Press Briefing: Hans Blix Reports on WMD Dangers and Solutions
ARMS CONTROL ASSOCIATION in cooperation with the EMBASSY OF SWEDEN and the AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION SECTION ON INTERNATIONAL LAW TASK FORCE ON NUCLEAR NONPROLIFERATION
HANS BLIX, CHAIRMAN, THE WMD COMMISSION
ROBERT EINHORN, SENIOR ADVISOR, THE CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES
JONATHAN TUCKER, SENIOR FELLOW, THE CENTER FOR NONPROLIFERATION STUDIES
JOHN BURROUGHS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, THE LAWYER'S COMMITTEE ON NUCLEAR POLICY
DARYL KIMBALL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, THE ARMS CONTROL ASSOCIATION
JUNE 7, 2006
Federal News Service
Edited by the Arms Control Association
DARYL KIMBALL: Welcome to this morning's briefing sponsored by the nonpartisan Arms Control Association. For those of you who don't know who we are, the Association was established in 1971 and we are dedicated to public education about weapons dangers and to promoting effective arms control and international security strategies. We also publish the monthly journal Arms Control Today. Our session this morning is also sponsored by the Embassy of Sweden and the American Bar Association Section of International Law Task Force on Nuclear Nonproliferation.
Hans Blix is well known to many of us. He has been one of the most prominent members of the international committee dealing with the control of weapons of mass destruction. We're very pleased that Dr. Blix is speaking to an Arms Control Association audience for the second time this year; he spoke to our annual meeting in January. As International Atomic Energy Agency director general and later as head of UNMOVIC, the United Nations Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission, he participated in a process that eradicated the Iraqi nuclear, chemical, and biological programs and provided us with what we now realize was an accurate account of the resulting situation.
In December 2003, the Swedish government established the independent Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Commission and asked Dr. Blix to chair it. The WMD Commission includes 13 international weapons and security experts. You can see their names in the report that we've been distributing out front. That group includes former U.S. Secretary of Defense Bill Perry, and former UN Undersecretary-General for Disarmament Affairs Jayantha Dhanapala.
It was just last week that the commission released its report and presented it to Secretary-General Kofi Annan. It was a unanimous report, and I must say it is a rather thorough survey of today's weapons problems and a very thorough menu of recommendations about how to address them. I think it is a very much-needed wake-up call that provides a practical and balanced menu that could get us back into the business of eliminating chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons.
I would just note a couple unique features about the report before I turn the podium over to Dr. Blix and we hear from three distinguished experts who are going to provide us with some very brief comments on their observations about the report.
I would note that the report says, "There has been a serious and dangerous loss of momentum and direction in disarmament and nonproliferation efforts." As I read the report, it attributes much of the situation, though not all, to the failure of China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States to seriously abide by their commitments to nuclear disarmament as enshrined in Article VI of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. To reverse that set of problems and the wider set of WMD challenges that faces the world today, the report contains 60 recommendations, and among them-I would note too that Dr. Blix highlights in the preface himself-are the bringing into force of the Comprehensive Test Band Treaty (CTBT) and concluding a verifiable global fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT), which would ban the production of highly enriched uranium and plutonium for bombs. And if the United States does not exercise what Dr. Blix calls decisive leverage on these two issues, he writes, "there could be more nuclear tests and new nuclear arms races." On those points, I would certainly agree. So with that, I'll turn the podium over to Dr. Hans Blix. Thank you for being with us again.
HANS BLIX: Thank you. Thank you very much for your kind introduction. It's a pleasure to be here with the Arms Control Association, also being invited by the Bar Association. I'm a lawyer, although I spend much of my time in diplomacy. They say that diplomats are the only people who think twice before they say nothing. (Laughter.) However, I think both the report and I, myself, will be fairly frank.
The first question that we encounter about the report is why another report; there have been reports before. There was the Brandt Report [in 1980]; there was the [Swedish Prime Minister] Olof Palme report Common Security [in 1982]; and there was the 1996 Canberra Report, and there was a [August 1998] panel meeting in Tokyo. I think the answer to that is that while many of the problems remain-some have been solved, but many have remained in the field of weapons of mass destruction-the world around us changes. The Palme report came in the Cold War and the Canberra Report came when the Cold War was ended, and many people thought that was harvest time. Well, since then we have had also the Iraq war in 2003. We now have that behind us. Many people are focusing upon Iran and North Korea and we need an assessment as of today's situation.
The WMD Commission thinks and notes there is not only a stagnation in the arms control and disarmament field, but worse than that some arms races are actually going on. The stagnation we know from the UN world summit that took place last [September], which had no single line about disarmament or arms control, and from the failure of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference last May, which ended in acrimony and disarray.
The arms race, I think, is conspicuous, although not much discussed in the case of space, where huge sums are being spent on the preparations for possible conflicts and war in space. We have, on the one hand, armies of engineers who are linking us together with our mobile phones and our Internet and trillions of money invested in space. Then you have another army of engineers who are preparing how to shoot down each other's satellites. It would be an utter disaster if anything were to happen there because modern communications would break down; Global Positioning System, everything. It would really be a vast disaster. There has been very little public discussion and certainly no discussion in Geneva where, as you know, the talks at the [Conference on Disarmament] have not taken place for many years. They have not been able to agree on a work program.
We think the situation is worse. There is the discussion, as you know, in this country, about new types of nuclear weapons. The Congress has held back on the bunker busters and weapons of lower yield, but the missile [defense] development goes on.
Now, why is it that we are in this situation? During the Cold War there was important progress made in a number of areas. We had the Biological Weapons Convention, we had the partial test ban agreement, and we had a lot of bilateral U.S. and Russian agreements. The commission discusses that and also notes that public opinion is not so engaged in the questions of disarmament any longer. Perhaps the explanation is that at the end of the Cold War many people felt that the risk of obliteration of our civilization is gone; we can draw a sigh of relief; we can look at the global warming and other issues instead.
During the 1990s, I also think the important elements were the disillusionment and disappointment that the NPT, a global treaty, did not prevent Iraq from cheating. The [International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)] safeguard system, for which I was responsible in the 1980s and the 1990s did not detect what was going on in Iraq. We have reasons to defend why we didn't find it-nor did the CIA, nor did the Israelis, although they destroyed the Iraq reactor in 1981. The safeguard system did not function. It was not built for this kind of situation; it was built in the 1970s for a different world. But the disappointment was there in the 1990s and the disappointment about the effect of global arrangements and global institutions. I think they all had a huge effect on the idea of counter-proliferation, which was something that was prominently discussed already in the 1990s.
At the same time, U.S. military power grew very much, especially in relation to the Russians, whose military power sank. There was an inclination to look at what can you do by the threat or by the use of big military power? That came then in the war of 2003. At present time, of course, we have to note that the military means certainly didn't bring about an eradication of weapons that didn't exist. But it also demonstrated the limitations of the use of military power. So if the conventions had their limitations, military power also had limitations. At the present time, I think no one is really suggesting that in the case of Iran there would be an attempt at a military solution.
Now, at the NPT review conference last year there was bitterness. There was an unwillingness on the side of the nuclear-weapon states to discuss their part of the double bargain of going to disarmament. There was bitterness by many of the non-nuclear-weapon states that they did not see a determined effort to move out of the nuclear weapons era. There was even the feeling of being cheated, being tricked into having accepted a prolongation without any end of the treaty in return for what they saw as promises in 1995 and reaffirmed in the year 2000 about the nuclear-weapon states doing more in the field of disarmament. So that ended in a great deal of bitterness.
I think the commission does point out a number of things to which the U.S. has taken initiative and supported warmly relevant to the field of arms control and disarmament. On the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), we discuss and support that it can be a valuable tool to enforce export restrictions and the interception [of WMD shipments] on the high seas or in airports, et cetera. We are simply asking the question, how much effect has it had? How effective has it been? I saw the other day that a naval training exercise that [PSI participants] were to have in the Sea of Japan that South Korea and China had withdrawn from it. Perhaps it looked less like an exercise than like a naval maneuver of the model of 1910. I was not surprised that they actually withdrew. There is a lot of ambivalence in the attitude to [PSI], but the commission feels that, no, there are some good things in this, and we say so. I think we have a balanced discussion about it.
Resolution 1540 of the Security Council is also an element which the U.S. supported warmly. As most of you here know, [the resolution] says that it's not enough that states and governments have obligations to stay away from biological or chemical or [nuclear weapons], but that you also need to have states obliged to implement and oblige their citizens to stay away from it. [Pakistani nuclear weapons scientist Abdul Qadeer] Khan was part of the background of this resolution.
