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– Lisa Beyer
Bloomberg News
August 27, 2018
Nuclear Nonproliferation

TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress No Funding for U.S. INF Missiles in Europe

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The INF Treaty prohibited all U.S. and Soviet missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers. The official figures above show missiles deployed November 1, 1987, shortly before the INF Treaty was signed. The treaty also required destruction of 430 U.S. missiles and 979 Soviet missiles which were in storage or otherwise not deployed. The treaty prevented the planned deployment of an additional 208 GLCMs in the Netherlands, Britain, Belgium, Germany, and Italy. The Pershing IAs, under joint U.S.-German control, were not formally covered by the INF Treaty but were also to be eliminated by U.S. and West German agreement. The 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty led to the verifiable elimination of over 2,500 Soviet and U.S. missiles based in Europe and helped bring an end to the Cold War.

But now, the United States and Russia are on course to withdraw from the INF Treaty in six months over a long-running dispute over Russian compliance with the treaty.

Termination of the INF Treaty opens the door for Russia and the United States to develop and deploy more and new types of ground-launched intermediate-range missiles–a move that would increase the risks of a destabilizing new missile race.

You can help stop this!

A group of leading U.S. Senators has re-introduced the "Prevention of Arms Race Act of 2019," which would prohibit funding for the procurement, flight-testing, or deployment of a U.S. ground-launched or ballistic missile until the Trump Administration meets seven specific conditions, including identifying a U.S. ally formally willing to host such a system, and in the case of a European country, have it be the outcome of a NATO-wide decision.

This bill is a step in the right direction. New U.S. ground-launched cruise deployments in Europe or elsewhere would cost billions of dollars, take years to complete, and are militarily unnecessary to defend NATO allies because existing weapons systems can already hold key Russian targets at risk.

Your Senators need to hear from you.

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U.S.-Russian Nuclear Arms Control Agreements at a Glance

June 2017

Contact: Daryl Kimball, Executive Director, (202) 463-8270 x107; Kingston ReifDirector for Disarmament and Threat Reduction Policy, (202) 463-8270 x104

Updated: August 2019

Over the past four decades, American and Soviet/Russian leaders have used a progression of bilateral agreements and other measures to limit and reduce their substantial nuclear warhead and strategic missile and bomber arsenals. The following is a brief summary.

Strategic Nuclear Arms Control Agreements

SALT I

Begun in November 1969, by May 1972, the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) had produced both the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, which limited strategic missile defenses to 200 (later 100) interceptors each, and the Interim Agreement, an executive agreement that capped U.S. and Soviet intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) and submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) forces. Under the Interim Agreement, both sides pledged not to construct new ICBM silos, not to increase the size of existing ICBM silos “significantly,” and capped the number of SLBM launch tubes and SLBM-carrying submarines. The agreement ignored strategic bombers and did not address warhead numbers, leaving both sides free to enlarge their forces by deploying multiple warheads (MIRVs) onto their ICBMs and SLBMs and increasing their bomber-based forces. The agreement limited the United States to 1,054 ICBM silos and 656 SLBM launch tubes. The Soviet Union was limited to 1,607 ICBM silos and 740 SLBM launch tubes. In June 2002, the United States unilaterally withdrew from the ABM treaty.

SALT II

In November 1972, Washington and Moscow agreed to pursue a follow-on treaty to SALT I. SALT II, signed in June 1979, limited U.S. and Soviet ICBM, SLBM, and strategic bomber-based nuclear forces to 2,250 delivery vehicles (defined as an ICBM silo, a SLBM launch tube, or a heavy bomber) and placed a variety of other restrictions on deployed strategic nuclear forces. The agreement would have required the Soviets to reduce their forces by roughly 270 delivery vehicles, but U.S. forces were below the limits and could actually have been increased. However, President Jimmy Carter asked the Senate not to consider SALT II for its advice and consent after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in December 1979, and the treaty was not taken up again. Both Washington and Moscow subsequently pledged to adhere to the agreement’s terms despite its failure to enter into force. However, on May 26, 1986, President Ronald Reagan said that future decisions on strategic nuclear forces would be based on the threat posed by Soviet forces and not on "a flawed SALT II Treaty.”

START I

The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I), first proposed in the early 1980s by President Ronald Reagan and finally signed in July 1991, required the United States and the Soviet Union to reduce their deployed strategic arsenals to 1,600 delivery vehicles, carrying no more than 6,000 warheads as counted using the agreement’s rules. The agreement required the destruction of excess delivery vehicles which was verified using an intrusive verification regime that involved on-site inspections, the regular exchange of information (including telemetry), and the use of national technical means (i.e., satellites). The agreement’s entry into force was delayed for several years because of the collapse of the Soviet Union and ensuing efforts to denuclearize Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus by returning their nuclear weapons to Russia and making them parties to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and START I agreements. START I reductions were completed in December 2001, and the treaty expired on Dec. 5, 2009.

START II

In June 1992, Presidents George H. W. Bush and Boris Yeltsin agreed to pursue a follow-on accord to START I. START II, signed in January 1993, called for reducing deployed strategic arsenals to 3,000-3,500 warheads and banned the deployment of destabilizing multiple-warhead land-based missiles. START II would have counted warheads in roughly the same fashion as START I and, also like its predecessor, would have required the destruction of delivery vehicles but not warheads. The agreement's original implementation deadline was January 2003, ten years after signature, but a 1997 protocol moved this deadline to December 2007 because of the extended delay in ratification. Both the Senate and the Duma approved START II, but the treaty did not take effect because the Senate did not ratify the 1997 protocol and several ABM Treaty amendments, whose passage the Duma established as a condition for START II’s entry into force. START II was effectively shelved as a result of the 2002 U.S. withdrawal from the ABM treaty.

START III Framework

In March 1997, Presidents Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin agreed to a framework for START III negotiations that included a reduction in deployed strategic warheads to 2,000-2,500. Significantly, in addition to requiring the destruction of delivery vehicles, START III negotiations were to address “the destruction of strategic nuclear warheads…to promote the irreversibility of deep reductions including prevention of a rapid increase in the number of warheads.” Negotiations were supposed to begin after START II entered into force, which never happened.

SORT (Moscow Treaty)

On May 24, 2002, Presidents George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin signed the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT or Moscow Treaty) under which the United States and Russia reduced their strategic arsenals to 1,700-2,200 warheads each. The warhead limit took effect and expired on the same day, Dec. 31, 2012. Although the two sides did not agree on specific counting rules, the Bush administration asserted that the United States would reduce only warheads deployed on strategic delivery vehicles in active service (i.e., “operationally deployed” warheads) and would not count warheads removed from service and placed in storage or warheads on delivery vehicles undergoing overhaul or repair. The agreement’s limits are similar to those envisioned for START III, but the treaty did not require the destruction of delivery vehicles, as START I and II did, or the destruction of warheads, as had been envisioned for START III. The treaty was approved by the Senate and Duma and entered into force on June 1, 2003. SORT was replaced by New START on Feb. 5, 2011.

New START

On April 8, 2010, the United States and Russia signed New START, a legally binding, verifiable agreement that limits each side to 1,550 strategic nuclear warheads deployed on 700 strategic delivery systems (ICBMs, SLBMs and heavy bombers) and limits deployed and nondeployed launchers to 800. The treaty-accountable warhead limit is 30 percent lower than the 2,200 upper limit of SORT, and the delivery vehicle limit is 50 percent lower than the 1,600 allowed in START I. The treaty has a verification regime that combines elements of START I with new elements tailored to New START. Measures under the treaty include on-site inspections and exhibitions, data exchanges and notifications related to strategic offensive arms and facilities covered by the treaty, and provisions to facilitate the use of national technical means for treaty monitoring. The treaty also provides for the continued exchange of telemetry (missile flight-test data on up to five tests per year) and does not meaningfully limit missile defenses or long-range conventional strike capabilities. The U.S. Senate approved New START on Dec. 22, 2010. The approval process of the Russian parliament (passage by both the State Duma and Federation Council) was completed Jan. 26, 2011. The treaty entered into force on Feb. 5, 2011 and will expire in 2021, though both parties may agree to extend the treaty for a period of up to five years. Both parties met the treaty’s central limits by the Feb. 5, 2018 deadline for implementation.

