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Nuclear Proliferation and Counter-Proliferation: Policy Issues and Debates

Author(s): Barry R. Schneider


Source: Mershon International Studies Review, Vol. 38, No. 2 (Oct., 1994), pp. 209-234
Published by: Wiley on behalf of The International Studies Association
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Mershon International Studies Review (1994) 38, 209-234

Nuclear Proliferation and Counter-


Proliferation: Policy Issues and Debates
BARRY R. SCHNEIDER

Air War College

This review provides a map of recent approachesto and issues within


the literatureon nuclearproliferationand counterproliferation.It iden-
tifies and explains six approaches to proliferation theory and policy
which highlight the differences in assumptionsand expectationswhich
characterize the field. The six types range from "non-proliferation
optimists"who believe that the non-proliferationregime is working to
"proliferationpessimists"who expect the number of nuclear armed
states to grow and see this as an ominous trend. The review then
analyzes the key elements of the non-proliferationregime, including
the Nuclear Non-ProliferationTreaty, supply-side and demand-side
strategiesfor limiting proliferation,and more recent interestin military
strategies for deterring proliferators. A concluding section suggests
needed and promising opportunities for further research on
proliferation.

On the eve of the 1995 Review Conference for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty, issues of proliferation and counterproliferation are receiving more at-
tention than at any time since the initial production of nuclear arms in the mid-
1940s (Timerbey, et al., 1993). Much of the interest reflects concern about the
stability of the current non-proliferation regime. Indeed, indicators of the re-
gime's health are conflicting. Of the 188 countries in the world, only five are
acknowledged owners of nuclear weapons: United States, Russia, China, United
Kingdom, France. Three others-Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan-have
them in their territory, nominally under the control of the Commonwealth of
Independent States with a military headquarters in Moscow. Israel, Pakistan,
and India are also widely believed to possess nuclear weapons (Blackwell and
Carnesale, 1994; Chelleney, 1993; Grinter, 1994). South Africa declared that it
once possessed nuclear weapons but has since dismantled the technology and
the bombs; thus South Africa is the first state to return from a nuclear to a non-
nuclear status (De Villers, Fardine, and Reiss, 1993; Howlett and Simpson,
1993).
As in South Africa, the leaders of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine have all
promised to abandon their nuclear arms, although the Ukrainian parliament
may block that country's disarmament (Lockwood, 1993b). Such an action could
have a significant impact on the 1995 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review
Conference, as Ukraine would remain the third largest nuclear weapons power
if it kept the weapons and it alone among the newly emerging nuclear powers
? 1994 The Mershon Center at the Ohio State University.
Published by Blackwell Publishers, 238 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA, and 108 Cowley Road, Oxford 0X4
1JF, UK.

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210 Nuclear Proliferation and Counter-Proliferation

could inflict massive destruction on the U.S. (Dunn, 1994). All others pose only
a regional or distant future strategic threat to the United States.
The news in Latin America is less ambiguous. Argentina and Brazil have both
made significant progress toward a future nuclear weapons capability. Both,
however, have agreed to cease work on their weapons programs, are adhering
to the Latin American Nuclear-Free Zone regime, and have adopted full Inter-
national Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards.
On the other hand, in Northeast Asia, North Korea (DPRK) may have already
acquired a nuclear weapons capability (Arms Control Association [ACA], 1992).
Even if it has not, the current director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency,
James Woolsey (1993), has testified that DPRK probably has enough special
nuclear material to build at least two nuclear bombs (Engelberg and Gordon,
1993). In effect, it is not clear whether the DPRK is just short of the nuclear
threshold or just beyond it (Bracken, 1993). North Korea is the only state, so
far, that has attempted to withdraw from the NPT after it joined as a member
(Leopold, 1993).
In North Africa and the Middle East, several states appear to be interested
in nuclear arms. Libya, lacking the necessary expertise and technology, never-
theless has oil revenues and has reportedly attempted to purchase nuclear
weapons on the black market in the past (Timmerman, 1992; Weissman and
Krosney, 1981). Algeria and Syria currently have some nuclear potential but do
not yet appear close to developing atomic arms. Iran is reported to be pursuing
nuclear weapons, but the program, if it exists, is out of view. Unconfirmed
rumors persist of Iranian attempts to purchase nuclear weapons from Kazakhs-
tan, although these are officially denied in Teheran (Reuters, 1992b).
Finally, Iraq had a very substantial nuclear weapons effort uncovered by
United Nations and IAEA inspectors after its defeat in the Gulf War (Davis and
Donnelly, 1991; Keaney and Cohen, 1992; Zimmerman, 1993a). Despite an
extensive investigation, dismantling, and removal program conducted by the
U.N. Special Commission (UNSCOM) and IAEA inspection teams, Iraq is still
a future nuclear threat (Alessi, 1991; Zifferero, 1993). It has resisted inspection
efforts through deception, delaying tactics, misinformation, and temporary
physical intimidation of inspectors (Albright and Hibbs, 1991a; Bailey, 1993;
Ekeus, 1992; Kay, 1992; Trevan, 1993). Clearly Iraq's program ought to be
closely monitored for a long period (Newlin, 1992; Thorne, 1992).
These contrasting trends and unsettled conditions have spawned not only a
growing debate about proliferation policy but also a substantial diversity in
theoretical approaches to nuclear proliferation. This review focuses on selected
non-proliferation issues and key debates in order to provide a framework for
analyzing current theory and policy regarding proliferation and counterproli-
feration. The review concludes by identifying promising avenues for future
research with the intention of improving both policy and theory in this area.

Theoretical Approaches to Nuclear Proliferation


Proliferation policymakers and theorists can be grouped into several schools of
thought regarding nuclear proliferation issues. As Table 1 suggests, they seem
to divide into groups based on their view of the inevitability of nuclear prolif-
eration and the probable outcome of current trends.
Those who believe that proliferation is inevitable are further divided based
on what they think will happen when it occurs. The pro-proliferationists favor
the spread of nuclear weapons because it will enhance international stability.

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BARRY R. SCHNEIDER 211

TABLE 1. Different viewpoints on nuclear proliferation.

Is ProliferationInevitable.

Yes No

Good Pro-proliferationists Non-proliferation optimists


(leads to (can win over
deterrence) proliferation)

Mixed Proliferation Selectivists


Probable Optimists (prevent/punish rogue
(worst outcomes states, but permit
Outcome
can be managed) stabilizing spread)

Bad Proliferation Universalists


pessimists (must prevent all further
(will lead to use of nuclear proliferation)
nuclear weapons
with disastrous
results)

War will be deterred in all regions where rivals possess such weapons. The
proliferation optimists think that even if proliferation is unstoppable, the worst
outcomes can be avoided through concerted intelligent actions. In other words,
while we cannot halt nuclear proliferation altogether, we can manage the prob-
lem by arranging outcomes that prevent the worst case scenarios. Proliferation
pessimists are the most fatalistic among those who believe that nuclear prolif-
eration is inevitable. They believe that it cannot be managed successfully and
predict the eventual use of nuclear weapons with catastrophic results. These
scholars and decision makers argue that we are moving toward living in the
midst of a "nuclear-armed crowd" and there is nothing we can do about it.
There are also experts who do not accept the inevitability of nuclear prolif-
eration. The non-proliferation optimists actually believe that proliferation can
be halted and rolled back if the proper steps are taken. It is their contention
that present non-nuclear states can be persuaded to abstain from developing
nuclear weapons and that states presently in possession of nuclear weapons can
be convinced to disarm. These experts push for an all-out "winning" strategy.
The selectivists, on the other hand, see two types of nuclear states, and differ-
entiate between good and bad proliferation. These scholars and policy makers
favor preventing or punishing proliferation only if it involves rogue states that
have shown themselves to be international aggressors or terrorist supporters.
They focus on what they perceive as "stabilizing" and "destabilizing" prolifera-
tion. Lastly, there are the universalists who oppose all further proliferation and
advocate the use of all possible means to enforce non-proliferation. Unless non-
proliferation is enforced, they argue, the world will become a nuclear disaster
area.
Let us examine each of these viewpoints in more detail, delineating who is in
each school of thought and what distinguishes each. It is enlightening to examine
the group of non-proliferation optimists first. They define the winning approach
to proliferation, and believe that nuclear proliferation can be stopped, perhaps
even reversed (Graham, 1991). Some (Rotblat, et al., 1993) even talk seriously
about moving toward a totally denuclearized world system.