We think that is a very significant step in the work of the Security Council. We applaud that the council is taking more seriously and making use of its powers to reduce and to restrain weapons of mass destruction. But there are things to note in this. It's welcome that it makes use of these in accordance with the UN Charter. Now, what is the power the council has? We know that the council, under Article 39 of the charter, has the duty to determine the existence of the threat to international peace and security. If they have determined that, they can then go on to Article 41 or 42, either an economic sanction or military sanction.
That is a judging position that they have; a right and authority to judge. They also have then the executive position. They can decide that now we have economic sanctions, and all members of the UN are then obliged to follow suit to enforce under Article 25 of the charter. What the council has decided under Chapter 7 is binding upon them. What we see in 1540 is a legislative power. They don't legislate themselves, but they order member states, under Chapter 7, to introduce this legislation. That's a new step. However, under Chapter 7, they say proliferation constitutes a threat to international peace and security and you are obliged under Article 25 to introduce legislation. But it is a generic threat; it is not an individual threat.
Compare this with the Iran case. Does Iran today constitute a threat to international peace and security? Does the enrichment of perhaps a milligram of uranium to 4 percent constitute today a threat to international peace and security, or is it a case of Chapter 6, which deals with situations which, if they continue, may develop into threats of international peace and security. Maybe I'm too much an international lawyer for your taste on this one, but in the terms of constitutional development of the UN, I think it is an important one. It may be that the august members of the council actually will say, what can we agree to do? Once we agree on that, then we decide how we'll characterize the situation. That may be the political reality.
Now, I may get back to the question of Iran, but here we see what I've said are two areas in which I think the United States, in particular, has been trying to move forward in the field of arms control and disarmament. The commission certainly pays attention to that.
The other side of the picture, however, is the bitterness about the stagnation that has taken place and the arms races that we can see. We are pointed to what could be done in this respect. You will see that we are not, as it were, participating in the sort of dialogue of what is to be done now. We are not looking for a compromise proposal between the non-nuclear-weapon states and the nuclear-weapon states. We are not looking at that. We are fully aware that some of the proposals we come with are not things that will fly today.
We propose that there should be another world summit on arms control, disarmament, and nonproliferation and terrorism after very thorough preparations. We think that it was, as I said, a disgrace that last year's world summit did not succeed. We think there should be very thorough preparations, and at the end of those another world summit.
We're also raising the issue of the Conference on disarmament in Geneva, which has been without a work program for a long time. We suggest that the consensus rule they have about the work program is a relic of the Cold War. The General Assembly can adopt items on its agenda for the village councils of the world to discuss with a simple majority, and we are suggesting that the Conference on Disarmament should at least be able to put items on the agenda with a two-thirds majority. These are the only two procedural suggestions we have. All the rest of the 58 recommendations are of substantive character.
What I put on top, and the commission also says it should be on top, is ratification and bringing into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. That's not going to happen next week. We know that. The present U.S. administration is opposed to it. However, we think that no step would be more important to change the atmosphere in the world and to move into a different direction than such a ratification. If there was U.S. ratification, we feel pretty convinced that the Chinese would follow. If the Chinese did, the Indians would, et cetera. It would be a positive domino effect.
If one does not, well, then there is some risk. Although we have a [testing] moratorium for a long time, there is some risk that it might break down. Indeed, if there was testing anywhere then we can be assured that we would have another round in the spiraling race. So it's not without danger to be where we are.
The other big step we are pointing to is the FMCT, the cutoff of production of fissile material for weapons purposes. The report came out before the U.S. had tabled [May 18] a draft in Geneva, which was a quite recent thing, and, I think, welcome. The commission's view was that there should not be a precondition of verification or precondition that stocks be included. There are two big fighting points, but we suggest that there should be discussions and that these two things could be discussed in substance in the conference. However, we leave no doubt that the commission is of the view that a FMCT can be verified. It is verifiable, and the vast majority, certainly, of the world's countries are of that view. [Editor's Note: The U.S. position is that an FMCT is not verifiable.]
We know that enrichment plants are verified and inspected by the IAEA in Brazil and in Japan, two non-nuclear-weapon states. They're also verified in the UK and in France by the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM). A big enrichment plant built with Russian technology in China was also sold to the Chinese on the condition that it will be under IAEA safeguards. So we have this practice. Would anyone contend that this verification is meaningless, that it doesn't give sufficient assurance?
If you look at the question in the light of the proposed agreement between the U.S. and India [on civilian nuclear cooperation], I think it takes on an even greater importance. We do discuss that agreement. We pointedly say that the agreement has many aspects, including one of energy, facilitating for India to make use of the most modern Western technology. But it also raises concern about proliferation. The commission takes the view, which I think is correct, that the NPT facilitates the transfer of nuclear technology to states which are parties. It does not prohibit a transfer of technology to states which are not parties, provided that it doesn't collide with the obligation of states to work for nonproliferation, which is in the Article I of the NPT.
Concerns have been raised in this regard, that such an agreement, which would facilitate for India to buy uranium from abroad, would allow India to make use of indigenous resources to increase enrichment and thereby have the freedom, if they so wished-they don't say they would wish to-to increase the amount of fissile material for weapons purposes. That would, of course, tend to foment and increase tension vis-à-vis Pakistan and vis-à-vis China. It has a risk, at any rate, of a race. By contrast, if there were to be a verified cutoff agreement then this risk would be gone. The U.S., in negotiating with India, is somewhat handicapped in proposing that they might ask India for a unilateral action, which seems very unlikely that the Indian government would go along with it. But if the U.S. were to also accept and move along with verification of the draft that they have submitted in Geneva, then the chances would be better.
The commission is very positive on the question of the [fissile material] cleanout, the Nunn-Lugar [cooperative threat reduction activities], and the taking of nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert. We are commenting upon all of these in a favorable way, including what the U.S. itself is doing.
We are discussing the specific cases of Iran and North Korea (DPRK). We think that they're a little apart from the general discussion about nonproliferation because these are acute cases and they have to be treated with diplomacy. We are pointing to security as an important element. In most cases in history where we have had proliferation, there has been a perceived security interest that has propelled the countries. That may well be true for both Iran and the DPRK. We note that so far generating these types of discussions with Iran, the question of security does not seem to have surfaced.
I don't know exactly what is in the package that they have handed over in Tehran the other day. But I saw that Robert Einhorn commenting in The Wall Street Journal today, said that prestige and security may be important. Prestige because if you see the discussions here, you have a matter of prestige that comes up about who goes first. Is the proposal that [Iran] suspends the enrichment research then we can sit down or is it to discuss suspension?
So it's a matter of who goes first in this discussion. There are some parallels in the North Korean case as well. Nevertheless, the commission points to security as an important element. We have one idea for a confidence-building measure that is new, which we haven't seen in any governmental discussions and that is taken from the Korean context. In South Korea there is a proposal that they should revive the contents of the [denuclearization] declaration of 1992, which also embraces no enrichment, no reprocessing, either in the North or in the South; they would have to have assurance of supply from some other place.
The commission asks could it not also be imitated in the case of the Middle East? Could one have commitments from all the countries in the Middle East, those who would be parties to the weapons of mass destruction free zone, including Iran and Israel, not to make any enriched uranium or plutonium? It will leave Israel with some 200 nuclear weapons that we generally think they have, but it would stop further activities for reprocessing. Unless I'm ill-informed, I think Israel has been positive to the idea of an FMCT. [Editor's Note: Israel has gone along with the notion of an FMCT being negotiated at the Conference on Disarmament, but has also expressed reservations.] In principle, it would seem to be a step that would be possible. But you could, by that token or by that means, also get Iran to commit themselves to non-enrichment, and Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and all the other countries. You could see this step as a confidence-building measure toward a zone arrangement, which is pretty far away and cannot really be imagined without further steps toward a peaceful settlement.
Before I leave the NPT and Iran and North Korea, the question is: is the NPT unraveling? I would say yes. We are saying, yes, there are these holes or these difficulties. It didn't work in the case of Libya, Iraq, and North Korea, but one should not forget that this treaty still has brought a tremendous amount of stability and clarity. We have Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus that joined. South Africa walked back and joined the NPT. We have Argentina and Brazil that long resisted [joining, but are now parties]. They've all come around. It's too much to say that the world is sort of milling with would-be proliferators. We are warning against an exaggerated attitude in this regard.
We do discuss the fuel cycle. There are perhaps two main proposals in the air. One is the one that [IAEA Director-General Mohamed] ElBaradei came up with: a nuclear fuel bank under which you would not have any obligation of states to stay away from enrichment, but it would be an arrangement that would make it economically interesting for states which have nonproliferation credentials to buy the fuel from the bank, and they would then not have to go for enrichment. We do raise, however, the question of who decides in the bank whether you have credentials or not? Is it my successor, ElBaradei, or it the board of the IAEA, or is it someone else? Is there a veto anywhere? So that's a problem that has not been clarified.
