2 September 1999
Source: http://www.usia.gov/cgi-bin/washfile/display.pl?p=/products/washfile/latest&f=99090101.plt&t=/products/washfile/newsitem.shtml

USIS Washington File

01 September 1999

Berger on Curbing Spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction

(From USIA electronic journal "U.S. Foreign Policy Agenda") (3200)

(As the risk increases that terrorists may seek to acquire or use
weapons of mass destruction (WMD), President Clinton's national
security adviser says the administration is pursuing three key
priorities: strengthening the nonproliferation regime, addressing
pressing regional WMD threats, and bolstering defenses against the use
of WMD. The following article by Samuel R. Berger is included in the
September issue of the USIA electronic journal "U.S. Foreign Policy
Agenda," which addresses the topic, "Responding to the Challenge of

Strengthening Nonproliferation: Essential to Global Security

By Samuel R. Berger

National Security Adviser to President Clinton

Slowing the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) has been a key
priority for President Clinton. The reason why is clear: allowing more
and more countries, including bitter regional rivals and even
terrorist groups, to develop nuclear, chemical, and biological
weapons, and allowing the development of more and more destructive
weapons, would make the world a much more dangerous place. So the
United States will continue to work hard to strengthen global
nonproliferation agreements and efforts.

Recent troubling developments have underscored the urgency of this

In May 1998, India, and then Pakistan, conducted nuclear tests that
blew the lid off South Asia's long-simmering nuclear rivalry. These
explosions have threatened to trigger a full-fledged nuclear and
missile race in the region. And this year's confrontation over the
Kargil border area, in Kashmir, reaffirmed the continuing danger of
violent conflict between these two rivals.

In July 1998, Iran's test of the Shahab-3 missile extended Tehran's
capability to strike at targets in the Middle East. Combined with
Iran's continued pursuit of nuclear weapons, this missile development
poses a threat to stability in the region.

In August 1998, North Korea tested its Taepo-Dong missile over Japan.
This test, and signs that North Korea is preparing for a second test
of a long-range missile, threaten to undermine efforts to build peace
and security in that region.

Meanwhile, Russia's continuing economic difficulties have heightened
the challenge for Moscow to control the leakage of sensitive
weapons-related materials and technology beyond its borders.
Scientists and institutes involved in weapons development have faced
increased financial pressures to sell their wares to whoever is in the
market, including rogue states.

Finally, in December 1998, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein once again
broke his commitments to cooperate with UN inspectors, ignoring the
warnings of the international community. The United States, together
with Great Britain, responded with force, attacking Iraq's program to
develop and deliver WMD and its capacity to threaten its neighbors.
But we have not eliminated the danger, and our resolve to curb the
threat Saddam poses will not diminish.

In addition to these specific developments, two broad and dangerous
trends have emerged.

First, as the President has repeatedly warned, the risk is increasing
that terrorists will acquire and seek to use chemical or biological
weapons as weapons of terror.

Second, ballistic missile proliferation has intensified, as
demonstrated by the Iranian and North Korean missile tests and
advances in the missile programs of India and Pakistan. While the
technology to develop intercontinental-range missiles remains out of
reach for a large number of countries, shorter-range missile
capabilities -- based on liquid-fueled SCUD technology -- are widely
available. The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) helps to limit
the spread of missile technology, but several key suppliers, such as
North Korea, are outside the MTCR. Unfortunately, in regions like the
Middle East and South Asia, political dynamics still weigh against
agreements to limit these missiles.

Not all recent news on nonproliferation has been bad. There have been
several encouraging developments. The multilateral Conference on
Disarmament has agreed to arrangements for negotiations on a global
Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty, which would halt the production of
additional material for nuclear weapons. Brazil has ratified the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and joined the Non-Proliferation Treaty,
completing a remarkable process that has almost eliminated the threat
of nuclear proliferation in Latin America. Russia has taken steps to
halt the spread of weapons technologies from its borders. And the U.S.
Congress passed critical legislation to implement the Chemical Weapons

Also encouraging has been the global reaction to the nuclear tests by
India and Pakistan: They were condemned in nearly every corner of the
world. Here was an issue where the United States, China, and Russia
found a common voice; where major powers agreed with many nations of
the developing world. Far from demonstrating the death of
international norms against proliferation, the international reaction
to the tests showed the resilience of these norms.

