19-23 JUNE 2006 - VISIT TO WASHINGTON D.C AND SAN FRANCISCO, UNITED STATES BY THE PC SUB-COMMITTEE ON TRANSATLANTIC RELATIONS
1. Led by Chairman Egemen Bagis (TR), the Sub-Committee on Transatlantic Relations (PCTR) visited Washington, DC and San Francisco from 19 to 23 June 2006. The 25 Parliamentarians discussed transatlantic relations, the transformation of the Alliance as well as NATO's ongoing operation in Afghanistan. In addition, proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and the related crises with Iran and North Korea (the Democratic People's Republic of Korea - DPRK) were high on the agenda during the weeklong visit.
2. The discussions accentuated that transatlantic relations have considerably improved over the last year. The common approach to deal with the challenge posed by the Iranian nuclear programme was seen as emblematic for the reinvigorated partnership. There was strong agreement "we are now past Iraq" and that communication and co-operation between the US and the Allies has improved, as Assistant Secretary of State Dan Fried said. Reflecting its increased emphasis on multi-lateralism, the Bush administration wants to discuss role the future role for NATO with its NATO partners, as well as its relationships with partners, he added.
3. Very similar, if not identical, views were also expressed on the key security issues. Speakers and members of the delegation repeatedly stressed that the transatlantic partners share the same values and face similar threats. That said, several members of the delegation as well as some independent experts argued that the US and its Allies held different views on how to tackle today's security challenges. Some voiced the opinion that the US would be overly emphasising military means to achieve security. Loic Bouvard cautioned that different approaches to security might even endanger the Alliance in the long run. However, US speakers submitted that the US is employing the whole gamut of diplomatic, political, economic and military instruments to security. In this context Congressman David Price, Vice-Chairman of the Sub-Committee, informed about the House Democracy Assistance Commission, which he co-chairs. The Dreier-Price Commission was created in 2005 and modelled after the Frost-Solomon Task Force, which provided assistance to the parliaments of 10 new democracies in Central and Eastern Europe, he explained. It works to strengthen democratic institutions by assisting parliaments in emerging democracies. That security cannot be achieved by military means alone was also recognised by Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Ambassador Eric S. Edelman. In this context he noted that at least 50% of the 'Global War on Terrorism' (GwoT) is a public relations war. He acknowledged, however, that the US had 'not done a very good job in explaining what our values are'.
4. Although transatlantic relations have strongly improved among governments, perceptions of the US administration among European publics are not yet back on track. The discussions revealed a sense of "disconnect between elites and publics" as Karen Donfried, Senior Director at the German Marshall Fund, coined it. She pointed to the recent 'Transatlantic Trends' survey1 that indicates lower British, French and German confidence in President Bush than in China or Nigeria. Donfried said she was "astounded" that Iraq, the "number one security issue in the US", does not feature more prominently on the transatlantic agenda. This apparent lack of dialogue may be due in part to a realisation that the transatlantic Allies cannot easily find common ground on Iraq, she suggested. Moreover, US and European medias' 'strikingly different' reporting on major issues complicates consensus building further, according to Donfried.
5. Despite the markedly improved transatlantic relationship, the exchanges during the meetings also identified a number of contentious issues. These included, among others, the transfer of technology between the US and its Allies, the International Criminal Court (ICC), which the US is unlikely to join, and the US military prison camp at Guantanamo. With regard to the latter, Mr Paul Keetch (UK) and others expressed concerned that the treatment of prisoners is not subject to any internal democratic review. Acknowledging serious differences in the legal interpretation with the Allies on the issue, Fried explained that these 'unlawful combatants' were picked up in 'lawless areas'. He added that the US has meanwhile begun a dialogue with European states on legal issues. As to technology transfer among Allies, Paul Keetch, Assen Agov (BUL), and Marit Nybakk (NO) expressed concern the US' reluctance to share technology with the Allies, particularly in the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) project, in which the UK has a 25 % development share.
