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"I find hope in the work of long-established groups such as the Arms Control Association...[and] I find hope in younger anti-nuclear activists and the movement around the world to formally ban the bomb."

– Vincent Intondi
Professor of History, Montgomery College
July 1, 2020
Arms Control Today

Britain, France Propose EU Code of Conduct

European Union (EU) members began consideration of a proposed arms sales code of conduct within the EU Council of Ministers' working group COARM on February 17. The proposal, drafted by Britain and France, lists eight broad criteria which EU members should take into account when making arms export decisions.

Under the proposed code, members are expected to refuse an export request for military equipment or dual-use goods (when the end user is suspected to be the armed forces or internal security forces) if the request is "inconsistent" with international obligations such as arms embargos and treaty commitments and if there is a risk that the equipment might be used for "internal repression," prolonging an existing conflict, used "aggressively" against another country or re-exported to a third country. A requesting country's human rights record is to be considered, as well as economic factors such as external debt and economic and social development.

EU members are to inform all other members of an export denial and its underlying rationale. If another member decides to make an "essentially identical" export within three years of a refusal, that member must only notify and consult the state that issued the original refusal.

Although the code claims to have the aim of "setting high common standards for arms exports," the code would not be legally binding and the final export decision would remain a matter of national discretion.

Strategic Agreements and the CTB Treaty: Striking the Right Balance

January/February 1998

By Robert Bell

On February 18, Robert Bell, special assistant to the president for national security and counselor to the assistant to the president for national security affairs, delivered the luncheon address to the Arms Control Association's annual membership meeting. In his dual-hat role, Bell advises the president and the president's national security advisor on a broad range of defense and arms control issues, including national security strategy, strategic nuclear and conventional arms control and weapons acquisition. Since joining the National Security Council in 1993 as senior director for defense policy and arms control, Bell has become a leading voice in U.S. policy debates on these issues.

Before joining the administration, Bell served as the principal arms control advisor to two of the Senate's most influential members during the 1980s and early 1990s: Charles Percy (R-IL), chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and then Sam Nunn (D-GA), chairman of the Armed Services Committee. A graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy (1969) and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University (1970), Bell also served as an Air Force officer and worked as a defense analyst at the Congressional Research Service. The following is an edited version of Bell's remarks and his responses to questions.

 


It is a special pleasure for me to be invited to address your annual membership luncheon, because the Arms Control Association and its leadership, especially your very able executive director and deputy director, Spurgeon Keeny and Jack Mendelsohn, and all of your members—and forgive me for not recognizing many of the "giants" in this room who have built the platform of defense security and arms control on which this administration stands today—have truly been stalwart champions for arms control and non-proliferation throughout my entire professional career.

It's a true pleasure to salute the association, Spurgeon, for everything you do—for your intense involvement in winning the ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention [CWC] last year; before that, winning the ratification of START I and START II, and those were not givens; and winning the unanimous support of the Senate, including a "yes" vote from Senator [Jesse] Helms, for the CFE flank accord last summer; for your close monitoring, involvement and support for the indefinite and unconditional extension of the Non-Proliferation Treaty [NPT] in 1995 and the successful conclusion of the Comprehensive Test Ban [CTB] Treaty, which the president has called the hardest-fought, longest-sought prize in the history of arms control; for your efforts to sustain and extend the Nunn-Lugar program and other efforts to address the security, control and safe disposition of the residue of the Soviet Union's nuclear menace; and last, but certainly not least, for your organization's unwavering defense of the fundamental integrity of the ABM Treaty and its continuing vital role as a cornerstone of strategic stability.

When I think about the Arms Control Association and the ABM Treaty, I can't help but be reminded that the last time I attended a full-membership event of this organization was in 1988. I was in the company of Senator Sam Nunn, who this organization was honoring that night for his phenomenal defense of the ABM Treaty and his rebuttal—indeed, the demolishing—of the reinterpretation that Judge Sofaer had put together. Senator Nunn had drawn hugely on contributions from John Rhinelander and Ray Garthoff and so many other people in this room, but you were here to honor Senator Nunn that night. As I well recall, Senator Nunn decided, being a plain-speaking man, that that would be a good occasion and this would be a good forum to unveil his proposal for deploying by 1996 a treaty-compliant national missil defense [NMD] that he, at my urging, had called "ALPS," for Accidental Launch Protection System—a term that he hated, by the way. And as I recall quite clearly, when the senator finished his remarks, the silence was deafening. That was quite a night. He was your "man of the year," but what a moment.

So, before anyone worries, let me be very quick to say that I've not come back seven years later to announce that the administration has decided to deploy a national missile defense. But I would like to talk about national missile defense and the ABM Treaty, and especially their interrelationship. I also want to update you and the association on where we're going with START II ratification, START III, CTB ratification, de-alerting, and our policies on strategic nuclear deterrence, no first use and negative security assurances. In doing this I want to repeatedly come back to the theme of balance. Indeed, I've titled my remarks, if you will, "Strategic Agreements and the CTB Treaty: Striking the Right Balance."

Now, for those of you that know me well or have worked with me over the last two decades, it may not surprise you that I've put so much emphasis on the need for balance in our strategic approach. I mean, just consider the following tidbits from my bio, some of which Stan Resor ticked off. My mother was a very wealthy Yankee from Massachusetts, but my father was a working-class Southerner from Alabama. My military service was in the Air Force, but in the Senate I worked for a Navy man and a former Coast Guardsman. In the Senate I worked on a Republican staff and then went to work on a Democratic staff. Then I worked in the legislative branch for 18 years, but followed that with five years in the executive branch. And for the last five years, prior to this recent decision, I've worn two hats—senior director for defense and senior director for arms control—which basically meant that I would spend my mornings building up our armaments and spend the afternoons building them back down.

The burden of my remarks today is to persuade you and the association that what we've achieved during these five years of Bill Clinton's presidency is a national security posture whose defense and arms control components reflect a prudent and rational degree of equilibrium.

You have to start, really, by asking what are the objectives? What is the objective of our national security strategy? First and foremost, it goes without saying, because it's in the Constitution, we have a responsibility to have a strategy that "provides for the common defense, promotes the general welfare and secures the blessings of liberty." And clearly, the greatest danger that we as a nation face to our "life, liberty and pursuit of happiness" is weapons of mass destruction [WMD] and their prospective use or proliferation.

 

Living With WMD

To address this threat, this paramount defining threat of this era, of WMD, we have put together a three-part strategy. Part one is preventing, or at least constraining, the spread of these terrible weapons and reducing or eliminating them outright. And here, of course, the main burden is carried by arms control treaties and multilateral non-proliferation regimes such as the NPT or the Australia Group. And it certainly includes the CTB Treaty, which has now been endorsed by four former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the three directors of our national nuclear laboratories and which the president has asked the Senate to give its advice and consent to this year. And finally, it includes rograms designed specifically to eliminate WMD, particularly the Nunn-Lugar program—the legacy achievement of my former boss, Senator Nunn, and his visionary Republican colleague, Senator Richard Lugar.

Part two of our strategy is deterrence—deterrence of efforts or temptations by adversaries or prospective enemies to use weapons of mass destruction to attack or coerce the United States or its allies. And should parts one and two prove inadequate, part three of the strategy involves active means of defeating WMD, including missile defenses and counter-proliferation attack capabilities.

Now, in my two decades of involvement here in Washington in debates in the policy arena over defense and arms control issues, I think I've come to realize more than anything that the fault lines that we see in these debates can be attributed to the relative weight or priority that some, in the context of this debate, are placing on different parts of this three-part package. Some place far greater, if not exclusive, reliance on one of the elements; others discount or even dismiss altogether the value of others.

For example, let's start with the arms control treaties and the multilateral regimes. Some—and here I'm thinking mainly of the far right, if you will—think that arms control is a "sham," that it's at best ineffective or even works as a counter-productive bromide that lulls us into a false sense of security. Some would even terminate the Nunn-Lugar program. With regard to the second element, deterrence, we have sort of an unusual situation now where deterrence as a concept and as a building block of national security is under attack from the right and the left. There's the view that deterrence as a concept or as a pillar of national security is itself immoral, if not unviable. The prospect or the threat of massive retaliation as a building block for national security, in some quarters, is simply not accepted.

And now, with the growing discussion in the public arena over de-alerting options, I think we're seeing increasingly a line of argument that's coming from another side of this debate that says that deterrence is part of the problem; because by clinging to the continued importance of this we are putting barriers in the way of what should be a more straightline and rapid movement to step back completely—a zero-alert posture, if you will—from the precipice of the Cold War and take all the systems down, even at the expense of the traditional calculations that have underpinned our confidence that our deterrence posture was credible.

And then last, of course, missile defense, an issue that's in swing from the right and the left as well. For some, missile defense is the complete answer; a complete solution to our national security requirement, even if it's at the expense of the loss of the other two elements. Even if it means the destruction of the NPT, the CTB, the START agreements, and indeed, strategic stability as a measure of deterrent posture. For others, it's missile defense, not arms control, that's the "sham." Missile defense is a contrivance in the eyes of some: not proven, not likely to work, costing billions, getting in the way of what could be a more robust policy with respect to arms control.

But we in the Clinton administration—and I hope this doesn't surprise you—believe that each of these elements has merit, that each has a significant contribution to make to our national security, and that each can only be pursued if we acknowledge their interrelationship. And yes, to be sure, that means, necessarily, recognizing that there are trade-offs involved across those three baskets. Let me illustrate this point by discussing in a little more detail each element of this strategy triad, starting with the arms control regimes and the multilateral non-proliferation regimes.

 

The Non-Proliferation Strategy

Of course, if you look at the NPT and the CTB, which ar two of our principal tools for preventing, or at least constraining, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, you have to begin by recognizing that neither offers a foolproof guarantee. The critics have a talking point, to be sure, in pointing out that NPT can't stop nuclear proliferation, the CTB can't stop a country that's determined to acquire a nuclear capability. But they can constrain them. And together they're effective. One without the other isn't going to be viable.

If the Senate should reject or refuse to act on the CTB, I believe we put at risk the NPT. Certainly, I feel very strongly that had it not been for our willingness to negotiate the CTB in the first term of the Clinton administration, we would have never achieved the indefinite and unconditional extension of the NPT.

Now, with respect to going directly at the problem and reducing or eliminating weapons of mass destruction, I think it's important to note standing here today, in February of 1998, nine months after what was a very earnest Senate debate on the Chemical Weapons Convention, that the arguments that the administration made at the time about the paramount importance of the United States leading in this field have been validated. That came to a vote in the Senate. The Senate exercised its correct judgment, in my view. And because we ratified, things that the critics said would not happen have, in fact, happened. Russia ratified and deposited its instrument. China deposited its instrument of ratification, as did Iran and Pakistan. We have seen real vindication here for the argument of the importance of American leadership.

With respect to the START treaties, we have the opportunity for a truly breath-taking achievement in human experience. In START I, we are now two years ahead of schedule. The first reduction milestone was this past December. Both we and Russia are at the point of reductions now that we did not have to get to until 1999. We are both two years ahead of schedule in building down real nuclear dangers. START II, still pending in the Duma, offers the next step down, but more importantly opens the door to START III. And with START III, as per the Helsinki agreement, we have the commitment to reduce to the level of 2,000-2,500 strategic nuclear warheads by the year 2007, in tandem with a separate but related negotiation on tactical nuclear weapons and on the disposition of warheads and fissile material itself. So we have the opportunity available; indeed, we have a commitment in principle from the presidents of these two nuclear powers to achieve within the next nine years an 80 percent reduction in the strategic nuclear danger that existed at the end of the Cold War in 1991.

 

The Future of the ABM Treaty

Now, what does all of that mean for the ABM Treaty? Here, too, it's a question of balance, because I do not believe that we can achieve the promise of START II and START III unless we maintain our commitment to the ABM Treaty. Now, that's not just my view. This is the fundamental position of the Russian Ministry of Defense [MOD]. In their presentations to the Duma for ratification of START II—and they are making some very powerful arguments to the Duma—they have stressed two things about the ABM Treaty. One is that U.S. adherence, scrupulous adherence, to the ABM Treaty is a fundamental condition for MOD supporting ratification of START II. It's part of their, if you will, "safeguards package;" it's a condition of their support. Second, the MOD has argued to the Duma that there are many things in START II that they think are advntageous to Russia, and right at the top of that list is the fact that in the treaty itself you have a cross-reference to the ABM Treaty that reaffirms our U.S. fundamental commitment to that treaty.

So, what does that mean then in terms of this interrelationship between defense and offense, between the ABM Treaty and the reality of where we are with the START process? First, and I think obviously, it means that had this administration not—beginning in 1993 when we went to Geneva at the five-year review of the ABM Treaty and reaffirmed our commitment to it—made clear our fundamental commitment to the integrity of the ABM Treaty, we would not be where we are today with the prospect of START II ratification.

Second, I would say that absent our success last year in terms of the agreements on higher- and lower-velocity theater missile defense [TMD] demarcation and the succession understandings for the ABM Treaty—the Duma would not act on START II. I think it's that simple; the linkage in their mind is that clear.

Third, I believe that absent Senate approval of these three ABM agreements, there's a real question of whether the government of Russia will allow START II to enter into force, or will continue, for that matter, the START III negotiations that we're pledged to begin immediately upon Duma ratification of START II. I'm not predicting that, and in the end I don't know for sure what their reaction would be. But many, many things that they have said lead me to that view. In fact, some quarters in Moscow—Chairman Lukin of the Foreign Affairs Committee, for example—have argued that the Duma shouldn't even take up START II until the Senate has given its advice and consent to these three ABM agreements, a sequencing that we do not accept in the administration and that we have tried to warn the Russians off of as fatal to the future of both sets of agreements.

So in sum, we believe that once the Duma has approved START II—as extended by this five-year measure that Secretary Albright and Foreign Minister Primakov signed in September—the Senate, hopefully this year, will have an opportunity for a historic debate on strategic offense and strategic defense issues and their interrelationship. Indeed, this will be a great debate in the history of arms control—one in which we hope the Arms Control Association is a major player—that will determine, in my view, the future not only of the ABM Treaty—and certainly, Chairman Helms has made clear in his recent letter that he sees the debate on these three agreements as the vehicle for a larger debate on the treaty itself—but also will determine the future of START. And in our judgment, Senate defeat of these three ABM accords would carry with it the genuine risk of derailing the START process altogether and forfeiting the opportunity for reducing by 80 percent the strategic nuclear danger that we saw just seven years ago.

 

The New PDD

Now, with respect to deterrence as the second element of our strategy, you are all familiar, of course, from the extensive press coverage of the presidential decision directive [PDD] that the president signed in November. I want to talk very briefly about two aspects of it: first, in terms of strategic nuclear deterrence, and second, its implications for regional conflicts, particularly those where chemical or biological weapons could be in play.

With respect to strategic nuclear deterrence, the PDD reaffirms our fundamental commitment to maintain a strategic nuclear posture across a triad of strategic forces, robust posture that is not dependent on a launch-on-warning planning assumption, and that includes secure reserve forces and survivability sufficient to allow you to confirm that a nuclear weapon has actually detonated on American soil before you would have to face the retaliatory decision.

Now, the good news in this PDD is that it confirms the position of the president, with the full support of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the commander in chief of our strategic command, that we can maintain that kind of deterrent posture as a hedge against an uncertain future, not a deterrent posture that we think is required today or tomorrow or next week or next month given the course that Russia's on today. But because that course is not certain we are maintaining that strategic posture as a hedge. The good news is that we believe, and now have confirmed with this PDD, that we can do that at significantly lower levels than have ever been entertained before, indeed, down to the levels of the Helsinki agreement for START III.

The PDD also reaffirmed—and I was very glad to see that Spurgeon's editorial in the most recent issue of Arms Control Today took note of this (See ACT, November/December 1997)—our negative security assurance policy; that is, it is the policy of the United States, as restated in this PDD, not to use nuclear weapons first in a conflict unless the state attacking us or our allies or our military forces is nuclear-capable or not in good standing under the NPT or an equivalent regime, or third, is attacking us in alliance with a nuclear capability.

So what that means, then, in terms of our no-first-use or negative security assurance policy is that we are continuing to stand up for the assurances we've given the world that have been so instrumental in achieving our non-proliferation goals and underpinning our non-proliferation agenda, including the extension of the NPT and the attainment of the CTB. Now, there is an element of balance here. This is not a categorical no-first-use posture. For the states that are identified in those three exceptions, we do not forswear any options. And there's an element of deterrence there.

Here, too, we are trying to recognize that our interests are best served by balance and equilibrium. To be sure, if you wanted to put the most weight, the greatest priority, on the deterrence element of your strategy, you would make a very clear nuclear threat. You would say if you attack us in any fashion—conventional, chemical, biological—we will use nuclear weapons. That would be a categorical threat that would maximize your deterrence. Unfortunately, it would derail your non-proliferation policy and your non-proliferation agenda. So we have tried to strike the balance by maintaining long-standing U.S. policy in this area, actually dating back to Secretary of State Vance in 1978.

Now last, with respect to the defense or active means for destroying weapons of mass destruction, we've continued on course with our national missile defense developmental program that we still refer to as "three-plus -three," and the president's NMD budget request for 1999, which is almost a billion dollars, still presents the option of a deployment decision in the year 2000 that could be realized by the year 2003. That said, it's important to note the caveats: the testimony has been very clear that this accelerated course entails very high technical risk and very high degrees of concurrence between the test program and the production program. The GAO recently did a study that underscored that.

In my own experience, I remember back to the debate we had with Senator Nunn's ALPS proposal, where this issue of what is the appropriate level of technical risk that one should sign on to was very much at the heart of the debate between Senator Nunn and then-Senator [Al] Gore. In the end, the position the Congress adopted was that a national missile defense deployment objective should be low-to-moderate technical risk, at best.

And we have to remember some of our experience with weapons systems to know the dangers that are inherent if you push thetechnical risk too far. But you'll do what you have to do if the threat requires it. There have been crash programs before in our nation's history—Polaris was certainly one. If the threat requires the compression of the program, you will do what you have to do. But if the ballistic missile threat does not require a deployment decision in the year 2000, this administration will not make a deployment decision.

With respect to TMD we're committed to the full panoply of programs that we're pursuing, all of which, at least with regard to the programs that are mature enough to reach that stage, have been certified to the Congress as compliant with the ABM Treaty.

 

Beyond START II

Now, if this balanced three-part national security strategy is going to be effective, it can't just be on autopilot. Things have to happen, things have to fall into place. I think there are five principal challenges that we face, not just the White House or the administration, but we collectively as people that believe both in arms control and national security.

The first is the Duma has got to ratify START II. It's been a long wait. We've worked very hard the last year and a half to bring it just to the point of final action. We've been assured by the Russian government that they have everything they need to get the job done. There is now this issue of Iraq, which is overshadowing everything in terms of calculations of the ratification prospects. But leaving that aside its seems to me we're in a position to get this done. And it's very important as that debate is going on that we not have a divisive debate within the United States Senate over the ABM agreements. That is one reason we feel so fundamentally that we're not going to submit the ABM package to the Senate until the Duma has ratified START II.

The second challenge is to get the debate that we're having on de-alerting right. And by "right" I mean the right balance. It's not black or white; there are arguments on both sides. We need to strike the right equilibrium. On the one hand, we need to be open to every opportunity that presents itself to improve crisis stability, to step back from the precipice of the Cold War, to stand down the nuclear dangers of an era that's now receding. But at the same time, we also have to be sensitive to the requirements of deterrence in terms of how you calculate stability; and second, we need to be sensitive to the implications of our actions with respect to timing.

The strongest argument that's being made in the Duma right now for ratification of START II is the argument of their Defense Ministry that if the Duma ratifies START II, the parity ratio of strategic nuclear forces between Russia and the United States will be 1:1, and if they fail to ratify START II, Russia will be in a position of nuclear inferiority at the strategic level by a ratio of 1:3. They have reduced the argument to that simple an argument: What would you rather have, parity at 1:1, or inferiority at 1:3?

I think we need to be very careful that, while START II hangs in the balance in terms of ratification in the Duma, setting aside the Iraq issue, we not, in effect, suggest that that argument doesn't carry weight anymore because we're going to end-run START II with an alternate approach through e-alerting. So it's a question of timing. I also think we need to appreciate that we are on the hook from the Helsinki agreement, just as soon as START II is ratified, to immediately enter into a negotiation with the Russians to agree on how to deactivate half of our remaining strategic forces—the drop from the START I level to the START II level—five years before those systems have to be destroyed under the old arms control treaty rules.

In that early deactivation negotiation, we've been put on notice by the Russians that they're going to come to the table with ideas different than simply taking warheads off of delivery systems. So, we need to be careful, first, to take into account the START II implication, and second, to think ahead to a negotiation that we're going to have on deactivation or de-alerting, because in that sense I think the words are interchangeable.

Now, the administration is very hard at work on this. We've had a very earnest review both within the Strategic Command, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the secretary of defense's office, and the interagency that's moving along very nicely. We have not reached any final conclusions. But I want to assure you that we are looking at each of these ideas to ask ourselves which ones would have merit.

