necessarily mutually exclusive beliefs be taken into account.  And this is not, by any means, original to me.  It was a point made in the bipartisan Commission on the Strategic Posture that reported out a few years ago.

The first belief that must be taken into account is that appropriately sized nuclear forces still play an essential role in protecting the U.S. and allied interests.  And the second belief is that the United States must continue to lead international efforts to limit and to reduce nuclear arsenals, to prevent proliferation and to secure nuclear materials.

Significantly, at least as I read it, this is precisely the approach that the president adopted in his 2009 Prague agenda.  In addition to laying out an ambitious arms control agenda, he also stated that, as long as these weapons exist, nuclear weapons exist, the United States will maintain a safe, secure and effective arsenal to deter any adversary and to guarantee that defense to our allies.

So both elements – arms control and continued reduction – and the maintenance of a safe, secure and effective arsenal, even at lower numbers, are also stressed in the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review.  Moreover, they continue to be articulated by senior administration officials, including as recently as at the Carnegie conference this past Monday and in the White House’s 2014 budget proposal released just yesterday.

My point here is that senior administration and congressional leaders must be willing to speak to the basic principles of a consensus that addresses both arms control, including continued reductions and non-proliferation, as well as investing in resources necessary to maintain and, where necessary, to modernize the nuclear weapons complex and nuclear deterrent forces even at lower numbers.

While it will be hard sustaining consensus, it will be hard doing that because it means studiously building mutual trust that both elements of the consensus will be pursued and avoiding the temptation to stress or cherry pick only those elements that appeal to a particular group, be it on the right or be it in the left.  But sustaining a consensus of this nature, in my view, will be essential for achieving progress on either front.

Let me make just a few specific comments about the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, the CTBT, and then turn it over to my esteemed colleagues.

As noted earlier, the Obama administration spent the first term ostensibly preparing the ground for eventual ratification.  With the start of the second term, CTBT ratification has once again become a topic in the public discourse.

Former senior officials, most notably former Secretary of State George Schultz, and non-governmental organizations, most notably, the Arms Control Association, have renewed calls upon the Obama administration to move ahead with ratification.

And, just a couple of weeks ago, Rose Gottemoeller, in that same speech in Geneva, said that ratification of CTBT remains a top priority for the United States.  But, at the same time, she admitted that the process would not be easy, and she said there are no set timeframes to bring the treaty to a vote, and that both patience and persistence were required.

And, as you know, even though the 2012 elections altered the composition of the Senate in favor of the Democrats, with 55 seats, they’re still a long way from the 67 that are necessary to secure consent to ratification of the treaty.  And at the moment, it’s unclear where those additional 12 votes would come from.

Accordingly, the Obama administration clearly has its work cut out for it in forging the coalition necessary to secure the Senate’s consent to ratification.  And even if it eventually succeeds, that task is likely to take a while.  But in my own personal view, speaking personally, the logic for moving forward and ahead on ratification of the CTBT is inescapable.

The United States has, in effect, already paid the price of treaty membership by having unilaterally refrained from nuclear explosive testing for over 20 years.  The political bar to a resumption of testing is pretty high and unlikely to be surmounted absent some dramatic shift in the international security environment.

Additionally, as part of paying the price, the United States has already made a substantial investment in the tools necessary to assess weapon reliability without nuclear explosive testing, as well as in the means necessary to detect clandestine testing by others.

While the United States probably garners some credit for exercising a self-imposed moratorium, it is likely to be in a far better position to rally international pressure against would-be proliferators and to constrain regional arms races if it ratifies CTBT.  And it is clearly in the national security interest of the United States and of our friends and allies to do just that.

Many far more knowledgeable and experienced political hands argue that in the current political environment, the Obama administration should refrain from making a concerted effort to push for CTBT since a failed attempt to do so might do more damage to U.S. arms control and non-proliferation objectives than the existing status quo.  I’m not sure that’s the case.  I don’t imagine that any of the other states who must ratify the treaty for it to enter into force, most notably China, India and Pakistan will do so unless and until the United States leads the way.

What I am absolutely certain about is that it will require political leadership and political skill on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue and on both sides of the aisle to succeed.  Such, by the way, has always been the case with major treaties and with major pieces of domestic legislation, many of which seemingly had little prospect of success at the outset, but ultimately became part of the law of the land and of the global community.

So with that, I look forward to answering your questions and answers after Steve and Jim have had an opportunity.

MR. KIMBALL:  Great.  Thanks very much.  Steve, on to you.  Thank you for being here.

STEVEN PIFER:  Daryl, first of all, thank you for including me.  And I’m delighted to be here with General Klotz and Ambassador Goodby, two people I’ve worked with in both in government and out of government incarnations.

I’m going to talk about the nuclear reductions piece, but first, just where we are.  We now are in the third year of implementation of the New START Treaty, under which the United States and Russia each will reduce to no more 1,550 deployed strategic warheads on 700 deployed strategic missiles and bombers by February of 2018.  And that’s a good step.

But I think you have to ask the question: do those numbers make sense 20 years after the end of the Cold War?  And, also, you have to bear in mind that New START covers only a portion of the U.S. and the Russian nuclear stockpiles.  It doesn’t cover reserve strategic warheads, an area where the United States has a significant numerical advantage, and it does not include tactical or non-strategic weapons, an area where Russia has a significant numerical advantage.

And so, back in 2010, when signing New START, President Obama called for another step, and said it was time to bring these two classes of weapons into the mix.

So looking forward, I would suggest there are two approaches.  One approach that Michael O’Hanlon and I wrote about it in our book, The Opportunity, I would call the big treaty approach.  And, basically, we look and we say given that the United States and Russia still have nuclear stockpiles on the order of 4,550 weapons, not counting weapons in the dismantlement queue, and the nearest third country power is France with 300, there is room for one more U.S.-Russia bilateral negotiation.

And what we argued for in this big treaty approach was it’s now time to bring all the weapons on the table – strategic, non-strategic, deployed, non-deployed – and have a single aggregate limit that would cover all of those weapons.  What we suggested was a limit of 2,000 to 2,500 total weapons on each side for the United States and Russia.  And then within that overall aggregate limit, we would propose a supplement on deployed strategic warheads of 1,000 on each side.  So you would take the 1,550 limit in New START and bring it down by about 35 percent to 1,000.

Now, we did think about going lower, but from conversations that we’ve had, we think – I mean, first of all, getting Russia to come down to these numbers will be hard, but getting Russia to go below those numbers in a bilateral negotiation is probably impossible.  So that sort of set a floor in terms of the numbers.

Now, the advantage or the elegance that we saw in the aggregate limit was that the aggregate limit basically forces a tradeoff.  Russia would have to reduce its large advantage in non-strategic nuclear weapons.  The United States would have to reduce its large advantage in reserve strategic weapons to fit under that 2,500 total.

Each side would in the end be free, within the overall limit, to choose its mix of weapons.  I suspect Russia would choose to keep more tactical weapons than reserve strategic and the United States might choose to keep more reserve strategic, but that aggregate limit is the mechanism to force a tradeoff in two categories of weapons where it’s very hard to see a negotiated outcome if you deal with those weapons separately.  The Russians don’t have motivation to negotiate away their advantage in tactical weapons if you’re dealing just in that category, in the same way that the United States doesn’t have much motivation to negotiate away its advantage in reserve strategic weapons if you’re talking about that category alone.

Now, 2,000 to 2,500 would be about a 50 percent reduction on each side, but it would still leave the United States and Russia each with an arsenal six to seven times larger than that of the nearest third country.

In terms of limits on missiles and bombers, we would suggest bringing the limit of 700 down to 500.  That would be a significant cut, but it would still allow both sides to maintain a triad, which I think is important to both militaries.

Now this negotiation of a big treaty would not be an easy agreement to reach.  It would not be an 11-month negotiation as was New START.  You’re talking two to three years at least.

So you might look at things – are there things that could be done in the meantime?  And one step that we suggested was accelerating at least one of the New START limits.  There are probably operational and cost and scheduling reasons why it would be difficult to accelerate implementation of the limit on missiles or launchers.  But we did suggest that it would make sense for the United States to accelerate the implementation of the 1,550 deployed strategic warhead limit.

If we’ve concluded that 1,550 deployed warheads will keep us safe in 2018, that should suffice in 2013.  And it would be not an easy process, but you could pull warheads off and leave the missiles deployed.  I mean, it would be unusual to have a deployed ICBM with zero warheads, but the treaty does not prohibit it.  And the treaty, in fact, would allow inspection provisions that would allow the Russians to confirm it.

So that is, in essence, the big treaty approach.  I think the question comes up though, if you look at that and then allow time for ratification, do you have time to bring that to conclusion before the end of the Obama second term?  And I think that that would be perhaps difficult.

So an alternate approach would basically put classes of weapons on two tracks.  You would focus on getting a quick agreement on reducing deployed strategic weapons.  And as Ambassador Goodby and a former professor of mine, Sid Drell suggested, this could be as easy as taking the New START Treaty and simply amending it, just changing the three numbers – reduce 1,550 down to 1,000, 700 limit on missiles and bombers down to 500, and then the 800 launch limit down to maybe 600.

You would probably want to change a couple of dates, but the treaty’s definitions, counting rules, verification methods would all apply equally well to a treaty that sets a limit of 1,000 deployed warheads as one that says 1,550.  And if the Russians are prepared to negotiate, you could probably do that fairly quickly.

Now I think there would be a couple of concerns.  I think there would be concern on the part of the Senate and also on the part of some American allies that if you were focusing just on deployed strategic forces, you know, what about tactical weapons, what about reserve strategic?

So perhaps you could put on a second parallel track that would be a longer track.  It would start out with a phased approach, with steps such as transparency, confidence building measures and then moving ultimately to a negotiation.  And perhaps, the beginning of the phased approach, you start with an understanding that at the end, there in fact will be a negotiation to come about with legally binding limits on tactical and reserve strategic weapons.  But it’s on a second track moving in parallel.

Now, I think the question would arise: what’s the interdependence between those two tracks?  And my guess is that the Senate would feel more comfortable that if you concluded that first track on deployed strategic weapons, it would be easier to sell that to the Senate if you were farther along on the second track in terms of getting towards an actual negotiation on non-strategic weapons.

Just a moment on multilateral.  I think that the United States and Russian can reduce without commitments by third countries, but certainly, the U.S. and Russia cannot remain the only players forever in nuclear reductions.

So it may be sensible for Washington and Moscow, as they are conducting a negotiation on reducing their forces further, to engage third countries, particularly Britain and France and China, and explore whether you could not move those countries, not necessarily to participate in a negotiation, but begin to take some first steps towards the process.

One might be transparency and, for example, an exchange of data among the five U.N. Security Council, permanent five countries, on basic numbers of data.  And I’m not talking about the specific data in New START, where the United States and Russia exchange locations of every particular ICBM launcher, because I think that would be hard for the Chinese to do.  But at least overall numbers and types of weapons.

And then perhaps as a second step, could you get Britain, France and China and perhaps others to take on unilaterally a commitment not to increase their forces, because it would be something of an odd occurrence if you have the United States and Russia reducing while third countries build up.

Now I think this is a good agenda, it’s an ambitious agenda and it faces a number of challenges.  And I’ll just outline three briefly.

The first and I think the biggest challenge is, are the Russians prepared to deal?  If you read what Moscow has been saying over the last year or so, you don’t see a lot of enthusiasm in Russia for further reductions of nuclear weapons.

Now I still hold out some hope that, in fact, the Russians can be persuaded to deal.  I think actually Moscow may have some incentives.  If you look at the New START agreement, the U.S. force structure can comfortably remain at 1,550 deployed strategic warheads on 700 missiles and bombers.  And the Russians, because they’re having to retire old systems that are actually now past their shelf dates, are going to have to build new systems to get back up and stay at 1,550.  So an option for Russia would be to reduce the numbers and perhaps save some money.

Second, I do think that, in the same way, the United States is concerned about the Russian advantage in tactical weapons, there is some concern in Moscow about the American advantage in reserve strategic weapons.  So there may be some incentives for Russia to negotiate.

The announcement that was made last month by Secretary Hagel on missile defense, by eliminating phase four perhaps creates an opportunity to begin to move past that obstacle.  So we’ll see.  National Security Advisor Tom Donilon is supposed to visit Moscow next week.  There are now two planned meetings between Presidents Obama and Putin in June and then in September.  So there are chances to explore whether Russia is prepared to engage on this agenda.

A second challenge would be verification.  Once you move to talking about limits on tactical weapons or reserve strategic weapons, you’re talking about weapons that are no longer sitting on ballistic missiles and silos or on submarines, but going into storage areas.  Now, that’s not an insurmountable problem, but it would be new territory for both sides and it will take some time to work out those provisions.

And then a third challenge I think is one here in Washington, which is the United States Senate.  And that is I think the experience of New START raises a question and I think Senator Shaheen alluded to it.

In the current environment, how hard would it be to secure Senate approval or Senate consent to a new treaty, particularly, where I think there’s concerns on the Republican side that some of the commitments made by the Obama administration in the process getting New START ratified that the administration has not moved as quickly as it might have to fulfill those commitments.

So I think with that question, there are options short of a treaty.  And while I think the treaty would be the preferable way to go, I think it’s understandable that the administration considers options other than a treaty if it wishes to advance its agenda.

So I think there are some pretty stiff challenges there.  I would argue though that this agenda is very much worth pursuing.  There’s the opportunity to make the United States and American allies safer and more secure.  I think looking to the medium term, there are some chances for some possibly significant cost savings in terms of having to build fewer systems, say, 10 to 15 years down the road.  And I also think that if the United States and Russia are moving to further reduce their nuclear arsenals, it enhances their credibility on the non-proliferation agenda. And although Daryl said we’re not going to talk about North Korea and Iran today, I mean, I think to the extent that we –

MR. KIMBALL:  You could if you wish.

MR. PIFER:  – well, no, but I think to the extent we are reducing – you know, it makes it easier to go to third countries and say it’s time to crank up pressure, sanctions on rogue states that are misbehaving on that area.  So I’ll stop there and turn to Jim.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you, Steve.  Thank you for being here, Jim.


MR. KIMBALL:  Take it away.

MR. GOODBY:  Good to be here.  I will be as brief as I can.  I am going to get down into the weeds a little because I want to explain how some things could be accomplished.  And that requires a bit of a scenario description for you.

First, let me say I think we should be focusing on the priorities for the next two years.  And if I look at that, I’d like to apply the priorities to a sense of strategic objectives, where we’re going as a country, what are we aiming to achieve in a broad sense.  I think there are two of them that I regard as important.

One is to adapt the international system to the rise of China as a great power; I think that’s tremendously important.  And second, there are a series of regional issues that have the potential for nuclear war if we’re not careful.  These are in the Middle East – think of Iran; they’re in South Asia, where I think the potential for nuclear conflict is very high; and they’re in Northeast Asia, where recent events don’t need underlining to give you that impression that there’s conceivably a nuclear war there too.

If you look at those objectives and if you apply the idea that we ought to try to have something achievable in the next couple of years, applying that filter, to me, results in three priorities for the administration.

One is the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, a second is the cutoff of production of fissile material for use in weapons.  These go back a long way.  They go back to the days when I was negotiating with Harold Stassen in London, in 1957, so they’re ancient ideas of whose time may have come, finally, we hope.

A third area that I think needs emphasis – and this is relatively new.  It was mentioned repeatedly in the articles published in the Wall Street Journal written by George Schultz, with whom I work at Stanford now, Sam Nunn, Henry Kissinger and Bill Perry.  They talked about a joint enterprise by which they meant a broadening of the discussions about nuclear weapons issues beyond the traditional U.S.-Russia forum.  They felt we should be broadening negotiations to include all the countries that either have or could shortly have nuclear weapons.

In the very last article that they published on March 5 in the Wall Street Journal, they spoke about a coalition of the willing.  And what they had in mind was going to the P-5, broadening out beyond that to include other countries, setting a general objective, which I would describe generally as creating the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons, and setting priorities in terms of what ought to be done immediately and over the longer term.

Let me talk about the Comprehensive Test Ban first.  Is it achievable in the next couple of years given all the difficulties we all know about?  I think it’s possible, but what I would recommend is that we begin with an attempt to strengthen the existing moratorium.

The existing moratorium is not an agreement among the states that adhere to this idea of not testing.  It has no common understanding in and of itself as to what a nuclear explosion is.  It has no means of verification, aside from the national technical means, and what is provided by the increasingly effective international system as part of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty office run out of Vienna.

What I’d like to suggest is that the P-5 could very easily, in my view, talk about a definition, which, essentially, would say a nuclear explosion is any explosive event that leads to a self-sustaining chain reaction of any duration.  Now, that was really the understanding that the people who negotiated the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty had.  But the Senate has complained because in the treaty itself, you don’t find that language.  I suspect you could probably reach an agreement in the P-5 on language like that and I think that later on would help with ratification.

A second matter is we could, I think probably negotiate an agreement that will provide for some type of transparency possibly at nuclear tests sites in China and Russia.  This would involve sensors probably, things of that type, a little more difficult to achieve.  But I think if one worked at that beginning this spring, it’s conceivable you could reach that kind of an agreement which would be, of course, an executive agreement or an understanding among the P-5.  You could do that perhaps by fall.  Then I think moving to the Senate ratification might be more achievable.  And if that’s the case, then I should think you’d have a treaty in hand by the end of next year.  How you go about that, I won’t go into much detail, but I think the P-5 is critical to that.

Second, with regard to the cutoff, I think it’s time to drop the fiction that we’re going to be able to negotiate a treaty in Geneva in the conference on disarmament.  And what I propose instead, again, looking to the P-5, is a joint declaration.  There is language available – and I can read it if you like – that came from an agreement reached between Yeltsin and Bill Clinton on May 10, 1995, and it basically said we will not produce fissile materials for use in weapons, and went on to elaborate that.

I suspect you could get an agreement along the P-5 on that because basically that is their policy now.  Most of them have declared it – I think China has perhaps not – but I think they could easily do that.  Beginning with that, you would move again out, I’m thinking not of the P-5 as a stopping point but as a bridge head to move beyond that.

In both cases, a test ban treaty and the understanding about ceasing production of fissile material for use in weapons, critically important would be China and its role.  If you can get China on board on both these things, I suspect that India would be willing to join perhaps both of them.  Then that leads to the question will Pakistan.  I think there’s a possibility with China, the United States, India all subscribing to these understanding that Pakistan would as well.  So those are my prescriptions for the first two.

The third one, again, I think in terms of the P-5, I think Rose Gottemoeller has done a terrific job in using the P-5 as a way of negotiating or creating understandings within that group.  And I think that we need to enhance that particular approach.  And I think particularly in terms of China I want to say this again.

So what I would recommend is that there be an attempt to establish an international conference within the next year or so modeled after the nuclear security summits, one held here in Washington, one in Seoul, which basically was a coalition of the willing, countries that are willing to do something about tightening controls over fissile materials.

