"Meeting the Next Challenges on Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament"
Monday, June 4, 2012
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Root Room
1779 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C
You can see video coverage of the annual meeting here at CSPAN.
Panel on the Next Phase of U.S.-Russian Nuclear Reductions: Ret. Lt. Gen. Dirk Jameson, Jon Wolfsthal, deputy director James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, and Trine Flockhart, senior researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies.
Panel on Preventing a Nuclear-Armed Iran: Career Amb. Thomas Pickering, Amb. Hossein Mousavian, former Iranian nuclear envoy, and Tarja Cronberg, chairperson of the European Parliament's delegation for relations with Iran.
Keynote Speaker: Rose Gottemoeller, Acting Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security and New START negotiator.
ACA's Annual Meeting is made possible with support from the Heinrich Böll Foundation and other generous ACA donors and members.
Panel on the Next Phase of U.S.-Russian Nuclear Reductions
Daryl Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association
Lieutenant General Dirk Jameson (retired), Former Deputy Commander in Chief and Chief of Staff, U.S. Strategic Command;
Jon Wolfsthal, Deputy Director, James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies;
Trine Flockhart, Senior Researcher on Defense and Security, Danish Institute for International Studies
Transcript by Federal News Service Washington, D.C.
DARYL KIMBALL: Good morning, everyone. If you could please find your seats, please, we’re about to get started.
Good morning, everyone. I’m Daryl Kimball. I’m executive director of the independent nongovernmental Arms Control Association, and I want to welcome everyone to our 2012 annual meeting. I also want to thank and welcome those of you watching online and on C-SPAN. And before we get stated, I’d like to remind everybody to turn off your cellular devices so we’re not interrupted.
As the Arms Control Association enters its fifth decade, we’ve remained committed to providing information and ideas to address the security challenges posed by the world’s most dangerous weapons: nuclear, biological, chemical and certain conventional weapons.
As our many members here today know, our monthly journal, Arms Control Today, is a key resource for ideas and news and analysis and interviews with key policymakers on a range of issues. And our staff churns out on a regular basis issue briefs, opinion pieces, background papers and reports on a range of topics, and they’re all available at armscontrol.org. And our ability to do this depends on our individual members and our subscribers to Arms Control Today. And if you’re not a member or a subscriber, I would encourage you to consider doing so.
But today’s event on meeting the next challenges on nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament is just one of the many events that we host each year on arms control and nonproliferation issues.
With support and assistance from the Heinrich Böll Foundation, we’ve brought together today a very distinguished set of speakers from all around the world.
Our panels this morning will address two of the most pressing arms control challenges that we face today: first, advancing further progress to reduce the role, the number of the world’s global stockpiles of nuclear weapons, and second, and perhaps more urgently, advancing effective diplomatic solutions to prevent the spread of weapons to additional states such as Iran.
To close out the conference over lunch, we’re honored to have Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller. She was the lead negotiator for the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, and she’ll give us the Obama administration’s view on recent progress and the next steps ahead.
And then let me also just note – you’ll see in your program members of the Arms Control Association are welcome to join us at 3:45 p.m. in the afternoon for an informal discussion of ACA’s organizational and program priorities, and then at 5:00 p.m., we invite friends and colleagues of the late Stanley Resor to join us in honoring the former army secretary, arms control negotiator and former ACA board chairman who passed away this past April.
So to our first panel today, which will focus on the next phase of U.S.-Russian nuclear reductions after New START and the NATO summit in Chicago, we’re at a very important juncture on this issue. You’ll recall that back in 2009 President Obama pledged to, and I quote, “put an end to outdated Cold War thinking by reducing the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy,” unquote. And then in 2010 the U.S. and Russia completed the negotiations on the New START treaty.
And then also in 2010 the administration completed a congressionally-mandated Nuclear Posture Review that determined that, and I quote, “the fundamental role of U.S. nuclear forces is to deter nuclear attacks against the U.S. and our allies and our partners,” unquote. The president then directed a study on how to implement that strategy, and that study is due to be completed very soon. Back in March, in South Korea, President Obama said, quote, “that study is still under way, but even as we have more to do, we can already say with confidence that we have more nuclear weapons than we need,” unquote. So the Nuclear Posture Review Implementation Study will have far-reaching implications for U.S. nuclear policy and the future path for U.S. and Russian nuclear reductions, and also how we can reduce the enormous cost of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, which, according to a new Stimson Center study published in this month’s issue of Arms Control Today, is at least $31 billion a year.
So to explore these and other issues, we’re very pleased to have three distinguished speakers. We have with us Lieutenant General Dirk Jameson, who served as deputy commander and chief of staff of the U.S. Strategic Command before retiring in 1996 after more than three decades of active service. He’s currently an active member of the Consensus for American Security of the American Security Project, and he will give us his thoughts on these issues that I’ve just introduced.
The second speaker will be Jon Wolfsthal, who served in 2009 and 2010 on the national security staff and with the office of Vice President Biden. He is now deputy director at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. And Jon is going to give us his thoughts and views on the path and the options for pursuing further reductions and the challenges that we must overcome in doing so.
And we’re also very pleased to have with us Trine Flockhart, who’s a senior researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies in Copenhagen who will provide us with a European perspective on the recently completed Defense and Deterrence Posture Review that was issued at the recent NATO summit and also her thoughts on possible steps for dealing with the leftover tactical nuclear arsenals of the United States and Europe and – as well as Russia.
And after each of their opening remarks, we’ll take your questions and we’ll have a discussion. And so I welcome General Jameson to the meeting and to open us up. The floor is yours.
LIEUTENANT GENERAL DIRK JAMESON: Thank you very much. It’s a real pleasure to be here. I note from the smattering of gray hair and talk of some reunions that most of you have lived through a good portion of the Cold War, and some of you probably are saying, what was the Cold War? It’s also very reassuring to me to know that among all of you, I’m probably the least expert in many of the things that go on inside the Beltway.
I call myself an operator. By some strange occurrence of events, I ended up going through the Cold War in positions that gave me, I think, a unique window onto the operational side of things and, in that sense, the urgency of finding a new way in this 21st century.
I know it’s not lost on any of us here that we’re – in spite of what I saw and, on occasion, up close and personal, close calls during the Cold War, we are here this morning, and we have somehow escaped as a human race a nuclear exchange. And there were close calls. And so I think something that the citizenry needs to keep in mind is that these things are an ongoing – these issues are an ongoing struggle to control the dangers of nuclear weapons.
As a young lieutenant sitting nuclear alert, I stared at 10 green lights, each one of those lights representing an enormous amount of destruction, and practiced hundreds and hundreds of times the execution and release of those nuclear weapons. We did that all the time. And my neighbors were flying nuclear airborne alert in B-52s on occasion. I mean, that wasn’t a constant thing in those days, but it was – it was frequent. And the nuclear subs were at sea. We had an enormous destructive capability.
And I think I was not unique among those men – in those days, they were men; now that’s a generic term – but those people that were controlling those in contemplating, as we – as we inventoried the execution plans, the consequences of actually executing. I thought about that many, many times. And of course, it was heightened by movies such as “Seven Days in May” and “Dr. Strangelove.” And as I say, you – many of you lived through every bit of that. And the fact is we are extremely fortunate.
Later as a commander in the 1980s, my units were receiving new platforms, platforms that were capable of carrying more nuclear weapons at such a rapid rate that we often thought of it in terms of the cat in the castor oil; you had to have one searching, one covering, and – I mean, and one going and one covering up. It was – it was – it was really an accelerated period.
And the dialogue of deterrence in those days was there is – there is no escape for the enemy, and if we go to war, they will suffer. And people did talk about winning a nuclear war in spite of the fact that the consequences would be so extreme as to make winning kind of a ludicrous term.
I did know in those days that I and my crewmembers, all of the people that I just described, would follow orders. And if the president said go under the extremely tight constraints that a president would have to make a decision like that, they would – they would carry out the orders. There is no doubt in my mind.
But the enemy of those days is gone. It no longer exists. This is a new – this is a new time. The Soviet Union, with its massive capabilities, no longer exists. The deterrence calculus that has been with us – no longer applies, or it shouldn’t; it should be rethought. We don’t have the – that massive offensive capability of the Soviet Union and an ideology which was to dominate and to dominate us. And if people argue that that exists, they’re wrong. We need to – we need to convince them that it’s not the same.
So 21st-century deterrence, in my mind, has much to do with our conventional capabilities, with emerging technologies, and a Russia that is bound with us in a – in a carefully negotiated treaty to reduce and verify these weapons. And I remember when we were concerned with New START ratification that my growing concern, and that of many of my fellow retired – my grandson says retarded – (laughter) – general officers, flag officers, was that it – the period of time that we no longer had very capable inspectors on the ground in Russia was extending, that the ability to gather data was extended – was being extended to the point where it was – it didn’t make sense, this process of arms control that I give such credit to people way back, you know, who, when we were MIRVing and doing things that seemed to make sense under that theory of deterrence, had the courage to say, wait a minute, we – making the rubble bounce is no exaggeration, none whatsoever. We – few people – but I include myself as one of them – have had the opportunity to review the war plan all the way and to look at individual targets and to see what we were doing with the production of our development capabilities.
So it’s a new time, but U.S. and Russia do hold 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons. I think, with my experience with the Russians, and I have had a considerable amount, that we and they really understand how much the utility, the operational utility of nuclear weapons has been overstated. And we need to somehow preserve this arms control process, the good work that’s been done in verification and data exchange that I’m sure that Secretary Gottemoeller will talk about today.
So again, it’s our good fortune that we have made it to June 2012, in my mind. The revised calculus of deterrence that I talk about needs to be fleshed out. It’s not really, I don’t think, going to be a civilian audience that does this, but there is – there is much to highlight in dialogue with the American people and with our elected officials. I hope that it can be nonpartisan. I’m still hopeful that the political process will allow this preservation of a long-developed arms control approach to continue and that clearly, a new deterrent calculus will allow us and the Russians to posture – to secure and posture our nuclear weapons with further reductions and less danger. I’m confident we can do that.
So I would say that we – as we update our thinking, that I don’t at all go away from what Ronald Reagan said about trust but verify, and I think we continue to put a big emphasis on verify as we expand not only the discussion of our nuclear enterprise but the other issues that others on the panel will discuss and including, I hope, all of the – all of the nuclear holders in the world and the issue of proliferation.
Thank you very much.
MR. KIMBALL: Thank you, General.
And now we’ll turn to Jon Wolfsthal for newer perspectives on nuclear weapons and deterrence in a changed world.
Jon, thanks for being here.
JON WOLFSTHAL: Great, thank you, Daryl, very much for inviting me.
Thank you all for coming. Of course I would have been happy to accept the invitation. Having been locked inside the White House for the last three years, just getting out in the daylight is nice. But I actually got my start – my real start in this field at the Arms Control Association. I attended the annual meeting as a young member in 1990 when Spurgeon announced that they would be creating a nonproliferation position, which I got eventually because I was the least expensive candidate. (Laughter.) And it’s been downhill ever since.
As Daryl said, I spent the last three years in the White House working as the vice president’s adviser on nuclear issues, and really I’m fortunate not only for that experience, but for a nuclear wonk like myself, to basically be given that access and to understand for the first time really what goes into all of these different questions that we’re dealing with. And as the general knows very, very well, the minutia really can overwhelm you, but you have to understand it before tackling the larger questions of deterrence calculus and stability, not to worry about single-shot kill probability and exchange ratios, but to really understand the thinking of the different services and the different constituents before you then go ahead and pick a number at, say, where, you know, you feel you should come out.
And I think one thing that I would like people to take away is that the administration’s been very careful to take the advice many of us were given years ago, which is don’t tell the operators how to operate. You know, don’t come in and say, you know, we really only need four submarines at sea. Really what we wanted to work through and which we had the opportunity to do, with a tremendously open process involving the State Department, Defense Department, services, intelligence, Department of Energy for the production, uniformed military, is to think through the big questions that were laid out in the president’s strategy documents: the Nuclear Posture Review, the Prague speech. Where do we want to go? What are the threats that we’re trying to address globally? And then to figure out what are the questions that nuclear weapons are necessary for, hoping then to move the other questions out of the nuclear arena because, as the president has said many times, he – and I would argue, correctly – believes that it is very much in the security interests to reduce our reliance on nuclear weapons and to reduce the roles of nuclear weapons as we pursue a more expanded and, in many ways, a much more aggressive nonproliferation policy, one that we recognize has as much and probably even more of a bearing on our security position than some outdated Cold War mentality of nuclear parity with Russia or any other country.
So I’m sure many of you are pretty steeped in those documents of the NPR. But I would encourage you to go back and take a look at those, and particularly the five criteria that are enumerated in the NPR, because those are very much the criteria that we put against how many ICBMs do you think you need to have in order to assure that they’re survivable or submarines? Or which countries need to be on the targeting list, and which countries can drop off of the targeting list? Or do you really need to cross-target with ICBMs and SLBMs in order to achieve these goals? Those five questions were the ones that really got to us.
And then, of course, throughout this process – and the vice president was very much involved in this – is to understand that, regardless of what number you come out at, after that strategy work is done and you’ve determined what the numbers might be, if that is one or it’s a million and one, you’re still going to need a nuclear complex that is capable of supporting the maintenance of that capability. If it’s one, you still need a bunch of scientists and engineers that can take it apart and understand how it works. You’re still going to need production facilities that can remake it if necessary or can build back up or, at the very least, dismantle the thousands of nuclear weapons that we’re still dealing with in the aftermath of the Cold War. And that’s another issue that I’ll touch briefly on about needing to get to this bipartisan consensus, although I don’t think anybody’s ever going to get a consensus on anything in Washington, but at least some sort of general agreement that, whether you believe we need more nuclear weapons or less nuclear weapons, there’s a certain amount of investment that’s necessary for the nuclear complex, and I don’t mean every bell and whistle. And having gone through this in detail, everybody throughout the process, from the NNSA to OMB to the Nuclear Weapons Council, understand that there’s the perfect and then there’s the necessary, and there’s a whole bunch of cutting that’s going to go on at the top. But you’re still going to need some level of investment in order to maintain any type of nuclear activity.
So, for many of the people in this room that are concerned about these issues – several of whom called me over the past three years to tell me, hey, make sure you do this and have you thought about that – I mean, I can now tell you, you know, you should take heart in the sense that we were wrestling with the same questions that you all talk about and now we all talk about on a regular basis: You know, what are the threats that we face that absolutely require some sort of nuclear capability to address? How many nuclear weapons are really necessary to deter enemies and reassure friends? And what does deterrence mean in the 21st century and how does that compare with what deterrence meant 20 or 30 years ago? Because the nuclear guidance, as it exists, is still pretty much a reflection of deterrence policy in the late parts of the Cold War. Stan Norris and Hans and others have written very well about this in Arms Control Today, talking about the different category sets – and I’m not going to get into that – but it’s clear that a lot has changed. And as the general said, we need to change our deterrence thinking about our deterrence calculus.
We wrestled a lot with, how can we reduce our reliance on nuclear weapons in ways that not only ensure our security, but actually advance it? For those that watch this, New START was about a lot of things. It was about getting the verification capabilities back on the ground in Russia and providing that insight into what’s going on, but it was also very much about the NPT Review Conference coming up. It was also very much about needing to reharness and refocus the international community’s attention on Iran and not allow – not to allow this gap in U.S.-Russian arms control to become a distraction from what everybody recognizes is the next set of security challenges.
We also dealt very steadily with the question of, how do we deal with the aging of the nuclear triad? What do we need for the future in terms of strategic delivery vehicles and, quite frankly, how much is that going to cost us? We didn’t let numbers, either the level of nuclear weaponry that we thought might be useful or how much money we had available, drive the system. But we had to be aware of what it was going to cost to try and implement these things in a budget-constrained environment.