The third challenge—and this is much more parochial and domestic—is to win the argument with Congress over base closings. Now, that may surprise you in this arms control audience. But the Quadrennial Defense Review [QDR] is a balanced package with strategic nuclear elements, conventional elements, readiness elements and training elements. And the whole package depends on generating the savings we need to do everything: to maintain the readiness, the training, the quality of life enhancements for our troops, the conventional modernization, and yes, the strategic nuclear forces that underpin our deterrent posture. If we fail to win the argument with Congress over infrastructure reductions, particularly base closings, and don't generate the billions we need to make the QDR whole in terms of its fiscal assumptions, the first pressure point is going to come, I believe, in the services on the nuclear accounts, because the further you move away from the Cold War the harder it is to maintain support across the river for the nuclear accounts.

Fourth, I think we've got to be very clear-headed in this debate over TMD and NMD about the importance of considerations of technical risk. We need to make sure that the money is being spent wisely on defenses that will, in fact, work.

And last, we've got to ratify the CTB. I've not saved that until last because it's the lowest on my list; it's the one issue I'm spending most of my time on each day at the NSC right now. I've saved it until last because I just want to end on that note and leave it very much on your mind. The president believes fundamentally that the CTB is in the best interests of the United States. We believe that its provisions will significantly further our nuclear non-proliferation and arms control objectives and strengthen international security. And we believe that this is the session of Congress that the Senate should act.

There's been a lot of debate about entry into force and the future of this treaty, and everyone in this room is familiar with the very daunting challenge we face with regard to India, Pakistan, North Korea and perhaps others to bring the treaty into force. But when the president goes to the subcontinent this fall, we believe it is extremely important that he go from a position of strength, having secured Senate advice and consent to this treaty so we can approach other governments with the best position and the best leverage.

It's a huge job of changing Indian perceptions on this treaty. And should, God forbid, we fail to change their perspective on this treaty, it's important to realize that the fall-back position for the CTB, in terms of getting it into force, is an extraordinary conference that would be called in September of 1999—which, after all, is only 18 months from now—at which the world figuresout how to get the treaty into force anyway. And the catch is you cannot vote to call that conference, you cannot vote to convene the conference, indeed, you cannot participate in the conference unless your country has ratified the treaty.

So, going back to where I began, the importance of American leadership. If we are to lead the world, as we did in the negotiations, in securing the entry into force of the CTB, we believe it is fundamentally important that the Senate act on this treaty this year.

 

Questions & Answers

Q: How confident are you that the Duma will act favorably on the various elements of the START II-ABM package?

Bell: Well, in the last several months I've gone from skeptic to cautious optimist, setting aside the issue of Iraq. There's no question, based on what [Foreign Minister Yevgeniy] Primakov and [Defense Minister Igor] Sergeyev have said, the Russian government, almost with one voice, is saying very clearly that hostilities with Iraq fundamentally change the equation with respect to START II, certainly in the near term. And the Duma adopted a resolution to that effect. But I had gotten myself to the point of cautious optimism earlier this year based on three things.

First was everything we did and succeeded in doing, going back to Secretary Perry's visit to the Duma a year and a half ago, where he had a very rude reception, to deal with the issue of NATO enlargement. We did that through the NATO-Russia Founding Act, by concluding the [CFE Treaty] flank agreement and by concluding an MOU on the basic elements of an adapted CFE Treaty, all of which were designed to address this concern. Second was the five-year extension of the [START II] destruction requirements to address their economic concern about the cost of arms control. Third was Stan Riveles's hard work to get the ABM agreements done, which was clearly a precondition for START II ratification.

With that set of agreements it seemed to me that, with the overlay of the Helsinki accord and the certitude for the Duma that START II was not the end of the road but there was another meaningful step to follow, we had put down the four building blocks for ratification. Beyond that, you had the coincidence of the Primakov-Sergeyev team coming together, which, by anyone's calculation, is the strongest lobbying duo we could hope for in face-to-face daily contact with the Duma. It takes Yeltsin too, but Primakov and Sergeyev do carry weight in the Duma, and they've been on point and effective in their presentations. The MOD's arguments, I think, have been quite brilliant in terms of framing the issue for the Duma.

And last but not least, you had reports of this fairly remarkable deal between the Communist faction in the Duma and the Kremlin over the Russian flag and its relationship to START II. There are reports that in exchange for Yeltsin agreeing not to press the Duma now to approve legislation recognizing Russia's new flag (which the Communist party faction does not like), Speaker Gennadi Seleznev has agreed to schedule the START II debate for this spring. Now this may sound preposterous on first hearing, but we shouldn't find it preposterous because that's the only way we got START II through the Senate. We tend to forget about these linkages, but there was a time when we were not making any headway in terms of getting START II on the Senate schedule. This is the same treaty that the Communists think is demonstrably one-sided to Russia's disadvantage. It took us until January of 1996 to secure Senate ratification of START II, and the reason it finally got put on the Senate schedule was that Democrats had organized a filibuster against an amendment to prohibit flag burning, and it was only the decision to stop that filibuster and schedule a vote on the flag-burning amendment that got START II to the Senate floor.

Well, we're very good teachers. That's where we were on the eve of the Iraqi crisis. If we can get the treaty to the Duma floor, I am persuaded we'll win the vote.

Q: What are the administration's plans for dealing with the reserve warheads under the START III arrangements?

Bell: I think there are two elements that will come into play, neither of which has been decided yet, but both are very interesting and fundamental questions. The first one is: How successful will we be in the course of the START III negotiations themselves in making real headway in a side agreement to eliminate warheads? At Helsinki we agreed in principle that, for the first time, the START III treaty will feature a negotiation on the disposition of the warheads and fissile material. We've been very hard at work—Rose Gottemoeller and Lucas Fischer have co-chaired an interagency working group on the options that are available in terms of an opening U.S. position on that very subject, and there's a full range of options. I can't breach the confidentiality of that options review right now because we've not taken it yet to a point of decision.

Perhaps even more important, Russian receptivity to push the envelope with respect to actually dealing with reserve warheads is going to fundamentally affect your overall nuclear holdings, setting aside what the accountable deployed levels are. The accountable deployed levels will, by the year 2007, be down to 2,000-2,500. So the question is what's in your reserve, or inactive storage? That's going to be a function, first, of the result of the negotiations in START III. But second, it's going to be a function of sort of national policies with respect to the weight you attach 10 years from now—in the year 2007—to hedge strategies.

In other words, we basically maintain a START I force now. We've kept at START I levels to keep weight on the Duma to do the right thing with respect to START II. Once you get an agreement to come down to that next level, you have to make decisions as a matter of national policy about what reconstitution capability you want to preserve should the agreement fall apart or should you discover that the other side is fudamentally violating the treaty. So, in the context of START III levels, a big-ticket question will be: What is your tasking to the Department of Energy in terms of a reconstitution level? That's a decision that has not been made and will only be made once we get further into START III negotiations. I can't confirm or deny that 10,000 is the total number of warheads the U.S. will have under START III because there is no number yet that is associated with a successful START III negotiation. We just have not made those decisions.

Q: Will tactical warheads be addressed in START III as well?

Bell: We agreed at Helsinki that there will be a separate but related negotiation on non-strategic nuclear forces. One of the big questions, in terms of the actual content of START III negotiations, is what position the Russian government will bring to the table when it's time to start turning cards over and show what they're prepared to propose.

Certainly, we expect scrupulous Russian reaffirmation and adherence to the unilateral tactical nuclear reduction commitments that were made in 1990 and 1991 by Gorbachev and Yeltsin, which, in the aggregate, could produce about a two-thirds drawdown. That would, in comparison with the levels that President Bush announced, leave a Russian advantage, but it's markedly reduced from the advantage they have in non-strategic nuclear forces right now.

With regard to both warhead disposition and tactical weapons, in the run-up to Helsinki we were able to reach agreement on a set of words that both sides would sign up to. But there are a lot of second- and third-order specifics beyond that baseline in terms of what the Russian government really proposes to do when we get to the negotiation.

Q: Could you elaborate on the interrelationship that you're describing between the CTB Treaty and the NPT, particularly the possible effect of Senate inaction on the CTB as we approach the NPT review conference in 2000?

Bell: I think there's a very direct interrelationship in the eyes of a large part of the world between the position that the declared nuclear-weapon states take with respect to arms reductions and nuclear testing on the one hand, and the viability of our non-proliferation agenda on the other hand. The first and most obvious manifestation of that, I think, is the NPT.

In January of 1995, we made some very hard decisions within the Clinton administration with respect to the content of our CTB negoiating position, specifically dropping what had been our opening position to negotiate a CTB that was 10 years in duration and would have to be affirmatively renewed. In early 1995, Tony Lake gave a speech at the Carnegie Endowment dropping that and agreeing to pursue an indefinite CTB, because we had come to the conclusion that without that change we would not have prevailed in winning the indefinite and unconditional extension of the NPT. There were a lot of news stories being written through 1995 that said, in effect, we were losing this battle and that the NPT was going to go down. There's no question in my mind that if we had sustained the policy of the two previous administrations and refused to negotiate a CTB in any forum, the Conference on Disarmament or otherwise, we would not have gotten the NPT extended.

Now, the NPT is facing a review conference in the year 2000, with preparatory conferences in 1998 and 1999, and I think that Senate rejection of CTB could create a dynamic that would put the NPT at risk. But it's not just the NPT that's at risk. It's the credibility of U.S. leadership across the board on non-proliferation as we make demands on countries—whether it's Russia, China, Pakistan, India or anyone else—if we're not prepared to walk the walk and talk the talk ourselves when it comes to fundamental treaty obligations with respect to a cessation in nuclear testing.

Q: At Helsinki we agreed to a ceiling of 2,000 to 2,500 strategic warheads. Yet, Yeltsin has been reported as saying that the Russians could achieve their objectives with a level as low as 1,000 weapons, and there have been other proposals to reduce the levels to 1,000 or 1,500 weapons. Has the Clinton administration talked about the question of how low the United States can go and still maintain its objective of deterrence?

Bell: There are lots of people who have opinions and views about what the outer edge of the envelope is with respect to the strategic deterrence paradigm that we're in now and that we codified with the presidential decision directive in November. But if you're asking have we worked the hard bureaucratic, interagency task of driving through to a decision for numbers below the Helsinki numbers—either divided recommendations to the president or a consensus position that the national security team brings to the president for affirmation—the answer is no.

The Helsinki numbers were affirmed through just such a process. Before the president reached a decision, he was assured by [Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff] General Shalikashvili that the Joint Chiefs and the commander in chief of U.S. Strategic Command were confident that we could maintain a robust strategic nuclear deterrent, but not some protracted nuclear warfighting capability, with the numbers that were in play for Helsinki.

There have been suggestions of lower numbers from different places within the Moscow establishment. But first you've got to get START II ratified, because we've been very clear that we are not going to commence formal negotiations on START III until that happens. When we get to the START III table, based on this melange of different numbers that have been thrown around post-Helsinki, we'll see what the Russian government's number is. And if it's different than Helsinki, we will work a process, as we did before Helsinki, to see where we are on that.

Q: What is the administration's policy on the use of nuclear weapons in Iraq, particularly in response to Iraqi use of weapons of mass destruction? How does this fit in with the recent Presidential Decision Directive [PDD]?

Bell: There has been comment on this dating back about 10 days, to a piece that ran in Newsday on February 9 that had a number of errors in it, both about our policy and the PDD. Let me be clear. The PDD reaffirmed the U.S. negative security assurance that we have held to in this administration and that we codified in a UN Security Council resolution. Indeed, this policy dates back to Secretary of State Vance in 1978, and it has been a fundamental position of Republican and Democratic administrations ever since.

We have no plans, no planning, no intention, no policy of using nuclear weapons preemptively to go after, take out, whatever you want to call it, WMD storage or production facilities. There was a flap over this two years ago with respect to Tarhunah in Libya, and Secretary of Defense Perry went down to Maxwell Air Force Base and made very clear what our policy is, and we stand by that policy.

We have every conventional option we need to deal with our ability to target facilities that store or produce weapons of mass destruction. And that is distinct, then, from the use of such weapons by an adversary in a conflict where our negative security assurance policy stands.

Q: How far could the administration go in pursuing non-treaty agreements with Russia in the event the START process bogs down?

Bell: The short answer is I don't know, because it's an untested proposition. I think we have a pretty clear sense that the Russians, not just by our estimates but by their own statements, think that due to their economic difficulties they are on a glide path to a START II level, or a lower force level, one way or the other. In fact, that's one of the principal arguments that the Russian MOD makes for ratification—they're going down and they might as well get us to join them.

Now, on our side, we have a very different situation. Right now, we have not only a presidentially directed policy that says until and unless the Duma ratifies START II, we're going to maintain START I levels, but we have a law that says that. The National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 1998, which was signed in November by the president, includes a provision, Section 1302, that says thou shall—that's a mandatory verb—maintain 18 Trident boats, 71 B-52s, 500 Minutemen and 50 MXs. That's the law. That is the will of the Congress in a binding provision.

That provision goes on to say that once START II is ratified, no money can be spent on any agreement or understandingbetween the United States and Russia, not just negotiated agreements but perhaps tacit reciprocal measures—I think lawyers would have to come to a judgment on this point—that requires deactivation of systems before they have to be destroyed under arms control requirements, until the president submits a report to Congress. The report must inform Congress whether the de-alerting or deactivation measure—for example, taking warheads off, turning off power generators, removing launch keys, putting large tractors on top of silo lids—is, first, verifiable (and most of this doesn't come up to the traditional standards of verification); second, reciprocal, that is, whether one side is getting a better deal; and third, whether one side or the other has an undue breakout asymmetry advantage.

If the president cannot inform the Congress that any de-alerting or deactivation agreement or understanding is verifiable, reciprocal and not asymmetrical, money can only be spent to go forward with that deal if the president waives the requirement on national security grounds. In other words, if we give them the rope to hang ourselves with by saying, "We've just signed up to something that's not verifiable and not reciprocal, and presents an undue breakout advantage to Russia, but is still in the U.S. national security interests," only on those conditions could we spend the money.

So, there is a major question there, at least in my mind, about how open the running field is even for the de-alerting debate given the congressional legislation, setting aside the question that we've not come to internal conclusions within the administration yet on how we would handle the deactivation negotiation that we're required to have pursuant to Helsinki once START II is ratified.

Q: If the de-alerting or deactivation steps were unilateral, would they be covered by this law?

Bell: I don't know. The first half of Section 1302, which requires the United States to maintain specified strategic nuclear delivery systems at certain START I levels absent START II ratification, prohibits any action to retire or prepare to retire any of those systems.

Again, I'd have to get lawyers to work on this, but if it ever came to it, you would have to decide whether a particular measure, if it were decided to pursue it unilaterally, and I don't think that's a given necessarily, would be construed for purposes of the law as being a step preparatory to retirement or as just a step that is a change in the alert posture, which, because it is reversible, could be construed as not being preparatory to retirement of the system.

Q: Given the focus on biological weapons that has arisen during this latest crisis with Iraq, will the administration give more high-level attention to the verification protocol to the Biological Weapons Convention [BWC] now under negotiation in Geneva?

Bell: The short answer is yes, for a variety of rasons. One has to do with timing and considerations that were pertinent during the debate on the Chemical Weapons Convention [CWC]. As Lori [Esposito Murray] well knows, as the president's representative for ratification of that treaty last year and someone who spent countless scores of hours on the Hill talking to staff, there was an interrelationship established during the CWC ratification debate between our position on the BWC verification issue and continued support from the pharmaceutical industries for CWC. There were, I thought, obvious suggestions that had we put together an initiative that involved something that the industries would have construed to have been unacceptably intrusive inspections for BWC, that they would have turned against the CWC. We wanted to secure the CWC and that was, as you all know, a close vote as it was.

From my conversations with the president on this subject—and I need to be very clear to say that I am not working that issue—he believes that because of this crisis with Iraq, the world now is much more sensitive to the dangers that are represented by the BW threat and that the dynamic may have changed in terms of what the traffic will bear on an inspection regime, which isn't to say, "Anything goes." We have a very modest set of steps, but it's one that we think that will improve the situation and can sustain the support of the pharmaceutical industries. That proposition is going to be tested. It's being tested right now in consultations with allies.

Q: Given the fact that most U.S. allies have signed the Ottawa landmine treaty, what effect will that have on the ability of the United States to conduct coalition operations using landmines?

Bell: That's an issue that we're spending a lot of time on. What we're discovering is that our allies, particularly in NATO but also in Asia, in most cases had simply not thought this through. You had a case where the negotiating position was being driven principally out of foreign affairs ministries, and the defense ministries had not cranked in analytically and in terms of their own view on this. So, we're in a situation now where these countries have signed the treaty and are clearly going to ratify, at least eventually, and their own defense ministries are saying, "What does this mean for coalition operations?"

What we're hearing is a wide range of answers. It's not just a function of the legal views of what Ottawa requires and different countries' own interpretations of Ottawa, but it's also largely a function of the domestic legislation that was moving through a lot of these countries' parliaments while Ottawa was under way. In some cases, there are domestic laws that are more restrictive than Ottawa. In other cases, there are domestic laws that may provide more flexibility, even assuming ratification and entry into force of Ottawa.

The second point is that there is one set of issues that has to do with the so-called pure anti-personnel landmines [APLs], and another that is unique to the "mixed munitions," such as anti-tank mines that incorporate anti-personnel, or anti-handling, devices to keep infantry from deactivating the anti-tank mine. During the final negoiations in Oslo, the United States sought unsuccessfully to exclude certain mixed munitions in which the anti-handling device is not integral to the anti-tank mine.

The president has directed, of course, independent of Ottawa, that we will replace all of our systems everywhere except in Korea by the year 2003—and in Korea by 2006. If you take the Ottawa treaty, figure out how much time you need to get the requisite ratifications and then add six months for entry into force, then the timeline provided in that treaty to get rid of pure APLs is not that far away any more from U.S. target date of 2003. But that's a lesser-order issue.

The larger issue is that while we are looking for possible alternatives to existing U.S. mixed-munitions, it's not clear whether there is a viable alternative. It's in the area of mixed munitions, particularly if you imagine a war with Iraq where there's armored-maneuver warfare going on and you're trying to lay down anti-tank fields to protect maneuvering armored forces, that the impact is the greatest. That's the area where we're getting, I think, the widest range of answers back from allies.

We've had one round of consultations. We're going to have another round this spring. NATO's looking into this institutionally within the Military Committee. It was discussed at defense ministerial levels by Secretary Cohen late last year. But I think it's going to be another couple of months before we're able to take the full measure of the implications of the Ottawa treaty for that issue.

Now, all of that said, we are not, I repeat, we are not trying to talk people out of going forward with Ottawa. The president's been very clear. It's each country's decision to make, and if they choose to sign the treaty, that's their prerogative, and we recognize that.

On February 18, Robert Bell, special assistant to the president for national security and counselor to the assistant to the president for national security affairs...

National Missile Defense: An Overview of Alternative Plans

The debate about whether the United States should deploy a national missile defense (NMD) system may intensify in Congress later this year. The Clinton administration's "three-plus-three" program, adopted in February 1996, calls for the development of an NMD system that is capable of being deployed by 2003 if the ballistic missile threat makes it necessary.

In his response to President Clinton's January 27 State of the Union address, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) once again urged the administration to make a decision now on NMD deployment. According to a spokeswoman for Lott, his "National Missile Defense Act of 1997" (S.7), which calls for the actual deployment of an operational NMD system by the end of 2003, is tentatively scheduled to come up for Senate floor consideration between late April and early August of 1998. The legislation was introduced in January 1997 and approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee in April of that year by a vote of 10–8 along party lines.

In an attempt to find a middle ground, Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) introduced the "Defend the United States of America Act of 1997" (S.64) last January. The Lugar bill endorses the "three-plus-three" schedule but empowers Congress—not the administration—to make an NMD deployment decision in the year 2000. The table below highlights the differences between the three approaches to NMD policy. —For more information, contact ACA.

