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former Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration
March 7, 2018
Events

TRANSCRIPT AVAILABLE - The 50th Anniversary of the Limited Test Ban Treaty (LTBT)

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Looking Back on Its Legacy and the Future of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban

Organized by Green Cross International, the Arms Control Association, the Embassy of Kazakhstan

Thursday, September 12, 2013, 1:30pm-3:30pm
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1779 Mass. Ave. NW

Concluded by Presidents John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev only months after the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Limited Test Ban Treaty (LTBT) was an historic first step toward reining in the U.S.-Soviet nuclear arms race. The LTBT, which banned nuclear test explosions above ground, underwater, and in space, led to the end of the most visible and strongly opposed aspects of the arms race: hundreds of open-air explosions that spewed dangerous levels of radioactive contamination far beyond the test sites of the nuclear powers. Fifty years ago, the Senate debated and approved ratification of the LTBT.

Negotiations of a global, comprehensive test ban were finally concluded in 1996, but the treaty has not yet entered into force. This special event will explore the origins, the negotiations and the legacy of the LTBT and the role of the CTBT in curbing further nuclear competition.

Introductory Remarks - Transcript
His Excellency Kairat Umarov, Ambassador of Kazakhstan to the United States
Dr. Paul F. Walker, Program Director, Green Cross International

Panel One: The Legacy of the 1963 Limited Test Ban Treaty - Transcript
Chair/Discussant: Thomas J. Putnam, Director, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum

Speakers:

Ambassador James Goodby, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution, former U.S. LTBT negotiator
Dr. Timothy Naftali, former Director, Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum

Panel Two: The Role and Future of the Test Ban Treaty - Transcript
Chair/Discussant: Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association

Speakers:

Ambassador Thomas Pickering, Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and Russia
Linton Brooks, Committee on "Technical Issues Related to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty," National Academy of Sciences
Roman Vassilenko, Ambassador-at-Large, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kazakhstan
Karipbeck Kuyukov, Honorary ATOM Project Ambassador, Kazakhstan
Anita Friedt, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear and Strategic Policy, U.S. Department of State


Transcript by
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.

PAUL WALKER: So welcome to all of you.  Welcome to our distinguished speakers.  If you look at the program, you’ll see that we have two panels.  We have a panel on the Limited Test Ban Treaty, which is three individuals you see sitting in front of you here now, and we have a second panel on a comprehensive test ban treaty.

So we’re doing a bit of a historical adventure here from prior to 1963 up through 1963, when the Limited Test Ban Treaty was signed, on up, of course, to 1996, when the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty was signed, and then up to today, talking about the prospects for ratification. We’re really fortunate to have a good number of expert panelists.  And I really thank a couple of the panelists who came a long way to Washington to be with us today.

Let me also when we start off, thank the host of this event and the organizers, particularly the Embassy of Kazakhstan, and I’ll subsequently introduce Ambassador Umarov; and also, the Arms Control Association and Daryl Kimball, who is here; and my own organization, Green Cross International.  And as you know, in Washington, D.C., we’re – or in the United States, our affiliate is called Global Green USA.  So there’s loads of confusion around branding, whether we’re Green Cross or Global Green or Global Green or Green Cross.  But it’s all the same – the same organization.

And we just celebrated, actually, our 20th anniversary in Geneva, Switzerland, just a week ago, with a fellow, whose name you’ll all recognize, Mikhail Gorbachev, who came in – he’s now 82 years old, he chaired three days of meetings with us.  And we were actually very involved with the sort of Russian-American discussions on the topic of the day, Syria and chemical weapons.

Let me first extend apologies from Senator Edward Markey.  He can’t come today.  We ran the risk of organizing this this week; it was the best for everyone’s schedule, including Senator Markey, and then, of course, we were all hit with a small issue like Syria and chemical weapons and the threat of Western attacks.  So Senator Reid apparently – a couple of hours ago, called a Democrat Caucus meeting in the Senate around Syria and chemical weapons.  So Senator Markey just called me half an hour, apologized, said to say hello to everybody, and he’s very supportive of this issue, would like to do something in the future in the Senate when it’s better timing.  But he’s very sorry he can’t be here.

So with that – oh, let me first say, this panel will go to about 2:30.  We’ll break for five minutes; there will be actually a video while you’re having a slight coffee break on Kazakhstan and Semipalatinsk I believe.  And then – and then we’ll come back for the second panel, switch seats and move forward.

So it’s my pleasure now to introduce Ambassador Kairat Umarov, the ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United States.  Ambassador Umarov has held a number of posts – some of you, I’m sure, know him – in the Kazakh foreign ministry, including ambassador to India, to Syria and has served actually twice before here in Washington, D.C., right in early to mid-1990s.

Also of interest to all of us, I think, because the fact that he was very active in the Nevada-Semipalatinsk movement and to close both the U.S. and Soviet weapons test sites in the late 1980s.  And I think, as many of you know, this led to the closure of Semipalatinsk – some of you actually were involved in that, I know, in the audience – on August 29th, 1991, 22 years ago.

So we’re here also, I think, a bit to celebrate the closure of Semipalatinsk; we’ve done that the last couple of years too.  And you also know that that date is the annual United Nations Day Against Nuclear Testing, so it’s sort of a combination of 50th anniversary of the – of the Limited Test Ban Treaty, U.N. Day Against Nuclear Testing, closure of the Semipalatinsk site, and also, moving forward on the Comprehensive Test Ban.

So with that, I turn it over to you, Mr. Ambassador.  (Applause.)

AMBASSADOR KAIRAT UMAROV:  Thank you very much, Paul, for organizing and helping – all to organize this event.  I would like to thank all the panelists who are right now here and who will be coming for the next session.

I think it’s a very important session, just once again, to highlight the importance of everyone to struggle and fight for the ban of nuclear weapons.  I think that everybody has already heard today the news that the DPRK has restarted the nuclear reactor, and I think it brings again to the focus of attention the dangers of nuclear testing and nuclear weapons development.

So I think that it’s very timely, and I would like just to say that we have a special say in this particular issue, because for us, it’s an emotional and political issue.  And I think today, you will have a chance to talk about both political issues and emotional side of the story.

Sixty four years ago, a tragic page was turned in the history of my nation.  The Soviet Union conducted the first test of nuclear device at the Semipalatinsk testing ground in eastern Kazakhstan.  In the course of the next more than 40 years, there were 450 tests of over than 600 nuclear devices with the cumulative capacity of around 2,500 Hiroshima bombs, which, you know, were dropped on Japan.

About ½ million citizens of Kazakhstan have suffered from the effects of radiation and continue to suffer today.  Vast territories comparable to the size of Germany have been exposed to radioactive contamination, and you know, we cannot use this territory for another thousand of years.

I am telling all these facts because, you know, at some point, someone has to say no to nuclear testing and nuclear weapons development, and Kazakhstan actually did a good example of it.  Being still a part of the former Soviet Union, fresh from the Cold War era, President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, by his decree, shut down the world’s second largest nuclear testing site.  And it was done because of his own conviction and because of the strong popular movement in Kazakhstan to close the testing ground.  It was mentioned that I was really involved with this movement.  It was really a huge – first, huge grassroots movement to close the testing sites and to show to the world – to the world that it is possible; it needs to be done.

And Kazakhstan succeeded in this.  On August 29, 1991, unconditionally, the testing site was closed.  That is a good demonstration that by political will, some good things could happen in this world.  And we, today, call upon other countries to follow our suit, to follow our example, and show this political will.

It was an initiative of Kazakhstan that in the U.N. General Assembly on August 29th was proclaimed as an international day of – against nuclear tests, and this year, we – the fourth time observing this day all over the world, with different events.  And today’s event, we also wanted to dedicate to this particular date.

The historical act – it was a historical act made by the will of people of Kazakhstan, 21 years ago, and I think it has a great civilizational significance.  Throughout all those years, Kazakhstan has been strongly committed to the principles of nonproliferation.  The reasons for that are quite obvious:  We have first-hand experience of how deadly and appalling the consequences of nuclear tests could be.  The radioactive fallout left, as I mentioned, 1.5 million people in Kazakhstan with nightmarish health problems, horrific tumors, radiation-caused genetic mutations and defects, and this is going on up till now.

On that ground, we have every right to stress the need for further decisive actions aimed at reducing nuclear threat.  We have strong reasons and we have a strong record of our own laws toward that direction.  Kazakhstan was the first to close down the nuclear test site, we voluntarily renounced the world’s fourth largest nuclear missile – nuclear missile arsenal from the territory of Kazakhstan, the leftover from the former Soviet Union.  We declared a nonnuclear status, we were the founding members of the nuclear weapon-free zone in Central Asia, and we initiated this international day of – against nuclear tests.  And it is a good reminder of the horrific consequences of the nuclear test.

We continue to urge all nuclear weapon states to start developing international, legally binding document on providing security assurances to nuclear weapons-free states.  It is time that some countries overcome the misperception or illusion that acquiring nuclear capability will bolster their security, national security.  We think it’s a very great delusion and we very strongly believe that what we lack today is not the – any more nuclear weapons or weapons of mass destruction, but what we lack today is the mutual trust and understanding.  We lack political will.  And whatever initiatives Kazakhstan today has come with, it comes from the genuine belief of Kazakh people that we have to overcome the lack of trust and to build a safer, nuclear weapon-free world.

An early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which could serve as a catalyst of process of nonproliferation, effective implementation of NPT, is among the steps in that direction.  We welcome the progress made by CTBTO since 1996, and in increasing global support of the concepts of the summit on nonproliferation.  At this juncture, the international community should, through joint efforts, convince eight states that have yet to either sign or ratify the treaty to do so.  We are encouraged by U.S. President Barack Obama’s intention to give a new impetus to that process during his speech in Berlin, casting nuclear reductions as the centerpiece of his address.

Kazakhstan itself continues to contribute significantly to disarmament and nonproliferation, as reflected not only in our active antinuclear position, but also in recent progressive actions.  Our country is actively engaged in settlement of situation of Iranian nuclear program, by providing Almaty platform for the 5-plus-one negotiations.  We actively participate in the CTBTO Preparatory Commission, promoting the development and functioning of International Monitoring System and onsite inspections.

Five stations functioning in Kazakhstan have been integrated into the International Monitoring System, and used to provide a 24-hour monitoring of natural and manmade seismic events in the region.  They demonstrated their effectiveness and quality performance when they had timely detected and located nuclear explosions carried out by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  We strongly condemned the nuclear tests of May 2009 and February 2013, and called upon the DPRK to take note of our positive track record of nuclear disarmament and successful, peaceful development in cooperation with the national community.

Our example becomes very actual today, as I’ve mentioned, since the – North Korea is starting again its nuclear program.  At the Global Nuclear Security Summit in Washington in April, 2010, Kazakhstan introduced a concrete proposal:  In exchange for the nuclear club guarantee for non-use of nuclear weapons and the protection in case of an attack, the entire world must abolish – abandon its nuclear ambitions.

The president also called for U.N. to adopt a universal declaration on the achievement of a nuclear-weapon-free world – and we’re currently working on it in the U.N. – to advance the commitment to Global Zero.

Kazakhstan today works with IAEA to prevent the countries to acquire nuclear technologies by allocating the International Nuclear Fuel Bank, under the auspices of IAEA, on its territory.  We also call upon the states not to delay the drafting of a fissile material cutoff treaty, which will become an important step towards nuclear disarmament and prevention of proliferation of nuclear weapons.

We are very much sure that even more decisive steps have to be made in the area of nonproliferation.  With the political will and mutual understanding, mutual trust, it could be done.

The ATOM Project, which you will see today – it will be presented today, is an initiative of President Nazarbayev coming on top of the more than 22 years of commitment and actions to achieve global nuclear disarmament.  The ATOM Project reminds the world of the tragic consequences of nuclear tests.  We call on the global community to take more decisive action to a final and irrevocable ban of these tests.

Today it is my great pleasure to welcome you all to see the exhibition of the artist who is among us today whose life is a testament how the human spirit can overcome the physical disabilities.  He is using his works to speak clear and loud that nuclear testing and nuclear weapons are the – very harmful for the entire world community.  I would like him, of course, today to talk about his experiencing and his ideas.  And it is Mr. Karipbek Kuyokov, who is among us today and who will give his words in order to speak about sad story which stands behind nuclear testing.

With this, I would like to say thank you, and if at any time anyone would like to talk to us, we will be ready to continue asking and answering questions.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

MR. WALKER:  Thank you very much, Mr. Ambassador, and also welcome to Karipbek Kuyokov.  This – the signs you see here – you’ll see him on the second panel and hear from him, and also the video from the break will also be on what the ambassador has talked about as the ATOM Project, Abolish Testing:  Our Mission, which is a Kazakh-led project.

Before I turn the panel over to Tom Putnam, let me just say a couple of words about nuclear testing, remind ourselves what’s been done to date.  There have been 2,055 nuclear tests that have taken place since 1945, the Trinity test and Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  The United States has tested, by my count, 1,032 times.  They top the list.  The Soviet Union tested 715 times.  And then of course we have the British, French, Chinese.  And the only recent tests have been the North Korean.  So there’s been a de facto moratorium on testing in the United States and in Russia since 1992.  And some of us were involved, actually, in putting that moratorium in place.  The North Korean tests, of course, were 2006, 2009 and 2013, and then there’s a question about a test some time ago, whether it was an Israeli and/or South African test that some of you may know about.

So the Limited Test Ban Treaty was an enormous accomplishment in 1963, and I know it took years under the Eisenhower administration and finally the John F. Kennedy administration to put in place.  But we’ll hear more about that in a – in much more detail, I’m sure.  But I want to remind everybody, it was actually signed in Moscow on August 5th, 1963, so just over 50 years ago, by Dean Rusk – you all know that name – Andrei Gromyko and Alec Douglas-Home, the British representative.  And it was ratified, after some considerable debate in the U.S. Senate, on September 24th, 80 to 19 votes.  So I think all of us are hoping that we can get close to that vote count for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in the foreseeable future.  And it was signed in a very famous picture – you’ve probably all seen the photo, with many political luminaries around – by John F. Kennedy in the Treaty Room of the White House on October 7th, and it entered into force on October 10th.  So we’re in between all of these dates right now, so this is actually a very appropriate time.

And the reason that I think, in the end, it came about was because of the outrage in the United States and elsewhere, but particularly the United States, over the radioactive fallout and strontium-90 in children’s teeth – do you remember that – back then, particularly from the enormous thermonuclear tests that were taking place atmospherically, and both by the United States and by the Soviet Union.

We had the Threshold Test Ban Treaty in 1974, didn’t enter into force until 1990, so very slow process, to limited underground tests to 150-kiloton or lower, and then the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which was voted on September 10th – so we’re just two days off that anniversary – in 1996, by 158 countries in the United Nations General Assembly.  And today the CTBT – we’ll hear a lot more about it in the second panel – has 159 states parties who’ve signed and ratified.

So we still have 37 countries that have not joined, although a number of those are signatories; they just haven’t ratified.  And you probably all recall that the first Senate vote on the treaty was on October 13th, 1999, here in the United States, and it was voted down 51 to 48.  So it was 19 votes short of a 67-vote two-thirds majority.

And as Ambassador Umarov has said, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty requires the 44 nuclear-capable states to join the treaty regime for entry into force.  And those – eight countries of those 44 that are still outstanding are China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the United States.

So I’m very much looking forward to this panel and the second panel to see how in fact our lessons learned from 1963 interact with our efforts these days to ratify and enter into force the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

So with those few words, let me turn the program over to Tom Putnam.  And I want to thank Tom for coming down from Boston from the – he’s the director of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.  And I also want to welcome Ambassador James Goodby, in the middle of the table there, who was a negotiator of the Limited Test Ban Treaty, so we have a firsthand – a firsthand account here, and also Dr. Timothy Naftali, who’s a historian and co-author of the 2001 book on JFK, “John F. Kennedy:  The Great Crises.”

So the podium’s all yours, gentlemen.

Panel 1

THOMAS PUTNAM:  Well, I know I speak on behalf of my colleagues.  It’s an honor to be here.  We thank you for inviting us.  It looks like we have about a half an hour, so we’re each going to speak for about 10 minutes, and if one of us is short, you’ll have a few minutes to ask questions.

It’s no secret that for John F. Kennedy, really, he – his greatest accomplishment, he felt, was the signing of that first nuclear test ban treaty.  And I want to just give a few opening comments to set that achievement in context, and I hope I can kind of paint, actually, a very general picture with wide brushstrokes and perhaps use a few of President Kennedy’s words to just capture that moment, and then my colleagues, I think – obviously Ambassador Goodby, who was there, will give us really that internal view, and then my colleague Tim Naftali will give us a little bit more of a historical analysis.

I always remind people that to understand John F. Kennedy, you really have to go back to World War II.  His father was ambassador to England.  He actually traveled through Europe as a young man and visited both pre-war Germany and the Soviet Union and made his own impressions, came back to Harvard, wrote his honors thesis, which became a book called “Why England Slept.”  And the essential thesis there was that in the contest between democratically elected governments and totalitarian ones that when competing militarily, the totalitarian regimes will always have an advantage because they’re able to conscript their citizens into military service, and they can spend as much money on their military as their budgets will allow without the consent of their citizens.

And in my mind, that’s really the essence of his famous inaugural address when he spoke – it’s very much a Cold War address.  He spoke to the American people, and he was saying the only way that the U.S. could compete in the Cold War against the Soviet Union were if Americans were willing to sacrifice and care as much about the common good and the national interest as they were about their own individual well-being.

The second essential feature of JFK’s life experience was actually his service in World War II, where he really developed a skepticism of military authority.  Again, this was not only forged during his service on the PT-109, but it’s captured by his comical remark at the height of the missile crisis.  When an errant U-2 pilot mistakenly flew into Soviet airspace and really almost set off a nuclear catastrophe, JFK quipped, “There’s always one son of a bitch who doesn’t get the message.”  (Laughter.)

He was of course both devastated and disappointed in himself that he actually followed the advice of his military generals in the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion, but the world avoided catastrophe when he disregarded their advice during the Cuban missile crisis.  And it’s such a remarkable story, and one we’ll hear more about from the panel, of how in less than a year’s time, we went from the Cuban missile crisis, the highest level of nuclear brinkmanship in world history, to the historic signing of the nuclear test ban treaty.

Really, the over-arching theme of both the missile crisis and JFK’s quest to sign the test ban treaty was his fear that humanity was being gripped by forces it could not control, and he endeavored to do what he could to be sure that that didn’t happen.

A couple of observations.  In the aftermath of the Cuban missile crisis, he sees the nuclear issues as the greatest threat to the world and the greatest challenge for him and other world leaders to solve.  He gives a press conference in May of 1963.  He said, “If we don’t get an agreement this year, I would think the genie is out of the bottle, and we will never get him back again.  Personally, I’m haunted by the feeling that by 1970, unless we’re successful, there may be 10 nuclear powers instead of four.  I regard that as the greatest possible danger and hazard, and I think we ought to stay it.”

He believed that the arms race was not only costly but was inherently unstable to the world, and he gives a famous address at American University, really the first presidential address in 18 years to reach beyond the Cold War.  And that speech began with a commitment to genuine, lasting peace, and I would like to quote from it:  “Not a Pax America enforced on the world by American weapons of war, not merely peace for Americans, but peace for all men; not merely peace in our time, but peace for all time.”  And he goes on to say, “Our problems are man-made, and therefore they can be solved by man.  Some say it’s useless to speak of a world peace until the leaders of the Soviet Union adopt a more enlightened attitude.  I hope they do.  I believe we can help them to do it.  But I also believe we must re-examine our own attitude towards peace and the Soviet Union.”

There’s two other lines from that speech I like.  In regard to the Soviet Union, he says, “No government or social system is so evil that its people must be considered lacking in virtue.”  And he describes peace as “based not on a sudden revolution in human nature but on a gradual evolution in human institutions.”

But of course, he had to overcome many obstacles to get the test ban treaty signed.  First he had to convince the Soviets themselves, and he had a kind of a difficult dance.  He was both extending an olive branch to them, but he also gives that famous speech in Berlin at the time where really he excoriates communism, and McGeorge Bundy, after the speech, worried that Kennedy had gone too far and could have actually damaged the effort they were making to try to sign the test ban treaty with that speech.

Even after the treaty was initialized, it needed to be ratified, and the American people needed to be convinced.  Congressional mail at the time, like the White House mail, was running 15 to 1 against the treaty, and JFK was truly worried that he would face the same failure that Woodrow Wilson had with the League of Nations.  So he did what he did best, and he addressed the American people.  Again, they continued to believe what their leaders had been telling them, that for years the U.S. was in imminent danger of a massive nuclear attack by the Soviet Union and that the communists were evil liars never to be trusted.  So the treaty was very high politics and a tough sell.

And let me just read briefly from the famous address he gave to the American people in August of 1963.  He said, “I speak to you tonight in a spirit of hope.  Since the advent of nuclear weapons, all mankind has been struggling to escape from the darkening prospect of mass destruction on Earth.  But yesterday a shaft of light cut into the darkness.  This treaty is not the millennium.  It’s an important first step, a step toward peace, a step toward reason, a step away from war.  This treaty is for all of us.  It is particularly for our children and our grandchildren, and they have no lobby here in Washington.  And according to the ancient Chinese proverb, a journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step,” and he challenges the country to take that step.

He made four points in that speech.  The reasons that he was for the test ban treaty was that it would reduce world tension, prevent radioactive fallout, prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, and he argued that limiting the arms race with the Soviet Union would actually strengthen American security, not weaken it.  The treaty, nevertheless, encountered tremendous attack.  There were nuclear scientists, like Edward Teller, who were against it.  He was facing a growing military-industrial complex that had an inherent interest in continuing to build and test weapons.  Influential senators like Senators Stennis, Goldwater and Russell all came out against the treaty. And JFK was truly worried that a coalition of conservative Southern senators who were especially angry with him over the civil rights legislation he had proposed would band together with Republicans to prevent the two-thirds needed for ratification.

The heroes of the story were Scoop Jackson and especially Everett Dirksen.  Dirksen was known to have said, when he endorsed it, that he would not like it written on his tombstone that he knew what happened at Hiroshima but did not take the first step.  And while I wish I could play the tapes for you – and my colleague Tim Naftali’s an expert on the tapes – there’s a fascinating tape where Everett Dirksen is in the Oval Office working with the president to figure out which votes they could get to be on their side, and in the end, they did get a number of Republican votes.  And it’s hard to imagine, for instance, President Obama and Mitch McConnell in the Oval Office working together on figuring out which senators could vote on a piece of legislation they both agreed on.

So as was mentioned, in the end 11 Southern Democrats and eight Republicans were opposed, and 35 Democrats and 25 Republicans supported.  So it was essential to have that Republican support to get it passed.

Again, JFK stated that no other accomplishment gave him greater satisfaction.  And as was mentioned, he signed it in a newly restored Treaty Room, and he probably did that because the desk in the Treaty Room belonged to him and he wanted to sit at his own desk and sign the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

We actually have it on display now at the library because it is one of his greatest accomplishments.  Tim was there last week and we went and looked at it together.  It’s on loan to us from the National Archives and Records Administration.

I just want to make a couple more points and to conclude.  After he gave that speech, he actually went out and gave almost a pre-campaign tour.  He was getting ready for his re-election campaign.  He went out to some Western states.  And the thing that surprised him was – it was supposed to be a tour about the environment and conservation, but he was getting the greatest applause lines when he actually talked about the Test Ban Treaty.  And he discovered that there – he felt that there really was a thirst amongst the American people for this – for the
Test Ban Treaty and for a call for peace, and that’s why he decides to run his re-election campaign on peace and prosperity.

And this, I think, is captured – and this is my last remark – in the final address he gives to the United Nations, which literally was 50 years ago this week, and I just wanted to read that speech for you.  He’s addressing the United Nations, and he calls for, quote:  further agreements which spring from our mutual interest in avoiding mutual destruction, for a new approach to the Cold War on both sides and for changes in the U.N. Charter to enable conventions of peace to pull abreast and then ahead of the inventions of war.  But peace – and this is what I want to conclude with – does not rest in charters and covenants alone; it lies in the hearts and minds of all people.  And if it is cast out there, then no act, no pact, no treaty, no organization can hope to preserve it.  So let us not rest all our hopes on parchment and on paper; let us strive to build a desire for peace in the hearts and minds of all our people.

So I thank you for listening to me.  And I’ll now turn the panel over again to my two colleagues, as been introduced before, historian Tim Naftali, who I promise, because I’ve heard him speak many times, is one of the most engaging speakers on JFK that I know – and Tim is in the process of writing a new biography – and Ambassador James Goodby of the Brookings Institution, but most importantly, again, he was a true eyewitness to this history, having served as the officer in charge of nuclear test ban negotiations at the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency from 1961 to 1963.

So Ambassador Goodby.

JAMES GOODBY:  Thank you very much.  And thanks to all the sponsors of this.  I think it’s very important to commemorate these days of the Limited Test Ban Treaty’s anniversary.

I’d like to say that I actually began working on the Test Ban Treaty in 1954.  And you say:  What?  It didn’t really get underway until 1958, at least.  But I really see the scientific miscalculation, as I call it, of March 1, 1954, as the beginning of the test ban negotiations.  That scientific miscalculation was the Bravo shot in the Castle series thermonuclear device, which instead of having something like six megatons, as they had expected, turned out to have 15 megatons and threw debris over a sizable part of the Pacific Ocean, resulting in the sickness and the death of at least one Japanese fisherman and fairly dangerous levels of radioactivity over a lot of the islands in that area.  So I really think the serious talks about should we continue to do this began in that year and continued really throughout that period.

The legacy of the Test Ban Treaty has been mentioned already.  I don’t need to dwell on it.  Children don’t have to drink strontium-90 in their milk, at least that caused by fallout.  Had the Limited Test Ban Treaty not been put into effect, maybe people would have done something unilaterally, but the fact of the matter is it did cause us to stop doing something that was devastating to human health.  So that’s an important legacy in itself.

But there’s another legacy, a lesson, if you will, that I think people don’t take note of, and I was glad to hear Dr. Putnam mention this today.  It is that in a sense, I think – I’ll underscore this – what it proved was that adversaries can cooperate.  It doesn’t have to be a zero sum game between two adversaries.  That lesson, I think, is very relevant today.  If you think about what happened in the year 1961, we had the Bay of Pigs disaster; we had a terrible summit meeting between Khrushchev and Kennedy; we had the building of the Berlin Wall; we had the breaking of a moratorium that had been started by Eisenhower, with a 50-megaton-yield Soviet nuclear bomb; and finally, a termination of the talks which looked as though that might in fact be the end of it.

In 1962, we saw the Cuban missile crisis, and yet by January of 1963, I was in New York with Bill Foster and others, Charlie Stelle, talking with the Russians – and the British came later – about how can we revive these talks.  So I think if you think about today and we think about then, there seemed to be a greater willingness in those days to negotiate with adversaries, to do something that would be in the interest of both countries even if it was only limited in scope.  So I regard that as really one of the major lessons of that time, and I think we ought to keep that in mind.  We had leaders in those days who were ready to, you know, turn their attention fully to getting something done that would benefit all of humankind.

I attended the 25th anniversary of the Limited Test Ban Treaty.  It was at the Kennedy Library in 1988.  And of course on that occasion, all the veterans of the Test Ban Treaty were there.  My colleagues at that time were Ted Sorensen and McGeorge Bundy and Carl Kaysen and Ros Gilpatric, a number of others.  I mention that because I think Ted Sorensen, Ros Gilpatric, former defense – deputy defense secretary and I were the only people there among the group of eight or 10 who thought we had really done as much as we could do when we arranged this Limited Test Ban Treaty.  Most of the others were saying, oh we could have done more.  I thought they were kind of bellyaching about their hopes that were unfulfilled.  Even McGeorge Bundy said, you know, I wish you really had done more, and maybe we should have done better at trying to convince Kennedy to go this route.

Well, my sense of it, frankly, is we’re very, very lucky that he got even that much.  And I say even that much in the sense that I think we did a great deal of good through that treaty, because there were innumerable obstacles.  Bear in mind this whole thing started in 1958 under a Republican president, Dwight Eisenhower, who convened a scientific conference held in Geneva, which resulted in an agreement between the Soviet Union and others, ourselves included, about a verification system that became known as the Geneva system.  And it included virtually all those things we are now talking about in terms of verification – seismographs and detecting fallout and what have you.

The talks began later that year.  And at that same time, Eisenhower, to his great credit, declared a moratorium, which continued until 1961.  But almost immediately there was resistance to it, and so rather than smooth sailing and negotiating, there were backs and forths, new data came up and so forth.  I say this because that was really the story of the negotiations.  I can go through each of these years and show you that it was a very close call.

Even the speech of June 10 at the American University that Dr. Putnam just mentioned, a very, very important speech, was fortunate, in a sense, in that it had two items in it that I think Ted Sorensen basically collected and put into it.  I don’t think that President Kennedy had in mind initially putting those things into it.  One was the idea of a mission to Moscow.  He was able to announce that the Russians had accepted that and it would be a mission to Moscow, which became the place where the treaty was actually finished.

That ran into a lot of trouble with the State Department, to be blunt.  I had come up with the idea.  We talked to the British.  The British came back and said it’s a great idea.  And then we found that the Soviet people – the Soviet experts in the State Department didn’t think it was a good idea at all.  I was astonished to hear that, because generally they favored the test ban.  But what they thought was that Khrushchev was too busy with the emerging split with China to pay much attention to it; we didn’t want to bother him.  Fortunately, he was overridden and we did go ahead and propose this, and Khrushchev eventually accepted.  But it could have gone the other way.

And the same thing with this idea of not testing in the atmosphere, which is the other big thing, I think, in that speech.  That was a proposal that we had made a couple of times in 1962.  We even had begun consultation with Congress about it.  But for one reason or another, it was put aside.  It was lying in the White House, and nobody was pushing it at that particular time in 1963, but Sorensen picked it up and put it in the speech.

And so a lot of good luck, along with a lot of bad luck, is what I’m saying to you.  And it was certainly not an easy thing to get even a limited test ban treaty.

A little bit about the characters involved.  It was interesting to me how much the scientific community got involved in this, I think perhaps more so than any other negotiation that I’m aware of.  And it was both good and bad.  In a way, they were kind of re-fighting the Oppenheimer-Teller argument about should we go into thermonuclear or not.  Bitter, bitter fights between the scientists, which reflected in the ups and downs of negotiations.  So that was one of the major elements I saw.

People in the State Department connected with John Foster Dulles, many of whom had actually served in the Atomic Energy Commission, as I had, were very supportive; I think, frankly, during the years ’59-’60, the latter two years of the administration of Eisenhower, managed to keep the thing afloat.

Beyond that, looking at Eisenhower, he deserves a lot of credit for getting this done.  Kennedy was able to say, look, my predecessor wanted this done very badly – and which was true.  A man who doesn’t ever get much of any credit in this country, Harold Macmillan, Macmillan was close both to Eisenhower and Kennedy and kept pushing both of them to keep on working on this test ban treaty.  At one time or another, I think he was probably the key to keeping this whole thing on the tracks.

Khrushchev, to me, is kind of an enigma.  He supported the – he did really support the test ban treaty when it first began.  By 1961, he had turned against it.  He began to link the Test Ban Treaty to general and complete disarmament, which meant basically turning his back on it.  In some point in the spring or summer of 1963, he began to say, OK, maybe this is a good idea.  People attribute this – Russians do, as well – to the experience of the Cuban missile crisis, but I’m not so sure about that.  I saw the Soviet negotiating team close up in January of ’63 in New  York, and they didn’t show any signs of that whatsoever, and there was no evidence to me that there was a willingness to negotiate.  So I put it down more to other factors – Khrushchev’s internal position, break with China and so forth.

Anyway, I think that’s probably enough time for me to talk, and I’ll turn it over to my friend here.

TIMOTHY NAFTALI:  Thank you very much, Ambassador Goodby.

When we commemorate the 50th anniversary of a world-historical event, it makes sense to take time to see what we have learned about the event since its initial reporting and also to highlight some elements of the event that have current relevance.

In that spirit today, I will focus on three aspects – I promise, quickly now – of the history of the Limited Test-Ban Treaty of 1963.  And I’m focusing on them because you won’t know these stories:  the personal commitment of John F. Kennedy to banning nuclear tests – this is not a matter of idolatry but history – the role that the Soviets and the British actually played in the achievement of the test ban, one crucial and one peripheral; and the ugly political environment in 1963 that President Kennedy faced – Candide’s evil seems everywhere today; it is so easy to fall into the habit of assuming we now live in the worst of all possible political environment.

Although members of the president’s inner circle have long said that the test ban treaty was John F. Kennedy’s most treasured White House achievement, it was not until the opening of Russian archives that we had a sense of not only the depth of the president’s commitment to achieving a test ban but the political risk he was willing to take.  Funny that it took the archives of an adversary for us to understand U.S. history better.  But this was the case.  And I am pleased to say that my Russian co-author, the late Aleksandr Fursenko, and I were able to bring this information to light for the very first time, and the material is still astounding.

Three weeks after the Bay of Pigs, John F. Kennedy asked his brother to initiate secret talks with the Soviets to conclude a comprehensive test ban with Moscow that Kennedy and the Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, could conclude at a summit in a neutral country.

Lest you think that all he wanted was a political victory after the defeat in Cuba, the decision reflected a mature assessment of the Cold War.  Kennedy had just learned that the United States was not in fact behind the Soviet Union in missiles; the infamous “missile gap” that had helped JFK get elected was a chimera.  But Kennedy did not yet know that the United States was far, far ahead of the Soviets.  As far as he knew, the Cold War was a military stalemate, and Kennedy’s goal was to freeze it there to reduce the chances of World War III.

Since 1958, as Ambassador Goodby not only described but knows very well, the United States and the Soviet Union had been observing a moratorium on atmosphere tests while negotiating a treaty banning all tests.  Verification was the sticking point in these negotiations.  Given the number of seismic events in the Soviet Union, which could easily be mistaken for underground nuclear tests, the United States had requested a set of annual on-site inspections to confirm that the Soviets had not broken the agreement.  Senate confirmation, as you can imagine, depended on reaching whatever threshold number was required to build confidence that the Soviets could not cheat.  The outgoing Eisenhower administration position was 20 on-site inspections a year, and the Soviets seemed prepared to offer three.

Without notifying any other member of his national security team, including National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy or Secretary of State Dean Rusk or Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, Kennedy sent RFK to tell the Soviets that if Khrushchev increased the number of acceptable on-site inspections, the United States would be willing to accept 10, and he would sign an agreement in the neutral country, which later turned out to be Austria.

Imagine the political storm if these backchannel negotiations had leaked.  RFK told the Kremlin secretly, quote, improving U.S.-Soviet relations was job number one for the new administration.  But he also explained the domestic political situation the United States president was in and why he couldn’t say these things publicly.  A later administration would use the term “reset” and probably now regrets having admitted this goal publicly.

The secret backchannel negotiations continued until JFK boarded Air Force One for Europe at the end of May 1961 for the summit in Vienna.  But as we know, they were unsuccessful.  The Soviet leader, as we know from Soviet records now, had no interest in achieving an arms control agreement so long as in his mind, the problem of Berlin remained unresolved.  What we also only learned with the opening of Soviet records is that Khrushchev consciously withheld a test ban from Kennedy, seeing it as a reward for good behavior and not as a strategic need for the Soviet Union.  As he told the Kremlin, no test ban until Berlin is solved.

Kennedy’s other key partner was Great Britain.  Although Kennedy’s commitment to achieving a test ban can be explained in terms of his general desire to reduce what one might call nuclear danger, one must also take note of the supportive role played by family friend and later British ambassador to the United States, David Ormsby-Gore, or Lord Harlech, the British Conservative Party’s expert on arms control, who did lobby John F. Kennedy to give test – to put test ban on the forefront of his agenda once he became president.

Until 1963, however, the Soviets and the British were pulling Kennedy in opposite directions.  Khrushchev toyed with Kennedy by unleashing a powerful set of nuclear tests in 1961, breaking the informal moratorium that the two sides had been observing after he did not get the agreement he wanted on Berlin in the summer during the Berlin crisis.  Meanwhile, the British placed increased pressure on Kennedy not to resume testing in response

Meanwhile, Kennedy faced enormous pressure at home to resume testing in 1961 in light of the Soviet challenge.  Quote, personally, I hate the idea of resuming atmospheric tests, Kennedy told Arthur Schlesinger in late 1961 in some unpublished diary.

In response to these pressures, in April of 1962 Kennedy once again used his brother RFK to make a secret test ban offer to the Kremlin.  If Khrushchev would accept a partial test ban and give up seeking an agreed number of on-site inspections to verify underground testing, Kennedy would not go ahead with the nuclear tests that he was planning for the summer of 1962.  Again, imagine the political cost to the president of the United States if the U.S. military, U.S. nuclear laboratories, elements in State and CIA and Congress, all of which supported a resumption of U.S. testing, had learned of this secret offer to the Kremlin.

Kennedy had tried to make this offer publicly.  It was in the first draft of his State of the Union message.  But Dean Rusk and McNamara had forced it out of the draft, January of 1962.  So Kennedy had to maneuver secretly using Bobby.

Once again, Khrushchev turned Kennedy down.  Instead, he decided to put missiles in Cuba and push for a Berlin agreement once again in 1962.

So why did JFK get the partial test ban in 1963?  It was, I believe, because of his deft handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis.  It particular, it was because Kennedy had tried to help Khrushchev save face by agreeing – again, secretly, using Bobby – to remove the Jupiter missiles in Turkey.  The Kennedy brothers struck a deal with Khrushchev:  If he said nothing publicly about the offer, it would happen within three to four months of the end of October 1962.

Both sides stuck to the bargain.  From Soviet records, we know how obsessively the Soviets followed events in Turkey, sending their ambassador constantly to check whether the missiles had been removed.  And in March of 1963 the Soviet leadership learned that indeed, the missiles had been removed.

And so in late April Khrushchev announced to the Kremlin in a top-secret session we only learned about 10 years ago that he was ending the hold he had placed on the partial test ban.  He would no longer block the agreement because of Berlin.  When the time was right, he would tell Kennedy he could have it.  As Kennedy had hoped in 1961, the test ban became for Khrushchev a symbol of a better working relationship with Washington.

And so when was the time right?  When Kennedy gave his American University speech, Khrushchev said, OK, he can have it now.  He had already prepared his colleagues for a test ban.  He said, Kennedy has now done what we need him to do; he has earned the right to a test ban.  And that’s why it happened.

Most of the test ban story, the real story, took place in secret and involved a handful of the very top leaders of the two superpowers.  And for that reason, we didn’t know it until a few years ago.

Why did it happen in secret?  Why was it not the product of a somewhat more public discussion of what international mores and humanitarian interests ought to be?

It was not because test ban negotiations were a political problem for Khrushchev or for his political standing or because he had opponents in the military.  Khrushchev had fired all the opponents in the military in 1960; he could do whatever he wanted.  The problem was us.  It was our side.

And now, with the few minutes I have left, I’d like to explain to you why John F. Kennedy felt he could not publicly be as pro-test ban as he was secretly with his brother Bobby.

The U.S. military, especially the Joint Chiefs, opposed a test ban.  The nuclear scientific community was split, but the scientists who ran laboratories – most famously, as you mentioned, Edward Teller – against the test ban.  The director of the CIA, John McCone, the president’s director of intelligence, opposed the test ban.  The secretary of state, Dean Rusk, was actually cynical about what arms control could achieve.  Vice President Lyndon Johnson, whose national security views were largely shaped by the Joint Chiefs, had doubts about détente with the Soviet Union.  Other southern Democrats, who were angry at Kennedy’s new civil rights policy, as Tom mentioned, were eager to oppose a test ban, not because they disliked it on strategic terms but because Kennedy would get a victory.

But worst of all, from Kennedy’s point of view, the most revered military history in the country and the one man who could make a test ban a bipartisan achievement, former President Dwight Eisenhower, had changed his mind about a test ban since leaving office and now had serious reservations.  With Eisenhower’s opposition to a test ban, most Republicans in the Senate would not be able to support it.

Eisenhower is an interesting case because so little of the true story is known.  Eisenhower’s legacy is currently going through a revival based on some ahistorical assumptions about what he thought about the Cold War.  Yes, he had supported a test ban in the late 1950s, absolutely.  But he did so because the United States was ahead in nuclear technology.  A ban would freeze the U.S. advantage.  By 1963 Eisenhower concluded that the Soviets had caught up, and a ban might well favor them more than it would favor us.

The Kennedy administration sent Dean Rusk to sell the test ban to Eisenhower before Kennedy gave his speech to the nation.  Rusk, speaking for himself, told Eisenhower not to worry; the test ban would not mean a détente with the Soviet Union.  Privately, Eisenhower, who had a passionate dislike of his successor, called what Kennedy was doing a snow job in the Senate.  Nevertheless, he decided not to speak out against the treaty because there was so much international support for it.  However, he did confess to CIA chief John McCone, who had served in his administration before joining the Kennedy administration, that he would not have signed this treaty.

Kennedy did not have to pay any price for Ike’s support.  Eisenhower, in fact, publicly supported the treaty.  But he did have to pay a price to get the U.S. military to come along.  It is a quaint notion that the U.S. military does not play politics.  The Pentagon leaks as well and as strategically as the White House when it feels the need.

The price that Kennedy had to pay, you’ll be surprised to know, was Angola.  Kennedy sacrificed briefly the administration’s progressive policy in favor of decolonization in Portuguese Africa to ensure continued access to air bases in the Azores that were controlled by Portugal.  This was done to calm Portugal’s allies in the Air Force.  As Schlesinger wrote in his unpublished diary at the end of July, there is now a general feeling that an agreement, especially one confined to self-policing environments, would get through without much difficulty.  I think that the president still has some concerns about it, though; he has made it clear that he wants no trouble over the Azores in order to husband his strength for the test ban ratification.

As a result, I believe it would be impossible to imagine the U.S. signing a limited test ban agreement if anyone else had been in the White House.  Eisenhower would not have signed it.  Given Eisenhower’s personal opposition, the Nixon of the early 1960s would not have signed it.  Nelson Rockefeller, a leading candidate for the GOP nomination in 1960 and ’64, opposed the test ban treaty.  Among leading Democrats, Kennedy was the most skeptical about the Cold War, and as his secret RFK diplomacy illustrated, he was willing to outmaneuver Washington’s national security establishment for the sake of arms control.

The Limited Test Ban Treaty, therefore, is truly the product of political courage.  The historical record now speaks volumes about JFK’s role.  But it also, sadly, shows the constraints on creative presidential foreign policy making in Cold War America.  In policy terms, Washington was a very conservative place in 1963.  It is not clear that it is harder to be a progressive president today.

Thank you.  (Applause.)

Panel 2

DARYL KIMBALL:  If I could ask everyone to take their seats once again, so that we can resume our program.  Thank you.  And my name is Daryl Kimball.  I’m the executive director of the Arms Control Association, one of the cosponsors of today’s event.  The Arms Control Association was established in 1971 by several of the men that we heard about in the previous panel, who were part of the Limited Test Ban Treaty and Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty efforts.

And ACA, along with many of our colleague organizations who are here today, including Women’s Action for New Directions and Physicians for Social Responsibility, Natural Resources Defense Council and others have been working for decades to bring about a halt to nuclear testing.

And I want to join Paul Walker in thanking our co-organizers and hosts, the Embassy of Kazakhstan and of course Paul and Global Greens USA for pulling all this together.

Before we begin with our second panel on the role and future of the Test Ban Treaty, we’re just going to take a moment to see a video – it’s about five minutes long – that describes the ATOM Project that was established to highlight the dangers of nuclear testing, particularly in Kazakhstan, but as I’ll say in a few minutes, those dangers extend far beyond the Semipalatinsk test zone in Kazakhstan.  So let’s just take a look at this.

(Video plays.)

Narrator:  On August 29th, 1949, the former Soviet Union detonated what would be the first of more than 450 nuclear warheads at their new testing site in Eastern Kazakhstan.  Just 100 miles away, the people in the industrial city of Semipalatinsk watched as the sky lit up and radiation filled the air.  Today, that city is called Semey.

It has been more than 20 years since a nuclear bomb was tested here, but for the people of Semey, nuclear testing is not a thing of the past.  Every day, many residents in Semey live with the legacy of those tests.  For these people, the consequences of nuclear testing, the devastating effects of nuclear radiation are clear.

Over the four decades of nuclear tests, approximately 1.5 million people in the region were affected.  Today, one in 20 children is born with deformities.  The cancer rate is 50 percent higher here than elsewhere in the country.  Many of the population die before reaching 60.

Not many of the people who lived in Semey throughout the tests are alive today to tell their stories.  But the lives of their children and grandchildren tell their own cautionary tale.

Governments around the world know with certainty that the side effects of nuclear weapons and testing are illness, unending environmental devastation, and death.  The people of Semey, the Bikini Atoll, the Marshall Islands, Nagasaki and Hiroshima have lived it.

Some countries, such as Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Belarus and South Africa have already eliminated their nuclear weapons or abandoned their nuclear weapons programs.  Through the decisions of its president, Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan has also shut down the infamous Semipalatinsk nuclear test site, yet other countries could have done much more to help create a nuclear safe world.  The United Nations is working to build national and global security without nuclear weapons, establish regional nuclear weapons free zones, put an end to testing, and ultimately free the world of its nuclear arsenal.

One of the most concrete steps towards achieving this goal would be pushing through the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.  The very existence and availability of weapons-grade fissile material in nuclear states such as North Korea, as well as the appeal of nuclear devices as the ultimate weapon, increase the risk of global nuclear terrorism.  If we stop nuclear weapons testing and secure all fissile material, then we also substantially reduce the threat of nuclear terrorism.

The people of Semey, Nevada and the Marshall Islands didn’t know they’d become the victims of nuclear radiation, but if you’re watching this, you now know that their fate could be your own.  But together we have the power to stop nuclear weapons testing.  Today, we have the power to create a nuclear safe world.  By joining together, we can let the people all over the world affected by nuclear weapons testing know we heard their story.

Make your mark by telling the world leaders that you want to live in a nuclear safe world.  Go to theATOMProject.org and sign the petition.  Let’s act now and stop nuclear weapons testing.

(Video ends.)

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Well, as we heard in the previous panel, the United States and Great Britain and the Soviet Union came close but did not complete the effort for a comprehensive test ban.  As successful as the Limited Test Ban Treaty was in stopping the most visible and dangerous aspect of the arms race, the hundreds of open air explosions that spewed dangerous levels of radioactive contamination at the test sites and far beyond that caused this kind of damage was the result.

And one thing that’s important to note is that the same kind of citizen movement that we’re hearing about with the ATOM Project, that did occur in the lead-up to the Limited Test Ban Treaty.  The organization I used to work for, many years ago, the Physicians for Social Responsibility, along with other citizen activists were a critical part of the efforts to bring about an end to testing in the late ’50s and ’60s and was one of the reasons why, in my view, John F. Kennedy’s efforts were so strong in terms of trying to end testing.

And one thing to note also is that though the damage around – immediately around the test sites, Semipalatinsk, Nevada and elsewhere, was – has been extremely great, the damage caused by that radiation, even after the Limited Test Ban Treaty has been tremendous also.  According to a 1992 calculation by experts from the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research and the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, there were between – there have been between 320,000 and 650,000 additional cancer fatalities worldwide through the year 2000 as a result of global nuclear fallout.

And so knowledge about the harm of nuclear testing is still not complete.  And the job of ending testing is not complete.  The next best chance for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty would not come for another three decades after the ratification of the Limited Test Ban Treaty on September 24th, 1963, and its entry into force weeks later.

As we heard already, in 1989, Kazak people rose up to call for an end to further soviet testing in their homeland.  And here in the United States, about a year later, there was a renewed movement to push the United States Congress to introduce legislation to match the Soviet moratorium that was announced in 1991 by Mikhail Gorbachev in response to that citizen movement in Kazakhstan.

And four years later, multilateral negotiations on the CTBT were finally concluded.  And so this panel is going to look at the Test Ban Treaty, the issues relating to the U.S. ratification issue, the technical issues, some of the political issues, and we’re also going to hear again about some of the reasons why we need to move ahead to close the door on testing.

And I would just note that we’re talking about this today because – the Test Ban Treaty, here in Washington, because U.S. and Chinese ratification is critical to moving forward to its formal entry into force.  They’re among the few holdout states that must ratify in order to bring the treaty into force.

President Obama, as we heard before from the ambassador at the top, has repeatedly expressed his support for U.S. ratification of the CTBT.  In 2009, he said that he would immediately and aggressively pursue U.S. ratification.  And again in June, President Obama said we’ll work to build support in the United States to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

It’s a lot of work to be done.  That pledge is important, but there’s much more work to be done in order to move forward to develop a concrete plan of action, to pursue the steps necessary to win support in the Senate.  My organization and many others believe that such an effort will take time.  The results may not be clear anytime soon.  But to move forward, we can and must begin that effort.  And it’s important for the White House to name a coordinator to help lead that effort and to use some of the tools that the president now has to help inform the Senate about the key technical issues regarding the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

And this panel is going to take a look at some of those issues.  We are very happy to have with us here today Ambassador Linton Brooks, who was a member of the National Academy of Sciences panel on Technical Issues Related to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which issued its report in March 2012.  And Linton is going to describe to us the findings of the panel which addressed some of the key issues that were at the center of the previous debate in the Senate in October 1999, when the treaty was rejected by the Senate.

We’re also going to be hearing from others on the panel.  We’re going to be hearing from Ambassador Roman Vasilenko.  He serves as ambassador at large for the Foreign Ministry of Kazakhstan.  And he has been central to the ATOM Project’s efforts.  He will be speaking second and describing his views about how we can move forward with Test Ban Treaty entry into force, as well as other issues.  And we’ll also be hearing from Karipbek Kuyukov, who’s the honorary ATOM Project ambassador, third.  And then, at about 3:25, we’ll be hearing from Anita Friedt, who is principal deputy assistant secretary for nuclear strategic policy at the U.S. Department of State, on the Obama administration’s perspective on the legacy of the LTBT and the value of the CTBT.

So with that transition and introduction, I want to welcome Ambassador Linton Brooks to begin outlining the results of the National Academy study.

Thank you, Linton.

LINTON BROOKS:  Thank you.  At the request of the United States government, particularly the vice president’s office and the State Department, the National Academies undertook a technical study.  That’s the first thing you have to understand.  There are some important issues – will ratification help nonproliferation; if we ratify, can others be brought to – that I am going to say absolutely nothing about because that’s not what we were tasked to do.

So we’ll talk about technical issues.  That’s the first thing you need to keep in mind.  Second thing you need to keep in mind is that the Academy’s process is thorough but majestically slow.  And the government’s review process is equally.  So I’m not going to talk at all about money.  There’s a good deal in the report about spending.  It’s based on the budget situation in 2010 and is now largely of historical interest.

The report was done in a classified version.  You’re just going to have to take my word for it that if you had the classified version, it would not be inconsistent with anything I am saying.  The recommendations are in almost all cases verbatim the same in the two versions.  Classified version has a good deal more about U.S. unilateral capabilities.

We got asked to look basically at four questions.  Can we maintain the U.S. stockpile without nuclear testing?  How well can we detect, locate and identify nuclear explosions?  What do we need to do to make the answers to those first two questions continue well in the future?  That’s the money part, which I’m not going to talk about.  And what could be done under the CTBT?  What kind of evasion could happen and would it matter?

Maintaining the stockpile was most straightforward.  It’s most straightforward because compared to the last look, we now have substantially more experience with a program called Stockpile Stewardship.  And that has led to systematic capture of past information, major improvements in computing to manipulate the data, major construction of facilities to look at individual aspects of the physics that we used to look at in explosions.  And the conclusion of the committee was, quote, “provided the sufficient resources and a national commitment to stockpile stewardship were in place, the committee judges the United States has the technical capabilities to maintain a safe, secure and reliable stockpile into the foreseeable future without nuclear explosion testing.”

That judgment was fairly straightforward and a good deal of detail in it.  The adequate resources mostly means a program of surveillance which has not always fared as well in the budget process as we thought it should.

Second question we looked at was monitoring, monitoring primarily underground, but also underwater, atmosphere and space.  And here too, the committee drew on the substantial improvements since the last time a National Academy panel looked at this, which is a report that came out in 2002, but probably reflects the situation around 2000.

The majority of the international monitoring system is completed, so instead of talking about what will be, we’re talking about what is.  We’ve improved our xenon radiation – radionuclide detection capabilities.  We’ve implemented regional seismic detections.  And as a result, we’re seeing more and more international capability.

Now, the report is very general on U.S. unilateral capability.  I think it would not be unfair to say that most observers believe that the United States’ national technical means are at least as good as the international capabilities.  So as you see that improvement in monitoring internationally, it’s fair to assume that it’s been matched by internal effort.

The report spent much of its technical effort on seismology.  Seismology is the most effective technology for detecting underground explosions.  Unlike past efforts, we had a separate panel of distinguished seismologists.  This will become important for one aspect when we talk a little bit about evasion.

And the basic conclusion is that threshold levels for detection are well below one kiloton worldwide and in Asia, Europe and North Africa, which are the places that most people are most concerned about detecting, the detection thresholds are substantially better down to 0.9 to 0.2 kilotons, so 900 to 200 tons.

We also looked at on-site inspection and concluded, as others have, that on-site inspection, if conducted without hindrance and if there was sufficient precision in location would have a high likelihood of detecting evidence of an explosion with a yield greater than 100 tons.

So what that suggests to you is that we concluded that there’s a very strong probability of detection and characterization of nuclear tests.  But that assumes no evasion.  So what did we look at on evasion?

First, we concluded that if you wanted to evade, the most obvious way is simply to test at very low levels.  All of these things scale down so that they are harder to detect at low level.

Now, it’s important here to distinguish between our confidence in detecting something and an evader’s confidence that we wouldn’t.  So you don’t look and say we have a 90-percent confidence.  That’s important for us, for building our system.  But the evader has to be much more certain that we won’t detect.  And so typically, when you see numbers in our report that there’s a 90-percent probability we’ll detect something, you should reduce that by about three and say that that’s a 10-percent probability.  Would someone take a 10-percent risk of non-detection?

There are two scenarios that have floated around about evasion.  One is mine masking.  You’re doing things in a mine and when the right seismic event happens, then you take advantage of that to hide a nuclear test.  We concluded that for a variety of technical reasons, that’s a much less interesting scenario than it was thought to be 10 or 12 years ago.

Cavity decoupling, of which you will hear great deal in the press, says this.  If you take a relatively small device and you put it in a large cavity of the correct geological conditions, that you can decouple.  This is based on two-and-a-half tests from a very long time ago and a whole bunch of extrapolation.  And it is an increasingly challenging scenario with higher yield.

So when you see things in the press that you can decouple by a factor of 70, that doesn’t mean somebody can go out and conduct a 70-kiloton test and have it undetected.

There’s an extensive amount of information in the report for those of you seismologically inclined to do this.  But we concluded that these efforts are credible at most for a few hundred tons and well monitored explosions.

And so we concluded that there are three countries that could probably pull off this kind of complex evasion scenario.  One’s the United States, one’s the Russian Federation, one’s the People’s Republic of China.  But for both China and Russia, we concluded that anything they could gain by that wouldn’t add significantly to the very robust and complex stockpile they have.  So basically, the people who are capable of cheating already have the stuff they could gain from cheating.  The people who don’t have that stuff are less capable of cheating.

There was one subset of this, which is what’s called a hydronuclear explosion.  There’s a debate in the CTBT about the absence of a definition of a nuclear test.  We do not engage on the question of whether that’s good treaty-making or bad treaty-making.  We do, however, engage at some length on saying we take all of the definitions people think they use and we can’t find anything that a state could do under one but not the other.  So technically, we could – now I’m being very precise – doesn’t mean there’s not something there.  Simply means we could not identify anything where are these very low yield tests, exactly how you defined them, makes any difference.

It is fair to note, however, the Russian Federation appears to place much more value on hydronuclear, these very low yield, but under our interpretation of the treaty, actual itty-bitty nuclear tests.  That the Russian Federation appears to place much more value on those tests than we do, we don’t fully understand why.

Our important conclusion, therefore, was we could not identify a potential threat that could arise through undetected nuclear explosion testing that would require the United States to return to nuclear explosion testing.  The only thing that we could identify as a possible reason for returning to testing was the need to develop some fundamentally new type of weapon.  And there, sort of by definition, you don’t know whether you believe you can do it without testing and we note that that is what the supreme national interest clause appears to be intended for.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you very much, Linton.  (Applause.)

We’re now going to hear from Roman Vasilenko.  He’s been with the diplomatic service of Kazakhstan since 1996.  And he is presently ambassador at large with the Foreign Ministry and has been in charge of various issues in very recent years, including the ATOM Project.

So over to you, thanks for being here.

ROMAN VASILENKO:  Thank you so much, sir.  And good afternoon to everybody and thank you so much for your great interest in this panel and in this whole event.  Needless to say, I’m deeply humbled to be able to speak to such a distinguished audience and with such distinguished panelists.

As we heard on the first panel and as we heard just now from Ambassador Brooks, I think that between all of the people who have been engaged in nuclear disarmament or disarming the Semipalatinsk nuclear test ground and testing site in Kazakhstan, we can easily get up to dozens of years or up to hundreds of years, I think.  There are so many people here who I know have been to Semipalatinsk or have dealt with nuclear disarmament issues for decades over their lives and it would be hard for me to really say something which will be surprising to people who are gathered here today.  However, I’ll try.

I would like to mention a few of the initiatives that our ambassador already mentioned, but I would like to a little bit expand on them.

One is the initiative that Kazakhstan has launched and jointly with our four other neighbors in Central Asia and signed the Central Asian Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone.  The significance of that treaty of Semey signed in 2006, entered into force in 2009, is that it created the first nuclear weapon-free zone in – completely located in Northern Hemisphere and a zone that is bordering on two nuclear weapons states, Russia and China.  And that it was a zone created in a place where there used to be nuclear weapons, which is Kazakhstan, obviously.

Kazakhstan right now is a coordinator of that zone and working with the P5 to get the so-called “negative guarantees” for the zone so that the zone is finally recognized internationally and is accepted by the nuclear five countries, by the five nuclear weapons states.

However, we think that this was a major step forward and as you well know the whole of South Hemisphere is nuclear-weapon-free.  And because of – there has been at least four prior nuclear weapon free zones in – before Semipalatinsk.  So there are – there is this process that’s – by which countries declare the intention to free themselves from nuclear weapons and create legal frameworks for this.

One other initiative I’d like to mention is the Universal Declaration of a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World, which our president has proposed accepting through the United Nations.  It has nothing to do with taking away the power from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or the yet to be entered into force CTBT.  The idea behind this convention is to sort of jumpstart the rather stalled process on nuclear disarmament that we have seen over the past 17 years since the CTBT treaty was opened for signing.  And to reconfirm through consensus that nuclear disarmament is indeed the ultimate goal of the mankind and we all are prepared and we all are working towards that goal.

And I know that our colleagues are now working at the United Nations in New York and in other locations to advance this vision.

There has been at least several occasions, even at today’s events, where we heard the words “political courage” or “trust,” when especially we heard this fascinating story of how the Limited Test Ban Treaty was signed and how it took a lot of behind the scenes negotiations and how lack of trust – of mutual trust hindered these negotiations for quite some time.

I think that I would completely agree with the assessment that – and with the phrase that – with the notion that it is indeed a matter of trust.  And it is indeed a matter of confidence in each other, which the world, unfortunately, is lacking.

And I was particularly impressed by Ambassador Brooks recounting of the technical sides of why a test ban is possible for the United States.  But I was also mindful of the fact that the panel looked at this whole issue from the technical side obviously and the panel looked at it from the side of how were the United States to respond if somebody violates this ban basically and how we can introduce the verification mechanisms.

Of course, we all heard – we all remember the phrase verify – trust – doveryai no proveryai – and I think it’s all relevant today.  What was it in English?  Trust but –

MR. BROOKS:  Trust but verify.

MR. VASILENKO:  Trust but verify, yes.  And it’s important, indeed, but I think the world is particularly lacking on the first part of that phrase, trust.  There is plenty of verification mechanisms and Kazakhstan is proud to be part of that mechanism through the hosting of five tracking stations of the CTBT.  But trust is the hardest thing to come by.  And once the world gets around, I know maybe it sounds utopian, maybe it sounds a little bit out of this world, but truly we have seen in many occasions where only through trust things can happen.

And the other component of the success, as Daryl Kimball mentioned, is civic activism.  We have seen over the past 17 years how it is – how hard it was to push for the ratification of the CTBT.  However, as we all know, out of 183 signatories, 159 ratified, including three nuclear weapons states – Russia, the United Kingdom and France.  So basically, these countries have shown that they are willing to go along with the agreement that they signed in the United Nations.

And in order to really add – not put, but add human elements in the – in order to remind of the horrific human consequences of nuclear weapons testing, Kazakhstan and our president launched the ATOM Project.  You have seen the video and I’m not going to talk much about the project, as we have described it in the video and as we have the honorary ambassador of ATOM Project, Mr. Kuyukov.  But I would say that already people from more than 100 countries signed the petition, the online petition, calling on the leaders of the world to abandon nuclear weapons, to make sure the CTBT enters into force and to work towards a nuclear-weapon-free future.

It was amazing to hear from Mr. Naftali the history of the backstage negotiations before the Limited Test Ban Treaty was adopted, but it – just as it was amazing to hear the behind the scenes talks during those times, it was amazing to realize that the leaders of the world, indeed, act from the best interests not only of their own countries, but of humanity.  And there is hope that they will listen to the people’s voices.  And we certainly hope.  And with this amazing verification mechanism in place, the United States and other countries that are the holdouts will show leadership and will make good on their promises.  We certainly hope so.

I will not take too much of your time and I’d like to – if you don’t mind – OK – to turn over to my colleague.  We came jointly to here.  We first, actually, on this visit, went to the United Nations General Assembly and there we heard very positive response from many, many dozens of countries who spoke at the special informal meeting of the United Nations General Assembly devoted to the International Day against Nuclear Tests on what the United Nations as an organization and what the country members can do to move forward this process.

But we’re here with my good friend and colleague and distinguished person Karipbek Kuyukov.  He really truly is an embodiment of the fact that mind can be stronger than the matter.  And we’re honored to have him with us.  He’s a longtime activist and he can tell you directly what the people in Kazakhstan think about nuclear disarmaments and the way forward.

Thank you.  (Applause.)

KARIPBEK KUYUKOV (provided through an interpreter):  Good afternoon.  First of all, I would like to thank all the organizers of today’s event and I also want to thank you for all that you have done to ensure the nuclear-free world for us.

I’m visiting you from Kazakhstan, from a small village, Yegyndybulak, that is located about 100 kilometers from Semipalatinsk test site.  And I’m very proud to say that I come from the former Semipalatinsk test site because I’m very proud that Kazakhstan became the first one to close it and I think we’re a good example for the others to follow in our footsteps.

And now, I have asked my parents, my mom and dad, often, why was I born without arms?  And then, while I was asking, I actually found out that before, there was a brother and sister of mine that didn’t live past their six months on this earth.

And my dad was an eyewitness of the testing and so he was telling me how they were instructing when the testing was announced to come outside of their houses and to lay down on the ground and to cover themselves with something.  But people who were living there also knew that it was an amazing sight to see.  As my father was describing it, it was a beautiful flash that they could see from the explosion.  And so they would climb the hills near the village and they would watch how the sky and the ground would come one and how the day will become night.

And as they would go back home, in the streets they would see dead chickens and they would see dogs without any hair.  And not only our people, but also animals suffered.  We have seen calves born with two heads, six legs, and so this was also a very commonplace occurrence in our area.

And I can tell you that I have been active in this area on the subject for a long time and I have been involved with different people who suffered, families and children.  I saw children who couldn’t see, who couldn’t hear, who couldn’t talk, and their parents were very shy to show them to everybody.  So they would hide them at home.

And it was hard to look in the eyes of the mother who would have a baby who couldn’t move, who couldn’t talk.  And she would just put him in a bucket that she would use for laundry and just put him outside so he can be outside this way.

And so the most amazing was that those people just quietly lived with it for 40 years, being next to the test site, not realizing that there was a quiet war being waged against them.

