Monthly Archives: August 2005

UNMOVIC’s Future

From what I am being told, the UNSC will not make a decision about UNMOVIC’s future during its upcoming meeting.

Whether or not to keep UNMOVIC or a similar organization has been a matter of debate for quite a while now. For example, Hans Blix “has argued”: that such an organization could be useful in dealing with future proliferators.

However, the prospect that previously WMD-free Iraq could pursue nasty weapons may keep UNMOVIC in business a while longer.

John Barry “writes”: in _Newsweek_ article:

In case a future Iraqi leader decides that Iran’s nuclear ambitions next door mean Iraq should restart Saddam Hussein’s nuclear-, chemical- or biological-weapon program, what kind of international monitoring should the country be subject to? “The question is starting to bubble up,” says a British official who is not allowed by his government to speak for attribution.

Demetrios Perricos, head of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, the agency probing Iraq’s WMD work before the U.S. invasion, raised the issue in the United Nations Security Council in June. France and Russia both indicated that they thought Iraq would need to accept continued special inspections. The United States did not comment because Iraqi politicians are reportedly adamant that the new, sovereign Iraq will accept no special constraints or monitoring. “They are demanding the same treatment as any other nation,” says a U.N. official who spoke anonymously because of the sensitivity of his position.

So we may end up with an Iraq that has no WMD, but is subject to a UN monitoring system intended to prevent Baghdad from reconstituting its WMD programs – the same thing we _could_ have had without the invasion.


TNR, P.Scoblic, and Proliferation

I am just now getting the chance to write some comments about “Peter Scoblic’s TNR article about nuclear proliferation”: [full disclosure: Peter was the editor of _Arms Control Today_ when I first began working at ACA.]

These are just some thoughts I had while reading the piece, rather than a proper review. Overall, it’s very good and even experts can benefit from reading it.

That said, some comments:

*First,* I think Peter’s opening description of the Bush administration’s worldview is incomplete. Peter begins with “Democracy has become George W. Bush’s reflexive answer to terrorism.” But I would have included some other elements of the administration’s foreign policy in the introduction – such as its focus on regimes’ characteristics and disdain for international agreements – that Peter gets to later in the piece.

This is not merely for stylistic reasons –I think that, in general, many commentators impute a degree of coherence to the Bush second-term foreign policy “strategy” that just isn’t there. Yes, Bush reportedly read the Sharansky book and says some shit about democracy every so often. He may even think democracy promotion is a good idea.

But this should not be mistaken for a strategy. Instead, we should speak of a Bush administration “approach” to nuclear proliferation. Unfortunately, this approach has been incoherent and (mostly) a failure.

It’s true that the administration thinks that there are no bad weapons, just bad regimes. But those bad regimes are defined as ones that don’t happen to be our friends/lackeys at the moment – democracy is not really the driving factor. [The inconsistencies of the administration’s alleged support for democracy need not be detailed for this audience.]

*Second,* Peter is still absolutely right that the “regime” focus of the administration is ridiculous. There are some examples that I think he could have spent more time on.

* Pakistan. Not only are nuclear-armed Pakistan’s democratic credentials a bit lacking as of late, but the Khan network has been a proliferation nightmare.

* Russia. One of the weaknesses of the Moscow Treaty that Peter doesn’t discuss is that it expires in 2012 and the current START I verification measures end in 2009. I have “written before”: that the lack of an arms control treaty with the only country whose nuclear arsenal presents an existential threat to the United States is a bit disturbing.

* India is another good example (My guess is that the issue was just getting sorted out while Peter was writing, so I’m not criticizing him for omitting it.) The existence of some common strategic interests with New Delhi, as well as the fact that India is the world’s largest democracy, appear to have led the administration to take the “ah, fuck it” attitude with respect to the “potential damage”: that the deal could do to the non-proliferation regime.

*Third,* I hate to do it, but I must quibble with Peter on one point. But only because it’s an argument I frequently see. Peter writes that the NPT allows NNWS:

bq. to enrich uranium and reprocess plutonium for peaceful purposes, such as generating energy. This provision is the back door that Iran and North Korea have exploited to advance their nuclear programs…

The “back door” to the NPT is not the reason that North Korea and Iran are getting nuclear weapons. North Korea starting building its facilities well before signing the NPT. In fact, a combination of IAEA inspections and US intel helped bust North Korea during the 1990. Iran got much of its critical assistance from the Khan network and kept its program secret for a long time. [To be fair, the potential loophole _does_ complicate our ability to persuade Iran to give up its nuclear fuel program.]

*Fourth,* there’s a good bit of truth to Peter’s argument that the Bush people are good at narrative-building. But I don’t think democracy promotion was nearly as important to Bush’s re-election as was his ability to scare the shit out of the American public. For example, Bush frequently explained his way out of the Iraq goat rodeo by saying that he had to choose between protecting the American public or trusting Hussein’s denials regarding Iraq’s suspected WMD. This was to convey that Bush was more risk-averse than Kerry when it came to coping with terrorism and, therefore, a superior foreign-policy president.

