Seminar Overview

Rodney W. Jones
Seminar Chair


This report documents a Carnegie Endowment conference on three closely related security and arms control topics: (1) the bilateral stakes in the START II Treaty and its ratification status; (2) the enlargement of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)--involving Russia and several other new members; and (3) the recent ABM Treaty and national missile defense controversies in the United States. The conference was intended to air the nature of the interrelationships among the strategic arms control treaties and the MTCR, their implications for strategic offense-defense interaction and their respective contributions to missile nonproliferation objectives. The results are summarized in this overview. Transcripts of the panels and discussions record the panelists' actual statements and the give and take in discussion periods.

The long-awaited U.S. Senate approval of START II three weeks earlier, on January 26, was fresh in mind. Participants were conscious of potential obstacles to Russian ratification of START II. Parliamentary action on START II was delayed in Russia by parliamentary elections in December 1995, and also by anxiety that Congress would mandate U.S. national missile defenses and withdrawal from the ABM Treaty. Meanwhile, the political party balance in Russia's State Duma changed, and the Russian presidential election campaigns had begun. On the missile nonproliferation front, the MTCR membership had been enlarged and events had dramatized the missile threat, contributing to the strength of U.S. Congressional interest in missile defenses. The conference served as an occasion to take stock of these events with Russian visitors and to air different American points of view on missile defense.

Panel I: The Role and
Status of the START Treaties

The first panel focused on the U.S. and Russian stakes in strategic arms control, the prospects for START II ratification in Russia, the status of START III issues, and the possibilities for cooperative approaches to the issues of strategic offense-defense interaction. The Russian panelists, Ambassadors Yuri Nazarkin and Mikhail Streltsov, and State Duma member Alexei Arbatov, explained Russia's START II reservations, steps in the ratification process, and expected implementation problems in eliminating Russia's multiple warhead (MIRVed) intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). On balance, they agreed that START II serves Russia's basic interests, in lower levels of strategic arms, eventual economic savings, and political and military parity with the United States. They acknowledged that the ball is now in Russia's court, and ventured that parliament's approval probably would occur eventually.

Nazarkin described four major areas of criticism in the 1995 Duma hearings on START II. First, Russians were concerned that U.S. deployment of nationwide missile defenses would threaten the ABM Treaty and alter the strategic balance to Russia's disadvantage. The Duma was even inclined, as a result, to insist on ratifying a theater missile defense (TMD) demarcation agreement before ratifying START II. Second, the START II provisions, which require elimination of MIRVed ICBMs, will allow the United States to reduce its strategic forces easily but would radically alter Russia's force structure and impose correspondingly high Russian implementation costs. Third, it may not be feasible for Russia to meet the START II deadlines for phased reductions, which are tied to the specific calendar dates of December 2001 and January 2003. Fourth, NATO expansion has generated Russian apprehension, which adversely affects deliberation on START II. Nazarkin added that some of these concerns could be addressed in a different light if there were prior agreement with the United States on lower START III ceilings, say 2,000 or 2,500 warheads.

Arbatov emphasized that START II ratification in Russia will require Communist support, given the Duma's new composition. While not impossible, this would be unlikely before the April Nuclear Safety and Security Summit or even the June presidential election. To increase START II's chances in the Duma whenever it is considered, he suggested that the Yeltsin government must submit its "federal program" for START II to the Duma as well as reach out to the Communists to cooperate on certain domestic social programs. For U.S. and Russian diplomats, Arbatov suggested work in three areas to show some results by April, or, if necessary, to sustain the ratification process after the Summit: (1) measures to reassure Russia against U.S. "breakout" capability; (2) a missile defense demarcation agreement, i.e., a clear delineation between strategic and theater missile defense; and (3) a START III "framework agreement." Details for START III would be worked out later, but the lower ceilings in the framework agreement would free Russia from spending money to produce and deploy a larger number of single-warhead ICBMs (to maintain parity with the United States by replacing the multiple warhead ICBMs banned by START II) that would then have to be eliminated under lower START III ceilings. These measures would not reopen START II provisions, he said, but make the treaty more palatable to Russians, easing its passage through parliament.

