1. Russian Expert Believes America May Use Nuclear Weapons Against Iraq
October 11, 2002
(for personal use only)
MOSCOW -- Vice President of the Academy of Geopolitical Studies, Colonel General Leonid Ivashov believes the USA may use nuclear weapons during its possible military aggression against Iraq.
"It is possible to use weapons of mass destruction, primarily tactical nuclear weapons in the Middle East," Ivashov said when speaking at a press conference in RIA Novosti on Friday.
Ivashov believes that "propaganda facts and signs of preparation for a military operation" show that in case Iraq shows resistance, the USA will find an excuse to use nuclear weapons. This excuse will be of a provocative character, according to the expert. For example, it may be the fact that Iraq has chemical weapons.
"Such a possibility really exists," the Colonel General stressed. return to menu
2. Russia Urged to Cut Weapons Faster: U.S., Others Urge Russia to Hasten Reduction of Nuclear, Chemical Weapons Stockpile
The Associated Press
October 9, 2002
(for personal use only)
The United States and other industrialized democracies are urging Russia to speed up efforts to reduce its vast, poorly secured stockpile of nuclear and chemical weapons, a State Department official said Wednesday. A Senate committee chairman warned the material could find its way to terrorists or countries such as Iraq. John Bolton, undersecretary of state for arms control, said a major part of a meeting last month in Canada of those industrial powers dealt with problems that have hindered an initiative to stop the spread of weapons and materials of mass destruction. The participating countries the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan have pledged to spend at least $20 billion over the next 10 years on the effort. President Bush committed the United States to providing half of the $20 billion at June's G-8 summit in Canada when he proposed the initiative. Russian President Vladimir Putin has pledged to take actions to help achieve the program's goal. Bolton told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said that among the priority concerns in Russia, the G-8 countries specifically named the destruction of chemical weapons, disposition of fissile material and dismantlement of decommissioned nuclear submarines. "For the global partnership to be successful," Bolton said, "the Russian Federation will need to take concrete action to resolve outstanding problems. ... We pressed the Russians hard on this issue" at the September meeting in Canada. Bolton said the other G-8 countries were more than half way in meeting their $10 billion commitment, including $1.5 billion from Germany and $1 billion from the European Commission. He said some countries have not publicly announced pledges or decided on their amounts. Bolton welcomed bipartisan legislation, proposed by the committee chairman Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., and Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., that expands the president's authority to reduce Russia's debt in exchange for nonproliferation programs. "Nothing poses a more clear or present danger to our security," Biden said, than the vast repository of nuclear, chemical and possibly biological weapons still in Russia more than a decade after the Soviet Union's collapse. "Our greatest concern remains that groups like al-Qaida or states like Iraq will steal or illicitly purchase poorly guarded stocks of weapons of mass destruction in Russia," Biden said. He said the United States has provided billions of dollars in aid to reduce the threat posed by Russia's possession of these weapons. But, he said, there remain roughly 1,000 metric tons of highly enriched uranium, 40,000 metric tons of chemical weapons, including 2 million artillery shells containing nerve gas at one of Russia's facilities alone, and an unknown supply of biological pathogens. Lugar said that because of the threat of terrorism. "We must not only accelerate weapons dismantlement efforts in Russia, we must (also) broaden our capability to address proliferation risks in other countries." Lugar said the major industrialized nations must keep pressing Russian officials to abide by Putin's commitment to help. Putin's "biggest obstacle could well be his own government's bureaucracy," said Lugar, co-sponsor of legislation that has provided millions for weapons destruction in Russia over the past 11 years. return to menu
B. 10 Plus 10 Over 10
1. Aid To Iran Seen Diluting U.S. Effort
David R. Sands
The Washington Times
October 10, 2002
(for personal use only)
Russia's support for Iran's nuclear program could undermine a $20 billion U.S.-led effort to help dismantle the former Soviet Union's vast military arsenal, the State Department's proliferation chief said yesterday.