And so probably for the suffering of those children and for the suffering of those parents that I decided to dedicate my life to this movement.  And I started some time ago participating in the movement that united Semipalatinsk and Nevada.  This is not my first time in the United States.  I have been here before.  And I remember, back in ’91, I came here with a peace march.  And we went all over the country ending up in Nevada, where we organized a protest by the U.S. test site.

And so this takes a lot of time from my art.  And here today, you can see it.  This is some of the latest portraits, some people who have no voice to tell the world what happened to them, what they had to live through.  And this is my way to show, and this is sort of their soul screaming through my art.

And I’ve been to Japan.  I have seen what hurt the radiation caused there in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  And as you can see, radiation doesn’t choose its victims, doesn’t choose the color of the skin.  We can all be happy, we can all cry together.  But this is something that we can do together in order to stop it from happening.

And so I’m here today as a goodwill ambassador of the ATOM Project and I would ask you to go online to look at the petition, to sign it, to tell people about it, about our site, about what you can do, so we can be living in a new world, where we can look differently at things and not have these problems occurring.

And so the fact that you have gathered here tells me that you’re the people who give me – like the people who give me strength, the people who let me continue my fight against this.  And what I’m trying to reach at the end is to be the last one who has suffered from the radiation and so we don’t have the suffering anymore.

And so I want to thank you personally.  I would like to wish you all success, and I think that this is probably the time when we can hold each other’s hands and change this world and get the success in what we’re doing.

Thank you.  (Applause.)

MR. KIMBALL:  Karipbek, thank you so much for your powerful testimony, your hard work and your perseverance.  And we will succeed in the end in the effort that you just outlined.  And before we hear from our final speaker, I wanted to allow the audience, you’ve been very patient with this program to have an opportunity to ask a question, make a brief comment of any of our panelists on the wide range of issues that we’ve just talked about here today.  And I would just ask that you identify yourself and wait for the microphone to come by

And before we do that, let me just note that unfortunately, Ambassador Tom Pickering will not be able to make us.  He was hoping to come, but I just got a message that he has a hand ailment that requires going to the doctor.  So it’s not life threatening, but it’s something that is keeping him from being here.  So we’re sorry that he’s not with us.

And so with that, let me open up the floor and ask for any questions, comments.  Yes, right here, Alex.

Q:  Alex Leibowitz (sp), retired from the State Department.

I think Ambassador Brooks’ presentation was very persuasive, but in some sense, you could have – I mean, it was less persuasive, whatever it was, 13 years ago, but you could still have made, to some extent, the same kind of arguments even back then, especially when, on the other side, we’re not really giving up anything, since we’re not testing anyhow.  And so I’m wondering what can we do – what kind of arguments would really be persuasive in this kind of environment that we face in the United States and in the Senate in particular to – I mean, it’s not directly what your mandate was, but I’m wondering whether – because you’ve obviously been around this business for a very long time and probably have some insights into this, whether you have any thoughts as to what we can do to, you know, gain a momentum for ratification in the United States.  Thank you.

MR. BROOKS:  Well, you’re about to hear it from a representative of the administration who’s much better positioned to answer that.  I’ll give you an answer with the understanding that this is not the view of the committee or of anybody else.  And it’s not the view of this administration.

Comprehensive Test Ban will be ratified in the United States when there is a Republican president who supports it because then – now, look back – look back.  New START is the first time since John F. Kennedy that we’ve ratified anything negotiated by a Democrat.  It – historically, in the United States, you get all the Democrats because they like arms control and you get enough Republicans because it’s their guy.  And when we have that again, I think the treaty will have a shot.

The important – it’s important to note – and here I can speak for the previous administration – there’s not been five minutes worth of discussion about resuming nuclear testing in a very long time.

If you talk to your friends running the labs, their view is you can do what you want about the CTBT.  We’ve been living under a no-testing regime for 20 years and expect to live under it forever.  And so I think there’s no chance of resumption of testing and no constituency for it.  But I – no disrespect to my colleagues in the administration who are trying very hard to deliver on the president’s promise – I think in this partisan environment it is going to take a Republican president to bring this off.  I wish that weren’t true, but it’s – probably is.

Q:  Thanks a lot.

MR. KIMBALL:  OK.  Just a couple of quick thoughts to the same question, I don’t want to pick a fight with Linton Brooks, you never do because you usually lose, but there was one treaty that was negotiated by a Democratic president that has been ratified, and that was the New START treaty.  But that was a different treaty, a different time, if – it’s hard to imagine, but it was a different time.

But what I’ll say, and I alluded to this in the beginning, is that any treaty ratification effort takes a lot of preparation.  That preparation has really not begun on the CTBT in the way that the administration did it for New START.  And it’s time to begin that process.

Now, you were asking about the arguments for moving ahead.  I mean one of the key questions I think you’re alluding to is why take the trouble to do this in the first place?  And the issues that Linton outlined, yes, those were arguments and issues that were there in October of 1999.  In my estimation, you know, the report of the National Academy makes it clear that, you know, that was then, this is now.  A lot of things have changed from the technical perspective.

But you know, now I think one of things that is crucially important to consider as we look ahead, not to 2015 or ’16, but you know, five, 10, 15 years down the road, is, you know, what do we need to do to create higher barriers for future potential nuclear-armed states to develop sophisticated arsenals.  And you know, we are looking at North Korea, as was alluded to earlier that is outside of the test ban regime.  They are going to, if nothing else is done, slowly amass a more capable arsenal.

So it’s the kind of problem that we need to be thinking about.  And because the United States no longer needs nuclear testing, this is manifestly in our interest and the international security interest.  And it’s that kind of argument that has really not been brought to bear in this debate to date that I think could be very powerful with a Senate that is – you know, is different in many ways than in 2010, when New START was ratified, very different from 1999.  There’s less than a quarter of the senators there today who were there in ’99.

So I’m confident this will be done.  Perhaps maybe we should make a wager to see how many presidents from now we’re going to be, but perhaps it’s going to take a Republican, but I think that the task, the work has to begin now.

Any other questions from the crowd here?  Shocking.  OK, very well.

Well, with that, what I’m going to do is I’m going to invite our next speaker up.  We’ll take some more questions, and then I’ll make some brief concluding remarks and we’ll adjourn.

And our next speaker, very honored to have her with us, is Anita Friedt.  She’s the principal deputy assistant secretary for nuclear and strategic policy in the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance.  I’m glad I don’t have to put that on my business card.  It’s – I don’t think there is enough space.  We’re glad that she’s here.  She has been working at the State Department and in the government for 33 years.  And this is the second time Anita has been at one of our events.  She has a wide range of expertise on nonproliferation, New START, and the CTBT.

We’re very glad you’re with us.  Why don’t you come to the podium, please?  Thank you.

ANITA FRIEDT:  Thank you very much – good to see you. Thank you very much.  As the last speaker of the day, here I am – see, maybe that will help with the number of hard-hitting questions.  But thank you very much for the very nice introduction, Daryl.  And thank you very much for inviting me to speak here.  It really is wonderful to be back at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and to be speaking along such distinguished leaders as Ambassadors Umarov, Goodby, and Ambassador Brooks, of course.

Now, I’m at somewhat of a disadvantage since I wasn’t here to hear most of the speeches and the discussion today, but I know I will quickly catch up because as Daryl says, I have followed this issue, certainly CTBT and these issues very closely throughout my career, but most especially now.

As has certainly been discussed today, it has been 50 years since the Limited Test Ban Treaty entered into force.  It was limited in the sense that it did not ban underground nuclear weapons test explosions or any other underground nuclear explosion.  But of course, at American University, in 1963, President Kennedy called for a complete ban on nuclear explosive testing.

“The conclusion of such a treaty,” President Kennedy said, “so near and yet so far –  would check the spiraling arms race in one of the most dangerous areas.  It would place the nuclear powers in a position to deal more effectively with one of the greatest hazards which man faces in 1963 – the further spread of nuclear arms.  It would increase our security and it would decrease the prospects of war.”

A goal was in sight and it was clear how we could monitor tests in the water, in space, and on land.  There was, however, widespread concern that states would have difficulty in detecting and distinguishing underground nuclear explosions from other naturally occurring events.  So without the inclusion of underground nuclear tests, the LTBT was a good start, but it wasn’t enough.

Moving on.  So we pressed on.  In 1976, a group of scientific experts, the GSE, was established by the Conference on Disarmament to address the issue of effective seismic monitoring of underground nuclear explosions.  The work of this GSE helped propel the successful negotiation of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in the Conference on Disarmament.

So I won’t spend too much time extolling the many virtues of CTBT today, as I certainly know that this is an expert audience, but I will state definitively that a global, verifiable ban on explosive nuclear testing is in the national security interests of the United States of America.

The treaty is central to leading nuclear weapons states toward a world of diminished reliance on nuclear weapons and reduced nuclear competition.  Furthermore, with a global ban on nuclear explosive tests in place, states interested in pursuing or advancing their nuclear weapons programs would have to either risk deploying weapons with uncertain effectiveness or face international condemnation and possible sanctions for conducting nuclear explosive tests.

As you all know, the Senate chose not to give its advice and consent to ratification of CTBT in 1999.  For almost a decade, this treaty languished with some fearing that the United States would withdraw its signature and that it would not be the end of a – that it would not be possible to have a global ban on nuclear testing.  But those fears were not realized and what we have today, I’d argue, is a stronger case for ratifying the treaty than ever before.

There are two primary reasons for this.  First, as I know Ambassador Brooks has talked about, Stockpile Stewardship.  Stockpile Stewardship was at its infancy in 1999.  Today, it is a marvel of modern science.  From 1945 to 1992, the United States conducted 1,054 nuclear explosive tests, more than any other country.  The United States has observed the moratorium on nuclear explosive testing since 1992.  So our policies are already consistent with the central prohibition of the treaty.  In fact, our scientists at our weapons labs say that they know more now about our arsenal and under the Stewardship Program than we ever did while we were actually testing.

We have proven that we can maintain a safe, secure, and effective arsenal without resorting to explosive testing.  And as Ambassador Brooks said in the answers to the question here, I mean, that really is true.  There’s – I don’t think anyone would say that we would go back to testing.

Second, the treaty’s primary verification mechanism, the International Monitoring System, or the IMS, was not even an infant.  It was more a twinkle in the eye of the world’s best and brightest scientists, when the treaty was first considered by the Senate.

Today, the IMS is roughly 85 percent complete and when fully completed, there will be an IMS facility in 89 countries spanning the globe.  At entry into force, the full body of technical data gathered via the IMS will be available to all states parties.  And this is really impressive in terms of where we’ve come with the facilities over the last decade.

The system has already demonstrated its capabilities under real world conditions, detecting and helping states identify three nuclear explosive tests conducted by North Korea over the past several years.  Following the Fukushima nuclear crisis, we saw how the IMS can be useful for non-verification related purposes, such as tsunami warnings and tracking radioactivity from reactor accidents.

Moreover, the United States will always rely on our robust national technical means to provide even greater confidence that we can detect any illicit nuclear explosive tests.

Another area of progress in recent years is preparation for the on-site inspections or OSI, which is another of the treaty’s verification – element of the treaty’s verification regime.  Such inspections would be key to clarifying any ambiguity regarding a possible nuclear test.

U.S. experts have been deeply involved in the development of an OSI framework by contributing our extensive inspection expertise to the development of procedures, manuals, training, testing, exercise planning, and inspection equipment and specifications.  The United States has helped build up the CTBTO’s capability to conduct robust and effective inspections at entry into force.

In addition to the general preparations for the on-site inspection element, the Provisional Technical Secretariat or the PTS is in the midst of planning and preparing for the second major integrated field exercise in 2014.  And this will take place in Jordan.  Like the previous integrated field exercise conducted in Kazakhstan in 2008, the 2014 test will test the capabilities of the OSI elements under realistic field conditions.  This integrated field test will also test for the first time the integration of various inspection techniques allowed under the treaty in order to provide states parties with the most detailed and robust set of technical data and information on which states could make a judgment of compliance with the treaty.

So as taken as a whole, the treaty’s robust verification system, which supplements and reinforces the existing U.S. state-of-the-art nuclear monitoring capabilities, will make it extremely difficult for any state to conduct militarily significant explosive nuclear tests with confidence that they will escape detection.

I was just in Vienna a few weeks ago, in August, at a P5 CTBT technical experts meeting.  It was in this environment, which I have to say there were – the Ph.D.s far outnumbered politicos such as myself, that P5 experts really got into some interesting technical discussions about the treaty.  As nuclear weapon states, the P5 have a unique knowledge in the conduct of nuclear explosive tests.  And this knowledge gives us distinct perspectives on what is required to verify a ban on nuclear explosions.

It is this sort of collaborative and creative work among technical experts at the PTS that will have to shore up and support the treaty’s entry into force.

It is for these reasons and more that President Obama expressed his support for the treaty in Prague in 2009 and then reaffirmed that support in Berlin just a few months ago, pledging to work to build support in the United States for ratification.  Whether it is a senator or a staffer, a schoolteacher or student, we know that it is our job to make the case for this treaty.  First and foremost, what we hope to get is a commitment to listen with an open mind.

We need to make sure that people are updated with the latest information about CTBT.  We know that this agreement involves a very technical set of issues.  And we want people to absorb and understand the basics of the treaty and how it benefits us.

We have no timeframe for Senate action, as discussed here today.  And the political situation is dicey here in terms of ratification.  So we will continue to be patient, but we will also be very persistent in our education effort.  And as Daryl pointed out, we need to start this campaign.  I would argue we have, but we can go into detail there.

We will continue to call on all governments to move forward with ratification and, as appropriate, declare or reaffirm their commitment not to test.  The CTBT is in the security interest of every nation.  There is absolutely no reason for any other state whose ratification is required by the treaty for entry into force to wait on the United States.

So let me stop here, but I do want to leave you with a thought.  Fifty years ago, we formally started the process to ban nuclear explosive testing.  The reason we will keep pushing, the reason we will keep trying is that this treaty is good for American national security.  And we will continue to make that case to the country and we certainly will count on your continuing help in this effort.

Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you.  Why don’t you stay here for a moment and we’ve got time for a few questions for Anita Friedt.  And just before we do it, let me amend and revise my remarks, as they do in the Senate, to say start in earnest.

MS. FRIEDT:  Start in earnest, OK, all right, Daryl.

MR. KIMBALL:  Start in earnest.  OK.  So maybe we can – so we’ve got one more microphone.  If you could go over to the other side.  Tom Cochran, please.  There we go.

Q:  You know, Ambassador Brooks mentioned that seismology was our best method for detecting nuclear tests.  And I’m wondering if that’s true today or whether signal intelligence is not a better method in light of the revelations about the NSA capabilities.  And I’m reminded, back in the ’70s, when defense programs used to conduct small secret tests at the Nevada test site, we discovered how to detect them by calling up the test site and asking when the weather briefing was, which always occurred 24 hours before the test.  (Laughter.)  We would pretend we were from Washington, D.C., and they would tell us the time of the briefing and we would know that the next day there would be a test.  So I think maybe signal intelligence now is a pretty good way for confirming whether the North Koreans are testing.

MS. FRIEDT:  I certainly agree with you.  That’s an interesting story.  (Laughs.)  But I certainly agree with you that national technical means or signals intelligence is an important asset.  But the seismic remains, so it’s got to be both.  As I mentioned, national technical means are a priority.

I think as everyone sees and knows here, collection efforts, NTM, I mean, and our priorities over the last – certainly since the end of the Cold War have changed in many ways.  I mean, whereas 30, 40 years ago, we looked at – we have a lot more to look at now, let me just say.  I mean, with the threats with Iran, North Korea, elsewhere, there’s a lot more for our national technical means to look at.  So we really need both.

MR. KIMBALL:  Linton, from a technical standpoint, anything to add?

MR. BROOKS:  The National Academy tasking as we understood it was direct detection, not knowledge.  And as I indicated the area in which the public report is substantially smaller than the classified report has to do with U.S. so-called national technical means.  I mean, take the most obvious case.  We detected the North Korean test because the North Koreans announced they just tested.

MR. BROOKS:  But you can’t necessarily depend on that, so I don’t – this is not the venue to get into a debate about the relative merits of signal intelligence.  We did not cover that because we saw our task as direct detection.  But your point’s a good point.

MS. FRIEDT:  Yeah.  And as Linton – it’s a very good point you make – open source is by far – I mean, it’s bigger and bigger and more important than ever.  As you point out, North Korea announced it.  And so we can get a lot from open source.

Q:  Rachel Oswald, Global Security Newswire.  Anything you can tell us about a timeline for doing something like naming a coordinator for the ratification campaign effort?  Anything about whether the chemical weapons issue before Congress is in any way bringing more concern for WMDs or taking away, you know, scant attention for WMD concerns?

MS. FRIEDT:  Well, on the latter point, certainly – thanks, those are good questions.  On the latter point, no, I mean, it certainly makes clear that this is – these WMD issues are more prominent than ever.  There’s no question about that.

In terms of naming a coordinator or anything like that, as I’ve mentioned, there really are no timelines set.  And I think there are good reasons for no timelines set in terms of naming coordinators or doing anything, at least at this point.  We just have to see where we are because it’s – politically it’s – we just have to see where – test the waters and see where we are.  So I’ll leave it at that.

MR. KIMBALL:  Test the waters, so to speak.  Yes.

MS. FRIEDT:  Test the waters, yeah, not the – (laughter).

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Any other questions from the floor?  The gentleman in the front here, Paul Walker.

Q:  First of all, thank you, Anita, very much for coming and speaking today.  We’re very happy to include you in the program.  I want to follow up, I guess, on Rachel’s question, not about the naming of a coordinator, but the last two major arms control agreements that we’ve signed and ratified, but had a real struggle to ratify, was the 1997 fight over the Chemical Weapons Convention.

And part of doing that under the Clinton administration was to in fact name a coordinator out of the White House, in fact, then organize the civil society, NGO, arms control community.  And we worked – many of us worked every single month.  We met at least every two to three weeks for over a year in coordinating, in fact, the campaign around ratification of the CWC.

Similarly for New START, we had a pretty active campaign around ratification of New START.  And it was very uncertain that either treaty, at that point, would be ratified.  And we – as you know – obviously ratified them, you know, sort of by the skin of our teeth in the end.

So I’m wondering whether the State Department or the NSC or the White House has actually begun to reach out to the larger community.  I personally know of no effort or campaign effort to bring NGOs, arms control community into the discussion at this point.  And that’s what a lot of us have, as you know, written State Department and the White House about – that we really feel it’s time to begin this.  It can be a year, a year and a half, two years.  As you say, no schedule is predictable at this point.  But I wonder whether there’s been discussion on building a campaign around the CTBT, regardless of the head count in the Senate at this point.

MS. FRIEDT:  It’s a good point and thank you very much.  I certainly – well, I was front and center in the New START ratification effort, so I know firsthand.  And it was, yes, more than dicey.  And it was – if it were not for the massive effort and the very welcome help from NGOs and from the community at large, we would not – and the campaign – we would not have ratified the treaty.  There’s no – the chances – it was an uphill battle.  The negotiation was quite – in some ways, the negotiation was very tough, but it was almost a cakewalk compared to the ratification, if I – it really was when it was done an eye-opener, to say the least, for me and for many others.

And after that, I mean, the original plan, when President Obama came into office and gave his famous Prague speech in 2009 was to go for ratification of New START, to negotiate and then ratify New START, and then immediately move on to CTBT.  Because of the uphill battle and many other political and other factors, it was clear that we couldn’t just kept – keep going because it just was not – it just didn’t make sense.

At this point, we certainly welcome your help.  I know you’re ready and willing and out there.  And yes, you will be hearing from us soon.  I think it’s – again, it’s a delicate – a delicate issue.

MR. KIMBALL:  I have a question I wanted to ask Anita or Roman to address, which is that there’s the international aspect to entry into force.  There are other countries that do need to sign and ratify.  And coming up on September 27th is the eight Article XIV Conference on facilitating the entry into force the CTBT, where almost 100 representatives will gather to exhort the CTB holdout states to get going.  And there will be NGOs there making some key points, too.

I was wondering if, you know, each of you could offer your thoughts about, you know, what some of the other countries around the world can do and why to move forward on CTBT entry into force.  And as one small example, I think it’s quite interesting, that has been noted in Washington is that just about a month and a half ago, at the behest of the new executive secretary of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Provisional Technical Secretariat, Lassina Zerbo, China agreed to transmit the data from their certified IMS stations to the international data center in Vienna, which they had not been doing for some time.  And so that’s a small step forward for China, which has also, like the United States, signed but not yet ratified.

But there’re other countries that have their part to do.  The U.S. is, of course, critical.  But I was wondering if you could just address, you know, that aspect of the problem, what kind of diplomatic strategy could be organized in order to help that effort and what you expect out of this next entry into force conference, which, you know, is an opportunity to help pull together a serious multilateral diplomatic strategy for the Test Ban Treaty.

MR. VASSILENKO:  Thank you so much.  And I thought it was going to be quick, but it seems like we have a lot to discuss here.

Well, I wouldn’t be inventing the wheel when I say that there are countries, and not just Kazakhstan, but many others, who are trying to chip in and to contribute to the whole discussion and to move the process forward, trying to influence the remaining eight countries.  I would particularly mention Norway, which hosted the conference on humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons testing in March this year.  A hundred and thirty-five countries participated, but no P5.  That just tells you the challenges of even maintaining the dialogue on this issue.  There were India, Pakistan, Iran there, but no P5.

The next event that this group of countries is organizing is in Mexico, in February 2014, which is just next door to the United States.  So I hope that this is – this gets more attention from P5.

In terms of the next conference on the entry into force, I would just revert back to what I said earlier, that there is obviously a great need in a better and more open dialogue.  And once this dialogue is in place, everybody knows what can be done.  And there are dozens of specialists from every country who are part of this process.  I’m sure that they will be able to find even incremental steps forward to convince the remaining holdouts to move forward.

MR. KIMBALL:  Any thoughts on this topic, Anita?

MS. FRIEDT:  Sure, yeah.  No, no, we’re certainly looking forward to the Article XIV Conference next – well, the week after next.

In terms of getting other states to ratify, as I mentioned in my remarks, I mean, the fact that the United States has not ratified should not hold other countries back from ratifying.  I thank you for mentioning the Chinese.  They’re putting their stations on – that really was – it was a small, but it’s arguably also a very large step.  And that was an extremely welcome step forward.

As I mentioned, I think that the work of the CTBTO in Vienna is really – I’ve been out there twice now, which is not a lot, and I’m sure many of you have much more experience – it really is an impressive, impressive organization which has come so far.  The organization has been doing a lot in terms of getting out and trying to get Annex II countries to ratify.  And we certainly support those efforts.

Other than that, I really – I’m big on supporting the organization, also keeping up monetary support.  I mean, the United States has paid all its bills and then some and I think that’s another – it’s an argument that we have there sometimes, but in terms of contributions to the organization, keeping that organization and building out the organization is really of very high importance and something that we need to continue.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right, yeah.  I think we have time for one or two more questions.  Jennifer, why don’t you take the microphone?  Thanks.

Q:  Hi, I’m Jenifer Mackby and I served as secretary of the Group of Scientific Experts, not back in 1976, but more recently when the treaty was being negotiated, and also served on the negotiations for the treaty and then in Vienna and – on the verification work.  And I was just wondering just a technical thing, how far along you perceive the OSI manual is and how close to being finished that is.

And the other thing, at this next Article XIV Conference, Sweden and Mexico were the previous outgoing two coordinators on this.  They didn’t do a whole lot, quite honestly.  And I’m wondering if the next two could be prevailed upon by U.S. and the rest of the NGO community to do a little more.

MS. FRIEDT:  I support that.  In terms of the manual, now you really have – I’ve got my technical – I’ve technically advanced to some point, but not to the point where I know where the manual is.  But I know there are other people, including my colleagues here who can answer that maybe when we finish.

MR. KIMBALL:  Yeah, just what we’re talking about here is the finalization of the manual that will provide the protocols for the on-site inspections, which can only take place when the treaty enters into force and if there’s a challenge inspection authorized by the executive committee.

Any other questions from the audience?  None?  Yes, sir.  Yes, Mr. Ambassador.  Here we go.

Q:  I just want to comment saying that, you know, of course, probably it’s more theoretical thought, but of course if U.S. will show the leadership in ratifying the treaty, I think the other countries will follow.  And the – why I think so is that China, as you said, has already started to move.  And of course, they won’t do anything without having U.S. as a superpower just to move in that direction.  But if this is to be done, I’m sure that China will follow and India and Pakistan, you know, it’s again, the pair which is looking at each other.  And if one of the countries will follow, the other one also follow the suit.

And you know the position of India, which is actually for equal position for all other countries, especially P5 countries, if they go for the reduction of nuclear weapons, they will join NPT and they will be just, again, for all of this anti-nuclear movement.

So we have here a good situation when, if the West shows the leadership and as we hear today in the panel that there is no any reasons why U.S. has to kind of stop itself from ratifying the test ban because verification system is there, everything, technologically we have all the capabilities to check and verify.

So I think that at this point of time, U.S. should show the leadership.  And if that is done, then the rest of the countries will follow the suit.  Of course, I understand the internal political situation which does not permit it, but with all of this data, with all of this good information which you have, research and opinions, I think today is more probably in the hands of NGOs who can really galvanize the public opinion and make a bigger push on those in the Congress who really should be accountable to what is going on and what is the opinion of the public on this issue.

So I think that probably today we have to start from the other side, from the side of the public opinion to grow and just provide the conditions for Senate to go ahead and do that.  Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  One thought about that, if I could actually comment on your remarks.  I would say that historically speaking, victory has 1,000 fathers and mothers.  It’s going to take all of us to make this happen.  And if you look throughout the history, prior to 1963, after 1963, just before 1991, there were a combination of people – local leaders, national leaders, legislators, doctors, physicians, ordinary mothers, NGOs, all together.

So it’s – we’re going to have to stitch together a campaign to achieve this.  As somebody who’s been working on this for a long time, I appreciate the support for the NGOs and the recognition of their importance, but we can’t do it alone either.

So one other thing I would just also mention that is important about the Article XIV Conference and non-governmental organizations – we’re going to mention this in our statement – is that there are powerful reasons for some countries in Central Asia, Iran in particular, to take steps towards ratification, too.

And I know that Kazakhstan has a very good dialogue with Iran.  And President Nazarbayev just met recently with Hassan Rohani, the new Iranian president.  And you know, that Iranian ratification could be a useful step in proving that their program is for peaceful purposes.  And I say that reminds me of an incident in 1996 when I was in Geneva lobbying countries for the negotiation of CTBT.  And I was praising the Iranians for a draft treaty that they had just put down for negotiations.  And I came back to Washington and some people criticized me for giving the Iranians praise, in 1996, quoted in the Financial Times.  But, you know, they have played a role and they can play a helpful role in the future still on this issue.

Any other questions from the audience?  OK.  I think we are running out of time.  I want to thank everyone here for their remarkable contributions.  I want to thank, in particular, Karipbek for your inspiring testimony and your hard work.  I think everyone here has been moved and motivated to work harder on this.

I want to thank Roman and Linton and Anita for your contributions.  I think we’ve had a very diverse and rich discussion.  Our thanks to our friends at the Embassy of Kazakhstan for helping to make this possible, to Paul Walker and Global Green USA, and everyone here for your attention and your interest.  We look forward to seeing you again at some point in the future.

And let me just also note that the – there’s a video – there will be a video of this discussion and a transcript for those who want to go back and relive the experience.  So thanks everyone.  (Applause.)

(END)

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The Arms Control Association (ACA) is an independent membership organization dedicated to promoting public understanding and effective policies to address the threats posed by the world's most dangerous weapons: nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, as well as certain types of conventional weapons that pose a threat to noncombatants. ACA publishes the monthly journal Arms Control Today.

Description: 

Concluded by Presidents John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev only months after the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Limited Test Ban Treaty (LTBT) was an historic first step toward reining in the U.S.-Soviet nuclear arms race. The LTBT, which banned nuclear test explosions above ground, underwater, and in space, led to the end of the most visible and strongly opposed aspects of the arms race: hundreds of open-air explosions that spewed dangerous levels of radioactive contamination far beyond the test sites of the nuclear powers. Fifty years ago, the Senate debated and approved ratification of the LTBT.

Sept. 5 Event: Guarding Against A Nuclear-Armed Iran: Proliferation Risks and Diplomatic Options

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Thursday, September 5, 2013
9:00-10:30 am

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Choate Room
1779 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C.

The recent election of Hassan Rouhani as president of Iran provides a new and important opening for the United States and its P5+1 partners to secure an agreement that limits Iran's nuclear capabilities in exchange for easing tough international sanctions.

As Iran continues to improve its nuclear capabilities in the coming months and sanctions continue to undermine Iran's economy, it is in the interest of all sides to revise  earlier diplomatic proposals and to seize the opportunity to achieve progress in the next round of talks, which are expected to resume in September.

Join the Arms Control Association (ACA) and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace for an assessment of Iran's nuclear capabilities and the elements required for a deal that could provide both sides with a "win-win" outcome.

Panelists are:

  • Dr. Colin Kahl, Senior Fellow; The Center for a New American Security;
  • George Perkovich, Director, Nuclear Policy Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace;
  • David Albright, founder and President of the Institute for Science and International Security;
  • Daryl Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association (moderator).

Please RSVP online.

Digital copies of the newly updated edition of ACA's 44-page briefing book on "Solving the Iranian Nuclear Puzzle" will be available at the event.

# # #

The Arms Control Association (ACA) is an independent, membership-based organization dedicated to providing authoritative information and practical policy solutions to address the dangers posed by the world's most dangerous weapons. ACA publishes the monthly journal Arms Control Today.

Description: 

The recent election of Hassan Rouhani as president of Iran provides a new and important opening for the United States and its P5+1 partners to secure an agreement that limits Iran's nuclear capabilities in exchange for easing tough international sanctions.

Country Resources:

Summary of International Workshop on “Prospects for Russian-U.S. Arms Control”

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May 16, 2013, Moscow

On May 16th, 2013 a roundtable workshop on prospects for the next round of nuclear arms control talks between Russia and the United States was jointly held by the Center for Energy and Security Studies (CENESS), Arms Control Association (ACA), the British American Security Information Council (BASIC), and the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy Hamburg (IFSH), with support of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

A group of 40 officials, diplomats, and experts from Russia, the United States, and NATO considered each party’s objectives, political and technical opportunities, and possible areas and ideas that could help advance progress for discussions and possible negotiations on strategic and nonstrategic nuclear weapons, as well as offensive and defensive ballistic missiles.

This conference report includes a summary of key points and issues discussed, the conference agenda, and many of the opening presentations.

This summary is published under the joint ACA/BASIC/IFSH project on “Reducing the role of tactical nuclear weapons in Europe” funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

More information on the project can be found at http://tacticalnuclearweapons.ifsh.de/ and http://www.basicint.org/issues/projects/natos-nuclear-posture.

Description: 

On May 16th, 2013 a roundtable workshop on prospects for the next round of nuclear arms control talks between Russia and the United States was jointly held by the Center for Energy and Security Studies (CENESS), Arms Control Association (ACA), the British American Security Information Council (BASIC), and the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy Hamburg (IFSH), with support of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

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Annual Meeting on North Korea, the Arms Trade Treaty, and Obama's Next Steps on Nuclear Risk Reduction

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"Reducing Global Weapons Dangers:
Bolstering the NPT and Building the New ATT Regime"

Monday, May 6, 2013
9:00am-1:30pm
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Root Room
1779 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.

9:00-9:05

Welcome

Daryl G. Kimball
ACA Executive Director

9:10-9:20
Video

Transcript

Presentation of the Finding of ACA's 2010-2013 Report Card on Nonproliferation and Disarmament

9:25-10:40
Video


Panel 1
Transcript


Understanding the Tensions on the Korean Peninsula and the Next Steps for Washington

Leon Sigal, Social Science Research Council,
Joel Wit, U.S.-Korea Institute at SAIS
Fabrice Vareille, the European External Action Service (EEAS)

10:50-12:00  
Video
Panel 2
Transcript

The New Arms Trade Treaty - Assessing Its Impact and Accelerating Its Implementation
Rachel Stohl, Stimson senior associate and ACA board member
Paul O'Brien, Oxfam America
Richard Tauwhare, UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Tauwhare Prepared Remarks)

12:00


Lunch


12:15-1:30
Video
Keynote
Transcript
Prague 2.0 - Next Steps for the Second Term
Ellen Tauscher, former Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security (Prepared Remarks)

ACA's Annual Meeting is made possible with support from the Heinrich Böll Foundation and other generous ACA donors and members.


Transcript by
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.

DARYL KIMBALL:  All right.  Good morning, everybody; I’m Daryl Kimball, I’m executive director of the Arms Control Association, and I wanted to welcome everyone here to this year’s 2013 Annual Meeting of the Arms Control Association on bolstering the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, dealing with North Korea and building the new Arms Trade Treaty regime.  And before we get started, if I could just remind everybody to turn off your cellular devices so that we’re not interrupted, that would be great.

So with the support and assistance of you, our members, and our donors, who include the Ploughshares Fund, the MacArthur Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and others, including the cosponsor of today’s event, the Heinrich Böll Foundation, we brought together, I think, a very good program with some very distinguished guests from here in the United States and abroad.  Our program today is going to focus on one of today’s most pressing nuclear proliferation challenges, North Korea, and the next steps for the new Arms Trade Treaty.

And to close out today’s events, we were honored to have former undersecretary of state for arms control and international security Ellen Tauscher, and she’s going to be outlining her views on the next steps for President Obama’s Prague nuclear risk agenda.

And so this event today is just one of the many things that the Arms Control Association does to provide information and ideas for reducing and eliminating the threats posed by the world’s most dangerous weapons: nuclear, biological, chemical and certain conventional weapons.  And as many of you here know, one of our key products is Arms Control Today, and I just wanted to highlight the fact that the latest issue of Arms Control Today is on that cute little thumb drive that you all should have received when you came in on the lanyard.  That is the digital version, as we call it.  It’s not even back from the printer.

And that digital edition is available for all Arms Control Association members and subscribers, and one of the things I just wanted to take a moment to highlight is that if you’re a member or a subscriber and you want to get the digital edition the day it goes to press, you just have to log on your account on our homepage.  And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, check in with Tim Farnsworth, a program associate or somebody at the table about how to do that so you can get to Arms Control Today as quickly as possible.

So in addition to Arms Control Today, we publish a large number of issue briefs, fact sheets and research reports on a wide range of topics.  And to start us off today, we wanted to take a few minutes to highlight ACA’s most recent report – the 2011-2013 report card on nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament, which we released last week.  And that is also available on that thumb drive – full PDF copy of the report is on that drive and on the website.

And to run through some of the top-line findings of that report, I wanted to invite ACA’s nonproliferation analyst, Kelsey Davenport and our Herbert Scoville Peace Fellow Marcus Taylor to run through, very briefly, some of the key findings of the report, and then we’ll turn to the first panel of the day.

So Kelsey, why don’t you come on up, please.  And I should also add that at the table is a handout with some of the highlights of the report card.

KELSEY DAVENPORT:  Before I start, I just wanted to thank Daryl and all of the rest of the ACA staff for their support on this project, which was invaluable. So, since the beginning of the nuclear age, there has been a debate about the obligations that states have as responsible members of the international community to reduce the nuclear threat, and the question of whether or not they’re doing enough.

Our 2011-2013 report updates a study that ACA originally published in 2010 that measures the performance of 11 key states in 10 universally-recognized nonproliferation, disarmament and nuclear security standards.  By tracking this progress over time, or the lack of progress, we hope that this report will encourage policymakers to increase efforts to reduce the risk posed by these weapons and inform the general public about which countries are and which countries are not living up to their international obligations.

In sum, our 2013 report finds that the pace of progress on nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament in the past two and a half years has been slow and is not equal to today’s urgent threats.  The report reviews the actions of the nine nuclear-armed states, as well as Iran and Syria, which are under investigation for possible nuclear weapons-related activities.  Now, the standards – the 11 standards that we chose that are identified in the report are derived from the obligations under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty as well as multilateral agreements, U.N. Security Council resolutions, ad hoc coalitions and multilateral agreements, which, together, we believe provides a baseline for what constitutes responsible behavior for all states.

The report then grades these 11 states on an A through F letter scale, with the highest grade, of course, being an A, which we deem as full compliance with the international standard, and the lowest grade as an F, which means the state has taken steps that are inconsistent with or in rejection of that standard.  The grades B, C, and D are awarded for partial compliance with criteria identified as necessary to meet the standard.

And to get a better idea of what the criteria are and what the standards are, I would encourage you to look at the methodology section of our report, which, as Daryl said, is available online or on your flash drives.  It also has a summary of the overall and sort of country-by-country findings.  And in addition, it compares each country to the grades to where they were in 2010.  Overall, the study shows that while some states are taking important steps in key areas to reduce the dangers caused by nuclear weapons, overall progress remains quite limited, and key states of proliferation concern are continuing to engage in activities that severely undermine nonproliferation and disarmament norms.

So the bottom line is that all states must act with greater urgency to combat the threat posed by nuclear weapons.  And now, my coauthor, Marcus Taylor, is going to share with you some specific highlights from the last 32 months.

MARCUS TAYLOR:  All right.  Thank you very much, Kelsey. So as we mentioned, some states have taken limited progress on nuclear disarmament.  However, the pace and progress over the past two and a half years has not been equal to the threats posed by nuclear weapons.  Several nuclear states have reduced the size of their nuclear arsenals; however, nearly all nuclear-armed states are investing enormous resources to develop and field new nuclear weapons systems, an action which reinforces the perceived necessity of a nuclear deterrent and calls into question their commitment to pursue complete disarmament.

The 2011 entry into force of New START by Russia and the United States was a step in the right direction.  However, Russia in particular has taken a leadership role in nuclear disarmament by reducing its deployed strategic forces well below New START deployed numbers of 1,550 years before the treaty’s 2018 deadline.

Since the entry into force of New START, Washington has slowly reduced the size of its deployed strategic forces to 1,654 nuclear weapons – 100 weapons above the treaty’s limits.  While significant progress was achieved during President Barack Obama’s first two years in office, the administration’s nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation effort has lost energy and focus.  In particular, the United States’ grade on negative security assurances was lowered to a C as a result of both its 2010 Nuclear Posture Review, which stated that the United States may use nuclear weapons against a state that is not in compliance with its safeguards agreement, combined with its increasingly bellicose rhetoric towards Iran, with President Obama stating that he will take no options off the table.

This leaves open the possibility that Washington may use nuclear weapons against a nonnuclear state that is in violation of its safeguards agreement with the IAEA.  Like Iran, this brought down the overall grade of the United States to a B-.  The United Kingdom once again received the highest grade of all 11 states measured in this report.  London has also reduced its nuclear arsenal to the lowest level of any of the five original nuclear weapon states and continues to lower the size of its nuclear forces.

India and Pakistan continue to build up their nuclear arsenals and produce fissile material for nuclear weapons.  The nuclear rivalry in South Asia continues to escalate and is inhibiting progress on a fissile material cutoff treaty.  North Korea once again received the lowest marks of all 11 states, earning an F on seven of the 10 standards.  Pyongyang continues to flout the established international nonproliferation and disarmament norms, making it a serious nonproliferation concern.

Iran and Syria’s continued failure to comply with international nuclear safeguard commitments and basic export controls bring down their grades and increases the suspicion that they are engaged in illicit nuclear activities.  In conclusion, this report indicates that further action must be taken by all 11 states if they are to live up to their international disarmament and nonproliferation responsibilities.  President Obama’s vision of the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons can only be realized if the United States remains resolute in its commitment to sustain nuclear disarmament.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you very much, Marcus and Kelsey, for your hard work on this very extensive report, which we’re going to continue to update as the years go on so that we can track the trends.  Let me invite the next set of panelists to come on up as I begin the introduction for our next panel, which is, strangely enough, about North Korea, which received that F in our report card.

(Off mic.)

(END) (Top of the Page)


Panel 1

DARYL KIMBALL:  So to begin our first panel today on understanding the tensions on the Korean Peninsula and the next steps for Washington and our allies in dealing with North Korea, we have a great set of speakers with deep experience.  We’re meeting here today to discuss this issue as U.S. President Barack Obama and South Korea’s President Park meet here in Washington.  This is an important opportunity for them and all of us to reassess the U.S. and allied policy of strategic patience, which is obviously not working adequately to freeze and reverse Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs.

Marcus mentioned this just a second ago, but in recent weeks and months, we’ve seen North Korea conduct its third nuclear test explosion.  It’s conducted a long-range rocket launch and may soon conduct a medium-range missile test.  We’ve seen the rhetoric ratcheted up as the U.S. and the ROK conduct their annual military exercises.

So we thought it would be a good opportunity to explore what explains these rising tensions, to explore the risks of the North growing nuclear and missile capabilities and how Washington, Beijing and the international community as a whole can improve the results, with respect to freezing and reversing North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.

And so very pleased to have three gentlemen here with us today to look at these issues.  We have beginning our panel, Joel Wit, who is a visiting scholar with the U.S. Korea Institute at SAIS.  He was among other things, involved in the negotiation of the 1994 Agreed Framework.

We also have with us Lee Sigal, who is director of the Northeast Asia Cooperative Security Project at the Social Science Research Council in New York.  He has traveled to, studied and written about North Korea for many years.

And from Brussels, we have Fabrice Vareille, who is deputy head of the Division for Relations with Japan, the Koreas, Australia, New Zealand at the European External Action Service under EU High Representative Catherine Ashton.  We’re very pleased that he is here in Washington to share perspectives from Europe on the Northeast Asia situation.

So after each of them speaks, we’ll take your questions and have a lively discussion, I’m sure.  So Joel, if you could please begin, thank you very much.

JOEL WIT:  Thanks, Daryl.

I’m really glad to be here today.  I have a long association with the Arms Control Association that dates back to people like Pete Scoville and Bill Kincaid, Stan Resor and Spurgeon Keany, who were all very nice to me when I first got out of graduate school.  So I’m happy to be here talking.

Second point – and this is sort of a disclaimer I always like to make, particularly in Washington – and that is that I am going to be critical of U.S. policy, but this does not mean that I sympathize with North Korea.  (Laughter.)  It means that I am dismayed at our inability to deal with this issue when I think we can be doing a better job.  And as someone who played a lot of high school sports, I never liked being on a losing team.

So having said that, let me just make three points, since I have a limited amount of time.  The first point, Daryl has alluded to the policy of strategic patience, which has been in place since the Obama administration took office.  And I’m usually pretty critical about how I describe this publicly, so I was kind of shocked when recently, after I was done talking, a senior Republican came up to me and said I was being very gracious in my description of strategic patience.  And he described it as we’re basically – we were waiting for Kim Jong Il to die so we could get better deals out of the North Koreans.  And that’s not a bad description, but the point is it’s failed.  The policy never made sense, whether we’re talking about stopping North Korea’s WMD programs, the non – the proliferation threat, building regional peace and security – and anyone who had dealt with North Korea before knew it wasn’t going to work.  And indeed, the administration was told by these people that it wasn’t going to work.  But that didn’t really matter.

Just to understand what’s driving the policy, it’s really not driven, I don’t think, by national interests.  It’s driven by domestic politics and alliance politics.  On the first score, that means basically, the administration wanted to keep North Korea off the front pages.  In the second score, the administration was willing to follow a very conservative South Korean government that was essentially driven by ideology; I’m talking about the last government, not this government.

Second point I want to make is that I’m sure we’ve all noticed that there are no more front-page articles on North Korea and you know, we’re not being bombarded on CNN by stories every 10 seconds about this issue.  So it’s obviously calmed down.

But I would say that it’s only going to get worse.  And actually, General Dempsey alluded to this during his trip to China, when he said that this situation is going to keep coming back over and over again and we’re going to have a continuous problem here.

The North WMD program, I think, has been driven mainly by defensive needs.  But I think now it’s starting to serve offensive requirements, one of which is to intimidate its neighbors.  Of course, we have to be cautious about how we project where this program is going in the future, but we can’t dismiss it. A friend of mine recently said to me, it’s like North Korea’s Manhattan Project.

The danger here, though, is not just WMD – and I know that’s the focus of many people in this audience – but the danger here is, quite frankly, that there’s an increasing probability of a Second Korean War.  And that may sound alarmist to some of you who don’t follow this issue, but crisis stability on the peninsula is taking a big hit, not only because of North Korea’s actions, but because of how South Korea is responding.  And by that, I mean that South Korea is now moving towards a preventive strike doctrine and also is going to retaliate the next time North Korea launches a provocation.  And I don’t think Pyongyang is just going to roll over and play dead at that point.

Lastly, I would say there may be a glimmer of hope, although I don’t hold out much hope, that the recent developments can help us adjust our policy.  Quite honestly, many people in the administration think our policy is working, or that’s the way, at least, they portray it publicly; whether they privately believe that or not, I don’t know.  So I’m not sure if they will adjust.  But also, I think the situation has gotten worse and worse and worse over the past four years.  And that leads me to question, or to at least think about, whether it’s too late to solve this problem.  I’m not willing to concede that point yet.

So here are kind of ideas for what we should do:  First, we need to jettison the myths we have about North Korea that dominate not just the press, but the way government officials think about North Korea.  And there are so many of them, I can’t begin to describe all of them, but the bottom line is we’re not dealing here with a failing hermit kingdom led by a crazy dictator.  That’s not what’s going on here.  We are dealing with a country that is driven mainly by national interests and their leaders are maybe somewhat eccentric at times, but not crazy. They are realists, in the purest sense of the word.

There’s another myth here that I think impacts our ability to form a strategy.  And that is – and you’ve seen this over and over and over again in the media – the idea that they threaten us, squeeze out benefits from us and then threaten us again.  That’s not the case.  And of course, the poster child for this myth is the Agreed Framework, which in my mind, was an enormous success.  And it was an enormous success because North Korea was on the brink of building maybe a hundred nuclear weapons over the decade after the agreement and when the agreement collapsed, they only had enough material for five.  So to me, that’s a big – that’s a big win for our side.

Second, we need to figure out how to turn the U.S. ocean liner onto a different course.  The administration clearly, I think, still wants to sweep this policy under the rug.  So one idea is that maybe somehow, there could be a policy review that would give the administration cover to kind of shift course.  You know, whether that’s going to happen or not, I doubt it, but at least in the recent bill passed by the Senate, there was a provision requiring the administration to conduct such a review.

It’s funny; I was sitting in the office of a Senate staffer when he was getting comments from the State Department on that.  And he got an email from the State Department saying, well, gee, we really don’t want to do a review; can we just come up there and give you a briefing on our policy?  And my friend sent back an email saying to them, I wasn’t aware we had a passed legislation for you to give us briefings.  So this is the mindset of where we are inside the administration.

Third, if I was king for a day, I would say that we need what I would call a policy of strong diplomacy, versus our policy of weak diplomacy that we’ve had for four years.  By strong diplomacy, I don’t just mean, oh, if we would talk to them, everything would be better.  That’s not what I mean,  I mean we need to be doing all the things that aren’t diplomacy, like sanctions, military steps when they’re required, we need to do it seriously.  But we also need to have a strong diplomatic track here.  And we don’t have that.

And for those of you who follow Iran, I noticed there was a recent report written by some prominent American saying we need a stronger diplomatic track dealing with Iran.  Well, if you feel you need a stronger diplomatic track dealing with Iran, you know, the diplomatic track dealing with North Korea is almost nonexistent at this point.  So we need strong diplomacy – that means at senior levels, focused on core peace and security issues, not just trying to the North Koreans off with food assistance or economic assistance.  Core security issues means ending the Korean War and denuclearization.

Fourth, we need to understand this is going to be a long and difficult process.  If it actually happens, it’s not going to happen overnight.  The trick is going to be to shift the political relationship with North Korea in a way where their building their own nuclear weapons seems less important to them.

Fifth, strong diplomacy means dislodging China from its support for North Korea.  There are a number of ways to do that, some of which we aren’t doing.  First of all, the North Koreans themselves can do stupid things that are going to make the Chinese unhappy.  And we’ve seen that recently.  Secondly, we do have to take tough steps in the context of our overall strategy to protect ourselves and our allies.  Some of those steps, the Chinese aren’t going to like.  And thirdly, the missing piece of this puzzle is the United States needs to work cooperatively with China on diplomatic initiatives.

Sixth, we need to work more closely with our allies.  We have that opportunity now with Madam Park – or I should say President Park – visiting Washington.  And working closely with our allies means more than just flexing military muscle; it means exercising leadership for peace.

And lastly – and I’ll wrap up right here – and I’m going to be very open and honest about this – for the past four years, this issue really has not gotten a lot of attention; certainly not in the Obama administration, but outside the administration, it has not gotten a lot of attention.  In the NGO community, the discussion has been confined to a bunch of Korea experts, Northeast Asia experts.  And I – to me, the most obvious manifestation of this was the recent conference, the big nuclear conference, held by the organization that owns this building.  And there was no panel on North Korea.  There was nothing except a South Korean politician who is seen in South Korea as being fairly right-wing who wants to withdraw from the NPT, build nuclear weapons, redeploy U.S. tactical nuclear weapons.  That was it.

So I guess what I’m saying is as someone who has been involved with this community ever since I came to Washington, which is a long time now, I’m hoping that the recent problems we’ve had with the North will energize people to become much more engaged in this issue.

Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you very much, Joel.  (Applause.)

And now, we’ll turn to Lee Sigal, for your perspectives on the situation and how to move ahead.

LEON SIGAL:  Well, my perspective is I live in New York, not Washington.  And that makes a lot of difference, because everybody in Washington talks to one another and convinces one another how they are geniuses about North Korea.  I’m not so sure and I’m not so sure any of us are – including me, of course – are geniuses about North Korea’s – but that is preamble.  Let me just go into some things.

The February 12th nuclear test, I think, has actually prompted to shift in the Obama administration’s stance from strategic patience to strategic impatience, but not yet to strategic rethinking.  The strategic impatience has been manifested in a couple of main ways:  First, after the nuclear test prompted renewed talk in Seoul and Tokyo about acquiring their own nuclear arms, Washington moved to reassure the allies by flexing its deterrent muscles, conducting practiced bombing runs by B-52 and B-2 bombers – that hasn’t been done in decades – dispatching F-22 stealth fighters and an attack submarine to Korea, expanding missile defenses and helping South Korea develop longer-range ballistic missiles to supplement the long-range cruise missiles it recently deployed.

Now, U.S. muscle flexing triggered a barrage of verbal threats from Pyongyang.  Unlike Washington and Seoul, which have far superior forces, Pyongyang for now has escalation dominance only in the domain of rhetoric.  Its threats all seem to underscore its own deterrent posture and were explicitly predicated without exception on prior action by the United States or South Korea.  As a senior U.S. military official in Seoul saw it on April 16, North Korea’s threats have, quote, “always been conditional.”  So if the U.S. does this, then the North says, we’re going to do that.

In its second manifestation of strategic impatience, and this is really important to me, the administration keeps trying to pressure China to bring North Korea to its knees.  As a senior U.S. official told The New York Times on March 15, planned deployments, missile defenses were meant to signal Beijing, quote, “we want to make it clear that there’s a price to be paid for letting the North Koreans stay on the current path.”  It seems to me, picking a fight with Beijing will only deepen insecurity in Northeast Asia, not put more pressure on Pyongyang.

Pyongyang now says it plans to restart its reactor at Yongbyon to generate more plutonium and to enrich enough uranium for dozens of weapons.  Construction of its new light water reactors nearing completion.  It will need more nuclear and missile tests if it is to perfect a compact weapons design capable of delivering by missiles, but these threats are real, as opposed to the surreal rhetoric out of Pyongyang amplified by the news media.  The news media only pays attention to rhetoric, as far as I can tell.

Strategic rethinking begins with the realization that negotiations to stop an unbounded weapons program that could stabilize Northeast Asia are needed.  But the way to get there, it seems to me, is to reconcile with Pyongyang, that is to say, to take steps away from enmity, starting with North-South re-engagement and U.S. accommodation with China.

Holding up negotiations to get Pyongyang to reaffirm its commitment to complete denuclearization is a waste of time.  In the midst of North Korea’s rhetorical volleys, a foreign ministry spokesman on March 16 reiterated its decade-long negotiating position:  First, quote, “it will never reach out to anyone to get it recognized as a nuclear weapon state.”  I don’t know where this recognition stuff came from.  There are a lot of people in Washington who keep saying it; the North Koreans don’t say that.  And it is important not to listen to people in Washington, but to listen to people in Pyongyang; after all, it’s them we have to persuade.

Second, the U.S. is seriously mistaken if it thinks the DPRK had access to nukes as a bargaining chip to barter them for what it called economic rewards.

Third, its weapons serve as all-powerful treasured sword for protecting the sovereignty and security of the country and are not negotiable” – and here it’s interesting – “at least as long as the U.S. nuclear threat and hostile policy persist,” close quotes.

Now, that wording suggests Pyongyang’s perception a nuclear threat could dissipate with an end to the hostile policy.  That has long been their position.  I’m not sure whether it still is.  But, what we do know, if we know anything, is its nuclear diplomacy has never been about money.  It’s about reconciliation, an end to enmity, as its foregoing food aid in the so-called Leap Day deal and its temporary shutdown of Kaesong is designed to underscore.

On March 31st, however, Pyongyang announced a new strategic line laid down by Kim Jong-un himself on, quote, “carrying out economic construction and building nuclear armed forces simultaneously”  – and here’s the key phrase – “under the prevailing situation,” and said it would restart its shuttered reactor at Yongbyon to generate more plutonium as well as enriching weapons-grade uranium.  It said that “the nuclear armed forces should be expanded and beefed up qualitatively and quantitatively until the denuclearization of the world is realized.”

That’s trouble, folks.

Now, does this spell an end to any negotiated limits on its nuclear programs?  Notice I didn't say weapons; programs.  Or was it just Kim Jong Un’s version of Eisenhower’s bigger bang for a buck, intended to justify reallocation of some military resources to civilian use?  We don’t know yet.

On April 16, however, a foreign ministry spokesman hinted it was not the former; not any ban on negotiated limits.  “The DPRK is not opposed the dialogue,” he said, “but has no idea of sitting at the humiliating negotiating table with the party brandishing a nuclear stick.”  That’s a reference to the bombers flying practice runs.

It went on:  “Genuine dialogue is possible only at the phase where the DPRK has acquired nuclear deterrent enough to diffuse the U.S. threat of nuclear war” – and here’s the key phrase – “unless the U.S.” – “unless the U.S. rolls back its hostile policy and nuclear threat and blackmail against us.”

Now, second, it seems to me strategic rethinking requires recognition – and, here, Joel has emphasized – has pointed that out – that the very steps each side in Korea takes to bolster deterrence increases the risk of deadly clashes.  The instability on the peninsula.  The White House decision to ratchet down tensions acknowledged as much, as a senior administration official said on April 2nd, and I quote:  “The concern was that we were heightening the prospect of misperceptions on the part of North Koreans and that that could lead to miscalculations,” close quotes.  That risk, by the way, was also evident in the sinking of the Cheonan in March 2010 in retaliation for a November 2009 shooting up of a North Korean naval vessel and a November 2010 artillery exchange in the contested waters off Korea’s west coast.

In short, deterrence alone will not assure morning calm in Korea.  The way to reduce the risk of further clashes is a peace process in Korea parallel to any nuclear talks.  As one route to reconciliation, Pyongyang has long said it wants a peace treaty ending the Korean War, probing whether it means what it says is in U.S. and allied security interests, especially now that North Korea’s nuclear-armed.

Third, strategic rethinking entails acknowledging that the military steps taken to reassure U.S. allies also antagonized China – all of them; not just the missile defense piece.  No chorus of disclaimers from Washington will persuade Beijing that the U.S. military rebalancing to Asia is not aimed at containing it.  Washington needs to accompany that military rebalancing with a political and diplomatic rebalancing toward China and encourage its allies to do the same. Cooperation has to be a two-way street.  A sustained effort at rapprochement could include military – sustained military-to-military as well as diplomatic talks to address, among other things, the two states’ mutual vulnerability through mutual restraint in the domains of cyberspace, nuclear weaponry and space.  That might include commitments to forego cyberattacks on each other’s critical infrastructure, acknowledgment of mutual deterrence by accepting China’s retaliatory capability as legitimate and a ban on attacking or interfering with one another’s satellites.

In conclusion, in my view, the only way to head off looming instability in Asia is to try to move toward peace in Korea and rapprochement with China.  Sustained diplomacy and political rebalancing may not succeed.  But unlike more stringent sanctions, more muscular deterrence, diplomatic disengagement and military rebalancing, they just might work.  Thank you.

(Applause.)

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you, Lee.  And now we’ll turn to Fabrice Vareille of the EU for a European perspective.

FABRICE VAREILLE:  Thank you very much, and first of all, thank you very much to the Arms Control Association for inviting me to this forum, and also thank to the Heinrich Böll Foundation for making this possible.

I’m very glad to be – to be able to give you an EU perspective on the situation in the peninsula and what the EU can – what the EU’s role can be there.  So, first, I will – I will maybe talk very quickly about how we see the current situation and then I will try to elaborate a little bit on what are the implications of the situation for the EU and what the EU can do to help address the issue are at stake on the peninsula.

In the past few months, we’ve seen tensions on the peninsula reaching a very, very high point, probably at a level we’ve not seen since 1994, when plans to strike a nuclear reactor at Yongbyon were being drawn up.  Fortunately, tensions have been subsiding in the last few weeks, but we are still – the situation is still very serious and there is still room for an unprovoked incident or from – for some new and unexpected provocation by the DPRK, who has always been very adept at wrong-footing everyone.  And we are now in a – in a – it seems, in a – in a cycle of engagement or we are moving toward a cycle of moderation.  And this way of blowing hot and cold does resemble traditional DPRK behavior where a period of relative or moderation and negotiation succeeds periods of heightened tensions and aggressive acts and rhetoric.

Rather than trying to explain what could be the motives or the specific tactical considerations at play in Pyongyang to explain the recent cycle, I would like to underline maybe that behind this, what looks like maybe a usual pattern of behavior, we think that there are a number of factors that make the current situation a little bit different.

First, we have a new, young, inexperienced leader, untested leader in North Korea who needs to assert his control over the party and the army, and he’s still sort of an unknown quantity.  It is reported that even the Chinese have encountered difficulties to reach out to him.  So, he’s – he brings a factor of uncertainty into the equation.

Second, we have new governments in office in the further region.  In Seoul and in Tokyo, we have new governments which have the political wield and technical means to react by beefing up their deterrence capability.  And Mr. Wit has touched on that previously.  We have also new leadership in China, which probably sees its strategic interest increasingly undermined by DPRK behavior and actions and is worried that the 6 party process might be in jeopardy.

Last but not least, and what maybe is a key change in the situation, is that there is a steady progress in the DPRK programs – nuclear and ballistic programs.  Assessments diverge as regards the DPRK’s actual capability in terms of militarizing and weaponizing a nuclear device, but I think we can – we can argue with a degree of certainty that the DPRK is progressing step by step, and the willingness of countries whose security is affected, to acquiescing that situation is correspondingly less.  So, all this create a new situation where the traditional freeze approach which was pressured in the past is perhaps not an option on the table anymore.

So, what are the implication of all of this – of the situation for the – for the EU?  What is the EU role in the international efforts to resolve the North Korea problem?  I would argue that even if the EU is not a direct actor, even if the EU doesn’t have strategic assets deployed in the region, even if the EU is not under direct threat from the DPRK, the question of a – of the implication of the EU should not surprise because the EU has a strategic interest at stake.  It has an history of active involvement in the peninsula and it has some assets that other like-minded players do not contribute to addressing the situation.

Our strategic interests, I think they are very, very clear.  On the one hand, we have a very significant economic and political presence in East Asia.  The EU has strategic partnerships with China, with Japan, with South Korea.  All three are very important economic and trade partners for the EU.  And a risk of instability in the region or reaction to propaganda efforts by the DPRK can have an impact on business confidence and disturb capital flows, thereby affecting directly the EU interests and economy.  So, that’s one aspect.

But we also have a stake in the security sphere.  The EU – one of the main pillar of the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy is the objective of preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  This is a policy on which there is a very strong and united EU position, and naturally North Korea’s actions, North Korea’s withdrawal of the NPT threaten that regime, and that’s an issue of very high concern for the – for the – for the EU.

In this context, also, the EU is concerned because of risks of proliferation from the DPRK towards its own neighborhood.  There has been evidence in the past of proliferation of nuclear technology or nuclear materials towards Syria, and there is – there are suspicions of possible contact between the North Korean and the Iranian nuclear program, and this brings the North Korea issue much closer to us.  So, because of a risk of interaction, the EU cannot be indifferent to the development of DPRK programs and to the responses by the international community.

These interests, which are real, explain why the EU has already been quite active on the – on the peninsula.  In 1997, the EU was invited to join the KEDO project to build a light water reactor and commit 100 million euro for this project at that time.  And I think this was a clear recognition that the EU cannot be left out of any major international initiative to achieve the denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula both as a donor and as a leading force internationally for nonproliferation.

Back in the early 2000s, also, in the – against a background of improving inter-Korean dialogue, most EU member-states established diplomatic relations with the DPRK, and the EU stepped up its activities with – in the DPRK.  In particular, there were high-level contacts and visits, including at the level of then-president of the European Council, Swedish Prime Minister Persson, but there was also – there were also – we stepped up our assistance activities at the time to include training activities of various kinds, like economic reform, human rights, governance, in addition to humanitarian-related activities.

So, this engagement of the peninsula and with the DPRK also reflects the fact that the EU has some specific assets that it can use to make a contribution to finding a solution.  As I said, most EU member-states – member-states have diplomatic relations with the DPRK, and seven member-states have an embassy in Pyongyang, providing us with channels of communication with North Korean authorities that other players don’t have.

I already mentioned our long-standing, even if limited, assistance activities in the country in response to humanitarian needs and emergencies.  We have several NGOs on the ground delivering our assistance, and this is another form of presence – of EU presence in the country and another link with North Korean authorities.

We have a long-standing policy of critical engagement with North Korea, which takes the form of regular political dialogue with the DPRK at senior official level.  And given the volatility of Pyongyang’s relation with other players such as the U.S., Japan, South Korea, the EU is the only major democracy which has remained continuously engaged with North Korea over the past decade, including at times of heightened tensions.  And this has been appreciated and supported by our like-minded partners as it keeps a channel of influence and communication which they themselves are not in a position to maintain.  So, in the meantime, we have the advantage of being seen by the DPRK as a relatively neutral actor with no recent historical baggage in the region.  So, that, I think, characterizes the EU stance vis-à-vis the situation.

So, what do we do with this?  For it – I think the EU priority for the time being is to contribute to ensuring that the winding down of tensions continues and that an environment is created that – is created that facilitates substantive engagement by the DPRK.  In our view, the diplomatic priority is to sustain and possibly to re-enforce the newly formed international consensus in condemnation of DPRK and persuade China and Russia to use their influence to induce change in the DPRK.

The ultimate aim is to show the DPRK that threats don’t work and that it must negotiate.  And I think that in this regard, Secretary of State Kerry’s visit to China sent very positive signals regarding the joint resolve of China and the U.S. to work closely on this.  So, in this context, the justification for EU engagement continues to be valid.  Sanctions by themselves will probably not do the trick.  And the need for EU political engagement is widely recognized, and this is what we hear from our partners when we are talking to them about the situation in the peninsula.

If talks about talks begin, as it seems is now the case, it will be timely – could be timely for us to resume the EU political dialogue that we have with the DPRK in order to encourage Pyongyang to re-engage on terms that offer a credible prospect for denuclearization.  If that turned out positively, it could also be followed by a few low-key actions as a tangible sign of EU goodwill.  For example, resuming periodic small-scale training visits by the DPRK diplomats to Brussels; focus on the EU and how it functions, and this is a way of exposing DPRK diplomats to the outside world – organizing activities on economic reform issues, which could be held either in Pyongyang or, as previously – or in neighboring countries.  So that’s the sort of small thing that the EU can do to induce change in the country.

We could also look at scope for Track 2 activities.  Over years, a number of member states have sponsored such events, even if the outcome of this initiative remain unclear.