But these positive signs have been overshadowed by the mounting
challenges. More than ever, the nations of the world need to come
together to build a safer future. Let me outline U.S. policy
initiatives for preventing and addressing proliferation as we reach a
new century.

First, we are moving aggressively to strengthen the nonproliferation
regime, by which I mean the international consensus and the
international agreements and structures aimed at curbing WMD and
ballistic missiles.

Bolstering this regime is critical if we are to give nations greater
confidence that they can forego or limit WMD and ballistic missiles
without finding themselves at a disadvantage against rivals
brandishing such weapons. The regime is also essential for isolating
nations outside the regime and pressuring them to restrain their
programs and eventually to join.

With respect to strengthening the regime, President Clinton continues
to stress that obtaining the U.S. Senate's advice and consent to
ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) is one of his
top foreign policy goals. The President has called the CTBT the
"longest-sought, hardest-fought prize in the history of arms control."
The people of the United States overwhelmingly support the treaty, as
they have consistently since President Dwight Eisenhower proposed it
more than 40 years ago.

The treaty bans all nuclear explosive tests. We should pause and
contemplate this development: 152 nations -- including the United
States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, and China -- have signed
an accord to never, or never again, test a nuclear device. Forty-one
countries, including many of our allies, have already ratified it. We
must not let this extraordinary opportunity slip away.

By its terms, the CTBT cannot enter into force until the United States
and other key designated nations ratify it. As the President has
argued, if we fail to ratify, we will undercut our own efforts to curb
further nuclear arms development, including in South Asia, where India
and Pakistan each have announced an intention to adhere to the CTBT.

The President has stressed to U.S. audiences that the treaty is in the
U.S. national interest. Four former chairmen of the U.S. Joint Chiefs
of Staff -- John Shalikashvili, Colin Powell, William Crowe, and David
Jones -- as well as the current chairman, Henry Shelton, are among the
many U.S. leaders who agree on that. The United States already has
stopped testing nuclear weapons. Nuclear experts affirm that we can
maintain a safe and reliable deterrent without testing. The question
now is whether we will adopt -- or whether we will lose -- a
verifiable treaty that will bar other nations from testing nuclear

The treaty will constrain the development of more advanced nuclear
weapons by nations that already have them -- and limit the
possibilities for other states to acquire them. It will also enhance
the ability of nations to detect and deter suspicious activities by
other nations. With or without a CTBT, we must monitor such
activities. The treaty gives us new tools to pursue this vital
mission: a global network of sensors to supplement national
intelligence capabilities and the right to request short-notice,
on-site inspections in other countries.

In addition to the CTBT, the United States wants to make rapid
progress on a treaty to ban further production of fissile materials.
In the fall of 1998, we called on all countries that have tested
nuclear devices to adhere to a voluntary production moratorium. The
United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, and China have
stopped producing fissile material. We hope that all of these
countries, along with India and Pakistan, will formally join this
moratorium while we seek a treaty through the Conference on

We also will work to strengthen other components of the nuclear
nonproliferation regime, including the safeguards applied by the
International Atomic Energy Agency. And we will implement the
initiative Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin announced in Russia in 1998
under which the United States and Russia each would dispose safely of
50 tons of plutonium that is no longer needed by their military
programs. One hundred tons of plutonium would be enough to make
literally thousands of nuclear weapons.

Another strong catalyst for persuading nations to forego nuclear
weapons would be continued progress in the START (Strategic Arms
Reduction Treaty) process -- the effort by the United States and
Russia to reduce their nuclear arsenals. Meeting in June 1999 in
Cologne, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin reaffirmed their joint
commitment to securing START II's entry into force. We hope the
Russian Duma will promptly ratify START II this fall, which will
clearly benefit Russia's security, as well as the United States'. And
during their follow-up meeting in July in Washington, then-Prime
Minister Stepashin and Vice President Gore agreed that discussions on
START III and the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty would begin
in August. We seek to conclude a START III Treaty for even deeper cuts
based on the agreement reached by Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin at
Helsinki in 1997.

