1. U.S. Plans to Quit ABM Treaty Pose Global Threat, Russian Minister Says
February 14, 2001
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MOSCOW, Feb 14, 2001 -- (Agence France Presse) U.S. plans to build a national missile defense (NMD) in contravention of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty would threaten "not just Russia, but the whole world," Interfax quoted Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev as saying Wednesday.
Sergeyev said the very first step towards deploying the controversial NMD system would spell the immediate demise of the 1972 treaty, a cornerstone of arms control for three decades.
"After the Americans begin the deployment of a strategic missile defense, the ABM treaty will be destroyed and the consequences are likely to be very unsafe for the world," the defense minister said.
Sergeyev warned that international moves towards disarmament could also be upset by a unilateral U.S. initiative on NMD, dubbed "Son of Star Wars."
"We have actually reached the stage of working out understandings on START III (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) that would definitely be followed by the involvement of the entire nuclear club in the process of reducing strategic offensive armaments," he added. return to menu
2. Moscow Upset by CIA Study yet Pleased by Bush Call for Defense Review
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
February 14, 2001
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MOSCOW UPSET BY CIA STUDY... The Foreign Ministry on 9 February released a statement saying that a statement by CIA Director George Tenet is "surprising" in its effort "to present Russia as a culprit in the propagation of weapons of mass destruction" and to suggest that Moscow is always acting against American interests, Interfax reported. The statement said that "the CIA has not very often given a good account of itself," adding that "Tenet's gloomy revelations on Russia and on our relations with the United States may fuel the hawkish moods in the U.S. Congress and be instrumental in increasing the CIA budget, but they do not reflect the facts, nor do they set the priorities of Russian-U.S. cooperation." Moscow has not yet reacted to a statement by U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice who was quoted in the 10 February Paris "Figaro" as saying that "I sincerely believe that Russia constitutes a threat to the West in general and to our European allies in particular."
...PLEASED BY BUSH CALL FOR DEFENSE REVIEW. Interfax on 10 February reported that a Russian military spokesman had welcomed the decision of U.S. President George W. Bush to engage in a comprehensive review of American defense policies. Such a review could open the way to talks on a wide variety of issues, the spokesman was quoted as saying. On 9 February, the Foreign Ministry reported that Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov had discussed by telephone with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell the possibility of the two meeting in the near future, ITAR-TASS reported. return to menu
3. Russia's Ivanov to meet Colin Powell in Cairo
February 13, 2001
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Russia and the United States said Tuesday they would soon hold their first high-level meeting since President George W. Bush took office, with global security, nuclear threats and plans for a U.S. missile shield topping the agenda.
Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov announced he would meet new U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell in Cairo Feb. 24 on the first day of Powell's trip to the Middle East and Belgium.
Ivanov said Russia would continue to take a "constructive approach" on talks on START arms control agreements and the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty (ABM), seen as among the most contentious issues between Moscow and Washington.
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher told a news briefing in Washington: "I'm sure they will want to discuss all those areas that relate to safety for both our governments, for both our countries, for both our peoples."
He said they would also discuss events in the Middle East, where both countries have played a mediating role.
Boucher brushed off talk Bush would give Russia less prominence than his predecessor.
"The secretary has already spoken twice with Foreign Minister Ivanov. The president has spoken with President (Vladimir) Putin already. This is obviously an important relationship to us and one that we will take seriously and work on seriously."
Republicans accused former President Bill Clinton's "troika" of Russia advisors of taking a romanticized approach to dealing with Moscow and of ignoring warnings of corruption there while approving huge loans to the former superpower.
At the same time, Clinton's team tried to persuade Moscow to amend the ABM, which barred either side from using missiles to shield their territory from missile attack, except to protect their capitals and one other site.
Now the Bush administration, facing what it says are new threats in North Korea, Iran and Iraq, says it will walk away from ABM if necessary, which is seen by other countries as a cornerstone of strategic arms control.
RICE QUOTES RAISE QUESTIONS IN MOSCOW
Echoing similar comments he made Monday, Ivanov repeated a pledge to be "constructive" after talks between German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Monday he said Russia was committed to a constructive approach to arms talks, including the U.S. plans for NMD.