And then there is the issue of what role for the EU if talks resume.  Should there be an involvement of the EU in future talks?  It’s a bit – it’s a bit difficult to say.  When the six-party talk process was launched in the early 2000s, the EU was interested in joining, but for some – for different reasons.  This finally did not materialize, and the EU has rather aimed at making a supporting contribution to the 6 party talks.  And I think that in looking at the future, there would be no fundamental change.  If 6 party talks were to resume or if new modalities for talks with the DPRK were designed, the EU would probably not play a leading role or look immediately for a seat at the table.  But again, our channels of communication could – with Pyongyang could prove useful.

And I’ll stop there.  Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  All right, thank you.

Gentlemen, we have quite a number of ideas, thoughts, analysis on the table, hopefully thought-provoking.  We have a couple of our staff members who are going to be available with microphones for your questions, so if you would like to ask a question, please raise your hand, as these folks are doing quite well, identify yourself, ask your questions.  And why don’t we start right here, and then we’ll go to Ambassador Wulf after that.

Q:  Mike Mosettig with PBS Online NewsHour.  What should we be looking for in terms of statements, communiqués from the two presidents starting tomorrow to indicate either they are moving ahead or perhaps they’re not?  And I say this partly in view that you’re hearing some talk in Washington that the administration is looking for President Park to be taking the lead on some of these negotiations.  I don’t know whether that means she’s the canary in the coal mine or what, but – (laughter) – anyway, just some guidance on what we should be looking for in these talks the next two days.

MR. KIMBALL:  Joel, you want to start us off?

MR. WIT:  There are a couple of points here.  Yes, there is this new idea – although it’s not so new; it keeps coming back over the past 20 years – that South Korea can kind of conduct this dialogue with North Korea, build confidence, and then maybe at some point the U.S. would sort of gradually get into the game.  To some degree, it’s not a bad idea, but I can’t help but feel the motivation behind it is that the administration still doesn’t want to talk to North Korea, so it’s looking for other ways, other avenues of dealing with this.

And the bottom line here is that South Korea cannot deal with the core security issues that need to be addressed here.  The United States has to be at the table for that discussion.  If we’re not, then South Korea’s not going to go – get very far, and indeed, they may get nowhere with the North Koreans.

Second point on what can we look out out of the – for out of the communiqué, I don’t have any inside information, but if you see a communiqué that sort of trots out the usual suspects – you know, the strength of the alliance, the need for sanctions, the – you know, we don’t want to buy the same horse twice from North Korea, you know, other things in that context, then you’ll know that not much has really happened in terms of the North Korea issue.

MR. KIMBALL:  Lee?

MR. SIGAL:  I’d just add a couple of things.  One is President Park has clearly indicated she wants to resume economic engagement with the North, starting in Kaesong.  The question is whether she’s ready for a peace process.  And here she has not come out.  And that is critical to this because, as I say, North Korea – this is not about money.  Kaesong is an opening move in the negotiation, but it’s got to go beyond that.  So I think sounding out the North about a peace process – the South can contribute to that.  I agree absolutely with Joel in the end, the U.S. has to be at that table, but not necessarily at the start.  So the question is, is she prepared to go beyond attempts at resuming economic engagement to the political?

Secondly, I think she, ideally with the North, has to create a little distance – not real distance, but a little distance from Washington.  It wouldn’t hurt if some administration officials criticized her for entering into talks with the North at this point.  That wouldn’t hurt her.  I’ll just leave it at that.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.

All right, why don’t we go to our other question, I think Norm Wulf – yes.

Q:  Yes, an observation.  I would remind that in 1996 and 1997 there were four-party talks:  North, South Korea, China and the United States.  And the agenda included a peace treaty, recognition, et cetera.  So we’ve tried this.  We’ve been down this road before.  My own view is that the big threat North Korea presents is I think it’ll sell, at some point, if it hasn’t already, nuclear material or nuclear weapons to other countries or other actors.  And I think the best position for the United States is that if we don’t buy it, someone else will.  That means I’m sort of where Joel is, that we need to have a dialogue.  And I would just sort of note that, yes, they will lie, cheat and steal, but no one thought the Soviets were clean when Jack Mendelsohn and others negotiated arms control treaties with them, and they did contribute to our national security.  So what’s wrong with our doing the same now, sitting down, recognizing that the guy on the other side is not totally trustworthy but trying to enhance our national security?

MR. WIT:  Yeah, you know, if I could say, I mentioned that the people who’ve been fixated with this issue, you know, are the Korea, Northeast Asia regional expert community.  And so, you know, you hear this over and over again:  Oh, they’re cheaters; they’re serial cheaters.  You know, and it’s like, from people like me, who, you know, I kind of was very junior, but I participated in U.S.-Soviet negotiations, it’s like, yeah, OK, so what?  You know, so were the Soviets, but you know, you get your verification measures in place, they give you some assurance that you know what’s going on, and you move forward because agreements can still serve your interest.

MR. SIGAL:  I’d just add two things.  One, anybody who looks closely at the history might be dismayed to find out that North Korea was the – was not the only one that reneged on agreements.  That’s really centrally important here.

Second, just to remind people of what happened in the ’97 talks on peace, that was an attempt to get the North and South talking again, and the president of South Korea at that time did not want to engage in talks and had to be threatened with the denial of a presidential visit in order to compel him into those four-party talks, and the North Koreans knew it.  So nobody thought that was going to move very far.

Furthermore, the North Korean position at that time was rather interesting, and it underscores a point that’s often lost in Washington.  They asked, what the hell are the Chinese doing in these talks?  For North Korea, for 25, 30 years, the name of the game is to beget – to get the United States, South Korea and, indeed, even Japan into the game so that they have a counterweight to China and alternative sources of aid and investment to China, so that they’re not dependent on China.  That game has been lost on most people in Washington.  That’s why I think they said what they did in ’97.

MR.  KIMBALL:  Before we go to the next question, I mean, to pick up on a couple of things that were just raised here – and Norm Wulf, you mentioned the earlier four-party effort – the six-party talks – if each of you could just briefly address whether that is the right formula, if a different formula is necessary or if it really doesn’t matter and what’s important is that the key parties are actually talking.  I mean, we have had, over the years, a lot of debate, some of it maybe useful, not useful, about the shape of the table and how many seats are at the table.  I mean, but as we think about, you know, the resumption of talks, which are clearly necessary, is that the right formulation?  Your thoughts?

MR. WIT:  You know, it’s always a tricky question.  It’s a – it’s a question of balancing process with substance.  And if you’re too – you emphasize process too much, it hurts substance.  If you emphasize substance too much, it may hurt process.

So – but you know, where I come out is that I think we need just to kind of wipe the slate clean here.  And what I would suggest – and I think this is something the Chinese are very interested in – is new talks that are four-party talks – I think I disagree with Lee – that are four-party talks, the United States,  China, South Korea and North Korea, that focus on four agenda items:  denuclearization, peace treaty, cross-normalization of relations and economic assistance.  I think that kind of structure – if the North Koreans are interested in trying to move down the road towards denuclearization, which is maybe a big “if,” I think that kind of structure would serve our interests.

Now, of course, the downside is what do we do about Russia, what do we do about Japan, what do we do about the European Union.  You know, we may be able to figure out a way where the six-party talks can sort of be some big umbrella and maybe bring in other countries, and somehow they would participate but not be at the core of the discussion.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right, Lee, Fabrice, any other thoughts about that?

MR. SIGAL:  Just – look, what’s critical here is what the United States is prepared to negotiate with North Korea about and what South Korea is prepared to negotiate with North Korea about.  The modalities are, to me, secondary.  I have no problem with China being at the table.  The question is does North Korea have a problem – (chuckles) – with China being at the table?  OK, let me just leave it at that.  It’s about what we’re prepared to talk about.  And we have, in the past, hinted at peace talks.  It’s in the six-party September 2005 communique.  But the serious effort at a peace process, I think, has not been looked at in this town or, I think, to some extent in Seoul either.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right, I think we have a couple other questions.  There’s one in the rear, and then we’re going to come back to Ambassador Culp.  But why don’t we take the one in the rear first.  Thank you.

Q:  Good morning.  Anne Charlotte Merrell Wetterwik from the Center for International Trade and Security.  Thank you very much for a very good panel.  I have a question for Mr. Vareille and the European Union, if you don’t mind.  You mentioned the KEDO project that has a very long track record of at least being talked about as a way of getting the European Union as a – as an entry point to discussions with the DPRK.  So I was just wondering if you could elaborate a little bit more about the results that you have seen so far under this project and if you see a future for this project being a trigger point of DPRK’s potential capricious pragmatism of seeing the EU and this particular project as a way out of the dead end.

MR. VAREILLE:  Thank you.  I referred to this project more as a way to show that the EU had been our – had been involved in the past already in dealing with our nuclear issue on the – on the peninsula that I don’t think the KEDO project is a success story, basically.  It looks as if the project now is dead in the water.  It didn’t achieve what it was intended to achieve, so this is not something on which we can build for the future.

I think that what the EU is ready do now is perhaps less to engaging to large-scale project of this kind, for which the conditions are not there anyway, but if circumstances allow, we are maybe better placed to do a small thing at small scale where we can engage with the North Koreans, with different groups in North Korea with assistance project or small-scale activities and training project that bring in, little by little, some changes in the way the economy functions in the DPRK and the way officials in the DPRK can be – can have contact with and experience with external actors.  So this is more the sort of thing that we can do, and the KEDO project now is not something that can be resurrected in any way, I think.

MR. KIMBALL:  Right.  David Culp, in the middle, please, and then in front.

Q:  We hear some members of Congress and other people here in Washington that say if the Chinese would just use their influence, they could bring North Korea to the negotiating table or get an agreement.  Other people say, no, they don’t really have that much influence.  So I’m curious what the panel members think.  What’s the real state of the degree of influence that the Chinese have with North Korea?

MR. SIGAL:  David, the heart of this is if we’re right – and we’ve heard it a number of times from the North Koreans – they want the U.S. as a counterweight to China, and therefore that gives us influence, potentially, if we engage.  We tend to think of Chinese influence in terms of threatening North Korea.  There are limits to what the Chinese are prepared to do.  But most important, if you actually look at when the U.S. and China cooperate at the U.N., in – on Security Council resolutions three times – more than that, actually, but three very notable times after the nuclear test – the North Korean reaction is always the same, which is they really hyperventilate.  They really up the threat scale because they have to drive the Americans and the Chinese apart, and what they know is the Chinese will come to try and calm them down, and the Americans will blame the Chinese for not bringing them to their knees.  And it works every time

So the notion that the Chinese have independent influence – yes, they have some.  But the negative influence that some people in this town hope for, that they’ll cut them off from aid and investment – most of the investment, by the way, is private – that’s something the Chinese are not going to do, and the North Koreans know it.  So the limit of the pressure side of this – it’s limited.  When you’re in a negotiation, when the Americans are actually negotiating, the Chinese, at the margin, have some influence, but at the margin.  Again, this is mainly, it seems to me, has always been about the North Koreans looking for counterweights to China, and that gives us influence, a point that seems totally lost on this town.

MR. KIMBALL:  Joel, Fabrice, any thoughts on this?

MR. VAREILLE:  Just maybe very quickly, I think that we can, however, see some – I wouldn’t say a shift, but a change in the China position in the way it has allowed your recent UNSC resolution to be adopted.  And we also detect willingness of China to implement more effectively the sanctions which are in – adopted in the context of this UNSC resolution.  This willingness is – I mean, this is in a very measured way.  But from what we see on the ground – so again, from reports that we receive from the organization that are working for us in implementing small project, we see that, for instance, cash transfers from China to the DPRK have become much more difficult.  We see that some of the sanctions that are – have been decided are implemented more effectively than in the past.

MR. KIMBALL:  OK, we’ve got a question up here.  Jennifer.  Thank you.

Q:  Well, thank you very much for a great panel.  And I was going to ask the question that David just asked about China and what it could do, but instead I will now ask about the more recent test that North Korea has just carried out.  I mean, they’ve now had three tests, and each time it seems to get less attention.  And I wonder what influence you think that might have on Iran in terms of red lines that we drew even for North Korea.

MR. KIMBALL:  And maybe also – I mean, just to add to this question – I mean, Joel you run this very excellent 38 North website, and just keeping an eye on some of the actual facilities.  I mean, could you give us a brief assessment of what you’re seeing, what we can expect in terms of the physical capabilities of the North on its fissile and missile programs?

MR. WIT:  You know, I’m really – I don’t know how Iran views these red lines or red lines in Syria or any other make-believe red lines we lay down, so I really don’t know the answer to that.  I’m sorry, Jennifer – others may.  But on this – on what’s going on at their facilities, you know, it’s very interesting how much satellite photography – commercial satellite photography can help websites like ours analyze what’s going on, particularly since there’s a large pool of retired photo analysts out there.  And so what we’ve been seeing at the missile facilities – not any signs of missile tests at the moment, but it’s been pretty clear for a while now that they are building facilities that are able to handle much larger space launch vehicles than the one they fired off, for example, in December – much larger.  Those won’t be done, probably, till the middle of this decade.

Secondly, on the nuclear test site, there have been some recent pictures there, and we’re working on some analysis of that.  You know, it’s really – it’s really squishy.  You can’t predict exactly what’s going to happen, and I mean, all we can see is a lot of activity at different parts of the site.  But beyond that, you know, it doesn’t indicate whether a test is going to happen tomorrow or next month or the month after that.  But clearly, you know, this is a place that is active and will continue to be active.  And there are probably a number of additional tunnels there that can be used for future tests.

MR. KIMBALL:  Yeah, one thing about Iran that’s clear is that Iran doesn’t want to be thought of like people think of North Korea.  So to some extent, that’s a good thing.  But at – recently at the NPT prepcom, the agenda was organized in such a way that North Korea and Iran were in the same session, and that really bothered the ambassador of Iran in Geneva.

All right.  I think we had another question up front here, please, and maybe a couple of others.  Thanks.

Q:  My name’s Li Yan (ph).  I appreciate the panelists’ discussion.  My major concern always is the people’s interests.  You know, you have all the talk from the bureaucracy and upper officials or their representative – they are basically sort of propaganda by some interest group.  So I was just wondering if, when they have a peace talk or negotiation do they really enforce it – inject the public interest and to tell just how they damage the people or their nation – the resources that this or the people or how the people lost their home and everything that the nuclear arm or anything of the sort that is really basically try to destroy people and their communities.  So when they have a peace talk, do they bring all this issue up?

MR. WIT:  I’m happy to try to answer you, but when you say “public interests,” whose – are you talking about the North Korean people or – in North Korea?

Q:  Every country – (off mic) – North Korea – (off mic) – the upper level – (off mic) – negotiate with American officials.  So after the peace talk – (off mic) –

MR. WIT:  Well, I – that’s a tough question to answer.  I mean, I’m assuming that the United States and South Korean governments are negotiating or having policies that they believe are in the public interest.  In terms of North Korea, well, you know, I don’t know how to answer that.  But there is a – you know, and your bringing up public interest is useful, because there’s another agenda here.  It’s not just the WMD agenda here or the peace agenda.  I mean, those are the main agendas, I think.  But there is the agenda that is not spoken of a lot, is, how do you encourage change in a system like North Korea, which everyone knows is horrendous?  How do you encourage peaceful change inside North Korea?

There are a number of different ways of doing it.  You can try to make them collapse, and that’ll result in big change, or you can try to do it slowly through a strategy that involves interaction – increasing interactions with North Korea, at the center of which are the security issues.  But there are other issues, and our EU colleague here has sort of alluded to them.  So, you know, that’s another piece of this puzzle, and I guess it’s one that is mainly aimed at the South Korean – I mean, the North Korean public interest.  I don’t know how to deal with the rest of, you know, your – what your question is.  Maybe others on the panel –

MR. SIGAL:  Joel’s just done something very important, which is reminded us that there are actually people in North Korea besides bureaucrats.  But part of the American strategy, even under the Obama administration, is to go beyond sanctions approved by the Security Council, which are focused on weapons-related transactions to try to impede any financial transactions by any North Korean entities, including those engaged in legitimate trade.  That is something the Chinese rightly won’t go along with, because the Chinese understand that the most important political and economic change that has taken place in North Korea was that – partly as a consequence of the famine, there was this spontaneous development of markets, and those markets would not function were it not for Chinese goods flowing privately, by and large, into those markets.  That reduces ordinary North Koreans’ dependence on the state, and that, in that system, is a profound change.

Yes, it’s not the change we all seek, but it is something very important, and it is absolutely perverse for us to cut off – try to cut off or impede legitimate trade with North Korea.  That makes no sense, and Treasury is about it, continuing to do so.

Q:  Jim Leonard.  I had an involvement in Korea from ’68 through the late ‘90s, and to the best of my memory, the only really meaningful interaction with the Korean government during that time was agreed framework talks – the famous visit of President Carter.  My question is whether there is the opportunity – the possibility for diplomats in Pyongyang or for high-level visitors to Pyongyang to really interact on a give-and-take, informal, what do you think about this, what do you think about that basis with real policymakers, not simply the people who were sent to talk to the barbarians, as the Chinese used to put it.

MR. SIGAL:  I think the key here is to get the secretary of state or somebody at that level to talk.  We have the experience that, when Albright went, she talked to Kim Jong Il and he put the missile program on the negotiating table, OK?

So I do think that’s important.  And I think the diplomats are constrained in their system, and so there is a point at which you want to go high.  I don’t think we’re there right now, but I do think that’s critical.  We don’t know much of what we need to know about North Korea.  We don’t know the state of their programs with any high degree of accuracy, but we learn a lot by talking to North Koreans.  Not always the truth and the whole truth and nothing but the truth – this is negotiations, you know, 1A, but not talking to them denies us the possibility of seeing what’s doable.  Talking to the diplomats helps, but it’s not ultimately the only way to do things.  We’ve gotten a lot further when we go high up, and to have a basketball player be the only one to meet Kim Jong Un is bizarre in my view – bizarre.

MR. KIMBALL:  I was wondering if we’d get through this session without mentioning Dennis, but I guess we couldn’t.

MR. WIT:  Yeah, we actually – a colleague and I wrote an article for ForeignPolicy.com about how Dennis Rodman’s trip was actually very useful and helpful, which, of course, wasn’t the view of most people.  But just to reinforce what Lee said, you know, the agreed framework process – certainly, there was substantive back and forth on that, and the guy involved negotiating it for the North Koreans was, you know, one of Kim Jong Il’s right-hand men.  The process of substantive back-and-forth continued throughout the 1990s, and it wasn’t just at higher levels, although it got to higher levels by 2000 when Madeleine Albright visited North Korea after a very senior North Korean met with Bill Clinton.

But the lower-level processes during the 1990s, which I was very much involved with in terms of the government-to-government, were very useful and very straightforward.  And that’s because there was a political anchor in place on the bilateral relationship.  There were developed patterns of discussion, there were things we were working on together.

Whether we can get back there again, I don’t know.  You know, I – the situation has changed a lot since the 1990s.  It’s gotten a lot worse.  The problem is, people have kind of convinced themselves that since it’s gotten a lot worse, we really shouldn’t try anymore.  And, you know, I just am not willing to walk off the ball field like that.  You know, I want to give it a shot.

MR. KIMBALL:  We’ve got a couple more questions before we wrap up; in the middle, thank you.

Q:  This is a question about China.  Sort of – I sense there’s – two points have been made.  One, that when the U.S. responds to turmoil on the peninsula, the Chinese read it as actually aimed at them, and the other point was that North Korea would very much like to use the West or the United States as a counterweight to China, which leads me to the following question.  What – can you speculate – what, from the Chinese point of view, would be a good outcome to the turmoil on the peninsula?  It’s a little unclear to me where their interests lie on this.

MR. SIGAL:  Well, look, the Chinese are well aware of the North Korean desire to have the Americans come in.  And the Chinese have actually encouraged that.  They have not been afraid of it; they know it won’t come – it won’t eliminate their role in Korea.  Where the Chinese literally don’t have an interest – I mean, they’re watching the United States strengthen its alliances and calling on China to throw North Korea overboard.

That makes no sense from Chinese national interest, OK.  So the Chinese can live with a lot of alternative possibilities.  What they can’t live with is an – you know, what makes them unhappy is a North Korea that keeps on using the nuclear – you know, building up their nuclear and missile capacity.  That is dangerous for China, but they know that in the end, they can’t do it.  The Americans might be able to.  Less likely now, as Joel has said, but we don’t know until we try.  So that’s where we are.

Do we know what the Chinese deep view is?  Probably not, but my guess is – I’m just giving you my hunch as where they are – they don’t have a problem with the Americans developing a relationship with North Korea if it produces stability on the peninsula.  What they worry about is instability on the peninsula, and we’re heading down that road.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  I see a hand in the rear.

If you could just identify yourself and maybe stand up so the speakers can see you, thanks.

Q:  Stanley Coburn (sp).  Last week, the North Koreans sent an American visiting their country to 15 years of hard labor.  They have now said they’re not interested in negotiating his release.  I’m looking at a story here – Foreign Ministry spokesman told the officials news agency, quote, “The DPRK has no plan to invite anyone of the U.S., unquote, to negotiate for this guy’s release.”  So this raises the question of what kind of negotiations we can have they’re interested.  Why did they sentence this guy to 15 years’ hard labor?  Why are they saying, we’re not interested in having anyone visit?

MR. SIGAL:  Notice that there is a difference between having a – someone important visit and the possibility that this guy might be released.  The North Korean statement did not say the latter, despite all the misreporting by the wire services and everybody else.  All they said was, you know, we didn’t sentence this guy to have Bill Richardson come or somebody like him.  What has happened in the past – and we don’t know if it’ll happen in the future – notice that the original charges against this guy were reduced.  That’s important.  Secondly, nothing happens until there’s a judgment in North Korea, a sentencing.  And then the possibility of his release at least is a possibility, and the North Koreans, so far, have not ruled that out.  They just said, we’re not – we didn’t do this in order to get some high-level visitor to come.

Again, the fundamental issue seems to be, from the North Korean vantage point, what’s going to happen after the exercises?  Are things going to calm down?  Are we going to move away from what they call a hostile policy?  In that context, my guess is it’s possible this guy will come home.  And it might not, we hope, take that long.

MR. KIMBALL:  OK.  I want – go ahead, Joel.

MR. WIT:  I – you know, I’m hesitating to say something about this, but – you know, I don’t know the details of this guy’s case.  I don’t know what exactly he did as opposed to what he’s accused of doing.  I don’t know any of this.  And it’s, of course, kind of makes me hesitate to say something.

But I – you know, to me, whether they sentence this guy to prison, whether they don’t, they’re not trying to bargain with him – it’s important, and – certainly for this gentleman and his family, but to leap from that to the conclusion, therefore, that we can’t negotiate on WMD with them, I just don’t – I don’t quite understand that.  And to me, there’s a national interest here.  That’s the first priority.  Dealing with this gentleman and his situation certainly should be part of what we’re about, but how are we going to do that if we’re not even talking to them?  We’re not going to be able to do it.

And so, you know, I can see the North Koreans kind of sitting there reading the press saying, oh, North Koreans sentenced this gentlemen to jail because they want a senior American to come to North Korea.  If I was a North Korean, I’d find that very insulting.  And I would say, you know, I have my laws and, you know, this is the way it is.

MR. KIMBALL:  I want to ask a final wrap-up question before we close out this panel, which is to kind of flip the question around about what happens if we don’t re-engage with North Korea in a – in serious talks on freezing and reversing their programs on a peace process, as you’ve all been saying.  I mean, each of you have in different ways said it’s important to get those talks going again.  Some of you have said very strongly that it’s important for the United States to reassess its current approach.  What happens if we don’t do that in the next one or two years?  Where do you see things winding up maybe five years from now, both in terms of North Korea’s nuclear missile programs and the overall security situation?  So if you could look into that dark crystal ball for a second to close us out, that would be helpful.

MR. WIT:  I’ll just go quickly.  I’ve been – I’ve actually been giving a briefing on this starting from last fall.  And, you know, there are various scenarios, of course, and it’s hard to predict exactly where things will go.

So there’s one scenario that is based on some work by David Albright that’s based on, you know, looking at the satellite photos of their space launch facilities.  And that scenario goes that by 2016, they might have as 50 nuclear weapons, they’ll certainly have the regional capability to deliver them, and they’ll be working on the long-range capability.  I don’t – I don’t think they’re going to have an ICBM by then, but it’s going to get steadily worse because there’s a lot of momentum behind this program now.  It’s built up over the years, and it’s gaining speed.

And secondly, on the other front, the – you know, the issue of crisis stability, I don’t know what to say except that the North Koreans, whether they’re right or wrong, view their growing nuclear capability as giving them more free rein to be aggressive in terms of provocations and other activities like that.  That’s a very dangerous situation.  And so you can see the possibility of more provocations, more tensions.  And I don’t know where they’re going to lead.

MR. KIMBALL:  Lee?

MR. SIGAL:  That’s sort of my scenario too, I’m afraid.  We know certain things.  We know the third test worked.  We don’t know how much fissile material was used.  If they didn’t use very much, then it was a very efficient device.  They probably need another test or two.  Again, we don’t know for sure.  We don’t know why they didn’t test the so-called Musudan.  Is it because it doesn’t really exist yet, or is it because they chose not to?  But I wouldn’t bet on the long-term possibilities that that thing and some other things they have won’t come along.

The ICBM is further away.  The third stage is not ready for prime time – as far as we know.  Again, what we don’t know dwarfs what we do know here.  On the other hand, the trajectory is very clear.  It’s clear with respect to fissile material, it’s clear with respect to the development of a weapon, it is clear with respect to the development of missiles.  And one should not assume that the North Koreans can’t master what they’re trying to do and can’t acquire the technical – the technology and the materiel they need to get there.  Sanctions have not stopped them a bit from getting what they needed.

MR. KIMBALL:  Fabrice?

MR. VAREILLE:  At every stage of our reaction towards recent events in North Korea, the missile launch via nuclear tests, when we adopted sanctions, when we have implemented the U.N. sanctions and opted additional EU sanctions, we’ve always made a point to underline the fact that the door for dialogue was open and that we were urging the DPRK to re-engage with international community, so there is no doubt for us that there is no other option than engaging enough – the DPRK that we have to – and the main players in this issue have to create the circumstances that allow this engagement to take place.  Even when they were talks with the DPRK about the nuclearization, the DPRK was, in fact, developing its nuclear capability, so there is no doubt that if we are stuck in a – in a situation of antagonism, they will continue to develop their program.  And as I’ve already outlined, they are making incremental progress in developing these programs.  And it means that East Asia will become a more dangerous place, and this is not something which we want to see.  There are other security issues in East Asia, and this could create a cocktail of tensions and risks that would be very dangerous, so I think that for all these reasons, the only way to go is to find ways of engaging with Pyongyang.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Thank you all.  Please join me in thanking our panelists this morning.  (Applause.)  In about two minutes we’re going to turn to our next panel.  I want to invite our three panelists to come up to the stage as we shift.  Everyone else, you have about two minutes to take a brief break.  Just want to let you know that we’re not going to wait that long to begin the next session.

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Panel 2

DARYL KIMBALL:  All right, welcome back, everyone.

Now we’re going to shift from one of the most confounding nuclear proliferation problems to discussing one of the most promising developments in the field of conventional arms control in many years, the new Arms Trade Treaty.

As many people here know, armed violence, much of it fueled by the illicit and irresponsible trade in conventional weapons and ammunition, kills hundreds of thousands of civilians each year and contributes to human right abuses and facilitates war crimes and atrocities against civilians from places like Syria to the Congo to Central America and beyond.

And in response to these challenges, on April 2nd the U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly approved the first global Arms Trade Treaty with the support of the United States, other arms suppliers including the U.K., and many of the affected countries around the world.

And so to explain what this treaty does, why it’s important, why it’s an important historic first step for human rights and civilian protection, and to discuss what needs to be done in the coming weeks and months and years to bring it into force and ensure its effective implementation, we’ve brought to you three of the world’s top experts on the subject.

To open our panel discussion on the Arms Trade Treaty, we have with us Rachel Stohl, who is a Stimson Center senior associate and a member of the Arms Control Association board of directors as of last year.  For the past several years she’s served as a consultant to the president of the ATT talks, and was an important behind-the-scenes player in making sure that we have a strong treaty.

Also with us here today is Paul O’Brien, who is the vice president for policy and campaigns with Oxfam America, which has worked hard for the ATT for many years.  Armed Control Association was pleased to have worked with Oxfam, Amnesty USA, Control Arms and other NGOs over the past couple of years to help push the Obama administration to support a stronger treaty.  And we will continue working with them in the weeks ahead to encourage the United States to sign the treaty on June 3rd in New York when it opens for signature.

We’re also very honored to have with us from London Mr. Richard Tauwhare, who is the head of the Arms Export Policy Department for the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office.  We appreciate the leadership of Richard and his U.K. colleagues, who have been, also for many years, among the leading government champions of the Arms Trade Treaty.

So with that introduction, I want to invite Rachel to come up here and speak, if you’d like.  No, you want to sit there?  OK, they’re all going to sit here and –

MS. STOHL:  Thanks, Daryl.  And thanks to the Arms Control Association for this important panel, because I think in Washington we don’t get a lot of victories, and I think not only do we have one here to talk to you about today, but we should take the time to savor and celebrate this before we get back to the hard work of seeing this treaty actually come to fruition.  So I’m delighted that ACA has taken the time to recognize this important achievement today.

What I want to do in my remarks is to really talk about what the Arms Trade Treaty is, and perhaps – to some – more importantly, what it isn’t, and how it can potentially make a difference to regulating.  I would say “regulating” is the word I would use instead of “controls.”  This isn’t an arms control or disarmament treaty, but really in terms of regulating what until now has been a very unregulated conventional arms trade.

So the reason that we’re here today is the Arms Trade Treaty is actually the first legally binding international treaty that regulates the cross-border trade in conventional arms.  And this ranges from everything from the fighter aircraft you think about to warships and small arms and light weapons.  So it’s a huge category of weapons.  As Daryl mentioned, these are the weapons that are responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths and conflict and violence around the world.  So this is really kind of the meat of the weapons systems that are causing such devastating casualties around the world.

As I said, this is not a disarmament or arms control treaty, and it is not a treaty that covers the domestic trade of weapons.  It doesn’t look at what happens within a country, the internal transfer of weapons.  And this is really important, particularly in the United States.  This treaty has nothing to do with the domestic gun control debate in the United States.  We are really talking about the cross-border governmental authorized transfers of conventional arms.  And I think I could say it 20 times and people will still leave with the false impression, that that’s really an important distinction of what this treaty does.

In a nutshell, this treaty does three very important things.  One, it establishes common international standards for the trade in arms that countries have to incorporate into their national systems, or develop national systems to do those things.  Two, the treaty provides for oversight of the global arms trade by enhancing the transparency of what traditionally has been very murky and opaque.  And three, the treaty creates an environment of accountability where states are responsible for ensuring that their arms sales meet those global standards and norms that have been created.

This treaty is long overdue.  The absence of such standards has negatively impacted national security, foreign policy, threatening the lives of not only countless civilians but of service men and women around the world.  It has fueled foreign conflicts, armed violence and crime.  It allowed human rights abusers, terrorist organizations and criminals to be armed with impunity.  Really, the time for this was very overdue.  And it’s a landmark treaty.  It really is, for the first time, an international recognition that there are some arms transfers that just should not be authorized.  And I think we shouldn’t lose sight of that.

Why do we need an arms trade treaty?  This didn’t just come out of nowhere.  This wasn’t like, oh, the United Nations thought, well, we probably need some success; let’s find something to do.  This is a process that’s been going on for several decades.  It took the United Nations itself more than seven years to negotiate this treaty.  So I don’t want it to be seen like this was a victory, and we all just went to the U.N. one day and had it negotiated quickly.  This was a long effort, and I’m sure Richard will talk about the importance of key governments in making sure that it happened.

But I also want to recognize the role of civil society in this effort.  Firsthand, the civil society organizations see the consequences of these weapons.  They push governments for action.  Also importantly, countries that are affected by conflict and by crime and by the violence caused by these weapons gave a credible voice to the need for this treaty, and that was really important.

And perhaps – I don’t know if it was most importantly, but it was certainly what was the tipping point was – the exporters, the major exporters of these weapons, including the United States, the United Kingdom and other members of the Security Council said, you know what?  In order to ensure the legitimacy of the legal arms trade, we probably should look at something that will make sure that all states abide by certain rules of the game.  And that will not only level the playing field for our defense industries but it also gives us some credibility in terms of the transfers that we make.

And so having that commitment not only from the exporting states and the importing states, and then the push from civil society, it was really an important combination of events.

So what does this treaty say?  What does it do?  I would argue – although there are some critics of the text – that this is probably the best compromise text that could have come out of the United Nations.  If it is implemented, it would be potentially effective in stopping the irresponsible and illegal arms trade.  I believe it’s strong, I believe it’s balanced, and I think that it impacts those countries that have sophisticated export control systems as well as those who have centered on existent systems equally, and I think that’s important.

So there are many articles of the treaty, and I’m not going to go through all of them, but I have it with me if anyone is interested – (laughter) – because as you know – as some of you know, I could talk about every article and why every word is the way it is.  But I do want to highlight a few key points.

One is the scope of this treaty and what it applies to.  As I said from the beginning, it applies to the full range of conventional weapons.  And I think that’s important to note, that it’s not just fighter jets, it’s not just warships and other weapons that are identified in the U.N. Register of Conventional Arms, but also small arms and light weapons.

In some ways it also covers parts and components for those weapons as well as the ammunition for those weapons, and ammunition for not only small arms and light weapons but also the munitions that are responsible for more heavy conventional and more sophisticated weaponry.  And I think that’s really important, that we’re looking at an entire class, an entire category of weapons that hasn’t really been treated equally before.

There is an article that lays out what the minimum obligations for each state will be in terms of their national system.  So it does – every state doesn’t need to have a system that looks like the United States’ export control system.  In fact, I would encourage them not to have a full system that looks like the U.S. system.

But there are minimum standards that states need to make sure that they can incorporate because every state is somehow involved in the international arms trade as an importer, as an exporter, as a brokering state, a transit or trans-shipment state.  There’s some way that every state is involved, and I think that’s important.  It also requires states to have a designated national point of contact so that we know who to go to when questions about the treaty or its implementation arise.

What some might consider the meat of the treaty – the prohibitions and the export assessments that are required by the treaty – are incredibly important, because as I said, for the first time we actually have rules that say if these conditions are met, a state shall not transfer conventional weapons.  And those are things that, again, seem very obvious, very commonsense, but up until now were not enunciated clearly.

One is that if a transfer would violate a U.N. arms embargo, a state shall not transfer.  While that was true for international, that wasn’t necessarily required to be in states’ national laws.  So that’s important.

Violations of obligations of relevant international agreements to which it’s a party – again, seems obvious – those that would be used for the commission of genocide, crimes against humanity, grave breeches of the Geneva Conventions, attacks directed at civilian objects or civilians protected as such, or war crimes as defined by international agreements to which it’s a party, very important to say:  If those conditions occur, you shall not transfer.

The second part of the export assessment kind of enunciates the way that states should make decisions.  I think it’s very clear that states must go through a process to determine whether or not to make a transfer.  Does the transfer potentially assist your national security or foreign policy objectives?  But could it also undermine peace and security at the same time?  What does that look like?  What does that process look like?

And this treaty lays out a very clear progression of steps that states must take when they consider an arms transfer.  And if, when they consider all of those factors, the bad stuff overrides the good stuff, you don’t get to make the transfer.

And I think, again, putting that in writing, making it very clear, the process that states have to follow, is a really important step.  The arms trade is, by its nature, legitimate.  There are reasons why states want to acquire conventional arms and small arms and light weapons.  And so allowing them to still do that within a framework that makes sense to the international community and establishes norms and standards is very important.

I won’t go into all of the requirements for states that import weapons that are transit or transshipment states, how brokering will occur or should be regulated, but all of those things are also contained within the text of the treaty.

And a new article that didn’t appear, or hadn’t been discussed at length before, was the issue of diversion.  How do you prevent transfers that are in the legal market that are going to a legitimate end user – how do you prevent those from entering the illicit trade, because that’s a huge problem with the legal trade in conventional arms.  And so there’s also an article that says:  Here are steps that states can take to prevent that diversion.

There are also standards for record-keeping and for reporting.  Again, enhancing the transparency of this trade was incredibly important in terms of the objectives.  And so in terms of reporting, there are two main reports that every state party will have to – there are others, but two big ones that every state will have to submit.  One looks at the measure that it’s taken to implement the treaty.  How has it fulfilled the obligations, which is helpful for states to understand what the national processes of a particular state might be.

And the second is a report that looks at the authorizations or actual exports of – or exports and imports of conventional arms that are covered under the scope of the treaty.  And the intent here was to give us a broad view of what the conventional arms trade looks like.  We have some voluntary transparency mechanisms.  We have countries like the United States, which are incredibly transparent about its arms trade, but you also have states that refuse to participate in any voluntary mechanism, and so having this be a requirement really allows us to get a wider view of what this trade looks like.

Another key aspect of the arms trade treaty is that it provides for international cooperation and assistance to help those states that don’t have well-developed export control systems.  Countries like the United States, which already has incredibly sophisticated programs through its export control and border security program, or even through programs through weapons removal and abatement and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, that help states better create better conditions for border controls and stockpile management.  Those will all assist in preventing that diversion that I talked about a few minutes ago.  So that’s an incredibly important aspect of this treaty, to kind of match those that have the resources and those that require the resources to implement the treaty.

So I think I’ve made the case that this treaty was much needed and that it’s a really important step, but I do want to caution you that this is not the end-all, be-all of conventional arms regulations.  It’s not a panacea.  It’s one tool in a very big foreign policy and national security toolbox, and it’s one way that we can try to mitigate the consequences of the poorly and unregulated trade in conventional arms.

And we’re not going to see results tomorrow or six months from now, or I would dare to say even two or three years from now.  I think it’s going to be over the next five to 10 years that we’ll be able to see that this treaty has made a difference in stopping this – in stopping this trade.

We can talk about certainly the role for the United States and what it means for the United States.  I would just say that the shadow of the United States as the world’s largest exporter is very large, and this treaty gives the United States another way to have influence over the arms trade in terms of using this treaty as a tool to encourage other states to act more responsibly.  There is nothing in this Arms Trade Treaty that the United States doesn’t already do as part of its export control system.  There are no impediments for the United States to fully not only decide and ratify but also to just fully implement this treaty today.

We were very careful in terms of the drafting of this treaty to make sure it was very consistent with U.S. law.  And it makes sense for U.S. policy, for a variety of ways.  It’s based on the values of the United States in terms of its national security and foreign policy objectives, but also in terms of the values of helping those who are suffering, and trying to provide assistance to those that need it.  It also of course could provide a very – a safer environment not only for U.S. service men and women but for eight agencies and companies that are working aboard to operate in areas where they don’t have to be in fear of the conventional arms trade.

So what happens next?  The treaty gets to be opened for signature on June 3rd at the United Nations.  Countries are currently going through their own domestic processes.  What does signature mean?  And once the treaty is signed on June 3rd, it will enter into force 90 days following the 50th instrument of ratification.  So best guesstimates based on other treaties and what needs to be done would probably be within the next two to three years we would see the Arms Trade Treaty enter into force.

Certainly it would be a very strong and symbolic statement if the world’s largest exporters as a group were able to sign on June 3rd.  And I think in terms of the long-term legitimacy and credibility of the Arms Trade Treaty, you need to have the large exporters on board.  So having that initially will encourage others to join in.

And lastly, I just want to make one point, because I think as we’re seeing what’s happening in Syria and in other places around the world, there’s a lot of criticism of the United Nations.  And I want to point out that I think this treaty was actually very important for the credibility and legitimacy of the United Nations as well.  It highlights that the U.N. can be a body, if states want it to be, that can make important decisions and deliver outcomes that are important to international peace and security.

We could have had an arms trade treaty 20 years ago, negotiated outside of the U.N. system, probably stronger than what we have now.  I don’t think anyone would deny that.  But I don’t think it would have had every single country in the world having an equal voice at that negotiating table where you have exporters and importers having to talk to each other, or you have countries that are affected making pleas for stronger language, and where countries can really, over the last seven years, hear each other’s points of view.  I think that’s really important.

And I think I’ll leave it there and let Paul take it from here.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right, thank you.

I’m going to turn it over to Paul, but before I do, I just wanted to say a word about what a pleasure it’s been for the Arms Control Association, beginning with the work that our former deputy director, Jeff Abramson, led three years ago when we started working on the ATT, to work with some of our colleagues at Oxfam, at Amnesty USA, the National Association of Evangelicals, the U.S. Congress of Catholic Bishops on this campaign.

It really has been an energizing and inspiring effort.  And in my 20-plus years of work in the nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation field, I mean, I haven’t seen an NGO campaign put together quite so well, so creatively as I’ve seen with the ATT.  So I want to congratulate my colleagues.  And I want to welcome Paul O’Brien from Oxfam America to address the topic.

Paul.

MR. O’BRIEN:  Thanks, Daryl, and same back to you for your leadership in this effort over the years.

And to Amnesty – I see Adoty (ph) there – this has been an almost uniquely, coherent effort over a long period of time.  And for those of you who know, NGOs are like cats, and herding us is not easy, and somehow we managed it.

So, Rachel, thanks for the great setup, because I get to talk now a little bit about politics and you’ve been talking about policy.  And I want to say why I think the politics of this is so fascinating.  And it’s great – I know some of you in the room – to have such an august group to talk about this with.

So why would a development and humanitarian organization like Oxfam be so excited to talk about politics?  We survived for years in difficult places by saying we have none, and now we have come around.  We’ve changed as a group.  And let me say a little bit about what makes us a little different and how this hits the sweet spot for us, and why I want to talk to you so much about politics.

So what makes us a little different from the think tanks that do such great work in this town is not just that, you know, there are prestigious and thoughtful individuals that will want to work for institutions like Carnegie and Brookings, but really what we bring to the table, because we’re not trying to compete at that level, is that we work in 90 countries and we try, on our good days, to listen to where people are at.

So when somebody tells a colleague of mine in the DRC a few weeks back that their child got kidnapped by a local group – because kidnapping is on the rise, just like it’s on the rise in Syria and elsewhere.  It’s a very good way to make money in a money-flush environment.  And their son gets returned to them mutilated, and this was because one of the 25 groups operating in that area had more guns than they knew what to do with, we try to hear that and do something about it.

I lived in Afghanistan for five years working on policy and spent a lot of time wandering around the country, and I couldn’t go anywhere where I didn’t come across a 15-year-old boy who knew more about an AK-47 than I ever will.  And that country has to recover from that ground.  I worked in Northern Uganda.  Everybody knows what that’s like.

I was in Sudan three months ago where folks there are trying to recover in Darfur, but they just discovered oil.  Well, guess what?  The guy whose land on which the oil sat, which should have been a great source of revenue, was confronted by another local leader and 50 of his armed men.  He got killed.  Then there was a set of revenge killings by the original owner.  And so far there have been 600 deaths.  And whether the revenues will actually do anything for the people of Sudan is – you know, is an optimistic thought.

So that’s why we come to this equation because we’re trying to witness what we’re hearing and seeing in the field.  But what does make us different as an organization to say a CARE or a Mercy Corps or an IRC – because they too are in these countries; they too are trying to witness this – that we put a lot of effort into trying to take those stories and do something about it in the policy space.

So 70 people sitting here in Washington trying to help shape policy.  And as you said, Rachel, it’s really hard to shape policy in this town, not just because we’re many concentric circles away from the center of power, but because any policy change in Washington is difficult not just now when it’s particularly difficult, but it always is.  And many of you have read the data and the studies.

What we’ve come to realize is that if we’re going to actually validate our existence, we have to be able to explain what we do in something other than the major policy win, like an arms trade treaty which comes every 10 years.  So what we talk about – that’s optimistic – what we talk about is political wins:  How can you create the kind of momentum politically so when it comes time for that moment of policy win, something good actually might happen?  There’s enough momentum there.

And I think the political wins around the ATT, Arms Trade Treaty, may be as important for those of us who care about contributing to a safer world with less arbitrary use of small arms and big arms and so on – and just to be – I assume we’re largely among – hopefully completely among friends here.  Let’s be honest about some of the political dimensions of what we were able to get with the Arms Trade Treaty.  It is, as Rachel said, the strongest compromise we could have gotten under the circumstances.

But as Rachel said, we already have good laws on arms trade in the United States.  We hope that it will be ratified and become part of law in the United States, but we’re not dependent on that.  It may not be ratified by the United States, and yet we still think that it’s politically relevant.

There were compromises made in the language.  For those of us who care profoundly about the strongest forms of enforcement, we would have liked to have seen more.  We have some good standards, but it is everything we wanted?  No.  So we ended up with a treaty that has a lot of potential to be relevant politically, but it’s not certainly going to be so.  And so what I want to advocate to you is that what happens now between now and June 3 and in the immediate weeks afterwards is profoundly important from a political perspective.

And just at the risk of belaboring the history, this has always been the case with the arms trade journey.  It started 100 years ago, immediately after the First World War when we tried to build potential for an agreement with the small League of Nations.  That failed.  Twenty years ago Nobel Peace Prize winners came together and tried to get it passed.  That failed.

And then 10 years ago this group of actors and three small countries – Costa Rica, Cambodia and Mali – came together and said, we need one.  And this time, miraculously, it succeeded, and the United States played an incredibly important role in driving the political will towards the moment that we got on April 2nd.

So we had a big day on April 2nd, perhaps a uniquely big day.  Well, hopefully not, but it was a moment when, despite everything – despite the NRA arguing that this was going to undermine 2nd Amendment rights; despite a whole set of constituencies, including the United States, that were worried about misinterpretation, we ended up where the only folks who were against it were Syria, Iran, North Korea and the NRA.  I think Steve Colbert called that “the axis of freedom” – (laughter) – which was an important moment politically.

So that’s where we are.  So why am I doing this big setup in saying we have an important moment between now and June 3?  So just a little bit more on the technical details around what “entry into force” means.

To get a treaty to go into force in the U.N. system, you have a number of different mechanisms available to you.  This mechanism is very inclusive.  It allows the treaty to enter into force not just with ratification but basically with signature.  So it doesn’t have to be acceded to, it doesn’t have to be ratified; it just has to be approved or signed.  And so as Rachel said, once we get those 50 signatures we have another great political moment to build momentum around the inevitability of better regulating small arms.

I worked many, many – just to give you a sense that that is actually important in itself – worked years ago as a human rights lawyer to try and push on the United States to ratify the central human rights – one of the central human rights documents, the International Covenant for Economic – economic, civil – sorry – Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.  The other one is Civil and Political Rights.

It was approved by the U.N. in December 1966, the height of the Cold War.  We all know how difficult that was.  It entered into force in 1976, 10 years later.  And yesterday – yesterday it finally got an enforcement mechanism so that you could bring complaints against it, because 10 nations under the new U.N. law had ratified it, not the United States.

So that’s quite a journey.  And what we are trying to do now, because we have a global crisis around the free-for-all flood of arms into markets where increasingly civilians are the vast proportion of victims of those arms, is we are trying to build political momentum for a serious global discussion around how to regulate that.  And we have a moment on June 3 that could help bring global attention to that crisis.  That’s when it’s opened for signature.

So what do we want?  What is the political win that will continue to generate momentum?  Three things.  One, we want high-level representation.  This is how we’ll know if it’s a win:  If Secretary of State Kerry shows up and says, we want this to happen, that’s a huge win.  If Ambassador Rice is able to get everything done between now and then and sign the treaty and be a champion for others signing the treaty, that’s a pretty huge win.

If she goes there and says, we’re not quite ready to sign it because there’s still some issues that need to get resolved but I strongly encourage others to do so, it will depend on how she – how much political capital she puts into it and the United States put into it to create that moment that will determine for organizations like ours whether that should be characterized as a huge win that continues the momentum or should be treated with more caution.

We are hoping for a big win on June 3.  The administration has done so many things right on this.  We would love to see them close the deal by giving the highest level of representation possible and asking other countries to do so too.  We’re going to be looking at whether other heads of state come or send their foreign ministers or send their U.N. ambassadors.  That matters.

What would it be like if we had a lot of heads of state saying the time for the unregulated use of arms is coming to an end, and this moment today is part of that journey?  That’s a very different political moment globally than if we have a quite non-news-breaking set of U.N. ambassadors say, yep, let’s start getting to 50.

The second thing is they have a moment on June 3 to use interpretive language around what this treaty means and what it doesn’t mean.  And that matters because there actually aren’t enforcement mechanisms in the treaty to say, if you violate the Prohibitions Clause, this is what happens to you.  This is about setting in place a set of global norms that make it very difficult politically for a country to violate what is becoming – I won’t say common international law, but common shared norms across all these countries.

So the interpretive language that these heads of state or ambassadors or foreign ministers use around what this treaty means to them is going to be fundamental to how much political relevance this treaty has.

And finally – and this is the question for many of us – will the public engage?  Will Americans care?  Will other publics care?  And will publics care in the countries that are most in danger around this?  If this is not – if it’s not politically costly for the countries that have signed – that have pushed for its approval in the UNGA to sign it, we as campaigners are going to be worried that we will get the kind of political momentum.

So we want to both reward and champion and honor the good work that this administration and others have done, but also challenge them to do what’s right by creating public debate around that.  And the question is, is how do we create the kind of urgency that’s going to get the attention of both this administration and others?  So you will be seeing from us and others an attempt to try and ask the Obama administration to exercise political leadership as well as policy leadership in this effort towards the end.

So my core point for today is, you know, we’ve got the policy as right as we could get it, and now the real challenge will be to get the politics as right as we can get them.  And that is still in play.  Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you very much, Paul.

All right, we’re going to turn to our third panelist.  Richard, thank you for being here all the way from London.  Welcome to Washington.

RICHARD TAUWHARE:  Thank you very much indeed.

MR. KIMBALL:  The floor is yours.

MR. TAUWHARE:  Thank you very much indeed, Daryl, and thank you for your kind invitation and the opportunity to join this distinguished panel.

And I’ve been asked to look at three particular issues, and first the U.K.’s approach to the treaty; secondly, why we consider that it’s important; and thirdly, what are the next steps?  I’ll try not to repeat too much of what Rachel and Paul have already said, but you may find some common themes coming though.

And that’s not a coincidence.  It’s a reflection of the fact that we are all part of what we’ve been talking about, this global coalition, if you like, of interests that have been working together over such a long period to reach the result of an agreed Arms Trade Treaty.

So first, what’s the U.K.’s approach to the Arms Trade Treaty?  This is my moment to put traditional modesty aside for a moment and point out that the U.K. has played a leading role over the last seven years or so to secure this treaty.  It’s the first arms control treaty to be adopted by the U.N. since the CTBT back in 1996.

From its conception we’ve worked jointly with the U.K. defense industry, with civil society in designing the process, building global support, and bringing home the vote in the General Assembly on the 2nd of April.  So the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty is truly an historic achievement, and it’s one that we believe we can rightly feel proud of.

Now, there’s long been a clear need for responsible standards in legal trade and conventional weapons, as well as for expanded international cooperation to combat the illicit trade in conventional weapons.  And our approach to those standards has been based on five main principles.

First, the treaty should be legally binding but nationally enforced.  And this would ensure that there was global consistency to ensure that the treaty was effective, but it maintains state parties’ right to take their own decisions on their own arms transfers.

Secondly, the treaty should do two things.  It should both regulate the international arms trade to ensure it’s responsible, but it should also address illegal arms flows.  And for us those are two sides of the same coin.

Thirdly, to have maximum impact on the ground, the treaty should include the major current and future arms producers.  That’s why we went to great lengths to work for consensus.  As Rachel said, we could have had an arms trade treaty years ago.  If we’d just got the like-minded together in a room, we could have agreed on very easily.  But we’ve gone to great lengths to try to ensure that we built support from the ground up.

Now, very regrettably, Iran, Syria, North Korea, as you know, cynically insisted in blocking consensus despite all efforts to dissuade them.  Nonetheless, the 154 votes in favor of the treaty in the General Assembly on the 2nd of April clearly demonstrate the overwhelming level of support for it.

The fourth principle was that clearly states legitimately used conventional weapons for their internal security, for self-defense, and for peacekeeping operations.  So the trade for legitimate purposes had to be protected.

And fifth, the treaty should set a floor for the standards which govern the global arms trade, not a ceiling, and they should allow states to operate higher standards than those prescribed by the treaty.  We didn’t want to have a treaty which in any way legitimized low standards or in any way compromised on our fundamental values.  And we made that clear all the way through the negotiations, that we were not prepared to compromise on a number of issues.

We consider that the outcome of the negotiations is a strong treaty.  As has been said, no delegation secured everything that they wanted, and the same goes for ours.  But we all achieve much more than many thought would be possible.  And if what has been agreed is adopted and implemented broadly, it will have a real impact.

And that brings me onto my second set of issues, which is why is the treaty important for the U.K.?  Or to put it another way, what difference will it make?  For us, we think there will be five main impacts – or there’s those two sets of five here, but the first of these five impacts will be saving lives.  You may have heard the figures, that a man, woman or child dies every minute from armed violence.  That’s over 740,000 a year.

Two-thirds die in countries not officially in conflict.  Poorly regulated or illegal flows of weapons destabilize societies, states and regions.  Paul has already made the point.  I won’t belabor it.  The treaty will help stop arms from reaching vulnerable regions.  It will promote stability and it will reduce ungoverned spaces.

Secondly, the treaty will promote development.  Violence fueled by unregulated or illegal weapons diverts resources from schools, health care, critical infrastructure.  It undermines sustainable development and it erodes stability.  One example:  Conflict in Africa is estimated to cost $18 billion a year, which is roughly exactly the same as it receives in development assistance.

Thirdly, the treaty will help combat terrorism and crime.  When terrorists benefit from unfettered proliferation of weapons, they threaten the security not only of the countries where they base themselves, but also of course their neighbors and the rest of the world.

Fourth, the treaty will reduce human suffering.  Up to three-quarters of grave human rights abuse involve misuse of weapons.  The treaty will require governments not to authorize arms exports if there’s unacceptable risk that they could be used to violate human rights or international humanitarian law.  It comes back to the fundamental values that I mentioned at the outset.

And fifth, the treaty will protect the legitimate arms trade.  It will allow states to access and acquire weaponry for their legitimate self-defense, whilst at the same time helping to ensure that this legitimate process is not circumvented or abused or exploited by unscrupulous arms traders.  International industrial collaboration in arms reduction will be promoted through the introduction of common standards.

I might add, the U.K. industry – and we had a meeting with them again last week.  We’ve met with them pretty much monthly over the last seven years – they say it is helping to level the playing field.  They operate under very strict export controls.  The treaty will extend at least some of those controls to their competitors, operating out of jurisdictions with currently less robust controls. So the U.K. defense industry has been very supportive of this treaty and has worked closely with us all along.

The ATT will not solve all the problems caused by unregulated and illicit arms, but it does offer the prospect of a better future to millions who live in the shadow of conflict, at the same time as protecting a legitimate and responsible arms trade.

Thirdly, what should be the next steps?  Only when exporters and importers implement the treaty’s provisions fully and with vigor will it start to deliver on these promises of safety, security and prosperity.  We now need a sustained and concerted campaign to persuade, and where necessary to assist, governments around the globe, particularly the major current and future arms exporters, to sign and to ratify the treaty, and to secure, as soon as possible, the 50 ratifications that are required to bring it into force.

Like the negotiations on the treaty itself, this is bound to take time and require considerable effort and persistence, again, of that broad coalition of treaty supporters, parliamentarians, civil society and industry.  Universal adherence to the Arms Trade Treaty is clearly our ultimate goal.

Now, while the likes of Syria, Iran and North Korea seem unlikely to join the treaty in the foreseeable future, the vote in the General Assembly does demonstrate the very high level of political support which is behind the treaty, and gives us good reason to expect that with the necessary assistance, a large majority of states should be both willing to sign and able to ratify it within a few years.

In the United Kingdom, we expect the treaty will not require new primary legislation, and it will need only minor amendments to our regulations and processes.  We therefore aim to sign the treaty when it opens for signature on the 3rd of June.  We will have a minister there, and we will ratify it as soon as possible.  I’m not sure exactly how long that will take, but we hope by the end of this year.

We hope this will similarly be the case for those other governments which already have well-established export control systems where the arms treaty will not impose significant or, in fact, in most cases, any new legal or regulatory burdens.

Just as an aside, it’s a striking feature of the treaty that in return for the very extensive gains it can deliver – those five points that I mentioned – the corresponding costs in terms of the changes that we need to make to our own systems, are extraordinarily modest.

But we also recognize that before many governments are able to ratify the treaty, they may need to introduce or raise the standards of their own national systems to regulate international weapons transfers to at least the minimum laid down by the treaty, though we will be encouraging them to go further than what is laid down in the treaty.

We’re proud of our rigorous national and EU standards and we will be offering support and advice to others on how to put similar measures in place for themselves.  We aim to coordinate our efforts with other donors to ensure this is done in a coherent manner.  We will also work with industry and others to ensure that where the U.K. is a world leader in the field of export control, that that form of best practice becomes the accepted norm under the Arms Trade Treaty.

Our immediate focus is on identifying priorities for action in order to deliver early ratification, entry into force and implementation.  So the questions we’re asking ourselves for right now are, where should our assistance be targeted in terms of which countries, on what issues – for example, on export controls, on brokering, transit and transshipment rules, and in what form?  Do they need help with drafting legislation and regulations, or establishing effective border controls, or in simply building government capacity?

We want to explore what needs to be done to ensure the Arms Trade Treaty achieves its object and purpose and makes a genuine difference on the ground.  As I said, we recognize these changes will take some time, but we will be encouraging states to make this a priority.  The world has already waited too long for this process, and we should not lose the momentum that’s been gained.  Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you.

All right, thanks to each of you for some great presentations.  We now have time for some discussion, some questions.  And I would invite those of you with questions to raise your hand to one of our staffers.  Why don’t we start here in the middle?  We’ll bring you the microphone.  Just identify yourself, tell us who you’re directing your question to, please.  Go ahead.

Q:  Thank you.  Susan Burk, formerly with the State Department.  And I have never worked on conventional issues, but I applaud the effort.  I think this is a very exciting time.

But for the NGO representatives, you know, we’re faced with a situation where the facts – you’ve got legislators that are not constrained by the facts.  (Laughter.)  The facts of this treaty clearly you’ve laid out – anybody who wants to read it, but it’s going to be too long for most people to wade through it.  And there’s a large constituency that won’t have the intellectual curiosity to look at this.

What are your plans for building a constituency in this country – where I think, you know, our focus would be – that would get the facts?  The Carol Giacomo article that was outside says it’s inconceivable that any senator could justify agreeing with Iran, North Korea and Syria on this issue.  I’m not so sure I agree.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Paul, do you want to take the first whack at that?

MR. O'BRIEN:  We love the question.  It is a head-scratcher to us that we’ve had such difficulty.  If you look at where the American public is on arms control generally and you look at where the Senate came out on recent domestic issues, this may amount to us having – as campaigners but also the administration having, as deciders – more political space than they have otherwise had to should courage on international arms, and to push back.

There is a theory that is out there right now that the NRA spent too much capital on domestic arms control and is not willing to expend any more on international arms control, even though they are on record as having said – frankly, we’ve put ads out on it so I can be a little hostile about this – a lie that this treaty would undermine 2nd Amendment rights.

But we’re not going to capitalize on the moment or space that that offers if we don’t make a robust argument and the administration does not make a robust argument to the American people that the U.S. has a leadership role to play in the proper regulation of global arms transfers.  And we think that moment exists, which is why we think it’s as important a political moment as a policy moment.

MS. STOHL:  No, I agree with Paul.  I mean, I think there is a lack of understanding and education on the Hill about this.  I don’t think that more education and more information would necessarily help.  You don’t even have to read very far.  It’s in the 13th paragraph, bearing in mind that – sorry, I just lost it – “mindful of the legitimate trade and lawful ownership and use of certain conventional weapons for recreational, cultural, historical and sporting activities where such trade, ownership and use are protected by law.”

It’s very obvious – it says over and over, international – it doesn’t matter.  It doesn’t matter what the words say.  I think at this point if the administration decided that this was an important priority and an opportunity to demonstrate leadership – no one wants to see “Made in the U.S.A.” on pictures on the television of innocent civilians being slaughtered.  I mean, it’s just not something that’s good for U.S. industry; it’s not something good for U.S. public relations and for our policy.  It just doesn’t make sense.

And so this really is an opportunity to say, you know what, we’ve had enough of the lies and the misrepresentation of the truth and we’re going to stand up to it.  There’s no cost to the U.S. government to do this.  It doesn’t require any changes in U.S. law.  These interpretive statements can provide the protection that the U.S. government needs in terms of making sure that the treaty does what it needs to do for the United States’ system.  It’s just really, you know, only a win as far as I’m concerned.

MR. KIMBALL:  Just to add a small bit on this.  I mean, looking at this from an NGO campaigning standpoint, it has been very difficult over the past three years to get the message out about what this treaty is about, in part because there hasn’t been enough high-level statements, descriptions from the U.S. government on this issue.  And so the press has not paid too much attention, which has allowed the lies and misconceptions to enter – to fill the vacuum.

But we’re at the point now where, as Paul and Rachel just said, the Obama administration has helped lead the way to where we are today.  They were part of the consensus on April 2nd.  And now it’s important for the United States to continue the momentum by sending a high-level representative to sign on June 3rd.

The issue of Senate education for an eventual ratification debate is a long way off, and there will be plenty of things to do between now and then to get us to that point.  But the immediate opportunity is signature, and that doesn’t really require Senate education, to be quite frank.

Other questions?  Let’s see; we have so many people here.  Why don’t we go right here with this gentleman with the handsome bowtie?  Then we’ll head back towards the back.

Q:  Thank you, Daryl.

I wish you were all – you know, I wish this treaty was going to be a great success, but I’m a little skeptical, especially because it does seem to me that all these things, countries could do without the treaty if they wanted to.  And so I’m really wondering what additional results could come from the treaty that wasn’t there before.

I mean, if countries did – you know, if importing countries didn’t want, you know, a wash of small arms and light weapons in the country, they could or could not stop them, but I’m not sure that, you know, having a treaty really makes that much difference.  And the same thing with exporters.  So I’m wondering how you would answer that question.

MR. O'BRIEN:  I have one answer.  Well, briefly, Syria.  Before this treaty was agreed, when Russia was asked, why are you selling arms to a regime that is, in a demonstrated way, causing huge numbers of civilian casualties, it said, well, from a legal perspective there is no arms embargo, there is no legal censure at all, and we are engaging in legitimate international commerce.

Having approved a treaty now – while you’re right at a core level that the enforcement mechanisms are weak, there is now something to point to, to say the countries that went to the UNGA on April 2nd agreed that this area of commerce needs better regulation, and it creates, in our view – aside from the policy implementation and enforcement, it creates a much higher political bar to justify it in international arenas.

MR. KIMBALL:  Rachel or Richard, do you want to take that?

MS. STOHL:  No, I mean, I think that having this level of accountability, naming and shaming, is powerful, whether it’s at the United Nations or otherwise.  States don’t like to be called out for their misdeeds.  And so having a tool that you could use as both a carrot and a stick to encourage either a change in behavior or the creation of standards that didn’t exist before I think is important.

And I also think that many of these states, particularly some of the developing states that you mentioned, that perhaps don’t want arms to just come into their countries, now have a tool to say, can somebody help us develop the systems that we need, whether it’s training our border security, whether it’s helping us develop an import control system so that customs officials know what’s coming in and out – I mean, very basic things that we take for granted in some countries just didn’t exist.

And whether it was lack of capacity or resources or political will, there is now a mechanism that can be used as a lever to encourage that change.  So I think there are – political will is huge.  I mean, it’s no better than the piece of paper if nobody takes it seriously.  But we now at least have that piece of paper that people can draw on.  I think that’s important.

MR. KIMBALL:  Richard?

MR. TAUWHARE:  Yeah, I’d agree with all of that.  I think the only one thing I’d add is that we see this as the start of a process.  We’ve been talking about, you know, trying to negotiate the treaty and getting this far.  Now we have this process of getting ratification and entry into force.

Once we’ve got entry into force, we’ll have a conference on state parties, we’ll have reporting mechanisms.  As Rachel said, there’s a whole series of mechanisms worked into the treaty that will establish a framework through which we can begin to build up and establish common standards across the global community, put political pressure on those who are outside to come in, put political pressure on those who are inside to stick to the rules, and put political pressure on all of ourselves to continue to improve on those rules.

