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"[The Arms Control Association is an] 'exceptional organization that effectively addresses pressing national and international challenges with an impact that is disproportionate to its small size.'" 

– John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
January 19, 2011
EU / NATO

The CTB Treaty: Signatories and Ratifiers

The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) was opened for signature at the United Nations on September 24, 1996. President Clinton was the first to sign the treaty that day, followed by the representatives of 70 other nations, including Britain, France, Russia and China. To date, 155 states have signed the CTBT and 51 have ratified.

The CTBT will formally enter into force after 44 nuclear-capable states, specified in Annex 2 of the treaty, have deposited their instruments of ratification with the secretary-general of the United Nations. Those 44 states include the five declared nuclear powers, India, Israel, Pakistan and 36 other states that are recognized by the International Atomic Energy Agency as possessing nuclear power and/or research reactors.

The near-term prospects for entry into force were dealt a severe blow October 13 when the United States Senate voted against ratification of the treaty, prompting harsh international criticism and raising fears that some states might resume nuclear testing. (See press conference, and news article.) The vote came just days after states that have already ratified the CTBT held a conference in Vienna to consider measures to bring the treaty into force.

Of the 44 specified nations, all except India, Pakistan and North Korea have signed, but only 26 have ratified the treaty. Britain and France are the only declared nuclear-weapon states to have ratified. The following chart identifies the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty's signatories and ratifiers as of October 31, 1999. States whose ratification is required for entry into force are in bold.

Country Signature Ratification
Albania 9/27/96  
Algeria 10/15/96  
Andorra 9/24/96  
Angola 9/27/96  
Antigua and Barbuda 4/16/97  
Argentina 9/24/96 12/4/98
Armenia 10/1/96  
Australia 9/24/96 7/9/98
Austria 9/24/96 3/13/98
Azerbaijan 7/28/97 2/2/99
Bahrain 9/24/96  
Bangladesh 10/24/96  
Belarus 9/24/96  
Belgium 9/24/96 6/29/99
Benin 9/27/96  
Bolivia 9/24/96 10/4/99
Country Signature Ratification
Bosnia and Herzegovina 9/24/96  
Brazil 9/24/96 7/24/99
Brunei Darussalem 1/22/97  
Bulgaria 9/24/96 9/29/99
Burkina Faso 9/27/96  
Burundi 9/24/96  
Cambodia 9/26/96  
Canada 9/24/96 12/18/98
Cape Verde 10/1/96  
Chad 10/8/96  
Chile 9/24/96  
China 9/24/96  
Colombia 9/24/96  
Comoros 12/12/96  
Congo 2/11/97  
Congo Republic 10/4/96  
Cook Islands 12/5/97  
Costa Rica 9/24/96  
Cote d'Ivoire 9/25/96  
Croatia 9/24/96  
Cyprus 9/24/96  
Czech Republic 11/12/96 9/11/97
Denmark 9/24/96 12/21/98
Djibouti 10/21/96  
Dominican Republic 10/3/96  
Ecuador 9/24/96  
Egypt 10/14/96  
El Salvador 9/24/96 9/11/98
Equatorial Guinea 10/9/96  
Estonia 11/20/96 8/13/98
Country Signature Ratification
Ethiopia 9/25/96  
Fiji 9/24/96 10/10/96
Finland 9/24/96 1/15/99
France 9/24/96 4/6/98
Gabon 10/7/96  
Georgia 9/24/96  
Germany 9/24/96 8/20/98
Ghana 10/3/96  
Greece 9/24/96 4/21/99
Grenada 10/10/96 8/19/98
Guatemala 9/20/99  
Guinea 10/3/96  
Guinea-Bissau 4/11/97  
Haiti 9/24/96  
Holy See 9/24/96  
Honduras 9/25/96  
Hungary 9/25/96 7/13/99
Iceland 9/24/96  
Indonesia 9/24/96  
India    
Indonesia 9/24/96  
Iran 9/24/96  
Ireland 9/24/96 7/15/99
Israel 9/25/96  
Italy 9/24/96 2/1/99
Jamaica 11/11/96  
Japan 9/24/96 7/8/97
Jordan 9/26/96 8/25/98
Kazakhstan 9/30/96  
Kenya 11/14/96  
Kuwait 9/24/96  
Kyrgyzstan 10/8/96  
Laos 7/30/97  
Country Signature Ratification
Latvia 9/24/96  
Lesotho 9/30/96 9/14/99
Liberia 10/1/96  
Liechtenstein 9/27/96  
Lithuania 10/7/96  
Luxembourg 9/24/96 5/26/99
Macedonia 10/29/98  
Madagascar 10/9/96  
Malawi 10/9/96  
Malaysia 7/23/98  
Maldives 10/1/97  
Mali 2/18/97 8/4/99
Malta 9/24/96  
Marshall Islands 9/24/96  
Mauritania 9/24/96  
Mexico 9/24/96 10/5/99
Micronesia 9/24/96 7/25/97
Moldova 9/24/97  
Monaco 10/1/96 12/18/98
Mongolia 10/1/96 8/8/97
Morocco 9/24/96  
Mozambique 9/26/96  
Myanmar (Burma) 11/25/96  
Namibia 9/24/96  
Nepal 10/8/96  
Netherlands 9/24/96 3/23/99
New Zealand 9/27/96 3/19/99
Nicaragua 9/24/96  
Niger 10/3/96  
North Korea    
Norway 9/24/96 7/15/99
Oman 9/23/99  
Country Signature Ratification
Pakistan    
Panama 9/24/96  
Papua New Guinea 9/25/96  
Paraguay 9/25/96  
Peru 9/25/96 11/12/97
Philippines 9/24/96  
Poland 9/24/96 5/25/99
Portugal 9/24/96  
Qatar 9/24/96 3/3/97
Romania 9/24/96 10/5/99
Russia 9/24/96  
Saint Lucia 10/4/96  
Samoa 10/9/96  
San Marino 10/7/96  
Sao Tome and Principe 9/26/96  
Senegal 9/26/96 6/9/99
Seychelles 9/24/96  
Singapore 1/14/99  
Slovakia 9/30/96 3/3/98
Slovenia 9/24/96 8/31/99
Solomon Islands 10/3/96  
South Africa 9/24/96 3/30/99
South Korea 9/24/96 9/24/99
Spain 9/24/96 7/31/98
Sri Lanka 10/24/96  
Suriname 1/14/97  
Swaziland 9/24/96  
Sweden 9/24/96 12/2/98
Switzerland 9/24/96 10/1/99
Tajikistan 10/7/96 6/10/98
Country Signature Ratification
Thailand 11/12/96  
Togo 10/2/96  
Tunisia 10/16/96  
Turkey 9/24/96  
Turkmenistan 9/24/96 2/20/98
Uganda 11/7/96  
Ukraine 9/27/96  
United Arab Emirates 9/25/96  
United Kingdom 9/24/96 4/6/98
United States 9/24/96  
Uruguay 9/24/96  
Uzbekistan 10/3/96 5/29/97
Vanuatu 9/24/96  
Venezuela 10/3/96  
Vietnam 9/24/96  
Yemen 9/30/96  
Zambia 12/3/96  
Zimbabwe 10/13/99  

Belgrade, KLA Move Forward on Arms Control, Disarmament

THREE MONTHS AFTER the withdrawal of Yugoslav forces from the embattled province of Kosovo, Yugoslavia has renewed its implementation of the June 1996 Agreement on Sub-Regional Arms Control and the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) has been certified as having completed its demilitarization. Also in September, talks on creating a "regional balance in and around the former Yugoslavia" were resumed.

A week after the March 24 onset of NATO's 11-week bombing campaign, Belgrade formally suspended its participation in the subregional agreement, which limits the number of tanks, armored combat vehicles (ACVs), artillery, combat aircraft and attack helicopters that the parties to the agreement can possess. As part of the agreement, Yugoslavia (comprised of Serbia and Montenegro), the two entities of Bosnia-Herzegovina (the Muslim-Croat federation and the Bosnian-Serb-controlled Republica Srpska) and Croatia annually exchange information on and allow inspections of their military holdings.

At a September 23-24 meeting of the parties, the first under the agreement since Belgrade's unilateral suspension, Yugoslavia agreed to complete its scheduled inspections, including those that had been postponed, by the end of the year. Belgrade will conduct a total of four inspections and will permit five on its forces.

In addition, Yugoslavia provided an updated accounting of its military holdings, which prior to the NATO bombing campaign had equaled Belgrade's ceilings for all five weapons categories (1,025 tanks, 850 ACVs, 3,750 artillery, 155 combat aircraft and 53 attack helicopters). Yugoslavia reportedly claimed its largest reduction, roughly a third, in combat aircraft, while reporting almost negligible changes in holdings for tanks and ACVs and slight reductions in artillery and attack helicopters.

For its part, NATO, in a September 16 press briefing, claimed to have carried out "successful strikes" against 93 tanks, 153 armored personnel carriers, 339 military vehicles and 389 artillery and mortar sites. These figures do not appear to correspond with Yugoslavia's revised holdings reported under the subregional agreement, suggesting that NATO may have overestimated its damage inflicted on Yugoslav forces, that Yugoslavia may have held equipment in excess of its limits, that Yugoslavia may have under-reported its losses, or some combination of the three.

If Yugoslavia wants to replace lost weapons up to its ceilings, Belgrade must provide evidence of each piece of equipment destroyed before a replacement can be acquired under the subregional agreement. Belgrade, however, is currently subject to a UN arms embargo and cannot import any weapons.

KLA Disarmed

On September 20, KFOR Commander General Mike Jackson certified the KLA, the ethnic Albanian separatist group in Kosovo, as having complied with a June 21 agreement to turn over its weapons. The wearing of KLA uniforms and insignia also ceased on midnight September 20 as part of the agreement for the KLA to demilitarize, which was explicitly called for in UN Security Council Resolution 1244.

In an assessment released October 6, KFOR reported that the KLA had voluntarily handed over more than 36,000 weapons. On September 16, Yugoslavia called the KLA disarmament a "farce," charging that only outdated weapons were being turned over. The estimated 17,000-member KLA has only handed over 6,831 rifles and 737 machine guns by KFOR's own accounting. KFOR has confiscated some 1,300 rifles and 300 pistols from KLA members and took more than 300 weapons from Serbs. A KFOR spokesperson said October 12 that the international force was continuing to confiscate weapons on a "daily basis," and explained that KFOR "never pretended that every individual would comply [with the demilitarization agreement]."