Peter is absolutely right to say that pragmatism ought to receive greater emphasis. And I think there are persuasive stories that can be told to promote pragmatic policies.

But the problem, in my view, is not so much the way that pragmatists talk about foreign policy. It’s that the administration, aided by much of the press, lies without consequence and is not held accountable for its actions. [You all know the particulars.]

Simply put, people need to learn that many of the administration’s policies could suck the chrome off a trailer hitch. Coming up with “big ideas” and neat slogans vis a vis national security will be insufficient as long as those in power can bullshit the American public as egregiously as this administration has done.

Did You Get That Memo?

I have previously “noted”: Wade Boese’s article explaining that, despite previous Bush administration claims, the BBC China interdiction was not a PSI operation.

For whatever reason, SecState Rice decided around that time to argue that the “PSI provided the framework for action in the 2003 interdiction of the ship BBC China,” rather than saying the interdiction _was_ a PSI operation.

Alas, whoever wrote “today’s Washington Times oped”: with her name on it didn’t get the memo.

According to this gem:

bq. An early success of the PSI †the 2003 interdiction of the BBC China †shows how cooperative international efforts can stop proliferators in their tracks and prevent the exploitation of vital trade flows.

Strong work.

US-India Nuclear Co-op – Some Rules

As most of you probably know, the recently-announced US-India agreement to pursue nuclear cooperation still has some obstacles to overcome in Congress.

So I thought I’d provide some information from people who are way smarter than I am on this issue.

1. “This CRS report”: by Sharon Squassoni.

2. The summary at the bottom of the post. Unfortunately, I am not allowed to ID the author, but please believe me when I say s/he is on top of the issue.

My .02: the possible nuclear agreements coming down the pike would be problematic for several other reasons.

*First,* they would unquestionably “violate NSG guidelines”: According “to the NSG:”:

bq. a full-scope safeguards agreement with the IAEA [is] a condition for the future supply of Trigger List items to any non-nuclear-weapon State.

[BTW, another good, concise summary of the NSG can be found “here”:]

As Sharon points out, this could be a problem at a time when we’re trying to tighten the NSG rules. For example, here are some “US proposals”: from February 2004:

* the members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group [should] ensure that states which renounce enrichment and reprocessing technologies have reliable access, at reasonable cost, to fuel for civilian reactors.

* The 40 states in the Nuclear Suppliers Group should refuse to sell uranium enrichment or reprocessing equipment or technology to any state that does not already possess full-scale, functioning enrichment or reprocessing plants.

* …all states should sign the IAEA Additional Protocol, which greatly expands the Agency’s tools to detect clandestine nuclear activities. Signing of the Additional Protocol should be a condition for countries seeking equipment for their civilian nuclear programs by next year.

*Second,* the recent agreement appears contrary to the spirit of Article I of the NPT, which reads:

bq. Each nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly; and not in any way to assist, encourage, or induce any non-nuclear weapon State to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, or control over such weapons or explosive devices.

*Third,* it also seems to be in tension with Article III of the NPT. Here’s part of it, but go “read the whole thing:”:

1. Each non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes to accept safeguards, as set forth in an agreement to be negotiated and concluded with the International Atomic Energy Agency in accordance with the Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Agency’s safeguards system, for the exclusive purpose of verification of the fulfillment of its obligations assumed under this Treaty with a view to preventing diversion of nuclear energy from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. Procedures for the safeguards required by this article shall be followed with respect to source or special fissionable material whether it is being produced, processed or used in any principal nuclear facility or is outside any such facility. The safeguards required by this article shall be applied to all source or special fissionable material in all peaceful nuclear activities within the territory of such State, under its jurisdiction, or carried out under its control anywhere.

2. Each State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to provide: (a) source or special fissionable material, or (b) equipment or material especially designed or prepared for the processing, use or production of special fissionable material, to any non-nuclear-weapon State for peaceful purposes, unless the source or special fissionable material shall be subject to the safeguards required by this article

Needless to say, there’s a lot more to be said about this deal. And it’s pretty much all bad.

Anyway, here’s the text from the unnamed author, with some minor alterations:

*US Nuclear Cooperation with India: Legislative Implications*

*I. The Basics.* Under US law (the Atomic Energy Act), the United States can engage in nuclear cooperation with other countries only pursuant to an “Agreement for Cooperation”.

Nuclear cooperation in this sense covers the transfer of nuclear facilities and equipment, nuclear fuel and related nuclear materials, dual-use items, and technology (covering services, expertise, blueprints, etc).

Each of these items is licensed by a different US federal agency:

* The Nuclear Regulatory Commission licenses exports of reactors, nuclear equipment, and nuclear fuel.

* The Dept of Energy authorizes technology transfers.

* The Dept of Commerce authorizes exports of dual-use goods.

* The State Department negotiates the Agreements for Cooperation.

*II. Full-Scope safeguards*

Starting with the enactment of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act of 1978, “non-nuclear-weapon states” (as recognized in the NPT) must have IAEA safeguards over all of their nuclear materials — this is a necessary precondition for nuclear cooperation with the United States. In 1992, the Nuclear Suppliers Group finally endorsed this standard. In 1995 and in 2000, the states parties of the NPT also endorsed this standard. Such safeguards are not required of the five recognized nuclear-weapon states (US, Britain, France, China, and Russia). The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) has also repeatedly endorsed this standard.