Strategic Nuclear Arms Control Agreements

Strategic Nuclear Arms Control Agreements
  SALT  I SALT II INF Treaty START I START II START III SORT

New START

Status Expired Never Entered Into Force Expired Expired Never Entered Into Force Never Negotiated Replaced by New START In Force
Deployed Warhead Limit N/A N/A N/A 6,000 3,000-3,500 2,000-2,500 1,700-2,200 1,550
Deployed Delivery Vehicle Limit US: 1,710 ICBMs & SLBMs
USSR: 2,347
2,250 Prohibits ground-based missiles of 500-5,500 km range 1,600 N/A N/A N/A 700
Date Signed May 26, 1972 June 18, 1979 Dec. 8, 1987 July 31, 1991 Jan. 3, 1993 N/A May 24, 2002 April 8, 2010
Date Ratifed, U.S. Aug. 3, 1972 N/A May 28, 1988 Oct. 1, 1992 Jan. 26, 1996 N/A March 6, 2003 Dec. 22, 2010
Ratification Vote, U.S. 88-2 N/A 93-6 93-6 87-4 N/A 95-0 71-26
Date Entered Into Force Oct. 3, 1972 N/A June 1, 1988 Dec. 5, 1994 N/A N/A June 1, 2003 Feb. 5, 2011
Implementation Deadline N/A N/A June 1, 1991 Dec. 5, 2001 N/A N/A N/A Feb. 5, 2018
Expiration Date Oct. 3, 1977 N/A Aug. 2, 2019 Dec. 5, 2009 N/A N/A Feb. 5, 2011 Feb. 5, 2021*

*New START allows for the option to extend the treaty beyond 2021 for a period of up to five years.

Nonstrategic Nuclear Arms Control Measures

Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty

Signed Dec. 8, 1987, the INF Treaty required the United States and the Soviet Union to verifiably eliminate all ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers. Distinguished by its unprecedented, intrusive inspection regime, including on-site inspections, the INF Treaty laid the groundwork for verification of the subsequent START I. The INF Treaty entered into force June 1, 1988, and the two sides completed their reductions by June 1, 1991, destroying a total of 2,692 missiles. The agreement was multilateralized after the breakup of the Soviet Union, and current active participants in the agreement include the United States, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine. Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are also parties to the agreement but do not participate in treaty meetings or on-site inspections. The ban on intermediate-range missiles is of unlimited duration.

Both the United States and Russia have raised concerns about the other side’s compliance with the INF Treaty. The United States first publicly charged Russia in 2014 with developing and testing a ground-launched cruise missile—the 9M729 missile—with a range that exceeds the INF Treaty limits.

Russia denies that it breached the agreement and has raised its own concerns about Washington’s compliance. Moscow has charged that the United States is placing a missile defense launch system in Europe that could also be used to fire cruise missiles, using targets for missile defense tests with similar characteristics to INF Treaty-prohibited intermediate-range missiles, and is making armed drones that are equivalent to ground-launched cruise missiles. On Oct. 20, 2018 President Donald Trump announced his intention to “terminate” the agreement citing Russian noncompliance and concerns about China’s missiles, and on Dec. 4, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared Russia in “material breach” of the treaty. The Trump administration provided official notice to the other treaty states-parties on Feb. 2 that it would both suspend its obligations to the treaty and withdraw from the agreement in six months—per the treaty's terms—and "terminate" the agreement unless Russia returned to compliance by eliminating its ground-launched 9M729 missiles. 

On Aug. 2, 2019, the United States formally withdrew from the INF Treaty.

Presidential Nuclear Initiatives 

On Sept. 27, 1991, President George H. W. Bush announced that the United States would remove almost all U.S. tactical (nonstrategic) nuclear forces from deployment so that Russia could undertake similar actions, reducing the risk of nuclear proliferation as the Soviet Union dissolved. Specifically, Bush said the United States would eliminate all its nuclear artillery shells and short-range nuclear ballistic missile warheads and remove all nonstrategic nuclear warheads from surface ships, attack submarines, and land-based naval aircraft. Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev reciprocated on Oct. 5, pledging to eliminate all nuclear artillery munitions, nuclear warheads for tactical missiles, and nuclear landmines. He also pledged to withdraw all Soviet tactical naval nuclear weapons from deployment. Under these initiatives, the United States and Russia reduced their deployed nonstrategic stockpiles by an estimated 5,000 and 13,000 warheads, respectively. However, significant questions remain about Russian implementation of its pledges, and there is considerable uncertainty about the current state of Russia’s tactical nuclear forces. The Defense Department estimates that Russia possesses roughly 2,000 non-strategic nuclear weapons and the numbers are expanding. The United States maintains several hundred nonstrategic B61 gravity bombs for delivery by short-range fighter aircraft. 

Strategic Arms Control and Policy

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Putin Sets Hypersonic Deployment Plan

 

Russia’s Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle was successfully tested Dec. 26 in the presence of President Vladimir Putin and will be deployed during 2019, according a Kremlin statement. Putin noted the Avangard system, built to carry a nuclear warhead, will be “impervious to current and future” air and missile defenses of a “potential enemy,” a response to long-standing Russian concern that U.S. missile defense systems in combination with U.S. nuclear forces enable Washington to threaten Moscow’s retaliatory nuclear capability. The latest test is the third reported success out of six reported tests of the Yu-71 configuration since 2013. According to reports, the first two Avangard launchers will be deployed on two SS-19 intercontinental ballistic missiles based at Dombarovsky in 2019, and a total of 12 are expected to be deployed there by the end of 2027. A hypersonic glide vehicle, which travels at speeds of 5,000 to 25,000 kilometers per hour, can change its trajectory during flight and fly at varying altitudes.—SHERVIN TAHERAN

Putin Sets Hypersonic Deployment Plan

WMD-Free Middle East Proposal at a Glance

December 2018

Contact: Kelsey Davenport, Director for Nonproliferation Policy, (202) 463-8270 x102

Updated: December 2018

As part of a package of decisions that resulted in the indefinite extension of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), the 1995 NPT Review Conference called for “the establishment of an effectively verifiable Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction, nuclear, chemical and biological, and their delivery systems.” First put forth by Egypt in 1990, the Weapons of Mass Destruction-Free Zone (WMDFZ) proposal expanded on longstanding calls to establish a Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone (NWFZ) in the Middle East. Both measures, intended to be pursued in parallel, have garnered broad international support but practical progress has since been elusive.

Background

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) first endorsed calls for the establishment of a NWFZ in a resolution approved in December of 1974 following a proposal by Iran and Egypt. From 1980 to 2018, that resolution had been passed annually without a vote by UNGA and endorsement for the proposal has been incorporated in a number of UN Security Council Resolutions. In 2018, the resolution was brought to a vote with the United States and Israel voting against. From 1991 onwards the IAEA General Conference has also adopted annually without objections a resolution calling for the application of full scope safeguards on all nuclear facilities in the region “as a necessary step for the establishment of the NWFZ.”

Prompted by Egypt in 1988, the UN Secretary General undertook a “Study on Effective and Verifiable Measures which Would Facilitate the Establishment of a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone in the Middle East” that looked at conditions surrounding the creation of NWFZ and made a number recommendations including a list confidence building measures. A 1989 IAEA Technical Study also looked at various modalities for the application of safeguards on nuclear facilities in the Middle East as a necessary step to establishing a NWFZ.

Despite extensive international support and the catalogue of resolutions endorsed including by all regional states, practical progress has been stymied by sharp disagreements between countries in the region over the terms and the sequence of steps leading to the establishment of the zone. Reflecting differing perceptions of threat and security concerns existing in the region, Israel has closely linked discussions on the establishment of the WMDFZ with the existence of durable peace and compliance with international obligations by states in the region. Arab states have said that no such linkage should exist and that the establishment of WMDFZ would contribute to peaceful relations.

Basic Elements of the Middle East WMDFZ

A future WMDFZ would commit parties not to possess, acquire, test, manufacture or use any nuclear, chemical and biological weapons as well as their delivery systems as provided for in the 1995 NPT Review Conference Middle East resolution. Definitions for what constitutes these types of non-conventional weapons are contained in international treaties on nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, as well as the 1948 United Nations Commission for Conventional Armaments. A shared understanding would also be required to regulate the types of delivery systems that would become subject to the prohibitions under the zone. Discussions have included proposals for banning all ballistic missiles with ranges in excess of 150 km.

Territory: The 1989 IAEA Technical Study, which first took up the geographic delimitation of a future Middle East NWFZ, applied the concept to a region extending from Libya in the west, to Iran in the east, and from Syria in the north to Yemen in the south. A subsequent UN Study expanded the concept further by including all League of Arab states, plus Iran and Israel in the zone. The Arab League has officially endorsed the UN Study delimitation and Israel has raised no objection other than note that any country in the region should be publicly recognized and accepted as an integral part thereof. Suggestions of including Afghanistan, Pakistan as well as Turkey in the eventual zone have not gained any significant traction.

Verification: One of the principles recognized by UNGA Resolution 3472B on NWFZs in 1975 was that such a zone “should provide for effective verification of compliance with the commitments made by the parties to the Treaty.” Israel has long insisted that any future WMDFZ must also provide “for mutual verification measures” while other proposals have included calls for setting up a regional organization to ensure compliance.