To help win the KLA's support for demilitarization, the United Nations agreed to the establishment of a 5,000 man Kosovo Protection Corps, which will initially be composed of a "significant portion" of former KLA members. The Kosovo Protection Corps, which will be permitted a "trust" of 2,000 weapons (only 200 of which can be in use at one time), will be charged with responding to natural disasters and other emergencies. Both Moscow and Belgrade denounced the creation of the Corps.

Regional Talks

Twenty nations, including Yugoslavia, met in Vienna on September 6 to revive discussions on finding "lasting solutions for the stabilization of South-Eastern Europe." The talks, however, made little headway as many of the participating states are preoccupied with completing an adapted Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty by mid-November (See feature).

When resumed in earnest, the talks, which are called for under Article V of the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords, are not expected to address weapons limits because only four states in the region—Albania, Austria, Macedonia and Slovenia—are currently without such limits.

Endgame: CFE Adaptation And the OSCE Summit

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Table 1: NATO Entitlements, Holdings and Proposed National Ceilings (NCs)

  NATO Entitlement (1990) <1> NATO+3

Entitlement <2>

NATO+3

Proposed NCs

NATO+3

Holdings <3>

Tanks 20,000 22,664 19,096 16,540
Artillery 20,000 21,503 19,529 16,403
ACVs 30,000 35,039 31,787 25,185
Helicopters 2,000 2,288 2,269 1,367
Combat Aircraft 6,800 7,532 7,273 4,587
Total 78,800 89,026 80,472 64,091

Notes:

1. Refers to the amount of TLE the original treaty authorized the alliance.

2. Refers to the alliance with the additon of Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary.

3. Holdings reported as of January 1, 1999.

Source: C. Dorn Crawford, "Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE): A Review and Update of Key Treaty Elements," Washington, DC: ACDA, January 1999.


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Table 2: U.S. Original Entitlements, Proposed National Ceilings (NCs), Reduction and Current Holdings

  Original Entitlement Proposed NC Entitlement Reduction Current Holdings
Tanks 4,006 1,812 2,194 846
Artillery 2,742 1,553 1,189 558
ACVs 5,152 3,037 2,115 1,704
Total 11,900 6,402 5,498 3,108
Source: C. Dorn Crawford, "Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE): A Review and Update of Key Treaty Elements," Washington, DC: ACDA, January 1999.
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Endgame: CFE Adaptation And the OSCE Summit

On November 18, representatives of the 30 states that are party to the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty will meet at the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) summit in Istanbul to decide the future of the most ambitious conventional arms control accord in history. Originally intended to reduce tensions between the two Cold War superpower blocs by establishing a secure balance of armed forces in Europe and eliminating each side's ability to launch a surprise attack, the treaty proved its usefulness in the immediate aftermath of the Soviet collapse and continues to prove its utility in the rapidly shifting European security landscape. It is essential that this opportunity to formally "adapt" the CFE Treaty to current political-military conditions not be missed.

When the 22 members of NATO and the Warsaw Pact first signed the CFE Treaty in Paris on November 19, 1990, none of them could have predicted that in slightly more than a year not only the Warsaw Pact but also the Soviet Union would dissolve. When that did happen, many observers assumed that the agreement would be tossed aside, relegated to a footnote of Cold War history. Fortunately, despite this skepticism, leaders in both the East and the West quickly realized that the treaty offered a means to enhance European security during this period of transition and beyond in a manner consistent with its original goals.

Implementation of the treaty was completed in late 1995, and discussions about "adapting" its structure to the new security environment began shortly thereafter at the first treaty review conference, held in May 1996. The potential signing of the adapted treaty at the upcoming OCSE summit represents the culmination of nearly three years of negotiations.

With the rising threat of nuclear proliferation and the focus of Western military analysts having largely shifted to Asia, the fate of conventional weapons in Europe is no longer as pressing to many as it once was. But while the threat of a large-scale Soviet invasion through Germany may be a thing of the past, an adapted CFE treaty will be able to further improve Europe's security in two crucial ways. First, a successful conclusion of the CFE adaptation negotiations could help dispel some of Moscow's security concerns that have resulted from NATO enlargement and the subsequent intervention in Kosovo. Second, the strain that Russia's internal political and economic discord has placed on its military is leading to a greater reliance on nuclear weapons because of conventional inferiority. An adapted CFE treaty could help counter that dangerous trend.

Presidents Yeltsin and Clinton underscored the importance of the CFE at their September 1998 summit in Moscow and established a goal of completing adaptation by the OSCE summit in November of this year. While world leaders establish objectives of this type fairly frequently (and with only modest success), this is a critical juncture for these negotiations. The domestic political situations in both Russia and the United States and the rising difficulty in concluding arms control agreements suggest that gathering support for the CFE will become increasingly difficult in the near future. The OSCE summit may very well represent the best—and perhaps last—opportunity for this treaty.

The CFE Treaty and Adaptation

The CFE Treaty, as it was originally written, requires alliance or "group" limitations on tanks, artillery, armored combat vehicles (ACVs), combat aircraft and attack helicopters—known collectively as treaty-limited equipment (TLE)—in an area stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Ural Mountains. Each bloc was allowed 20,000 tanks; 20,000 artillery pieces; 30,000 ACVs; 2,000 attack helicopters; and 6,800 combat aircraft.

Bloc limitations for NATO and the former Warsaw Pact were further circumscribed by a series of five geographic nested zones for land-based TLE. Limitations on helicopters and attack aircraft only applied to the entire area due to their ability to reposition rapidly. This zonal approach was a logical derivative of the mandate's intent to reduce the possibility of surprise attack by precluding excessive force concentrations near the heart of Europe. National limits for each treaty signatory were subsequently determined in negotiations among the members of the two organizations before the demise of the Warsaw Pact. When the U.S.S.R. disintegrated, the Soviet successor states (within the area of application) met at Tashkent in May 1992 and determined their respective limits from the total allocated to the Soviet Union.

Though the treaty was signed in November 1990, implementation was delayed by the end of the Warsaw Pact, the demise of the Soviet Union and problems associated with Soviet TLE. Implementation actually commenced in November 1992 when the final two states—Belarus and Kazakhstan—deposited their instruments of ratification. By the end of the implementation period in November 1995, over 58,000 pieces of TLE had been destroyed and approximately 2,700 inspections had been conducted to insure compliance.<1> The Russian Federation had the greatest burden for destruction—roughly 20 percent of this total.

Full and final compliance with the CFE Treaty was, however, endangered in late 1995 due to Russian insistence that it could not comply with limits on its forces in the so-called "flank zone"—an area that for Russia includes both the Leningrad Military District in the north and North Caucasus Military District in the south. As the November 17 deadline for full implementation approached, it became clear that Russia would comply with its overall national limit, but not the flank requirement. In the waning moments the 30 parties agreed to a framework document to resolve this problem quickly based on specific agreed principles, thereby avoiding the diplomatically embarrassing possibility of having to declare the Russian Federation in "non-compliance."

A compromise was finally achieved at the treaty's first review conference, held in Vienna in May 1996, that permitted Russia higher force levels in the flank zone, established a May 1999 deadline for Moscow to meet these adjusted levels and in effect reduced the overall size of the flank zone.<2> (This compromise was subsequently ratified by the U.S. Senate in May 1997.)

During that same review conference, Russia first presented its ideas for modifying the treaty to reflect post-Cold War realities, and the West responded that it was willing to consider further adjustments to the treaty. A formal decision to commence adaptation discussions in the Vienna-based Joint Consultative Group (the treaty's implementing body) was adopted at the Lisbon summit of the OSCE in December 1996, and the states-parties agreed to a document covering the scope and parameters of the negotiations.

Actual discussions began in the first months of 1997 as both NATO and Russia presented formal proposals for adapting the treaty, and on July 23 the 30 states involved in the discussions announced an agreement on certain "basic elements" required for successful adaptation of the treaty.<3> Most significantly, all states-parties agreed that the original bloc-to-bloc and zonal structure of the agreement was outmoded and should be replaced by national and territorial limits for all categories of treaty-limited equipment. They further concluded:

• national ceilings for each country should not exceed their existing allocations;

• rules governing equipment in storage must be changed;

• stabilizing measures to preclude force concentrations were required;

• each state should adopt a territorial ceiling that equaled the total of national and stationed forces;

• rules governing "temporary deployments" must be clarified; and

• an accession clause should be added to the treaty.

Most NATO countries also indicated their willingness to take at least a 5 percent reduction in their current entitlements.

There can be no doubt that this was a significant development. Still it was clearly "a lowest common denominator" agreement based on each side's initial proposal and was timed to coincide with the Madrid summit announcing the new NATO members in order to demonstrate that the Alliance acknowledged Russian security concerns. The so-called "Basic Elements Document" still left many important issues unresolved—and suggested that a final adjusted treaty would require difficult negotiations.

The March 30 Agreement

The next major development in the adaptation talks came on March 30, 1999, when the 30 CFE states agreed to a political document that set the stage for a final revised treaty.<4> The agreement was particularly noteworthy because at the time Moscow had severed or suspended its other political ties with NATO (such as the NATO-Russia Council) over the alliance's air campaign against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY).

The agreement confirmed a new structure based on the system of national and territorial ceilings. Under the original CFE Treaty, each country was allocated TLE entitlements based on the limits of the bloc to which it belonged. The March 30 agreement dictated that each country's TLE would be limited according to its own national ceiling. Furthermore, each country would have a territorial ceiling that limited the number of ground TLE (both national and foreign-stationed) that could be deployed within its borders.

NATO's original limits on the five categories of TLE totaled 89,026 pieces. In the March 30 agreement the 19 members of NATO—the original 16 plus Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic—proposed lowering their aggregate national limits to roughly 80,000. Thus, even the enlarged NATO accepted sizable reductions in its TLE entitlements. However, because actual holdings are still below authorized limits by a significant margin, these reductions will not necessitate the destruction of any military hardware. (See Table 1.) For its part, the United States accepted a reduction of over 45 percent in the amount of ground TLE it was authorized to have in the Atlantic-to-the-Urals area at any given time. (See Table 2.)