 



Clinton Administration's "Three-Plus-Three" Program Lugar's "Defend the United States of America Act of 1997" Lott's "National Missile Defense Act of 1997"
NMD Policy Develop by 2000 the elements of an NMD system that could be deployed within three years to protect the United States against a limited "rogue" nation ballistic missile attack as well as an accidental or unauthorized launch from more nuclear-capable states. Develop a single-site NMD system that is capable of being deployed by the end of 2003 to protect the United States against limited ballistic missile threats, including accidental or unauthorized launches or attacks by Third World countries. Deploy an NMD system by the end of 2003 that is capable of defending the United States against limited ballistic missile attack (whether accidental, unauthorized or deliberate).
If a missile threat exists in 2000, the United States will then decide whether to deploy the system by 2003. Congress will make the NMD deployment decision in 2000 based on several factors, such as the ballistic missile threat to the United States, the projected cost and effectiveness of the system based on available technology and testing results, and arms control factors. System could be augmented over time to provide a layered defense against larger and more sophisticated missile threats if they emerge.
If no threat exists in 2000, then the United States will continue NMD development and maintain the capability to deploy the system within three years of an identified threat. Requires the United States to seek a cooperative transition to a regime that does not feature an "offense-only form of deterrence" as a basis for strategic stability.
Views on the ABM Treaty The ABM Treaty is the cornerstone of strategic stability. NMD system will be compliant with the ABM Treaty. Urges the president to pursue, if necessary, discussions with Russia to achieve an agreement to amend the ABM Treaty to allow for NMD deployment.
Three-plus-three development program will be compliant with the ABM Treaty. Urges the president to pursue discussions with Russia regarding amendments to the ABM Treaty, as necessary, to allow for more effective limited defenses against long-range ballistic missile attacks (for example, two ABM deployment sites.) If amendments are not reached within one year of the bill's enactment, the president and Congress will consider exercising the option of U.S. withdrawal from the ABM Treaty.
Deployed NMD system might require amendments to the ABM Treaty depending on its configuration.

Strengthening the BWC: Moving Toward a Compliance Protocol

January/February 1998

By Jonathan B. Tucker

Note: The following sidebars appeared in the original ACT publication, and are included after the main text:

Verifying the BWC: The Pharmaceutical Industry's View

The Australia Group

The 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), which bans the development, production, stockpiling and transfer of biological and toxin weapons, has been in force since 1975. To date, 140 countries have joined the treaty, including the five nuclear-weapon states and a number of countries of proliferation concern such as Iran, Iraq, North Korea and Libya; another 18 states have signed but not ratified the accord. Yet, the absence of any formal mechanisms to monitor compliance has effectively reduced the BWC to a gentleman's agreement and undermined its ability to resolve festering allegations of non-compliance and to address growing concerns about the proliferation of biological warfare (BW) capabilities. In September 1994, the memberstates of the BWC, recognizing the need to strengthen the treaty, held a special conference in Geneva to consider a report on the scientific and technical aspects of biological weapons verification prepared by a group of governmental experts known as VEREX. At this meeting, the participating countries agreed to establish a new negotiating forum, called the Ad Hoc Group (AHG)—open to all states-parties—to develop a legally binding protocol to the BWC. The goal of the negotiations is to craft a legally binding regime that will promote compliance with the treaty. Because the protocol will apply only to those states-parties that ratify it, negotiators are seeking to avoid creating a two-tiered regime under which only some states accept new compliance obligations.

Since January 1995, representatives from over 50 countries have met periodically at the Palais des Nations in Geneva (separate from the UN Conference on Disarmament) to pursue the protocol negotiations through the AHG. The group held one procedural and two substantive meetings in 1995, two meetings in 1996 and three meetings in 1997. In 1998, the AHG will intensify its work schedule, having agreed to 11 weeks of negotiations in four sessions: three weeks in January, one week in March, three weeks in late June and early July, and four weeks in September and early October.

The forum has functioned largely through the efforts of four informal working groups, known as "Friends of the Chair" (FOCs), which have addressed the major issues in the negotiating mandate: definitions and objective criteria, chaired by Iran; confidencebuilding measures (CBMs), chaired by Hungary; compliance measures, chaired by Britain; and Article X measures (relating to peaceful cooperation and technology transfers), initially chaired by Chile and now by Brazil. Although the FOCs produced substantive working papers during the first two years, most of the discussion was of a theoretical nature, with little emphasis on developing concrete measures and rocedures.

The Fourth BWC Review Conference in November 1996 discussed the work of the AHG and encouraged it to transition to a negotiating format. (See ACT, January/February 1997.) At its March 1997 meeting, the AHG agreed that its chairman, Ambassador Tibor Tóth of Hungary, would move from committee reports to a consolidated draft—a "rolling text" in diplomatic parlance—for consideration at its next session. To this end, a onepage annex titled "Possible Structural Elements of a Protocol to the BWC" was attached to the group's procedural report. Using this outline, Ambassador Tóth produced a draft treaty by cutting and pasting text from the various FOC working papers under the appropriate headings. Many sections (including entire articles) of the initial rolling text were blank, and the text was in narrative form rather than in legal language.

During its July 1997 meeting, the AHG fleshed out several of the articles in the draft treaty, a process that continued during the September session. In addition, four additional FOCs were established: one, chaired by South Africa, is drafting an annex on investigations; an FOC chaired by Australia is preparing the sections on legal issues; Germany chairs an FOC on confidentiality; and India chairs an FOC on national implementation and assistance. By the end of the September 1997 session, the draft treaty had grown by more than 50 percent, to 253 pages, and represented a nearly complete text consisting of some 23 articles, eight annexes and five appendices.

During the January 1998 session, new text was added on consultation procedures, declarations and clarification visits. Considerable effort is still required, however, to convert the rolling text into a coherent legal protocol. Moreover, as is traditional in international negotiations, words, phrases and sections not yet agreed by consensus have been set off in brackets. So far, bracketed language has proliferated as fast as the text.

When complete, the protocol will specify how international inspectors from a future BWC implementing organization will monitor facilities suspected—or merely capable—of producing biological weapons. Possible elements of the future regime include:

  • Requiring countries to declare all treaty-relevant facilities;
  • Occasional "challenge" inspections to pursue suspected treaty violations at declared or undeclared facilities;
  • Possible "nonchallenge" visits to check the accuracy of declarations and to deter declared sites from engaging in illicit activities; and
  • Field investigations to pursue allegations of biological weapons use and suspicious outbreaks of disease potentially related to a clandestine biological weapons program.

Monitoring compliance with the BWC is particularly challenging because the equipment and facilities used to cultivate BW agents are essentially the same as those employed for the commercial production of vaccines, antibiotics, vitamins, biological pesticides, feed supplements, and even beer and yogurt. Such dualuse technologies for industrial microbiology offer real benefits to developing countries through improved agricultural yields and better public health. But these technologies also have a dark side: states can cloak their acquisition of biological wepons under the guise of legitimate research and production.

Whereas chemical weapons such as mustard gas or sarin must be produced in multiton quantities in a large production plant to be militarily significant, biological agents such as anthrax replicate within the host and hence are much more potent per unit weight. Because it takes only on the order of a few kilograms of dried anthrax bacteria to produce a militarily effective weapon, a deadly arsenal could be prepared in a 50liter continuousflow fermentor over a period of weeks without the need for longterm stockpiling.

Cultivation of diseasecausing micro-organisms cannot be banned outright because the same pathogens that can be weaponized can also have legitimate medical and industrial uses. Pharmaceutical companies routinely grow large quantities of dangerous pathogens for the production of vaccines, and potent toxins such as ricin and botulinum toxin play an increasingly important role in the treatment of cancer and neurological diseases. In addition, the development of defenses against biological weapons entails some work with dangerous pathogens and toxins. Recognizing these legitimate applications, the BWC specifically prohibits the development, production or acquisition of biological agents or toxins for other than peaceful purposes.

As a practical matter, however, it is difficult to distinguish between treaty-permitted and treaty-prohibited activities. Production of vaccine against botulinum toxin, for example, involves the production of a large quantity of toxin that is then inactivated with a solution of formaldehyde and water. Because the inactivation step takes place late in the production process, an assessment of a state's offensive or defensive intent—that is, whether the agent was produced for peaceful purposes—is essential in judging BWC compliance.

Whatever measures are agreed to in Geneva will be equally binding on all BWC states-parties that ratify the protocol; AHG members must be prepared to accept the same level of intrusiveness they would wish to apply to others. Each nation must therefore find the right balance between monitoring measures that build confidence that others are complying with the BWC, and the need to protect its own industrial and national security information.

New U.S. Initiative For the first three years of the AHG talks, a deadlock among U.S. government agencies over a negotiating position kept the United States on the sidelines in Geneva. Lacking interagencycleared negotiating instructions, the U.S. delegation was unable to play a leading role in the talks or even to circulate substantive policy papers. This protracted deadlock resulted from a strong divergence of opinion and interest among the various agencies involved in making policy for the Geneva talks.

The departments of Defense, Energy and Commerce advocated a less intrusive inspection regime that would exclude random visits to declared facilities and establish fairly strict evidentiary requirements for approving a challenge inspection. Although such a regime would be somewhat less effective in detecting and deterring BWC violations, it would provide greater protections to U.S. biodefense and sensitive military programs and to confidential business information unrelated to treaty compliance. For this reason, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the leading trade association for the U.S. drug industry, also supported a less intrusive approach.

On the other side of the coin, the National Security Counci (NSC) favored a more intrusive regime, including some type of nonchallenge visits and a less demanding evidentiary standard for challenge inspection requests, in the hope of increasing the chances of detecting and deterring BWC violations. Because of the major divergence in approach between the two sides, compromise remained elusive.

In September 1997, PhRMA representatives met with members of the NSC staff and insisted that the United States develop a position in order to safeguard the pharmaceutical industry's proprietary interests. But the interagency process remained deadlocked until January 1998, when the United States was preparing to go to war with Iraq over Baghdad's continuing defiance of UN weapons inspectors and concern that Iraq had retained a biological weapons capability in violation of UN Security Council resolutions. The intensifying confrontation exposed an apparent disconnect between the increasingly vocal U.S. concerns over BW proliferation and Washington's lack of leadership at the AHG talks in Geneva. Finally, the political need to address the Iraqi threat pushed senior administration officials to break the bureaucratic logjam. At a highlevel meeting in January, the heads of three key agencies involved in the policy dispute—Secretary of Defense William Cohen, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Secretary of Commerce William Daly—hammered out a package of compromise proposals.

This package, released on January 27 in a White House fact sheet, struck a reasonable balance between the competing needs for onsite inspections of suspected BW-related sites and protection of national security and business secrets at U.S. military and commercial facilities. President Clinton announced the new U.S. initiative in his State of the Union address the same day, declaring, "We must act to prevent the use of disease as a weapon of war and terror. The Biological Weapons Convention has been in effect for 23 years now. The rules are good, but the enforcement is weak. We must strengthen it with a new international inspection system to detect and deter cheating."

Nevertheless, the new U.S. proposals are quite vague and many critical details will have to be worked out in the interagency process, which is likely to remain contentious. The highlevel compromise has not changed perceptions within the Pentagon that the BWC is essentially unverifiable and that arms control alone cannot provide an effective response to the BW threat.

 

Outstanding Issues

The major issues in the BWC protocol negotiations can be divided into eight areas: (1) definitions, lists and criteria; (2) declarations; (3) challenge inspections of facilities suspected of a treaty violation; (4) field investigations of unusual disease outbreaks possibly associated with the covert use of biological weapons or an accidental leak from a clandestine development or production facility; (5) non-challenge visits to declared facilities; (6) protection of confidential information; (7) scientific and technological cooperation in the peaceful uses of biotechnology; and (8) the non-transfer of equipment and knowhow needed for the production of biological weapons. The role of confidence-building measures in the BWC protocol is also in the AHG mandate but has not yet been addressed in any detail.

 

Definitions, Lists and Criteria

Because many BW agents have legitimate applications in medical therapy, biomedical research and the production of vaccines, and because biological production equipment is also dualcapable, the BWC focuses its prohibitions on purposes rather than specific agents or technologies. Article I of the treaty bans the production of "[m]icrobial or other biological agents, or toxins whatever their origin or method of production, of types and in quantities that have no justification for prophylactic, protective or other peaceful purposes." This generalpurpose criterion allows the BWC to prohibit the application of biological and toxin agents for offensive military purposes while permitting their peaceful uses, and it is also intended to be broad enough to capture future technological innovations. For this reason, a state-party could not legally circumvent the BWC by genetically engineering new types of biological or toxin agents.

In Geneva, the Russian delegation has argued that the generalpurpose criterion is too vague and that more precise definitions are needed if inspectors are to make objective assessments of BWC compliance. To this end, Russia seeks de facto to amend Article I, through the protocol, by providing specific definitions of banned activities, agents and quantities. Most AHG members (including the United States) reject the Russian approach on the grounds that precise definitions might create loopholes that BWC violators could exploit. A list of prohibited agents would inevitably be incomplete, and prohibited quantities may vary depending on the ways in which states carry out peaceful activities.

More generally, amending the BWC would exceed the AHG's mandate. A way out of the current impasse might be to leave the broad prohibitions in Article I intact while developing definitions, lists and criteria tied to specific measures in the compliance protocol. For example, illustrative lists will be required so that memberstates know which agents, facilities and activities to declare.

 

Declarations

Most AHG countries, including the United States, agree that BWC parties should be required to submit annual declarations about facilities and activities that are particularly suited for offensive BW purposes, such as facilities that work with hazardous microbes or that contain certain types of aerosol test chambers. By increasing the transparency of biodefense laboratories and dualuse industrial facilities such as vaccine plants, mandatory declarations would make it more difficult for wouldbe cheaters to carry out illicit production at these sites.

There is disagreement, however, over the scope of facilities to be covered by the regime. The AHG must make a trade-off between casting the net wide enough to cover all facilities of potential compliance concern and avoiding an undue burden on the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. For this reason, the industrialized countries want declaration criteria that do not capture a large number of Western pharmaceutical plants that are presumably low risk. Yet, developing countries are unlikely to accept a regime that requires them to declare a disproportionate share of their own facilities.

In January 1998, Britain crculated a paper on proposed declaration formats that calls for detailed information not only on specific declarable facilities such as biodefense laboratories but also on nearby buildings at the same site, such as waste treatment plants. The United States objects strongly to this approach because it would penalize sites such as national defense laboratories, which contain many sensitive facilities that are not related to BWC compliance. In the U.S. view, the declaration requirement should cover only those buildings that are directly engaged in activities relevant to the treaty. This difference in approach is linked to Britain's preference for random visits to declared sites, which would be facilitated by more detailed declarations.

 

Challenge Inspections

Nearly all countries in the Ad Hoc Group support the need for challenge inspections of declared or undeclared facilities suspected of violating the BWC, but they disagree on the procedure for initiating such inspections. Here again, delegations face a trade-off between ensuring that challenge inspections of suspicious facilities are approved, and preventing frivolous challenge requests intended as a means of harassment, espionage or theft of trade secrets. Those countries most concerned about pursuing violations favor a "red-light" approval mechanism, in which a majority or supermajority of the Executive Council (the governing body of the future BWC implementing organization) must vote to block a challenge inspection. Conversely, countries most concerned about preventing frivolous or abusive inspections favor a "green-light" mechanism, in which a majority or supermajority of the council must vote to authorize a challenge inspection. Several countries, referring to the precedent set by the Comprehensive Test Ban (CTB) Treaty, have endorsed a green-light filter for the BWC protocol.

The new U.S. negotiating position announced in late January calls for a green-light filter in which a simple majority of the governing body must vote to approve a challenge inspection before it can proceed. PhRMA also favors a green-light approval mechanism (although by a three-quarter majority vote), because this filter would require "probable cause" of a BWC violation before a challenge inspection could proceed—an eventuality that industry assumes would never occur at a legitimate commercial facility.

 

Field Investigations

Russia has endorsed the investigation of alleged use of biological weapons but opposes investigations of suspicious outbreaks of disease, such as might result from the accidental release of BW agents from a clandestine military development or production facility. This position is troubling in light of the fact that just such an accident occurred at a secret military biological institute in the Soviet city of Sverdlovsk in 1979, triggering an unusual outbreak of human anthrax. Moreover, whereas most countries assume that a new international organization will be created to handle BWC declarations and inspections, the Rusian delegation claims that since compliance complaints will be rare, there is no need for a new and costly bureaucracy to handle them. Instead, Moscow seeks to retain the existing procedure under Article VI of the BWC, in which formal complaints of non-compliance are lodged with the UN Security Council. Most countries in the AHG believe, however, that current treaty mechanisms are inadequate. Although the Security Council has the authority to initiate a BWC investigation by a group of experts or an existing international body, it has never done so. Morever, as a permanent member of the Security Council, Russia would have the power to veto any challenge inspection on its territory.

During the January 1998 session of the AHG, the group of NonAligned Movement (NAM) states presented a working paper titled "Investigations: Exclusion of All Natural Outbreaks of Disease." Although this paper appears to accept the principle of investigating unusual disease outbreaks, it stresses the need to distinguish natural outbreaks from those associated with covert BW efforts or accidental release. Further, the NAM paper places the onus on the state requesting a field investigation to provide epidemiological and other evidence that a suspicious outbreak has not resulted from natural causes. Some Western delegations believe the NAM proposal is tautological, because it would require the requesting state to prove in advance what a field investigation would seek to determine. If a greenlight approval process were adopted for field investigations, the political process in the Executive Council would determine the appropriate standard of evidence on a casebycase basis.

 

NonChallenge Visits

The AHG is split over the desirability of nonchallenge visits to declared biodefense and industry facilities relevant to the BWC, which would be selected on a random basis. Countries favoring such visits include most of the countries of Europe (particularly Britain), Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa. These delegations argue that random visits would provide an effective means of checking the accuracy of declarations, enhancing transparency and helping deter the misuse of declared facilities for illicit production. Seeking to achieve these goals through challenge inspections alone would be risky because they may be difficult to trigger, politically sensitive and expensive. In addition, countries favoring random visits point out that the future BWC inspectorate must be kept busy on a day-to-day basis, yet challenge inspections are likely to be rare, high-profile events.

In contrast, the United States and Japan oppose random visits on the grounds that they would burden industry and jeopardize confidential business information but would be unlikely to detect BWC violations, which are far more likely to occur at dedicated clandestine facilities. Countries opposed to random visits argue that a reasonably sophisticated violator could use a declared facility for illicit production without the inspectors detecting anything. Russia, for its part, rejects random visits as part of its overall effort to render itself immune from intrusive inspections under the BWC protocol.

During the AHG's January 1998 session, the Swedish delegation circulated a paper proposing a total of 50 random visits per year. These visits would be divided equally among the five geographic blocs, so that each bloc would receive a quota of 10 visits. However, the NAM states consider equal geographical quotas "discriminatory" and want to base the number of random visits strictly on the number of declared acilities in each state-party. Under the NAM approach, Western countries would probably have the vast majority of declarable facilities and would receive most of the visits.

As a means of either substituting for or complementing random visits, a number of AHG states have proposed a "clarification" process that would make it possible to pursue facilities of BWC concern for which the declared information is inaccurate, ambiguous or incomplete. If a state-party, on reviewing another country's declarations, believes that the country has failed to declare a key facility or defense program or has provided misleading information, it could request a consultation and clarification procedure between the Technical Secretariat and the state-party concerned. Because it is inevitable that declarations will contain errors and omissions, particularly in the early stages after entry into force of the protocol, it is likely that many cases will be clarified without the need for an onsite visit to the relevant facility.

The White House fact sheet released in January rules out random visits of declared sites but proposes two onsite measures short of challenge inspections. First, BWC parties would be encouraged to allow a "voluntary visit" at a declared facility. These visits would be at the discretion of officials of the facility in question, who would also have the right to manage the inspectors' access to sensitive areas of the site. The second U.S. proposal is that BWC parties would be required to accept a "reasonable number" of visits by a multinational team from the BWC implementing organization to "clarify an ambiguity, anomaly, omission or other issue related to their annual declaration." While such clarification visits could not be refused by the host country, they would be distinct from challenge inspections, which require a formal allegation of non-compliance. The option of requesting a clarification visit would make it more difficult for countries to cheat by not declaring facilities involved in proscribed activities.

During its January 1998 session, the AHG flagged two unresolved issues about clarification visits. First, should these visits be confined to declared facilities or should they apply to undeclared facilities as well? Even without evidence of a BWC violation, a clarification visit might be triggered by the failure to declare a relevant facility.

Second, who should have the right to initiate a clarification visit? All of the countries that support clarification visits endorse the idea that memberstates should be able to request them, but a subgroup (led by Britain) argues that the BWC implementing organization should also have the ability to call for and conduct clarification visits. If, for example, the organization's Technical Secretariat believes that a member-state has not provided accurate information about a relevant facility, it might submit a request for a clarification visit to the Executive Council. Some countries object to the British proposal on the grounds that if the Technical Secretariat has the power both to raise compliance concerns and to conduct inspections, it could find itself in a conflict of interest that could compromise its political neutrality.

Although the United States has proposed clarification visits as an alternative to random visits, the Western Europeans (together with Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa) argue strongly for the desirability of both types of visits, which might differ with respect to timelines and the permitted use of sampling and analysis techniques. The Western group of states plans to meet before the next AHG meeting in early March in an attempt to hammer out an agreed position on nonchallenge visits, but it is likely that the tug-of-war over this issue will continue for some time.

 

Protection of Confidential Information

AHG members agree on the importance of protecting industrial trade secrets and national security information unrelated to BWC compliance, but they disagree on how to achieve this objective. In addition, the $100 billion U.S. pharmaceutical industry, the world's largest and most advanced, has serious concerns that onsite inspections under a compliance protocol could open the door to industrial espionage. PhRMA, which represents the largest U.S. drug manufacturers, contends that because the development of new medications is highly research intensive, pharmaceutical companies have far more valuable proprietary information at stake than makers of commodity chemicals. Since drug companies routinely invest millions of dollars to develop and test new medications, genetically engineered production micro-organisms and manufacturing processes, any inspection regime must include measures to safeguard proprietary information. To give but one example, the DNA sequences contained in the genetically engineered micro-organism that produces human insulin have been valued at more than $1 billion.