The WMD-Free Zone in the Middle East: 2010 - present

At the 2010 NPT Review Conference, state parties were able to agree for the first time to five practical steps to make progress towards implementing the 1995 NPT Review Conference Middle East resolution. The United States, Russia and the United Kingdom, the treaty depository powers and sponsors of that Resolution, committed to work together with the UN Secretary General to convene a regional conference to discuss the issue in 2012. Other measures agreed included the appointment of a WMDFZ facilitator as well as designation of a government that will host the conference. 

The European Union has also offered to host a seminar, a follow-up on the one organized in Paris in 2008, to discuss steps that would facilitate work on establishing the Free Zone ahead of 2012 Conference.

In November 2011, a two-day meeting was held at the IAEA headquarters. Proposals by 97 participating nations included:

  • to continue working towards the establishment of a NWFZ in the Middle East;
  • to consider declarations of good intentions as a first step to break the current stalemate;
  • to make the best and most constructive use of every opportunity on the international agenda; and
  • to identify specific and practical confidence-building measures.

The regional conference on the establishment of a WMD free zone in the Middle East proposed by the NPT was set to be held in Finland in December 2012, and Finnish Undersecretary of State Jaakko Laajava was name as the facilitator.

On November 23, the United States issued a statement postponing the December 2012 conference. The conference has not yet been rescheduled, and the co-conveners are offering different opinions as to when it should be held, and the reasons for the delay. The U.S. statement cited "present conditions in the Middle East" and the lack of agreement by participating states on "acceptable conditions" for the December conference. No timeline for rescheduling was included. In a November 24 statement, Russia called for the conference to be held before April 2013, citing that the preparations had already reached an "advanced stage" and that the reason for postponement was that not all states in the region agreed to participate in the conference. At the time of the announcement, conference facilitator Jaakko Laajava, had not yet secured Israel's attendance. While Iran announced that it would attend on November 7, it also said it would not engage with the Israelis at the conference, and some experts believe Iran only announced it would attend because Tehran knew that the December 2012 meeting would not take place.

On April 29, 2013, Egypt walked out of the NPT Preparatory Committee Meeting in Geneva in protest of the conference's postponement and called for it to be rescheduled as soon as possible.

Between October 2013 and June 2014, Laajava, with the support of the conveners, has held five consultations with the countries in the region aimed at reaching consensus on an agenda for the conference. The last consultation was held in June 2014. The Arab League member states and Israel have attended every meeting. Iran was present only at the first consultation in October 2013, but is regularly briefed on the outcomes of the consultations.

During the 2015 NPT Review Conference, Egypt led the Arab League in pushing a new proposal to dispense with the facilitator and three of the conveners (Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States), leaving the UN Secretary General as the sole authority for holding the conference within 180 days of the Review Conference ending. The Egyptian proposal also called for the creation of two working groups. Working Group I would deal with the scope, geographic demarcation, prohibitions and interim measures. Working Group II would deal with verification measures and implementation mechanisms.

A modified version of the Egyptian proposal appeared in the draft final document of the 2015 NPT Review Conference. The draft final document called for the UN secretary-general to convene a conference by March 1, 2016, aimed at “launching a continuous process of negotiating and concluding a legally binding treaty” that establishes a WMD-free zone in the Middle East.

The document called for the secretary-general to appoint by July 1 a special representative to facilitate the process. The facilitator would work with the secretary-general, as well as Russia, the UK, and the United States, to consult with the states in the region on the agenda for the conference.

Under the language in the draft document, if an agenda for the conference were agreed before the March deadline, the secretary-general would have to convene the conference within 45 days of agreement on the agenda.

The United States, the United Kingdom and Canada decided not to support the draft final document from the NPT review conference based on the language concerning the Middle East WMD-free zone. The United States, speaking at the conference, said it objected because the plan to set an agenda and hold a conference was not based on "consensus and equality," and that the document proposed "unworkable conditions" and "arbitrary deadlines."

The WMD-free zone in the Middle East initiative continued to be a key discussion topic at the first NPT preparatory committee meeting in 2017 leading up to the 2020 Review Conference. The Arab League did not present a unified statement on the issue, marking a growing divide among members on the subject. Instead, Egypt, Iran, and a group of 12 Arab League members, including Iraq and the United Arab Emirates, each offered separate working papers on advancing the WMD-free zone in the Middle East.

In 2018, the UN First Committee adopted a resolution introduced by Egypt on behalf of the Arab League for the UN secretary-general to convene a conference on taking forward a WMD-free zone in the Middle East in 2019 and every year thereafter until a zone is achieved. Israel, Micronesia and the United States voted against the resolution and 71 countries abstained.

 


Chronology of Important Dates

1974 – The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) approves resolution endorsing the goal of establishing a NWFZ in the Middle East following a proposal by Iran.

1980 - Israel joins international consensus allowing the General Assembly to pass a resolution supporting the goal of NWFZ without a vote.

1989 - The IAEA Secretariat issues report titled “A Technical Study on Different Modalities of Application of Safeguards in the Middle East."

1990 - The Egyptian proposal to establish an expanded WMDFZ in the Middle East is first submitted before the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.

1991 – The UN Secretary General releases a “Study on Effective and Verifiable Measures which Would Facilitate the Establishment of a NWFZ in the Middle East” outlining, amongst other things, a number of confidence building steps that could contribute to the establishment of the zone.

1991 – The IAEA General Conference passes resolution on “the Application of IAEA safeguards in the Middle” as a necessary step towards the establishment of a NWFZ in the region. The resolution has since been passed annually without objections.

1991 – The UN Security Council Resolution 687 endorses goal of establishing a WMDFZ in the Middle East.

1992 – Discussions on regional arms control begin under the aegis of the Arms Control and Regional Security Group (ACRS), a multilateral regional body born out of the Madrid Middle East peace talks. Envisaged to include discussions on a future WMDFZ, talks were placed indefinitely on hold following disagreement between Israel and Egypt over the agenda for discussing WMDFZ related issues.  Iran and Iraq were not party to these talks.

1995 - The NPT Review Conference adopts a Resolution on the Middle East calling on states to take practical steps to make progress in the establishment of WMDFZ in the region. Member agreement on resolution was seen as key to securing the indefinite extension of the NPT.

2000 - The NPT Review conference reaffirms the goal of 1995 Middle East Resolution and says that the resolution remains “valid until its goals and objectives are achieved.”

2006 – The WMD Commission Final Report calls for an intensification of international efforts to establish a WMDFZ in the Middle East.

2010 - The NPT Review Conference endorses five practical steps to make progress towards the goal of establishing a WMDFZ in the Middle East. Action steps adopted include convening a regional conference to discuss the issue in 2012 and appointing a WMDFZ Facilitator.

2011 - Two-day meeting held at IAEA headquarters on a WMDFZ in the Middle East.

2012 - The conference on the establishment of a WMDFZ in the Middle East is postponed due to a lack of consensus on the agenda.

October 2013-June 2014 - Five consultations are held for the states in the region to discuss moving forward on establishing an agenda for the conference.

May 2015 - The draft final document of the 2015 NPT Review Conference presented a new plan for moving forward on a conference to establish the zone. The United States, the United Kingdom and Canada objected to the document based on these provisions, thus preventing consensus and the adoption of the final document.

 

Strategic Arms Control and Policy

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Indian Submarine Completes First Patrol


December 2018
By Kelsey Davenport

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced in November that the country’s first ballistic missile submarine completed its inaugural “deterrence patrol.”

An undated photo shows India testing a submarine-launched ballistic missile system. The missile was launched from a location in the Bay of Bengal, from a depth of 50 meters. The nuclear-capable system was developed to be deployed on INS Arihant.  (Photo: Pallava Bagla/Corbis via Getty Images)Modi described the deployment of the INS Arihant on Nov. 5 as an “open warning for the country’s enemies” and a response to “those who indulge in nuclear blackmail.” Modi did not specifically mention Pakistan, but his message was likely directed at Islamabad.

Modi’s description of the sub’s activities could mean that the submarine was armed with nuclear-tipped submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). It is unclear how long the patrol lasted.

The Arihant is India’s first domestically built, nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine. It was commissioned in 2016 and began sea trials at that time. (See ACT, April 2016.) The lapse between sea trials and the submarine’s first patrol is believed to have been caused by extensive damage after a hatch was left open in 2017, flooding the submarine.

The Arihant can carry 12 K-15 SLBMs, which have an estimated range of 750 kilometers. The K-15 has been tested multiple times, including in August 2018. In the future, the submarine could carry four K-4 SLBMs. The K-4 is still under development and has an estimated range of about 3,500 kilometers. The longer-range missile is likely designed with China in mind, while the shorter-range K-15 puts Pakistan in range.