John R. Bolton, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, said at a Senate hearing that the Russia-Iran link complicates U.S. efforts to rally international support for President Bush's 10-year plan to contain and destroy Russian chemical and nuclear weapons stocks.
The effort was first announced at the Group of Eight (G-8) summit in Canada this summer.
"Iran is seeking all elements of a nuclear fuel cycle, from mining uranium to enrichment to production of reactor fuel," said Mr. Bolton, adding that there was "no economic justification" for the program, given Iran's vast domestic energy resources.
"The inescapable conclusion is that Iran is building a nuclear fuel cycle to support a nuclear weapons program," he said, with Russia providing critical technology and expertise despite repeated U.S. complaints.
"Concerns about Russia's performance on its arms control and nonproliferation commitments have already adversely affected important bilateral efforts, and unless resolved could pose a threat to new initiatives," including the G-8 accord, Mr. Bolton said.
Moscow has provided massive assistance for a nuclear power facility being built in the southern Iranian town of Bushehr, and Bush administration officials were caught off-guard when Russia announced in July plans for expanded cooperation with Iran on future nuclear power sites.
Russian and Iranian officials contend that the nuclear plants in question are intended solely for civilian energy needs.
Mr. Bolton told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the administration is working hard to implement promises made at the G-8 meeting.
Under the "10 plus 10 over 10" formula, the United States would provide $10 billion over the next decade, to be matched by the leading European powers and by Japan, to dismantle chemical arms, nuclear weapons material and decommissioned nuclear submarines, and to employ weapons scientists.
To date, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan have pledged just half of the expected $10 billion, but Mr. Bolton said that many are still negotiating their contributions. France, which hosts the G-8 summit next year, also has pledged to make the program a top agenda item for the meeting.
But problems with the program have arisen in both Russia and the United States.
The Russian government has yet to provide guarantees on liability, taxation, access to sensitive sites and other matters that have hampered outside nonproliferation efforts.
"Millions of dollars previously committed by G-8 members remain [unspent] at present due to these problems," Mr. Bolton said. It is hard to get national legislatures to agree to spend more in such a situation, he added.
Congressional skeptics of Russia's commitment to disarmament programs have resisted an administration-backed provision to give the country a permanent waiver to receive nonproliferation funds. The stalemate has halted work on a high-profile chemical weapons destruction facility at Shchuchye, Russia.
"Things are not on track," said Sen. Richard G. Lugar, Indiana Republican and co-author of the 1991 legislation that established the first program for dealing with former Soviet weapons sites.
Mr. Lugar warned that U.S. delays only help "worker bees" deep in the Russian military bureaucracy who want to undermine President Vladimir Putin's promises on disarmament. return to menu
C. Russian Nuclear Forces
1. Ukraine to Transfer Missiles to Russia for use in Space Program
October 10, 2002
(for personal use only)
KIEV, Ukraine (AP) _ Ukraine is planning to sell Soviet-made intercontinental ballistic missiles to Russia for use in its space program, officials said Thursday.
Ukraine's Cabinet of Ministers decided Wednesday to transfer the RS-18 missiles _ called SS-19s by NATO _ to Russia, said government spokeswoman Larysa Ostrolutska. She wouldn't elaborate on the details of deal.
Eduard Kuznetsov, Deputy Director of the National Space Agency of Ukraine, told the Russian ITAR-Tass news agency that the missiles would be sold to Russia's state-controlled Khrunichev State Research and Production Center, which plans to use them for launching satellites.
The sales are expected to start this year and be completed by the end of 2003, ITAR-Tass said.
The report did not say how many missiles were involved or how much Ukraine would charge for them.
Ukraine's space agency took over 31 of 130 SS-19s that were deactivated when the former Soviet republic renounced nuclear weapons and transferred all its 1,300 nuclear warheads to Russia for destruction in 1996, ITAR-Tass reported.