The other main avenue that we have comes from the U.S. It is the so-called Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP); a rather grandiose idea positive about nuclear power. I personally like that because I'm pro-nuclear; the commission is neutral on the question of nuclear power. But the Bush proposal is one that supports nuclear power. It says we will need it much more; developing countries will need simpler, safe reactors. But, under GNEP, they should not buy fuel. We should lease fuel to them and when it has been burnt out then it is sent back. Fuel cycle states would take back the fuel and they would reprocess it in a new process. It would come out not pure plutonium, which might be proliferation-risky, but it would be a mixture of plutonium-enriched uranium and neptunium. It could be burned in special breeder reactors. We would thereby take out about 80 times more of the energy contents of the uranium than you would otherwise.
However, that would be a few fuel cycle states in the world that would do this. We don't quite know which are in the category. The question we would raise is, of course, will this arrangement, which is far away, maybe 20 years away, be perceived as a cartel? Would it be another haves and have-nots? It is far away. We say this will be discussed and the IAEA is the proper place for a discussion of this proposal and other proposals. It is true that if the world will have a nuclear spring, if there were many more reactors coming up-it takes time to build these machines, after all-we have time to consider it. That is what we are proposing.
Lastly, on the question of verification, the area which I know much about, we are endorsing that the [IAEA] Additional Protocol should be accepted by all non-nuclear-weapon states to the NPT. It is legitimate for states exporting anything nuclear to say that we do it only on the condition that you join the Additional Protocol. There will be pressure in that direction. It's a vast difference between the tradition of safeguards that we have from the 1970s and the Additional Protocol.
We are not negative toward national intelligence. It's true that [international inspectors] came closer to the truth in the case of Iraq than national intelligence. That's evident. We did it because there was critical thinking; we had a mandate from the Security Council; there was no governmental pressure from one country that we were susceptible to. However, [national intelligence and international verification] have different functions and worked different sources. The national intelligence has a lot of listening of our telephone conversations and they have spies on the ground, et cetera, and they see the applications for import of nuclear equipment. They have many of these sources. The international verification, both of the IAEA and the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), have the great advantage that they can go in on the ground and they can see the installations from the inside. They can see the papers, the accounts, and they can interview people as well. If they're turned away that's a sign; that's an interesting sign. It has its value.
In last resort, it is the governments who act. It's not the IEAE secretariat or the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons secretariat that acts; it's the governments that act in the last resort. They sit on these boards and they get their information from the international safeguard system and international verification. They also have information from their own national intelligence. They can weigh it together and they will draw conclusions. I see no contradiction between these two and I'm not personally at all averse to national intelligence, which I think is needed. Although, we would like to see them exercise critical thinking.
These two should be weighed together. National intelligence should help international verification by way of giving them tips as to we suspect this or that, we have heard this or that, go here or there. But it should be one-way traffic. International verification must not become a remote control arm of national intelligence because then they lose the confidence of the world and they also will find it much more difficult to operate in the countries in which they are. It would be much more difficult. One can sense sometimes disdain for international verification. I think that's misplaced. I think that the two are needed and should be put to good use by all.
I think I'll stop on that. I've talked enough. We are happy that the baby [the WMD Commission report] is born and that it was born by a unanimous group.
KIMBALL: Thank you very much, Dr. Blix, for your excellent overview. Part of the purpose of this session this morning is to bring forward the commission's recommendations and to foster a discussion about it. To start that discussion this morning, we've invited three distinguished experts to offer their thoughts and comments about the report. We'll hear from each of them for about 10 minutes each. Then, we'll open up the floor to your questions for Dr. Blix and our discussants.
First, we have Robert Einhorn, who is a senior advisor with the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He served for nearly 30 years in the U.S. government and was assistant secretary of state for nonproliferation. In 2001, he was awarded with the Secretary of State's Distinguished Service Award.
After Bob, we'll hear from Jonathan Tucker, who is now a senior fellow at the Monterrey Institute's Center for Nonproliferation Studies. Jonathan has served at the State Department and the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. He had a stint doing inspections in Iraq on biological weapons, and he is also the proud author of another book, War of Nerves: Chemical Warfare from World War I to al Qaeda. He's also a member of the ACA board of directors.
Finally, we'll also hear from Dr. John Burroughs, who is executive director of the Lawyer's Committee on Nuclear Policy, based in New York. He is a specialist in international law and treaty regimes and served as the nongovernmental legal coordinator at the nuclear weapons hearings at the International Court of Justice back in the 1990s. He is the co-editor of the book Rule of Power or Rule of Law?
Bob, please come to the podium and let us know what your thoughts are. I should also just let everyone know that I have asked the discussants to provide to us what they think is one of the more significant aspects of the Blix Commission report, what is the most disappointing element or what is missing, and what are the most important recommendations upon which policymakers should act.
ROBERT EINHORN: Thank you, Daryl. I'm going to conform to Daryl's guidance that our comments fall in these three categories and I'll start with why this report is special and what distinguishes it from other reports.
One of the distinguishing features, it seems to me, is the very high caliber and diversity of the commissioners who contributed to this report. Along with that what is noteworthy is the ability of Dr. Blix to forge a consensus among these commissioners that doesn't simply reflect the lowest common denominator. The report actually says something, unlike lots of reports that are adopted by consensus.
A second feature that distinguishes this report is its comprehensive treatment of WMD issues. It integrates what's needed in terms of existing WMD arsenals as well as what's needed to prevent the proliferation of these capabilities, both to additional states as well as to non-state actors.
A third distinguishing feature is the balance that it strikes between the ideal and the practical. I'll give you one example of this, but there are many. The report maintains that the goal we should have in mind is to outlaw nuclear weapons. It suggests that states begin now to start preparing for a day when WMD would be outlawed. At the same time, the report discusses the possibility of the development of new nuclear weapons, but, in suggesting that, it doesn't call for a blanket prohibition on new developments of nuclear weapons. Instead, it says that states that are contemplating replacement or modernization of nuclear weapons systems should, at a minimum, refrain from developing nuclear weapons with new military capabilities; therefore, new missions. I don't know how the report would treat the so-called Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) program of the U.S., but it seemed, perhaps, designed not to preclude such a development by the United States.
In the category of shortcomings or deficiencies, I would say that it places too much emphasis on carrots relative to sticks in persuading North Korea and Iran to abandon their nuclear ambitions. The solutions that the commission advocates for North Korea and Iran are good ones. I think they're the right ones. The report correctly identifies the kinds of incentives that should be offered to both North Korea and Iran. But, in my view, North Korea and Iran are unlikely to give up their nuclear options unless they believe that they will pay a high price for staying on their current course. The report, at least in my reading of it, gives very little attention to the pressures that the international community must apply to both countries in order to induce them to give up these nuclear options.
I think there's also an imbalance in favor of global agreements and institutions relative to less formal and more ad hoc measures. I think this is an understandable reaction to the Bush administration's tendency, especially in its first term, to disparage rule-based multilateral approaches and instead to rely on unilateral methods; methods outside existing agreements and institutions. But, in my view, the pendulum shouldn't swing back too far in the other direction. Multilateral agreements and institutions are clearly necessary but they're not sufficient. I think they have to be supplemented by more ad hoc measures. There's a synergy between the more formal and the less formal measures.
Formal measures, like the NPT, can give legitimacy to informal methods like the Proliferation Security Initiative or even coercive bilateral diplomacy. Tough ad hoc measures outside multilateral regimes may sometimes be necessary to reinforce existing institutions. For example-and it's an example that Dr. Blix knows well-without credible preparations for military action in the fall of 2002, it's highly unlikely that Saddam Hussein would have permitted Dr. Blix's UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) inspectors to pursue highly intrusive verification measures in Iraq under Security Council Resolution 1441.
Also, I personally see little value in the commission's recommendation for a world summit on disarmament, nonproliferation, and terrorist use of WMD. This is one of the two procedural recommendations that Dr. Blix mentioned. Clearly, the absence of political will in the world today is a real problem, but elevating the level of interaction is no guarantee that the important differences that exist today will be bridged. Holding yet another meeting at the summit level might simply polarize the issue further with countries breaking into blocks and adopting rigid positions. I think this was at the root of the failure at the NPT review conference in 2005 and the summit in September of 2005 to reach any consensus.
Let me turn to the recommendations of the commission's report that the United States government and perhaps other governments should act upon. I think there are many recommendations that are excellent that ought to be acted upon, but in light of time constraints, I'm going to only touch on three.
The key nuclear powers should adopt a moratorium on the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons pending completion of a formal fissile material cutoff treaty. In part, to deflect criticism of the U.S.-India civil nuclear cooperation deal, the administration recently tabled a draft fissile material cutoff treaty. As Dr. Blix pointed out, there has been criticism of the U.S.-India deal on the grounds that not only did it not cap fissile material production in India, but actually it could facilitate a buildup of fissile material in India.
