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7 Vitality of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Regime Spurgeon M. Keeny,~Jr. I The United States has opposed the proliferation of nuclear weapons to other countries since the beginning of the nuclear age in 1945. Over the years, however, the priority given to this policy has varied when it came into conflict with over U.~. foreign policy objectives. Today, the highest arms control priority clearly should be directed to early completion of a START treaty in order to control and reduce the immense U.S.-Soviet nuclear arsenals, which could destroy civilization. But the spread of nuclear weapons to additional countries possibly pres- ents He greater danger that nuclear weapons might actuary be used, if ondy on a smog scale. In Be long term, with improved U.S.-Soviet relations, widespread nuclear proliferation, with greater possibility of use, could become the greater threat to U.S. and world security. Even small numbers of nuclear weapons in the hands of fanatical or unstable nations increases the likelihood of irresponsible use of these weapons. Such use could, by design or accident, draw the major powers into regional con- Dicts involving nuclear weapons, which in turn could lead to general nuclear war. 64
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65 VITALITY OF TlIE NUCLEAR NONPROLIFERATION TREA7r REGIME Fortunately, our priority interest in the START treaty with the Soviet Union and our nonproliferation policy are not in conflict but actually reinforce each other. 1:I Over the past few years a great deal of information has become pub- licly available on the advanced state of nuclear weapons programs in Israel, Pakistan, India, and South Africa. So far these countries have denied possession of nuclear weapons and have let their adversaries and the rest of the world speculate on the actual status of their nuclear capabilities. On occasion they have stimulated these speculations by well-placed, provocative, unofficial leaks. Throughout the world concern has increased that one or more of these countries will decide to come out of the closet and officially proclaim their possession of nuclear weapons. Coming at this time, this latest nuclear proliferation crisis and this is not the first—presents both a danger and an opportunity. It is a danger, since formal proclamation of their nuclear capabilities could initiate a domino effect of declarations by other closet nuclear weapons states at this time, breaking down the current international norm against nuclear proliferation. Opportunity exists, since the United States, working with most of the rest of the world community that has accepted the present nonprolifera- tion norm, has increased leverage in preventing this confrontation. In particular, Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan should strengthen our hand with Pakistan. In addition, Israel's increasing isolation and internal problems should allow the United States to have increased influence on this critical issue, through quiet diplomacy. III Pursuing this nonproliferation policy, the United States can make use of an international nonproliferation regime, consisting of a complex of international treaties, regional agreements, domestic legislation, informal agreements, and bilateral and multilateral diplomatic initiatives. This regime, which has evolved over the past 45 years, probably has more vitality today than at any time in the past.
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66 CHAI[ENGES FOR THE 1990s First and most important, the Nonproliferation Treaty, the NPr, signed in 1968, provides a framework for the regime. The NPI is based on a fundamental bargain: namely, nonnuclear weapons states agreed to re- nounce nuclear weapons in exchange for a pledge of the three original nuclear weapons states the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union to share peaceful nuclear technology with them. This is really an extension of Eisenhower's original Atoms for Peace concept. The nuclear weapons states also agreed to seek an end to the nuclear arms race. And Al nonnuclear weapons state signatories agreed to place all of their nuclear facilities under "fun scope" safeguards, operated by the IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency. These safeguards, which have been very successful, are designed not to prevent but rather to sound alarms if illegal activities (e.g., diversions of materials) are sus- pected at declared facilities. There are now over 130 signatories to the NPP. Although the most threatening proliferators—Israel, Pakistan, India, and Soup Africa have not joined the NPI, the treaty has nevertheless established international norms of nonproliferation that indirectly affect even the holdout states. Moreover, even though France has never formally signed the SPIN, it now, in practice, conforms with the treaty. China, also a nonsignatory, has increasingly conformed with the treaty's objectives. Second, regional nuclear free zones reinforce the NPI. The Latin America Nuclear Free Zone, created by the Treaty of TIateloico, which was signed in 1968 though not fully in force, has served to help exclude nuclear weapons from Latin America. A protocol to this treaty, which has been signed by alB five nuclear powers—the only such document in existence—commits them to respect the nonnuclear nature of the zone. By other agreements, nuclear weapons are also excluded by treaty from Antarctica and, potentially, from the South Pacific. Third, the regime is further reinforced by export controls, both infor- mal and by statute. Every major nuclear supplier has informally agreed to guidelines on sensitive nuclear equipment which they will not export to other countries without IAEA safeguards. The United States has also restricted exports of sensitive equipment by domestic legislation. In 1978 He U.S. Nuclear Nonproliferation Act called for tighter safeguards on exports than those imposed by the NPr, In an attempt to discourage Be plutonium fuel cycle in commercial reactors. This fuel cycle, which cannot now be justified on economic grounds,