Ihor Kholevynksyi, a Defense Ministry spokesman, said that none of the missiles belong to Ukraine's armed forces because Ukraine committed to eliminate its nuclear arsenal, which was the third-largest in the world after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Ukrainian space officials were not immediately available to comment on the deal.
Leonid Polyakov, a military analyst at the Razumkov Center for Economic and Political Studies, a respected think tank in Kiev, dismissed concerns that Russia could convert the missiles back to military use as ``total nonsense.''
Khrunichev, Russia's premier rocket manufacturer, has bought some decommissioned SS-19 missiles from the Russian military to convert them to the civilian booster Rokot intended to launch commercial satellites. But many other SS-19s, each carrying six nuclear warheads, have remained on duty with Russia's Strategic Missile Forces. return to menu
D. Nuclear Safety
1. European Parliament Pledges Support For Nuclear Clean-Up In North-West Russia
October 10, 2002
(for personal use only)
MURMANSK-OSLO - On a trip organised by Bellona and the Russian Duma, members of the European Parliament visited Kola's nuclear sites and pledged support to fill the gaps in the existing programmes.
While the Nobel Peace Prize favourites, senators Nunn and Lugar, fight in the US Congress for the very existence of the Co-operative Threat Reduction programme, we register an increased European interest in the issue. Last week, Bellona and a member of the Russian State Duma, Valentin Luntsevich, took a group of ten members of the European Parliament to Murmansk to study nuclear safety and security issues, which have been haunting the region since the late 1980s. A more active and structured participation from the European countries regarding nuclear safety in north-west Russia is becoming vital. Moreover, politicians may have to compromise on their misunderstandings, which up to now have obstructed the successful implementation of the existing programmes.
The Kola region, of which Murmansk is the capital, in north-west Russia, hosts Russia's once mighty Northern Fleet, which operated two-thirds of the 250 nuclear powered submarines built in the Soviet Union. Today, the submarine fleet has fallen to 34 nuclear powered vessels. The remaining 115 submarines have been taken out of active service and are currently scattered along the coast line of the Kola Peninsula and in Arkhangelsk county, awaiting decommissioning. The Northern Fleet's dilapidated infrastructure for managing spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste has turned into ruins during the past decade.
To intensify the economic development of the Arctic, the Soviet Union built nine nuclear powered civilian vessels - eight icebreakers and one container ship. But with the industry's downsizing following the collapse of the Soviet Union, this nuclear fleet faced economic hardships, as well as enormous expenses to handle radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel.
The management of the hazardous products of submarine and icebreakers' operation was not a top priority in the Soviet Union; Russia therefore inherited a whole package of problems it was unable to cope with on its own.
USA steps in
In the period following the break-up of the Soviet Union, the Soviet Nuclear Threat Reduction Act of 1991, championed through Congress by Senators Nunn and Lugar, has achieved significant results. The act, renamed the Co-operative Threat Reduction (CTR) programme in 1993, was designed to help the countries of the former Soviet Union destroy nuclear, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction and their associated infrastructure, and establish verifiable safeguards against the proliferation of those weapons.
According to the US government's Defense Threat Reduction Agency website (http://www.dtra.mil/ctr/ctr_score.html), as of July 7th 2002 5,970 nuclear warheads have been deactivated, 1,269 ballistic and long-range nuclear cruise missiles eliminated, 829 missile launchers destroyed, 97 long-range bombers eliminated and 24 ballistic missile submarines destroyed.
To ensure the decommissioning of ballistic missile submarines, CTR has created the infrastructure for their elimination both at the shipyards in north-west Russia - Nerpa at the Kola Peninsula and Zvezdochka in Severodvinsk, Arkhangelsk county - and in the Russian Far East where the Pacific Fleet is based - Zvezda shipyard. Later CTR started to contract shipyard directly to carry out the decommissioning of submarines as well as to create the infrastructure for spent fuel management. This year a nuclear fuel unloading site was commissioned at Zvezdochka shipyard. The first submarine to be de-fuelled there is a Typhoon class (TK-202) - the world's biggest submarine and a cold war demolition machine. All in all, CTR is planning to completely dismantle 41 ballistic missile submarines by 2007.
