This session was part of the CFR Workshop on Evaluating and Strengthening the Nonproliferation Regime, which was made possible by the generous support of the Robina Foundation.
FERGUSON: So, I'm Charles Ferguson. I'm Philip D. Reed Senior Fellow for Science and Technology. I work on nuclear issues here in the Washington office of CFR. And I'd like to welcome you to the Council and welcome you to this workshop on the nuclear nonproliferation regime.
I need to send out a special thanks to the Robina Foundation. They've been very generous to the Council on Foreign Relations. We have a new project here called International Institutions and Global Governance, and it covers a lot of fellows' activities. Stewart Patrick, who's a senior fellow, used to work in the policy planning office at State Department; he's a director of the project. His deputy, Kaysie Brown, has been very supportive of the work we've been doing, and the first focus of their global governance project is nuclear nonproliferation. They're getting ready very soon to launch a guide on CFR.org focusing on nuclear nonproliferation.
Also, I'd like to thank Michelle Smith for tremendous logistical support in organizing this and pulling this together very quickly and expertly and working with the several speakers we have and making sure that they get here in time and feel comfortable and have all their bios and everything for you to look at.
I also need to thank our speakers and the other participants here at the workshop. This is called a workshop because you're all experts and you're all participants. There are no audience members here. You're not supposed to just sit back and just take it all in. I want you to engage with the subject matter and have a vigorous discussion and conversation, and hopefully by the time we leave this workshop we'll have a greater collective wisdom than when we entered the workshop. So that's one main purpose, for the participants here to come to a better understanding of the issues.
So by design this workshop is taking place immediately after the NPT PrepCom, and I know some of you were there for part or all the time and I look forward to hearing your observations from the PrepCom, but that is not the focus of this workshop. It's a much broader and more comprehensive look at the nuclear nonproliferation regime.
So if I may use some literary license, I'd like us to all imagine we're Ebenezer Scrooge and we're in Charles Dickens -- maybe Charles Ferguson's A Christmas Carol. (Laughter.) And so the ghost of our deceased business partner, or nonproliferation colleague, haunts us, and he tells us we'll be visited by three spirits. The first spirit is the ghost of proliferation past and the -- you know, the present. And for the purpose of this workshop, we're going to have our two colleagues, Joe Cirincione and Scott Sagan, play the role of the ghosts of proliferation near-past and present. So we're going to look at recent developments in the nonproliferation regime and what does it tell us what might be around the corner for the near term and to the far future.
The second spirit is the ghost of proliferation near-term, and that will be the second panel or the panel tomorrow morning. We'll have four speakers on that panel and we're going to look at the various pathways we may traverse in the next four years. And the organizing question there -- well, I should say -- backup and say the organization question for this first panel is, what is the overall health of the current nonproliferation regime, and, as I said, also looking at the recent past. And the organizing question for the second panel is, what should be done in the near term to strengthen the regime? And I'll get into more of the details in that panel fully tomorrow morning.
And then finally the third spirit is the ghost of the world yet to come. On the third panel during lunchtime tomorrow I've asked three colleagues to look into the future, examine challenges and opportunities of a potential path toward a nuclear weapon-free world. And I'll introduce that panel more fully tomorrow morning. And hopefully, like Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, we'll feel redemption by the end of this workshop. And I'll close on some current events and also to encourage us not just to focus solely on nuclear-centered solutions to nuclear dangers.
So current events I want to link up is what's going on in Pakistan. If you go to the New York Times' website you'll see two fascinating stories. Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joints Chief of Staff, was asked a question today by Senator Jim Webb about whether Pakistan is increasing its nuclear arsenal. And Admiral Mullen replied with one word and only one word: yes.
Well, the reporter said that one word reply says a lot because it says that yes, indeed our government knows about that continuing arms race and is worried about it but does not talk about it at length because of the Pakistani's government sensitivity about the issue. Meanwhile more and more of us are worried about the security of Pakistan's nuclear arms.
And then a more positive side -- there's a parallel story in the Times today about how a group of Pakistani young people, some early-20-something Pakistanis, mostly from elite families -- they got together to pick up trash. Well, why is this important? Well, they were sick of hearing their families complain about the government not doing anything about trash collection and everything else and the corruption of the government and their families not doing anything to really make it better. So they used Facebook to organize Sunday trash pickup. This was seen as a rebellious act. And they said they were inspired by the Pakistani lawyer's movement.
So one issue I'd like us to think about in this workshop and talk about is how our nonproliferation community can reach out to a wider audience to have more influence, and most importantly, think about the connection -- especially thinking about the CFR's International Institutions of Global Governance Project -- the connection or linkage between effective and national-local government and global governance and a linkage between national-regional security problems and global security.
With that, let me turn and introduce Joe Cirincione. He'll be our first speaker. And then we'll go to Scott Sagan. Joe Cirincione -- I think probably everyone in the room knows of him or knows him personally. It's a great pleasure -- he's a CFR member. It's a great pleasure to have him speak here at this workshop. He has been working on nonproliferation issues for, I guess --
CIRINCIONE: Twenty-five years.
FERGUSON: Twenty-five years -- right -- on the Senate staff, as the leader of the Carnegie Endowment's Nonproliferation Program, as a senior vice president, Center for American Progress, and now most recently as a president of the Ploughshares Fund. And I could go on and on and talk about his accolades. Oh, I need to also mention -- I need to plug his book, "Bomb Scare." And it's a great read. If you haven't read it, it's -- as you know, Joe is an excellent writer, and I'm told this is being used in a lot of classrooms now and it's going to be a -- it's a good teaching tool.
CIRINCIONE: Thank you.
FERGUSON: -- entertain us and serve as a great analyst. Thank you very much, Joe.
CIRINCIONE: (Laughs.) Thank you, Charles. It's a pleasure to be here.
I have a very simple message. There is a major analytical shift going on in the United States and in other countries on the strategic issues involving nuclear weapons proliferation and nuclear policy. You can see evidence of this shift everywhere. Last week UK Foreign Minister David Miliband was in town -- gave a short, small talk before a small group at the New America Foundation; said he was serious about nuclear disarmament. So are a lot of people. Arms control is back big time.
The NPT PrepCom just finished up in New York. I attended a few days of that session. Ambassador John Duncan, the head of the British delegation, called it amazing. Quote, "We just agreed on the agenda for the 2010 Review Conference. It may seem boring -- lots of things about PrepComs are extremely boring -- but we haven't done so for a decade."
The mood up in New York was -- especially in that first week, was ecstatic. People were thrilled primarily because of Rose Gottemoeller's presentation -- Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller. The presentation she gave shifted the U.S. position and made many more things possible. She said, "Having an agenda in place allows us to move forward on important substantive issues related to President Obama's goal of strengthening the nonproliferation regime." In her speech, she ticked off a number of goals, spoke in very plain and direct language, something the delegates hadn't been used to.
In short, after years of neglect, the delegates at the NPT PrepCom now felt that the United States was engaged, was looking for a leadership role and was working with the other P5 members to find compromises that could balance the disarmament obligation of the P5 with the nonproliferation obligations of the treaty.
But this shift I think goes beyond just a few meetings or a few quotes, and it goes beyond liberal and progressive supporters. It involves conservatives also, and some of the very core of the American security elite. Conservatives who just a few years ago condemned arms control treaties as providing the illusion of security are now embracing arms control.
Let me give you two quick examples -- Jim Schlesinger, former Republican Secretary of Defense and Energy, just endorsed a new treaty with Russia. Quote, "The moment appears ripe for a renewal of arms control with Russia, and this bodes well for continued reductions in nuclear arsenals," said his U.S. Strategic Posture Commission that he co-chairs with Bill Perry.
Meanwhile, example number two: former Republican National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft, who once opposed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, is now, quote, "cautiously optimistic" that the administration can get it ratified.