But, as we got through this process and only after we looked at what the strategy needed to be, then we talked about numbers. And I know people have read a lot of the reporting that said the president sent out to the Pentagon requests for numbers at a very low level and write me a strategy for this. I can tell you plainly that’s just not true, and I can tell you it’s not true because I helped write that part of the guidance. So don’t believe it, and if there are reporters here in the room, I’d be happy to talk with you afterwards.
So, in terms of what’s going to come out – and my expectation is that this is going to be rolled out in some way, shape or form in the next several weeks if not a month or two; I actually am not sure how it’s going to be rolled out – in terms of the way this is going to impact on the future of arms control negotiations, I’ll tell you plainly that I argued against a rollout that included a number because I do favor a new set of negotiated reductions with Russia and think that if you come out with a number, you’re basically opening yourself up to giving away your negotiating position. So I argued very strongly inside that we should talk about what the framework is, what the strategy is, how we’re reducing our reliance on nuclear weapons, but leave the numbers for the negotiation in the hopes that we could actually get Russia to come with us down to a lower number.
Now I will tell you plainly that I am a pessimist when it comes to what’s going to come over the next year or two on negotiated reductions. I wish that weren’t the case, but I think the thinking in Russia is not the same as the thinking in the United States. And quite frankly, on this issue, Senator Kyl – and only this issue – Senator Kyl and I actually agree: I don’t want to give the Russians a veto over what we do with our strategic capabilities. And knowing that we can go lower, that we don’t need to be spending money in the nuclear complex, that we quite frankly need to be spending in other areas, I don’t want to delay that process of going down to lower numbers because as the general, I think, was alluding to, it’s clear that, unlike the Cold War when it was the Soviet Union, their conventional capability, and the risk of conflict that was the threat, today the threat is the weapons themselves.
Nobody – very few people reasonably believe that we’re going to have a nuclear conflict because of some deliberate decision to try to pre-empt or disarm the United States of their nuclear capability or vice versa, whereas during the Cold War, very reasonable people – senior government officials, out-of-governments, actually worried day to day that, well, if there’s asymmetry and instability, this might be a real risk. Today I think most people recognize that if there’s a nuclear exchange, it’s going to be because of miscalculation or accident and that’s the threat that we have to address. And if we can go to lower numbers through negotiations, then great. That’s a much better world. But, quite frankly, I don’t want to delay that day while we’re addressing this challenge.
And so, in large part because I don’t think Russia’s prepared to go to much lower numbers – they might be prepared to come down incrementally because, quite frankly, they’re already below the New START numbers; so they might be willing to have some adjustment, but – if we really want to break the back on Cold War thinking, then we have to go to much lower numbers.
And I think this’ll probably my second-to-last point that – and this administration, I think, is guilty as many other administrations – we talk as if the nuclear strategy has changed and that, as President Clinton said, we’re – we’ve rid the nightmare of nuclear war from our grandchildren’s dreams. The fact is we still size our nuclear capabilities to fight nuclear wars. We call it deterrence or we call it planning for what happens if deterrence fails while we’re still sizing our force to make sure we can blow up a lot of what Russia or other enemies might need to fight us. And that’s nuclear war fighting. What we need is a force that’s fundamentally sized and based on deterrence, and that number is much, much lower than what it takes to blow up a lot of stuff in foreign countries.
And I would argue that, at least from the United States’ perspective and increasingly in – and Russia and China, that number is very, very low. And just from a personal point of view, I would say that number is probably more than one, but less than 20, that the United States is deterred by the reasonable threat that 20 nuclear weapons or less can land on U.S. soil. And therefore, the numbers need to come way down because anything above that is really unnecessary. As long as it’s secure and reliable and technically we know that it will work, then I think we’re still able to pursue a very stable set of deterrent calculations. And, quite frankly, the idea that we need to go down in some sort of parity or symmetric reductions, I think, is also outdated because, during the Cold War, again, reasonable minds could argue if there was a 20, 30, 40 percent delta in what Russia had or we had or what we had and China had or what the Europeans had and what the tactical – then you could argue that somebody might get it in their head that now’s the time. But does anybody think that a 40 percent difference between what we have and Russia’s going to lead President Putin to say, ah, now’s our opportunity? Right? I mean, it’s just – it’s hard to imagine any scenario where that creeps into the thinking. So, again, that’s just my personal view; but I think it’s one set of arguments that went very much into the debate over where the Nuclear Guidance Review is going to come out.
So last point – and that’s, again, on the nuclear complex. The general said hopefully that we could try and at least establish some areas of nonpartisan agreement on this. If you look back at the Strategic Posture Review – Strategic Posture Commission, before the administration came into office, if you look at what was discussed very early on in the Nuclear Posture Review, the one area where we really didn’t have much of a disagreement – and actually where very conservative planners on nuclear forces and very progressive voices on nuclear issues came to some agreement during the New START process – was to understand that, regardless of what size nuclear weaponry or arsenal we need, we’re going to have to have some reinvestment in the nuclear complex: the people, the delivery vehicles, and the science and technological and industrial base that supports it.
We can debate all you want about whether we need the facility in New Mexico to do plutonium or the facility in Tennessee to do uranium, but we recognize we’re going to need some level of that. This budget cycle, I think, has shown us that we’re still very far away from getting that type of agreement, and if we want to have any set of reductions, we’re going to have to really work very carefully on what that set of investments is going to be. But the flip side’s also true: that if we intend to get any real sustainable investment plan, we’re going to have to have reductions to support that because you’re not going to be able to convince the broad parts of the Congress you need to convince to spend money on this unless you show at least some of them that it’s a path down. And so if we don’t have both pieces of that puzzle, I worry that we’re going to end up with a very underfunded complex, very unreliable nuclear arsenals and much larger nuclear arsenals than we need to support our security, and that’s, I think, a loser for all constituencies.
Sorry I went on a little long, but I look forward to your questions.
MR. KIMBALL: Thank you very much, Jon.
Now we’re going to turn to another facet of the nuclear weapons question focusing on some of the issues relating to NATO policy and Europe and the tactical nuclear weapons problem.
Trine Flockhart, who’s a senior researcher at the Danish Institute of International Studies, thanks for being with us. The floor is yours.
TRINE FLOCKHART: Thank you. First of all, thank you for inviting me. I’m really honored to speak to such a distinguished audience, and I’m so pleased to be in Washington. It’s always a treat to come to Washington.
Now, in my studies over the years of NATO and nuclear weapons, it has always seemed to me that NATO is nuclear-addicted. So, the question that I’ve asked myself after the publication of the Deterrence and Defense Posture Review is – well, is NATO still nuclear-addicted? I’m afraid that the simple question or the simple answer to that question is yes, although now with the promise that NATO is now willing to consider not to have any of the drugs lying around at home in Europe as long as it’s co-dependent fellow addict Russia is willing to do the same. Unfortunately I suspect this is not a position with great prospects.
OK, so Daryl has asked me to give a brief assessment of the Deterrence and Defense Posture Review, which is also known, for short, as the DDPR.
Now, perhaps I should say even though I know this is a very knowledgeable audience, if the DDPR somehow has slipped your attention, then don’t blame yourself because you could actually say that since the announcement of the DDPR at the Lisbon summit, about 18 months ago in November 2010, it has turned into a secret review process. It started out being something that was agreed to save the Strategic Concept because Germany had launched the question of nuclear weapons and no one could agree to that to get into the Strategic Concept. The agreement was then to launch, and I quote, “a major review of NATO’s overall deterrence and defense posture.” That was then going to be presented at the Chicago summit just a few weeks ago.
Well, what happened after that was that it started out being quite a public affair. But, after a few months, I think NATO realized that they had actually bitten off more than they could chew and the process turned into being an almost secret process. It has rarely been referred to since in public. A few months into the process, no one in NATO would go to gatherings like these and talk about DDPR, and it was published at the Chicago summit without even as much as a press briefing. So, not surprisingly, therefore, DDPR has only had sporadic public interest, and I think the knowledge about DDPR is quite limited within gatherings like these.
Now when the DDPR was announced at Lisbon, many including myself welcomed the process as an opportunity to get a proper discussion about NATO’s deterrence and defense posture and particularly the future of the forward-deployed American nonstrategic nuclear weapons that are still based in five European countries. Perhaps naively, I also hoped that the DDPR, in light of changes in the international context, in light of NATO’s redefined role and its new Strategic Concept, and in light of NATO’s redefined role in its new Strategic Concept, and in light of the additional NATO capability in the form of missile defense; might also discuss alternative ways of showing commitment, of reassurance and on sharing of risks and burdens within the alliance.
Unfortunately, this does not appear to be the case. And I have to agree with former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn that the DDPR at best deserves a grade of incomplete.
OK. So what’s in the document? Well, I think you’re already guessing what I’m going to say. There’s not a lot in there; it’s mostly hot air. Despite the really complicated and conceptual issues, the document is less than 3,000 words long, which includes long prose about the less central issues that the allies could actually agree on. Moreover, the document is written in a complex and convoluted language that seems to be designed to detract from rather than to add to clarity about these very complex and hugely important issues.
Most importantly, the document effectively dodges the main issues. And it fails completely to answer some of the most essential questions, most notably: What is the purpose of nuclear weapons, especially the forward deployed nonstrategic nuclear weapons? How has that purpose changed since the end of the Cold War? What is the effect of the new missile defense capability for the overall defense and deterrence posture? It doesn’t really address these questions, at least not in any depth.
In addition, the document never asks what the implications are of NATO’s decision at Lisbon to elevate cooperative security and crisis management to core tasks along with the original collective defense. Despite the significant changes brought about by the Strategic Concept, the DDPR reads as if none of these changes matter.
So this is puzzling and it is also disappointing, because the rethinking of NATO’s core tasks and the new missile defense capability clearly opens up for new possibilities on how to show commitment and cohesion in the alliance. Yet the DDPR has been completely unable to suggest new ways of ensuring nuclear sharing and possible alternatives to nuclear sharing, as for example missile defense sharing, and the value of burden sharing through practical participation in the other two core tasks that I mentioned, crisis management and cooperative security.
So, sadly, overall the document constitutes a victory for France and those Central and East European allies who maintain Russia as the main security concern and who basically joined a NATO anno 1990, rather than a NATO that is ready for the security challenges of the 21st century.
So if I was to draw up a score sheet, list pro and cons, then I would suggest the following positive aspects. First of all, it’s positive that the document was made public. This was by no means a certainty and was only agreed shortly before Chicago. Secondly, it’s positive that the document makes rhetorical reference to the possibility, at least, of reducing or withdrawing nonstrategic nuclear weapons.
Thirdly – and in this, I may be stretching it here as a positive – but it’s positive that the Weapons of Mass Destruction, Control and Disarmament Committee, which was established as part of the process, will be replaced with a new committee that can function as a consultative and advisory forum, because NATO really needs to have that. However, this may turn out to be a Pyrrhic victory, as the committee’s mandate first has to be agreed, which could take a very, very long time because France is basically against this committee.
It’s also positive that the DDPR contains a commitment to developing confidence and transparency measures vis-à-vis Russia. And finally, I think it’s positive that the review does not close the process but rather appears to be open for a continuation of internal debate about the issues raised. And in fact, I have to say that I think this is the most positive aspect of DDPR.
Now, unfortunately it seems that on the negative score sheet there are much more substantial issues. And ironically, although the document endorses the status quo, the reality is that the status quo simply cannot be maintained. And I list five problems in addition to the ones that I’ve already talked about.
The first problem is that even if no agreement can be reached on changing NATO’s nonstrategic nuclear weapons posture, it will change. However, without an agreement, the change will come through as a disorderly internal NATO process of national nuclear disarmament, where some deployment countries are going to – will decide to – not to replace their dual-capable aircraft with nuclear capabilities. Germany certainly seems certain to do that. And once there’s a German decision to withdraw all of its B61s, then Holland and Belgium are likely to follow. So in other words, without an overall NATO decision, the likely outcome is disarmament by default.
The other invisible change that is endorsed surreptitiously in the document is modernization of the B61 gravity bombs. The DDPR states that it will ensure that all components of NATO’s nuclear deterrent remain safe, secure and effective. What this basically means is that the existing B61 gravity bombs will undergo costly life-extension programs, which will upgrade the capability considerably by changing the bombs into precision-guided weapons. So in parallel with the disorderly nuclear disarmament is hidden a nuclear escalation, also by default. The overall effect of modernization of dual-capable aircraft, to include Joint Strike Fighter with modernized, precision-guided weapons on the B61, will constitute a considerable upgrade, which will certainly not go unnoticed in Russia.
Thirdly, another huge mistake in the DDPR is that the future of NATO’s forward deployed nuclear deterrent is made contingent on reciprocal Russian measures, yet Russia has made it clear that it will not discuss nonstrategic nuclear weapons until all forward deployed weapons have been removed from Europe. However, as NATO has already removed 90 percent of the weapons unilaterally, the 180 or so remaining B61s hardly constitute a good bargaining position against the more than 2,000 Russian weapons. I think NATO is about to repeat the mistake of the 1980s, when it linked NATO deployments of intermediate-range nuclear forces to the Soviet SS-20. NATO should simply ask, do we need these weapons or not, and not make it contingent on what Russia does.
Another problem is that the DDPR is completely unclear where NATO stands on the issue of negative security guarantees. It sounds like NATO has adopted a policy of NATO security guarantees in the document, but when reading the document closely, it appears that NATO’s simply acknowledging the different national positions of the three NATO countries. The U.S. and the U.K. give the guarantees; France does not. Such a policy is clearly not a good foundation for a coherent NATO nuclear posture.
And finally, the DDPR completely fails to ask the crucial questions about the role of nuclear weapons, especially what nonstrategic nuclear weapons are for. As it does that it cannot possibly provide the answer to what constitutes an appropriate mix of conventional, nuclear and missile defense forces. NATO still needs to ask, appropriate for what? Sadly, as this was exactly what the DDPR set out to clarify, to have failed on that count is a real indictment, I think, of 18 months’ work.
Daryl asked me about the next steps. And this is the really difficult question because one of the aspects or one of the effects of the way the DDPR has been conducted is that the alliance has basically painted itself into a corner, and it’s not a very good corner. I don’t actually see any constructive next steps within the parameters left by the DDPR. It’s especially problematic that the DDPR has restricted NATO’s room of maneuver by making the withdrawal contingent on Russian reciprocal moves. This is unlikely to happen, so we have a stalemate situation.
It’s also problematic to identify a next step because although the official line from NATO is that the DDPR shows NATO unity, in my opinion the DDPR has basically divided the alliance into two camps: for and against withdrawal and bad Russia/good Russia. I think on doing this, which has been consolidated – it has been a position that has been consolidated over the last 18 months – it’s actually going to be the first next step that NATO needs to address.
Within the parameters of DDPR, I think NATO’s best option seems to be to return to recommendations of the nonpaper that was submitted last April by Poland, Norway, Germany and the Netherlands. As a first step, NATO should seek increased transparency with Russia on numbers, types, locations, operational status and the level of storage security. And these are questions that could usefully be addressed in the NATO-Russia Council and hopefully lead to a better atmosphere and a more constructive working environment within the council.
Moreover, following the American elections this year, a renewed effort at reaching an understanding with Russia on cooperation on missile defense would, if it could be successful, provide an environment that would be more conducive for further discussions within NATO on nonstrategic nuclear weapons.
But for the time being, as I said, the best thing about the DDPR is that it didn’t close the process. So now that the restrictive process of the DDPR process is over, NATO should start a real dialogue and proper analysis, which might be able to apply a holistic approach to the overarching question: Deter whom, how and from what? And what is the role of NATO’s nonstrategic nuclear weapons and why exactly does NATO need them? After a suitable break – not too long, I hope – NATO simply needs to get back into a process of talking about these issues with an educational focus. That is why the new committee that I spoke about is really important.