I think, in part, to deflect this criticism of the deal, the U.S. tabled this draft treaty recently in the Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament. But, given procedural wrangling over the Conference on Disarmament's work program, as well as disagreements as to whether an FMCT could be effectively verified, I think it's going to take a long time for the negotiations actually to get underway. But a moratorium among key countries- I would suggest a moratorium among the seven countries that have tested nuclear weapons and declared themselves to be nuclear-weapon states-would mitigate one of the major defects of the U.S.-India civil nuclear cooperation deal and head off what could be a new competition in fissile material production involving China, India, and Pakistan.
Second, policymakers should heed the commission's advice to strengthen the nonproliferation role of the UN Security Council. In particular, the Security Council should be prepared to mandate supplementary verification authority to the IAEA and the OPCW, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, when existing verification authorities are insufficient for those agencies to do their job. We have such a situation today with respect to Iran. The IAEA director-general has issued a report recently which says that he's unable to make any progress in determining whether or not Iran has undeclared nuclear facilities and activities. Essentially what he's saying is that he doesn't have the tools with existing authorities to achieve his mission. In such circumstances, the UN Security Council should act to give the director-general or the IAEA the authority to employ more intrusive verification measures; measures that go beyond even the Additional Protocol.
The Security Council should also press for a more robust implementation of Security Council Resolution 1540 than we've seen today. As Dr. Blix has pointed out, 1540 requires under Chapter 7 all member states to put in place effective export controls and physical protection measures for nuclear installations and materials and for other dangerous substances. It also calls on them to enact legislation to criminalize proliferation-related activities by entities and individuals under their jurisdiction. It's a nonproliferation tool with vast potential, but it's been in effect now for about two years and two months, and that potential has not yet begun to be tapped. Members of the council should give 1540 some real teeth.
Finally, policymakers in the U.S. and elsewhere should follow the commission's advice to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in the security policies of the nuclear powers. In recent years, several nuclear powers, including the U.S., Russia, and France, have talked about using nuclear weapons in a wider range of contingencies. For example, the U.S. and others, including India, have spoken about using nuclear weapons in response to a chemical or biological weapons attack. The U.S. has also suggested that nuclear weapons might be used first to destroy deeply buried WMD-related facilities. If the nuclear powers act as if nuclear weapons are becoming more and more useful and more and more indispensable to their national security strategies, then we can expect additional countries to want nuclear capabilities of their own.
For the U.S., which has unrivaled conventional military capabilities today, it makes little sense to give others a reason to acquire a nuclear capability that can neutralize that conventional military superiority. The commission is right that it's time to review U.S. doctrine on the use of nuclear weapons and even to consider the idea of pledging not to be the first to use nuclear weapons. No-first-use, I know, is heresy in Washington, and certainly within administrations of both Republicans and Democrats. But I think it's high time that we took another look at that and the commission points us in that direction.
KIMBALL: Thank you very much, Bob. Jonathan Tucker, please.
JONATHAN TUCKER: Thanks, Daryl. The findings and recommendations of the WMD Commission report on chemical and biological weapons have received quite a bit less attention than on the nuclear issues so I'm grateful to the Arms Control Association for including chemical and biological weapons (CBW) issues on the agenda today. CBW tend to be the Rodney Dangerfield of WMD. (Laughter.) They don't get as much respect as nuclear weapons.
Overall, the WMD Commission report is extremely timely in reaffirming the importance of multilateral treaties and institutions in combating the spread of WMD and in urging renewed emphasis on cooperative approaches to security which have languished in recent years. With respect to chemical and biological weapons, the report is comprehensive and identifies the major outstanding issues. Although many of the recommendations have been made before, the main problem in the field of CBW disarmament today is not a shortage of good ideas, but rather of the political will needed to implement them.
On biological weapons, the commission correctly observes that international cooperation to eliminate the threats posed by biological weapons is more urgent today than ever for a number of reasons, including the ongoing revolution in the life sciences, which has made it possible to manipulate fundamental life processes for hostile purposes and the global diffusion of dual-use biotechnology equipment and know-how, which are making these capabilities accessible to rogue states and terrorist organizations.
In confronting this challenge, the commission notes that the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) remains the central pillar of efforts to prevent the hostile use of biology because it provides, "an international standard by which biological activities can be judged." Although the BWC today has 155 states-parties, it is generally viewed as weak because of its lack of formal verification measures and institutional support. The key opportunity to strengthen the BWC will be come later this year at the sixth review conference of the treaty, which will convene in Geneva between November 20th and December 8th.
The WMD Commission notes the need for a multifaceted approach to the biological weapons threat that strengthens the multilateral and legal prohibition regime while linking it with other kinds of governmental and non-governmental national and international measures. I would support this approach. I think the idea is to create a web of mutually reinforcing measures to strengthen the convention, including internationally harmonized biosecurity measures, national laws and regulations that make the prohibitions of the treaty binding on individuals, and scientific codes of conduct. There can be synergistic relationships among these different levels and different types of measures.
Some of the commission's recommendations are highly ambitious, such as establishing a small BWC secretariat to handle organizational and administrative measures to address the institutional deficit of the convention; the fact that the BWC, unlike the NPT and the CWC, does not have an organization of its own to oversee implementation. The commission also recommends the creation of a standing biological verification unit that would report to the UN Security Council and would conduct investigations at the request of the council.
Both of these ideas are extremely worthwhile and have been suggested before. Unfortunately, they are unlikely to be supported by a consensus of state-parties at the review conference. I think a more realistic recommendation in the report is the proposal to revitalize an existing mechanism by which the UN secretary-general can launch field investigations of alleged use of chemical or biological weapons in violation of the 1925 Geneva Protocol. This mechanism has been on the books since 1980. It has not been used, however, since 1992, and has fallen into disrepair. In order to revitalize this mechanism, it will be necessary to create an updated list or roster of experts who can be deployed when necessary, a dedicated store of inspection equipment, and a reliable source of funding for this field investigation mechanism.
An important biological weapons-related issue that is not addressed in the commission report is the huge expansion since Sept. 11 of the U.S. biodefense program, which now consumes about $5 billion a year. Some U.S. biodefense programs are troubling because they could be perceived either as undermining or even contravening the Biological Weapons Convention. Of particular concern is the Biological Threat Characterization Program, which involves the laboratory assessment of putative biological threat agents, including genetically engineered pathogens, to guide the development of medical countermeasures against them. Much of this work is classified and difficult for other countries to assess in terms of whether it is truly defensive. I believe that it is defensive but other countries may come to different conclusions. If other countries were to emulate this approach, these programs could easily become a cover for offensive developments. Thus, to the extent possible, countries should provide the maximum degree of transparency about their biodefense programs to avoid creating mutual suspicions and hedging strategies that could lead willy-nilly to a new biological arms race.
On chemical weapons, the commission notes that despite the successful implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, which now has 178 states-parties, the treaty faces some major challenges. These include the failure of states with declared chemical weapons stockpiles to destroy them on schedule, the fact that several states believed to have chemical arms have not yet joined the treaty, uneven national implementation, and shortcomings in verification and inspection activities. It's been difficult to identify the most salient issues, but I will focus on two.
I think a very important issue identified by the commission is the fact that nearly all of the states with declared stockpiles of chemical weapons-the United States, Russia, Albania, Libya, India, and South Korea-will fail to meet the 2007 deadline for destroying their stocks and will have to apply for a five-year extension, as permitted by the treaty. Now, a one-time extension is permitted, but the U.S. and Russia have already suggested that they will be unable to meet even the extended 2012 destruction deadline.
In order to prevent this failure to meet the treaty commitment, which I think can be explained for a number of reasons, it will be necessary to address not only the funding issue, which is discussed in the report, but also the political dimension. How can we address the reality that countries will be unable to meet the destruction deadlines without undermining the convention itself? I would argue that instead of amending the treaty to establish a new deadline, which could open up the treaty to undesirable amendments, it should be incumbent on both the U.S. and Russia to make a political commitment to a new timetable and for the treaty organization, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, to pass a resolution approving the new schedule and holding the two countries accountable.
The other highly salient issue relevant to the CWC discussed in the commission report is the problem of non-lethal chemical weapons. Although the CWC bans the use of incapacitating and riot-control agents as a method of warfare, it contains an exemption-some have called it a loophole-for "law enforcement including domestic riot control purposes." As the commission report points out, the term "non-lethal" is in fact misleading because all incapacitating gases can be lethal if the concentration is high enough or the time of exposure is sufficiently long. We saw an example of this in 2002 during the siege of a Moscow theater at which hostages were being held by Chechen rebels. Russian security forces pumped an incapacitating gas into the theater and ended up killing not only the hostage takers but about a fifth of the hostages, over 100 people.