CTR has been a success first of all in terms of securing weapons of mass destruction and its carriers, but the programme also assisted in creating the needed infrastructure to dismantle submarines and to manage unloaded spent nuclear fuel, as well as to process liquid radioactive waste generated as a result of decommissioning.
But any assistance that goes beyond the weapons' destruction has been never popular among Republicans in the US Congress. Starting in 1996, the US Congress added amendments to funding bills to limit CTR's authority in assisting with environmental restoration projects and has continued to include prohibitive language in defence authorisation bills. The debate around CTR culminated this October when Senator Lugar attempted to get approval of a permanent waiver from the Capital Hill.
Under current legislation, the Pentagon must "certify" Russia as committed to non-proliferation, or else roughly one-third of CTR activities controlled by the US military shuts down. That certification process is run on a fiscal-year basis. The waiver for the 2002 fiscal year was signed by President Bush August 2002 and was valid only until October 1st. This was the day when the hard battle for CTR started. And all the old anti-CTR arguments emerged in that debate.
"[The opposition] says Nunn-Lugar is foreign aid, they say the US military should not be involved, they think [Nunn-Lugar deals with] environmental issues, they think they are issues the Pentagon should not be involved with," said a US government official to Bellona Web earlier this week.
According to non-proliferation experts, CTR is unlikely to receive a permanent waiver and its activities may become limited solely to weapons' destruction. In today's reality, though, it is very hard to separate environmental and non-proliferation programmes. Securing radioactive and nuclear material has become crucial not only for the environment, but also to a larger extent it has become vital in preventing "evil doers" getting hold of such materials.
Fortunately, European countries have recently shown greater interest in providing their share of assistance, which is now starting to be of great importance.
Nerpa shipyard exemplified
Nerpa shipyard was one of the visit points for European Parliament members, their State Duma colleagues and Bellona last week. The shipyard has so far decommissioned nine submarines, including six ballistic missile submarines, or SSBNs.
SSBNs were scrapped using of CTR supplied equipment and with CTR funds. But CTR's contract with Nerpa is due to expire, as CTR plans to transfer all future decommissioning operations to Severodvinsk where an extensive infrastructure for spent nuclear fuel management has been built.
While Nerpa has American supplied equipment for cutting-up submarines, it is unlikely to use these equipment since the spare parts are expensive and the Russian state budget does not have enough funds to pay for the decommissioning of nonategic submarines, largely referred to as multi-purpose submarines.
Around 80 multi-purpose submarines are waiting to be decommissioned in the Northern Fleet, posing no strategic danger to the United States, but threatening the surrounding environment and containing tonnes of spent nuclear material in their reactors. The long debate over western assistance for decommissioning multi-purpose submarines has so far achieved no result from the USA, despite Senator Lugar's intensive lobbying of such an initiative. But the European countries may well step in and fill the gaps which CTR has been unable to fulfil so far.
And Nerpa shipyard has the available infrastructure to deal with multi-purpose submarines.
In July this year, the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership, or NDEP, a European initiative to channel funds to environmental problems in north-west Europe, arranged a pledging conference, where European Union countries, Norway and Russia contributed 110 million euro, including 62 million euro exclusively for nuclear safety issues in north-west Russia. In the draft projects list, the sites, which were not covered by CTR due to the restrictions imposed on the programme, but may well be secured with the European assistance. Among those sites is Andreeva Bay, an infamous dumping ground for spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste in the western part of the Kola Peninsula. The European delegation was able to visit the premises of Andreeva Bay during their visit last week.
During the visit to Nerpa, Bart Staes, the head of the European delegation and member of the European Parliament, also announced that his group - Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance - filed an amendment to the EC's 2003 budget for 60 million euros for assistance in the nuclear sector, which contains a specific item about channelling the funds for radwaste management at the Kola Peninsula. Mr Staes mentioned specifically that the amendment was prompted by Bellona's work in the area of nuclear safety in Russia.