The Arihant deployment completes India’s nuclear triad, that is, the ability to deliver nuclear weapons from land-, air-, and sea-based systems. It also enhances India’s second-strike capability, although India, with only one deployed submarine, will not be able to conduct continuous deterrent patrols at this time.

A second ballistic missile submarine was reportedly finished in December 2017, and an additional two submarines are under construction. India plans to build four to six nuclear-capable ballistic missile submarines. These subsequent submarines are larger than the Arihant and could hold up to eight K-4 ballistic missiles.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Nov. 8 that the Arihant’s patrol “marks the first actual deployment of ready-to-fire nuclear warheads in South Asia” and is a “matter of concern” for states in the region and the international community.

Indian and Pakistani nuclear warheads are largely believed to be de-mated, or stored separately from delivery systems. On a submarine, however, de-mating is not feasible, and the warheads are stored paired with the ballistic missiles.

Mohammad Faisal, a spokesman for the Pakistani Foreign Ministry, said that “no one should doubt Pakistan’s resolve and capability to meet the challenge” posed by India’s recent developments.

Pakistan is currently developing a sea-launched cruise missile, the Babur-3, likely for use with its diesel submarines. Pakistan tested the Babur-3, which has an estimated range of about 450 kilometers, from a submerged barge in 2017 and 2018. Pakistani officials said the move was prompted by India’s decision to develop SLBMs.

The INS Arihant gives India a nuclear triad.

Human Rights Body Condemns WMD


The interpretative body of a major human rights treaty called the use or threat of use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), including nuclear weapons, “incompatible with the respect for the right to life,” adding that it may be a “crime under international law,” in new commentary adopted Oct. 30 on the treaty’s implementation. The Human Rights Committee is composed of international experts who monitor implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which has 172 states-parties, including all nuclear-armed countries except China, which is a signatory.

The commentary, coupled with the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, reflects a “new, more human-centered trend towards nuclear disarmament,” Daniel Rietiker, an adjunct professor of international law and human rights at the University of Lausanne, wrote in a blog post Nov. 7. But several nuclear-armed states argued when the commentary was being considered that weapons of mass destruction were beyond the scope of the ICCPR. The new commentary also asserts that states-parties must stop WMD proliferation, destroy existing stockpiles, respect obligations to pursue good faith negotiations on nuclear disarmament, and provide “reparations” to victims of nuclear weapons use and testing.

The last comment from the Human Rights Committee on nuclear weapons was in 1984, which stated that nuclear weapons “are among the greatest threats to the right of life which confront mankind today” and that their use “should be considered” a crime against humanity.—ALICIA SANDERS-ZAKRE

Human Rights Body Condemns WMD

What Can the EU Do to Reduce the Nuclear Threat?

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Remarks by Greg Thielmann
Polis 180 Fireside Chat
Powerless Europe? The Future of Nuclear Weapons Policy in Europe
Berlin, Germany
November 28, 2018

Toward the end of October, President Donald Trump announced at a political rally that the United States would be withdrawing from the 31-year old Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (“INF”) Treaty, which had banned an entire category of ground-based missiles from the U.S. and Russian arsenals. There has since been considerable discussion about what this decision portends for the entire nuclear arms control enterprise. I cannot presume to know how Germany and other European states can best protect their national security interests. But I can offer some thoughts on how Europe can help America cope with the Trump phenomenon, which I see as America’s greatest leadership crisis in my lifetime.

My first job as a diplomat in the Department of State was to help implement the 1979 “Dual-Track” decision of NATO (der Doppelbeschluss)–according to which NATO planned to deploy 572 nuclear-tipped missiles in Europe while seeking to negotiate equal but lower limits on the 600 Soviet theater missiles already deployed against NATO. The government of Chancellor Helmut Schmidt played a critical role in pushing for such action. He worried that the U.S.-Soviet Strategic Arms Limitation Talks process had left Europe vulnerable to a growing force of Mittelstrecken Raketen for which it had no comparable counter. Indeed, the SS-20s being deployed were more mobile, longer-range, less vulnerable, and more accurate than the SS-4 and SS-5 missiles they were replacing. Moreover, they would carry three times as many warheads.

The only U.S. nuclear weapons based in Europe which could reach Soviet territory then were carried by medium-range bombers, themselves increasingly vulnerable to Soviet anti-aircraft weapons. And thus, the scene was set for a highly-charged contest of wills between the Soviet Union, the United States, and the five NATO countries that had agreed to station new INF missiles on their territories. Germany would have the largest and most critical contingent, including 108 very accurate and fast Pershing II ballistic missiles.

I was present in Geneva at the opening of the negotiations 37 years ago this Friday. I was also present for three years in Embassy Bonn’s Political Section, when the first U.S. deployments arrived in 1983–the “Year of the missile”–and when the Soviet negotiators walked out of the Geneva negotiations.

But with the coming to power of Mikhael Gorbachev in 1985, the mood changed and negotiations resumed the next year. By the end of 1987, the Soviet leader and Ronald Reagan had signed a “zero-zero” treaty with an even lower range floor on banned missiles than the parties had first discussed. Within three years of the treaty entering into force, nearly 2,700 missiles had been eliminated.

This saga is worth recalling–partly to appreciate how unlikely such an outcome seemed in 1979 and how much the treaty ultimately contributed to the reductions of Cold War tensions. It is also important to realize how important the treaty’s verification provisions were for establishing precedents applied to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which followed in 1991. And to remember the creative and hard-working personnel on both sides, who conscientiously fulfilled the treaty obligations.

During the last decade, there have been voices raised in both Moscow and Washington, arguing that the treaty had outlived its usefulness in a post-Cold War world where the European situation was fundamentally different and a world where third countries were increasing their arsenals of intermediate-range missiles.

In 2014, the United States officially accused Russia of testing a cruise missile with a range in excess of that allowed by the treaty. Russia, in turn, levied three charges against the United States, the most serious being that the U.S. missile defense launchers being deployed in Romania were prohibited because they were capable of launching cruise missiles banned under the treaty.

These compliance concerns have now been subject to confidential discussions between the United States and Russia for five years without resolution. Although Trump’s announcement that the United States intended to withdraw from the INF Treaty appeared to be the beginning of the end, it was not the first step taken in that direction. Moscow appears to have decided a decade ago to ignore the treaty’s range limits on cruise missiles. Last year’s U.S. defense budget included research and development funding for new ground-based missiles, which would eventually violate the treaty when they are first flight-tested.

It is my contention, and the view of the U.S.-Russian-German “Deep Cuts Commission” (of which I’m a member) that neither side has made sufficient efforts to use the treaty’s verification mechanism to address this problem.

There is still time. The treaty requires six months notice before withdrawal can occur, and that notice has still not been officially provided.

Ironically, the U.S. revelation in public last year of the Russian manufacturer and designator of the offending missile has opened up a path to resolution, which has not yet been explored. After years of Moscow saying it did not know what the United States was talking about, it now acknowledges having developed and deployed the missile in question–the Novator 9M729—but says the United States is wrong about its capabilities. There is now a curious parallelism in the U.S. response to Russia’s complaints about the missile defense launchers in Romania and Poland. Washington contends that the Aegis Ashore Mk 41 launchers are not capable of doing what the Mk 41 launchers at sea can do.

The argument is now ripe for an invitation to experts for mutual on-site inspection and technical discussions to examine the capabilities of the systems in dispute. Yet neither side has made such a proposal! Here is where Germany and its fellow NATO members can play a constructive role. Russia’s 9M729 cruise missiles threaten the territory of NATO’s European members. The U.S. missile defense deployments in Eastern Europe have been endorsed by NATO. The alliance should press hard for Washington and Moscow to get serious about resolving this issue by conducting mutual inspections and taking necessary confidence-building steps. The onus for the dissolution of the treaty should fall heavily on the side, which refuses this obvious path on INF and fails to pursue the rejuvenation of talks on strategic arms control.

Germany can buttress its diplomatic initiatives on this and other nuclear issues by fulfilling its commitment to increase its defense budget. Russia takes seriously NATO’s policy of regarding an attack on any member as an attack on all members. The best way to increase the credibility of NATO’s mutual defense commitment is for Germany to strengthen its conventional defenses, continue hosting the deployment of U.S. troops, and participating in the modest but important defense measures in the Baltic states.

I hope Germany will remember that Trump became president through our peculiar electoral college system, which awarded him the job after losing the popular vote by nearly 3 million. Although our system may be flawed, it does self-correct, and that slow process has begun. America is, at long last, rising to the challenge that Trump poses to our institutions and our friends in the world. Our press is vibrant; our courts remain independent; and the mid-term elections have just returned control of the U.S. House of Representatives to the opposition party; even the executive branch agencies have just delivered a stinging rebuke to the administration’s shameful denial of climate change science.