So what's going on here? Schlesinger once led the charge against nuclear reductions and helped frame the former administration's arms control approach. He wrote in a 2000 article called, "The Demise of Arms Control," quote, "the necessary target for arms control is to constrain those who desire to acquire nuclear weapons." So in this view, the threat came from a few hostile or outlaw states, and a large, robust U.S. nuclear arsenal was needed to counter that proliferation. Schlesinger has now shifted that position. The commission that he co-chaired with Bill Perry reported to Congress, "The United States must seek additional cooperative measures of a political kind, including, for example, arms control and nonproliferation."
Brent Scowcroft was never ideologically opposed to nuclear reductions. He was always the perennial realist and represents a different wing of the Republican Party, but in 1999 he opposed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. And in the council report -- Council on Foreign Relations Task Force Report that he co-chaired, he and Bill Perry and the other members also agreed that the U.S.-Russia relationship is ripe for new formal arms control agreements that would reflect current defense needs and realities and result in deeper arms reductions.
It's not just these two gentlemen, of course. They represent task forces and commissions and there's -- equally divided between conservatives and liberals, Democrats and Republicans, and they all came along. There are other examples. Andy Semmel works in the Partnership for a Secure America which just published a statement 10 days ago, again with leading Republicans and Democrats, joining together in favor of new arms control agreements.
Why the shift? Basically, it's because there's a recognition that the threats are increasing. They have grown worse. And as the threats from Iran, Pakistan, nuclear terrorism increased, there's also been increased recognition that the policies that the past administration tried to reduce those threats have failed and there was a need to develop a new policy framework. As Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haas says, the Iraq war -- Bush's war of choice, he calls it -- made America less secure and made a national -- and endangered some of our core national security objectives.
So, many conservatives are now trying to look beyond the ideological validity of the past and develop this new realism of balance of deterrence and diplomacy. But none of this would be possible if it weren't for the new theories that are being developed. Inspired by the "four horsemen" -- Kissinger, Perry, Nunn, and Shultz -- they've really opened up a huge political space that has allowed President Barrack Obama is come in with a fundamentally new, transformative nuclear policy.
Here's how Gareth Evans sums it up, the head of yet another commission that's working to issue its report by the end of this year: "The opportunity to move things forward is intimately bound up with the new administration and the sense of confidence and momentum that hopefully will generate and is already generating around the world a real significant contribution intellectually made possible by the Gang of Four simply putting out a hard-hitting case for zero nuclear weapons worldwide."
We now see administration officials fanning out to try to implement some of these changes. Charlie Curtis of the Nuclear Threat Initiative -- talks about the current situation as the thawing of frozen seas, and you see that everywhere -- new developments opening up; new passages once frozen now opening up to Europe, to Russia, to Asia. Some are still frozen, like in North Korea, but the possibilities now are there for many to see and for us to exploit.
I don't want to overstate this. Secretary Kissinger is just still opposed to nuclear disarmament. Brent Scowcroft still favors substantial nuclear arsenals. But what you see now is a new bipartisan consensus, a liberal and conservative consensus for these preliminary steps, for these arms control agreements that can make possible early victories that could unlock an even broader strategic agenda. So there is not agreement at all on whether it -- the U.S. can or even should strive for the world free of nuclear weapons that President Obama detailed in his Prague speech. But there is substantial agreement on these early steps and, frankly, that's enough for right now. That's all you need for right now.
I believe that if the administration is smart enough and agile enough to take advantage of this bipartisan support, they can achieve a number of significant arms control victories over the next 12 months that could lay the stage for even greater progress towards nuclear disarmament. I believe it is reasonable to expect that 12 months from now we will have most of the following objectives secured.
One, a follow-on treaty to START that would further lower the number of strategic deployed nuclear weapons below the levels dictated by the SORT treaty; two, negotiations well underway for a follow-on treaty that would attempt to lower the total stockpile of all U.S. and Russian weapons to a thousand or fewer weapons for each side; three, the Senate ratification of a nuclear Test Ban Treaty; four, a new U.S. Nuclear Posture Review that would reduce the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. security policy and begin the transformation of a nuclear force to address the threats of the 21st century; five, I think we will have had a successful 2010 NPT Review Conference that will increase the barriers to proliferation -- that is, will increase the international cooperation necessary to make it more difficult for states to acquire the technologies for nuclear weapons; six, negotiations will be underway for a verifiable ban on the production of nuclear material for weapons purposes -- I expect these negotiations actually to start in the next few months; seven, I think we expect the containment and possible rollback of the North Korean program; eight, I believe we will have negotiations for the containment of the Iranian program and some signs of progress there.
It could go faster, but that is -- Iran is by far the tougher of the two state problems; and finally, I think we'll have an accelerated program for securing and eliminating where possible loose nuclear weapons and materials.
President Obama has pledged to have a global summit on this subject within the next year. That kind of summit is always a forcing mechanism for these, and we already know that there are discussions underway in the administration on how to accelerate the existing programs -- although, I should point out, the budgets for these programs have not been substantially increased in the president's new budget.
I would say that this progress will be -- is feasible. I think, frankly, it's likely that we'll achieve all these goals, but there will still be extremely tough and serious problems, particularly the problem of Pakistan, which in my view will -- is and will continue to be the most dangerous country in the world and the greatest threat to the security of the U.S. and Israel and other countries. It is there that there really is a nexus between an unstable state, weapons of mass destruction and terrorism. We do not have a strategy for dealing successfully with that state. I'm actually somewhat pessimistic about our prospects for solving that problem anytime in the near future.
That's my prognosis. In short I would say the health of the nonproliferation regime was critical; it is -- there is now a new team of doctors, with a new diagnosis and a new treatment, and so far the patient is responding well to that new course of treatment.
FERGUSON: Well, thank you very much, Joe. And we will call you Dr. Cirincione here. Your 10-point prognosis -- 10-point plan -- it's ambitious, but I think you laid out a convincing case that it's doable. But I think all of us in that room and everyone else needs to work hard at this.
CIRINCIONE: Yeah. Let me just say -- that's not my, you know, we-should-do-these-things list. That's my analysis of what is likely to happen.
FERGUSON: Exactly. And I asked you to be analytic, and you were. And they're not saying that -- what should happen, but I think you're laying out that these are the likely developments. And with that, turning to another excellent analyst, Professor Scott Sagan -- Stanford University professor of political science, Stanford co-director of CISAC. I think almost all of you in the room know of his excellent work throughout the years. He's been working on this field probably -- at least as long as Joe, and he's --
SAGAN: Seventy years. (Laughter.)
FERGUSON: Okay. (Laughter.) He doesn't look a day over 35, right? Yeah. (Laughs.)
And many of us have read a lot of his books over the years, especially the very intriguing debate he had with Kenneth Waltz -- The Spread of Nuclear Weapons, and also his other excellent books, especially The Limits of Safety. And he's had an excellent track record and won awards for his other scholarly articles. And it's been my pleasure to serve with him recently in the Council on Foreign Relations task force report on U.S. nuclear weapons policy that Joe was also kind enough to plug.
And without further ado, let me turn to Scott. Thanks.
SAGAN: I didn't know that Charles would have us listed as the ghosts of nonproliferation past, but at least we weren't Marley and Tiny Tim.
FERGUSON: (Laughs.) Yeah. And present -- and present.
SAGAN: We should be pleased with that.
I thought I would do two things. One, Charles asked me to state what the nonproliferation ideas -- new ideas were and recommendations were in the council task force, and I'll do that talking about four of the main ideas that I think are positive, albeit incomplete, and one major issue in which I think the report does more than punt -- it actually fumbles an important opportunity, and I'll explain that. And then secondly I thought I'd say a bit about some ideas that I have about what I think will be a necessary change in the way that we think about the NPT, in particular the links between Article 4 and Article 6 and the concept of shared responsibility between the nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states if we are to move forward in a world that will be a more disarmed world.
So on the first point, the Council on Foreign Relations report lists four I think positive but, as I noted, incomplete points -- proposals to make about how to improve the NPT regime.