And we’re very pleased that one of the things that came out of the negotiations in March was the possibility to amend the treaty.  So we will be looking to update it, to keep it future-proofed so that as new weapons are invented, they get covered, and as new ways around the current rules are invented, they get blocked off, so that we’ve established a framework now that we’ll continue to build on.

So it’s not going to be perfect from the start but it will be something that will bring the world community together and give us, if you like, a basis and a form in which we can work to improve the standards that we’ve got.

MR. KIMBALL:  Just one other small point, to put an emphasis on what you just said, Richard.  I mean, Al (ph), there’s a lot of the countries that could theoretically put in place export controls today.  They don’t have the laws on the books, the vast majorities of these countries.  So the treaty mandates that their political authorities put those in place.

And so what, over time, we will see is we will see countries that currently don’t have export control laws, laws on transshipment, laws on brokering have to put those laws in place, and that’s going to provide an opportunity for accountability, for government cooperation in enforcing those laws that we simply do not have today that would not otherwise be there if this international instrument had not been created.

All right, we have several other hands.  We’ll just go to this gentleman here, with Paul Walker, and then the gentleman to his left.  And then we’ll head back that way.

Q:  Thank you all.  I’m Paul Walker with Green Cross, International.  I want to thank all of you.  We all know you have worked very hard on this, and Daryl too.  And I also want to congratulate the Arms Control Association for actually raising this issue at the annual meeting that – as someone who has worked off and on on arms trade for the last 30-odd years, going way back to my graduate school days, I’m very pleased and proud to see that an arms trade treaty was finished finally, after a lot of work.

I want to ask just a couple of practical questions on implementation.  I heard that we needed 50 ratifications, or that we needed 50 signatures.  And I wondered –

MR. O'BRIEN:  Signatures.

MS. STOHL:  It’s 50 instruments of ratification – acceptance, accession or approval.  So –

MR. O'BRIEN:  And our signature would be one of those.

MS. STOHL:  No.  It depends on your national system and the way – in some countries, like in the United States we have this dual system where the president or an appropriate appointed person signs and then it goes to the Senate for ratifications.  Other countries have different processes.  So under normal treaty law you don’t have to say, you know, it has to be ratified by the Senate, because that doesn’t make sense, but it’s appropriate to that political system.

But there is an instrument.  When they sign on June 3rd, there’s one additional step, which is they have to take whatever their instrument is and actually deposit that with the secretary general of the United Nations.  So for some countries it may just be the signature.  In the United States it is not.  It just depends on the political system.

Q:  OK, so if the United States signs, which I assume it will –

MS. STOHL:  Well, I would assume it would too, but I hope perhaps some of our colleagues here might provide some clarification.

Q:  But I just think a lot of us would have questions about if we can get – if we can’t get the Law of the Sea Treaty passed through the Senate, or the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, whether we could ever get, at least at this stage, the ATT passed through the U.S. Senate.

And the second question – they’re related.  What’s actually established?  Is there an organization established, the headquarters, the secretariat, or is this simply an annual reporting declaration mechanism to the United Nations?  Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  What is created, Rachel?

MS. STOHL:  So between now and the entry into force, the treaty provides for a provisional secretariat.  That is still being ironed out, where that is.  It will most likely provisionally be in the United Nations’ system, just because the depositary right now is the secretary general.

However, once the treaty enters into force, there is this conference of states parties that will create an independent secretariat, which there’s no rules about it but it most likely will not be within the U.N. system.  It will be small and independent.

It’s not just a depository for the reports, but it also will help organize future meetings of Conference of States Parties, but also kind of – I like to think of it as a matchmaker so that if someone has assistance to provide for a country that requires assistance, there is that resource/need matchmaking service.

It will also serve as kind of the public voice in terms of what’s happening, and make those reports public that states are depositing.  So it’s clearly – it’s laid out but in very vague details in the treaty because it’s really going to be up to the Conference on States Parties to determine the process.

In terms of your first question on ratification, I would like to say I would see this treaty ratified in my lifetime, but I’m not holding my breath.  But it doesn’t matter, to be honest with you.  The signature of the United States matters in the sense that that demonstrates this political buy-in by the United States.

As I mentioned in the outset, everything in this treaty the United States already does.  And so as long as the United States has the political will to not only implement the treaty nationally but to help other states fulfill their obligations, that to me is almost more important than the actual ratification, because the ratification doesn’t change U.S. practice.  It doesn’t have to.

But the political will behind it – I think the signature, on the other hand, is an important symbol that the United States stands by the words that it stated not only at the conclusion on March 28th when it was not accepted by consensus, but also in the statement that Secretary Kerry made once the General Assembly vote occurred, the importance of this treaty.  So in that sense I think there is that political buy-in that’s important.

MR. O'BRIEN:  And I believe – just one quick addendum.  The one – and, Rachel, correct me if this is wrong, but our understanding is once it’s been signed there is an obligation on the United States even prior to ratification to – not to obstruct the underlying purpose and object of the treaty.  And more progressive elements interpret that as you cannot do anything that is fundamentally opposed to the core principles of the treaty, which for U.S. purposes is a lot.

MR. KIMBALL:  Right.  Article 18 of the Vienna Convention on treaties obligates the United States not to take any action or purpose that is contrary to the – contrary to the purpose of the treaty.

So signature does matter.  And I think your point still holds that the entry into force mechanism of this treaty of 50 ratifications is a relatively low bar.  It should be achieved relatively quickly in historic treaty terms, which is in contrast to things like the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which require a specific set of states to ratify.  So there is a big difference – big difference there.

We’ve got a question over here.

Q:  I’m Steve Colecchi with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.  I have one comment from the Conference of Bishops and one personal comment.

The first comment is that first of all I just want to thank Oxfam and all the other NGOs that work very closely in supporting this whole process.  That was, I think, really critical.  I know the Holy See took the lead for the Catholic community, and we were very proud of their efforts in that regard.

Now for my personal comment.  It’s about the NRA.  As long as the NRA is going to use the ATT as a fundraising technique, and as long as they’re going to be making major contributions in various campaigns, we’re going to need a much stronger response, particularly on technical questions like the – you know, allegation that the control lists somehow require us to sign up everybody in the United States who buys a gun, and that kind of thing, which is absurd because we’re talking about international trade.

So I know that the signature is important, but I think truth is important also.  And just from a moral perspective, I think it’s really, really important that we tell the truth and tell it repeatedly so perhaps at some point this won’t be a fundraising mechanism; it will be an embarrassment for the NRA.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thanks, Steve.  That is important.  I mean, we do have a responsibility to continue to describe what the treaty does and what it doesn’t do.  And, I mean, many of us continue to plan to talk to people on the Hill about this, to explain this, to talk to the media.  I would recommend to everybody Rachel’s great op-ed in the New York Times, which is aptly called “Tell the Truth about the Arms Trade Treaty.”

Paul, did you have a thought about this?

MR. O'BRIEN:  I love the question, but just a quick little anecdote around how this may be playing.  We work closely with faith communities on this because we believe that there is a constituency out there that does want to engage in a more truthful dialogue that the NRA deeply cares about.

So at Oxfam we are very reluctant to take on direct hostile campaigns against particular individuals.  We prefer to go after institutions or patterns of behavior and let our adversaries come to us.

But for weeks we thought about this and we said, we just cannot not call out the NRA on these lies.  So we published, in every newspaper we could find in Washington, on videos, on ads, “The NRA is lying to you.”  And we had a whole team of people ready for the blowback.  This is an organization that spent $5 million in one day in order to get the Senate to do what it needed on domestic arms control.

So frankly, we’re scared of what was coming and whether we could actually manage it.  They said almost nothing.  Now, there’s two – one, we didn’t get their attention.  That’s something that we’re concerned about, honestly.  (Laughter.)

But secondly, they made a thoughtful decision in terms of their overall priorities that it did not behoove them to continue if faith communities and others were saying, well, what actually is the truth here?  Because actually their membership is filled with people who are deeply, deeply responsible and sympathetic on the ideas of not letting people die from arbitrary – I mean, that’s what their whole organization, the genesis of it, was, was to get more responsibility around the use of arms.

So our feeling is they made a calculated decision that this just wasn’t a win for them, and that was partly to do with the faith communities and others joining, and the politics around this.  And we hope it stays that way.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  I think we’ve got time for maybe one more question on this topic.  Why don’t we go right here, please?

Q:  Good morning.  I’m Nick Wundra (ph), a student at SAIS Johns Hopkins.  I’m very impressed with this treaty.  It seems like a good effort to regulate the unregulatable.  And the American domestic issues have really been beaten to death in this discussion, but what about counterpart countries that don’t necessarily have the will or, more importantly, in conflict areas, the capacity to enforce the terms of this treaty?

You mentioned a provisional secretariat.  When arms arrive at a conflict zone and there’s no capacity or will to enforce the terms of the treaty at the port of entry, what happens then and where do we go from here.  Assuming we get ratification or signatures or whatever instrument we need to make this treaty come into force, what’s the next step in terms of international regulation?

MR. KIMBALL:  All right, good question.  If I could just put a finer point on this for the panelists too, I mean, there were three big countries that abstained on April 2nd.  There was China.  There was Russia and India, which is now the world’s largest arms buyer, if not to the world’s largest.

So what can we do to make sure that other key countries are part of this?  And as the gentleman just said, you know, what can we do to make sure that the treaty is enforced over time as best as possible?

MS. STOHL:  I should have probably said from the outset that this treaty is not – we did not create some international behemoth that’s observing every arms transfer and, you know, coming up with a verdict if it’s good or bad.

MR. KIMBALL:  Why not, Rachel?

MS. STOHL:  Because this treaty – there’s this pesky thing called sovereignty, and this treaty really creates the impetus for national implementation.  So not only are arms transfer decisions authorized by national governments, but implementation in terms of what is allowed to come in and out of your country is also up to national governments.  And I think that’s important that, yes, there are those that would prefer that certain arms did not enter their countries, but there are also those that are very complicit in the international arms trade moving from the legal market to the illicit market.

So the idea that suddenly countries are going to be saying, help me, help me; there’s illicit arms coming into our country, is perhaps not more likely from this treaty, but the treaty will provide resources for those that are saying, help us, help us; there’s things coming in that we don’t prefer.

MR. O'BRIEN:  One short addendum on that.  That’s right, but, you know, the big political question is whether you think the tide of history is with global regulation and constraints on sovereignty, the U.N. system and so on, are against it.

And if you read the treaty, the Arms Trade Treaty, what it does is it basically attempts to fill a serious hole, which is countries are obligated under the U.N. system, under a whole range of treaties, not to do things like genocide and gross violations of human rights and so on.

And what this treaty says is, OK, if we are going to make sure that arms trade isn’t used to contribute to these existing international obligations, then you have to adhere to this when it comes to transferring arms into a country.

So a country that may have weak systems is already obligated not to commit gross violations of human rights and so on and so forth.  Now what we’re placing is a burden on the trading country not to facilitate that by putting arms into that country when it knows it will be used to violate existing treaty obligations.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right, Richard, you have the last word on this question.

MR. TAUWHARE:  Thanks.  I’ll come back to the point you raised about, you know, the big exporters.  How are we going to ensure that they’re on board this treaty?  And that is where, in a way, we started because, as we said, we could have had this treaty ages ago if we had just gone with the likeminded, but we wanted to create a framework that would bring them on board and put political pressure on them to get them on board.

That’s why we’ve so regretted that we didn’t get consensus on the 28th of March.  But it was interesting that in that debate on the final day of the negotiations, no big country was ready to break consensus.  And if it hadn’t been for Iran, DPRK and Syria, we would have got consensus.  So we would have had a consensus agreement, including all those major exporters.  They weren’t prepared to stand aside.

Now, it’s regrettable that we had to go to a vote, and that gave them the opportunity to abstain, but this is where we’re going to come down to the sort of political arguments that we’ve be making here this morning about particularly getting U.S. signature, getting all – if you like, all the good guys in the international community out there signing on the first day and then joining a concerted effort, not just from the West, but from the Southeast, the North, where every country, every region has been engaged and involved in this exercise.

And we want to ensure that we’ve got a global coalition that continues and strengthens what we have in the work on the negotiations, to put the pressure on all of the major exporters to sign up to and ratify this treaty as soon as possible.  And we remain, as I say, hopeful.  And the more countries we get on board, the more the momentum will build and the more pressure will be on those major exporters to come on board.

And one final point is that, you know, we’re now at the cusp now where we’re getting a lot of emerging powers coming out whose current arms production may be relatively modest, though are currently rather large arms importers, but it won’t be long before they’re large – they have their own substantial arms manufacturing industry, mainly maybe for their domestic purposes but it won’t be long before they start getting to exporting as well.

So it’s important that we establish rules now and get them on board for those rules before those new weapons factories come on stream and begin to start to export into the international market.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Well, I want to thank the three of you for your excellent presentations, and more importantly for your hard work on the treaty – Rachel Stohl, for your work with the president, and more on the negotiations; and, Paul and Oxfam America, for your advocacy work; and to the U.K. government for its stalwart leadership on this.  This is one of the few highlights in the last few years, and we’re going to keep talking about this.

For those who want to learn more about this, there is a special report in the current issue of Arms Control Today, which I’m sure you’re going to put in your computer when you get back to the office, which will tell you more about it.  But that’s all the time we have for this session, so please join me in applause for our three panelists.  (Applause.)

We’re going to take about 15-20 minutes to allow you all to fortify yourselves with the lunch that’s outside.  Let me just note that there are two buffet lines.  There’s one buffet table but two lines.  So if the line looks long, start the second line.  So bring your lunches back in and we will be restarting at about 12:20, 12:25 with our keynote luncheon speaker, Ellen Tauscher.  Thanks.

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Keynote

DARYL KIMBALL:  All right, welcome back, everyone.  Daryl Kimball from the Arms Control Association once again.  I hope you’re enjoying your lunch.  Don’t forget the dessert just outside, and the coffee.

As everyone finds their seats again, I want to thank all of you once again for being here, for this great turnout today.  I want to thank in particular our members and our Arms Control Today subscribers.  Without you, we would not be here.  It’s always energizing for me and the rest of the staff to see many of you again after weeks, in some cases, since our last events.  And we very much appreciate your support.

And I would just like to remind everybody that our membership is relatively small, but you all are very generous people, those of you here and outside of Washington.  Individual members of the Arms Control Association and subscribers to Arms Control Today make up about 13 percent of our annual budget, which remains at about or just over $1 million a year, and we make the most of every contribution.

And let me just mention a couple other quick things regarding our financial status.  Just want to note, as many of you heard, with a major bequest from our late board member Jonathan Tucker, ACA’s board of directors agreed last fall to establish an endowment for the organization that will be guided by a new investment policy and investment advisory committee, and combined with our 2010 MacArthur Award for creative and effective institutions, that means that we’re going to be in an even better position to put member contributions and grants from other foundations to maximum work and effectiveness.

For the rest of our program work, we depend on the ongoing support of several foundations for our core education research and policy advocacy work, among them the Ploughshares Fund – we’ve got Joel Rubin from the Ploughshares Fund here, perhaps others – the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, as I mentioned; the Carnegie Corporation of New York; the Hewlett Foundation; the Prospect Hill Foundation in New York; and others.

And today we’re particularly grateful for the support of the Heinrich Boell Foundation, which has supplied us with a grant for the last, I think, four years now to help support our annual meeting and to bring into the conversation European views and perspectives on today’s weapons-related security challenges.  And I just wanted to ask Sebastian Gräfe from the Boell Foundation’s Washington office to say a few words about the foundation’s work before we move forward with our luncheon speaker.

Sebastian.

SEBASTIAN GRÄFE:  Daryl, thank you very much.  While you are enjoying your lunch – and don’t forget the cake outside – (laughter) – as Daryl mentioned already – looks very delicious – while you are enjoying your lunch, a few words from the Heinrich Boell Foundation.  We are headquartered in Berlin, of course, as a German political foundation, but we have an office also here in Washington, D.C., and 29 other offices around the globe.

As Daryl mentioned, this is the – I think, the third annual conference of the Arms Control Association, where we try to – as a European organization, try to include a European perspective.  And I’m happy that it worked out this time again.  I think both panels showed that even though a lot of European countries are right now in a difficult economic situation that Europe still remains your most important foreign policy ally, but I think also the second panel especially showed that arms control is no longer a purely intergovernmental affair; it’s also – it requires also the involvement of nongovernmental organizations to achieve its objectives.

This year Arms Control Association and the Heinrich Boell foundation decided to take our cooperation even further, beyond the annual meeting.  We are happy to provide young upcoming experts – policy experts in the arms control community – we will provide travel stipends for them to go to Europe and to research there on common foreign policy approaches with regard to nonproliferation and arms control.  So I’m looking forward to working with you on this.

And last but not least, I just want to thank again Daryl Kimball, Tom Collina and Tim Farnsworth for their efforts to put this conference together.  And now we are looking forward to Ellen Tauscher’s remarks.

Back to Daryl.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right, thank you very much, Sebastian.  (Applause.)

And just one thing you said reminded me of the importance to which we attach training the next generation of specialists in this field, and the support that you’re providing us is going to help us do that.  That’s part of our long tradition.  And as I was listening to the speakers this morning, it reminded me that we have several people who were on the stage today that were here because of the Herbert Scoville Peace Fellowship program, named after the former president of the Arms Control Association.  I was a former Scoville Peace Fellow in 1989, such a long, lovely time ago, but also Kelsey Davenport was a Scoville Fellow with ACA, also Marcus Taylor is our current Scoville Fellow here at ACA, and Rachel Stohl was a Herbert Scoville Peace Fellow.  So you have quite a few people here today as a result of the efforts of various people to bring in the next generation of people here to Washington to work on these issues.

So as Sebastian said, we’re now going to turn to our keynote luncheon speaker, Ellen Tauscher.  And Ellen, my introduction is not too long, so I would like to invite you to come on up.  For nearly seven – or seven decades – seven terms she was a member of Congress – (laughter) – seven terms a member of Congress, which means that over the last two decades she has been a leader on arms control and international security issues.  She was, from 2009 to 2011, the undersecretary of state for arms control and international security.

Many of us in the field have looked to her for advice and for leadership to help shape sensible policies on issues ranging from stockpile stewardship, nuclear testing policy and the CTBT, the conventional arms trade.  We worked with the State Department and Ellen three years ago on one of the first policy statements by the Obama administration on the Arms Trade Treaty, back in 2010, I think it was.  We’ve worked with her and looked to her for advice on missile defense, nuclear arms reductions and other issues.  And so I’m really pleased that she remains involved and engaged in these issues, and we’re looking forward to working with her in the weeks and months ahead.

And we’ve asked her, with the benefit I think she’s had of being outside of government for just over a year now, to share with us her assessment of what the Obama administration accomplished in its first term, what things might be possible in the second term on the president’s so-called Prague Nuclear Risk Agenda.

So Ellen, thank you for being here.  (Applause.)

ELLEN TAUSCHER:  Thank you.  Thank you, Daryl.  Thank you.  Thanks very much.  Hello, everyone.  It’s good to see so many old friends.  It certainly is nice to be here as someone who’s out of government.  (Laughter.)  Let’s see.  Thank you very much, Daryl, for having me, and thank you, Tom, for all your help.  And it’s always wonderful to be with my friends at the Arms Control Association and all of the groups and people that support it.

Fifty years ago next month, on June 10th, 1963, President John F. Kennedy delivered a game-changing speech at American University, addressing threats posed by nuclear weapons.  He said that America, and I quote, “would do our part to build a world of peace where the weak are safe and the strong are just.”  He also said that “confident, not afraid, we labor on, not toward a strategy of annihilation but toward a strategy of peace.”

Today the Obama administration and all of us labor on, for as much progress as we have seen over the last four years to move toward a world free of nuclear weapons – and there has been a lot of work – our work is not done.  Now is the time to renew the effort and to complete key elements of the agenda that the president laid out so eloquently four years ago in his Prague speech.

As we see in Iran and North Korea, nuclear dangers will not wait, and they will not go away.  We must address them head-on.  And to those who say the politics are too hard, that just means we need to redouble our efforts.  Anything worth doing will not come easily.

Case in point, the New START treaty, one of my proudest achievements, was a very heavy lift.  But we got it done because the administration and all of you rolled up our collective sleeves and did not waver on the long march toward our goal.  And if President Obama sets his mind to it, we can win victories like this again.

New START, of course, has been in force since 2011 and is bringing United States and Russian nuclear forces down to the lowest levels since the 1950s.  Under President Obama’s leadership, we also completed the Nuclear Posture Review, which will, when implemented, further reduce the role and number of nuclear weapons.  We launched Nuclear Security Summits, working with world leaders to keep nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists, and we strengthened the Non-Proliferation Treaty – thank you, Susan Burk, if she’s still here – by contributing to a successful 2010 review conference and a final document that points us in the right direction for the future.

So what should that future hold?  How can we best, as President Kennedy put it 50 years ago, labor on toward a strategy of peace?  There are three things that I believe this administration can and must accomplish in its second and last term.  First, we need to complete another round of significant nuclear reductions with Russia.  Second, we need to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.  And three, we need to make the nonproliferation regime even stronger.

Let’s talk for a moment about Russian-U.S. reductions, round two.  The Pentagon’s March decision to restructure Phase 4 of its plans for missile defense in Europe has, we hope, opened the door for missile defense cooperation with Russia that has the potential to transform the strategic relationship between Washington and Moscow.  This is a bipartisan goal.  Both President Reagan and President Bush supported cooperation on missile defense with Russia.

The cancellation on Phase 4, which actually was done by the United States Senate when they took the money out of the bill last year, also removes one of the major reasons that Russia has been, so they say, resisting another round of nuclear arms reductions.  As President Obama has been saying since 2010, he wants another round that includes strategic and nonstrategic tactical warheads, both deployed and in storage – the hedge weapons; we call them nondeployed.  As the president said in March of 2012 in South Korea, even under New START, the president said, we have more nuclear weapons than we need.

Additional reductions would mean fewer Russian weapons potentially aimed at us and fewer U.S. weapons, which could translate into billions of dollars in savings on maintenance and modernization of the U.S. nuclear triad.  We could also get a better handle on Russia’s tactical weapons, which the senators on both sides of the aisle say they are eager to do.  Also, further reductions would help our overall nonproliferation efforts by bolstering the NPT and encouraging cooperation from other nations.

Unfortunately, some senators – Senator Inhofe, Senator Corker – are of the view that the administration has not kept nuclear modernization promises it made during New START ratification and thus are not willing to even consider a new treaty.  But this view misrepresents what the administration said it would do on modernization during the course of the 2010 debate of New START.

The Obama administration has more than demonstrated an unprecedented commitment to maintaining a safe, reliable and effective nuclear stockpile and to reinvesting in nuclear weapons production infrastructure.  Back in 2010, the White House made budget projections as to what it thought the task would require and what the nation could afford.  It did not promise specific dollar figures no matter what, but made clear they were subject to change.  And in fact, change they did.  The Budget Control Act came along in 2011, and the sequester this past March.  The administration requested full funding in 2012, but the Republican-controlled House cut the budget by $400 million.  But even though the initial budget projections had not been realized, funding for the NNSA has still gone up significantly at a time when other budgets are tanking.  The weapons activity budget of the NNSA has gone up by $1.2 billion, almost 20 percent, from 2009 to 2013.  Find me a program manager who wouldn’t want to welcome that.

Moreover, all senators should be open to finding more efficient ways to achieve the mission.  For example, the NNSA originally said we needed a $6 billion plutonium facility in New Mexico to help make new warhead parts called pits.  But then the national laboratories found that pits can last decades longer than expected, and they can reuse them over and over again.  So now when the NNSA extends life of a warhead, they don’t need to make a new pit; they can just reuse an existing one.  This approach meets the mission requirement and can save billions of dollars.

So my plea to certain senators is this:  Let’s not focus on specific budget numbers, but the job at hand.  There is bipartisan agreement that the infrastructure needs to be modernized and the arsenal maintained.  There should also be bipartisan agreement that if we can find more efficient ways to do that, we should take the opportunity to save money for the American taxpayer.

But most importantly, we should not let this misunderstanding get in the way of an agreement that could make the United States safer and more financially secure.  How can we move forward with additional reductions in Russian and U.S. stockpiles?  Well, there are at least three options, and none of them are mutually exclusive.  First, and ideally, as President Obama has said he would like to do for some time, Presidents Putin and Obama can direct their negotiators to begin work on a follow-on New START treaty that addresses not just deployed, but nondeployed warheads, and not just strategic weapons, but also nonstrategic or tactical weapons.  Russia’s concern about a more capable SM-3 interceptor should fade away with Secretary Hagel’s recent announcement that for budgetary and technical reasons, the Phase Four of the European Phased Adaptive Approach on missile defense will be indefinitely postponed.

But as the Secretary of State’s International Security Adviser Board noted in its November 27, 2012, report, called Options on Implementing Additional Nuclear Force Reductions, this new negotiation will be far more complicated than New START.  It will involve resolving issues concerning counting and monitoring of nondeployed warheads and substrategic nuclear warheads, which never have been part of a formal treaty as of yet.  Even if President Obama and President Putin can agree to begin such a process soon, after their meeting next month, this would likely mean that the talks would take longer to complete, much longer than New START.  And as the ISAB report noted the New START verification tools are already in place, further reciprocal U.S. nuclear reductions need not wait for a formal follow-on treaty.

To accelerate progress, President Obama can and should follow through on his 2009 pledge to end Cold War thinking and signal that he will further reduce the role and number of nuclear weapons.  To do so, the White House must finally implement a saner, nuclear-deterrence-only strategy outlined in the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review.  The NPR implementation has the potential to eliminate outdated targeting assumptions and remove a significant number of deployed U.S. weapons from prompt launch status.

The president also announced that he’s prepared to accelerate reductions under New START and, along with Russia, move below the treaty ceiling’s 1,550 deployed warheads.  Russia is already below this level, and the United States is approaching it.  Mutual reductions to about a thousand deployed strategic warheads are possible and prudent, and they can be achieved promptly.

In my view, there is no reason why U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear forces should remain at arbitrarily higher levels.  While the United States and Russia are uneasy partners and still have a number of disagreements, we can and should move away from the current condition of mutually assured destruction and closer to what I call mutually assured stability.  This would help reduce the enormous costs of planned strategic force modernization by both countries in the coming years.  Such actions would put pressure on China to halt its slow increase in nuclear forces and open the door for serious multilateral disarmament discussions with other nuclear-armed states, a process that the Obama administration has already started to pursue with consultations with the P-5 group.

At the same time, the United States, in consultation with NATO, could engage in parallel talks aimed at accounting for the remaining tactical nuclear weapon stockpiles held by Russia and the United States, including the forward-deployed U.S. weapons in Europe, with the aim of providing clarity about the numbers, consolidating the warheads at a smaller number of secure sites, and moving them further away from the border between Russia and our European allies.

Now let me turn to banning nuclear tests, an idea first introduced by President Eisenhower in the late 1950s and continued by President Kennedy.  In his 1963 speech, President Kennedy announced that high-level discussions would begin with Moscow on comprehensive test ban treaty.  The president said:  Our hope must be tempered with the caution of history, but with our hopes go the hopes of all mankind.

President Kennedy achieved a limited test ban treaty, ratified by the Senate in September of 1963 by an unbelievable vote of 80 to 19, but aspired to do more.  Fifty years later, the process started by Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy is still not over.  President Obama vowed to pursue ratification of the CTBT in his speech in Prague.  In doing so, the United States is once again taking a leading role in supporting a test ban treaty.  But this being Washington, everything is seen through a political lens.  So before discussing the merits of the treaty, let me talk about this in a political sense for a moment, because after all, I am a recovering politician.

The New START debate in many ways opened the door for CTBT.  Months of hearings and debate and nine long days of floor deliberations gave to the Senate, especially its newer members, an extended seminar on the composition of our nuclear arsenal, the health of our stockpile, and the relationship between nuclear weapons and national security.

When the Senate voted for the New START treaty, it inherently affirmed that our stockpile is safe, secure and effective and can be kept so without nuclear testing.  More importantly, the New START debate helped cultivate emerging new arms control champions.  Before the debate, there was not a whole lot of muscle memory on treaties, especially nuclear  treaties, in the United States Senate, and now there is.  So we are in a strong position to make the case for the CTBT on its merits.  We have had two elections subsequently, in 2010 and 2012, so we have about 15, 20 new senators, and they need to be educated too, and we need to bring them along.  And to maintain and enhance that momentum that we had in 2010 with the New START ratification, the Obama administration has been engaging the Senate and the public on an education campaign focusing on three primary arguments.

First, the United States no longer needs to conduct nuclear explosive tests, plain and simple.  Second, a comprehensive test ban treaty that has entered into force will obligate other states not to test and provide a disincentive for states to conduct such tests.  And third, we now have a greater ability to catch those who cheat.  Let me take these points one by one.

From 1945 to 1992, the United States conducted more than a thousand nuclear explosive tests, more than all other nations combined.  The cumulative data gathered from these tests have provided an impressive foundation for knowledge for us to base the continuing effectiveness of our arsenal.  But the historical data alone is insufficient.  Well over a decade ago, we launched an extensive and rigorous stockpile stewardship program that has enabled our national weapons laboratories to carry on essential surveillance and warhead life extension programs to ensure the credibility of our deterrent.

Every year for the past 15 years, the secretaries of defense and energy from Democratic and Republican administrations and the directors of the nuclear weapons laboratories have certified in letters to the president that our arsenal is safe, secure and effective.  And each year we have affirmed that we do not need to conduct explosive nuclear tests.  The lab directors tell us that stockpile stewardship has provided a deeper understanding of our arsenal than they ever thought of while testing was commonplace.

Think about that for a moment. Our current efforts go a step beyond explosive testing by enabling the labs to anticipate problems in advance and reduce their potential impact on our arsenal, something that nuclear testing could not do.  I for one would not trade our successful approach, based on world class science and technology, for a return to explosive testing.  So when it comes to the CTBT, the United States is in a curious position.  We abide by the core prohibition of the treaty because we don’t need to test nuclear weapons.  We also have an executive order and a law that says that we can’t.  And we have contributed to the development of the international monitoring system.

But the principal benefit of ratifying the treaty, constraining other states from testing, still eludes us.  So, effectively we live under the constraints of the treaty but get none of the benefits.  That doesn’t make sense to me, and it shouldn’t make any sense to the members of the United States Senate.  I do not believe that even the most vocal critics of the CTBT want to resume explosive nuclear testing.  What they have chosen instead is a status quo where the United States refrains from testing without using the fact to lock in a binding global ban that would significantly benefit the United States’ national security.

Secondly, a CTBT that has entered into force would hinder other states from advancing their nuclear weapons capabilities.  Were the CTBT to enter into force, states interested in pursuing or advancing a nuclear weapons program would risk either deploying weapons that might not work or incur international condemnation and sanctions for testing.  While states can build crude first-generation nuclear weapons without conducting nuclear explosive tests, they would have trouble going further, and they probably wouldn’t even know for certain the yield of the weapon they built.  More-established nuclear weapon states could not with any confidence deploy advanced nuclear weapons capabilities that deviated significantly from previously test designs without explosive testing.

Nowhere could these constraints be more relevant than in Asia, where you see states building up and modernizing their forces.  A legally binding prohibition on all nuclear explosive testing would help reduce the chances of a potential regional arms race in the years and the decades to come.

Finally, we have become very good at detecting potential cheaters.  If you test, there is a high risk of getting caught.  Upon the treaty’s entry into force, the United States would use the international monitoring system to complement our own state-of-the-art national technical means to verify the treaty.  In 1999, not a single certified IMS station or facility existed.  We understand why, back then, some senators had some doubts about its future capabilities, but today there should be no question and doubt.  The IMS is more than 80 percent complete; 275 of the planned 337 monitoring stations are in place and functioning.  The IMS detected all three of North Korea’s announced nuclear tests.  The IMS detected trace radioactive isotopes from the 2006 and 2013 tests.  In all three cases there was significant evidence to support an onsite inspection, but onsite inspections are only permissible once the treaty enters into force.  While the IMS continues to improve its value, our national technical means remain second to none and we continue to improve on them.

Senators can judge our overall capabilities for themselves by consulting the National Intelligence Estimate.  Taken together, these verification tools would make it difficult for any state to conduct nuclear tests that could escape detection.  In other words, a robust verification regime carries an important deterrent value in and of itself.  Could we imagine a far-fetched scenario where a country might conduct a test so low that it would not be detected?  Perhaps.  But would a country be willing to risk being caught cheating?  That’s doubtful because there are significant costs to pay for those countries that test.

The National Academy of Sciences, a trusted and unbiased voice on scientific issues, released an unclassified report in 2012 examining the treaty from a technical perspective.  The report looked at how the United States’s ratification would impact our ability to maintain our nuclear arsenal and our ability to detect and verify explosive nuclear tests.  The NAS report concluded that without nuclear tests – and I quote from the report – “the United States is now better able to maintain a safe and effective nuclear stockpile and to monitor clandestine nuclear explosive testing than at any time in the past.”

Moving forward on the CTBT will be tough, I have no doubt.  I recognize that a Senate debate over ratification will be spirited, vigorous, contentious and definitely partisan.  The debate in 1999, unfortunately, was too short and too politicized.  The treaty was brought to the floor without the benefit of extensive committee hearings or significant input from administration officials and outside experts.  We will not repeat those mistakes.  Just as we did in New START, the Obama administration can and should make a more forceful case when it is certain the facts have been carefully examined and reviewed in a thoughtful process.  I know that Rose Gottemoeller is committed to taking a bipartisan and fact-based approach with the Senate.

For my Republican friends who voted against the treaty in 1999 and might feel bound by that vote, I have one message:  Don’t be.  The times have changed.  As my good friend and fellow Californian George Shultz says, and has repeated even this year, those who opposed the treaty in 1999 can say they were right, but they would be more right to vote for the treaty today.  So we have a lot of work to do to build the political will to ratify the CTBT.

Nuclear testing is not a front-burner issue for most Americans, in part because we have not tested in over 20 years.  To understand the gap in public awareness, just think of the fact that in 1961, some 10,000 women walked off their jobs as mothers and housewives to protest the arms race and nuclear testing.  Mother’s Day is Sunday. Maybe we should find another 10,000 if we can.

Now, that strike did not have the same impact as the nonviolent marches and protests to further the cause of civil rights, but the actions of mothers taking a symbolic and dramatic step to recognize global nuclear dangers show that the issue has resonance beyond the Beltway, beyond the think-tank world and beyond the ivory tower.  That level of concern is there today, and we need your energy and your organizational skill and your creativity to tap into it.

In 1963, President Kennedy also said, and I quote:  I see the possibility of the United States having to face a world in which 15 or 20 or 25 nations may have nuclear weapons.  I regard that as the greatest possible danger and hazard.  The possibility was avoided in large part by the NPT, which was concluded 45 years ago this summer.  Today the NPT has nearly 190 members and requires states without nuclear weapons to refrain from getting them and states with them to seek to move to eliminate their stockpiles.  We must polish both sides of the coin to keep it shiny.

Additional U.S.-Russian arsenal reductions and U.S. ratification of the CTBT would not only strengthen U.S. security in its own right but they will facilitate greater international cooperation on other elements of the president’s nonproliferation agenda.  U.S. and Russian leadership on disarmament will strengthen our leverage with the international community to pressure defiant regimes like those in Iran and North Korea as they engage in illicit nuclear activities.  We will have greater credibility while encouraging other states to pursue nonproliferation objectives, including universality of the additional protocol.

In short, progress on disarmament is essential to preventing proliferation.  Specifically, the 2010 action plan underlines the importance of resolving all cases of noncompliance with IAEA safeguards.  Noncompliance by Iran, North Korea and Syria are a serious threat to the nonproliferation regime.  NPT states must demand they return to full compliance with the NPT.  States must be held accountable for treaty violations and abuses of the withdrawal provision.

I must also highlight the important role of nuclear security in preventing nuclear terrorism.  Through the Nuclear Security Summit process, we need to expand partnerships, accelerate cooperation and create long-lasting institutions to continue this critical work.  The IAEA Conference on Nuclear Security in July will be an important opportunity to advance this urgent priority.

Finally, the action plan called for a conference on a WMD-free zone in the Middle East.  The United States supports this goal, although the conference could not be held in 2012, and I hope that states in the region can agree to hold it soon.

To ensure that the Middle East zone meeting involves all states, including Israel, it is important that all states in the region meet for consultations on the agenda, and the agenda needs to be comprehensive, addressing steps that states can take on nuclear nonproliferation, as well as chemical weapons elimination, biological weapons and ballistic missiles.

The bottom line is that to remain effective the nuclear nonproliferation system must be updated.  New commitments must be implemented, and progress on disarmament must be accelerated.  The next opportunity to measure success will be in two years, in the 2015 NPT Review Conference.

Even with the NPT, political and military tensions continue to drive nonproliferation behavior in regional hotspots.  If U.S.-led talks with Iran and North Korea fail to persuade them to curb sensitive nuclear fuel cycle activities and meet their nonproliferation obligations, the risks of arms races and conflicts will continue to grow.  To paraphrase what President Kennedy said five decades ago, we must work faster and harder to abolish nuclear weapons before they abolish us.

Doing nothing is not an option.  It is time for the president, working with the Congress and with the support of Russia and other major global partners, to take the next steps to reduce and eliminate nuclear risks.  That effort will require that the Arms Control Association is able to carry on with its vital research and public education work, and that we all do our part.

I want to thank you very much for your attention today.  I look forward to working with all of you on these issues in the weeks and months and years ahead.  And I would very happy to entertain any easy questions.  (Laughter, applause.)

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Are there any easy questions out there?  And I think we just need to get the microphones from my colleagues here.

Q: Thank you, Secretary Tauscher, for your presentation.  You had noted that the most preferable way by which to go about U.S.-Russia nuclear reductions would be through a treaty process, which would generate a legally binding agreement, verification regime and agreed-upon transparency measures.  If that is not possible and some politically binding way were to be regarded as a sort of second-best option, how would the U.S. and Russian Federation go about that to ensure a stabilizing agreement would include verification measures or perhaps some transparency measures as well?  Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  If you could just also identify yourself –

Q:  Yes.  I’m sorry.  Justin Anderson, SAIC.  Thanks.

MS. TAUSCHER:  Well, as you know, both of our governments, the United States and Russia, are bound to ratify treaties, but there are things that we can do that we do independently, either unilaterally, on our own, or actually in what we call sequenced unilateralism, which is basically we both agree to do things that are in our self-interest.  We both take down our arsenal to a number that we both choose.  It could actually be symmetrical.  We’ve done it before.  We did it before with President Bush, the father, and we certainly could do that again.

It’s going to be important to see what the conversations between President Obama and President Putin are in June.  I’m glad to see that they’re meeting next month.  They originally weren’t going to meet until September.

As most people know, they’ve had at least a couple of conversations subsequent to the tragedy in Boston, and I was just recently over there on some Track II talks on missile defense.  So I think that everyone is weary of the relationship deterioration that we’ve had since Libya, and of course exacerbated by Syria.  The elections didn’t help, that we haven’t had any return to the kind of very cooperative relationship we had prior to the Russian election a year ago.

So I think it’s important that we understand that there are two pieces to this.  One is the policy side.  You know, I think Paul O’Brien and I – I’m an O’Kane, so maybe we’re related back in Ireland – but everything is about politics and policy, and in this case, we need to have enough of a political groundswell, a base, for the president, so that he doesn’t use what is his diminishing political capital in his second term on some of these very tough and transient issues, when he has a big agenda that’s already out there.  So now it is incumbent upon us to not only think about the policy; it’s also important for us to think about the political will and package it.

When we were doing the New START debate in the very unlikely time of the lame duck, at the end of 2010, we did a very aggressive public campaign.  Even though I was in treatment for cancer and couldn’t be seen publicly, I was on the phone talking to, you know, literally scores of newspaper editorial boards around the country in red, blue and purple states.  We asked them to do one of two things:  Either agree with us and write a very favorable editorial or disagree with us and not write anything.  (Laughter.)

Unbelievably, they did exactly what we wanted.  We didn’t really get any bad editorials, and we got them in some very crucial states because we needed people like Senator Corker and Senator Isakson to vote with us.

So we did some polling before the debate started in the Senate.  We actually had 73 percent of the American people with us to ratify the New START agreement, and we got 71 votes.  So it shows that there’s a real correlation between public opinion, the ability to call your senator and the ability for us to get those votes.

But I think that it’s a mistake for us to assume that even though in this president we have someone who has been more agitated, more animated and more aggressive about these issues than we’ve had for many, many years, that with all of these big domestic agenda items out there, whether it’s immigration reform or obviously our tough budgetary issues, or the gun bills, many of – all of which I’m for, we need to create some political will for the president.

So all of the organizations that you represent and all of the people that we can tap into need to be able to go out and help us make that case.  And once again we’re going to have to do the same thing and get a very strong political sense that this can be ratified, the CTBT actually can be ratified, so that the White House will be able to take it out.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Thank you.

A couple other questions.  Why don’t we take one over here with this gentleman on the right and the second one we’ll take right afterwards in the rear.  Yeah.  Yup.

Q:  Thank you, Undersecretary Tauscher.  I’m Nic Wondra from Johns Hopkins SAIS, and I want to ask about these budgetary constraints that you mentioned.  I spoke with some friends of mine at NNSA over the weekend, and they’re saying that their programs, such as the Nonproliferation Graduate Fellowship Program, are being rolled back.  So many personnel decisions are now beholden to the executive offices and the Office of Personnel Management.  And so given budgetary constraints, where does that leave us for our domestic verification capabilities and also our international obligations?  If the IAEA can’t pick up with the slack, with their limited resources, and our resources are diminishing, something has to give.  So what do you think is going to be the first to give?

MR. KIMBALL:  Before you answer, why don’t we take the second question.

Q:  Bruce MacDonald with the U.S. Institute of Peace and adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins SAIS.  Undersecretary, thanks for your comments and your years of public service as a politician and a public servant.  I hope that your recovery’s going well.

MS. TAUSCHER:  It is.  Thanks.

Q:  But I noticed that you may have fallen off the wagon recently, and I see that Minority Leader Pelosi has selected you for the new – let’s see what they – it’s a big name – the Congressional Advisory Panel on the Governance of the Nuclear Security Enterprise, which is supposed to get cranked up and operating soon.  Could you give us a little bit of your sense of what the – your view of the problems that the nuclear security enterprise is facing and what you might hope to accomplish in your service on that panel?

MS. TAUSCHER:  Sure.  Thank you very much, Bruce.

To the graduate student, to your comments, let me just say that it has worried me since I left the Congress in 2009 that – I was chairman of Strategic Forces on the House Armed Services Committee, which has about a $55 billion package that includes missile defense, national tactical means and all of the nuclear weapons complex, and I represented the only congressional district with two national nuclear labs in it, Sandia, California, and Lawrence Livermore.  And so no good deed goes unpunished, and so I actually represented my constituents on the committee of jurisdiction for the largest employer in my district.  For the first time in American history, somebody did that from that district.

That meant that I got to know a little bit more than other people did about this tough issue, and what’s disappointing is that there aren’t a lot of people that are out there understanding these issues.  You know, Sam Nunn left well over 10 years ago.  Dick Lugar has left.  And while we have everybody running at the speed of sound, not everybody is paying attention to these issues.

And as these weapons have gotten more and more into the political category, where we have a sense that, God forbid – they’ll, you know, never be used, less and less attention by the Congress as to what exactly they are and what they’re doing.

And so I worry that we don’t have enough expertise in the Congress of people that really pay attention.  I will tell you that Senator Feinstein, my senator, from California, chairs Energy and Water, and she really pays attention.  She’s also chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, so she also has an understanding of the national strategic importance and also of various intelligence issues.  Eric Swalwell, who just won in my district – he’s got about 40 percent of my district and represents Livermore – he’s on the Homeland Security Committee – he’s taken an interest.

But it’s a handful of people that really care about these issues, and that is not good for our ability to project into the Congress, get the attention, get the kind of funding that we need, the attention that we need, and to make sure that the ship is going in the right direction.

When it comes to the ship going in the right direction, as Bruce notes, I was called one of the mothers or the mother of the NNSA, which is kind of dubious, especially since there were two fathers – (laughter) – Mac Thornberry and Pete Domenici.  And like any child that has two fathers and one mother, it’s an ugly baby – (laughter) – very ugly baby.

And while I think that there is a lot of good, smart, well-intentioned people in the NNSA, we never quite got the mission description right, and we have a lot of criticism of the NNSA from everybody.

And so when Nancy Pelosi calls me and asks me to do anything, I say yes, for many reasons.  She’s not only my neighbor in California, but she was the speaker of the House.  Some of you may remember that when we were in the majority, I presided more than anybody else.  So I’m used to saying yes to her.

But I also wanted to be sure that there was somebody on the panel that had my perspective.

So to answer Bruce’s question, I don’t have any fixed ideas, because I’m trying to keep an open mind.  But what is clear is that we need an NNSA that is an advocate for the complex and one that is able to get the attention and the acquiescence of the Congress and the administration.  And it does that because it’s credible.  And I don’t think anybody believes that the NNSA right now has a lot of credibility.

So you know, how do you fix the NNSA?  I’m sure that there will be people with a lot of ideas on how to do that.  I’m sure the new secretary, Ernie Moniz, who we hope will be confirmed sometime soon, has a lot of ideas.

But you know, this is a panel made up of 12 people who have pretty good experience on this, people like Admiral Mies, who was head of the reactor program, and Frank Miller – six Democrats, six Republicans.  I think that we have a chance.

But there have been at least five other panels over the last 10 years, and all of their body of work is gathering dust someplace.  My first recommendation is that we read those previous panels, and I’d bet you 80 percent of the ideas of what we should do are in them.

But I think that the whole responsibility for the nuclear weapons stockpile and for maintaining its credibility as a deterrent is a national responsibility, so all the levers of power in government have some responsibility to it.  Certainly the executive branch does.  Certainly the Congress does.  And we’ve got to make sure that we have a very clear mission and set of goals, that these weapons get funded in a way that is efficient and responsible, that we’re not spending money we don’t need to do and that we’re not keeping too many weapons just because it’s convenient.

And so, you know, I’m for taking down the hedge weapons.  I’m for doing the things that are going to be responsible.  I singularly killed RRW, because it needed to get killed.  But at the same time, as long as other people and other countries have weapons, we have to have to a safe and efficient stockpile.  And we need a responsive agency, whatever it is – NNSA or whatever it’s going to be – that is going to be able to manage it and be accountable.

But we also need a Congress that is going to have oversight, and what worries me is that we don’t have enough people in Congress that know enough to know how to do that right, and I’m not sure we have the right agency right now.  So I will advocate that if there are any reforms to NNSA, that we have comparable reforms in the Congress, so that we find ourselves with a balance between the responsibilities and the oversight, so that we come out on the other end not having to do this again.

Q:  Thanks for your comments.  I’m going to ask you to step back a little bit and talk about U.S.-Russian relations.  And I often think about, over the last 20 years, how different things have turned out between Russian relations and the Chinese.  If you go into any store today, they’re filled with Chinese goods.  We have Chinese students in our graduate schools.

I was thinking I cannot remember buying a Russian product for years.  You don’t see Russian businessmen.  You don’t see Russian students –

MS. TAUSCHER:  Vodka?

Q:  Yeah.

Q:  Vodka, maybe.

MR. KIMBALL:  Oil.

Q:  And 20 years ago at the end of the Cold War, we had all these hopes of establishing a much more normal relationship with Russians. That didn’t happen.  But we’ve been able to establish relatively normal relations with China.

So is there something that we could, should be doing, or are we just going to stumble along – I think you used the term “uneasy partners” – or does it really matter for arms control if we have a more normal relationship with Russia?

MS. TAUSCHER:  No, I think that’s great.  When I was undersecretary and we got New START done, the Russians made it very clear that they had no appetite to rush back to the negotiating table for virtually anything.  And – but you know, we had missile defense, which was this 25-year irritant, and obviously we had a lot of need to look at the nonstrategic weapons, especially the tactical weapons in Europe, and figure out how to manage that.

We don’t have equanimity in NATO as to how to manage that, by the way.  The further east you go from France, the more willing some of these countries are to raise their hands and say, I’ll take them.  As those countries further west say, I don’t want them, countries further east say, I’ll take them, especially those closer to the former Soviet Union.

So I think that there’s a lot of things that we’ve done.

The Russians have an extraction economy, which is based on fossil fuels and other things.  President Putin’s got a lot of problems.  He’s got demographic problems, the aging of the population, a younger mortality rate than we have.  And you know, it’s basically two groups of people , 55 and above that can still have their nationalistic heartstrings pulled by someone that starts to talk about yearning for a past of domination and world power, and 55 and below that have both cellphones and the Internet, that want to leave.  And he needs $117-a-barrel oil to make his numbers work.  So it’s a tough situation.

But having said that, we have to do everything we can to get ourselves in a place where we can have a predictable relationship, and that’s why I took the talks away from specific talks in 2011 about arms reduction to what we call mutually assured destruction to mutually assured stability.  And we created a baker’s dozen issues – everything from arms control to cyber to many other different issues in the national security realm, including missile defense, that we could talk to each other about, that kept the conversation going and didn’t cause us to break one day or another because of something somebody else did or said, because it’s an enormously complicated relationship.

In the P-5 environment, we also need the Russians because it’s very difficult to get the Chinese to do anything, because they are so completely obsessed domestically.  And so when you kind of call them up and say, OK, we’ve got something to do in the P-5, they go, uh, uh, and they really don’t respond.

So what we do is, the United States, France and England, we quickly agree; we go get the Russians – that takes a little longer – and then with the help of the Russians, we go get the Chinese.  And that’s how the P-5 has worked for the last five or six years.

And so it’s important that we understand the different cultures.  The Chinese economy is a replicating economy, and it basically sees this glass, and it will make it in two weeks for half the cost and, you know, no environmental considerations.  You know, it’s probably going to have a little lead in it.  You know, those are the kinds of things that you have – that you deal with.

They don’t have that situation in Russia, but they’ve got to be able to get themselves into a much more of a world economy situation.  That’s why it was so important for us to get them into the WTO – not only because we need to have them start to be an emerging economy; we need to have them in an adjudicated setting, so that we weren’t having fights about this and that that would cause us to have, you know, irritants in the relationship.

So I agree with you; this is a very, very big relationship.  I would say it’s an indispensable relationship, one that we have to work every day to get ourselves to a sense of predictability and sustainability and normalcy.  That’s why I think recharacterizing our relationship – because the Cold War’s been over for so long, but we didn’t recharacterize what the new relationship is.  Mutual assured destruction is still the nomenclature, and I don’t think that that’s a healthy place for us to be.

So I suggested we move from mutually assured destruction to mutually assured stability.  Let’s find those things that we agree on, where we either think that there is an economic or a national security reason for us to cooperate.  Let’s build on that cooperation.  Let’s create a bigger base from which we can have more sustainability and more predictability in the relationship and kind of weather things like Libya and Syria and Iran and other things, so that we can go to work every day and get each other – get each other’s help when we need it and get each other’s help in a predictable way.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Thank you very much, Undersecretary Tauscher.  We’re out of time.  I want to thank you for your in-depth and comprehensive remarks.  And I think, as you say, there’s much more to be done.  A lot has been achieved, but there’s much more to be done, and we appreciate all your contributions.

MS. TAUSCHER:  Well, thank you for everything that the Arms Control Association and all its affiliated friends and relatives do, because it’s indispensable in our getting this agenda done in the next few years.  Thanks, Daryl.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you.  (Applause.)

All right.  And we’re happy to have gotten the family back together, all of our relatives – (laughter) – for this gathering.  We have now come to the conclusion of our program.  I want to thank everybody for your time and attention, and appreciate your work going ahead.  Thank you very much.  Until we see one another next time, at our next ACA event, take care.  Bye-bye.

(END) (Top of the page)

Description: 

Four years ago, President Barack Obama outlined an action plan to reduce nuclear weapons-related risks. Significant progress has been achieved but momentum has slowed, proliferation problems in North Korea and Iran persist, and the slow-moving arms race in South Asia continues.

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TRANSCRIPT AVAILABLE: The Prague Nuclear Risk Reduction Agenda: Next Steps Forward in Obama's Second Term

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Thursday, April 11, 2013
8:45am to 10:30am
National Press Club, Murrow Room
529 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC


Four years ago, President Obama delivered a speech outlining a series of concrete steps to move closer to a world without nuclear weapons. Since that April 5, 2009 address in Prague, the Obama administration has embarked on a number of steps to reduce the number and role of nuclear weapons, secure vulnerable nuclear material, prepare for reconsideration of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, strengthen the barriers against further nuclear weapons proliferation, and more.

Significant progress has been achieved, but there is much more to be done to stay ahead of evolving 21st century nuclear dangers. As Obama said in his February 2013 State of the Union address, "our ability to influence others depends on our willingness to lead and meet our obligations."

To mark the anniversary of the President's Prague address, the Arms Control Association will host a forum to review the progress achieved and, with the help of five prestigious speakers, outline key priorities and recommendations for nuclear risk reduction in the his second term.

Featured speakers are:

  • Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
  • Lieutenant Gen. Frank Klotz (USAF, Ret.), senior fellow for strategic studies and arms control at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is the former commander of the U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command.
  • Ambassador Steve Pifer, director of the Brookings Arms Control Initiative.
  • Ambassador James E. Goodby, research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He was involved in the creation of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the negotiation of the Limited Test Ban Treaty, the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, military transparency measures in Europe, and cooperative threat reduction.
  • Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, ACA (moderator)

 


Transcript by
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.

DARYL KIMBALL:  All right.  Good morning everyone.  If you could please find your seats, turn off your electronic devices or put them on buzz, please.

Welcome to this morning’s briefing.  I’m Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association here in Washington, D.C.  And the Arms Control Association is an independent membership-based organization established in 1971 to provide practical policy solutions and information to deal with the world’s most dangerous weapons, nuclear, chemical, biological and certain conventional weapons.

And today’s event will focus on some of the major steps that can be undertaken by U.S. leaders to further reduce global nuclear weapons risks.  We have four top notch speakers to outline some ideas and recommendations for what President Obama, working with the Congress, can do and should do to follow through on the step-by-step plan to move closer to the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons that the president outlined in his speech in Prague four years ago this month, in April 2009.

And before I do that, let me just provide a little bit of background about what some of the key elements of that Prague plan were, what’s taken place since then, and to touch upon some of the things that have not happened.

As you may recall, on that morning in April 2009 – it was an early morning for those of us in Washington watching it – the president called for several things: one, reducing the role and numbers of U.S. nuclear weapons.  He called for ending nuclear testing through renewed consideration of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty by the United States Senate.  He called for strengthening the commitments and improving compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the bedrock of global efforts for 40 plus years to hold back the spread of nuclear weapons.  He called for jump starting talks on a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.  And one of the other major recommendations was accelerating efforts to secure nuclear weapons usable materials from terrorists.

And in relatively short order, after the Prague speech, President Obama and his team negotiated the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia.  And, about a year later, won bipartisan Senate approval for the pact in December of 2010.

The administration helped secure support for a multi-point action plan to strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty at the once every five years 2010 NPT Review Conference.  The United States hosted in the spring of 2010 the first Nuclear Security Summit to accelerate and broaden global efforts to prevent nuclear terrorism.  And if you think traffic was bad today, the traffic the days of that conference were even worse because it was in the middle of downtown.

The administration also complete a top to bottom review of U.S. nuclear weapons policy and our posture, and, among other things, that NPR report says that the fundamental role of U.S. nuclear weapons is to deter the use of nuclear weapons by other countries against the United States or our allies.

And the administration also took steps to engage Iran in negotiations on its sensitive nuclear fuel cycle activities and build international pressure on Tehran to meet its non-proliferation commitments under the NPT and safeguards.  And the administration won U.N. Security Council support for even tougher sanctions on North Korea in response to its ballistic missile and nuclear tests.

But, in my view, following the significant progress achieved during the first two years of the president’s first term in office, the administration’s disarmament and non-proliferation efforts have lost momentum as other issues have dominated the attention of the White House.

We’ve seen that talks with Russia on deeper nuclear cuts below and beyond New START have not begun, in large part because Russia remains concerned about U.S. missile defense deployments.  The implementation of the Nuclear Posture Review report has been delayed.  It’s expected soon.  We’ll hear more about that from our speakers.  The technical studies that the administration commissioned in 2009 on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty have been completed, but the administration has not begun the high-level political effort necessary to win Senate approval for the treaty, despite the president’s pledge to do so in Prague in 2009.

Fissile material cutoff talks in the Conference on Disarmament have not begun, in large part, though not solely due to opposition from Pakistan.  And, of course, as we’ve seen just in the last few weeks, the on and off talks with Iran on its nuclear program have not yet produced results.  And renewed dialogue with North Korea on its denuclearization commitments and the normalization of relations have never gotten back on track since the administration came into office, and North Korea’s missile and nuclear testing has continued.

So a lot was accomplished in the first term, but there’s much more to be done.  As George Shultz, Henry Kissinger, Bill Perry and former Senator Sam Nunn wrote just a few weeks ago in their most recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, the pace of non-proliferation work today doesn’t match the urgency of the threat.

And to move the United States and the world farther away from the nuclear precipice, it’s clear to those of us at the Arms Control Association, and I think our speakers today will agree, that the president’s team has an opportunity and an obligation to advance some of the key unfinished parts of the comprehensive approach that he first outlined back in Prague, which, I should add, is a continuation of the commitments that the United States has made for five decades, dating back to President John F. Kennedy, who first spoke about some of these dangers in 1961 in his speech at the U.N. General Assembly.  And if you go back to that speech, you’ll notice that his framework for action, while not as detailed as the framework that we see today from the Obama administration and other countries, is very similar.  And perhaps Ambassador Jim Goodby who will speak later on can remind us of the origin of some of those ideas, which I know he played a part in shaping.

And so as President Obama himself said in February of this year, in the State of the Union address, our ability to influence others depends on our willingness to lead and meet our obligations.  So our speakers today are going to be explaining how, in their view, the president and the United States can lead on these issues and to address the still very grave threats posed by nuclear weapons.

And we’re going to be focusing today on just part of this comprehensive agenda.  The dangers posed by North Korea as a nuclear program, the possibility of an Iranian nuclear program are very much on the minds of everyone here in Washington, around the world.  But we need to continue to pursue a comprehensive strategy, and we’re going to be talking about, in particular, the kinds of things the United States can do to shape the global conversation, to reinforce the global non-proliferation system, to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our policies, and to prevent the emergence of new arms races.

And to start us off, I’d like to welcome Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire who’s going to be offering her observations on these issues.  She’s the senior senator from the Granite State and is a member of the Armed Services Committee and the Foreign Relations Committee.  She was a solid supporter of the new START Treaty when it was debated in the United States Senate in 2010 and has, since she came to Washington, been a very strong advocate for action to reduce nuclear dangers.

And I’m also pleased to say I think we have a couple of constituents in the room.  And I will be reporting back to my mother-in-law in Lancaster what you say.  (Laughter.)  And so I want to welcome you to the podium to offer your thoughts on these issues.  And after Senator Shaheen speaks, we’ll be taking your questions.  And following that, we’ll be picking up the conversation with our other distinguished guests.

Senator Shaheen, welcome.  (Applause.)

SENATOR JEANNE SHAHEEN (D-NH):  Thank you very much.  Just make sure your mother-in-law votes for me.

MR. KIMBALL:  I have high confidence she will.

SEN. SHAHEEN:  Good.  Well, thank you for that kind introduction.  And good morning, everyone.  Welcome.  I especially appreciate the leadership that the Arms Control Association and so many of you in this room have provided over the years on this, obviously, very critical, important international issue.

It’s a real pleasure to be here with all of you.  I know you had a great event yesterday on Capitol Hill with my friend, Ellen Tauscher.  You certainly – given Daryl’s description of what’s going to happen today, you’re going to have a very constructive day ahead as well with a very impressive panel of experts.  And I’m honored to join them today in talking about some of the arms control and non-proliferation priorities that I believe we should be focused on over the next four years.

Daryl did a good job of providing a foundation for my remarks because I’m going to start off with President Kennedy, because 50 years ago last month, in 1963, President Kennedy famously said that he was haunted by the possibility that the United States could face a rampantly growing number of nuclear powers in our world.

At the time, he predicted that by 1975, there could be as many as 20 countries with nuclear weapons.  Well, fortunately, due to strong forward thinking American leadership and innovative diplomacy, we have so far averted that nuclear nightmare.

The last several months, however, have tested the limits of our non-proliferation regime.  It’s been one bad news story after another in the WMD world.  Iran’s centrifuges keep spinning and negotiations seem to be stuck.  North Korea’s belligerent leadership threatens to push Northeast Asia over the edge.  And Syria’s chemical weapons are at risk.

I’m afraid we may be quickly reaching an important crossroads, one where we either prove President Kennedy wrong for a little while longer or find out that his nightmare prediction was simply a half century too soon.

As we watch the threat of proliferation grow more complex and diffuse, our focus and resource commitments need to match the severity of the challenge that we face.  We had some important successes in the beginning of President Obama’s first term, as Daryl outlined, including the New START Treaty and the Nuclear Security Summit, but we’ll need to do more as we look at the next four years.  We need to demonstrate to the world that the United States will continue to lead in curbing the threat posed by nuclear weapons around the globe.

Obviously, the three immediate proliferation challenges are Iran’s illicit pursuit of a nuclear weapon, North Korea’s nuclear and missile program, and Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile.  Any one of these issues could erode support for going further on the Prague agenda and would undercut the significant progress we’ve worked so hard to achieve on a bipartisan basis over the last five decades.  First and foremost, we need to do what is necessary to get Iran, North Korea, and Syria right.  And by that, I mean, to address the immediate crisis in each of these countries.

Beyond these tough issues, there are important steps we should be taking now to demonstrate our commitment to meeting the nuclear threat.  I recently joined with Senator Feinstein and a number of my colleagues on a letter to the president outlining a few of these steps.

First, there’s still work to be done on a bilateral basis with Russia.  As the two largest nuclear powers by far, the United States and Russia still control more than 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons.  As a result, we both have a special responsibility to maintain the credibility of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and to press all countries, nuclear and non-nuclear states alike to meet their commitments under that agreement.

I believe that the United States and Russia can go lower than the New START numbers.  Reports suggest that the administration is indeed considering further bilateral reductions in our deployed strategic weapons.  I hope they’ll move on that front, but I also believe that any further consideration of reductions should be combined with robust reinforcement of America’s security commitments around the globe, particularly as North Korea and Iran’s nuclear programs threaten some of their closest allies.  The United States will do what is necessary to defend our friends in the face of these threats.

And I think the world should be clear about that.  We should also consider working with Russia to reduce the risk of accidental launches around the world by de-alerting some of the hundreds of deployed weapons that could be launched in a matter of a few minutes.

As Kissinger, Nunn, Perry and Shultz argue in their most recent Wall Street Journal piece, the U.S. and Russia should consider taking a percentage of deployed nuclear weapons off prompt launch status in a verifiable way.

In addition to bilateral discussions with Russia, I think it’s important for all of us to shift more focus, time and resources back to the threat of nuclear terrorism.  It remains one of our gravest dangers.

As former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said, quote, “Every senior leader, when you’re asked what keeps you awake at night, it’s the thought of a terrorist ending up with a weapon of mass destruction, especially nuclear.”

To date, we’ve largely kept nuclear materials out of terrorists’ hands, but when it comes to nuclear terrorism in our world, the reality is that the international community can’t afford to make a single mistake.  We can’t be complacent because one miscalculation, one unprotected border, one unsecured facility could all lead to a mushroom cloud somewhere in the world.  We need to remain vigilant, to think ahead and to anticipate where the next threats will come from.

That’s why, in the coming weeks, I’ll be working with my colleagues in the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees to introduce new legislation aimed at modernizing our Cooperative Threat Reduction and Non-Proliferation Assistance programs and expanding them more comprehensively into the Middle East and North Africa.  We all know that the proliferation threat in this already dangerous and unstable region is growing.

Terrorist groups, like Hezbollah, Hamas and al-Qaida continue to operate throughout the Middle East and North Africa and their direct ties to the Iranian and Syrian regimes only add to the challenge.  In addition, the Arab spring and continued revolutions across the region have brought popularly elected but inexperienced governments into power.