And speaking as a European – and this is my very last point – then I can say this: It’s also time for the U.S. to take the lead and to seek to influence the position of the Central Europeans on nonstrategic nuclear weapons. The United States has had a background position in this and has basically left it for the Europeans to sort out their issues on these matters. But the European allies will never agree on anything unless there is an existential crisis snapping at their heels or unless there’s some very clear leadership exercised by the United States. So there you have it. I can say it; I’m European. (Laughter.)
So NATO needs to get back to its traditional way of dialogue and persuasion under American leadership in the committees in NATO, in the Nuclear Planning Group and in the committee that hopefully will get a name and hopefully will get a mandate. Thank you.
MR. KIMBALL: Thank you very much, Trine. So I think we have a clear message from our speakers that more needs to be done. There’s reason to change our thinking about nuclear weapons, find ways to reduce the risks. But the path ahead is complex, it’s not clear, and it’s going to take leadership and creativity.
And now it is your turn to stimulate the discussion with your questions. We have a couple of microphones that will arrive if you raise your hand, if you state your name and ask a question and address it to one of the speakers. Why don’t we start over here with Edward Ifft.
Q: Yes. Edward Ifft, Georgetown University. To Miss Flockhart, one of the roadblocks to transparency regarding tactical nuclear weapons has been the reluctance of NATO itself to acknowledge where they are and the numbers. And as a result, the U.S. government cannot confirm or deny, except for Germany, those facts – even though everybody knows, of course, where they are. So can we conclude from what you have said that NATO is now willing to acknowledge where the tactical nuclear weapons are? Or will NATO only do it if Russia adopts a certain amount of transparency as well? Thank you.
MR. KIMBALL: Trine? Maybe, Jon, you also want to address that question. But Trine, go ahead.
MS. FLOCKHART: Well, obviously a precondition would be that NATO would be willing to give the transparency as well as Russia. It’s not a one-way street. Everyone knows where the nuclear weapons are. Everyone knows how many are there, I think, by now. So there’s not really that much on those issues.
Where I think the issues would be much more on the storage and the site security. That would be issues that would be interesting on both sides. And Russia would have an interest in getting to know some of those issues, particularly also on the issue of the old storage sites in what has happened to the old Soviet storage sites in Central and Eastern Europe. I think there would be some room for maneuver there. But clearly, NATO will also have to move on the transparency issue as well.
MR. WOLFSTHAL: I mean, I think the challenge in this, Ed, as you well know, is Russia’s really not concerned about our tactical nuclear weapons in Europe. So there’s not – we can’t leverage whatever weapons we have there against what the Russian have, because it’s not a threat perception for them.
You know, very early on in the administration, I think there was a willingness to basically say, we don’t need these. Let’s make some decisions and we’ll deal with them on our own. And then very quickly, I think, some of the institutional biases came to bear, both in the Pentagon and in the State Department, unfortunately.
So I’m sort of an outlier here. My approach to this is simply pull them out and force the Russians to justify to themselves and to their own people and to the Europeans why they need thousands of tactical nuclear weapons themselves.
MR. KIMBALL: All right. Just to be clear, what the independent experts estimate is that there are some 180 U.S. gravity bombs, nuclear bombs, in five European NATO countries. And Russia is estimated by independent experts to have some 2,000 tactical nuclear weapons on their territory.
So we have another question here in the middle. Mr. Culp, thank you.
Q: David Culp with the Friends Committee on National Legislation. A question for Mr. Wolfsthal. When the administration’s budget was released a number of members of Congress said the money for the National Nuclear Security Administration was inadequate and said that you were basically walking away from the agreements that you made in the New START treaty. So I’m wondering if you can go through with us the thinking on the budget that you presented and is the administration living up to its commitments in the – from the START treaty?
MR. WOLFSTHAL: I’m just pleased you refer to me as Mr. Wolfsthal from time to time, David. (Laughter.) Thank you. David was a great help, as were a number people here, on the New START process. So we got to work very closely together.
I think it’s a very partisan game that’s being played on the administration’s budget, and I think it’s unfortunate. The criticism are from people who know in fact the details but think it’s good optics to argue the contrary.
The facts are that in the context of New START the president submitted a plan, as requested by Congress – a 1251 plan, which said it was our intention to pursue programs and capabilities necessary to maintain a safe, secure and effective nuclear arsenal. And our estimate at that time was that those capabilities would cost about $85 billion over the next 10 years. That’s just for the nuclear complex part. That was separate from strategic launch vehicles, ICBMs, SLBMs and so forth.
After the Budget Control Act came into force, there were new restrictions on how much the president would actually be able to request. And so people wanted the president to basically break the law and say we’re going to ask for money that legally we can’t ask for. And the president said: We’re not going to do that. And in fact, we went to work very quickly saying: All right, if this is the money that’s available and this is what we need, how do we ensure that we get what we need? And that was a very open process with NNSA, the Pentagon, the Nuclear Weapons Council and the lab directors, as well as OMB, who said, over the next 10 years, there’s a reasonable estimate that we can provide for what this will cost us.
Congress chose not to fund that number. The House, in particular, controlled by Republicans who pushed for the 1251 report, chose not to fund the administration’s request and shorted it by roughly $800 million. The lab directors then came to the NNSA and said: We don’t think you’re going to get the money that we all agree we need to build all of these facilities. And we think we can save you – this is the lab directors coming to NNSA saying we think we can save you money, all right – perhaps an unprecedented step – and saying we think we can do plutonium work without building the CMRR in New Mexico. It’s a big facility. It’s estimated to cost about $5 billion. And what the lab directors are worried about, rightly, is that we’re going to build facilities and not be able to fund the people that do the real work in those facilities.
So they came to us with an alternative plan. The administration asked the entire Nuclear Weapons Council, representative from STRATCOM, undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, NNSA: Will this work? And they said yes. And so we went to Congress with that and said, OK, here’s the new plan. And all of a sudden Congress is screaming you broke your promise. So I think it’s just partisan gamesmanship. I think it’s largely designed to try and detract from the president’s pretty impressive accomplishment on investing in the nuclear complex in a reasonable way. And my hope is that the Congress will finally come to its senses and do what’s right for the nuclear deterrent that we need.
MR. KIMBALL: I wanted to ask a question from the chair’s place here to General Jameson and to Jon about, you know, how we move forward in the next one to two years, regardless of who’s in the White House, with Russia to the next steps in reducing U.S. and Russian stockpiles below the New START levels, which are 1,550 deployed strategic warheads. And those – that ceiling needs to be met by the year 2018. New START creates a verification system that’s going to be in place until 2021.
And given the difficulties of a formal negotiation with Russia and given the challenge that we’ll have with the next round of negotiations, because we need to deal with not just deployed strategic weapons, but also the tactical nuclear weapons, perhaps the non-deployed weapons, are there some alternative approaches? In other words, might there be a way, just as George W. Bush did in the 2001-2002 period, to use the existing treaty framework to provide the transparency and the verification necessary to assure both sides, but to reduce the two countries’ deployed strategic arsenals below those START levels? Is that a path that is worth considering, given the very difficult relationship between the U.S. and Russia on various issues – missile defense, Syria, other types of things?
MR. WOLFSTHAL: Well, I mean, I think if there are a hundred people in the room, you probably have a hundred different plans for how this could work, but I think there are a couple of prerequisites. And the first is, I would argue, we need to have a decision, preferably a bilateral decision, which quite frankly just means us, to go down to New START numbers immediately. These are very modest reductions.
I forget what the number of the just-released New START aggregate was, but I think we’re roughly at 1,750. We’re going to 1,550. You could pull 200 weapons off alert and put them out in a few days, if not a few weeks. So I think we should just quickly go there. I think we need to get the new guidance in place so the president has direct support from Strategic Command and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs saying: Yes, we’ve looked at plans. We can go lower to give him that flexibility to then order reductions. And then I think you have the New START verification framework in place to say to Russia: Let’s go down to lower numbers more quickly. You can go below 1,550. You could reach a political agreement with Russia to do that, and then you would have the verification in place to show, in fact, that those numbers have been reached.
Of course, the challenge is you don’t have that in place for the nonstrategic nuclear weapons, and that’s where, I think, Trine’s views are very valuable here, that the confidence-building and transparency measures are really what’s needed. I would argue, as I just did, that the U.S. should do that up front. We need to find a way to manage the alliance correctly and so that the withdrawal of those weapons don’t lead to a new schism. But I would argue that we should give Russia, say, a year privately, and then if they don’t move within that time period, to say we’re going alone and then push them to come with us.
MR. KIMBALL: Your thoughts, General Jameson?
GEN. JAMESON: Well, the only thing that I would add is I think that until the election, anything that even hints of doing something unilaterally is just not going to be on the table. On the other hand, the process – and I certainly agree with Jon – grinds along in the Pentagon, inside the Beltway. Things are going to happen the way the U.S. military, the Pentagon, in coordination with the – with the interagency, wants it to happen. And some of those things are budget-driven. They’re going to try to save as much as they can realistically, but it’s not going to be – it’s not going to be private agreements with Russia or anything. That’s just my opinion.
MR. KIMBALL: All right. Thank you.
All right. Other questions? Yes, sir, in the middle. Bruce, thank you.
Q: Hi. I’m Bruce MacDonald with the U.S. Institute of Peace. I think it’s safe to say that within this room, there’s a probably pretty broad consensus in support of further reductions. And yet – and to date, our NATO allies have been extraordinarily supportive of the New START process. My question is – comes to the fact – I’m – going forward and seeing levels go down substantially more, I guess I want to ask particularly Dr. Flockhart, but of course other distinguished panelists as well, is there a point at which the U.S. extended deterrent, which I recognize of course is more than just nuclear weapons; it – our substantial conventional capability’s a very important dimension of that – but is there a point at which our NATO allies, and obviously some sooner than others, begin to get a little bit nervous about how low – how far down we go, because we’ve taken almost as a given that our allies have been – and again, they’ve been wonderful in their support, but is there a point where the – what the perceived benefits of extended nuclear deterrence begin to outweigh the value of further reductions? And how might we address that?
MS. FLOCKHART: Well, I think – I think the point is very low. And realistically speaking, we are going to have to face up to a deployment country number of two within quite a short period of time. I don’t think there’s any doubt that Germany will not continue being a deployment country. And once that is on the table, then I think Holland and Belgium are pretty certain to withdraw as well.
The question then is whether the weapons that are placed in those three countries will then be transferred to Turkey and Italy or whether they would be withdrawn back to the United States. Either, I think, would still mean that that would be an extended deterrence. And I think that you could argue that within the alliance as well. I think there would be understanding for that. I think you could go down to perhaps – you mentioned 20, perhaps you could go down to five, 10 weapons in Europe and still say that there’s an extended deterrence.
So I don’t really think it’s the numbers. I think it has much more to do with NATO not being able to let go of the symbolic value that is attached to those weapons. I think most NATO allies, including the Central and East Europeans, realize that they really have no strategic importance and that the strategic nuclear weapons back in the United States will provide just as much protection, if I can call it that, as those that are based in Europe. So I don’t think it’s the numbers that’s the – that’s the issue. I think it is zero or more than zero that’s the issue.
MR. KIMBALL: And just one point of clarification. I mean, the Defense and Deterrence Posture Review that was just released by NATO in Chicago states that the supreme guarantee of allied security are the strategic nuclear weapons of the three countries in NATO with strategic nuclear weapons – the U.S., U.K. and France. It does not talk about the U.S. forward- deployed tactical nuclear weapons as being vital to that deterrent capability. And the last I noticed, our European allies are very supportive of further U.S.-Russian reductions relating to strategic nuclear weapons.
Jon, any other points on this?
MR. WOLFSTHAL: I mean, you know, when I was really young, Jack Mendelsohn used to call me into his office and explain the way this – the world had developed. And so of course I remember his lecture on why we had tactical nuclear weapons in the first place, which is going back, you know, to really outdated thinking, that the Europeans were worried that somehow we were going to decouple our defense from their defense and that we needed to have – in addition to the long-range strike capabilities, we needed to have capabilities on the ground so that when we had a nuclear exchange to block tanks from coming through the Fulda Gap, that Russia wouldn’t then just – you know, they’d have to launch at us, and it wouldn’t just be a nuclear war in Europe. You know, all of that is just out the window and useless in terms of, you know, American strategic thought, European strategic thought. Does anybody believe that somehow a tactical nuclear weapon from Europe on Russian territory would not be seen as a strategic threat to Russia?
So, I mean, if we think we need to challenge Russia in a strategic way, we have lots of submarines, we have lots of ICBMs, and the tactical nuclear weapons don’t have a military role.
Q: Jon, do you have – pardon me for interrupting, but I’m talking about not – not just the tactical, and I agree those are minor, but the question of the overall strategic level. Is there a level at 300, 200, is there some level of U.S. having strategic nuclear warheads that begins to make some allies, and probably some sooner than others, nervous; maybe Poland or Turkey get nervous before Germany and Denmark do?
MR. WOLFSTHAL: And I think if all we were doing were maintaining everything that we had status quo and started drastically reducing our nuclear weapons, there might be an argument that the countries would start to get nervous. Of course, the concern is that they might develop nuclear capabilities of their own or the alliance would fall apart. However, as Trine said, these things don’t happen in isolation, right? What we need to think about is how you supplement your extended reassurance capabilities to these countries, and that is a political process. It gets to how often you engage with these countries. It gets to the question of where American troops are deployed, how you interoperate, what sort of capabilities are being purchased on the conventional side. I think there’s a whole list of things there that we could do and should have done in the DDPR that we didn’t, that would then make it much easier for the United States to go to much lower numbers. But even if that were true, I think we’ve got a long way to go before these countries really start to get nervous.
MR. KIMBALL: All right. I think we have time for one or two more questions, even though we’ve got lots of hands here. Why don’t we go over here.
Q: Nancy Gallagher from the University of Maryland. Ms. Flockhart, one of the things you mentioned that the DDPR did not look at was what the effects of the European missile defense capability are. But I’m wondering whether you think the NATO allies agree on what the actual missile defense capability is now and in the near future vis-à-vis the threats we face, and whether you see it as performing primarily a military role or a political role. And if it’s really the latter, what are the effects of building up a missile defense capability to perform the same kind of political role the tactical nuclear weapons have in the past? Are we just replicating the same problems that we currently have with Russia over an issue that’s primarily politically symbolic?
MS. FLOCKHART: OK. I think the – you can look at the role of missile defense in two ways. I think it does have a military role, but it’s not a military role that is directed at Russia, it is a military role that is directed at Iran. And that’s why they’re there. But they could gain – the missile defense capability could gain a very important political role internally in the alliance if it was to become the push, for example, for changing the deterrence posture from one that is based almost completely on punishment to one that is based more on denial. I mean, it’s going back to some very bizarre, very old-fashioned debates that I thought I had seen the back of – (chuckles) – in 1990, but nevertheless, those are the kind of things that are being talked about. So if you have a different deterrence posture that has moved from deterrence by denial – no, from punishment to denial, then clearly you have a completely different position within the alliance to discuss what is going to be the deterrence posture in the alliance.
So that’s the first thing. That wasn’t discussed in the DDPR, which I think is a great shame, but I think it was not discussed in the DDPR because of the way the whole process was run, that it was divided into three different committees. It was not an overall discussion that was looking at a conceptual understanding of what the deterrence posture of the alliance should be.
Now, the other role of the missile defense would be much more political, because there would be a possibility to say, all right, well, we don’t have the nonstrategic nuclear weapons anymore, they were not needed anyway within this new deterrence posture, but we can use missile defense as another form of showing commitment in the alliance that is completely the same as what has been happening with the nonstrategic nuclear weapons. It’s like this wedding ring, that you show your commitment. You could do the same with the missile defense. So that was what I meant about the missile defense sharing.
MR. KIMBALL: All right. Any others on this? All right. We have a question over here. Thank you.