Many AHG countries endorse the concept of "managed access" devised for the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), in which the inspection team and the host country negotiate the amount of access to be provided to sensitive areas of the inspected site. For example, facility managers might turn off computers, lock up documents, place cloth shrouds over sensitive items of equipment and specify where samples may be taken. In return for such limits on access, the inspected party would make "every reasonable effort" to provide alternative means of addressing the inspectors' compliance concerns. Some countries are also pushing for greater restrictions on access during facility inspections. At the September 1997 AHG meeting, Pakistan attacked the concept of managed access and proposed instead a more restrictive approach it termed "negotiated access." Referring to the precedent of the CTB Treaty, Pakistan called for restricted zones in which no access at all would be provided. China and Russia have also called for greater restrictions on access.

In an attempt to reassure the U.S. pharmaceutical industry, the White House fact sheet stresses that the United States will insist on "strong provisions" in the compliance protocol to protect confidential business information and constitutional rights, including the use of managed-access procedures and appropriate timelines. PhRMA, however, has been somewhat critical of the new initiative. According to Gillian Woollett, the association's assistant vice president for biologics and biotechnology, because a company's reputation could be seriously damaged by an unfounded allegation, a state-party must have a legitimate case before being allowed to request a clarification visit to a pharmaceutical plant. PhRMA also fears that hostile states could request clarification visits of industry facilities as a means of harassment—perhaps in retaliation for a challenge inspection—or industrial espionage.

Part of the problem is that PhRMA was not consulted during the development of the new U.S. negotiating position, exacerbating the lack of trust between the pharmaceutical industry and the NSC staff coordinating biological arms control policy. A positive model for industry involvement is the constructive role played by U.S. and other Western chemical industries during the negotiation of the CWC, which entered into force in April 1997. In 1978, the U.S. delegation to the talks had the farsighted idea of inviting representatives from the Chemical Manufacturers Association (CMA), the leading U.S. chemical trade association, to advise it on issues affecting the chemical industry. This relationship continued for several years and built a sense of trust and confidence on both sides. Other chemical trade associations from Australia, Western Europeand Japan also advised their respective delegations during the negotiations. As a result of CMA's extensive involvement in shaping the CWC's provisions on managed access and confidentiality, the association pledged its "unqualified support" for the treaty. This strong endorsement by the U.S. chemical industry later proved crucial in obtaining the Senate's advice and consent to ratification of the convention.

Until fairly recently, the NSC staff has not followed the positive example of the CWC by engaging the pharmaceutical industry on the BWC protocol. Instead of vetting ideas cooperatively with industry and developing a national outreach effort to educate company executives about the need to strengthen the BWC, the White House has largely excluded the pharmaceutical industry from the negotiating process. As a result, an antagonistic relationship has developed between PhRMA and the U.S. government—one that, unless repaired, could well derail the future ratification of the BWC protocol in the U.S. Senate. Although the NSC staff has recently taken some positive first steps to reach out to the pharmaceutical industry, much more work will be needed to build a cooperative relationship.

 

Technical Cooperation

The developing countries in the NAM group are most interested in Article X of the BWC, under which parties undertake to exchange biotechnology knowhow, materials and equipment for peaceful purposes. Indeed, developing countries that do not face an immediate threat from biological weapons tend to view the benefits of the compliance protocol primarily in economic rather than security terms.

The industrialized countries argue that the compliance protocol is not an appropriate framework for providing assistance in the peaceful uses of biotechnology. They do, however, favor providing expertise and infrastructure for effective implementation of the protocol. Possible areas of cooperation include biosafety and public health, such as improved epidemiological surveillance of emerging infectious diseases.

 

Non-Transfer

Several countries in the NAM group, including Brazil, China, India, Iran and Pakistan, want to eliminate controls on trade in biological pathogens and production equipment among BWC parties on the grounds that such restrictions are redundant and discriminatory. The chief focus of the NAM's ire is the Australia Group, an informal mechanism that enables 30 industrialized countries to harmonize their national export controls on chemical and biological weapons-related materials and production equipment. These trade controls are targeted specifically against countries suspected of producing biological weapons, including some BWC member-states.

The NAM countries would like to replace the Australia Group with a multilateral regime under the compliance protocol that would restrict trade solely with nonparties. According to a recent proposal by India, all parties to the BWC would have access to controlled biological pathogens andproduction equipment, with the sole proviso that they fill out an enduser certificate. Moreover, the only grounds for denying a stateparty access to sensitive technologies would be if the BWC organization finds the country in violation of the treaty. The Western industrialized countries, for their part, contend that the continued existence of the Australia Group is essential if they are to meet the non-transfer obligations in Article III of the BWC, which requires states-parties not to transfer, directly or indirectly, any of the agents, toxins, weapons, equipment or means of delivery banned by the treaty. While the export controls harmonized by the Australia Group are sometimes circumvented, they have generally played a useful role in impeding the ability of known proliferators to import dangerous biological agents and dual-use production equipment. Thus, Australia Group members are determined to resist efforts by the NAM countries to weaken Article III.

The contentious issues of technical assistance and nontransfer remain highly politicized and are unlikely to be resolved anytime soon. Such NorthSouth disputes have become increasingly prominent in multilateral arms control negotiations since the end of the Cold War, and center around differences of national interest between developed and developing countries with respect to trade in sensitive dual-use technologies.

 

Prospects for the Geneva Talks

The prospects for the AHG negotiations are mixed. Although the group has taken the important step of moving to a rolling text, the draft treaty is rife with disputed language and consists largely of parallel, mutually incompatible approaches rather than consensus text. Once the language of the rolling text has been converted into the appropriate legal format, the AHG will begin seeking compromise approaches to remove the brackets. Given the sharply divergent views among delegations, however, this will be a challenging task. Indeed, some countries are even objecting to "boilerplate" language that has already been incorporated into the CWC and the CTB Treaty.

The belated U.S. adoption of a negotiating position, however sketchy, should enable the U.S. delegation to play a more active role in Geneva, giving some impetus to the negotiations. Even so, the agreements reached among the departments of Defense, State and Commerce and the NSC staff are still at a high level of generality, and much additional interagency bargaining will be needed to develop more detailed proposals. For this reason, the chronic interagency conflicts within the U.S. government will probably continue to hamper progress in the AHG.

Given the numerous hurdles facing the negotiations, it is difficult to predict when the AHG will have made enough progress for national policymakers to set a firm deadline for concluding the protocol, moving the talks into the endgame phase. As has occurred with other multilateral treaty negotiations, such as the CWC and the CTB Treaty, at some point the chairman will prepare a "vision text" without brackets that seeks to broker workable compromises on all the key points of contention. After the vision text has been developed, several more months of negotiation may be required to conclude the treaty.

Before a vision text of the BWC protocol becomes possible, the rolling text will have to be mature, with all of the issues fully addressed in legal language. That goal is not likely to be reached for at least another year. The chairman will also face a problem of political timing, that is, how long to wait for national delegations to resove contentious issues before putting forward his own compromise proposals. Resolving the increasingly polarized debate over Article X, in particular, is likely to pose a formidable challenge to Ambassador Tóth's diplomatic skills.

In the current situation, it would take a major leap of faith for the chairman to move directly from the current muddle of brackets to a clean text. Thus, later this year Ambassador Tóth may ask the various FOCs to prepare compromise language for the less contentious sections while highlighting the "hotbutton" issues that remain to be resolved, such as random visits and redlight versus greenlight approval filters. These substantive policy issues might be broken out into alternative sections of treaty text. The chairman would then seek to broker trade-offs among the various hotbutton issues, with the ultimate goal of weaving together an overall vision text of the protocol that is acceptable to all delegations. During the CTB negotiations, for example, countries differed over the percentage vote within the Executive Council needed to approve a challenge inspection: one group proposed 51 percent, another 75 percent; they compromised on 60 percent.

 

Lessons From Iraq

Fortunately, many countries in the Ad Hoc Group now recognize the urgency of strengthening the BWC in light of Iraq's production of BW bombs and missile warheads prior to the 1991 Gulf War, and the attempted terrorist use of anthrax and botulinum toxin by the Japanese doomsday cult, Aum Shinrikyo. The highly intrusive "anywhere-anytime" inspection regime imposed on a defeated Iraq by the UN Security Council also provides some useful lessons for a future BWC compliance regime.

Although the inspections conducted by the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) are far more intrusive than any conceivable negotiated regime, they have triggered a "theological" debate about the value of inspections. Critics argue that the inability of UNSCOM to find a "smoking gun" (such as filled biological munitions) demonstrates the limitations of inspecting biological weapons facilities, which are either easily hidden or dual-use and hence ambiguous. Admirers of UNSCOM counter that the commission has been remarkably successful at determining the full scale and scope of the Iraqi program through persistent detective work, despite a systematic effort by Baghdad to conceal evidence and limit access.

In particular, UNSCOM has demonstrated that auditing of plant records can be a powerful tool. The inspectors managed to uncover a shipment of 17 tons of imported bacterial culture medium that the Iraqis could not account for, providing strong circumstantial evidence for large-scale production of BW agents. UNSCOM staff have also made effective use of interviewing Iraqi officials to identify inconsistencies and poke holes in cover stories.

Although the AHG has now taken the significant step of moving to a rolling text, much clearly remains to be accomplished. The current relatively calm period of international relations offers a window of opportunity for transforming the BWC from a gentleman's agreement into enforceable international law. If this historical chance is lost or squandered, it may not recur for a long time.

 

For Further Reading

Cole, Leonard A. The Eleventh Plague: The Politics of Biological and Chemical Warfare, New York: W.H. Freeman and Company, 1997.

Kaplan, David E. and Andrew Marshall. The Cult at the End of the World: The Terrifying Story of the Aum Doomsday Cult, from the Subways of Tokyo to the Nuclear Arsenals of Russia, New York: Crown Publishers, 1996.

Terrorism with Chemical and Biological Weapons: Calibrating Risks and Responses, Brad Roberts, ed., The Chemical and Biological Arms Control Institute, 1997.

Biological Weapons Proliferation: Reasons for Concern, Courses of Action, Amy E. Smithson, ed., The Henry L. Stimson Center, Report No. 24, January 1998, 136 pp.

Tucker, Jonathan B. "Putting Teeth in the Biological Weapons Ban," MIT's Technology Review, January/February 1998, pp. 38-45. (http://web.mit.edu/techreview/www/articles/jf98/tucker.html)

 


Verifying the BWC: The Pharmaceutical Industry's View

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) is the leading trade association for the U.S. pharmaceutical industry. On May 16, 1996, the PhRMA Executive Committee approved a statement supporting the goals and objectives of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), noting that a compliance protocol could help reduce the threat from biological weapons. At the same time, PhRMA expressed concern that proposed inspections of dual-capable industry facilities could compromise legitimate confidential business information, harm a company's good name if it were falsely accused of producing biological weapons, and result in onerous implementing regulations.

PhRMA issued a White Paper laying out its preferred approach to the BWC compliance protocol. The basic elements of the PhRMA approach are as follows:

On-site inspections must be limited to challenge inspections based on an alleged BWC violation. In PhRMA's view, visits to declared facilities have a low probability of detection or deterrence and are likely to result in significant costs to the facility, potential loss of confidential business information and adverse publicity.

Allegations that may result in a challenge inspection must be reviewed by a "green-light" approval mechanism. According to this approach, a three-quarter majority of the members of a BWC Executive Council would vote to approve a challenge inspection request on the basis of probable cause of a treaty violation. This approach would block frivolous or abusive requests for challenge inspections that fail to demonstrate probable cause.

"Managed access" must be employed during any on-site inspection. This method entails a negotiated agreement between the inspection team and the host facility with respect to the degree of access that will satisfy the team's compliance concerns, while protecting the site's legitimate proprietary information. The inspected facility must have the final determination of what is proprietary and therefore what information will be shared with the inspection team. Inspection teams must be qualified and the individual inspectors must be acceptable to the inspected state-party.

The pharmaceutical industry has no role in the Article X provisions of the BWC that encourage technology transfer, which are the sole responsibility of the participating governments.

The White Paper concludes that, "PhRMA is anxious to be an active participant and full partner with the United States Government to reduce the threat of biological warfare, while protecting confidential business information that permits our companies to discover, develop, manufacture and distribute solutions to health care problems." —J.B.T.

 


The Australia Group

The Australia Group (AG) is an informal group of 30 states whose mission is to impede the proliferation of biological and chemical weapons by adopting common export controls on relevant materials and production equipment and by sharing information on proliferation programs. The group was formed in 1984 in response to chemical weapons use during the Iran-Iraq War; it has no charter or constitution and operates by consensus. Current members are Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United States and the European Commission (as an observer).

The AG develops lists of hazardous micro-organisms, toxins and equipment that could be used in a biological warfare program, so that export controls can be targeted at known or suspected proliferant states. The AG's Export Control Core List includes 20 viruses, 13 bacteria, four rickettsiae, 10 toxins and genetically modified micro-organisms derived from agents on the core list. In addition, a Control List of Dual-Use Biological Equipment covers a variety of items whose technical parameters make them particularly well suited for the production or testing of germ weapons, including stainless steel fermentation tanks, centrifugal separators, filtration equipment, freeze-drying equipment, biocontainment systems and aerosol inhalation chambers. In tandem with the "harmonized" export control list, the AG distributes to industry an informal "warning list" of dual-use materials and equipment. —J.B.T.

 


Jonathan B. Tucker directs the Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Project at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies of the Monterey Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California.

The 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), which bans the development, production, stockpiling and ...

Advancing the Arms Control Agenda: Pitfalls and Possibilities

January/February 1998

An ACA Panel Discussion

Before its annual membership meeting on February 18, ACA presented a panel discussion of the arms control issues facing the Clinton administration and the Senate in the coming years and the state of U.S.-Russian relations. Panelists included Spurgeon M. Keeny, Jr., ACA president and executive director; Jack Mendelsohn, ACA deputy director; Susan Eisenhower, chairman of the Center for Political and Strategic Studies and a member of the ACA Board of Directors; and John Isaacs, president and executive director of the Council for a Livable World. Eisenhower had returned the previous day from her most recent trip to the former Soviet Union, where she met with a number of Russian and Ukrainian officials, including Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeniy Primakov and Defense Council member Andre Kokoshin.

Below is an edited version of the panelists' remarks and the question and answer session which followed.

 


Spurgeon M. Keeny, Jr.

Let me start the proceedings with some observations on where we have been during the past year and where we will be going in the next year and for the rest of the Clinton administration. At this meeting a year ago, I observed that the fate of the Clinton record on arms control in the second term would depend on two actions which were then before us. One was the ability to obtain the Senate's approval of the Chemical Weapons Convention [CWC], and the other was the success of the Helsinki understandings in obtaining the Duma's ratification of START II. As you all know, that administration made a major effort and achieved approval of the CWC. This demonstrated the ability to complete arms control legislation, despite strong initial opposition, even with this somewhat recalcitrant Senate. At the same time, despite the success of converting the Helsinki understanding into actual agreements in New York in September, the Duma has continued its opposition to ratification of START II.

Today, the administration is faced with four closely interrelated problems, any one of which could prevent progress in arms control. The first is the continued opposition to START II in the Duma because of strong opposition to NATO expansion and, to a lesser extent, concern about the future of the ABM Treaty. The second is the continued Senate efforts to kill the ABM Treaty and possibly oppose approval of the amended START II package because of the theater missile defense demarcation language which it contains. The third is Senate opposition to the Comprehensive Test Ban [CTB] Treaty. The fourth problem is the failure to resolve the Iraqi UNSCOM inspection problem.

On START II, the arguments in the Duma about the inequities of the treaty have been largely answered by the Helsinki and New York agreements, which amend the implementation of START II by extending final completion of the reductions for five years and by commiting to undertake START III negotiations to reduce final warhead ceilings from the current 3,000-3,500 to 2,000-2,500. Now, although some Russian officials, taking into account the new Founding Act, appear to be reconciled to NATO expansion, at least as far as the first three new adherents are concerned, the Duma as a whole is clearly not convinced of this. Beyond that the notion of a second phase of NATO expansion to include the three Baltic states is anathema to all Russians across the political spectrum.

On the ABM Treaty, U.S. efforts to "protect" the treaty from domestic critics by establishing a very permissive, self-defined and self-implementing demarcation line have not persuaded the Duma that this will in fact protect the treaty, and have not pacified U.S. advocates of a substantial ABM deployment. In this connection, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott [R-MS] has introduced legislation requiring the deployment of a national missile defense system with an initial operating capability in 2003. This would undoubtedly require crippling amendments to, or the repudiation of, the ABM Treaty. On its part, the Duma will almost certainly attach conditions to its START II ratification that the ABM Treaty must continue in force in its present form.

As to the CTB Treaty, I don't think I have to lecture this group on how important it is as part of the nuclear non-proliferation strategy. It has become the litmus test of the support of the nuclear-weapon states for the reduction of their dependence on nuclear forces. It was a major factor in obtaining the indefinite extension of the Non-Proliferation Treaty [NPT]. The United States must ratify the CTB in 1998 in order to maintain the momentum of international support for the treaty. Without U.S. ratification, Russia and China are not going to ratify the CTB. If U.S. action is not taken in 1998, it will probably mean that there will not be a widely ratified CTB Treaty in time for the NPT review conference in 2000, which will look to the CTB as the primary indicator of the intentions of the nuclear-weapon states to honor their commitments when the NPT was indefinitely extended in 1995.

There is, unfortunately, significant Republican opposition to the test ban, and more important, at least as of now, there is no leading Republican senator who has taken the role of champion of the CTB. Hopefully, such champions soon will emerge. The administration has undertaken a serious effort to advance the CTB, and I trust Bob Bell will have more to say on that later. The administration has the advantage that never existed in the past in the support of the military and of the weapons laboratories on the treaty. Recently, four former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs joined the present chairman in support of the treaty and the current weapons laboratories' directors have all supported the treaty. Now, this support does involve rather lavish support of the stockpile stewardship program of the laboratories. Clearly a stewardship program is necessary; whether it needs to be this generous can be debated. Nevertheless, it should assure us with support of the weapons laboratories.

I think the biggest hurdle for the test ban, in the final analysis, will be the verification issue, rather than reliability and safety concerns. Unfortunately, the intelligence community is the most uncertain in its support for the treaty. As most of you know, the performance of the intelligence community in the case of the recent Novaya Zemlya earthquake was very disturbing, and even now it has not come out unambiguously in identifying it as an earthquake. The community's inflexibility in dealing with an obvious earthquake does not build confidence in its ability to deal objectively with future verification problems.

On a more positive note, there is clearly overwhelming public support for the CTB and little opposition. Hence, if it can ever be brought to a vote, which John Isaacs will discuss, I think it will be approved by the Senate. It will be hard for real-life politicians to oppose such a broadly supported idea.

Now, turning to Iraq, I think it must be put in the category of fundamental problems for the future of arms control. It has become the total focus of the nuclear non-proliferation policy issue with far-reaching implications. I would very much prefer to discuss the more positive aspects of the non-proliferation policy, including: making progress in North Korea, the lining-up of China and Russia in a more supportive role to the non-proliferation regime, and even, possibly changing attitudes toward Iran, but all of these developments have been pushed into the background by Iraq.

There is no question that Saddam Hussein is a menace, although his actual current capabilities, I think, are grossly exaggerated as part of the effort to build public support for punitive action against Iraq. There is no question that he has grossly interfered with the legitimate activities of the UNSCOM inspectors. There is no question that he has repeatedly lied or misled UNSCOM as to the nature and extent of his programs. Speaking personally, I do not oppose punitive action in principle, if it is in fact really necessary to protect the international non-proliferation regime or the integrity of the United Nations. However, one must weigh very carefully the contribution to this objective, namely, building an international nuclear non-proliferation regime and constraining Iraq in the long term, against potential immediate adverse effects, if we go this route essentially alone without clear Security Council backing.

No one appears to have claimed that a limited bombing program will force Saddam out or change his world view. No one appears to claim that such a limited bombing program would prevent his future development of biological or chemical weapons capabilities. But against these unclear positive contributions of a punitive attack and the satisfaction of punishing a wrong-doer, there seem to be a remarkable number of adverse consequences that the administration does not appear to have considered very carefully. These include the destruction of the remarkable Gulf War alliance that is indispensable to maintaining sanctions. It will probably end UNSCOM inspectors' access to Iraq, which, even if incomplete, will be extremely important in the long term in ascertaining whether Iraq resumes its BW, CW and nuclear weapons programs and ballistic missiles to deliver them.