Our commitment to strengthening the global nonproliferation regime
extends, of course, beyond nuclear weapons. The United States ratified
the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1997. We continue to pursue
aggressively another key priority announced by President Clinton in
his 1998 State of the Union address: strengthening our ability to
determine whether nations are complying with the Biological Weapons
Convention. We are committed to securing over the next year
international agreement on declaration and inspection measures that
will make it much more difficult for nations to violate their
obligations under the convention.

The chemical and biological conventions are vital not only to
preventing states from acquiring WMD but also, in combination with law
enforcement and intelligence, to keeping these weapons away from
terrorists. Though the conventions are focused on the obligations of
states, not sub-state actors, virtually every state on our State
Department's list of terrorism sponsors has WMD programs. As potential
suppliers of such weapons to terrorists, there is no more worrisome
source than these state sponsors. Under a strong nonproliferation
regime, states that fail to join or comply with the conventions will
be isolated, constrained from obtaining weapons materials, and thus
hindered from assisting terrorists with WMD activities.

Our second set of priorities focuses on the most pressing regional
proliferation challenges.

With respect to South Asia, we have pressed for a strong international
response to deter India and Pakistan from additional testing.
President Clinton, Secretary of State Albright, Deputy Secretary of
State Strobe Talbott and other officials have engaged in intense
diplomatic efforts to move India and Pakistan away from nuclear
confrontation and further escalation of tensions. We will continue to
encourage the Indo-Pakistani dialogue that began so encouragingly in
Lahore in February 1999. We will also encourage these South Asian
nations to pursue concrete results on nonproliferation goals:
adherence to the CTBT, establishment of strong export controls, and
restraint on fissile materials production and ballistic missile
development and deployment.

Dealing with North Korea is a delicate balancing act that requires a
judicious mix of deterrence, diplomacy, and aggressive
nonproliferation efforts. The Agreed Framework, reached in 1994,
halted North Korean production of fissile material for nuclear
weapons. The successful inspection of the Kumchang-ni nuclear site in
North Korea in the spring of 1999 has resolved our concerns about
underground nuclear activity at this location. However, we remain very
concerned about the possibility of another long-range missile test by
Pyongyang. As Secretary of Defense Cohen and South Korean Defense
Minister Cho stated in Seoul on July 29, 1999, North Korea will have
more to lose than to gain by firing a new missile.

We have a full and important agenda of arms control and
nonproliferation issues to address with China. We will continue to
seek China's entry into the Missile Technology Control Regime, a step
that in June 1998 China agreed to study seriously. Our dialogue with
China on nuclear nonproliferation has produced concrete progress:
China has ceased all cooperation with unsafeguarded nuclear
facilities; pledged to engage in no new nuclear cooperation with Iran,
including for peaceful purposes; promulgated national nuclear export
laws controlling export of dual-use items with nuclear applications;
and joined the Zangger Committee (the multilateral group which
coordinates efforts to control nuclear exports).

We are working with China to conclude new verification provisions to
strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention. And we would like to see
Beijing expand its export control coverage to all of the chemical
precursors listed by the Australia Group (the multilateral body which
coordinates exports to prevent the spread of chemical and biological

On Iraq, we will maintain sanctions until Iraq fully complies with its
commitments under the relevant UN Security Council resolutions,
especially its obligation to eliminate its WMD programs entirely. We
remain steadfast in our determination that disarmament under these
resolutions is the only pathway to sanctions relief. It is up to
Saddam Hussein to decide whether he wants sanctions relief by giving
up his WMD. In the meantime, we will be ready to act decisively --
including with force -- if we see Iraq rebuilding a WMD capability.

As to Russia, we will continue to work with the Russian leadership to
halt dangerous proliferation activity on the part of Russian entities
-- particularly those that might cooperate with Iran's missile and
nuclear weapons programs. This issue remains at the top of our agenda
with the Russian government and has been addressed by President
Clinton and Vice President Gore in recent discussions with President
Yeltsin and former Prime Minister Stepashin.