In this model I’m thinking about, it would be a coalition of countries that are willing to work together to create the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons.  They would probably issue some kind of a declaration along those lines.  They would, if we follow the model of the Nuclear Security Summit, be invited to bring to the first conference those things that they are unilaterally or as matters of national policy prepared to do, perhaps greater transparency, things of that type.  Some would be reciprocal.  Some would perhaps not be.  But these would be things that they are prepared to do, which would, I think begin to develop the idea that here’s something that’s beginning to happen.

And I think they should then work out a work plan which would commit these countries to be moving towards achievement of the first steps, many of which you all know about, come out of the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review, also listed several times in the articles by Schultz, Kissinger, Perry and Nunn.

So I think that I would stop right there because we’re running out of time for discussion.  Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you, Jim.  Well, we do have time for discussion.  And I want to turn it over to our audience.  We have a lot of smart minds here, a lot of experienced hands in the audience.  So let’s make this a discussion.  We’ve got a couple of microphones here.  I hope the speakers have been stimulating.  We have a gentleman here in the first row.  Please identify yourself.

Q:  (Off mic) – Center for National Policy.  Hello?  OK.

MR. KIMBALL:  There you go.

Q:  I find Jim Goodby’s thoughts of trying to find a way around the conundrum and the blockage here in the United States, particularly in the Senate, of moving forward on a number of different tracks very interesting.

And I wonder whether or not the panel and others, because I spent a little time on this issue one time, can think of other mechanisms too that go beyond what I think is a real roadblock for a number of years of agreements, of understandings, of international kind of compacts, executive agreements and all the rest that would move us forward along the lines of what Ambassador Goodby has noted in some cases.  And whether or not there could be a consensus developed for that strategy and how we can get that consensus because it has to be obviously something that the administration would want and that the public and the media would understand and support even if, let’s say, the recalcitrant Republicans did not.

MR. KIMBALL:  Would any of you like to try to respond, take a stab at that?  Steve.

MR. PIFER:  Yeah.  Well, I think you can look at the last 40 years, and there are a number of examples of things that were done in arms control by presidents – primarily by Republican presidents that were less than treaties.  So you go back to one of the most significant arms control measures were the presidential nuclear initiatives in 1991 and 1992 initiated by President George H.W. Bush and then reciprocated by first Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, then Russian President Boris Yeltsin, which eliminated, you know, probably thousands of nuclear weapons on both sides as unilateral measures.  Another possibility – again, if you wanted to do a quick New START deal, if the Russians were to agree to the numbers, for President Obama and President Putin to say as matters of national policy, we have decided to reduce our deployed strategic warhead levels to 1,000 and our deployed missiles and bombers to 500.

Now, you could then take the New START Treaty and use that treaty not only to monitor the legal limits of 1,550 and 700 but also to monitor those new limits.  So you have a mechanism in place.  Now I think that would involve a certain risk of a firestorm with the Senate, but there are measures.  And, again, that approach was the approach that was originally suggested by the George W. Bush administration back in 2001.  When President Putin wanted to do formal nuclear reductions the original American suggestion was, well, we don’t need treaties.  We’re past that.  I’m just going to go out and give a speech at a joint appearance I’ll say the United States will deploy no more than 1,700 to 2,200 operationally deployed strategic warheads and Vladimir, you go out and you can say whatever number you want.  We don’t care.

So there are these models.  And that would allow – again, I think if a way could be found, going through a treaty would be the preferable mechanism, but if you look at the New START experience, I think there are some serious reasons to doubt whether another treaty would have a serious chance of being supported.

MR. KIMBALL:  General Klotz.

GEN. KLOTZ:  Yes.  And I agree.  In fact, I was part of the effort to the – on the –

MR. PIFER:  To circumvent the Senate.  (Laughter.)

GEN. KLOTZ:  – to push forward with agreement in 2001 that didn’t involve a legally binding treaty.  But there’s a couple of things to keep in mind, however.

Even though it might be a way to, in a sense, try to deal with the issue of having to get 67 votes in the Senate, which is, as I indicated, a pretty high bar politically, particularly in an evenly divided Senate, there are still other powers and authorities and responsibilities which the Congress has, particularly with authorization or appropriation.

And in the past, when the military services have attempted to take initiatives related to bringing down force structure, both conventional and nuclear or closing bases or reducing infrastructure, there are ways in which the Congress has essentially blocked that through legislation, be it in defense authorization or appropriation.  So you won’t be able to completely get around having to deal with congressional concerns on these types of issues.

The only other thing I would add – and this goes back – and your comments about the 2001 experience with President Putin I think were absolutely right.  Some of our negotiating partners or other countries that we have to deal with have for a lot of historical, cultural, social, political, legal reasons an interest in legally binding types of agreement.  It’s part of how they deal with a host of issues, whether it’s with arms control or cooperation in space or economics.

So we also would have to factor who our negotiating partners were.  But I think there are still a lot of opportunities for doing creative and innovative things outside the structure of formal treaty making or using existing treaties and applying them more broadly to a broader set of countries or, more broadly, in terms of the specifics.

MR. KIMBALL:  Jim, you had a comment.

MR. GOODBY:  I personally don’t want to put as much emphasis on sidestepping Senate ratification as perhaps the impression has been given, because when I talked to senators when I was working with General Shalikashvili several years ago now, we heard complaints from them about verification.

So what I’m suggesting is trying to respond to complaints that we’ve heard from the U.S. Senate in order to accommodate their own interests.  That’s not sidestepping the Senate, that’s in fact responding to their concerns.  And, I think, in the process, making it easier for at least some of them to reconsider.  This should be something new that we haven’t tried before.  We’ve tried all the argument on senators, they haven’t really had much effect.  This is something new and I think might have some effect, at least on enough of them to sway them to vote in favor of this treaty.  If we can prove to them that, in fact, we know what we’re talking about with regard to what a nuclear explosion is, and that there is some responsiveness to the need to have greater transparency, and so forth.

On the second point of the cutoff, it’s been our policy for years – stated policy, that we are not producing material for use in weapons.  So I’m not sidestepping the Senate there, it’s simply that is our policy.

What I am trying to do with both of those initiatives, in fact, is to respond to the concern that you heard Senator Shaheen utter about Iran and North Korea.  What I’m trying to do is isolate those two countries, bring China to the point where it would be more willing than it has been to deal with the North Korean issue.  And incidentally, in the Middle East, I have every reason to think that Israel would agree with these two items that I’ve talked about.  They’ve already signed a test ban treaty, of course, are part of it, in terms of the CTBTO and that sort of thing.

And I think in Northeast Asia, you would find China, Japan, South Korea willing to do these things I’m talking about.  And that would lead to much greater pressure on both Iran and North Korea, again, very responsive to concerns we’ve heard in the Senate.  So far from trying to avoid it, I’m trying to embrace the Senate and their concerns.

MR. KIMBALL:  And I would just add, you know, no matter how this administration or any other future administration pursues nuclear risk reduction and tries to deal with the complexities of the international system and other countries who might be blocking progress, it is absolutely essential for the administration to engage with the House and the Senate on these issues so that there is a broad understanding of what the risks are, what the options are to deal with those risks and what the administration is actually doing.

I think one of the failures of the Obama administration over the last year or so has been that there has not been enough engagement and explanation about what the Prague agenda is.  And that has created a vacuum of understanding and misperception.  And so no matter what the approach is, whether it requires the Senate advising a dissent or not, that engagement is critical.

So other questions.  Yes, Ed.

Q:  Yes.  Thank you.  (Ed Ward ?) of Georgetown University.  Three excellent presentations.  A quick question for Steve.  It’s widely assumed that the U.S. stockpile of non-deployed weapons is larger than the Russian stockpile and that we can use that to trade off against the Russian advantage in tactical nuclear weapons.

But one of the frustrations of this business is that, to my knowledge, the Russians have never said anything about the size of their stockpile.  So how do we know that ours is larger?

MR. KIMBALL:  How do we know the known unknowns?

MR. PIFER:  OK.  I mean, since I’ve now been out of the government about eight, nine years now, I basically work off of the basis of unclassified numbers.  So I’m going on the basis of those who’ve taken a very hard look at this.  I think it’s not just the number of weapons in the reserve stockpile but it’s the ability to deploy them if the treaty broke down.

And at least my understanding so far is that when the Russians are implementing their reductions under New START, they take missiles out, retire them, but the missiles that they retain in the force have full warhead sets, whereas the U.S. military, and I’ve already described this approach, which is very different, all of the intercontinental ballistic missiles will be de-MIRVed down to a single warhead.

And so although I think – Frank, you know, about a third of the ICBMs that we still have in the force, they’ve had new bulkheads put on so they can only carry one warhead but the others have not.  So, you know, you could add additional warheads back to that force.

The Trident submarine-launched ballistic missile can carry eight warheads.  And my back-of-the-envelope calculations under New START, it will on average have four to five.  So there’s the ability, if the treaty would break down, to add I figured about 1,000 warheads back to the force, which I don’t think the Russians have at this point in time.  Now, if the Russians, you know, build a new heavy ICBM and deploy with less than its full warheads, they may build that capability.  But, right now, I think there’s an area of American advantage and I have heard from some Russians that that bothers them.

Now, one of the reasons why they have pushed and why they did not accept the Bush administration proposal in 2008 for limits just on deployed warheads, is they saw limits and constraints on launchers as a way to get at the issue of non-deployed strategic warheads.  So I think it’s an issue there.  I can’t tell you how big of an issue it is, but it gives us I think something to offer in a trade.

MR. KIMBALL:  OK.  We have another question here?

Q:  Good morning.  And thank you for organizing this event.  My name is Alex Hiniker and I work with IKV Pax Christi.  I guess you’ve heard a bit about the increasing concern about the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons use.  In Oslo, in March, there was a conference attended by 127 countries, not the P-5, and there will be a follow-up conference organized in Mexico.  I was wondering how this concern or debate influences, if at all, the internal policy discussions.

MR. KIMBALL:  Jim, you want to take a crack at that or – and I have a few thoughts about that.

MR. GOODBY:  Well, I don’t know much about the internal policy discussions, but it does seem to me that the last Nuclear Posture Review did not go quite far enough in stating what the purpose of U.S. nuclear weapons was to be.  It did move fairly far in saying its principal purpose was to deter the use of nuclear weapons, I think probably they could go to the point of saying that the only purpose is to deter nuclear weapons.  That would be responsive to what I think is the real world situation.  Whether that’s possible these days, I don’t know, but it would be something that I would recommend.

MR. KIMBALL:  So the conference in Oslo, to which you refer, took place last month or so, short article in this month’s Arms Control Today about that conference.  I mean, it’s my impression that the conference is an expression of the frustration of non-nuclear weapon states, many of whom are U.S. allies about the pace of progress on nuclear disarmament.  It’s also a development that has occurred because of the development of international humanitarian law in all sorts of areas of conflict and weaponry.

And so Norway was trying to apply those international humanitarian issues and concerns to the context of nuclear weapons.  Now, this is not a new issue.  It’s been around since the times Jim Goodby was talking with Harold Stassen and when Physician for Social Responsibility was established in 1961 so it’s a very familiar topic.

I think it’s unfortunate that the P-5 did not attend because I think it’s a teachable moment for all sides, to better understand what the consequences of even just use of one nuclear weapon would be.  And it would be an opportunity for the P-5 to engage with some of the non-nuclear weapon states that don’t really understand or have the technical capacity to see the complexities of the process of moving closer to zero.

And so I think, you know, we will be encouraging the U.S. government to reconsider its approach to that process, which I think is a good contribution to the public understanding of why we need to move toward a world without nuclear weapons.

Other questions?  We have time for maybe a couple more.  Yes, sir.

Q:  Bill Durston again with the Physicians for Social Responsibility.  Thanks for the plug.

MR. KIMBALL:  I used to work for PSR so it’s –

Q:  Obviously, we favor reduction of nuclear weapons.  But what if I could rephrase the question that I posed to Senator Shaheen, in lines with Ambassador Goodby’s coalition of the willing, how does the coalition of the willing induce the unwilling to go along with international treaties, and even including countries such as Israel, which might agree to a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, but how to induce countries to agree to the Non-Proliferation Treaty?

MR. GOODBY:  That’s a very good question.  And I happen to have a very lengthy paper that responds to it.  And I’ll give it to you afterwards.  But let me just very briefly say that the idea is, again, responsive to the U.S. Senate, which, in its resolution or ratification of the New START Treaty urged that other countries join into this arrangement that have nuclear weapons.

The purpose is to try to bring all the nuclear weapon states in.  If the P-5 begin that process, there becomes a certain attraction.  Countries like to be associated with, you know, a big, big boys’ club if you will, big girls’ club.

And it seems to me that the way you do that is to work one at a time.  Israel will come in at some point I think.  They may not be persuaded overnight, nor will countries like Iran or Korea perhaps.  But if you begin to get a coalition building that has a lot of important countries in it, that is going to constitute a lot of pressure that doesn’t exist now.

In addition to which, I always agree with my former boss and current associate, George Schultz when he said we ought to really think more seriously about how you go about enforcing some of these agreements.  And there are ideas about sort of automatic enforcement, cutting off support and sanctions, if you will, preposition sanctions.

So between sanctions, political pressure, I think one by one, you begin to get these countries into it.  Key – and this is also mentioned in this March 5 op-ed – would be regional agreements.  You can’t do all this at the global level.  You have to work at it from a regional standpoint.  And that’s why the Gang of Four always recommends that in Northeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, you also have to work at it among the countries in those areas.  So that’s how you would do it, I think.

MR. KIMBALL:  One thing I would point out is that in a couple of weeks, the Arms Control Association will be releasing a report on the 11 widely recognized nuclear disarmament non-proliferation commitments that have emerged from this body of treaties and practice, U.N. Security Council resolutions.

And if you look at that broader list, there are most states than just, who’ve got responsibilities that are unfulfilled.  So through the means that Jim has been talking about, you know, other mechanisms, I mean, there are ways in which to draw these other countries into the conversation and to move them further along to meet those commitments.

Any other questions?  Yes.  Yes, ma’am.  Go ahead.

Q:  Thank you.  Debra Fisher (sp), State Department.  My question is for Ambassador Pifer.  I was wondering if we have any preliminary indications, whether the Russians would support your proposed track one proposal for speeding implementation of New START.  I know you have somewhat addressed that regarding their incentives.

MR. PIFER:  Well, I think in the case of the implementation of New START, actually, if you look at the three limits in the New START Treaty, the Russians have already met two of them.  Now, they can go back on both.  They are I think in the most recent data exchange, they were 1,491 or 1,492 deployed warheads.  So they’re already below 1,550.  Now, they could go back up as long as they’re below 1,550 in 2018.

So this would basically be a recommendation for the United States to accelerate its implementation of that 1,550 limit, which I think would be something useful to do, for example, looking to the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in 2015, it would be a useful talking point to say, hey, here’s an example of our commitment to nuclear reduction.  The treaty requires this to be done by 2018.  We got it done three years early.

And you could actually make it reversible.  I mean, the United States could say this is going to be our policy to go below 1,550 by say date X in 2014.  And you could put a little side note saying, as long as Russia stays below 1,550.  And if Russia were to go back above, you could always reverse that policy so you could in fact build yourself an escape hatch.

But it seems to me that this was something that, you know, could be done fairly easily.  And again, when the decision was taken that 1,550 was an acceptable number in 2018, presumably people said well, between now, 2010, when we negotiate this treaty, and 2018, uncertain things can happen.  And I assume that the conservative calculation about uncertainty is things will only get worse in 2018.  So if 1,550 works in 2018, it ought to work now.

I think this is something the administration could do.  It couldn’t be done overnight, but it could be done I think significantly quicker than six year from now.  And it would give the administration a useful talking point and would be an indication that the administration wants to move more quickly on this.

MR. KIMBALL:  And it would be a way to help induce Russia to continue further on the track that it is on.  And sometimes, statements alone can be helpful.  And so, you know, the president will have opportunities very soon to outline how he plans to go forward.

As Steve said, National Security Advisor Donilon is going to be meeting with his counterparts in Moscow.  There should be some feedback after that point.  And so it’s very possible for the president to announce that he is prepared to accelerate those reductions if Russia joins with the United States and continues on that track.  And that would be – I would just say not just a talking point.  That would be a tangible concrete step.

GEN. KLOTZ:  It’s not a new idea.  I mean, there are historical precedents to doing this in previous arms control agreements that we’ve had with the Soviet Union and now Russia.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  If there are no further questions, I want to thank our speakers and wrap up.  We’ve covered a lot of ground today on the Prague agenda, the next steps in the Prague agenda for the nuclear reductions, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, fissile material talks, engaging other countries in the nuclear risk reduction process.  None of these steps are easy.  None are simple, but, clearly, I think you’ll agree that doing nothing is not a very good option in the face of persistent nuclear dangers.

And I invite you to keep an eye on our Arms Control Association schedule and calendar.  We’ve got some events coming up soon as well as Arms Control Today.  And I want to thank your three speakers very much.  It’s one of the best parts of my job working with very interesting, thoughtful folks like Frank, and Steve, and Jim.  Please join me in thanking them.  (Applause.)  And good morning.



The Arms Control Association is an independent, membership-based organization dedicated to providing authoritative information and practical policy solutions to address the threats posed by the world's most dangerous weapons.


Four years ago, President Obama delivered a speech outlining a series of concrete steps to move closer to a world without nuclear weapons. Since that April 5, 2009 address in Prague, the Obama administration has embarked on a number of steps to reduce the number and role of nuclear weapons, secure vulnerable nuclear material, prepare for reconsideration of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, strengthen the barriers against further nuclear weapons proliferation, and more.

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Panel Discussion “Time to Move from Tactics to Strategy on Iran”



Remarks as delivered by Greg Thielmann, Senior Fellow, Arms Control Association at the launch of the Atlantic Council Task Force report on U.S. immediate and long-term strategy in dealing with Iran’s nuclear program. (To watch the complete event online go to  C-Span.org).
Washington, D.C.
April 4, 2013

I’m very happy to help launch the latest publication of the Atlantic Council’s Iran Task Force.  I want to thank the Council for this report, as well as the “issue briefs” and panel discussions, which preceded it.

Today’s release is the latest in a number of quality reports on the Iran nuclear issue that have been published in the first quarter of 2013.

The Arms Control Association released a “briefing book” in February: “Solving the Iranian Nuclear Puzzle.”  I would also mention: the International Crisis Group’s “Spider Web” report on the Iran sanctions; the National Iranian-American Council’s report on how Iranian stakeholders view the sanctions; and the Carnegie Endowment’s report on the “Costs and Risks” of Iran’s nuclear program.

Building on its own previous findings, the Atlantic Council’s Iran Task Force now recommends a long-term strategy to guide our policies on Iran.  I believe this report makes an important contribution to shaping an emerging consensus on how we should deal with Iran.

I will be offering some of my own perspectives today on the very difficult policy decisions we face in trying to strengthen the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and dissuade Iran from building nuclear weapons.

In deference to proclivities developed during seven years as a State Department intelligence analyst, I will also try to register at least one dissenting footnote to the views of the majority.

Obstacles to negotiating a solution

It’s easy to get discouraged by recalling the history of our bilateral relations with Iran.  Both sides have missed opportunities.  Some of Iran’s grievances toward the United States predate any arguments over the nuclear program, but they are still obstacles to a nuclear solution.