I especially want to highlight the significance of the Democratic Party winning control over the House of Representatives. Defense funding must pass the Senate and the House to become law. Democratic Party leaders have been opposed to Trump’s plan to introduce new nuclear weapons and they advocate a “no-first-use” policy for the U.S. deterrent.

There will be tensions as Germany looks after its obligations and pursues its national interests. But Americans need to remember what close friends do to protect each other from folly. My model is the refusal of Germany to join the United States and Britain in their disastrous invasion of Iraq in 2003. Our long-term interests were betrayed by London; not by Berlin. Likewise, when the United States violated its commitments under the 7-party Iran Nuclear Deal, Germany, Britain, and France are trying to honor theirs. A focus on our mutual long-term interests is important for the difficult days ahead.

 

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Remarks by Greg Thielmann for the Polis 180 Fireside Chat: Powerless Europe? The Future of Nuclear Weapons Policy in Europe, Berlin, Germany

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Fighting Against the Current: The Pursuit of Nuclear Arms Control in the Coming Year

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By Greg Thielmann
Hertie School of Governance
Berlin, Germany, Nov. 26

Let me begin by recognizing the “elephant in the room” – Donald Trump. Last May, America’s president announced that the U.S would pull out of the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six other states. Five weeks ago, Trump announced that the U.S. would withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty. In recent weeks, North Korea has made obvious that Trump’s depiction of Kim Jung-un’s agreement to de-nuclearize North Korea was greatly exaggerated. And the Trump administration continues to stall on President Putin’s invitation to extend the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty when it expires in 2021.

It is obvious that President Trump is at least partly responsible for the perilous position of nuclear arms control as we approach the end of 2018. He is both ignorant of the subject and disinterested in learning; he instinctively rejects the concept of shared interests with other nations; he dismisses any agreement negotiated by his predecessor; and he has now placed the National Security Council under the malign influence of arms control skeptic John Bolton.

But Trump-bashing aside, I want to step back and mention some underlying, “pre-existing conditions” that are relevant to the question of enhancing mutual security through arms control.

Vladimir Putin made a serious error in rejecting President Obama’s offer to follow up New START with an additional 1/3 reduction in the level of U.S. and Russian nuclear forces. Instead of tightening future constraints, Putin apparently authorized the testing and deployment of a new missile banned by the INF Treaty, undermining a regional balance of U.S. and Russian nuclear forces that had held for a quarter-century. Even more consequential for Europe was his violation of Russia’s commitment in the 1994 Budapest Memorandum to “respect the independence, sovereignty and existing borders of Ukraine.”

But, of course, Russia was not alone in complicating arms control progress:

  • U.S. withdrawal from the ABM Treaty in 2002 was a huge mistake.
  • It is also regrettable that the U.S. encouraged Ukraine and Georgia to consider NATO membership since it was understandably viewed in Moscow as a provokatsia.
  • And I believe that the U.S. badly mishandled evidence that Russia was violating the INF Treaty. Instead of employing the treaty’s proven mechanism to resolve compliance issues through expert discussions and on-site inspections, Washington simply sought to extract a confession from Moscow in high-level talks, while withholding (for intelligence reasons) the details of the incriminating evidence it had obtained and curtly dismissing compliance issues raised by Russia.

Given the U.S. reaction to Soviet ballistic missile defense investments in the 1960s, it’s ironic that the U.S. has been so insensitive to Moscow’s expressions of concern about the construction of a U.S. ballistic missile defense infrastructure in Eastern Europe.

The Aegis Ashore program to deploy SM3 interceptors in Romania and Poland was devised to protect the U.S. and Europe against ballistic missile attacks from the Middle East. The U.S. initially assessed that Iran could test ICBMs by 2015 and that such missiles could be armed by then with nuclear warheads. But when that year rolled around, Iran had demonstrated no interest in pursuing long-range missiles -- either ICBMs or even IRBMs. Moreover, Iran agreed to accept very stringent constraints on its ability to produce fissile material for warheads, along with unprecedented transparency measures.

And yet, the schedule for deploying the missiles in Poland to protect all of Europe against a threat that had never materialized was neither canceled nor postponed.

Meanwhile, Russia had raised concerns about the legality of the Mk-41 launchers used by these interceptors, in light of the launcher’s use on warships to launch several different kinds of missiles, including the nuclear-armed Tomahawks that were the look-alike “cousins” of the Gryphon land-attack cruise missiles banned by the INF Treaty. Yet Washington curtly dismissed Russia’s charges as propaganda.

For more than three years, Moscow denied U.S. assertions that Russia had an illicit system, claiming it didn’t know what Washington was talking about. Finally, once the U.S. specified the missile’s manufacturer and military designator, Russia acknowledged having the system but contended that the U.S. was mistaken about its range.

Both sides may have legitimate grievances, or at least plausible concerns, about actions taken by the other side. They should be energetically addressed by the treaty’s Special Verification Commission. Instead, the dialogue to date seems to consist of trading accusations about the other side’s treaty violations, while asserting that there is no basis for any suspicion of one’s own activities. Neither side has proposed mutual on-site inspections by experts to determine the capabilities of the systems in question.

The Deep Cuts Commission – a “Track 2” effort composed of US, Russian, and German security experts -- has been meeting for nearly five years to analyze challenges to nuclear arms control. The commission issued a statement November 15 with regard to INF Treaty compliance concerns, proposing that:

… both sides need to acknowledge the concerns of the other side and that Washington and Moscow should agree to reciprocal visits by experts to examine the missiles and the deployment sites in dispute. If the 9M729 missile is determined to have a range that exceeds 500 km, Russia could modify the missile to ensure it no longer violates the treaty or…halt production and eliminate any such missiles and [their] associated launchers.

For its part, the [U.S.] could modify its missile defense launchers to clearly distinguish them from the launchers used to fire offensive missiles from [U.S.] warships, or agree to transparency measures that give Russia confidence the launchers [ashore] cannot fire offensive missiles.

For decades, the INF Treaty has provided an important buttress for stability in Europe by constraining nuclear superpower arsenals. Moreover, the treaty framework could also provide a valuable foundation for addressing new challenges to stability in the sub-strategic category of nuclear systems. There is still a chance that further diplomatic efforts can save the treaty. We should all press hard toward this objective. If Moscow and Washington let it die, we will all soon regret it.

 

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Remarks by Greg Thielmann to the Hertie School of Governance panel discussion in Berlin, Germany, Nov. 26

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Unmet Promise: The Challenges Awaiting the 2020 NPT Review Conference


November 2018
By Sérgio Duarte

On July 16, 1945, the first experimental detonation of a nuclear device, known as the Trinity test, was conducted in the Nevada desert. Less than a month later, the vast power of this new technology was employed twice in war. Since then, nuclear weapons have continued to proliferate, bringing the current number of possessor nations to nine, as the international community has sought to slow or reverse that course.

Sérgio Duarte speaks at the August 2017 Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs held in Astana, Kazakhstan. (Photo: Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs)This article describes the multilateral process that resulted in the adoption 50 years ago of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and the treaty’s gradual acceptance by the overwhelming majority of the international community despite the permanence of divergences about its objectives and concerns about its credibility. What follow is a discussion of the role played by the successive five-year review conferences and an argument that the “enhanced review process,” adopted in 1995, has contributed to clarifying positions and concerns but has not yet produced consensus on a binding commitment by all parties to achieve the common objective of nuclear disarmament. The unfinished task before the 2020 NPT Review Conference is to help pave the way to a world without the threat of nuclear weapons.

The question of nuclear weapons nonproliferation was considered by the Eighteen-Nation Disarmament Committee (ENDC) from 1965 to 1968 in response to a request by the UN General Assembly. By then, five nations had successfully obtained a nuclear weapons capability, and there was considerable and well-grounded concern that others would follow.1

Multilateral Process

Established in 1962 to succeed the short-lived Ten-Nation Disarmament Committee, the ENDC was composed of five members from the Warsaw Pact (Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Romania, and the Soviet Union), five members of NATO (Canada, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States), and eight nations (Brazil, Burma, Ethiopia, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Sweden, and the United Arab Republic, later succeeded by Egypt) that did not belong to either military alliance. Its permanent co-chairs were the representatives of the United States and the Soviet Union. France chose not to occupy its seat on the committee, although it maintained unofficial consultations with other members.

The UN Charter does not mention nuclear weapons, as it was concluded about three weeks before the Trinity test. The first General Assembly resolution, however, adopted on January 24, 1946, established a commission “to deal with the problems raised by the discovery of atomic energy and other related matters” and to make specific proposals on the control of atomic energy and on “the elimination from national armaments of atomic weapons.”