At first it calls for the additional protocol to be a mandatory requirement for any new state to acquire nuclear power generation capabilities. I think that would be a positive thing to do, but as the report notes, we can call for it but the likelihood that the 2010 Review Conference would accept it I think is quite remote. That's unfortunate. I think for many non-nuclear weapon states that's a bridge too far. They're still smarting from the effects of the India deal, thinking that a non-NPT member gets a better deal than they are being asked to sign up to, and they, to use the old Reagan metaphor, are waiting to trust but verify what the nuclear weapon states will really do on the agenda that Joe has just discussed.
There are two alternatives, however, to an NPT Review Conference accepting the agreed protocol as a mandatory requirement. One would be to have industry -- the vendors say that they will not sell unless countries accepted the AP. It's a hard thing for individual industries to do, but it would be interesting -- since we have some industrial vendors in the room -- to hear their views on industrial views. And it could also be possible for the NSG -- the Nuclear Suppliers Group -- to include that as one of their requirements. There are some, but fewer than in the general NPT Review Conference, members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group who are opposed or at least have not yet ratified the agreed protocol.
The second recommendation in the council report is that the IAEA safeguards budget be greatly increased and that states that should pay for those increases in proportion to the amount that they use the safeguards capabilities of the IAEA. So Japan, for example, with Rokkasho would have to greatly increase its budgetary payments, and other states using it as well. I think that is potentially a doable thing. It's hard but doable. I think, as I'll mention briefly in a moment, it actually would be very interesting and it would be valuable if the nuclear weapon states paid more for safeguards in a world in the future in which nuclear weapon states have a much higher degree of their capabilities being safeguarded because of the FMCT.
Third recommendation is that there be a return-to-sender proposal made in the UN Security Council and the NPT Review Conference by the United States that any state that is found by the IAEA to be not in compliance with its safeguards should have all the sites in which there are suspicions be placed under special IAEA inspections and have and agree to return to sender any materials and or facilities -- any equipment that they received during the period of time in which they are suspected to have been taking actions that were not in compliance.
Again, to get that through the review conference I think would be a very, very hard sell; to get it through the Security Council might be a hard sell but would be potentially more likely to happen. A more moderate position that was not raised in the report would be to have the NSG have for future sales of sensitive equipment or facilities, to have what are called Type 66 safeguards attached to them as a requirement. For those people interested in these issues, look at some of Pierre Goldschmidt's most recent writings. But Type 66 agreements do not lapse if a state withdraws from the NPT as do most safeguard agreements, and they're written into contracts and therefore have legal justification even if a state withdraws.
And lastly, the report suggests that we should consider the possibility of raising in the 2010 or potential future review conferences the idea of what I call lengthening the fuse. That is, today Article 10 requires that a state give notice of 90 days only and give the reasons why it is withdrawing from the NPT. It would be possible to have an agreement at an NPT Review Conference to have a voluntary extension of that period of time. It would not be an amendment to the NPT but would be a voluntary consensus position of the NPT Review Conference that would require, for example, a one-year period of time that a state would be required to issue before it could legally withdraw from the NPT. Again, a hard thing to get pushed through but one I think that is easier than the others, and frankly we don't know how hard it would be to get it pushed through because it has not been raised very thoroughly in negotiations.
Let me turn then to thinking more long-term because it seems to me that if we take disarmament seriously it should lead us to go back -- and this I guess is partly going back to the past because it goes back to the origins of the NPT and the negotiations, but it also requires a rethinking or a reinterpretation of parts of the NPT.
The NPT is often described as a bargain between the nuclear weapon states and the non-nuclear weapon states. The non-nuclear weapon states agreed not to pursue or acquire nuclear weapons, and in exchange the non-nuclear weapon states agree -- or, the nuclear weapon states agree to work in good faith towards the elimination of nuclear weapons and to accept that there is an inalienable right under Article 4 for the states to require -- to pursue nuclear power.
I don't think that's the right way of thinking about it. It's become so commonplace to refer to that grand bargain that I have found myself using that kind of language, and then when you go back and look at the NPT, you should recognize that both Article 6 and Article 4 are explicitly written and were intentionally written -- if you go back and look at Mohammed Shaker's magisterial study of the negotiations leading to the NPT -- they're explicitly written to include both the nuclear weapon states and the non-nuclear weapon states in both of those articles. And this leads me to agree with those who have said that we need to think more about shared responsibilities under both Article 4 and Article 6.
Under Article 4, it seems to me it would be not just possible but it would be extremely helpful and indeed, in one sense, quite easy for the nuclear weapon states to acknowledge that international safeguards apply to them -- Article 4 applies to them. After all, if you agree that nuclear weapons will at some point be eliminated, there will not just be nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states, there will be former nuclear weapon states, and that in principle Article 4 applies.
To add some blood to the veins of that principle, it seems that you should think about what could you do that would over time be a model of safeguards for the nuclear weapon states that could be part of the FMCT to have verification of facilities. You might want to have the IAEA involved in those safeguards; you might want to have nuclear weapon states -- other nuclear weapon states involved as the safeguard authorities in the initial phases. But we need to take very seriously our safeguard obligations to accept among ourselves as part of our linking of Articles IV and Article 6.
Conversely, the non-nuclear weapon states have had a free ride with respect to Article 6. All they've had to do is complain about the -- what they view as the incomplete or utter failure of the nuclear weapon states in that regard. But if it is true that states as they reduce the number of nuclear weapons will be increasingly concerned about the breakout capabilities of other non-nuclear weapon states, eventually at low numbers, nuclear weapon states will be exceedingly reluctant to move further if there is a widespread latent capability in more and more states.
So I have been trying -- and I will have this argument in a forthcoming article in Daedalus -- that the non-nuclear weapon states should consider that part of their obligation under Article 6 to work in good faith is to also work in good faith towards the internationalization of the fuel cycle -- that they cannot accept that national fuel cycles will spread as a right and as a good thing and at the same time to say that they are working in good faith towards the eventual elimination.
And let me then conclude with the one note I said that I thought the council report -- to go back on one more negative note -- that it did not succeed, not -- with no fault of Charles, who is doing such an excellent job to push a diverse set of people towards a consensus position. And I thought it failed with respect to saying what the roles and missions of nuclear weapons could be.
The president in his April speech in Prague said that the United States will reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security policy, and the council group, albeit writing and debating this prior to that, was not able, in my judgment, to come up with a -- with language that adequately reflected a reduction in the role of nuclear weapons in our national security policy. Indeed it quite straightforwardly believes that, quote, "the policy of calculated ambiguity in which U.S. policy officials have neither explicitly threatened or ruled out the use of nuclear weapons in response to an adversary's use of chemical or biological weapons continues to serve U.S. interests."
It seems to me that you can't reduce the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. policy and still hold that having ambiguity about using them in such a manner is consistent. And therefore that was the one area in which I dissented from the report. And I found it quite interesting that a number of members of the committee, without any coordination, all dissented exactly on that same point. Because ultimately if we are serious about having others make sacrifices in their -- for others to accept some constraints that they might otherwise not want to have, we should accept some constraints on our policies and not have such an open-ended doctrine that permits us to use nuclear -- or, says that we will use nuclear weapons on a variety of circumstances.
So I'll conclude there.
FERGUSON: Thank you very much, Scott. You've given us -- and Joe as well -- a lot to think about. I think this is a great way to start off the workshop.
And if I may once again use a little bit of literary license, listening to Scott I'm reminded of another Charles, a Charles Darwin, and evolution and how human institutions evolve similar to evolution of species. It's historical contingency. I think there's this tension we have between the fact that we have to deal with historical contingencies, and why was the U.S. the first to develop the bomb?
How did these other states -- why did they develop it and not others? Very historically contingent, and that -- we have that on the one hand, but on the other we have in -- what we're trying to do in this global governance project -- and I think a lot of us in our larger work -- is develop universal rules that all states would adhere to. And here, Scott, I think you really hit the nail on the head in a very important area in terms of your looking back at how Article 4 and Article 6 developed in the NPT, this grand bargain and the conventional wisdom on the grand bargain, and your reinterpretation of it and trying to say this really needs to be universal.
It is a shared responsibility. But we have that pole, that pushback, so to speak, from the historical contingencies that we're dealing with. As Shakespeare said, "Past is prologue." So we have the ghost of proliferation past haunting our efforts to achieve a much greater, more effective, universal institution that would serve us all.