If the historical baggage is heavy, contemporary concerns don’t seem very light either.  We are constantly reminded by the press and commentators that the sanctions have failed to convince the Iranians to change their policies and that time is running out.  Every quarterly report of the International Atomic Energy Agency informs us how many more centrifuges Iran has installed, how much more enriched uranium Iran has accumulated and how uncooperative Iran has been in addressing the agency’s questions about suspicious past activities.

A political consensus seems to have formed in the United States around the notion that an Iranian nuclear weapon would be “unacceptable,” even as a debate rages about how close Iran should be allowed to get.

Although even Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu seems to have extended his red line to next year, a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed co-authored by David Albright warns that Iran on its current trajectory will be able, by mid-2014, to assemble sufficient fissile material for a bomb within one to two weeks of an order from the Supreme Leader.

Some of you may have heard this past Monday at Brookings of the low expectations for the next round of negotiations from former White House official Gary Samore.  Samore predicted that there would be no agreement before Iranian elections in June, commenting that we have a long way to go before even a confidence-building-measure is possible.  Former EU Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana opined at the same event that it will be very difficult to resolve the nuclear issues while the Syrian political crisis rages.

Where are we now in negotiating a solution?

Samore did not, however, rule out a narrowing of differences when the parties meet tomorrow in Almaty, Kazakhstan.  And this is exactly what I would like to discuss next.  Where are we in negotiating necessary constraints on Iran’s nuclear activities?

By all accounts, February’s six power talks with Iran and the March meeting between the parties’ technical experts in Istanbul were constructive.  In a real sense, these talks are beginning to resemble real negotiations.

The initial focus of the six powers is on halting the growth in Iran's stockpile of 20-percent-enriched uranium that would provide the fastest route toward producing the fissile material needed to build a nuclear weapon.

Iran's principal objectives are to establish the legitimacy of uranium enrichment and to gain as much sanctions relief as possible, while keeping its future options open.

With Iran’s presidential elections less than three months away, it does not seem likely Iran would be inclined to cut a deal – even on a small, interim step.  Nonetheless, it is reasonable to hope for a further narrowing of differences that would bring the sides closer to taking that first step – an agreement that would build confidence and buy time for a more comprehensive settlement.

Agreement on dates and venues for continued talks would be a minimum acceptable outcome.  I expect at least this to happen, because neither side has an interest in giving the impression that the negotiating process had stalled.

What kind of an agreement?

This brings us to the task of identifying the substantive and procedural requirements for an interim agreement.

I would first suggest conceding Iran’s conditional “right” to enrichment.  Anyone interested in a negotiated settlement of the Iran nuclear issue knows that we cannot successfully achieve exceptional transparency measures and exceptional limitations on Iran’s nuclear program without accepting Iran’s ability to enrich some uranium for civilian power reactor fuel.  It would be helpful to more clearly telegraph this willingness to accept the obvious.  Demanding a halt to all enrichment does not give the United States leverage when the Iranians know full well it will ultimately be withdrawn; it just gives Tehran an excuse for diverting attention from the real issue -- Iran’s noncompliance with its obligations to the IAEA.

We must, of course, continue to stress the conditionality of uranium enrichment rights.  Though inalienable, NPT Article IV rights must be “in conformity with Articles I and II” of the treaty.

I would also suggest trying hard to separate the perfect from the good.  As an interim measure, it is more important to quickly achieve a modest but useful agreement that can be easily monitored than seeking up-front a better, more extensive and permanent limitation.

For example, there appears to be agreement in principle to stopping expansion of Iran’s 20 percent enriched uranium stockpile.  I would argue that achieving this immediate goal is more important than Tehran agreeing to move its stockpile to another country.  While imperfect, even conversion of the existing stockpile of uranium gas to the solid form used for fuel in the Tehran Research Reactor, would be a step forward.

Similarly, it seems to me that ending the production of medium grade uranium anywhere in Iran is more important than winning agreement to shutter the deep underground facility at Fordow.  The key question is frequency and ease of IAEA access to uranium enrichment facilities, not their location.

Finally we should drop the demand to shut down Fordow. It’s not very persuasive to argue for closure “because Fordow is too difficult for Israel to destroy.”

Although details are sketchy, the six powers are offering some relief to the ever-expanding web of sanctions, relaxing restrictions on gold trading and the sale of petrochemical products.  Perhaps implementation of certain EU sanctions could also be suspended, but the core sanctions must be maintained until Iran is ready to seal the deal.

The key for an interim agreement will be to find a package of sanctions relief proportionate to the concessions offered by Tehran – both in scale and reversibility.

The Big Picture

When an interim agreement has been achieved, negotiations can begin in earnest on measures to ensure transparency, resolve questions about past military activities, and on unwinding the sanctions.

We need to dwell not on what we most want, but on what we must have.  Maintaining six power cohesion remains a priority.  And we need to spend at least a little time worrying about how Iran’s negotiators will sell a negotiated agreement in Tehran, not just how it will go over in the U.S. Congress.


And now for the footnote I promised.

The “military option” section includes, on the one hand, thorough lists of “grave” implications for a nuclear Iran, and on the other, of  “dire” consequences for a “premature military strike.”  I’m sure I join everyone in our audience today in fervently wishing for neither rather than either.

But I personally think the consequences of a nuclear Iran are somewhat overdrawn and description of consequences a little too torrid.

-- Why would an Iranian success in violating UN Security Council resolutions “shred” the NPT when North Korean violations have not?

-- Why should we believe an Iranian bomb would “threaten the very existence of Israel” when Yehud Barak does not?

Moreover, I’m not sure what it means to “ensure that the option of military strikes remains credible.”  Given the ramifications of an attack that would delay but not even prevent an Iranian bomb, I doubt that the United States hitting first with a unilateral “preventive attack” can ever be very credible.  Constantly repeating that “the military option is on the table” won’t make it so.


I’m very happy to help launch the latest publication of the Atlantic Council’s Iran Task Force.  I want to thank the Council for this report, as well as the “issue briefs” and panel discussions, which preceded it.

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TRANSCRIPT AVAILABLE: Sustaining U.S. Nuclear Forces on a Tight Budget



Tuesday, March 19, 2013
9:30am to 11:00am
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Root Room
1779 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, DC

With the sequester now a reality, the Defense budget must come down. One place to look for savings is the $31 billion the United States spends each year on nuclear weapons. The Pentagon had been seeking to build a new generation of multi-billion-dollar nuclear delivery systems, including long-range missiles, submarines and bombers, as well as extending the service lives of nuclear warheads. Now, those plans are in doubt.

At the same time, in his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama said he would "engage Russia to seek further reductions in our nuclear arsenals." The administration is also revising U.S. nuclear guidance policy. Both processes could allow additional reductions in U.S. nuclear spending.

Meanwhile, some Republican senators are saying they will not allow a vote on a new U.S.-Russian arms reduction treaty unless spending on nuclear weapons is increased.

As the Obama administration prepares its budget submission to Congress for fiscal year 2014, the Arms Control Association (ACA) will host an expert briefing on the actual cost of the nuclear stockpile and options for responsibly reducing spending on excess nuclear weaponry in a budget-constrained environment.
The panel will include:



Transcript by
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.

DARYL KIMBALL:  Good morning, everyone.  Welcome to this morning’s briefing on sustaining U.S. nuclear forces on a tight budget.

I’m Daryl Kimball.  I’m the director of the Arms Control Association here in Washington, D.C.  We’re an independent membership-based organization and we’ve been around since 1971, working to outline practical policy solutions to deal with what we call the world’s most dangerous weapons – nuclear, chemical, biological and certain conventional weapons.

And we’re here today to talk about the confluence of two developments – the diminishing role of nuclear weapons in U.S. national security strategy and the difficult budget environment that we’re in and how the United States is going to be maintaining its shrinking nuclear force in the years ahead.

As we gather here we ought to remind ourselves – sometimes we forget – it’s been 20 years since the end of the Cold War, 10 years since the beginning of the Gulf War, and over 10 years since 9/11.  And clearly nuclear weapons are playing a different and I would argue a lesser role in U.S. defense strategy.

And I’m just going to mention one statement from President Obama from a year ago that drives this point home as an introduction to the presentations we’re going to hear in a few minutes.  He said, “My administration’s nuclear posture recognizes that the massive nuclear arsenal we inherited from the Cold War is poorly suited for today’s threats, including nuclear terrorism.  Last summer I therefore directed my national security team to conduct a comprehensive study of our nuclear forces.  That study is still under way.”  It’s actually probably concluded but it hasn’t been announced.

He went on to say, “But even as we have more work to do, we can already say with confidence that we have more nuclear weapons than we need.  I firmly believe that we can ensure the security of the United States and its allies, maintain a strong deterrent against any threat, and still pursue further reductions in our nuclear arsenal.”

And at the same time, today the Congress and the administration put into motion military spending cuts that require serious rethinking of earlier plans for rebuilding U.S. forces in the years ahead.  Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said on National Public Radio just a few days ago that “we can make some major reductions in the nuclear program.”

So today we are going to discuss how and why those reductions can be achieved.  And we’re going to start with remarks from two of our colleagues from the Stimson Center, which I should note recently received a MacArthur Foundation Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.  So you’ve got two semi-geniuses here speaking to you.  (Laughter).  And I mention that in part because the Arms Control Association won the same award two years ago, so we’ve got a lot riding on our shoulders here to figure out these problems, a lot of expectations to live up to.

So first we’ll hear from Stimson co-founder Barry Blechman.  He’s going to be reviewing some of the national security rationale for further reductions in U.S. and Russian arsenals.

Then we’ll hear from Russ Rumbaugh who is the director of Stimson’s Defense Budget Program, who is going to provide an updated look at some of those earlier, well-researched estimates on the costs of U.S. nuclear weapons programs to the U.S. taxpayer.  And those earlier findings were summarized in an article that appeared last year in Arms Control Today, called “Resolving the Ambiguity of Nuclear Weapons Costs.”

And then we’ll hear from Arms Control Association’s own research director, Tom Collina, and he is going to be outlining our newly updated and more detailed description of some options that we believe that Senator Levin, members of Congress and the administration should consider in the months ahead for reducing U.S. nuclear open spending.

And then after each person speaks for about 10 minutes or so we’ll take your questions, get into some discussion.

So with that, Barry, I invite you to come up here if you’d – or you could stay there if you really want to.  But come on up.  Thanks for coming.

BARRY BLECHMAN:  Well, thank you, Daryl.

I’m the theory guy so I’m going to leave the facts to my colleagues and just throw out some ideas here, because deterrence and calculating requirements for deterrence for nuclear weapons is strictly in the realm of theory.  It’s not based on any physical principles.  It’s based on speculation about what might be required to deter a particular national leader in a particular circumstance.  If you look at Israeli and U.S. policy toward Iran, apparently no number of nuclear weapons would be sufficient to deter an Iran with even one nuclear weapon.

However, since the country with the largest number of nuclear weapons, the only one that has anything comparable to ours, is Russia, it’s our theory about what’s required to deter Russia that drives our so-called requirements for nuclear weapons.

During the Cold War it was assumed that we needed to be able to survive a Soviet attack – or actually it was assumed that we would fire under an attack or even upon warning of an attack and preempt against Soviet strategic forces, conventional military forces, war-supporting industries, and a whole range of other targets.

This target set was changed somewhat during the Carter administration where industries were downgraded, leadership targets were given a higher priority.  But the basic perspective was we needed to be able to fight and prevail in a protracted nuclear war in order to deter Soviet leaders from initiating such a conflict.

Also important in calculating requirements is the degree of confidence we want to have that we will be able to destroy those targets.  And during the Cold War the level of confidence assumed to be required was very high, which meant that we would put several warheads on high-value targets – sometimes three or even four warheads.  And the result was that there were literally hundreds of warheads targeted on the Moscow region and our requirements for 10,000 warheads or so overall to be able to deter the Soviet Union.

Now, when the Cold War ended and we no longer confronted the Soviet Union but only Russia, some reductions were made.  Russian forces were smaller than those of the Soviets and became smaller over time.  Secondly we decided we probably didn’t have to target countries like Czechoslovakia and other former allies of the Soviets or former parts of the Soviet Union that had become independent countries.

But the basic principles still remain the same.  The basic principle that still governs our calculations of requirements is this requirement to prevail in a nuclear war.

Now, those requirements could be – so the question is, not facing a country with an ideology that drives it toward world domination, a country which has been set back in many ways, politically and socially, a country which has changed dramatically and whose relationships with us and with European countries are completely different – is – does that still require this large number of nuclear weapons to deter them should we ever come into a crisis with them?

We have conflicting interests with Russia, obviously, in some places, but nothing on the order of the struggle which led to the very large requirements for nuclear weapons that we saw many years ago and which still drive our force planning.

Now, we could reduce these so-called requirements by eliminating certain kinds of target sets, by reducing the confidence we demand in our ability to destroy whichever targets remain, and by reducing the requirements that we respond promptly – be able to respond promptly.  For example, the CNO last year was asked why we required so many strategic submarines with so many warheads, and he said because he was required by STRATCOM to be able to deliver so many warheads promptly against an adversary, meaning Russia.  Well, if that requirement for prompt response were reduced we could have fewer submarines because we no longer would need to maintain two on station in each ocean.

I should also note reserve warheads.  You know, we have 1,550 operation long-range warheads.  We have more than that – maybe 2,500 or so – in reserves.  In part these serve as a hedge against the failure of a warhead, if we discover there’s some terrible technical flaw in a deployed warhead and we need to replace them.  But also it’s driven – the size of the reserve – by a desire to be able to generate an even larger force during a crisis, that we could put additional warheads on our deployed weapons.  And if we reduced that requirement, if we understood that was really not a very realistic need, we could certainly reduce the number of warheads we keep in reserve as well as those that we keep operational.

As Daryl mentioned, the administration has looked at these questions in its NPR implementation study, once described as a 90-day study – it perhaps is a 90-year study at this point – until that study is completed and released and directions given to targeteers, to budget planners, to arms control negotiations – negotiators, there will be no tangible change in the U.S. nuclear posture.  So it’s essential in my view that that study be completed and released and turned into operating instructions to the bureaucracy.

Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you very much.  And now we’ll hear from Russell Rumbaugh, who is going to talk about the other side of this equation, which is estimated costs of our nuclear forces.


RUSSELL RUMBAUGH:  Well, thanks for having me.  Thanks for coming.

When I was asked to present today they used the phrase “update” my numbers from the study we did.  I didn’t have the heart to tell them that because of all the showdowns on the Hill there’s actually not any new numbers.  There’s not an update going on.  (Laughter.)

Most of the time I kind of whine and say my job is a lot more difficult as we go from three-month showdown to three-month showdown, but it turns out when you don’t have to redo an entire study, maybe sometimes these showdowns have an advantage to me.

Anyway, we did this study last summer or released it last summer, trying to get at, as we said, resolving ambiguity, trying to really lay out what are we talking about and what costs can we apply for the different parts of the nuclear enterprise.  You’ll notice in my title I’ve already dropped “ambiguity” to try to acknowledge maybe we didn’t quite succeed as much as I hoped to.

Nevertheless I’m still pretty proud of it and do think this is about as good as you can get estimate of what we spend on nukes.

We were primarily interested in offensive strategic nuclear forces or, if you’ll forgive me the crassness of it, nukes that kill people.  There’s other things you could certainly include: the cleanup costs from our original nuclear weapons or our atomic weapons program; the nonproliferation costs we use to try to prevent these weapons from going elsewhere; and missile defense – defending against others’ nuclear weapons.

But even if you leave those out and just focus on this crass offensive side, there’s still three problems.  The first and easiest is two agencies own it.  DOE owns the warheads; DOD owns the delivery systems.

The second one that really flounders for people and why it came to us is DOD’s really big, so big it ruins my graphic and I have to put in this little inset just to try to give you a sense of, you know, the big moon that is DOD or the big planet that is DOD with its tiny little moons called the Department of Energy rotating around it.

And that opens up this ambiguity, right?  How much of DOD should you include?  What are the nuclear costs?  And the way DOD accounts for itself, the way it budgets for itself doesn’t lend itself to that.  So that’s why, you know, you get me coming in.

Finally, there’s a third theoretical problem – dual use.  I’ve got a bomber.  It can deliver a nuclear weapon but it could also fly over Afghanistan and deliver a conventional force, a conventional bomb to support a Special Operations force.  Well, how much of that do you ascribe to nuclear weapons and how much do you ascribe to conventional forces?  It’s a question that doesn’t have and will never have a very fine answer.  It’s the same bomber doing both things.

This was our effort to try to lay out some of those issues.  Obviously I just said it has three big problems, and solving that with one chart is probably not likely.  But hopefully this illustrates it.

You can see the tan is the parts we’re looking at – again, the strategic offensive nuclear weapons.  The blue are the parts you certainly are legitimate – parts of the nuclear enterprise, although we didn’t look at them.  And then the brown are the other parts of the agencies that we felt didn’t actually have anything to do with nuclear weapons.

So all of that adds up into the number 31 billion (dollars).  Thirty-one billion (dollars).  Not that big a deal in the sense of the defense budget, right?  Less than half a percent or about half a percent.  So in some sense not – or, I’m sorry, 5 percent.  Not super big dollars, but at the same time hopefully we’re not sneezing at $31 billion a year.  That’s still real money.

Half of the money goes to DOD.  Of DOD’s half – I’m sorry.  Two-thirds of that money goes to DOD.  Of DOD, half of it is the delivery systems.  So a third of all of our nuclear weapons costs are the delivery systems themselves – the subs, the bombers and the ICBMs.

RDT should probably be included in those, the way DOD accounts it, but – MFP1 there is Major Force Program 1.  That’s how DOD displays what it calls strategic offensive nuclear weapons.  But – that first showed up in the ‘60s and has slowly but surely been eroding as a useful metric.

Certainly the RDT&E – and that’s just for 2011 so it’s pretty small RDT&E – but truthfully that should probably be included in the cost of the systems themselves.

Then finally you have this other stuff, and this is where we really came about.  So you have the command and control.  We have these satellites.  Those aren’t in any of the standard accounting lines for how much nuclear weapons cost, but our nuclear weapons are only as good as our ability to tell them what to do, so all that C2 counts, and as you can see it’s $5 billion.

Now, the way we approached this study is when everybody talks about nuclear weapons we were doing – we were trying to say, OK, what if you didn’t have a Department of Defense?  How much do nuclear weapons cost?  So we want to capture all of that underlying support cost.  So what does it take to recruit and train an airman, a security forces patrolman, airman at Barksdale Air Force Base?

When we added that all up, that’s about $4 billion.  There’s a billion of that which is – a billion of that which is actual operating costs – the tankers to support the bombers, some special units we have to move nuclear weapons around – but most of that is what it would take to keep the infrastructure running.  Obviously just having a bomber is not good enough.  You have to get the person to pilot the bomb and all of the other work.

Thirty-one billion dollars – a big number.  But even then nuclear weapons costs have been fairly flat for about 15 years now, since about the mid-90s when we did get through the Cold War drawdown.  They’ve been fairly stable even as in the last decade the rest of the defense budget took off, doubled in size and increased by 70 percent in real terms.  Nuclear weapons didn’t really take off.  They stayed fairly flat through all of that.