We will continue to work with Russia to strengthen its export control
system and to take effective actions against companies and individuals
who are violating Russian laws and putting personal gain over Russia's
own national interests. We have developed incentives to encourage
responsible behavior. We have established and, where appropriate,
imposed tough penalties against Russian entities that violate
international nonproliferation standards.

In the end, though, the most effective shield against proliferation
from Russia is not U.S. penalties, but a Russian export control system
that is designed to work and does so. Only Russia can police its own
borders, factories, and technology institutes.

Recent positive developments suggest our strategy is beginning to show
results. Over the past two months, Moscow has strengthened the
foundations of Russia's nonproliferation policy and strengthened
Russia's export control system. Russian agencies have been directed to
implement a work plan designed in cooperation with the United States
and aimed at a number of our most pressing concerns on the
proliferation front. In July, President Yeltsin signed a robust export
control law that introduces criminal and civil liability for companies
and individuals who engage in activities of proliferation concern.
Finally, the Russians are working with U.S. experts to install
effective export control systems at Russian aerospace companies. These
internal compliance units, which are common in other industrialized
countries, will form the first line of defense and carry out important
oversight functions to help keep sensitive technologies from falling
into the wrong hands.

Now that these tools are in place, we are encouraging the Russian
government to take visible steps to enforce Russia's export controls
and to deter potential violators. Progress in this area in coming
months is essential, and we will be watching Russian actions closely.

Our effort in this area also includes programs designed to address the
very real need for seeing to it that scientists with expertise related
to WMD are gainfully employed. That is why we are funding the
International Science and Technology Center in Moscow and other
initiatives to help thousands of these scientists apply their skills
to civilian endeavors. It is why we are seeking funding for the
Nuclear Cities Initiative to help Russia convert its nuclear weapons
production facilities to peaceful uses.

It is also why President Clinton announced the Expanded Threat
Reduction Initiative (ETRI) in January 1999. Under this effort, we
seek to expand existing threat reduction programs, which have proven
successful in eliminating hundreds of missiles, silos, launchers, and
bombers, and in securing dangerous weapons-grade nuclear materials.
The ETRI would allow us to continue to work together with Russia to
secure and dispose of dangerous materials, convert WMD resources to
peaceful use, tighten export controls, and help ensure that Russian
scientists are engaged in work that in no way involves proliferation
activities. We have asked our Congress to give the ETRI its full

Our third set of priorities recognizes that, despite our efforts to
strengthen the international regime and resolve regional issues, we
cannot prevent all forms of proliferation in all cases. Weapons of
mass destruction already are out there in the hands of dangerous
actors. So we must devote sufficient resources to develop defensive
capabilities to protect people in the event these weapons are used.

To deal with the spread of ballistic missile technology in key
regions, we have stepped up our Theater Missile Defense programs,
including with Israel and Japan. And in 2000, we will determine
whether to move from research to deployment of a limited National
Missile Defense (NMD) to counter the emerging ballistic missile threat
from rogue nations. We will make our decision after reviewing the
results of developmental efforts, considering cost estimates, and
evaluating the threat. We will also review progress in achieving our
arms control objectives, including negotiating any amendments to the
ABM Treaty that may be required to accommodate a possible NMD

We also are strengthening efforts to protect people from the threat of
terrorist use of WMD. We have launched a robust program under our
National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and
Counterterrorism. We have created a National Domestic Preparedness
Office to train and equip fire, police, and medical personnel across
the United States to deal with chemical, biological, or nuclear
emergencies. We are working to improve our public health surveillance
system -- so that if a biological weapon is released, we can detect it
and save lives. As President Clinton has said, if we prepare to defend
against these emerging threats, we will show terrorists that assaults
on innocent people "will accomplish nothing but their own downfall."

All of these efforts -- strengthening the nonproliferation regime,
addressing regional threats, and bolstering defenses -- are essential.
And the United States will continue to work hard on each front.

As President Clinton's continuing focus on these matters -- in talks
with world leaders, meetings with experts, policy-making with his
national security team, and speeches to the public -- makes plain, the
United States will continue to be vigilant and determined against the
spread of weapons of mass destruction. It is essential to global
security -- now and for future generations -- that we do so.