NATO stated early in the enlargement process (and formally affirmed in the NATO-Russian Founding Act) that it saw no need to station significant forces permanently on the territory of its new members. While this was both a clear recognition of the security situation and an attempt to further ease Russian concerns, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland remained concerned. They worried that should they be threatened in the future, the alliance would not be able to come to their aid without violating the treaty. Consequently, as part of the March 30 decision, NATO negotiated certain operational flexibilities, such as the right to deploy equipment temporarily on the territory of an ally during a crisis.

According to the March 30 agreement, each state can exceed its respective territorial limit for UN- or OSCE-mandated peace support operations, exercises or temporary deployments. All states may host a "Basic Temporary Deployment" (to a maximum of 153 tanks, 241 ACVs and 140 artillery pieces) above its respective territorial ceiling. Those states outside the so-called flank region (the flank includes Iceland, Norway, Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, and portions of the Russian Federation as well as Ukraine) may host a larger "Exceptional Temporary Deployment" to a maximum of 459 tanks, 723 ACVs and 420 artillery pieces.

The accord also made changes to the flank regime in order to reconcile this portion of the original treaty to a revised structure. It noted that the flank regime remained legally binding on all parties and allowed Russia modest increases in the number of ACVs allowed in the Leningrad and North Caucasus Military Districts. This portion of the understanding also included Moscow's acceptance of bilateral discussions on the reduction of its forces from Georgia and complete withdrawal from Moldova consistent with both the principle of host-nation consent and the decision reached at the 1998 Oslo ministerial discussions.

The March 30 decision also concluded key verification enhancements. Each state accepted a moderate increase in its annual inspection requirements, but the accord also noted the need for additional information/verification provisions consistent with the system of national and territorial ceilings as well as temporary deployments. Finally, all states appended significant national statements to the decision that were political in nature and committed them to pursuing continued reductions in national force levels in the area of application. As part of its political statement, Russia pledged restraint on its forces in the northwestern portion of the country adjacent to the Baltic Republics and Poland.

The Current Importance of CFE

With the rapid dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and then of the Soviet Union itself, the CFE Treaty was given little time to prove its value in the circumstances for which it had been intended, but its stabilizing influence was nonetheless clear during the tumultuous events of the early 1990s. Though the purpose of the agreement was to reduce the possibility of short-warning conventional attacks and large-scale offensives through force reductions, CFE inspections may actually have contributed more to easing tensions during this period than reductions did. The treaty proved particularly valuable in assuaging concerns about German reunification and providing transparency on the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Eastern Europe. Furthermore, under the terms of the agreement, short-notice inspections were conducted of U.S. forces in Germany as they were preparing for deployment to the former Yugoslavia in 1995.

Thus, the CFE Treaty has already proven its importance outside the scope of activity for which it was originally intended, and in the coming years, it can undoubtedly further enhance European security, particularly by smoothing U.S.-Russian relations and easing Russian concerns about NATO's role in Europe. There can be little doubt that Russia's relations with the West have suffered in recent months because of NATO enlargement, continued disagreements over Iraq and the conflict in Kosovo. A successful conclusion of the CFE adaptation negotiations could assist in dispelling many of Moscow's security concerns without compromising NATO security and could foster a climate of increased cooperation between Russia and NATO.

During the enlargement process, the United States and its NATO partners clearly showed that so-called "Russia-handling" was critical, and various efforts were made to assuage Moscow's concerns. Western policymakers attempted to describe enlargement as non-threatening, but there was no doubt that most (if not all) Russian leaders still disagreed up to the last minute, when the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland officially entered the alliance March 12, 1999.<5> Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Vladmir Rakhmanin noted on the eve of enlargement that Moscow had accepted an expanded NATO as "part of current European reality" despite Moscow's opposition. He added that in this situation the CFE Treaty remained the "foundation of European security" and that preserving and strengthening the agreement was central to meeting Russian fears.<6> From the Russian perspective, an adjusted CFE Treaty provides legal assurances about the size and deployment of NATO forces—particularly in the new member countries—that continue to be critical to Moscow's assessment of regional security. Consequently, while modifications to the treaty are warranted based on the dramatic changes that have occurred in Europe since its signing, the enlargement process gave this effort an additional resonance.

The treaty also played a role during NATO's intervention in Kosovo when Russia requested "challenge inspections" of NATO airbases in Italy and Hungary consistent with the CFE's provisions. This included the NATO base at Aviano, Italy, which was one of the primary facilities in mounting the air campaign against Belgrade. While this was certainly difficult given the circumstances of an ongoing air offensive, NATO accepted these requests as consistent with the legal obligations of the treaty, and military officials complied appropriately. The transparency provided about the NATO operations in particular from the inspections in Aviano, Italy, and Tazar, Hungary, underscored the value of the CFE Treaty in particular as a means to reassure neighboring states during a crisis and reduce tensions.

In Kosovo, the CFE Treaty also demonstrated its importance to the Russians through its contrast to another conventional arms control accord that has not been as successful. As a legal document, the CFE guarantees transparency in a way that political documents have failed to do. In 1994 the 54 states that comprise the OSCE agreed to a series of "confidence- and security-building measures." These are politically binding requirements to report force totals after they have reached certain prescribed levels, accept observations of military exercises and activities, respond to the inquiries of participating states concerning ongoing military movements and so forth. These agreements are compiled as part of the "Vienna Document."

In early May, Russia formally requested to send observers to Macedonia and subsequently Albania to view the activities of NATO forces in those two countries in accordance with Chapter 8 of the Vienna Document.<7> But in the Macedonian case, NATO (largely at the insistence of the United States and SACEUR) declared that any location within 70 kilometers of the FRY border could not be examined due to excessive risk. Russia formally demarched the NATO countries for this in the OSCE Forum for Security Cooperation as a violation of these agreements and argued that access had been limited to the extent that observations had not even occurred. These problems may make the conclusion of an adapted CFE Treaty more difficult—but also more important—as Moscow believes that it must extract more legal guarantees under the CFE since the political requirements provided by the Vienna Document were unsatisfactory.

Perhaps even more importantly, an adapted CFE Treaty could help stabilize Russia's strategic posture. Russia is suffering from internal discord brought about by enormous economic and political problems, and Russian policymakers now face a series of key decisions on the level of conventional forces that is appropriate and affordable. The Russian Federation has officially 1.2 million soldiers in its armed forces. Many experts believe that only 900,000 are even nominally available at any moment. Although the Duma voted to increase the defense budget to 3.1 percent of GDP, there is no certainty that the money will be available due in large measure to Russia's uncertain economic situation. In 1998 only 75 percent of the promised budget was actually supplied. Some senior Duma members believe that the armed forces will have to be reduced by a further 400,000 by the year 2000 to come within the available budget and that a total reduction to 600,000 will be necessary by early in the next decade.

As a result, Russian leaders have openly begun to argue that their conventional inferiority requires an increased reliance on nuclear weapons and the development of additional low-yield tactical nuclear systems.<8> Adaptation may offer a way to dampen these fears and forestall this potentially dangerous and destabilizing shift in strategy.

It is ironic that one of NATO's clear objectives in the negotiations in 1989 and 1990 was to reduce the massive level of Soviet conventional forces from Central Europe—a superiority that forced the alliance for many years to rely on nuclear weapons. Now, after so many years in which the West worried about Soviet military strength, the roles have been reversed, and it is clear that a weakened Russia still equipped with a massive strategic nuclear arsenal is perhaps of even greater concern.

Russia's concerns about U.S. strategic intentions have only been worsened by the U.S. attempts to renegotiate the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and the Senate's recent rejection of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. The ability of a revised CFE treaty to provide Russia reassurance that the required reductions in its conventional forces can occur without endangering its security could reduce this shift toward greater reliance on nuclear weapons and encourage progress in other areas, such as START II and III.

Unfortunately, despite the substantial benefits that would come from an adapted CFE, the domestic political dynamics in the United States and Russia suggest that the upcoming OSCE summit is a window of opportunity that may be only temporary. Failure to achieve an adapted agreement by the summit's November 19 close may well mean that the process begins to resemble the Mutual and Balanced Force Reduction (MBFR) talks, which languished in Vienna for nearly 16 years with no success. Duma elections in December followed by both Russian and American presidential elections next year will shift the focus away from this effort and make it increasingly difficult for Clinton or Yeltsin to galvanize the support required in their respective governments and conclude an agreement.

The problem in Russia is particularly acute. The continuing economic crisis, the weakened state of President Yeltsin both physically and politically, and the departure of two prime ministers since the beginning of the year all suggest that the power of the current regime is rapidly waning. This continuing turmoil could make the opportunity ripe for those seeking power to blame Russia's ills on external forces. It remains to be seen whether nationalist leaders in the Russian Federation will continue to trumpet these views as a means to foment support during the impending Duma and presidential elections, but if handled properly, an adjusted agreement could certainly dampen those forces and offer greater security not only for Russia but for all signatories.

Prospects

A Western arms control expert once remarked that he felt like he was watching 300 years of European hostilities unfold during the course of CFE negotiations. Critics of this process are frequently captivated by the technical details of definitions, counting rules, stabilizing measures, inspection regimes and so forth and often overlook the connection between these points and larger security issues. Still, while the devil may lie in the details, this accord is rooted in the collective attempt of 30 sovereign states to improve their security. Consequently, all of the historical antagonisms have an impact, including centuries-old concerns about the state of German armed forces, Greek-Turkish antagonism, Polish worries about Russia, Moscow's continued fear of instability in the North Caucasus region and many others. Resolving these anxieties contributes to the enduring value of the agreement as Europe attempts to create a new architecture based on a concept of cooperative security, but they are also the greatest obstacle to success. The negotiations are now a truly multilateral effort involving 30 sovereign states as opposed to the bloc-to-bloc Cold War process begun in 1989.

Obviously, NATO enlargement and the conflict in Kosovo have both complicated the adaptation negotiations while making its success more important. Fortunately, the adaptation talks were not a victim of the Kosovo conflict despite the clear tensions it engendered in NATO-Russian relations. The fact that the Russian Federation did not suspend its participation in these talks (as it did several other forums) is extremely important. This is particularly true if one considers that the negotiations focused on the conventional force balance in Central Europe during the first actual conflict involving all NATO members and the largest air campaign in Europe since World War II. Unfortunately, while this underscores (to some degree at least) the value that Moscow ascribes to this process, it does not preordain the negotiations' successful conclusion at the OSCE summit. Kosovo may not have completely derailed these negotiations, but it certainly complicated the process, and little of substance occurred between the March 30 decision and the summer recess in mid-July.