Again, it’s real costs, but it’s mainly sunk costs – things we’ve already spent.  And in fact, if you were going to start shutting things down you would have to offset some of those costs.  At one point now getting to be a decade ago, one of the experts called it the hunt for small potatoes.  (Laughs.)

But today we’re at a different point.  So not only do we now have these nuclear weapons – and you already heard Barry’s reasons, without thinking of cost at all, of why we should not have so many – now not only do we have reasons like Barry provided for why we don’t need all of these, we’re about to embark or we have now embarked on two major modernization programs.  We’re going to buy a new bomber and we’re going to buy a new sub.  Everything I just said about stable costs, about oh, it’s not that big a deal – that’s now out the door for the next decade as we take on these very, very large programs.

The bomber – the Air Force has said, hey, we’re really going to be cost-sensitive about this.  We learned our lesson from the B-2 bomber of the ‘90s where it ended up costing so much they only got to buy 20 of them.  They really would like to have 100 of them, so they’re going to make sure it doesn’t cost that much.  Even then there are costs.  It’s a bomber.  It’s a big platform.  They say 550 million (dollars) is their target.  Well, geez, $550 million per bomber, you buy a hundred of them – that’s a $55 billion program over the next 20 or so years.

The subs are even bigger – $75 billion over its lifetime, and including the first boat is going to cost – is estimated to cost $12 billion itself.

As you saw in the RDT&E slide, that’s not very big right now, right?  We’re spending about 300 million (dollars) today on the bomber and we’re spending about $500 million today on the sub.  But over the next decade that’s going to slowly – it’s not even going to slowly – it’s going to ratchet up.

If you see – this is our big summary table.  It may not be that exciting – it’s not that exciting to read when you’re looking at it in the report; certainly not that exciting to read on a slide.  But the key takeaway is, our total over 10 years was somewhere between 350 (billion dollars) and $390 billion, and our modernization costs from these two programs – not counting modernizing satellites, not counting modernizing the ICBM – are 50 (billion dollars) to $60 billion.

So a sixth to a seventh of what we’re going to spend on nuclear weapons is on these new systems.  Regardless of – even if we had gotten to a point where costs weren’t that pressing a need, clearly as all of the Department of Defense faces restrictions or faces austerity, reducing nukes isn’t going to solve that problem.  But everything is going to need to pay, so even that – those sunk costs need to be get at.

Now looking into the future, it’s a real problem.  It’s – this is going to become an increasing force on the entire defense budget, all from maintaining the level of nuclear forces we currently have.

So with that I – hopefully that gives you a sense of taking out some of the rhetoric and just give you a sense of the scale and point out this is real money and it’s about to become more real money.  And if you did – do need the cost reason, it’s there – although hopefully you just listened to Barry and recognized the reality of the weapons themselves.

With that, I’ll turn it over.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you, Russell.

All right, everybody, hold on to your wallets so that the Defense Department doesn’t try to pull them out.  (Laughter.)  Tom Collina is going to talk about some of the options for dealing with these issues.


TOM COLLINA:  Thank you, Daryl, very much.

And thank you, Barry and Russ, for that great setup for my part of the conversation, which to me is the fun part anyway, which is how do we go about helping the Pentagon address what is a significant challenge, which is how do you reduce the budget by up to $1 trillion over the next 10 years but do it in a smart, sustainable way that we actually can deploy the nuclear weapons that we plan to deploy.

Now, the good news is that the arsenal is declining anyway as a result of the New START treaty through 2018, and possibly through another round of reductions that President Obama has said he wants to pursue with Russia – but, you know, we don’t know where that’s going yet.  But the potential for additional reductions is there.

And at the same time, as Barry mentioned, the administration is changing nuclear guidance, which can also have a very helpful effect in terms of reducing the number of nuclear weapons we need to maintain.

But – and it’s a significant but – the nuclear arsenal will be with us for decades into the future.  And as Russ mentioned, the delivery systems are aging, so we’re at this pivot point right now where the Pentagon has to reinvest in the triad, in the delivery systems.

Now, in some ways this comes at a great time because these decisions haven’t been made yet.  They’re not set in stone.  And so now is the time – given the arms reductions that we’re seeing and the budget pressures that are building, now is the time to revisit these plans.  So that’s what I’m going to run you all through right now.

And if you didn’t pick it up outside, there’s a new fact sheet that we produced on these options that I’m going to go through with this chart in the back.  So I’m essentially going to be speaking from this, so if you have it it might help you understand what I’m saying.

So we applied two guiding principles to looking at the Pentagon nuclear weapons plans.  We looked for ways to be more efficient with how the Pentagon deploys the warheads.  In other words, how do we maintain New START levels of 1,550 weapons, for example – how do we maintain that but save money at the same time?

And since the future need for weapons is uncertain – in other words we don’t know if we’re going to get this next follow-on agreement or process or understanding with Russia.  The future need for the weapons is uncertain so let’s not buy new systems until we have to.  If we buy them too soon we may wind up buying too many.

So, with those two guiding principles, let’s take a look at what the plans are and how we might scale them back.

So, currently, as Russ has already described, if you look at submarines, for example, which is – the biggest piece of the modernization budget is going to the submarines, which over their lifetime could cost upwards of $350 billion.  The current plan that the Navy has is to over time retire the current Ohio class subs that are out there starting in 2027, and starting in 2042 start deploying 12 new subs to replace the ones that are aging out.

And if you again apply this principle of doing things more efficiently, if you think about it, those subs are going to be deployed only half to a little more than half full in terms of the warheads that they carry.  So if we’re using our efficiency principle and we put those boats instead with a full complement of warheads on them rather than about half, we could go down to eight subs.

So the point here is that we can save a lot of money and still deploy the same number of warheads that we planned to deploy under New START by going down to eight submarines.  And over the next 10 years that saves roughly $18 billion, which to us is a nice sum.  And again, you can do that without any new arms reductions, just living under the New START treaty that we already – we already have today.

Going down a level, looking at bombers, you know, we applied the principle of don’t build things until you need them.  And right now the Air Force is looking, as Russ said, to build up to 100 new bombers at a cost of upwards of $68 billion.  But the current bombers we have today are good until the 2040s or 2050s, so we really don’t need to start this now.

So what we propose to do is delay the development of the new bomber until the mid-2020s, which basically kicks all that out of the next 10-year window and saves the $18 billion in development costs.  So there’s another 18 billion (dollars) in savings.

One of the warheads that would go on those bombers is the B61 warhead.  Most of those are deployed in Europe.  Some of them are also deployed on strategic bombers.

The NNSA wants to spend about $10 billion doing a life-extension of those warheads.  We would recommend to scale that back.  The warheads in Europe, for example, may not be there a decade from now when this upgrade is done, and they can be upgraded in a much more cost efficient way than the current plans are.  So we would scale that back and save $5 billion.

And then in terms of the ICBMs, you know, there’s – the new ICBM program is just in its infancy.  It’s just starting up.  The Air Force has put out an options paper about different ways it might go with that from underground railroad systems, which don’t seem very likely, to just extending the life of the current Minuteman 3 until 2075.  And so we would suggest that’s the way to go, and we don’t need to do this now because those missiles again will be around into the 2030s.  So that’s another process that we suggest be delayed out of this 10-year window.

We don’t know what the savings on that would be because we don’t know how much it’s going to cost.

But certainly if we get another round of arms reductions with Russia we could cut the current force of ICBMs from the current level of about 400 down to 300 and save some money through that.

And finally, if you look at the missile defense account, we got a little help here already just on Friday from the Pentagon.  The Pentagon was planning to deploy the fourth phase of the European Phased Adaptive Approach, the SM3 IIB, and it just canceled that which we feel was a necessary step because the technology wasn’t going to pan out anyway and because Russia had raised concerns about whether this system might threaten its long-range missiles.

So it opens the door for that process to move ahead.  It also saves a lot of money because we don’t have a firm estimate but the National Academy of Sciences has estimated that that program to develop – just to develop would have cost about $9 billion over the next 10 years.  So that’s a pretty significant savings from that as well.

So if you take this all together, you see about 50 billion (dollars) in potential savings just under the New START treaty, without any additional agreements or understandings with Russia – about $50 billion, deploying the same number of warheads that we plan to deploy today.

If we get a new agreement or a new understanding with Russia, whether that be a mutual thing or however it’s actually done, we could go beyond that another 8 billion (dollars) at least, and there are other categories that we didn’t add in here.

And in fact we’re only looking at the next 10 years here.  A lot of the significant savings from reductions would come beyond the 10-year window, but because we’re only looking at 10 years – because I think in many ways, you know, looking beyond 10 years it gets a little crazy in terms of Washington politics and who knows what’s going to happen.  But in terms of the next 10 years there will be additional savings as well, and beyond that potentially more.

So again, I think what this shows is that arms reductions are going to save us money and can save us a lot of money if we plan it smartly and if we are efficient about it and if we don’t build things too soon before we need – we know how much we need.

Thanks very much.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you, Tom.

I hope all of that has been thought-provoking.  Our goal here, as Tom said, is to provide some realistic, practical ideas for solving the problems that are ahead, making sure that we don’t pursue weapons systems that we don’t need and have a hard time affording.

So with that let me open up the floor to questions.  If you could just identify yourself, let us know who you’d like to have answer the question, that would be – that would be great.



Q:  Hi.  Thank you –

MR. KIMBALL:  And there’s a microphone that Marcus will hand over to you.  So – thank you.

Q:  Hi.  I’m Chris Lindborg with the British-American Security Information Council.  Thank you all for your presentations.  It’s good to see all of you today.

I’m just wondering, looking – I know there’s probably a reluctance to look past 10 years, but further down the road is there a sense of which part or leg of the triad might be the most likely to be cut or which one at least theoretically might make the most sense to take out and then leave the other two legs, or if there are any longer-term scenarios either theoretically – and taking into account some of the costs and that is understandable – but just, you know, on a theoretical basis, you know, as far as deterrence issues are concerned, what would be the most likely let to be cut?  Thank you.;

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Well, let me – let me take a quick stab and then maybe Russell or Barry have some thoughts about this from a budgetary or strategic standpoint.

I mean, one of the things you’ll notice about Tom’s presentation and outline is that you still have a triad at the end of this process.  And part of the point there is that we can – we believe that we can achieve significant, meaningful U.S. and Russian reductions while maintaining the triad, which in many ways is a product of inter-service rivalry and bureaucracy and history and not necessarily good strategic policy.

But you can maintain that triad, avoid some of the unfortunate nuclear pork-barreling politics that you see when one or another leg of the triad is thought to be threatened.  And you can achieve significant savings.

And I would say that, you know, even in our own office at the Arms Control Association in the hallway we have polite arguments about, you know, which leg of the triad 25 years from now or 15 years from now could most easily and smartly be eliminated.

So, I mean, we have kind of held that question in abeyance, but perhaps my colleagues from Stimson are bolder and are of some genius thoughts that they might want to offer on this issue.


MR. BLECHMAN:  Well, I actually think there is advantage in keeping the triad.  Each leg bears some advantages.

The submarines, of course, are the most survivable.  But particularly if we went down to eight submarines, which I think is a good idea, myself, the ICBMs provide a hedge against some unexpected threat to those submarines.

And the bombers have the advantage of permitting the president to delay the fateful decision longer than he could if he had just gave an order to fire missiles.  And I think any president would want to have in many situations a person in the loop flying the mission.

So – the ICBMs also have the advantage of being the cheapest leg.  As Tom mentioned, you can keep Minuteman alive well and through – into the century at very small cost.

So I’d keep all three legs down to the very low numbers.

MR. KIMBALL:  Russell?

I think – one thing I’d just like to ask you, Russell, that’s related to this is what have been some of the considerations about the strategic bomber program and the budgetary pros and cons or the implications of pursuing a bomber that is nuclear-capable because, as you pointed out, you can still build a new strategic bomber that has conventional capabilities and you can build in, with some additional marginal cost, a nuclear weapons delivery capability, or not.

And so can you just offer any just thoughts on what that conversation has been in the last couple of years inside the Pentagon?

MR. RUMBAUGH:  Well, that certainly seems to be where the Air Force is going.  They, for the first time, have said, we’re going to build the conventional part of the bomber first and then worry about certifying it nuclear after we’ve fielded it.  In the past the nuclear mission was always the primary driver and what led – why the bomber was trying to enter the force in the first place, and this time they’re hoping to have the bomber developed, tested, possibly even fielded before they then go and move on to the nuclear certification.

That doesn’t mean the nuclear aspects – the hardening and various other things to make it nuclear capable won’t already be embedded, but the final decision of when to bring it in to the nuclear force has been pushed off a little bit.

So I think exactly your point, Daryl, that it’s more up in the air than we’ve usually seen at this point in the program.



MR. COLLINA:  Just the hard part about trying to save money through taking out one leg of the triad is that most of the money is in the submarines and that’s probably the last leg of the triad that we will get rid of.

So that forces you to look at the other legs, and as we’ve said, the bombers are dual-capable so they’ll probably be built even if they’re not built for a nuclear mission, and the ICBMs are relatively cheap.

So it’s – so if you’re not taking out the subs, it’s hard to find a lot of money in the other legs, and as I said, the subs are the least leg to be taken out.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Other questions?

Yes, sir?

Q:  Andrew Pierre (sp).  The decision to last Friday – announce last Friday to cancel the SM32B Phase IV was accompanied of course by another decision, which was to increase the interceptors by 14, and I don’t see that on the chart here – the costs of that.  So I’m wondering what the tradeoff actually is with the additional interceptors.

Beyond that I’d be interested in the views of anybody as to whether that interceptor program makes sense in terms of North Korea and whether 14 is enough and how far we might now go in terms of reorienting our missile defense somewhat from Iran towards North Korea.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Tom, Barry, you want to take a stab?

MR. BLECHMAN:  You go on the cost.

MR. COLLINA:  On the cost actually it’s – they estimate, as you said, about a billion dollars to deploy the 14 additional interceptors.  That compares quite favorably to just the development costs of $9 billion – I’m sorry – $1 billion for the 14 interceptors; 9 billion (dollars) just for development of the SM32B.  So this is a very good cost-saving approach from that perspective.  And again, these are just development costs for the SM32B.

In terms of whether we need the 14 interceptors, I mean, I would say, you know, no, we don’t need them.  And we certainly shouldn’t deploy them until they’ve been tested and shown to be effective, which the administration said they would do.  So we’ll see how that process goes.

MR. BLECHMAN:  It’s a – you know, it’s a missile, an interceptor that doesn’t work against a missile that doesn’t exist.  (Laughter.)  So there’s a certain symmetry to it, that the missile hasn’t – they did launch one out of a silo a month ago but there was no target.  Before that there weren’t any tests for two years.  It failed most of the tests, and those that did succeed were highly scripted.  The target was going, here I am, here I am!  And it managed to hit it.

So it was obviously a political move to reassure the South Koreans that we wouldn’t be deterred, and the Japanese, I suppose.  But if it costs a lot of money, it’s a waste.

Q:  Could I just add to that that it was also perhaps a brilliant political move.  It was also perhaps a very – (inaudible) – because it opens up better than hitherto, the last two or three years, the prospects of arms control negotiations with the Russians.  They come to see the elimination of the Phase IV as, you know, something which they can then work with.

At the same time, in terms of our own Neanderthals in the U.S. Congress, it’s spending more money on missile defense, which they ought to welcome.

MR. BLECHMAN:  Well, the problem is that it also – it complicates things with China because, you know, we say Pyongyang and the Chinese think, you know, Beijing when we’re talking about the target of the West Coast missile defense system.  So it will just make it even harder to get China to the table.

MR. KIMBALL:  Well, and I think you’re right, however, and Tom has pointed this out in previous written pieces lately, that the cancellation of Phase IV should address what the Russians have stated is their primary concern about the U.S. missile defense program in Europe.

Of course, Russia’s stated concerns have been based in part on internal politics.  It’s based upon their own bureaucratic politics, and we’ll see if they really do shift.  But you know, from a technical basis, Russia no longer has an argument to make about the 2B interceptors having strategic capabilities that could counter some of the ICBMs on Russia’s western – western side of Russia.

And I think the early statements we’re seeing out of the Russian foreign ministry in the last couple of days – my guess is that they don’t yet reflect a deeper analysis of how this changes the dynamics with discussions between the U.S. and Russia on missile defense cooperation and on the prospects for further Russian reductions along with the United States.

I mean, we should also point out that – this is another briefing in Moscow someday, but Russia faces its own budgetary strains with respect to replacing some of the aging ICBM systems that they have.  And so there are strong budgetary reasons for Russia to also pursue reductions below the New START ceilings.

So, other questions?  Yes, in the middle, and then we’ll go over here on the other side.

Q:  Terri Lodge, American Security Project.  I’d like to hear your ideas or views about ICBM modernization – U.S. ICBM modernization.  Do we need to modernize?  In truth what are the options?  Do we need to build a new warhead?  What are the costs of that?  There’s not a lot of discussion about where we are regarding those choices.  Thank you.

MR. COLLINA:  Thank you for the question.

You know, the Air Force is in the very earliest stages of planning ICBM modernization, so they’ve put out this request for proposals to get some ideas.  And the range is pretty stark from, you know, building an underground subway track to have mobile ICBMs to just continuing with a life-extension of the current Minuteman III.

My guess is there won’t be any money to do any of the sort of adventurous ideas that they have, and so we will just be continuing to modernize, as we’ve been doing for decades already, the Minuteman III, and there’s no reason why we can’t keep doing that.  So that would certainly be our recommendation, and that process can be put off outside of the 10-year budget window to create some more budget space.

In terms of the warhead, my guess is that there will be some sort of a consolidation of warheads.  There’s two warheads that can go on ICBMs right now, and they’ll probably do a life-extension of one, which will save some money.  And that will happen – I’m not sure what the timeframe is on that, but I think that’s a relatively low-budget scenario of keeping the Minuteman III and life-extending one warhead for the future.

MR. KIMBALL:  Barry, do you want to – we had an interesting email exchange about some of these scenarios.  Do you want to just remind us about some of the debates before when tunnels were –

MR. BLECHMAN:  Well, this is back – this is back to the ‘70s again.  And I love ICBM modernization because you get the craziest ideas.

There was one where the asterisk built out of railroad tracks and – one for each missile.  The missile would sit in the middle and on warning of attack the missile would randomly choose one of the legs, dash out to the end where there was a shelter and close the door behind it and no one would know which one it was in except the missile.  (Laughter.)

But I agree with Tom – the Air Force doesn’t want to spend money on ICBM modernization.  They can keep Minuteman with only modest expenditures for many decades, and that’s what I suspect will happen.

MR. KIMBALL:  Yeah.  Just think of –

MR. BLECHMAN:  But there will be a lot of fun and games before then.

MR. KIMBALL:  Just think of how difficult it’s been for Metro to build the silver line out to Dulles, all right – (laughter) – and then think about doing that for a hundred ICBMs.

Question over here, please?