6. Senior US officials, including Ambassador Edelman, affirmed that NATO remains critical to US security and that the US considers NATO as the principal forum for transatlantic security co-operation. Ambassador Dan Fried, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, noted that NATO has responded effectively to changes in post-Cold War security challenges. He reminded the delegation of NATO's central role in the unification of Europe during the 1990s which has been a catalyst for EU enlargement.
7. Though collective defence remains NATO's core mission, State and Defense Departments officials highlighted that new security challenges originate from 'out-of-area'. Kurt Volker pointed out that the Alliance has 'hugely changed' since the Cold War and now comprises 26 member nations conducting eight operations simultaneously together with 20 PfP partner countries as well as its partners from the Mediterranean and the Gulf regions. While Fried and Volker anticipated that NATO will increasingly have to react to the challenges outside Europe, Edelman reminded the delegation that member countries' defence budgets must match NATO's level of ambition. The Undersecretary expressed concern that a majority of NATO nations continue to miss the goal to invest 2 % of the GDP in military spending.
8. With regard to the Riga Summit in November 2006, Volker anticipated that it will principally focus on the 'internal strengthening of NATO' and that it will particularly address the following issues:
- continued advancement of NATO-led operations, notably in Afghanistan (ISAF), the NATO training mission in Iraq (NTMI), in Kosovo and the commitment to support African Union's (AU) operations;
9. With regard to the latter, Jeff Simon of the National Defense University's Institute for National Strategic Studies stressed that NATO and the EU had done a 'very good job' in the Western Balkans. Nonetheless, the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina (after of the failure to pass the constitution), the impact of Montenegro's independence on the region, and the final status of Kosovo will demand continued and even improved co-operation between the two organisations. NATO's continued military presence in Kosovo will be necessary even after conclusion of the Kosovo status talks. Arguing that South-Eastern Europe presents a 'marvellous opportunity to enhance NATO-EU co-operation' he posited that EU and NATO need to hone their co-operation mechanisms, particularly to tackle the 'proliferation of organised crime and corruption'. Both can further assist in the development of institutions that generate accountability and transparency. In addition, sub-regional organisations, particularly SEEBRIG (South East European Brigade), SEEDM (South-East European Defence Ministerials), and SECI (Southeast European Cooperative Initiative) advance regional co-operation security, he said.
10. While Fried and Volker suggested that the Alliance needs to revise its Strategic Concept, both posited that NATO should build a 'track record of action' before the Allies can update their basic document. They anticipated that a new Strategic Concept to be agreed upon during the Alliance's 60th anniversary in 2009.
11. US plans to withdraw its air forces from Iceland were also briefly discussed during the State Department meetings. Volker emphasised that the US had no intention to unilaterally abrogate its bi-lateral agreement with Iceland but that it was looking into other ways of assuring Iceland's defence.
12. Though US officials did not anticipate that the Allied heads of state and government will invite new members to join the Alliance, several speakers stressed that NATO, as well as the EU, need to keep integration prospects 'alive and credible'. At the same time, applicant countries must continue their efforts to meet the necessary requirements for admission, they iterated.
13. With regard to Ukraine, David J. Kramer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, expressed hope that the new government will be formed soon and that it remains reform-minded. Responding to questions by NATO PA Vice President Jose Lello (PT), Kramer said that the government in Kiyv must address the weak support for NATO in Ukraine. Asked if Ukraine's possible membership in the Alliance could negatively impact NATO's relations with Russia, he stressed that NATO's relations with Russia and partner countries like Ukraine or Georgia are not 'zero-sum-games'. Ambassador Dan Fried and other US speakers agreed that NATO-Russia co-operation progressed positively, but that more needs to be done to develop them to their full potential. While Fried and Volker highlighted the desire to co-operate with Russia wherever possible, they also expressed concern about a perceived authoritarian trend that emphasises a 'strong state' rather than building strong institutions, especially parliament, independent courts as well as independent media. Additional concern was expressed about Moscow's treatment of its neighbours, particularly Georgia, and the apparent use of its energy resources to political ends.