G8 pledge - uniting the efforts
The G8 "Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction [WMD]" issued by the world's eight leading industrial nations at the G8 Summit on 27 June 2002, is an initiative aimed at accounting, securing and clearing up Russia's vast nuclear legacy.
The initiative is still in a rather vague state, but it can be seen as an attempt to unite all efforts aimed at securing Russia's nuclear legacy. This gives the chance to involve Europe and other countries more actively into the work that the United States has been doing for the past decade.
The countries taking part in the initiative can fill the gaps, which arose due to the limitations in the existing programmes, such as CTR, and ensure that the artificial distinction between environmental issues and non-proliferation are wiped away. After all, any radiological device can become a weapon, thus securing those devices makes the world a safer place both from the environmental and security standpoints.
Huge undertakings stem from small steps
Bellona has created an Inter-Parliamentary Working Group, IPWG - whose members visited Murmansk last week - back in 1998. This forum provided politicians from Russia, Europe and the United States with the possibility to focus on issues in nuclear safety co-operation. Such issues still exist and require quick resolution. The signing of the agreement referred to as the Multilateral Nuclear Environment Programmes in the Russian Federation, or MNEPR, is just one example. This agreement would free the funds pledged by the NDEP, for example. The harsh debate over CTR in the US Congress is another issue.
In Bellona's opinion, the lawmakers from different countries should understand the importance of nuclear security issues and act swiftly in the areas where executive bodies fail to come to an agreement. The MNEPR agreement is a prime example. There is always room for compromise when a goal is clear, and unless this room is used words and pledges will just evaporate. And it is important those compromises should be agreed to move ahead with such undertakings as the G8 initiative. return to menu
E. Cooperative Threat Reduction
1. U.S., Lithuania Sign Accord On Curtailing Spread Of Weapons Of Mass Destruction
October 11, 2002
(for personal use only)
In Vilnius on 10 October, Defense Minister Linas Linkevicius and U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for European and NATO Policy Ian Brzezinski signed a bilateral-cooperation agreement on combating the spread of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons in the world, ELTA reported. Brzezinski was part of a large delegation of U.S. NATO officials, headed by U.S. Ambassador to NATO Nicholas Burns, which is visiting all NATO candidate countries from 6-11 October. The delegation, which also includes Deputy Assistant Secretary for NATO Robert Bratke, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Nordic/Baltic States Heather Conley, and U.S. National Security Council Deputy Director for NATO and West European Affairs Kurt Volker, held talks with Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas, who informed them of his country's preparation for NATO membership not only by improving armed forces, but also by building political stability and strengthening the economy and civil services, with special attention given to preventing corruption. In talks with parliament Chairman Arturas Paulauskas, Burns expressed his thanks for Lithuania's contribution to the fight against international terrorism. return to menu
F. Nuclear Energy
1. Fake Nuclear Diplomas
October 11, 2002
(for personal use only)
KIEV -- Authorities are investigating several nuclear plant workers in western Ukraine for using fake diplomas to get high-paying jobs, a spokesman for Ukraine's state nuclear power monopoly said Thursday.
The 10 workers bought fake diplomas between 1999-2001 for as much as $600 from a university in Odessa, indicating that they were specialists in "atomic energy and electric power stations," the daily Kievskiy Vedemosti reported, citing the deputy prosecutor general for Rivne, Vasyl Kundiuk.
Doubts about the workers' qualifications arose when officials investigated a number of reports of technical problems at the plant, the report said. The workers held a variety of engineering and administrative positions, ranging from senior operator to shift boss.
The apparent motive for the workers' ruse was higher salaries. return to menu
G. Nuclear Fuel Return
1. Ukraine: Research Institute Clings to Uranium Stocks
October 11, 2002
(for personal use only)
The Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology in Ukraine refuses to give up its stocks of highly enriched uranium reactor fuel, even for security reasons, institute Director General Volodymyr Lapshin said Wednesday (see GSN, Oct. 10).