While this region will likely represent the next generation of WMD challenges for the United States, our resources are not keeping ahead of the threat.  Estimates suggest that the U.S. spends less than 2 percent of our nearly 1 billion (dollars) in annual CTR and Non-Proliferation Assistance in this region.

Last fall, the administration finally completed the bureaucratic changes necessary to ramp up our CTR focus in the region.  But we need to do more.  And the legislation that I’m working on will be aimed at addressing non-proliferation and Cooperative Threat Reduction in a comprehensive and thoughtful way throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

Now finally, let me raise the potential consideration of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.  You all know the security arguments in favor of the treaty.  And there’s no doubt that technical advances and new monitoring techniques have changed the debate since the treaty was last considered in 1999.

But although there’s a good rational case to be made for CTBT ratification, the current political environment in the Senate is not favorable.  Of the 48 yes votes for ratification back in October of 1999, only 17 of those senators are still in the Senate today.  In addition, as we’ve all seen over the last several years, with the consideration of some seemingly non-controversial treaties, like the Disabilities Treaty or the Law of the Sea Treaty, the political challenge of getting 67 votes in the Senate has not gotten any easier since New START.  There’s a lot of work to be done before taking up CTBT.  But that just means we should start now to chart a path forward for its eventual consideration.

As the first nation to invent and then use nuclear weapons, the United States has spent the majority of the last half century trying to reduce the risk that they pose.  Over five decades ago, President Eisenhower committed the United States to meeting its special responsibilities on the nuclear threat and to counteract the awful arithmetic, as he said, of the nuclear question.  Eisenhower’s early pledge and America’s special responsibility have enabled continuous U.S. leadership in the world on the nuclear agenda.

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the cornerstone of global non-proliferation efforts was born out of Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peace vision.  The original START Treaty was a culmination of President Reagan’s entreaty to trust but verify.  The U.S. Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, which has led to the deactivation of over 13,300 nuclear warheads, was the result of two visionary and farsighted men named Nunn and Lugar.  President Obama’s 2009 Prague speech continued that long tradition.

At the end of the day, American leadership on the nuclear agenda has made the world safer.  There’s no question about that.  Now, in the face of growing threats and difficult challenges around our globe, it is not the time to take a step back from this legacy of leadership.  Now is the time to redouble our efforts, to find a way, in Eisenhower’s words, by which the miraculous inventiveness of man shall not be dedicated to his death but consecrated to his life.

I look forward to working with all of you on this critical agenda.  And I’m happy to take a few questions.  Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  If you could just raise your hand and just identify yourself, please, that would be great.  Why don’t we start here in the front?

Q:  Rachel Oswald, Global Security Newswire.  Could you give us a few more details about what this, I guess adapted CTR legislation will look like?  The original one was focused on, you know, disarming Soviet-era nuclear weapons, and, you know, protecting nuclear material, but in the Middle East and North Africa, they don’t have those kinds of weapons, nor beyond Syria, possibly Iran.  Do they have chemical weapons?

SEN. SHAHEEN:  I think what we’re hoping to do is to lay out a comprehensive approach to the region.  That will avoid the prospect that it will move in a nuclear and WMD direction and to have a more focused approach to that region.

MR. KIMBALL:  And there are.  I would point out there are nuclear materials in the region.  There are chemical weapons in the region.  So even though the weapons may not be there, are there still the raw ingredients for problems, if not dealt with properly.

SEN. SHAHEEN:  Yeah.  And the hope is to think about how to avoid that.

MR. KIMBALL:  Other questions.  There’s a gentleman over here on the left.  You might know him.

Q:  Hi.  John Isaacs, Council for a Livable World.

SEN. SHAHEEN:  Nice to see you.

Q:  Senator, the president submitted his budget yesterday.  And a little bit to our surprise and dismay, that some of the key nonproliferation programs that you just praised, in the Department of Energy, particularly, were cut, I think 72 million.  Is that something that the Armed Services Committee might be able to address this year?

SEN. SHAHEEN:  I haven’t had a chance to really go through the president’s budget.  I’m glad to hear that you have.  (Laughter.)  But, certainly, the Armed Services Committee has the opportunity to do that.  Whether the commitment is there I think remains to be seen.  And I would hope that that’s a discussion we can have and all of you in this room can help encourage a hard look at that and, hopefully addressing that issue.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Right here in the middle please.

Q:  Hi.  I’m Kathy Crandall Robinson with Women’s Action for New Directions.  Thank you so much for your strong leadership on these issues.  You talked about charting a course on the Test Ban Treaty, even in difficult political circumstances.  Do you have some specific ideas about things that could be done in the Senate or things that those of us outside, in the public community, could do to help?

SEN. SHAHEEN:  I was very surprised, though I suppose I should not have been, when I saw the reaction in the Senate to the Disabilities Treaty, because having sat through hearings on the treaty, I think most of us believed that what it would do is just set a model for the world, encouraging them to follow what has been a very positive U.S. example on disabilities rights.  And so I was quite surprised when, even with the presence of Senator Dole on the floor, there was not a willingness to support the treaty.  So I think what it will take is a massive education effort and a real effort to contact senators about why this is important.

You know, given the current situation that we have with Iran and North Korea and Syria, those are going to be preliminary discussions I assume because there’s going to be real reluctance, I think, to do anything that would suggest that we’re not serious about security issues around the world.  And while I’m sure you and I don’t believe that the CTBT undermines that, I think there are probably some in the Senate who would think that.

And so I think it needs to start with a real education effort for people, because there are so few people in the Senate now who were there in ’99 or who remember and were politically engaged at the time that the treaty was first brought forward that it really means going back and helping people understand what it was about.

MR. KIMBALL:  Maybe one or two more questions, please.  Yes, sir.

Q:  I’m Dr. Bill Durston with Physicians for Social Responsibility.  It would seem there’s a stumbling block in getting broader support within the United States for international treaties.  It is the argument that, well, countries such as Iran and North Korea are never going to abide by them anyway, particularly, seemingly irrational governments such as North Korea.  What can be done to get these governments to abide by international treaties and to overcome that stumbling block?

SEN. SHAHEEN:  Well, actually, I think the opposition has less to do with that than it does with a belief on the part of certain elements in this country that we undermine our own sovereignty by signing on to certain of these treaties, and I think we’ve got to overcome that before we can address what other countries around the world are doing.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Maybe one more question.  Yes, ma’am.  Over here.  Thank you.

Q:  Good morning.  I’m Valentina Cassar from the University of Malta.  You mentioned two priorities or the next steps that need to be taken has been the continued reductions with Russia and a reopening of the dialogue and refocusing on nuclear terrorism and particularly, the situation within the Middle East.  To what extent do you think that these two tracks can come together, whereby Russia can be still brought onboard in addressing issues regarding nuclear terrorism and especially proliferation in the Middle East?  And, also, is this also an area that provides opportunity to bring China as well onboard?

SEN. SHAHEEN:  I’m hopeful that as we have dropped phase four of the phased adaptive approach, that was one of Russia’s primary objections, that there will be of an opportunity to negotiate with Russia as we look at the follow on to the START Treaty and that that will provide and opening for us to encourage Russia’s engagement with us in the Middle East.  I mean, sadly, as we’ve seen in Syria, they’ve not been willing to do that.  They’ve obviously been more responsive on Iran but not on Syria at all.

And it’s not clear to me what China will do.  Their engagement in the Middle East has been primarily political, but they’ve sort of followed Russia’s lead.  And, you know, I think most of us believe – and we had quite an interesting hearing before the Armed Services Committee earlier this week on China’s role in North Korea and whether they should and would be very direct about North Korea to reduce tensions there.

And so I think it’s not clear, but I think we do have an opening and we should follow up with that opening.  And it would be very productive if they would join us in looking at how we can – and it’s in their interest.  I would argue it’s in their interest, as well as ours, to avoid further arming of the Middle East and North Africa.

Thank you all very much.  (Applause.)

MR. KIMBALL:  Well, thank you very much, Senator Shaheen.  Thank you for your time.  And we look forward to working with her and her staff on that new legislation and the other issues that she outlined.  And our other three distinguished speakers are going to be offering their thoughts on some of the points that Senator Shaheen just raised, as well as some others.

And first, let me just do introductions.  And each of them will speak and then we’ll get into a discussion after each of them is done.

And first, we’re going to be hearing from Retired Lieutenant General Frank Klotz, who has led a long and distinguished military career focused on nuclear weapons policy.  He was, among other things, commander of the Air Force Global Strike Command from 2009 to 2011 and is now a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

And he’ll be followed by Steve Pifer, director of the Brookings Arms Control Initiative.  He’s extremely productive.  He’s an Arms Control Association in and of himself.  He has more than 25 years of experience in the field while serving at the State Department.  And he’s the coauthor of an excellent 2012 book, “The Opportunity: Next Steps in Reducing Nuclear Arms.”  And there’s an abridged version of that book in an Arms Control Today article on the table outside.  And he’ll be talking more about the ideas in that book in a few minutes.

And last, but not least, is my good friend and someone I’ve turned to for advice and inspiration for many years, Ambassador James Goodby.  He has been advising and advancing U.S. disarmament and non-proliferation objectives in various roles inside and outside the government for more than five decades.  And I’m very pleased that he’s able to join us here today.

So thank you for joining us.  General Klotz, if you’d like to stay there and speak from there or come to the podium, whichever you prefer.

GENERAL FRANK KLOTZ (RET.):  I’ll stay here.

MR. KIMBALL:  OK, stay there.  The floor is yours.

GEN. KLOTZ:  Yeah, I apologize because I will not be able to make eye contact with the folks over here, but I think we’ll just stay here.

First of all, thanks, Daryl, for this opportunity.  I’m delighted to have been invited to participate in this forum and delighted to join Ambassadors Jim Goodby and Steve Pifer, who I’ve had the enormous good fortune to work with in the past, on several occasions, both in government and now in our post-government careers over more years than I dare to count, as it turns out.  I’m also delighted to see a number of friends and colleagues in the audience.

As Daryl has pointed out, this is an important month.  It was four years ago last week that President Obama gave his widely acclaimed speech in Prague.  And as Daryl also indicated, in his remarks, he expressed America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.

I think it’s also important that in the process of that speech, he laid out a fairly detailed and specific agenda about how to achieve the vision that he articulated.  It involved, essentially, pursuing three major treaties, one a strategic arms control agreement with Russia.  If you recall, START One was expiring or had expired and there needed to be a replacement for the treaty.

He also called for a global ban on nuclear tests, which in reality meant bringing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which had been signed in 1996, into force, which required those remaining so-called Annex Two nations that had not yet ratified the treaty to do so.  I would dare say first and foremost among those nations is the United States, even though it was the first nation to actually sign the treaty.  And he also called for a new treaty to cut off production of fissile materials that were designed for use in nuclear weapons.

Now, essentially, almost the same month, we also marked the successful negotiation and signing of the New Strategic Arms Treaty, New START, and it marked the first major accomplishment in that very ambitious work plan.

And almost immediately after the Senate voted in favor of its ratification, senior administration officials announced their intention to move out on other steps outlined in the Prague speech, including pursuing further reductions with Russia in strategic nuclear weapons, and for the first time, attempting to set limits on tactical, or non-strategic weapons and non-deployed or reserve nuclear weapons.

However, as Daryl has also pointed out, fundamental differences between the United States and Russia on missile defense, on conventional prompt global strike as well as a host of political issues essentially blocked forward progress on U.S.-Russian bilateral arms control.

Domestically, the highly charged political atmosphere that Daryl and the senator spoke to, here in Washington, with attention riveted on the federal budget and attention riveted on the 2012 election campaign left little space for arms control issues in the public discourse.  It also meant that any new arms control initiatives requiring congressional approval would have faced an uphill battle.

Now, this current state of affairs certainly impacted the CTBT.  During the first Obama administration, officials deliberately refrained from setting a timeframe for a renewed bid for Senate ratification, and, instead, they concentrated on laying the groundwork for a push when the time was right.  And they did this by emphasizing the non-proliferation merits of the treaty as well as the steps taken to mitigate previously expressed concerns about monitoring treaty compliance and ensuring the reliability of the U.S. nuclear weapon stockpile without nuclear explosive testing.

And, indeed, the National Research Council of the National Academy of Science has published a technical review, which updated one they had done 10 years previously, which addressed both of these issues in great detail from a scientific and technical point of view, and, essentially, in my view, bolstered the administration’s case on both counts.  If you haven’t read that, I highly recommend it.  It’s available on the National Academy of Sciences website and was abstracted and commented on by the Arms Control Association, among others.

As for a fissile material cutoff, there has been no progress within the Conference on Disarmament, which is the 65-member forum with responsibility for multi-lateral arms control and disarmament.  The CD, as most of you know, operates on consensus.  And one nation, Pakistan, has essentially blocked any movement toward a work program that would lead to fissile material cutoff negotiations.  And American officials have made no secret of their frustration with this state of affairs.

Well, with the election now behind it, the Obama administration appears intent on moving forward with the Prague agenda.  Two or three weeks ago, acting Under Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller laid out its second term priorities for arms control and non-proliferation in a speech in Geneva.  In many respects, it was a call to resume, renew and reinvigorate the Prague agenda.

Now much will, obviously, depend upon the state of U.S.-Russian relations going forward.  And I know Steve Pifer is going to talk about this so I won’t.  But let me say that much will also depend upon achieving a greater degree of consensus on nuclear weapons and arms control policy within the U.S. body politic and within the beltway.

That, in turn, requires two different but not necessarily mutually exclusive beliefs be taken into account.  And this is not, by any means, original to me.  It was a point made in the bipartisan Commission on the Strategic Posture that reported out a few years ago.

The first belief that must be taken into account is that appropriately sized nuclear forces still play an essential role in protecting the U.S. and allied interests.  And the second belief is that the United States must continue to lead international efforts to limit and to reduce nuclear arsenals, to prevent proliferation and to secure nuclear materials.

Significantly, at least as I read it, this is precisely the approach that the president adopted in his 2009 Prague agenda.  In addition to laying out an ambitious arms control agenda, he also stated that, as long as these weapons exist, nuclear weapons exist, the United States will maintain a safe, secure and effective arsenal to deter any adversary and to guarantee that defense to our allies.

So both elements – arms control and continued reduction – and the maintenance of a safe, secure and effective arsenal, even at lower numbers, are also stressed in the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review.  Moreover, they continue to be articulated by senior administration officials, including as recently as at the Carnegie conference this past Monday and in the White House’s 2014 budget proposal released just yesterday.

My point here is that senior administration and congressional leaders must be willing to speak to the basic principles of a consensus that addresses both arms control, including continued reductions and non-proliferation, as well as investing in resources necessary to maintain and, where necessary, to modernize the nuclear weapons complex and nuclear deterrent forces even at lower numbers.

While it will be hard sustaining consensus, it will be hard doing that because it means studiously building mutual trust that both elements of the consensus will be pursued and avoiding the temptation to stress or cherry pick only those elements that appeal to a particular group, be it on the right or be it in the left.  But sustaining a consensus of this nature, in my view, will be essential for achieving progress on either front.

Let me make just a few specific comments about the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, the CTBT, and then turn it over to my esteemed colleagues.

As noted earlier, the Obama administration spent the first term ostensibly preparing the ground for eventual ratification.  With the start of the second term, CTBT ratification has once again become a topic in the public discourse.

Former senior officials, most notably former Secretary of State George Schultz, and non-governmental organizations, most notably, the Arms Control Association, have renewed calls upon the Obama administration to move ahead with ratification.

And, just a couple of weeks ago, Rose Gottemoeller, in that same speech in Geneva, said that ratification of CTBT remains a top priority for the United States.  But, at the same time, she admitted that the process would not be easy, and she said there are no set timeframes to bring the treaty to a vote, and that both patience and persistence were required.

And, as you know, even though the 2012 elections altered the composition of the Senate in favor of the Democrats, with 55 seats, they’re still a long way from the 67 that are necessary to secure consent to ratification of the treaty.  And at the moment, it’s unclear where those additional 12 votes would come from.

Accordingly, the Obama administration clearly has its work cut out for it in forging the coalition necessary to secure the Senate’s consent to ratification.  And even if it eventually succeeds, that task is likely to take a while.  But in my own personal view, speaking personally, the logic for moving forward and ahead on ratification of the CTBT is inescapable.

The United States has, in effect, already paid the price of treaty membership by having unilaterally refrained from nuclear explosive testing for over 20 years.  The political bar to a resumption of testing is pretty high and unlikely to be surmounted absent some dramatic shift in the international security environment.

Additionally, as part of paying the price, the United States has already made a substantial investment in the tools necessary to assess weapon reliability without nuclear explosive testing, as well as in the means necessary to detect clandestine testing by others.

While the United States probably garners some credit for exercising a self-imposed moratorium, it is likely to be in a far better position to rally international pressure against would-be proliferators and to constrain regional arms races if it ratifies CTBT.  And it is clearly in the national security interest of the United States and of our friends and allies to do just that.

Many far more knowledgeable and experienced political hands argue that in the current political environment, the Obama administration should refrain from making a concerted effort to push for CTBT since a failed attempt to do so might do more damage to U.S. arms control and non-proliferation objectives than the existing status quo.  I’m not sure that’s the case.  I don’t imagine that any of the other states who must ratify the treaty for it to enter into force, most notably China, India and Pakistan will do so unless and until the United States leads the way.

What I am absolutely certain about is that it will require political leadership and political skill on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue and on both sides of the aisle to succeed.  Such, by the way, has always been the case with major treaties and with major pieces of domestic legislation, many of which seemingly had little prospect of success at the outset, but ultimately became part of the law of the land and of the global community.

So with that, I look forward to answering your questions and answers after Steve and Jim have had an opportunity.

MR. KIMBALL:  Great.  Thanks very much.  Steve, on to you.  Thank you for being here.

STEVEN PIFER:  Daryl, first of all, thank you for including me.  And I’m delighted to be here with General Klotz and Ambassador Goodby, two people I’ve worked with in both in government and out of government incarnations.

I’m going to talk about the nuclear reductions piece, but first, just where we are.  We now are in the third year of implementation of the New START Treaty, under which the United States and Russia each will reduce to no more 1,550 deployed strategic warheads on 700 deployed strategic missiles and bombers by February of 2018.  And that’s a good step.

But I think you have to ask the question: do those numbers make sense 20 years after the end of the Cold War?  And, also, you have to bear in mind that New START covers only a portion of the U.S. and the Russian nuclear stockpiles.  It doesn’t cover reserve strategic warheads, an area where the United States has a significant numerical advantage, and it does not include tactical or non-strategic weapons, an area where Russia has a significant numerical advantage.

And so, back in 2010, when signing New START, President Obama called for another step, and said it was time to bring these two classes of weapons into the mix.

So looking forward, I would suggest there are two approaches.  One approach that Michael O’Hanlon and I wrote about it in our book, The Opportunity, I would call the big treaty approach.  And, basically, we look and we say given that the United States and Russia still have nuclear stockpiles on the order of 4,550 weapons, not counting weapons in the dismantlement queue, and the nearest third country power is France with 300, there is room for one more U.S.-Russia bilateral negotiation.

And what we argued for in this big treaty approach was it’s now time to bring all the weapons on the table – strategic, non-strategic, deployed, non-deployed – and have a single aggregate limit that would cover all of those weapons.  What we suggested was a limit of 2,000 to 2,500 total weapons on each side for the United States and Russia.  And then within that overall aggregate limit, we would propose a supplement on deployed strategic warheads of 1,000 on each side.  So you would take the 1,550 limit in New START and bring it down by about 35 percent to 1,000.

Now, we did think about going lower, but from conversations that we’ve had, we think – I mean, first of all, getting Russia to come down to these numbers will be hard, but getting Russia to go below those numbers in a bilateral negotiation is probably impossible.  So that sort of set a floor in terms of the numbers.

Now, the advantage or the elegance that we saw in the aggregate limit was that the aggregate limit basically forces a tradeoff.  Russia would have to reduce its large advantage in non-strategic nuclear weapons.  The United States would have to reduce its large advantage in reserve strategic weapons to fit under that 2,500 total.

Each side would in the end be free, within the overall limit, to choose its mix of weapons.  I suspect Russia would choose to keep more tactical weapons than reserve strategic and the United States might choose to keep more reserve strategic, but that aggregate limit is the mechanism to force a tradeoff in two categories of weapons where it’s very hard to see a negotiated outcome if you deal with those weapons separately.  The Russians don’t have motivation to negotiate away their advantage in tactical weapons if you’re dealing just in that category, in the same way that the United States doesn’t have much motivation to negotiate away its advantage in reserve strategic weapons if you’re talking about that category alone.

Now, 2,000 to 2,500 would be about a 50 percent reduction on each side, but it would still leave the United States and Russia each with an arsenal six to seven times larger than that of the nearest third country.

In terms of limits on missiles and bombers, we would suggest bringing the limit of 700 down to 500.  That would be a significant cut, but it would still allow both sides to maintain a triad, which I think is important to both militaries.

Now this negotiation of a big treaty would not be an easy agreement to reach.  It would not be an 11-month negotiation as was New START.  You’re talking two to three years at least.

So you might look at things – are there things that could be done in the meantime?  And one step that we suggested was accelerating at least one of the New START limits.  There are probably operational and cost and scheduling reasons why it would be difficult to accelerate implementation of the limit on missiles or launchers.  But we did suggest that it would make sense for the United States to accelerate the implementation of the 1,550 deployed strategic warhead limit.

If we’ve concluded that 1,550 deployed warheads will keep us safe in 2018, that should suffice in 2013.  And it would be not an easy process, but you could pull warheads off and leave the missiles deployed.  I mean, it would be unusual to have a deployed ICBM with zero warheads, but the treaty does not prohibit it.  And the treaty, in fact, would allow inspection provisions that would allow the Russians to confirm it.

So that is, in essence, the big treaty approach.  I think the question comes up though, if you look at that and then allow time for ratification, do you have time to bring that to conclusion before the end of the Obama second term?  And I think that that would be perhaps difficult.

So an alternate approach would basically put classes of weapons on two tracks.  You would focus on getting a quick agreement on reducing deployed strategic weapons.  And as Ambassador Goodby and a former professor of mine, Sid Drell suggested, this could be as easy as taking the New START Treaty and simply amending it, just changing the three numbers – reduce 1,550 down to 1,000, 700 limit on missiles and bombers down to 500, and then the 800 launch limit down to maybe 600.

You would probably want to change a couple of dates, but the treaty’s definitions, counting rules, verification methods would all apply equally well to a treaty that sets a limit of 1,000 deployed warheads as one that says 1,550.  And if the Russians are prepared to negotiate, you could probably do that fairly quickly.

Now I think there would be a couple of concerns.  I think there would be concern on the part of the Senate and also on the part of some American allies that if you were focusing just on deployed strategic forces, you know, what about tactical weapons, what about reserve strategic?

So perhaps you could put on a second parallel track that would be a longer track.  It would start out with a phased approach, with steps such as transparency, confidence building measures and then moving ultimately to a negotiation.  And perhaps, the beginning of the phased approach, you start with an understanding that at the end, there in fact will be a negotiation to come about with legally binding limits on tactical and reserve strategic weapons.  But it’s on a second track moving in parallel.

Now, I think the question would arise: what’s the interdependence between those two tracks?  And my guess is that the Senate would feel more comfortable that if you concluded that first track on deployed strategic weapons, it would be easier to sell that to the Senate if you were farther along on the second track in terms of getting towards an actual negotiation on non-strategic weapons.

Just a moment on multilateral.  I think that the United States and Russian can reduce without commitments by third countries, but certainly, the U.S. and Russia cannot remain the only players forever in nuclear reductions.

So it may be sensible for Washington and Moscow, as they are conducting a negotiation on reducing their forces further, to engage third countries, particularly Britain and France and China, and explore whether you could not move those countries, not necessarily to participate in a negotiation, but begin to take some first steps towards the process.

One might be transparency and, for example, an exchange of data among the five U.N. Security Council, permanent five countries, on basic numbers of data.  And I’m not talking about the specific data in New START, where the United States and Russia exchange locations of every particular ICBM launcher, because I think that would be hard for the Chinese to do.  But at least overall numbers and types of weapons.

And then perhaps as a second step, could you get Britain, France and China and perhaps others to take on unilaterally a commitment not to increase their forces, because it would be something of an odd occurrence if you have the United States and Russia reducing while third countries build up.

Now I think this is a good agenda, it’s an ambitious agenda and it faces a number of challenges.  And I’ll just outline three briefly.

The first and I think the biggest challenge is, are the Russians prepared to deal?  If you read what Moscow has been saying over the last year or so, you don’t see a lot of enthusiasm in Russia for further reductions of nuclear weapons.

Now I still hold out some hope that, in fact, the Russians can be persuaded to deal.  I think actually Moscow may have some incentives.  If you look at the New START agreement, the U.S. force structure can comfortably remain at 1,550 deployed strategic warheads on 700 missiles and bombers.  And the Russians, because they’re having to retire old systems that are actually now past their shelf dates, are going to have to build new systems to get back up and stay at 1,550.  So an option for Russia would be to reduce the numbers and perhaps save some money.

Second, I do think that, in the same way, the United States is concerned about the Russian advantage in tactical weapons, there is some concern in Moscow about the American advantage in reserve strategic weapons.  So there may be some incentives for Russia to negotiate.

The announcement that was made last month by Secretary Hagel on missile defense, by eliminating phase four perhaps creates an opportunity to begin to move past that obstacle.  So we’ll see.  National Security Advisor Tom Donilon is supposed to visit Moscow next week.  There are now two planned meetings between Presidents Obama and Putin in June and then in September.  So there are chances to explore whether Russia is prepared to engage on this agenda.

A second challenge would be verification.  Once you move to talking about limits on tactical weapons or reserve strategic weapons, you’re talking about weapons that are no longer sitting on ballistic missiles and silos or on submarines, but going into storage areas.  Now, that’s not an insurmountable problem, but it would be new territory for both sides and it will take some time to work out those provisions.

And then a third challenge I think is one here in Washington, which is the United States Senate.  And that is I think the experience of New START raises a question and I think Senator Shaheen alluded to it.

In the current environment, how hard would it be to secure Senate approval or Senate consent to a new treaty, particularly, where I think there’s concerns on the Republican side that some of the commitments made by the Obama administration in the process getting New START ratified that the administration has not moved as quickly as it might have to fulfill those commitments.

So I think with that question, there are options short of a treaty.  And while I think the treaty would be the preferable way to go, I think it’s understandable that the administration considers options other than a treaty if it wishes to advance its agenda.

So I think there are some pretty stiff challenges there.  I would argue though that this agenda is very much worth pursuing.  There’s the opportunity to make the United States and American allies safer and more secure.  I think looking to the medium term, there are some chances for some possibly significant cost savings in terms of having to build fewer systems, say, 10 to 15 years down the road.  And I also think that if the United States and Russia are moving to further reduce their nuclear arsenals, it enhances their credibility on the non-proliferation agenda. And although Daryl said we’re not going to talk about North Korea and Iran today, I mean, I think to the extent that we –

MR. KIMBALL:  You could if you wish.

MR. PIFER:  – well, no, but I think to the extent we are reducing – you know, it makes it easier to go to third countries and say it’s time to crank up pressure, sanctions on rogue states that are misbehaving on that area.  So I’ll stop there and turn to Jim.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you, Steve.  Thank you for being here, Jim.

AMBASSADOR JAMES GOODBY:  Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  Take it away.

MR. GOODBY:  Good to be here.  I will be as brief as I can.  I am going to get down into the weeds a little because I want to explain how some things could be accomplished.  And that requires a bit of a scenario description for you.

First, let me say I think we should be focusing on the priorities for the next two years.  And if I look at that, I’d like to apply the priorities to a sense of strategic objectives, where we’re going as a country, what are we aiming to achieve in a broad sense.  I think there are two of them that I regard as important.

One is to adapt the international system to the rise of China as a great power; I think that’s tremendously important.  And second, there are a series of regional issues that have the potential for nuclear war if we’re not careful.  These are in the Middle East – think of Iran; they’re in South Asia, where I think the potential for nuclear conflict is very high; and they’re in Northeast Asia, where recent events don’t need underlining to give you that impression that there’s conceivably a nuclear war there too.

If you look at those objectives and if you apply the idea that we ought to try to have something achievable in the next couple of years, applying that filter, to me, results in three priorities for the administration.

One is the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, a second is the cutoff of production of fissile material for use in weapons.  These go back a long way.  They go back to the days when I was negotiating with Harold Stassen in London, in 1957, so they’re ancient ideas of whose time may have come, finally, we hope.

A third area that I think needs emphasis – and this is relatively new.  It was mentioned repeatedly in the articles published in the Wall Street Journal written by George Schultz, with whom I work at Stanford now, Sam Nunn, Henry Kissinger and Bill Perry.  They talked about a joint enterprise by which they meant a broadening of the discussions about nuclear weapons issues beyond the traditional U.S.-Russia forum.  They felt we should be broadening negotiations to include all the countries that either have or could shortly have nuclear weapons.

In the very last article that they published on March 5 in the Wall Street Journal, they spoke about a coalition of the willing.  And what they had in mind was going to the P-5, broadening out beyond that to include other countries, setting a general objective, which I would describe generally as creating the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons, and setting priorities in terms of what ought to be done immediately and over the longer term.

Let me talk about the Comprehensive Test Ban first.  Is it achievable in the next couple of years given all the difficulties we all know about?  I think it’s possible, but what I would recommend is that we begin with an attempt to strengthen the existing moratorium.

The existing moratorium is not an agreement among the states that adhere to this idea of not testing.  It has no common understanding in and of itself as to what a nuclear explosion is.  It has no means of verification, aside from the national technical means, and what is provided by the increasingly effective international system as part of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty office run out of Vienna.

What I’d like to suggest is that the P-5 could very easily, in my view, talk about a definition, which, essentially, would say a nuclear explosion is any explosive event that leads to a self-sustaining chain reaction of any duration.  Now, that was really the understanding that the people who negotiated the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty had.  But the Senate has complained because in the treaty itself, you don’t find that language.  I suspect you could probably reach an agreement in the P-5 on language like that and I think that later on would help with ratification.

A second matter is we could, I think probably negotiate an agreement that will provide for some type of transparency possibly at nuclear tests sites in China and Russia.  This would involve sensors probably, things of that type, a little more difficult to achieve.  But I think if one worked at that beginning this spring, it’s conceivable you could reach that kind of an agreement which would be, of course, an executive agreement or an understanding among the P-5.  You could do that perhaps by fall.  Then I think moving to the Senate ratification might be more achievable.  And if that’s the case, then I should think you’d have a treaty in hand by the end of next year.  How you go about that, I won’t go into much detail, but I think the P-5 is critical to that.

Second, with regard to the cutoff, I think it’s time to drop the fiction that we’re going to be able to negotiate a treaty in Geneva in the conference on disarmament.  And what I propose instead, again, looking to the P-5, is a joint declaration.  There is language available – and I can read it if you like – that came from an agreement reached between Yeltsin and Bill Clinton on May 10, 1995, and it basically said we will not produce fissile materials for use in weapons, and went on to elaborate that.

I suspect you could get an agreement along the P-5 on that because basically that is their policy now.  Most of them have declared it – I think China has perhaps not – but I think they could easily do that.  Beginning with that, you would move again out, I’m thinking not of the P-5 as a stopping point but as a bridge head to move beyond that.

In both cases, a test ban treaty and the understanding about ceasing production of fissile material for use in weapons, critically important would be China and its role.  If you can get China on board on both these things, I suspect that India would be willing to join perhaps both of them.  Then that leads to the question will Pakistan.  I think there’s a possibility with China, the United States, India all subscribing to these understanding that Pakistan would as well.  So those are my prescriptions for the first two.

The third one, again, I think in terms of the P-5, I think Rose Gottemoeller has done a terrific job in using the P-5 as a way of negotiating or creating understandings within that group.  And I think that we need to enhance that particular approach.  And I think particularly in terms of China I want to say this again.

So what I would recommend is that there be an attempt to establish an international conference within the next year or so modeled after the nuclear security summits, one held here in Washington, one in Seoul, which basically was a coalition of the willing, countries that are willing to do something about tightening controls over fissile materials.

In this model I’m thinking about, it would be a coalition of countries that are willing to work together to create the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons.  They would probably issue some kind of a declaration along those lines.  They would, if we follow the model of the Nuclear Security Summit, be invited to bring to the first conference those things that they are unilaterally or as matters of national policy prepared to do, perhaps greater transparency, things of that type.  Some would be reciprocal.  Some would perhaps not be.  But these would be things that they are prepared to do, which would, I think begin to develop the idea that here’s something that’s beginning to happen.

And I think they should then work out a work plan which would commit these countries to be moving towards achievement of the first steps, many of which you all know about, come out of the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review, also listed several times in the articles by Schultz, Kissinger, Perry and Nunn.

So I think that I would stop right there because we’re running out of time for discussion.  Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you, Jim.  Well, we do have time for discussion.  And I want to turn it over to our audience.  We have a lot of smart minds here, a lot of experienced hands in the audience.  So let’s make this a discussion.  We’ve got a couple of microphones here.  I hope the speakers have been stimulating.  We have a gentleman here in the first row.  Please identify yourself.

Q:  (Off mic) – Center for National Policy.  Hello?  OK.

MR. KIMBALL:  There you go.

Q:  I find Jim Goodby’s thoughts of trying to find a way around the conundrum and the blockage here in the United States, particularly in the Senate, of moving forward on a number of different tracks very interesting.

And I wonder whether or not the panel and others, because I spent a little time on this issue one time, can think of other mechanisms too that go beyond what I think is a real roadblock for a number of years of agreements, of understandings, of international kind of compacts, executive agreements and all the rest that would move us forward along the lines of what Ambassador Goodby has noted in some cases.  And whether or not there could be a consensus developed for that strategy and how we can get that consensus because it has to be obviously something that the administration would want and that the public and the media would understand and support even if, let’s say, the recalcitrant Republicans did not.

MR. KIMBALL:  Would any of you like to try to respond, take a stab at that?  Steve.

MR. PIFER:  Yeah.  Well, I think you can look at the last 40 years, and there are a number of examples of things that were done in arms control by presidents – primarily by Republican presidents that were less than treaties.  So you go back to one of the most significant arms control measures were the presidential nuclear initiatives in 1991 and 1992 initiated by President George H.W. Bush and then reciprocated by first Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, then Russian President Boris Yeltsin, which eliminated, you know, probably thousands of nuclear weapons on both sides as unilateral measures.  Another possibility – again, if you wanted to do a quick New START deal, if the Russians were to agree to the numbers, for President Obama and President Putin to say as matters of national policy, we have decided to reduce our deployed strategic warhead levels to 1,000 and our deployed missiles and bombers to 500.

Now, you could then take the New START Treaty and use that treaty not only to monitor the legal limits of 1,550 and 700 but also to monitor those new limits.  So you have a mechanism in place.  Now I think that would involve a certain risk of a firestorm with the Senate, but there are measures.  And, again, that approach was the approach that was originally suggested by the George W. Bush administration back in 2001.  When President Putin wanted to do formal nuclear reductions the original American suggestion was, well, we don’t need treaties.  We’re past that.  I’m just going to go out and give a speech at a joint appearance I’ll say the United States will deploy no more than 1,700 to 2,200 operationally deployed strategic warheads and Vladimir, you go out and you can say whatever number you want.  We don’t care.

So there are these models.  And that would allow – again, I think if a way could be found, going through a treaty would be the preferable mechanism, but if you look at the New START experience, I think there are some serious reasons to doubt whether another treaty would have a serious chance of being supported.

MR. KIMBALL:  General Klotz.

GEN. KLOTZ:  Yes.  And I agree.  In fact, I was part of the effort to the – on the –

MR. PIFER:  To circumvent the Senate.  (Laughter.)

GEN. KLOTZ:  – to push forward with agreement in 2001 that didn’t involve a legally binding treaty.  But there’s a couple of things to keep in mind, however.

Even though it might be a way to, in a sense, try to deal with the issue of having to get 67 votes in the Senate, which is, as I indicated, a pretty high bar politically, particularly in an evenly divided Senate, there are still other powers and authorities and responsibilities which the Congress has, particularly with authorization or appropriation.

And in the past, when the military services have attempted to take initiatives related to bringing down force structure, both conventional and nuclear or closing bases or reducing infrastructure, there are ways in which the Congress has essentially blocked that through legislation, be it in defense authorization or appropriation.  So you won’t be able to completely get around having to deal with congressional concerns on these types of issues.

The only other thing I would add – and this goes back – and your comments about the 2001 experience with President Putin I think were absolutely right.  Some of our negotiating partners or other countries that we have to deal with have for a lot of historical, cultural, social, political, legal reasons an interest in legally binding types of agreement.  It’s part of how they deal with a host of issues, whether it’s with arms control or cooperation in space or economics.

So we also would have to factor who our negotiating partners were.  But I think there are still a lot of opportunities for doing creative and innovative things outside the structure of formal treaty making or using existing treaties and applying them more broadly to a broader set of countries or, more broadly, in terms of the specifics.

MR. KIMBALL:  Jim, you had a comment.

MR. GOODBY:  I personally don’t want to put as much emphasis on sidestepping Senate ratification as perhaps the impression has been given, because when I talked to senators when I was working with General Shalikashvili several years ago now, we heard complaints from them about verification.

So what I’m suggesting is trying to respond to complaints that we’ve heard from the U.S. Senate in order to accommodate their own interests.  That’s not sidestepping the Senate, that’s in fact responding to their concerns.  And, I think, in the process, making it easier for at least some of them to reconsider.  This should be something new that we haven’t tried before.  We’ve tried all the argument on senators, they haven’t really had much effect.  This is something new and I think might have some effect, at least on enough of them to sway them to vote in favor of this treaty.  If we can prove to them that, in fact, we know what we’re talking about with regard to what a nuclear explosion is, and that there is some responsiveness to the need to have greater transparency, and so forth.

On the second point of the cutoff, it’s been our policy for years – stated policy, that we are not producing material for use in weapons.  So I’m not sidestepping the Senate there, it’s simply that is our policy.

What I am trying to do with both of those initiatives, in fact, is to respond to the concern that you heard Senator Shaheen utter about Iran and North Korea.  What I’m trying to do is isolate those two countries, bring China to the point where it would be more willing than it has been to deal with the North Korean issue.  And incidentally, in the Middle East, I have every reason to think that Israel would agree with these two items that I’ve talked about.  They’ve already signed a test ban treaty, of course, are part of it, in terms of the CTBTO and that sort of thing.

And I think in Northeast Asia, you would find China, Japan, South Korea willing to do these things I’m talking about.  And that would lead to much greater pressure on both Iran and North Korea, again, very responsive to concerns we’ve heard in the Senate.  So far from trying to avoid it, I’m trying to embrace the Senate and their concerns.

MR. KIMBALL:  And I would just add, you know, no matter how this administration or any other future administration pursues nuclear risk reduction and tries to deal with the complexities of the international system and other countries who might be blocking progress, it is absolutely essential for the administration to engage with the House and the Senate on these issues so that there is a broad understanding of what the risks are, what the options are to deal with those risks and what the administration is actually doing.

I think one of the failures of the Obama administration over the last year or so has been that there has not been enough engagement and explanation about what the Prague agenda is.  And that has created a vacuum of understanding and misperception.  And so no matter what the approach is, whether it requires the Senate advising a dissent or not, that engagement is critical.

So other questions.  Yes, Ed.

Q:  Yes.  Thank you.  (Ed Ward ?) of Georgetown University.  Three excellent presentations.  A quick question for Steve.  It’s widely assumed that the U.S. stockpile of non-deployed weapons is larger than the Russian stockpile and that we can use that to trade off against the Russian advantage in tactical nuclear weapons.

But one of the frustrations of this business is that, to my knowledge, the Russians have never said anything about the size of their stockpile.  So how do we know that ours is larger?

MR. KIMBALL:  How do we know the known unknowns?

MR. PIFER:  OK.  I mean, since I’ve now been out of the government about eight, nine years now, I basically work off of the basis of unclassified numbers.  So I’m going on the basis of those who’ve taken a very hard look at this.  I think it’s not just the number of weapons in the reserve stockpile but it’s the ability to deploy them if the treaty broke down.

And at least my understanding so far is that when the Russians are implementing their reductions under New START, they take missiles out, retire them, but the missiles that they retain in the force have full warhead sets, whereas the U.S. military, and I’ve already described this approach, which is very different, all of the intercontinental ballistic missiles will be de-MIRVed down to a single warhead.

And so although I think – Frank, you know, about a third of the ICBMs that we still have in the force, they’ve had new bulkheads put on so they can only carry one warhead but the others have not.  So, you know, you could add additional warheads back to that force.

The Trident submarine-launched ballistic missile can carry eight warheads.  And my back-of-the-envelope calculations under New START, it will on average have four to five.  So there’s the ability, if the treaty would break down, to add I figured about 1,000 warheads back to the force, which I don’t think the Russians have at this point in time.  Now, if the Russians, you know, build a new heavy ICBM and deploy with less than its full warheads, they may build that capability.  But, right now, I think there’s an area of American advantage and I have heard from some Russians that that bothers them.

Now, one of the reasons why they have pushed and why they did not accept the Bush administration proposal in 2008 for limits just on deployed warheads, is they saw limits and constraints on launchers as a way to get at the issue of non-deployed strategic warheads.  So I think it’s an issue there.  I can’t tell you how big of an issue it is, but it gives us I think something to offer in a trade.

MR. KIMBALL:  OK.  We have another question here?

Q:  Good morning.  And thank you for organizing this event.  My name is Alex Hiniker and I work with IKV Pax Christi.  I guess you’ve heard a bit about the increasing concern about the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons use.  In Oslo, in March, there was a conference attended by 127 countries, not the P-5, and there will be a follow-up conference organized in Mexico.  I was wondering how this concern or debate influences, if at all, the internal policy discussions.

MR. KIMBALL:  Jim, you want to take a crack at that or – and I have a few thoughts about that.

MR. GOODBY:  Well, I don’t know much about the internal policy discussions, but it does seem to me that the last Nuclear Posture Review did not go quite far enough in stating what the purpose of U.S. nuclear weapons was to be.  It did move fairly far in saying its principal purpose was to deter the use of nuclear weapons, I think probably they could go to the point of saying that the only purpose is to deter nuclear weapons.  That would be responsive to what I think is the real world situation.  Whether that’s possible these days, I don’t know, but it would be something that I would recommend.

MR. KIMBALL:  So the conference in Oslo, to which you refer, took place last month or so, short article in this month’s Arms Control Today about that conference.  I mean, it’s my impression that the conference is an expression of the frustration of non-nuclear weapon states, many of whom are U.S. allies about the pace of progress on nuclear disarmament.  It’s also a development that has occurred because of the development of international humanitarian law in all sorts of areas of conflict and weaponry.

And so Norway was trying to apply those international humanitarian issues and concerns to the context of nuclear weapons.  Now, this is not a new issue.  It’s been around since the times Jim Goodby was talking with Harold Stassen and when Physician for Social Responsibility was established in 1961 so it’s a very familiar topic.

I think it’s unfortunate that the P-5 did not attend because I think it’s a teachable moment for all sides, to better understand what the consequences of even just use of one nuclear weapon would be.  And it would be an opportunity for the P-5 to engage with some of the non-nuclear weapon states that don’t really understand or have the technical capacity to see the complexities of the process of moving closer to zero.

And so I think, you know, we will be encouraging the U.S. government to reconsider its approach to that process, which I think is a good contribution to the public understanding of why we need to move toward a world without nuclear weapons.

Other questions?  We have time for maybe a couple more.  Yes, sir.

Q:  Bill Durston again with the Physicians for Social Responsibility.  Thanks for the plug.

MR. KIMBALL:  I used to work for PSR so it’s –

Q:  Obviously, we favor reduction of nuclear weapons.  But what if I could rephrase the question that I posed to Senator Shaheen, in lines with Ambassador Goodby’s coalition of the willing, how does the coalition of the willing induce the unwilling to go along with international treaties, and even including countries such as Israel, which might agree to a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, but how to induce countries to agree to the Non-Proliferation Treaty?

MR. GOODBY:  That’s a very good question.  And I happen to have a very lengthy paper that responds to it.  And I’ll give it to you afterwards.  But let me just very briefly say that the idea is, again, responsive to the U.S. Senate, which, in its resolution or ratification of the New START Treaty urged that other countries join into this arrangement that have nuclear weapons.

The purpose is to try to bring all the nuclear weapon states in.  If the P-5 begin that process, there becomes a certain attraction.  Countries like to be associated with, you know, a big, big boys’ club if you will, big girls’ club.

And it seems to me that the way you do that is to work one at a time.  Israel will come in at some point I think.  They may not be persuaded overnight, nor will countries like Iran or Korea perhaps.  But if you begin to get a coalition building that has a lot of important countries in it, that is going to constitute a lot of pressure that doesn’t exist now.

In addition to which, I always agree with my former boss and current associate, George Schultz when he said we ought to really think more seriously about how you go about enforcing some of these agreements.  And there are ideas about sort of automatic enforcement, cutting off support and sanctions, if you will, preposition sanctions.

So between sanctions, political pressure, I think one by one, you begin to get these countries into it.  Key – and this is also mentioned in this March 5 op-ed – would be regional agreements.  You can’t do all this at the global level.  You have to work at it from a regional standpoint.  And that’s why the Gang of Four always recommends that in Northeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, you also have to work at it among the countries in those areas.  So that’s how you would do it, I think.

MR. KIMBALL:  One thing I would point out is that in a couple of weeks, the Arms Control Association will be releasing a report on the 11 widely recognized nuclear disarmament non-proliferation commitments that have emerged from this body of treaties and practice, U.N. Security Council resolutions.

And if you look at that broader list, there are most states than just, who’ve got responsibilities that are unfulfilled.  So through the means that Jim has been talking about, you know, other mechanisms, I mean, there are ways in which to draw these other countries into the conversation and to move them further along to meet those commitments.

Any other questions?  Yes.  Yes, ma’am.  Go ahead.

Q:  Thank you.  Debra Fisher (sp), State Department.  My question is for Ambassador Pifer.  I was wondering if we have any preliminary indications, whether the Russians would support your proposed track one proposal for speeding implementation of New START.  I know you have somewhat addressed that regarding their incentives.

MR. PIFER:  Well, I think in the case of the implementation of New START, actually, if you look at the three limits in the New START Treaty, the Russians have already met two of them.  Now, they can go back on both.  They are I think in the most recent data exchange, they were 1,491 or 1,492 deployed warheads.  So they’re already below 1,550.  Now, they could go back up as long as they’re below 1,550 in 2018.

So this would basically be a recommendation for the United States to accelerate its implementation of that 1,550 limit, which I think would be something useful to do, for example, looking to the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in 2015, it would be a useful talking point to say, hey, here’s an example of our commitment to nuclear reduction.  The treaty requires this to be done by 2018.  We got it done three years early.

And you could actually make it reversible.  I mean, the United States could say this is going to be our policy to go below 1,550 by say date X in 2014.  And you could put a little side note saying, as long as Russia stays below 1,550.  And if Russia were to go back above, you could always reverse that policy so you could in fact build yourself an escape hatch.

But it seems to me that this was something that, you know, could be done fairly easily.  And again, when the decision was taken that 1,550 was an acceptable number in 2018, presumably people said well, between now, 2010, when we negotiate this treaty, and 2018, uncertain things can happen.  And I assume that the conservative calculation about uncertainty is things will only get worse in 2018.  So if 1,550 works in 2018, it ought to work now.

I think this is something the administration could do.  It couldn’t be done overnight, but it could be done I think significantly quicker than six year from now.  And it would give the administration a useful talking point and would be an indication that the administration wants to move more quickly on this.

MR. KIMBALL:  And it would be a way to help induce Russia to continue further on the track that it is on.  And sometimes, statements alone can be helpful.  And so, you know, the president will have opportunities very soon to outline how he plans to go forward.

As Steve said, National Security Advisor Donilon is going to be meeting with his counterparts in Moscow.  There should be some feedback after that point.  And so it’s very possible for the president to announce that he is prepared to accelerate those reductions if Russia joins with the United States and continues on that track.  And that would be – I would just say not just a talking point.  That would be a tangible concrete step.

GEN. KLOTZ:  It’s not a new idea.  I mean, there are historical precedents to doing this in previous arms control agreements that we’ve had with the Soviet Union and now Russia.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  If there are no further questions, I want to thank our speakers and wrap up.  We’ve covered a lot of ground today on the Prague agenda, the next steps in the Prague agenda for the nuclear reductions, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, fissile material talks, engaging other countries in the nuclear risk reduction process.  None of these steps are easy.  None are simple, but, clearly, I think you’ll agree that doing nothing is not a very good option in the face of persistent nuclear dangers.

And I invite you to keep an eye on our Arms Control Association schedule and calendar.  We’ve got some events coming up soon as well as Arms Control Today.  And I want to thank your three speakers very much.  It’s one of the best parts of my job working with very interesting, thoughtful folks like Frank, and Steve, and Jim.  Please join me in thanking them.  (Applause.)  And good morning.

(END)

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The Arms Control Association is an independent, membership-based organization dedicated to providing authoritative information and practical policy solutions to address the threats posed by the world's most dangerous weapons.

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Four years ago, President Obama delivered a speech outlining a series of concrete steps to move closer to a world without nuclear weapons. Since that April 5, 2009 address in Prague, the Obama administration has embarked on a number of steps to reduce the number and role of nuclear weapons, secure vulnerable nuclear material, prepare for reconsideration of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, strengthen the barriers against further nuclear weapons proliferation, and more.

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Panel Discussion “Time to Move from Tactics to Strategy on Iran”

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Remarks as delivered by Greg Thielmann, Senior Fellow, Arms Control Association at the launch of the Atlantic Council Task Force report on U.S. immediate and long-term strategy in dealing with Iran’s nuclear program. (To watch the complete event online go to  C-Span.org).
Washington, D.C.
April 4, 2013

I’m very happy to help launch the latest publication of the Atlantic Council’s Iran Task Force.  I want to thank the Council for this report, as well as the “issue briefs” and panel discussions, which preceded it.

Today’s release is the latest in a number of quality reports on the Iran nuclear issue that have been published in the first quarter of 2013.

The Arms Control Association released a “briefing book” in February: “Solving the Iranian Nuclear Puzzle.”  I would also mention: the International Crisis Group’s “Spider Web” report on the Iran sanctions; the National Iranian-American Council’s report on how Iranian stakeholders view the sanctions; and the Carnegie Endowment’s report on the “Costs and Risks” of Iran’s nuclear program.

Building on its own previous findings, the Atlantic Council’s Iran Task Force now recommends a long-term strategy to guide our policies on Iran.  I believe this report makes an important contribution to shaping an emerging consensus on how we should deal with Iran.

I will be offering some of my own perspectives today on the very difficult policy decisions we face in trying to strengthen the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and dissuade Iran from building nuclear weapons.

In deference to proclivities developed during seven years as a State Department intelligence analyst, I will also try to register at least one dissenting footnote to the views of the majority.

Obstacles to negotiating a solution

It’s easy to get discouraged by recalling the history of our bilateral relations with Iran.  Both sides have missed opportunities.  Some of Iran’s grievances toward the United States predate any arguments over the nuclear program, but they are still obstacles to a nuclear solution.

If the historical baggage is heavy, contemporary concerns don’t seem very light either.  We are constantly reminded by the press and commentators that the sanctions have failed to convince the Iranians to change their policies and that time is running out.  Every quarterly report of the International Atomic Energy Agency informs us how many more centrifuges Iran has installed, how much more enriched uranium Iran has accumulated and how uncooperative Iran has been in addressing the agency’s questions about suspicious past activities.

A political consensus seems to have formed in the United States around the notion that an Iranian nuclear weapon would be “unacceptable,” even as a debate rages about how close Iran should be allowed to get.

Although even Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu seems to have extended his red line to next year, a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed co-authored by David Albright warns that Iran on its current trajectory will be able, by mid-2014, to assemble sufficient fissile material for a bomb within one to two weeks of an order from the Supreme Leader.

Some of you may have heard this past Monday at Brookings of the low expectations for the next round of negotiations from former White House official Gary Samore.  Samore predicted that there would be no agreement before Iranian elections in June, commenting that we have a long way to go before even a confidence-building-measure is possible.  Former EU Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana opined at the same event that it will be very difficult to resolve the nuclear issues while the Syrian political crisis rages.

Where are we now in negotiating a solution?

Samore did not, however, rule out a narrowing of differences when the parties meet tomorrow in Almaty, Kazakhstan.  And this is exactly what I would like to discuss next.  Where are we in negotiating necessary constraints on Iran’s nuclear activities?

By all accounts, February’s six power talks with Iran and the March meeting between the parties’ technical experts in Istanbul were constructive.  In a real sense, these talks are beginning to resemble real negotiations.

The initial focus of the six powers is on halting the growth in Iran's stockpile of 20-percent-enriched uranium that would provide the fastest route toward producing the fissile material needed to build a nuclear weapon.

Iran's principal objectives are to establish the legitimacy of uranium enrichment and to gain as much sanctions relief as possible, while keeping its future options open.

With Iran’s presidential elections less than three months away, it does not seem likely Iran would be inclined to cut a deal – even on a small, interim step.  Nonetheless, it is reasonable to hope for a further narrowing of differences that would bring the sides closer to taking that first step – an agreement that would build confidence and buy time for a more comprehensive settlement.

Agreement on dates and venues for continued talks would be a minimum acceptable outcome.  I expect at least this to happen, because neither side has an interest in giving the impression that the negotiating process had stalled.

What kind of an agreement?

This brings us to the task of identifying the substantive and procedural requirements for an interim agreement.

I would first suggest conceding Iran’s conditional “right” to enrichment.  Anyone interested in a negotiated settlement of the Iran nuclear issue knows that we cannot successfully achieve exceptional transparency measures and exceptional limitations on Iran’s nuclear program without accepting Iran’s ability to enrich some uranium for civilian power reactor fuel.  It would be helpful to more clearly telegraph this willingness to accept the obvious.  Demanding a halt to all enrichment does not give the United States leverage when the Iranians know full well it will ultimately be withdrawn; it just gives Tehran an excuse for diverting attention from the real issue -- Iran’s noncompliance with its obligations to the IAEA.

We must, of course, continue to stress the conditionality of uranium enrichment rights.  Though inalienable, NPT Article IV rights must be “in conformity with Articles I and II” of the treaty.

I would also suggest trying hard to separate the perfect from the good.  As an interim measure, it is more important to quickly achieve a modest but useful agreement that can be easily monitored than seeking up-front a better, more extensive and permanent limitation.

For example, there appears to be agreement in principle to stopping expansion of Iran’s 20 percent enriched uranium stockpile.  I would argue that achieving this immediate goal is more important than Tehran agreeing to move its stockpile to another country.  While imperfect, even conversion of the existing stockpile of uranium gas to the solid form used for fuel in the Tehran Research Reactor, would be a step forward.

Similarly, it seems to me that ending the production of medium grade uranium anywhere in Iran is more important than winning agreement to shutter the deep underground facility at Fordow.  The key question is frequency and ease of IAEA access to uranium enrichment facilities, not their location.

Finally we should drop the demand to shut down Fordow. It’s not very persuasive to argue for closure “because Fordow is too difficult for Israel to destroy.”

Although details are sketchy, the six powers are offering some relief to the ever-expanding web of sanctions, relaxing restrictions on gold trading and the sale of petrochemical products.  Perhaps implementation of certain EU sanctions could also be suspended, but the core sanctions must be maintained until Iran is ready to seal the deal.

The key for an interim agreement will be to find a package of sanctions relief proportionate to the concessions offered by Tehran – both in scale and reversibility.

The Big Picture

When an interim agreement has been achieved, negotiations can begin in earnest on measures to ensure transparency, resolve questions about past military activities, and on unwinding the sanctions.

We need to dwell not on what we most want, but on what we must have.  Maintaining six power cohesion remains a priority.  And we need to spend at least a little time worrying about how Iran’s negotiators will sell a negotiated agreement in Tehran, not just how it will go over in the U.S. Congress.

Footnote

And now for the footnote I promised.

The “military option” section includes, on the one hand, thorough lists of “grave” implications for a nuclear Iran, and on the other, of  “dire” consequences for a “premature military strike.”  I’m sure I join everyone in our audience today in fervently wishing for neither rather than either.

But I personally think the consequences of a nuclear Iran are somewhat overdrawn and description of consequences a little too torrid.

-- Why would an Iranian success in violating UN Security Council resolutions “shred” the NPT when North Korean violations have not?

-- Why should we believe an Iranian bomb would “threaten the very existence of Israel” when Yehud Barak does not?

Moreover, I’m not sure what it means to “ensure that the option of military strikes remains credible.”  Given the ramifications of an attack that would delay but not even prevent an Iranian bomb, I doubt that the United States hitting first with a unilateral “preventive attack” can ever be very credible.  Constantly repeating that “the military option is on the table” won’t make it so.

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I’m very happy to help launch the latest publication of the Atlantic Council’s Iran Task Force.  I want to thank the Council for this report, as well as the “issue briefs” and panel discussions, which preceded it.

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TRANSCRIPT AVAILABLE: Sustaining U.S. Nuclear Forces on a Tight Budget

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013
9:30am to 11:00am
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Root Room
1779 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, DC

With the sequester now a reality, the Defense budget must come down. One place to look for savings is the $31 billion the United States spends each year on nuclear weapons. The Pentagon had been seeking to build a new generation of multi-billion-dollar nuclear delivery systems, including long-range missiles, submarines and bombers, as well as extending the service lives of nuclear warheads. Now, those plans are in doubt.

At the same time, in his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama said he would "engage Russia to seek further reductions in our nuclear arsenals." The administration is also revising U.S. nuclear guidance policy. Both processes could allow additional reductions in U.S. nuclear spending.

Meanwhile, some Republican senators are saying they will not allow a vote on a new U.S.-Russian arms reduction treaty unless spending on nuclear weapons is increased.

As the Obama administration prepares its budget submission to Congress for fiscal year 2014, the Arms Control Association (ACA) will host an expert briefing on the actual cost of the nuclear stockpile and options for responsibly reducing spending on excess nuclear weaponry in a budget-constrained environment.
The panel will include:

 


 

Transcript by
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.

DARYL KIMBALL:  Good morning, everyone.  Welcome to this morning’s briefing on sustaining U.S. nuclear forces on a tight budget.

I’m Daryl Kimball.  I’m the director of the Arms Control Association here in Washington, D.C.  We’re an independent membership-based organization and we’ve been around since 1971, working to outline practical policy solutions to deal with what we call the world’s most dangerous weapons – nuclear, chemical, biological and certain conventional weapons.

And we’re here today to talk about the confluence of two developments – the diminishing role of nuclear weapons in U.S. national security strategy and the difficult budget environment that we’re in and how the United States is going to be maintaining its shrinking nuclear force in the years ahead.

As we gather here we ought to remind ourselves – sometimes we forget – it’s been 20 years since the end of the Cold War, 10 years since the beginning of the Gulf War, and over 10 years since 9/11.  And clearly nuclear weapons are playing a different and I would argue a lesser role in U.S. defense strategy.

And I’m just going to mention one statement from President Obama from a year ago that drives this point home as an introduction to the presentations we’re going to hear in a few minutes.  He said, “My administration’s nuclear posture recognizes that the massive nuclear arsenal we inherited from the Cold War is poorly suited for today’s threats, including nuclear terrorism.  Last summer I therefore directed my national security team to conduct a comprehensive study of our nuclear forces.  That study is still under way.”  It’s actually probably concluded but it hasn’t been announced.

He went on to say, “But even as we have more work to do, we can already say with confidence that we have more nuclear weapons than we need.  I firmly believe that we can ensure the security of the United States and its allies, maintain a strong deterrent against any threat, and still pursue further reductions in our nuclear arsenal.”

And at the same time, today the Congress and the administration put into motion military spending cuts that require serious rethinking of earlier plans for rebuilding U.S. forces in the years ahead.  Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said on National Public Radio just a few days ago that “we can make some major reductions in the nuclear program.”

So today we are going to discuss how and why those reductions can be achieved.  And we’re going to start with remarks from two of our colleagues from the Stimson Center, which I should note recently received a MacArthur Foundation Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.  So you’ve got two semi-geniuses here speaking to you.  (Laughter).  And I mention that in part because the Arms Control Association won the same award two years ago, so we’ve got a lot riding on our shoulders here to figure out these problems, a lot of expectations to live up to.

So first we’ll hear from Stimson co-founder Barry Blechman.  He’s going to be reviewing some of the national security rationale for further reductions in U.S. and Russian arsenals.

Then we’ll hear from Russ Rumbaugh who is the director of Stimson’s Defense Budget Program, who is going to provide an updated look at some of those earlier, well-researched estimates on the costs of U.S. nuclear weapons programs to the U.S. taxpayer.  And those earlier findings were summarized in an article that appeared last year in Arms Control Today, called “Resolving the Ambiguity of Nuclear Weapons Costs.”

And then we’ll hear from Arms Control Association’s own research director, Tom Collina, and he is going to be outlining our newly updated and more detailed description of some options that we believe that Senator Levin, members of Congress and the administration should consider in the months ahead for reducing U.S. nuclear open spending.

And then after each person speaks for about 10 minutes or so we’ll take your questions, get into some discussion.

So with that, Barry, I invite you to come up here if you’d – or you could stay there if you really want to.  But come on up.  Thanks for coming.

BARRY BLECHMAN:  Well, thank you, Daryl.

I’m the theory guy so I’m going to leave the facts to my colleagues and just throw out some ideas here, because deterrence and calculating requirements for deterrence for nuclear weapons is strictly in the realm of theory.  It’s not based on any physical principles.  It’s based on speculation about what might be required to deter a particular national leader in a particular circumstance.  If you look at Israeli and U.S. policy toward Iran, apparently no number of nuclear weapons would be sufficient to deter an Iran with even one nuclear weapon.

However, since the country with the largest number of nuclear weapons, the only one that has anything comparable to ours, is Russia, it’s our theory about what’s required to deter Russia that drives our so-called requirements for nuclear weapons.

During the Cold War it was assumed that we needed to be able to survive a Soviet attack – or actually it was assumed that we would fire under an attack or even upon warning of an attack and preempt against Soviet strategic forces, conventional military forces, war-supporting industries, and a whole range of other targets.

This target set was changed somewhat during the Carter administration where industries were downgraded, leadership targets were given a higher priority.  But the basic perspective was we needed to be able to fight and prevail in a protracted nuclear war in order to deter Soviet leaders from initiating such a conflict.

Also important in calculating requirements is the degree of confidence we want to have that we will be able to destroy those targets.  And during the Cold War the level of confidence assumed to be required was very high, which meant that we would put several warheads on high-value targets – sometimes three or even four warheads.  And the result was that there were literally hundreds of warheads targeted on the Moscow region and our requirements for 10,000 warheads or so overall to be able to deter the Soviet Union.

Now, when the Cold War ended and we no longer confronted the Soviet Union but only Russia, some reductions were made.  Russian forces were smaller than those of the Soviets and became smaller over time.  Secondly we decided we probably didn’t have to target countries like Czechoslovakia and other former allies of the Soviets or former parts of the Soviet Union that had become independent countries.

But the basic principles still remain the same.  The basic principle that still governs our calculations of requirements is this requirement to prevail in a nuclear war.

Now, those requirements could be – so the question is, not facing a country with an ideology that drives it toward world domination, a country which has been set back in many ways, politically and socially, a country which has changed dramatically and whose relationships with us and with European countries are completely different – is – does that still require this large number of nuclear weapons to deter them should we ever come into a crisis with them?

We have conflicting interests with Russia, obviously, in some places, but nothing on the order of the struggle which led to the very large requirements for nuclear weapons that we saw many years ago and which still drive our force planning.

Now, we could reduce these so-called requirements by eliminating certain kinds of target sets, by reducing the confidence we demand in our ability to destroy whichever targets remain, and by reducing the requirements that we respond promptly – be able to respond promptly.  For example, the CNO last year was asked why we required so many strategic submarines with so many warheads, and he said because he was required by STRATCOM to be able to deliver so many warheads promptly against an adversary, meaning Russia.  Well, if that requirement for prompt response were reduced we could have fewer submarines because we no longer would need to maintain two on station in each ocean.