14. In a meeting with the Sub-Committee, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace, provided an update on the situation in Iraq. On the positive side, approximately 260 000 Iraqi army and police have by now been equipped and trained. Moreover, 18 of the total of 37 brigades are 'in lead', i.e. they are able to operate with only limited support from the US-led coalition. On the negative side, attacks against the US-led coalition and against the Iraqi government and population are continuing. While improvised explosive devices (IED) are becoming less effective against troops, the number of civilians who fall victim to these is increasing, he explained. The General said he believed that a large number of those who plant IED are 'persuadable'. Responding to a comment by Mr Paolo Casaca (EP) who identified al-Qaeda's infiltration in the Iraqi security forces as a serious problem, General Pace informed that the Iraqi government has introduced a vetting process to tackle this challenge. Iraqi authorities reject approximately 1/3 of the people who want to join the security forces, he added. Asked about the duration of US troop deployment in Iraq, the General said that this would depend on the situation on the ground. If there would be no major setbacks he anticipated that Iraqis required strong US military presence for an additional 18 months. If the US-led coalition left today, it would do enormous damage to Iraq and to the war against terror, he warned. Summing up the current situation in Iraq, the General said that there is 'hard work ahead but as long as you stay with it, we'll succeed'.
15. Exchanges with government officials as well as independent experts reflected a general agreement that serious mistakes were committed before and during the Iraq war. Congressman Price noted that the occupation in Iraq has become a 'magnet for terrorists'. Commenting that efforts to rebuild the Iraqi infrastructure are 'faltering', he emphasised that the US-led coalition cannot alone stabilise the country. A majority of other speakers shared this opinion. There was also strong consensus that Iraq needs continued and even improved assistance from the international community. A number of US interlocutors, including Undersecretary of Defense Edelman, acknowledged Allied support for the NATO training mission in Iraq (NTMI), but called for increased Allied assistance in Iraq.
16. Reflecting the volatility of the situation in Iraq discussions did not produce a clear consensus about the future of the country. The US House of Representatives and the US Senate held 'vigorous' debates over Iraq and there is 'a great deal of dissent and discontent with the US administration's policy' in Iraq, the delegation learned. One of the contentious issues currently debated in the US, primarily along Party lines, is whether or not to set a timetable for the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq. While Democrats argue that 'we should not become hostage to a failed policy', a majority of Republicans warn that any timetable for withdrawal would embolden the opposition, Congressman David Price explained. But a majority of interlocutors held the view that the US-led coalition has learned lessons and that, as former Secretary of Defense, William Perry put it, it has the 'right strategy' to tackle the insurgency. Others, however, were more sceptical about this. Criticising that 'we had been consistently led to error in Iraq', Mr Casaca maintained that the US need to reconsider its policy in Iraq. CRS expert Ken Katzman said that Sunni social and political support for insurgency made him 'pessimistic' about the chances to build a stable Iraq in the medium term.
17. That Iraq can still heavily tax the transatlantic relationship also emerged from the discussions. Donfried suggested that some Allies had 'opted out' from NATO's training commitment to Iraq and commented that 'the US-coalition in Iraq is breaking apart'. Mr Agov noted that the US domestic debate about the possible duration of troop deployment in Iraq reverberates in the countries that have troops stationed along with the US. In a similar vein, Karl Lamers (DE) added that it is very important that any decision about the possible withdrawal from Iraq must take into consideration the security on the ground. Moreover, the US should consult with the Allies about this before any decision will be taken.
18. NATO operations in Afghanistan were high on the agenda both in Washington and in San Francisco. Recent reports from Afghanistan depict a worsening security situation and the number of air strikes in last few months has been doubled compared to the previous periods, as Mr Price pointed out. Some speakers commented that the optimistic views of progress in Afghanistan have given way to a more sober analysis. According to a speaker, the US administration had 'allowed itself far too soon to get diverted by Iraq'.