And so I don't have a particular question for you two because I know everyone else is probably eager to ask questions and I want to make sure I get everyone out in about the next half an hour or so, so we can have a nice restful slumber so we can start the conference fresh tomorrow morning.
Anyone want to go first? If you want to ask a question -- I'll try to take you more or less in order -- put your name placard -- what do we call this? -- name tag I guess is what we're calling it here -- up like this. So put your -- raise your tent up like that so I know who to call on.
FERGUSON: All right. I think maybe -- I looked over here to the right first, so I think Miles Pomper is first, so let's get -- please state your name the first time, and who you work for so we know who you are.
POMPER: Miles Pomper from the Center for Nonproliferation Studies. This question -- well, sort of question/comment is for Joe. And this might reflect the fact that I went to the second week of the PrepCom as opposed to the first week, but I'd like to sort of throw a little cold water on your thawing of the arms control process because my sense is that people came into the PrepCom with a lot of expectations based on the Obama speech and the various other speeches that have been made in the international community, and then when you get down to the nuts and bolts, a lot of people are not willing to budge from the positions they've had before, whether it's in the NAM or the French or other people. And I guess -- and then you look at sort of the domestic politics and you've got the question about Iran, which you just put as well -- hopefully we can have a solution in the next few months, but my sense is that Iran could be the thing that breaks apart any attempt at making progress on any of these issues beyond maybe an initial START agreement. And the CTBT -- you mentioned, and the congressional commission was supportive of an initial START follow-on, but they split on the question of the CTBT, which doesn't seem to auger well for Senate ratification of the document. So maybe this is the glass half empty and the glass half full, but I think you may have been overselling your case even beyond what you said initially.
FERGUSON: There we go. This is the kind of thing I want -- to start challenging the speakers right away and have a just vigorous dialogue.
CIRINCIONE: By the second week of the NPT PrepCom, people realized that it wasn't just the U.S. that was a problem in reaching consensus. The first week was largely taken up with this euphoria over the changed U.S. position and this removal of this major roadblock. But there are lots of roadblocks, and the second week encountered a lot of them. I think people -- and the conference almost fell apart in the last couple of days.
That was a bit of a wake-up call, but I don't think it changes my analysis that people -- that the bottom line was that people felt that this was a major advance over the previous meetings and certainly over the 2005 review conference itself. And they just have a better understanding of how they have to work those problems. That's number one. Others who might have been at the PrepCom disagree. I still think the outlook is quite positive for the 2010 review conference if these other things happen and the Obama analysis is fundamentally sound. We have to lead by example. We have to produce -- we have to match deeds to our words, and if you get this START agreement, if you get a new commitment to reduction, if you get a solid process and even ratification of the CTBT, that will be significant and will be seen as a significant fulfillment of the U.S. and other P5 commitments for disarmament.
Here's our Ploughshares analysis: When I look at this -- when we decide where we're going to put our money, what we're going to fund, we're looking to make real policy progress in the next five years, and we've identified -- the overall strategic objective is to make the elimination of nuclear weapons the point, the purpose of U.S. nuclear policy. We think Barack Obama did that in his Prague speech. Now the challenge is to institutionalize that, is to put that -- make that real in the budgets, the doctrine and the programs of U.S. policy.
We look at five strategic objectives we hope to hit next year that will help institutionalize that. One is doctrine -- define the role of U.S. nuclear weapons to be solely the deterrence of nuclear attack -- exactly the point you were talking about. And I too was disappointed with the council's fumble of that issue. I don't think their analysis holds up historically or theoretically.
Two, we've got to have a START follow-on treaty. We have to get deep reductions. We want to get down to -- at least in negotiations -- 4,000 or fewer weapons.
Three is CTBT.
Again, we think achievement of these victories can unlock the broader strategic agenda, and we absolutely agree that if you do not contain and begin to roll back North Korea and Iran, that could unravel all this disarmament. So it's not just progress on disarmament; you have to be making this progress on nonproliferation.
Finally, we believe you have to have serious conflict resolution. You've got to be reducing the conflicts, particularly in South Asia but also in the Middle East, to give people the sense of security that allows this arms control and disarmament process to proceed.
That's a longer answer than you wanted. I actually believe the prospects are good for a deal between the U.S. and Iran. I think there's a desire by leading factions in both countries to make such a deal. Nothing easy about it, but I'm just giving you my analysis. I think it's there. There's a deal waiting to be made.
FERGUSON: Great. Thank you, Joe. Jodi Lieberman, let's go with you next.
LIEBERMAN: Okay. I had a couple of comments and then a question. The first is a response to what Joe had talked about -- the sort of patient on the table metaphor. My feeling is maybe a little bit more cautious, and that is I think we're sort of headed in the right direction. Maybe the patient is now in ICU but isn't quite out of the woods yet. I definitely think that the proof is in the pudding. My concern is that the United States in particular says a lot of very good things but doesn't actually cross the finish line with some of these issues, and I'm not even talking about historic follow-on but how the United States deals with violators of the NPT. I think Pierre Goldschmidt's piece on how to better implement safeguards and violations of safeguards is a really important example of that. We need to be a little bit more serious and multi -- or sort of equal opportunity in terms of chastising violators. There were some examples in his piece about how we chose not to report South Korea, but of course we did report Iran. So we sort of don't report our friends but we do report our sort of theoretical enemies. So I guess I'm waiting expectantly to see how far we can go in sending a message that the NPT is still an important document.
The second thing, and this is sort of in the same vein, is if I can move from a cultural reference that Charles started us with to a more pop culture reference, and that is a film put out by the people from South Park -- who did South Park -- Team America. And there was kind of a funny scene in there. Hans Blix! (Laughter.)
I wasn't going to go there, but there was sort of a funny little scene that spoke a little bit of truth, and that was where Hans talks about how the world is going to respond to what Kim Jong Il is doing, and it was something like -- and I'm paraphrasing -- you know, "We're going to write a very strongly worded letter to you with using lots of bad language." (Laughter.) So he sort of went, "Ooh, I'm scared."
So again, that sort of gets to my point of we really need to take a stronger line on dealing with the, quote, unquote, "violators." I'm not talking about a hawkish line, but we really need to make countries understand that opting out of the NPT, violating the NPT is bad and it will meet with consequences, political and otherwise. And I think the strongest negative signal that we sent over the last eight years is certainly the U.S.-India deal, in my opinion. I understand -- and in fact Rose Gottemoeller just made a comment about how it's not all that bad and we're drawing India closer to the nonproliferation regime or closer to the mores of the nonproliferation regime -- that's not the same as actually joining the nonproliferation regime. So I kind of have problems with the U.S.-India deal. I think it sent a horrible signal to potential proliferators.
My question is actually for Scott Sagan, and that is -- you talk about the shared responsibility. I think that's absolutely critical. I know there are a couple of former government types in the room, myself included, and we've suffered through many abortive governors and IAEA journal conference meeting where in fact many of the G77 countries, sort of non-nuclear weapon states still do view the NPT as the bargain between the haves and have-nots, and they continue to believe very, very strongly that it is their right -- and they use that word -- to acquire not only peaceful nuclear technologies but to build a domestic fuel cycle.
So my question to you, Scott, is in terms of internationalizing the fuel cycle, in what forum or what steps can we -- and I speak -- you know, the U.S. or whomever, the supplier states -- do to encourage others not to provide fuel cycle equipment. I know that the Bush administration tried to negotiate something within the NSG about trying to limit provision of fabrication -- fuel fabrication facilities, for example, enrichment facilities, but there's really nothing out there to stop other supplier countries from doing that. Do you have any thoughts on how we might pursue something like that?
SAGAN: I have a comment on both the first point and the second. I think that clearly there has to be more than a letter with lots of insulting language laced into it. But I think you should differentiate between India, which was not in violation of any agreement, and -- well, actually it had some problems I guess early on, but it was not a member of the NPT -- and countries that are deemed to be noncompliant with NPT safeguards that they have signed.