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212 Nuclear Proliferation and Counter-Proliferation

Winning Against Proliferation:Non-ProliferationOptimists


Thomas Graham (1991) has argued that the battle against nuclear proliferation
has gone far better than was previously predicted. He notes that "the primary
lesson-considered radical by some-is that getting the bomb is much harder
than most strategists believe, and that international non-proliferation efforts
have been extremely successful, especially given the meager resources that have
been devoted to the task. As a result, today United States policy-makers can and
should realistically think in terms of 'winning the battle'" (Graham, 1991:8-13).
Graham believes that winning is not just a theory, but argues that it has been
a fact for a decade. He and others (Fischer, 1992; Spector, 1992a, 1992b) note
the numerous successes enjoyed in recent years as a result of non-proliferation
policies and efforts:

* France has agreed to sign the NPT after more than two decades of resistance.
* China has declared its willingness to sign the NPT.
* South Africa has abandoned its nuclear weapons program, dismantled the
seven nuclear weapons it had built, and signed the NPT.
* 163 states now are members of the NPT regime and the NPT has helped
create an international norm against the acquisition of nuclear weapons.
* Argentina and Brazil have agreed to comprehensive safeguards on their nu-
clear facilities and are taking steps to implement their adherence to the Treaty
of Tlatololco, thereby joining the Latin American Nuclear-Free Zone.
* Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan have signed the Lisbon Protocol, indicating
an intent to sign and ratify both the START I Treaty and the Non-Prolifer-
ation Treaty.
* The allied victory in Desert Storm led to the destruction of most, if not all,
Iraqi nuclear facilities and nuclear capabilities.
* For the first time in Iraq, the IAEA and U.N. Iraq-Kuwait Observations
Mission (UNIKOM) have successfully conducted challenge inspections against
a hostile state, setting a useful precedent.

The logic of the winning view on nuclear non-proliferation is based on several


considerations. In the past decade the proliferation problem has been limited
to no more than a dozen states. In effect, most of the 40 states thought capable
of going nuclear have opted to stay clear of such weapons, including some that
were considered possible problem states 20 years ago (e.g., Argentina, Brazil,
Republic of Korea, and Taiwan). Thus, most states have acquired nuclear weap-
ons far more slowly than previously predicted. Non-proliferation optimists also
argue that the bloom is off the rose regarding nuclear power as a source of
energy (Graham, 1991). Alternative sources of power appear to be more cost-
effective, leading many states to curtail or discontinue nuclear power projects
and nuclear research. Finally, the end of the Cold War has not triggered a rush
to embrace nuclear weapons by states newly freed from Moscow as many analysts
feared, the possible exception being Ukraine. In fact, the lack of an acute
national security threat has allowed most states in Eurasia to focus on conven-
tional means to defend their security.
The high economic cost of developing nuclear weapons and the strength of
international norms against proliferation also appear to be acting as effective
deterrents. Nuclear export controls thwart some nuclear aspirants by substan-
tially increasing the costs of acquisition as well as causing long delays. The
extreme technical challenge, when combined with possible diplomatic, economic,
and military difficulties, also acts as a disincentive. Indeed, acquisition of nuclear

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BARRY R. SCHNEIDER 213

weapons requires huge up-front investments, a lengthy political and economic


commitment, and deferred gratification-the payoff of a nuclear weapons pro-
gram may not occur in the political lifetime of the regime in power. Moreover,
international norms against nuclear proliferation have acquired some legitimacy
over the past three decades. Thus they provide a moral/legal barrier respected
by most countries. The NPT may gain even more credibility with the end of
the Cold War because it now becomes feasible to negotiate and implement
START I and START II, decreasing the nuclear power differential between
nuclear "have" and "have-not" nations.

Managing Non-Proliferation:ProliferationOptimists
The other more optimistic group with regard to nuclear proliferation, prolif-
eration optimists, perceives that the spread of nuclear weapons is inevitable but
they believe it can be managed. This management school of thought is dominant
among those who debate and formulate non-proliferation policy (Brito, et al.,
1983; Clausen, 1993; Dunn, 1991; Dunn and Giles, 1991; Giles, 1992; OTA,
1993; Payne, 1992; Roberts, 1993; Spector and Smith 1990).
Among international relations theorists, those embracing the realist school of
international relations, that is those who predict that states will seek to acquire
all appropriate power to solve their security dilemmas in an international system
characterized by self-help and anarchy, tend to favor the management approach
to non-proliferation which sees nuclear weapons acquisition as normal and
inevitable (Davis, 1993a, 1993b; Frankel, 1993). Zachary Davis (1993a:79) writes
that "classical realism provides a complete explanation for the causes of prolif-
eration and the international responses to it-non-proliferation." If it enhances
their power, nations will try to acquire nuclear weapons. Davis hedges this
argument, however, by saying that "the predictable reactions of other countries
may make nuclear status self-defeating." He notes that joining in non-prolifer-
ation regimes may be a way of enhancing security while abstaining from
weapons.
Neorealists, unlike realists, tend to emphasize the ability of states to transcend
immediate state interests for the common good. States thus ought to be capable
of abstaining from nuclear weapons if their neighbors also abstain. In short, a
state's net security payoff is greater if the region is without such weapons than
if all adversaries have them. Davis (1993a:79) asserts that realist theory does not
say that states blindly maximize power, regardless of the consequences. Rather,
in life and in realist theory, "power is not an end in itself; it is a means to serve
interests, the primary interest being survival. Realists understand that restraint
and cooperation can increase power and advance interests." Thus, realist theory
can also explain states following a non-proliferation policy and joining the NPT.
In effect, states seek to manage what is happening to insure their status and
power vis-a-vis their perceived rivals.
Some analysts (Dunn and Giles, 1991; Brito, et al., 1983) argue that the U.S.
government has pursued a management philosophy in implementing its supply-
side nuclear export controls. As Leventhal (1992a: 169) has written, "History will
. .. judge whether pressing trade issues with Japan warranted a U.S. decision
to enter into a nuclear trade agreement with Japan to recover from U.S.-supplied
nuclear fuel more plutonium than exists in all U.S. and Soviet nuclear weapons
combined." He concludes that "the premise underlying these policy decisions
has been that nuclear proliferation cannot be prevented, only managed, thereby
justifying weak or flexible nuclear export controls that give way to immediate
industrial and diplomatic imperatives." The new U.S. Department of Defense

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214 Nuclear Proliferation and Counter-Proliferation

Counter-Proliferation Initiative, designed to cope with a "Saddam Hussein with


nukes" in Les Aspin's (1993a) words, also reflects this management perspective,
in this case for dealing with expected problem states.
A number of major proliferation problems give birth to the view that prolif-
eration can probably only be managed. Among these are the multipolar world
that has emerged in the post-Cold War period with less structure, predictability,
and hierarchy than the bipolar world which appeared to keep proliferation in
check (cf. Clausen, 1993; Frankel, 1993: Mearsheimer, 1993). Also important is
the proposition that as science and technology spread so do the possibilities of
developing nuclear capability. Furthermore, since the Gulf War, new alarm has
risen about the leaky export control regime and limited international inspection
regime that has permitted threshold states, like Iraq, to build nuclear arms in
secret even when they were members of the NPT and subject to IAEA inspec-
tions and safeguards. Nonetheless, argue the proliferation optimists, staying
alert to these circumstances can facilitate the development of ways to prevent
the worst outcomes and to keep proliferation in check.