19. Though he acknowledged that the number of attacks in Afghanistan has increased, General Peter Pace considered the Taliban a 'tactical problem'. Accordingly, he ascribed the increase in attacks to NATO's expanding operations and argued that the Taliban would probably see the attacks as last best chance. Ambassador Edelman as well as Ken Katzman seconded to this view by commenting that the Taliban are looking to test NATO in Afghanistan. In contrast to Iraq, there is very little insurgency activity in urban areas, the delegation was informed. Moreover, with the possible exception of the south of the country there is 'no social base that supports the insurgency', according to Congressional Research (CRS) Specialists Alan Kronstadt and Ken Katzman. On the positive side, the Afghan National Army (ANA) now numbers between 30,000 and 35,000 well-trained troops, while some 12,000 of a total of about 57,000 officers of the Afghan National Police (ANP) have received advanced training.
20. The Undersecretary of Defense noted that Allied and Partners' involvement in Afghanistan reflected the future of NATO operations. He commended the expansion of NATO's operation to Stage 3, but cautioned that Stage 4, i.e. NATO's expansion to the east of Afghanistan, should only begin after the current expansion will be successfully completed. Members of the delegation and US officials agreed that the Allies must not fail in Afghanistan. Discussions also referred to the different roles of the NATO-led ISAF and the counter-terrorist operation 'Enduring Freedom' (OEF).
21. US officials commended NATO's successful operations in Afghanistan as well as the contribution of NATO and partner countries. However, Ambassador Edelman warned that even though the casualties of coalition forces in Afghanistan have been 'relatively low' the Allies should be prepared that success will not be achieved risk free. In this context, Mr Keetch stressed the need to completely remove existing 'national caveats', i.e. limitations on the use of national military contingents.
22. Discussions also revealed agreement that further improvements in Afghan security also depend on developments in Pakistan, whose north-western tribal areas serve as a safe haven for the Taliban and their supporters. Alan Kronstadt estimated that approximately 1,000 terrorists, including many Chechens, Uzbeks and Arabs are operating from there. Pakistan's own military efforts to fight insurgents in the border areas have thus far been ineffective, Kronstadt noted. Islamic militants find support by local tribes but there are also indications that 'some meaningful elements of the Pakistan military are colluding with the Taliban'. Recognising that these failed military efforts may have fired up the opposition, Pakistani authorities are now attempting to regain control of the border regions by putting more effort on the economic development.
23. A number of US speakers, including Congressman David Price, emphasised the need to bring Islamabad to stronger efforts to fight the Taliban in their country. As a first step to improve the co-operation with the Pakistan government, General Pace stressed the importance to have an open dialogue. CRS experts considered US efforts to influence Pakistan to be limited, partly due to a strong anti-American sentiment in the country and the fear that the US may leave Pakistan in the lurch again as it did after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan had ended. Hopes for improvement after aid following earthquake did not materialize as US UAV against terrorists in north-western Pakistan in January this year killed 18 Pakistanis. A possible approach to obtain better co-operation by Pakistan could be to offer 'conditioned aid' to Pakistan, the CRS experts submitted and added that a more concerted effort by US Allies would also be helpful. However, though it is riddled with a host of challenges, Katzman and Kronstadt did not anticipate that Pakistan could become a 'failed state' any time soon.
24. William Cole, the Asia Foundation's Senior Director of the Program Development & Strategy Group and Director of Governance, Law, and Civil Society, noted that the 'neutralisation' of warlords by co-opting and sidelining was critical to the successful conclusion of the Bonn process. Many of the regional warlords have become landowners in a 'market that has gone through the roof', he added. Asked about the United Nations Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), he said that it has been relatively effective in some areas. Ethnicity remains an important issue in Afghanistan, with the main historical divide between Pashtuns and non-Pashtuns. Overall, he and others concluded that Afghanistan has made 'good progress', although delays in necessary improvements of the security and of the infrastructure continue to hamper the further consolidation of the country. This is particularly the case in the provinces, where progress is 'extremely slow', according to Cole. He considered oversight delays and failure to develop responsible government as the most serious long-term threats. Katzman stressed the important role of the Afghan parliament, which he called 'very vibrant'. He added that the parliament is very much seized by the matter to tackle this and that parliamentary oversight may begin to address some of the questions.