Unfortunately, some governments, including both Russia and the United States, wish to adopt a more flexible interpretation of the Chemical Weapons Convention rules on the use of incapacitating chemical agents. Some analysts contend that the use of an incapacitating gas by Russia in the Moscow theater incident was legal because it was a case of domestic law enforcement. However, paramilitary and counterterrorist operations, such as the Moscow theater incident, go beyond domestic law enforcement because they're an extension of an armed conflict; in this case the war on Chechnya. I think one could make the same argument about the global war on terror.
The use of incapacitating agents in paramilitary operations, in my view, undermines Article I of the CWC, and permitting such use would constitute a dangerous erosion of the fundamental ban on chemical weapons intended by the authors of the CWC. One recommendation that is not contained in the report is that the next review conference of the CWC, which will convene in 2008, should define the law enforcement exemption more narrowly to rule out the use of non-lethal incapacitating agents in paramilitary counterterrorist operations.
In conclusion, there are lot more things I could say about the report, which is full of useful suggestions, but I think the main shortcoming of the report is that although it identifies a number of worthy goals, it does not assess their political feasibility in the current political environment, or provide a roadmap or strategy for achieving them.
I also think the commission report misses an opportunity to seek out some common ground with the United States and the current administration. Multilateral treaties and ad hoc initiatives among groups of like-minded states, such as the Proliferation Security Initiative or the Australia Group, are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Indeed, I think, as Bob Einhorn mentioned earlier, these approaches may be reinforcing under certain circumstances.
To make a distinction between selective multilateralism and traditional multilateralism is, to some extent, a false dichotomy. I think there are also some mildly encouraging signs that the Bush administration may be moving away from the hard unilateralism of its first term, which has had so many unfortunate results for American interests, and toward a more pragmatic and cooperative approach to nonproliferation, as reflected in the U.S. initiative toward Iran. It is to be hoped that this new approach will eventually include a rethinking of the value of multilateral arms control treaties and institutions.
KIMBALL: Thank you, Jonathan. John Burroughs, you're up.
JOHN BURROUGHS: Good morning. Thanks Daryl for inviting me here and, as I've said to Dr. Blix before, thanks for doing this report. The Lawyer's Committee on Nuclear Policy together with the Western States Legal Foundation, and Reaching Critical Will, and in consultation with the Arms Control Association, has a program of assessment and outreach regarding the Blix report. We're planning to do an in-depth analysis, probably available by the fall, but you can see our preliminary responses at www.wmdreport.org.
One of the things we like about this report is it reflects, to some degree, what civil society groups like ours have been saying for the past decade or 15 years. At least some of our ideas have crept into the report. I'm not saying they're given a lot of emphasis, but for example, on page 109 there is a reference to a nuclear disarmament treaty. Well, in fact, in the mid-1990s, my organization and other drafted a model nuclear weapons convention to outlaw and prohibit nuclear weapons, just as the Chemical Weapons Convention does for chemical weapons. Also on page 109 there is a reference to the holding of the International Court of Justice that there is an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects. Well, that was a campaign in the 1990s that had a lot of civil society, NGO involvement. It was one of the best things that occurred in the 1990s, at least in sort of setting the goals for achieving a nuclear-weapon-free world.
Now, I'm going to turn to what Daryl asked us all to do. What is, in my opinion, one of the greatest strengths of this report? It's that it explains very clearly how nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons can be and are being controlled through treaty regimes. It explains that treaty regimes bring stability. It explains that they involve implementing agencies and review processes. It explains that states around the world buy into these regimes and buy into the rules on non-use, non-possession of nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) weapons.
This may all seem rather basic, but it needs to be understood. It needs to be understood, especially in this country, that there are functioning, effective treaty regimes, and that there is a system of international law which applies to NBC weapons. The report also very effectively gets across that regimes work when there is reciprocity and cooperation. I'm not sure the report says this explicitly, but certainly what I've learned at the UN and the NPT is that for states to accept the Additional Protocol as the standard for compliance with their obligations under the NPT and the safeguards agreements, they need to see some action on the disarmament side of the regime. That's an example of how reciprocity and cooperation works.
The report, I am glad to say, is written very diplomatic. Well, not diplomatic but it's written in a very impartial way. It's honest, too. On page 94, for example, it says quite clearly, "It's easy to see that the nuclear-weapon states-parties to the NPT have largely failed to implement this commitment" to systematic and progressive efforts to reduce nuclear weapons globally; a commitment they agreed to in 1995 in connection with the indefinite extension of the NPT. At other places, too, this report is quite clear that the nuclear-weapon states are falling down on their side of the Nonproliferation Treaty.
That's something that is well known in international circles, but it's something that the public needs to understand in this country. For example, the principles of verification and irreversibility affirmed by the 2000 NPT review conference were not applied in the Moscow Treaty of 2002. There has not been a diminishing role of nuclear weapons in security policies-another of the commitments made in 2000.
I hope you have heard that the Department of Energy was planning on blowing up 700 tons of ammonium nitrate fuel oil at the Nevada test site on June 2nd in order to model the effects of a low-yield nuclear attack on underground structures. That's an example of how the role of nuclear weapons has not diminished in U.S. security policy. Fortunately, local opposition from Western Shoshones and anti-nuclear activists and down-winders has led to the indefinite delay of that test, but it's certainly illustrative.
Another strength of the report is that it describes UN institutions very well. The Security Council is talked about in the report. The report says the Security Council should become a focal point for implementation of actions regarding NBC weapons. But the report also acknowledges the need for the Security Council to build legitimacy by wide consultations and that eventually there will need to be reform of the Security Council to make it a more legitimate institution.
I certainly want to underline those points very strongly that the Security Council just cannot function as sort of the ultimate authority in NBC weapons unless it has much more legitimacy than it now has. I don't think the report intends to do this, but if you read their discussion of the Security Council, you might think they're saying, well, we need to go away from multilateral agreements. I don't really think they intend to say that, but perhaps they should have said more clearly, we need both more multilateral agreements and an effective Security Council.
What's the greatest weakness of this report? I think it's sort of a corollary to the strength of its discussion of international regimes and UN institutions. It's lacking in dimensions of vision and values, all of which I think are assumed by the report, but they're not really articulated very well. This is more a how-to kind of report than a visionary kind of statement. We need to find a way in this country to translate this sort of international policy speak into language that makes sense to Americans. That's our job; it's not necessarily the commission's job.
What are the most important recommendations? The recommendations come as a whole package, so it's hard to single them out. Also, it's a little bit difficult to see which recommendations have a chance of being seized upon in the short term, so I didn't really think about that. What I thought about is which of the recommendations will really make a difference in changing the situation on nuclear weapons.
I think two are just really important. They have been important for a long time and I'm glad the commission talked about them. One is Recommendation #17. It calls for de-alerting of nuclear forces, and it spells it out rather nicely. I'm not going to go through it now because we're running a little bit short of time. It does talk about a commission being established between the United States and Russia to make recommendations about this. One thing that should be considered in these U.S.-Russian relationships is how do we get the international community involved as well? Perhaps there should be a representative of the NPT or the UN involved.
The second recommendation that's very important is #18, which is on the need for a new strategic nuclear weapons reductions treaty, this time applying the principles agreed at the 2000 review conference on verification, transparency, and irreversibility. The core of nuclear arms control is having verified reductions. We're never going to get to low levels of nuclear weapons, let alone a nuclear-weapons-free world if there isn't verification and transparency along the way.
KIMBALL: Thank you, John, our other discussants, and Dr. Blix. You've been a very patient audience. I'm sure by this time you've read the entire report from beginning to end and you have your own opinions and you have your own questions, so I would invite you to speak up, give us your questions. Please tell us who you are and who you would like to answer the question. Norman Wulf.
QUESTION: Norman Wulf, formerly with the State Department. My question is for Hans. First, if I could, I would commend him for his demonstration of what an active retirement looks like. (Laughter.) Bob Einhorn, in his remarks, suggested that perhaps in a WMD-free world, the United States really comes out quite well because of our advanced conventional capability. I'm putting a few words into his mouth. But, given your experience, Hans, both in the IAEA with the Additional Protocol and then with the verification requirements that the UN Security Council imposed upon Iraq, what kind of additional authority should the IAEA have, particularly if their countries are going to voluntarily accept these verification mechanisms? In other words, how would you improve the Additional Protocol, based upon the experience you've had with UNSCOM and with the vision that you have at some point of a WMD-free world?
BLIX: Thanks everybody, especially the commentators for their constructive and well-taken views. We are delighted to come out and to listen because we think we need to provoke a discussion in the international community.