Q: Thank you. I’ll continue on the missile defense question. At the Lisbon summit of NATO, there was this great feeling of friendship with Russia, and Russia was not even present in Chicago. So what happened in between?
And the next question deals with the economics or the plan to finance the missile defense. Europe is in economic difficulties. We are – I am in the defense committee and we’re talking about pooling and sharing, and actually no country is increasing its defense budget at this time, so how do you plan to finance the missile defense in Europe?
MR. KIMBALL: Jon? Trine?
MS. FLOCKHART: Well, the relationship with Russia, as I’m sure you know, is worse than it was at Lisbon, but it’s better than it was in 2008. So I think it’s – how long is a piece of string? It’s difficult to say what the relationship with Russia is.
And I think we also have to take into account that all the negative developments are not completely without reason. I think that the offer that was given at Lisbon for missile defense cooperation sounded much better than what it actually is. I have great difficulty in seeing what Russia can actually gain from what is being offered from NATO. So perhaps it’s not surprising that there has been a downturn in the relationship, and then on top of that, a Russian presidential election, which has also been important for that relationship because NATO is perceived in Russia as the enemy. In the public, it’s very difficult to go out and say, well, now we’re friends with NATO. NATO has been painted as the big devil and it will continue to be the big devil in Russian publics for a long time to come. So there are some quite severe restrictions.
So the relationship with Russia, I think, will probably get better. That’s my hope anyway.
On the cost with the missile defense, well, I think the Europeans think that the Americans are going to pay most of it and that is the main – (laughs) – that is the main benefit of it. And then there’s the option for different Europeans to contribute towards it, but that is only an option. And this is where my argument is that the option would then be to show commitment by actually buying into the missile defense system. It may be a complete waste of money; I can’t judge the technical details of it. But I think that is the thinking that is going on.
MR. WOLFSTHAL: I would just say I think Trine is exactly right on missile defense. I mean, we placed it within a NATO context at the time, which we viewed as a great step forward since this is a missile defense program to protect Europe more than it is to protect the United States, versus the old plan. But I think where the economics really comes down is on – as Trine said – on the delivery capabilities. The idea that multiple European countries are going to spend a lot of money on the most expensive fighter plane system ever developed, in this budget environment is nonsensical. And the fact that the United States is going to be in a position where we’re arguing on one hand, get your economies in order, but on the other hand saying, no, you have to buy this plane, I think is unsustainable.
And so our F-16s are going to wear about in about – at 2017, we’re not going to have a dual-capable capability, and I think Trine’s right, regardless of what was written in the DDPR, these problems are going to solve themselves in the midterm and we need to start thinking creatively about how we put that to our advantage.
MR. KIMBALL: All right. Well, thank you all. We are out of time for this panel. We will be returning to many of these subjects – missile defense, tactical nuclear weapons, nuclear weapon strategy, deeper reductions in U.S./Russian arsenals – at future Arms Control Association events.
I want to – before I ask you to join me in thanking our panelists, I want to invite the next panel to get ready to hop up here, because we’re going to resume without a break. So if you do need a break, you’re welcome to do so during the course of the next session, but please join me in thanking General Dirk Jameson, Jon Wolfsthal and Trine Flockhart. (Applause.)
(END) - Back to the top
Panel on Preventing a Nuclear-Armed Iran
Greg Thielmann, Senior Fellow, Arms Control Association
Thomas Pickering, Former Ambassador to the United Nations;
Hossein Mousavian, Former Iranian Nuclear Envoy;
Tarja Cronberg, Chair of the European Parliament Delegation for Relations with Iran
GREG THIELMANN: If everyone could please take their seats, we’ll move to our second panel.
As those in this room know, we are now at another critical juncture in efforts to negotiate a resolution to issues surrounding Iran’s nuclear program. After a long interval, the six powers re-engaged with Iran on April 14th in Istanbul. On May 23rd to 24th in Baghdad, the parties discussed specific proposals. The six powers called for Iran to end its enrichment of uranium to 20 percent and ship its stockpile of this material out of the country, in exchange for providing 20 percent enriched uranium in the form of fuel plates for the Tehran Research Reactor, nuclear security assistance and critical spare parts for civilian aircraft.
The Iranians presented their own five-point plan, offering greater international access to its nuclear facilities in exchange for easing of sanctions and recognition of its right to enrich uranium.
Iran’s chief negotiator, Saeed Jalili, voiced disappointment about the lack of sanctions relief in the six powers’ offer and complained that their proposal was unbalanced. The head of the six-power delegation, Europe’s Catherine Ashton, was more positive, hoping for tangible progress at the next round of talks in Moscow on June 18th and 19th.
Meanwhile, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano, went to Tehran to discuss a framework or a structural approach for addressing specific concerns about past Iranian activities.
By the end of June, the United States is scheduled to tighten existing sanctions by beginning to sanction all foreign banks that process Iranian oil transactions through Iran’s central bank. The Europeans are scheduled to ban all imports of Iranian oil starting July 1st.
And the centrifuges keep spinning, and suspicions about possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program linger.
As with Israeli-Palestinian dispute, it’s easier to sketch out the shape of a realistic ultimate solution than it is to figure out exactly how we get there. So to help us sort out this most difficult task, we have a panel of three eminent experts. Biographic highlights have been provided to you in writing, but let me introduce each to you with just a few words.
Ambassador Thomas Pickering has headed more U.S. embassies than many diplomats ever have a chance to work in in their entire career. He has led the U.S. mission to the United Nations and has served as Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, and he’s also been very active in Track II discussions on the Iranian nuclear issue.
Ambassador Hossein Mousavian has served as Iran’s ambassador to Germany for seven years, as head of the Foreign Relations Committee of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council and as spokesman for Iran’s delegation to talks with the European Union, 2003 to 2005. He’s now a research scholar at Princeton University and the author of a new book, “The Iranian Nuclear Crisis: A Memoir,” which will be launched here in this building tomorrow.
Tarja Cronberg is a member of the Greens European Free Alliance faction in the European Parliament and chair of the parliament’s delegation for relations with Iran. An engineer by training, she has doctorates in business and administration, has served as minister of labor for Finland and speaks six languages, the most difficult of which is Finnish. (Laughter.)
Without further ado, let me turn to our speakers for brief remarks on where we are in the wake of Baghdad and what we need to accomplish in Moscow.
And I look – Ambassador Pickering, if I could ask you to go first.
THOMAS PICKERING: Thank you, Greg, very much for the kind introduction. It’s a pleasure to be on the panel.
Hossein and I have done shows together. We are, if it won’t really destroy his reputation at home, quite together on a lot of the ideas, particularly the importance of negotiations. And I’ve just met and had the pleasure to talk briefly with Dr. Cronberg.
Let me also compliment the Arms Control Association. I’m a new and recent member, having emerged from the obscurity of government service and business. And I believe you have made and continue to make a major contribution to thinking and indeed to constructive examination, I think, in a way that – to policy in this critically important area. I’m honored and pleased to be here, and many old friends in the audience and I’m delighted to have a chance to address this critically important issue.
I was asked to address two questions: One, what is my judgment about Istanbul and Baghdad, and secondly, what is my view about the process ahead? I’ll do that against the backdrop of a third issue, the question of the overall situation as I see it at the present time.
I used to frequently tell the story about the man jumping out of the Empire State Building. Going past the 25th floor, everything was simply splendid. I have to modify that a little bit, take it to the West Coast. The guy jumps off the Golden Gate Bridge, he survives in the water, and the currents sweep him away. We’re sort of more in that mode at the moment than we are on the Empire State Building, where, even with the New York police holding the safety net, the chances are 99.9 percent death. We’ve struggled very hard, and so have the parties, to get us to the negotiating table. And it’s very important, obviously, that maximum use be made of this.
Against that backdrop, it is extremely hard to see how and in what way this process will move ahead. There are 32 years of mistrust between the United States and Iran, supplemented by galloping misunderstanding, and indeed the lack of communications has been a thoroughly and, I think, completely deleterious experience for both countries. The idea of being able to examine the problem from the worst case on both sides has become an art form and indeed is more of a controlling piece than the ability to begin to talk. And I think that that’s very significant.
The P5+1 or the European three plus three, depending upon which side of the Atlantic you prefer, is a process that has now begun and holds a faint crack open for the future. My sense is that in every serious commitment of this sort, that crack must be kept open.
An estimation of Istanbul and Baghdad is pretty much the Golden Gate Bridge leap of faith story. The good news is that both have tended to produce a continuation of talks, whereas the old pattern was to have a one-night stand meeting, go away with – replete with disagreement and spend the next eight months trying to negotiate the next meeting. I hope we’re past that stage, but we could slide back.
That – Istanbul had some good news in the sense that I believe the Iranian side suggested some thoughts that the non-Iranian side agreed to, including proceeding with stage-by-stage examination and perhaps resolution of the problem based on the notion that there would be balance and reciprocity in each stage. And while there was kind of disagreement by half that Iran would like to make the guideposts for this particular set of arrangements pretty exclusively the Nonproliferation Treaty, and while the non-Iranians could agree, they also had other guideposts, including the Security Council resolution that asks for a cessation of Iranian enrichment, to bedevil the problem further.
I have a sense that coming out of the Baghdad meeting, there could have been three results: minimal, better and slightly better. Minimal was to have another meeting, and they did, with the benefit of a sandstorm keeping them there another day, agree to have a meeting in Moscow on the 18th and 19th of June. I remember, as ambassador to Moscow, there used to be an old Soviet story that there was an Aeroflot contest, and first prize was a week in Moscow and second prize was two weeks in Moscow. So let’s hope we go for second prize. (Laughter.)
There is a strong and, I think, important piece that the new president of Russia – who is really the old president of Russia and has been president of Russia despite the fact that he’s been prime minister for some time – has now gotten himself hooked on to this particular issue, as I think he’s become hooked on to Syria because of his veto. And we have to do everything we can to persuade him that some further success in Moscow, whether it’s just hanging on, is important.
The second piece of Baghdad which didn’t result was a small agreement. As Greg said, perhaps the TRR for 20 percent enrichment cessation. And the third piece was perhaps some endorsement of what Amano had reportedly worked out with his interlocutors in Iran over transparency. But it was clear that was not going to work, because in many ways, the Iranians felt that they should receive something more in return for it.
The third point I want to make is looking ahead. Here, I believe, an estimate of the situation has to very much take into account some of the domestic imperatives that influence both sides. In that regard, my summation is that for the United States, smaller is better, particularly to begin with. And for Iran, bigger is better, and that’s certainly where the two sides are coming at this. Smaller is better for the United States because in an election year – I speak quite frankly – the president takes great risks in making big compromises because the points of attack are multiplied, and indeed explaining why he went so far, particularly very early in the game, is a very difficult situation.
On the other hand, the president has a natural – a national interest imperative in finding a diplomatic solution. And the effort to continue to find a diplomatic solution is a small but not very conclusive makeweight against precipitated Israeli action to attack Iran. And so keeping the process going is valuable. But keeping the process going until after the elections with no movement also has a kind of conclusion of sterility and fecklessness that will arrive sooner or later to greet the process if something isn’t achieved. And so my own view is that the smaller is important, and better from the United States’ perspective, still remains.
On the Iranian side, there is very definitely a significant degree of mistrust over the United States and has been for a year, and indeed over the Western side, in the sense that the real policy is regime change. And while we have perhaps tried more or less to avoid conveying that notion, from the Iranian optic it is possible to see through whatever prism they’re looking at, that almost everything we do one way or another is examined in that context and is looked at them as a very serious challenge in that regard.
To escape from that, and indeed to make some progress and indeed to deal with what their preoccupation is, the notion of two peaches – or two features on the landscape make a certain amount of sense. And friends and I, along with many others, proposed some years ago that the essential tradeoff would be some permitted enrichment, perhaps limited to civil purposes – it certainly should be – in return for much greater transparency about the Iranian program. And while this was not a sovereign answer, it provided the best that we could think of at the time, and seems continually now to swim into the picture. And I’m quite pleased that Iran is in favor of that.
I think underlying this particular process is the notion that something that large, so soon, from the U.S. perspective would be very difficult. And something too small from the Iranian perspective keeps in mind the lurking shadow, the 900-pound gorilla of regime change would just not – dispelled, and the notion that the real purpose continues to be to take Iran totally out of the nuclear business.
Now, Iran is in the nuclear business for reasons that are difficult to fathom, and my friend has been challenged, but has tried in his own way to make it clear: why the hell would you spend billions of dollars and build 10,000 centrifuges for a program for which you have no apparent use for the output? And that worries us. It worries everybody. There is from time to time talk of going back to the Shah’s 20 reactor program, and there’s been recent talk, I think hopefully, of building one or two reactors within the next five to 10 years. But at the moment, the large accumulation of enriched material and the large accumulation of enrichment technology is concerning, and that’s one of the reasons why there is a Western preoccupation about enrichment per se, even though it could be limited.
Underneath this, and obviously affecting the negotiations – and I’m getting to my final points – there is a continuing problem about what I would call different interpretations of the NPT. Hossein and his friends, and I agree with them quite rightly, believe the NPT provides a right to enrich. But in my view, it doesn’t provide a right to enrich for purposes that are unrelated to civil programs and may be related to military programs. And this is one of the difficulties. My sense is that a reasonable interpretation of the NPT is you can do what you need to do in a nuclear sense in order to try to get a sufficient amount of material for your civilian programs. But going beyond is difficult.
And on the Iranian sense, I think it is anything that doesn’t represent proof of diversion is permitted by the treaty. And getting ready to make a decision, or putting yourself in a position to make a decision to go for nuclear weapons, is in a sense the underlying deep difficulty here, or one of them that we have to look at.
Where to go? My sense is that the next stage ought to be within the P5+1, an effort to get an agreement around the TRR in some cessation of 20 percent. Don’t embellish it; don’t foul it up with much more. Maybe it could be slightly enhanced by some willingness not to institute some of the sanctions that have been approved, some of which may be small but not insignificant. Someone has once suggested perhaps the sanctions on insuring petroleum cargos from Iran could be a way of beginning to indicate that the U.S. is ready to move on sanctions.
The second piece is much more difficult, but I think very important from the Iranian side. And it goes to my deep concern about mistrust. I think that there ought to be a serious effort – and so far, I have to say Iran has stood in the way of this – of opening bilateral conversations in the context of the P-5 one talks between the United States and Iran at a significant level to convey assurance that real position of country X and country Y is being conveyed.
This could do a lot of things, including some of the things that Kissinger first did with Zhou Enlai when things opened with China. But it could begin to talk about an endgame, an endgame in which weapons were prohibited in accordance with the fatwa in a binding international relationship with no uncertainty about the NPT. A set of relationships which included much more transparency, I hope designed and carried out by the IAEA. A set of relationships in which we accepted Iranian right to enrich for civil purposes and perhaps sequestration of excess material that the Iranians have produced until they’re ready to use it; and then finally, a gradual but significant removal of the nuclear sanctions as this process proceeds; and some serious effort to deal with the problem that has now arisen that there are sanctions on things other than nuclear, which very much also impact Iran. They’re there for purposes that people consider legitimate and right, including human rights issues, but somehow need to be factored into the discussion in a painful, but I think useful way.
If these two tracks could proceed as a result of Moscow and beyond, I think there is a slight way that we could thread the needle, if you want to call it that, into a position where perhaps after the American elections, bigger and more useful things from the Iranian perspective can be done. And my own view is that we have to get there.
But giving the Iranians some notion of the endgame, even on a private basis, would be an important aspect of the second track within the P5+1 of bilateral U.S.-Iranian discussions.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)
MR. THIELMANN: Thank you, Ambassador Pickering. And now, Ambassador Mousavian.
AMBASSADOR HOSSEIN MOUSAVIAN: Thank you very much. Always talking after Tom for me is difficult and easy both. It’s easy because we have our mindsets already close. It’s difficult because normally he leaves nothing for you to discuss. (Laughter.)