25. Apart from the Taliban and the issue of ethnic tensions, drug production and corruption are the two dominating factors that negatively affect the further development of Afghanistan, speakers in Washington and San Francisco stressed. Both are almost inextricably linked with each other and the drug problem will not improve significantly unless there is improvement in the economy. Unfortunately, Afghanistan has very few comparative advantages, as Cole and others noted. He stressed that a large portion of Afghanistan's economy is in the hand of organised criminals. Cole estimated that opium traffickers earned between US-$2,4 and 2,5 billion in 2005, representing approximately 50 % of the country's GDP. Moreover, it appears that the 2006 poppy cultivation has increased in 13 provinces, and only been reduced in three. Discussions did produce more questions than answers about how to best tackle the problem of drug production in Afghanistan.
26. Esther Brimmer, Deputy Director and Director of Research, Center for Transatlantic Relations, John Hopkins University, stressed the need to approach homeland security, or 'societal security' as she called it, holistically. A 'societal security' would look to the protection of the social cohesion of a country, namely the protection of a nation's rule of law, education system and the infrastructure that define the well being of its population. In her view, 'societal security' would thus address primarily the following areas:
1/ Prevention - which requires greater co-operation on intelligence gathering and distribution;
27. Brimmer also suggested that NATO should explore possible areas of co-operation with its Partners, including also Australia, New Zealand, and Japan.
F.PROLIFERATION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS AND MATERIALS
28. The proliferation of WMD, especially nuclear material, also featured prominently on the itinerary of the visit, both in Washington and in San Francisco. Speakers stressed the changed and changing proliferation challenges over the last 30 years. There was agreement that the anticipated 'worst case' proliferation scenario did not come about. Thus far, only three of the so-called "dirty dozen", i.e. countries that pursued nuclear weapons programmes2, actually developed these, according to Robert Gallucci, Dean of the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University. Moreover, there has been no large-scale processing of plutonium. Notably the 'disaster waiting to happen' in Russia which had approximately 1 million tons of HEU in 1992, according to Siegfried ('Sig') Hecker, visiting professor at Stanford University's Center for International Security and Co-operation (CISAC) and former director of Los Alamos National Laboratory, did not materialise. In this context, he said that the 'enormous patriotism of Russian nuclear workers' is not sufficiently appreciated.
29. Speakers also generally concurred about the main nuclear challenges that the US and its allies, but also the international community face today. Ranked most prominently among the main threats were the nexus of terrorism and WMD proliferation and the possible leakage of inadequately secured nuclear materials, particularly from Russia and from Pakistan. In addition, the DPRK's and Iran's nuclear programmes and the danger of these countries proliferating nuclear weapons and technology were repeatedly cited.
30. By and large, the majority of independent experts expressed most concern about terrorist groups that thrive to obtain nuclear materials. Accordingly, Sig Hecker considered nuclear terrorism as the most urgent security challenge. As they are generally well protected he considered it relatively unlikely that terrorist groups could obtain nuclear weapons. However, explosion of a radiological dispersal device (a so-called 'dirty bomb') or sabotage of a nuclear facility that could both result in significant radiation release could result in major economic devastation, he said. Therefore, it must be our highest priority to keep nuclear weapons and weapons-usable material out of the hands of terrorists, Hecker emphasized. He estimated that there are currently 1,900,000 kg of highly-enriched uranium (HEU) and about 1,830,000 kg of plutonium (of which 490,000 kg are separated) in the world inventory. 10 countries today have an enrichment capability. While he said that the likelihood that terrorists have plutonium is "not zero", Hecker acknowledged that it is very difficult to quantify Material Unaccounted For (MUF). Even the US with its well-established inventory system cannot completely account for plutonium material. In contrast, Russia, which has no such inventory system, claims it has all plutonium material under control. Though Hecker suggested that Pakistan and the DPRK currently pose the most pressing security challenges, he emphasised the need to tackle proliferation challenges that result from existing HEU reactors worldwide as well as nuclear materials in Russia and in Kazakhstan.
