Nuclear Threat Dwarfs Existing Treaties
President George W. Bush must be prepared to make major compromises
if he wants a tougher nonproliferation regime to prevent the spread
of nuclear weapons to countries that do not now have them, according
to a new report released here Thursday by the Carnegie Endowment
for International Peace (CEIP).
the very least, he should be prepared to give up his latest efforts
to devise new nuclear weapons, such as so-called "bunker-busters"
that are supposed to penetrate targets buried far underground, and
reaffirm the U.S. commitment to eventually eliminate its nuclear
arsenal, according to the report, "Universal Compliance: A
Strategy for Nuclear Security."
global blueprint for a kind of grand bargain between nuclear and
non-nuclear states to halt the spread of nuclear weapons and begin
the process of their elimination, the 220-page report comes two
months before the May 2005 review of the nuclear Nonproliferation
Treaty (NPT), whose effectiveness is being questioned today as never
also comes amid rising tensions over North Korea's recent assertions
that it has produced nuclear weapons and U.S. accusations that Iran
is carrying out a secret program to develop them.
who has labeled both nations charter members of the "axis of
evil," has stated that a nuclear-armed Tehran or Pyongyang
is "unacceptable" and repeatedly insisted that all options
to deal with the question are "on the table."
NPT has been badly battered in recent years despite a 1995 toughening
of the treaty made possible by an agreement by 173 non-nuclear states
to forswear their development in return for a commitment by the
five main nuclear states and permanent members of the UN Security
Council China, France, Russia, Britain, and the U.S.
to eventually eliminate their arsenals.
1998, India and Pakistan, neither of which had signed the NPT, carried
out nuclear tests, while the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York
and the Pentagon raised the specter of terrorists obtaining nuclear
arms of their own.
2003, it emerged that a sophisticated network of engineers, companies
and individuals spanning at least nine nations and headed by Pakistani
nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan had been selling nuclear-arms-related
designs and equipment to at least three nations over several years.
then, North Korea, one of Khan's clients, boasted that it had developed
a weapon, and some political leaders, notably in Japan and Brazil,
suggested that they might have to review their decisions not to
do so, adding to fears of an ever more rapid spread.
the Bush administration, which has rejected the Comprehensive (Nuclear)
Test Ban Treaty and renounced the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty,
has pushed Congress to authorize the development of new kinds of
Carnegie report, a draft of which was circulated to some two dozen
foreign governments last year and subsequently revised to take their
views into account, is an effort to establish the framework and
basic principles of a tougher nonproliferation regime that would
cover not only NPT signatories, but also non-signatories, including
nuclear-armed Pakistan, India, and Israel.
report, which was written by five nuclear specialists at Carnegie,
including the endowment's president, Jessica Tuchman Mathews, is
based on a number of assumptions, beginning with the conclusion
that the existing NPT framework cannot possibly address the problems
that the world now faces.
also assumes that "the United States cannot defeat the nuclear
threat alone, or even with small coalitions of the willing"
and that, therefore, international cooperation is indispensable
to the success of any successor or tightened regime.
gain that cooperation, however, the United States, as well as the
other declared nuclear states, must persuade the have-nots that
the new regime will be "balanced and fair," according
to co-author John Wolfsthal.
have to assure [non-nuclear] states that this isn't a new form of
[and] that the law also applies to the United
States," he said.
report sets out 20 priority actions allocated within six core "obligations"
that the regime should incorporate to meet the range of proliferation
six obligations include:
"nonproliferation irreversible" by, among other measures,
barring the acquisition of uranium enrichment and plutonium
reprocessing plants by any state that does not have them already
in return for providing guaranteed, affordable supplies of fuel
and services needed to meet nuclear energy needs; ending production
of fissile material, suspending nuclear cooperation with countries
that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) cannot certify
are in full compliance with the NPT; and tightening the terms
by which states can withdraw from the NPT, as North Korea did
several years ago.
the political and military currency of nuclear weapons by requiring
nuclear states to do more to make their previous nonproliferation
commitments irreversible, particularly through the steady, verifiable
dismantling of their nuclear arsenals and producing a "road
map" for eventual eliminating them, as Britain did in a
"White Paper" published last year; and
all nuclear materials by maintaining strict standards for securing,
monitoring and accounting for fissile materials in all forms
to prevent nuclear terrorism and by accelerating the identification
and removal of all vulnerable nuclear states within four years.
illegal transfers of nuclear material by establishing enforceable
prohibitions against efforts by individuals, corporations, and
states to assist others in secretly acquiring nuclear-related
technology, equipment, and know-how by making such activity
illegal under domestic law, making mandatory existing voluntary
international controls on technology transfer under the IAEA,
and enhancing the U.S.-led Proliferation Security Initiative
(PSI) by grounding it international law through a UN Security
Council resolution and broadening it to cover interdictions
in international waterways and airspace, in addition to the
member nations' territorial waters and airspace.
greater effort to conflict resolution through diplomacy with
the understanding that the underlying insecurities that drive
states to pursue weapons cannot be addressed by nonproliferation
measures by themselves.
India, Israel, and Pakistan to accept the same nonproliferation
obligations accepted by the NPT nuclear-state signatories, most
particularly their commitment to eventually eliminating their
The Bush administration
already favors a number of these recommendations, particularly those
that would toughen enforcement, such as the PSI, according to Rose
Gottemoeller, another co-author.
are less enthusiastic about our emphasis on nuclear state obligations
to devalue nuclear weapons," she added, noting renewed efforts
by the administration over just the past two weeks to get Congress
to approve millions of dollars in research and development of bunker-buster
Lobe is Inter Press Service's correspondent in Washington, DC.
© 2005 Inter Press Service