"We welcome the statement from Foreign Minister Ivanov yesterday that Russia intends to be constructive in dealing with security questions, including National Missile Defense (NMD)," Boucher said, using the official name for the shield.
"But we'll have to see when we have a chance to talk to him more about the details," he added.
The missile shield is in the early stages of development and would cost tens of billions of dollars. It would most likely be land- or sea-based, unlike the space-age "Star Wars" plan favored by former President Ronald Reagan.
Russia, which has thousands of nuclear weapons, and China, which has far fewer, fiercely oppose NMD, arguing it would neutralize their defenses.
Other critics including U.S. Democrats and European leaders fear it would prompt other countries to amass more weapons of mass destruction instead of making the world safer.
Earlier this month Ivanov reiterated Russia's calls to negotiate with the United States on a START III treaty which would offer deep new cuts in both sides' nuclear arsenals.
Ivanov has also said he hopes to use talks with Powell to allay concerns over Moscow's foreign policy following remarks by White House National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice.
Translated from the French in Le Figaro magazine, Rice's quotes read, "I sincerely believe that Russia is a threat to the West in general and to our European allies in particular.
"Neither they nor we are vigilant enough in the face of risks presented by the nuclear arsenal and the Kremlin's ballistic means," she said in remarks carried at the weekend.
"So we have every reason to fear possible transfers of nuclear technology from Russia."
A White House official said it was true that the danger of Russian nuclear technology transfers were a threat, but said the quote in the interview was incorrect. "It's just wrong. She never said Russia is a threat." return to menu
4. Former Russian PM sees no big change in Russia-US relations
February 13, 2001
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MOSCOW, Feb 13 (AFP) - Former Russian prime minister Yevgeny Primakov said he saw little likelihood of radical changes in US policy towards Russia despite a threat to cut financial aid and moves to create a missile defence system (NMD).
After his election last year US President George W. Bush said he could cut back aid to Russia, and relations between Washington and Moscow have been strained over Bush's insistence on pressing on with setting up the NMD system which Russia says violates a 1972 nuclear weapons ban.
Moreover last week Bush's chief security advisor Condoleezza Rice said she believed Russia was a threat to the West in general and to Europe in particular.
Primakov told the daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta that the NMD project was "a myth" designed to allow the United States to make technological advances.
But he warned that it could strain Washington's relations "with China and with its allies (in Europe), and weaken the limitations on strategic weapons."
While Moscow has expressed firm opposition to NMD, the US missile shield project has also divided Europe, with French President Jacques Chirac backing Russia's stance and Britain refusing to speak out one way or the other on the issue.
Germany too has backed Russian objections, though on Monday visiting Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer sought to defuse the tension by saying he had detected a "constructive approach" to the issue in Moscow.
Washington says it wants to set up the nuclear umbrella to protect North America against rogue states, while Moscow says the system would contravene the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missle Treaty which expressly bars the deployment of a global anti-missile system. return to menu
B. Nuclear Waste
1. Imported spent fuel may not reach destination
February 14, 2001
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In response to Russia's nuclear lobby plans to import foreign spent nuclear Russian environmental groups presented report titled Transportation of Radioactive Materials and Nuclear Fissile Materials in Russia: Practice of Unavoidable Risks. The poor maintenance of the Russian railway network and a long list of incidents documented during the past years prove the risks outlined in the report.
The report was co-authored by Russian environmental group Ecodefense and Vladimir Kuznetsov, expert for the Anti-Nuclear Campaign of the Socio-Ecological Union and former inspector of the Russian Nuclear Regulatory (GAN).
The research was performed in order to confront the successful lobby attempts of the Russian Nuclear Ministry, Minatom, to push the amendments to a number of Russian federal laws through the State Duma, lower house of the Russian parliament. The Duma approved the amendments in the first reading in December 2000. The new bills can lift the ban on importing spent nuclear fuel from all over the world. To become a law, the bills must be approved by the Duma in the second and the third readings, then by the Federation Council, and finally by the president. After that hundreds of new nuclear shipments will flow across the country. Taking into consideration the technical quality of the Russian railroads and management problems, nuclear transportation in Russia will dramatically increase the danger of serious accidents involving highly radioactive materials, authors of the report said. Minatom plans to earn $20 billion on importing 20,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel. The environmentalists calculated that each Russian citizen will get in average 140 grams of foreign nuclear waste and $3.50.