I should also note reserve warheads.  You know, we have 1,550 operation long-range warheads.  We have more than that – maybe 2,500 or so – in reserves.  In part these serve as a hedge against the failure of a warhead, if we discover there’s some terrible technical flaw in a deployed warhead and we need to replace them.  But also it’s driven – the size of the reserve – by a desire to be able to generate an even larger force during a crisis, that we could put additional warheads on our deployed weapons.  And if we reduced that requirement, if we understood that was really not a very realistic need, we could certainly reduce the number of warheads we keep in reserve as well as those that we keep operational.

As Daryl mentioned, the administration has looked at these questions in its NPR implementation study, once described as a 90-day study – it perhaps is a 90-year study at this point – until that study is completed and released and directions given to targeteers, to budget planners, to arms control negotiations – negotiators, there will be no tangible change in the U.S. nuclear posture.  So it’s essential in my view that that study be completed and released and turned into operating instructions to the bureaucracy.

Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you very much.  And now we’ll hear from Russell Rumbaugh, who is going to talk about the other side of this equation, which is estimated costs of our nuclear forces.

Russell?

RUSSELL RUMBAUGH:  Well, thanks for having me.  Thanks for coming.

When I was asked to present today they used the phrase “update” my numbers from the study we did.  I didn’t have the heart to tell them that because of all the showdowns on the Hill there’s actually not any new numbers.  There’s not an update going on.  (Laughter.)

Most of the time I kind of whine and say my job is a lot more difficult as we go from three-month showdown to three-month showdown, but it turns out when you don’t have to redo an entire study, maybe sometimes these showdowns have an advantage to me.

Anyway, we did this study last summer or released it last summer, trying to get at, as we said, resolving ambiguity, trying to really lay out what are we talking about and what costs can we apply for the different parts of the nuclear enterprise.  You’ll notice in my title I’ve already dropped “ambiguity” to try to acknowledge maybe we didn’t quite succeed as much as I hoped to.

Nevertheless I’m still pretty proud of it and do think this is about as good as you can get estimate of what we spend on nukes.

We were primarily interested in offensive strategic nuclear forces or, if you’ll forgive me the crassness of it, nukes that kill people.  There’s other things you could certainly include: the cleanup costs from our original nuclear weapons or our atomic weapons program; the nonproliferation costs we use to try to prevent these weapons from going elsewhere; and missile defense – defending against others’ nuclear weapons.

But even if you leave those out and just focus on this crass offensive side, there’s still three problems.  The first and easiest is two agencies own it.  DOE owns the warheads; DOD owns the delivery systems.

The second one that really flounders for people and why it came to us is DOD’s really big, so big it ruins my graphic and I have to put in this little inset just to try to give you a sense of, you know, the big moon that is DOD or the big planet that is DOD with its tiny little moons called the Department of Energy rotating around it.

And that opens up this ambiguity, right?  How much of DOD should you include?  What are the nuclear costs?  And the way DOD accounts for itself, the way it budgets for itself doesn’t lend itself to that.  So that’s why, you know, you get me coming in.

Finally, there’s a third theoretical problem – dual use.  I’ve got a bomber.  It can deliver a nuclear weapon but it could also fly over Afghanistan and deliver a conventional force, a conventional bomb to support a Special Operations force.  Well, how much of that do you ascribe to nuclear weapons and how much do you ascribe to conventional forces?  It’s a question that doesn’t have and will never have a very fine answer.  It’s the same bomber doing both things.

This was our effort to try to lay out some of those issues.  Obviously I just said it has three big problems, and solving that with one chart is probably not likely.  But hopefully this illustrates it.

You can see the tan is the parts we’re looking at – again, the strategic offensive nuclear weapons.  The blue are the parts you certainly are legitimate – parts of the nuclear enterprise, although we didn’t look at them.  And then the brown are the other parts of the agencies that we felt didn’t actually have anything to do with nuclear weapons.

So all of that adds up into the number 31 billion (dollars).  Thirty-one billion (dollars).  Not that big a deal in the sense of the defense budget, right?  Less than half a percent or about half a percent.  So in some sense not – or, I’m sorry, 5 percent.  Not super big dollars, but at the same time hopefully we’re not sneezing at $31 billion a year.  That’s still real money.

Half of the money goes to DOD.  Of DOD’s half – I’m sorry.  Two-thirds of that money goes to DOD.  Of DOD, half of it is the delivery systems.  So a third of all of our nuclear weapons costs are the delivery systems themselves – the subs, the bombers and the ICBMs.

RDT should probably be included in those, the way DOD accounts it, but – MFP1 there is Major Force Program 1.  That’s how DOD displays what it calls strategic offensive nuclear weapons.  But – that first showed up in the ‘60s and has slowly but surely been eroding as a useful metric.

Certainly the RDT&E – and that’s just for 2011 so it’s pretty small RDT&E – but truthfully that should probably be included in the cost of the systems themselves.

Then finally you have this other stuff, and this is where we really came about.  So you have the command and control.  We have these satellites.  Those aren’t in any of the standard accounting lines for how much nuclear weapons cost, but our nuclear weapons are only as good as our ability to tell them what to do, so all that C2 counts, and as you can see it’s $5 billion.

Now, the way we approached this study is when everybody talks about nuclear weapons we were doing – we were trying to say, OK, what if you didn’t have a Department of Defense?  How much do nuclear weapons cost?  So we want to capture all of that underlying support cost.  So what does it take to recruit and train an airman, a security forces patrolman, airman at Barksdale Air Force Base?

When we added that all up, that’s about $4 billion.  There’s a billion of that which is – a billion of that which is actual operating costs – the tankers to support the bombers, some special units we have to move nuclear weapons around – but most of that is what it would take to keep the infrastructure running.  Obviously just having a bomber is not good enough.  You have to get the person to pilot the bomb and all of the other work.

Thirty-one billion dollars – a big number.  But even then nuclear weapons costs have been fairly flat for about 15 years now, since about the mid-90s when we did get through the Cold War drawdown.  They’ve been fairly stable even as in the last decade the rest of the defense budget took off, doubled in size and increased by 70 percent in real terms.  Nuclear weapons didn’t really take off.  They stayed fairly flat through all of that.

Again, it’s real costs, but it’s mainly sunk costs – things we’ve already spent.  And in fact, if you were going to start shutting things down you would have to offset some of those costs.  At one point now getting to be a decade ago, one of the experts called it the hunt for small potatoes.  (Laughs.)

But today we’re at a different point.  So not only do we now have these nuclear weapons – and you already heard Barry’s reasons, without thinking of cost at all, of why we should not have so many – now not only do we have reasons like Barry provided for why we don’t need all of these, we’re about to embark or we have now embarked on two major modernization programs.  We’re going to buy a new bomber and we’re going to buy a new sub.  Everything I just said about stable costs, about oh, it’s not that big a deal – that’s now out the door for the next decade as we take on these very, very large programs.

The bomber – the Air Force has said, hey, we’re really going to be cost-sensitive about this.  We learned our lesson from the B-2 bomber of the ‘90s where it ended up costing so much they only got to buy 20 of them.  They really would like to have 100 of them, so they’re going to make sure it doesn’t cost that much.  Even then there are costs.  It’s a bomber.  It’s a big platform.  They say 550 million (dollars) is their target.  Well, geez, $550 million per bomber, you buy a hundred of them – that’s a $55 billion program over the next 20 or so years.

The subs are even bigger – $75 billion over its lifetime, and including the first boat is going to cost – is estimated to cost $12 billion itself.

As you saw in the RDT&E slide, that’s not very big right now, right?  We’re spending about 300 million (dollars) today on the bomber and we’re spending about $500 million today on the sub.  But over the next decade that’s going to slowly – it’s not even going to slowly – it’s going to ratchet up.

If you see – this is our big summary table.  It may not be that exciting – it’s not that exciting to read when you’re looking at it in the report; certainly not that exciting to read on a slide.  But the key takeaway is, our total over 10 years was somewhere between 350 (billion dollars) and $390 billion, and our modernization costs from these two programs – not counting modernizing satellites, not counting modernizing the ICBM – are 50 (billion dollars) to $60 billion.

So a sixth to a seventh of what we’re going to spend on nuclear weapons is on these new systems.  Regardless of – even if we had gotten to a point where costs weren’t that pressing a need, clearly as all of the Department of Defense faces restrictions or faces austerity, reducing nukes isn’t going to solve that problem.  But everything is going to need to pay, so even that – those sunk costs need to be get at.

Now looking into the future, it’s a real problem.  It’s – this is going to become an increasing force on the entire defense budget, all from maintaining the level of nuclear forces we currently have.

So with that I – hopefully that gives you a sense of taking out some of the rhetoric and just give you a sense of the scale and point out this is real money and it’s about to become more real money.  And if you did – do need the cost reason, it’s there – although hopefully you just listened to Barry and recognized the reality of the weapons themselves.

With that, I’ll turn it over.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you, Russell.

All right, everybody, hold on to your wallets so that the Defense Department doesn’t try to pull them out.  (Laughter.)  Tom Collina is going to talk about some of the options for dealing with these issues.

Tom?

TOM COLLINA:  Thank you, Daryl, very much.

And thank you, Barry and Russ, for that great setup for my part of the conversation, which to me is the fun part anyway, which is how do we go about helping the Pentagon address what is a significant challenge, which is how do you reduce the budget by up to $1 trillion over the next 10 years but do it in a smart, sustainable way that we actually can deploy the nuclear weapons that we plan to deploy.

Now, the good news is that the arsenal is declining anyway as a result of the New START treaty through 2018, and possibly through another round of reductions that President Obama has said he wants to pursue with Russia – but, you know, we don’t know where that’s going yet.  But the potential for additional reductions is there.

And at the same time, as Barry mentioned, the administration is changing nuclear guidance, which can also have a very helpful effect in terms of reducing the number of nuclear weapons we need to maintain.

But – and it’s a significant but – the nuclear arsenal will be with us for decades into the future.  And as Russ mentioned, the delivery systems are aging, so we’re at this pivot point right now where the Pentagon has to reinvest in the triad, in the delivery systems.

Now, in some ways this comes at a great time because these decisions haven’t been made yet.  They’re not set in stone.  And so now is the time – given the arms reductions that we’re seeing and the budget pressures that are building, now is the time to revisit these plans.  So that’s what I’m going to run you all through right now.

And if you didn’t pick it up outside, there’s a new fact sheet that we produced on these options that I’m going to go through with this chart in the back.  So I’m essentially going to be speaking from this, so if you have it it might help you understand what I’m saying.

So we applied two guiding principles to looking at the Pentagon nuclear weapons plans.  We looked for ways to be more efficient with how the Pentagon deploys the warheads.  In other words, how do we maintain New START levels of 1,550 weapons, for example – how do we maintain that but save money at the same time?

And since the future need for weapons is uncertain – in other words we don’t know if we’re going to get this next follow-on agreement or process or understanding with Russia.  The future need for the weapons is uncertain so let’s not buy new systems until we have to.  If we buy them too soon we may wind up buying too many.

So, with those two guiding principles, let’s take a look at what the plans are and how we might scale them back.

So, currently, as Russ has already described, if you look at submarines, for example, which is – the biggest piece of the modernization budget is going to the submarines, which over their lifetime could cost upwards of $350 billion.  The current plan that the Navy has is to over time retire the current Ohio class subs that are out there starting in 2027, and starting in 2042 start deploying 12 new subs to replace the ones that are aging out.

And if you again apply this principle of doing things more efficiently, if you think about it, those subs are going to be deployed only half to a little more than half full in terms of the warheads that they carry.  So if we’re using our efficiency principle and we put those boats instead with a full complement of warheads on them rather than about half, we could go down to eight subs.

So the point here is that we can save a lot of money and still deploy the same number of warheads that we planned to deploy under New START by going down to eight submarines.  And over the next 10 years that saves roughly $18 billion, which to us is a nice sum.  And again, you can do that without any new arms reductions, just living under the New START treaty that we already – we already have today.

Going down a level, looking at bombers, you know, we applied the principle of don’t build things until you need them.  And right now the Air Force is looking, as Russ said, to build up to 100 new bombers at a cost of upwards of $68 billion.  But the current bombers we have today are good until the 2040s or 2050s, so we really don’t need to start this now.

So what we propose to do is delay the development of the new bomber until the mid-2020s, which basically kicks all that out of the next 10-year window and saves the $18 billion in development costs.  So there’s another 18 billion (dollars) in savings.

One of the warheads that would go on those bombers is the B61 warhead.  Most of those are deployed in Europe.  Some of them are also deployed on strategic bombers.

The NNSA wants to spend about $10 billion doing a life-extension of those warheads.  We would recommend to scale that back.  The warheads in Europe, for example, may not be there a decade from now when this upgrade is done, and they can be upgraded in a much more cost efficient way than the current plans are.  So we would scale that back and save $5 billion.

And then in terms of the ICBMs, you know, there’s – the new ICBM program is just in its infancy.  It’s just starting up.  The Air Force has put out an options paper about different ways it might go with that from underground railroad systems, which don’t seem very likely, to just extending the life of the current Minuteman 3 until 2075.  And so we would suggest that’s the way to go, and we don’t need to do this now because those missiles again will be around into the 2030s.  So that’s another process that we suggest be delayed out of this 10-year window.

We don’t know what the savings on that would be because we don’t know how much it’s going to cost.

But certainly if we get another round of arms reductions with Russia we could cut the current force of ICBMs from the current level of about 400 down to 300 and save some money through that.

And finally, if you look at the missile defense account, we got a little help here already just on Friday from the Pentagon.  The Pentagon was planning to deploy the fourth phase of the European Phased Adaptive Approach, the SM3 IIB, and it just canceled that which we feel was a necessary step because the technology wasn’t going to pan out anyway and because Russia had raised concerns about whether this system might threaten its long-range missiles.

So it opens the door for that process to move ahead.  It also saves a lot of money because we don’t have a firm estimate but the National Academy of Sciences has estimated that that program to develop – just to develop would have cost about $9 billion over the next 10 years.  So that’s a pretty significant savings from that as well.

So if you take this all together, you see about 50 billion (dollars) in potential savings just under the New START treaty, without any additional agreements or understandings with Russia – about $50 billion, deploying the same number of warheads that we plan to deploy today.

If we get a new agreement or a new understanding with Russia, whether that be a mutual thing or however it’s actually done, we could go beyond that another 8 billion (dollars) at least, and there are other categories that we didn’t add in here.

And in fact we’re only looking at the next 10 years here.  A lot of the significant savings from reductions would come beyond the 10-year window, but because we’re only looking at 10 years – because I think in many ways, you know, looking beyond 10 years it gets a little crazy in terms of Washington politics and who knows what’s going to happen.  But in terms of the next 10 years there will be additional savings as well, and beyond that potentially more.

So again, I think what this shows is that arms reductions are going to save us money and can save us a lot of money if we plan it smartly and if we are efficient about it and if we don’t build things too soon before we need – we know how much we need.

Thanks very much.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you, Tom.

I hope all of that has been thought-provoking.  Our goal here, as Tom said, is to provide some realistic, practical ideas for solving the problems that are ahead, making sure that we don’t pursue weapons systems that we don’t need and have a hard time affording.

So with that let me open up the floor to questions.  If you could just identify yourself, let us know who you’d like to have answer the question, that would be – that would be great.

Anyone?

Yes?

Q:  Hi.  Thank you –

MR. KIMBALL:  And there’s a microphone that Marcus will hand over to you.  So – thank you.

Q:  Hi.  I’m Chris Lindborg with the British-American Security Information Council.  Thank you all for your presentations.  It’s good to see all of you today.

I’m just wondering, looking – I know there’s probably a reluctance to look past 10 years, but further down the road is there a sense of which part or leg of the triad might be the most likely to be cut or which one at least theoretically might make the most sense to take out and then leave the other two legs, or if there are any longer-term scenarios either theoretically – and taking into account some of the costs and that is understandable – but just, you know, on a theoretical basis, you know, as far as deterrence issues are concerned, what would be the most likely let to be cut?  Thank you.;

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Well, let me – let me take a quick stab and then maybe Russell or Barry have some thoughts about this from a budgetary or strategic standpoint.

I mean, one of the things you’ll notice about Tom’s presentation and outline is that you still have a triad at the end of this process.  And part of the point there is that we can – we believe that we can achieve significant, meaningful U.S. and Russian reductions while maintaining the triad, which in many ways is a product of inter-service rivalry and bureaucracy and history and not necessarily good strategic policy.

But you can maintain that triad, avoid some of the unfortunate nuclear pork-barreling politics that you see when one or another leg of the triad is thought to be threatened.  And you can achieve significant savings.

And I would say that, you know, even in our own office at the Arms Control Association in the hallway we have polite arguments about, you know, which leg of the triad 25 years from now or 15 years from now could most easily and smartly be eliminated.

So, I mean, we have kind of held that question in abeyance, but perhaps my colleagues from Stimson are bolder and are of some genius thoughts that they might want to offer on this issue.

Barry?

MR. BLECHMAN:  Well, I actually think there is advantage in keeping the triad.  Each leg bears some advantages.

The submarines, of course, are the most survivable.  But particularly if we went down to eight submarines, which I think is a good idea, myself, the ICBMs provide a hedge against some unexpected threat to those submarines.

And the bombers have the advantage of permitting the president to delay the fateful decision longer than he could if he had just gave an order to fire missiles.  And I think any president would want to have in many situations a person in the loop flying the mission.

So – the ICBMs also have the advantage of being the cheapest leg.  As Tom mentioned, you can keep Minuteman alive well and through – into the century at very small cost.

So I’d keep all three legs down to the very low numbers.

MR. KIMBALL:  Russell?

I think – one thing I’d just like to ask you, Russell, that’s related to this is what have been some of the considerations about the strategic bomber program and the budgetary pros and cons or the implications of pursuing a bomber that is nuclear-capable because, as you pointed out, you can still build a new strategic bomber that has conventional capabilities and you can build in, with some additional marginal cost, a nuclear weapons delivery capability, or not.

And so can you just offer any just thoughts on what that conversation has been in the last couple of years inside the Pentagon?

MR. RUMBAUGH:  Well, that certainly seems to be where the Air Force is going.  They, for the first time, have said, we’re going to build the conventional part of the bomber first and then worry about certifying it nuclear after we’ve fielded it.  In the past the nuclear mission was always the primary driver and what led – why the bomber was trying to enter the force in the first place, and this time they’re hoping to have the bomber developed, tested, possibly even fielded before they then go and move on to the nuclear certification.

That doesn’t mean the nuclear aspects – the hardening and various other things to make it nuclear capable won’t already be embedded, but the final decision of when to bring it in to the nuclear force has been pushed off a little bit.

So I think exactly your point, Daryl, that it’s more up in the air than we’ve usually seen at this point in the program.

MR. KIMBALL:  OK.

Tom?

MR. COLLINA:  Just the hard part about trying to save money through taking out one leg of the triad is that most of the money is in the submarines and that’s probably the last leg of the triad that we will get rid of.

So that forces you to look at the other legs, and as we’ve said, the bombers are dual-capable so they’ll probably be built even if they’re not built for a nuclear mission, and the ICBMs are relatively cheap.

So it’s – so if you’re not taking out the subs, it’s hard to find a lot of money in the other legs, and as I said, the subs are the least leg to be taken out.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Other questions?

Yes, sir?

Q:  Andrew Pierre (sp).  The decision to last Friday – announce last Friday to cancel the SM32B Phase IV was accompanied of course by another decision, which was to increase the interceptors by 14, and I don’t see that on the chart here – the costs of that.  So I’m wondering what the tradeoff actually is with the additional interceptors.

Beyond that I’d be interested in the views of anybody as to whether that interceptor program makes sense in terms of North Korea and whether 14 is enough and how far we might now go in terms of reorienting our missile defense somewhat from Iran towards North Korea.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Tom, Barry, you want to take a stab?

MR. BLECHMAN:  You go on the cost.

MR. COLLINA:  On the cost actually it’s – they estimate, as you said, about a billion dollars to deploy the 14 additional interceptors.  That compares quite favorably to just the development costs of $9 billion – I’m sorry – $1 billion for the 14 interceptors; 9 billion (dollars) just for development of the SM32B.  So this is a very good cost-saving approach from that perspective.  And again, these are just development costs for the SM32B.

In terms of whether we need the 14 interceptors, I mean, I would say, you know, no, we don’t need them.  And we certainly shouldn’t deploy them until they’ve been tested and shown to be effective, which the administration said they would do.  So we’ll see how that process goes.

MR. BLECHMAN:  It’s a – you know, it’s a missile, an interceptor that doesn’t work against a missile that doesn’t exist.  (Laughter.)  So there’s a certain symmetry to it, that the missile hasn’t – they did launch one out of a silo a month ago but there was no target.  Before that there weren’t any tests for two years.  It failed most of the tests, and those that did succeed were highly scripted.  The target was going, here I am, here I am!  And it managed to hit it.

So it was obviously a political move to reassure the South Koreans that we wouldn’t be deterred, and the Japanese, I suppose.  But if it costs a lot of money, it’s a waste.

Q:  Could I just add to that that it was also perhaps a brilliant political move.  It was also perhaps a very – (inaudible) – because it opens up better than hitherto, the last two or three years, the prospects of arms control negotiations with the Russians.  They come to see the elimination of the Phase IV as, you know, something which they can then work with.

At the same time, in terms of our own Neanderthals in the U.S. Congress, it’s spending more money on missile defense, which they ought to welcome.

MR. BLECHMAN:  Well, the problem is that it also – it complicates things with China because, you know, we say Pyongyang and the Chinese think, you know, Beijing when we’re talking about the target of the West Coast missile defense system.  So it will just make it even harder to get China to the table.

MR. KIMBALL:  Well, and I think you’re right, however, and Tom has pointed this out in previous written pieces lately, that the cancellation of Phase IV should address what the Russians have stated is their primary concern about the U.S. missile defense program in Europe.

Of course, Russia’s stated concerns have been based in part on internal politics.  It’s based upon their own bureaucratic politics, and we’ll see if they really do shift.  But you know, from a technical basis, Russia no longer has an argument to make about the 2B interceptors having strategic capabilities that could counter some of the ICBMs on Russia’s western – western side of Russia.

And I think the early statements we’re seeing out of the Russian foreign ministry in the last couple of days – my guess is that they don’t yet reflect a deeper analysis of how this changes the dynamics with discussions between the U.S. and Russia on missile defense cooperation and on the prospects for further Russian reductions along with the United States.

I mean, we should also point out that – this is another briefing in Moscow someday, but Russia faces its own budgetary strains with respect to replacing some of the aging ICBM systems that they have.  And so there are strong budgetary reasons for Russia to also pursue reductions below the New START ceilings.

So, other questions?  Yes, in the middle, and then we’ll go over here on the other side.

Q:  Terri Lodge, American Security Project.  I’d like to hear your ideas or views about ICBM modernization – U.S. ICBM modernization.  Do we need to modernize?  In truth what are the options?  Do we need to build a new warhead?  What are the costs of that?  There’s not a lot of discussion about where we are regarding those choices.  Thank you.

MR. COLLINA:  Thank you for the question.

You know, the Air Force is in the very earliest stages of planning ICBM modernization, so they’ve put out this request for proposals to get some ideas.  And the range is pretty stark from, you know, building an underground subway track to have mobile ICBMs to just continuing with a life-extension of the current Minuteman III.

My guess is there won’t be any money to do any of the sort of adventurous ideas that they have, and so we will just be continuing to modernize, as we’ve been doing for decades already, the Minuteman III, and there’s no reason why we can’t keep doing that.  So that would certainly be our recommendation, and that process can be put off outside of the 10-year budget window to create some more budget space.

In terms of the warhead, my guess is that there will be some sort of a consolidation of warheads.  There’s two warheads that can go on ICBMs right now, and they’ll probably do a life-extension of one, which will save some money.  And that will happen – I’m not sure what the timeframe is on that, but I think that’s a relatively low-budget scenario of keeping the Minuteman III and life-extending one warhead for the future.

MR. KIMBALL:  Barry, do you want to – we had an interesting email exchange about some of these scenarios.  Do you want to just remind us about some of the debates before when tunnels were –

MR. BLECHMAN:  Well, this is back – this is back to the ‘70s again.  And I love ICBM modernization because you get the craziest ideas.

There was one where the asterisk built out of railroad tracks and – one for each missile.  The missile would sit in the middle and on warning of attack the missile would randomly choose one of the legs, dash out to the end where there was a shelter and close the door behind it and no one would know which one it was in except the missile.  (Laughter.)

But I agree with Tom – the Air Force doesn’t want to spend money on ICBM modernization.  They can keep Minuteman with only modest expenditures for many decades, and that’s what I suspect will happen.

MR. KIMBALL:  Yeah.  Just think of –

MR. BLECHMAN:  But there will be a lot of fun and games before then.

MR. KIMBALL:  Just think of how difficult it’s been for Metro to build the silver line out to Dulles, all right – (laughter) – and then think about doing that for a hundred ICBMs.

Question over here, please?

Q:  Greg Thielmann, Arms Control Association.  I kind of suspect that a lot of the resistance to future cuts in strategic funding will have to do not with strategic thinking but rather with jobs.  So, Russ, I wondered if you could tell us a little bit about where the 31 billion (dollars) is spent today, in which states it’s concentrated.  And then talk about as we move to modernization where that geographic profile will shift as more money is spent on acquisition rather than operations of the systems.

MR. RUMBAUGH:  Sure.  First of all, I’m a little skeptical that jobs is really that big a driver.  At some point if a member of Congress has a large proportion of their constituents working on something, well, that’s not just jobs; that’s their job to represent those people.  And that’s certainly true for things like the subs.  We build the subs in one place and it turns out they care very deeply about building the subs there, so that is a really powerful force.

But that’s less true for the bomber, which will not have nearly as single-point for it.

And then certainly the other dynamic you have, which some of my colleagues here may be better able to speak for, is the labs themselves, which are very much geographically located and do channel political influence because of that.  And that is translated into their own modernization plans which does involve infrastructure at those places.

So that is a very real political consideration that is certainly coloring the debates.

And I’d turn it over to the colleagues for comment about that.

MR. KIMBALL:  Well, and one other related question, Russ, which I think is relevant here is that in those shipbuilding areas of the country, you know, there’s also a great deal of interest in continuing to contribute to the – to rebuilding the surface fleet of the Navy.  And part of the conflict within the Pentagon about the sub program is where do we spend our shipbuilding dollars.

So, you know, with that in consideration, you know, 10 years down the roads, I mean, my question to you would be would the impact of building one-third fewer new SSBNs be as great if some of the same shipbuilding industries and states are engaged in, you know, new – building new destroyers and other surface ships.

MR. RUMBAUGH:  I think your broader point is basically right partly because there’s not a linear connection between how many you’re building and what industry you’re supporting, right?  As soon as you decide to build the sub, that’s the vast bulk of the investment.  That’s the vast bulk of the jobs.  Certainly how many you build matters over time and matters a little bit in scale, but for the most part just building it will achieve most of that.

I think Daryl’s point is very true, especially at the Navy level.  We haven’t heard as much about it in the last year, but two years ago you heard this a great deal.  The Navy is very aware of the pressure building these 5 (billion dollar), 6 (billion dollar) – 4 (billion dollar) to 5 (billion dollar), $6 billion submarines is going to do to their shipbuilding budget, and they’re very aware that if they have to buy those at a time when the defense budget is being squeezed, it’s their other ships that are going to be squeezed out.

We heard them float the idea that, oh, we should think of these other ships as Navy ships but we should think of submarines as national submarines.  The great irony about that is that that’s the same argument we heard from the Navy back in the ‘60s when we were first fielding the Polaris, and the joke was – Secretary McNamara’s systems analysis guy made the joke, we were a little sad to hear that the submarines were the only national program the Navy had; we had tended to think of the entire U.S. Navy as a national program.  (Laughter.)

And that – although it certainly was floated, it was floated not in a very formal way and has been squelched at every turn.

Nevertheless – and now to say something nice about the Navy – the Navy better than any of the other services makes its hard decisions itself.  We saw that in the last decade, right?  It took Bob Gates to kill the Army’s premiere system – the future combat systems.  It took Bob Gates to kill the Marines’ premiere system.  It took Bob Gates to kill the Air Force’s premiere system, the F-22.  But the Navy is the one who killed DDG-1000, their new destroyer.  They looked at that and said, hey, this one ship is a threat to too many things; we’re just not going to build it.

So that is an interesting question when the Navy grapples through that, which they’re going to continue to grapple in the next decade.

MR. BLECHMAN:  I just had – the SSBN missile – the SLBMs are built in California, which tends to have an effect on Democratic senators.  And also the ICBM caucus has a – strangely a disproportionate number of Democrats, so it has more influence on this administration than one would imagine.  That’s why I understand there’s a big dispute about whether to go down on ICBMs or take more missiles off submarines, because of this political influence.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.

MR. BLECHMAN:  It’s like 20 jobs involved.  (Laughter.)

MR. KIMBALL:  We have a question over here.  Ben?

Q:  Ben Loehrke, Ploughshares Fund.  Russ, just a quick follow-up.  The Navy has expressed its awareness of the cost of the submarine squeezing out other programs.  How about the Air Force?  Are they aware that they’re about to try to build a new bomber, modernize its tankers and choke on the F-35?  (Laughter.)

MR. RUMBAUGH:  Well, certainly they’ve expressed an awareness of it.  All senior leaders in all the public statements have been very conscientious to say, hey, we’ve learned our lesson.  We know how expensive these programs can become.  We know they’re unaffordable and we know we’re the ones who will suffer at the end of it.

I’m not quite sure conscientiousness leads to action.  One of the dynamics is it’s not just a bomber to the Air Force, right?  It is the modernization program that’s also pushing the envelope on stealth capabilities, on ISR capabilities, on avionics capabilities.  It is the program that will lay in the seeds for the future on all of the Air Force’s program.

So it’s not just the bomber part of the Air Force that likes it.  Everybody is supporting the bomber program.  It is the Air Force’s premiere acquisition program.  And because it’s the premiere one, it is those other programs – the tanker, the F-35 – that are threatened by the bomber program.

MR. BLECHMAN:  Also, because of its conventional mission and concerns about advances in Chinese air defenses, I believe it will remain number one priority for the Air Force.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.

Yes, sir?

Q:  Brian Moran (sp).  I guess people in the Pentagon, you know, who are looking at this – people in the Pentagon who are looking at this issue right now, at whatever level of weapons you want to talk about, there are going to be people saying, but high numbers of delivery systems are important to us because they give you additional flexibility, they give you additional targeting capabilities, they give you additional survivability.

So how do you balance and have you worked to sort of balance the cost savings vis-a-vis, you know, what DOD strategic planners would say would be the loss of, you know deterrent value or the loss of flexibility, the loss of the ability to react to technical failures of part of the force?  You know, because your savings are not huge, as you pointed out, by DOD standards.

MR. KIMBALL:  Barry, do you want to take a stab at that?

MR. BLECHMAN:  Yeah.  I think there will be some that argue that way, but there’s really not much of a constituency for the nuclear forces within the Pentagon.  Certainly the Army doesn’t care about them.  There’s the SSBN people.  And in the Air Force, you know, frankly I think they’d rather be rid of the mission.  It’s more trouble than it’s worth.  It’s cost the chief his job and a lot of other headaches.

But the – there is – some will make the argument on – about flexibility, but I think you’ll have to get down to about a thousand before people will become concerned at that – about that.  At the level we’re at, 1,550, it’s very hard to argue that we can’t make substantial reductions.

Once you get down to a thousand –

Q:  (Off mic) – which is probably what the number is that we’re going to for the warheads.

MR. BLECHMAN:  Right.

Q:  So then, you know the number of delivery systems, from many people’s perspective at the Pentagon, you know, or those who support nuclear weapons at the Pentagon, the number of delivery systems then becomes the critical issue of how many of those do you cut as opposed to how much flexibility do you keep by keeping, say, 450 or 400 Minutemen rather than going down to 300 or –

MR. BLECHMAN:  Right.  Right.  I think you’ll see that argument made more on going to eight subs.  I think that will get a lot of resistance.  They’ll want to stay certainly at 10 at a minimum.

MR. KIMBALL:  Let’s remember a couple of things that you talked about at the beginning, Barry, which is that the judgments about what is necessary to deter an attack – a nuclear attack by an adversary is a very subjective exercise.  All right?  There is not a computer at the Pentagon that spits out a precise number based upon a scientific theory.  This is a judgment that the president makes in the guidance paper that he has already developed based upon his nuclear posture review that goes to the Pentagon that then is interpreted in terms of specific numbers and targets, et cetera.

And I think a lot of the arguments that have been made by those who would like to preserve the current status quo are based upon assumptions and theories about what is necessary to deter a nuclear attack and what kind of flexibility we need in our nuclear war planning that, you know, literally emerged out of, you know 1960s, 1970s, maybe 1980s scenarios for an all-out nuclear war involving more than one nuclear exchange.

So I think one of the challenges that, you know, that we all have and that Congress has is, you know, how to have an adult, up-to-date conversation about what the modern nuclear deterrence requirements really are.

And you know, we’ve been focusing on the budget side of this today, and I’m always reminded when I speak to people at the Pentagon or the State Department or the White House that our policy begins with the development of a sound strategic policy and then the budget decisions flow from that.

Well, if we take that at face value, one of the key drivers here is going to be the president’s nuclear posture review implementation study.  And the thing – you know, even if there is not another round of formal U.S. nuclear reductions, the writing is on the wall about the United States not requiring 1,550 nuclear weapons to deter Russia or China.  And Russia can certainly go lower.  So we are, one way or another, on a glide path to fewer nuclear weapons.

And so, you know, I think we need to bring our thinking up to date.  Congress needs to take a hard look in the context of these budget realities.

So, any other question?

Yes, sir?  And then one or two more questions and we’ll close things out.  And here comes your microphone.  Thank you.

Q:  Thank you.  Benjamin Thule (sp), independent analyst.

In terms of the cleverness of the decision on the 14 interceptors, a number of the advantages have been mentioned but not the advantage vis-a-vis Iran because it’s a kind of confidence-building measure for Iran as well as for Russia.  Is that not correct?

And also, the reaction on the Hill from the politicians and so on has been very muted given this angle as well as – well, given that angle.  And why do you think that is?

MR. KIMBALL:  Well, the announcement came out on a Friday.  That could be one reason why it’s muted.  (Laughter.)  But there may be other reasons too.

On the Iran issue – yeah?

MR. COLLINA:  I’ll just start.  Well, do you want to talk about the Iran issue?  Or – I was going to talk about the muted response.

MR.     :  Go ahead.

MR. BLECHMAN:  Go ahead.

MR. COLLINA:  Just – I mean, in terms of the muted response, I think that was – the announcement was designed to elicit that muted response, and they did an excellent job, which is the first part of the announcement was we’re deploying 14 additional intercepts in Alaska.  And then there was announcement two and announcement three, and then there was announcement four – oh, by the way, we’re cancelling the European Phase IV system.

So the media then took that to Republicans on Capitol Hill and said, what do you think about the 14 additional interceptors in Alaska?  And they said, well, you know he should have done it sooner but it’s great.

So that was the immediate response, which is why I think you saw a muted response to the European news, which was really sort of buried under the Alaska news.

But I think over time that will change.  I think we’re already seeing a change, that there will be more attention focused on the scaling back of the European program, and I imagine there will be more criticism heaped on that from conservative circles as a cave-in to Russia and all the rest, although in the end I think it was very much about budget issues.  I think that was part of the driver here, as well as giving up a system that really wasn’t panning out anyway so it didn’t really cost us anything, and helping to – of course the administration knew that this was something that Russia had concerns about.  But I don’t think that was really necessarily the driving factor.

MR. BLECHMAN:  Another muting factor was one of the criticisms of the conservatives of the Obama switch from the old Bush plan to the four phases is that the fourth phase missile they said could never work, that it was impossible physically to build a missile that would have acceleration sufficient to serve the role it was supposed to serve.  So having discounted it, it was then hard to criticize the decision to kill it.

But they did – they have – I have seen criticism that it was a unilateral concession to Russia and so forth.

MR. KIMBALL:  Which – and just to put a final point on that, I mean, the decision on Phase IV I’m told was a Pentagon decision because of the cost – because of the congressional cuts in the SM3 IIB program, the sequestration cuts in the past month, and what Barry is talking about, which is that they can’t find a way to get a 21-inch diameter missile to move at the speeds that would be necessary to improve its capabilities against strategic offensive missiles.

So it’s not a concession.  It’s a recognition of some stark budgetary and technical realities, and it does happen to open up new possibilities for strategic offensive reductions.  And one way to think about it is that if we can persuade Russia to further reduce the number of nuclear weapons with the cancellation of this system, these interceptors could very well, without having been built – (laughs) – help eliminate far more interceptors than they could ever hope to shoot down.

So I think that’s one important way of looking at this.

Any other final questions before we wrap up?

I want to thank everybody for coming today.  We hope we have, with Barry and Russell and Tom’s presentations, injected some fact-based ideas into the conversation that we’re going to continue in the weeks ahead.  We’ll look to see what the fiscal ’14 budget request from the administration is and how it reflects some of these realities.  And we look forward to having you at future Arms control Association events.

Thank you all.  Join me in thanking our speakers, please.  (Applause.)

(END)

 

Description: 

With the sequester now a reality, the Defense budget must come down. One place to look for savings is the $31 billion the United States spends each year on nuclear weapons. The Pentagon had been seeking to build a new generation of multi-billion-dollar nuclear delivery systems, including long-range missiles, submarines and bombers, as well as extending the service lives of nuclear warheads. Now, those plans are in doubt.

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TRANSCRIPT AVAILABLE: Iran Nuclear Talks - What Can Be Achieved in 2013?

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Toward a Diplomatic Solution of the Iranian Nuclear Crisis:
What Can Be Achieved in 2013?

Featuring Amb. Thomas Pickering, Amb. Hossein Mousavian, and Alireza Nader

Monday, February 25, 2013
2:00pm to 3:30pm
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace,1779 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, DC

After an eight-month hiatus, the resumption of negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 group on February 26 in Almaty, Kazakhstan offers a critical opportunity to move toward a diplomatic solution to the long-running standoff over Tehran's sensitive nuclear activities.

In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama said: "...Iran must recognize that now's the time for a diplomatic solution because a coalition stands united in demanding that they meet their obligations, and we will do what is necessary to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon."

On the eve of the next round of talks, the Arms Control Association (ACA) will host an expert briefing and discussion to explore the options and diplomatic pathways for reaching a deal that limits Iran's nuclear potential in the coming months.

The panel included:

  • Career U.S. Ambassador Thomas Pickering;
  • Seyed Hossein Mousavian, Associate Research Scholar at Princeton University and former Iranian nuclear negotiator (2003-2005);
  • Alireza Nader, Senior Policy Analyst at the Rand Corporation; and
  • Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, ACA (moderator)

Copies of ACA's new briefing book, "Solving the Iranian Nuclear Puzzle," a comprehensive, entry-level guide to Iran's nuclear program and its capabilities, and the risks, benefits, and limitations of policy options also will be available at the event.

You can see video coverage of the event here at CSPAN.


Transcript by
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.

DARYL KIMBALL:  All right.  Good afternoon, everyone.  My name is Daryl Kimball.  I’m executive director of the Arms Control Association.  We’re an independent nongovernmental organization dedicated to providing information and practical policy ideas to address the world’s most dangerous weapons, including nuclear weapons

We welcome you to today’s briefing on finding a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear crisis and to discuss what might be achieved in 2013 through diplomacy.  It’s been nearly 10 years since the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed that Iran, a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, had secretly built a uranium enrichment facility in violation of its commitments under the treaty to comply with safeguards designed to detect diversion of nuclear materials for military purposes.  Since then, the IAEA’s reports have documented a steady but slow progress of Iran’s uranium enrichment program and other sensitive aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle.  And there is information that suggests that Iran may have engaged in activities with potential military dimensions.

After an initial round of international talks between 2003 and 2005 led to a pause in Iran’s uranium nuclear program, the talks stalled, and Iran resumed and expanded its enrichment activities and continued other fuel-cycle projects.  Since 2006 Iran and the P5+1 group, which is China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States and the United Kingdom, have fumbled fleeting diplomatic opportunities to reach a deal that reduces the risk of a nuclear-armed Iran, in exchange for a rollback of the nonproliferation, or the proliferation-related sanctions that have been imposed on Iran.

Now, eight months since the last round of talks between the P5+1 group, talks will resume tomorrow, February 26, in Almaty, Kazakhstan.  The meeting offers a critical opportunity, in our view, to finally begin to move forward toward a diplomatic solution to the long-running standoff over Tehran’s nuclear activities.  And as our new Arms Control Association briefing book illustrates, we think that a deal that ties Iran’s enrichment activities and its stockpiles to its actual nuclear power needs, combined with more extensive IAEA safeguards, could sufficiently guard against a nuclear-armed Iran.

And as we’ll hear today, however, after the three rounds of nuclear talks in 2009 and some private meetings, we see a number of areas of agreement between the two sides, and we also see some substantial differences.  Back in May of 2012, the two sides laid down a series of proposals that set the stage for the talks that will resume tomorrow in Kazakhstan.  Iran put forward what they called a five-step proposal, and at the core of that proposal were a couple of key ideas, which is – which was to have Iran continue what they called broad cooperation with the IAEA and will transparently cooperate with IAEA on the potential military dimensions issue.  And in exchange, Iran proposed the P5+1 will end unilateral and multilateral sanctions against Iran outside U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Another key component of the Iranian plan was confidence-building steps, as they call them, continuous monitoring of enrichment activities.  Iran proposed that there would be a termination of U.N. sanctions and a removal of Iran’s nuclear file from the U.N. Security Council agenda in return for fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR), which uses the higher-percentage uranium.

On the other hand, the P5+1 group called for several different Iranian actions and a different sequence of steps.  They proposed that Iran halt all 20 percent enrichment activities, that it transfers all 20 percent-enriched uranium to a third country under IAEA custody and shuts down the Fordow enrichment facility, which is Iran’s second and underground enrichment facility.

In response, the P5+1 said they would provide fuel assemblies for the TRR, the Tehran Research Reactor, would support technical cooperation for other Iranian nuclear activities, and that the United States would be prepared to permit safety-related inspection and repair for commercial aircraft and spare parts, as well as some other measures.

So as you can see, there are some similarities between the two sets of proposals that were put forward last year, but there are differences about the sequencing of the steps, whether Iran’s actions come before sanctions relief or whether sanctions relief comes before concrete actions.

But I think as you’ll hear today, if – this is from the speakers we have for you – if both sides approach the talks with greater flexibility and some creativity, an initial confidence-building deal that works through some of these differences could still be within reach.  And this could significantly reduce the proliferation risks that currently exist and buy time for a more permanent resolution to the crisis.

So today we have with us three very experienced and very well-informed panelists to provide their perspectives on the options and the diplomatic pathways for reaching a deal that limits Iran’s nuclear potential in the coming months.  First we’re going to hear from career U.S. Ambassador Thomas Pickering, who served as undersecretary of state for political affairs, ambassador to the United Nations, ambassador to El Salvador, Jordan, India, Israel, Nigeria and Russia and a few other things.

We’ll also hear from Hossein Mousavian, who is currently associate research scholar at Princeton University and a former Iranian nuclear negotiator himself from 2003 to 2005.  Hossein is also the author of this 2012 opus, “The Iranian Nuclear Crisis:  A Memoir,” which is published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where we are today.

We’ll also hear from Alireza Nader, a senior policy analyst at the RAND Corporation.  And he is the co-author of “Coping with a Nuclearizing Iran” and “Israel and Iran:  A Dangerous Rivalry.”

So I think we’ve got a very good group for you today.  We’re going to hear from each of them, and then we’re going to turn to your questions, and we’ll have some discussion.

So Ambassador Pickering, you are up first, and the floor is yours.  Thanks for being here.

THOMAS PICKERING:  Thank you, Daryl, very much.  It’s an honor and pleasure to be here.  Hossein and I have done numerous – what I guess can be best characterized as dog-and-pony or Mutt-and-Jeff shows at various places, seeking, I think, neither of us necessarily to do anything but see if we could make it a more likely possibility and a more lively possibility that a negotiation would not only begin, but continue and lead to some useful results.  And I’m very happy to be present with Alireza Nader from RAND as well, who I know brings special insights of his own into the problems and the prospects for the future.

I’d like to just do two things, Daryl, if I can.  And thank you for your very valuable and very useful introduction.  I’d like, in the typical diplomat’s refuge, to talk a little bit first about process.  The truth is, American diplomats, when totally stymied, will always want to talk about process.  So I have a second portion of what I’d like to speak about today, and that’s to talk a little bit about the substance and how and in what way the substance might actually be used to prepare and prosper in negotiation.

I leave judgments up to the press, who have been liberal with them, and others about the prospects for breakthroughs in Kazakhstan.  My own sense is that it is a breakthrough in 33 years of mistrust and misunderstanding to have continued talks even if nothing else comes of them for a while but a certain amount of coffee-drinking.  But I do believe, in fact, that we are approaching a time when the pace of talks that have been set in 2012, three high-level talks and a number of expert talks, and the continuation of that pace can help us, among other things, lead to moves ahead.

Let’s talk about process in the broadest sense.  We had a brief flirtation at Munich and beyond with the U.S. proposal and with seemingly a mixed Iranian reaction to the idea of bilateral negotiations.  And I assumed that these would be bilateral negotiations in the context of the discussions between the P5+1 in Iran, much like the 6+1 talks were conducted in the Far East, not that they are necessarily markedly important as a record for success in this format but because in fact they provide an opportunity for bilateral conversations to proceed.  And I would assume they might proceed between Iran and other partners in the P5+1 but at the same time preserve the structure of common agreement that will have to be achieved at the end of the conversations between the 5+1 and Iran.

I think secondly, it’s important to note that such talks can help in a number of ways.  It is no state secret that the EU3 talks when they first began were in fact EU3+1 talks; despite the fact the United States was not present at the table.  The United States was a necessary partner and at the same time perhaps a sufficient partner but didn’t appear until the last year of the Bush administration.  The idea, therefore, that the U.S. plays an important role is not a figment of Madeline Albright’s imagination, nor is it hubris, but I think it’s a reality.  And therefore, having the U.S. actively at the table with Iran, with opportunities to speak frankly and informally in a bilateral context, in my view, could be very helpful.

The P5+1 is, by definition, a lowest common denominator operation.  And instincts among the P5+1 against being adventuresome are in some ways matched inside the United States government.  And so there is a mutual reinforcement of excessive timidity, if I can put it that way, which is not a helpful fact of life when you’re, in a sense, dealing with set of negotiations that have a finite life.

And I think that’s important to look at and to try to assure, that perhaps it could be overcome or at least worked around in some way so that it would be useful as this process goes ahead.  I think there’s some other factors that probably also play here that might be looked at, but those are the most important ones, I think, to speed the process ahead.

I think there are other issues of process that might well also be considered.  I mentioned earlier the need for regular meetings.  I mentioned earlier the hope that meetings could be better prepared and that they might move ahead on a regular schedule.  We have set a precedent in the United States in the last half of the year 2012 that elections are also a factor in the negotiating process, and we should expect no less with respect to Iran’s elections and their impact, in a process sense, on negotiations.

We owe it, at least on reciprocal basis, to understand that Iran may wish for electoral reasons to delay, even if in fact the electoral process and the electoral context – and I mean on aspersion on this – is different than it is in the United States and the electoral office is somewhat different than it is in the United States.  Nevertheless, it needs to be taken into account.  And I think that that is significant.

Let me turn now briefly to substantive questions.  I think at the outset, at the 50,000 foot level, against the backdrop of long mistrust and misunderstanding, there is at least one set of tradeoff issues that both sides – that each side harbors serious doubts upon that have to be dispelled.  Certainly on the Iranian side, there is the increasing realization, often brought home to us by our Iranian contacts, that at the very top of the Iranian leadership, and perhaps permeating it, is a deep distrust over the fact that, from their perspective, the Western and U.S. policy is seemingly – is attached to wholly if not completely to regime change as the only acceptable objective.

On our side, I believe we need to be given credit for equal and opposite prejudicial views about the outcome and about the approach.  That is, we harbor deep and abiding concerns about whether Iran is really only interested in a civil nuclear program or whether it has military objectives in mind.  To some extent, these two get in the way of a process of negotiations and will have to be dealt with if the negotiations are going to proceed.

There are no easy ways because, in fact, after a long period of mistrust, any pious assertion to the contrary, no matter how many bibles are under the hand that makes it, will in itself only breed uncertainty about what is really meant, given the level of distrust.  Action, in my view, is much more important to dispel those concerns.  And there are many forms of action.  One set of actions is that if Iran believes there are things that we are doing which in fact are being done for the purpose of regime change, we ought to be able to find a way to put those on the table and talk about them.

If Iran believes that we are serious about a negotiation effort – and they certainly have been working hard to try to get them going, including a bilateral negotiation and a negotiation with the government of Iran – why would we, if we have regime change in mind, bolster that government through a negotiating process that could lead to an end which, in many ways, would reaffirm its continued existence?  Certainly that doesn’t make much sense.

On the other side, we have deep concerns, but we had said at the same time that it is time for us to see, as Secretary Clinton said recently, whether the fatwa outlawing the acquisition and use of nuclear weapons by Iran can somehow be reinforced and strengthened as an Iranian declaration.  It’s a declaration, in my view, which is supportive of, consistent with and indeed a ratification of Iran’s commitments under the NPT, which in the international context should take a first-place form of commitment, but need to be worked on.  So that is important.

The second set of issues that I would raise is the grand bargain versus smaller steps.  My own view is increasingly it is unrealistic to believe that negotiators who can barely agree on the time of day, or indeed the month and date for the next meeting, should have to solve a whole plethora of problems, just in the nuclear field alone, to say nothing of a wider scope of differences between the U.S. and Iran at a single series of negotiations.

It would have the disadvantage of being exceedingly, if not super complex.  The disadvantage for allowing each side to conclude that any objection to any one of the problems that has to be put in place before anything could be put in place is merely an exercise in creating a giant schlep for whatever purposes that might have in the interest of the party being accused of doing so. So I believe it is time to think about smaller steps and that they’re important.

But against the backdrop of that, we have another Iranian concern, which I believe it is entirely possible to dispel by at least providing a sense of an open process that can arrive at an end game, the end state of which might be more easily described than how to get there or the steps by which in fact you approach that end.  The end state that I think that is important to think about has four points – two Iranian concerns and two U.S. and allies concerns.

The U.S. and allies concerns are, simply stated:  How and in what way can we get an put in place an accurate description of the Iranian program, including its intentions, that limit it to the civil scope which Iran continues to profess is its objective, and how can we put in place the necessary inspections and transparency to assure that there is the best of all possible chances of making clear on a regular basis that the program remains in that scope?

Certainly we have no idea yet, unless it’s been vouchsafed in total secrecy, what the Iranian objective is with respect to its needs for fuel at the 20 percent enrichment level for the TRR Reactor.  And we have even less idea, even though now eight tons of LEU has been accumulated, of what Iran’s plans are for LEU.  It has one reactor, conveniently supplied by the Russians on a long-term basis with take-back of spent fuel.

I could see perhaps in Iran some concern that at some point the Russians might turn off the fuel supply.  And I could see it as legitimate to build some reservoir of capacity against that objective, however unlikely that might seem.  But to go beyond there, what is eight tons of fuel going to do?  Is it for sale overseas?  Well, sell it.  Is it for use in some future, undefined, unknown and yet unfunded reactor program?  Well, tell us about it.

I think there is fertile use for conversations to begin to define this because, on the Iranian side, we understand they would like to have no more sanctions in place, at the end of the day.  And I can understand why – certainly against their nuclear program.  And they would like recognition of their right to enrich.

That is, of course, tied directly, clearly and completely, in my view, to what kind of program they intend to enrich for – that evanescent, somewhat elusive, undescribed civil program I’ve just decided, which should be on the agenda of the talks if they’re going to make any real progress because knowing the answer to that question will help to define, not just the basis on which we can trust the fatwa, but more importantly on the basis on which we can extend never before vouchsafed as an obligation by us from the DOD on down, the recognition of the Iranian right to enrich.  It’s in the NPT.  It has been temporarily taken away by the U.N. Security Council, and that will be dealt with, I suspect, if we get a deal.  And to some extent, that may be what concerns Iran.  And that can be changed, in my view, in the context of a deal.  But a deal has to have parameters.

One final point:  small steps.  I think that here, as we have seen – and Daryl laid this out very well – we have what I have come to call the horse for a rabbit problem.  The Iranian proposal is a kind of you give us your horse, no more sanctions, and we’ll give you a rabbit, a PMD, and maybe some description of a civil program; we’re not yet sure.

That’s not bad, but it’s not quite there yet.  And of course the timing of how these various steps come together is important, and it’s another thing that makes a grand bargain hard.  But it could help to define an early step.

And I have to say, with, I hope, equal candor and determination, that the Western proposals have their own horse for a rabbit context:  shutdown of Fordow, ending of 20 percent, sending out all of 20 percent, spare parts in return for airplanes – and I used to work for Boeing, so I think it’s a great idea, but that’s not either here nor there with respect to this particular issue – and some other efforts to help.  But at the moment I can see no sanctions relief.  We have now dangles today in the press about some sanctions relief, and hopefully that will be forthcoming.

I would be willing to start with something purely and simply as straightforward as moving all of the Iranian fuel to someplace away from where it could be easily upgraded, if, of course, it is done under IAEA control.  I’d be even happier for the Iranians to continue doing what they seemingly have been doing with a significant percentage of the 20 percent fuel, turning it into metallic powder, preparatory, hopefully, to making it into fuel elements, which means that rapid reversibility or rapid upgrading of 20 percent material has to move it back to gaseous form and then back into the centrifuge cascades, which builds in, I think, a little extra help on the process and should not be discounted or thrown away as a way to proceed.

But I think that asking the Iranians for a definition of what they need and then regulating the 20 percent production to an agreed definition is a very logical starting place.  If at the moment all 20 percent is being made at Fordow and no 3.5 percent is being made there, then of course stopping 20 percent or limiting 20 percent is a limited – is a limit on Fordow, even if it doesn’t shut the gates.  And shutting the gates, of course, is a deep Israeli concern, but in large measure that has to do with the military capability of taking out a difficult target, rather than necessarily reaching a joint agreement on the endpoint of an Iranian program that might continue.

So I think the four points I raised about the end state are important.  I think a very limited early step would be important, even if it doesn’t seem to be overwhelming.  And at the end of the day, because I’m a very low common denominator guy on talks, I think we’ve got to try to continue them.  I’d even be agreed for a date, time and place for the next meeting.

Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you, Tom.

Ambassador Mousavian.

SEYED HOSSEIN MOUSAVIAN:  Good afternoon.  First of all, I would like to thank Daryl and Arms Control Association for arranging this event.

I had a prepared a written 10-minute statement, but after Tom’s speech, I understood this is completely useless, and I had to make my mind, when you were talking, what to say.

Obama has been re-elected.  This is positive.  John Kerry now is secretary of state.  This is positive.  Everybody’s optimistic Chuck Hagel also would be secretary of defense.  This is also positive.

But tomorrow’s nuclear talks in Kazakhstan would fail, and I believe, despite of positive developments in the new administration/second term of Obama, this would continue to fail – any further negotiations in the future.

Let me too refer to three issues after the four points Tom raised.  The first is about the format of the P5+1.  I wonder whether any more this format would be constructive.  It seems the format – the composition of P5+1, five permanent members of United Nations Security Council plus Germany, is dysfunctional.  And I believe Europeans – also they have the same understanding; Americans – also they have the same understanding, perhaps Chinese and Russia also the same, although they cannot say.

Tom is right; when we were talking with EU-3, we failed because the U.S. was not on board.  When the U.S. joined to talks, there was two different school of thoughts in Iran.  The Iranian diplomats, including me, we were happy the U.S. is joining to direct talks, and it was a hope for us there would be a resolution.  But Iranian leadership was completely suspicious, and they believed this would be counterproductive, because the U.S. is not going to come to negotiations for good intentions.

Unfortunately, after five years, with the presence of the U.S., the situation has become much more complicated.  With the U.S. initiative, the file has been referred to United Nations Security Council.  Many international multilateral sanctions, resolutions, unilateral – American unilateral sanctions, European unilateral sanctions – this has made really the situation much, much more complicated, compared to 2005, to find a solution.

Nevertheless, to me, there is a new conclusion.  We should think whether to continue the P5+1 format or to create a new situation for Iran and the U.S. to sit together and to resolve the problem, rather than wasting the time for another – years, five years, 10 years.  I think this would be the best way and the shortest way.

But whether this would be possible or not, me and Tom – just we were talking before this event about interpretation of the recent statements by American/Iranian leaders on direct talks, and although there is a misunderstanding in the West about Ayatollah Khamenei’s statement on direct talks with the U.S., which – he said officially this would not be – this would not resolve anything, but in his statement he made it very, very clear that neither the nuclear talks – the direct talks with the U.S. is red line for Iran and nor normal relation with the U.S.

For him, for me, being 30 years in Iranian administration and familiar with his mindset and also, if someone reads very carefully his statement, for him to issue is important or to enter meaningful talks with the U.S. – one is about the U.S. language.  The U.S. has continued to use the language of threat.  And as long as the U.S. is talking with Iran with the language of threat, humiliation, Iranians – they would not come to any direct talks, because this would – practically means that Iran has raised a hand under pressures and threats, and they are not going to do it.

The second is about action.  The U.S., during 30 years, I mean, they have – many times they have proposed Iran for direct talks.  It is not only limited to President Obama.  But Iranians, they gauge the intention of the U.S. not by talks, words and invitations; they gauge by the U.S. actions.  And unfortunately, in parallel of invitation for direct talks, always the U.S. has escalated hostilities, pressures, sanctions.  Just the last event was Vice President Biden, you remember, two weeks ago in Munich, he invited Iran for direct talks.  At the same time, in Washington, the Congress passed a new legislation for more sanctions.  Iranians in Tehran, sitting in Tehran, they don’t pay attention to what Biden is talking about.  They look at Washington decision for more sanctions and pressures.  And these two have convinced Iran that they U.S. is not ready for a serious, genuine, meaningful talks.

Therefore, if Kerry – Senator Kerry is State Secretary Kerry wants to make a chance in Iranian mindset, the first one is what Tom said – I hundred percent agree – the Iranian perception is that the U.S. is after regime change.  But the second is to change the language, to use the language of respect rather than threats and humiliation.  He said, Ayatollah Khamenei said you are putting gun on our head, and you’re telling us, either negotiate or we will kill you.  What kind of negotiation is this?  And also to support your invitation for direct talks with positive actions, not with more hostility, in order to convince the Iranians that you have a good will.

My second point is about the IAEA role.  I believe as long as there is not a comprehensive deal between Iran and the international interlocutors, now P5+1, the IAEA should not go to discuss technical issues with Iran.  It doesn’t work, and definitely this would be counterproductive.  The IAEA has had two visit in last two, three months.  Both failed.  And I predicted before every of – both two visits, I said publicly this would fail.  This was a mistake by Iran.  This was a mistake by the IAEA.  It’s clear.

Iran has no problem for cooperate with the IAEA on technical ambiguities in the framework of safeguard agreement.  But the IAEA is asking Iran for inspections, accesses in the framework of additional protocol and even beyond additional protocol.  This possible military dimension issues, many of you may have heard.  The IAEA is asking Iran to give accesses in order to address these possible military dimension issues.

For Iran to give access, Iran should accept to give access beyond additional protocol.  There is no international arrangement beyond additional protocol, nothing.  Therefore, for Iran to accept additional protocol, a protocol with 70 countries – even today they have not signed, and – or for Iran to give access beyond additional protocol, there should be something in return.  The IAEA is not in position to discuss the reciprocations.  That’s why I believe first we need a deal.  And then the IAEA is welcome to Tehran, and I’m confident Iranians, they will cooperate for any level of transparency with the IAEA.

My last point is about content of a deal.  As far as I understand – if anyones understand differently, please correct me – the world powers, they have five major demands.  The first one is for Iran to implement additional protocol to enable the IAEA for intrusive inspections.  The second one is to implement subsidiary arrangement code 3.1, which would, again, bring more transparencies.  And the third one is to cooperate with the IAEA to address the possible military dimension issues, PMDs, which would require Iran to give access beyond additional protocol.  And the fourth one is to cap at 5 percent.  And the fifth is limiting the stockpile, enriched uranium stockpile.

If this is exactly this one – these five or more, it is not matter – it doesn’t matter.  The – but definitely, this is true that the P5+1, they are asking Iran two sets of measures:  One set’s for transparencies, whatever it is – additional protocol or – one set is about breakout capability, like cap at 5 percent.

Iranians also, they have two demands, as Tom mentioned:  for the P5+1 to respect of Iran under NPT for enrichment, the legitimate rights of Iran, not to discriminize (sic) Iran.  And the second:  Ultimately, sanction should be relieved – should be lifted.

The solution, in my understanding, is, first of all, the P5+1 in Iran, they should agree on the principles rather than discussing on the piecemeal steps or the first step.  The P-5, they can present Iran a list of measures on transparency, whatever it is.  It is additional protocol subsidiary arrangement, PMDs, access to Parchin or whatever it is.  The second sets of measures the P-5 can present to Iran is on breakout capability, on assurances of – on nondivergent of Iranian nuclear program toward nuclear weapons in the – in the future.  What can be the objective guarantees with the world powers that Iranian nuclear program would never diverge and Iran would stay as non-nuclear weapon state forever?

If they present these two sets of measures plus respecting accepting the two principles, the two major items Iran is asking, right, and sanctions, first, they need to accept – to agree on the principles, including all these three, the measures on transparency, the measures on breakout capability and Iranian demands.  If they agree, then the negotiations can go – (next ?), talks on definition of the first step, reciprocations, what – the priority a step is 20 percent or the priority a step is additional protocol – these can come later

But I believe Iran would be ready.  I believe Iran today is ready.  China is ready.  Russia is ready.  Part of Europeans are ready, part not, like France.

But the main problem, again, here is in Washington.  Washington is not ready to move on substantive sanctions at all.  As long as the U.S. and the P5+1 are not ready to recognize the rights of Iran and to move on sanctions, substantive sanctions, there would be no solution.  There would be no solution.

Just a friend of mine who had recently had a chance to talk with a member of P5+1 told me the next talks would be so-called – in Almaty would be about lifting targeted sanctions.  Targeted sanctions is what Tom said, the spare parts for airplanes or letting Iran to import gold or something like this.  If they want Iran to go for strategic move, they need to go for a strategic removal of sanctions.  Otherwise, I am not really optimistic we would reach to anywhere.

Daryl, you are right.  My time is over, but we will have time to talk in the panel.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

MR. KIMBALL:  Ali Nader, you're next.  We’ve already had a table set by our first two speakers.  Thanks for coming.

ALIREZA NADER:  Good afternoon.  Thanks for organizing this great panel.

I just want to put the negotiations in context, because I don’t really think that the Almaty negotiations or any other negotiations are just about Iran’s nuclear program.  Rather, it’s really about the relationship between the United States and the Islamic Republic.  The current problem is that it’s an issue of sequencing.  Iran wants the P5+1 to take certain actions to build confidence.  And the P5+1 wants Iran to take certain actions to build confidence first.  And this is really an issue because of the historical sense of distrust between the United States and Iran.  And that’s really the major impediment in the upcoming talks.

Now, why do the two sides not trust each other?  For the United States, a sense of distrust comes from the secretive nature of the Iranian nuclear program.  We’ll have to recall that Iran’s nuclear facilities at Natanz and Arak were not willingly revealed by the Islamic Republic but by other parties.  That in itself has created a sense of distrust.

Also, we have to remember that there is a strategic rivalry between the Islamic Republic and the United States, and negotiations have to be seen within that context.  It’s not just about a process or sequencing.  There’s a real competition going on here between the two countries.  Iran’s opposition to Israel, the Iranian regime’s support for terrorism and the very nature of the Islamic Republic creates a lot of doubts in Washington, D.C., regarding Iranian intentions.  And we’re not going to be easily able to solve that.

How does the regime view the United States?  With a lot of distrust.  The head of the regime, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, believes that the United States is fundamentally opposed to the Iranian revolution, that the United States just doesn’t oppose Iranian policies but the very essence of the Islamic Republic.  And this is what he has said repeatedly.  And also, the United States wants to overthrow and diminish Iran’s allies in the region, including the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad and eventually Hezbollah once, and if, but really once the Bashar al-Assad regime falls.  In addition, Khamenei believes that the United States wants to implement a velvet revolution in Iran – this is very actually cultural in nature; it’s not just about sanctions or a military attack – that the United States wants to support reformists and a civil society in Iran to overthrow the regime.