It will almost certainly seriously worsen U.S.-Russian relations. It will substantially undercut the position of our friends in Russia, and drastically reduce the prospects for the Duma's early ratification of START II. Important people in Russia all the way from [President Boris] Yeltsin and Minister of Defense Igor Sergeyev to leading Duma personalities have underscored the negative impact this will have on the prospects for START II. It will also undercut the leadership role of the United States and the prospect for success in the Middle East peace process. To this I would also add that it will probably result in a substantial increase in U.S. domestic pressure in the Senate for a national missile defense, given the almost hysterical over-reaction to the extent of the BW, CW threat that the U.S. government has stimulated.

And finally, unless we are extremely lucky in this limited attack, it will not have any impact on Saddam Hussein and may be even appear to strengthen his position within Iraq and within the region. All of this will have the effect of deflating the almost invincible image that the United States has established for its conventional arms capabilities. The Gulf War was a remarkable military victory. If we follow it with a military exercise that does nothing except create serious new problems, the world may take another look at just how significant super-high technology U.S. conventional arms are.

In closing, let me say that the events of the next few weeks with regard to Iraq and in the next few months with regard to the expansion of NATO, particularly those involving commitments to a second-phase expansion to include the Baltic states, will have a decisive effect on whether the Duma will act on START. This in turn will determine whether there will be significant further progress in arms control during the balance of the present administration.

 

Jack Mendelsohn

I stand here somewhat diffident because I have to steer a straight and narrow path between Susan Eisenhower, who returned last night from Moscow; a representative of the Russian embassy; Stan Riveles, the head of our missile defense negotiating team; and Bob Bell, who's going to speak at lunch on the administration's policy. So I have to be constrained and will probably be contradicted, if not corrected, many times during the day.

The big question is still: Will Russia act on the START II agreement? In the late fall, Russian officials were quite upbeat about the opportunities and possibilities for START II in the Duma after the success of the Yeltsin administration in gaining approval of the Chemical Weapons Convention. The Yeltsin administration thought that they had learned how to deal with the Duma in the way that U.S. presidents have to deal with the Senate to get what they want, and they were expecting to move early this year on the Open Skies Treaty, which they thought would be quite easy, and then START II. Clearly, there are a number of extraneous factors, but primarily the Iraq situation has slowed the process down and Duma representatives are now threatening that if we bomb Iraq then they will not act at all on START II or they will reject it.

What is striking about this situation is how similar it looks to the way the U.S. Senate behaves in similar situations. The obvious connections are, first, the linkage aspects, where unrelated incidents lead you to take actions that are not in your own interest, and secondly, not putting an important document—like the CTB Treaty—on the parliamentary calendar; the Duma has not put START II on its calendar. Neither in the U.S. case nor in the case of the Duma does this mean that they are not going to deal with it: that depends on how successful the Yeltsin or Clinton administrations will be in forcing their parliaments to act.

If we bomb Iraq and expand NATO, we could be treading water on START for an extended period of time, perhaps for this year, perhaps for longer. One of the biggest dangers, if the Russians do not act on START II and we tread water, is that the arguments against taking decisive action to deploy missile defenses will be undercut. Because the key argument that the administration uses, and correctly, is that the reason we want to be cautious about what we do on missile defenses is that they are linked to strategic force reductions, both in the minds of most arms controllers and certainly in the minds of the Russians. To allow that strategic force reduction process to continue, we have to be cautious about ballistic missile defenses. If that reduction process doesn't continue, if the Russians look like they are not going to act on START II, that undercuts the argument against missile defense and, I think, strengthens the case of those who want to argue, "Well, the Russians aren't reducing formally in any case so what would be the harm in deploying strategic missile defenses?"

On the other hand, if the Duma—and this is the irony of ironies—if the Duma does approve START II, then the potential blockage shifts to the U.S. Senate, where approval is not assured for the package that will be sent back for Senate action, which is a protocol to extend the time frame of implementation for START II and the package for theater missile defense [TMD] agreements. Helms has made it quite clear, as have other conservative senators, that they want to takea "careful look,"—meaning they'd like to defeat—some aspects of the TMD package.

Now particularly, if the Russians act and the START II package comes to the U.S. Senate—and the administration intends to submit to a START II protocol as a package with the TMD agreements because understandably, as I explained earlier, they are linked. They are related and the administration believes that the TMD material would be quite vulnerable without the START II prolongation protocol. Helms and other conservative senators clearly want to look at the second agreed statement on higher-velocity TMD systems, which some senators object to even though only one ban exists in there on space-related systems. They also want to look at the multilateralization of the ABM Treaty in the memorandum of understanding [MOU] on succession. They object to that for a number of reasons: One, they believe it will make it more difficult in the future to amend the ABM Treaty, and secondly, they believe, mistakenly, that if they defeat the multilateralization MOU, the ABM Treaty then becomes an invalid or inoperative document. There is also an issue related to which branch of government has the right, the legislative or the executive, to name a successor state to a treaty. So there is also sort of a constitutional power struggle in the multilateralization debate.

In any case the administration has a very powerful argument—if it gets the package from the Russians—in favor of the TMD settlement: primarily, that in the minds of the Russians, continued viability of the ABM Treaty, of which the TMD package is part, is linked to significant, monitored, verified, MIRVed reductions under START II and you don't get one without the other. Secondly, the Defense Department supports this treaty, and thirdly, there are serious budget implications if we don't get START II, in embarking on a missile defense program.

In the debate in Russia, they have basically the same three arguments in favor of START II: that they are strategically at a disadvantage if they do not move into START II, where they will have regulated, verified parity with the United States, rather than reduction on their side, which might not be matched by the same kind of reductions on our side. Secondly, their Ministry of Defense very strongly supports START II and has made an excellent presentation to the Duma on the strategic necessity for Russia to move into a START II agreement. And lastly, there are serious budgetary implications for Russia, which will have great difficulty sustaining its strategic forces at START I levels.

Let me just mention briefly some of the issues we will face if we get past the approval stage in the U.S. Senate. There are four, perhaps five, basic issues related to the immediate aftermath of START II approval. Hopefully, by the end of the year, we will be whisked into a discussion of further reductions in the levels of strategic forces. That's something the Russians want, that's something we've committed ourselves to last year in the Helsinki-New York process, and it actually shouldn't be that hard to negotiate. The United States has already said it is prepared to live with a level of 2,000 warheads in the commitment to 2,000-2,500 warheads in START III. The Russians, now, would very much like an even lower level and are talking about figures around 1,500, so we're really talking about a debate or range of warheads from 1,500 to 2,000. It doesn't seem an impossible figure to get either a compromise or arrive at some agreed point.

We are also talking about deactivation. Again, this is something that we are likely to move into quickly because the administration's selling point on START II to the Senate, after having moved the completion date to the end of 2007, is that within a year of the original completion date, January 2003, all the systems that are scheduled to come out of the force will basically be off-line and non-operational. Now, the Russians recognize how anxious we are and, while they are not opposed to deactivation, they have established a linkage between promptly getting a satisfactory level for START III and their completion of the dactivation process. They want to keep the pressure on us for an appropriate level; we've got to keep the pressure on them for deactivating as soon as possible those systems that are scheduled to be eliminated.

Many of you in the audience are interested in de-alerting, which is a subset of deactivation. I urge you to pose questions to Bob Bell this afternoon on where that might stand. Some say that obviously, if you are going to deactivate a system, it's going to be de-alerted; it's not going to be available for use. But there's a second aspect of de-alerting, and that's whether or not the remaining operational forces will come off high alert status, and the administration has combined the two and talks almost interchangeably about deactivation and de-alerting, but there is a difference. As for the deactivation of those systems that are scheduled to be eliminated, everybody's on board. But de-alerting, I think, will have a much more difficult time, both in the United States and in Russia, which, I believe, is not quite ready to talk about de-alerting operational forces at this time.

A third issue that will be on the table is the question of transparency of nuclear infrastructures: stockpiles, dismantling, fissile materials. Here again, I think we're going to have a difficult time. The Russians are not enthusiasts about opening up their nuclear infrastructure to the kind of transparency measures that we ultimately have in mind. As a matter of fact, there is a contrary trend in the Russian position right now, which is that they are seeking less onerous verification, some relief, if you will, from the verification measures that were instituted in START I and carried over into START II and that they now find unnecessary. So, rather than becoming more transparent, they'd like to see some relief. There is some relief that's possible in the verification area, but we don't have an open door from the Russians to transparency.

The fourth issue is tactical nuclear forces, and again, I don't think we're exactly on the same track there. The U.S. put tactical nuclear weapons on the table at Helsinki, although there was not agreement to ban or limit them, it was agreed to discuss "measures" dealing with them. The United States would like to get a little more transparency into the Russian stockpile. The Russians added SLCMs as a counter-proposal because they're not so sure that they want to put their tactical nuclear weapons on the negotiating table. They are sure, however, that they would like to get a better deal on SLCMs than they got in START I, which was simply a very high cap of 800 with not much else involved. Fortunately, the tactical nuclear weapons-SLCMs are to be treated as a separable issue and are not directly linked to START III. Tactical nuclear weapons are something we are going to have to deal with, one way or another, for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that as strategic nuclear forces come down, people are going to be concerned that there will be a potentially unsettling disparity in the tactical sector.

The last issue on the START III table—and which will be both highlighted by and left over from the debate in the United States Senate—is Theater Missile Defense. The Russians have made it quite clear that they want to continue to follow the TMD issue, that they are still concerned about developing and deploying highly-capable TMD. So that discussion isn't over and is likely to figure prominently along side the START III negotiations.

 

Susan Eisenhower

On the inevitability of NATO expansion, you know, hope springs eternal. I will not believe it is going to happen until it happens, because I came back from Moscow with the absolute conviction that to expand NATO would be a mistake of historic proportions, and I would underline that several times. NATO expansion has been received, I would say, with fear and trepidation. That in combination with the situation in Iraq has really created a very new dimension to our relations with Russia—a dimension that could jeopardize U.S.-Russian relations for some time in the future.

I had a fascinating trip and met with many officials at all different levels including Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeniy Primakov and Defense Council official Andrei Kokoshin. Perhaps the way to begin my remarks would be to quote Mikhail Gorbachev, who I had the pleasure of seeing at a conference last Saturday. He, of course, is central in many ways to this question of NATO expansion because it is his policy that has been discredited within the Russian Federation. That is, his policy of disarmament and withdrawal and the attempt to create a partnership with the United States.

Let me say that I am going to be making these remarks from the Russian viewpoint, because I think this is something that is absolutely critical, and when you read the U.S. papers, it is astonishing, the lack of perspective that is addressed to the Russian question. I don't know about everybody else here, but I was raised in a family that had very active and dynamic dinner table conversations. I was constantly the trouble-maker, raising all kinds of issues at dinner. Part of the Eisenhower family tradition was that you weren't allowed to make a blanket statement about anything unless you assessed how it looked to the other guy. We don't do that very well in this country, and I must say, coming back from Russia and having a sense of seeing it from the other perspective, I think there are a number of issues that we are going to have to focus on now if we are going to avoid a complete meltdown in relations. I was frankly shocked before I left for Moscow, to read an open letter signed by more than 60 retired admirals and generals supporting NATO expansion. I could respect, certainly, all of their arguments, though I disagree with them, except where they got to the blanket statement in this open letter that, believe it or not, expansion of NATO is going to improve U.S.-Russian relations. I think to say it as a statement is absolutely astonishing. The principle being that NATO expansion is about creating stability, and therefore Russia will welcome stability, and therefore U.S.-Russian relations will improve.

In discussing this particular open letter in Moscow, which they were aware of, one democratic reformer emphasized that if NATO expansion isn't bad enough, having the U.S. tell Russia what's in its interest doubles the insult. We are going to have to accept the fact that NATO expansion is not going to improve U.S.-Russian relations and it should just be taken as a fact, because the Russians have told us it's not going to improve relations.

At a conference, Gorbachev listened to all the technical discussions about arms control arms reductions, and finally became somewhat exasperated by it and said, all the technical stuff is fine, but what we have here is a philosophical question before us. And that philosophical question relates to, what kind of relationships we are going to have with each other. It is a question of trust, he said. And he added frankly, NATO expansion has absolutely poisoned the atmosphere—those were his words—of U.S.-Russian relations. I don't know whether the translator was correct but he also used the word 'swindled,' which is a pretty strong word.

In fact, Gorbachev and others see a number of policies that the United States has adopted as deeply threatening to Russia in many ways. Not only NATO expansion, butalso this appearance that the United States wishes to dominate the world in some kind of unilateral fashion. Gorbachev made the point of saying that U.S. behavior, not only on NATO expansion but also on the question of Iraq, has given real life to the conspiracy theories that have been floating around Russia for some time.

He raised another point about a policy that I began to see for the first time from the other side's point of view. And that is the necessity within the former Soviet space for countries there to cooperate with one another. He made the point that the United States has adopted a policy that will not allow for even economic integration between Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Russia and other countries, which have worked together for centuries. In fact, there is a tendency to begin to try to enter into relationships in that part of the world, as a way to thwart Russia. I went to Kiev on this trip and it was very clear that the Ukrainians took the opportunity to complain about the Russians. I had some uneasiness that the United States was going to be part of some competition, in terms of influence. I personally was uncomfortable with that because, as Gorbachev mentioned, some kind of cooperation, certainly on the economic front, is going to be absolutely crucial because the United States has not provided economic help and their economic survival is going to depend on some interaction.

In any case, I think the strongest message I came away with was that even Gorbachev himself, who has always been very Western-focused, made the point very strongly that U.S.-Russian relations are at their most serious point in some time. You might be interested to know that Gorbachev is against strikes in the Middle East, because he is of the opinion that there is a vast difference between the situation in 1991, when Iraq was clearly a military aggressor, and the situation now, where he and others believe there is still room for a diplomatic solution.

Gorbachev, of course, was the man who presided over unification of Germany back during the days of the Soviet Union. There were renewed complaints about the fact that the Soviets had received assurances about NATO expansion. But perhaps the most interesting discussion I had was with one radical reformer who felt that there was another betrayal perpetrated on the Russians after the "Two-plus-Four" period. He said that in 1994 he had attended a NATO conference and was told that unless Russia joined Partnership for Peace, NATO would expand. Several months later NATO committed itself to expanding anyway. In the meantime he had testified before the Duma supporting the idea of Russia becoming a member of Partnership for Peace, precisely to avoid this eventuality. This young reformer was saying to me that he regards it as a personal insult to him that Russian reformers had been betrayed a second time.

I mention this only because now we've got two generations of aggrieved Russians on this particular point and it was said with a kind of passion that surprised even me. I have to say, however, it was very clear that the unhappiness about NATO expansion was underscored many times by the issue in Iraq. This is one aspect that will have huge impact for the arms control agenda. I was told, not by one person but by many, that if in fact there are unilateral strikes in Iraq, START II is dead. It's not even postponed; it is flat out dead. And so again, taking the Russians at their word, which they certainly deserve, I think we should take note of that.

Coming back and reading the American press or even some of the press that reached me in Russia, I think we have to examine the way Russia is being characterized inside the United States as a bad actor on the international stage. My own personal opinion is that Americans are not very good at looking at it from other people's perspectives. It's very clear to me that the Russians have a very specific viewpoint, and that it's not an anti-American viewpoint at all. In fact, I was rather interested that a number of Yevgeniy Primakov's colleagues, some of whom were critics of Primakov, told me what Primakov's line had been inside Russia. They said that evn in closed-door sessions of the Duma, Primakov has been trying to convince Russia of the importance of working with the United States.

I say this because it seems to me that at the heart of the way we perceive Russia in this Iraqi situation is our interpretation of who Yevgeniy Primakov is. I don't know if you saw The Washington Times article that came out last week characterizing Primakov as this Soviet apparatchik, a Brezhnev protégé, former KGB agent who had connections in some way to Lavrenti Beria, a man who is working against U.S. interests at all points. I have to tell you, such misinformation reminds me of the Soviet Union, though this time it came from our side. I took that article and made it my business to talk to at least five different people across the political spectrum about who Yevgeniy Primakov is, and found, to my intense interest, that there at least five or six flat-out factual errors in this story.

I thought I would take my opportunity here to tell you very quickly what I found out about Primakov. I have known him for twelve years myself. I actually met with him on this trip, and so I can tell you that first off, he was not happy at being regarded as someone connected to Lavrenti Beria. In fact, his wife was Georgian, but there is no family tie there at all. But then, not taking Primakov's word for things, as I say, I was interested that so many reformers believe that, in fact, Primakov had spoken long and hard in private sessions about the importance of good U.S. relationships. Several of his earlier colleagues emphasized that it's not possible that Primakov worked for the KGB in the early years back in the Middle East simply because at the Institute, everyone knew who was who. It is important to note that Primakov came to power in the Soviet Union first through his promotion by Alexander Yakovlev, who was regarded as "the architect of Perestroika," and later was promoted as an alternative member of the Politburo by Mikhail Gorbachev. I was told by several people and Primakov himself that because of his travels, Primakov never actually met Brezhnev.

The point being that if you believe that Primakov and other Russians wish to specifically thwart the United States in this part of the world, then suddenly you can see the need to expand NATO rapidly or to take a completely different approach. If you look at Primakov and others as reformers who are trying hard to defend the interests of new Russia as it goes through a very difficult transition, then you come up with a very different way of looking not only at Russia, but perhaps U.S.-Russian relations.

In addition to the economic power struggle, there is a power struggle within the national security apparatus. I thought it was extremely interesting that the division within that community could be seen in three ways. Over the signing of the NATO-Russian Founding Act, there were those who were absolutely against signing it at all, and then within the camp of westernizers, there was a division betweem those who believed Primakov should have held out longer, and those who thought he had no choice but to sign. In general, most westernizers felt that he probably had to sign for one specific reason: to prove one more time to the United States and to the world that this is no longer the Soviet Union they're dealing with.

In conclusion, I would say that I find all this extremely difficult. Many of those here in the audience, including Bob McNamara and I, were going back and forth to the Soviet Union in the late 80's trying very hard to improve U.S.-Soviet relations. Today I think relations are at their worst, certainly in the last decade. I'm not sure what we could do to repair relations, but certainly none of the major issues that are on the agenda, including non-proliferation and curbing drug trafficking can be done without Russia. I think we have to have a wholly different approach to this part of the world because in the end they have a different viewpoint about how to solve this crisis in Iraq and how to build European security.

In Iraq, they feel that since Saddam Hussein does not have any launch capabilit for his developing program that there's at least enough time to work out a diplomatic solution—a solution that would be, as Primakov himself told me, "a victory for the international community." But there will be huge resistance if they see American unilateral action going forward unchecked because, in their view NATO expansion and U.S. unilateral action in Iraq are all part of a larger pattern of, as Gorbachev said, an American desire for superiority in the world. There is deep concern about the future of the UN and other international institutions.

I wish I had a more encouraging report. Maybe I'm going to be a dissident when I say that the positive movement has to come from our side. Because, the Soviet Union of Gorbachev's era, and now Russia, has done the very things that were part of our wildest dreams during the Cold War. It's not a question of wanting to be an imperial power. There seems to be complete understanding that they are no longer a superpower. A little respect and recognition of their legitimate needs would go a long way. At the dinner table we should try to look at it from the other guy's standpoint. There is never going to be any possibility to solve great international issues without that as a starting point.

 

John Isaacs

Unlike Susan Eisenhower, who got off a jet plane from Moscow to come here for the talk, I only took a cab ride from Capitol Hill—though some people would argue that the distance I traveled is even greater.

As is frequently the case, much of our hope for arms control progress in 1998 rests on what happens in the legislative branch—not a very friendly one at that. The major difference we face now, compared to previous times, is that we have two legislative branches to be concerned about, the Russian Duma as well as the U.S. Senate. It almost makes one long for the good old days when the Soviet general secretary would just tell the legislature when to approve a treaty.

I have a list of 15 or 16 treaties that could be considered by the Senate. I'd like to focus on, what I believe, will be the three most important ones that may—or may not—be considered. First, of course, is NATO enlargement. Second is the CTB Treaty. And third, what I count as five treaties related to the ABM Treaty, START I, and START II—all of which could be and may be submitted as a package to the Senate later this year.

Now, to do well in this group of three treaties will depend on the relationship between our secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, and our chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Jesse Helms. As this relationship goes between Mr. Helms and Ms. Albright, so in many ways go our hopes for arms control in the Senate, aside from a few other little things that have been discussed—like what may happen in Iraq and the Russian Duma.

Part of the reason that NATO enlargement is sailing so rapidly through the Senate is because of the strange bedfellows supporting that treaty. You have Helms and Albright, and you have Clinton and the majority leader, Trent Lott, all on the same side—it's a tough combination to beat. Now, I won't say more about NATO enlargement because we've already heard a lot about that, and I'd really like to focus particularly on the next two areas, the CTB Treaty and the ABM-START-related package.

Most of you may have heard about the letter from Senator Helms to the president saying, "Yeah, I'll deal with the CTB Treaty, but not until I deal with, first, the Global Warming Treaty, and second, the ABM Treaty." I would take that with something of a grain of salt. It's not exactly gospel; it's Jesse Helms laying out his opening position for the upcoming negotiations with the Clinton administration. That means that the administration—the president, Secretary Albright, National Security Advisor Berger—now has to put forward its position on proceeding in the Senate this year.