*III. Agreements for Nuclear Cooperation*

Sec. 123 of the Atomic Energy Act lays out the basic requirements of US Agreements for Cooperation. Sec. 123(a)(2) requires all non-nuclear-weapon states to have full-scope IAEA safeguards. Agreements for Cooperation are negotiated by the Secretary of State, approved by the President, and sent to Congress (both houses), which has a fixed period of continuous session to review the agreement. Congress can adopt a joint resolution stating that it “does not favor” the Agreement — for agreements that the President exempts from any of the norma*l criteria (e.g. full-scope safeguards), such agreements shall not become effective without a joint resolution stating that the Congress “does favor” the agreement.

Sec. 129 spells out certain actions that would constitute “conduct resulting in termination of nuclear exports” . These include the following standards to apply to any non-nuclear-weapon state that has at any time since 10 March 1978 — (a) detonated a nuclear explosive device (India claims it detonated five in 1998); (b) terminated or abrogated IAEA safeguards (India’s 1974 test involved the use of plutonium from uranium and heavy that were covered by a “peaceful use” pledge); (c) materially violated an IAEA safeguards agreement; or (d) “engaged in activities involving source or special nuclear material and having direct significance for the manufacture or acquisition of nuclear explosive devices, and has failed to take steps which, in the President’s judgment, represent sufficient progress toward terminating such activities.”

*IV. Nuclear facilities, equipment, fuel, and materials*

The Atomic Energy Act provides the basic legal authority for the NRC to authorize the export of nuclear facilities, equipment, fuel, and materials. Sec. 126 outlines the basic export licensing process and Sec. 127 contains some specific criteria governing the approval of such exports.

Sec. 127(1) requires IAEA safeguards as required by Article III(2) of the NPT; it also prohibits the use of any exported item “for any nuclear explosive device or for research on or development of any nuclear explosive device.”

Sec. 128 states specifically that full-scope IAEA safeguards shall be “a condition of continued United States export of source material (e.g. uranium), special nuclear material (e.g. plutonium or enriched uranium), production or utilization facilities (e.g. fuel cycle plants or reactors), and any sensitive nuclear technology to non-nuclear-weapon states”. The specific licensing regulations published pursuant to this law are found in 10 Code of Federal Regulations Part 110. Sec. 110.42 spells out the criteria the NRC uses in issuing licenses — the first criterion is that IAEA safeguards “as required by Article III(2) of the NPT will be applied”; for non-nuclear-weapon states, full-scope IAEA safeguards are explicitly required in sec. 110(42)(a)(6). The criteria also provide that no export shall be used “for any nuclear explosive device or for research on or development of any nuclear explosive device.”

*V. Activities of US Citizens*

When other countries seek technical advice from US citizens relating to the use of nuclear materials, such individuals may provide such assistance but only as authorized by the US Secretary of Energy, pursuant to the terms of sec. 57(b) of the Atomic Energy Act. This law specifically makes it illegal for any person “to directly or indirectly engage in the production of any special nuclear material outside of the United States” except as specifically authorized under an agreement for cooperation and upon authorization by the Secretary of Energy.

The Department of Energy has issued regulations pursuant to this law in 10 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 810. These regulations provide the details of the licensing process, including the criteria that the Secretary “will take into account” in making the authorizations. The first such criterion is the existence of an agreement for cooperation. The second is whether the country is a party to the NPT. The third is whether the country has full-scope IAEA safeguards.

*VI. Dual-Use Goods*

Sec. 309(c) of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act of 1978 required the President to publish regulations to be implemented by the Department of Commerce for the control of the export of all items (except those that are NRC-licensed) that “could be, if used for purposes other than those for which the export is intended, of significance for nuclear explosive purposes.” These include so-called “dual-use” goods like special computers, lab equipment, machine tools, etc.

According to the “Commerce Country Chart” (15 CFR 738, suppl 1), exports to India are controlled for the following reasons (among others): chemical and biological weapons; nuclear non-proliferation; national security; missile tech; and regional stability. The Dept of Commerce has published several licensing standards governing the export of such items; these appear in 15 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 742.3. The items themselves are collectively called the “Nuclear Referral List” — these are simply goods that the Commerce Dept licenses that are controlled for nuclear non-proliferation reasons.

The specific licensing criteria appear in 15 CFR Part 742.3(b). Among these criteria to be applied are “the nonproliferation credentials of the importing country”, which are based on several factors, including: whether the state is a party to the NPT; whether it has full-scope IAEA safeguards; whether it has an agreement of cooperation with the US; whether the government of the importing country has policies that “are in support of nuclear nonproliferation”; the degree to which the government of the importing country “cooperates in non-proliferation policy generally”; and “information on the importing country’s nuclear intentions and activities.” In addition, goods may not be transferred if they “will be used directly or indirectly in any nuclear explosive activity or in any unsafeguarded nuclear activity (15 CFR 744.2).