Pro-Proliferationistsand Selectivists
Two schools of thought on nuclear proliferation argue that some nuclear pro-
liferation may be good-the pro-proliferationists and the selectivists. The pro-
proliferationists see no reason to attempt to stop the spread of nuclear arms at
all because such weapons deter warfare and stabilize relationships. The selectiv-
ists wish only to stop proliferation by especially hostile states.
The classic brief for the pro-proliferation viewpoint was written by Kenneth
Waltz (1981) who argues that the spread of nuclear weapons would introduce
greater caution on the part of those dealing with nuclear rivals. In short, pro-
liferation would lead to deterrence between nuclear-armed rivals and would
instill greater maturity among those possessing the bomb. Waltz (1981:28-29)
emphasizes the role of nuclear weapons in maintaining international stability,
observing: "Never since the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 . . . have great powers
enjoyed a longer peace than we have known since the Second World War." It
is this central fact that leads him (and other pro-proliferationsits like Van Evera,
1990/91) to the conclusion that more may be better in the spread of nuclear
weapons.
The selectivist viewpoint is relatively new and builds from, but moderates,
the pro-proliferation stance. The selectivists differentiate between destabilizing
and stabilizing proliferators. They would marshal international resources only
to fight the destabilizing cases, and not use international influence to retard
proliferation in cases where peace is better served by permitting additional
nuclear-armed states.
John Mearsheimer (1993) has made a case for a Ukrainian nuclear deterrent
to help stabilize that country's relationship with Russia, and to maintain its
independence and security. William Martel and William Pendley (1994) argue
for selectivity in U.S. non-proliferation policy. They urge the United States
government to seek to prevent radical hostile states like Iran and North Korea
from acquiring weapons of mass destruction, while not interfering with Ukraine
or Pakistan. The latter two states pose no threat to U.S. interests and act as
stabilizers, offsetting the power of regional rivals, Russia and India. These two
scholars argue for flexibility in addressing nuclear aspirants or threshold states
rather than treating them all like criminals if they have the audacity to try to
acquire the weapons the United States has possessed for almost fifty years.
Stephen Van Evera (1990/91) also proposes that controlled proliferation of
nuclear weapons to key states would have a stabilizing effect (Frankel, 1993).

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BARRY R. SCHNEIDER 215

Rather than apply sanctions against any new nuclear state or try to dissuade
them from taking the nuclear path, the selectivist school asks that each case be
addressed on its own merits. States that regularly engage in international ter-
rorism or initiate military operations against their neighbors should be prevented
from acquiring nuclear arms. States that are only looking to protect themselves
from a regional threat should be left alone and allowed to acquire a nuclear
deterrent. The selectivists would not automatically sanction all proliferators or
those who aid them. Moreover, they would seek a different type of international
non-proliferation regime that differentiated between stabilizing and destabiliz-
ing proliferators.
Both these perspectives can be criticized. The selectivist approach raises some
important questions: Why fix a system that isn't broken? Why endanger the
current international non-proliferation regime by introducing a case-by-case
approach to non-proliferation? Selectivists need to demonstrate how the type
of flexibility they advocate can become part of the present international non-
proliferation regime without undermining it. What are the implications of their
approach for the NPT? How can the international norm against nuclear prolif-
eration be preserved if it is suddenly acceptable for any state to produce nuclear
weapons providing its leadership is not hostile or aggressive? And what happens
if the friendly state that was permitted to acquire nuclear arms changes its
leadership, and the new regime turns hostile?
Taking on the pro-proliferationists, Michael Brecher and Jon Wilkenfeld
(1991) point out that the Cold War period was not especially peaceful; rather it
was filled with international crises and global instability. Bruce Russett (1983)
has taken Waltz and his colleagues to task for focusing on the probability of war
in a proliferated world rather than the destructiveness of such wars when they
occur. War in a proliferated world may be less frequent, as Waltz suggests, but
its outcome may be far more destructive.
Further, the pro-proliferation view ignores the possibility of nuclear weapons
coming into the hands of irrational, gambling, or very belligerent leaders. Waltz
is silent on the advantages of permitting a future Hitler to acquire weapons of
mass destruction. Indeed, he appears to view the personalities of world leaders
as irrelevant to international outcomes. Even U.S. leaders have sometimes con-
ceived of nuclear weapons as being more than just deterrents. Herken (1982)
documents a time in the 1950s when some U.S. leaders saw the A-bomb and
the H-bomb as the winning weapons, and useful for coercive threats to mold
international behavior.
Several propositions advanced by the pro-proliferationists seem questionable.
Logic may say, as Waltz does, that heavily armed neighbors should be deterred
from fights with each other, but does history bear this out? Indeed, in the
Middle East, even the acquisition of nuclear arms by Israel did not deter attacks
by its non-nuclear neighbors in 1967 and 1973 (Evron, 1984). The United States
and the Soviet Union did not fight directly during the Cold War, but the two
superpowers came dangerously close to nuclear war in Cuba, and Berlin and
fought continuously through proxies on three continents (Jervis and Bialer,
1991; Mearsheimer, 1990a, 1990b, 1990/91). In effect, deploying vulnerable
nuclear forces that can only be used in a first strike, or not at all, invites crisis
instability and preemption. Two such forces facing each other are particularly
dangerous, thus, not all proliferation leads to stability. Nor, as Russett (1983)
comments, is the argument convincing that possessing nuclear arms is neces-
sarily a sobering act that will induce caution. Would the addition of nuclear
weapons to an already aggressive regime not spur it to more aggression rather
than less? Is it a good idea to permit such demonstrably aggressive regimes to

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216 Nuclear Proliferation and Counter-Proliferation

have more coercive capabilities against their neighbors, combined with a greater
ability to deter outside interference from third parties?

Universalistsand ProliferationPessimists
The last two perspectives on proliferation are the most pessimistic. Proliferation
pessimists do not welcome proliferation but feel that nothing, including arms
control efforts, will stop it effectively (e.g., Gray, 1993:145). According to this
view, the international system must learn to live with nuclear weapons as a part
of the political landscape. What the non-proliferation optimists see as successes,
these analysts perceive as merely short-term gains in what is a very bleak long-
run picture. The universalists are also pessimistic about what will happen as a
result of proliferation and believe all additional nuclear proliferation should be
opposed (Leonard and Scheinman, 1993; Sanders, 1990). People with this view
have invested heavily in seeing that the NPT is a reality. As an indication that
many in the world community share their perspective, they point to the fact
that the NPT now has 163 signatory states, 158 of which have sworn not to
acquire nuclear weapons and have put their facilities under IAEA safeguards.

Activities Designed to Prevent or Retard Proliferation


The typology discussed above provides insight into current theory on nuclear
proliferation and the assumptions underlying the various meta-approaches to
proliferation issues. But what about non-proliferation policy and practice? This
section looks at past and present nuclear non-proliferation efforts in terms of
four major categories or types of policies, each of which is designed to prevent
or retard nuclear proliferation:

1. International legal regimes-intended to block nuclear spread;


2. Supply-side actions-intended to prevent access to technology;
3. Demand-side actions-intended to provide alternatives to nuclear
weapons;
4. Military actions-intended to prevent or destroy nuclear arsenals.

In analyzing past, current, and future non-proliferation efforts, these are the
principal avenues upon which analysts have focused. Taken in combination,
these four types of activity encompass the components of what may be consid-
ered a complete non-proliferation policy. What may not work by one means
alone can perhaps be accomplished by applying another or by using more than
one in combination. Let us examine each of these in more detail and present
current debates with regard to each.

The Non-ProliferationRegime
The traditional view of nuclear proliferation is that it is a danger to international
security and stability, to be avoided if at all possible. Indeed, much diplomacy
and international organization has been mobilized to stop the spread of atomic
weapons (Fischer, 1992). As Hans Blix, the Director General of the IAEA, has
written:
There is almost universal support for the view that the world would be an even
more dangerous place if there were to be more nuclear weapons states. There
would be more fingers on more triggers and, probably, a greater risk that a
trigger might be pulled with incalculable consequences. It is easy to see, there-

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BARRY R. SCHNEIDER 217

fore, that there is a collective interest in avoiding the spread of nuclear weapons
to further countries (Pilat and Pendley, 1990:ix).

Since 1945, an international non-proliferation regime has been in place to


fight the spread of nuclear weapons. The main elements of this regime include
(see Anthony, 1991):

* NPT: Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (163 signatories;


5 declared nuclear-weapons states);
* IAEA: International Atomic Energy Agency (163 NPT members plus others);
* Latin American Nuclear-Free Zone: Treaty of Tlatololco (23 member states);
* South Pacific Nuclear-Free Zone: Treaty of Rarotonga (11 member states);
* Nuclear Suppliers Group Export Controls (27 member states);
* EURATOM Member Safeguards on Nuclear Facilities (12 member states);
* National Nuclear Export Regulations.