First of all, I would like to thank Arms Control Association, Daryl and Greg for managing this event. I would like to touch some points out of my experience, which I believe would be helpful for reaching a face-saving solution for Iranian nuclear issue.
The first issue is to depoliticize the case. I think it’s too much politicized. And the two parties, they need to take steps to depoliticize the issue.
The second issue is what Tom raised about the rights under NPT. Definitely there is rights under NPT, because many other countries, they have enrichment and reprocessing. If it is illegal, everybody should stop. Why they are talking about only Iran now? Therefore, the rights is there. The argument is the Western side is emphasizing – maintaining that responsibilities come first and then rights. Iran maintains the rights come first, and responsibility come after.
I think in Moscow they can – already they have agreed in Istanbul on step-by-step plan. In one step they can agree on a simultaneous approach. I mean, the P5+1 respects the rights of Iran for peaceful nuclear technology, including enrichment, on their NPT; and Iran also immediately at the same time accept to sign the tentative draft agreement already agreed in Tehran during last visit of Amano. This is a work plan which, if Iran signs, this would address the whole – the all ambiguities and technical questions of the IAEA, including the possible military dimensions. This can be in parallel in order to end the game, this chicken-and-egg game.
The third one is the focal point of the P5+1. During last nine, 10 years always they have been focusing on suspension. I believe they should – in the future negotiation, they should focus on transparency measures. If they are looking for a sustainable solution, suspension would not work. And the last 10 years of negotiation proves it had not worked.
The fourth point is proportionate reciprocation. They agreed in reciprocation in Istanbul, but they failed in Baghdad because I believe the P5+1 was asking too much, giving the minimum. They were asking – as Greg mentioned, they were asking Iran to stop 20 percent, to close Fordow, to address possible military dimension, to implement additional protocol – everything, the maximum Iran can do, is reward to give some spare parts. This deal would never be successful, such a deal.
The fifth point I have – I think there are 14 countries, either they are operating or building enrichment. Any solution on Iran should have the capacity to be a model for other countries, because Iran would never be ready to be singled out and discriminized (ph) as a member of NPT. Therefore, the P5+1 negotiators – they should have a broader vision in order to create – out of Iran issue to create a model to be acceptable for the others.
Number six is to have a broader vision on negotiation. I think a face-saving solution can accommodate broader cooperation between Iran and the West, Iran and the P5+1 on bigger issues: security and energy, regional stability. If they have such a vision, I think they would not hostage everything to the nuclear issue.
And number seven is Iran-U.S. relations. I believe this issue plays a very, very important role on the nuclear issue. That’s why I believe – always I have mentioned Iran and the U.S., they need to have a direct talk in parallel with nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1.
And issue number eight is impartiality of the IAEA. El Baradei, after eight, nine years working on Iranian nuclear case – at the end he said: During my time at the agency we have not seen a shred of evidence that Iran has been weaponizing. Just right after El Baradei, Amano came, which the U.S. cable revealed by WikiLeaks said, Amano is in the U.S. court, specifically on the Iranian nuclear issue and alleged military studies of Iranian nuclear issue. El Baradei – Amano focused on the possible military dimension. And Iranians – they have a feeling that more cooperation they have had with the IAEA, more sabotage, more covert action – assassination of the nuclear scientists. This is a big issue for the Iranian side.
And my ninth point, the last point – also Tom mentioned – for Iran it is extremely important to see the end state. The U.S., the P5+1, the – not the P5+1, because Russian and Chinese, they have other position – the Western powers, they always are looking for a piecemeal approach. But Iranians, they want to see the end state, the endgame. That’s why a step-by-step plan – I mean, a broad package to be implemented in step-by-step plan is extremely important.
But for Moscow, I think zero stockpile, 20 percent stockpile initiative would be the best achievement for both parties if they can agree in Moscow. The P5+1 is – they are asking Iran to stop 20 percent. This would not be a sustainable solution, because maybe for a short time at the end, Iran would never accept to be discriminized as a member of NPT, because the others – they have rights for 20 percent; why Iran should not have? As a confidence-building measures, for a short period, maybe. But they should think about a long-term solution.
My idea is zero stockpile for 20 percent. What do I mean? A joint committee can be established between Iran and the P5+1 to determine the percentage of the stockpile of 20 percent, which Iran needs domestically to convert it to fuel rod. The rest either can be exported or converted to 3.5 percent. Therefore, Iran would accept zero stockpile forever. This is the best objective guarantee for nondiversion, rather than pushing Iran to close Fordo or to stop 20 percent. This, I – even if it works, which I don’t believe it would work – even if they accept this, would be a short-time solution.
The second issue, as I mentioned, on transparency – the maximum question on Iranian nuclear dossier is possible military dimensions, issues raised by the IAEA. What the IAEA expect and the P5+1, they can expect – the maximum level of transparency. They can define for Iran the maximum level of transparency. Whether this is additional protocol – if Iran accepts to address the possible military dimension, PMD, it means Iran would have to implement additional protocol and would have to give access to the IAEA beyond additional protocol.
If Iran is ready to sign such a(n) agreement, then the P5+1 also should be ready for at least the upcoming sanctions on Central Bank, 1st of July, and the oil – Iranian oil by Europeans, even if not by Americans. Thank you. (Applause.)
MR. THIELMANN (?): Now, Dr. Cronberg.
TARJA CRONBERG: Thank you. Since I am the last speaker, I’ll speak from my chair, and my notes are so spread out with the others, so I will try to fill in as much as I can. First of all, I am a Finnish member of the European Parliament – member of the – a member of the foreign relations committee and a member of the defense committee and also the chair of the parliament’s delegation with relations to Iran.
This doesn’t mean that the delegation, even if it’s called a delegation, is located in Iran. On the other hand, we are in the parliament – it consists of different politicians from different groups into parliament, and our goal is to understand what’s going on in Iraq (sic\Iran). We follow the nuclear negotiations. We try to follow also the human rights situation and many other aspects of the Iranian society. We try to have contacts with the parliament and also with the civil society, as well as people outside of Iran. So I am not a part of the negotiations but following the negotiations closely.
As you know, the negotiations are led by Catherine Ashton, the high representative of foreign policy in the European Union. And I think this is why we in the European Union – or on the other side of the Atlantic, as Ambassador Pickering said – we like to talk about the EU3+3 rather than the P5+1. But I don’t think it does make a big difference.
I’ll first comment on the current situation and then try to look at the – what I feel is a too-narrow focus on uranium enrichment in the negotiations and then go on to the European – what could be the next step the European Union could do.
First of all, I – Catherine Ashton sent a letter to the Iranians and Mr. Jalili saying that there would be respect for the peaceful uses – Iranian interests in the peaceful uses of nuclear technology. And this, I think, created the hope among the Iranians that actually, uranium enrichment could be discussed, it was a negotiable thing, and it would be on the table. They were willing, I think, to reduce their 20 percent requirement. But no such proposition was on the table. Actually, the question was that the P5+1 insisted on suspension of uranium enrichment.
And I think the second thing that – there was this question of that the Iranians needed guarantees of being able to access 20 percent uranium because of their 1 million cancer patients, and no such guarantees were provided. I think there’s a history. I presume that the Iranians have had a hard time getting 20 percent uranium – enriched uranium for these medical purposes. On the other hand, of course, giving up maybe the 20 percent enrichment, then the Iranians would expect a relaxation on sanctions. No such proposal was on the table. I think there was this proposal of airplane parts and maybe minor things like that.
So there was this clash, and the question is how to proceed. The Iranian approach has been that the chief of the Iranian nuclear establishment has said that they will not give up 20 percent enrichment. Maybe what was just proposed, the idea of not stockpiling 20 percent enriched uranium, would be a solution on this question. But the stance is toughening, and the language is a different one.
Now, why do I feel that the 20 – the focus on uranium enrichment is too narrow? I think the goal is to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. And nuclear – the military aspects of nuclear weapons – it’s much more than uranium enrichment. This is only one of the aspects. And I think the other aspects have to be taken into account, design and implementation of nuclear weapons and how far is Iran from these aspects. I think we are talking about longer time than just one year or the sort of the one-year free time before we have a nuclear-weapon-dominated Iran. So much more than uranium enrichment, and these aspects should be included also in the negotiations.
The second question is the sanctions. The Iranians expect some signs of relaxing sanctions. And the West – at least the Western powers are not willing to give these indications. This may be a step-by-step procedure. I don’t know what means endgame on end result of the sanctions. But the question is of course that in the – I understand that in the U.S., the situation is such that since it’s the Congress that is legislating on the sanctions, it will be require more time, and it will be more difficult to relax any sanctions. In the European Union, it’s the European Council, the foreign minister that can decide on this question of sanctions. So maybe there should be some discussion of – 1st of July, the European sanctions will go into full effect, and in Moscow, there should be a discussion of this deadline.
The third point is the – on the uranium enrichment is the NPT context. I think what the Iranian case shows that – is that it’s very difficult to define the limits of the peaceful uses, as opposed to the military uses. So we have actually a treaty where there’s no clear divide on these two aspects. And I think this is very detrimental for the negotiations. There are interpretations one way or another. Iran feels they have the right. On the other hand, the P5+1 feel that Iran has not respected its obligations. And the question is maybe what comes first, obligations or rights. I think they should be in balance, of course.
But the Iranian argument is of course that there are double standards in the NPT, and nuclear powers have not respected their obligations to disarm, that there are double standards in terms of other countries which have nuclear weapons outside the NPT are not pressured equally as Iran, and finally, the right to fuel cycle – what does it mean, and how will it be defined?
So in this case, the NPT – I think there’s a fundamental question of the future of the NPT in this case, and we should consider that as well. If there is a military strike, which I hope will not be the case, it is a question of a country outside the NPT with nuclear weapons attacking a country within the NPT and, at least as far as we know, without the decision to produce nuclear weapons. So the question is how important is the NPT for us in the future.
The fourth dimension I want – like to take up is the question of regional security, before going to the next step for the European Union. I think the question is there are some security concerns in the wider Middle East. We all know this. And I think it’s interesting to note that when the continuation of the NPT was agreed in 1995, there was an agreement of a conference on the wider Middle East on nuclear-weapons-free Middle East. At the review conference, 2010, it was agreed that this conference would cover the whole scope of weapons of mass destruction and the conference would take place in 2012.
We have the situation where this conference is going to take place at – the countries that sponsor this issue, U.K., Russia and the U.S., actually proposed that this conference will take place in Finland and that there is a facilitator, who is now traveling world around actually trying to discuss the question of a – of a – of a mass-destruction-weapons-free Middle East. The question is difficult, I know, and no practical steps will probably be taken for a long time. But it’s important that all these parties will meet at the same table and that that will be able to at least start the process.
So I think these negotiations in Baghdad and next time in Moscow should also be seen in the context of this regional security and this U.N. conference that’s coming up. They should not be isolated, and at least there is a timeline. Probably this conference will take place in December. So if the negotiations break up before that time, which also coincides with a U.S. – new U.S. president, then it would be very, very unfortunate. So I would actually like to – like to appeal to the Arms Control Association that you observe that this conference is taking place and that it’s important that actually, this question of the negotiations will be related into the wider scope of security – regional security in the Middle East.
Now a few words of – how many minutes do I have, two?
MR. THIELMANN: About two.
MS. CRONBERG: OK, fine. The European perspective – what are the next steps? I think I’ll try to concentrate on those.
The European Union has accepted the U.S. dual-track approach. So actually, sanctions were approved in the end of January, and the intention was to send two messages: first of all, a message to Iran that the European Union is serious, and secondly, send a message to Israel not to strike and not to provide a military solution.
The – I think this decision was unique in the sense that it was actually the first time the European member countries supported the common foreign and defense policy. This was the first time the Europeans actually agreed. I mean, this was historic. This was an agreement on the surface. There were different positions in the European Union. I think one could describe them that the French president, Sarkozy, was on the other extreme, supporting sanctions, very tough sanctions, even tougher maybe than Obama, and keeping also President Obama on the sanctions line. And then on the other end, Sweden, what’s actually – went along with the sanctions rather reluctantly.
So there was an agreement. The European Parliament has supported sanctions and has a long-standing position that no military solution is possible. So actually, the European Parliament stands on diplomatic solutions with or without sanctions.
Now the problem is that the EU is leading the negotiations, but it lacks a long-term strategy on Iran. Contrary to the U.S. position, which actually sees Iran as an enemy, the EU does not see Iran as an enemy; there’s no enemy picture related to the question of diplomatic contact with Iran. So this is a different position. So I think the European Union should actually design a long-term strategy which implies cautious engagement rather than containment of Iran. And as a first step in this long-term engagement, they – the proposal by the European Parliament to establish presence in Iran, actually, in the form of a permanent delegation.
Secondly, it is important to note that the nuclear issue – nuclear dossier – is only part of EU’s relationship with Iran, and that this should be balanced with economic incentives as well as the question of human rights, which is very important for the European Union and particularly to the Parliament. So the nuclear nonproliferation issue should be combined with these incentives.
And thirdly, there is the question of the regional security, which is important for the Europeans. And here, I think we should at least support the conference that I mentioned before and see Turkey as a very important bridge-building for us.
Finally, I hope that the negotiation will continue and there’s no breakdown. And I think for the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and for nuclear nonproliferation, a military strike would be a fundamental mistake. Thank you.
MR. THIELMANN: Thank you. (Applause.)
We have about 25 minutes for questions; we’re going to move quickly to them. I just wanted to use my prerogative to ask one follow-up question to Ambassador Mousavian.
We often hear cited as a – as a model for future negotiation of nuclear cooperation agreements the one we negotiated with the United Arab Emirates as the gold standard. We in the United States obviously prefer a model that does not involve the full fuel cycle, does not spread the number of countries that have a full infrastructure for uranium enrichment. I gather from what you said you would be in favor of encouraging countries like the UAE, like Jordan, like Turkey to use Iran as the model for nuclear development?
AMB. MOUSAVIAN: No.
MR. THIELMANN: No. OK –
AMB. MOUSAVIAN: Should I explain?
MR. THIELMANN: If – yes.
AMB. MOUSAVIAN: Yeah – I think the enrichment today is just because of the U.S. policy. Right after revolution, when Iran decided to shrink their nuclear activities, the U.S. position was no nuclear power plant for Iran. The U.S. was not ready to recognize even the rights of Iran for power plant. And it – this was the reason the Europeans also – they could not do anything in order to complete the unfinished projects of Bushehr.
The Western countries, they left Iran with billions of dollars of unfinished projects, and they were not ready – Iran had no plan, no program for enrichment. And the revolutionaries, they decided even to decrease to minimum the ambitious projects of Shah; they canceled many projects.
But when the West challenged Iran with the rights even for nuclear power plant, you left no other option for Iranians to go for self-sufficiency.
Then, after Iran mastered enrichment, then the U.S. said, OK, now we recognize the rights of Iran for nuclear power plants. After Iran mastered the enrichment. This was the best way in order to convince the U.S. that you should respect the rights of members under NPT for at least civilian power plants.
And then, that time, again the U.S. position was zero enrichment. When Iran mastered 10,000 centrifuges, now the U.S. and the Europeans, they are thinking, OK, not 20 percent, maybe 3.5 percent.
I mean, the mistake is from the beginning, Greg (sp). Iran was never going to have enrichment from the beginning. You just pushed Iran to this situation. If, at the beginning of revolution and the early after revolution, if you or the Germans, they have completed the Bushehr Power Plant, Iran had even no program to have the second power plant. It was the U.S. proposed to have 23 power plants before revolution. After revolution, Iranians, they said, we don’t want 23 power plants.
Now, after 30 years which Iran has paid hundreds of billions of dollars of cost because of your pressures, now you are expecting Iran to give up everything. I mean, it doesn’t work. It’s very different with United Emirate(s) – you cannot compare Iran with United Emirate(s).
MR. THIELMANN: Thank you. We’ll take questions from the floor. Please wait for the mic; give your name; be brief. Francois Rivasseau?