The emerging ideological confrontation between the two major powers and their rivalry and mutual mistrust prevented agreement on the substance of the issue during the following years, and the commission was finally abandoned without producing any tangible result. Still, the hopes and fears raised by the discovery of nuclear energy led to the establishment the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 1957. Upon ratifying the statute of the fledgling organization, U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower said that “the splitting of the atom may lead to unifying the entire divided world.”2 Unfortunately, his optimistic prediction did not come true.

In 1958, Ireland introduced at the United Nations the first of what became known as the “Irish Resolutions” calling the attention of the international community to the possibility of further proliferation. The international community agreed that preventing the spread of atomic weapons, fostering peaceful uses of atomic energy, and nuclear disarmament were desirable common objectives. General Assembly Resolution 2028 (XX), adopted by consensus on November 19, 1965, called on the ENDC to “give urgent consideration” to the question of nuclear nonproliferation and to reconvene “with a view to negotiating an international treaty to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons.” This resolution also set forth the main principles on which such a treaty should be based.

a. The treaty should be void of any loop-holes which might permit nuclear or non-nuclear Powers to proliferate, directly or indirectly, nuclear weapons in any form;

b. The treaty should embody an acceptable balance of mutual responsibilities and obligations of the nuclear and non-nuclear Powers;

c. The treaty should be a step towards the achievement of general and complete disarmament and, more particularly, nuclear disarmament;

d. There should be acceptable and workable provisions to ensure the effectiveness of the treaty;

e. Nothing in the treaty should adversely affect the right of any group of States to conclude regional treaties in order to ensure the total absence of nuclear weapons in their respective territories;

The last of those principles was inserted at the insistence of Latin American nations that were already negotiating what became the successful establishment of the world’s first zone free of nuclear weapons in 1967 through the Treaty of Tlatelolco, a move originally frowned on but later supported by the nuclear weapon states.3

Separate, but Identical Drafts

Even before the adoption of Resolution 2028, the United States and Soviet Union were talking to each other on developing their own proposals for a nonproliferation instrument. Initially, each introduced its own draft text at the ENDC; on August 24, 1967, the two co-chairs presented separate but identical drafts4 that included some changes and additions with respect to earlier formulations. The two proponents explained that they had sought to reflect concerns raised by non-nuclear states, particularly the members of the Group of Eight.

The Eighteen-Nation Committee on Disarmament meets in Geneva’s Palais des Nations on March 18, 1969. (Photo: United Nations)The objective of nuclear disarmament was mentioned in the preamble of each draft. The identical texts kept the original language of the previous draft articles dealing with the obligations of nuclear and non-nuclear states, the recognition of the rights of all parties to the development and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, and amendments to and review of the operation of the treaty. The final language of the provisions on safeguards on fissionable materials for peaceful purposes would be defined by ongoing negotiations outside the ENDC. A new Article V dealt with the availability of “benefits” deriving from “peaceful applications of nuclear explosives” through “appropriate international procedures.” The question of peaceful nuclear explosions was the subject of intense and inconclusive debate and disagreement at the ENDC and elsewhere for several years until it became clear that the explosive technology had in fact no useful civil applications.

In response to the concerns of members of the group of eight countries, a new draft article was introduced containing an undertaking by all parties to the treaty to “pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament.” This became Article VI of the new instrument, and its formulation still generates controversy. The right to conclude regional treaties on the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones was recognized in a new Article VII. Article X provided for the convening of a conference after 25 years to decide, by a majority of the parties, on an indefinite extension or additional fixed periods.5 The right of parties to withdraw from the treaty under specific conditions was also recognized in Article X.6

Several ENDC members proposed a number of additional amendments to the identical texts. The question of security assurances was among the main concerns of non-nuclear-weapon states, but was not mentioned in the drafts. The Soviet, UK, and U.S. delegations informed the ENDC of their intentions to introduce a resolution at the Security Council on that matter.7

To a large extent, the logic of the Cold War determined the positions adopted by different ENDC members. Members belonging to the Warsaw Pact and NATO generally supported the drafts, as well as the decisions of the co-chairs on procedure. They participated actively in the discussions and presented suggestions that contributed to a better understanding of the issues involved, particularly regarding verification of compliance and the thorny question of peaceful nuclear explosions.

Countries from the Group of Eight proposed changes to bring the text under examination more in line with the principles contained in Resolution 2028. The absence of a clear prohibition on deploying nuclear weapons in territories of third states and the sharing of nuclear forces were seen as at odds with principle (a). The lack of provisions to curb quantitative and qualitative aspects of proliferation by nuclear-weapon states was similarly criticized. Given the built-in asymmetry of a text intended to apply to unequal parties, that is, possessors and nonpossessors of nuclear weapons, non-nuclear-weapon countries also wanted to ensure a fairer balance of mutual responsibilities and obligations. Accordingly, the renunciation of nuclear weapons should be matched, in their view, by a strong commitment to disarmament, consistent with principles (b) and (c). With different emphases, some delegations also argued unsuccessfully against what they felt were undue restrictions on certain aspects of nuclear technology.

No Consensus

Some of the proposals for changes were not accepted by the ENDC co-chairs. A revised draft that amalgamated the previous texts and incorporated some other suggestions by ENDC members was converted into a single joint draft by the co-chairs and introduced on March 11, 1968. Predictably, the new text failed to obtain the agreement of the ENDC membership. In view of the lack of consensus on substance and on the follow-up procedure, the co-chairs decided on their own authority to send a document titled “Report of the Conference of the Eighteen-Nation Committee on Disarmament”8 to the General Assembly on behalf of the conference. An annex to the report contained the draft treaty as accepted by them. An addendum9 listed all proposals and amendments presented during the discussions.

The report was placed before the UN General Assembly First Committee at its March-June 1968 session. A number of delegations sponsored a draft resolution endorsing the text annexed to the report. Three revised versions of the draft resolution were subsequently submitted, and on May 3, the two ENDC co-chairs agreed to certain revisions of the draft treaty itself, which were accepted by the co-sponsors of the draft resolution.

Adoption

The First Committee adopted this new draft resolution recommending the endorsement of the draft nonproliferation treaty as revised. Among Western European states, France, Portugal, and Spain abstained on this vote. On June 12, 1968, General Assembly Resolution 2373 (XXII), co-sponsored by 48 states, was adopted by a vote of 95 to 4, with 21 abstentions. This time, France, Portugal, and Spain voted in favor. Brazil, Burma, and India were among those abstaining. Voting against were Albania, Cuba, Tanzania, and Zambia. The resolution commended the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and requested that it be opened for signature and ratification.

At present, 191 states are members of the NPT, making it the instrument with the greatest adherence in the field of arms control.10 Yet, the 50-year history of the treaty shows more confrontation and disagreement than cooperation between its armed and unarmed members. The Non-Aligned Movement and many nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have militantly advocated the need for compliance with the commitments, particularly those contained in Article VI, to which the nuclear-weapon members of the treaty subscribe. A recurrent point of discord is that the five NPT-recognized nuclear-weapon states act as if the treaty will last forever in its present form, thus legitimizing their perpetual possession of such arms.

In the last couple of decades or so, the word “disarmament” seems effectively to have disappeared from the lexicon of some of the nuclear-armed states. They continue to affirm their right to keep their nuclear arsenals for as long as they consider necessary for their own security interests and “as long as nuclear weapons exist,”11 a self-serving tautology for everlasting possession. Such a posture entails a grave threat to all members of the international community, including the nuclear-weapon states themselves, and constitutes in fact a powerful incentive to proliferation.

In fact, in recent years, sections of the public in some developed non-nuclear-weapon states have been openly advocating the acquisition of an independent nuclear weapons capability. Episodes of alleged clandestine programs in that direction by a few other countries have been resolved by a combination of political, diplomatic, and sometimes military means.

Review Process

The deep divisions among NPT parties are underscored by the fact that five out of the nine quinquennial treaty review conferences held since the treaty’s inception have failed to produce a consensus final document on the status of treaty implementation. Further, important agreements reached on two such occasions—the 13 “practical steps” of 2000 and the plan of action of 2010—still await implementation.

Algerian Ambassador Taous Feroukhi (on screen), president of the 2015 NPT Review Conference, closes the conference May 22, 2015 with delegates failing to produce a consensus outcome. The next review conference is planned for 2020.  (Photo: Eskinder Debebe/United Nations)The 1995 review and extension conference succeeded in extending the NPT indefinitely and adopted a decision to strengthen the review process. A preparatory committee meets in each of the three years prior to the review conference to consider principles, objectives, and ways to promote full treaty implementation and to make recommendations to the conference. According to the decision, review conferences should look at past experience and identify areas and means through which further progress should be sought. In practice, however, the outcomes of the preparatory committee’s sessions and review conferences held since have not gone much beyond recording the disagreement over substantive issues.