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The centerpiece of the interna-


tional non-proliferation regime is the NPT, whose future will be determined by
the 25-year NPT Review Conference in 1995. The NPT's main purposes have
been to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, safeguard nuclear materials and
facilities, make information on peaceful nuclear energy available to non-nuclear
states, and promote nuclear disarmament (Bailey, 1993). Some (Sanders, 1990;
Leonard, 1992; Scheinman, 1993) believe the NPT has made a major contri-
bution to keeping nuclear proliferation contained over the past 25 years.
The NPT is, however, far from a perfect non-proliferation tool. There have
been eight major complaints about the NPT over the last quarter century. (For
a good discussion of them see Bailey, 1993.) They include:

1. Nonmembership of key states-China, France, and South Africa did not


join until very recently.
2. Noncompliance with key terms of the treaty-Iraq's secret program while
an NPT member.
3. Discriminatory nature of treaty-there are five nuclear members and 158
non-nuclear members with different rules applying to the two types.
4. Unequal access to the fruits of nuclear power-developing nations believe
that nuclear suppliers have not shared technology fully with them.
5. Slow pace of nuclear disarmament-perceived failure of states with nuclear
weapons to live up to their committments under Article VI of the treaty.
6. Institutionalization of inferiority-Third World countries perceive that the
NPT codifies and preserves power differentials between the North and
South, that is between First and Second World states and the Third World.
7. Non-binding nature of positive and negative assurances to weaker states.
8. Absence of punishment for proliferators.

Perhaps the most significant issue to be debated in 1995 is whether or not


the nuclear weapons states have kept their pledge under Article VI to disarm
in return for the continued abstinence of the non-nuclear states from nuclear
arms. Much will depend upon whether the non-nuclear members see START I
and START II being fully implemented, and whether or not there appears to
be progress toward negotiating and implementing a Comprehensive Test Ban
Treaty, the issue that deadlocked the 1990 NPT review conference (Scheinman,
1990). Some believe that other significant arms control and disarmament steps
are possible and desirable to ensure NPT extension and to contain further
nuclear proliferation. For example, the Washington Council on Non-Prolifera-

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218 Nuclear Proliferation and Counter-Proliferation

tion (WCNP) (Leonard, et. al.,1993) advocates a cut-off in production of fissile


materials for weapons, some form of security assurances to non-nuclear parties
to the NPT, negotiation of a new treaty or UN Resolution strengthening the
norm against proliferation, an agreement that the UN Security Council would
have the right to enforce the norm, and ultra-deep reductions in nuclear arsenals
with work toward the possible eventual elimination of nuclear weapons.
There is a division of expert opinion over the value of a Comprehensive Test
Ban (CTB) Treaty for non-proliferation. Some see no need for a CTB to stop
proliferation (Bailey, 1993; Deutsch, 1992). Nevertheless, lack of a CTB may
influence some delegates at the 1995 NPT review conference. Rightly or wrongly,
the Mexican delegate to the 1990 NPT review conference refused to budge on
the lack of CTB progress blocking any consensus endorsement of the NPT at
that time. As a voting issue, at the next review conference, the status of CTB
negotiations could carry considerable weight.
Since the end of the Cold War, there has been a renewed discussion about
the possibilities of a nuclear-weapons-free world that would go beyond the CTB
and even the NPT (Rotblat, et al., 1993). The classic rebuttal to total elimination
proposals has always been that they are impractical and dangerous because of
the grim chance that one state or another (e.g., China, Iran, Iraq, North Korea,
Russia) might keep a clandestine cache of nuclear arms while everyone else
disarms. As the saying goes, "In the valley of the blind, the one-eyed man is
king." Even a small nuclear force, suddenly brought to bear against the conven-
tional forces of opponents, would allow the remaining nuclear-weapons state to
become the new dominant regional superpower (Donnelly, 1993).
The NPT does not explicitly give the 1995 NPT Review Conference the right
to terminate the treaty. Delegates to the conference have two legal choices. They
can extend the treaty indefinitely or for a fixed period or periods. Nevertheless,
"... in the real world, the parties could extend it for a brief period, following
which it could expire. Or a number of parties could individually exercise their
withdrawal rights. . . . Less dramatically, it could prove impossible to bring
together a majority behind any single proposal for an extension among the
many variants which the delegates will be considering as the conference con-
venes" (Leonard, 1992:1).

Impact of an NPT Collapse. Dunn (1990b) believes that the collapse of the
NPT in 1995 would likely spur proliferation. He argues that without the NPT,
there would be nothing to serve as a legal barrier to acquiring or spreading
nuclear weapons or their components. There would be fewer states legally
required to apply IAEA safeguards to their nuclear facilities. In effect, the chief
international norm against proliferation would no longer exist. Moreover, the
demise of the NPT would create an atmosphere where there would be less
certainty about the nuclear weapons plans of neighboring countries, and a sense
that proliferation was no longer checked and was now unstoppable. As more
and more states acquired nuclear weapons, their neighbors and rivals would
also be driven to acquire them. A chain reaction might occur in regions where
such weapons were secured by a hostile local power. This scenario faced poli-
cymakers around the world when North Korea announced it was withdrawing
from the NPT in 1993 (Leopold, 1993), and much international pressure was
applied to Pyongyang until they reconsidered.
In the absence of the NPT, a new legal basis for controls on international
and national nuclear exports would be required since most of the export control
trigger lists are NPT-derived. Moreover, suppliers of nuclear technology would
have little encouragement to restrain exports if the non-proliferation game
appeared hopelessly lost. Such a climate would provide the advantage to the

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BARRY R. SCHNEIDER 219

export "hawks" in each supplier country in any national policy debate with non-
proliferation export-restriction-oriented "doves," particularly if profits were seen
to be sacrificed for no good non-proliferation reason. Without an NPT, states
with nuclear weapons would also be a lot less willing to disarm to face a world
where the future indicated the likelihood of more nuclear rivals.
Countering this rather bleak picture, some (e.g., Fischer, 1990; Pilat, 1990)
argue that if the NPT were to collapse, there would still be some significant
barriers to proliferation. At least four types of legal agreements would maintain
full IAEA safeguard coverage in many states and partial coverage in others.
These include: (1) EURATOM safeguards on its 12 members' nuclear facilities,
(2) Tlatololco safeguards on the 23 states in the Latin American Nuclear-Free
Zone; (3) national legislation in many states requiring IAEA safeguards within
their borders; and (4) existing country-to-country contracts that require recipi-
ents to put the technology and subsequent copies or transfers of it under IAEA
safeguards. Nevertheless, if the NPT was allowed to expire, it would probably
take several years even under the best circumstances to renegotiate a replace-
ment multinational pact regulating and attempting to stop nuclear weapons
proliferation.
IAEA: How Big A Role? The IAEA charter gave this international organiza-
tion the right to inspect the nuclear installations of countries that signed up as
recipients of training, facilities, and fissionable materials under the "Atoms for
Peace" Program (Blix, 1992). However, even though the IAEA has the right
under the NPT to inspect both declared and suspected sites, it has not fully
exercised the second right as a result of a more conservative approach to in-
spection and member state opposition to such invasions of sovereignty. This
approach prevailed until recently when the IAEA was turned loose to inspect
Iraqi installations at the end of the Gulf War (Chavistre, 1993). This unwilling-
ness or inability to take a more assertive approach to uncovering violations of
"Atoms for Peace" and NPT commitments has been a major criticism of the
IAEA (Scheinman, 1993). As Ashok Kapur (1990:126-27) wrote just before the
Gulf War: "The IAEA is doing an excellent safeguarding job in nuclear instal-
lations that are under safeguards. It is working well where it is needed least."
In fact, some analysts (Clausen, 1993) believe that the reluctance of the IAEA
to act has made the Atoms for Peace title a misnomer. They believe that the
program ought to have been named the "Atoms for War" program since it
provided much of the expertise that aspirant states need to design and build
nuclear weapons. David Fischer (1992:45) has observed that "looking back with
a jaundiced eye, it may seem that from 1953 until the mid-1970s the leading
nations of the West, with 'Atoms for Peace' in the van, deliberately set about to
teach each other and then the rest of the world the first, and sometimes all-but-
the-last steps, on the path to nuclear weapons."
Paul Levanthal (1992a, 1992b) argues that the IAEA policy-making process
has to be changed before the organization can become effective. Like Leonard
Spector (1992a), Levanthal would like the locus of IAEA decision-making power
to shift from the IAEA Board of Governors to the United Nations Security
Council-now that the Cold War is over and Security Council action is no longer
blocked by the automatic veto. He believes that the IAEA's conservative ap-
proach to inspections has reflected the influence of nuclear industry representatives
on the IAEA Board. Spector (1992a) and others (e.g., Davis and Donnelly,
1993a) have called for the IAEA to play a stronger role in the future, continuing
the short-notice, anywhere, anytime challenge inspections that proved possible
in Iraq after the Gulf War. Still others (e.g., Blix, 1992) believe that the current
IAEA inspection system already does much to track the location of, and thus

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220 Nuclear Proliferation and Counter-Proliferation

safeguard, the world's supply of enriched uranium and plutonium, although


the system is admittedly imperfect.