MR. RIVASSEAU: Is there microphones coming?
Q: Thank you. I’m Francois Rivasseau, the deputy head of delegation of European Union here. And I’ve been also working on nuclear issue in Geneva in 2005, taking part in the talks with Iran. And I’m also adviser to the secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon in his advisory board. And that’s why we reflect a lot about this issue, about NPT and U.N. Security Council resolutions.
And I have to say I personally disagree with the presentation which has been made about – of two interpretations of NPT. I think there is a very central interpretation which is shared by almost everybody, and which is that when you have the right to enrich, every country on the NPT has the right to enrich, this is sure. This is clear in Article IV.
But at the same time, you have to have a use for that. And I agree that it’s ambiguous with distinction between civilian and military use, because even military use is admitted for Brazil for building a – possibly a nuclear submarine, of which has been disputed also by Canada. But at least it’s not building nuclear weapons, because was the TNP (sic\NPT) –
AMB. PICKERING: “T’as deja dis une question?”
Q: “Oui.” The question is very simple. We have to today no use for, but except a very small thing.
So for – if there is a solution, we have to imagine civilian use for the Iranian program, which today has none. And my question to you both is do you see the possibility of having a use commensurate to the size of the program? And if not, can you reduce the program to the size of uses which you could have – because present civilian uses are so little compared to the size of a program, you know? But there is an absolute presumption, but is not for civilian or even military-authorized uses, but for prohibited uses.
Thank you. Sorry for being really long enough with it.
MR. THIELMANN: So how to make commensurate, I guess, is – Ambassador Pickering, do you want to field that?
AMB. PICKERING. I think François raises a very interesting and a very important question because it lies at the heart of some of the disagreements. There are disagreements about interpretation of the NPT; I’d agree with them, the fundamental and broader interpretation meant by absolute equality here is that anything that looks military, goes beyond the civilian is suspect.
My own feeling is that in the course of a negotiation, at some point we’re going to have to sit down and define the question. Otherwise, we continue to propagate the misunderstanding or at least the differences and the difficulty. And I think that’s very important.
I think that doing that early rather than later is significant. One of the reasons I proposed U.S.-Iranian bilaterals is that that question among many others might be explored privately. It wouldn’t be to the exclusion of the P5 plus-one, but it would begin to give a sense of confidence for people who have had much less contact with Iran than the EU-3 have had. And I think that that, along with the questions of difference in interpretation make a lot of sense.
I also think it’s very important for us to continue to think about how to plug the loopholes in the NPT. One of those is interpretation; one of those is obviously definition of what’s civilian and is – everything that’s not civilian excluded, or is everything allowed unless it’s diversion? I mean, these are broad questions, and they have to be, I think, put into shape.
I think finally, we need to think about the end state. If you asked me, I would say there is no palpable reason – apologies to “mes amis les Français” – for the use of plutonium in any fuel proposition unless it can be conclusively demonstrated that there is an economic imperative. And if there is, then that – and I would then ask for enrichment to be totally multilateralized and be done on a basis where there is competition, but done on a basis where there is absolute transparency and the greatest safeguards against diversion rather than, as Hossein (sp) would say, forcing people to go independently on the one hand, or alternatively failing to persuade people that there is a reliable international system with competition that cannot be used as a way to bring political pressure on countries for questions that go beyond proliferation. And my hope is that it would support nonproliferation in an important way. But that’s my hobby horse and I’m sticking to it.
MR. THIELMANN: Dr. Cronberg, you wanted to say something?
TARJA CRONBERG: Yes, I agree with the Ambassador that we have to define the question and reach a situation where the civil and military uses are defined in a way where political pressure is as little as possible.
But what I want to make a point is that there is a third dimension between the civil and the military, and that’s the prestige dimension. And I think we are seeing all over the world that the nuclear technology carries with it prestige, which probably has nothing to do with military uses or civilian uses, but actually provides the country with a self-esteem about being on the level of other countries. This was the case in China when it acquired nuclear weapons. This is at least to some extent the case in Iran today.
So I think the question of delegitimizing this prestige question is very important, because otherwise we’ll see the proliferation of nuclear technology, which is proliferating. We see that the knowledge is the same, and countries want to acquire this knowledge. So how you see the question of getting rid of the prestige aspect. The Iranians need at least one centrifuge to remain sort of on the nuclear technology program.
MR. THIELMANN: Ambassador Mousavian, did you have a response?
AMB. MOUSAVIAN: I think again, after revolution, France was – it was – France was France declined the contract Iran had already with France on enrichment. If you had not declined, if you have accepted their right – it was supposed to – the enrichment, to be done in your land, not in Iran. But you didn’t want. OK.
The second issue is that if there really did – the problem is a nuclear bomb, I’m 100 percent confident the Iranian side, they would accept all measures, all commitments to ensure the international community that Iran would remain forever a non-nuclear weapon state. This is not an issue for Iran. On transparency measures, openness, cooperation with the IAEA, up to the end, they will be 100 percent open if their rights are respected.
Ultimately, the sanctions also should be lifted. And you remember François, again, in 2003, 2004 – the European’s EU3, they were asking us objective guarantees for non-diversion. For a year, we were asking them, OK, define for us what is objective guarantees? They were not able to define what do they want. Yeah. And then we had the meeting with President Chirac in early 2005. We agreed with him that we would leave to the IAEA to define the objective guarantees for non-diversion. We left Paris. When we arrived in Germany, we were told that London has discussed with Washington, and Washington has rejected. Even they were not ready to leave to the IAEA to define the objective guarantees for non-diversion.
And in spring 2005 – I have explained in detail in my book – when I met privately the three EU3 interlocutors, I told them, let’s agree. It was before presidential election. I told them, let’s agree for Iran to have a pilot. We would export – we would export hundred percent of production, even the production of the pilot. And then we would negotiate for a longer period in order to reach to some kind of compromise to give more time to you Europeans to define objective guarantees.
And this – even this proposal, when we were ready to have one pilot, this was rejected again by the U.S. I mean, Iran was not really very much eager to accelerate the program. Even that time, this proposal was confirmed by the leader. But Europeans, they were not ready to cooperate with Iran.
MR. THIELMANN: Next brief question. Daryl.
Q: Thank you, Greg. Thank you, panelists. I have a – Daryl Kimball with Arms Control Association. I have a question for Ambassador Pickering and Ambassador Mousavian. News reports out this morning say that there will be yet another round of discussions between the IAEA and Iran regarding the framework concept for dealing with the possible military activities that Iran is suspected of being involved in in the past. So my question is, what do you see as being possible in these discussions, which come just a week before the IAEA board of governors meeting? What needs to be done in order to move forward to resolve these questions; and if that could be achieved, how might that affect the dynamics of the P5+1 and Iran discussions in Moscow?
AMB. PICKERING: Maybe, Daryl, I could take a shot at it. I think it’s an important issue. For me, the possible military dimensions issue, lodged before mainly 2003 – there’s some continuing disputes. But the intelligence community is basically continuing to reassure us the judgments it made in 2007 remain – the U.S. intelligence community. Therefore, the PMD question, in my view, is of most salient importance to, in effect, provide the IAEA with the fullest possible information to guard against problems in the future. I would be willing to adopt what I would call the South African model: a no-fault process. You tell the truth and the whole truth, there are no consequences. If you don’t tell the truth, there are all conceivable consequences. In part, it’s a test of good faith. In part, it’s a way to determine the answer. And in part, it’s to take the burden of the guilt trip off the back of Iran, which in my view is not necessary, if in fact we’re proceeding in a reasonable basis for the future. Now this may be totally naive and starry-eyed, but in my sense, the notion that we’re going to spend all our time worrying about the past when the big bang problem is in the future is not a very useful enterprise.
And I think what the South Africans did with respect to their own terrible record on apartheid and how they handled that awful, divisive and difficult problem for the future – not in any way perfect, but those who didn’t tell the truth suffered the consequences; those who did tell the truth emerged and they had a record and indeed there was closure. In my sense, we need some closure. But we need, more importantly, to have the IAEA as fully and as possibly widely informed as it can to design for the future, and I just heard Hossein say – I mean, Hossein and I don’t represent any governments. That’s our problem. We could agree, probably tomorrow. (Scattered laughter.) But the problem is the governments aren’t there, and it’s like the Middle East peace, as Greg said. But if that were the case, then I think there could be an answer.
So I think clearing up possible military developments is important. But do I think it should stand in the way of future progress? Probably not. I think the uncertainties with respect to possible military developments are not all that salient, that the end result is going to be bent or skewed if they remain in semi-obscurity. What is bent or skewed in this is Iranian good faith. And I think Iran needs an opportunity under conditions that are not punitive to demonstrate that it is prepared to approach the negotiations good faith. I think that there are other tests of good faith on the other side, and I don’t exclude them, but now is not the time to explore them.
AMB. MOUSAVIAN: (Off mic) – the IAEA’s questions, they have two technical questions. One relates to after 2003, which I think 80 (percent) to 90 percent of technical ambiguities already are removed; 10 (percent), 15 percent are left. This has been already discussed in the previous visit of Amano to Teheran, and Teheran agreed to give required access to the IAEA to cooperate in order to remove these remaining issues.
Possible military dimension, as Tom said, relates to 1980s, early 1990s. This is not to the current program of Iranian nuclear issue, which needs Iran to implement additional protocol and even to give access to the IAEA beyond additional protocol. Again, this has been already agreed in Teheran. I mean, in the previous visit of Amano, 90 percent, 95 percent of the issue is how to cooperate. Giving access, inspections was resolved. They agreed. Five percent, 10 percent are left. I’m sure Iran would agree this is not an issue. Let’s say if Iran agrees to give all access –inspections, cooperations with the IAEA – then the P5+1 in Moscow, they would be ready to respect the rights of Iran or not. If not, this would fail.
MR. THIELMANN: We just have a few minutes. Let’s just take two questions and give our speakers a chance to respond. Barbara?
Q: Barbara Slavin from the Atlantic Council. With all due respect, I mean, we understand that Iran is cleansing Parchin and has been working assiduously to clean this site. So when we talk about establishing trust, Ambassador Mousavian, I mean, this is not something that engenders much trust among the P5+1. It seems that what you’re saying is that Iran is going to trade an agreement with the IAEA for something at Moscow, but obviously, we have a disconnect, because what the P5+1 is saying is that they want action on 20 percent in return for some action at Moscow. So if you could address this disconnect, do you see that there is any possibility that perhaps your proposal or something like it could be agreed to on the 20 percent, or are they just going to round and round on circles on the right to enrich? Thanks.
MR. THIELMANN: We’ll treat that as one question. In the middle.
Q: I’d like to follow up – Milton Hoenig. I want to follow up on Daryl’s question and ask it a slightly different way. The meeting of Amano in Teheran before the Baghdad EU-3 plus one meeting raised great expectations that really weren’t – didn’t materialize. Now the upcoming meeting is again going to raise great expectations for the Moscow meeting which really didn’t materialize. Isn’t it possible that these two streams – the IAEA stream wanting answers to questions about possible military dimensions and the diplomatic stream – are really interfering with each other, and that we should really concentrate or – one on the other – or the other, perhaps preferably the diplomatic stream, and put aside the other stream just for the time being?
MR. THIELMANN: OK, Parchin and the relationship between the two. Ambassador Mousavian?
AMB. MOUSAVIAN: Parchin Barbaro (ph) already has been visited two times, during – (inaudible) – and after – (inaudible) – Larijani. This has been already visited two times. And you know, the IAEA – they have enough technology instrument, even if some buildings are destroyed – in case there has been some enrichment activities, they can find it even 10, 15 years after.
MS. : (Off mic.)
AMB. MOUSAVIAN: It was not, because there was nothing there. I mean, it doesn’t mean that the IAEA couldn’t find it, because there was nothing. But the – remember in summer 2011, when even the IAEA did not raise Parchin issue – you remember? The Russians, they put a step-by-step proposal on the table. This proposal included implementation of additional protocol, implementation of subsidy arrangement, addressing possible military dimensions, giving access to IAEA beyond, limiting the new installment of centrifuges, stopping at 5 percent – you remember? Everything was there, even suspension for a short period.
Iran responded positively, and the foreign minister publicly said, we are ready to discuss the details. But the P5+1 rejected. Therefore, the Russian proposal, which had the measures for a hundred percent of transparency, Iran showed positive gesture in summer 2011, even before the Parchin raise – issue was raised.
MR. THIELMANN: Time’s winged chariot is drawing near. If – just a very brief word from our other panelists.
AMB. PICKERING: A very brief word. I won’t discuss Parchin further, except that the notion that Parchin has to involve the presence of nuclear material and therefore is a violation loses sight of the fact that the interest in Parchin has been high-explosive development that has no nuclear material. So there’s a difference there. But there is a persistence in nuclear explosive material.
But my own view is that’s much less important than the other aspect of this with the IAEA, which is designing the inspection system for the future. And Hossein has talked about that, and that’s the problem with Amano. As long as we confuse these two and one holds up the other, we’ve got a problem.
I’ll go to the second question. You’re in a horse-for-a-rabbit situation. You want all the transparency, but you don’t want to give on the other thing the Iranians want give on. And that’s a very difficult problem for us. Do we in fact address the question of how much level of enrichment is going to be permitted, either temporarily or permanently, in some arrangement with Iran? As I’ve said before, I’m prepared to accept a level of civil enrichment if in fact the IAEA has a situation in which it is satisfied it is doing the best of all possible jobs in inspection and can in fact improve that as technology improves and as things can go ahead. It appears as if that’s on the table.
My feeling is that that’s too big for the present time for the U.S. to accept in the context of an election. And I’m sorry to say that. But you know, maybe it’ll be reversed. Maybe it’ll be seen as a real victory; I would hope so. But at the moment we seem to run scared on this issue. There is an Israeli position of deep distrust on this that basically says, for them the only acceptable thing is zero enrichment, although nobody has sat down and explained quite why zero enrichment with weak inspection is so much better than some enrichment with the strongest possible inspection, which I think is the shape of a deal you could get.
And even then the president, in my view, would have to face up to the question in the middle of an election campaign, does he want to present another issue in which he can be widely attacked, even if distinctly unfairly? And that’s a very difficult question, and I don’t have the answer to it. It’s down at 1600 Pennsylvania.
MR. THIELMANN: Dr. Cronberg.
MS. CRONBERG: Now just on the question of verification, I think it’s very interesting that concrete proposals that have been put forth on the verification processes and how it could be carried out are put forth by former directors of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Hans Blix has come up with a proposal. And Olli Heinonen, who is now working at Harvard, has also come up with a – with a recent proposal on the verification which is very explicit on how you can take these steps and actually verify the question of military and civilian uses. So they are technical proposals; I think this is a political problem.
MR. THIELMANN: Thank you very much. Please join me in thanking our speakers. (Applause.)
MR. KIMBALL: Thank you, Greg. Thank you, panelists, for that insightful discussion on the Iranian nuclear issue. We’re now going to adjourn for about 25 minutes. We’re going to feed you. We’re going to pick up our program at noon with our keynote luncheon speaker, Rose Gottemoeller. And let me just note that the lunch is buffet style. There are two lines, one here, one back there. So please fill your plate, come back to your seat, and we’ll be beginning at noontime. Thank you.
(END) - Back to top
Moderator:Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director,
Arms Control Association
Speaker: Rose Gottemoeller, Acting Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security and New START Negotiator
ROSE GOTTEMOELLER: It’s always great to be in this room and to see so many friends and colleagues here, so thank you very much for this opportunity to speak to you again today and to bring you up to date on where we are on our arms control and nonproliferation agenda items.
I’m always glad to be at the Arms Control Association’s annual meeting. Before coming into government I served on the board, and I know from the inside out how important this association is. So for the work that you do and for the work that all your talented staff do, as well as the membership of the organization, I truly want to thank you because now I’m on the inside of a different beast, and we really do appreciate all the work that you do to support our efforts in the government.