I think -- the way that I think about this in the longer term is that there is this problem which is that the nuclear weapon states have complained and sometimes punished and sometimes not depending on whether the country is their ally or not -- other countries -- but they can rely in the end on a view that maybe this won't be so bad after all because deterrents will work and I'll have nuclear weapons; some other country might get them -- we don't like that, but it's not going to be an existential threat to us.
My long-term reason to think that that will change if there -- if we move towards disarmament is that the state of the nuclear weapon states will change, and they will view new states acquiring nuclear capabilities much differently than they do now. There will no longer be the Jacques Chirac temptation to say, "Oh, well, we don't like this but it will work out okay in the end." Instead there will be a much greater sense that this is much more threatening. And that may be an optimistic view, but I think that that would be where I'd place it.
In terms of shared responsibilities and the rights, it is unfortunate that the NPT negotiation before 1968 used that term, "inalienable right." ArmsControlWonk reminded us of -- recently of Albert Wohlstetter's comments saying they used 18th century, Declaration of Independence language of inalienable rights, as if countries now have a right to have life, liberty, and the pursuit of plutonium -- (laughter) -- as their inalienable rights.
I mean, the good news is that the negotiators were able to include a contradiction or a extra point under there saying that it's in compliance with Articles I and II. That both underscores my point that -- by mentioning Article 1 -- that this is a shared responsibility for the nuclear weapon states, but also that one has to be compliant with the view that you are not pursuing or otherwise acquiring nuclear weapons. So no, it is true that they -- that states that are in compliance have a right under the NPT if they are suspected of not, they temporarily get rid of that right. And the long-term goal I think is to have states accept that we have rights that we sometimes do not want to exercise because we know that if other states exercise them as well, we will all be worse off. But I don't see a legal mechanism to change that language of rights in the NPT.
FERGUSON: Now let's go to Jan Lodal.
LODAL: Thanks, Charles. I thought these were great presentations, and I agree with 98 percent of all of it. I also agree about India. But I want to challenge you on what Scott raised and Joe mentioned and several others mentioned, and that is the -- I think it carries over to the administration -- they also, outside of the president's speech, haven't really said anything about changing the roles, mission, purpose of nuclear weapons.
Now, they're going to do a Nuclear Posture Review, but they're pushing full speed ahead on some aspects of arms control without having said that. And I think that's actually potentially a really major mistake on their part not to put that first, because I think that almost all of these things that we want to do get -- and as you said, Scott, and I love your list -- the problem is a lot of them aren't likely to get agreed. And I think the reason that you can't agree on these things is because you can't agree on the purpose of nuclear weapons. And it's really very much of a challenge.
Even if you think of one or two individual ones -- I'll pick the U.S.-Russia relationship and a new arms control agreement -- and you know, there's enough challenges as it is to start with the Cold War thing that's got counting rules that can't possibly be made to work for any future U.S. force -- START I, and say you're going to modify that to make a new treaty because today under START I counting rules, we have almost 6,000 warheads, but we actually only have 2,200. So there's just this huge difference when -- you know, between what we have and what you count. So you have to get rid of all that, which is half the treaty to begin with, and you have to go from somewhere else.
So there's a lot of complicated challenges there, but even if you get it done, without first agreeing on the purpose, you really have to some extent ratified the Russians' view of nuclear weapons in the world. You haven't said anything about the 10,000 maybe they have that aren't counted; you haven't -- and you've said these are perfectly okay, good things for we former superpowers and world leaders to have, and we want a two-tiered world and they add to our security, they help our security.
And so I think that that's the number one challenge is getting the United States to take the leadership on the issue of purpose. And interestingly enough, I don't think it's something you have to convince people of morally because I happen to think that strategically there isn't any purpose other than to deter the use of nuclear weapons by others. And by the way, I think that's the main reason every single state with maybe the exception of Israel initially acquired nuclear weapons primarily. We went full speed ahead because we thought Germany might get them, and the Soviet Union got them because we got them, and China got them because both of us had them, and India got them because China had them, and Pakistan -- they had a lot of reasons, but they really were worried about India's nuclear weapons.
And Iran probably is pretty worried about a nuclear threat against them. They want it neutralized. They don't think they can necessarily use their nuclear weapons in an offensive way, but they want to neutralize -- they want to deter the nuclear threat against themselves. They want to have mutual deterrence. And that's of course what's going to drive proliferation, and that's why the only stable outcome is zero because you can't really think of a stable outcome with this factor here.
So, you know, either one of you can comment on this, but I would just appreciate your comment on how do we do this without first taking on the purpose issue as a national policy issue here in the United States?
CIRINCIONE: Let me start briefly, and then Scott, you can weigh in.
I think it's very -- I don't think you can, frankly. I think you have to start with doctrine. That's why when we're doing our own strategic analysis of what we want to do over the next couple of years, we think this is the core issue. Jonathan talks about this quite eloquently. What is the purpose of nuclear weapons? He describes them as being sort of in a free-floating state where people are trying to attach purposes now to them to justify that. He says that much more poetically than I just did, but I think that's where we're at.
And there are some in the administration I believe who share President Obama's transformative vision, who are what I call the transformers in the administration, and they are going to be doing battle with very good people, very solid people, who are more incrementalists, who are not actually interested in transforming nuclear policy, don't believe elimination is possible and want to settle for more incremental advances. And this will be the fundamental struggle.
I think it's happening -- I think it's playing out in the NPR. I understand the NPR is sort of going ahead without strategic guidance from the White House. You may be seeing it play out in missile defense. I understand the administration's struggling for a compromise on what to do with the European missile program bases without doing a fundamental review of what's the point -- why would we even do this. So that struggle will play out, and for me it's one of the most important for them to get right.
And I'm -- I think it's part of our role, those of us who are outside of government, to be influencing this and not treat this that this is some sort of machine we turned on in November and now it's just going to go. No. This is a living, breathing process, and we've got to crack it open. I don't want the NPR to be conducted in secret. I want hearings, I want briefings, I want discussions. I think all of us should be involved. I think there should be an outside consulting group on the NPR. I mean, everything we can. Transparency is in our interest, and I think it's an issue that resonates with the president, and we've got to appeal to the principles that he believes in as articulated to make sure that the -- we don't screw it up again.
SAGAN: I'd make two points, Jan. One, I think it is important that we no longer use the language that was often used in recent years about the dangers that the most dangerous weapons on earth could fall into the most dangerous hands. Indeed, nuclear weapons are already in dangerous hands. They're in human hands and organizational hands that are prone to make mistakes and not always follow what would be the most minimalist, prudent forms of behavior.
That said, as somebody who used to spend a lot of time doing targeting work in the basement of the Pentagon, I recognize that military officers will follow guidance that they're given, and if they feel that they cannot meet their guidance specs by going lower, they will oppose further cuts in nuclear weapons. And therefore, since you want to make sure that they do not oppose such things, you want to change the guidance, and so I agree that one has to start there.
I think this problem of keeping open options is a very problematic one, and it's partly because I think making threats and keeping some verbal ambiguity or even hinting of potential uses actually I think does add a little bit to deterrence. I don't think it adds a lot, and I think it adds to deterrence in a dangerous way, but I think it does add to deterrence.
That is, there is always an inherent capability that just having the weapons gives you. No one knows whether you -- regardless of what you say about what you would really do, and any prudent planner will have to say, well, I don't know what they're saying right now or whether they really believe it, but here are their capabilities.
When a senior official does say, well, we might use nuclear weapons under these circumstances, or I hold open the option of using them under those circumstances, it slightly increases deterrent capability because someone knows that if the action that they are trying to deter occurs anyway, the president has his word, or the secretary of defense has his word, and therefore the honor of the United States or the credibility to use a more strategist type language, term, is at stake.
So that raises the cost of not following through with nuclear threats. So it does add, I think, a smidgeon to deterrence, but it does so at the cost of what I've called the commitment trap. That is, if that happens, then the likelihood that the United States would actually use nuclear weapons in a less-than-existential threat scenario increases as well.