The Russian delegation indicated its clear desire to complete the negotiations by the Istanbul summit upon its return to Vienna in August. They did, however, suggest that they wanted additional concessions prior to signing the final treaty.<9> Moscow demanded greater transparency over the deployment of NATO combat aircraft. This clearly reflects Russian concerns following the Kosovo conflict, but it may be very difficult for the alliance to accept. NATO military leaders are extremely sensitive to issues of operational security following the Kosovo conflict, and they are also concerned that this proposal might broaden constraints on land-based systems associated with temporary deployments that include aircraft.

The negotiations could become further complicated by the fact that Russia failed to meet the revised flank totals agreed to at the 1996 review conference by the May 31, 1999 deadline.<10> While Moscow has remained within its overall national limits for all categories of TLE, it exceeds the allocation for ACVs in the North Caucasus area by over 1,000 units. NATO members took note of this in early June, and it was verified by subsequent data exchanges. The alliance members chose not to make a major issue of Russian "non-compliance" while pointing out that the existing flank limits remain legally binding until such time as an adapted treaty is signed and ratified.

The issue of Russian force levels in the flank has risen again during the ongoing hostilities in Chechnya. A Russian foreign ministry spokesman announced on October 12 that Moscow had deployed forces in the region in excess of its flank limits to meet the emerging crisis.<11> While this is worrisome, Moscow's prompt announcement of these deployments demonstrates its commitment to the agreement. Furthermore, Russian spokesmen have underscored the importance of the treaty and the belief that these deployments should not adversely affect the ongoing adaptation process and expectation of a completed agreement by the OSCE summit.

Still this problem could have a direct bearing on whether or not several North Caucasus states believe an adapted treaty is beneficial to their security and, therefore, receives their support. Russian troop deployments in Georgia and Moldova contributes to the excessive flank TLE holdings. They are also counter to Moscow's acknowledgment in the March 30 decision to reduce its forces in Georgia and remove its troops completely from Moldova. In addition, Azerbaijan has frequently accused the Russian Federation of increasing tension in the region by providing arms to Armenia.<12> Baku also has charged that Moscow has contributed to the problem of unaccounted-for treaty-limited equipment present in Nagorno-Karabakh. The Azeris have repeatedly insisted that progress on these issues must occur before they sign an adapted treaty. These states may believe that an adapted treaty will provide them legal guarantees on Russian withdrawals from the region as well as increased transparency over future force deployments.

Conclusions

The CFE Treaty clearly demonstrated its value as a policy instrument during the turbulent period at the end of the Cold War. The levels of force reductions and the system of transparency that accompanied them are nothing short of historic. In fact the greatest value of the agreement may be that the entire CFE system encourages confidence through transparency and provides a forum for the major European states to debate, agree on and maintain a set of rules about conventional military power on the continent.<13>

The effort to adapt the treaty will not create a panacea, but will rather refine this tool in a fashion that makes it more effective for the next century. This process is not based on any sense of Western altruism, since NATO will remain in a position of overwhelming strength from a military perspective. The conflict in Kosovo clearly demonstrated this fact. Rather, adaptation is based on the view that the foundations of European security have been inextricably altered.

Arms control negotiations are an effort to find a set of rules about the size and operations of military forces that all parties find acceptable and contribute to greater security. They are bound by a "harmony of interest" that insures compliance as well as the verification requirements that are part of any agreement. Compromise is an essential element that all parties must make to find a final settlement. Clearly this process has reached its end game, and an agreement is possible if all participants can find concessions, particularly in the remaining areas that deal with the balance between transparency and operational security.

The effort to craft an adapted CFE treaty has entered a critical juncture. Negotiators have worked out the majority of disagreements and avoided a possible catastrophe during the Kosovo conflict. But these conditions will not endure indefinitely. The upcoming OSCE summit may be the last opportunity to finalize an adapted treaty that not only reflects the new European security environment but also contributes to it. It remains the best chance for the West to give meaning to President Clinton's statement following the March 30 agreement: "Together, we are building a Europe in which armies prepare to stand beside their neighbors, not against them, and security depends on cooperation, not competition."


NOTES

1. "Final Document of the First Conference to Review Operations of the CFE Treaty and the Concluding Act of the Negotiations on Personnel Strength," Vienna, Austria, May 15-31, 1996, p. 2.

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2. Dr. Lynn Davis, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Policy, Testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Subcommittee on European Affairs, April 29, 1997.

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3. Arshad Mohammed, "Breakthrough Reached on New CFE Treaty," Reuters, July 24, 1997.

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4. U.S. Department of State Fact Sheet, "Adaptation of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) and the Decision of the Joint Consultative Group on Treaty Adaptation," Washington, D.C., April 6, 1999. See also Wade Boese, "CFE Parties Outline Adapted Treaty; Limits to Allow NATO Growth," Arms Control Today, March 1999, p. 28.

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5. Michael Mandelbaum, The Dawn of Peace in Europe, (New York: Twentieth Century Fund, 1996), pp. 61-63. See also Frederick Hammersen, "The Disquieting Voice of Russian Resentment," Parameters, Vol. XXVIII, No. 2, Summer 1998, pp. 39-55.

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6. Peter Graff, "Russia Reports Progress on Europe Forces Treaty," Reuters, March 10, 1999.

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7. Ambassador Lynn M. Hansen, "Conventional Arms Control–Has It a Future?" Paper delivered at DTRA Eighth Annual International Conference on Controlling Arms, Norfolk, Virginia, June 2, 1999.

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8. Dr. Alexander A. Pikayev, "After Yugoslavia: Shifting Russian Priorities on Arms Control and Non-Proliferation," presentation at the Atlantic Council, June 8, 1999.

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9. Hajo Schmidt, "Status der KSD Anpassungsverhandlungen," Hessiche Stiftung fur Auswartige Politik, September 10, 1999, p. 1.

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10. Wade Boese, "Russian Compliance with CFE 'Flank' Limit in Doubt," Arms Control Today, July/August 1999, p. 46.

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11. Bill Gertz, "Russia Tells U.S. It Will Violate Arms Pact," Washington Times, October 7, 1999, p. A1.

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12. "Azerbaijan: Moscow Sent Warplanes to Armenia," New York Times, December 18, 1998, p. A26.

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13. Sherman Garnett, "The CFE Flank Agreement," Washington: The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1997, p. 1.

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Colonel Jeffrey D. McCausland is dean of academics at the U.S. Army War College. The views expressed in this article are the author's own and are not to be considered the policy of the U.S. Army, the Department of Defense or any other agency of the U.S. government. [Back to top]

White House, Key Senators Intensify Push for CTBT

White House, Key Senators Intensify Push for CTBT

Craig Cerniello

IN LATE JULY, the White House and a bipartisan group of nine influential senators stepped up their efforts to secure U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) before early October, when a special conference on ways to facilitate the accord's entry into force will be held in Vienna. In addition to arguing that the treaty would slow nuclear proliferation and bolster international security, the senators, led by Byron Dorgan (D-ND), released new polling data illustrating the American public's overwhelming support for a worldwide ban on nuclear testing.

Despite this renewed push for ratification, Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Jesse Helms (R-NC) continued to block action on the CTBT. In a July 26 letter he reiterated that the Foreign Relations Committee would not schedule hearings on the treaty until the Clinton administration has submitted—and the full Senate has voted on—the 1997 amendments to the ABM Treaty and the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. Unless the administration can strike a deal with Helms or Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS), there is little chance that the test ban will be ratified. Such an outcome would put the United States, which took the lead in negotiating the CTBT, in the embarrassing position of having to attend the special conference as only an "observer."

Appearing in the Rose Garden on July 20, President Clinton once again expressed his support for the CTBT and urged the Foreign Relations Committee to hold hearings on the treaty this fall. In making the case for U.S. ratification, he said, "America already has stopped nuclear testing. We have, today, a robust nuclear force and nuclear experts affirm that we can maintain a safe and reliable deterrent without nuclear tests. The question now is whether we will adopt or whether we will lose a verifiable treaty that will bar other nations from testing nuclear weapons."

Just hours later in a press conference on Capitol Hill, seven Senate Democrats and two Republicans echoed the president's call for U.S. ratification. Referencing the Cox Report, Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) argued that a ban on nuclear testing would make it more difficult for China to utilize any nuclear design information that it may have acquired through espionage. Moreover, argued Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), the Senate must give its advice and consent to the CTBT if the United States is serious about reducing the nuclear danger in South Asia. Senator Joe Biden (D-DE)—who accused Helms and Lott of "acting irresponsibly"—claimed that the United States would be making "the single biggest mistake in American foreign policy and defense policy that this generation could make at the closing hours of this century" if the Senate did not approve the treaty.

Also on July 20, Dorgan released a letter, signed by all 45 Democratic senators, urging Helms to promptly conduct hearings on the CTBT. "If the United States is to maintain its leadership role and convince other countries to forego nuclear weapons tests, the full Senate must be given the opportunity to consider ratification of the CTBT before [the special conference] begins," they wrote.

To support their rhetoric, the nine senators released new polling data demonstrating the American public's unambiguous support for the test ban. The polls, which were commissioned by the Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Dangers and conducted June 18-21 by The Mellman Group (a Democratic polling firm) and Wirthlin Worldwide (a Republican polling firm), revealed that 82 percent of the public believes the United States should ratify the CTBT. The support is bipartisan and regionally consistent across the United States. According to the data, 86 percent of those identifying themselves as Democrats and 80 percent of Republicans favor U.S. ratification, as do 84 percent of those living in the Northeast, 80 percent of those in the Midwest, 84 percent of those in the South and 77 percent of those in the West.

Support for the CTBT is solid even when recent allegations of Chinese espionage at U.S. nuclear weapons laboratories are taken into account. Only 17 percent of those polled agree that "it is irrelevant for the U.S. to ratify and encourage global implementation of the CTBT because this treaty will not stop China from improving their nuclear technology and developing new weapons." The vast majority (84 percent) believe that the United States could better protect itself against nuclear threats from other countries if it had an international treaty banning nuclear weapons test explosions rather than if it resumed such testing itself.