I know that many of you have heard me speak a few times about what’s going on in the arms control arena with this administration. I’m not going to sing the same old song today about the standard metaphors – that is, we’re setting the stage, we’re preparing the way, et cetera.
In the simplest terms, I would like to make clear that this president set an agenda in Prague, and we have done some important things to move that agenda forward. We are approaching the lowest level of deployed nuclear weapons at any time since the 1950s, the first full decade of the nuclear age. We are also coming to a time in October of this year where we will mark the 50th anniversary of the Cuban missile crisis. And I think that we should look upon this as an important anniversary to truly mark our own progress as we move forward on the President’s agenda laid out in Prague, to move toward the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.
We have come so far since then – that is, the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 – and now we are setting the stage to move toward new accomplishments. I understand you’ve already taken up the topic of the New START Treaty this morning, so I’m not going to go into details of the treaty per se, but I did want to reiterate and underscore that the implementation of the treaty is going very well indeed. The Russians just arrived in the United States this weekend for another inspection under the treaty. They’re out at Malmstrom Air Force Base. It is their seventh inspection this year so far – this treaty year, which begins in February. So there is an intensive pace of inspection activity under the treaty. And so far we are able to say quite clearly that the treaty’s verification regime works.
And I’m very pleased with that, because of course one – when one negotiates something, the procedures and so forth, you’re never sure if it’s all going to fall in place. But it has been going very well indeed and will be important to setting the first stage of – the next stage of reductions because of the mutual confidence and the trust that is being built up in the course of implementation of the new treaty. Mutual trust and confidence of course are crucial to any future success in arms reduction negotiations.
Now we are working on the next steps that will set us further along the road to achieving the Prague goals. As part of the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review, the U.S. government is reviewing our nuclear deterrence requirements and nuclear plans to ensure that they are aligned to address today’s threats. We are considering what forces the United States needs to maintain for strategic stability and deterrence, including extended deterrence and assurance to U.S. allies and partners.
Based on this analysis, we will develop proposals for further reductions in our nuclear stockpile, which currently stands at approximately 5,000 total nuclear warheads. As the president said recently at the second Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, we can already say with confidence that we have more nuclear weapons than we need. Once complete, this study of our deterrence requirements will help to shape our negotiating approach to the next agreement with the Russians.
Regardless of numbers, the president has stressed that the next nuclear reduction agreement between the United States and Russian Federation should include strategic, nonstrategic and non-deployed nuclear weapons. Of course, no previous arms control agreement has limited or monitored these last two categories. So the next negotiations will be breaking some new ground in important ways. We are going to need new, more demanding approaches to verification and monitoring. But I am confident that we can find ways to respond to such challenges.
Beyond responsibly reducing the number of nuclear weapons, this administration has been committed to reducing their role in our national security strategy as well. We are not developing new nuclear weapons. We are not pursuing new nuclear missions. We are working toward creating the conditions to make deterring nuclear use the sole purpose of our nuclear weapons. And we have clearly stated that this is in our interest and in the interest of all other states, that the more than 65-year record of nuclear non-use be extended forever.
Recently, we worked through the nuclear policy issues that are important and relevant to our NATO allies. At the NATO summit in Chicago a few weeks ago, the allies approved the Deterrence and Defense Posture Review, which identified the appropriate mix of conventional, nuclear and missile defense forces that NATO will need to deter and defend against future threats to the alliance.
Focusing on the elements of the DDPR, the allies reaffirmed their commitment to seek to create the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons, while remaining a nuclear alliance for as long as nuclear weapons exist. The review found that the alliance’s nuclear force posture currently meets the criteria for an effective deterrent and also defense posture, and that the circumstances in which any use of nuclear weapons may be contemplated are extremely, extremely remote. The alliance acknowledged the importance the independent and unilateral U.S., British and French negative security assurances have in discouraging nuclear proliferation.
Looking to the future, allies reiterated that NATO is prepared to consider further reducing its requirement for nonstrategic nuclear weapons assigned to the alliance in the context of reciprocal steps by the Russian Federation. Leaders agreed that the NAC should issue two related taskings to appropriate NATO committees – first, to develop concepts for ensuring the broadest possible burden sharing, including in the event NATO decides to further reduce its reliance on nonstrategic nuclear weapons based in Europe; and second, to further consider what NATO would expect to see in the way of reciprocal Russian actions to allow for significant reductions in forward-based, nonstrategic nuclear weapons assigned to NATO.
NATO expressed its support for continued mutual efforts by the United States and Russia to promote strategic stability, enhance transparency and further reduce their nuclear weapons. The allies also reiterated their interest in developing and exchanging transparency and confidence-building ideas with Russia, with the goal of developing detailed proposals on and increased mutual understanding of NATO’s and Russia’s nonstrategic nuclear weapons deployed in Europe.
Now let me turn to conventional arms control, which in my view has not received adequate attention in recent years. We’re spending a lot of time focused on the future of conventional arms control and its role in enhancing European security. There are three conventional arms control regimes that play key roles in European security – the Open Skies Treaty, the Vienna Document, 2011, and the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty, or the CFE treaty. Each regime is important and contributes to security and stability in a unique way. When they work in harmony, the result is greater confidence for all of Europe.
Today, I must tell you, the conventional arms control regime in Europe is facing challenges. Unfortunately, Russia ceased implementation of its CFE obligations in December of 2007, refusing to accept inspections or provide information to other CFE parties on its military forces as required by the treaty. After trying for several years to overcome the obstacles and encourage Russia to resume implementation, we concluded we can no longer implement the treaty with Russia while it shirks its obligations.
In late 2011, the United States, joined by the 21 NATO allies who are party to the treaty as well as by Georgia and Moldova, ceased carrying out our obligations under the CFE treaty with regard to Russia. I want to emphasize, however, that the treaty remains in force according to its terms and is being implemented at 29.
The cessation of implementation of CFE with regard to Russia by 24 of 30 states parties gives us an opportunity to consider the current security architecture our future needs and the types of arms control measures that will help achieve our security goals. In other words, I see this period now as a period of true opportunity to consider what we truly need for 21st-century conventional arms control in Europe.
Our NATO allies have reaffirmed at the Chicago summit in its declaration our determination to preserve, strengthen and modernize the conventional arms control regime in Europe based on key principles and commitments, and we will continue to explore ideas to this end. We must modernize conventional arms control to take account of current security concerns.
I’ve been meeting with my European counterparts, soliciting their views on key objectives and basic principles for the way ahead with the goal of informing our own review of these issues that’s currently ongoing here in Washington. Moving forward together, we can arrive at solutions that will best serve the security of the United States, our NATO allies and partners, and also the Russian Federation.
Now I’d like to turn to multilateral treaties, the Comprehensive Test Ban, which Daryl has already mentioned. The CTBT remains a top priority for the administration and a key element of the president’s Prague agenda. As we continue laying the groundwork for U.S. ratification, we remain optimistic about the prospects for the CTBT’s entry into force, albeit mindful that achieving that goal will require considerable effort from every single one of us. An effectively-verified CTBT is central to leading toward a world of diminished reliance on nuclear weapons and reduced nuclear competition.
As such, the United States remains committed to the completion of the treaty’s monitoring regime, the so-called IMS system, International Monitoring System, which is now more than 85 percent complete and, once completed, will provide global coverage to detect and identify nuclear explosive tests conducted in violation of the treaty.
Development of the on-site inspection component is a priority task of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization, the CTBTO, and we will be assessing the progress of on-site inspection efforts during the 2014 Integrated Field Exercise – very useful upcoming activity.
Since 2011, in addition to our annual assessment, our extra-budgetary contributions to the CTBTO have totaled over $40 million. Given the tough budget environment here in Washington, those contributions clearly demonstrate our ongoing commitment to the CTBT and the vital importance the United States attaches to completing the verification regime for the treaty.
Now let me turn next to the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty. We are also continuing our fight – and I will gladly characterize it a fight – to launch the negotiation of a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty, or FMCT. Such a treaty is considered to be by the majority of the international community the next step in the process of multilateral nuclear disarmament. We have worked closely with a number of countries to achieve the start of FMCT negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament.
Creative and insightful ideas on how to move forward have been deployed in Geneva to no avail. We are very disappointed in the results so far. The current blockage over FMCT is a formidable one. Each attempt to overcome the impasse makes this clearer: Certain countries must engage substantively, constructively and frequently on FMCT. Without that, no progress, be it in the CD, on its margins or outside of it, can make real progress.
This is a leadership issue for this community as well as a practical matter. Countries most affected by an FCMT are the key stakeholders – the countries that need to be the most active, the most determined in any effort to achieve such a regime.
Although we are continuing our efforts in the conference on disarmament, we are also continuing to consult among the P-5 and other key stakeholders on ways forward for an FMCT. Our most recent meeting in this P-5-plus effort was in London in April, and we’re making plans to meet again soon this summer. We are not making headlines right now, but the states participating are very invested in the process, which is a good sign. Gradually, we are making progress, but we are going to need to push and push intensively in this arena.
Let me turn for a moment to the P-5 process, because it is one that is quite current now –we’re planning our upcoming in Washington, about which I’ll say a few words. The P-5 have been meeting regularly to review our progress toward fulfilling our obligations and our commitments under the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference’s action plan.
This process is a venue to bolster the long-standing U.S.-Russian interaction with an ongoing P-5 engagement on issues related to nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation. During P-5 conferences and the ongoing P-5 meetings, we have covered verification, transparency, confidence-building, nonproliferation and other important topics, all of which are important for establishing a firm foundation for further disarmament efforts.
For example, at the 2011 Paris P-5 conference – that was in June of 2011, a year ago – the P-5 reaffirmed their unconditional support for the NPT, reaffirmed the commitment set out in the 2010 action plan, stressed the need to strengthen the International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards and worked in pursuit of their shared goal of nuclear disarmament under Article VI of the NPT.
Following up on the 2009 London conference and this 2011 Paris conference, the United States is hosting the next P-5 conference here in Washington, June 27th to June 29th. The United States looks forward to having further in-depth discussions – candid discussions – and these have been very useful discussions, I must say – on a variety of issues with our P-5 counterparts during the conference.
We also look forward to hosting a public event as part of the Washington conference. This will be on June 27th, for those of you who are interested. It is titled, “Three Pillars for Peace and Security: Implementing the NPT.” The event will focus on the mutually reinforcing nature of the three NPT pillars and examine how all three are essential to create the conditions for the elimination of nuclear weapons.
Now finally, let me turn to some of the work we’ve been doing inside my own bureau, the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance. You may know that I’m juggling two hats now: I’m the acting undersecretary, but I’ve maintained my role as the assistant secretary. I’m joking that I now have one of the longest titles in Washington, but it does encompass a broad empire.
But I wanted to talk a bit about the work we’re doing on future verification technology and appeal to you, because as we move forward on all these fronts that I’ve laid out today, we are going to need the help of everyone in this room. It’s not just on the advocacy level. We also need your creativity and your ideas. As I mentioned before, reducing to lower numbers of all kinds of weapons will require that we push past the current limits of our verification and monitoring capabilities. Whether we’re trying to monitor missile launches, count nuclear warheads or detect and characterize an unexplained biological event, we need ever-improving tools and technologies. The State Department’s Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, AVC, which is my own home bureau, works very hard to be on the cutting edge of new technology, not merely for the sake of being on the cutting edge, but because we know that that is where we can best leverage the small budget that exists in our government for developing such new capabilities.
It is because of this need for new technology that I am particularly proud to announce that we have for the first time ever made available to the public our so-called verification technology research and development needs document. This document has been published on an annual basis, and it is a catalog of sorts telling the R&D community what we believe are our most pressing technology needs to answer arms control questions in the future. Now with a publicly available document, we can expand our community of developers beyond the usual suspects of the Defense and Department of Energy laboratories. To a certain extent, the needs document is a think piece. We hope it will stimulate some thinking about where we go from here on verification and monitoring of arms control treaties and agreements. It’s easy to find if you’ll go to the AVC Bureau’s VTT page or to Fed Biz Ops, their website, and simply type in “V fund.” It will come up, and you’ll have a chance to look at it.
I also encourage all of you in your organizations to pursue opportunities for Track 1.5 and Track Two engagement policies. We should never undervalue the productivity of these efforts. Many of the ideas that went into the New START Treaty – and I know I’ve said this time and again, but many of the ideas that went into the New START Treaty were developed in the years running up to the negotiations through Track 1.5 and Track Two activities. And I have appreciated the role of the Arms Control Association and many of the organizations represented here as we prepare for negotiation of the Arms Trade Treaty this July in New York. This is a very important effort that has gone on, and we really welcome your efforts overall.
Now, to wrap up, I want to leave you with one final thought. It’s one of my favorites, and it’s one I think about constantly. It’s not every day that you think of President Calvin Coolidge as a source of inspiration – (laughter) – but I always like to recall what he has to say about persistence. I think it’s not a bad message for this audience today. The president said, “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved, and always will solve, the problems of the human race.”
So, colleagues and friends, we must press on. We have no easy task ahead of us. We must simply press on. We have far to go, and there are problems that we cannot anticipate. Certainly in this job over the last three years, there have been many problems that I did not anticipate, but we continue to press on. Make no mistake: The arc of nuclear history is bending downwards.
I am quite sure of that. I look forward to your comments and questions, and thank you very much for your attention today.
DARYL KIMBALL: Thank you very much, Rose, for your overview of all that’s happening in this field.
We have time for questions, and there are microphones on either side. So once again, if you could – if you want to ask a question, raise your hand, identify yourself, and the microphone will come to you. And as the microphones get to these two folks here in the front, let me just start with the first question, Rose.
You ended with the Coolidge admonition to persist, which I think is always important in the field of nuclear arms control. One of the things we’ve been persisting with for a long time, of course, is the effort to get the fissile material cutoff talks going, and you said it’s a fight. There are only a certain number of different pathways that this can take. I mean, how do you see this debate developing in the next several months, given the opposition from one particular country in South Asia that shall go nameless. And you know, are there alternative ways in which the P-5 can help make progress as the CD tries to find a way around the consensus-rule difficulties that it always grapples with?
MS. GOTTEMOELLER: Many of you are aware of the efforts of the first committee and the agenda. You’ve been involved in wrestling with these issues either in or out of government. And so you know that the pressures – what pressures emerged last October in the context of the first committee meeting in October. And those pressures had to do with a building frustration about the inability of the CD to move off the dime. I use the word impasse; it’s a very formidable impasse at this moment in the CD.
And so pressures are developing within the first committee to basically go elsewhere, to move this negotiation to other settings – the U.N. General Assembly, et cetera. So these pressures – we were able essentially to let off the steam, I would say is a good way to put it – and let off the steam by emphasizing again the both responsibility and the interest of key stakeholders in moving this issue forward. And that’s why we have been so intent on getting the key stakeholders to the table, working on where we can go, how we can handle this issue pressing forward. We’re slowly, slowly making progress.
So I for one hope that the key stakeholders will continue to be able to press forward. Otherwise, I do fear that we may be heading in a direction that will not be particularly productive in terms of getting true constraints on fissile materials. It’s – you know, a bunch of countries can get together and negotiate a fissile material cut-off treaty, but if they don’t happen to have many fissile materials for weapons purposes, it’s not going to be all that helpful. So I think the important thing is now to keep our eye on the prize, to continue to have very, very serious discussions among the key stakeholders, and try in that way to, you know, to get a negotiation going. So that’s where we’re placing our emphasis at the present time.
MR. KIMBALL: All right. Thank you. And for those of you who want to dive into some of the details on this, we did an extensive interview with Pakistan’s ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament in Arms Control Today just earlier this year. So I think we’ll start out over here. Barbara, if you want to – go ahead.
MS. GOTTEMOELLER: Hi, Barbara.