Q:  Greg Thielmann, Arms Control Association.  I kind of suspect that a lot of the resistance to future cuts in strategic funding will have to do not with strategic thinking but rather with jobs.  So, Russ, I wondered if you could tell us a little bit about where the 31 billion (dollars) is spent today, in which states it’s concentrated.  And then talk about as we move to modernization where that geographic profile will shift as more money is spent on acquisition rather than operations of the systems.

MR. RUMBAUGH:  Sure.  First of all, I’m a little skeptical that jobs is really that big a driver.  At some point if a member of Congress has a large proportion of their constituents working on something, well, that’s not just jobs; that’s their job to represent those people.  And that’s certainly true for things like the subs.  We build the subs in one place and it turns out they care very deeply about building the subs there, so that is a really powerful force.

But that’s less true for the bomber, which will not have nearly as single-point for it.

And then certainly the other dynamic you have, which some of my colleagues here may be better able to speak for, is the labs themselves, which are very much geographically located and do channel political influence because of that.  And that is translated into their own modernization plans which does involve infrastructure at those places.

So that is a very real political consideration that is certainly coloring the debates.

And I’d turn it over to the colleagues for comment about that.

MR. KIMBALL:  Well, and one other related question, Russ, which I think is relevant here is that in those shipbuilding areas of the country, you know, there’s also a great deal of interest in continuing to contribute to the – to rebuilding the surface fleet of the Navy.  And part of the conflict within the Pentagon about the sub program is where do we spend our shipbuilding dollars.

So, you know, with that in consideration, you know, 10 years down the roads, I mean, my question to you would be would the impact of building one-third fewer new SSBNs be as great if some of the same shipbuilding industries and states are engaged in, you know, new – building new destroyers and other surface ships.

MR. RUMBAUGH:  I think your broader point is basically right partly because there’s not a linear connection between how many you’re building and what industry you’re supporting, right?  As soon as you decide to build the sub, that’s the vast bulk of the investment.  That’s the vast bulk of the jobs.  Certainly how many you build matters over time and matters a little bit in scale, but for the most part just building it will achieve most of that.

I think Daryl’s point is very true, especially at the Navy level.  We haven’t heard as much about it in the last year, but two years ago you heard this a great deal.  The Navy is very aware of the pressure building these 5 (billion dollar), 6 (billion dollar) – 4 (billion dollar) to 5 (billion dollar), $6 billion submarines is going to do to their shipbuilding budget, and they’re very aware that if they have to buy those at a time when the defense budget is being squeezed, it’s their other ships that are going to be squeezed out.

We heard them float the idea that, oh, we should think of these other ships as Navy ships but we should think of submarines as national submarines.  The great irony about that is that that’s the same argument we heard from the Navy back in the ‘60s when we were first fielding the Polaris, and the joke was – Secretary McNamara’s systems analysis guy made the joke, we were a little sad to hear that the submarines were the only national program the Navy had; we had tended to think of the entire U.S. Navy as a national program.  (Laughter.)

And that – although it certainly was floated, it was floated not in a very formal way and has been squelched at every turn.

Nevertheless – and now to say something nice about the Navy – the Navy better than any of the other services makes its hard decisions itself.  We saw that in the last decade, right?  It took Bob Gates to kill the Army’s premiere system – the future combat systems.  It took Bob Gates to kill the Marines’ premiere system.  It took Bob Gates to kill the Air Force’s premiere system, the F-22.  But the Navy is the one who killed DDG-1000, their new destroyer.  They looked at that and said, hey, this one ship is a threat to too many things; we’re just not going to build it.

So that is an interesting question when the Navy grapples through that, which they’re going to continue to grapple in the next decade.

MR. BLECHMAN:  I just had – the SSBN missile – the SLBMs are built in California, which tends to have an effect on Democratic senators.  And also the ICBM caucus has a – strangely a disproportionate number of Democrats, so it has more influence on this administration than one would imagine.  That’s why I understand there’s a big dispute about whether to go down on ICBMs or take more missiles off submarines, because of this political influence.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.

MR. BLECHMAN:  It’s like 20 jobs involved.  (Laughter.)

MR. KIMBALL:  We have a question over here.  Ben?

Q:  Ben Loehrke, Ploughshares Fund.  Russ, just a quick follow-up.  The Navy has expressed its awareness of the cost of the submarine squeezing out other programs.  How about the Air Force?  Are they aware that they’re about to try to build a new bomber, modernize its tankers and choke on the F-35?  (Laughter.)

MR. RUMBAUGH:  Well, certainly they’ve expressed an awareness of it.  All senior leaders in all the public statements have been very conscientious to say, hey, we’ve learned our lesson.  We know how expensive these programs can become.  We know they’re unaffordable and we know we’re the ones who will suffer at the end of it.

I’m not quite sure conscientiousness leads to action.  One of the dynamics is it’s not just a bomber to the Air Force, right?  It is the modernization program that’s also pushing the envelope on stealth capabilities, on ISR capabilities, on avionics capabilities.  It is the program that will lay in the seeds for the future on all of the Air Force’s program.

So it’s not just the bomber part of the Air Force that likes it.  Everybody is supporting the bomber program.  It is the Air Force’s premiere acquisition program.  And because it’s the premiere one, it is those other programs – the tanker, the F-35 – that are threatened by the bomber program.

MR. BLECHMAN:  Also, because of its conventional mission and concerns about advances in Chinese air defenses, I believe it will remain number one priority for the Air Force.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.

Yes, sir?

Q:  Brian Moran (sp).  I guess people in the Pentagon, you know, who are looking at this – people in the Pentagon who are looking at this issue right now, at whatever level of weapons you want to talk about, there are going to be people saying, but high numbers of delivery systems are important to us because they give you additional flexibility, they give you additional targeting capabilities, they give you additional survivability.

So how do you balance and have you worked to sort of balance the cost savings vis-a-vis, you know, what DOD strategic planners would say would be the loss of, you know deterrent value or the loss of flexibility, the loss of the ability to react to technical failures of part of the force?  You know, because your savings are not huge, as you pointed out, by DOD standards.

MR. KIMBALL:  Barry, do you want to take a stab at that?

MR. BLECHMAN:  Yeah.  I think there will be some that argue that way, but there’s really not much of a constituency for the nuclear forces within the Pentagon.  Certainly the Army doesn’t care about them.  There’s the SSBN people.  And in the Air Force, you know, frankly I think they’d rather be rid of the mission.  It’s more trouble than it’s worth.  It’s cost the chief his job and a lot of other headaches.

But the – there is – some will make the argument on – about flexibility, but I think you’ll have to get down to about a thousand before people will become concerned at that – about that.  At the level we’re at, 1,550, it’s very hard to argue that we can’t make substantial reductions.

Once you get down to a thousand –

Q:  (Off mic) – which is probably what the number is that we’re going to for the warheads.


Q:  So then, you know the number of delivery systems, from many people’s perspective at the Pentagon, you know, or those who support nuclear weapons at the Pentagon, the number of delivery systems then becomes the critical issue of how many of those do you cut as opposed to how much flexibility do you keep by keeping, say, 450 or 400 Minutemen rather than going down to 300 or –

MR. BLECHMAN:  Right.  Right.  I think you’ll see that argument made more on going to eight subs.  I think that will get a lot of resistance.  They’ll want to stay certainly at 10 at a minimum.

MR. KIMBALL:  Let’s remember a couple of things that you talked about at the beginning, Barry, which is that the judgments about what is necessary to deter an attack – a nuclear attack by an adversary is a very subjective exercise.  All right?  There is not a computer at the Pentagon that spits out a precise number based upon a scientific theory.  This is a judgment that the president makes in the guidance paper that he has already developed based upon his nuclear posture review that goes to the Pentagon that then is interpreted in terms of specific numbers and targets, et cetera.

And I think a lot of the arguments that have been made by those who would like to preserve the current status quo are based upon assumptions and theories about what is necessary to deter a nuclear attack and what kind of flexibility we need in our nuclear war planning that, you know, literally emerged out of, you know 1960s, 1970s, maybe 1980s scenarios for an all-out nuclear war involving more than one nuclear exchange.

So I think one of the challenges that, you know, that we all have and that Congress has is, you know, how to have an adult, up-to-date conversation about what the modern nuclear deterrence requirements really are.

And you know, we’ve been focusing on the budget side of this today, and I’m always reminded when I speak to people at the Pentagon or the State Department or the White House that our policy begins with the development of a sound strategic policy and then the budget decisions flow from that.

Well, if we take that at face value, one of the key drivers here is going to be the president’s nuclear posture review implementation study.  And the thing – you know, even if there is not another round of formal U.S. nuclear reductions, the writing is on the wall about the United States not requiring 1,550 nuclear weapons to deter Russia or China.  And Russia can certainly go lower.  So we are, one way or another, on a glide path to fewer nuclear weapons.

And so, you know, I think we need to bring our thinking up to date.  Congress needs to take a hard look in the context of these budget realities.

So, any other question?

Yes, sir?  And then one or two more questions and we’ll close things out.  And here comes your microphone.  Thank you.

Q:  Thank you.  Benjamin Thule (sp), independent analyst.

In terms of the cleverness of the decision on the 14 interceptors, a number of the advantages have been mentioned but not the advantage vis-a-vis Iran because it’s a kind of confidence-building measure for Iran as well as for Russia.  Is that not correct?

And also, the reaction on the Hill from the politicians and so on has been very muted given this angle as well as – well, given that angle.  And why do you think that is?

MR. KIMBALL:  Well, the announcement came out on a Friday.  That could be one reason why it’s muted.  (Laughter.)  But there may be other reasons too.

On the Iran issue – yeah?

MR. COLLINA:  I’ll just start.  Well, do you want to talk about the Iran issue?  Or – I was going to talk about the muted response.

MR.     :  Go ahead.

MR. BLECHMAN:  Go ahead.

MR. COLLINA:  Just – I mean, in terms of the muted response, I think that was – the announcement was designed to elicit that muted response, and they did an excellent job, which is the first part of the announcement was we’re deploying 14 additional intercepts in Alaska.  And then there was announcement two and announcement three, and then there was announcement four – oh, by the way, we’re cancelling the European Phase IV system.

So the media then took that to Republicans on Capitol Hill and said, what do you think about the 14 additional interceptors in Alaska?  And they said, well, you know he should have done it sooner but it’s great.

So that was the immediate response, which is why I think you saw a muted response to the European news, which was really sort of buried under the Alaska news.

But I think over time that will change.  I think we’re already seeing a change, that there will be more attention focused on the scaling back of the European program, and I imagine there will be more criticism heaped on that from conservative circles as a cave-in to Russia and all the rest, although in the end I think it was very much about budget issues.  I think that was part of the driver here, as well as giving up a system that really wasn’t panning out anyway so it didn’t really cost us anything, and helping to – of course the administration knew that this was something that Russia had concerns about.  But I don’t think that was really necessarily the driving factor.

MR. BLECHMAN:  Another muting factor was one of the criticisms of the conservatives of the Obama switch from the old Bush plan to the four phases is that the fourth phase missile they said could never work, that it was impossible physically to build a missile that would have acceleration sufficient to serve the role it was supposed to serve.  So having discounted it, it was then hard to criticize the decision to kill it.

But they did – they have – I have seen criticism that it was a unilateral concession to Russia and so forth.

MR. KIMBALL:  Which – and just to put a final point on that, I mean, the decision on Phase IV I’m told was a Pentagon decision because of the cost – because of the congressional cuts in the SM3 IIB program, the sequestration cuts in the past month, and what Barry is talking about, which is that they can’t find a way to get a 21-inch diameter missile to move at the speeds that would be necessary to improve its capabilities against strategic offensive missiles.

So it’s not a concession.  It’s a recognition of some stark budgetary and technical realities, and it does happen to open up new possibilities for strategic offensive reductions.  And one way to think about it is that if we can persuade Russia to further reduce the number of nuclear weapons with the cancellation of this system, these interceptors could very well, without having been built – (laughs) – help eliminate far more interceptors than they could ever hope to shoot down.

So I think that’s one important way of looking at this.

Any other final questions before we wrap up?

I want to thank everybody for coming today.  We hope we have, with Barry and Russell and Tom’s presentations, injected some fact-based ideas into the conversation that we’re going to continue in the weeks ahead.  We’ll look to see what the fiscal ’14 budget request from the administration is and how it reflects some of these realities.  And we look forward to having you at future Arms control Association events.

Thank you all.  Join me in thanking our speakers, please.  (Applause.)




With the sequester now a reality, the Defense budget must come down. One place to look for savings is the $31 billion the United States spends each year on nuclear weapons. The Pentagon had been seeking to build a new generation of multi-billion-dollar nuclear delivery systems, including long-range missiles, submarines and bombers, as well as extending the service lives of nuclear warheads. Now, those plans are in doubt.

Country Resources:

TRANSCRIPT AVAILABLE: Iran Nuclear Talks - What Can Be Achieved in 2013?



Toward a Diplomatic Solution of the Iranian Nuclear Crisis:
What Can Be Achieved in 2013?

Featuring Amb. Thomas Pickering, Amb. Hossein Mousavian, and Alireza Nader

Monday, February 25, 2013
2:00pm to 3:30pm
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace,1779 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, DC

After an eight-month hiatus, the resumption of negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 group on February 26 in Almaty, Kazakhstan offers a critical opportunity to move toward a diplomatic solution to the long-running standoff over Tehran's sensitive nuclear activities.

In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama said: "...Iran must recognize that now's the time for a diplomatic solution because a coalition stands united in demanding that they meet their obligations, and we will do what is necessary to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon."

On the eve of the next round of talks, the Arms Control Association (ACA) will host an expert briefing and discussion to explore the options and diplomatic pathways for reaching a deal that limits Iran's nuclear potential in the coming months.

The panel included:

  • Career U.S. Ambassador Thomas Pickering;
  • Seyed Hossein Mousavian, Associate Research Scholar at Princeton University and former Iranian nuclear negotiator (2003-2005);
  • Alireza Nader, Senior Policy Analyst at the Rand Corporation; and
  • Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, ACA (moderator)

Copies of ACA's new briefing book, "Solving the Iranian Nuclear Puzzle," a comprehensive, entry-level guide to Iran's nuclear program and its capabilities, and the risks, benefits, and limitations of policy options also will be available at the event.

You can see video coverage of the event here at CSPAN.

Transcript by
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.

DARYL KIMBALL:  All right.  Good afternoon, everyone.  My name is Daryl Kimball.  I’m executive director of the Arms Control Association.  We’re an independent nongovernmental organization dedicated to providing information and practical policy ideas to address the world’s most dangerous weapons, including nuclear weapons

We welcome you to today’s briefing on finding a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear crisis and to discuss what might be achieved in 2013 through diplomacy.  It’s been nearly 10 years since the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed that Iran, a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, had secretly built a uranium enrichment facility in violation of its commitments under the treaty to comply with safeguards designed to detect diversion of nuclear materials for military purposes.  Since then, the IAEA’s reports have documented a steady but slow progress of Iran’s uranium enrichment program and other sensitive aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle.  And there is information that suggests that Iran may have engaged in activities with potential military dimensions.

After an initial round of international talks between 2003 and 2005 led to a pause in Iran’s uranium nuclear program, the talks stalled, and Iran resumed and expanded its enrichment activities and continued other fuel-cycle projects.  Since 2006 Iran and the P5+1 group, which is China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States and the United Kingdom, have fumbled fleeting diplomatic opportunities to reach a deal that reduces the risk of a nuclear-armed Iran, in exchange for a rollback of the nonproliferation, or the proliferation-related sanctions that have been imposed on Iran.

Now, eight months since the last round of talks between the P5+1 group, talks will resume tomorrow, February 26, in Almaty, Kazakhstan.  The meeting offers a critical opportunity, in our view, to finally begin to move forward toward a diplomatic solution to the long-running standoff over Tehran’s nuclear activities.  And as our new Arms Control Association briefing book illustrates, we think that a deal that ties Iran’s enrichment activities and its stockpiles to its actual nuclear power needs, combined with more extensive IAEA safeguards, could sufficiently guard against a nuclear-armed Iran.

And as we’ll hear today, however, after the three rounds of nuclear talks in 2009 and some private meetings, we see a number of areas of agreement between the two sides, and we also see some substantial differences.  Back in May of 2012, the two sides laid down a series of proposals that set the stage for the talks that will resume tomorrow in Kazakhstan.  Iran put forward what they called a five-step proposal, and at the core of that proposal were a couple of key ideas, which is – which was to have Iran continue what they called broad cooperation with the IAEA and will transparently cooperate with IAEA on the potential military dimensions issue.  And in exchange, Iran proposed the P5+1 will end unilateral and multilateral sanctions against Iran outside U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Another key component of the Iranian plan was confidence-building steps, as they call them, continuous monitoring of enrichment activities.  Iran proposed that there would be a termination of U.N. sanctions and a removal of Iran’s nuclear file from the U.N. Security Council agenda in return for fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR), which uses the higher-percentage uranium.

On the other hand, the P5+1 group called for several different Iranian actions and a different sequence of steps.  They proposed that Iran halt all 20 percent enrichment activities, that it transfers all 20 percent-enriched uranium to a third country under IAEA custody and shuts down the Fordow enrichment facility, which is Iran’s second and underground enrichment facility.

In response, the P5+1 said they would provide fuel assemblies for the TRR, the Tehran Research Reactor, would support technical cooperation for other Iranian nuclear activities, and that the United States would be prepared to permit safety-related inspection and repair for commercial aircraft and spare parts, as well as some other measures.

So as you can see, there are some similarities between the two sets of proposals that were put forward last year, but there are differences about the sequencing of the steps, whether Iran’s actions come before sanctions relief or whether sanctions relief comes before concrete actions.

But I think as you’ll hear today, if – this is from the speakers we have for you – if both sides approach the talks with greater flexibility and some creativity, an initial confidence-building deal that works through some of these differences could still be within reach.  And this could significantly reduce the proliferation risks that currently exist and buy time for a more permanent resolution to the crisis.

So today we have with us three very experienced and very well-informed panelists to provide their perspectives on the options and the diplomatic pathways for reaching a deal that limits Iran’s nuclear potential in the coming months.  First we’re going to hear from career U.S. Ambassador Thomas Pickering, who served as undersecretary of state for political affairs, ambassador to the United Nations, ambassador to El Salvador, Jordan, India, Israel, Nigeria and Russia and a few other things.

We’ll also hear from Hossein Mousavian, who is currently associate research scholar at Princeton University and a former Iranian nuclear negotiator himself from 2003 to 2005.  Hossein is also the author of this 2012 opus, “The Iranian Nuclear Crisis:  A Memoir,” which is published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where we are today.

We’ll also hear from Alireza Nader, a senior policy analyst at the RAND Corporation.  And he is the co-author of “Coping with a Nuclearizing Iran” and “Israel and Iran:  A Dangerous Rivalry.”

So I think we’ve got a very good group for you today.  We’re going to hear from each of them, and then we’re going to turn to your questions, and we’ll have some discussion.

So Ambassador Pickering, you are up first, and the floor is yours.  Thanks for being here.

THOMAS PICKERING:  Thank you, Daryl, very much.  It’s an honor and pleasure to be here.  Hossein and I have done numerous – what I guess can be best characterized as dog-and-pony or Mutt-and-Jeff shows at various places, seeking, I think, neither of us necessarily to do anything but see if we could make it a more likely possibility and a more lively possibility that a negotiation would not only begin, but continue and lead to some useful results.  And I’m very happy to be present with Alireza Nader from RAND as well, who I know brings special insights of his own into the problems and the prospects for the future.