Helms Responds

As expected, Helms continued to show little enthusiasm for the CTBT. "I note your distress at my floccinaucinihilipilification of the CTBT," he replied in a July 26 letter, using an 18th-century word for dismissiveness. In the letter the chairman reiterated his demand that the Clinton administration submit two unrelated sets of agreements to the Senate, stating, "[I]t has been 801 days since President Clinton agreed to legally-binding language requiring that he submit to the Senate amendments to the ABM Treaty for its advice and consent. The continued adherence by the U.S. to the legally-defunct ABM Treaty is a perilous obstacle to the United States' building and deploying a missile defense to protect the American people from a nuclear holocaust." The administration has pledged to submit the ABM amendments to the Senate after the Russian Duma has ratified START II, and to submit the Kyoto Protocol once there is greater participation from developing countries.

Despite Helms' intransigence, momentum for CTBT ratification continued to build. Taking advantage of the recent furor associated with the Cox Report, nine prominent nuclear weapons experts, including Hans Bethe and Richard Garwin, argued in a July 30 letter to Lott that Senate approval of the CTBT "would greatly help to protect the United States against the weaponization of stolen nuclear secrets."

"Whatever information on thermonuclear weapons China may have obtained, it is implausible that Beijing would deploy weapons that incorporate this information without first conducting nuclear explosive tests outlawed by the CTBT," they wrote.

In a report released August 4, the Tokyo Forum, a group of independent experts brought together by Japan to discuss ways to thwart nuclear proliferation and promote disarmament, also urged the United States and other key holdouts to ratify the CTBT. (See p. 14.)

Five days later, Clinton repeated his call for Senate advice and consent and pointed out that the treaty enjoys the support of General Henry Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as four former chairmen: Generals John Shalikashvili, Colin Powell and David Jones, and Admiral William Crowe. It remains to be seen whether the administration will be able to force a Senate floor vote on the test ban in time to permit U.S. participation in the special conference, scheduled for October 6-8.

White House, Key Senators Intensify Push for CTBT

Craig Cerniell

IN LATE JULY, the White House and a bipartisan group of nine influential senators stepped up their efforts to secure U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) before early October, when a special conference on ways to facilitate the accord's entry into force will be held in Vienna. In addition to arguing that the treaty would slow nuclear proliferation and bolster international security, the senators, led by Byron Dorgan (D-ND), released new polling data illustrating the American public's overwhelming support for a worldwide ban on nuclear testing.

Despite this renewed push for ratification, Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Jesse Helms (R-NC) continued to block action on the CTBT. In a July 26 letter he reiterated that the Foreign Relations Committee would not schedule hearings on the treaty until the Clinton administration has submitted—and the full Senate has voted on—the 1997 amendments to the ABM Treaty and the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. Unless the administration can strike a deal with Helms or Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS), there is little chance that the test ban will be ratified. Such an outcome would put the United States, which took the lead in negotiating the CTBT, in the embarrassing position of having to attend the special conference as only an "observer."

Appearing in the Rose Garden on July 20, President Clinton once again expressed his support for the CTBT and urged the Foreign Relations Committee to hold hearings on the treaty this fall. In making the case for U.S. ratification, he said, "America already has stopped nuclear testing. We have, today, a robust nuclear force and nuclear experts affirm that we can maintain a safe and reliable deterrent without nuclear tests. The question now is whether we will adopt or whether we will lose a verifiable treaty that will bar other nations from testing nuclear weapons."

Just hours later in a press conference on Capitol Hill, seven Senate Democrats and two Republicans echoed the president's call for U.S. ratification. Referencing the Cox Report, Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) argued that a ban on nuclear testing would make it more difficult for China to utilize any nuclear design information that it may have acquired through espionage. Moreover, argued Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), the Senate must give its advice and consent to the CTBT if the United States is serious about reducing the nuclear danger in South Asia. Senator Joe Biden (D-DE)—who accused Helms and Lott of "acting irresponsibly"—claimed that the United States would be making "the single biggest mistake in American foreign policy and defense policy that this generation could make at the closing hours of this century" if the Senate did not approve the treaty.

Also on July 20, Dorgan released a letter, signed by all 45 Democratic senators, urging Helms to promptly conduct hearings on the CTBT. "If the United States is to maintain its leadership role and convince other countries to forego nuclear weapons tests, the full Senate must be given the opportunity to consider ratification of the CTBT before [the special conference] begins," they wrote.

To support their rhetoric, the nine senators released new polling data demonstrating the American public's unambiguous support for the test ban. The polls, which were commissioned by the Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Dangers and conducted June 18-21 by The Mellman Group (a Democratic polling firm) and Wirthlin Worldwide (a Republican polling firm), revealed that 82 percent of the public believes the United States should ratify the CTBT. The support is bipartisan and regionally consistent across the United States. According to the data, 86 percent of those identifying themselves as Democrats and 80 percent of Republicans favor U.S. ratification, as do 84 percent of those living in the Northeast, 80 percent of those in the Midwest, 84 percent of those in the South and 77 percent of those in the West.

Support for the CTBT is solid even when recent allegations of Chinese espionage at U.S. nuclear weapons laboratories are taken into account. Only 17 percent of those polled agree that "it is irrelevant for the U.S. to ratify and encourage global implementation of the CTBT because this treaty will not stop China from improving their nuclear technology and developing new weapons." The vast majority (84 percent) believe that the United States could better protect itself against nuclear threats from other countries if it had an international treaty banning nuclear weapons test explosions rather than if it resumed such testing itself.

Helms Responds

As expected, Helms continued to show little enthusiasm for the CTBT. "I note your distress at my floccinaucinihilipilification of the CTBT," he replied in a July 26 letter, using an 18th-century word for dismissiveness. In the letter the chairman reiterated his demand that the Clinton administration submit two unrelated sets of agreements to the Senate, stating, "[I]t has been 801 days since President Clinton agreed to legally-binding language requiring that he submit to the Senate amendments to the ABM Treaty for its advice and consent. The continued adherence by the U.S. to the legally-defunct ABM Treaty is a perilous obstacle to the United States' building and deploying a missile defense to protect the American people from a nuclear holocaust." The administration has pledged to submit the ABM amendments to the Senate after the Russian Duma has ratified START II, and to submit the Kyoto Protocol once there is greater participation from developing countries.

Despite Helms' intransigence, momentum for CTBT ratification continued to build. Taking advantage of the recent furor associated with the Cox Report, nine prominent nuclear weapons experts, including Hans Bethe and Richard Garwin, argued in a July 30 letter to Lott that Senate approval of the CTBT "would greatly help to protect the United States against the weaponization of stolen nuclear secrets."

"Whatever information on thermonuclear weapons China may have obtained, it is implausible that Beijing would deploy weapons that incorporate this information without first conducting nuclear explosive tests outlawed by the CTBT," they wrote.

In a report released August 4, the Tokyo Forum, a group of independent experts brought together by Japan to discuss ways to thwart nuclear proliferation and promote disarmament, also urged the United States and other key holdouts to ratify the CTBT. (See document.)

Five days later, Clinton repeated his call for Senate advice and consent and pointed out that the treaty enjoys the support of General Henry Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as four former chairmen: Generals John Shalikashvili, Colin Powell and David Jones, and Admiral William Crowe. It remains to be seen whether the administration will be able to force a Senate floor vote on the test ban in time to permit U.S. participation in the special conference, scheduled for October 6-8.

NATO's Nuclear Weapons: The Rationale for 'No First Use'

Jack Mendelsohn

The 19 nations of NATO have an opportunity to bring their outdated nuclear weapons first-use policy into alignment with the alliance's stated objectives and commitments. Although NATO has sought to de-emphasize the role of nuclear weapons following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, it maintains its 30-year-old policy of "flexible response," which allows the alliance to be the first to introduce nuclear weapons into a conflict, including in reply to an attack with conventional weapons.

During its 50th anniversary summit in Washington in April, the alliance did agree to begin a process to review arms control and disarmament options in light of the "reduced salience" of nuclear weapons. NATO members, through the North Atlantic Council, are now working on proposals that will be considered at a NATO ministerial meeting at the end of this year. While strong U.S. resistance to even a review of NATO nuclear policy bodes ill for a move away from nuclear first use, the stage has at least been set for a new debate. By pledging not to be the first to introduce nuclear weapons into a conflict, NATO could reduce the political acceptability and military attractiveness of nuclear weapons, strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime, enhance the credibility of its deterrence policy and help to ease some of the tensions in the NATO-Russian relationship.

The Evolution of Doctrine

The readiness of NATO to use nuclear weapons first in a conflict has been evident from the beginning of the alliance. Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, drafted in early 1949 before the Soviet Union had tested a nuclear weapon, commits the allies to come to the defense of all members in the event of an attack. This commitment was understood by both the Americans and the Europeans to be a nuclear guarantee for the alliance, which, in the late 1940s and 1950s, faced what was perceived to be a hostile Soviet Union with an overwhelming advantage in conventional forces. At that critical moment, the alliance was both obligated and prepared to consider the massive use of nuclear weapons to respond to major conventional aggression.

In the early 1950s, political pressure in the United States to reduce its defense budget, and allied reluctance to spend the money to build up their own militaries, further encouraged a policy of threatening to use nuclear weapons against counter-value targets (such as cities and other "soft" targets) on a large scale and early in the event of a conflict in Europe. In December 1954, NATO agreed to integrate tactical nuclear weapons into its own defensive strategy, and by the end of 1960 there were 2,500 U.S. tactical nuclear weapons deployed in Western Europe. In December 1956, NATO adopted a Military Committee document (MC-14/2) that formalized the alliance's emphasis on nuclear weapons as the key component of its defensive strategy. The credibility of this doctrine of "massive retaliation" was already strained, however, by the time of its formal adoption by NATO.