Q: Thank you very much. Barbara Slavin, from the Atlantic Council; pleasure to see you again. I wanted you to talk just a little bit about the relationship that’s developed with the Russians in the arms control process. And the Russians now have Putin again as the president. Do you think that’s going to affect the tenor of future arms controls talks with them? How do you see cooperation over Iran developing? Do you see that this arms control process might bleed into other issues with the Russians or are you a little concerned that Putin may play the nationalism card a little harder than Medvedev did? Thanks.
MS. GOTTEMOELLER: I – as far as Russian policy is concerned, I see a great deal of consistently, frankly. And if you’re interested in the official Russian articulation of their policy, it’s very useful to look at, first of all, the remarks that Putin published – they were published under his name – in some of the top Russian newspapers right before the election; also, he put out an election platform. And since that time, he has – his administration has published a foreign policy – their first foreign policy – a statement of policy after he entered into the presidency.
And there’s an emphasis in each of those documents on continuing the arms control agenda, continuing arms control work. Now there aren’t any details laid out there, but I do think it is important that that kind of emphasis has appeared, and also a very positive perspective on implementation of the New START Treaty. So there’s been a very positive and, I would say, practical approach to implementation of the New START Treaty.
So as far as the traditional nuclear arms control environment, I see a continuity there with the way this issue was approached since the late ’60s, early 1970s. And the Soviet Union, when – even though there were ups and downs in the relationship, both Washington and Moscow saw nuclear arms control to be in their national security interest. So with fits and starts, and sometimes the negotiations would halt for a while – certainly they did during the 1980s for a while – nevertheless, they would continue up again after perhaps a pause. So I don’t really see at the moment a difficulty in that realm.
I will say that the cooperation with Iran at this point has actually been very, very solid, and Russia’s playing a leading role. As you all know, Russia will be hosting the next meeting to talk with the Iranians in the P-5 plus one process. So there will be, I think, many opportunities for Russia to continue to play in moving that agenda forward. So all in all, I think one has to recognize that political transitions sometimes cause things to slow down a bit. But nevertheless, in terms of the overarching agenda and the willingness of the Russian Federation to engage on it, I have not seen a problem there.
MR. KIMBALL: All right; thank you.
Ambassador Pickering, I think you had a question. And then if there’s anyone in the back who wants to ask a question, you need to ask your – raise your hand now so that we can get the microphones to the back. Thank you.
Q: Rose – Tom Pickering, Hills and Company. Thank you very much for everything you do, and thank you very much for the speech. I would just remark on the last question that I think New START had a great deal to do with reset. And I think that that’s a piece that the arms control community shouldn’t ignore, and that it plays back into arms control attitudes.
With respect to your speech, an unfair question: What are your top three priorities and why? (Laughter.)
MS. GOTTEMOELLER: Top three priorities are – well, they’re hard to pick out, because I really had my – have my top six priorities, which you kind of heard this morning. But I think in terms of – I’ll tell you quite honestly, I think that New START implementation is going along very well. So I kind of – I say, all right, we don’t not pay attention to that, but it’s going well. And that’s a good thing. But I do think a lot about where we go from here on for the reductions.
I think a lot about the conventional arms control regime. It’s kind of interesting, but CFE was a spectacular success. It was such a spectacular success that we all forgot about it. And we haven’t been thinking about conventional arms control for some time. But CFE is past its sell-by date, to be quite honest. It’s a great treaty. I am glad it is enforced still according to its terms. But it was negotiated when we had the Warsaw Pact and NATO ranged against each other in Europe. We need a different type of conventional arms control regime in Europe today. So that also preoccupies my thinking quite a bit.
And let me cheat a bit and say it’s a combination of those P-5-related issues – which include the FMCT, which I would put in my third diplomatic priority. But I’m going to cheat further and say there’s a fourth, which is the domestic priority of getting the CTBT ratified. So I went from three to four.
Q: And just – since you did just mention the CTB again, I mean, if – as many of us in this crowd know, the long-awaited National Academy of Sciences study on the technical issues related to the CTBT was released in March. You know, what’s your sense of what those findings tell us about some of the issues that were at the center of the debate in 1999? And how much better does that put the treaty in position going forward for serious reconsideration?
MS. GOTTEMOELLER: There were two major issues in 1999 that affected senators’ decision making about ratification of CTBT. One had to do with the verifiability of the treaty. And the NAS study addressed verifiability of the treaty. We welcomed their conclusions. We thought that they were in line with the evidence that we had seen without having such a deep dive in technical terms as the academy took. But just on the face of it, I mentioned in my remarks that the IMS system is now over 85 percent complete. When the IMS system was looked at back in 1999, it was barely off the ground at that point. So just if you look at the – you know, what physically is available now to verify the treaty, there’s just so much more there.
The other major issue, of course, was the Stockpile Stewardship Program and the efficacy of science-based stockpile stewardship in comparison with nuclear explosive testing. Again, in 1999 the Stockpile Stewardship Program was just barely off the ground. You may recall I was working in DOE at that point as the assistant secretary responsible for nonproliferation programs. So I was watching the process of getting stockpile stewardship off the ground. And it was a very, very good process, but it was still a baby. Now we can say that the baby’s matured into early adulthood. And I think that it has proven its mettle in terms of showing that science-based stockpile stewardship can really preserve the security, effectiveness and safety of the arsenal without explosive nuclear testing.
So those are the two big changes that have occurred. Of course, the NAS study was focused on the verifiability issue, but again as I mentioned, I think it basically accords with what we could see just by looking at, you know, the physical evidence of what’s accumulated since 1999 in the IMF system.
MR. KIMBALL: Thanks. Right here, we have a question, Ben, and then over here.
Q: Thank you. I would like to ask you about the Arms Trade Treaty.
MR. KIMBALL: If you could just identify yourself, please.
Q: Daria Kondike (sp), I’m from the European Parliament Defense Committee. And I would like to ask you about the Arms Trade Treaty because at the European Parliament we are debating whether it should be a strong treaty which everybody not signs and – or whether it could be a weaker treaty which everybody signs. Now, what is the U.S. position and under which conditions would you sign?
MS. GOTTEMOELLER: Well, if there’s some code word in strong versus weak treaties I should probably know what it is. But in general, the United States would sign up to treaties when they are strong. And I will emphasize that our view is that it is a treaty that covers arms trade per se. There is a legitimate trade in armaments – in conventional arms internationally. And so we see a real importance in ensuring that that trade is carefully regulated. And so that’s the value that we see in an Arms Trade Treaty.
But we do believe that there is a legitimate trade in conventional arms, and so would not support if it’s treated as more a nonproliferation treaty, that we should not have any kind of trade in these weapons. That is not our position.
MR. KIMBALL: And those negotiations on the ATT, as it’s called, begin at the United Nations on July 2nd, and go for about four weeks. And the Arms Control Association will be paying close attention to that.
All right, we have another question here and then we’re going to go to the back row. So Ben, if you could bring the microphone up to Trine, and then in the back.
Q: Trine Flockhart from the Danish Institute for International Studies. You mentioned the inclusion of nonstrategic nuclear weapons in future arms control in the next step. And I was going to ask you – because as I understand it, it’s a Russian precondition for even talking about these weapons, that they are first withdrawn from Europe. So do you have any evidence that perhaps the Europeans will be willing to withdraw the weapons from Europe in anticipation of arms control negotiations? It’s a bit of chicken-and-egg problem.
MS. GOTTEMOELLER: Well, you know, it’s very interesting about that Russian condition. That has been a condition in place since the Soviet Union. It’s not a new condition. It is a very, very longstanding condition that also called – we used to call “tac nukes”–tactical nuclear weapons or nonstrategic nuclear weapons must be withdrawn to CONUS, to the continental United States, before they’ll even talk about reductions in this arena.
So like, you know, any number of conditions that can be piled up in advance of negotiations, I think we have to be very careful about considering them as chicken-and-egg problems. We just have to work them – the Russians clearly aren’t going to come to the negotiating table unless they see a negotiation to be in their national interest. We would not either, nor would we expect our NATO allies to join us in an effort to negotiate such a treaty unless they, too, joined in seeing it as in their national interest. But I just simply don’t treat these conditions – and the Russians have piled up some other conditions on the table – I don’t see them as a chicken-and-egg problem. I see them essentially as issues that must be worked in the run-up to negotiations, and we’ll see where we get. They may see an interest over time in enhanced transparency, in understanding further what’s going on in, for example, former Warsaw Pact facilities that have now been closed out and no longer hold nuclear weapons. They may be interested in learning more about that. Let’s work the issue and see where we get, and then we’ll see what we do about it in negotiations. But I would just urge us all – it gets a bit – sometimes you can kind of scratch your head because you hear some Russian commentators, you know, piling up what look like conditions after conditions. I’d be very cautious about treating them as big blockages. We just need to work them is all.
MR. KIMBALL: All right, we’re going to move to the lightning round of questions. I think we’ve got time for two or three more. And I’m going to ask the folks to raise their hands.
Q: (Off mic.)
MR. KIMBALL: Yeah, well, we could take two or three at the same time. Go ahead, sir, and then we’re going to go to the next one and then Rose will take a couple at the same time.
Q: I’m Peter Pereni (ph). I worked on and struggled with the issues of conventional arms control negotiations for about two years ending in 2009, and in particular what to do about CFE in Gates’ office. Now that we find barriers to do with the basic structure of the new treaty even, which is apparently unacceptable in many respects to Russia, as well as regional issues that have gotten in the way of our ratification like Moldova, Georgia, mutual concerns in other areas – this is kind of an unfair question, but I’m wondering what sort of paths one might explore, whether it’s a totally new treaty or whether one begins with small political confidence-raising steps, perhaps in regions of tension, and then builds up to something bigger. And I know you said you were just exploring, you know, ideas, so I don’t want to put you on the spot, but I’m curious as to what’s in play and what one hears, whether the most promising approach is a global solution or a piecemeal, more political solution or some combination.
MR. KIMBALL: Let’s see what Rose has to say about that, all right? And then Natalie Goldring, over here, if you could – the microphone to the right. Thank you.
Q: Natalie Goldring, Georgetown and the Acronym Institute. Appreciate your endorsement of the Arms Trade Treaty, even if it didn’t make your top four. I’d like to ask you a question about consensus. The U.S. has insisted on it in the Arms Trade Treaty process. Some of the same skeptics you’ve encountered in the SMCT process are also present in the Arms Trade Treaty process and playing the same role. How do you think we can keep the U.S. insistence on consensus and keep the skeptics from using it to derail the treaty?
MS. GOTTEMOELLER: Actually – shall I take those two?
Let me come straight to Natalie’s question. You know, the reason why it’s not in my top four is, as far as my heavy lifting is concerned, at least at the moment, Roberto Moritan has done a fabulous job preparing a way. The reason why we’re talking about a four-week negotiation is that we think there’s a real shot at getting this thing done in four weeks. There are many difficult issues to get through in July, and you know, it’s not a done deal. But I would say that the ground is very well prepared. And again, it’s thanks to the work of the nongovernmental community, but also the work of our negotiators in the prepcom that we’re in such good shape.
So that’s why – it’s not because I don’t consider it important and significant from a policy perspective; it’s because – you know, just in terms of my own personal heavy lifting. We’ll see. Maybe July 31st will come and I’ll be up in New York all night long. We’ll see what happens. But at the moment I’m very positive about the preparatory work that has gone into it so far.
But your question about consensus is a very important one. For those of you who don’t know the arrangement for decision making in the ATT negotiations is that as a matter of substantive decision making, such decisions must be made by consensus. Procedural decisions can be made by a majority kind of approach. So it’s a different approach. We’ve been quite hesitant about it, although we were willing to see how it works in this context because it’s difficult, many times, to draw a bright line between substantive process, and we’re concerned about that causing difficulties going forward. But we’ll see how it goes. Let’s see how it goes this July and see where we go from here. And that’s all I can say to you at the present time on that.
As far as conventional arms control, Peter, those questions are very, very good ones. I will say that we’re looking at a rather broad spectrum now. So you’ve made some mention of, you know, not being able to ratify a treaty or, you know, there’s – at the moment, we’re taking a very broad-ranging look at this – at this arena of conventional arms control. We have a solid foundation in that the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty is still in force, according to its terms. I look particularly, given my experience on New START – New START and CFE, conventional arms control, are much different. Obviously, conventional arms control is multilateral. New START was bilateral. But in both cases I think we have accumulated some excellent experience in terms of the verification and inspection regimes which we need to bear in mind. They’ve been great in raising confidence and may play a role in the future. But at the same time, I think we need to look very broadly at what the purpose of conventional arms control in Europe is these days – we’re not dealing with two alliances arranged against each other – what the regional security situations are, and furthermore, overall, the way Europe is, you know, handling military forces these days is much different. There’s a lot of budget cutting going on. There’s a lot of effort at having, you know, shared capabilities across borderlines. And so we just need to think, I think, in a very broad-ranging way about where we want to go on conventional arms control. So that’s the effort we have under way in government now. No decisions have been made, but we are taking a very, very serious look at it. And I expect this summer we’ll be coming to some decisions about how to proceed. So if any of you out there have any ideas on this – on this agenda, we would welcome the chance to talk to you about them.
MR. KIMBALL: An invitation.
All right. And speaking of persistence, let’s go for our last question to Mr. Larry Wilder (sp) in the back there who has persisted on these issues longer than most. For those of you who don’t know, Larry was one of the nonproliferation treaty negotiators. So Larry, your question.
Q: Yes. Well, I was negotiating, as I mentioned to you on an earlier occasion I think, on the nonproliferation treaty 57 years ago. Time flies. (Laughter.) I’m getting older.
MS. GOTTEMOELLER: When you’re having fun.
Q: I have another unfair question. What is your estimate of whether or not we’re any closer to getting the necessary votes in the Senate than we were years ago on – the CTB.
MS. GOTTEMOELLER: Well, you know – again, Larry, I have had a very interesting experience in watching the ratification of the New START Treaty, because up until the final week, we didn’t have any votes aside from – well, we had the Democratic side of the House; we had Senator Lugar. But in terms of specific votes on the Republican side of the ledger, we didn’t know. You just got to work it. And again, I found that one of the most valuable aspects of the New START ratification debate was that the senators were willing to really take a serious look at the treaty and to really consider their responsibility under the Constitution with regard to the national security of the United States in giving their advice and consent to treaties.
To make a long story short, they wanted to hear the details. They delved into the inspection regime in ways I never would have predicted. They delved in – and you know, a lot of attention went to the budget side and the concern about the budget for the National Nuclear Security Administration and so forth. But to me it was very impressive how much they wanted to understand the details of the treaty and how it would improve our national security, our confidence with regard to what the Russians are doing in their strategic arsenal, and overall enhance predictability with Moscow.
So my view is this is the time we need to get the word out there about what the CTBT can do for us, what it will do to enhance our national security. We need to ask all those concerned, both inside and outside of government, on Capitol Hill and elsewhere, to take a serious look and be ready to listen, to get some questions answered and to debate. But we’re not asking anybody at the moment to say yea or nay. And in fact, I hope people will not say yea or nay right now but have a very, very serious and intensive debate on the merits of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
MR. KIMBALL: All right, thank you. I think we’re drawing to a close here. I think your time is up. I want to thank you very much for joining us here once again.
MS. GOTTEMOELLER: Thank you.
MR. KIMBALL: And I hope to have you back again. We’ll take up your invitation for ideas on the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty. We always have space in Arms Control Today for more ideas on that long-running issue. And we will promise to persist, which is a very important admonition from you, given –
MS. GOTTEMOELLER: And Calvin Coolidge.
MR. KIMBALL: And Calvin Coolidge. (Laughter.) We’ll have to use that one in the future. So thank you very much, Rose. (Applause.)
End - Back to the top
Follow @armscontrolnow on Twitter and begin talking about ACA's annual meeting #ACA2012