According to the authors of the report, only a part of the study is finished and presented, but the work will be continued through 2001. The report included chapters: on accidents documented during transporting radioactive materials in 90s, the Russian new containers and their safety, general issues of safety on railroads. The document will be mailed to the Russian prime minister, all members of the State Duma, several Russian federal ministries, the authors of the report said.
Each year hundreds of nuclear transports cross the globe. According to the report, the number of accidents in Russia is two to three times higher compared to the West. Some of the incidents were described in the study:
- The Ural Electrical-Chemical Plant in Novouralsk often practises transportation of various radioactive materials. In 1994, the train carrying a radioactive solution containing uranium crashed what caused release of 1,000 litres of uranium-containing solution on the railroad outside the plant, contaminating the ground near densely populated cities;
- A special truck carrying containers with Ir-192 and Co-60 collided with a bulldozer near Tubuk village, Chelyabinsk region, on September 11th 1997. The sealed containers were broken and released radioactivity into the environment;
- On September 20th 1991, an accident happened at Bilibino nuclear plant, in the Russian Far North. While transporting the radioactive waste to the storage, one of the containers fell on the ground what caused radioactive contamination.
In 1999, there were two cases of illegal shipments of radioactive waste through Russian railroads. Also during 1999, four big accidents happened with crashed trains on the South-East railway and the North-Caucasus railways. Safety conditions of the Russian railways are getting worse with each year.
According to the report, the containers used in Russia for transporting radioactive materials violate the safety regulations. At the Siberian Chemical Plant in Tomsk-7 it was revealed that transportation of the nuclear materials is carried out in the containers of AT-316 and BT-134 types, while such containers do not meet Russian nuclear safety norms. The plant transported nuclear materials without appropriate certificates and licenses. The same containers without necessary approvals are widely used by the Mayak reprocessing plant near Chelyabinsk, in the southern Ural.
According to the authors of the report, the Russian nuclear safety norms are far from being ideal. But even in such situation the Russian Ministry for Nuclear Energy regularly violates the Russian nuclear safety norms. The main reason is a lack of respect for legislation developed by the Russian Nuclear Regulatory.
"The Minatom's plan to import nuclear waste for storing/reprocessing on commercial basis must be reviewed and disapproved by the Russian legislators. Extremely dangerous nuclear shipments may result in great accidents causing wide-spread contamination of the environment, exposing many people to radiation, paralysing the main transport roads in the country," the report concludes. return to menu
2. Russia Will Not Take Foreign Nuclear Waste
February 14, 2001
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MOSCOW, February 14 (Itar-Tass) - Russia did not and will not take radioactive waste from Taiwan or any other country, Atomic Energy Ministry spokesman Yuri Bespalko told Itar-Tass on Wednesday.
He denied media reports claiming that a Taiwanese company plans to supply radioactive waste to Russia.
"The Atomic Energy Ministry observers and strictly complies with the current legislative ban on the import of radioactive waste in Russia", he said.
However if it is not waste but irradiated nuclear fuel which can be used by atomic power plants many times, the ministry is ready to cooperate with foreign countries and take their irradiated nuclear fuel for processing.
The State Duma is now considering amendments that should allow the Atomic Energy Ministry to enter the world market of services in the field of storing and processing foreign irradiated nuclear fuel, the spokesman said. return to menu
3. Russian lawmakers to consider waste legislation
The Uranium Institute
February 13, 2001
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Russian lawmakers will consider legislation to amend a 1992 law banning imports of nuclear waste in a second reading scheduled for 22 February. To take effect, the bill must clear the second and third readings in the Duma, be passed by the Federation Council, the upper chamber of the Russian parliament, and be signed by President Vladimir Putin. return to menu
C. U.S. General
1. A Leaner and Less Visible NSC
Karen DeYoung and Steven Mufson
The Washington Post
February 10, 2001
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The Bush administration has substantially restructured the National Security Council during its first three weeks in office, providing an early indication of how the new White House plans to handle foreign policy and promote its strategic priorities.