Unfortunately, the gulf between nuclear- and non-nuclear-weapon parties over compliance and other issues has widened considerably over the decades and still prevents meaningful dialogue. This trend was particularly noticeable at the 2005 review conference, which was unable to agree on an agenda and program of work until well into the middle of the third of its four weeks’ duration, due to lack of flexibility and unwillingness to negotiate on the part of some key states. The most recent review conference, in 2015, was equally unable to adopt a final document despite much effort. The hardening of positions since the beginning of the 21st century also explains the absence of any mention of disarmament in the outcome document adopted by the 2005 World Summit held at UN headquarters.12

Challenges and Prospects

The 2020 review conference will take place in a particularly uncertain international environment due to two recent major developments: the U.S. abandonment of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran and the possibility of advancing toward the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula as a result of the June 12, 2018, meeting between the U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Also relevant for the outcome of the 2020 conference is the strong sentiment of frustration among several Middle Eastern states with the difficulties surrounding the proposed establishment of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in that part of the world.13

Still, the NPT can be considered successful in helping contain the spread of nuclear weapons. Several reasons explain the decision by the vast majority of the members of the international community not to develop their own nuclear arsenals. Much has been written on this subject, which falls beyond the scope of this article. Obviously, a large number of states do not possess the scientific, industrial, and financial capability to undertake the effort to build a credible nuclear arsenal. Further, the nuclear-weapon possessors exert constant pressure on prospective proliferators against such moves and have extended positive security assurances to some of them.

Last but certainly not least, most of the latecomers to the NPT concluded that their security was better protected by not embarking on a nuclear weapons development program and therefore decided to join the treaty. The recognition of the inalienable right of all its parties to pursue peaceful nuclear energy activities was certainly important in making that decision. Some non-nuclear-weapon states have developed national programs in that direction, including uranium enrichment under IAEA safeguards.

Nuclear-weapon states and a number of non-nuclear ones that depend on security arrangements based on the possible use of nuclear weapons have been persistently proposing and supporting the adoption of measures to enhance verification procedures needed to determine the absence of declared and undeclared nuclear activities. Some of these proposals envisage unorthodox methods that would, in effect, turn existing voluntary agreements into compulsory commitments subject to sanctions and intervention.

NPT parties undoubtedly recognize the important contribution of the treaty, not only for their individual security but also for strengthening the confidence of the international community as a whole in the existing norms-based regime and in the need for its improvement. The exacerbation of divergences is not in the interest of any of the parties and would result in gradually discrediting the NPT as a valid and reliable international legal norm.

Obstacles to Progress

In one way or another, all existing instruments in the arms control field deal with nonproliferation by prohibiting nuclear weapons only where they do not exist (outer space, the Antarctic, the seabed, nuclear-weapon-free zones). Yet, none of the instruments in force so far establishes legally binding, time-bound, and effectively verifiable provisions aimed at the elimination of nuclear arsenals. This is considered by many parties the main flaw of the existing regime.

The nuclear weapons possessors keep arguing in favor of a step-by-step approach that, in their view, would facilitate progress toward nuclear disarmament, but there has been no effort to state in clear terms the objective of the proposed steps or to define the timelines along which such steps should be undertaken.14 There has not been a clearly articulated sequence that would lead to the elimination of nuclear weapons within a reasonable, realistic horizon.

For this reason, the promise of nuclear disarmament contained in the NPT remains unfulfilled, and the task of achieving agreement on meaningful measures leading to the elimination of nuclear weapons is still unfinished.15 The strengthened review process established by the 1995 conference has contributed to the identification of areas of divergence and clarification of the concerns of different states. The bottom line is that nuclear-weapon states remain convinced that their exclusive possession of such armament protects their security, while non-nuclear ones see the existence of nuclear weapons as a threat to their own security and that of humanity as a whole.

Outlook

As the arms race continues, it is imperative to find a solution to this conundrum. The 2020 review conference is the proper forum to start work on reducing those differences and enlarging the areas of coincidence. The practice of merely recording divergent views should be discontinued. The third session of the preparatory committee on April 29–May 10, 2019, must recognize the achievement of nuclear disarmament as the common objective and recommend that the review conference adopt a clear commitment by all parties to that end. Such a commitment would provide the basis for further action.

The adoption on July 7, 2017, of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was designed to provide effective ways of filling the gap between nonproliferation and disarmament norms. Promoted by several states in the General Assembly since 2015 and drawing on the fruitful and patient work of some governments and NGOs over a number of years, the mere idea of negotiating this treaty elicited fierce opposition from nuclear-weapon states since it was first proposed several years ago.

The adverse reaction of nuclear-weapon states and their allies to the prohibition treaty may delay attainment of the number of ratifications needed for its entry into force. Nevertheless, the coming into being of this treaty, adopted by 122 states, and the progress of its signature and ratification process represent an eloquent rejection of nuclear weapons by the majority of the international community. It seeks to reinforce the trend to delegitimize these weapons and consolidate a specific norm against their use, based mainly on humanitarian considerations.

In fact, the prohibition treaty should not be seen as an opponent of the NPT; nor does it contradict the idea of progressing by sequential, organically complementary steps. Rather, it supports this notion by providing a path for the phased fulfillment of the obligations contained in NPT Article VI.

In the present climate of persistent insecurity, to which the continuing armaments race to a large extent contributes, total global expenditures on instruments of war stand at higher levels than the estimated resources that would be needed for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the UN. New and more powerful nuclear weapons systems and advanced warfare technologies under development increase global insecurity and the chance of war between the major powers. The risk of a nuclear conflagration remains high, and its effects will not be confined to the belligerents. At the same time, local conventional conflicts in peripheral areas undermine prospects for social and economic progress.

In 2008, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon proposed a five-point plan for nuclear disarmament that advocated for, among other measures, the entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the negotiation of a convention to prohibit the manufacture, stockpiling, and use of nuclear weapons. In his recently unveiled disarmament agenda titled “Securing Our Common Future,” Secretary-General António Guterres warned that the “existential threat that nuclear weapons pose to humanity must motivate us to accomplish new and decisive action leading to their complete elimination.”

All states should heed these calls for action. There exists the necessary tools, including the UN Charter, the CTBT, five nuclear-weapon-free zones, and other important instruments such as the nuclear weapons prohibition treaty.

After half a century, the NPT remains an essential element for the completion of this task. It does not provide a definitive answer to the concerns of the international community. Indeed, it is but a part, a crucial part, of the continuing search for stability and security that can only be attained by means of generally recognized, collectively elaborated, and legally binding norms that apply equally to every state.

Exceptionalism does not fit in today’s interdependent world. Established norms and principles of international law and respect for generally accepted standards of behavior among nations are the essential foundation for the achievement of an international order that ensures lasting peace and security for all. Nuclear disarmament, one of mankind’s highest aspirations and a stated goal of the NPT, must not be put on hold for another 50 years.

 

ENDNOTES

1. Proliferation continued after the Trinity experiment. The Soviet Union carried out its first successful nuclear test explosion in 1949; the United Kingdom followed suit in 1952, China in 1954, France in 1966, India in 1974, and Pakistan in 1998. Although officially not confirming or denying, Israel is believed to have acquired nuclear weapons in 1979. In the opposite direction, South Africa relinquished its nuclear arsenal. Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine negotiated with the Soviet Union the return of the nuclear weapons stationed on their territories.

2. Dwight Eisenhower, Remarks at ceremony following ratification of the Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency, July 29, 1957, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=10850.

3. The creation of the Treaty of Tlatelolco thus preceded the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and did not derive from it. It was first proposed in 1961 by the Brazilian delegate at the UN General Assembly and shortly afterward endorsed by other Latin American states. The establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones was a response to the belief that the absence of nuclear weapons enhances the security of states in a region. Principle (e) of UN General Assembly Resolution 2028 (XX) intended to affirm the right of states in a region to govern and define the requirements of the process of establishing their nuclear-weapon-free zones. Nuclear-weapon states have interpreted and qualified their pledges in the protocols on the nonintroduction of nuclear weapons that they are requested to sign, which in practice defeats the purpose of keeping the zone free of all nuclear weapons.   

4. The U.S. draft took the number ENDC/192, and the Soviet draft took the number ENDC/193.

5. At the review and extension conference in 1995, agreement that the NPT would remain in force indefinitely was found to exist.