The launch of Sputnik in August 1957 dramatically demonstrated the growth of Moscow's ability to threaten the U.S. homeland and called into question U.S. willingness to respond to a conventional attack in Europe with the full strength of its nuclear arsenal. The strategic significance of this development was not lost on NATO's European members. For example, in 1958 Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery, who four years earlier had stated that NATO nuclear weapons would necessarily be used against conventional attacks, was asking whether, "in the event of minor Russian aggression with conventional forces," it was realistic to expect "the West would use its nuclear deterrent as weapons against the cities of Russia and receive in return Russian retaliation which would put the United Kingdom and the U.S.A. out of business?" He concluded: "For us to act in this way would be to commit national suicide. I do not believe it will happen. When both sides have nuclear sufficiency, the deterrent will merely serve to deter each side from using it as a weapon."<1>

After a great deal of debate in the 1960s, in December 1967 the alliance adopted a new nuclear strategy in MC 14/3 known as "flexible response." NATO formally abandoned the strategy of massive retaliation (which had actually been dropped by the Eisenhower administration before the end of its term) and committed the alliance to respond to any aggression, short of general nuclear attack, at the level of force—conventional or nuclear—at which it was initiated. The alliance retained the option, however, to use nuclear weapons first if its initial response to a conventional attack did not prove adequate to containing the aggressor, and to deliberately escalate to general nuclear war, if necessary.

While adoption of the flexible response policy allowed the alliance to avoid a policy of prompt and mutual suicide (as many of NATO's tactical nuclear weapons would have detonated on alliance territory), NATO still continued to rely on the first use of nuclear weapons to deter or counter a major conventional assault. In support of this policy, NATO's tactical nuclear weapons stockpile in Europe grew to around 7,400 weapons in the early 1970s, including nuclear artillery shells, nuclear-armed missiles, air-delivered gravity bombs, special atomic demolition munitions (landmines), surface-to-air missiles, air-to-surface missiles and anti-submarine depth bombs. (See chart below.)

In 1979, in response to Soviet efforts to modernize its intermediate-range nuclear missile force with the triple-warheaded SS-20, NATO adopted a modernization plan of its own involving the deployment of 572 tactical nuclear warheads on ground-launched cruise missiles (GLCMs) and Pershing II ballistic missiles. After an elaborate interplay of negotiations, threats, walkouts, deployments and a significant regime change in Moscow (Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in March 1985), the United States and the Soviet Union agreed in the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty to ban all ground-based nuclear-armed ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.

In October 1990, the two Germanys were united under the terms of the "Final Settlement with Respect to Germany," negotiated by the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic, in association with the United States, Britain, the Soviet Union and France. Unified Germany remained a member of NATO but, according to the final settlement, neither foreign armed forces nor nuclear weapons could be stationed in that portion of united Germany that had previously been East Germany. In effect, the final settlement denuclearized a swath of NATO territory in the very center of Europe, a provision of particular interest to the Soviet Union, which sought to prevent NATO nuclear forces from coming closer to its frontiers.

Nuclear Weapons in the 1990s

As the Soviet Union wound down in the late 1980s, the security environment in Europe changed fundamentally, allowing a long-overdue reconsideration of NATO's nuclear strategy. In July 1990 in the London Declaration, NATO announced a review of the alliance's political and military strategy to reflect "a reduced reliance on nuclear weapons" and lead to the adoption of "a new NATO strategy making nuclear forces truly weapons of last resort."<2>

In early 1991, after the withdrawal and destruction of its INF systems and the voluntary retirement of about 2,400 excess tactical nuclear weapons, NATO's European-based nuclear arsenal stood at approximately 4,000 tactical warheads. Then, in September of that year, in the aftermath of the failed coup in Moscow, President Bush announced a major unilateral withdrawal of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons worldwide. Gorbachev announced reciprocal Soviet withdrawals the following month. All U.S. ground-based and sea-based tactical weapons were affected, leaving only several hundred (around 400) air-delivered gravity bombs in NATO's European-based nuclear arsenal by the end of the decade. (France and Britain subsequently decided to phase out their own tactical nuclear weapons.)

NATO's November 1991 "Strategic Concept," which resulted from the review announced in London (adopted six weeks before the dissolution of the Soviet Union), did not expressly include the "weapons of last resort" language in the London Declaration, but it did greatly scale back the pre-eminent role of nuclear weapons. The 1991 concept noted that "the fundamental purpose of the nuclear forces of the Allies is political: to preserve peace and prevent coercion and any kind of war." It stated specifically that "the circumstances in which any use of nuclear weapons might have to be contemplated by [NATO] are…remote." The allies "can therefore significantly reduce their sub-strategic nuclear forces."<3>

In early 1994, the alliance—led by the United States and Germany—began to move toward expanding NATO membership to countries in Eastern and Southern Europe. The general debate over alliance expansion raised the issue of nuclear weapons deployment in the potential new member-states. Sharply criticized by Moscow, which considered itself the prime (if not the only) target of the alliance's nuclear forces, the freedom to deploy nuclear weapons in new NATO members was just as staunchly defended by NATO. In September 1995, NATO released its "Enlargement Study," which stated explicitly that the "new members will be expected to support the concept of deterrence and the essential role nuclear weapons play in the Alliance's strategy of war prevention as set forth in the Strategic Concept."<4>

The new member-states—the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland—all sought protection under NATO's nuclear umbrella without pressing for actual nuclear deployments on their territories. Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski, for example, stated in April 1997 that he could "perceive no security requirement for stationing nuclear weapons on Polish territory." In the end, the NATO allies explicitly stated in the May 1997 so-called Founding Act that "they have no intention, no plan and no reason to deploy nuclear weapons on the territory of new members…." However, they also indicated in the same document that they did not see "any need to change any aspect of NATO's nuclear posture or nuclear policy—and do not foresee any future need to do so." In addition, the allies noted that they had "no intention, no plan, and no reason to establish nuclear weapon storage sites on the territory of those members, whether through the construction of new nuclear storage facilities or the adaptation of old nuclear storage facilities."<5>

The Founding Act's self-satisfied statement on "no need to change any aspect" of its nuclear policy notwithstanding, in the months leading up to NATO's 50th anniversary summit in Washington, the governments of Germany, Canada and the Netherlands took steps to urge NATO to consider a no-first-use policy in connection with the revision of the Strategic Concept being prepared for the anniversary celebration. On October 20, 1998, the German Social Democrat and Green parties signed a coalition agreement pledging that the new government "will advocate a lowering of the alert status for nuclear weapons and renunciation of the first use of nuclear weapons." German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer expanded on this point in a Der Spiegel interview published on November 23, 1998, stating that he believed the world had changed sufficiently to allow NATO to consider the adoption of a no-first-use policy. On December 3, the Dutch Parliament passed a resolution (NR 22/26200-V) that called upon NATO to consider the adoption of a no-first-use policy.

The response from Clinton administration officials was quick and sharp. During a December 8 press conference in Brussels, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said the United States "do[es] not believe that a review is necessary" and that the alliance has "the right nuclear strategy." But the calls for a change in NATO nuclear policy continued. On December 10, the Canadian Parliament's Standing Committee for Foreign Affairs and International Trade released a report, Canada and the Nuclear Challenge: Reducing the Political Value of Nuclear Weapons for the Twenty-First Century, which included a recommendation that Ottawa urge NATO to review its nuclear weapons policy.

While, ultimately, no such no-first-use policy was adopted or even discussed at the Washington summit NATO's 1999 Strategic Concept and the summit communiqué do reflect a slight change in alliance policy. (See box.) The new Strategic Concept continues to point out that "the fundamental purpose of the nuclear forces of the Allies is political…" (Paragraph 62). The new pronouncement acknowledges, however, that "with the radical changes in the security situation, including reduced conventional forces levels in Europe and increased reaction times, NATO's ability to defuse a crisis through diplomatic and other means or, should it be necessary, to mount a successful conventional defense has significantly improved." As a result, the document continues, the circumstances in which nuclear weapons might have to be used by the alliance are "extremely remote" (Paragraph 64).

More importantly, however, Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien and Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy both intervened to ensure that a review of NATO's nuclear policy would be initiated by the North Atlantic Council. In its communiqué, the alliance agreed "in light of overall strategic developments and the reduced salience of nuclear weapons...[to]...consider options for confidence- and security-building measures, verification, non-proliferation and arms control and disarmament. The Council in Permanent Session will propose a process to Ministers in December for considering such options."

Canadian Senator Douglas Roche, the former ambassador for disarmament affairs, interprets this statement as a commitment to initiate a review of NATO's nuclear posture. On April 24, Roche released an "Analysis of NATO Action on Nuclear Weapons," in which Axworthy is quoted as saying that NATO acknowledged "that such a review would be appropriate and that there would be directions to the NATO Council to start the mechanics of bringing that about." U.S. State Department officials will say only that all aspects of NATO nuclear policy are under discussion in connection with NATO's new initiative on weapons of mass destruction (WMD). This initiative, which involves information sharing, defense planning, civilian protection, non-proliferation assistance to other nations, and a WMD Center to coordinate NATO efforts was approved at the summit as a means of strengthening alliance support for U.S. non-proliferation policy.<6>

Should NATO Reconsider?

Some argue that the alliance's current posture of "flexible response," with the current understanding that the use of nuclear weapons would be considered only in "extremely remote" circumstances, is the right one and should not be changed. Others believe that this policy is out of date and should be re-examined by the alliance since

it lacks any military or strategic rationale;
undercuts the various crisis management and humanitarian justifications for NATO's out-of-area operations;
contravenes U.S., British and French commitments not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons states;
and weakens the non-proliferation regime.

An Absence of a Rationale

NATO's nuclear first-use policy lacks any military rationale. The alliance's threat during the Cold War to use nuclear weapons in response to non-nuclear aggression, however contradictory and self-deterring such a policy might have been, was considered helpful in reassuring Europe that some military response was available to counter the Warsaw Pact's significant quantitative advantage in conventional forces. Today, however, the alliance enjoys an even greater conventional superiority over any potential enemy or combination of enemies in Europe than the Warsaw Pact ever had over NATO.

The alliance's overwhelming and unchallengeable conventional advantages make it difficult to conceive of circumstances under which NATO would require nuclear weapons to successfully manage any crisis in Europe. The only state that could conceivably mount a serious military threat to NATO sometime in the future is Russia. But this likelihood is "extremely remote" and hardly justifies a general NATO policy of nuclear first use. Moreover, NATO's first-use policy is viewed in Moscow as directed primarily—if not solely—at Russia and, as noted above in connection with the Founding Act, remains a major irritant as NATO expands eastward.