The two American panelists addressed the stakes in START II and the significance of the recent Senate approval. ACDA Assistant Secretary Michael Nacht focused on the strategic and political stakes for both sides in START II--the strategic being in greater stability and threat reduction (from elimination of MIRVed ICBMs, considered first-strike systems), and the political being the cultivation of security cooperation habits as the sides implement and verify reductions. For Russia, he suggested ratifying START II would guarantee parity, whereas failure to ratify might further fuel Congressional interest in large-scale missile defenses. Nacht explained U.S. reticence on START III, pending ratification of START II, arguing that once new proposals are on the table, opponents of START II could use them to reopen and unravel the unratified treaty. He said, however, that the Clinton Administration has serious thinking underway on START III questions, for example, on the means of transparent and irreversible warhead elimination and on inclusion of tactical warhead elimination in the bilateral arms control dialogue.

On the question of offense-defense interaction, Nacht expressed a personal view: More could and should be done to define how the sides could move, cooperatively and transparently, from a world dominated by mutual deterrence to a condition that Secretary of Defense Perry has called "mutual assured safety." He observed that if START II and the ABM Treaty were to collapse, both sides would lose severely as a result of revived strategic competition.

Ambassador Linton Brooks focused on the U.S. Senate's resolution approving START II for ratification. He pointed out that the Senate vote was unequivocal and the Senate's conditions and declarations required no fresh action by Russia. Nothing in the resolution requires the United States to withdraw from or violate the ABM Treaty. Moreover, he stressed, it explicitly calls for further strategic arms reductions consistent with U.S. security. These points address two key Russian concerns. At the same time, the Senate made clear it has a strong interest in some form of missile defense. Brooks said he, like Nacht, believed missile defenses could be theater-oriented and stabilizing, through a cooperative approach with Russia. If START II is not ratified in Russia, the Senate action precludes U.S. reductions below START I levels. Brooks indicated the resulting force would be easier and cheaper for the United States to maintain. As he understood the Russian situation from Russia's military, aging missiles and economics would drive Russian forces down anyway. If START II is not ratified, the net result will be inequality--Congress keeping the United States at START I levels, while the economics drive Russia below START II levels. This would not make the U.S.-Russian relationship easier. Thus, the path to equality is START II ratification.

On Arbatov's proposals for action by April, Brooks made several comments. A TMD demarcation agreement, Brooks suggested, could be done quickly--within weeks; but satisfying both side's domestic political conditions is the hard part. On the breakout issue, he suggested, several approaches exist conceptually, but the most common idea, warhead elimination, is an exceptionally difficult problem for verification and would take much longer to solve. On producing a START III framework now, Brooks said that this might be possible if Russia spoke with only one voice, but with democracy in Russia (as in the United States), nobody speaks for everybody and the subject requires a complex negotiation. Finally, responding to Russian suggestions that it may be difficult to complete START II reductions on schedule, Brooks countered that this is a result of the fact that until a treaty is in force the military will keep its options open. He concluded, this is actually an argument for early ratification, for getting started sooner rather than later.

In the discussion period, William Potter questioned Arbatov as to whether the Russian military uniformly support START II. Arbatov replied that the Russian armed forces generally are supportive, and specifically the Strategic Rocket Forces (SRF) and the Navy, although the Air Force is indifferent. The services are affirmative when President Yeltsin indicates START II is his priority, and less sure when Yeltsin is distracted. Nazarkin added that the key to START II ratification is the attitude of the General Staff, which firmly supported START II earlier in 1995 but softened after the U.S. Senate raised the ABM issue in June. Andrei Zobov queried whether in view of Yeltsin assurances to Clinton, the Russian Foreign or Defense ministries had been asked to prepare a "federal program" for START II early enough to be ready for the April summit, and Ambassador Streltsov indicated this was being pursued but that there were serious economic and financial difficulties.