And so if the two sides have these fundamental perceptions of each other, we have to ask:  Can there be a reconciliation between the United States and the Islamic Republic?  And the answer is no.  As long as we have the current regime in Iran, we’re not going to see a normalization of relations with Iran.

Of course, there’s a convergence of interest as well, and I think that’s where we can be a little hopeful on the current crisis.  And that convergence is that neither side really wants to resort to military action to reach a solution.  There's all – there’s a lot of talk about the military option in Washington, D.C., and Tel Aviv, but both sides are reluctant to take military action.  Iran, of course, does not want military action, either.  A military conflict, you can make a very good argument, would be against the national interests of all sides.  Of course, we can’t rule out a military conflict because even if the United States does not want a military conflict, we may come to a point if negotiations fail that the U.S. may have to seriously undertake military actions or consider a military option.

Now, what does, really, Washington want?  It’s not a matter of Iran’s right to enrich uranium.  I think we’re willing to give that to Iran.  What we’re concerned about – the United States and its allies specifically – is an Iranian nuclear weapons capability.  Now, Ayatollah Khamenei has supposedly issued a fatwa, or an edict, saying Iran does not want nuclear weapons.  But that’s not good enough.  We also want to prevent Iran from having the capability, from building the infrastructure and enriching enough uranium so it can dash toward a nuclear weapons capability.  And today we see that Iran is shrinking that time, that it’s closing – getting closer and closer to that nuclear weapons capability by enriching uranium to 20 percent, by installing more advanced centrifuges, the IR-2 in Natanz, by continuing work at Fordow.  And Iran, of course, wants a recognition of its right to enrich uranium and the lifting of sanctions.

Now, a note on sanctions.  Ayatollah Khamenei has said that he will not negotiate with a gun put against his head, but given the nature of the distrust between the Islamic Republic and the United States, we need both positive and negative inducements to get Tehran to come to the table.  We can’t accept on good faith that Ayatollah Khamenei does not want nuclear weapons.  There has to be positive and negative inducements.

Now, we’ve heard a lot about the negative effects of sanctions.  No doubt, they’re hurting the Iranian population; they’re hurting the Iranian middle class.  And we can go on in terms of the statistics – Iran’s reduction of oil exports, et cetera, et cetera.  And of course the sanctions are hurting the Iranian population, unfortunately.  But also sanctions are affecting the regime as well.  These are not the kind of sanctions that the regime can escape from.  The Islamic Republic is deeply dependent on its oil exports.  Even its nonoil export economy is deeply suffering in terms of reduction in auto manufacturing and a number of other exports.  So over time, other elements of the regime, including the Revolutionary Guards and the bazaar in Iran, which form the pillars of Khamenei’s support, are going to feel the pressure of sanctions as well, and this will exacerbate the internal tensions in Tehran.

We’re facing the June 2013 presidential election.  The other week you saw Ali Larijani, the speaker of parliament, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad get in a big public fight.  And as the economic pie in Iran shrinks, the different factions vying for power and wealth are going to compete with each other even more.  Ahmadinejad always talks about an economic mafia running Iran, and he complains about this economic mafia.  And in reality, there are several economic mafias running Iran and they’re competing with each other.

And lastly, the Iranian population is also getting restless.  The crisis the regime faces today is not just about the nuclear program or the internal divisions in Iran.  It’s really a crisis of legitimacy.  We saw this crisis play itself out in 2009 with Iranians coming out into the streets.  And Iran has witnessed the rest of the Middle East really changing in a very dynamic way, so the same Arab Spring that we’ve seen in other countries might still be very possible in Iran.  The regime cannot avoid some of the internal contradictions within Iran.

Also, Iran’s regional position has greatly weakened over the years.  From 2003 to 2009, you could argue that the Islamic Republic was regionally ascendant, especially with the U.S. problems in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The regime in Baghdad that came to power after 2003 had very friendly relations with Iran; Hezbollah was able to withstand Israel’s military assault – or the military conflict between the two in 2006; Hamas took over the Gaza Strip.  And so a lot of groups allied with Tehran were very successful during that time, and a lot of regional actors saw Iran as an ascendant power.

I think things have really changed, especially since 2009.  The Iranian regime’s crackdown on protesters really showed the rest of the region what kind of regime this was, that it was not interested in protecting the rights of the downtrodden, but it was really willing to use violence and intimidation to hold onto power in Iran without any sort of democratic reforms.

And today we see that the Syrian regime may fall sometime soon, sooner or later, and this would be a big blow to Iran’s regional ambitions.  It would lose its major ally in the Middle East.  It would be effectively cut off physically from Hezbollah.  It would not be able to supply Hezbollah as well militarily.  So, all the indications are bad for the regime.

And when we talk about negotiations, of course, we don’t want to tell the other side you’re weak, we’re strong, so you have to make concessions.  That’s not what a good diplomat does.  However, fundamentally, Tehran has a weaker hand in this equation, and there are a lot of people in Iran who realize that.  So of course, Ayatollah Khamenei has said that he’s not a politician; he’s a revolutionary; his policy is resistance, that he’s not going to give in to the United States, that the United States uses the language of force.

But there are those around Ayatollah Khamenei who don’t necessarily see things the way he does, perhaps, that they realize Iran is under a tremendous pressure.  Many Iranian officials have talked about the dangers of sanctions.  A lot of people around Khamenei, or within the elite, anyways, realize that the regime is jeopardizing its own existence through its policies, and if the current negotiations in Almaty do not succeed, then we can expect to see increasing sanctions against Iran, pressure on Iran’s remaining trade partners, such as China, India and Turkey and even Pakistan, to cut off trade relations.

So unfortunately, for the Iranian people, anyhow, the worst is yet to come.  This is not an entirely positive situation, but I think it provides the United States and its allies with the opportunity to pursue their current policies without resorting to military force, in the hope that in the next several months and the coming years internal developments in Iran will give the United States an opportunity to forgo the military option completely.

Thank you.  (Applause.)

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you all very much.

We now are going to be turning the microphones over to you, after I open up the questions, so keep your hands up so that our – my staff can find you in just a second.

I wanted to bring us all back to the talks that are going to begin tomorrow and some of the early reports that have come out and ask you to respond to some of the things that are being said, apparently, by some of the U.S. officials earlier today and to ask you what your interpretation is, because I think some of this speaks to what Hossein Mousavian was talking about in terms of the U.S. trying to outline a pathway towards a better U.S. and Iranian relationship and a long-term solution, not just the piecemeal steps.

And there’s – there are – there’s a report this morning that the updated P5+1 proposal is a, quote, “real, serious and substantive offer,” said one U.S. diplomat.  “We are trying to outline a pathway for sanctions relief.  The president has been clear that if Iran keeps all obligations under the NPT, the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and the IAEA, there is absolutely a pathway for it to have peaceful nuclear power.”

So if we imagine for a moment that the offer is genuinely different, what would each of you say that that different package ought to be at this round in order to achieve some of that progress?  I just wanted to have you focus in on what some of those elements might be in that more serious or substantive offer.

So Tom, if you could start off, and then maybe Hossein, and then Ali, please.

MR. PICKERING:  Yeah.  Daryl, thanks.  I tried to cover some of this in my prepared remarks when I talked about maybe two different but related early packages.

I think that there’s clearly an effort on the part of the United States, for which I commend them, to see if they can, pardon the expression, enrich the sanctions menu.  But I think that has to happen.  I think the Iranian expectation is very high here.  But the notion that the sanctions menu should be completely devoid of a relationship with the nuclear program for which they would put on is probably a red line that’ll have to be crossed somewhere.  It doesn’t mean that the sanctions have to be on the trade in nuclear material so much as they have to have been put in effect for purposes of influencing Iranian nuclear program.  And I think that is a kind of useful effort if it can be (eked ?) over there.

One possibility is perhaps some of the EU sanctions on bank transfers and on petroleum.  Iran still depends on refined petroleum imports.  Another is possibly one that may or may not have a nuclear connection, but it bothers me.  It’s bothered me for a long time.  It’s the fact that we apparently give license, at OFAC in Treasury, for export of food and medicine, but we in effect have made it clear to the banking community in ways that they at least believe is unexceptionable that they cannot process any transfers to pay for the food and medicine.  So in fact, it’s giving with one hand and taking away with the other.

And I’m objecting to it because, having been involved in sanctions programs, including the massive sanctions on Iraq, where we specifically, in the U.N. resolutions, excluded food and medicine – it later got tangled up in Oil for Food, and we all know what a mess that was, but that was in large measure because of Saddam’s manipulation of the program and other people’s weaknesses in dealing with that manipulation, not so much the principle.  And I think the principle is pretty well-established that in sanctions regimes, you don’t attempt to punish the people for the sins of the regime, and you don’t attempt to deprive them of what are really the essentials, which are access to food and medicine, as long as they’re prepared and willing to pay for that on a reasonable basis.

And I think we ought to try to open that up as a gesture of good will as much as anything else.  We’re the bigger power.  We can, I think, afford to put things on the table, however much we may be criticized by some domestically for it, as a way of seeking to put on the table some bona fides that can help open it up.

We have problems here – I think Alireza was kind to mention sequencing.  And sequencing has two aspects.  The easiest aspects is how do you syncopate reciprocal measures for the implementation of a program, and the hard aspect is who takes the first big step to open the door.  And that’s a more difficult one.  And there I would think it’s probably in our interest to do that but even more in our interest to do that in a place where the policy principle of the United States is in favor of doing that rather than the other way around.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you.

Hossein, your thoughts?

MR. MOUSAVIAN:  First all, I have problem with the statement of the U.S. official when he says if Iran is committed under – for its obligation under NPT, that would be – make deal if the U.S. really mean it, but they don’t mean it.

Today they are asking Iran to stop 20 percent enrichment.  Under NPT, every member is permitted to have enrichment up to hundred percent.  When you are asking Iran to be committed to do enrichment below 5 percent, no other NPT member have committed officially to IAEA that they would be forever committed to do enrichment below 5 percent.  When they are talking with Iran on transparency measures, as I said, they are asking Iran for, on possible military dimension, to give access beyond an additional protocol.  This is beyond NPT.  It is nothing beyond additional protocol.

The real demand the P5+1 and the U.S., they have, majority of their demands goes beyond NPT.  Therefore, when they are publicly saying obligation under NPT, obligation under NPT is only one thing:  transparency, transparency within the safeguard, transparency within the Subsidiary Arrangement Code 3.1, and the maximum is transparency within the additional protocol – nothing beyond.

MR. KIMBALL:  Hossein, if I could just jump – go ahead – jump in here.

MR. PICKERING:  Could I – could I – the obligation under the NPT is not to acquire, produce or use nuclear weapons.  Transparency is a facilitative mechanism to provide assurance.  So the obligation is real.  The obligation is central.  The obligation, I would remind you, happens to accord completely with a text of the fatwa – there have been many – that I find the most prepossessing because it’s the one that’s clearest and most straightforward.

And so in that regard, it is very clear that the right to enrich is linked first to the obligation not to be military, but secondly, ipso facto, because there is only the alternative between military and civil, to a civil program.  And there is reason to ask Taiwan, South Korea, South Africa, others who are not nuclear powers but are committed to those obligations not to go beyond a nuclear civil program.  And to some extent, that’s what PMD is all about.  And to some extent, I can understand your wanting to clear it up later.  My own view is that clearing the history of the past is useful but not nearly as important as clearing the history of the future – was what we’re worried about.

MR. KIMBALL:  PMD, of course –

MR.  PICKERING:  And so we ought to focus on the future.

MR. KIMBALL:  PMD, of course – potential military dimension.

MR. PICKERING:  Possible – potential military developments – dimensions, I’m sorry.

MR. MOUSAVIAN:  But on – nevertheless, Tom, the instruments of the IAEA for inspections and transparency is these three instruments: a Subsidiary Arrangement called 3.1, safeguard and additional protocol.

MR. PICKERING:  Yeah, but you forget the history of the Iran program, in which the IAEA was involved, in which there was Security Council approval and in which there was, in fact, a hundred percent approval, even including Iraq, for a time, of an inspections system that went beyond.  And indeed, it was probably part of the inspiration for the additional protocol.  But my own view is that we ought to accord the inspection with the agreements that have been arrived at that have to be inspected.  And to some extent, if traditional safeguards are adequate for that, OK.  If the additional protocol is required, we would hope – but as you said, that’s purely voluntary.  That can’t be forced on the party.

On the other hand, if there are questions that have arisen on this – and I, like you, are in total agreement that the additional protocol ought to be standard and not voluntary, and we ought to do everything not to single out Iran as particularly a selective, separate case, even though there are some history problems having to do with things like purchase from Pakistan that don’t give rise to problems that will, in the long run, in Iran’s interest as well as the interests of the world, be better cleared up than left hanging.

And so, in those particular questions, I would hope that we would see this happen.  I think the imperative – the priority is really, as I said, to talk about the future.  What is Iran’s intention for the future?  What does it need for the TRR?  What does it need in low-enriched fuel?  What does it intend to do with that?  Where is that going?  I think some transparency in that area, even though you’re right – it is not part of the safeguards procedure, which is particularly related to the diversion of nuclear material – would nevertheless be in common interest.  And if it is a civil program, the notion of secrecy should not really apply, although as you have said, no – with all the threats of the use of military force, we may have given you a stronger reason for secrecy – (chuckles) – than we really intended in terms of talking about that program.

MR. MOUSAVIAN:  Whether the demands are legitimate, legal or not – this is another issue.  My point is, the current demand are beyond NPT.  This is a fact.

MR. PICKERING:  They are, but then you get into the Security Council.  (Laughs.)

MR. MOUSAVIAN:  No, no.  No problem.  Even Security Council resolutions are beyond NPT.

MR. PICKERING:  They are, but they’re binding.  (Chuckles.)

MR.  MOUSAVIAN:  OK.  No, no.  My argument is not that that is legitimate or illegal.  I consider it illegitimate.  But I’m talking about the statement of the U.S. official on the NPT.  This is beyond NPT.  My point is just here; that’s it.  But the best way to move forward is what I said – well, that the major principles to be agreed in order to assure Iran’s end state – they would respect the rights, and to ensure the P5+1 that there would be no nuclear weapon in Iran.  They should see both of them; they should see the end state of any solution.  But if they are not ready – if they are not ready for such a comprehensive package, if they are going just to discuss the steps forward, I believe the priority for the U.S. and the West is 20 percent enrichment.

If this is true, they want Iran to cap its enrichment at 5 percent.  And then they want Iran to limit its stockpile.  Iran has publicly said, we are ready to stop 20 percent enrichment.  I mean – and I am sure they would be ready to – for any deal on the stockpiles.  But the issue is with reciprocations.  Definitely, this is the big issue of no break-out capability.  This is the biggest issue on no break-out capability, capping at 5 percent.  But they are not ready to touch United Nations Security Council resolutions at all.  They are not ready to touch unilateral U.S. sanctions at all.  Therefore, there is only one option left:  for the Europeans to take these unilateral sanctions on oil and central bank if Iran is going to accept cap at 5 percent and limitation on its stockpile.

Otherwise, if they – if they are going to ask two very major, substantive issues from Iran, and to promise Iran that they would let Iran to have food or, I don’t know, spare parts or something like this, they are not going to get to anywhere.

MR. NADER:  The issue is reciprocity, but the country that’s under question is Iran, right?  It’s not P5+1.  So Iran has to make the first move to build confidence before the P5+1 can consider any sort of reciprocity because it’s Iran that’s in violation of the U.N. Security Council resolutions.

I think if Iran made steps that showed good will – stopping 20 percent uranium enrichment – which at this point doesn’t really even need that much 20 percent enriched uranium – then some of these other – you know, the sanctions that have been passed against Iran can be reconsidered, even the European sanctions.  And I think that – there you have reciprocity.  But it’s a matter of Iran making that first step, and I think that’s what the international community is waiting for, not just progress on Iran’s nuclear program where it installs more advanced centrifuges, but it does something that could also alleviate pressure on the U.S. administration because the U.S. government also faces a lot of political pressure in handling the negotiations.

If the P5+1 comes out and eases sanctions and there’s no reciprocity in Tehran, then that could leave the United States very exposed in this process.

MR. MOUSAVIAN:  No.  We are talking about proportionate reciprocations.  If Iran is going to stop 20 percent, what should be the reciprocation?  But when you say, Ali, Iran should show the good will, I believe the problem is not with Iran.  I really believe the problem is with the P5+1.  I’ll tell you why.  Everybody is crying today, scared about 20 percent.  This is the big issue.  But everybody forgets, Iran made the first good will in February 2010 when the Iranian foreign minister, Salehi, publicly announced – he said, we are enriching below 5 percent.  If the P5+1, they give us fuel rods for Tehran, we would not increase our enrichment to 20 percent.  This was a good will.

But miscalculation created by – most probably by Western agencies, intelligence agencies, because they believed Iran does not have capability to make 20 percent.  That’s why they believed Iran is bluffing.  They didn’t consider this as a good will.  They consider it as a bluff.  Then in September 2011 – you remember, Ali – Ahmadinejad was in New York.  Salehi was in New York.  They said, now we’ve made the 20 percent.  Now we have it.  Give us the fuel rod; we would stop it.  This was the second good will from Iran.  This was Iranian initiative not to go beyond 5 percent.  This was Iranian initiative to stop 20 percent.  This was the good will.

But again, miscalculation in the P5+1.  They believed Iran is bluffing; they don’t have capability to build fuel rods.  Within three months, they made the fuel rods.  And before, on 20 percent or any issues – Iranian to show good will – when I was negotiating, I was member of negotiation team who showed the good will.  We implemented additional protocol voluntarily.  We suspended enrichment voluntarily.  This was not the good will?  We gave access to Parchin.  This was not the good will?

But what did they reciprocated?  After all this good wills – implementing additional protocol, suspension, giving access to military sites – they came and they respectfully – they said, no, you should suspend your enrichment for indefinite period.  I said, what do you mean?  One year, two years, five years?  He said, we don’t know, maybe 10 years.  Is this good will?  You are completely wrong, because the problem is really the P5+1.

MR. KIMBALL:  And we are the P-3 – the three panelists plus one.  And I want to ask our panelists to – just an excellent discussion – try to be brief because we do have other questions that we want to try to address.  And let’s keep looking forwards because there’s a long history that we could unravel if we – if we had time to do so.

So I have a question right here in front – second row here – yes, sir.  If you could just identify yourself, ask your question briefly –

Q:  Jose Charbose (sp).  Ambassador Pickering, you mentioned now and also have mentioned before that this – using this amusing, interesting metaphor of horse for rabbit.  I think we all heard Ambassador –

MR. PICKERING:  It’s an old Texas expression is my understanding.  (Laughter.)

Q:  Right.  We heard Ambassador Mousavian and I just don’t want to let this opportunity to pass and see if you find, although he’s not representing Iran at the moment –

MR. PICKERING:  And I don’t represent the U.S.

Q:  Exactly.

MR. PICKERING:  So he’s – (inaudible) – already worked out.  (Laughter.)

Q:  Would you – would you find his articulations of at least Iranians point of view, you know, giving horse for horse because he’s talking about – or he’s pointing fingers to the facts of – problem of the language, problem of negotiation under pressure.  And you are a very, of course, a skilled diplomat.  How would you address these problems that he’s raising?

MR. PICKERING:  Well, I think – look, I think he and I are both getting closer together.  The horse is getting smaller and the rabbit is growing.  And I think that’s what the U.S. was trying to do.  Admittedly, one can pick holes in some of the expressions and one can take a look at this.  And I don’t doubt that there are elements of good will for Iran.

I think there are elements of good will for the United States – it finally joined the talks, it’s decided to try to make proposals, its secretary of state at least has made pretty clear that the no-enrichment forever proposal or for 10 years is seemingly no longer a central part of where the U.S. is going.  It’s conditioned, but that’s there.  The U.S. has tried to expand sanctions relief.  It’s now talking about gold.  It should probably be talking, although it isn’t yet, about no new sanctions if we can get a process going.  I think that’s inevitable and should be there and that’s important.

There’s a lot to do here.  As I said in my own discussion, it would be very helpful for the experts to have a talk with leading Iranian experts on what their plan is for their nuclear program.  One of the things that bothers us most is the large accumulation of LEU with no apparent use for it.  I’ve sat down and worked hard to try to figure out some uses that Iran could put on the table hopefully to justify at least a portion of what it already has.

But that isn’t where that particular engine – (inaudible) – should come from, but it would be hopeful and helpful to know, as Hossein said, that they’re ready to stop at 20 percent.  OK, well, what do they need?  And do they expect us, as we have offered, to do that and to eliminate all those, or can they use some of their 20 percent for their own fuel rods?  I have no objection to that.

That goes ahead under supervision and it takes it even to a less easily reversible form for breakout.  And Hossein is right; I agree with him that a very, very big preoccupation now is on Iran positioning itself where it could engage in a rapid breakout.  And that’s a central piece of what we’ve been talking and particularly – talking about particularly in an effort to describe the end state in terms that both sides could agree on.

I think that if Iran wants us to recognize its right to enrich, that, in my view, is important only on the basis that we would at some point change the Security Council resolution which seeks to mandate no enrichment in Iran.  And I think that that would be a perfectly logical way to do that and that could also be accompanied by words.

But if Iran finds it difficult in trusting our words about regime change, why is it easy to trust our words about the right to enrich?  We’ll have to figure out actions to take, I think, to accompany those as we would expect Iran would take actions to accompany things like limitations to 5 percent, or whatever can be agreed here.

This is a very difficult problem.  Getting started is hard.  There are elements of having gotten started and then they were rebuffed or ignored.  We need to get out of that particular mode.  We need to find our way forward.  My own views – and I disagree with Alireza – I think that it’s probably anybody who has good intentions’ obligations to see that this process gets started one way or another.

I’ve suggested some ways the U.S. could do that.  There are ways that Iran can do that.  If we do something to get the process started, hopefully that could be reciprocated.  It is good news that we’re meeting.  I could remember three or four years in a row where we met once a year – came for a meeting, dismissed the other side’s point of view, walked away and spent the next year negotiating the next meeting.  That’s not, in my view, very productive.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right, other questions.  Greg, please, and then –

Q:  Greg Thielmann, Arms Control Association.  Alireza Nader mentioned that the fall of Assad in Syria would be a big blow to Iran and Hezbollah.  I’m just wondering what Ambassador Mousavian and Undersecretary Pickering think about how Syria plays in the background of these negotiations?  Is Assad’s problem a help to the P5+1 or a hindrance because it encourages the Iranians to dig in more?

MR. KIMBALL:  Tom?  Hossein?  You want to start?

MR. PICKERING:  Go ahead, Hossein, yeah.

MR. MOUSAVIAN:  I also believe the Syria issue is not about Syria, is about Iran.  But having experienced eight year war, 1980 to 1988, I really cannot imagine Islamic Republic of Iran would have ever challenged with such a situation.  We had eight years’ war, correct?  All regional countries – all of them, U.S., Europe, Soviet Union – all international community, they were supporting aggressor.  They boycotted Iran on everything the time – the whole eight years I was in Iran.

Iran started a war when Iran could not produce –

MR. PICKERING:  Iraq.

MR. MOUSAVIAN:  No, no.  No, no.  No, no.  The war – I mean, when Iraq invaded Iran.  Iran started to defend when Iran didn’t have – couldn’t produce one bullet – one bullet.  Everything Iran was 100 independent to U.S., West – conventional arms, 100 percent.  Today’s situation definitely for Iran is not worse than that time because the country just right after revolution was very vulnerable, the system was not established.  Iraq invaded Iran.  Not one country, two country – everybody, Europe, U.S. – everybody was supporting – even they used chemical weapons with the support of the West.

One hundred thousand Iranians, they were killed or injured.  One million Iranians, they were killed.  But after the war, Iran possessed conventional ore, building missiles, tanks, artilleries.  And where is Saddam?  I believe these sanctions today is really – definitely is less than what Iran experienced during eight years’ war – definitely.  And Syria is a small issue compared to 1980 to 1988.  This is the potential – unfortunately, the West is really – has problem to understand the potential of Iranians.

They are very different with some regional Arab countries – big nation, human resources – enormous human resources, very clever strategic resources.  They can deliver.  The notion of sanctions is really important – (inaudible) – to understand for the United States about sanctions.  In 2005, when the U.S. decided to – (inaudible) – Iranian file to United Nations Security Council and to launch the sanctions, at that time Iran had about 1,000 centrifuges.

After sanctions, today Iran has over 10,000 centrifuges.  That time, Iran was enriching below 5 percent, now is 20 percent.  That time, Iran was working with IR-1, the first generation.  Now they have two – second generation, third generation, fourth generations.  That time, they couldn’t produce fuel rods.  Today they produce.

More sanctions, more nuclear capability.  This is Iranian psychology.  They want to tell the U.S. and the West, we would not give in on their sanctions.  As Alireza said, definitely sanctions have harmed Iranian nation, no doubt about it.  But if the target for the sanction is and was and is about the nuclear issue, more sanctions?  You should – you should prepare yourself for more enrichment, more capability, more capacity.  This is the race they can continue.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right, let’s take a couple questions in sequence.  Yes, ma’am, you, and then in the rear, please.

Q:  Rachel Oswald, Global Security Newswire.  One thing that hasn’t been touched on today is the things that are happening behind the scenes, namely the covert war against Iranian atomic scientists and rocket scientists, assassinations that may or may not be happening with help from U.S. intelligence, and the U.S. cyberwar that we know is happening and, as we know, has success.

Do you think that Iran can be expected to believe the United States is really not looking for regime change or is speaking in good faith if they continue this covert war and cyberwarfare even while it – while it says it’s interested in possibly lifting sanctions?  And should those two things be halted, you know, to give – to give, you know, I guess, diplomacy a shot?

MR. KIMBALL:  And who are you addressing that to?  All –

Q:  The panel at large.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  All right, and then we have a question in the – towards the rear, please.  Yes, sir.  If you could identify yourself.

Q:  OK.  Thank you for taking my question.  I have two questions, Mr. Pickering and also Mr. Mousavian.  And my question is how do you assess about the recent nuclear test of DPRK?  And do you think there is a difference about a U.S. approach between Iranian program and DPRK program?  Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  All right, so first question.  Gentlemen, want to take a shot?  Ali?

MR. NADER:  On – the sabotage and the cyberattacks are designed to slow down Iran’s program.  And we have to remember part of U.S. policy has also been to restrain an Israeli strike against Iran, so some of these policies that you see, including sanctions, are meant to also reassure our allies, and not just Israel but other countries in the region, especially the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, including Saudi Arabia.

Now, we can argue whether those policies are productive or not.  In terms of our reassuring allies, perhaps you could argue they’re productive.  In terms of inducing Tehran to make concessions on their program, probably not.  I mean, just assassinating individual Iranian nuclear scientists to me doesn’t seem that productive.  But they were meant to slow down the Iranian program.  The cyberattacks against Natanz seemed to do so for a while, but then we’ve seen Iran’s program advance.  So I’m not sure actually how those attacks are productive in terms of getting Tehran to negotiate on the issue.

MR. PICKERING:  I would not disagree with Ali at all.  I think that particularly the assassinations disturb me.  That’s, I think, been made clear by Secretary Clinton.  She too condemns, and I think that that’s a clear indication of U.S. government intent – at least I hope it is – and U.S. government involvement.

My own view is that as the process of the developing Iranian program went ahead, slowing it down has been an objective for a long period of time, whether it involves Stuxnets or the interruption of external supply.  And that’s been a policy pursued with other countries.

On the DPRK, if I can come to that, for different reasons, I believe, different approaches to the use of military force have been taken.  Happily in neither case, in my view, has it resulted in the use of military force, although I think the U.S. deeply regrets that the North Koreans have advanced their program to the test stage.  I think it’s a serious mistake.

I’m not sure what we can do next.  The Chinese seem to be, at least to some significant extent, concerned because the North Koreans are being depended upon by China to provide a buffer of stability on their border while at the same time they are creating a zone of great instability on China’s border.  And at some point we would hope China would play a more forceful role, since they seem to have a great deal more influence – (chuckles) – than we do in that particular set of activities.  But one would hope as well that the example of a failure to support united action in North Korea would be also a lesson China would pick up with respect to dealing with Iran.

My view is that in both cases, we ought to seek at the negotiating table as long as it is possible and open to us answers to the particular questions involved.  But seemingly we can do that only with a more united support around the negotiating table to get in that direction.

MR. MOUSAVIAN:  On North Korea, I have already frequently said Iranians, they believe a very clear double standard of the U.S. and the P5+1, because North Korea withdrew from NPT and tested nuclear bomb.  Iran is member of NPT and doesn’t have nuclear bomb, and there is no diversion, even.  But the level of sanctions on Iran is more than North Korea.  And this is double standard of the U.S. and the West of having strategic relations with countries like India, Pakistan while they are not member of NPT and they have nuclear bombs.  I agree with Alireza.  The issue is not nuclear.  The issue is Iran-U.S. hostilities, and the problem is exactly here.

But on covert actions, again, this is like sanctions.  Remember when they started covert actions in 2010, Stuxnet or assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist, within three years, Iran has established one of the most powerful cyberarmy in the world.  This is the gift of the U.S. and the Israelis to Iranian nation.  Now today they have most – if not most, they are between top five most powerful on the cyber issue.

This is the – this is the reaction of Iranians.  If they believe they can – with killing one or two nuclear scientists or Stuxnet, they can stop it, then the reaction is this.  As long as they cannot understand this Iranian mentality, they would continue their mistakes.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right, I want to conclude our session, because we’re out of time, with one concluding question for all the panelists to try to wrap things up.

We’ve heard – I mean, this has been a very rich discussion.  I think we get a sense of how challenging the discussions are in – going to be in Almaty because there’s such a long history, there are so many different perspectives, there are so many grievances on both sides, and yet in there somewhere are some areas of agreement.  And it’s important for the diplomats to try to tease those out.  I think if you were listening carefully, you heard some key areas of agreement amongst our panelists, despite some of the different perspectives.  That doesn’t mean that a solution is possible, but it’s perhaps somewhere out there.

And what I wanted to ask each of you to try to answer briefly is whether you believe in 2013 there may be progress towards resolving the long-standing nuclear disputes and very briefly, if so, why you think there is a chance for progress.

So let me start with Ali, and we’ll come down this way to Tom.

MR. NADER:  I think there – yes, there may be some progress.  I wouldn’t necessarily bet money on it, because we can see the same thing in 2014 and 2015 and see this situation drag on.

The only reason I think that there may be some progress is because Tehran is feeling a lot of pressure economically through sanctions.  And yes, a nuclear program has advanced, but you have to take into account the tremendous damage sanctions are doing to Iran as a country but also, I think, the regime ultimately.  And the leadership in Tehran has faced increasing pressure and is going to face more pressure to be more flexible on the nuclear program.  So that, I think, is a cause for some hope, if you want to call it that.

And I think when it comes time to negotiations, I think the P5+1, of course, should be more flexible.  For example, some of the demands – closing down Fordow – initially might not be as flexible as perceived by Tehran because that gives it a lot of leverage.  So I think there is also room for P5+1 to maneuver, and hopefully, if Iran comes to the table with some confidence-inducing measures, then the P5+1 will reciprocate.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right, thanks.

Hossein.

MR. MOUSAVIAN:  (Chuckles.)  I believe there would be definitely a breakthrough if the U.S. changes its original strategy toward Iranian nuclear issue and Iranian – global issues with Iran.

I disagree with Alireza said, as long as Islamic republic remains, there would be no solution to Iran-U.S. relations.  I believe within at least a decade we would have neither regime change in Washington nor in Tehran.  (Laughter.)  Therefore, forget this regime change issue.

We should try to find a solution realistically.  Everything is – it depends, I believe, to Iran-U.S. relations.  In parallel to U.S. – to P5+1 on nuclear talks with Iran, we need to work on Iran-U.S. relations.  We need to remove this – the mistrust between Iran and the U.S.

I believe the best way to create trust between Iran and the U.S. is to start from the issues of common interests.  For 33 years Iran and the U.S. – I mean more U.S. – is concentrated on the issues of disputes, like peace process or terrorism or nuclear.  There are a lot of fields and issues, like Afghanistan, like Iraq, like drug trafficking, which they have common position, common stance.  If today the U.S. is going to withdraw from Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran can assist.  Stability of Afghanistan and Iraq is extremely critical to Washington and Tehran.  Washington and Tehran, they are supporting the same governments in Baghdad and in Kabul, while the U.S. allies in the region, they are working against both governments.

Therefore, why they cannot sit together to cooperate to create confidence?  Confidence through common-interest issues definitely would work more than confidence through these issues of disputes.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you.

Tom?

MR. PICKERING:  I, like Ali and Hossein, hope there will be – hope there will be a process that will lead somewhere.  Unlike Ali, I’d be willing to put a little money on a positive outcome – not a lot, but I’d be willing to put a little money on it.  (Laughter.)

I think that several issues stand in the way.  The U.S. is moving, and it’s coming very close to a point where Iran will have to think very carefully.  It’s coming close to a point where it is trying to put on the table what it is Iran keeps saying it really wants, and it’s not incompatible with U.S. objectives:  a civil nuclear program under full transparency without sanctions in a process that can go ahead with international support, monitoring and supervision.

To some extent, Hossein, what you consider to be the misbehavior of the United States has been matched by the elements of mistrust that the United States feels about Iran, however good or ill may be.  To some extent, in the end, it will not be possible to argue that the pressure tactics should prevent Iran from achieving what it says it wants, which is coming close to being put on the table.  And I think it’s within reach in a serious negotiation.  And a serious negotiation has to have more than one-day meetings, which seems to be some kind of de rigeur arrangement that nobody is willing to break yet.  But we need to find a way around that.

I agree with you a hundred percent on bilateral relationships.  But if, in fact, you’re going to have a kind of preliminary precondition from the supreme leader that somehow we have to find a way to wash our souls in public so they’re whiter than snow, I don’t know how we’re going to do it.  It is not, in my view, within the range of possibility if that’s a precondition.  A precondition will stand in the way of achieving what you say are your objectives.  And so it is important.

We have, I think, quite carefully eschewed preconditions for conversation, despite the fact that there is inordinate preoccupation with PMD, with Parchin and with other issues that still hang on out there.  And so we need to find a way through that hurdle because I couldn’t agree with you – you made a much better statement about the value and importance of bilateral negotiations than I did.  And I’m totally in agreement with you, and we need to think about how to find a way over the hurdles that now seem to have been popping up with respect to that particular question.

I suspect, like a lot of these things, at rock bottom, they’re domestic political concerns, and we have to understand that.  And I in my country and, I think, you in your country have to do our best to make people believe and understand that leadership is leadership, that when it comes to overcoming domestic political concerns, if the risk is worth taking, then we can’t rule by the polls; we have to encourage our leaders, on those few things that make a serious difference, to reach out and stake a position even if it does present some dangers.

We’re in a good position now because we in fact have four years to the next election.  You’re in a good position because you have an indeterminate time for supreme leadership to stay in power.  All of this, in my view, gives us an opportunity, and 2013 is a good year to pick up that opportunity.  And I hope that in fact, we can find ways to overcome what seem to be the drags on the process.  And I’m not saying they’re all on one side or the other side; they’re on both sides.

But the opportunity to discuss those in public and talk about ways in which we’re in agreement – and I agree with you on Afghanistan and Iraq.  And I wrote an article with friends three years ago saying we ought to find a way to try to begin to attack some of those questions in parallel, in conjunction or, indeed, in a different format if that’s necessary as a way to increase the possibility of building confidence between us.  And I think now 2013 is a good year to think about that as well.

But thank you, Daryl, for the opportunity.  And thank you and the Arms Control Association for everything you do to promote good sense and, I hope, rationality in what is sometimes a field where that is rare.

MR. KIMBALL:  Well, thank you, Tom.  (Applause.)

And thank you all for a very rational, very interesting and rich conversation.  This is not going to be the last one that we have on this topic – (laughter) – for better or worse.  (Laughter.)  And there’s far more on the Arms Control Association website and in our new briefing book on the history of efforts on this subject, the options for the diplomats in Almaty.

We look forward to seeing you once again.  We are adjourned this afternoon.  Thanks for coming.  (Applause.)

(END)

 

Description: 

After an eight-month hiatus, the resumption of negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 group on February 26 in Almaty, Kazakhstan offers a critical opportunity to move toward a diplomatic solution to the long-running standoff over Tehran's sensitive nuclear activities.

Country Resources:

TRANSCRIPT AVAILABLE: Iran 2013: Making Diplomacy Work

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Body: 

Arms Control Association and National Iranian American Council present

Iran 2013: Making Diplomacy Work
Featuring Zbigniew Brzezinski
and a panel discussion
with
Rolf Ekéus, Ahmad Sadri, and James Walsh

Monday, November 26
Time: 9am to 12pm
101 Constitution Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C.

The coming year will present critical opportunities to resolve the decade-long Iranian nuclear standoff. With sanctions escalating, Iranian nuclear capabilities increasing, a soft war simmering and the threat of a full blown military conflict on the horizon, it has never been more vital that the United States and Iran find a diplomatic off ramp to prevent disaster.

With the conclusion of the U.S. presidential election behind us and a brief window before Iran enters its own election season, it is essential that the key parties renew stalled diplomatic efforts to  prevent war and prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. There are strong indications that a new round of P5+1 negotiations will commence before the end of this year.

Critical questions remain unanswered: how do the parties finally make diplomacy work? What does an agreement look like? And what is the best path the parties must take to get there?

You can see video coverage of the event here at CSPAN.

Transcripts Available:

Panel on Diplomacy and Iran's Nuclear Amitions: Former head of the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq Rolf EkéusDr. Ahmad Sadri, Professor of Sociology and Anthropology and James P. Gorter Chair of Islamic World Studies at Lake Forest College, and Dr. James Walsh, Research Associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Security Studies Program.

Keynote Speaker: Former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski.


 

Transcript by
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.

Panel on Diplomacy and Iran's Nuclear Amitions

TRITA PARSI:  Good morning.  If I can ask everyone to take their seats.  Welcome to the Arms Control Association and the National Iranian American Council’s conference titled “Iran 2013: Making Diplomacy Work.”  My name is Trita Parsi, I’m the president of the National Iranian-American Council, and welcome to all our viewers on C-SPAN as well.

It’s been almost exactly four years since President Obama so famously extended his hand of friendship in the hope that the Iranians would unclench their fists.  Yet today, after a few rounds of diplomacy, plenty of more sanctions and centrifuges, there are plenty of clenched fists on both sides and very little talk about friendship.  There’s been timid attempts at diplomacy, but political constraints on both sides have been difficult to bend, and old habits of enmity difficult to break.  Obama’s window for diplomacy in 2009 was quickly closed by the human rights abuses in Iran following the fraudulent elections there, and as well as a growing pressure from Congress as well as some U.S. allies in the region against diplomacy.  Focus shifted to sanctions and Tehran responded by further expanding its nuclear program, leaving both sides worse off today than they were a few years ago.

In the meantime, sanctions have helped (disintegrate ?) the Iranian middle class and further impoverish the population while the regime’s repression and human rights abuses have continued to intensify and its nuclear program has continued to expand.  But a new window for – opportunity for diplomacy has opened through Obama’s convincing re-election, and in the next few months, up until the Iranian new year, both sides enjoy maximum political space and maneuverability to negotiate effectively.  The logic of diplomacy is obvious.  It’s the only option that can truly resolve this issue.  Sanctions can cripple Iran’s economy at the expense of decimating the pro-democracy movement there, but sanctions alone cannot resolve this issue.

The military option can set back the program for a year or two, but only at the expense of insuring that a vengeful Iran eventually gets the nuclear weapon.  Only diplomacy can provide a real and sustainable solution.  This is no mystery to President Obama, who, at his November 14th press conference, declared his dedication to a diplomatic solution.  I quote him, “there should be a way in which, they, the Iranians, can enjoy peaceful nuclear power while still meeting their international obligations and providing clear assurances to the international community that they’re not pursuing a nuclear weapon.  And so, yes, I will try to make a push in the coming months to see if we can open up a dialogue with – between Iran and not just the United States, but the international community to see if we can get this thing resolved,” end quote.

Diplomacy is the obvious option, but it’s not obvious how diplomacy can succeed.  Today, we have some of the foremost experts on this issue with us to help cast light on this question and help find a way to make diplomacy succeed in 2013.  And later, after the panel discussion, we will hear from former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, whose lucid analysis never fails to impress or enlighten.  Before I hand it over to Daryl Kimball, the executive director of the Arms Control Association, let me also thank our sponsors, whose generous support for our work has made this conference possible.  They are the Ploughshares Fund and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

Daryl, the floor is yours.

DARYL G. KIMBALL:  Thank you very much, Trita, and thank the National Iranian American Council for working with the Arms Control Association on this event.  I’m Daryl Kimball; I’m the executive director of ACA.  It’s a pleasure to be here, and as Trita said, this issue has been lingering with us for some time, even before President Obama came into office.  The United States, China, France, Germany, Russia – known as the P5+1 – and the United Kingdom – have tried to negotiate with Iran over its nuclear program.  Both sides have fumbled the fleeting opportunities to reduce the risk of a nuclear-armed Iran, and to prevent the risk of war – to reduce the risk of war over that nuclear program.

Since 2007, U.S. and Western intelligence agencies have assessed that Iran is nuclear-capable, meaning that Iran has a scientific, technical and industrial capacity, eventually, to produce nuclear weapons if it decides to do so, and those intelligence agencies continue, to this day, to assess that Iran has not yet made a decision to do so.  The intelligence agencies and independent experts also believe that, starting from today, Iran would require several months to acquire enough fissile material for just one bomb and still more time to build a deliverable nuclear weapon.  Secretary of Defense Panetta recently estimated that it would take two to three years to do so, and the latest International Atomic Energy Agency report, based on its ongoing inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities – particularly the Fordow and the Natanz enrichment facilities – find that Iran continues to expand its enrichment capacity – uranium enrichment capacity; it’s enriching more uranium, including to 20 percent levels, which is closer to the 90 percent for weapons-grade, and Iran continues to refuse to address the IAEA’s questions about the potential military dimensions of its nuclear program, and it continues to resist tougher international inspections known as the IAEA Additional Protocol.

So we believe that there is time, and clearly there is an interest from all parties to reach a diplomatic solution, and after several rounds of negotiations between the P5+1 group and Iran, it looks as though there will be a new round of talks in the next month or perhaps early in 2011.  It’s also clear that the two sides have put forward specific, concrete proposals, but those proposals have some different ideas, particularly about the sequencing of the steps necessary to assure the international community that Iran’s program is peaceful and to, from the Iranian perspective, start to roll back the very tough national and international sanctions that are in place.

So we’ve organized today’s session just about a month after the U.S. presidential election to focus – have a focused discussion on the options now for the P5+1 group and Iran in this next round of talks, which could provide the best opportunity in a long time to resolve this long-running impasse to guard against a nuclear-armed Iran, a potential military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities over its program, or both.  So we’re very honored today to have three of the world’s top experts on these issues – on nuclear non-proliferation and the Middle East region; we have with us, to my immediate left, the former head of the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq, Ambassador Rolf Ekéus, who is here with us from Sweden.  We have Dr. Ahmad Sadri, who is professor of sociology and anthropology and the James P. Gorter chair of Islamic world studies at Lake Forest College, and we have Dr. Jim Walsh, research associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and security studies program.

And we’ve asked each of them to take about five to seven minutes to provide their perspectives on three basic questions.  With the new window of opportunity open for diplomacy, what are the next steps that each side can and should take to resolve the proliferation concerns and reduce the risk of war?  How might each side adjust their respective proposals to get to a win-win situation for both sides, and what are the best – what’s the best path for both parties to take to get there?  Could, for instance, additional direct U.S.-Iran talks help advance progress?  And so, we’re going to hear from each of them for about five to seven minutes; afterwards, we’re going to be taking questions from reporters first, and then from our audience on the three-by-five cards in your folder.  So as questions occurs to you, you might jot those down and someone will take the cards and pass them forward in just a few minutes.

So with that introduction, welcome, everyone, and Ambassador Ekéus, if you could start us off, to give us your perspectives on those key questions for the next phase.

ROLF EKÉUS:  Yeah, thank you.  I must say that if we don’t do much, we continue – and there is a high risk that landscape would look the same, you know, if – quite – while Iran will continue, of course, its enrichment, acquire reactor fuel.  It may improve its capabilities, even (order ?) the robust capability to go up to 20 percent – Israel and U.S. will build their case for a military action.  Low-level violence will continue against – you know, against Iran in various forms, and Iran and Israel will plan to escalate, prepare an attack on the reactors considering the – you know, potential success of the Syria – operation against the facility in Syria, and this will all remove Iran’s constraints to acquire nuclear weapons.

So we are in really concern situation, and let me add – the people of Iran will continue to suffer under very tough sanctions.  So there are two things which must change: diplomacy and the inspections.  First diplomacy – you asked if it was 5 plus one has served, I think, the purpose of a united front.  5 plus 1 – United Nations Security Council-related global responsibility there.  Europeans like to prefer 3 plus 3, which means that the European Union is a major player.  I’m a little nervous about that, but if you are in Europe, you had better to say 3 plus 3, otherwise you will not be served dinner.  (Laughter.)

But I think it is – 5 plus one, of course – it is important to keep on, but I think U.S. shall not do as it has done – hide inside this group.  U.S. has now time to take a responsibility and to change – to start with its relations with Iran.  Isn’t it time now to – so they gave up on the occupation of the U.S. embassy in connection with the Islamic Revolution, 1979.  And should it also – the Iranians tried to forget the shooting down in the Gulf of Iranian airliner, and we have – I think Americans will remember, Iran was not part of 9/11.

It is very difficult to me – what’s a problem to being a diplomatic relations with Iran?  There was no problem for the U.S. to have – I think, Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower had relations with Stalin.  My God, Stalin is something much worse, but these leaders are – there is a sort of nervousness to be in touch with something which is not totally wonderful, and I – what I think is interesting, though, that U.S. and Iran must recognize that they have serious common interests in the region.  It is, first of all, the Afghanistan – 2014, the NATO military presence will be terminated, and something must replace that, and there is a special situation, I must say, where the U.S. and Iran – a common interest that the Talibans – that al-Qaida – and they’ll take over that country, and I think there is a very, very important possibility.  Iraq, the same thing – where is Iraq going?  It’s – I think it is high time that U.S. and Iran start a dialogue on these two strategically important issues – totally neglected; I’m a little upset about that.

Of course, what U.S. must swallow is, it has to eliminate all talking about regime change in Iran.  It is up to the Iranian people – the reformists, the people who like to change the society.  It’s not United States which should make a regime change, and, of course, therefore, I think, to establish diplomatic relations, send an – why run the dialogue with Iran via Switzerland or – I mean, wonderful diplomat, wonderful people, but still – (laughter) – you have to have – why not take on – have the courage to talk to the other guy and try to establish a relations?  And do not send information through newspapers or Brussels or other places.  It is – U.S. should establish its own direct dialogue.  So that’s one thing.

And the other – the inspections – and I think they’re – it is almost too simple to be true.  I mean, one should recognize Iran’s right to enrichment technology, but one should also start the gradual process of lifting the sanctions – economic and other.  Of course, this wouldn’t be for free.  That must be an intrusive, permanent monitoring system, including an early warning system, inside Iran’s nuclear establishment.  This – I will talk later about how it shall be done, because we have examples.  This, of course, would also to prevent a breakout program or evidence would immediately give signals to the  international community and be the cause – a breakout program should meet with tough – with tough sanctions.  So – well, I think I’ll stop here.  I come back to – (inaudible).

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you very much.  Ambassador Sadri – (laughs) – Professor Sadri –

JIM WALSH:  Just been promoted.

MR. KIMBALL:  You’ve been promoted.

AHMAD SADRI:  I accept the promotion.  (Laughter.)

MR. KIMBALL:  Your perspectives on the next steps in the next round?

MR. SADRI:  What a wonderful basis to start with.  Indeed, 34 years hiatus in Iran-U.S. relations, subsuming the last 10 years of nuclear negotiations, provides a ground for pessimism.  So people will say, well, no time is a good time to start negotiating with Iran.  A perfect time will never come, and I think right now is the right time, right after the American elections and right before the Iranian elections start.  Do you remember back in 2008, when we were in the same point in the same, except right now, on the ground, the situation is much worse.  There is more fissile material, there is more ill will and there is less of an optimism.

So I would say this is the perfect time to start the negotiations.  In 2008, the Obama administration didn’t go for it, calculating rationally that probably a settlement of the issue at the time would benefit President Ahmadinejad and help him in his bid for a second round.  Well, we all know what happened; that election didn’t work, there was unrest in the streets, and the turmoil completely consumed the rest of the – that year, and so basically, I think, this is as good as any time to start the negotiations.  So what is the starting – what is stopping us from doing this?  Of course, there is a synergy of inaction on both sides, and there is vested political interests to generate a kind of in-group solidarity from the image of a demonized other on the other side, but there is only one way to break this logjam, and that is boldly.

I think the two sides should come at this block of marble and see this statue inside the block, apply two things – apply pressure, force, but also perspective to bring out a new compromise out of this situation, and there are risks and there are rewards in this; any politician who openly says, I’m going to make peace with the other side and resolve this issue would be pilloried for suggesting it and probably hanged if they didn’t succeed, but there are also great rewards, because we all know the politician, to cut this 10-year-old Gordian knot, will have a place in history.

So what is keeping the supreme leader of Iran, Khamenei, from coming forward?  I had an occasion, 27 years ago – maybe I’ll talk about it later in question-answer – to – that persuaded me that Ayatollah Khamenei has a very conspiratorial, if not paranoid mind about Americans.  To say that he is weary of American (wires ?) and negotiators is really to understate the problem.  But of course, we all know that just because you’re paranoid that the crocodile might be hiding under your bed doesn’t mean that there is no crocodile under your bed.  (Laughter.)  In order to get an insight of how Iranians are looking at this, there’s a new book by the Iranian chief negotiator that’s on Amazon.  It’s called “The Iranian Nuclear Crisis: A Memoir,” by Hossein Mousavian, and it gives you a very good insight of how Iranians are looking at this.

There is a scene in this book where Mousavian walks in and there is a new delegation, and they are saying, well, let’s start the negotiations and our proposals; one of the items is, while the negotiations are going on, please don’t enrich uranium.  So Mousavian asks, well, how long do you think it’s going to go on?  They say, well, about 10 years.  (Laughter.)  So I mean, Americans – some suspect Iranians of running the clock; that is running the clock.  And when he goes to the Khamenei and says, well, this is what they say, Khamenei says, I told you so.  And I’m absolutely sure he had.  So this is like – there is this paranoia and distrust on this side that is kind of – if there is no relationship, of course these kinds of negative feelings are reinforced.

Now, how do we break out of this?  Well, as the ambassador has already said, it is very easy to imagine.  It’s kind of unbelievable that people have not resolved this.  Well, of course Iran’s international rights should be recognized under the articles of NPT.  And also a very good warning system and intrusive inspections should be established in Iran to prevent Iran from weaponizing.  A no-brainer; why isn’t it working?  It’s because of the mistrust on both sides.

And so there has been this trope of confidence-building measures; people have to come up with these confidence-building measures.  Iran – it’s, again, easy to imagine what that would be.  You know, stop the enriching at 3.5 (percent) or 5 percent and put all the 20 percent enriched material under IAEA very direct and very good monitoring systems.

What can Americans do to build confidence?  I think that’s a good question to ask as well.  What can Americans do?  And the beauty of it is that Americans don’t need to do anything within these negotiations.  In my view, the thing to do for the president of the United States is to revive the discourse of nuclear disarmament, the clarion call from Prague that he’s – he started his presidency with.  It’s bold; it is universal; it is very attractive.  And I believe he got the Nobel Peace Prize for broaching that issue.  He may not have earned it yet.  And this is a perfect opportunity for President Obama to revive that discourse.  And if he does, of course, I would venture to guess that the globe would be a better place to live, and I think everybody would be safer if there is – there are less nuclear weapons in the world.

But this also, curiously, would act as a catalyst in this particular Iran-United States relations, because if the nuclear powers in the world are not coming to non-nuclear powers and saying, do as we say, and not as we did and continue to do – if the nuclear powers say, we are going to take a step back, and you don’t develop – this puts a spine in the nonproliferation discourse.  And it puts – it will put logical legs on it.  And it would be much more effective, and I would venture to say that would be a good confidence-building measure that would not be, actually, even confidence building within this particular framework.  It would operate in a lot – much larger level and would be the catalyst to bring Iranians and Americans maybe in a one-plus-one setting – and I hope it happens – and hopefully help resolve this issue.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you.

Jim Walsh, your perspectives on what the two sides can do in this next phase.

MR. WALSH:  Well, first I want to thank NIAC and the Arms Control Association for putting together this terrific event and allowing me to be on this panel with my distinguished colleagues.  I don’t know that I’m going to say something that’s entirely different than what’s been said so far; I’ll try to make it spicy, though.

Let’s begin with context.  You know, it is déjà vu all over again.  We’ve been here before, where we thought that there would be opportunities to advance a resolution of this problem, and then one side or another – and believe me, it’s been both sides, off and on, over time – have failed to follow through.  Most recently was in the fall of 2009, when there looked like there might be a small deal around the 20 percent, and Iran just never came back to the table.  They had their own internal political problems.  And so you can only have a negotiation if two – if there are two sides to negotiate with, and they went away.  Similarly, the U.S., some years ago and for some time, missed several opportunities.

So here we are, and we have to ask ourselves the question – we’ve got a good opportunity now, but what do we have to do that’s different?  Since we’ve tried before and failed, what are we going to do that’s different than last time?  Now, let me remind you, we have had success.  In 2003 there was an agreement that suspended Iran’s enrichment program for two years.  People forget that.  Now – so success is possible.  But you’re not going to have success if you continue to simply repeat the things you did before that didn’t work.  So I think we have to think about this differently.

I – my sense – I’ve read both an Iranian proposal that was circulated in September around the time of President Ahmadinejad’s visit, and I’ve spoken to U.S. policymakers about this.  You know, to echo the comments of my colleagues, there is a real lack of trust on both sides.  There are those in the Iranian government who think the U.S. is simply about regime change.  And the evidence they see is they see scientists being assassinated; they see sabotage against the nuclear plants; they see covert operations of one kind or another and the sanctions.  And to all of – when you’re sitting in Tehran, that looks a lot like pressure towards regime change, if you’re inclined to think that.  And the U.S. – there are people in the U.S. who think, despite Iran having stopped its program in 2003, that Iran is determined to get the bomb no matter what.  They believe it in their heart to be true.

And so these talks are simply, again, a smokescreen.  And so it’s hard to have a real negotiation when one side thinks the other side’s determined to cheat, and the other side thinks they’re trying to knock them out of – (chuckles) – well, you know, knock them out of office and depose them.  So I think we have to grapple with this issue of, is the other side serious or not?  How do we demonstrate to the other side – and I mean this for both sides – that they are serious?

Now, as I understand the current set of proposals from both sides, both want to get a deal around the issue of 20 percent enrichment, right?  I won’t go into a lot of details about that.  But they want to play small ball, get something and then push the can down the road.  I think that’s a mistake.  I think that is a mistake.  First of all, you’re shrinking the negotiation space.  If all you’re going to talk about is 20 percent, then you can’t talk about other – and you run into disagreements, there’s no other sort of set of topics you can begin to trade against to expand and sort of get an agreement.  So –

MR. KIMBALL:  Jim, could I just –

MR. WALSH:  Sure.

MR. KIMBALL:  Could you elaborate on why the 20 percent is of interest?  I mean, what is technically significant about that?

MR. WALSH:  Sure, yeah.  So let me say, you know, four years ago there was no 20 percent issue.  There was no 20 percent.  So this is – what has now risen to the top of the agenda ironically is something that was originally started out – (chuckles) – as a confidence-building measure.  So what happens?  You enrich to 3 (percent) – you enrich uranium 3 (percent) to 5 percent.  You can’t make a nuclear weapon with 3 (percent) to 5 percent enriched uranium; you need about 90 percent enriched uranium.  And 3 (percent) to 5 percent is what is used for power reactors like Bushehr.

Well, there are some reactors – research reactors that produce medical isotopes and other things that require 20 percent enriched uranium.  And when you enrich to 20 percent, yes, you’re going towards 90 (percent), but it’s – you’re not part of the way; you’ve gone a – substantially far down the path towards 90 percent, because the hard part is when you first start enriching.  And the more you enrich, the easier it becomes to get to higher and higher levels.

So 20 percent is what has the nonproliferation community freaked out.  They don’t like the fact that Iran is enriching to 20 percent, and they certainly don’t like the fact that Iran is accumulating quantities of 20 percent that might be quickly enriched to 90 percent.  Interestingly, if you look at the last several IAEA reports – let’s say the last three; they’re issued every three months – Iran had started enriching at 20 percent but has imposed self-restraint on it.  They know that the West and others are freaked out about the 20 percent, and so they’ve produced some.  But the more they’ve produced, they’ve found other ways to deal with it so that the total level has not increased in a way that would alarm the other side.  So the Iranians are aware of this as well.

When Ahmadinejad was in – and of course, he’s not the real – he’s not the person who calls the shots.  He’s on the outside, if anything, right now.  At a minimum he’s a lame duck; it’s all about the supreme leader.  But he’s still part of the government.  And when he was in New York in September, I asked him, you know, I know you’re a lame duck – I didn’t put it that way – (laughter) – but do you think we might get something done here?  And he said – he – his response was around 20 percent issue.

So the Iranians want to do it – something, and the Americans and the P-5 plus one want something.  But I’m afraid they’re so narrowly focused, they’ll get caught up in their old mistakes.  And this won’t be the sort of thing that overcomes the deep mistrust that both sides have.  I don’t think we can continue to kick the ball – kick the can down the road because there’s a risk of war.  There’s a risk the Israelis will strike.  There’s a risk of accidental war in the Persian Gulf between the navies.  If – the longer we extend this, the greater the opportunity that someone’s going to mess up and shots are going to be fired.

So as it relates to the specifics here going forward – I’m going as fast as I can to wrap up in my six minutes – I think there are issues of substance and process.  Process:  We can’t have one meeting, you know, every six months and – in front of television cameras, and no – my apologies to you, C-SPAN – and expect that there’s going to be a deal here.  You know, you look at Yugoslavia – the negotiations on Yugoslavia – any real negotiation, you got to meet all the time, bang bang bang, every week, all the time.  And you have to meet behind closed doors.  Eventually the cameras get tired, they stop coming to the meetings, and then you can get something done.  As a process matter, we can’t have sort of just speeches that are for show.  There has to be serious negotiation on a constant basis.

Content-wide, both sides have presented proposals where they are asking a lot and offering very little.  And I’ve – you know, I’ve seen both sides.  And this is classic; everyone does this.  But in this particular circumstance in which neither side trusts one another, they take that proposal as evidence – aha!  The other side isn’t serious.  So I think both sides need to change those proposals.

For the Iranians – the Iranians are saying, well, once we get rid of the 20 percent issue and we get Parchin a clean bill of health, we’re done, and all the sanctions should be gone.  Well, that’s not going to happen, right, because we had sanctions in negotiations in – starting in 2003, and concerns prior to that, that have nothing to do with 20 percent.  You know, Iran has to adopt the additional protocol.  It has to follow through on its current safeguards arrangements and do so in a way that’s forward-leaning rather than reluctant.  That’s not happening.  So the core issues are not going to go away even if we solve 20 percent, and the Iranians need to recognize that.

The P-5 plus one – they have to get in the game too.  Again, they’ve – they’re playing small ball.  The things they’re offering Iran are very limited, very small.  And in fact, some of them are outdated.  You know, we’ve been at this so long, offering spare parts for planes really doesn’t cut it anymore.

So I’ll stop there.  I can expand later.  But the process has to change, we have to get serious and meet constantly, and the content of the proposals – something has to be introduced that gives them space for an agreement and that can demonstrate to the other side that, despite the doubts in their heart, something can get done and progress can be made.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right, well, thank you all for your very rich comments.  We’re going to drill down a little bit more now with the help of some questions from the audience.  You might want to pass your 3-by-5 cards with your questions off to the side.

And just to get going, let me – let me just ask Ambassador Ekéus a little bit more about your personal experience and what you learned from the Iraq experience and what that tells us about what could be done, what should be done and what might not be done in the case of Iran.  I mean, what could we be doing here to give – and you talked about this a little bit – Iran a face-saving off ramp and to give – to avoid creating artificial deadlines that trigger some sort of conflict?  Ekéus.

MR. EKÉUS:  Well, and Iraq was a special case, of course.  But it was not an IAEA inspection, to start with.  It was the Security Council which established a subsidiary organ, which was UNSCOM.  And in addition to UNSCOM, it was a IAEA-affiliated action team which was tasked to focus especially on the nuclear dimension, especially on declared capabilities of Iraq.  Iraq had been praised by the IAEA, of course, as you recall, as a wonderful contributor to a perfect safeguard and so on.  They turned out that they had been cheated very effective – cheating very effectively all the time.  So that’s why one had to create another arrangement.

But it was very – done in that way that it contained a very important element, the U.N. dimension, respect for the territorial integrity and independence of Iraq.  So that meant that the action team could not go to nondeclared facilities.  Only declared facilities could be inspected.  But that one – then the Security Council farmed out that right to, I would say, break the idea of integrity to the UNSCOM.  So the UNSCOM was charged with identifying nondeclared facilities and activities.  And then it worked in a very good cooperation.  Of course, then it was obviously chemical, biological – (inaudible).

But the beauty of this was that by – it worked the – it’s – tough sanction system was in place.  We have to have this – that also.  But immediately when the inspection started, the sanction system was gradually released.  So this was – this was a functioning system.  Good behavior led also to easing of sanctions.  Bad behavior, which happened, of course, quite frequently – some blockages and refusals – was met by – met by some tough language from the Security Council, not from individual governments, Israel or anyone.  It was the Security Council, under the charter of United Nations, that put that pressure.

So of course we know that this system worked extremely well.  It was a hundred percent performance, as a matter of fact.  It’s not bad for any U.N. organization to get the task.  And then I think it’s probably the only one which succeeded to make a hundred percent performance.  So the – that means that both destruction of capability is prohibited and the monitoring of capabilities were forcefully – (inaudible).

So everything looked shiny and fine until the U.S. government – it was in spring ’97, through Madeleine Albright – made a statement at Georgetown University to say, well, it looks like, you know, sanctions are – that the disarmament going well; and if it goes well, we can still not lift the sanctions – which was a condition under Security Council, sanctions and – so we can’t lift the sanctions until Saddam Hussein is removed.  So that came my obsession with the regime change.  That of course destroyed, in a sense, the institution and operations.

So I think that is experience – (inaudible) – Kofi Annan to lead a little group to see if one could re-establish something similar.  And this report, unfortunately, has not been very much observed.  But I think there we have ideas for – I – because that will give real intrusive inspections.  It will give the right to the international community to go where there is concern, not where Iran is declaring.  And – but the pay for that is lift sanctions.  And certainly a gradual lift – you don’t need to do it in one spell.  But ease it up in the cooperative work, and then we can have a, so to say, positive outcome.  And I also say, let regime change – let the Iranian people take care of it.  It’s not for the outside to do the regime change.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you.

Well, we’ll take a question or two from the reporters in the front row, and then we’ll go to the questions from the audience.  If you could just identify yourself and direct your question to a particular person.

Q:  Sure.  Barbara Slavin from the Atlantic Council and Al-Monitor.com.  Jim, I want to get you to talk a little bit more about what would not be small-ball, because the conventional wisdom has been that if you can resolve the 20 percent issue, that calms the Israelis down.  They’re most worried about 20 percent, and they’re most worried about Fordow.  So why is that not a good area to begin in return for some sanctions relief, that the Iranians would get something better than what’s been put on the table so far?  Thanks.

MR. WALSH:  Yeah, it’s a great question, and it’s absolutely right; that is where the conventional wisdom is.  And I agree with the conventional wisdom.  Twenty percent is the most urgent near-term priority from a nonproliferation standpoint; no doubt about it.  And you’re right to say that it’s part of the whole red-line talk – shifting and vague red-line talk of the Israelis, that they’re focused on Fordow.