The key alliance strategic rationale for nuclear forces based in Europe and committed to NATO is that they "provide an essential political and military link between the European and the North American members of the Alliance…[and] with strategic nuclear forces." Linkage to U.S. strategic nuclear forces was an integral part of NATO's strategy during the Cold War. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, however, and with the change in NATO's most likely mission from territorial defense to out-of-area crisis management, linkage to U.S. strategic nuclear retaliatory forces is far less critical–perhaps not even relevant—to alliance security and solidarity. In any case, adopting a no-first-use policy would not interfere with NATO's link to U.S. strategic retaliatory forces. A policy of no first use impacts on the circumstances surrounding the decision to use nuclear weapons, not on the choice of nuclear weapons—tactical, strategic or both—that will be used once the decision is taken.

There is no non-nuclear threat to U.S. or alliance security that would warrant a nuclear response. In 1993, three respected members of the U.S. national security establishment, McGeorge Bundy, William J. Crowe and Sidney Drell, wrote: "There is no vital interest of the U.S., except the deterrence of nuclear attack, that cannot be met by prudent conventional readiness. There is no visible case where the U.S. could be forced to choose between defeat and the first use of nuclear weapons."<7> Nothing has occurred since that statement was written to make nuclear weapons more critical to maintaining European security. If anything, the threat of using nuclear weapons has become even more anachronistic.

Out-Of-Area Intervention

As the intervention in Kosovo demonstrated, NATO is now seemingly prepared to undertake out-of-area military missions for a number of reasons: to resolve conflicts, to manage crises, to promote democracy, to defend moral principles or to protect human rights. At the same time, NATO has also made it clear that it seeks to perform these missions without putting its troops in harm's way and with a minimum amount of collateral damage to innocent civilians and the target country. NATO's supreme commander, U.S. General Wesley Clark, for one, has acknowledged that he was compelled to sacrifice basic logic of warfare to maintain the political cohesion of the alliance given the anti-war pressures felt by coalition governments in Germany and Italy.<8>

Apart from the fact that neither the NATO rationales for intervention nor its minimalist criteria for casualties and collateral damage can be supported by the use of nuclear weapons, some NATO allies—and, more importantly, their publics—had serious misgivings over the extent of the destruction wrought in Kosovo by conventional bombing. During various stages of the 11-week war, Italy, Greece and Germany were all on the verge of calling for an end to the attacks. In the case of Germany, Foreign Minister Fischer narrowly averted a vote in his Green Party, which makes up a significant minority of the ruling Red-Green coalition, calling for an end to all German participation in the bombing campaign.

The United States remains committed to expanding NATO's future missions in response to the "complex new risks to...peace and stability, including oppression, ethnic conflict, economic distress, [and] the collapse of political order...."<9> The problems raised by Kosovo, however, may have made it more difficult for the alliance to authorize even conventional out-of-area military operations in the future. If an intervention is authorized, the possibility of a proposal within NATO to initiate the threat to use or the use of nuclear weapons will inevitably cause even the most determined of the allies to object. Since, under these conditions, it is highly improbable that the alliance will ever reach a consensus to employ nuclear weapons in an out-of-area intervention, much less in support of U.S. interests in other areas of the world, NATO's first-use option is neither a credible deterrent nor a necessary policy.

It is not possible to reconcile the morally repugnant use of a nuclear weapon, or any weapon of mass destruction, with the pursuit of limited, humanitarian goals. As a point of law, this was made explicit by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in its July 1996 advisory opinion on the legality of nuclear weapons. At that time, 10 of the ICJ's 14 judges determined that the use or threatened use of nuclear weapons is illegal in all but one possible circumstance: a threat to the very existence of the state.

Of the five recognized nuclear-weapon states (the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China), only the two non-NATO powers—China and Russia—have declared nuclear-use policies that do not run counter to the ICJ opinion: Beijing has a no-first-use policy and Moscow says that it reserves the right to use all available forces and means, including nuclear weapons, if as a result of military aggression, there is a threat to the existence of the Russian Federation as a sovereign state.

Moreover, it is politically unwise for NATO to continue to maintain a first-use option if it seriously intends to execute out-of-area conflict resolution, crisis management or humanitarian missions (as opposed to the traditional defense of territory or in response to an aggressor). As long as NATO refuses to rule out the first use of nuclear weapons, it is difficult to avoid the perception that enforcement of democratic values is being backed by a nuclear threat. Indeed, this perception drove Ukraine's Supreme Council (or Rada) in March 1999 to attempt to abolish the country's non-nuclear-weapon-state status in view of NATO's aggressive plans toward non-members. Although the Rada's position was subsequently dismissed as parliamentary rhetoric by Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, its action illustrates the depth of the passions stirred by NATO's intervention. To avoid the perception that out-of-area operations might escalate to the nuclear level, NATO would clearly be better served if it operated under a policy that confined the use of nuclear weapons to core deterrence, rather than one that is based on first use.

Negative Security Assurances

All 19 nations of NATO, including its three nuclear-capable members, are bound to the object and purposes of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Under the treaty, the five recognized nuclear-weapon states have committed themselves to respect a broad prohibition on using nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states. Pledged in the form of negative security assurances (NSAs), the most recent being the one reaffirmed just before the 1995 NPT conference that extended the treaty indefinitely, the nuclear-weapon states promise never to use nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear-weapon state party to the NPT, except in response to an attack by such a state in alliance with a nuclear-weapon state.<10>

The 1995 U.S. NSA reads:

The United States affirms that it will not use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon States parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons except in the case of an invasion or any attack on the United States, its territories, its armed forces or other troops, its allies, or on a State toward which it has a security commitment, carried out or sustained by such a non-nuclear weapon State in association or alliance with a nuclear-weapon State.<11>

It is important to note that the NSA makes no exceptions to allow for a nuclear response to a chemical or biological weapons attack.

NATO's first-use doctrine against conventional forces is clearly contrary to the NPT-related NSA commitments of the United States, Britain and France. In addition, the United States, the key NATO nuclear power, maintains the option to use nuclear weapons in response to a chemical or biological weapons attack, and implies that NATO has the same policy. While this policy had been present in U.S. Defense Department documents in the early 1990s, it was articulated in April 1996 by Robert Bell, senior director for defense policy and arms control at the National Security Council at the time of the U.S. signature of a protocol to the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free-Zone (ANWFZ) Treaty. Protocol I of the so-called Treaty of Pelindaba pledges the United States not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against any treaty party. Bell, however, said U.S. signature "will not limit options available to the United States in response to an attack by an ANWFZ party using weapons of mass destruction." [Emphasis added.] In December 1998, Walter Slocombe, under secretary of defense for policy, stated: "It is simply an issue of making sure that we continue to maintain a high level of uncertainty or high level of concern, if you will, at what the potential aggressor would face if he used [CBW] or indeed took other aggressive acts against the alliance." [Emphasis added.]<12>

For the United States, the most powerful nation in the world, and by implication NATO, the most powerful conventional alliance, to insist that they need the threat of first use of nuclear weapons to deter potential adversaries raises the question why other, much weaker nations, confronted by hostile neighbors, do not need them as well. Moreover, a U.S. and NATO first-use policy against, in effect, conventional, chemical and biological weapons suggests that nuclear weapons have many useful military roles. This reinforces the value and prestige attributed to nuclear weapons and undermines efforts by the United States and other key NATO countries to persuade non-nuclear-weapon states to refrain from developing their own nuclear arsenals.

'Calculated Ambiguity' and Deterrence

Many proponents of a nuclear first-use policy admit that neither the United States nor NATO will ever employ nuclear weapons except in retaliation against a nuclear attack. Nonetheless, these proponents argue that a no-first-use policy should not be adopted because uncertainty—or "calculated ambiguity"—as to the nature of the alliance response serves to deter a potential aggressor from initiating a chemical or biological weapons attack. This approach was clearly laid out on February 5, 1998, when State Department spokesman James P. Rubin said:

If any country were foolish enough to attack the U.S., our allies or our forces with chemical or biological weapons, our response would be swift, devastating and overwhelming. We have worked hard to fashion non-nuclear responses to the threat or use of weapons of mass destruction in order to give military commanders and the president a range of options from which to choose.

Former Secretary of Defense William Perry reaffirmed the approach during a March 1998 Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the Chemical Weapons Convention:

[W]e are able to mount a devastating response without using nuclear weapons. Nevertheless, we do not rule out in advance any capability available to us. I stress that these policies have to do with a situation in which the U.S., our allies and our forces have been attacked with chemical or biological weapons. [Emphasis added.]

The question of whether the veiled U.S. threat of nuclear retaliation against chemical or biological weapons attacks successfully deterred Saddam Hussein from using chemical or biological weapons against allied forces during the Gulf War may never be answered with absolute certainty. The utility of a policy of "calculated ambiguity," however, has been greatly diminished with the disclosures in memoirs by senior policymakers that whatever policy was implied, the United States never had, under any circumstances, any intention of using nuclear weapons during the war.<13> As a result of this public record, it is quite possible that "calculated ambiguity" is no longer a credible policy (if it ever was), and that there is little deterrent value left in the U.S. or NATO threat of nuclear first use in any non-nuclear military conflict.

Taking the Lead

The principal threats to the security of NATO and its member-states over the next decades will not come from Russia, but rather from regional dictators, rogue states and violent sub-national groups. The alliance's best defense against these threats is not its nuclear arsenal—the use of which has no military or political justification—but rather its overwhelming conventional military superiority, unsurpassed intelligence gathering and processing capabilities and, last but not least, the international non-proliferation regime.

As NATO's primary arsenal nation, the United States should be the one to take the lead in urging a revision of NATO's nuclear posture. The opportunity was missed in 1994 when the United States conducted its Nuclear Posture Review and reportedly concluded that there was no military requirement for tactical nuclear weapons in Europe. But at that time, the Europeans insisted on the continued presence of these weapons as a hedge against the unknown (meaning a Russian resurgence) and to maintain a tangible "link" to the U.S. nuclear deterrent. Now, for a number of political reasons—the administration's overall weakness, a conservative Congress, the upcoming presidential elections, and a "don't-rock-the-boat" foreign policy—Washington is unwilling to disturb the nuclear status quo.

As a result, it has fallen to Canada and the European members of NATO to push for a nuclear policy review. At least some alliance members recognize that, in the absence of any serious military or strategic challenge to the NATO nations, the alliance's current nuclear first-use policy lacks credibility and undercuts overall efforts to enhance European security. If Canada and NATO's European members can bring themselves to propose abandoning the nuclear first-use policy, the United States should be willing to accept this incremental step toward a safer and more secure world.