31. Speakers generally considered the danger of a full-scale nuclear confrontation between nation states as 'low'. However, the problematic India-Pakistan relationship was seen as the one exception. Robert Gallucci pointed out that both India and Pakistan have small nuclear arsenals that are vulnerable to attack and can be taken out by rapid action. Hence, these are the opposite of the US and Soviet arsenals during the Cold War, because they are 'use or lose' weapons that provide an incentive for first strike. Dr Hecker pointed to Islamabad's host of internal problems. He referred to the considerable support for radical Islam in parts of the country which produces political instability and makes it vulnerable to terrorism and ethnic unrest, theft or diversion of nuclear material. On the positive side, it has initiated a number of military and nuclear reforms since 9-11, he added.
32. While speakers generally held the view that it probably needs several more years to develop its nuclear programme, Iran also featured high on list of proliferation challenges. However, several speakers argued that because of Teheran's relations with terrorist organisations, if Iran had nuclear weapons it would pose the most serious nuclear challenge to the international community and the Allies in particular. The Islamic Republic's nuclear programme was generally considered as 'disturbing', particularly as Teheran has 'engaged in 20 years of deception and denial of its enrichment programme', according to Roger Miller. Several experts said that, based on available information, it appears that Iran put a programme in place for developing nuclear weapons. In a similar vein Gallucci suggested that the political leaderships of both Iran and the DPRK appear determined to develop nuclear weapons arsenal.
33. With regard to nuclear weapons, there was agreement that diplomacy, as well as alliances, as Gallucci underlined, played an important part in preventing a broader proliferation. With regard to Iran and the DPRK independent speakers considered that diplomacy has not been exploited to the fullest by the current administration. However, at this point in time, some speakers expressed pessimism about the available options to bring Iran to abandon its nuclear activities. In this context, Karen Donfried noted that the US is preoccupied by other hotspots, particularly Iraq, and that allies like Japan, but also China and Russia appear reluctant about sanctions. As to the DPRK, several speakers spoke of a 'failure of diplomacy'. Some suggested that the current administration let slip away the chance to reach a meaningful agreement with Pyongyang. Gallucci and other speakers regarded the US administration's policy towards Pyongyang as 'rhetorical toughness but practical inaction'. That said, independent experts also emphasised that diplomacy is a means to an end and not an end it itself. Agreements need to tackle the real issues and must avoid papering over divergent interests. One expert argued that diplomatic talks with the DPRK are a 'negative example' because they allowed the issue to linger while the DPRK was constantly buying time to continue and expand its nuclear activities. The delegation was also reminded that diplomacy only works if the negotiating sides are willing and able to come to an agreement. In this context, Gallucci said he did not completely discard a 'military option' against the DPRK if diplomacy failed.
H.THE DEMOCRATIC PEOPLES' REPUBLIC OF KOREA (DPRK) - NORTH KOREA
34. Meetings on the US West Coast highlighted the continuing crises over the DPRK's nuclear weapons programme. Former Secretary of Defense William Perry and other speakers said that the DPRK is currently the most serious and most imminent nuclear issue. Including the current crisis over the launching of Taepo-Dong 2 missiles into the Japanese Sea, there have been already six nuclear crises with the DPRK. As Perry and the Asia Foundation experts Philip Yun and Scott Snyder explained, the discussions with the DPRK are currently deadlocked. The most recent crisis is about the DPRK's Taepo-Dong launch. The US is concerned about the Taepo-dong because a nuclear warhead is the only possible warhead and US is the only possible target for this, according to Perry. Referring to his suggestion to destroy the Taepo-dong 2 on the launch pad unless the DPRK refrains from the test, the former Secretary of Defense said he wanted to send a wake-up call to the parties involved in negotiations.