But since you raised Fordow, the U.S. position, as I understand it, going into the talks is they want Fordow disabled – not simply frozen or not operating but disabled.  I think that’s going to be a tough pill for the Iranians to accept up front, right?  And if you read the Iranian foreign policy statements on this coming out of the government, they say, yeah, I – we know you want – we know you want us to close Fordow.  But we’re not saying it’s a commercial facility; we built it because you’ve been threatening to attack us.  (Chuckles.)  You know, and we have.  So they do have a point there.

So can they be persuaded to disable Fordow in a way that just leaves Natanz an open target for bombing?  Will they feel comfortable doing that?  Maybe they will, but I doubt it.  I doubt it.  So the question is do you go into a negotiation and lead with a poisoned pill that the other side can’t accept, and then you end up nowhere, or you end up worse than you were before because now everyone’s even more embittered and more suspicious about your intentions?

So, I do think something can be done in Fordow.  I think the Iranians are willing to talk about it.  They realize it’s the thing that we’re most concerned about.  And I think that we can do – let us remind ourselves that it is under IAEA inspection and the 20 percent is also under IAEA inspection, the 20 percent they produced.

But I think there’s more that the Iranians can do to assure the West and Israel, and maybe that’s a freeze, not disablement.  Maybe it’s only 3 (percent) to 5 percent, not 20 percent.  There are – there are ways to massage this.  But one of the things that makes it easier to get a deal, I think – and I defer to the diplomats and the professionals in this – but if we’re only talking Fordow and not a single other issue, not Iraq and not Afghanistan, and not the Persian Gulf or their dangers of inadvertent war, then how do you – when you hit an impasse, what do you trade off on?  Now if you hit an impasse and you’re talking about Fordow and a couple of other issues, you can say, OK, fine.  I’ll give in on this if you give in on that, or you can begin to put a package together where people can find common ground and where they feel like they’re getting something out of it that they can take back and sell to their own people.  Some folks think diplomacy is about you go in and you get everything you want and the other side gets nothing.  There’s no such diplomacy.  You know, you may not like Iran, Iran has lots of problems, but this is not about Iran.  This is about achieving our diplomatic objectives and making sure they don’t become a nuclear weapon state and they abide by their other obligations.  So whether you like Iran or not, doesn’t really matter.  The question is, can you find a deal that works.

So that’s why I think – there’s not going to be any grand bargain here, right?  People aren’t in the mood for a grand bargain.  But I don’t think we should go for the smallest possible bargain either, that there’s something in between.  And part of that, again, is doing something that demonstrates seriousness, that is something that the other side isn’t even expecting, as a way to break this psychological impasse as well as the diplomatic impasse.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right, well, let’s switch over to a couple of questions that have come in here about the –

MR. SADRI:  Can I ask a question?

MR. KIMBALL:  Of course.  Go ahead.

MR. SADRI:  How would you go about selling that to the Congress?  Given the hard position that Congress is taking regarding U.S.-Iran relations, how does the legislative accept such a step and such a proposal?

MR. WALSH:  Dude, you’re not supposed to ask questions.  (Laughter.)

Well, first of all, I think a lot of this falls more within the executive than Congress.  I really don’t know what bill Congress could – would be required to pass in order for there to be an agreement on Fordow.  So you know, obviously whoever negotiates with Iran is going to take some lumps, just like the Iranians – remember, they have a presidential election coming up.  And if there’s a deal cut and it’s associated with someone who might be running for president, you better believe that their opponents are going to attack it and try to undermine them.  You’ve seen that before.  But I think the president has enough discretion – and this is an executive issue.  It’s also a United Nations issue and a P-5 plus one.  So I think if the president of the United States comes and says, look, we have the leaders of France and Britain and China and Russia and the – (inaudible) – of the U.N. and we’re trying to prevent nuclear weapons, you know, you should probably not mettle in this, that that’s a winnable argument, I think particularly for an Obama that’s coming out of this with – you know, out of a strong election.  No one liked Gadhafi, no one liked Libya, but we got a deal on Libya.  No one liked the Soviets.  We got a deal with the Soviets.  So I think it’s doable.

MR. KIMBALL:  And I think – to partially answer the same question, I think one of the issues for many in Congress is going to be whether this negotiation, quote, unquote, allows Iran to continue enriching at the 3.5 percent level or not.  The historical position of the United States going back to the early 2000s has been that there should be a suspension of all enrichment as a confidence-building measure.  But from what you’re saying, Jim, we’re well past that point, and Iran has a lot of (truth ?) on the ground in terms of additional centrifuges, and they want their so-called right under the Non-Proliferation Treaty to be recognized.  The question is, at what level do they continue?

MR. WALSH:  I think there’s also – I agree with that, and I don’t want to go on here.  I think there’s a debate about whether countries have a right to enrich.  They certainly have a right to peaceful activities, and so then there’s some ambiguity about that.  People disagree.

But I think that, you know, both Iranians have said – offered this as a principle.  And I think it’s important to have principles that allow the negotiation to proceed.  One is, Iran should enrich as much as they need.  You know, what Iranian could disagree with enriching as much as you need?  But what that really means is not very much enrichment, because they only have one nuclear power plant this year.  The Russians are supplying fuel for that.  We’re willing to supply fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor.  So one of the problems here is I think that Iran’s nuclear program is outsized to its needs.  It has way more centrifuges and way more capacity than it can actually use on the ground.  And so I think if we have a principle of an appropriately sized program, then that helps us get part of the way there.

MR. KIMBALL:  OK.

By the way, we have a couple of questions from the audience about the internal Iranian and the regional politics.  So Professor Sadri and Ambassador Ekéus, maybe you guys can handle these.

One question is, with the Iranian presidential election coming up in June, how is that going to affect Iran’s negotiating strategy in the next several months?  Who is calling the shots in Iran during this period?  And related to this is, you know, as we all know, there is a war – a civil war happening in Syria.  Iran is a close ally of the Assad regime.  How is that affecting Iran’s security calculations?  Are they going to want to insert some of those issues into the P-5 plus one dialogue?  I mean, how would you answer those questions?

MR. SADRI:  Well, of course the Middle East has changed.  It has a couple of great flip-flops, Arab Spring, the Syria war and now this confrontation between Israel and Hamas that somehow kind of brought us back to the Middle East that we used to know, the Arabs and Israelis going at it and Egypt being a big player there.  But right before that, Iran saw its fortunes decline, its popularity in the Arab street decline because of the Arab Spring.  And then the Syrian situation introduced a very, very important element, almost sectarian element, that eroded Iranian influence in the region, and the projection of Iranian power hit a brick wall with that.

So, all of this of course goes into the mix of what Iran is thinking, and this is one of the reasons this is a good time to start negotiating with Iran as its reach in the Middle East seems to be – not it used to be – it’s not a soft power super power, nor is it a hard power super power in the region because of the situation in Lebanon and in Syria.  I mean, Lebanon is really the coming disaster and Syria is a disaster that we’re dealing with right now.  So of course all of this – (inaudible).

And if I were an American, one of the American negotiators, I would say this is exactly the right time to go into this.  The presidential elections are coming and – but still, as always, it’s sort of – (inaudible) – calling the shots.  And we have to wait and see who he appoints as the point person for the upcoming negotiations – we hope that they’re upcoming.  If he chooses somebody who is of some stature rather than a regular bureaucrat, obviously that means that he’s more serious.  But if he sends back Mr. Jalili, probably he would not be serious.  So there are – we can read the tea leaves there.  And I think that, you know, the presidential election really is not that important.  What’s really important is Iran’s place in the Middle East in the equations.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.

Ambassador Ekéus, what are your thoughts about the situation in Syria, how that affects Iran’s calculations?  Jim, jump in on this too if you wish.

MR. EKÉUS Well, it is clear that Iran expanding – I mean, we almost – Iran is now as expanded as it was during 5(00), 600 years ago when the Persian Empire was struggling with the Ottomans, and I think we have a little of that now.  Of course, Iran’s influence in Syria has grown.  It has – of course, it’s situation in Gaza was – (inaudible) – missiles to Hamas, but now Egypt is sort of jumping in – (inaudible) – Hezbollah is still, you know – (inaudible) – Lebanon is still a very strong Iranian presence.  Of course, in the Gulf especially, poor Bahrain is in a deep – (inaudible) – under tremendous pressure from Iran, but – and of course, Afghanistan, that’s a big prize coming up, where Iran can influence a play, maybe what’s a constructive role, but there it has to partner with the U.S.

So if I can say, the Persian influence is enormous.  It hasn’t been that big, but every – it’s very touchy everywhere, including in Iran itself – (inaudible) – reform forces.  We are not sure that the – (inaudible) – we have to recall that the revolutionary in the Islamic Revolution of ’79, these are mature, I guess, mostly men, but they are start to run into the pension age, and it is another generation there which is not at all of that sort to say style and direction.  You may correct me, but that’s my reading of the – (inaudible).

So Iran is huge now, large but shaky all over.  But it has an influence – Iraq, I mean, of course, as I mentioned also.  But that’s why it’s so important to – (inaudible) – I must congratulate Jim for his – for his diplomatic skill, because that’s exactly – (inaudible) – conclusion from that also.  That still – (inaudible) – because he talked about 5 plus one, everything should be done in the 5 plus one.  But a 5 plus one are not appropriate player if you deal with the future security in Iraq, if you deal with the situation, the reform in Afghanistan, to save Afghanistan into sort of say a country of decency and progress.  There is – only U.S. must step up and, as I said in my first statement, not hide inside (the fact ?).  It is nice to be modest and polite.  (Laughter.)  But the U.S. is – has a responsibility, which I think it should take on, and therefore I still insist that we have to look very closely to other – modifying the role set up of a dialogue with Iran.

MR. WALSH:  Very briefly, super briefly.  On Syria, what strikes me and is surprising is the Iranian talk that they want to talk to the U.S. about Syria, when I’ve seen several Iranian officials and Iranian pieces of paper where they say the U.S. should be out of the Middle East, it should do this, it should do that, oh, and we should be talking about Syria.  So I think that’s interesting and worth noting.

MR. EKÉUS:  And with – about Afghanistan – (inaudible).

MR. WALSH:  And about Afghanistan.  And I want to agree with both my colleagues but also point out that there’s a continuum here, and it’s a delicate walk.  You want your – the person you’re bargaining with to feel an incentive to bargain, right, which means they’re probably feeling a little ping or they’re worried about their situation so they want to get a deal to settle something up so they can deal with their other problems.  But you don’t want them to feel so threatened that what they do is they pull back, that they are – they feel – they say to themselves we are in too weak a position to negotiate.  You know, the world is surrounding us, and we’ll be taken advantage of if we negotiate from weakness.  So the problems in Syria and elsewhere are real, and I think the Arab Spring has undercut their ability to be a voice for the Arabs.  But it’s going to require some finesse in how you deal with that so that they don’t simply pull back and withdraw.

MR. KIMBALL:  Now, one of the questions from the floor about the role of Congress, that came up a little bit earlier, and the possibility of further sanctions, U.S. sanctions against Iran.  And across the street on Capitol Hill, there are some members who are suggesting that there should be further sanctions against Iran, including black listing the entire energy sector.  What do each of you think that – what effect might that have?  And in particular, how might that affect the international coalition that’s negotiating with the Iranians and also participating in the U.N. Security Council-imposed sanctions?  Because part of the success, I think, here over the last couple or three years is that there is – there does appear to be greater unity amongst the P-5 plus one, including the Russians and the Chinese, about the approach.  So how might that affect the dynamics here if Congress were to go forward with that in a lame duck session?

MR. EKÉUS:  I had the question – (inaudible) – International Herald Tribune in Europe also saw – and I hope it is wrong – but I saw they were moving the Congress, that one should also try to block, I will say, nongovernmental dialogue – you know, track one-and-a-half, track-two talks and that – I mean, it’s extremely destructive and harmful approach – catastrophe, I would say, if it is implemented.  But maybe he may – (inaudible).

MR. WALSH:  Well, I think – I think – and what you said earlier, Rolf, was so important, about the Iraq experience and Madeline Albright.  And so what’s the story you’re telling?  You’re telling the story of, we sanctioned a country, they start to do what we want them to do, and then someone announces, well, it really doesn’t matter what you do because we’re going to keep the sanctions regardless, and then the thing falls apart.  That’s the scenario I fear with the U.S.  We love sanctions.  You know, I work on North Korea, Iran; we love sanctions.  Sanctions are helpful, but they’re not the be all and end all.  We’re not going to squish Iran down until they cry uncle and then all our problems are going to go away.  Sanctions are an instrument that are part of a broader diplomatic and military and other approach that is in support of diplomacy.  But if we impose sanctions, as we did in 2003, and had previously, but in 2003 and subsequently, saying, we want you to stop your nuclear program, and then they start to take the steps we want them to take on their nuclear program, and then we say we’re going to keep sanctions, well, you know, that’s not going to work, and it will be a step backwards.  So I understand the politics of sanctions – you know, toughness, toughness, toughness.  But as the U.S. government, the executive, is correctly – I think correctly perceived, what Iran is looking for is a test of our seriousness, as we look for a test of their seriousness, is are we – are we going to follow through on our – on our promises to give sanctions relief?  And if we don’t, I don’t think we’re going anywhere.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.

Now we have a couple questions that go back to this issue of a deal on stopping enrichment of 20 percent, and so one question is, from the panelists’ perspective, why would it be necessary to ask the Iranians to shut down the Fordow facility – that’s the second underground enrichment facility that now has some 2,800 centrifuges – if Iran were to agree to stop all 20 percent enrichment and to ship out whatever 20 percent enrichment stockpile it has?

And the other – another question is – this person says deja vu all over again, this 20 percent proposal has come up before.  Why did it fail before?  Three years ago the Obama administration – you mentioned this, Jim – suggested a swap of the TRR, the Tehran Research Reactor fuel, in exchange for stopping enrichment.  So why didn’t that work?  So perspectives from the panelists on is it necessary to shut down Fordo, and why didn’t the 20 percent fuel swap deal work before, and I guess why – how do we make it work this time?

MR. EKÉUS:  Turkey and Brazil had another proposal which I think was a very constructive proposal.  It has only one fault, and we come back to diplomacy:  its timing was disastrous because it came the day or day before when U.S. had lost – (inaudible) – China and Russia to endorse tough sanctions on Iran.  So I think in Washington, they – what are these guys doing?  They’re sabotaging our successful sanctions policy, and this terrible, you know, difficult – (inaudible) – we have, China, Russia are on board, and then they come maybe something which, you know, makes the whole thing to capsize.  So the – you know, the Turks and Brazil got, you know – (inaudible).

MR. KIMBALL:  So the timing wasn’t right before?

MR. EKÉUS:  (Inaudible) – I think it’s very interesting proposal.  It may be modified, but I think it had to do also with the – (inaudible) – low-enriched uranium.  I will come back to the – (inaudible).

MR. WALSH:  I think we have to be honest about this.  There’s no difference between a centrifuge that’s running in Fordow and a centrifuge that’s running in Natanz.  The only difference is, it’s easy to bomb Natanz and it’s much harder to bomb Fordow.  I mean, that’s the difference, right?  And so it’s technically not really different.  It’s politically different because this has been an issue for Israel, communicated to the United States, and it would be difficult for Israel to take out Fordo, and it’s buried under a couple hundred feet of granite or rock.  The U.S. could do it; it would be much more difficult for Israel to pull that off, and so they worry that Iran’s going to kick out the inspectors like North Korea kicked out the inspectors and make a dash for the bomb.  And that’s why they don’t want them either enriching at 20 percent, nor do they want them stockpiling 20 percent on the ground.

You know, if they ship everything out – which they said they don’t want to do, but I think that’s negotiable – if they ship everything out or they just stop producing 20 percent and all the centrifuges in Fordow are producing three to five, you know, that doesn’t really – that’s not a deal breaker for me, but it’s not where the U.S. government’s at, it’s not where Israel is at, so I think it’s – that’s why I think – I’m a little worried about the upcoming negotiations – unless the Iranians are willing to disable it – because we’re just going to deal with that, and already, just on that one issue – (laughs) – there seem to be significant disagreements, so that’s why I’m a little nervous.

MR. EKÉUS:  Can I – I would also echo the importance of the – (clears throat) – excuse me – taking every opportunity we get to come to an agreement.  We had the Turkey-Brazil deal that was broken because of this accident that just – it came, like, a couple of days too late; we had another occasion that Jim referred to when there was a proposal on the – on the table, and it looked like the Iranians took it, they take it back to Tehran – it is scuttled because of the internal politics in Iran.  It’s kind of a – very childish in a way; many politicians tend to be very childish in these situations where, you know, the – actually, mostly reformist – (laughter) – colleagues of Ahmadinejad said, how come, when we make a deal, you come out and you say you sold out this store – you made a deal, and now we are going to scuttle your efforts.

So actually, it didn’t work out for these kinds of childish and silly reasons, which doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try; it means that we should try again, because we have to try and see when we can get a deal through that is not scuttled by those accidents, and I think this is a good time, because we have been through a lot, the situation is getting very – getting very tough on the Iranians.  Also, the worries of the outside forces are heightened, so I think it’s really a good time right now to give it another chance with good faith and with confidence-building.  Another confidence-building measure, I think, would be an Iran-United States cooperation on the drug trade, which is – what they have in common is a lot of drugs produced in Afghanistan – Iran is the first line of defense, and Americans can completely forget about all the nuclear issues and say, on that issue of fighting drug trade, we are going to give Iran some equipment.  I mean, so that thing that’s kind of completely outside of this negotiation can work as a confidence-building measure.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Thank you for those answers – and another question we have has to do with the IAEA’s ongoing investigation on Iran, which I understand is not technically a part of the P5+1 dialogue with Iran; it’s an issue between IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano and the Iranians; this has been going on for some time.  There was news reports just in the last month that the IAEA and Iran were going to meet again in December – in mid-December to discuss what’s referred to as the structured approach for investigating past activities.  What – so the question here is, you know, how can Iran and the IAEA resolve those issues, especially when there are serious concerns about potential military dimensions?  How does Iran get out of that without further criticism, further sanctions, but at the same time, clean its file?  Your thoughts – and Ambassador Ekéus, I mean, this is – this is an issue that the U.N. has dealt with with other countries before.  I mean, what thoughts do you have about what the agency and Iran need to do in this next meeting to start to clear this up?

MR. EKÉUS:  Well, I – I mean, there are some – I have written on this, and also in some critical terms, but I’ve also been responded from IAEA side.  It’s not public, but they indicate that they have some competence.  I have questioned the competence of the military dimension.  I go with that, from, of course, my long experience in Iraq.  My judgment is that Iraq has – IAEA has not the competence to deal with a military sanction of the issue – that, of course, goes back to – (inaudible) – McGeorge Bundy’s proposal to the secretary, and I think one must – there are ideas floating around in Vienna that one should, sort of, say – see if one can build with the specific competence.  This is highly sensitive, because it’s a proliferation dimension.  How do you – (inaudible) – build the weapon?

And that is – but I think it’s very important that one – in the end, and that’s why I think that the Security Council should take responsibility because of the dangers, the threat to international peace and security involved in this, so something more similar to something associated and controlled on the Security Council to build competence there, but when I – I’m skeptical – and I don’t say it’s wrong, if he has competence, but as I say, I’m on the record questioning the competence of this group and this initiative.

MR. KIMBALL:  OK.

MR. WALSH:  Let me jump in on it and come at it from a different angle in a way that is cynical and blunt, but practical, I hope.  You know, I accept the – although I have no evidentiary basis for this, I’m going to accept the head of U.S. intelligence – the DNI’s statements that Iran had a structured weapons program prior to 2003.  Right?  So they’re not – they’re not an angel in this regard.  I am willing to accept that they had a structured nuclear program that was halted in 2003, and then maybe some unstructured activities have continued since then.  Now, as a guy who spends all his time studying nuclear weapons programs, the key word in that phrase is “structured.”  If you’re serious about having a nuclear weapon, you have a structured program; you don’t have people going off doing stuff on their own.

So I think they had a weapons program; they shut it down.  I think part of what was happening was at Parchin, this gigantic military base that the IAEA visited, but because it’s so large, they went to this building and not that building and that sort of thing.  Then they get – IAEA gets some intel that says, well, we think the explosives work was being done in this building, and, you know, all this time, Iran’s being – Parchin’s being watched by satellites continuously, and there’s no activity there.  Nothing for five years, right?  And then – or – not five years, but some period of time – years.

So then, the IAEA says, well, we want to go to that building, and then suddenly, there’s a whole lot of activity.  You know, there’s cartons put up and shoveling and scalping of soil and all that sort of thing.  So I read this as – that was a facility involved in the bomb program, and they’re cleaning it up, and IAEA is not going to get on the ground until it’s cleaned up.  Now here’s the part where I’m practical and blunt – I don’t care.  Right?  This is part of a program from the past.  And I wish they didn’t have the program from the past, but I’m more worried about Iran’s nuclear status in the future than the past, and so, you know, if it’s dead, and all they’re doing is cleaning it up so there’s no evidence of what they did before, I – you know, it’s regretful and blah, blah, but I don’t care.  I would rather get a deal that prevents Iran from moving forward towards a nuclear weapon or moving forward so that we don’t have a military engagement that leads to a nuclear weapons decision by Iran.  So I think they’re – I think Parchin’s probably dirty.  They sure looks like it’s cleaning it up to me, and the IAEA is not going to get in until it’s cleaned up.  Now, I will say, though, that I am troubled by – you know, this is not your father’s IAEA, right?  ElBaradei, like him, don’t like – Amano’s a different guy, and I’m troubled by the nature of the relationship that the agency seems to have with Iran.

That said, you know, the history here is, every time you try to negotiate with Iran, you walk away angry and distrustful.  (Laughter.)  I mean, the Europeans did it in 2003, the agency’s going through it now, but that’s a relationship where there will also have to be a refurbishing of trust, or it’s going to be difficult down the line.  At the end of the day, it’s the big powers – if the U.S. and France and Russia, whatever, decide to get a deal, they’ll get a deal, but IAEA is an independent agency, and that relationship has to be addressed as well, I think.

MR. KIMBALL:  And just very quickly, Jim, I mean, is – do you think that the IAEA and Iran are going to resolve these issues before the P5+1 and Iran work out a broader framework for resolving this, or is it dependent on that?  Are the Iranians going to stonewall the agency until they see –

MR. WALSH:  My true answer is, I have no idea, and then, my guess is, the IAEA is going to come at the end of the line rather than the beginning of the line.  I think we’re going to see negotiations with the P5+1 before we see a resolution of Parchin and military dimensions.

MR. KIMBALL:  OK.  All right, well, we have a couple more, I think, concluding questions here.  I’m going to ask the panelists before we shift over to the second part of our program, and the questions have to do with the – kind of the longer-range scenarios here, and one question is, what happens if these P5+1 negotiations with Iran fail to produce either a confidence-building measure or some broader framework in the next few months, and on the flipside, where would we like to be five years from today?  If we were to gather, once again, on a lovely morning in Washington, D.C., what would we like to have seen happen before?

How do we – what do we – what needs to be done to reach a sustainable deal on Iran’s nuclear program?  Each of you, please take one of those two big questions.

MR. EKÉUS:  Yeah, on the first question, I think, it’s quite simple.  There will be an Israeli attack on a couple – Natanz – there will be – not on everything – certainly not, but it will be an action which – the Israeli will say, look, it worked so well in Syria; we attacked this facility and blew it up. So what happened?  It was – without any, so – to say – United Nations or U.N. Charter; it was an attack, but the Security Council didn’t meet, Syria didn’t complain because it didn’t want inspectors to see that they’d been cheating, and no one else complained.  I mean, this is a really shocking reaction by the international – that was a violation of the fundamental international law.

I think it is quite clear to me, if that scenario comes, that the breakdown of the talks – that Israel will take a step, maybe supported by President Obama, who is (no good ?) on drones and so on, so I am very pessimistic about that.

MR. KIMBALL:  And what’s the result of that strike?  What does that lead to from there – briefly?

MR. EKÉUS:  Well, it won’t – we had Osirak; some of us are old enough to remember the complaints.  NPT had big problems in the review conference, talks of a delays and blockages and no agreements; it was a lot of mess, and of course, General Assembly was – U.N. reacted very heavily at that time, and – but the problem is that the lack of leadership is that – would tolerate this.  I’m concerned.  I mean, I hope it won’t happen; I hope there is leadership and dialogue enough, including Israel also.  On the future – there, I see something much more – more and more – much more optimistic.  I see a U.S.-Iranian cooperation in – (inaudible) – before the regional dimensions.  On Iraq, on Afghanistan, they common interest, and that may be helpful for the people, and it will be peaceful and stable – Afghanistan, including taking – struggling with the drugs trafficking, which, of course, is a very important – key component in the Afghanistan scenario for Iran, but also for the whole Europe.

Where I also see and hope – five years that Israel and Iran will detect that they are “de facto” strategic partners in that region – they were, once, and there were smart people on both sides which understood.  I can’t see how stupid these two are now when they – the “de facto” should have a very common interest to – (inaudible) – the complex Arabic world, and the – Israel – as I said  these two are natural partners, strategic partners; they shouldn’t fall down to tactical games to play each other and to gain points by tacticality steps.  And the – on the Iran’s nuclear – I hope that one take the – enrich the – there is a wonderful initiative by NTI here in this town about a nuclear fuel bank, and NTI raised $50 million – U.S. Congress raised $50 million, Europeans, E.U. finally have coughed up something – 20 million (dollars) and then some others.  And I think it’s a good place for the Iranian reactor fuel if they don’t need it for the Bushehr to – that should be a base for the international fuel bank under international control, and the – in the context of IAEA.

MR. KIMBALL:  Professor Sadri, your thoughts on what happens if these talks fail and where we ought to be – where we want to be five years from now?

MR. SADRI:  Well, five years from now, I would like to see a non-nuclear Iran, but also I would like to see a less nuclear Middle East and a less nuclear world.  Disarmament – obviously, I’m not optimistic enough to think that it’s going to succeed to a hundred percent, but mostly, if nuclear countries start taking steps in reducing their stockpiles, that will create the environment for the negotiations that is necessary in Iran.

The eventuality of an attack on Iran – I think it is not likely, because these powers, Israel and United States, know that Iran is not Syria, is not Iraq, Iran is not Afghanistan – Iran is not a tribal country.  Most diplomats who have been in Iran – I don’t know whether Jim will share this view – talk about the Iranians having a very strong sense of national identity.  This is a country that has the oldest national flag in the world.  The Iranian Derafsh Kavian that is mentioned in the Shahnameh was not a mythological thing; it was a real artifact captured by the Arabs and sold for 300,000 dirhams.  And this flag represented not – it was not the coat of arm of some king; it represented the Iranian nation.  The kings had their own coat of arms, but the Derafsh Kavian was in front of the troops.  So Iranians have a very old sense of national identity that transcends various linguistic and ethnic groups, and we saw that in action – that spring to action in the invasion of – by Iraq.

So Iran is not only bigger and better-armed, probably, and more populous than these other countries; it has a very strong sense of national identity that one cannot find in any of those other cases, and the people who are talking about bombing or invading Iran, there are – you know, they are aware of this.  So I hope that there is no steps taken towards invasion, but I would not want to risk it, and I would like to see these negotiations succeed, because if they don’t succeed, we are basically playing Russian roulette with the national – with the regional security and world security.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  Jim.

MR. WALSH:  Before I answer that, I want to say that yesterday was my birthday, and my brother Patrick gave me this tie to wear today.

MR. KIMBALL:  It’s very nice, too.

MR. WALSH:  So, thank you, Patrick.  (Laughter.)  It is a nice tie; I call – I consider this a TV tie.  That’s my – (laughter) – all right.  Good future, bad future – let’s start with the good future.  The good future is better, but it’s not perfect.  We’re still going to have, five years out, the Arab – regionally, the Arab Spring is still going to be working itself out; there will probably still be animosity between the Palestinians and the Israelis.  There will be competition between Iran and the Gulf states, most notably Saudi Arabia, but I can imagine a future – a positive future in which Iran is a member of the Additional Protocol and is fully adhering to its safeguards agreements in a way that is affirmative, not defensive.  I can imagine – Rolf suggested – and I’m an advocate of this – multilateralization of some piece or pieces of the Iranian program, where Iran is an owner, but others are owners and managers as well on the ground in Iran.

I see the U.N. Security Council sanctions going away – a lot of the unilateral sanctions, but probably not all the unilateral sanctions.  You know, my guess – being realistic – or trying to be realistic – is that some sanctions will persist but enough will come down, and certainly the ones from the U.N. – presuming a positive outcome – that they’ll be able to move forward.  Maybe a little better crisis communication between – set up between the U.S. and Iran.  I’d like to see, maybe, an adult relationship where – you know, like the U.S. has with Russia or with China – with their “frenemies”, you know, where they’re not necessarily buddies but there’s diplomatic relations and you don’t like each other, but you talk to each other.  I think if that – if we could get all of that, I’d be a happy camper.

The downside – if it doesn’t go well – well, I think – you know, these things are probabilistic.  I think, on average, you know, we’ll probably just get more of the same.  There will be more centrifuges, more material produced, more reactors built, more threats of military strike, but not quite there.  That’s the average, but – you know, the way you get an average – if you put your foot on a block of ice and your foot on a fire, the average is comfortable, and so averages aren’t necessarily a good predictor here.

I’m thinking that it’s less likely the more likely that there’ll be conflict, but there would be a nontrivial possibility of conflict.  I think the Israelis could tell themselves a story where they would strike.  I am disheartened and sobered by this report that in 2010, Netanyahu went to his Cabinet and tried to persuade them to put Israel on high alert as a way to get Iran to respond that would drag the U.S. into a conflict.  Now, I don’t know whether that’s true or not, but it has the look and feel of something that could be true.  That’s very risk-accepted behavior by a state leader.  That’s – so it just takes one of those mistakes or mistake between two naval ships in the Gulf where we get a war.  So I don’t – I’m not predicting a war, but if it’s a 10 percent or a 15 percent chance, that’s – given the consequences, that’s huge.  That’s huge.  So I would worry about that going forward over time.

And you asked the question, what do we get if we get a war?  We get an Iran with nuclear weapons, because they stopped the program in 2003.  If they’re attacked, I am – I would bet a sizable amount of money that the first consequence is a meeting the next day where they say, oh yeah?  Fine, we’re going to build a nuclear weapon.  And I think Osirak – which you referred to – there’s strong, scholarly evidence that that was the respond of – response of Saddam.  That prior to the Osirak bombing, Saddam’s nuclear program was one of several exotic weapons programs.  They got bombed, he made it job one.  So I’m afraid a war, whatever its, you know, implications for the region, as a nonproliferation guy, the most important consequence is a decision by Iran to pursue nuclear weapons.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you.

And as we prepare for the next segment here, I’m going to take one more question from the audience. We can’t deny the Voice of America question for our panelists here.  So if you could just bring the microphone over please, so that we can hear it all.  All right, please go ahead.

Q:  The talks so far for the 10 years, and so last 10 years has been negotiation with no fruitful, you know, result.  But all these years and the actors in the region have been the same, but recently, there has been some changes which might be a new solution, and that is Mohammed Morsi and the Egyptian president, while he took care of unexpected action yesterday and last week. But yesterday, Senator – Democrat Senator Carl Levin suggested that the biggest challenge is to bringing Mohammed Morsi to the West side, and perhaps that is something that has to be looked into.  What do you see in this prospect?  How do you see this might work, and what the West can do with regards to Egypt?

MR. WALSH:  Well, that’s a big question.  I have actually written about Egypt’s nuclear weapons program.  They had a weapons program under Nasser, so it’s a country I’ve spent time in – not in a while.

You know, I hope that – this is a question that comes at a point of great confusion and no clarity about the future of Egypt, is, are Morsi’s decrees the beginning of the Muslim Brotherhood down a path towards a power grab, or is this a temporary set of arrangements that help husband or nurture an Egyptian polity that becomes democratic and strong, and more legitimate, because Mubarak was not legitimate at the end?

You know, I hope that it is a strong – that Egypt returns to its rightful place as the leader of the Arab world, as the most popular Arab country, that it goes down that path towards democracy, that it’s seen as legitimate, and – which means it’s going to have different policies, and it’s going to, you know, disagree with the U.S. on some things and agree with others – but if it goes down that path, then I think it will be very important for the U.S. and for Israel and for others to embrace that Egypt in a way that they’re able to be a working partner.

I don’t know how much impact they’re going to have on the Iranian issue, but insofar as Iran is part of southwest Asia and the Middle East region, a strong and useful and wise Egypt would be helpful overall, you know, whether – regardless.  But I think the jury is still out on this one.

MR. KIMBALL:  Professor Sadri, do you have any thoughts about this question?

MR. SADRI:  Well I think – I think Iran is happier with Egypt at the helm of the Arab world than the alternative, which would be an augmented Saudi Arabia, the Salafist movement that is very anti-Shiite.  The Muslim Brotherhood is basically – it’s not hostile to the idea of an Islamic republic.  There are very deep ideological connections between the Iranian revolution and the writings of the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, and it is also my hope that this move by Mohammed Morsi is just a tactical move to get over certain problems.  And I doubt that this would be a power grab, because the Muslim Brotherhood of today is not the Muslim Brotherhood of 30 years ago.  So there has been a transubstantiation there.

We have to note that – and of course, I don’t know for sure – but I think Egypt on its way – is on its way back, and there is a possibility that Egypt and Iran might renew their relationship.  That is very turbulent right now, especially with the Ahmadinejad government, but the aligning of their basic interests, national interests, suggest that there is a possibility that one day, that Khalid Islamboli Street in Iran would get a new name.

(Laughter)

MR. KIMBALL:  If you wish – (inaudible).

MR. EKÉUS:  Well, I had a very authoritative friend, Tariq Aziz, and he – his assessment of Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood was that they were a rather moderate type.  He said Mubarak made a big strategic mistake by oppressing them, and don’t give them a play into the Egyptian society.  So of course, I was reflecting – poor man is sentenced to death, but he’s still not executed – but he had a deep and very wise understanding of Egypt and of the situation in Arabic world in general.

But of course, the – I – Saudi Arabia is there, and I have great difficulties to be – to imagine that Morsi will divide himself – which – (inaudible) – from those two optimists – from the Saudi Arabians – how to say – significance.  Mecca and Medina is – they are important elements of the custodians of the holy sites.  And Iran is challenging that, as we all know, and I think this is a sectarian problem or a strategic problem with religious connotations, which I think we should be – we should not run into too much optimistic; actually we should be very, very careful in our judgments, and watch closely the Hamas – the initiative, you know?  Morsi acted in the Gaza operation – rightly so, Egypt is there – but without in any way dealing with the Palestinian Authority, keep them out.  I don’t know what that indicates.  He set a new type of strategy Egypt has toward the Palestinian issue.  Well, I’m a little more concerned than my friends.

MR. KIMBALL:  Well, we’re – we’ve run out of time for this segment of our program.  I want to just very quickly sum up some of the key points that I heard our three great panelists make during the course of the discussion about Iran’s nuclear program, and about avoiding a war over Iran’s nuclear program.  And that is that we’re moving into a very important period with respect to the P-5 plus one in Iran talks.  There’s a very important opportunity coming up in the next few weeks that’s going to require strong U.S. and better Iranian leadership, a broader deal that ties Iran’s enrichment activities to its actual nuclear power needs – which are minimal, as Jim Walsh said – combined with much more extensive IAEA safeguards, can help guard against a nuclear-armed Iran, and that we need to look at sanctions as a tool, not necessarily as the end goal, a tool in those negotiations in that we need to avoid making regime change appear to be the goal of U.S. policy, to make it clear that the Iranians have an exit ramp from this very difficult situation they’ve gotten themselves into with the nuclear program, and that the two sides are going to have to be much more creative in the next round of talks, and not simply put forward the same proposals that have met – been met with resistance in previous rounds.  It’s going to be tough, but it sounds like diplomacy is the best option on the table.

So with that, please join me in thanking Rolf Ekéus, Ahmad Sadri and James Walsh for their comments.  (Applause.)  We’re going to be taking about a two-minute break as we – a one-minute break as we adjust some of the backdrop here, and hear from National Security Adviser Brzezinski.

Thank you.

(Break.)

Top of the page.

Keynote

MR. PARSI:  Our next speaker, of course, does not need any introduction in any setting, one of the greatest statesmen – American statesmen alive.  Dr. Brzezinski served as national security adviser from 1977 to 1980.  In his long and distinguished career, he had to deal with Iran extensively – from the – managing the relationship with the Shah, to the hostage crisis, to the 1979 revolution itself and, of course, to the ongoing conversation about how to deal with the nuclear challenge that Iran poses.

Dr. Brzezinski’s voice and opinions have been decisive.  President Obama referred to him as one of our most outstanding thinkers and President Carter presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1981.  On a personal note, I have been tremendously grateful for being able to benefit from his insights, since I was lucky enough to have Dr. Brzezinski on my Ph.D. committee at SAIS a couple years ago.  A strong opponent of the invasion of Iraq, Dr. Brzezinski has also been a vocal opponent of any military adventurism with Iran, referring to it as a disaster.

In March, 2009, Dr. Brzezinski gave a very important testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, offering both words of caution as well as advice on how to make diplomacy succeed.  And since there is now a new opportunity for diplomacy, we thought it would be very fitting to bring Dr. Brzezinski here so that we can listen and benefit from his insights and his advice on how we can make it more successful this time around than it was last time around.

So without any further ado, please join me in welcoming Dr. Brzezinski.  (Applause.)

ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI:  Thank you very much, Trita.  Ladies and gentlemen, I’m delighted to be here, and to be here particularly in connection with this organization which Trita has organized and which is rendering such an important contribution to our ongoing dialogue about the U.S.-Iranian relationship.  Let me also comment very, very briefly on your introduction.

I just want to add that while you did refer to my long-standing interest in the U.S.-Iranian relationship, you don’t really realize how much long-standing it has been.  It goes back to the days when I was a young child.  And I will not go into any great detail, but at that moment for a while my now deceased mother had a rather interesting flirtation with an Iranian ambassador.  (Laughter.)

At one point, he even suggested to her that I be enrolled in a school in Switzerland called La Rozier (sp), I think, which he pointed out was then being attended by the next Shah.  He suggested to her that one never knows what might happen, and perhaps your son might end up being the foreign minister of Iran.  (Laughter.)  That’s the end of the story.  Nothing more happened.  (Laughs.)  No much happened, but it seemed full of promise.  Well, my interest therefore goes back a long time.

I just dropped this device here.  I hope it doesn’t interfere with recording.

What I would like to do very informally is to think out loud, what are our options in the event that the negotiations of the 5 plus one with Iran failed to produce an agreement, either because one or another of the negotiating parties insists on the capitulation of the other side or because some deliberately disruptive events are set in motion by one or another of the parties.  And that certainly is a possibility on both sides.

Then, what really are our options in that setting?  My bottom line answer to the question which I have just posed is that there are no good options.  But there are, of course, still options, but they range from the worst to the least bad.  But at least, there’s a choice.  The least attractive – the worst, in fact, would be if the United States and/or Israel, or jointly, attacked Iran.  I think that is a fact.  I have spoken to that many times.

So let me merely say in brief that this would produce a regional crisis and widespread hatred, particularly for the United States because the United States would be seen as the deciding partner in such an undertaking, whether jointly with Israel or subsequent to Israel or by the United States alone.  The United States would be drawn into, therefore, a protracted conflict in the region, first of all with the Iranians and perhaps the Iranian people as well.

For while the attitudes of the Iranians by and large, to the extent that we can tell, towards the United States are not hostile and on the whole, in the larger cities, quite benign, a conflict in which the United States was acting as, in their perspective, an aggressor and engaging in military action would certainly precipitate long lasting hatred for the United States.  And that would be a fact of life in that part of the country, and not an insignificant one since it would involve some 85 million people.

In the more immediate perspective, of course, there would be regional disruption.  The region would be literally set aflame with the conflict probably spreading through Iraq to Syria, creating one large belt of conflict, complicating our withdrawal from Afghanistan, particularly in the western parts of Afghanistan where Iran has the capacity to make life miserable for us.  It would be disruptive of course in terms of the security of oil flowing through the Strait of Hormuz, even if it was kept open by the United States.  But still, even then the price of insurance for the flow of oil would dramatically increase.

And there is a further uncertainty involved in that kind of an operation, namely how successful would it be.  In fact, in estimates by Israeli experts regarding Israel’s potential to be decisively effective, are pessimistic.  And American estimates depend on the scale of the American attack.  Even a relatively modest attack by the United States would inflict in any case serious casualties on the Iranians, precipitating the death of a large number of Iranian scientists and probably, in some cases given the location of the facilities, also civilians.

And there is still the unknown factor of what happens if radiation is released as a consequence of these attacks.  And that could be a significant factor in terms of civilian casualties, particularly in places that are larger, semi-metropolitan.  And of course, some facilities that would be destroyed are located – for example, Isfahan.

All of that, I think makes an attack not a very attractive remedy for dealing with the problem, a problem which then would pale in insignificance compared to the consequences of the attack once the dynamic consequences were set in motion.  So I dismiss that as a serious alternative.  I think it would be an act of utter irresponsibility and potentially a very significant immorality if the United States was part of it.

A second alternative, not either very good – neither are very good is a campaign of covert subversion – ranging from sabotage through assassinations, maybe even to cyberwarfare – directed at Iran in order to prevent it from acquiring an effective nuclear weapon.  I think the result of that is troublesome, not in terms of its immediate outcome because the asymmetry of capabilities between the United States and Iran is so wide that obviously Iran would be much more negatively affected.

But in the longer run, we cannot entirely dismiss the fact that inherent in such a strategy one sets in motion a degradation of the international system, a degradation of the international rules of the game, which could prove, in the longer run, very damaging to American national interests, if one assumes that the United States wishes to be essentially a status-quo power, not one that precipitates massive disruptions of the international order, but has a national interest in consolidating the international order and, indeed, even in expanding its international effectiveness.

So the losses in that sense to American national interests of such a campaign would be significant.  And it is not clear that they would necessarily lead to the desired – otherwise desired outcome, namely deprivation of Iran of capability to have a militarily significant nuclear potential.  Indeed, implicit perhaps in that second strategy would be an eventual outcome very similar to the first strategy, that the United States would find it necessary, would find itself compelled or driven by others into undertaking option one, but making it even in a more negative context.

The third not desirable option, but perhaps somewhat less immediately destructive, is of course a policy of the continuous imposition of sanctions on Iran that would range from painful to strangulating.  That is to say, a policy in which one assumes that at some point Iran would accommodate and accept an outcome which otherwise was not achieved in the process of negotiations.

This is a complicated undertaking because it’s very difficult in that context to clearly distinguish between what sanctions are designed to achieve the nuclear objective, and which ones are designed to achieve other objectives on the grounds of which they were initially imposed.  For example, support for Hezbollah and for other so-called terrorist organizations.

In other words, will we be trying to change the behavior of the regime?  Would we be trying to force it to comply with our position on the nuclear issue?  Or would we be trying to change the regime?  Careful discrimination of this context is very difficult to achieve and, hence, it is also very difficult to envisage an outcome in advance that would be clearly productive insofar as the original point of departure for the sanctions is concerned.

And that brings me to the fourth and least – the least objectionable of the bad options, all of that being based on the assumption that we’re not able to achieve our desired outcome by serious negotiations.  And that is to combine continued painful, but not strangulating sanctions – and be very careful in that distinction – with clear political support for the emergence of eventual democracy in Iran, an objective with which I think many Iranians would associate themselves.

And at the same time an explicit security guarantee for U.S.-friendly Middle Eastern states, including Israel, modeled on the very successful, decade-lasting protection of our European allies from an overwhelming Soviet nuclear threat, and also modeled on the successful protection of South Korea and Japan from the recently emerged North Korean threat, and perhaps earlier on, implicitly but not explicitly, from possible Chinese intimidation.

We succeeded in that policy over many decades and with good result for all concerned, including the Soviet Union and us, including the Russian people and the American people, and certainly to the benefit of those whom we were protecting.  We now know, for example, from secret Soviet war plans, that the Soviets were contemplating, even in the case of the conventional war in which they were moving westward, the use of nuclear weapons against cities.

For example, on the third day of a Soviet offensive, according to Soviet war plans, tactical nuclear weapons, several of them, were designed or were targeted for use against Hamburg – a very large urban center.  And there were others in Western Europe, depending on how the offensive was moving forward.  All of that was avoided by a policy of deterrence that was credible.

This is then the fourth option, which is not the same as the achievement of our objective, but it is an option which creates a condition which might endure for quite a while, because it is difficult to imagine any Iranian regime embarking on a nuclear adventure if it simply has the bomb.  What does that mean, it simply has the bomb?  Has it really been tested?  Is it already related to delivery system?  Does one use it when one has only one?  Does one wait until one has 10?

One has to consider in these circumstances the consequences of their use.  And given an explicit commitment by an overwhelmingly stronger nuclear power, which has demonstrated a willingness to protect with others with credibility and commitment, I think that at least is some degree of assurance that we are gaining time in a very turbulent setting, in a very turbulent time.  And that in itself is an advantage.

This is not an argument for it to be the central focus of our policy.  Obviously a negotiated outcome that meets to some extent the principle desires of our negotiating side but doesn’t necessarily humiliate the Iranians and forces them into an unconditional surrender, so to speak, is still preferable.

But short of that, if in fact the negotiations do not succeed in the near term, I think a shift by the United States to a combination of sanctions, but oriented specifically to the promotion of internal democratizing change and at the same time to serve as a deterrent and involves all of our friends in the Middle East, is the best option – or it’s the least objectionable options of the options that have failed otherwise in the achievement of their ultimate objective.

So that is the perspective that I share and I think the sooner we get off the notion that at some point we may strike Iran the better – the better the chances for the negotiations that are ongoing and the better the change for stability if we couple it with a clear commitment to the security of the region, designed to neutralize any potential longer-range Iranian nuclear threat.  And I think that’s about all I want to say at this moment.  And perhaps we can then continue our discussion.

MR. PARSI:  Absolutely.  Thank you so much.  Bring the mic with you, if you could.  Thank you so much, Dr. Brzezinski.  I think it’s a very realistic assessment of the situation.  It reminds me of the testimony that you gave in the Senate, because there you talked also about how we could make diplomacy succeed.  And here you said that diplomacy would still be the preferable option, but you didn’t go deeper into that.

In the testimony, you laid out a couple of things that you recommended that the administration do and you cautioned about a couple of things that you felt would be unproductive.  On the positive side, you talked about accepting, at least nominally, the idea that the Iranians are saying that they don’t want a nuclear weapon, and as a result use that as an argument to say, OK, how can we then find a common objective and mechanism that ensures that what you’re saying is something we can trust?

On the negative side, you pointed out that if we pursue sanctions if diplomacy fails, or we threaten that – if we assess that the military option is still on the table, if we talk about a regime change, then we’re pursuing something that may help shift the blame of the failure of negotiations to the other side, but it will help ensure that negotiations fail.

Within all of that, how would you now say where the U.S. is, four years after experiencing some combination of these two?  Where would you say that the U.S. – what can the U.S. do now in order to make sure that the preferable option is actually successful, so that we don’t have the fall back on the other effective option that you talked about of containment, but actually making the preferable option a success?

MR. BRZEZINSKI:  I’m not sure that I have a prescription that really meets the high standards that you have set for it, but I do think that at some point a parallel dialogue – probably conducted in some degree of deliberate secrecy, although that is difficult on the American side – a parallel dialogue between the United States and Iran might be desirable, in addition to the more formal negotiations.

A great deal depends here, also, on what are the long-range motives that drive the participation of the Chinese and the Russians in the negotiating process.  They might not be the same.  I think the Chinese are obviously more interested in maintaining general stability from an international economic point of view, for obviously reasons given their dependence on Middle Eastern oil.

In the Russian case, there may be some ambivalence among Russian decision makers as they assess the long-range significance of this issue for the American-Russian strategic balance, and for that matter, for Russia’s geopolitical role.  One can at least make the theoretical case – and I’m not making it – in terms of the Russian leadership as a whole, but I can envisage some Russian strategists saying, is it really bad for us if America gets into another major and protracted conflict in the region?  America will not suffer very much because of the revolution in American energy supplies, but the region will be affected adversely.  If the region is affected adversely, the dependence of Europe on Russia energy supplies dramatically increases.  Is that necessarily bad from the Russian point of view?

Secondly, if the region erupts into violence, ongoing arrangements generated over the last two or three decades largely by an American strategy designed to diminish European dependence on Russian energy –I have in mind particularly Baku-Ceyhan pipeline, and the general role of Azerbaijan and Georgia in providing access in the near future to (Turkmen ?) energy to Europe directly, and not via Russia – is something that I’m sure some Russians would like in some fashion to undercut.  So even without the massive outbreak of violence in the region, but real tension in the regions and escalating collisions or explosions, might give the Russians some strategies, and Russia might argue, a freer hand to deal with Georgia and Azerbaijan.  That would have geostrategic consequences, very adverse to Europe and to the United States.

So I think that we don’t have a very clear sense of delivery to which these partners in the negotiating process are motivated to the same degree as we, by the desire to avoid an explosion in the region.  At least one of those two that I’ve mentioned might have, at least on the part of some individuals – I want to repeat that, because I’m not saying that this is the official Russian point of view, or the official Russian strategy – but some individuals in Russia who are hard-nosed strategists might say to themselves, well, are we really sure that it’s in our interest to resolve this problem?

MR. PARSI:  It’s an interesting point, but let me play devil’s advocate for a second here.  If the policy’s a shift towards containment, containment in essence is to sit on the brink of war in the hope that you avoid it.  Wouldn’t the Russians, or those who may have different interests, still be able to achieve some of those objectives when it comes to European energy independence?

MR. BRZEZINSKI:  Well European energy independence is not a question of a state of mind; it’s a question of the state of access, availability of these sources.  The Europeans obviously prefer to have the Baku-Ceyhan line open.  It would be very (happy ?) when Turkmen gas and oil begins to flow by new pipelines through Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey to Europe.  So it depends really on what happens.  It’s not a state of mind; it’s a question of real options.

MR. PARSI:  You mentioned in your talk also about that within the containment option, there would be an opportunity to target the sanctions in such a way that they actually could facilitate pro-democracy change.  I have a couple of questions on that.  The first one is that the current sanctions are criticized by the (entire ?) green movement, saying that this is decimating the backbone of the pro-democracy movement, because it is hitting so hard the general population, rather than hitting the regime harder.

But secondly, within a diplomatic option, your tenure in government was one in which we saw a very successful effort at being able to negotiate while pushing for human rights simultaneously through the Helsinki process.  Do you envision such a process being possible in the context of Iran, in which there can be negotiations, but we don’t turn a blind eye to the human rights abuses, instead, we actually proactively utilize the dialogue in order to be able to push forward for a better human rights situation?

MR. BRZEZINSKI:  Well, that depends on the extent to which I think the Iranian regime itself is inclined to favor a more stable relationship with us, in the knowledge that it does entail inevitably, openings for that kind of a policy.  The Soviet government, in the long run, wrongly from the standpoint of its interest, concluded that it could do that, and started a dialogue in part because they thought that Nixon and Kissinger, in initiating it for the American side, were prepared to accept the status quo, which to some extent, largely so, they actually were.  But they were then in effect unpleasantly surprised by the fact that the subsequent Carter and Reagan administrations both favored such a dialogue for the purpose of upsetting the status quo and not for perpetuating it.  And that was the great difference between Nixon on the one side and Carter and Reagan on the other, with few people still in this country realizing the extent of which on that issue, the Carter policy was the predecessor for the Reagan policy.  And Reagan continued and then expanded many of the things that Carter started, using human rights as a lever for change.

I think the Iranian regime at this stage is still in a rather dogged fanatical regime, and it probably would be very, very restrictive in any accommodation, which would entail some greater openings.  So we have to do it from the outside, but we do have the advantage today which didn’t exist then, mainly of the new means of communications, which are permeable, they penetrate.  And we know from the events of March two years ago, that the Iranian people do have that access, and that’s a very important new aspect of this very complicated game.

MR. PARSI:  But there are new sanctions being discussed in Congress right now that actually would cut off the entire Iranian telecom system, which then also obviously would affect the population as a whole.  Which brings us to the point of, where do you see the correct balance of sanctions?  You mentioned that it shouldn’t be strangulating, so where should it be?

MR. BRZEZINSKI:  Well, I think you’ve raised the right issue, namely, how do we draw the difference between strangulating and painful up to a point, creating openings for other options?  I do fear that some of the energy for sanctions is driven simply by a kind of almost fanatical commitment to a showdown with the Iranians, perhaps in the innocent hope that they will back down and yield, perhaps in some cases, in the hidden hope that it leads to option number one, which I dismiss as the least attractive from our point of view.

MR. PARSI:  Interesting.

I’m going to take some questions from the media.  If you’re not part of the media, please fill out those cards, and we will collect them and send them over.  Barbara, do you have a question?

Q:  Yeah, I have a question.  Barbara Slavin from the Atlantic Council and al-monitor.com.  Always a privilege to see you, Dr. Brzezinski.

I want to pursue this a little bit more, because you are talking about a long-term containment strategy.  Does that mean that you have given up entirely on the notion of some sort of breakthrough?  We’ve all been talking about a brief window of opportunity after our elections and before the Iranian elections.  Do you think that’s simply just not in the cards?

Thanks.

MR. BRZEZINSKI:  No, I haven’t given up on it at all.  But what I want to be more clear in terms of our stand on the issues, that in certain other options in the event that the negotiating process is not successful, are not a solution for that problem, and in fact, can make the situation much worse.  And this is what leads me then to look critically at what other options do we really have if the negotiating process is not successful, and to assess them in terms of their political, strategic and even moral compatibility, with what it is that should determine the nature of our own conduct.  And I would like to avoid a situation in which someone comes to us and says, well, look, a year has passed, there is no achievement, we want new red lines, these red lines now have to be very short term because we are now in the danger zone, and do what you have to do.

And I’m not sure we have to do it, and I think it would be desirable to avoid it, and that’s more likely if we have some meaningful alternative, other than simply saying our options – all options are on the table.  And I think a meaningful alternative is a combination of a kind of, if you will, like the sort of human rights policy towards the Soviet Union in the mid-’70s, with at the same time, an effort to reassure those in the region that they are not therefore more vulnerable to Iranian intimidation, aggression or even attack, and to convince the Iranians that, if they tried to do that, they would precipitate implementation of all of the military resources that the United States possesses to make such an attack futile and extremely costly.

Q:  And just a brief follow-up:  I mean, this is containment, and is this the policy that you would pursue even if Iran actually did build and test a nuclear weapon?

MR. BRZEZINSKI:  But that’s the whole point of what I was saying.

Q:  OK, so why don’t you use the C-word?  (Laughter.)

MR. BRZEZINSKI:  Because the situation is more complicated.  Containment involves a lot of other arrangements at the time, such as the existence of NATO and so forth.  This is not that kind of a situation, so we have to address it in a somewhat different fashion, but there is an underlying similarity between the two, namely, that deterrence has worked.  Again, it’s a far more powerful, far more dangerous and indeed objectively, far more aggressive opponent in years past, and therefore, in that sense, provides a point of departure for something modeled on it, even if not identical to it.

MR. PARSI:  L.A. Times, in the back.

Q:  Doyle McManus from the Los Angeles Times.

In fact, Barbara asked the first half of my question, why not use the word containment –

MR. BRZEZINSKI:  Well, go ahead and use it.  I’m not going to launch a protest against it.  (Laughs.)  Or rebut it.

Q:  Let me – let me ask – let me ask you to go back to an old question that any use of the word containment brings up, which is that some in this country have assiduously worked to convince Americans that Iran is undeterrable or uncontainable because of the nature of the regime.  I know you’ve had to deal with that question before, but it might be worth taking 60 seconds to deal with it now.

MR. BRZEZINSKI:  Well, I don’t find that argument very credible.  I’m not sure that people who make it really believe in it, but it’s a good argument to make if you have no other argument to make.  (Scattered laughter.)  The fact of the matter is Iran has been around for 3,000 years, and that is not a symptom of a suicidal instinct.  In fact, it’s the contrary.  And so, you know, I don’t find that argument even worthy of a serious discussion.  And the fact of the matter is if the Iranians acquire a nuclear weapon, they think they’ll have more influence, and that they have a right to it.  All right, but if they have more influence, it doesn’t mean they have a free hand, and they still have to calculate what happens when they try to use it.  The notion that some way or other, they’ll put it in a picnic basket and hand it over to some terrorist group is merely an argument that maybe some – it may be convincing to some people who know nothing about nuclear weapons.  But in fact, nuclear weapons are pretty complicated things to operate, and they require tender love and care from those who handle it, otherwise it will kill them rather than the intended victims of the weapon.

So you know, it’s not a really serious argument.  You have to have a delivery system.  You have to have multiplicity.  You have to have things to back it up with, and especially if you’re dealing, as the argument assumes, with an opponent who has himself lots of nuclear weapons.  The Israelis do have a nuclear capability, and if attacked by the Iranians, they certainly would be entitled to react, and they would react furiously if the Iranians used a nuclear weapon.  And the Iranians would be in a far worse position than the North Koreans are, who already have – it is assumed – five, six, seven, maybe eight weapons.  But even that doesn’t give them sufficient assurance that the attack would work.  Some of them might not go off, and in any case, the opponent would have far greater opportunity for inflating – inflicting massive destruction on North Korea.  The same is true here.  You know, if the Israelis were victimized by the Iranians, they would be justified, and they certainly would feel justified to react in a very, very severe fashion.  I don’t know many Iranians who view that as a serious option.

MR. PARSI:  Questions from the audience that I’ve got here, very good questions:  The first one is, if we look deeper into the actual structure of a possible diplomatic solution, do you think it is necessary and achievable to reduce Iran’s enrichment activity to zero?  Or could a solution still be acceptable with Iran having limited enrichment, I assume below 5 percent, or would that still necessitate the C-word argument?

And secondly, if I could just add this one to it, there is an argument saying that the Iranians are only using the talks in order to gain time.  Their program has advanced over the last couple of years.  What is your response to those who argue against diplomacy because this would only be giving the Iranians a freebie, in the words of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu?

MR. BRZEZINSKI:  Well, the presumption is, it’s not all that explicit in the NPT, but the presumption is that countries that are signatories to it have their entitlement – I won’t use the word right – have entitlement to enrich to about 5 or so percent.  And I do know that the discussions have involved what to do with the amount that has been enriched to be on that, and presumably to somewhere around 20 percent.  And some or other imaginative ideas have been aired regarding how that excess can be handled.

But I don’t think it’s realistic to demand that Iran accept an arrangement for itself that is fundamentally different from the arrangement that other subscribers to the NPT have undertaken.  So here, I think we have to be realistic and also fair in our effort, because otherwise, we’re really not trying to seek an agreement as such, we’re trying to engage in a double humiliation and capitulation with a large and significant country.  And that is something that one should not undertake unless one felt that there was a mortal danger, literally a mortal danger, emanating from that country.  And even the most dire prognoses right now suggest that it will be some years before Iran, assuming it can keep pursuing a surreptitious nuclear weapons program, will have a significant nuclear military capability.  And that’s what we have to be concerned about is a significant nuclear military capability, and not a totally hypothetical, imaginary, noncredible notion at the moment they have one or two bombs, they’ll, you know, eagerly rush into national suicide.

Now, what was the second part?

MR. PARSI:  Second part is, what if the Iranians are just using the talks in order to reach exactly that level?

MR. BRZEZINSKI:  That, they may be doing.  It’s conceivable.  And this is why I do think that my fourth, not fully-satisfactory option, but the least objectionable of the realistic options, or would-be realistic, or pseudo-realistic options, is the one that we have to seriously contemplate.  We cannot keep saying indefinitely all options are on the table, implying that we’re going to bomb them one day, and not actually do it.  I think that undermines our credibility.  It’s much more to take a position that is explicit, clear and credible because of our past record.  We have succeeded in deterring not only the Soviet Union, led by Stalin at one point, not only China at a time when its top leader was saying, nuclear war, big deal, 300 million people will be dead, so what?  And nothing happened, and China today has a minimum nuclear deterrent, because the Chinese are a rational, calculating people, and they feel that this meets their defense needs.  And we have, in a more tenuous fashion, succeeded in deterring North Korea, even though it is occasionally threatening and volatile, and is a serious problem.  But I think the North Koreans know that we are committed to the security of our partners, and what’s even more important, the Chinese know that we are, and the Chinese don’t want a nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula.

MR. PARSI:  We only have time for one last question, so I’m going to give you perhaps one of the hardest ones, because not everyone is as clear-eyed as you are.  Some are much more alarmist.  How would you advise President Obama in the event that Israel attacks Iran before Iran crosses the U.S.’ red line?

MR. BRZEZINSKI:  Well, I wouldn’t advise him in that stage, I would advise him before – (laughter) – I would advise him before.

MR. PARSI:  Well, this is before.

MR. BRZEZINSKI:  And – you’re changing the question.  (Laughter.)  I think it’s very important for clarity to exist in a relationship between friends.  And I don’t think there is any implicit obligation of the United States to follow like, you know, a stupid mule, whatever the Israelis do.  If they decide to start a war simply on the assumption that we’ll automatically be drawn into it, I think it is the obligation of friendship to say, well, you’re not going to be making national decisions for us.  And I think that the United States has the right to have its own national security policy.  I think most Americans would agree with that, and therefore I think clarity on this issue is important, and especially if we commit ourselves explicitly and bindingly to Israel’s security as part of the formula that I advocate.  That is, for me, a design to freeze any threat into a nonthreat, unless one can convincingly argue that a country of 85 million people has no higher priority than an act of collective suicide.  And I don’t think that is sustained by any evidence whatsoever.

MR. PARSI:  Very good.

Thank you so much.  Please join me in thanking Dr. Brzezinski.  This has been a wonderful conversation.  (Scattered applause.)  Let me also take the opportunity to thank our partners in this Arms Control Association, very proud to team up with them, the viewers on C-SPAN and our funders, sponsor for this program, the Ploughshares Fund, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

Thank you all so much for coming.  (Applause.)

(END)

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Description: 

The coming year will present critical opportunities to resolve the decade-long Iranian nuclear standoff. With sanctions escalating, Iranian nuclear capabilities increasing, a soft war simmering and the threat of a full blown military conflict on the horizon, it has never been more vital that the United States and Iran find a diplomatic off ramp to prevent disaster.

Country Resources:

ACA Executive Director Speaks at MIT

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Body: 

"Nuclear Arms Control and Disarmament 50 Years Since the Cuban Missile Crisis"

Fifty years since the crisis of October 1962 brought the world to brink of nuclear war, the threats posed by the bomb have changed, but still hang over us all. There still are nearly 20,000 nuclear weapons and there are nine nuclear-armed states. More countries have access to the technologies needed to produce nuclear bomb material; the risk of nuclear terrorism is real. The United States and Russia still deploy more nuclear weapons than necessary to deter nuclear attack.

Doing nothing is not an option. To remain effective, the nuclear non-proliferation system must be updated, new commitments must be implemented, and progress on disarmament must be accelerated. No matter who occupies the White House following the 2012 election, he must pursue a nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament "stimulus plan."

WHO: ACA Executive Director Daryl G. Kimball
WHEN: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 from 4:00p-6:00pm
WHERE: The Tang Center on the MIT campus in Cambridge, MA (Building E51-395, located at 70 Memorial Drive).

The talk is part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Program on Science, Technology and Society (STS) mini seminar-series on "Nuclear Arms Control: Past, Present and Future" this fall.

For more details, see: http://events.mit.edu/event.html?id=14986694&date=2012/10/10 or contact: Randyn Miller <[email protected]>

The event is free and open to the general public

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The Arms Control Association is an independent, membership-based organization dedicated to providing authoritative information and practical policy solutions to address the threats posed by the world's most dangerous weapons.

Description: 

Fifty years since the crisis of October 1962 brought the world to brink of nuclear war, the threats posed by the bomb have changed, but still hang over us all. There still are nearly 20,000 nuclear weapons and there are nine nuclear-armed states. More countries have access to the technologies needed to produce nuclear bomb material; the risk of nuclear terrorism is real. The United States and Russia still deploy more nuclear weapons than necessary to deter nuclear attack.

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