Let me say simply first that on the imbalance between the visionary on the one hand and the need to be realistic of what you can achieve at the present time-that is a balance that is difficult to strike-but our ambition has not been to strike a sort of compromise between the attitude of the current U.S. administration and others. We have tried to be more long-term looking without being "blue-eyed" because we have three constituencies we address: there are the governmental negotiators, and they're hard-headed; we have the think tanks and the NGOs; and we have the general public. The members of the commission are people who are experienced in practicing diplomatic life. We've tried to come out with something that we think can be doable, perhaps not tomorrow; not a number of things will be acceptable in the current climate. We realize that, though, they may germinate. We think that this little chunk will be on the table in many places and hopefully will germinate.
Now to your question, Norm Wulf. I think the world stands in gratitude to the U.S. [for being] the chief negotiator in the IAEA for the Additional Protocol. It was a very, very tough thing. I think the IAEA did the right thing. In 1991, when we had discovered the calutrons in Iraq and discovered that the safeguards system of the 1970s was not sufficient, I went to the IAEA Board of Governors and I said that we need to have access to more information, we need to have access to more sites, and we need to have access to the Security Council if need be. That then started the work on what was called "93 plus 2," an effort to develop a new, stronger type of safeguards system. Norm Wulf was the American negotiator on the board who brought this to fruition and I was happy to see that the Additional Protocols was accepted during my last general conference in 1997.
Now, there are things in this that I'm not pleased with and I'm sure there are things that Norm is not pleased with. It doesn't go far enough on a number of points. States are reluctant to have international inspectors milling around in their installations, and more so in the big states than in the small states. However, this is what could be achieved after that calamity. As you know, humanity usually moves forward after calamities, regrettably, after them. The Additional Protocol [falls] far from the intrusive inspection regimes we had in the Security Council in the case of Iraq. We have seen how Iran has accepted the Additional Protocol on a voluntary basis. They have also gone beyond that. They have not ratified the Additional Protocol yet and they have withdrawn their voluntary acceptance of it after the West brought the issue into the Security Council. I'll leave it up to their own threat in this regard and the condition that they accept that protocol as a part of accession, clearly.
How good are the additional protocols? Well, inspection techniques and methods have advanced very much and the Iraq affair was a great learning lesson. But one should be aware that we can never come down to zero risk. Cosmetic inspection is worse than none because it may lull you into false confidence with a rude awakening, but even very far-reaching inspections will not prove the negative. We had that problem in the case of Iraq and we will have that problem in the case of Iran even if the Security Council, as I think Bob suggested, would decide, under Chapter 7, that if they stay away from demanding military and economic sanctions, that they could demand that Iran should accept very far-reaching inspections, perhaps even going beyond the Additional Protocol. That would be reasonable. However, even if this were to happen, I think the IAEA could never say that there is the absolute assurance that there is nothing left; no documents, no computer programs, or no prototype centrifuge. We could not say it in Iraq. We could say that the more intrusive inspections they have and the more open they are, the less risk there is, but at the end there will be a small risk left, and that's a political assessment, whether you accept it or not.
In some ways I think I'm a little skeptical about the resolutions which say that Iran should prove that there is no intention. How can you prove an absence of an intention? Even if you could prove that the Ayatollah Khomeini had said on his deathbed that Iran never, never touches against their religion, et cetera, they could change their mind in a year or two. It is good that you have insurance. There will be less of fear and less of concern, less of suspicion, but proving the absolute negative will not be possible. One has to recognize that. But one can only do what is possible.
The Additional Protocol is an important step, and it may be, as Bob Einhorn says, that perhaps the Security Council should go beyond that.
KIMBALL: We have several hands now. Paul Walker, please.
QUESTION: Thank you, Daryl. My name is Paul Walker from Global Green USA. This question is to Hans Blix and to Jonathan Tucker. First of all, congratulations on a very excellent report, and also on three very good commentaries.
My question is with regard to chemical weapons. One of the concerns we have around chemical weapons is the slowness of destruction, which Jonathan referred to. We now know, although some of us have known actually for a number of years, since Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld stated a month ago that the destruction program in the United States will drag on potentially for another 10 to 15 years. We also know in Russia that it will likely drag on for at least the same amount of time. One of the concerns we have is the security of the stockpiles. It's less a concern in the United States because the specific bunkering of the stockpiles, but it's a major concern in Russia, given that the majority of the stockpiles there have not had security upgrades, to the best of our knowledge.
I'm wondering if this issue was raised in the commission. It's not mentioned, as far as I can see, in the report. There is no mention of security of stockpiles, the potential theft and diversion, and the lack of transparency in security, particularly in Russia, at the stockpiles, especially where there are major global partner funding efforts going on.
BLIX: I don't remember whether somewhere we talked about it. I do remember that we talk about the security of the chemical industry. There has been much talk about safety of the nuclear industry; that no terrorists be able to penetrate them and blow up swimming pools full of spent fuel. We reason the same way about the chemical industry. Both industries must be responsible in its way and cooperate with the government to be sure that nothing is trickled off, to protect their own installations, and that they not be blown up by terrorists and thereby contaminating. But, of course I would agree with you that, yes, the stockpiles of chemical weapons, they are as worthy of protection as nuclear ones are.
TUCKER: Paul, I would just agree with that concern, particularly with respect to stockpiles that have portable artillery shells that are filled with nerve agent which have probably posed the greatest risk of theft or diversion. In the interim period while Russia is destroying these weapons, it's really essential to secure the stockpiles and make sure that no diversion occurs and improve accounting systems so we know we can have some accountability.
KIMBALL: We had a question up front please.
QUESTION: Thank you. Edward Ifft, Georgetown University. Dr. Blix, thank you very much for this report, which I'm sure will be a major contribution. A question on Iraq, if I may. At the height of the Iraq crisis, you put forward the formulation that Iraq was cooperating on process but not on substance. That seemed like a useful way to understand the situation, although the U.S. administration immediately seized on those words as one of the justifications for the war. Knowing what we know now, it seems clear that the Iraqis were actually telling the truth to a much greater extent than they were given credit for.
My question is, knowing what you know now, would you change that formulation on process versus substance? What I'm really driving at is: are there lessons for the future in that experience? This will sound naïve, but in particular, shouldn't we be paying more careful attention to what these countries actually say? For example, the way in which the Iranian letter was just dismissed out of hand without even the ritual we'll-study-this-carefully response is troubling. Should we be thinking of more creative ways to test the veracity of what these suspect countries actually tell us? Thank you.
BLIX: Thanks very much. I remember in the early part of 2003 I was sometimes asked, how could you be so critical of Iraq in January and now you are more lenient in your comments? I said, well, you know, if you are an inspector or if you are a meteorologist and you report on the weather and the weather changes, your reports are not going to be identical.
We were critical and disappointed at the 12,000-page report that Iraq submitted in November 2002. It did not solve any of the problems of things that were unaccounted for. It did give us information on what has happened since the inspectors had left, especially in the biological and chemical fields, but it was disappointing. When I used those words, which actually were coined by Mohamed ElBaradei, about cooperation on process but not on substance, there was, we felt, a restriction on their cooperation.
They could have done more. We warned them that we are five minutes to midnight, and it was only toward the end of January/end of February that they became frantic. I've been told that Amir al-Saadi, who was our opposite number, had not met Saddam for a very long time. There were big constraints under which he operated. I think he tried his best.
In February, the Iraqis came with the idea that we should examine the areas where they had destroyed chemical and biological weapons in the past. They had been dug up and examined to some extent by the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) in the 1990s. But the Iraqis suggested that with modern techniques and science, we could actually figure out how much had they destroyed. Had they destroyed as much as they said? I was somewhat skeptical about it, but I was not a scientist so I left it to our scientists. I felt that if you pour 100 liters of milk in the ground today and then you come 10 years later, can you really establish that it was 100 liters you did away with? That was my simple consideration. But they are a little better at this than I thought, and they did examine. They could actually verify and confirm that quite a number of chemical and bacteriological weapons had been destroyed in the sites where they were. As we made headway, we were disappointed in the increasing attention.
I agree with Bob Einhorn that you need also to have sticks in the background. Now, we would not have been allowed into Iraq if it had not been for the mobilization of the U.S. and the strengthening of the military. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan also said that diplomatic language needs to be reinforced by a threat. But when Bob says that he thinks we perhaps paid too little attention to the sticks and too much to the carrots, I think everybody knows you have the sticks. You don't need to talk or wave them so much. There can also be something humiliating about them. If you say that you, Iran, must behave, or, you are international troublemaker, I think it might gain you votes in some parts of the world, but it's not going to make it easy to reach agreement in Vienna.