Supply-SideNon-ProliferationActivities
Supply-side non-proliferation activities attempt to make it more difficult for
aspirants to acquire nuclear weapons by applying export controls to sensitive
technology, negotiating treaties and agreements to help inhibit the spread of
technology or the diversion of enriched uranium and plutonium, and imposing
sanctions against those developing such weapons or assisting aspirant states
(Wolfsthal, 1993b). The first supply-side nuclear non-proliferation effort was
undertaken at the inception of the Manhattan Project during World War II.
The United States placed strict controls on the disposition and dissemination of
information about nuclear weapons technology; it also closed atomic labs and
nuclear facilities to anyone without U.S. or U.K. security clearances.
The NPT requires exporting states to abstain from transferring key equip-
ment unless IAEA safeguards are part of the package to ensure that nuclear
technologies are not diverted to nuclear bomb programs. The Zangger Com-
mittee, a nuclear exporters' group formed by NPT members, lists nuclear tech-
nology items (e.g., equipment for fuel enrichment, reprocessing, and heavy
water production) that they mutually agree not to export. After India's sole
nuclear explosive test, the larger Nuclear Suppliers Group, which includes some
states that are not parties to the NPT, was formed in order to limit exports to
nuclear aspirant states more fully.
As Kathleen Bailey (1993) has pointed out, there have been a number of
problems in the implementation of export controls. Supplier membership in
the two groups is incomplete. Some countries that should be members are not,
such as Brazil, China, and India. Circumvention of export bans is easy and
common. Moreover, nuclear aspirants can often make their own weapons with-
out outside help. In effect, much of the equipment used to fabricate bomb
components is dual-use technology and thus hard to deny because its end
purpose is difficult to discern.

Policy Fluctuation in the U.S. and Other Supplier States. Possibly the biggest
problem with export controls is that they are too often ignored by governments
when more highly-valued foreign policy or economic goals come into conflict
with a tight non-proliferation regime. The United States government has fre-
quently lifted export controls in cases where dollars can be made or other goals
achieved. As Peter Clausen (1993) wrote, "the foreign policy dog typically wags
the non-proliferation tail." Indeed, there is currently a tug-of-war going on
between Department of Commerce export hawks and State Department non-
proliferation doves. As Zachary Davis (ACA, 1993:11) has concluded, "It seems
increasingly clear that the historical balance between export promotion and
export control is shifting toward promotion. Economic imperatives apparently
have tipped the balance away from national security considerations toward a
more liberal export policy."
The White House Fact Sheet on Non-Proliferation and Export Control Policy
(White House, 1993:27-28) states that the United States will streamline the
implementation of U.S. non-proliferation export controls, balancing the need
for more exports with the requirement to prevent "exports that would make a
material contribution to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction." Jon
Wolfsthal (1993a:22) notes that in line with this streamlining of policy, President
Clinton announced "sweeping changes" to ease the U.S. export controls on
computers and telecommunications technologies, allowing more high-speed

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BARRY R. SCHNEIDER 221

computers to be sold abroad. Still embargoed from such sales are Iran, Iraq,
Syria, Libya, and North Korea, but U.S. Department of Defense officials re-
portedly are concerned that these states might still acquire valuable adjuncts to
a nuclear weapons program via third parties legally positioned to buy them.
The concern is that supplier states may one day be threatened by the same
nuclear weapons that they are now helping other states to develop.
Beyond the reluctance of the traditional suppliers of nuclear technology to
enforce their own nuclear export rules at the expense of profits, a second
problem has compounded the quest to cut off dangerous technology transfers:
the emergence of a second tier of nuclear supplier states (Potter, 1992). In the
past, nuclear exports have been dominated by the United States, the Soviet
Union, Germany, and France. Now these suppliers have been joined by Argen-
tina, Brazil, China, India, Israel, Japan, Pakistan, South Africa, South Korea,
Spain, and Taiwan. The breakup of the Soviet Union into fifteen independent
states has also complicated nuclear export controls, since most of the Soviet
Union's experts, bureaucracy, and legal system were centered in Moscow. As a
result, fourteen non-Russian republics are starting their own crude export con-
trol systems from scratch without the benefit of experience or prior institutions.
One of these new states, Ukraine, has been particularly hostile to the idea of
putting export controls before export profits (Potter, 1993).
One method of dealing with the surplus of bomb-grade materials in the
former Soviet Union is what Booth (1992) calls the capitalist approach to non-
proliferation-buying the highly enriched uranium (HEU) or plutonium to get
it off the street. In 1993, the United States initiated this approach by signing
an agreement to buy 500 tons of Russian bomb-grade material. Over the next
20 years, this plutonium will be blended with natural uranium for use in civilian
power reactors, a nuclear "swords into plowshares" program (see also Bukharin,
1993). This approach is being complemented by another program recently
initiated by the U.S. Government. The Clinton Administration is attempting to
negotiate a multilateral treaty aimed at banning further proliferation of bomb-
grade HEU or plutonium (ACA, 1993; Wolfsthall, 1993a:22).

Iraq: An Illustration of the DeterminedAspirant State. Saddam Hussein's huge


clandestine nuclear weapons research and development effort in Iraq shows
how the determined aspirant state can circumvent the existing export controls
(Albright and Hibbs, 1992a, 1992b; Davis and Donnelly, 1991; Ekeus, 1992;
Kay, 1992; Zimmerman, 1993a).
After the Gulf War, United Nations inspectors found a vast and previously
undetected nuclear weapons program underway in Iraq, despite the fact that
Iraq had been a party to the NPT and had undergone repeated IAEA inspec-
tions of its declared sites. Unfortunately, the IAEA had not gone beyond de-
clared sites and had no intelligence that Iraq had secretly built numerous
undeclared nuclear facilities. Indeed, just before the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait,
the IAEA stated that Iraqi officials "have made every effort to demonstrate that
Iraq is a solid citizen" (Hibbs, 1990).
The Iraqi clandestine nuclear weapons program was facilitated by German,
French, and other European exports of sensitive technologies (Albright and
Hibbs, 1992b). This wholesale breakdown in nuclear export controls led one
student of the problem to conclude that "so far, the Western European nuclear
export record has been dismal" (Muller, 1993:27-29). The immediate payoffs
of export profits has too often taken precedence over the long-term non-prolif-
eration advantages of tight export controls. As Leventhal (1992a: 167), President
of the Nuclear Control Institute, has observed, "This discovery provides only
the latest evidence of a growing nuclear bazaar that makes a mockery of the

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222 Nuclear Proliferation and Counter-Proliferation

long-revered nuclear proliferation regime." Levanthal asks, "Is it possible to


plug the leaks in nuclear export controls? Perhaps more to the point, given the
lack of willpower among governments and industry to do so, should an attempt
even be made?"
Victor Alessi (1991) fears that Saddam Hussein would resurrect his nuclear
weapons program again if the allies were to pull out of Iraq today. In his
prepared statement to the U.S. Congress, Alessi stated:
the Iraqis still possess in abundance the single most important dual-use resource
necessary for nuclear weapons development-a reservoir of trained, dedicated,
and experienced scientists and technicians. In this regard, DOE (U.S. Depart-
ment of Energy) scientists on the IAEA inspection teams have frequently ex-
pressed surprise that the Iraqi scientists do not behave like they are members
of a defeated nation. In fact, they have openly boasted that the U.N. inspectors
cannot take away the knowledge that Iraq scientists have in their heads and this
can be used to rebuild their program (1991:4-5).