And I think I would rather give up that smidgeon of extra deterrence for all the other benefits that one gets, including reducing the chance that we'd ever use them, but also the nonproliferation and disarmament benefits that you'd get from giving up that slight extra element of deterrence.
FERGUSON: Maybe before turning to the next person who has a question, maybe just to get you briefly to look at the issue of, you know, extended deterrence and allies. You have to talk to your Japanese colleagues and they get concerned when we have, you know, a formulation that Scott's presented in terms of the purpose, of Jan's presented as the purpose is to deter all the nuclear weapons.
So I would say, we need to get them into the discussion, our allies. And, you know, we do say that in our report but I think we have this mode of behaviors that the U.S. officials often will kind of say, well, we're consulting, but basically we're just telling them what we're going to do and they listen, or we think we hear that they want, but we don't have a real dialogue with them.
So, I mean, how will you two address the issue of the allies and extend a deterrence to try to get to the next phase with purposes?
CIRINCIONE: Just very briefly, I think extended deterrence is now being used as a justification for maintaining very large U.S. nuclear arsenals. I find the argument -- I couldn't believe it when I first heard this. I was in one of the expert working groups for the U.S. Strategic Commission and suddenly people were talking about extended deterrence. I didn't get it.
And then I realized what this was about, that the idea that Japan would get nervous if we somehow dropped below, what, 15,000 deployed strategic weapons, something like that. I just don't buy it. I think we've got to flesh this issue out, have a serious discussion about it.
I think that the U.S.-Japan alliance is about a lot of things not just nuclear weapons. It's about consultations. It's about them being nervous that they don't know what we're going to do next. It's about our conventional relationship with them. It's about our relationship with China. There's a whole lot of factors there, and all of those other factors I think are much more significant to them in the end than the -- than whether we have thousands of nuclear weapons.
And that's what I mean about why -- if we can realize this moment, if we capture this bipartisan consensus and make real progress on this set of arms control treaties that are right now before us, then make progress on North Korea and Iran, it changes the whole dynamic. It increases the confidence people have in the process and things like extended deterrence start to fade away as people feel an increased confidence in the new security arrangements that are being developed.
SAGAN: I think this area of extended deterrence is one of those areas in which we have to take very seriously because we have allies and we have to consult, not just pronounce and not just make changes. At the same time, it's an area in which the poverty of our language and the misleading nature of our metaphors confounds us.
The term "nuclear umbrella" should be banished, in my view, from the strategic lexicon because it implies some kind of SDI defensive shield --
CIRINCIONE: Yeah, right.
SAGAN: -- when it's not. It's about using offensive forces to retaliate. And, more importantly, it fails to differentiate between two forms of extended deterrence. Extended deterrence means two very different things, and people forget that and it gets them confused. It means that we might use nuclear weapons if someone attacks our allies with nuclear weapons, and we might use nuclear weapons if somebody attacks our allies with conventional forces.
So the no first use or the logic of zero that Jan will talk about tomorrow, and that I've written about, is perfectly consistent with the notion of extended deterrence if it means that we would use nuclear weapons in retaliation to someone attacking our allies with nuclear weapons. It is not consistent with the notion that you can use nuclear weapons if anyone uses conventional capabilities against anybody.
And so, I think at least the place to start in that is to differentiate between those two policies and to tell our allies that we think it's not necessary for us to use nuclear weapons in that one set of categories, one set of scenarios, and that you should except that and help us and have a more robust and even more credible set of conventional options under all those circumstances, but we will retain, at least for now, the capabilities and the plans to use nuclear weapons if you are attacked with nuclear weapons. And I think you could do that very easily with a much smaller arsenal facing states with smaller arsenals as well.
FERGUSON: Thank you, Joe and Scott.
And now we have not that much time left before the bewitching hour, so, with your indulgence, we'll extent a little bit later, and let's kind of group the next, I think, about four -- five people have their name placards up, so let's take those five questioners. Let's group them into kind of groups of two.
Let's go -- on my list I have Amitai Etzioni and Bruce McDonald. Let's have you two make your brief comment and questions and have Joe and/or Scott reply, and then we'll go to the next set. Thank you.
ETZIONI: Amitai Etzioni, George Washington University. Unlike many people around the table, my time is in sociology, so my questions are based on my discipline.
We like to talk about methodology. I was wondering how you reached these conclusions. Much of the discussion I hear and read is "there's a problem; here's a nice solution." So, for instance, if the fuse is too short, how about having a longer one? Or people quit the NPT and take their toys with them. How about if you change it and tell them not to take them with them? Or how about the industry refusing to sell them goods if they're in the business of selling things unless they meet some six conditions? So that methodology would be extremely nasty, but a form of wishful thinking. It's kind of, you know, there's a problem, here's a solution; why not?
And the other methodology is -- I was wondering, Charles -- maybe I should ask the question to you -- does anybody doubt that, is to say, now,; why is Pakistan increasing its nuclear weapons? What are their interests, and under what condition could we satisfy those interests without them building nuclear weapons? Again, to use a really nasty term like "Marxist analysis," kind of -- the underlying forces.
So, for instance, maybe they are not just worried about India nuclear weapons but about conventional superiority. Maybe we should take the discussion there. Maybe that will help. So my one question is, is anybody doing this other kind of methodology?
Second and last, the one thing I can assure you is that leading by example is a fairy tale. I heard someone the other day and he said, "We're doing to do this in order to take a talking point away from the Iranians," and somebody else said, "You should do that in order that the Indians will stop whining." Those are two quotes. I have news for you, you know. That's Boy Scout analysis.
The United States can cut its weapons, as they should, from my viewpoint. It doesn't mean that if, for instance, Israel fears attack from Iran, that it will give up anything, because the United States went from, whatever, X thousands to Y thousands, or if Pakistan is afraid to be overrun by conventional forces, and may be slightly concerned about what you gave India recently, that they will give up on their programs.
So leading by example is really a risky illusion and I think we should do things because they make sense. For instance, the current international deals, that President Obama also talks about, if they don't want missile defense, they should help us with Iran. Now, that sounds real to me.
FERGUSON: Okay, hold off on answering that, but I like Amitai's thought-provoking way of prodding us to really think deeply here. Let's go to Bruce MacDonald next and we'll take these two.
MACDONALD: Bruce MacDonald with the Strategic Posture Review Commission. A comment and then a question, the comment being I wanted to associate myself with the idea that for far too long consultations has been a travesty and a joke. We consult too often with our allies the way we consult with Congress, which is, you know, five minutes beforehand we inform them what's going on.
Now, that said, I think it's also -- it's very important to keep in mind that we need to recognize the way our allies feel and not the way that they should feel, and I think that at least in the area of extended deterrence there probably needs to be a whole lot of dialogue to help calm unreasonable fears, but to also recognize that we can't take action because our allies ought to feel some way.
Now, that said, my question goes to, in some of the discussion, it is very easy -- I fall into it myself -- it's very easy to fall into the trap of talking about strategic nuclear warhead levels as if other nuclear weapons don't exist. And I am not one who believes that a nuke is a nuke is nuke. I think strategic nuclear weapons have a certain special importance and significance, but at the same time there are these questions about tactical nuclear weapons.
I don't equate them one for one, but if we were going to go down to where there were, say, just a few hundred strategic nuclear warheads on each side but the imbalance in tactical nuclear weapons still existed at several thousand to a few hundred between the U.S. and Russia, then I think that would be a very dangerous situation.
So I guess my question then becomes what kind of credible ways do our two presenters -- and I thank them for their good presentations -- what kind of techniques do they believe would be useful that are credible that might -- not right now; we don't need to do it right now, but over time we can somehow take them into the nuclear equation as we start making significant reductions?
CIRINCIONE: Let me just do this real quickly. Both Scott and I have written on why countries want nuclear weapons. More precisely, Scott has written on it and I quote him -- (laughter) -- quite a lot on this.
There is a vast historic literature in the field on this, and I group it into five basic reasons: security, prestige, domestic politics -- the most important, technology and economics. And it turns out that the reasons countries don't want nuclear weapons are also security, prestige, domestic politics, technology and economics.