I understand a response letter has gone from the president to the Senate, but I haven't seen it and I haven't spoken to anyone who has. Undoubtedly, there will be heavy negotiations on what comes up in the Senate after NATO enlargement, which may well be considered by the end of March.

My understanding is that while Senator Helms is proclaiming "no, no, no" to the CTB, his staff is quietly preparing for what they see as very possible hearings and committee and floor action on the treaty. In trying to get the CTB considered, I'd like to remind you all that there are also many chips on our side of the table. The Senate Republicans have a long list of bills that they want the Senate to consider to set the stage for the 1998 congressional elections. That agenda can be held up by Democratic senators who insist on a vote on, let's just say, the CTB or some other issue. And I'd like to remind you further that it was a mild-mannered New Mexican senator, Jeff Bingaman, who went to the Senate floor in the fall of 1995, took off his jacket to reveal a Superman T-shirt underneath, and began a long, long speech just when the Republicans wanted to bring up the flag burning amendment. He managed to get the Republicans to come to an agreement within two days on a time certain for a vote on the START II treaty and the Chemical Weapons Convention. This Bingaman theorem, holding up some of their legislation for some of our legislation, can work to our advantage on the CTB Treaty this year, too.

The further good news on the CTB is that the Clinton administration is truly getting its act together. We all saw the State of the Union address, where there was not only strong endorsement but also the letter of endorsement from the former chairs of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. That was followed by the president going to Los Alamos to give a strong pitch for the CTB, Secretary Peña speaking to the National Press Club last week; and various staff briefings and staff trips to verification sites and weapons labs, by the staffs of the Foreign Relations, Armed Services, and Intelligence committees. Remarkably, despite someone saying that there is a lot of opposition to the CTB, I know of only one or two Republican senators who have said "no" to it. Republican Senators have been remarkably silent on this issue thus far. That all leaves me mildly optimistic—though I certainly wouldn't bet on it—that we can get the CTB Treaty scheduled for later this year—hopefully by the summer—and that we can actually win Senate approval.

But as hard as the CTB fight in the Senate will be, I believe that the fight for the ABM Treaty amendments will be even harder. I think Republicans are reluctant to try to defeat a major new international commitment, whether it's NATO enlargement, the Chemical Weapons Convention, or the CTB Treaty. But I think they look upon the ABM Treaty in a much different way as a 25-year old treaty; they feel there are fewer consequences trying to defeat or cripple the treaty. As we all know, national ballistic missile defense has been an article of faith for Republicans since Ronald Reagan was president, and I don't think naming Washington National Airport after him will fulfill this article of faith. Since 1995, Republicans have been pushing for ballistic missile defenses by the year 2003; while they have failed in Congress to get missile defense mandated, they have forced the Clinton administration to ratchet up funding so that we are now spending $4 billion on missile defense.

The voting numbers for the ABM Treaty amedments work in the Republicans' favor. Winning approval of a mandated ballistic missile defense over a Clinton veto requires 67 votes; that's why the Republicans failed in 1995 and 1996 and that's why Trent Lott—despite saying missile defense was a major priority last year—never even brought it up for a vote. But to kill one of these ABM Treaty amendments, all the Republicans need is 34 votes. Thirty-four votes instead of 67 is obviously a much easier number to attain.

When Senator Helms says he wants to "dispose" of the ABM Treaty before the CTB Treaty, he's using the word in both senses. I'd like to quote Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, from a speech last October, who I think reflects the views of a number of Republicans on the ABM Treaty in calling the treaty "a mistake in 1972 and even worse policy today." Senator Inhoffe said, "I believe that this [the consideration of these ABM Treaty amendments] is an opportunity we need to be looking forbecause all it would take is 34 senators to reject this multilateralization of the ABM Treaty. I believe we should take this opportunity that there is, when it comes before this body for ratification, to reject this and thereby kill the ABM Treaty, which certainly is outdated." Now we have good lawyers here—such as John Rhinelander—who might argue that if the Senate defeats one of these amendments it does not really kill the ABM Treaty. But it's clear that the political impact of that defeat would be devastating for our arms control hopes—in Moscow and in Washington.

The administration, as we've heard, hopes to tie this package of five agreements together and say to the Senate, "If you want further nuclear reductions, you have to go along with the ABM Treaty amendments." But again, as we've heard, that depends on events: what happens in Iraq and what happens with START II in the Russian Duma.

So, as usual, 1998 shapes up as a challenging year in the Senate. I think we'll be done with the NATO issue one way or another by the end of March, and then we hope to begin the major push to get the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to schedule the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

 

Questions & Answers

Q: If there is no action on START II and III, can we go into a de facto arms control regime where both sides will abide by the limits, although there is no treaty obligation?

Mendelsohn: It's a good question, and maybe I can only answer it by talking around it. The Russians themselves have, at times, suggested that maybe we ought to leapfrog START II and move right into START III. The administration has resisted this because they sense that what the Russians have in mind is perhaps congruent with our thoughts on levels, but not congruent on how you get to those levels. What would happen, most likely, is that if you went on a gentleman's agreement basis, the Russians would have every reason and opportunity to drop the key component of START II, which we find most attractive, and that is the elimination of MIRV-ed missiles. So, it would be hard to get anything but a levels agreement, if you will, as a follow-on if you skip START II. If we didn't get the MIRV part, I think that would make it unattractive to the Senate, so we'd have serious friction on this. I'm not optimistic about leap-frogging. If you lose STRT II for some reason or another, you'd probably have to go back to the table rather than having a virtual agreement.

Keeny: I would just add that going back to the table on these very complex agreements, START I and START II, and reconstructing it, would put completion past this administration. We have all learned from past experience that if things are delayed for an extended period, lots of things can happen. You will regret greatly not having completed the action.

Q: What are the prospects of having any Senate action on any agreements given the complex linkage that exists, and what kind of conditions can we expect on these other, more important treaties given the large number of conditions attached to the Senate's advive and consent to the Chemical Weapons Convention?

Isaacs: I guess the part about conditions doesn't particularly bother me. Yes, there were 28 conditions added to the Chemical Weapons Convention, but how many can name any of those 28 conditions, and how many of them are having a serious impact today? I asked this question to Harvard chemical expert Matthew Meselson just a couple of days ago and he said maybe one has serious implications for carrying out the Chemical Weapons Convention, but the other 27 really don't. Mostly conditions have served as statements of policy and opportunities for senators to state a position without causing serious damage to most treaties.

The larger question is: Can the Senate do anything this year? The Senate schedules legislation through negotiations; for any legislation to come up, there will have to be negotiations, and that's more or less what I was indicating. There have to be negotiations between the Clinton administration and Senator Helms and Senator Lott on what comes up this year in terms of national security issues after NATO enlargement. I think that the logical bargain that one can see is the administration, which has not submitted this ABM Treaty package to the Senate as yet, agreeing to submit those treaties to the Senate for a vote in return for Helms and Lott guaranteeing time for debate and a vote on the Senate floor on the CTB Treaty. And the gamble will be that the Clinton administration can win on the ABM Treaty using the nuclear reductions argument. That, of course, still depends on what happens with the Russian Duma, what happens in Iraq and other things that I won't even try to predict. If the Senate can spend two weeks on the Ronald Reagan airport, and they can deal with the START II treaty in a few hours, they can deal with CTB.

Q: What could be done to defeat the NATO expansion bill, and what is the possibility?

Eisenhower: I would just say delay; I think any delay would be a positive thing. The reason I remain hopeful, maybeit's unrealistic, is that there are a lot of wild cards out there. We might use force in Iraq and there could be resistance on Capitol Hill. The president's personal problems could also enter into this. There are a lot of wild cards out there. We do have this rather peculiar deadline, because we have to be ready to celebrate the 50th anniversary of NATO, which is the driving reason we're rushing to do this. But I think any delay that occurs means that there is more time to reconsider the unanticipated consequences of this policy.

Isaacs: There's certainly a lot of concern in this room about NATO enlargement, and those concerns are reflected throughout the Senate. But the problem we've had is those concerns have not been reflected by senators willing to get up and say, "I'm going to vote against NATO enlargement. I am going to lead the fight against it." If we can't get that, we can't win. Just last week, Senator John Warner [R-VA], who was one of the senators we had counted on to lead the opposition, more or less changed his tune from opposition to three-year delay on the second round of NATO enlargement. Senator Ted Stevens [R-AL], who had also expressed serious reservations about the cost of NATO enlargement, seems to be going along and will offer one of these 28 conditions, or whatever the number will be, that will show he is concerned without seriously affecting NATO enlargement. There are a lot of wild cards that could disrupt things, including the campaign in Iraq. There are conditions on nuclear weapons, on further expansion on the Baltic states, which could break up the pro-NATO coalition, but at this point, it looks very difficult for our side, the anti-side, to win.

Q: Why do the Russians take out their frustrations with the United States by threatening not to ratify START II, which does have the value of ensuring them parity with the United States? What is it that causes this political reaction in Russia?

Eisenhower: There's nothing logical about this sort of thing, and the deputies in the Duma whom I talk to and who support ratifying START II see it just as some way to express their unhappiness with us. They have no other tool to use to emphasize their unhappiness, even though it's counterproductive. The deputies who would like to see START II ratified are rather exasperated by this. There is always a danger that we can take everything too logically. We're talking about human beings who react on an emotional basis. This looks like something that could be used to demonstrate that frustration, even if it's not in their interest. I would just hope that we use a little more psychology in the future because we could probably get everything we want in Iraq, along with good relations with Russia.

Isaacs: It's not frustrated legislators, it's trying to apply logic to the legislative bodies. There's a parallel if you want to look at illogic in terms of how a number of Republican legislators view the Nunn-Lugar program. Various legislators in the Huse have been saying, "The Russians are doing awful things in Iraq and Iran, and therefore, by God, we should cut off the Nunn-Lugar program to help the Russians dismantle their nuclear the weapons that could be pointed at us." That doesn't seem to be logical to me, but it was logical to about 200 members of the House of Representatives. So, if there is illogic from time to time in the Duma, there may be some in our legislative body as well.

Q: In the world we're in today, it's no longer thought to be good for the economy to have high defense spending, either here or in Moscow. When people talk about arms control proposals, they ask how much money will it save. Is it possible that economic constraints might be the saving grace of these arms control problems?

Isaacs: Dealing with economics brings in a measure of logic which doesn't always apply. There's another example around the world where the IMF is going around to a number of countries, South Korea particularly, but also Central European countries, and saying, If you want to rebuild your economies, you have to cut military spending. Then Secretary of Defense Cohen goes to the same countries saying, "You'd better not cut military spending." So, we have the economics weighed against other policy elements. I think there is a strong argument within the Pentagon for the economics that you talked about. The Pentagon would be delighted to go down to START II levels immediately; they're restricted by Congress. There is a fair possibility that there could be this tacit agreement, moving to the lower numbers under START II, although in response to the earlier question, I can't see how we would move on to START III without formal ratification of START II. So economics could drive the Pentagon, which could drive U.S. policy toward some of these reductions we desire.

On the other hand, at the same time, Speaker Newt Gingrich and others are going around saying, "$270 billion may not be enough for the military this year. We'd like to raise the military budget." So maybe while you see economics as the driving force for cutting military spending, there are others in Congress who would rather increase military spending, no matter what the consequences.

Q: Why does U.S. military action against Baghdad reinforce Russian concerns about NATO expansion?

Eisenhower: I'm glad you asked that question because I'd like to clarify that the word "swindle" related to NATO expansion, not to Iraq. First of all, there are both similar features and certain features that are different. The key similarity, at least from what I understood, was in the perception that America is intent on using its status as the world's only superpower to impose its will across the board, most specifically in NATO expansion and with Iraq. There's been very little analysis of even where Russia's interests are in the Middle East with respect to Israel. You kind of get this feeling that they must be againt Israel, in some fashion, because of what seems to be a pro-Arab approach from Moscow. But in fact, there are 700,000 former Soviets living in Israel, so they have a great interest in Israel's security as well. In Moscow, I heard many times that the UN is in jeopardy if the United States acts unilaterally because the votes in the Security Council are in favor of finding a diplomatic solution; so, if the United States acts unilaterally, it has essentially said that the UN does not count. The Russians, and again this is their viewpoint, regard the UN as a vital organization in the world because it is one organization in which they have a voice as well as a veto. And I heard over and over again that unilateral strikes would undermine the UN, when it was bad enough that the United States doesn't pay its dues.

A couple of people also said to me: "Isn't it sort of ironic that your secretary of state, your chief diplomat, is saying that diplomacy won't work, and isn't it interesting that your former ambassador to the UN says that the UN can't handle this issue." I think that there is just a very strong feeling in Moscow that use of force in the long run will not deter proliferation questions because it only underscores one more time that the only way to be of any importance in this world is to have all the high technology gadgets that can help you impose your will. Again, these are not my views, but this is what I heard.

Keeny: I'd just underscore one aspect of that response. From a Russian perspective, they would like to feel they were in a cooperative position working with the United States. But their positions, which don't seem illogical on Iraq, are just dismissed out of hand by the United States, which says it will proceed unilaterally, regardless of world opinion in general, and Russian opinion in particular. That can disturb Russians, particularly if they are feeling that their general political position in the world is substantially threatened.

Eisenhower: One other interesting thing that Primakov mentioned in our meeting was that if the United States takes unilateral action, in his view, it will be the end of the peace process in the Middle East. The United States is the key actor in the Middle East, and this will discredit the United States' position there. So, there is more at stake than the question at hand. Not only the future of the UN, but the United States' position in the region as well as the ability to deal with these issues cooperatively.

Q: Do the Russians really have a different estimate of what Saddam Hussein wants to do with respect to developing weapons of mass destruction? Are their interests really different from ours?

Eisenhower: My impression is that the Russians do share our non-proliferation goals and it is a question of whether diplomatic means have been exhausted. In the course of trying to research some of Mr. Primakov's biography, I did discover something rather interesting. In this Washington Times article, the author made a big deal about Primakov's trips to the Middle East just before the war with Iraq. You'll remember, he went twice. This is actually the genesis of this tremendous campaign against Primakov here in this country. In the Washington Times article, it said these two trips to Iraq created a complete fall-out between Primakov and Shevardnadze. The implication was that Primakov was freelancing in the Middle East against the foreign minister's wishes. I used my opportunity when I saw Gorbachev on this trip to ask him this question directly: Who sent Primakov to the Middle East? Was this Primakov off trying to find solutions on his own against the foreign minister's wishes? Gorbachev said flat out he personally sent Primakov to the Middle East on those two occasions. What was also interesting about this, and this was confirmed by two other sources I talked to, is that Shevardnadze reacted in a way that no one in Moscow could understand because Gorbachev had sent Primakov himself. Primakov was of the view that the war could be averted, because of his long-standing relationships there. In fact, Shevardnadze's position on this against Primakov actually did much to split Gorbachev's relationship with Shevardnadze. I thought that was very telling. Again, because we have a rather cockeyed view of Primakov in all this, this tends to infect the way we view the Russian role. We all have to keep our eyes and ears open. At least as far as I know and from what he said, our non-proliferation goals are the same. He emphasized that many times to me but others said that he did it privately in the Duma, that they are going to support UN resolutions. The difference maybe in the perception of whether, actually, diplomatic means have been exhausted.

Keeny: This confrontation with Iraq comes at a time when we seem to be having some success in persuading Russia to tighten up its export controls, its handling of peripheral leakage or sale of information to potential proliferating countries. I think the Russians are increasingly recognizing that they have as much to worry about weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East as anybody else, and that they should do all they can to tighten up this regime. If I were that close to Iraq, I would want to be very careful that this kind of U.S. intervention was going to contribute to the principal non-proliferation objective, namely, making sure that 10 years down the road, Iraq is really part of the community of nations and does not have a substantial additional capability with weapons of mass destruction.

The United States hasn't really been very imaginative in a number of the approaches that one might take. I'm not saying they would succeed, but one of the complaints of the Iraqis has been the unbalanced nature of the inspection teams, which are overwhelmingly American and Anglo-Saxon in make up. A number of people, including the Russians, have suggested, why don't you modify and expand the nature of the inspection teams to either obtain Iraqi acceptance or at least call their bluff. Why not add to the existing group a significant number of Russians, French, Chinese, Italians, what have you, and make it a much larger inspection group, and even possibly reduce the number of Americans. I would involve these other countries directly in Saddam Hussein's bad behavior if it continues vis-à-vis the inspection teams. We've taken a very arbitrary position. We do it exactly the way it is and the way we want, and we won't even consider anything else. We have not created a world opinion that we really have exhausted all the diplomatic approaches, and I think that is very frustrating to the Russians and other people who may well have basically good intentions in trying to resolve this without creating a situation which makes it even more certain that Saddam Hussein will continue his programs of weapons of mass destruction and destabilizing nature in the region.

Q: I wonder if Susan Eisenhower heard any ideas when she was in Moscow for diplomatic alternatives to bombing that couldn't usefully be applied here?

Eisenhower: The only thing I heard was when I met with Primakov on Saturday. The big question was whether Kofi Annan was going to go to Iraq. He personally stated that he wanted to see that happen. But beyond that, I'm afraid that was one of the questions I should have asked but I didn't. This, if you'll remember, on Saturday was just after a Washington Post article about Russian sales of fertilizer fermentation equipment. There was some personal insult felt around Moscow. I personally cannot evaluate that story, but some people said that the accusations were a provocation, that there wasn't anything to it. I can just say as a person who is part of this community, that dual-use transfers are going to be a very big problem.

Q: What are the constructive things the United States can do to maintain UN sanctions on Iraq?

Keeny: In view of Saddam Hussein's bad behavior, we can probably maintain the sanctions. I think if we engage in an ineffective bombing campaign, we may well find a number of important countries will simply no longer abide by the sanctions. The whole sanctions regime may collapse if Saddam can emerge as the perceived aggrieved party and not someone who is in violation of Security Council resolutions.

Before its annual membership meeting on February 18, ACA presented a panel discussion of the arms control...

January/February 1998 Bibliography

 

Compiled by Sami Fournier

OF SPECIAL INTEREST

 


McKinzie, M.G., T.B. Cochran and C.E. Paine. "Explosive Alliances: Nuclear Weapons Simulation Research at American Universities," Natural Resources Defense Council, January 1998, 87 pp. Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones in the 21st Century, UNIDIR, 1997, 148 pp.

Sigal, Leon. Disarming Strangers: Nuclear Diplomacy with North Korea, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1998, 321 pp.

 


I. ARMS CONTROL—GENERAL

Biden, Joseph. "Let 1998 Be the Year of Arms Control," The Christian Science Monitor, February 23, 1998, p. 11.

HISTORY

Wittner, Lawrence. Resisting the Bomb 1954-1970: A History of the World Nuclear Disarmament Movement, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, January 1998, 641 pp.

THEORY AND POLICY

Bailey, Kathleen. "De-alerting Nukes Would Imperil U.S. Security," The Wall Street Journal, January 20, 1998.

Erlich, Jeff. "New U.S. Nuclear Policy Maintains Ambiguity," Defense News, January 5-12, 1998, p. 4.

Johnson, Rebecca. "Multilateral Arms Control: Can the CD Break the Impasse," Arms Control Today, November/December 1997, pp. 17-21.

Keeny, Spurgeon M., Jr. "One Step Forward," Arms Control Today, November/December 1997, p. 2.

 

II. STRATEGIC ARMS CONTROL

Butler, Lee. "Viewpoint," (excerpts from February 2 speech on nuclear abolition), Aviation Week & Space Technology, February 9, 1998, p. 102.

Johnson, Rebecca. "British Perspectives on the Future of Nuclear Weapons," Occasional Paper No. 37, The Henry L. Stimson Center, January 1998, 57 pp. Ph. (202) 223-5956, http://www.stimson.org.

Mendelsohn, Jack. "The U.S.-Russian Strategic Arms Control Agenda, Arms Control Today, November/December 1997, pp. 12-16.

"Nuclear Weapons First in Russia's Defense Policy," Strategic Comments, January 1998, 2 pp.

 

III. BALLISTIC ARMS CONTROL

Gronlund, Lisbeth. "ABM: Just Kicking the Can," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, January/February 1998, pp. 15-16.

Timmerman, Kenneth. "Missile Threat From Iran," Reader's Digest, January 1998, pp. 87-88.

IV. BALLISTIC MISSILE DEFENSE

"National Missile Defense: Schedule and Technical Risks Represent Significant Development Challenges," DOE, December 1997, 15 pp.

Scott, William. "Missile Sensor Flyby Boosts NMD Outlook," Aviation Week & Space Technology, January 26, 1998, p. 24.

 

V. NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION

"The Advocacy of U.S. Interests Abroad: Shaping U.S. Engagement Overseas: Future Challenges, Future Opportunities for the Twenty-First Century," The Henry L. Stimson Center, January 1998, 29 pp. Ph. (202) 223-5956, http://www.stimson.org.