I’d like to just do two things, Daryl, if I can.  And thank you for your very valuable and very useful introduction.  I’d like, in the typical diplomat’s refuge, to talk a little bit first about process.  The truth is, American diplomats, when totally stymied, will always want to talk about process.  So I have a second portion of what I’d like to speak about today, and that’s to talk a little bit about the substance and how and in what way the substance might actually be used to prepare and prosper in negotiation.

I leave judgments up to the press, who have been liberal with them, and others about the prospects for breakthroughs in Kazakhstan.  My own sense is that it is a breakthrough in 33 years of mistrust and misunderstanding to have continued talks even if nothing else comes of them for a while but a certain amount of coffee-drinking.  But I do believe, in fact, that we are approaching a time when the pace of talks that have been set in 2012, three high-level talks and a number of expert talks, and the continuation of that pace can help us, among other things, lead to moves ahead.

Let’s talk about process in the broadest sense.  We had a brief flirtation at Munich and beyond with the U.S. proposal and with seemingly a mixed Iranian reaction to the idea of bilateral negotiations.  And I assumed that these would be bilateral negotiations in the context of the discussions between the P5+1 in Iran, much like the 6+1 talks were conducted in the Far East, not that they are necessarily markedly important as a record for success in this format but because in fact they provide an opportunity for bilateral conversations to proceed.  And I would assume they might proceed between Iran and other partners in the P5+1 but at the same time preserve the structure of common agreement that will have to be achieved at the end of the conversations between the 5+1 and Iran.

I think secondly, it’s important to note that such talks can help in a number of ways.  It is no state secret that the EU3 talks when they first began were in fact EU3+1 talks; despite the fact the United States was not present at the table.  The United States was a necessary partner and at the same time perhaps a sufficient partner but didn’t appear until the last year of the Bush administration.  The idea, therefore, that the U.S. plays an important role is not a figment of Madeline Albright’s imagination, nor is it hubris, but I think it’s a reality.  And therefore, having the U.S. actively at the table with Iran, with opportunities to speak frankly and informally in a bilateral context, in my view, could be very helpful.

The P5+1 is, by definition, a lowest common denominator operation.  And instincts among the P5+1 against being adventuresome are in some ways matched inside the United States government.  And so there is a mutual reinforcement of excessive timidity, if I can put it that way, which is not a helpful fact of life when you’re, in a sense, dealing with set of negotiations that have a finite life.

And I think that’s important to look at and to try to assure, that perhaps it could be overcome or at least worked around in some way so that it would be useful as this process goes ahead.  I think there’s some other factors that probably also play here that might be looked at, but those are the most important ones, I think, to speed the process ahead.

I think there are other issues of process that might well also be considered.  I mentioned earlier the need for regular meetings.  I mentioned earlier the hope that meetings could be better prepared and that they might move ahead on a regular schedule.  We have set a precedent in the United States in the last half of the year 2012 that elections are also a factor in the negotiating process, and we should expect no less with respect to Iran’s elections and their impact, in a process sense, on negotiations.

We owe it, at least on reciprocal basis, to understand that Iran may wish for electoral reasons to delay, even if in fact the electoral process and the electoral context – and I mean on aspersion on this – is different than it is in the United States and the electoral office is somewhat different than it is in the United States.  Nevertheless, it needs to be taken into account.  And I think that that is significant.

Let me turn now briefly to substantive questions.  I think at the outset, at the 50,000 foot level, against the backdrop of long mistrust and misunderstanding, there is at least one set of tradeoff issues that both sides – that each side harbors serious doubts upon that have to be dispelled.  Certainly on the Iranian side, there is the increasing realization, often brought home to us by our Iranian contacts, that at the very top of the Iranian leadership, and perhaps permeating it, is a deep distrust over the fact that, from their perspective, the Western and U.S. policy is seemingly – is attached to wholly if not completely to regime change as the only acceptable objective.

On our side, I believe we need to be given credit for equal and opposite prejudicial views about the outcome and about the approach.  That is, we harbor deep and abiding concerns about whether Iran is really only interested in a civil nuclear program or whether it has military objectives in mind.  To some extent, these two get in the way of a process of negotiations and will have to be dealt with if the negotiations are going to proceed.

There are no easy ways because, in fact, after a long period of mistrust, any pious assertion to the contrary, no matter how many bibles are under the hand that makes it, will in itself only breed uncertainty about what is really meant, given the level of distrust.  Action, in my view, is much more important to dispel those concerns.  And there are many forms of action.  One set of actions is that if Iran believes there are things that we are doing which in fact are being done for the purpose of regime change, we ought to be able to find a way to put those on the table and talk about them.

If Iran believes that we are serious about a negotiation effort – and they certainly have been working hard to try to get them going, including a bilateral negotiation and a negotiation with the government of Iran – why would we, if we have regime change in mind, bolster that government through a negotiating process that could lead to an end which, in many ways, would reaffirm its continued existence?  Certainly that doesn’t make much sense.

On the other side, we have deep concerns, but we had said at the same time that it is time for us to see, as Secretary Clinton said recently, whether the fatwa outlawing the acquisition and use of nuclear weapons by Iran can somehow be reinforced and strengthened as an Iranian declaration.  It’s a declaration, in my view, which is supportive of, consistent with and indeed a ratification of Iran’s commitments under the NPT, which in the international context should take a first-place form of commitment, but need to be worked on.  So that is important.

The second set of issues that I would raise is the grand bargain versus smaller steps.  My own view is increasingly it is unrealistic to believe that negotiators who can barely agree on the time of day, or indeed the month and date for the next meeting, should have to solve a whole plethora of problems, just in the nuclear field alone, to say nothing of a wider scope of differences between the U.S. and Iran at a single series of negotiations.

It would have the disadvantage of being exceedingly, if not super complex.  The disadvantage for allowing each side to conclude that any objection to any one of the problems that has to be put in place before anything could be put in place is merely an exercise in creating a giant schlep for whatever purposes that might have in the interest of the party being accused of doing so. So I believe it is time to think about smaller steps and that they’re important.

But against the backdrop of that, we have another Iranian concern, which I believe it is entirely possible to dispel by at least providing a sense of an open process that can arrive at an end game, the end state of which might be more easily described than how to get there or the steps by which in fact you approach that end.  The end state that I think that is important to think about has four points – two Iranian concerns and two U.S. and allies concerns.

The U.S. and allies concerns are, simply stated:  How and in what way can we get an put in place an accurate description of the Iranian program, including its intentions, that limit it to the civil scope which Iran continues to profess is its objective, and how can we put in place the necessary inspections and transparency to assure that there is the best of all possible chances of making clear on a regular basis that the program remains in that scope?

Certainly we have no idea yet, unless it’s been vouchsafed in total secrecy, what the Iranian objective is with respect to its needs for fuel at the 20 percent enrichment level for the TRR Reactor.  And we have even less idea, even though now eight tons of LEU has been accumulated, of what Iran’s plans are for LEU.  It has one reactor, conveniently supplied by the Russians on a long-term basis with take-back of spent fuel.

I could see perhaps in Iran some concern that at some point the Russians might turn off the fuel supply.  And I could see it as legitimate to build some reservoir of capacity against that objective, however unlikely that might seem.  But to go beyond there, what is eight tons of fuel going to do?  Is it for sale overseas?  Well, sell it.  Is it for use in some future, undefined, unknown and yet unfunded reactor program?  Well, tell us about it.

I think there is fertile use for conversations to begin to define this because, on the Iranian side, we understand they would like to have no more sanctions in place, at the end of the day.  And I can understand why – certainly against their nuclear program.  And they would like recognition of their right to enrich.

That is, of course, tied directly, clearly and completely, in my view, to what kind of program they intend to enrich for – that evanescent, somewhat elusive, undescribed civil program I’ve just decided, which should be on the agenda of the talks if they’re going to make any real progress because knowing the answer to that question will help to define, not just the basis on which we can trust the fatwa, but more importantly on the basis on which we can extend never before vouchsafed as an obligation by us from the DOD on down, the recognition of the Iranian right to enrich.  It’s in the NPT.  It has been temporarily taken away by the U.N. Security Council, and that will be dealt with, I suspect, if we get a deal.  And to some extent, that may be what concerns Iran.  And that can be changed, in my view, in the context of a deal.  But a deal has to have parameters.

One final point:  small steps.  I think that here, as we have seen – and Daryl laid this out very well – we have what I have come to call the horse for a rabbit problem.  The Iranian proposal is a kind of you give us your horse, no more sanctions, and we’ll give you a rabbit, a PMD, and maybe some description of a civil program; we’re not yet sure.

That’s not bad, but it’s not quite there yet.  And of course the timing of how these various steps come together is important, and it’s another thing that makes a grand bargain hard.  But it could help to define an early step.

And I have to say, with, I hope, equal candor and determination, that the Western proposals have their own horse for a rabbit context:  shutdown of Fordow, ending of 20 percent, sending out all of 20 percent, spare parts in return for airplanes – and I used to work for Boeing, so I think it’s a great idea, but that’s not either here nor there with respect to this particular issue – and some other efforts to help.  But at the moment I can see no sanctions relief.  We have now dangles today in the press about some sanctions relief, and hopefully that will be forthcoming.

I would be willing to start with something purely and simply as straightforward as moving all of the Iranian fuel to someplace away from where it could be easily upgraded, if, of course, it is done under IAEA control.  I’d be even happier for the Iranians to continue doing what they seemingly have been doing with a significant percentage of the 20 percent fuel, turning it into metallic powder, preparatory, hopefully, to making it into fuel elements, which means that rapid reversibility or rapid upgrading of 20 percent material has to move it back to gaseous form and then back into the centrifuge cascades, which builds in, I think, a little extra help on the process and should not be discounted or thrown away as a way to proceed.

But I think that asking the Iranians for a definition of what they need and then regulating the 20 percent production to an agreed definition is a very logical starting place.  If at the moment all 20 percent is being made at Fordow and no 3.5 percent is being made there, then of course stopping 20 percent or limiting 20 percent is a limited – is a limit on Fordow, even if it doesn’t shut the gates.  And shutting the gates, of course, is a deep Israeli concern, but in large measure that has to do with the military capability of taking out a difficult target, rather than necessarily reaching a joint agreement on the endpoint of an Iranian program that might continue.

So I think the four points I raised about the end state are important.  I think a very limited early step would be important, even if it doesn’t seem to be overwhelming.  And at the end of the day, because I’m a very low common denominator guy on talks, I think we’ve got to try to continue them.  I’d even be agreed for a date, time and place for the next meeting.

Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you, Tom.

Ambassador Mousavian.

SEYED HOSSEIN MOUSAVIAN:  Good afternoon.  First of all, I would like to thank Daryl and Arms Control Association for arranging this event.

I had a prepared a written 10-minute statement, but after Tom’s speech, I understood this is completely useless, and I had to make my mind, when you were talking, what to say.

Obama has been re-elected.  This is positive.  John Kerry now is secretary of state.  This is positive.  Everybody’s optimistic Chuck Hagel also would be secretary of defense.  This is also positive.

But tomorrow’s nuclear talks in Kazakhstan would fail, and I believe, despite of positive developments in the new administration/second term of Obama, this would continue to fail – any further negotiations in the future.

Let me too refer to three issues after the four points Tom raised.  The first is about the format of the P5+1.  I wonder whether any more this format would be constructive.  It seems the format – the composition of P5+1, five permanent members of United Nations Security Council plus Germany, is dysfunctional.  And I believe Europeans – also they have the same understanding; Americans – also they have the same understanding, perhaps Chinese and Russia also the same, although they cannot say.

Tom is right; when we were talking with EU-3, we failed because the U.S. was not on board.  When the U.S. joined to talks, there was two different school of thoughts in Iran.  The Iranian diplomats, including me, we were happy the U.S. is joining to direct talks, and it was a hope for us there would be a resolution.  But Iranian leadership was completely suspicious, and they believed this would be counterproductive, because the U.S. is not going to come to negotiations for good intentions.

Unfortunately, after five years, with the presence of the U.S., the situation has become much more complicated.  With the U.S. initiative, the file has been referred to United Nations Security Council.  Many international multilateral sanctions, resolutions, unilateral – American unilateral sanctions, European unilateral sanctions – this has made really the situation much, much more complicated, compared to 2005, to find a solution.

Nevertheless, to me, there is a new conclusion.  We should think whether to continue the P5+1 format or to create a new situation for Iran and the U.S. to sit together and to resolve the problem, rather than wasting the time for another – years, five years, 10 years.  I think this would be the best way and the shortest way.

But whether this would be possible or not, me and Tom – just we were talking before this event about interpretation of the recent statements by American/Iranian leaders on direct talks, and although there is a misunderstanding in the West about Ayatollah Khamenei’s statement on direct talks with the U.S., which – he said officially this would not be – this would not resolve anything, but in his statement he made it very, very clear that neither the nuclear talks – the direct talks with the U.S. is red line for Iran and nor normal relation with the U.S.

For him, for me, being 30 years in Iranian administration and familiar with his mindset and also, if someone reads very carefully his statement, for him to issue is important or to enter meaningful talks with the U.S. – one is about the U.S. language.  The U.S. has continued to use the language of threat.  And as long as the U.S. is talking with Iran with the language of threat, humiliation, Iranians – they would not come to any direct talks, because this would – practically means that Iran has raised a hand under pressures and threats, and they are not going to do it.

The second is about action.  The U.S., during 30 years, I mean, they have – many times they have proposed Iran for direct talks.  It is not only limited to President Obama.  But Iranians, they gauge the intention of the U.S. not by talks, words and invitations; they gauge by the U.S. actions.  And unfortunately, in parallel of invitation for direct talks, always the U.S. has escalated hostilities, pressures, sanctions.  Just the last event was Vice President Biden, you remember, two weeks ago in Munich, he invited Iran for direct talks.  At the same time, in Washington, the Congress passed a new legislation for more sanctions.  Iranians in Tehran, sitting in Tehran, they don’t pay attention to what Biden is talking about.  They look at Washington decision for more sanctions and pressures.  And these two have convinced Iran that they U.S. is not ready for a serious, genuine, meaningful talks.

Therefore, if Kerry – Senator Kerry is State Secretary Kerry wants to make a chance in Iranian mindset, the first one is what Tom said – I hundred percent agree – the Iranian perception is that the U.S. is after regime change.  But the second is to change the language, to use the language of respect rather than threats and humiliation.  He said, Ayatollah Khamenei said you are putting gun on our head, and you’re telling us, either negotiate or we will kill you.  What kind of negotiation is this?  And also to support your invitation for direct talks with positive actions, not with more hostility, in order to convince the Iranians that you have a good will.

My second point is about the IAEA role.  I believe as long as there is not a comprehensive deal between Iran and the international interlocutors, now P5+1, the IAEA should not go to discuss technical issues with Iran.  It doesn’t work, and definitely this would be counterproductive.  The IAEA has had two visit in last two, three months.  Both failed.  And I predicted before every of – both two visits, I said publicly this would fail.  This was a mistake by Iran.  This was a mistake by the IAEA.  It’s clear.

Iran has no problem for cooperate with the IAEA on technical ambiguities in the framework of safeguard agreement.  But the IAEA is asking Iran for inspections, accesses in the framework of additional protocol and even beyond additional protocol.  This possible military dimension issues, many of you may have heard.  The IAEA is asking Iran to give accesses in order to address these possible military dimension issues.

For Iran to give access, Iran should accept to give access beyond additional protocol.  There is no international arrangement beyond additional protocol, nothing.  Therefore, for Iran to accept additional protocol, a protocol with 70 countries – even today they have not signed, and – or for Iran to give access beyond additional protocol, there should be something in return.  The IAEA is not in position to discuss the reciprocations.  That’s why I believe first we need a deal.  And then the IAEA is welcome to Tehran, and I’m confident Iranians, they will cooperate for any level of transparency with the IAEA.

My last point is about content of a deal.  As far as I understand – if anyones understand differently, please correct me – the world powers, they have five major demands.  The first one is for Iran to implement additional protocol to enable the IAEA for intrusive inspections.  The second one is to implement subsidiary arrangement code 3.1, which would, again, bring more transparencies.  And the third one is to cooperate with the IAEA to address the possible military dimension issues, PMDs, which would require Iran to give access beyond additional protocol.  And the fourth one is to cap at 5 percent.  And the fifth is limiting the stockpile, enriched uranium stockpile.

If this is exactly this one – these five or more, it is not matter – it doesn’t matter.  The – but definitely, this is true that the P5+1, they are asking Iran two sets of measures:  One set’s for transparencies, whatever it is – additional protocol or – one set is about breakout capability, like cap at 5 percent.

Iranians also, they have two demands, as Tom mentioned:  for the P5+1 to respect of Iran under NPT for enrichment, the legitimate rights of Iran, not to discriminize (sic) Iran.  And the second:  Ultimately, sanction should be relieved – should be lifted.

The solution, in my understanding, is, first of all, the P5+1 in Iran, they should agree on the principles rather than discussing on the piecemeal steps or the first step.  The P-5, they can present Iran a list of measures on transparency, whatever it is.  It is additional protocol subsidiary arrangement, PMDs, access to Parchin or whatever it is.  The second sets of measures the P-5 can present to Iran is on breakout capability, on assurances of – on nondivergent of Iranian nuclear program toward nuclear weapons in the – in the future.  What can be the objective guarantees with the world powers that Iranian nuclear program would never diverge and Iran would stay as non-nuclear weapon state forever?

If they present these two sets of measures plus respecting accepting the two principles, the two major items Iran is asking, right, and sanctions, first, they need to accept – to agree on the principles, including all these three, the measures on transparency, the measures on breakout capability and Iranian demands.  If they agree, then the negotiations can go – (next ?), talks on definition of the first step, reciprocations, what – the priority a step is 20 percent or the priority a step is additional protocol – these can come later

But I believe Iran would be ready.  I believe Iran today is ready.  China is ready.  Russia is ready.  Part of Europeans are ready, part not, like France.

But the main problem, again, here is in Washington.  Washington is not ready to move on substantive sanctions at all.  As long as the U.S. and the P5+1 are not ready to recognize the rights of Iran and to move on sanctions, substantive sanctions, there would be no solution.  There would be no solution.

Just a friend of mine who had recently had a chance to talk with a member of P5+1 told me the next talks would be so-called – in Almaty would be about lifting targeted sanctions.  Targeted sanctions is what Tom said, the spare parts for airplanes or letting Iran to import gold or something like this.  If they want Iran to go for strategic move, they need to go for a strategic removal of sanctions.  Otherwise, I am not really optimistic we would reach to anywhere.

Daryl, you are right.  My time is over, but we will have time to talk in the panel.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

MR. KIMBALL:  Ali Nader, you're next.  We’ve already had a table set by our first two speakers.  Thanks for coming.

ALIREZA NADER:  Good afternoon.  Thanks for organizing this great panel.