As the United States has expanded efforts to secure at-risk nuclear material around the world, it has offered to purchase the institute's 75 kilograms of 90 percent enriched uranium to prevent rogue states such as Iraq from obtaining it, according to reports. The institute, however, needs the material for research, Lapshin said, and institute officials could not sell it without clearance from higher offices.
"Nuclear materials stored in the institute are state-owned and controlled by the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency], so we cannot move them to another country without clearance at every level."
When asked whether Iraq has contacted the institute about the uranium, Lapshin said that "there were no direct contacts with Iraq on this issue" return to menu
1. Statement of Senator Jim Jeffords: Senate Resolution Authorizing the Use of Force Against Iraq
October 8, 2002
This is a pivotal moment in our Nation's history. As has happened many times before, when faced with a potential threat to our national security and to the security of our allies, we must carefully evaluate that threat, and decide how best to deal with it. It is imperative that we not make a rash decision that will have lasting consequences for generations to come.
I am very disturbed by President Bush's determination that the threat from Iraq is so severe and so immediate that we must rush to a military solution. I do not see it that way. I have been briefed several times by Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, CIA Director Tenet and other top Administration officials. I have discussed this issue with the President. I have heard nothing that convinces me that an immediate preemptive military strike is necessary or that it would further our interests in the long term.
Saddam Hussein's desire to acquire weapons of mass destruction is of grave concern. Based on the information that has been provided to me by this Administration, I believe this threat is best dealt with in the context of the United Nations. The UN must move aggressively to ensure unfettered inspections and bolster its efforts to stop the proliferation of materials that can be used in the production of weapons of mass destruction. I urge the UN Security Council to take immediate and strong action to deal with Iraq and its infractions.
Should Iraq fail to comply with the United Nation resolutions, it is incumbent on the United States to aggressively work with member nations to develop a means to bring Iraq into compliance. But at this time I cannot in good conscience authorize any use of military force against Iraq other than in the context of a UN Security Council effort. If we receive information that the threat is more imminent, or if the United Nations' effort fails, then the President should come back to Congress for consideration of the next step. Providing the President with authorization at this time for unilateral U.S. military action would undercut UN Security Council efforts to disarm Iraq.
We must ensure that any action we take against Iraq does not come at the expense of the health and strength of our nation, or the stability of the international order upon which our economic security depends. I spoke at length on the Senate floor last week about pressing problems that will determine the future strength of our nation - inadequate funding for education, declining access to affordable health care, degradation of our environment, and erosion of pension security for many hard-working Americans.
Mr. President, Saddam Hussein is as bad a dictator as they come. His past actions speak volumes about his true intentions. But is the only solution to this dilemma a military solution? Experience tells us otherwise. Ten years of containment through enforcement of two no-fly zones and UN economic sanctions have prevented Saddam Hussein from rebuilding his military to any significant extent. His military strength remains significantly weaker than when he moved against Kuwait more than a decade ago.
There is much speculation about his weapons of mass destruction program, but no evidence that he has developed a nuclear capability. While there is talk of cooperation between Iraq and Al Qaeda, and I don't doubt that there has been some cooperation, I have not seen any hard evidence of close cooperation. There is, however, a great deal of evidence of Saddam's paranoia and his distrust of all but his closest inner circle. He has wiped out any viable political opposition and tightly holds all the reigns of control. Even if he were to develop a nuclear capability, I have a hard time believing that Saddam Hussein would turn these weapons over to any organization, particularly a terrorist organization, after he has paid so dearly to acquire them.