Despite the limits of export controls in stemming nuclear proliferation, few


recommend abandoning supply-side non-proliferation policies. In fact, Levan-
thal (1992a) argues that export controls might become more effective if they
were limited to just a few key items. He would make no exceptions in prohibiting
the sale of natural uranium, heavy water, tritium, all enrichment technology
(calutrons, centrifuges, lasers, and gaseous diffusion), all fuel reprocessing tech-
nology, bomb grade materials, and large research reactors (2 megawatts and
up). Whatever the list of restricted technologies used, export controls do make
nuclear weapons, which are already difficult to build (Zimmerman, 1993b), even
more difficult and costly. Thus these barriers can prolong the time an aspirant
state needs to produce a weapon. This time can be put to good use by the world-
wide intelligence community in assessing an aspirant's program. It also creates
an opportunity to bring diplomacy, incentives, disincentives, and, if necessary,
military forces into play to block proliferation. In sum, supply-side efforts appear
to be a necessary, if not sufficient, component to a successful counterprolifera-
tion effort (cf. Rioux, 1992).

Demand-SideNon-ProliferationActivities
Demand-side non-proliferation policies aim at solving the problem of the spread
of nuclear arms by offering aspirant states a viable alternative to nuclear weapons
acquisition or assistance in managing the nuclear arms they already possess
(Roberts, 1993). Demand-side non-proliferation policy can take many guises. In
some areas of the world, where there are no nuclear weapons states at present,
nuclear-free zones may be the answer. Diplomatic activity soon may result in an
African Nuclear-Free Zone to forestall the reintroduction of nuclear weapons
into Africa (Wolfsthal, 1993c). Already, there are nuclear-free zones in Latin
America and in the South Pacific (Fischer, 1992). Another form of demand-side
nonproliferation is to expand alliances to include nuclear aspirant states and,
thereby, to help remove the security anxieties that feed interest in nuclear
weapons. Other types of assurances and guarantees can also help deter prolif-
eration. (For more detail, see Bunn and Timerbaev, 1993.) For example, con-
ventional arms sales or transfers can at times provide the needed sense of
security. Negotiation of non-aggression pacts and mutual no-first-use pledges
also help to reduce fear. Moreover, regional arms control and peace agreements
undercut the need to acquire nuclear weapons. In some cases, the threatened
withdrawal of alliance support can cause the ally to cancel or slow a national
nuclear weapons program. The United States worked to block the South Korean

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BARRY R. SCHNEIDER 223

nuclear weapons project by threatening to withdraw from its treaty with the
Republic of Korea if they persisted. The bomb project was shelved in the mid-
1970s to keep U.S. protection.

USSR Rupture: A Demand-Side Non-Proliferation Challenge. The nuclear pro-


liferation problems caused by the breakup of the Soviet Union illustrate the
problems a demand-side non-proliferation policy is intended to address and
indicate the current debate on the appropriate policy for this region. Among
the issues under discussion is how countries like the United States can help the
states of the former Soviet Union to draw down their nuclear arsenals and to
prevent their nuclear weapons, nuclear technology, and nuclear know-how from
spreading to other aspirant states. What can be done regionally to prevent
Ukraine from keeping its nuclear arms or Poland from acquiring a nuclear
weapon to defend itself against a resurgent Russia? Will the NATO partnerships
that are in progress be enough, or are stronger security commitments required?
Unclassified estimates of the Soviet nuclear stockpile when the Soviet empire
ruptured vary from 25,000 to 45,000 nuclear warheads, bombs, and munitions
deployed on Soviet strategic offensive forces, strategic defensive forces, land-
based theater forces, and sea-based theater forces (Lockwood, 1993a; Norris,
1992). Experts (e.g., Allison, et al., 1993; Blair, 1991; Campbell, et al., 1991;
Imai, 1993; Lockwood, 1993a; Miller, 1992; Morrison, 1991; Norris, 1992;
Potter, 1992; Schneider, 1991) point to a set of nuclear proliferation problems
emanating from the demise of the Soviet Union.
The breakup of the U.S.S.R. into fifteen states left four-Belarus, Kazakhstan,
Russia, and Ukraine-with nuclear weapons on their soil (Potter, Kayukov, and
Cohe, 1993). The presence of these weapons makes possible their theft and/or
transfer to nuclear aspirants as well as their potential future seizure during
ethnic or intra-republic conflicts (Davis and Donnelly, 1993b). The pressing need
for capital may lure these governments, or individual entrepreneurs within these
countries, to sell nuclear reactor and uranium enrichment technologies to nu-
clear aspirants. They could also sell peaceful nuclear explosive (PNE) technology
to nuclear aspirants to help with their civil engineering projects. Nor is it
improbable that there could be splits in the military forces of a nuclear-armed
republic that could put nuclear weapons in the hands of various factions in
some future civil war or attempted coup d'etat (Schneider, 1991). Lastly, there
is the issue of maintaining secure command, control, and communications
among these former Soviet states within the Commonwealth of Independent
States (CIS) (Davis and Medalia, 1992).
Among the successor states with strategic nuclear forces on their soil, Belarus
and Kazakhstan have made strong commitments to rid themselves of all re-
maining nuclear arms and have ratified the START I and Non-Proliferation
Treaties. Russia, as well, is involved in the START I process and NPT. Ukraine's
situation is a bit murkier and has led to a debate over whether or not there is
value in having a Ukrainian deterrent.

The Special Case of Ukraine. Although Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk


has pledged to follow the lead of Belarus and Kazakhstan, the Ukrainian par-
liament, the Rada, has in the past rejected complete denuclearization. Instead,
the Rada ratified START I with a proviso that it retain part of its nuclear forces
(Lockwood, 1993b). The Rada has also failed to ratify Ukrainian accession to
the NPT. The United States and other G-7 states have pledged to aid the
economic development of Ukraine provided it cooperates in moving toward a
non-nuclear status. Indeed, the United States has offered money to help pay
for the cost of transporting, protecting, and dismantling Ukrainian nuclear

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224 Nuclear Proliferation and Counter-Proliferation

weapons. However, this demand side non-proliferation aid is not accompanied


by security guarantees to Ukraine against future Russian aggression, something
a Ukrainian nuclear arsenal might provide.
Some (Martel and Pendley, 1994; Mearsheimer, 1993) do not see it as a
setback for U.S. or world security if the Rada elects to keep nuclear weapons
for the Ukraine. The case has been made that a nuclear Ukraine provides a
deterrent in the region, facilitating stability. Several arguments are advanced to
support this position. Primary among them is the bitter history between Russia
and Ukraine. There are many reasons to expect Russian-Ukrainian conflicts
including the 200 years of Russian domination, a long shared border, a large
Russian population still in the Ukraine, economic problems on both sides, and
disputes over the division of military forces and the Crimea which is important
to Russia. Many Ukrainians fear resurgent Russian nationalism and imperialist
ideas. Continued possession of nuclear weapons would serve as a deterrent to
Russian expansionism at Ukraine's expense as well as provide a potent enough
threat to force the much larger Russian state to respect Ukraine. The United
States and NATO are unlikely to offer sufficient security guarantees to the
Ukrainians to persuade them to give up the control over their own destiny that
many among the Ukrainian leadership perceive nuclear forces providing.
Other experts (e.g., DeWing, 1993; Kincade, 1993; Miller, 1993a, 1993b)
argue the opposite position, namely that a Ukrainian nuclear force would
weaken international security. The case against a Ukrainian nuclear deterrent
takes many forms. In the first place, the attempt to transfer nuclear weapons to
Ukrainian hands from current Russian control is, itself, a likely source of tension
and could spark the first military confrontation between Russia and Ukraine.
As Steven Miller (1993a:75) observes, "grabbing these weapons could provoke
the very war Ukrainians profess to fear." Moreover, the Ukrainians have no
experience with the limits nuclear weapons should place on their behavior and
the limited actual utility of such weapons. There is also concern over Ukrainian
leaders being tempted to strike first in a crisis with Russia if they fear a Russian
first strike could disarm them. And, correspondingly, there is the argument that
the Russian government might be lured into a preemptive strike against Ukraine
if the Ukrainian force is not based securely enough to ensure a survivable
second-strike. Inevitably a nuclear-armed Ukraine will be targeted by other
nuclear-armed states. A nuclear state like the Ukraine in the heart of Europe
will probably trigger other European nuclear arms-building programs-for ex-
ample, in Germany and Poland. Furthermore, going nuclear could cost Ukraine
much needed outside economic aid from the G-7 countries and could lead to
severe energy shortages if Russia decides to cut off oil supplies to Ukraine in
retaliation. Monies targeted to maintaining an expensive nuclear deterrent are
likely to come at the expense of an effective and usable Ukrainian conventional
military force.
Ukrainian reluctance to part with their nuclear weapons has implications for
the worldwide effort to prevent nuclear proliferation. At present, Ukraine is the
third largest strategic nuclear force in the world after the United States and
Russia. Its warheads exceed the combined strength of the United Kingdom,
France, and the People's Republic of China. As a result, some analysts (Allison,
et al., 1993; Keeney, 1993) believe Ukraine could be detrimental to the 1995
NPT Review Conference if it keeps its weapons. If Ukraine does not ratify the
START I Treaty, as written, it cannot go into effect and would require a
complicated renegotiation. Without START I as a foundation, the U.S.-Russian
START II Treaty, with its even deeper cuts and a ban on MIRVed ICBMs,
could not be implemented. If the START treaties are blocked by Ukrainian
moves to keep nuclear weapons, the nuclear "have-nots" are likely to be less