Stan Norris questioned whether the warhead elimination and verification issues were so difficult, referred to breakout capability (upload potential) as the basis in the current U.S. defense posture for the so-called "hedge," and asked if there was a similar disposition in Russia and what the Duma knows about this matter. Arbatov said three Duma hearings had been held on this issue, and it gives rise to one of the arguments of the START II opponents. Russia's upload potential is relatively small, zero for SS-18 ICBMs because they are to be destroyed, and impeded by technical factors for SS-19s and submarine missiles. Arbatov concurred that the elimination of warheads would be a real barrier to breakout, but difficult to accomplish. Nacht noted that the United States has made overtures to Russia on this issue; it has briefed the 1994 Nuclear Posture Review to the Russian ministry of defense, and requested regularized discussion channels between defense departments, but Russia has not been forthcoming.

Sidney Graybeal took issue with the tenor of discussion on the ABM Treaty and missile defense points, arguing that: (1) ABM Treaty considerations should not stand in the way of ratification of START II, because they are not connected; (2) the ABM Treaty is not necessarily threatened by deploying national missile defense (NMD), and certainly not by an NMD scaled to cope with a very limited threat, as has been clear in all versions of the Congressional legislation; and (3) the notion that the ABM Treaty must be maintained exactly as negotiated is unsound--it was intended to be a "living document," was in fact modified in 1974, and was intended to be kept up to date with technological change. He said the ABM Treaty can be updated to deal with both TMD and NMD contexts, but that this is blocked today by arguments going to extremes, one extreme being those who would get rid of the treaty claiming that it prevents the United States from defending anything, and the other being those who say touching the treaty at all is tantamount to abandoning it. Neither extreme is in either the U.S. or the Russian interest.

Panel II: Containing Missile Proliferation

Questions the second panel addressed were: What is the prospective missile proliferation threat? What problems face missile non-proliferation policy, and how can they be addressed? What are the interrelations of the missile technology control regime (MTCR) with the START and ABM treaties?

Richard Speier launched the panel with the proposition that 1995 was a watershed for the missile non-proliferation regime. First, the strategic dimension of the missile proliferation threat has surfaced. By 1995, it was clear that ballistic missile proliferation was breaking out of the 3,500-kilometer range threshold that the United States and Russia appear to have accepted as a capability benchmark for TMD demarcation in the ABM Treaty context. North Korea's 3,000+-kilometer-range Taepo-dong missile (which some analysts believe would have, with a light BW warhead, a range of as much as 10,000 kilometers), and India's reported efforts to develop an ICBM, both contradict the conventional wisdom that Third World countries possess no "strategic" land-based missiles. 1995 revealed Iraqi experimentation with unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) to deliver biological agents. Resembling the "loose nukes" problem, the phenomenon of "loose missiles" surfaced in 1995, when guidance equipment from dismantled strategic missiles of the former Soviet Union wes intercepted on its way to Iraq. 1995 was also the year the MTCR partners dropped the idea of pursuing a treaty to extend the INF Treaty's ban on medium-range ballistic missiles to the global level.

1995 was also a pivotal year for MTCR membership, with Russia's entry. The MTCR was founded in 1987 by the original Group of Seven (G-7) partners. Between 1989 and 1993, 16 additional governments were added, all treaty allies of, or linked in security terms to, the original seven. Four additional governments were added in the 1993-95 period--Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, and Russia. This was a "new class" of governments, each having previously engaged in missile activities against which the MTCR had been directed. Their incorporation helped in some ways, but also presented new problems. They were admitted only after the existing members were satisfied that their objectionable activities--Argentina's Condor program being a good example--had been discontinued. But with Brazil's admission in 1995, the MTCR for the first time accepted a new member that was continuing a program against which the regime had been directed, and even allowed that Brazilian program to be eligible for assistance. Brazil was developing a space-launch vehicle (called the VLS) capable, in a surface-to-surface mode, of delivering a 500-kilogram payload to a range of 10,000 kilometers--a true ICBM capability. Within a month of Brazil's admission, South Korea said it would seek membership in order to be able to develop a longer-range missile. These developments, Speier argued, raise questions about the purpose of the MTCR, and whether it can avoid becoming a missile supermarket.

