top U.S. government official in charge of arms control advocates
the offensive use of nuclear weapons and has deep roots in the militarist
into the old job of John Bolton, the administration’s hardcore unilateralist
nominee to be the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Robert
G. Joseph is the right wing’s advance man for counter-proliferation
as the conceptual core of a new U.S. military policy.
the administration, he leads a band of counter-proliferationists
who – working closely with such militarist policy institutes
as the National Institute for Public Policy (NIPP) and the Center
for Security Policy (CSP) – have placed preemptive attacks
and weapons of mass destruction at the center of U.S. national security
replaced John Bolton at the State Department as the new undersecretary
of state for arms control and international security affairs.
security strategy, according to the new arms control chief, should
"not include signing up for arms control for the sake of arms
control. At best that would be a needless diversion of effort when
the real threat requires all of our attention. At worst, as we discovered
in the draft BWC (Biological Weapons Convention) Protocol that we
inherited, an arms control approach would actually harm our ability
to deal with the WMD threat."
the Sep. 11, 2001 attacks, proponents of national missile defense
and a more "flexible" nuclear defense strategy focused
almost exclusively on the WMD threat from "competitor"
states such as Russia and especially China, and from "rogue"
states such as Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and North Korea.
and other hard-line strategists advocated large increases in military
spending to counter these threats while paying little or no attention
to the warnings that the most likely attack on the United States
and its armed forces abroad would come from non-state terrorist
of advocating improved intelligence on such terrorist networks like
al-Qaeda, which had an established record of attacking the United
States, militarist policy institutes such as NIPP and CSP focused
almost exclusively on proposals for high-tech, high-priced items
such as space weapons, missile defense, and nuclear weapons development.
9/11 Joseph and other administration militarists quickly placed
the threat from terrorism at the center of their threat assessments
without changing their recommendations for U.S. security strategy.
points to Iran and North Korea, as well as China, as the leading
post-Cold War missile threats to the U.S. homeland. Typical of strategists
who identify with the neoconservative political camp, Joseph continually
raises the alarm about China, alleging that China is the "country
that has been most prone to ballistic missile attacks on the United
participated as a team member in crafting the influential 2001 report
by the National Institute for Public Policy titled "Rationale
and Requirements for U.S. Nuclear Forces and Arms Control."
report recommended that the U.S. government develop a new generation
of "usable" lower-yield nuclear arms. The NIPP study served
as the blueprint for George W. Bush’s controversial Nuclear Posture
was instrumental in inserting the concept of counter-proliferation
into the center of the Bush administration’s national security strategy.
counter-proliferation is the first of the three pillars of the administration’s
WMD defense strategy, as outlined in the National Strategy to Combat
Weapons of Mass Destruction – a document that Joseph helped
draft – and in the White House’s National Security Strategy.
1999, Joseph told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the country
was unprepared to defend the homeland against new WMD threats. He
recommended that the "United States acquire the capabilities
to deny an enemy the benefits of these weapons. These capabilities
– including passive and active defenses as well as improved
counterforce means such as the ability to destroy mobile missiles
– offer the best chance to strengthen deterrence, and provide
the best hedge against deterrence failure."
the founder and director of the counter-proliferation Center at the
National Defense University, told the Senate committee: "We
are making progress in improving our ability to strike deep underground
targets, as well as in protecting the release of agents [meaning
radioactive fallout]. We are revising joint doctrine for the conduct
of military operations in an NBC environment [meaning one in which
nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons are the weapons of choice],
based on the assumption that chemical and biological use will be
a likely condition of future warfare."
the new world we have entered, the only path to peace and security
is the path of action," concludes Joseph – and that action
includes the U.S. preemptive use of WMDs.
a high-profile hardliner like John Bolton or former undersecretary
of defense for policy Douglas Feith, Joseph successfully avoided
the public limelight – that is until the scandal of the 16
words in Bush’s 2003 State of the Union Address about Iraq’s alleged
nuclear weapons development program. Press reports and congressional
testimony by Central Intelligence Agency officials later revealed
that the CIA had vigorously protested the inclusion of any assertion
that Iraq was developing nuclear weapons since their intelligence
would not support such a conclusion. Alan Foley, the CIA’s top expert
on weapons of mass destruction, told Congress that Robert Joseph
repeatedly pressed the CIA to back the inclusion in Bush’s speech
of a statement about Iraq’s attempts to buy uranium from Niger.
new undersecretary of state for arms control has said that his "starting
point and first conclusion" in formulating national security
strategy is the fact that "nuclear, biological, and chemical
weapons are a permanent feature of the international environment."
his second conclusion, Joseph asserted that nuclear, biological,
and chemical weapons "have substantial utility," adding
as a corollary that a versatile U.S. WMD capability is essential
"to deny an enemy use of these weapons" since "the
threat of retaliation or punishment that formed the basis for our
deterrent policy in the Cold War is not likely to be sufficient."
control chief Joseph is a new breed of militarist who believes that
in a world where weapons of mass destruction may be proliferating,
it behooves the United States to bolster its own WMD arsenal and
then use it against other proliferators.
Barry is policy director of the Interhemispheric
Resource Center (IRC).