And so the basic task for a nonproliferation person is to decrease the drivers and increase the barriers, and that's my methodology. When I look at a problem, that's the way I look at it. So I don't think everybody did acquire nuclear weapons for security. That's not why France got them, that's not why India got them, but it is why Pakistan got them.
So for each case you've got to understand this, and as Scott points out, it's usually a combination of these factors at play. So you've got to go analyze these factors, understand what the drivers are, and then see if you can, as the president says, address, for example, Iran's security and prestige goals by non-nuclear means. So address those drivers.
So that's the kind of methodology we need to be applying, and that's the kind of methodology I bring --
ETZIONI: These various reports we cited today, do they include this kind of analysis?
CIRINCIONE: I don't know if the Council report --
SAGAN: No, it's less on the motives of other countries. It's more a policy on the U.S. But it's informed by some of the --
CIRINCIONE: But if you looked at the December 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, on Iran, it does talk about this, and it says specifically, you know, that talking about why Iran is trying to do this, why they think they suspended the program in 2003, et cetera.
So people are analyzing this. It's not all made up.
SAGAN: I'll try to be very brief. One, I think lots of people are doing more than doing ad hoc trial and error adjustments about policies. There are concerns about what are other states' interests, and they see the Nonproliferation Treaty as a solution to a collective action problem.
As a number of countries know that -- they would like to get nuclear weapons if their neighbors don't get them, but if their neighbors are going to get them, this is going to be more problematic for us, and how can we create institutions that can create transparency about what our neighbors are doing so that we can solve a collective action problem? And a lot of the NPT is about that kind of process.
And, secondly, I would actually disagree with you about the leading by example, quite strongly, from a sociological perspective. That is, there are -- there's mimicry that goes on within organizations.
You see a lot of military organizations where they follow what they think is the leader of the best performer and adapt their policies accordingly, whether it's the origins of the general staff in Germany then gets copied by other countries, or the modern equivalent, which is unfortunate, in my view, is that a number of countries looked at the United States and said, oh, they're using nuclear weapons to try to deter lots of other things -- so we should do this as well, a kind of isomorphism that occurs in military organizations. And you see in India now, they say we have a no-first-use policy, but we hold open the option of using nuclear weapons if other countries use chemical or biological weapons against us. And they actually took the language out of some of our doctrines.
They copied us. Why? Because they had specialists who read the stuff that we read and they were advising their government and they suggested this and their government thought that this was in their interests.
And I think on the allies issue, to respond to Bruce, there is only so far that you in the U.S. government can go in terms of getting ideas from other countries, because at some point you want to engage them earlier. But you can't engage them too early because they're going to tell you not what their range of positions are; they're going to tell you what their talking point is right now.
And so this is an area where I think groups like the Council or academics can actually play a very useful role by showing that there is a debate going on -- something may be coming down the road -- and getting early responses in the range of opinions from allied countries.
MACDONALD: Sort of a track two kind of thing?
SAGAN: Yeah. Yeah, I think it would be very helpful.
FERGUSON: Good, so we're getting to the final 10 minutes or so, so let's have four more questioners, two more rounds of questions. So let's go to Jonathan Granoff.
GRANOFF: First, Charles, thank you for gathering us, and thank you for working so hard on that report. It must have been a real yeoman's job, so I'm going to give some constructive criticism.
FERGUSON: Scott and many other -- it was a team effort. I made them do some writing and work.
CIRINCIONE: He's setting you up, Charles.
FERGUSON: Yeah, I know, I can tell.
GRANOFF: I'm a lawyer -- I'm the lawyer here.
(Cross talk, laughter.)
FERGUSON: Okay, go ahead, Jonathan.
GRANOFF: There was some talk that you gave about the role of governance, and I think that's really important. And there's -- you know, I thought there was a failure in the report to address the most important principal in global governance, which is the rule of law.
And there was a failure to analyze the unanimous decision of the International Court of Justice, which to simply ignore it degrades the rule of law. Now, you may not like the opinion or you might think, well, it's just an advisory opinion, but if we degrade the International Court of Justice by ignoring it, we are degrading the very institution that we need if we're going to move toward global governance in any coherent way.
With respect to the NPT, the governance structure of the NPT is one of the core problems, and I thought that was a low-hanging fruit to recommend a sitting secretariat, a repository where complaints, where issues could be fleshed out earlier than PrepCom so that there would be an ongoing dialogue around it.
The NPT simply doesn't have a secretariat. It's done on an ad hoc basis by an institution in the UN called the Office of Disarmament Affairs, which has a lower budget than the janitor staff. And, you know, to some extent, one could argue that the fate of the future hangs on the stability of this institution of the NPT and it has no secretariat staff.
I read carefully the recommendations and, you know, I think they're all great threat reduction, nonproliferation steps, but in order to gain any kind of threat reduction, nonproliferation progress, there's going to have to be some progress on the disarmament equation. And I thought that any of the disarmament -- I mean, there was very high language about the value of disarmament, but at the end of the day, the report confirms a quest for modernizing the arsenal.
Well, you can't ask to strengthen the nonproliferation part of the bargain unless you have substantive progress on the disarmament portion of it. So at least I would hope that people would realize that if we're going to -- for political purposes, if we have to recommend modernization, we also need to modernize the Pantex facility and the facility that takes apart the weapons, the disarmament, the actual physical disarmament, which I understand is now 15 years behind schedule.
And thus there was absolutely no substantive disarmament proposals in here, even technical ones, and a lot of aspirations for nonproliferation.
And, last but not least, there was an acceptance of purposeful ambiguity, which, in terms of governance issues, I think you -- to talk about purposeful ambiguity without addressing the negative security assurances that we're offered to gain the extension of the NPT in 1995 creates a real problem in terms of the law.
A colleague at Stanford, George Bunn, has written extensively on this. These were material representations that were made solemnly, at both the Security Council level and in the negotiations for 1995. And then to then turn around and say, well, the promises that we made in the Security Council can simply be ignored and that we're purposefully going to ignore them I think, again, degrades the very institutions that we need to move forward.
And I had one last comment, which is, with respect to the responsibilities of non-nuclear weapon states, I think that Resolution 1540 is a resolution in which their disarmament obligations have been strongly affirmed, and yet we haven't seen a similar set of commitments from the nuclear weapon states -- a clear, unambiguous commitment to fulfill the unequivocal undertaking to obtain the total elimination of nuclear weapons, to which we pledged in 2000 already. We've already made that pledge.
So there's nothing new in that regard. So I'd like to see something new and clear and unambiguous that sets us forward.
FERGUSON: Thank you, Jonathan. Let's now turn to the other Jonathan, Jonathan Schell, and then we'll get a response.
SCHELL: A very quick and simple question, which I hardly expect can be answered in the time left, but just to put it on the table.
I agree absolutely that the question of what should be the purpose of American, or for that matter Russian or some other countries', nuclear arsenals is a very central and important one because very often I think our discussion revolves around the question of why can't we get rid of nuclear weapons or why can we? What are the problems? But if you ask why should we have them, then a whole other conversation ensues, focuses on the Nuclear Posture Review and so no.
But my question is not that one. If we were to entertain the idea that John Lodal expressed, and I agree with, that it's very hard to put forward a strategic justification, at least, let's say, for the numbers of weapons that we're thinking about now, negotiating a 1,500 or a thousand.
In other words, if you ask yourself, why does the U.S. need an arsenal of 1,000 weapons or -- what are they for? Better than 2,000, better than 2,500, but what are they for, it's very hard to come up with an answer. And I realize that I don't know the answer to that question. I do not have an opinion that satisfies me on that question.
So the very simple question is not why should we have them, but why does the United States have them, really follows up on what Amitai Etzioni was asking us when we were talking about Pakistan and so forth. But I would like to turn the question around to ourselves.
FERGUSON: Very good. We're kind of ending on some challenging notes here. (Laughter.) Go ahead, Joe.
CIRINCIONE: I'm not going to answer that, by the way. (Laughter.) But I --
FERGUSON: Think about it overnight and have an answer tomorrow.