Betts, Richard. "The New Threat of Mass Destruction," Foreign Affairs, January/February 1998, pp. 26-41.

Gertz, Bill. "Panel Hits Clinton for 'Failure' to Halt Mass-Killing Arms," The Washington Times, January 13, 1998, p. A1.

Grand, Camille. "A French Nuclear Exception?" Stimson Center Occasional Paper No. 38, January 1998, 42 pp. Ph. (202) 223-5956, http://www.stimson.org.

Mann, Paul. "Iraq Threat Spurs Push to Curb WMD," Aviation Week & Space Technology, February 9, 1998, p. 29.

Matloff, Judith. "Danger From Russia's Scientists: Selling Weapons Know-How," The Christian Science Monitor, February 13, 1998, p. 8.

Ottaway, David and Dan Morgan. "U.S., Ukraine at Odds Over Nuclear Technology Transfer," The Washington Post, February 8, 1998, p. A25.

Scheinman, Lawrence. "Almost A Success Story," Foreign Service Journal, February 1998, pp. 16-23.

"Unclassified Report to Congress on the Nonproliferation Policies and Practices of the People's Republic of China," National Security Council, January 12, 1998, p. 12.

 

VI. NUCLEAR WEAPONS MATERIAL CONTROL

Burgess, Lisa. "Energy Department Seeks Defense Program Increase," Defense News, February 9-15, 1998, p. 16.

Eisler, Peter. "Nuclear Weapons Security Gets Overhaul," USA Today, February 11, 1998, p. 7.

 

VII. NUCLEAR WEAPONS CLEANUP

"Linking Legacies: Connecting the Cold War Nuclear Weapons Production Processes to their Environmental Consequences," DOE, Office of Environmental Management, January 1997, 230 pp. Ph. (800)736-3282.

Wald, Matthew. "Panel Details Management Flaws at Hanford Nuclear Waste Site," The New York Times, January 16, 1998, p. A20.

 

VIII. NUCLEAR TESTING

Garwin, Richard L. "The Future of Nuclear Weapons Without Nuclear Testing," Arms Control Today, November/December 1997, pp. 3-11.

COMPREHENSIVE TEST BAN

Hoffman, Wolfgang. "The Future of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty: Ensuring the CTBT's Implementation," Disarmament, Number 1, 1997, pp. 1-9.

Lippman, Thomas. "Energy Department Restricts Stockpile Critic," The Washington Post, February 7, 1998, p. A8.

McKinzie, Matthew. "The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty: Issues and Answers," Cornell University Peace Studies Program Occasional Paper, June 1997, 137 pp.

Yamada, Chusei. "The CTBT: A Step Towards a Nuclear-Free World," Disarmament, Number 1, 1997, pp. 10-25.

 

IX. CONVENTIONAL ARMS CONTROL AND ARMS TRANSFERS

Boulden, Laurie. "A Mine Field, Statistically Speaking," The Washington Post, February 8, 1998, p. C1.

Enginsoy, Umit. "Turkey Wants F-15Es to Counter Greece's Move," Defense News, February 9-15, 1998, p. 4.

Finnegan, Philip. "Security Assistance Focus Evolves," Defense News, February 9-15, 1998, p. 10.

Gertz, Bill. "In Korea's Misnamed DMZ, U.S. Defenders Rely on Mines," The Washington Times, January 23, 1998, p. A5.

Keller, William and Janne Nolan. "The Arms Trade: Business as Usual?" Foreign Policy, Winter 1997-98, pp. 113-125.

Opall, Barbara. "Customers Abandon FMS; Cite High Cost, Inflexibility," Defense News, February 9-15, 1998, p. 1.

 

X. CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL ARMS CONTROL

Cohen, Roger. "The Weapon Too Terrible for the Parade of Horribles," The New York Times, February 8, 1998, Section 4, p. 1.

Dunworth, Treasa, Matthew Meselson and JulianPerry Robinson, "Report on the 7th Workshop of the Pugwash Study Group on the Implementation of the Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions: The CWC at Entry into Force," Pugwash Newsletter, November 1997, pp. 200-208.

Erlanger, Steven. "Russians Deny Report of '95 Deal With Iraq," The New York Times, February 13, 1998, p. A8.

Finnegan, Philip and Robert Holzer. "Iraq's Chem-Bio Effort Can Survive Airstrikes," Defense News, February 16-22, 1998, p. 3.

Graham, Bradley. "U.S. Forces Better Equipped for Chemical, Biological Warfare," The Washington Post, February 8, 1998, p. A29.

Graham, Bradley and David Hoffman, "Russian Rebukes U.S. Over Iraq," The Washington Post, February 13, 1998, p. A1.

Heftman, Jeffery. "An Evaluation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the U.S. National Interest," ACDIS Program, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, December 1997, pp. 1-23.

Landay, Jonathan. "Clinton Boosts Global Ban on Biological Weapons," The Christian Science Monitor, January 30, 1998, p. 4.

Mann, Paul. "Warnings Raised About Iraqi Terrorism Threat," Aviation Week & Space Technology, February 2, 1998, p. 22.

Reid, Robert. "Biological Arms Top List Thought to be Held by Baghdad," The Washington Times, February 11, 1998, p. A15.

Shenon, Philip. "Bombing Gas Sites May Pose Risk of Gulf War Syndrome," The New York Times, February 11, 1998, p. A6.

Smith, Jeffrey. "Did Russia Sell Iraq Germ Warfare Equipment?" The Washington Post, February 12, 1998, p. A1.

Specter Michael. "Yeltsin Says Clinton Could Blunder Into a World War; Press Imagines Nuclear Attack, The New York Times, February 5, 1998, p. A6.

Tucker, Jonathan. "Putting Teeth in the Biological Weapons Ban," MIT's Technology Review, January/February 1998, pp. 38-45.

"Vaccine May Not Stop New Anthrax," The Washington Times, February 14, 1998, p. A6.

 

XI. REGIONAL SECURITY ALLIANCES AND ISSUES FORMER SOVIET UNION

"Kaliningrad's Rising Strategic Importance," Strategic Comments, December 1997.

Kober, Stanley. "NATO Expansion Flashpoint No. 3: Kaliningrad," CATO Foreign Policy Briefing No. 46, February 11, 1998, 21 pp. Ph. (202) 842-0200.

Robbins, Carla Anne and Steve Liesman. "Russia Plays U.S.-Iraq Crisis to its Own Political Advantage," The Wall Street Journal, February 13, 1998, p. 1.

EUROPE AND NATO

"Alexander Vershbow," (Interview), Defense News, February 2-8, 1998, p. 22.

Kurop, Marcia Christoff. "Greece and Turkey," Foreign Affairs, January/February 1998, pp. 7-12.

Perlmutter, Amos and Ted G. Carpenter. "NATO's Expensive Trip East," Foreign Affairs, January/February 1998, pp. 2-6.

"The Pros and Cons of NATO Expansion: Defining U.S. Goals and Options," Stanley Foundation conference report, October 23-25, 1997, 31 pp. Ph. (319) 264-1500.

"Report to the Congress on the Military Requirements and Costs of NATO Enlargement," February 1998, 20 pp. http://www.defenselink.mil/pubs/nato/

Scully, Sean. "Kissinger Endorses Expanding NATO at Senate Hearing," The Washington Times, January 30, 1998, p. 8.

Sieff, Martin and Andrea Roensberg. "NATO Expansion Expected to Sail Through the Senate," The Washington Times, February 13, 1998, p. A15.

Sloan, Stanley. "NATO Enlargement and the Former European Neutrals," CRS Report for Congress, Updated November 5, 1997, 6 pp.

Starr, Barbara. "USA Prompts NATO Over New Bosnia Peace Force," Jane's Defence Weekly, February 4, 1998, p. 14.

Tigner, Brooks. "U.S. Drops NATO Cost Estimate," Defense News, February 16-22, 1998, p. 1.

MIDDLE EAST

Burgess, John and David Ottaway. "Iraqi Opposition Unable to Mount Viable Challenge," The Washington Post, February 12, 1998, p. A25.

Cordesman, Anthony. "The Iranian and Iraqi Military Balance: Key Trends," CSIS, January 1998, 68 pp.

Crossette, Barbara. "Iraq Bars Arms Inspectors Again, Saying American in Charge is a Spy," The New York Times, January 14, 1998, p. A1.

Crossette, Barbara. "Small Progress in U.N.'s Chasm With Iraq," The New York Times, January 21, 1998, p. A3.

Crossette, Barbara. "The 7-Year Gnaw: Iraq Sees Sanction Backers Straying," The New York Times, January 23, 1998, A6.

Gedda, George. "The Iran/Iraq Conundrum," Foreign Service Journal, February 1998, p. 30.

Goshko, John. "3 Powers at UN Disagree on Iraq's Nuclear Status," The Washington Post, January 23, 1998, p. A34.

"Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction Programs," NSC, February 13, 1998, 17 pp. Ph. (202) 456-9271.

Memorandum of Understanding between the United Nations and the Republic of Iraq, February 23, 1998, 3 pp.

"A Paper Released by British Foreign Secretary, Mr. Robin Cook, Which Explains the Importance of Unrestricted Access to All Parts of Iraq for UNSCOM," February 4, 1998, 4 pp. Ph. (202) 588-6591.

Pearl, Daniel. "Once Home, Weapons Inspectors Gave Briefings on Iraq to Military," The Wall Street Journal, February 11, 1998, p. 1.

Perle, Richard. "No More Halfway Measures," (prospects for ousting Saddam Hussein), The Washington Post, February 8, 1998, p. C1.

Peterson, Scott. "How U.S. May Lose Grip on Iraq," The Christian Science Monitor, February 10, 1998, p. 1.

"Report of the Special Commission's Team to the Technical Evaluation Meeting on Proscribed Missile Warheads," UNSCOM, February 6, 1998, 12 pp.

"Report on the Technical Evaluation Meeting on Chemical Warfare Agent VX," UNSCOM, February 12, 1998, 18 pp.

Sciolino, Elaine. "Push for Peace Shows Split Over Inspections," The New York Times, February 6, 1998, p. A10.

Shenon, Philip. "U.S. To Use '91 Law to Justify Air Strikes on Iraq," The New York Times, February 4, 1998.

Whittle, Richard. "Pentagon Planners Have List of Iraqi Targets to Strike," The Dallas Morning News, February 4, 1998.

Zisser, Eyal. "Decision Making in Asad's Syria," The Washington Institute, February 1998, 45 pp.

ASIA

"An Appropriate Role for Nuclear Energy in Asia's Power Sector," The Atlantic Council, December 1997, 52 pp.

Garrity, Patrick. "Nuclear Weapons and Asia-Pacific Security: Issues, Trends, and Uncertainties," National Security Studies Quarterly, Winter 1998, pp. 41-79.

Gertz, Bill. "Chinese President Vows to Halt Missiles to Iran," The Washington Times, January 21, 1998, p. A9.

"India to U.S.: Shut Up," The Washington Times, February 10, 1998, p. A14.

Kan, Shirley. "China's Compliance with International Arms Control Agreements," CRS Report for Congress, Updated January 16, 1998, 11 pp.

Kengor, Paul. "Standoff With N. Korea Requires Two-War Posture," Defense News, February 16-22, 1998, p. 29.

Sanger, David. "South Korea's Crisis Hinders Nuclear Deal With the North," The New York Times, February 5, 1998, p. A1.

Schulz, John. "China as a Strategic Threat: Myths and Verities," Strategic Review, Winter 1998, pp. 5-16.

Thomas, Raju. "The South Asian Standoff," Foreign Service Journal, February 1998, pp. 24-29.

 

XII. MILITARY STRATEGY AND THEORY

Sieff, Martin. "Space Dependence: A Vulnerability," The Washington Times, February 2, 1998, p. A12.

 

XIII. OTHER TOPICS

Global Focus: A New Foreign Policy Agenda 1997-1998, Tom Barry and Martha Honey, eds. Interhemispheric Resource Center, March 1997, 282 pp. Ph. (505) 842-8288, http://www.foreignpolicy-infocus.org/

Holzer, Robert. "U.S. Navy Blesses Law of Sea Treaty," Defense News, February 16-22, 1998, p. 4.

Rogers, Mark. "Lasers in Space: Technological Options for Enhancing U.S. Military Capabilities," Center for Strategy andTechnology, November 1997.

International Group Issues Call For Abolition of Nuclear Weapons

January/February 1998

By Craig Cerniello

One hundred and seventeen international civilian leaders from 46 nations, including former President Jimmy Carter and former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, issued a statement February 2 calling for the ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons worldwide. In connection with the release, retired General Lee Butler, former commander in chief of Strategic Air Command, delivered a speech sharply criticizing U.S. reliance on nuclear deterrence.

The statement on nuclear abolition, which was presented by Butler and former Senator Alan Cranston at the National Press Club in Washington, recommended that six measures be undertaken immediately: the removal of nuclear weapons from alert status, the separation of warheads from delivery vehicles and the placement of the warheads in secure national storage facilities; a halt to the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons; an end to nuclear testing, pending entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty; the immediate commencement of U.S.-Russian negotiations toward further nuclear arms reductions, regardless of whether START II is ratified by the Russian Duma; an "unequivocal commitment by the other declared and undeclared nuclear weapon states to join the reduction process on a proportional basis as the U.S. and Russia approach their arsenal levels, within an international system of inspection, verification, and safeguards;" and the development of a plan for the "eventual implementation, achievement and enforcement of the distant but final goal of elimination."

In addition, the 117 leaders identified several measures that should be explored "to determine whether they are presently appropriate and feasible." First among these measures is the idea of repatriating nuclear weapons deployed outside of sovereign territory (U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in Europe). Other measures to be examined include a commitment to the no first use of nuclear weapons; a ban on the production and possession of long-range ballistic missiles; and accounting for all materials required to produce nuclear weapons and placing them under international safeguards.

In discussing the statement, Butler noted that there have been a number of significant developments toward the ultimate goal of nuclear elimination since the 61 international generals and admirals released their statement in December 1996. (See ACT, November/December 1996.) For instance, he pointed out that the United States and Russia had agreed at Helsinki to reduce their strategic arsenals to the 2,000 to 2,500 warhead level under a START III agreement, that the Clinton administration is currently studying various "de-alerting" options for U.S. strategic forces and that nuclear-weapon-free zones are spreading throughout the world.

Prior to the release of the civilian statement, Butler spoke at length on the role of nuclear weapons and made two key points. "First, I have no other way to understand the willingness to condone nuclear weapons except to believe they are the natural accomplice of visceral enmity. They corrode our sense of humanity, numb our capacity for moral outrage, and make thinkable the unimaginable," he said. Second, Butler offered a scathing critique of the concept of nuclear deterrence. "Deterrence failed completely as a guide in setting rational limits on the size and composition of military forces. To the contrary, its appetite was voracious, its capacity to justify new weapons and larger stocks unrestrained," he stated.

International Group Issues Call For Abolition of Nuclear Weapons

Dhanapala to Head New UN Department

On January 14, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed Sri Lankan Ambassador Jayantha Dhanapala to head the newly re-established UN Department of Disarmament Affairs. Only weeks after his appointment, Annan selected Dhanapala to head the Special Group of diplomats overseeing inspection of Iraq's eight so-called presidential compounds, as agreed between Annan and Saddam Hussein February 23. (See page 30.) As UN undersecretary general for disarmament affairs, Dhanapala reports to Annan, but will be working under UN Special Commission head Ambassador Richard Butler during the inspection of the sites according to the new agreement.

Dhanapala, a long-time non-aligned movement participant in disarmament discussions who led the 1995 review conference which indefinitely extended the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and represented Sri Lanka at the Geneva Conference on Disarmament (CD), took up his post on February 1 amid expectations that his new role will help elevate multilateral disarmament at the United Nations. With a budget of about $13 million (of a UN total of $2.52billion), it is hoped that Dhanapala can breath new life into to several flagging areas of disarmament, including weapons of mass destruction, small arms and landmines.

The new department will be responsible for organizing the meetings of the Preparatory Committees (PrepComs) for several treaty review conferences, including the NPT, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the Biological Weapons Convention and the Convention on Conventional Weapons. Through the department, the UN Secretariat will now be more closely connected to a broad range of disarmament matters, including the expert groups on disarmament issues, the status of multilateral arms regulation agreements and the UN Register of Conventional Arms.

'Canning,' Fuel Deliveries On Track in North Korea

PROGRESS IMPLEMENTING the 1994 U.S. North Korean denuclearization accord continued in the last months of 1997 with the Energy Department topping the 95 percent mark for the "canning" of the North's spent fuel and the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) meeting its commitment—after a two month delay—to supply Pyongyang with its annual shipment of 500,000 tons of heavy fuel oil. The lag in completing the deliveries arose from both KEDO's continuing scarcity of resources and the poor facilities in North Korea for offloading and storing the fuel oil.

Although the last of the 1996 1997 fuel arrived in North Korea in early December the delivery cycle should have ended October 21), several weeks may be required to remove the oil from the supply ships. Perhaps due to its own role in delaying the completion of the deliveries, Pyongyang's public reaction to the missed October deadline has been limited to a stiff reminder to KEDO of its obligations.

KEDO was founded in 1995 by the United States, South Korea and Japan to implement the 1994 Agreed Framework, under which Pyongyang agreed to freeze operations at its 5 megawatt (electric) graphite moderated reactor and an accompanying spent fuel reprocessing plant at Yongbyon, and halt construction of two similar but larger reactors in exchange for annual shipments of heavy fuel oil and construction of two 1,000 megawatt (electric) proliferation resistant light water reactors (LWRs) as replacements.

KEDO's operations are funded by its 19 member states, but funding shortfalls have forced the consortium to borrow funds for more than one third of the total $120 million in oil purchases since 1995. In 1997, KEDO added a spot to its Executive Board for the European Union, which bolstered the oil purchasing budget with a contribution of $6 million that will be supplemented by five additional annual contributions of about $18 million. The United States has been the main financial supporter of the heavy fuel oil program, contributing $51 million since 1995, with an additional $30 million promised for 1998.

In August 1997, KEDO broke ground for the LWR project at the Kumho site near Sinpo City in North Korea, and has since continued preparing the site for the thousands of workers who will eventually be coming to complete the project. Preliminary work, which will cost $45 million, continued throughout the fall and early winter on construction infrastructure, delivery of equipment, and movement of one million cubic meters of dirt to level the site. KEDO has also been engaged in negotiations with the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) over the terms of the prime, or "turn key" contract. KEDO hopes to conclude negotiations with KEPCO early in 1998 and to have site preparation finished by mid fall 1998.

'Canning,' Fuel Deliveries On Track in North Korea

The U.S.-Russian Strategic Arms Control Agenda

Between March and September 1997, the United States and Russia concluded a series of critical agreements designed to help ease the START II agreement through a fractious Duma. Both countries recognized that the complex of national security issues raised by the treaty, by the development and deployment of highly capable theater missile defense (TMD) systems, and by the imminent expansion of NATO into Central Europe had to be addressed if there was to be any hope of continuing the strategic arms reduction process.

With regard to the problems posed by START II, the United States and Russia agreed to shift the treaty's final implementation date by five years—from January 1, 2003, to December 31, 2007. The leaders of the two countries also committed to the prompt negotiation of a follow-on treaty (START III) which would lower deployed weapons levels by another 1,000 warheads (from 3,000-3,500 to 2,000-2,500) by the end of 2007.

To address concerns over the U.S. deployment of highly capable TMD systems, the two nations agreed to ban the testing of such systems against ballistic missile targets with speeds above 5 kilometers per second or ranges that exceed 3,500 kilometers. The two sides also agreed to exchange information on TMD plans, programs and production, and not to develop, test or deploy space-based TMD interceptors. And, together with Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine, the two sides agreed to a multilateralization of the ABM Treaty.

Finally, to help reassure Russia that NATO expansion is neither exclusionary nor hostile, the NATO alliance and Moscow concluded the Founding Act establishing a NATO-Russian Permanent Joint Council. Intended to mitigate the sting of including former Warsaw Pact nations such as the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland in NATO, the Council will provide a forum for discussion and potential action on issues of common interest in Europe. This controversial pact notwithstanding, Russian President Boris Yeltsin, on the eve of the Founding Act's signature, warned that NATO would "fully undermine" its relations with Russia if it expanded to include any of the former Soviet republics (meaning the Baltics and Ukraine).

 

START II Ratification

The key question remaining after conclusion of the START II extension protocol, the TMD accords and the Founding Act is whether the Yeltsin administration will vigorously press for, and the Russian Duma act favorably on, START II. In mid-September, Yeltsin sent his foreign and defense ministers, Yevgeniy Primakov and Igor Sergeyev, respectively, to the Duma to signal his determination to energize the START II ratification process. Then, in November, both houses of the Russian parliament ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) with an overwhelmingly favorable vote. Russian government officials and arms control community were jubilant at the outcome, claiming that the Yeltsin administration had learned how to "pump flesh" in the Duma (the Federation Council, the upper chamber, is a more predictable and less unruly body) and that CWC ratification had generated useful momentum on arms control. At the end of 1997, Russian officials seemed moderately confident that the Open Skies treaty would be approved shortly and that START II could be brought to a vote in the first half of 1998, prior to—and a U.S. condition for—a Clinton-Yeltsin summit in Moscow.