I hear these words from the Iranian letter were dismissed. Yes, I agree with you that we should always study what they say, and in the case of Iraq, perhaps we underestimated the defense they had; namely they were an underdeveloped country, accounting was not so easy. They had in fact destroyed them in 1991. Mr. Kamal, the son-in-law of Saddam, had said that in conversations with UNSCOM leader Rolf Ekeus and others when he defected to Jordan. That was not given much attention. Of course, as inspectors, you have to be a skeptic. That Mr. Kamal says something or that my opposite number says something, that's not enough. You have to go for proof. Even in March 2003, we did not say that there were no weapons of mass destruction. We said that we have carried out 700 inspections and we have gone to lots of sites suspected by intelligence. We have not found any. We also pointed to some of the evidence presented by the U.S. and said that we don't believe in this.
As things developed when we were in Iraq, we developed increasing skepticism about it. I think personally that if we had been there for another few months, we would have been able to go to all the sites which intelligence suspected, and there weren't any weapons of mass destruction. We would have told them and the Security Council. I think it would have been much more difficult to go to war.
Maybe we were too suspicious. On the other hand, I think that's the job of the inspectors, to be suspicious; not to say that a black cat walking across the room is evidence, but still be very critical of what you see and be credible. I think we did that. Scott Ritter has criticized that [we] could have stopped the war; [we] could have said there are no weapons of mass destruction. No, then we would have deviated on the other side of our task. We did not have a basis for excluding it. I think we did well. We have to see, when a statement is made, at which time is it done?
QUESTION: I'm David Isenberg with the British American Security Information Council. This question is to Dr. Blix. Sir, thank you very much for the work of you and your fellow commissioners on the report. You state in your Recommendation #16 on page 92, "States deploying their nuclear forces in triads consisting of submarine launch missiles, ground-based intercontinental ballistic missiles and long-range bombers should abandon this practice in order to reduce nuclear weapons redundancy and avoid fueling nuclear arms races." My question is simply this: given states like that, would you tell them, reduce down to one delivery system, or would you say you're allowed two, or did you have any thoughts differentiating between that given that a few pages before that you said essentially the concept of deterrence is increasingly invalid if not totally defunct in this age, which is the rationale of course that all states today put forward for the use of a triad. It would seem that if you're going to permit them to have any delivery systems at all, one means should be enough. I'm just wondering what your thoughts were on that.
BLIX: I think our reasoning is that this leads to a temptation to have an unnecessary number of nuclear weapons. The military will say they need so many here and so many there. We have not said whether it would be enough to have one or two. The British are reduced only to subs. But the current system is an encouragement to have many, and therefore they can have their pick which one they will. There is a lot of redundancy at the present time.
KIMBALL: I would just note that if you look at the entire report one of the themes that comes out is that-you can correct me if I'm wrong-you're pointing out that over 15 years after the end of the Cold War there are still enormous arsenals, and so there needs to be a reexamination of why there are so many and not just why they are on certain launch systems.
Yes, we have a question right over here. Thank you.
QUESTION: I'm Larry Weiler. I'm an ancient arms controller. (Laughter.)
KIMBALL: And a famous one.
QUESTION: My comment and question has to do with priorities in the nuclear field. You recommend that nuclear weapons be outlawed. That's a rather long-term objective. But what do we need to change the situation from where it is today? I would make a reference to an exchange I had with President George W. Bush about five weeks ago. He was from me to you away from me. He didn't expect the question, but I said I hoped he would recognize that the NPT involved a basic agreement that non-nuclear-weapon states would give up nuclear weapons and nuclear-weapon states would engage in a program of nuclear disarmament. I said I was aware of all of the agreements that have taken place, including [the 2002 Moscow Treaty] with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but that I hoped that he would consider what only one U.S. president, Lyndon Johnson, had been prepared to consider: a no-first-use policy to aid nonproliferation in the long run. He stood there for quite a while and thought about this as though it was a new idea.
UNKNOWN: It was.
QUESTION: No, I'm quite serious. Now, maybe he was just being nice but he didn't have to think a long time to be nice. He said, I'll take your words to heart, and without a commitment on the spot on the non-using, I'll think about it. Now, my question is, how do we get a change of policy except by having a president decide to change nuclear weapons policy? The bureaucracy is a hopeless case because you can't raise this in the bureaucracy without being accused of being a traitor. So how do we change it? Do we only get a president or do we create a public campaign for non-use policy, which they support when they're asked this in polls. What do we do, if we don't do this, to change things dramatically?
BLIX: I'm delighted to hear from an ancient arms controller. My first experience came as a legal advisor in 1962 at the Eighteen Nation Disarmament Conference started in Geneva, so I feel, sir, with you very much.
Now, as to how can you bring these problems home to the leaders. Well, Mr. Ronald Reagan, certainly, was someone who had it when he was Reykjavik once and talked to Mikhail Gorbachev. There was something that he knew and he felt about.
The commission does not recommend that one achieve disarmament, whether in Iraq or North Korea, by a regime change. We are against that. I think we will also not go into discussing regime change in the United States. We are not recommending that. That's for you to discuss. I think that we have a more modest role for putting on the table proposals. Some of them could be perceived as much too far-reaching for the climate and for the bureaucracy.
I think, on the whole, government will learn from their experience. The basic feeling that I carry with this report is that, yes, there has been some sort of disillusionment for the multilateral instruments. There is now disillusionment with the military means. We'll have to come back to see what are the values of treaties; a big country usually has less need for treaties and commitments than small countries do in the world. Frankly, we write a lot about treaties and value treaties. There are those in this country, and several international lawyer too, who have a distain for treaties and say they are not really binding unless they're in our interest. Now, treaties are the replacement of legislation for the international community. The vast majority are respected. They're less secure, less reliable in the field of security and disarmament maybe than in other fields, but that's what we have at the present time.
We must make use of them. We must not make fun of them. We must not ridicule them because the United States relies enormously upon treaties in the world. I'm sure that neither Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice nor your president could come out and say that treaties are not binding upon the United States. This is how we move forward. I see some shaking heads. I've seen American representatives say so, but, in fact, Condoleezza Rice went to the American Society of International Law and affirmed her support for the validity and the importance of treaties and international laws.
This is maybe visionary stuff in the views of some. I wrote my doctoral dissertation about treaties. I think that this is really important. But not everything is global treaties. We use the word plurilateral for approaches like the PSI. The effort of a joint global community working together is an important one.
I point to the fact that after Sept. 11 there was a tremendous solidarity with the U.S. from all around the world, and that has dissipated. What you see now is a tremendous amount of criticism in most parts of the world. It should not be mixed with anti-Americanism. It's not anti-Americanism; it's a criticism of this approach. We used to see the U.S. as a lead wolf, as it were, in the international sphere, and we've seen it lately often as a lone wolf. Many people out in the world would like to see the U.S. come back to the lead wolf position, leading development in formal treaties and in joint approaches.
KIMBALL: We have a question here and a question back there.
QUESTION: Thank you. My name's Jackie Cabasso. I'm with Western States Legal Foundation and we are working with the Lawyer's Committee on this civil society review. I've had the opportunity to read the whole report, and again, I want to congratulate Dr. Blix and the commission. It is something that we can definitely work with. As I had said to you at an earlier briefing, I'm delighted to have you as a spokesperson for nuclear disarmament.
I have a question that came to my mind based on Mr. Einhorn's comments on the Reliable Replacement Warhead, which I think we don't really know what that is; it's a black box. But on page 99 you say that if research on nuclear weapons is continued, modifications should only be for purposes of safety and security, and demonstrably so. First of all, it seems a bit inconsistent to me to even validate the idea of perpetuating, extending the lifetimes, if you will, of nuclear arsenals. But if you are saying demonstrably so, are you suggesting that perhaps the IAEA should have inspectors at the Lawrence Livermore and the Los Alamos labs to make sure that the Reliable Replacement Warhead program is only for safety and security modifications? (Laughter.)
BLIX: We would be delighted if the IAEA would inspect Los Alamos. I've been there once myself in giving a lecture and I found a very intelligent and surprisingly understanding audience, I thought at the time.
As Bob Einhorn said a while ago, the commission is in favor of outlawing [nuclear weapons] in the long term. We also point to what we see as an obligation, a duty on the part of the nuclear-weapon states to see how they can manage their defense problems in a world without nuclear weapons, as the rest of the world has to do. They must weigh all the circumstances before they prolong or retain their programs.
We are pointing to the fact that the U.K. will soon be in a situation when they'll have to weigh this. We talk about whether they will extend a program [the Trident nuclear system] that no longer has the purposes, the intention for which it was created and that has a very doubtful value to a situation of threats that they may now be facing, terrorism? That's for them to say. We are not going so far as to say that this is the decisions you take. That would be somewhat presumptuous.
We are also envisioning the reality that maybe they will continue. But in the view of the [acknowledged nuclear-weapon states] and the NPT, we think that the minimum you can require, with that obligation they have to move away from nuclear weapons, is that they do not move ahead with nuclear weapon, giving them new missions; bunker busters, I think, would be another mission. Lowering the threshold for nuclear weapons would also be moving away from their obligation under the NPT, which is to negotiate toward nuclear disarmament.