 


NOTES

1. Quoted in The Entangling Alliance, Ronald E. Powaski, Greenwood Press, 1994, p. 39.

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2. "London Declaration on a Transformed North Atlantic Alliance," London, July 5-6, 1990, Paragraph 18.

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3. "NATO Strategic Concept," November 1991, Paragraphs 55 and 57.

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4. "NATO Study on Enlargement," Chapter 5, paragraph 45.

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5. "The Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security Between NATO and the Russian Federation," Paris, May 27, 1997, Section IV.

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6. NATO Fact Sheet on WMD Initiative, April 24, 1999.

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7. See "Reducing the Nuclear Danger," Foreign Affairs, Volume 72, Number 2.

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8. William Drozdiak, "War Effort Restrained by Politics, Clark Says," The Washington Post, July 20, 1999, p. A14.

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9. "The Alliance's Strategic Concept," April 1999, Paragraph 3.

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10. Four countries remain outside the NPT: Cuba and the three de facto nuclear-weapon states—India, Israel and Pakistan.

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11. The first official U.S. declaration of negative security assurance was in 1978 at the UN. These assurances were reaffirmed by the five declared nuclear-weapons states in April 1995 and taken note of in UN Security Council Resolution 984. In addition, as a signator of the Protocols, the U.S. has pledged not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against any state party to the treaties of Rarotonga (South Pacific Nuclear Weapons Free Zone), Tlateloco (Latin America NWFZ) and Pelindaba (Africa NWFZ).

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12. Interview with Walter Slocombe, under secretary of defense for policy, December 11, 1998.

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13. See, for example, Colin Powell, My American Journey, pp. 472 and 486; George Bush and Brent Scowcroft, A World Transformed, p. 463; and James A Baker, The Politics of Diplomacy, p. 359.

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Jack Mendelsohn, vice president and executive director of the Lawyers Alliance for World Security (LAWS) in Washington, DC, is former deputy director of the Arms Control Association.

Senator Helms' Floccinaucinihilipilification

Spurgeon M. Keeny, Jr.

As self-appointed arbiter of U.S. foreign policy, Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms (R-NC) recently disdainfully dismissed an appeal by all 45 Democratic senators that he allow the Senate to consider the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which has languished before his committee for two years without hearings. In his supercilious reply, Helms proclaimed his "floccinaucinihilipilification" of the CTBT, or in plain English, his belief that the treaty is absolutely worthless. With Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott's (R-MS) support, Helms reasserted his intention to hold the treaty hostage to advance his campaign to destroy the unrelated ABM Treaty, thereby blocking Senate action on the CTBT. Failure to ratify the CTBT will endanger U.S. security by undercutting U.S. efforts to build international support for the nuclear non-proliferation regime and by allowing further nuclear weapon developments by countries that could threaten the United States.

The 1970 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which now bars testing by the 181 non-nuclear-weapon states-parties through their agreement not to acquire nuclear weapons, allows the five recognized nuclear-weapon states to continue testing, underscoring the inherently discriminatory nature of the treaty. By applying equally to all nations, the CTBT would end the privileged status of the nuclear-weapon states to continue testing to further develop their nuclear capabilities. The treaty is widely seen as the litmus test of whether the nuclear-weapon states recognize their own NPT treaty obligation to move toward nuclear disarmament.

The CTBT would ban nuclear testing by Russia, the only country that can now possibly threaten the survival of the United States, and by China, the only other country that might in the future achieve that capability. But neither Russia nor China will ratify before the United States does. The treaty also provides a practical means to limit the development of more advanced weapons by India, Israel and Pakistan, three nuclear-capable countries that are unlikely to join the NPT as non-nuclear-weapon states because it would require the elimination of all their nuclear weapons. Finally, by establishing an international norm against testing, the CTBT would put additional pressure not to test on North Korea and Iraq, which are in violation of their NPT obligations, and Iran, which the United States believes is positioning itself to violate the NPT.

Despite these compelling considerations, test ban opponents assert in a campaign of false and misleading statements that without testing the U.S. deterrent will be threatened by the loss of stockpile reliability and that the treaty is "unverifiable." These alarming assertions could not be sustained in a serious Senate debate. The leaders of the three U.S. nuclear weapon laboratories agree that the reliability and safety of the stockpile can be maintained without further nuclear testing. This will be accomplished by the generously funded stockpile stewardship program, which will monitor the reliability of the stockpile with non-destructive and non-nuclear testing, as well as computer simulations. This will give ample warning if weapons or components must be refabricated. The current chairman of the JCS, General Henry Shelton, as well as four former JCS chairmen have endorsed the treaty as serving U.S. security interests. They are confident of the reliability and safety of the U.S. stockpile and see no need to develop new types of weapons to meet U.S. military requirements in an era of declining relevance of nuclear weapons.

The U.S. record of successfully identifying some 1,000 foreign nuclear tests (about 700 underground) refutes the charge that the treaty is unverifiable. With the added capabilities of the treaty's international monitoring system, any tests large enough to affect U.S. security will be detected. And the treaty provision to permit on-site inspections will provide a mechanism for taking violations to the United Nations with the support of the international community if clear evidence is discovered or if the inspection is denied.

Helms' obstruction has already lost the United States voting participation in the special Vienna conference October 6-8 to facilitate entry into force of the CTBT. If he is allowed to continue to block ratification, the U.S. leadership role will be seriously undercut at the important five-year NPT review conference scheduled for April-May 2000. Rather than being looked to as the leading force against nuclear proliferation, the United States will be widely held as responsible for the failure of the nuclear-weapon states to honor their pledge on the CTBT in obtaining the indefinite extension of the NPT in 1995.

The Republican leadership should not permit Helms to co-opt them as co-conspirators in his effort to block CTBT ratification. If Helms succeeds in denying the Senate the right to exercise its constitutional responsibility to consider this important treaty, the issue must be taken to the American people. Polls indicate that an overwhelming bipartisan majority does not share the senator's cavalier "floccinaucinihilipilification" of the CTBT.

KLA Disarming Slowly and Reluctantly

The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), an estimated 17,000 ethnic Albanians who fought to separate Kosovo from Serb-dominated Yugoslavia, is on pace to meet its September 19 disarmament deadline according to KFOR, the international security force in the war-torn province. KFOR, however, has stepped up its search and seizure operations, while Russia, a KFOR member with pro-Serbian sympathies, charged on August 18 that the process is "proceeding very slowly."

General Michael Jackson, commander of KFOR, said August 23 that the KLA had met the second of three benchmarks on August 20, by which all of its heavy weapons and 60 percent of its small arms were to be handed over to registered storage sites. By September 19, all KLA small arms, except pistols, shotguns and hunting rifles, are to be turned over and the wearing of KLA uniforms and insignia will be proscribed as the separatist group is officially disbanded.

KFOR's measure of KLA compliance is somewhat suspect given that its original weapons holdings are not known. Though "encouraged by the results," a KFOR spokesperson, who declined to release total numbers of weapons turned over, said that KFOR is "still not satisfied with the number of weapons in circulation and continued acts of violence." With the international security presence now numbering over 40,000, KFOR is taking a more active role in disarming the province, according to the spokesperson. Though pistols, shotguns and hunting rifles are not proscribed, KFOR is confiscating the weapons if they are carried in public.

Belgrade to Abide by Sub-Regional Arms Control Agreement

Wade Boese

NEARLY ONE MONTH after withdrawing its armed forces from Kosovo, Yugoslavia pledged on July 19 to resume its implementation of the June 1996 Agreement on Sub-Regional Arms Control, which Belgrade suspended one week after the start of NATO's 78-day bombing campaign in March. Countries in the region, including Yugoslavia, are also now expected to renew talks on building a "regional balance in and around the former Yugoslavia" as called for under Article V of the 1995 Dayton peace accords.

The sub-regional agreement caps the number of tanks, armored combat vehicles (ACVs), heavy artillery, combat aircraft and attack helicopters that each party to the agreement can possess. Weapons limits for Yugoslavia (comprised of Serbia and Montenegro), Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina were set according to a 5-2-2 ratio based on the size of their respective populations. Bosnia-Herzegovina's limits were further divided between the Bosnian Muslim-Croat federation and the Bosnian-Serb-controlled Republica Srpska on a 2-1 basis. The agreement calls on all parties to annually exchange information and permit inspections of their holdings.

As a first step in renewing its participation in the agreement, Yugoslavia is expected to provide updated information on its weapons holdings in early September. With conflicting reports by NATO and Belgrade regarding Yugoslav weapons losses during the 11-week war in Kosovo, it is unclear how much lower the forthcoming figures will be than those Yugoslavia provided in its last report in December. Prior to the war, Belgrade had the maximum number of weapons allowed in each of the five categories.

Any weapons reductions claimed by Belgrade will need to be verified by the other parties to the agreement. For example, if Belgrade claims 50 fewer tanks, then evidence of 50 destroyed tanks must be provided. Once verified, Belgrade would then be permitted under the agreement to replace its losses—up to its weapons ceilings—if it so chooses. Any future weapons acquisitions by Yugoslavia, however, are also dependent upon the lifting of the March 31, 1998 UN arms embargo.

Discussions on resuming implementation of the sub-regional agreement, including inspections, and on how to verify Yugoslavia's pending data submission are anticipated to take place at a September 16 meeting of the parties. Yugoslavia has said it will attend, but Republica Srpska may not in response to the August 25 arrest in Vienna of its army chief of staff, General Momir Talic, on war crimes charges for his role in the 1992-95 Bosnian war.

Belgrade's interest in complying with the sub-regional agreement stems in part from a desire to improve its standing in Europe and possibly gain readmission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). While Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia and Slovenia are all OSCE members, Yugoslavia's membership has been suspended since July 1992. The fact that the Yugoslav army's 1997 modernization plan, "Model 21," was developed with the sub-regional agreement in mind further encourages adherence to the agreement. Implementation of the sub-regional agreement is also viewed as a necessary step for the so-called Article V negotiations, which Belgrade has strongly supported as a means to formalizing ties with Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania—neighbors with which it has uneasy relations.

Preliminary Article V talks have focused on transparency and on confidence- and security-building measures rather than on weapons limits. French Ambassador Henry Jacolin, OSCE special representative for the talks, has said he would like to see progress by the OSCE's November summit in Istanbul, Turkey. The first Article V meeting since February is scheduled for September 6, and approximately 20 countries, including the United States, are expected to attend.

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