35. Unlike Iraq and to a degree Iran, the US has information about their plutonium activities, although not about its uranium enrichment or its nuclear weapons programmes. Siegfried Hecker estimated that the DPRK has produced between 40 and 50 kg of plutonium. Independent experts reckon that much of the nuclear enrichment is done underground and as Doug Bereuter, President of the Asia Foundation, noted, the DPRK has an estimated 3,000 underground chambers. Based on available information, the DPRK is well embarked in having a sizeable nuclear programme, Perry said. In the view of Scott Snyder, the DPRK political leadership has not made decision yet about their nuclear programme.
36. Speakers held the view that China and Russia have been constructive in negotiations with the DPRK. However, Perry and others speakers said that it would be important if they would include economic sanctions in their set of policy instruments towards a defying DPRK leadership. Among others because of North Korean (illegal) immigration into China, the stability of the North Korean regime has a direct impact on China, and Beijing has recognised this, according to Snyder. Ironically, while Beijing's influence over Pyongyang remains significant, it is drastically reduced compared to 20 years ago, Yun suggested. On the other side, the North Korean regime faces a 'catch-22' situation because it cannot be stable if it does not reform, but if it reforms it may not be stable.
37. Whatever the speculation, the international community must deal with the regime as it is and not as we wished it to be, emphasised Perry. Though it is economically weak, he regarded the regime to be stable and pointed out that the DPRK has a very effective secret police and that, unlike East Germany before the fall of the Wall, people lacked independent information.
I.THE WAY AHEAD
38. According to former US Secretary of Defense William Perry the international community must act decisively in three areas, namely in securing the existing weapons stockpiles in nuclear-armed states, tackling the WMD activities of 'states of concern' and strengthen existing non-proliferation regimes. With regard to the G-8 programmes aimed at securing existing nuclear stockpiles, Hecker criticized that follow-up of the promises made has often been slow and not well co-ordinated. Moreover, there is no underpinning understanding of how difficult it is to securing nuclear materials, he added. It was also suggested that IAEA's capabilities are limited, particularly its safeguards with regard to detect and monitor diversification of Uranium enrichment;
39. Independent experts considered the non-proliferation regime by and large as successful. However, partly different views were expressed about the most effective ways to prevent or at least to rein in nuclear proliferation in the future. In that regard, assessments about the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) were mixed. Several members of the delegation argued that the underlying rationale of the NPT has been that the 'nuclear have-nots' forfeited a 'right' to develop nuclear weapons in exchange for eventual abrogation of the arsenals of the nuclear powers. Therefore, they criticised that existing nuclear arsenals are not being reduced quickly enough or dismantled completely. Moreover, they criticised that possible US plans to develop a new generation of small nukes would further underline the NPT. In contrast, William Domke argued that the NPT has in essence been an arms control treaty and that the non-proliferation items that the NPT set up are today fundamentally flawed. Ron Lehman, Director of the Center for Global Security Research, said that some countries signed up to NPT because they expected US to abandon nukes over time, others signed on because they thought the US would protect them;
40. Different views were expressed about the US administration's agreement with to co-operate in the civil nuclear field. Representatives of the administration, including Peter Flory and Robert Willkie, supported the agreement and stressed that it will force India to apply a non-proliferation policy even if it remains outside the NPT. This view was shared by Congressman David Price who added that the agreement as negotiated is not adequate and is currently debated in the International Relations Committee of the US House of Representatives.