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BARRY R. SCHNEIDER 225

willing to adhere to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty regime. As a recent


Harvard Center for Science and International Affairs study concluded:
If START and START II can be implemented effectively, this would signal to
other countries that the two biggest nuclear powers take their vertical non-
proliferation commitment under the NPT seriously. If the five parties to START
fail to achieve this goal, countries that have criticized the allegedly discriminatory
nature of the NPT would find evidence, once more, the nuclear powers have
not complied with their part of the deal. In the short run, such a development
could prevent or delay urgent reforms in the nuclear safeguards system such as
the introduction of mandatory challenge inspections. In the long run, it could
. . . destabilize the non-proliferation regime (Allison, et al., 1993).

This viewpoint is not shared by everyone. Mearsheimer (1993), for example,


thinks that START can be renegotiated if Ukraine stays nuclear. He argues that
the NPT regime is less valuable to the world than stability in Eurasia, and that
this stability is strengthened if Ukraine has a nuclear deterrent capability.
Regardless of which position one takes, the United States and Western Europe
face a policy dilemma. What kinds of security guarantees are the United States
and Western Europe prepared to give Ukraine if it surrenders its nuclear
weapons, and will such assurances meet Ukrainian needs? Are present NATO
members willing to expand full memberships to Eastern European and Soviet
Successor States like Ukraine in order to forestall an additional nuclear-armed
state in the heart of Eurasia? To what degree should the United States and its
NATO allies stay with or depart from the current "Russia First" foreign policy
that stops short of expanding NATO eastward for fear of undermining Boris
Yeltsin and fanning the flames of Russian ultranationalism?

Stopping Proliferationby Military Means


The discovery, after the allied victory in the Persian Gulf, of just how close
Saddam Hussein's regime had been to acquiring nuclear weapons was a wake
up call to the world community. It reminded the U.S. and other world leaders
about the extremely dangerous possibilities of nuclear weapons if they are spread
to radical and unfriendly regimes. It led President Bush to direct the U.S.
Department of Defense "to develop new capabilities to defend against prolifer-
ants, including capabilities for preemptive military action" (Wilson, 1993/94:33).
The U.S. Defense Nuclear Counter-Proliferation Initiative was the response to
this directive (Aspin, 1993a). It adds military options to the range of tools used
to fight proliferation.
Clearly for any head of state to order a preemptive counter-proliferation
strike would require a very special set of conditions. The nuclear aspirant would
have to be approaching the nuclear weapons threshold and be led by a hostile
government that appears ready to take extreme risks. Such a government is
unlikely to be deterred from future warlike actions. Moreover, the developing
scenario would have to directly and immediately threaten a vital interest of the
country considering the preemptive strike. It would require information on
important nuclear target locations of the adversary and the ability to achieve
tactical surprise. Moreover, the adversary should not be able to threaten the
preemptor with nuclear arms or other weapons of mass destruction or have a
strong ally who is likely to do so on its behalf. All other reasonable options
should have been exhausted before such a strike is undertaken. The head of
state should have adequate domestic and international political support for the
action and for bringing any military campaign to a successful conclusion before
choosing this type of non-proliferation activity. (See Schneider, 1994 for a

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226 Nuclear Proliferation and Counter-Proliferation

description of the criteria necessary for the United States to make such a
decision.)
Preemptive counter-proliferation (PCP) attacks have been launched in at least
six instances in the past. During World War II, the Allies bombed the Nazi
heavy-water plant in Norway and the U.S. bombed Japanese nuclear laborato-
ries. During the first week of the Iran-Iraq War, the Iranian Air Force unsuc-
cessfully bombed the Iraqi Osirak nuclear reactor (Snyder, 1983). Nine months
later, on June 7, 1981, the Israeli Air Force bombed and destroyed the Osirak
reactor in Iraq on orders from Menachim Begin (Hersh, 1991; Karsh and Rautsi,
1993; Perlmutter, 1987). At the end of the Iran-Iraq War in 1987, the Iraqi Air
Force bombed and destroyed the Iranian Bushehr reactor (Hibbs, 1987). The
last time nuclear facilities came under military attack was in January 1991 when
the American-led coalition's air offensive struck but only partially destroyed
Iraq's nuclear, biological, chemical, and SCUD missile assets in the Desert Storm
operation (Keaney and Cohen, 1992).
In Desert Storm the allies found out just how hard it is to destroy nuclear,
biological, chemical, and missile assets from the air when intelligence is incom-
plete, even when air superiority is secured. Only after the coalition ground
forces occupied Iraq did the allies realize the dimensions of the Iraqi nuclear,
biological, chemical, and SCUD forces and infrastructure. The official U.S. Gulf
War Air Power Survey (GWAPS) observed that:
The Iraqi nuclear program was massive, for most practical purposes fiscally
unconstrained, closer to fielding a weapon, and less vulnerable to destruction
by precision bombing than Coalition air commanders and planners or U.S.
intelligence specialists realized before Desert Storm. The target list of 16 January
1991 contained two nuclear targets, but after the war, inspectors operating
under the United Nations Special Commission eventually uncovered more than
twenty sites involved in the Iraqi nuclear weapons program; sixteen of the sites
were described as "main facilities" (Keaney and Cohen, 1992).

GWAPS concluded that "the air campaign no more than inconvenienced Iraqi
plans to field nuclear weapons" (Keaney and Cohen, 1992:82). Important Iraqi
nuclear facilities remained untouched after 1,000 hours of coalition air strikes.
It was only after the total defeat of Iraqi forces and subsequent inspections that
the total size of the Iraqi nuclear effort came into focus. "We now know that
the Iraqi's program to amass enough enriched uranium to begin producing
atomic bombs was more extensive, more redundant, further along, and consid-
erably less vulnerable to air attack than was realized at the onset of Desert
Storm" (Keaney and Cohen, 1992:82).
Apparently the Iraqi regime learned from the destruction of their Osirak
nuclear reactor in 1981. Instead of again building a single, highly visible, state-
of-the-art nuclear reactor above ground, the Iraqis elected to pursue a clandes-
tine nuclear path complete with underground facilities and a Manhattan Project
first-generation technology using nuclear calutron electromagnetic separators.
They placed their facilities in diverse unmarked locations (Albright and Hibbs,
1992b; Bailey, 1993; Zimmerman, 1993a). Iraqi pursuit of calutron technology
was unexpected, since gas centrifuge technology is more efficient and widely
adopted elsewhere. Foreign intelligence assumed the Iraqi regime would opt
for available state-of-the-art technology and failed to look for the purchases that
brought the Iraqis the calutron components (Albright and Hibbs, 1992a).
Some experts (Albright and Hibbs, 1992b; Bailey, 1993: Woolsey, 1993) now
believe that Iraq was about four years away from its first nuclear weapons had
it not invaded Kuwait and brought defeat and occupation upon itself. The