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67 VITALITY OF THE NUCLEAR NONPROLIFERATION TREATY REGIME would create large inventories of plutonium, and thereby establish a base for a relatively rapid breakout to a weapons program, as well as increase the possibilities of diversions. The U.S. Congress has also enacted legislation prohibiting economic or military assistance to nations supplying or receiving nonsafeguarded uranium enrichment or plutonium reprocessing equipment. But under pressure of the conflicting priorities of U.S. support for Pakistan in connection with the Afghanistan war, the Administration and Congress backed off from implementing these provisions in the face of clear Paki- stani violations. However, this matter is still open, and additional legisla- tion has been passed specific to Pakistan, denying future aid military and economic aid unless the President certifies that Pakistan does not possess a nuclear explosive device. In addition, separate legislation, which the President cannot override on national security grounds, re- quires the cutting off of ah aid to any nonnuclear weapons state that tests a nuclear weapon. Fours, and often overlooked, is the fact that over the years the United States has exerted quiet pressure, which has often been quite effective, on various states not to pursue the nuclear weapons option. The most successful examples were South Korea and Taiwan, which in the 1970s were persuaded to abandon some nascent nuclear weapons ambitions. In the case of South Africa, multinational diplomatic efforts undoubt- edly discouraged its nuclear-test program, after a test site was discovered by a Soviet satellite in 1977 in the Kalahari Desert. In this connection I should note that reports that South Africa subsequently detonated a nu- clear device in the South Atlantic are not supported by the facts. In the case of Israel and Pakistan, while discouraging their nuclear ambitions, the United States has not used the fun force of its considerable influence on either Pakistan or Israel to this end. IV Under this regime I believe the overall assessment is that nuclear nonproliferation has been remarkably effective. Looking back, one re- calis government and academic predictions that by now there would be a large number of nuclear states 25 or more. In the first 20 years, how- ever, since the beginning of the nuclear age in 1945, there were only four additional states: the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, France, and
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68 CHALLENGES FOR THE 1990s China. This initial proliferation was probably inevitable, given the exist- ing political situation. In the next 25 years, since 1965, only one additional state has tested a nuclear device, and that is India. Significantly, India insisted at the time, and since, that its test was for peaceful purposes (such as excavation: then a more popular concept than today and subsequently, apparently, did not vigorously pursue its weapons program. Moreover, 10 to 15 years ago, if I were to have given a list of states with clear nuclear ambitions, it would have included eight states. In addition to the present four, ~ would have included Argentina, Brazil, South Korea, and Taiwan. But today the latter four states have probably abandoned their immediate nuclear weapons operations, although future changes in the governments in Argentina and Brazil could reopen this problem. Although the present four states- Israel, Pakistan, India, and South Africa are obviously much further along today than they were 10 or 15 years ago, they are not new threats to the regime. Israel has been engaged in its program for at least three decades, India has been engaged in its for at least two decades, and Pakistan for some 15 years. Above Al, it is also important to remember that not only the over- whelming majority of states but also such industrial giants as Germany and Japan have decided that their security is best served by remaining nonnuclear weapons states. V I will say a word about the Israeli and Pakistani programs, which time prevents me from discussing in detail. Let me emphasize that these comments are not intended to diminish or dismiss the seriousness of the continuation of these programs but rawer to keep them in perspective. I would observe that both countries officially insist that they do not possess nuclear weapons. Both countries also clearly have made a major effort to develop nuclear weapons programs and have engaged in exten- sive programs of espionage over We years to accomplish this objective. Both countries also, unofficially, seek to build up the international image of the effectiveness and significance of their programs. In the case of Israel the revelations by Mordecai Vanunu in England, before he was kidnapped and taken back to Israel for trial, in late 1986 suggest a larger and more advanced program than most informed observ-