Despite this cautiously optimistic message, Russian ratification of START II is by no means assured. Yeltsin's health continues to be a major concern and Russian domestic issues (especially the budget, taxes and corruption), plus the Duma's own profound ambivalence toward START II, continually threaten to push strategic arms control off the parliamentary agenda. If START II fails to be approved, if (as is almost certain) Russian conventional forces remain weak and its defense resources scarce, if U.S. TMD and national missile defense (NMD) programs proceed apace, and if NATO continues its "open door" expansion policy, then undoubtedly Russia—and subsequently the United States—will be forced to reappraise its political and strategic relationship with the other nation.

This reassessment is likely to take place at a time when the legislatures in both countries are dominated by conservative forces, and at a time when Russia is deeply concerned that the long-term geostrategic tides are running strongly against it. Consequently, failure to ratify START II is likely to have an adverse impact across a broad range of issues affecting both U.S. and Russian security: on the chances for further strategic and tactical nuclear force reductions and other arms control initiatives such as nuclear deactivation (removing from operational service) and de-alerting (reducing operational readiness); on congressional support for "Nunn-Lugar" security assistance to the former Soviet Union; and on continued restraint in ballistic missile defense deployments.

A more likely—some would say overly optimistic—scenario, however, barring any major political perturbations, is that START II will be ratified by the Duma in the first half of 1998. Following Russian action, the START II extension protocol and the TMD documents will be submitted to the U.S. Senate for its approval (which will require a determined effort by the Clinton administration) before the 1998 election break. Under this scenario, START II could enter into force by the end of 1998 leaving nearly two years of both the Clinton and Yeltsin administrations for the negotiation of a START III agreement.

 

The Future Agenda

Even under the most optimistic of scenarios, however, a great deal of work remains to be done to ensure that START II is implemented and that START III continues the steady decrease in the number of deployed nuclear weapons in the U.S. and Russian arsenals. This future strategic arms control agenda includes;

 

  • negotiating START III;
  • devising mutually acceptable means of deactivating weapons;
  • exploring the possibility of de-alerting all or part of the remaining missile forces;
  • taking the first steps toward greater transparency in nuclear infrastructures; and
  • adopting measures dealing with tactical nuclear weapons and sea-launched cruise missiles (SLCMs).

Negotiating START III

Last March, as part of the package negotiated at the U.S.-Russian summit in Helsinki to obtain Russian ratification of START II, the United States and Russia agreed that the START III negotiations would include four basic components:

 

  • a lower aggregate level of 2,000 to 2,500 deployed strategic nuclear warheads for each party;
  • deactivation by December 31, 2003, of all strategic nuclear delivery vehicles (SNDVs) scheduled to be eliminated under START II (such as Russia's SS-18 and SS-24 ICBMs and the U.S. MX ICBM);
  • conversion of the current START agreements from a fixed 15-year term with five-year renewal periods to unlimited duration; and
  • measures relating to the transparency of strategic nuclear warhead inventories and the destruction of strategic nuclear warheads.
In addition, the United States and Russia agreed to explore (as separate issues) possible measures relating to tactical nuclear weapons and nuclear long-range SLCMs, including appropriate confidence-building and transparency measures, and measures relating to transparency in nuclear materials.

 

Warhead Levels

A START III level of 2,000 to 2,500 deployed warheads as agreed to at Helsinki would reduce significantly the resources required by Russia to maintain strategic numerical parity with the United States in the next decade and beyond. Two issues are presented, however, by the lower warhead numbers. The first is whether the START III warhead level is separable from the other basic components of a follow-on agreement—and thus quickly insertable into the START II agreement—or whether the agreement on lower warhead levels is contingent on the successful negotiation of some other measure or measures. Will the United States, for example, insist that final agreement to lower levels of deployed systems be linked to additional measures relating to stockpile transparency, or will Russia link START III to provisions relating to warhead destruction or to revision of out-dated and "onerous" START I verification measures?

A second, perhaps more fundamental issue is whether the Yeltsin administration and the Duma would actually be satisfied with a 2,000-to-2,500-warhead level for START III (even though this had been the original Russian proposal at the beginning of the START II negotiations in 1992 and was put forward again by Yeltsin at Helsinki). Russian analysts and government officials are now indicating that these levels may be too high for Russia by at least 500 warheads. Because Russian deactivation and elimination costs are relatively constant, driven as they are by the requirement to eliminate multiple-warhead ICBMs, the lower the START III warhead number, the lower the costs will be for any projected modernization and replacement program.

With Yeltsin's change of defense ministers in May 1997—from General Igor Rodionov, who was not known as a friend of START II, to Sergeyev, who comes from the Strategic Rocket Forces and is a strong supporter of START—and a more sober appraisal of budgetary resources actually available for modernization, the Russians are now seeking a warheadlevel in START III of 1,500. This figure has reportedly been put forward by the Russians in the on-going "strategic stability" discussions with the United States and is openly discussed by senior Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials in Moscow.<1>

With the United States already prepared to accept a 2,000-warhead level, the sides are, in effect, talking about a START III agreement with between 1,500 and 2,000 warheads. This could be expressed either as a range, as in START II, or, as is more likely, a fixed figure—say, 1,750—as in START I.

 

Deactivation and De-alerting

Originally agreed to in principle by Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin in their joint statement issued at the Washington summit in 1994, the United States and Russia exchanged letters in September 1997 committing the two countries to begin work—as soon as START II enters into force—on an agreement to deactivate by the end of 2003 all the SNDVs scheduled to be eliminated under the treaty. The Clinton administration has stressed that, although the final START II implementation date has been shifted by five years, all the systems to be eliminated will be made non-operational at roughly the same time (2003) as the elimination called for under the original START II schedule.

Sensing the importance of this provision to the United States, and attempting to protect its own interest in obtaining lower overall warhead levels, in the September 1997 exchange of letters on deactivation, Moscow cautioned that "[t]aking into account the supremenational interests of the country, the Russian Federation proceeds from the understanding that well in advance of the above deactivation deadline the START III Treaty will be achieved and will enter into force." (Emphasis added.)<2>

The current U.S. proposal for deactivation calls for the removal of nuclear reentry vehicles (warheads) from those missiles destined to be eliminated. Russia, for its part, has statedthat it prefers other deactivation measures. According to a recent report, Russian experts argue that they do not have adequate safe storage facilities for those missile warheads that would have to be removed under a deactivation program.<3> Consequently, the Russians have put forward in talks with the United States a deactivation option that would involve removing batteries that operate the missile guidance systems. There are indications that Russia may have other suggestions in the future, such as disablinglid-opening mechanisms of ICBM silos to prevent a missile launch, and there have been reports that on the U.S. side the Joint Chiefs of Staff and an interagency group have begun exploring a range of other deactivation and de-alerting alternatives.<4>

While the two countries may differ somewhat on the specifics of deactivation, there is no strategic reason—although there may be political ones—why a deactivation agreement need be "symmetric" in terms of the methods employed to remove a system from operational status. But an agreement would probably have to be symmetric in terms of its ease of verifiability and its potential reversibility, that is, the time required to restore a deactivated system to operational status.

Much of the work done on designing a program for deactivating systems scheduled to be eliminated under START II could be of value if the United States and Russia decide to de-alert their nuclear forces. De-alerting refers to reducing the alert status of operational forces by methods such as eliminating the "hair-trigger" launch procedures and extending the time required to respond to a launch command. As Senator Thomas Daschle (D-SD)noted recently, "the most frightening example of the disconnect between our nuclear force posture and post-Cold War reality is the hair trigger alert status of thousands of our strategic nuclear weapons."<5>

Although not formally on the START III agenda, de-alerting has many supporters in the non-governmental community, including former Senator Sam Nunn. On the other hand, General Eugene Habiger, commander-in-chief of U.S. Strategic Command has spoken critically of the impact of de-alerting on the survivability of U.S. forces and de-alerting has yet to find a strong bureaucratic champion within the Clinton administration.

The administration's apparent lack of enthusiasm notwithstanding (which is more than matched, incidentally, by the Russians), de-alerting could be of significant value in reducing the potential for launch-on-warning or for inadvertent, accidental or autonomous nuclear release. Also, it is seen by its supporters as a direct and useful way to address some of the concerns about the fragility of the Russian command and control system. De-alerting might also provide some additional negotiating flexibility in START. For example, if the United States were to agree to de-alert the land-based portion of its "launch-ready" missile forces (strategic bombers have been off alert since 1991), this might help bridge any potential gap (of, say, 500 warheads) between U.S. and Russian deployments in START III.

 

Transparency and Dismantlement

The United States and Russia have already taken some elementary steps toward outlining a warhead destruction regime in connection with their agreement for the U.S. purchase of 500 tons of "downblended" Russian highly enriched uranium (HEU) derived from nuclear weapons. In addition, Washington and Moscow had been discussing a cooperative agreement that would permit the exchange of restricted data relating to nuclear weapon stockpiles. These talks broke off in November 1995, however, without having made much progress, largely as a consequence of Russian unwillingness to agree to declassify and exchange the necessary information.

The issue of stockpile transparency and warhead dismantlement is of particular interest for several reasons. First, there have never been any reliable figures on the size of the Russianstockpile of weapons or weapons-grade fissionable material. According to one estimate, the former Soviet Union possessed more than 27,000 nuclear warheads in 1991, including more than 11,000 strategic and over 15,000 tactical weapons.<6> However, some observers believe that the margin of error in U.S. estimates of the Soviet-Russian stockpile may be as much as 10,000.

Second, there is considerable concern in the West that some Russian nuclear weapons, particularly those that are transportable and in poorly protected storage areas, are susceptible to theft, misuse or misappropriation. A thorough-going transparency and dismantlement regime will presumably improve the accounting and security arrangements and eliminate a number of surplus, non-deployed, but nonetheless potentially dangerous, weapons.

Another argument for such a regime is that, particularly as deployed warhead numbers get smaller, the size of the non-deployed stockpile becomes more relevant to the potential for "breakout"—a rapid increase in force size. This is particularly true when reductions are achieved through "downloading" (the removal of warheads from multiple-warhead systems) as the United States and Russia will do in START II, because downloading leaves empty spaces on operational missiles to which stored warheads can be quickly redeployed to reconstitute the force.

Despite the obvious importance of a transparency and warhead dismantlement regime, it is unclear whether the Russian nuclear and security establishment is prepared—as the United States seems to be—to open up its "books" and participate in a highly intrusive monitoring arrangement. To date, in the official strategic stability talks as well as in discussions with non-governmental groups in Moscow, the Russians have displayed no interest in a nuclear stockpile transparency regime. The Russian Ministry of Atomic Energy (MINATOM), which assembles new nuclear weapons and dismantles older or surplus ones, and the 12th Directorate of the Ministry of Defense, which is responsible for the management of the nuclear arsenal, appear to be opposed to a transparency regime.Despite the lack of Russian enthusiasm for stockpile transparency, the issue is likely to remain on the table at U.S. insistence with the hope of at least beginning the process of opening up hitherto closed nuclear infrastructures, perhaps starting with data exchanges or "shadow visits."<7>

Because stockpile transparency and warhead destruction provisions could take quite some time to elaborate, it will be important to avoid linking progress in this area to the warhead reductions under START III. This issue is particularly relevant because of the connection the Russians have made, in their unilateral statement on deactivation, noted above, between the conclusion of a START III agreement and the conclusion of any deactivation process called for under START II.

 

Tactical Nuclear Weapons and SLCMs

Tactical nuclear weapons represent a serious potential proliferation problem (as illustrated by the claim last year of retired Russian General Alexander Lebed that some 100 "suitcase-sized" nuclear weapons may be unaccounted for)<8> and could become a more significant component of national arsenals as the number of strategic nuclear warheads shrinks. To begin to address the issues connected with tactical nuclear weapons, and at Russia's request, the related issue of nuclear-armed SLCMs, the Helsinki "Joint Statement on Parameters on Future Reductions in Nuclear Forces" called for the creation of a separate forum in the START III framework to discuss "possible measures" related to these systems, including "appropriate" confidence-building and transparency measures. There is no explicit mention, however, of "limits" on tactical nuclear weapons or SLCMs.

At Helsinki, the United States and Russia agreed to keep the tactical nuclear weapon and SLCM discussions separate from START III. This was a fortunate decision, as the negotiations on this issue are likely to be lengthy and difficult. All indications are that Russia is not prepared to relinquish tactical nuclear weapons at this time. In fact, Russia's strategy is moving in the opposite direction. Perceiving a deteriorating security situation,Moscow has abandoned its long-standing nuclear "no-first-use" policy and is in the midst of a debate over whether, given the deplorable state of its conventional forces, the lack of budgetary resources and NATO's creep toward its border, it should place "increasing weight on nuclear weapons" to deter aggression.<9>

Russia's reluctance to limit tactical nuclear weapons is mirrored by NATO's attachment to U.S. tactical systems (Britain and France are both phasing out their tactical nuclear weapons). The NATO allies do not seem in the least prepared to forgo the "linkage" to the United States represented by the hundreds of air-delivered U.S. tactical nuclear weapons which remain deployed in Europe and dedicated to the defense of the alliance. At the time of the 1994 Nuclear Posture Review, the Pentagon concluded that there was no military requirement for U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in Europe. The NATO allies, however, insisted that a small but credible number of weapons remain to demonstrate continued U.S. commitment to European security.

During the NATO expansion debate, the allies had an opportunity to respond to Russian concerns over the forward deployment of nuclear weapons in the new member-states by agreeing to freeze current deployments. NATO refused to adopt a non-nuclear status for the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland claiming—erroneously, given the non-nuclear status of Norway, Denmark and the eastern one-third of Germany (following unification)—that it would make the new member-countries second-class NATO citizens.

Barring a major change in current policy by both sides, it is unlikely that the tactical nuclear weapon and SLCM negotiations will succeed in placing meaningful limits on these systems—much less a ban—in the next two to three years. Historically, the United States has staunchly resisted explicit constraints on SLCMs in START and Russia has refused to ban nuclear-armed ballistic missile interceptors in the TMD negotiations. Moreover, the antipathy shown by the Russians to strategic stockpile transparency carries over into the tactical stockpile as well.

Despite the initial resistance to dealing forthrightly with tactical nuclear weapons, the sides might well be able to negotiate basic confidence-building and transparency measures for tactical weapons and/or SLCMs. These measures might include a freeze (or a START I-like cap) on deployments; storage of all tactical weapons well away from and out of the control of operational units; basic data exchanges and/or mutual visits to key installations; verified dismantlement of excess systems; and/or other incremental measures.

 

Ballistic Missile Defenses

The future of missile defenses, both tactical and strategic, is probably the most contentious issue on the strategic arms control agenda. Most observers of the U.S.- Russian arms control process agree that a continuation of major strategic offensive force reductions by these two countries will be possible only if the 1972 ABM Treaty remains a viable cornerstone of the strategic relationship. Indeed, Russian adherence to START I and START II has been specifically linked by the Yeltsin government to the future of the ABM Treaty.

Although the Russians sought explicit constraints, the two countries did not establish any limitations on land-, sea- or air-based TMD interceptor performance (the limits are only on target vehicles), or impose any other restrictions on TMD development or deployment. The sides did agree, however, to ban space-based interceptor missiles and space-based components based on other physical principles capable of substituting for such interceptor missiles.

The parties left to each side the responsibility of determining whether that nation's high-speed, highly capable TMD systems comply with the ABM Treaty. Thus, to the degree that highly capable TMD systems are deployed and threaten to circumvent the ABM Treaty, a sustained discussion by the United States and Russia of a range of critical TMD issues—such as space-based tracking and battle-management sensors and land- and air-based laser weapons—will remain a key element on the future strategic arms control agenda.

At the September signing ceremony for the TMD "demarcation" and ABM multilateralization documents, both Russian Foreign Minister Primakov and the foreign minister of Ukraine, Hennadiy Udovenko, indicated that they considered the TMD discussions to be an on-going process. Primakov noted that "[t]he drawn up agreements reflect the current state of affairs with the problem of delimiting the strategic and non-strategic ABM [TMD]. However, the technologies of the non-strategic ABM are yet at an early stage of development and they will presumably be perfected. Hence, it will probably be necessary to hold more consultations in the future in order to deal with possible problems and concerns which may arise in the ABM nations during the formation of a system to combat non-strategic ballistic missiles."

The TMD-NMD issue is likely to be at the fore in the near future if, as is hoped, the Russian parliament ratifies START II and the accompanying—and, in the eyes of the Russians, linked—TMD documents in early 1998. The Clinton administration has also linked its submission of the TMD settlement to the Congress to Russian ratification of START II, sensing that Senate opposition to placing any limits on TMD can only be overcome by arguing that some very loose "rules of the game" for TMD testing are in the interest of both the United States and Russia. They are also the price for Russian agreement to eliminate multiple-warhead ICBMs under START II and undertake significant—and verifiable—overall reductions in strategic forces.

Some in the Senate, however, may attempt to de-link ratification of the START II extension protocol from approval of the TMD agreements and seek to defeat the so-called "Second Agreed Statement" (which covers higher-velocity TMD systems and bans space-based interceptors) and the Memorandum of Understanding (which multilateralizes the ABMTreaty and makes future amendments to the treaty more difficult). The opponents of multilateralization also make the legally dubious argument that defeating the MOU will kill the ABM Treaty since there will be no agreed successor states.<10> If this effort to scuttle the TMD settlement eventuates, the administration will have a serious battle on its hands but one in which it will have important allies—the JCS, informed strategic analysts, the budget balancers, and powerful public and media voices. In addition, opponents to the TMD package will have to buck the highly popular—and highly publicized—momentum created by the START process for significantly smaller strategic nuclear forces on both sides.

One additional item related to ballistic missile defense may force its way onto the strategic arms control agenda: the congressionally favored mandate to renegotiate the terms of the ABM Treaty to permit larger-scale deployment of an NMD system (say with 400 to 600 interceptors). If enacted by the Congress, this would, of course, derail the START reduction process.

To date, the administration has postponed any decision on whether to deploy even a treaty-compliant NMD until 2000 (or beyond) and the Russians have never shown the slightest interest in an expanded NMD system. To the contrary, they have made it abundantly clear they like the ABM Treaty just as it is and, as noted above, consider it key to continuing the strategic arms reduction process.

 

The Next Two Years

Whether all the protocols, letters, acts, memoranda and agreed statements negotiated and signed at Helsinki, Paris and New York between March and September of 1997 will succeed in their purpose should become evident within the next six to 12 months and set the tone for the balance of both the Clinton and Yeltsin administrations. It is reasonably evident right now, however, that unless START II is ratified by the Duma, unless the threat to the ABM Treaty is checked by the TMD discussions and U.S. NMD deployment policy remains on "hold," and unless the NATO-Russia Founding Act succeeds in taking the sting out of NATO's expansion, the prospects for meaningful progress in strategic nuclear arms control will be very poor indeed.

 

NOTES

1. The strategic stability talks, a precursor to the actual START III negotiations, which the U.S. insists must await Duma ratification of START II, have been conducted primarily at the level of the undersecretary of state/deputy foreign minister. [Back]

2. Russia's statement makes it clear, as do its statements in the strategic stability talks, that Moscow seeks a prompt follow-on agreement to avoid a costly buildup of strategic forces. [Back]

3. See Blair, Bruce G., Harold A. Feiveson and Frank N. von Hippel, "Taking Nuclear Weapons off Hair-Trigger Alert," Scientific American, November, 1997, pp. 74-80. [Back]

4. Gertz, Bill. "Pentagon Panel Weighs Lower Nuclear Alert Status," The Washington Times, December 12, 1997, p. A1. [Back]

5. Introductory remarks to a December 11, 1997, Committee on Nuclear Policy Forum on nuclear security and de-alerting held at the U.S. Capitol. [Back]

6. Congressional Research Service Brief for Congress, "Nuclear Weapons in the former Soviet Union: Location, Command and Control," Updated September 24, 1997, Amy F. Woolf. [Back]

7. Shadow visits involve officials of one country "shadowing" their counterparts from another nation during the latter's normal work day. [Back]

8. This rather alarming claim was later slightly modified by Lebed from "missing" to currently "unaccounted for" which seemed to make the problem more one of management than misappropriation. In any case, Lebed's claims were vigorously denied by senior Russian officials. [Back]

9. Gertz, Bill. "Russia to Slash Ground Forces, Rely on Nukes," The Washington Times, October 17, 1997, p. A1. [Back]

10. In reality, the debate between the Senate and the White House over multilateralization has as much to do with legislative-executive rights (which branch has the authority to recognize successor states) as it does with missile defenses. [Back]


Jack Mendelsohn, Arms Control Association (ACA) deputy director and member of the ACA Board of Directors, was on the U.S. SALT II and START I delegations. [Email] [Back]

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