Our greatest problem, it seems to me, is that we have very little good intelligence on what is going on inside Iraq. We know that Saddam Hussein's intentions are bad, but we don't have a clear picture of what his capabilities actually are. Clearly, we need to get United Nations inspectors on the ground immediately. The inspectors must have unfettered access to all suspected sites in Iraq. This is proving to be a major challenge for the United Nations, but the United Nations is much more likely to succeed if the United States is squarely behind its efforts, and not standing off to the side, secretly hoping that it will fail.
We should give the United Nations the opportunity to step forward and deal with Iraq and its infractions. In my estimation, the United States stands to gain much more if we can work with the United Nations to deliver a multilateral approach to disarming Iraq, even providing military force if necessary. If the United Nations fails to press for the disarmament of Iraq or is blocked in its efforts, then I would expect the President to come back to Congress for further discussion of the alternatives.
In view of this threat from Saddam Hussein, I urge the Congress not to adjourn sine die upon completion of its work this fall, but to be ready to return to session at any time prior to the New Year if further action against Saddam Hussein should become necessary.
Mr. President, we must also work with the United Nations to stop the flow of those materials needed for producing weapons of mass destruction. There is a great deal more that we could do to tighten international non-proliferation regimes. Rather than supporting and empowering international efforts to stop the flow of nuclear materials and force greater transparency in chemical and biological commercial production facilities, the Bush Administration has undercut these efforts and refused to participate in attempts to strengthen existing non-proliferation regimes. For example, last fall, at the Biological Weapons Convention review conference, the Bush Administration scuttled efforts by our closest allies, most notably Great Britain, to strengthen the international biological weapons inspection regime.
The Administration has actively undermined efforts to monitor and verify the existing international moratorium on nuclear weapons testing. Additionally, we should be putting more resources into the Nunn-Lugar program, which has had some success at preventing the export from the former Soviet Union of nuclear weapons materials and scientific know-how. Saddam Hussein is not the only deranged dictator who is willing to deprive his people in order to acquire weapons of mass destruction.
Just think of what progress we could make on non-proliferation if we were to put one fraction of the cost of a war against Saddam Hussein into efforts to prevent the emergence of the next nuclear, chemical or biological threat. Strong efforts at strengthening international non-proliferation regimes would truly enhance our nation's future security.
In our preoccupation with Saddam Hussein, we must not lose sight of potential crises in several other areas of the world. The India-Pakistan nuclear confrontation and the standoff over Kashmir have demanded a great deal of American effort during the past year. We cannot rule out a re-emergence of this nuclear threat. The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians continues to claim lives and threaten the stability of the region. Without US prodding and even direct involvement, there is little chance that a peace process could resume there. War with Iraq could have an inflammatory effect upon that situation, and potentially risk the security of Israel was well. A war with Iraq would diminish our focus on bringing stability to Afghanistan, risking a return of anarchy to an area we have just given American lives to stabilize. While Pakistan has stood with us this year, a lessening of US attention to Afghanistan could significantly undercut our influence in Islamabad.
And the larger war on terrorism, our top concern just a few months ago, would take a back seat to a protracted war with Iraq and a major reconstruction effort. Yes, we must worry about Saddam. But we must not do so in a manner that reduces our ability to deal with these other threats.
Mr. President, I fear that this Administration is, perhaps unwittingly, heading us into a miserable cycle of waging wars that isolate our nation internationally and stir up greater hatred of America. This cycle will generate more enemies, while undercutting our support from a broad coalition of allies - coalitions that have proven to be the hallmark of all successful peacemaking efforts in recent years.
We owe it to the American people not to rush into a war, but to work with the institutions that we fought so hard to develop for just this eventuality. If multilateral efforts fail, then the President should come back to Congress for consideration of the next course of action. I cannot support a resolution that puts this nation on a path to war without first exhausting diplomatic efforts. Now is the time to put the international system to work for us, and consider unilateral military action only as a last resort. return to menu
DISCLAIMER: Nuclear News is presented for informational purposes only. Views presented in any given article are those of the individual author or source and not of RANSAC. RANSAC takes no responsibility for the technical accuracy of information contained in any article presented in Nuclear News.