Armed with memos and staffing lists drafted last fall, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice cut the NSC staff by a third and reorganized it to emphasize defense strategy, including national missile defense, and international economics. In a White House first, Rice has expanded her regular meetings with Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to include Treasury Secretary Paul H. O'Neill.
The consolidation of offices once dealing separately with Europe, Russia and the Balkans has reflected not only a smaller-is-better view, but also Bush's desire to decrease U.S. involvement in the Balkans and signal to Russia "that this administration is not going to treat Russia as a special case," said one Russia expert.
Other notable changes have been the elimination of divisions handling international environmental and health issues, and of the NSC's communications and legislative offices.
Bush still has not issued the traditional presidential directive formally spelling out his national security structure -- a document his two immediate predecessors signed their first day in office. But the reorganization of the NSC reveals how Rice envisions her relationships with other powerful administration personalities such as Vice President Cheney, Powell and Rumsfeld.
Rice has made it clear she will not be a policy initiator or implementer, and that she expects to be seen and heard far less than her predecessor, Samuel "Sandy" Berger. Several administration officials said she sees her task as making sure Bush is briefed and staffed to play his role in foreign and security matters, advancing his strategic agenda while thinking through big issues such as guidelines for foreign intervention, and serving as an honest broker of differences among the major policy players.
Rice's vision of a lean, strategically focused operation, closeted from public view, stands in stark contrast to the Clinton years, when the NSC ballooned in size, functions and visibility to become the center of foreign policy action -- often at the perceived expense of a weak and demoralized State Department.
State Department sources said they have been told they now will run interagency meetings that focus on single countries or regions, while the NSC will chair meetings dealing with "cross-cutting issues" that are less regionally focused or where no one agency has a lead role. "What's new is not that the NSC is smaller," said a senior official. "What's new is what's behind the sizing. It's a view about what the NSC staff ought to be for this president."
Rice has defined it as "working the seams, stitching the connections together tightly . . . provid[ing] glue for the many, many agencies and instruments the United States is now deploying around the world."
Since it was established in 1947, the NSC has been the White House staff that reflects the president's worldview while helping manage competing interests on the cabinet. While the influence and power of national security advisers have varied from one administration to the next, they often have become embroiled in troubled relationships among presidents, their White House foreign policy staffs and their cabinet secretaries.
Rice's mentor and model is one of the notable exceptions to this pattern: Brent Scowcroft, who served as national security adviser to Bush's father. President George Bush. Hailed by all sides as a paragon of modesty and effectiveness in crises from the collapse of the Soviet Union to Operation Desert Storm, Scowcroft's NSC was strictly an inside operation, while not interfering with the work of the cabinet secretaries.
Rice "believes we shouldn't have two secretaries of state," said a senior administration official.
For some Washington skeptics, the real question is not how many secretaries of state Bush will have, but how many national security advisers. The administration has several 800-pound gorillas working on foreign policy, and Rice, who served as provost at Stanford University after holding a senior staff position on Scowcroft's NSC, is junior in experience, rank and age to all of them.
Cheney, a former defense secretary and presidential chief of staff, is assembling a mini-NSC on his own staff and is expected to play an important foreign policy role. Powell, national security adviser to Ronald Reagan and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under the senior Bush and during Clinton's first year, brings far more heft to the job than his predecessor, Madeleine Albright. The strong-willed Rumsfeld is doing his second stint as defense secretary.
Bush has said he expects Cheney and the vice presidential advisers to be full participants in national security policy. The stated plan is that the NSC and Cheney's staff will be treated as one, with what a senior official called "maximum communication and transparency."
For the moment, comity is facilitated by the fact that, while many of the senior players across the administration have well-known differences on some issues, most of them learned to work together in previous administrations. And there is a strong desire, emanating from the top, to avoid public controversy.
But these are early days, and a rare period with virtually no immediate foreign policy crises. When the going gets tough, "it takes a very strong president to insist that these people get along," Walt Rostow, who served as President Lyndon B. Johnson's national security adviser, told the Brookings Institution, which is compiling oral histories from NSC veterans.
Since 1947, the council has been reinvented under each administration to reflect the president's style and needs. It has been large -- 74 staffers under Eisenhower, and more than 100 during Clinton's second term -- and it has been small. John F. Kennedy slashed it to 12 members. Richard M. Nixon wanted to "run foreign policy out of the White House," he said in his memoirs, and adviser Henry A. Kissinger assembled a 50-person staff to do it. President Jimmy Carter cut that number in half.