41. In contrast, several members of the delegation criticised the US-Indian nuclear agreement. This skeptical view was shared by Robert Gallucci, who argued it could be seen as legitimising a programme that was developed outside the NPT. Therefore, it would damage the NPT as it could establish a precedent for other countries to follow suit, he added. Pointing to the unsuccessful NPT Review conference he noted that the importance of the NPT is already diminished. Some members also expressed concern that the US-Indian agreement will impact the work of the NSG.
42. On the West Coast, the Sub-Committee also visited Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), a research and development institution for science and technology applied to national security. Providing a general overview of the LLNL, Ron Lehman, Director of the Center for Global Security Research informed members, said that the laboratory draws on 50 years of experience in all aspects of nuclear weapons to address the challenge of nuclear non-proliferation. The laboratory also operates a number of unique, state-of-the-art experimental and computer facilities and leverages its extensive resources in biology, chemistry, engineering, and computations to tackle the problem of chemical and biological weapons proliferation. LLNL holds responsibility for ensuring that the US nuclear weapons remain safe, secure, and reliable. Livermore is one of the two US nuclear design laboratories and has many close partnerships and working relationships with other sites in the US, but also in Europe, including France and the UK.
43. As Bruce Goodwin, Associate Director, Defense and Nuclear Technology at LLNL, informed the delegation, the Stockpile Stewardship Programme is designed to ensure the safety, security, and reliability of the US nuclear weapons stockpile. Confidence in the performance of weapons is maintained through an ongoing process of stockpile surveillance, assessment and certification, and refurbishment. Nuclear weapons require maintenance as their components are subject to aging processes that can lead to serious problems such as corrosion in nuclear proponents, or cracking of high explosives, LLNL experts explained. The success of the Stockpile Stewardship Programme has allowed the US to avoid testing of nuclear weapons since September 1992. Because of its age (much of the US nuclear stockpile is between 20 and 30 years old or even older) the US nuclear arsenal will have to be replaced probably within the next six years, the delegation learned. Advanced computer simulation allows the next generation of warhead to be designed without nuclear testing. This will reduce costs and the US is further increasing the safety of its nuclear weapons. In accordance with the Moscow Treaty, the size of the US nuclear arsenal will also be reduced.
44. One of the issues that came up during the discussions was the need to control the supply of critical electronics that allow a country to enrich uranium or to process plutonium. Eileen Vergino, Deputy Director, Center for Global Security Research, underlined that the easy availability of technology coupled with dual-use character of information technology makes it impossible for a single nation state to deal with the issue alone. Cautioning against overly optimistic expectations that international obligations will always be implemented she said that it is critical for nations to co-operate as closely as possible and share information. In this context she also proposed that the scientific community needs to discuss codes of conduct and ethics.
45. William K. Domke said that the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), which currently comprises 45 member countries, has done very successful work. However, further progress is necessary, he said and identified three particular issues, namely: to stop the DPRK to sell missiles and technology to other countries, to hinder operation Iranian fuel-cell facilities, and to stop upgrading of Pakistan's nuclear facilities. With regard to the latter, he noted that the control of the acquisition of stainless steel tubes would allow control of Pakistan's ability to reprocess. Domke also said that China's recent joining the NSG can rein in the transfer of critical technology to the DPRK.
46. During the visit to San Francisco, the delegation also had the opportunity to hold meetings at the Asia Foundation that is presided by Doug Bereuter, former President of the NATO PA. With its 18 offices and more than 500 employees, 3/4 of whom are Asian citizens, the Foundation supports programmes in Asia that help improve governance and law, economic reform and development, women's empowerment, and international relations. The Asia Foundation collaborates with private and public partners to support leadership and institutional development, exchanges, and policy research.
1 Transatlantic Trends, a project of the German Marshall Fund and the Compagnia di San Paolo, is an annual public opinion survey examining American and European attitudes toward the transatlantic relationship. It is available at http://www.transatlantictrends.org/
2 The so-called 'dirty dozen are Korea and Taiwan, India and Pakistan, Libya, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, and Israel.