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BARRY R. SCHNEIDER 227

Coalition's destruction of Iraqi nuclear assets has eliminated equipment that will
take two to six years to replace. If these estimates are accurate, given a free
hand by the world community, Iraq could have a nuclear weapon within six to
ten years of the Coalition's departure.
In the next regional conflict involving worldwide interests, the international
community may not be so fortunate. North Korea may be a case in point
(Mazzar, 1993). As one analyst observed, "A nuclear-armed North Korea would
constitute the long-feared nightmare of the international community; an over-
armed state in a desperate position with unstable decision-makers and poor
command and control" (Bracken, 1993:137). Yet, a preemptive attack, even if
it completely eliminated North Korean nuclear weapons, could easily lead to a
second Korean War. If unsuccessfull, a preemptive attack might subject the U.S.
and its allies to a nuclear reprisal as well as a war on the Korean Peninsula. An
appreciation of the extreme risks of U.S. preemption appear to have been
reflected in March 1994 statements by Administration officials (Pine, 1994). North
Korea's nuclear program and the threat they would pose to the area if armed
overtly with nuclear weapons could easily trip off a proliferation chain reaction,
leading in time to a nuclear-armed Japan and South Korea (ACA, 1993;
Bracken, 1993; Lehman, 1993).
The near-miss in Desert Storm and the threat posed by North Korea have
spurred U.S. leaders to set a higher priority on non-proliferation and counter-
proliferation policies, and to fund new research and acquisition programs to
understand, deter, and counter future proliferation. Ironically, a range of other
nations have drawn another conclusion from the experience of the 1990-91
Gulf War: no nation should tangle with the United States with purely conven-
tional forces (Wilson, 1993/94). As General K. Sundarji, Indian Army Chief of
Staff put it, "The lesson of Desert Storm is don't mess with the United States
without nuclear weapons."

Arenas for Further Research


Changes in the international arena dictate a new agenda for policy-related
research on proliferation, counterproliferation, and related issues. There are
many gaps in present research and understanding. Dunn (1994) suggests that
fresh analysis be given to national planning regarding strategy, force structure,
military acquisition, and weapons research and development to prepare for
possible confrontations with hostile regional powers armed with nuclear weap-
ons. He points out that former U.S. Secretary of Defense Aspin's "Bottom-Up"
Review (Aspin, 1993b) was based on facing a maximum of two conventionally
armed regional opponents at the same time. It does not plan to develop forces
to engage against nuclear-armed regional foes. The 1993 Bottom-Up Review
ignores the possibility that American forces might be pitted against nuclear
forces in Iran, North Korea, or even a resurgent Iraq in 10 to 20 years. Note
that in two of these three cases, U.S. forces are in close proximity on a daily
basis. Clearly, this oversight is a serious deficiency in one of the chief U.S.
planning documents for future military force structuring and operations.
Reexploring which kinds of forces to build for which new contingencies
against nuclear nations is an important agenda item for discussion, analysis, and
research. For example, if Iraq had had a functional nuclear weapons capability
during the Gulf War, would General Schwartzkopf have massed coalition troops
along the Kuwait border for months? Would the coalition partners have joined
forces in the effort in the first place? Would the Iraqis have salvaged a standoff

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228 Nuclear Proliferation and Counter-Proliferation

by threatening the urban centers of the allies? Could allied communications


have been severed by a few high-altitude nuclear bursts? Would any ground
army advance under nuclear bombardment or its threat?
Analysis and research are also needed to provide a better understanding of
the perspectives on proliferation, strategic culture, regional influences, motiva-
tions, and personal idiosyncrasies affecting emerging nuclear states. Far too little
work has been done to date in uncovering the views of leaders and the political
influences at work in Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Syria, Ukraine, and other nuclear
aspirants. At issue is whether the standard deterrence theories of the Cold War
will work effectively against radical regimes in the Third World. Are some
leaders and elites on a different sheet of music when they calculate decisions
about the acquisition and use of nuclear weapons? Are some of them undeter-
rable? Increasingly, some experts (Dunn, 1994; Garrity, 1992; Garrity and Maar-
anen, 1992; Roberts, 1993; Wolf, 1993) have suggested that the "actual use of
nuclear weapons might be undertaken by some countries to fulfill a transcendent
ideological, religious, or historical mission, regardless of the consequences for
their societies" (Dunn, 1994:10). The weak may attack the strong because they
operate out of a different kind of world view. Policy analysts and country
specialists can make important contributions to proliferation-related research by
examining how best to design a deterrent for emerging nuclear states given the
values of the leaders and the political settings in which they find themselves.
Another possibility that merits continued attention and additional analysis
concerns China. Might China go through the same kind of crisis of the old
regime that ruptured the Soviet Union? If so, it could divide into several nuclear
states, creating the same kinds of proliferation problems that are present in the
former Soviet Union, although on a smaller scale (Spector and Medeires, 1993).
In effect, fresh policy analysis is needed regarding the possibilities of nuclear
proliferation and the means of coping with it in Central Eurasia and Northeast
Asia. Likewise, very little has been done to look at the likelihood of a prolifer-
ation chain reaction should Ukraine retain its nuclear weapons. The potential
for a Polish nuclear program and a German decision to go nuclear deserves
much additional investigation and analysis, as does a reexamination of the
viability of extended deterrence in the post-Cold War era. Moreover, should
North Korea succeed with its nuclear policies, a new analysis is required to
predict the likely responses of South Korea and Japan and to reassess policy
options at that time.
Any non-proliferation research agenda should include additional analyses to
help clarify the picture of how supply-side, demand-side, international regime,
and military approaches to containing the spread of nuclear weapons are likely
to affect the choices of near-nuclear nations. Several questions might guide the
inquiry. Should the NPT be renegotiated, supplemented, or replaced as some
experts propose (Martel and Pendley, 1994; Subrahmayam, 1993) in order to
equalize its effects on all members and to recognize stabilizing proliferation
while retaining necessary restrictions on destabilizing proliferation? Under what
conditions are military responses appropriate and not appropriate in preventing
radical regimes from acquiring nuclear arms? What is the feasibility of creating
nuclear-weapon-free-zones in Africa, South Asia, the Middle East, and the Ko-
rean peninsula (Kwak and Joo, 1993; Wolfsthal, 1993c)? What are the prolif-
eration and counterproliferation implications of "deep cut" disarmament
proposals that go beyond START II levels? Some preliminary studies indicate
that deeper cuts could undermine efforts to reach non-proliferation goals (Ques-
ter and Utgoff, 1993). How far should states go in providing regional security
assurances to avoid further proliferation? What is the nuclear resurrection ca-
pability of those nations that have just renounced their own nuclear weapons

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BARRY R. SCHNEIDER 229

programs, that is, Argentina, Belarus, Brazil, Kazakhstan, South Africa, and
Ukraine? Can they reacquire such weapons in a matter of days or weeks, as
some analysts argue (e.g., Blix, 1992; Spector, 1992a), if they retain weapons
fabrication plants and secretly stored bomb material?
In conclusion, there are an estimated 40 states that are sufficiently advanced
technically to build nuclear weapons if given a few years and a national com-
mitment to proceed (Frankel, 1993). Dunn (1990a) has identified a subset of
these states that currently have decided not to acquire the bomb despite the
technical ability to do so. A detailed analysis of the abstainers, and how they
differ from those pushing to develop nuclear weapons, could prove invaluable
in helping to address all the issues described above. What are the differences
between these two types of states when considering such factors as national
ethos, political culture, national technical capabilities, political system, the do-
mestic political scene, and the psychology of the leadership (Davis and Frankel,
1993)? Do patterns emerge that might help us to understand whether prolif-
eration decisions are primarily the result of technical, political, military/security,
or idiosyncratic variables? Moreover, research could be directed at delineating
the perceived incentives and disincentives from the international arena that
helped to determine the decisions in these 40 states. This kind of comparative
case study analysis, whether done on individual cases, subsets of cases, or the
whole group of cases, would provide both the scholarly and policy communities
with a clearer picture of when, how, why, and which states are likely to go
nuclear or elect to remain without such arms. Better predictive theory and more
effective policy on proliferation and counterproliferation would be the result.

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