President Ronald Reagan -- who ran through six national security advisers in eight years -- left the NSC largely on its own. The result, among other things, was the staff-initiated Iran-contra operation under Oliver North.
Although the Bush team promises it will be different, "tensions between the national security adviser and the secretary of state seem to run through every administration," Reagan security adviser Frank C. Carlucci told Brookings. Feuding between Carter adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski and secretary of state Cyrus Vance eventually led to Vance's resignation.
Some veterans of Washington's foreign policy wars are betting that Rice will be quickly overshadowed and outmaneuvered by the administration's big guns. Even Scowcroft has observed that no matter what the structure, a successful national security adviser needs a president who is engaged in foreign policy, something that remains unclear in Bush's case.
Others insist it is "madness," as one official in cabinet department put it, to think that the genie of NSC dominance can or should be put back in the lamp.
The vision of a smaller NSC has become fashionable among foreign policy experts, recommended by a series of think tank and special commission reports to the new administration. Brzezinski, Carter's activist adviser, supports a more limited NSC role. "For every 200 decisions made every day in foreign affairs, maybe only 10 should be presidential level," he said.
But Anthony Lake, Clinton's first term national security adviser, argued that the nature of foreign policy today calls for a major NSC role in governing, not just in advising the president.
"Increasingly, almost every issue has economic dimensions, security dimensions and classic diplomatic dimensions. And that means that no agency can take the lead and expect the other agencies that have an interest to follow it," Lake said, "because State simply won't do what Defense says and Defense won't do what State says."
Last September, Rice asked Philip Zelikow, a fellow staffer on the Scowcroft NSC and now head of the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs, and arms control expert and Republican State Department veteran Robert Blackwill, to draft memos on organizing the NSC along Scowcroft's lines. Edited by Rice and others, the memos were further refined when Rice's deputy Stephen Hadley came on board, and Zelikow and Blackwill became part of the transition and were free to roam the halls of the Clinton NSC operation.
In keeping with a lower profile, NSC legislative and communications functions were returned to the main White House staff. The press and speechwriting components were slimmed from three to one official each. While reporters routinely called the Clinton NSC, including Berger, for policy information, callers are now referred to the White House and State Department press offices.
A new post of deputy economics adviser, reporting to both Rice and chief economics adviser Lawrence B. Lindsey, reflected a desire to enhance the role of economic considerations in foreign policy. Although no official appointment has been made, trade specialist Gary Edson, deputy to former U.S. trade representative Carla Hills, is expected to be tapped for the post.
Clinton's NSC Nonproliferation and Export Controls Office has become Bush's Nonproliferation Strategy, Counter-proliferation and Homeland Defense office -- the locus for national missile defense. At its head is Robert G. Joseph, an advocate of missile defense who served in the Reagan and senior Bush administrations.
Rice has turned to experienced hands rather than ideologues for most jobs. New Europe/Eurasia director Daniel Fried is a career foreign service officer with long experience in Central Europe and the former Soviet Union. From 1993 to 1997, he served in the Clinton NSC, where he played a major role in NATO enlargement. Franklin C. Miller, director of the Defense and Arms Control directorate, served in the Defense Department and co-authored the Clinton nuclear targeting guidelines.
Rice and her team redrew much of the regional chart, moving countries to where they seemed to make more geographic and policy sense. Southeast Asia, paired with the Near East under Clinton, has rejoined Asia under director Torkel Patterson, a Japan expert who served in the Scowcroft NSC and whose selection sidestepped the rift in the Republican Party over the direction of China policy.
North Africa has been combined with the Near East in the directorate still temporarily headed by Clinton holdover Bruce Reidel. The new director for the rest of Africa is former Rice student, Harvard professor and transition aide Jendayi Frazer, who also did a stint on the Clinton NSC. Heading the Western Hemisphere directorate is career foreign service officer John Maisto.
Still up in the air is what to do with the NSC office of Transnational Threats, initiated and headed under Clinton by Richard A. Clarke. Clarke has remained in place while the administration decides what to do with the office. return to menu