CIRINCIONE: You know, you've raised the parts of the answer in some of your writings but, you know, largely we have these weapons because we have them. You know, they're here. And it takes action to get rid of them, and that action is resisted by the custodians of these weapons, by the machines we set in motion to protect us, and we're having a hard time turning these machines off.
That's a big part of it, but this -- we're going to be talking about this all day tomorrow. I don't have anything more profound to say, except that, you know, I'm a little struck by the mood in this room, and I see it in some other meetings, of sort of pessimism or a raising of the problems --
FERGUSON: I look at the body language. People's arms are crossed --
FERGUSON: -- their expressions. Maybe you're sleepy or something.
CIRINCIONE: I mean, I thought President Obama's speech on April 5th was the speech I've been waiting all my life to hear. He fundamentally started the transformation of U.S. nuclear policy, and I think this is an operation that is in motion, that is going forward, that has got lots of bumps.
And I remember Jonathan Dean, 15 years ago, was in a similar situation, organizing a group of NGOs and meeting with the then-Clinton administration, and they were telling us all the progress they were making and all their plans, and they were met with a roomful of people who were -- you know, wanted more. And the administration said, aren't you people satisfied with their progress, and Jonathan Dean said, when it comes to arms control, our appetites are insatiable. (Laughter.)
I think about that all the time, and I understand that and I respect that, but I think we need to have a little bit of appreciation of how much is being set out before us, how many opportunities there are now. As far as I'm concerned, this is a six-lane highway. It is wide open. Our opportunities are just limitless here, and it's really a lot up to us to determine how far we get to go and how fast.
SAGAN: I'll answer Jonathan's question in maybe one minute.
It's said that the British Empire was created in a fit of absent-mindedness. I think the U.S. arsenal was created in a process of goal displacement, which is, in sociology, the common phrase that the measure that you use to see whether you're being effective suddenly becomes real to you and you think that that's really what deterrence is.
So deterrence is to be able to destroy and, with high confidence, after having taken a full attack on the Soviet Union, with 96.7 percent probability of high damage against this massive target set, then people say, oh, we need lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of nuclear weapons. In order to change that, you have to move that this isn't what deterrence is about.
You can deter at very low numbers, and then you get into big issues about what is appropriate targeting and how do you do that in an ethical manner? But we have to get away from this letting bureaucracies with guidance that has been very poorly drafted determine what are the requirements for deterrence. I think it's very important.
I like very much Jonathan's points about Pantex. For both bureaucratic and disarmament reasons I think it would be very helpful. But I do want to defend this report in that it did say that the NSAs should be re-stressed, and then it gave the contradictory point --
GRANOFF: Yeah, that's what -- (Cross talk.)
SAGAN: -- about this, and that's why a number of us had a dissent in that area.
GRANOFF: And rule of law -- rule of law. Could you comment on the role of rule of law a little bit?
SAGAN: Yeah, I don't think we discussed rule of law as much as we perhaps could have.
FERGUSON: Yeah, I say hindsight is either 20/20 or 50/50, but I share Scott's sentiment we could have tried to bring that before the task force and debate it.
And we had more than the typical number of meetings we have on a task force here at the Council. We had five sit-down meetings. Typically we only have four. We had a conference call. We had a conference call. We had subgroups working on various issues.
You know, it was really tough. I think the thing is that we had a lot of people there that had been working in the field for so long -- if your mind is almost already made up, even though Joe is making a strong case, and I think many in this room believe it. It's a six-lane highway, a lot of opportunities opening up. Still we've got all of this baggage that we're carrying around that I think, you now, Jonathan Shell and Scott and myself have been talking about.
So I think we need to find a way to, you know, reexamine -- at the end of this first panel I keep coming back to proliferation past, to exorcise those ghosts of the past so that we can move forward to a better future.
And with that -- so we can close, get some final comments, and have a good night's rest. Let me call on Caroline Jorant and have her ask a question or make a comment. Thank you.
JORANT: Thank you very much. First I want to thank you for inviting me. And I want to tell you that I am a little bit optimistic by nature, and I have of course a different standpoint.
Looking backwards, if you look at the evolution of the regime, I think it has very well responded to the crisis with the NSG, with the additional protocols and so on. And I think that the different bilateral agreements and commitments that nuclear weapon states have taken are also to be mentioned.
So this is an avowal statement, and I think that we cannot and we will not progress all of a sudden. I think it's a step-by-step approach. So you can have and fix high-level objectives, and in between small steps. And I think that it's only in that way that you will progress.
Now, I have a few questions. I was very inspired by all you said. I'm not that familiar with the disarmament question, but I want to make some points.
Firstly, you are talking and we are talking about nuclear weapon states against non-nuclear weapon states. But if you look at it closer, there are different nuclear weapon states. They are different in the way of the verification standards, and I think that if you look well, in Europe for example, you have both nuclear weapon states are under international safeguards on all their civilian facilities.
And this is not so different as non-nuclear weapon states. So there is difference, but maybe we should enhance the fact that we are already on the way of -- and since a long time -- of some level playing field in a certain way. And on that matter, I think that original verification tools could be well used to make it lighter for IAEA to -- (inaudible).
A question to you, Scott, about your commitment about perpetuity. You said, finally, one step we could reach would be for some states to tell one year in advance that they want to withdraw from NPT.
I think that in that case this could be a step, but you should have a broader and more ambitious objectives that would be a commitment for perpetuity, and then you could well have all weapons states pleading for perpetuity of their NPT commitments, and maybe engaged with them with parallel commitments on sharing of assurances -- deterrence assurances to other countries that would join in this perpetuity commitment, for example.
About multilateralism, you were speaking about the MNA, the multinational approach to the fuel cycle. You could also launch a multilateral approach for deterrence in that same way, a little bit.
But, more seriously, I think that the international and multinational approaches should also, for sensitive facilities in weapons states, should be under IAEA or international safeguards. This could be a commitment from weapons states to put our -- for any state with sensitive facilities to put those facilities and their perpetual safeguards.
And this is a very important thing because in the nuclear weapon states agreements, IAEA agreements, you always have this possibility to withdraw at any time the facility that you have proposed on the list of facilities to be safeguarded.
So nuclear weapon states could very easily renounce to this, right, and say, well, we want to commit ourselves not to withdraw any facility -- any sensitive facility at least. So that could be something -- I don't know what you think.
Then about NSG, I think that you could have NSG countries have a positive commitment about security of supply of certain sensitive services, like enrichment and reprocessing. Up to now, NSG has been constructed, built upon I commit not to export this technology, this material or this equipment unless -- okay?
Now, what if the NSG countries would say, I commit to deliver this specific service, reprocessing or enrichment service, provided of course these are -- but I commit myself to and not -- I commit myself not to.
So we would have a positive approach from NSG countries to put nonproliferation above all, and to supply the states on reprocessing and enrichment services so that you would have a real incentive not to develop such facilities in other countries.
So these are some ideas. Thank you.
FERGUSON: Thank you, Caroline. And with the remaining few minutes before we have to depart, Scott and Joe --
SAGAN: I think just Caroline has placed a whole number of very important issues regarding safeguards and fuel assurances onto the table. I do think that having contracts that require states to maintain safeguards going forward in perpetuity I think would be a very useful thing to have. And I like your idea about the nuclear weapon states leading in some facilities. I think that would be very valuable.
I think that is different from the question about whether a state can still withdraw from a treaty. I think it would be very difficult in many countries to get legislatures to say that they would tie their hands for all time, that they could not withdraw if they felt their supreme national interests were at stake.
That said, I'm not sure if that would be necessary, and that if you had contracts that had costs if withdrawal occurred, it would create a set of interests that could permit somebody to maintain the right of withdrawal without having an intent, indeed with having strong incentives not to ever act on that right.
So I think it's a very interesting set of questions you raise.
FERGUSON: And we'll return to those set of questions, I'm sure, in the panel tomorrow morning because Larry Scheinman had to just leave a few minutes ago. He will be addressing that specifically. So I'm very glad we're ending on that note, looking ahead to the next panel.
And so, with that, please join me in thanking Joe and Scott for excellent presentations.
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