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69 VITALLY OF TIlENUCI~ NONPROUFE~TION TRAM REGIME ers had assumed previously. One now hears estimates that Israel's capa- bility to deploy, or deploy on short notice, nuclear devices might be between 50 and 200, based on availability of material. This compares with earlier estimates that might be closer to 25. I would, myself, guess that the truth lies at the lower end of the new scale. But this is still a very significant capability. I also do not believe the evidence supports the claims that the Israelis are stockpiling untested thermonuclear weapons, in the sense that we would define a thermonuclear weapon. Nevertheless, Israel clearly has a significant program and can presumably deliver these weapons, both by aircraft obtained from the United States and by their own Jericho II ballistic missiles. As for the Pakistani program, there is pretty clear evidence, publicly available, that they have or could assemble on short notice a few simple nuclear devices, presumably employing enriched uranium from the cen- trifuge enrichment plant at Kahuta. The Pakistan weapons program has reached the point where the Administration has wamed Congress that it will probably not be able to furnish the required statutory finding this year that Pakistan does not have a weapons capability. VI What is to be done? Since Israel, India, South Africa, and even Pakistan now have extensive indigenous technical capabilities, there are limits to what the United States or the international community can do. Nevertheless, let me suggest the most obvious actions we can and should take within the existing nonproliferation regime. First, the United States and the Soviet Union should sign the START agreement, if possible, before the next NET five-year review conference in 1990. Without fail, they must sign, ratify, and take major steps toward implementation of a START treaty wed in advance of Me 1995 NPI 25th anniversary conference, at which, according to the terms of the treaty, the future duration of the treaty will have to be decided. By demonstrating their good faith in meeting their APT commitment to nuclear anns reduc- tions, the superpowers can help ensure a strong endorsement for the indefinite, or at least long-duration, extension of a framework treaty upon which the nonproliferation regime rests. Second, the United States should work to bring South Africa into the NPI, which South Africa has suggested it may be prepared to do. The United States should press the Soviet Union to get Cuba to join the Latin
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70 CHAI1E;NGES FOR THE 1990s America Nuclear Free Zone since this is necessary to bring the treaty into full force, ensuring coverage of the Argentine and Brazilian programs. I hope that Mr. Gorbachev's relations with Fidel Castro are sufficiently good to make this possible. The United States should press Israel and Pakistan to stay in the closet and not confront neighbors with a declared nuclear weapons status that would be seen by their neighbors as requiring them to develop a chemical warfare response, which they could do in the relatively near future, and to preclude pressure on them to move to a nuclear weapons response in the more distant future. To this end, we should (~) let Pakistan know that we win enforce the current legislation cutting off economic and military aid if Pakistan tests nuclear weapons, declares a nuclear status, or clearly possesses a nuclear weapons capability, and (2) let Israel know that a declared nuclear weap- ons status would necessitate a review of U.S. security policy toward Israel and that Israel would be subject to the same cutoff legislation as other countries if it conducts a nuclear weapons test. Third, the United States should intensify work with other suppliers, including the Soviet Union and China, to tighten export controls on sensitive nuclear equipment and on delivery systems, such as long-range ballistic missiles, which make absolutely no sense except with nuclear warheads. Fourth, and I would pursue the suggestion made by Roaid Sagdeev, the United States and the Soviet Union should seek to expand the nonprolif- eration regime by negotiating a multinational comprehensive test ban and/ or a cutoff of fissionable materials for nuclear weapons. This would effectively answer criticisms of the discriminatory nature of the nonpro- Iiferation treaty bargain. Based on earlier statements, such treaties might be acceptable to India and other holdout states and would certainly put additional indirect pressure on them against declaring their nuclear status or attempting to caner out nuclear weapons tests. Fifth, above all, we should work to defuse tensions in critical Mid-East and South Asian regions. VII In conclusion, I remain cautiously optimistic that with improved U.S.- Soviet relations it should be possible to hold the line on emerging nuclear
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71 VITALITY OF TlIE NUCLEAR NONPROLIFERATION TREATY REGIME weapons states. Even if in a moment of rash bravado or fear one or more of the present closet nuclear weapons states decides to announce officially its new status or to test nuclear weapons as a demonstration, cooperative efforts by the United States, the Soviet Union, and their allies should be sufficiently damage limiting to prevent a domino effect that would col- lapse the nonproliferation treaty regime. But above all, in a practical sense, we must be certain that our actions, particularly in connection with the early completion of the START treaty, ensure that the NPI is extended in 1995, either indefinitely or for a prolonged period, so that the framework on which the nonproliferation regime is based win survive.
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