I just want to put the negotiations in context, because I don’t really think that the Almaty negotiations or any other negotiations are just about Iran’s nuclear program.  Rather, it’s really about the relationship between the United States and the Islamic Republic.  The current problem is that it’s an issue of sequencing.  Iran wants the P5+1 to take certain actions to build confidence.  And the P5+1 wants Iran to take certain actions to build confidence first.  And this is really an issue because of the historical sense of distrust between the United States and Iran.  And that’s really the major impediment in the upcoming talks.

Now, why do the two sides not trust each other?  For the United States, a sense of distrust comes from the secretive nature of the Iranian nuclear program.  We’ll have to recall that Iran’s nuclear facilities at Natanz and Arak were not willingly revealed by the Islamic Republic but by other parties.  That in itself has created a sense of distrust.

Also, we have to remember that there is a strategic rivalry between the Islamic Republic and the United States, and negotiations have to be seen within that context.  It’s not just about a process or sequencing.  There’s a real competition going on here between the two countries.  Iran’s opposition to Israel, the Iranian regime’s support for terrorism and the very nature of the Islamic Republic creates a lot of doubts in Washington, D.C., regarding Iranian intentions.  And we’re not going to be easily able to solve that.

How does the regime view the United States?  With a lot of distrust.  The head of the regime, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, believes that the United States is fundamentally opposed to the Iranian revolution, that the United States just doesn’t oppose Iranian policies but the very essence of the Islamic Republic.  And this is what he has said repeatedly.  And also, the United States wants to overthrow and diminish Iran’s allies in the region, including the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad and eventually Hezbollah once, and if, but really once the Bashar al-Assad regime falls.  In addition, Khamenei believes that the United States wants to implement a velvet revolution in Iran – this is very actually cultural in nature; it’s not just about sanctions or a military attack – that the United States wants to support reformists and a civil society in Iran to overthrow the regime.

And so if the two sides have these fundamental perceptions of each other, we have to ask:  Can there be a reconciliation between the United States and the Islamic Republic?  And the answer is no.  As long as we have the current regime in Iran, we’re not going to see a normalization of relations with Iran.

Of course, there’s a convergence of interest as well, and I think that’s where we can be a little hopeful on the current crisis.  And that convergence is that neither side really wants to resort to military action to reach a solution.  There's all – there’s a lot of talk about the military option in Washington, D.C., and Tel Aviv, but both sides are reluctant to take military action.  Iran, of course, does not want military action, either.  A military conflict, you can make a very good argument, would be against the national interests of all sides.  Of course, we can’t rule out a military conflict because even if the United States does not want a military conflict, we may come to a point if negotiations fail that the U.S. may have to seriously undertake military actions or consider a military option.

Now, what does, really, Washington want?  It’s not a matter of Iran’s right to enrich uranium.  I think we’re willing to give that to Iran.  What we’re concerned about – the United States and its allies specifically – is an Iranian nuclear weapons capability.  Now, Ayatollah Khamenei has supposedly issued a fatwa, or an edict, saying Iran does not want nuclear weapons.  But that’s not good enough.  We also want to prevent Iran from having the capability, from building the infrastructure and enriching enough uranium so it can dash toward a nuclear weapons capability.  And today we see that Iran is shrinking that time, that it’s closing – getting closer and closer to that nuclear weapons capability by enriching uranium to 20 percent, by installing more advanced centrifuges, the IR-2 in Natanz, by continuing work at Fordow.  And Iran, of course, wants a recognition of its right to enrich uranium and the lifting of sanctions.

Now, a note on sanctions.  Ayatollah Khamenei has said that he will not negotiate with a gun put against his head, but given the nature of the distrust between the Islamic Republic and the United States, we need both positive and negative inducements to get Tehran to come to the table.  We can’t accept on good faith that Ayatollah Khamenei does not want nuclear weapons.  There has to be positive and negative inducements.

Now, we’ve heard a lot about the negative effects of sanctions.  No doubt, they’re hurting the Iranian population; they’re hurting the Iranian middle class.  And we can go on in terms of the statistics – Iran’s reduction of oil exports, et cetera, et cetera.  And of course the sanctions are hurting the Iranian population, unfortunately.  But also sanctions are affecting the regime as well.  These are not the kind of sanctions that the regime can escape from.  The Islamic Republic is deeply dependent on its oil exports.  Even its nonoil export economy is deeply suffering in terms of reduction in auto manufacturing and a number of other exports.  So over time, other elements of the regime, including the Revolutionary Guards and the bazaar in Iran, which form the pillars of Khamenei’s support, are going to feel the pressure of sanctions as well, and this will exacerbate the internal tensions in Tehran.

We’re facing the June 2013 presidential election.  The other week you saw Ali Larijani, the speaker of parliament, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad get in a big public fight.  And as the economic pie in Iran shrinks, the different factions vying for power and wealth are going to compete with each other even more.  Ahmadinejad always talks about an economic mafia running Iran, and he complains about this economic mafia.  And in reality, there are several economic mafias running Iran and they’re competing with each other.

And lastly, the Iranian population is also getting restless.  The crisis the regime faces today is not just about the nuclear program or the internal divisions in Iran.  It’s really a crisis of legitimacy.  We saw this crisis play itself out in 2009 with Iranians coming out into the streets.  And Iran has witnessed the rest of the Middle East really changing in a very dynamic way, so the same Arab Spring that we’ve seen in other countries might still be very possible in Iran.  The regime cannot avoid some of the internal contradictions within Iran.

Also, Iran’s regional position has greatly weakened over the years.  From 2003 to 2009, you could argue that the Islamic Republic was regionally ascendant, especially with the U.S. problems in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The regime in Baghdad that came to power after 2003 had very friendly relations with Iran; Hezbollah was able to withstand Israel’s military assault – or the military conflict between the two in 2006; Hamas took over the Gaza Strip.  And so a lot of groups allied with Tehran were very successful during that time, and a lot of regional actors saw Iran as an ascendant power.

I think things have really changed, especially since 2009.  The Iranian regime’s crackdown on protesters really showed the rest of the region what kind of regime this was, that it was not interested in protecting the rights of the downtrodden, but it was really willing to use violence and intimidation to hold onto power in Iran without any sort of democratic reforms.

And today we see that the Syrian regime may fall sometime soon, sooner or later, and this would be a big blow to Iran’s regional ambitions.  It would lose its major ally in the Middle East.  It would be effectively cut off physically from Hezbollah.  It would not be able to supply Hezbollah as well militarily.  So, all the indications are bad for the regime.

And when we talk about negotiations, of course, we don’t want to tell the other side you’re weak, we’re strong, so you have to make concessions.  That’s not what a good diplomat does.  However, fundamentally, Tehran has a weaker hand in this equation, and there are a lot of people in Iran who realize that.  So of course, Ayatollah Khamenei has said that he’s not a politician; he’s a revolutionary; his policy is resistance, that he’s not going to give in to the United States, that the United States uses the language of force.

But there are those around Ayatollah Khamenei who don’t necessarily see things the way he does, perhaps, that they realize Iran is under a tremendous pressure.  Many Iranian officials have talked about the dangers of sanctions.  A lot of people around Khamenei, or within the elite, anyways, realize that the regime is jeopardizing its own existence through its policies, and if the current negotiations in Almaty do not succeed, then we can expect to see increasing sanctions against Iran, pressure on Iran’s remaining trade partners, such as China, India and Turkey and even Pakistan, to cut off trade relations.

So unfortunately, for the Iranian people, anyhow, the worst is yet to come.  This is not an entirely positive situation, but I think it provides the United States and its allies with the opportunity to pursue their current policies without resorting to military force, in the hope that in the next several months and the coming years internal developments in Iran will give the United States an opportunity to forgo the military option completely.

Thank you.  (Applause.)

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you all very much.

We now are going to be turning the microphones over to you, after I open up the questions, so keep your hands up so that our – my staff can find you in just a second.

I wanted to bring us all back to the talks that are going to begin tomorrow and some of the early reports that have come out and ask you to respond to some of the things that are being said, apparently, by some of the U.S. officials earlier today and to ask you what your interpretation is, because I think some of this speaks to what Hossein Mousavian was talking about in terms of the U.S. trying to outline a pathway towards a better U.S. and Iranian relationship and a long-term solution, not just the piecemeal steps.

And there’s – there are – there’s a report this morning that the updated P5+1 proposal is a, quote, “real, serious and substantive offer,” said one U.S. diplomat.  “We are trying to outline a pathway for sanctions relief.  The president has been clear that if Iran keeps all obligations under the NPT, the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and the IAEA, there is absolutely a pathway for it to have peaceful nuclear power.”

So if we imagine for a moment that the offer is genuinely different, what would each of you say that that different package ought to be at this round in order to achieve some of that progress?  I just wanted to have you focus in on what some of those elements might be in that more serious or substantive offer.

So Tom, if you could start off, and then maybe Hossein, and then Ali, please.

MR. PICKERING:  Yeah.  Daryl, thanks.  I tried to cover some of this in my prepared remarks when I talked about maybe two different but related early packages.

I think that there’s clearly an effort on the part of the United States, for which I commend them, to see if they can, pardon the expression, enrich the sanctions menu.  But I think that has to happen.  I think the Iranian expectation is very high here.  But the notion that the sanctions menu should be completely devoid of a relationship with the nuclear program for which they would put on is probably a red line that’ll have to be crossed somewhere.  It doesn’t mean that the sanctions have to be on the trade in nuclear material so much as they have to have been put in effect for purposes of influencing Iranian nuclear program.  And I think that is a kind of useful effort if it can be (eked ?) over there.

One possibility is perhaps some of the EU sanctions on bank transfers and on petroleum.  Iran still depends on refined petroleum imports.  Another is possibly one that may or may not have a nuclear connection, but it bothers me.  It’s bothered me for a long time.  It’s the fact that we apparently give license, at OFAC in Treasury, for export of food and medicine, but we in effect have made it clear to the banking community in ways that they at least believe is unexceptionable that they cannot process any transfers to pay for the food and medicine.  So in fact, it’s giving with one hand and taking away with the other.

And I’m objecting to it because, having been involved in sanctions programs, including the massive sanctions on Iraq, where we specifically, in the U.N. resolutions, excluded food and medicine – it later got tangled up in Oil for Food, and we all know what a mess that was, but that was in large measure because of Saddam’s manipulation of the program and other people’s weaknesses in dealing with that manipulation, not so much the principle.  And I think the principle is pretty well-established that in sanctions regimes, you don’t attempt to punish the people for the sins of the regime, and you don’t attempt to deprive them of what are really the essentials, which are access to food and medicine, as long as they’re prepared and willing to pay for that on a reasonable basis.

And I think we ought to try to open that up as a gesture of good will as much as anything else.  We’re the bigger power.  We can, I think, afford to put things on the table, however much we may be criticized by some domestically for it, as a way of seeking to put on the table some bona fides that can help open it up.

We have problems here – I think Alireza was kind to mention sequencing.  And sequencing has two aspects.  The easiest aspects is how do you syncopate reciprocal measures for the implementation of a program, and the hard aspect is who takes the first big step to open the door.  And that’s a more difficult one.  And there I would think it’s probably in our interest to do that but even more in our interest to do that in a place where the policy principle of the United States is in favor of doing that rather than the other way around.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you.

Hossein, your thoughts?

MR. MOUSAVIAN:  First all, I have problem with the statement of the U.S. official when he says if Iran is committed under – for its obligation under NPT, that would be – make deal if the U.S. really mean it, but they don’t mean it.

Today they are asking Iran to stop 20 percent enrichment.  Under NPT, every member is permitted to have enrichment up to hundred percent.  When you are asking Iran to be committed to do enrichment below 5 percent, no other NPT member have committed officially to IAEA that they would be forever committed to do enrichment below 5 percent.  When they are talking with Iran on transparency measures, as I said, they are asking Iran for, on possible military dimension, to give access beyond an additional protocol.  This is beyond NPT.  It is nothing beyond additional protocol.

The real demand the P5+1 and the U.S., they have, majority of their demands goes beyond NPT.  Therefore, when they are publicly saying obligation under NPT, obligation under NPT is only one thing:  transparency, transparency within the safeguard, transparency within the Subsidiary Arrangement Code 3.1, and the maximum is transparency within the additional protocol – nothing beyond.

MR. KIMBALL:  Hossein, if I could just jump – go ahead – jump in here.

MR. PICKERING:  Could I – could I – the obligation under the NPT is not to acquire, produce or use nuclear weapons.  Transparency is a facilitative mechanism to provide assurance.  So the obligation is real.  The obligation is central.  The obligation, I would remind you, happens to accord completely with a text of the fatwa – there have been many – that I find the most prepossessing because it’s the one that’s clearest and most straightforward.

And so in that regard, it is very clear that the right to enrich is linked first to the obligation not to be military, but secondly, ipso facto, because there is only the alternative between military and civil, to a civil program.  And there is reason to ask Taiwan, South Korea, South Africa, others who are not nuclear powers but are committed to those obligations not to go beyond a nuclear civil program.  And to some extent, that’s what PMD is all about.  And to some extent, I can understand your wanting to clear it up later.  My own view is that clearing the history of the past is useful but not nearly as important as clearing the history of the future – was what we’re worried about.

MR. KIMBALL:  PMD, of course –

MR.  PICKERING:  And so we ought to focus on the future.

MR. KIMBALL:  PMD, of course – potential military dimension.

MR. PICKERING:  Possible – potential military developments – dimensions, I’m sorry.

MR. MOUSAVIAN:  But on – nevertheless, Tom, the instruments of the IAEA for inspections and transparency is these three instruments: a Subsidiary Arrangement called 3.1, safeguard and additional protocol.

MR. PICKERING:  Yeah, but you forget the history of the Iran program, in which the IAEA was involved, in which there was Security Council approval and in which there was, in fact, a hundred percent approval, even including Iraq, for a time, of an inspections system that went beyond.  And indeed, it was probably part of the inspiration for the additional protocol.  But my own view is that we ought to accord the inspection with the agreements that have been arrived at that have to be inspected.  And to some extent, if traditional safeguards are adequate for that, OK.  If the additional protocol is required, we would hope – but as you said, that’s purely voluntary.  That can’t be forced on the party.

On the other hand, if there are questions that have arisen on this – and I, like you, are in total agreement that the additional protocol ought to be standard and not voluntary, and we ought to do everything not to single out Iran as particularly a selective, separate case, even though there are some history problems having to do with things like purchase from Pakistan that don’t give rise to problems that will, in the long run, in Iran’s interest as well as the interests of the world, be better cleared up than left hanging.

And so, in those particular questions, I would hope that we would see this happen.  I think the imperative – the priority is really, as I said, to talk about the future.  What is Iran’s intention for the future?  What does it need for the TRR?  What does it need in low-enriched fuel?  What does it intend to do with that?  Where is that going?  I think some transparency in that area, even though you’re right – it is not part of the safeguards procedure, which is particularly related to the diversion of nuclear material – would nevertheless be in common interest.  And if it is a civil program, the notion of secrecy should not really apply, although as you have said, no – with all the threats of the use of military force, we may have given you a stronger reason for secrecy – (chuckles) – than we really intended in terms of talking about that program.

MR. MOUSAVIAN:  Whether the demands are legitimate, legal or not – this is another issue.  My point is, the current demand are beyond NPT.  This is a fact.

MR. PICKERING:  They are, but then you get into the Security Council.  (Laughs.)

MR. MOUSAVIAN:  No, no.  No problem.  Even Security Council resolutions are beyond NPT.

MR. PICKERING:  They are, but they’re binding.  (Chuckles.)

MR.  MOUSAVIAN:  OK.  No, no.  My argument is not that that is legitimate or illegal.  I consider it illegitimate.  But I’m talking about the statement of the U.S. official on the NPT.  This is beyond NPT.  My point is just here; that’s it.  But the best way to move forward is what I said – well, that the major principles to be agreed in order to assure Iran’s end state – they would respect the rights, and to ensure the P5+1 that there would be no nuclear weapon in Iran.  They should see both of them; they should see the end state of any solution.  But if they are not ready – if they are not ready for such a comprehensive package, if they are going just to discuss the steps forward, I believe the priority for the U.S. and the West is 20 percent enrichment.

If this is true, they want Iran to cap its enrichment at 5 percent.  And then they want Iran to limit its stockpile.  Iran has publicly said, we are ready to stop 20 percent enrichment.  I mean – and I am sure they would be ready to – for any deal on the stockpiles.  But the issue is with reciprocations.  Definitely, this is the big issue of no break-out capability.  This is the biggest issue on no break-out capability, capping at 5 percent.  But they are not ready to touch United Nations Security Council resolutions at all.  They are not ready to touch unilateral U.S. sanctions at all.  Therefore, there is only one option left:  for the Europeans to take these unilateral sanctions on oil and central bank if Iran is going to accept cap at 5 percent and limitation on its stockpile.

Otherwise, if they – if they are going to ask two very major, substantive issues from Iran, and to promise Iran that they would let Iran to have food or, I don’t know, spare parts or something like this, they are not going to get to anywhere.

MR. NADER:  The issue is reciprocity, but the country that’s under question is Iran, right?  It’s not P5+1.  So Iran has to make the first move to build confidence before the P5+1 can consider any sort of reciprocity because it’s Iran that’s in violation of the U.N. Security Council resolutions.

I think if Iran made steps that showed good will – stopping 20 percent uranium enrichment – which at this point doesn’t really even need that much 20 percent enriched uranium – then some of these other – you know, the sanctions that have been passed against Iran can be reconsidered, even the European sanctions.  And I think that – there you have reciprocity.  But it’s a matter of Iran making that first step, and I think that’s what the international community is waiting for, not just progress on Iran’s nuclear program where it installs more advanced centrifuges, but it does something that could also alleviate pressure on the U.S. administration because the U.S. government also faces a lot of political pressure in handling the negotiations.

If the P5+1 comes out and eases sanctions and there’s no reciprocity in Tehran, then that could leave the United States very exposed in this process.

MR. MOUSAVIAN:  No.  We are talking about proportionate reciprocations.  If Iran is going to stop 20 percent, what should be the reciprocation?  But when you say, Ali, Iran should show the good will, I believe the problem is not with Iran.  I really believe the problem is with the P5+1.  I’ll tell you why.  Everybody is crying today, scared about 20 percent.  This is the big issue.  But everybody forgets, Iran made the first good will in February 2010 when the Iranian foreign minister, Salehi, publicly announced – he said, we are enriching below 5 percent.  If the P5+1, they give us fuel rods for Tehran, we would not increase our enrichment to 20 percent.  This was a good will.

But miscalculation created by – most probably by Western agencies, intelligence agencies, because they believed Iran does not have capability to make 20 percent.  That’s why they believed Iran is bluffing.  They didn’t consider this as a good will.  They consider it as a bluff.  Then in September 2011 – you remember, Ali – Ahmadinejad was in New York.  Salehi was in New York.  They said, now we’ve made the 20 percent.  Now we have it.  Give us the fuel rod; we would stop it.  This was the second good will from Iran.  This was Iranian initiative not to go beyond 5 percent.  This was Iranian initiative to stop 20 percent.  This was the good will.