We are applying the same standard without the NPT to the other three (Israel, India, and Pakistan). We say that they too have obligations to help us to move out of the nuclear. But we are saying that it should start with the biggest ones: with the U.S. and Russia. There are, after all, about 27,000 nuclear warheads still in the world, and most of them in the U.S. and in Russia.
KIMBALL: I have a question right here.
QUESTION: John Liang with Inside Missile Defense. A question for Dr. Blix. Recommendation #44 says that, "States should not consider the deployment or further deployment of any kind of missile defense system without first attempting to negotiate the removal of missile threats. And if such negotiations fail, deployments of such systems should be accompanied by cooperative development programs and confidence-building measures." Could you flesh that out a little bit? What kind of cooperative programs do you think might work? And to Dr. Einhorn, how confident are you that any kind of measure like that would work?
BLIX: If you take the possibility of missile defense, say, in Eastern Europe with the stations there in various countries as possible defenses against possible Iranian missiles or missiles in Pakistan or elsewhere. The first line would mean then that they should see if you can remove these threats first. Can you have an agreement with Iran that they stay away from development of intercontinental missiles? If you cannot do that, then the second line of the approach is that you should discuss confidence building measures so that there will be information about the launch and such matters.
On missiles, I was asked yesterday the question about why are you so shy; why are you not proposing a treaty convention banning missiles altogether? I was somewhat taken aback because we hadn't really seen the possibility. It seems so hopelessly unrealistic to get to today. There have been discussions in the UN and they have said that's a very great problem but there is no agreement whatever about it. If one moves away from nuclear weapons, then there will also be a lesser need for missiles. It has to go along in a dynamic way toward disarmament. I think that that will also make the missile threat less. It is a big issue that I think we have not penetrated enough and certainly we have not come up with a viable proposal.
EINHORN: I think it's important that there be a relationship between missile threats and missile defenses. The problem is you may have a mismatch between the lead times for both. There's a very long lead time to be able to develop and deploy effective defenses, and if a country has already developed missiles and even flight tested missiles and has a certain confidence that they would work if deployed, that could be a very short timeframe for the threat to materialize.
I think it's hard. Can we count on a negotiation to stop North Korea's long-range missile capability, or Iran's? I don't think we can. I think we should try to do it. In the Clinton administration we got pretty far in negotiating a ban on North Korea's long-range missile capability, but that didn't materialize and now I've seen news reports that the North Koreans may be preparing to conduct a flight test of a Taepodong-II missile.
I think it would be hard to persuade proponents of missile defenses that we can rely on negotiations to suppress the threat indefinitely.
KIMBALL: I think we had another question back here.
QUESTION: Thank you. Sharon Squassoni from the Congressional Research Service. Thanks for your report, which I haven't read in-depth. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems your report calls for universal adherence to the BWC and CWC but not the NPT. If that's the case, if you could just explain why it didn't.
My other question is on the fissile cutoff. Your report probably was completed before the U.S. draft treaty was tabled, but I wonder if even in your capacity as a lawyer, you could comment on three aspects of the treaty which I find a little troubling. One is the duration for 15 years. The other is that entry into force is only dependant on the five nuclear-weapon states. The last is what looks to me like an exemption for production of highly enriched uranium (HEU) for naval fuel, naval propulsion. Thank you.
BLIX: Right. On the three conventions, we call for universal adherence to the CWC and to the BWC. They do not make distinctions between any states so that is entirely natural. But the NPT does make a difference between the nuclear-weapon states and the others. The cases you are really asking about are India, Pakistan, and Israel. We are saying that we are seeing them as states which possess nuclear weapons. That's the reality. We are saying that they have obligations to move away from nuclear weapons along with the others, though it should start with the U.S. and Russia, which have the largest numbers.
There is no way in which [India, Israel, and Pakistan] can adhere to the NPT without doing away with their nuclear weapons. It is recognition of a fact that they have them and that none will move away from them. I don't think it helps us really to close our eyes to that fact. We must get back to reality. I gave a series of lectures once about recognition. There are many situations in the world which say that, well, we've tried to get rid of this by not saying that it exists. I don't think that's realistic and we have not gotten by that method. We would like to see them accept obligations, but I don't think it's realistic to say that they should come in the NPT. There could be other ways.
On the cutoff, you have perhaps more information and have seen the cutoff draft, which I have not. I was puzzled also by the idea that it should enter into force only with the ratification of five states. I would have thought that it was essential to have the three others coming in as well. In a way, the cutoff agreement would not really require to have more than the eight or nine members in it. The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, too, in a way would not really require more than eight or nine members in it because all non-nuclear-weapon states-parties of the NPT are prohibited from testing nuclear weapons. But you have an espousal of it by the whole international community, which is good and I recognize that.
In the case of a cutoff, yes, again, it's the five plus the three plus North Korea. That would be essential to have. No [non-nuclear-weapon states] of the NPT is allowed to produce enriched uranium for weapon purposes anyway. But I would take the view that, yes, you would need all of those who have nuclear weapons.
The last point was about the exemption of highly enriched uranium? I think, for the time being at any rate, highly enriched uranium is needed for submarines and is also needed in some reactors, although the world is trying to convert these reactors to low enriched uranium. We are urging in the report a phase-out of the production of highly enriched uranium. The French use a low-enriched uranium in their submarines, so in the longer run it ought to be possible.
We are more lenient on plutonium. We are saying that they should consider what they can do to reduce plutonium because we have huge plutonium producers in the U.K. and France and in The Hague and so forth based upon an economic calculation that is probably not valid any longer: that it would be economically useful to go for reprocessing and breeder reactors. But it will take time to move us out of that.
As GNEP demonstrates, breeder reactors may indeed come back in the world if we need more nuclear power. It's just not a subject that fills many people with enthusiasm in the U.S. If you look at the problem of energy in the world, well, it may take on a little different color. While we say that one should reduce it to what is needed, we are not saying that repossessing should be outlawed.
KIMBALL: Bob, you had another comment about this.
EINHORN: Yeah, just on the entry into force. I actually think that they came to the right conclusion that there should be five and no more. Why? Because those are the five NPT nuclear-weapon states so they have a responsibility to take such steps. If the five joined, I think that would put very substantial pressure on the others to come onboard. I think that would be effective, whereas if you made adherence by seven or eight or nine a necessary requirement, I think it could have an opposite effect. I think we had that opposite effect with India and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Also, if you decide more than five, where do you stop? Is it seven? Is it eight? The eighth, of course, is Israel. I know Israel's position on an FMCT. It's non-recognition; it's "head in the sand" because Israel doesn't want to have to defend to its public that we have enough and we don't need more because what's enough? Israel doesn't admit that it has a nuclear capability.
I think if you try to get seven or eight, you import into this issue all kinds of difficult political problems and you may hang up getting a treaty at all. I think five is the right number.
BLIX: I would disagree with you on this one. I think we talked about the Indian deal a little while ago and the risk that if they were to go on and import more uranium it could also cause Pakistan to move with it and China as well. I think it would be highly desirable to have them there.
In the case of Israel, yes, I agree that's a complication that they don't admit that they have nuclear weapons. However, I think that's something that would be finessed. Maybe, you can have commitments which are made to the Security Council. I'm glad that we have some disagreements too.
KIMBALL: Beyond the specifics here, let me draw us back to something that Bob said in his comments about the FMCT that I think is important to remember is that while there is this United States proposal that's been put forward, there are differences at the Conference on Disarmament about verification. There continue to be differences about whether other issues can be discussed or negotiated at the Conference on Disarmament.
The United States does not support the discussion of a treaty to prevent an arms race in outer space. For all intents and purposes, this proposal is there, but it is not going anywhere soon, at least in our estimation. Therefore I think it is important to come back to what Bob has suggested, which is that it might be useful for there to be a similar agreement that is reached among the seven key countries that have acknowledged they have nuclear weapons to stop fissile material for weapons purposes.
I think we have run out of time. We have covered an enormous amount of ground. I want to thank the audience for your patience and your interest. I want to thank Dr. Blix for his time, once again, with the Arms Control Association, and to our discussants for reading the report, thinking about it, and providing us with their thoughtful remarks. We do have many copies out front, courtesy of the WMD Commission and the Swedish Embassy. I know you probably already have one, but I would encourage you to take one on the way out for a friend because my staff doesn't want to bring back loads of boxes to our office and we want people to use them.
We've covered a lot here, and let me just remind you about one theme that comes out of the report that I think is important for us to remember as we go away from this, which is something that Dr. Blix notes in his preface: all WMD are inherently dangerous in anybody's hands and so long as any state has such weapons, especially nuclear weapons, others will want them. This is a problem that exists. Whether the United States or other countries have them or don't have them, we all need to work together and try to move forward to make progress. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
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