6. In 1993, North Korea gave notice of its intention to withdraw from the treaty. It subsequently suspended this action and finally announced withdrawal in 2003. Several parties believe the move was not warranted under international law. The question is now of academic interest because the UN Security Council took no action and North Korea developed its own nuclear arsenal.

7. On June 19, 1968, after the endorsement of the NPT by the UN General Assembly, the Security Council adopted Resolution 255 with 10 votes in favor and five abstentions (Algeria, Brazil, France, India, and Pakistan).

8. UN General Assembly, “Report of the Conference of the Eighteen-Nation Committee on Disarmament,” A/7072, March 19, 1968.

9. UN General Assembly, A/7072/Add.1, March 19, 1968.

10. Only India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, and South Sudan are not parties to the NPT.

11. Office of the Press Secretary, The White House, “Statement by President Barack Obama on the Release of Nuclear Posture Review,” April 6, 2010, https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/statement-president-barack-obama-release-nuclear-posture-review.

12. UN General Assembly, “2005 World Summit Outcome,” A/RES/60/1, October 24, 2005.

13. 1995 Review and Extension Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, “Final Document,” NPT/CONF.1995/32 (Part I), 1995, annex (“Resolution on the Middle East”).

14. The 2000 NPT Review Conference agreed on “13 practical steps for the systematic and progressive effort to implement Article VI of the Treaty.” Only steps 2 and 5 can be said to have been fulfilled, although not in their entirety. The 2010 NPT Review Conference recommended 64 specific “actions,” but no timetable was defined for implementation, and in any case they remain as a mere declaration of intention.

15. See Hans Blix, “When Disarmament Goes Backward,” Arms Control Today, September 2018.

 


Sérgio Duarte, a former UN high representative for disarmament affairs, is president of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs. He was president of the 2005 Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference.

 

 

It is time for a clear commitment by all parties to the common objective of achieving nuclear disarmament, says
a former UN disarmament chief.

Trump’s Counterproductive Decision to “Terminate” the INF Treaty

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Volume 10, Issue 9, October 21, 2018

Under the influence of his new National Security Advisor, John Bolton, Trump announced Saturday at a campaign rally that he will “terminate” a key nuclear arms control agreement that helped end the Cold War race–the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in response to a long-running dispute over Russian noncompliance with the treaty. 
 
The decision represents a shift in the administration’s INF response strategy  which was announced in January and before Bolton joined the administration.
 
Trump’s move to blow-up the INF Treaty is unnecessary and self-defeating wrong turn that could lead to an unconstrained and dangerous nuclear arms competition with Russia.
 
The breakdown of the agreement and uncertain future of the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty (New START) creates the most serious nuclear arms control crisis in decades.
 
The Russian Foreign Ministry said today that the U.S. withdrawal from the INF Treaty is “unacceptable” and “dangerous.” Russia continues to assert that there is no basis for the U.S. claim that Russia has violated the treaty, but the Russian Foreign Ministry said “there is still room for dialogue."
 
Bolton meets Monday in Moscow with President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov.
 
The INF Treaty Still Matters 

The INF Treaty, which was negotiated by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, required the United States and the Soviet Union to eliminate and permanently forswear all of their nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 km (300 to 3,500 miles).
 
The treaty successfully eliminated an entire class of destabilizing nuclear weapons that were deployed in Europe and helped bring an end to the spiraling Cold War arms race. It has been a cornerstone of the U.S.-Russian nuclear arms control architecture. And as NATO defense ministers said earlier this month, the INF Treaty “has been crucial to Euro-Atlantic security.”
 
Without the INF Treaty, we will likely see the return of Cold War-style tensions over U.S. and Russian deployments of intermediate-range missiles in Europe and elsewhere.  

Russian Noncompliance

The INF Treaty, while very successful, has been at risk for some time. In 2014, Washington charged that Moscow had tested a weapon, which it later identified as the 9M729 ground-launched cruise missile, at a range beyond the limit set by the treaty. In 2017, the Pentagon declared that Moscow had begun deploying the weapon. 

Russia denies that it has violated the treaty and asked the United States to divulge the technical details behind the charge. Moscow has expressed its own concerns about U.S. compliance with the pact, notably that U.S. missile defense interceptor platforms deployed in eastern Europe could be used for offense purposes that would violate the treaty.

Diplomatic efforts to resolve the issue have been limited and to date unsuccessful. Since Trump took office, U.S. and Russian officials have met only twice to try to resolve the compliance dispute. 

Clearly, neither side has exhausted the diplomatic options that could resolve their concerns. 

U.S. Withdrawal Would Be An “Own Goal.” 

Trump claims that the United States is pulling out to show Russia that it will not tolerate Russia’s alleged violation of the treaty. “We’re not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and do weapons and we’re not allowed to,” Trump said. 

Trump may want to sound tough, but the reality is that withdrawing from the treaty weakens U.S. and allied security and does not provide the United States any military advantage in Europe or elsewhere.

  • U.S. withdrawal does nothing to bring Russia back into compliance with the INF Treaty and it distracts from the fact that it was Russia’s actions that precipitated the INF Treaty crisis. 
  • U.S. withdrawal from the INF Treaty opens the door for Russia to produce and deploy the missile of concern, the 9M729, in greater numbers without any constraints.
  • There is no military need for the United States to develop, as Trump has proposed, a new and costly INF Treaty-noncompliant missile. The United States can already deploy air- and sea-launched systems that can threaten the same Russian targets that ground-launched missiles that are prohibited by INF Treaty would. 
  • NATO does not support a new INF Treaty-range missile in Europe and no country has offered to host it. Attempting to force the alliance to accept a new, potentially nuclear missile would divide the alliance in ways that would delight the Kremlin.

Even without the INF Treaty in force, the U.S. Congress and NATO governments should reject Trump’s push to develop a new U.S. ground-based INF Treaty-range missile in Europe (or elsewhere), and instead focus on maintaining conventional military preparedness to deter adversaries without violating the treaty.

Does the United States Need Ground-launched, INF Treaty-Range Missiles to Counter China?

No. In 2011, long before any Russian INF compliance concerns surfaced, John Bolton proposed in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that Washington should to withdraw from the treaty in order to counter China, which is not party to the treaty. In his Oct. 20 remarks on withdrawing from the treaty, Trump also pointed to China as a reason for abandoning the INF Treaty.

When asked at a congressional hearing in July 2017 about whether withdrawal from the INF Treaty could be useful because it would allow the U.S. to develop new ground-based systems to hit targets in China, vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Paul Selva said that such a move was unnecessary because the United States can already hold those targets at risk with treaty-compliant air- and sea-based assets.

In his remarks Saturday, Trump suggested he might support a ban on INF Treaty-range missiles if "Russia comes to us and China comes to us” ... "and let’s none of us develop those weapons.” Russia did approach the United States in 2007 and jointly proposed in a UN General Assembly resolution multilateralizing the INF Treaty. The idea of “multilateralizing INF has been around for more than a decade, but neither Russia nor Washington have devoted serious effort into the concept and China is highly unlikely to join an agreement that would eliminate the bulk of its missile arsenal.

Trump’s INF Treaty decision is a debacle. But without New START it will be even worse 

If the INF Treaty collapses, as appears likely, the only remaining treaty regulating the world’s two largest nuclear stockpiles will be New START. New START is due to expire in 2021 unless Trump and Putin agree to extend it by five years as allowed for in Article XIV of the agreement.

Unfortunately, Bolton may try to sabotage that treaty too. Since he arrived at the White House in May, he has been slow-rolling an interagency review on whether to extend New START and refusing to take up Putin’s offer to begin talks on its extension. 

Key Republican and Democratic Senators are on record in support of New START extension, which can be accomplished without further Senate or Duma approval.

Instead, one option Bolton is talking about is a “Moscow Treaty" approach that would dispense with New START and its rigorous inspection system on warheads and missiles to ensure compliance. This option would simply set limits on deployed warheads only and without any verification—an approach Moscow is very unlikely to accept because it could give the United States a significant breakout advantage.

The current crisis makes it all the more important to get a serious U.S.-Russian arms control dialogue back on track. 

Trump and Putin should agree to relaunch their stalled strategic stability dialogue and commit to reaching an early agreement to extend New START by five years to 2026 – which is essential if the two sides are to meet their legal commitment under the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty "to "pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament …."

If they fail to extend New START, an even more dangerous phase in U.S.-Russian relations is just over the horizon.—DARYL G. KIMBALL, executive director, and KINGSTON REIF, director for disarmament and threat reduction policy

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Under the influence of his new National Security Advisor, John Bolton, Trump announced Saturday at a campaign rally that he will “terminate” a key nuclear arms control agreement that helped end the Cold War race–the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in response to a long-running dispute over Russian noncompliance with the treaty. Here's why that's counterproductive.

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