But again, miscalculation in the P5+1.  They believed Iran is bluffing; they don’t have capability to build fuel rods.  Within three months, they made the fuel rods.  And before, on 20 percent or any issues – Iranian to show good will – when I was negotiating, I was member of negotiation team who showed the good will.  We implemented additional protocol voluntarily.  We suspended enrichment voluntarily.  This was not the good will?  We gave access to Parchin.  This was not the good will?

But what did they reciprocated?  After all this good wills – implementing additional protocol, suspension, giving access to military sites – they came and they respectfully – they said, no, you should suspend your enrichment for indefinite period.  I said, what do you mean?  One year, two years, five years?  He said, we don’t know, maybe 10 years.  Is this good will?  You are completely wrong, because the problem is really the P5+1.

MR. KIMBALL:  And we are the P-3 – the three panelists plus one.  And I want to ask our panelists to – just an excellent discussion – try to be brief because we do have other questions that we want to try to address.  And let’s keep looking forwards because there’s a long history that we could unravel if we – if we had time to do so.

So I have a question right here in front – second row here – yes, sir.  If you could just identify yourself, ask your question briefly –

Q:  Jose Charbose (sp).  Ambassador Pickering, you mentioned now and also have mentioned before that this – using this amusing, interesting metaphor of horse for rabbit.  I think we all heard Ambassador –

MR. PICKERING:  It’s an old Texas expression is my understanding.  (Laughter.)

Q:  Right.  We heard Ambassador Mousavian and I just don’t want to let this opportunity to pass and see if you find, although he’s not representing Iran at the moment –

MR. PICKERING:  And I don’t represent the U.S.

Q:  Exactly.

MR. PICKERING:  So he’s – (inaudible) – already worked out.  (Laughter.)

Q:  Would you – would you find his articulations of at least Iranians point of view, you know, giving horse for horse because he’s talking about – or he’s pointing fingers to the facts of – problem of the language, problem of negotiation under pressure.  And you are a very, of course, a skilled diplomat.  How would you address these problems that he’s raising?

MR. PICKERING:  Well, I think – look, I think he and I are both getting closer together.  The horse is getting smaller and the rabbit is growing.  And I think that’s what the U.S. was trying to do.  Admittedly, one can pick holes in some of the expressions and one can take a look at this.  And I don’t doubt that there are elements of good will for Iran.

I think there are elements of good will for the United States – it finally joined the talks, it’s decided to try to make proposals, its secretary of state at least has made pretty clear that the no-enrichment forever proposal or for 10 years is seemingly no longer a central part of where the U.S. is going.  It’s conditioned, but that’s there.  The U.S. has tried to expand sanctions relief.  It’s now talking about gold.  It should probably be talking, although it isn’t yet, about no new sanctions if we can get a process going.  I think that’s inevitable and should be there and that’s important.

There’s a lot to do here.  As I said in my own discussion, it would be very helpful for the experts to have a talk with leading Iranian experts on what their plan is for their nuclear program.  One of the things that bothers us most is the large accumulation of LEU with no apparent use for it.  I’ve sat down and worked hard to try to figure out some uses that Iran could put on the table hopefully to justify at least a portion of what it already has.

But that isn’t where that particular engine – (inaudible) – should come from, but it would be hopeful and helpful to know, as Hossein said, that they’re ready to stop at 20 percent.  OK, well, what do they need?  And do they expect us, as we have offered, to do that and to eliminate all those, or can they use some of their 20 percent for their own fuel rods?  I have no objection to that.

That goes ahead under supervision and it takes it even to a less easily reversible form for breakout.  And Hossein is right; I agree with him that a very, very big preoccupation now is on Iran positioning itself where it could engage in a rapid breakout.  And that’s a central piece of what we’ve been talking and particularly – talking about particularly in an effort to describe the end state in terms that both sides could agree on.

I think that if Iran wants us to recognize its right to enrich, that, in my view, is important only on the basis that we would at some point change the Security Council resolution which seeks to mandate no enrichment in Iran.  And I think that that would be a perfectly logical way to do that and that could also be accompanied by words.

But if Iran finds it difficult in trusting our words about regime change, why is it easy to trust our words about the right to enrich?  We’ll have to figure out actions to take, I think, to accompany those as we would expect Iran would take actions to accompany things like limitations to 5 percent, or whatever can be agreed here.

This is a very difficult problem.  Getting started is hard.  There are elements of having gotten started and then they were rebuffed or ignored.  We need to get out of that particular mode.  We need to find our way forward.  My own views – and I disagree with Alireza – I think that it’s probably anybody who has good intentions’ obligations to see that this process gets started one way or another.

I’ve suggested some ways the U.S. could do that.  There are ways that Iran can do that.  If we do something to get the process started, hopefully that could be reciprocated.  It is good news that we’re meeting.  I could remember three or four years in a row where we met once a year – came for a meeting, dismissed the other side’s point of view, walked away and spent the next year negotiating the next meeting.  That’s not, in my view, very productive.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right, other questions.  Greg, please, and then –

Q:  Greg Thielmann, Arms Control Association.  Alireza Nader mentioned that the fall of Assad in Syria would be a big blow to Iran and Hezbollah.  I’m just wondering what Ambassador Mousavian and Undersecretary Pickering think about how Syria plays in the background of these negotiations?  Is Assad’s problem a help to the P5+1 or a hindrance because it encourages the Iranians to dig in more?

MR. KIMBALL:  Tom?  Hossein?  You want to start?

MR. PICKERING:  Go ahead, Hossein, yeah.

MR. MOUSAVIAN:  I also believe the Syria issue is not about Syria, is about Iran.  But having experienced eight year war, 1980 to 1988, I really cannot imagine Islamic Republic of Iran would have ever challenged with such a situation.  We had eight years’ war, correct?  All regional countries – all of them, U.S., Europe, Soviet Union – all international community, they were supporting aggressor.  They boycotted Iran on everything the time – the whole eight years I was in Iran.

Iran started a war when Iran could not produce –


MR. MOUSAVIAN:  No, no.  No, no.  No, no.  The war – I mean, when Iraq invaded Iran.  Iran started to defend when Iran didn’t have – couldn’t produce one bullet – one bullet.  Everything Iran was 100 independent to U.S., West – conventional arms, 100 percent.  Today’s situation definitely for Iran is not worse than that time because the country just right after revolution was very vulnerable, the system was not established.  Iraq invaded Iran.  Not one country, two country – everybody, Europe, U.S. – everybody was supporting – even they used chemical weapons with the support of the West.

One hundred thousand Iranians, they were killed or injured.  One million Iranians, they were killed.  But after the war, Iran possessed conventional ore, building missiles, tanks, artilleries.  And where is Saddam?  I believe these sanctions today is really – definitely is less than what Iran experienced during eight years’ war – definitely.  And Syria is a small issue compared to 1980 to 1988.  This is the potential – unfortunately, the West is really – has problem to understand the potential of Iranians.

They are very different with some regional Arab countries – big nation, human resources – enormous human resources, very clever strategic resources.  They can deliver.  The notion of sanctions is really important – (inaudible) – to understand for the United States about sanctions.  In 2005, when the U.S. decided to – (inaudible) – Iranian file to United Nations Security Council and to launch the sanctions, at that time Iran had about 1,000 centrifuges.

After sanctions, today Iran has over 10,000 centrifuges.  That time, Iran was enriching below 5 percent, now is 20 percent.  That time, Iran was working with IR-1, the first generation.  Now they have two – second generation, third generation, fourth generations.  That time, they couldn’t produce fuel rods.  Today they produce.

More sanctions, more nuclear capability.  This is Iranian psychology.  They want to tell the U.S. and the West, we would not give in on their sanctions.  As Alireza said, definitely sanctions have harmed Iranian nation, no doubt about it.  But if the target for the sanction is and was and is about the nuclear issue, more sanctions?  You should – you should prepare yourself for more enrichment, more capability, more capacity.  This is the race they can continue.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right, let’s take a couple questions in sequence.  Yes, ma’am, you, and then in the rear, please.

Q:  Rachel Oswald, Global Security Newswire.  One thing that hasn’t been touched on today is the things that are happening behind the scenes, namely the covert war against Iranian atomic scientists and rocket scientists, assassinations that may or may not be happening with help from U.S. intelligence, and the U.S. cyberwar that we know is happening and, as we know, has success.

Do you think that Iran can be expected to believe the United States is really not looking for regime change or is speaking in good faith if they continue this covert war and cyberwarfare even while it – while it says it’s interested in possibly lifting sanctions?  And should those two things be halted, you know, to give – to give, you know, I guess, diplomacy a shot?

MR. KIMBALL:  And who are you addressing that to?  All –

Q:  The panel at large.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  All right, and then we have a question in the – towards the rear, please.  Yes, sir.  If you could identify yourself.

Q:  OK.  Thank you for taking my question.  I have two questions, Mr. Pickering and also Mr. Mousavian.  And my question is how do you assess about the recent nuclear test of DPRK?  And do you think there is a difference about a U.S. approach between Iranian program and DPRK program?  Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  All right, so first question.  Gentlemen, want to take a shot?  Ali?

MR. NADER:  On – the sabotage and the cyberattacks are designed to slow down Iran’s program.  And we have to remember part of U.S. policy has also been to restrain an Israeli strike against Iran, so some of these policies that you see, including sanctions, are meant to also reassure our allies, and not just Israel but other countries in the region, especially the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, including Saudi Arabia.

Now, we can argue whether those policies are productive or not.  In terms of our reassuring allies, perhaps you could argue they’re productive.  In terms of inducing Tehran to make concessions on their program, probably not.  I mean, just assassinating individual Iranian nuclear scientists to me doesn’t seem that productive.  But they were meant to slow down the Iranian program.  The cyberattacks against Natanz seemed to do so for a while, but then we’ve seen Iran’s program advance.  So I’m not sure actually how those attacks are productive in terms of getting Tehran to negotiate on the issue.

MR. PICKERING:  I would not disagree with Ali at all.  I think that particularly the assassinations disturb me.  That’s, I think, been made clear by Secretary Clinton.  She too condemns, and I think that that’s a clear indication of U.S. government intent – at least I hope it is – and U.S. government involvement.

My own view is that as the process of the developing Iranian program went ahead, slowing it down has been an objective for a long period of time, whether it involves Stuxnets or the interruption of external supply.  And that’s been a policy pursued with other countries.

On the DPRK, if I can come to that, for different reasons, I believe, different approaches to the use of military force have been taken.  Happily in neither case, in my view, has it resulted in the use of military force, although I think the U.S. deeply regrets that the North Koreans have advanced their program to the test stage.  I think it’s a serious mistake.

I’m not sure what we can do next.  The Chinese seem to be, at least to some significant extent, concerned because the North Koreans are being depended upon by China to provide a buffer of stability on their border while at the same time they are creating a zone of great instability on China’s border.  And at some point we would hope China would play a more forceful role, since they seem to have a great deal more influence – (chuckles) – than we do in that particular set of activities.  But one would hope as well that the example of a failure to support united action in North Korea would be also a lesson China would pick up with respect to dealing with Iran.

My view is that in both cases, we ought to seek at the negotiating table as long as it is possible and open to us answers to the particular questions involved.  But seemingly we can do that only with a more united support around the negotiating table to get in that direction.

MR. MOUSAVIAN:  On North Korea, I have already frequently said Iranians, they believe a very clear double standard of the U.S. and the P5+1, because North Korea withdrew from NPT and tested nuclear bomb.  Iran is member of NPT and doesn’t have nuclear bomb, and there is no diversion, even.  But the level of sanctions on Iran is more than North Korea.  And this is double standard of the U.S. and the West of having strategic relations with countries like India, Pakistan while they are not member of NPT and they have nuclear bombs.  I agree with Alireza.  The issue is not nuclear.  The issue is Iran-U.S. hostilities, and the problem is exactly here.

But on covert actions, again, this is like sanctions.  Remember when they started covert actions in 2010, Stuxnet or assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist, within three years, Iran has established one of the most powerful cyberarmy in the world.  This is the gift of the U.S. and the Israelis to Iranian nation.  Now today they have most – if not most, they are between top five most powerful on the cyber issue.

This is the – this is the reaction of Iranians.  If they believe they can – with killing one or two nuclear scientists or Stuxnet, they can stop it, then the reaction is this.  As long as they cannot understand this Iranian mentality, they would continue their mistakes.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right, I want to conclude our session, because we’re out of time, with one concluding question for all the panelists to try to wrap things up.

We’ve heard – I mean, this has been a very rich discussion.  I think we get a sense of how challenging the discussions are in – going to be in Almaty because there’s such a long history, there are so many different perspectives, there are so many grievances on both sides, and yet in there somewhere are some areas of agreement.  And it’s important for the diplomats to try to tease those out.  I think if you were listening carefully, you heard some key areas of agreement amongst our panelists, despite some of the different perspectives.  That doesn’t mean that a solution is possible, but it’s perhaps somewhere out there.

And what I wanted to ask each of you to try to answer briefly is whether you believe in 2013 there may be progress towards resolving the long-standing nuclear disputes and very briefly, if so, why you think there is a chance for progress.

So let me start with Ali, and we’ll come down this way to Tom.

MR. NADER:  I think there – yes, there may be some progress.  I wouldn’t necessarily bet money on it, because we can see the same thing in 2014 and 2015 and see this situation drag on.

The only reason I think that there may be some progress is because Tehran is feeling a lot of pressure economically through sanctions.  And yes, a nuclear program has advanced, but you have to take into account the tremendous damage sanctions are doing to Iran as a country but also, I think, the regime ultimately.  And the leadership in Tehran has faced increasing pressure and is going to face more pressure to be more flexible on the nuclear program.  So that, I think, is a cause for some hope, if you want to call it that.

And I think when it comes time to negotiations, I think the P5+1, of course, should be more flexible.  For example, some of the demands – closing down Fordow – initially might not be as flexible as perceived by Tehran because that gives it a lot of leverage.  So I think there is also room for P5+1 to maneuver, and hopefully, if Iran comes to the table with some confidence-inducing measures, then the P5+1 will reciprocate.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right, thanks.


MR. MOUSAVIAN:  (Chuckles.)  I believe there would be definitely a breakthrough if the U.S. changes its original strategy toward Iranian nuclear issue and Iranian – global issues with Iran.

I disagree with Alireza said, as long as Islamic republic remains, there would be no solution to Iran-U.S. relations.  I believe within at least a decade we would have neither regime change in Washington nor in Tehran.  (Laughter.)  Therefore, forget this regime change issue.

We should try to find a solution realistically.  Everything is – it depends, I believe, to Iran-U.S. relations.  In parallel to U.S. – to P5+1 on nuclear talks with Iran, we need to work on Iran-U.S. relations.  We need to remove this – the mistrust between Iran and the U.S.

I believe the best way to create trust between Iran and the U.S. is to start from the issues of common interests.  For 33 years Iran and the U.S. – I mean more U.S. – is concentrated on the issues of disputes, like peace process or terrorism or nuclear.  There are a lot of fields and issues, like Afghanistan, like Iraq, like drug trafficking, which they have common position, common stance.  If today the U.S. is going to withdraw from Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran can assist.  Stability of Afghanistan and Iraq is extremely critical to Washington and Tehran.  Washington and Tehran, they are supporting the same governments in Baghdad and in Kabul, while the U.S. allies in the region, they are working against both governments.

Therefore, why they cannot sit together to cooperate to create confidence?  Confidence through common-interest issues definitely would work more than confidence through these issues of disputes.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you.


MR. PICKERING:  I, like Ali and Hossein, hope there will be – hope there will be a process that will lead somewhere.  Unlike Ali, I’d be willing to put a little money on a positive outcome – not a lot, but I’d be willing to put a little money on it.  (Laughter.)

I think that several issues stand in the way.  The U.S. is moving, and it’s coming very close to a point where Iran will have to think very carefully.  It’s coming close to a point where it is trying to put on the table what it is Iran keeps saying it really wants, and it’s not incompatible with U.S. objectives:  a civil nuclear program under full transparency without sanctions in a process that can go ahead with international support, monitoring and supervision.

To some extent, Hossein, what you consider to be the misbehavior of the United States has been matched by the elements of mistrust that the United States feels about Iran, however good or ill may be.  To some extent, in the end, it will not be possible to argue that the pressure tactics should prevent Iran from achieving what it says it wants, which is coming close to being put on the table.  And I think it’s within reach in a serious negotiation.  And a serious negotiation has to have more than one-day meetings, which seems to be some kind of de rigeur arrangement that nobody is willing to break yet.  But we need to find a way around that.

I agree with you a hundred percent on bilateral relationships.  But if, in fact, you’re going to have a kind of preliminary precondition from the supreme leader that somehow we have to find a way to wash our souls in public so they’re whiter than snow, I don’t know how we’re going to do it.  It is not, in my view, within the range of possibility if that’s a precondition.  A precondition will stand in the way of achieving what you say are your objectives.  And so it is important.

We have, I think, quite carefully eschewed preconditions for conversation, despite the fact that there is inordinate preoccupation with PMD, with Parchin and with other issues that still hang on out there.  And so we need to find a way through that hurdle because I couldn’t agree with you – you made a much better statement about the value and importance of bilateral negotiations than I did.  And I’m totally in agreement with you, and we need to think about how to find a way over the hurdles that now seem to have been popping up with respect to that particular question.

I suspect, like a lot of these things, at rock bottom, they’re domestic political concerns, and we have to understand that.  And I in my country and, I think, you in your country have to do our best to make people believe and understand that leadership is leadership, that when it comes to overcoming domestic political concerns, if the risk is worth taking, then we can’t rule by the polls; we have to encourage our leaders, on those few things that make a serious difference, to reach out and stake a position even if it does present some dangers.

We’re in a good position now because we in fact have four years to the next election.  You’re in a good position because you have an indeterminate time for supreme leadership to stay in power.  All of this, in my view, gives us an opportunity, and 2013 is a good year to pick up that opportunity.  And I hope that in fact, we can find ways to overcome what seem to be the drags on the process.  And I’m not saying they’re all on one side or the other side; they’re on both sides.

But the opportunity to discuss those in public and talk about ways in which we’re in agreement – and I agree with you on Afghanistan and Iraq.  And I wrote an article with friends three years ago saying we ought to find a way to try to begin to attack some of those questions in parallel, in conjunction or, indeed, in a different format if that’s necessary as a way to increase the possibility of building confidence between us.  And I think now 2013 is a good year to think about that as well.

But thank you, Daryl, for the opportunity.  And thank you and the Arms Control Association for everything you do to promote good sense and, I hope, rationality in what is sometimes a field where that is rare.

MR. KIMBALL:  Well, thank you, Tom.  (Applause.)

And thank you all for a very rational, very interesting and rich conversation.  This is not going to be the last one that we have on this topic – (laughter) – for better or worse.  (Laughter.)  And there’s far more on the Arms Control Association website and in our new briefing book on the history of efforts on this subject, the options for the diplomats in Almaty.

We look forward to seeing you once again.  We are adjourned this afternoon.  Thanks for coming.  (Applause.)




After an eight-month hiatus, the resumption of negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 group on February 26 in Almaty, Kazakhstan offers a critical opportunity to move toward a diplomatic solution to the long-running standoff over Tehran's sensitive nuclear activities.

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