Finally, in 1995 new issues arose regarding the relationship between the START and ABM treaties. The United States accepted proposals for launching space-launch vehicles (SLVs) derived from Ukrainian and Russian ICBMs from sites outside the Ukraine and Russia. Although the resulting agreement requires the original country to maintain ownership and control of its SLVs, it is not clear what this means, Speier said, and unclear whether it is consistent with MTCR objectives. By 1995, not surprisingly, Congressional interest developed in NMD, driven for the first time by Third World missile proliferation.

Seth Carus suggested that the problem of homeland missile defense against a Third World "strategic missile" threat is a different problem from that of strategic defense against a classical opponent, and so far it has no definitive answer. With the exception of North Korea, Carus said, it is not clear that any Third World country would have both the intention and the capability to strike the United States. Nevertheless, intentions can change, he warned. To the extent the threat depends on technology, there is a clear increase in the number of states with the capability. Even so, those states face limitations on the availability of reentry vehicles, and most threatening states do not have survivable launch systems. For a long time, even China did not have true ICBM capability. Carus pointed out that threatening states may not seek long-range ballistic missiles at all, but rather could rely on cruise missiles, especially ship-launched systems. The lead time to develop such systems could be much shorter than for strategic ballistic missiles, and intelligence on such capabilities may be poor, leaving shorter warning time than the time required to build effective defensive systems. The main implication for homeland missile defenses is that since decisions cannot be based on the certainty or the known character of the threat, the decisions for defenses must be based on a range of technical capabilities rather than point estimates.

Alexander Pikayev focused on Russian perceptions of the missile proliferation threat. He noted first that it was not easy for Russia to join the MTCR. Since it had not been submitted to parliament for approval, many Duma members are highly critical, and it lacks a public basis of acceptance in Russia. There was hardly a word on Russia's MTCR membership in the Russian press. From Moscow's point of view, it is true enough that southern Russia adjoins an unstable Third World environment, and missile-capable neighbors could strike Russian territory or Russia's CIS partners. Hence, Russia has an obvious interest in slowing missile proliferation to unstable areas. Paradoxically, however, there is an important disparity between the Russian and U.S. positions on how to respond to the missile proliferation threat. Because Russia is already directly connected with unstable areas, it does not attach as high a priority as the United States to missile non-proliferation. Many states surrounding Russia already have missiles; proliferation there has already occurred. With respect to these states, Russia enjoys a superpower status. Russia's main response to threats from these states is deterrence, not the MTCR or counter-proliferation. Russians also have a practical problem with the MTCR. It contradicts the Russian historical patterns of markets for missile exports, Pikayev continued. Russia's historical markets mainly lie outside the MTCR membership area. Missile exports are linked with Russia's high-technology industrial sector and the ability of this sector to compete economically. Furthermore, the MTCR emerged, in part, as an instrument of the Cold War. For Russians to view the MTCR positively, Pikayev argued, it must be implemented in an environment of partnership. Otherwise, it would be easy to set it aside. If Russian external relations deteriorate--as a result, for example, of NATO expansion--there are those who would seek support from other centers of power outside Russia, such as China and to a lesser extent India. In that case, missile exports with these countries will be deemed essential, not only for Russian industry, but also for Russian interests. Under those circumstances, it would be relatively easy for Russia to drop the MTCR.

Tim McCarthy analyzed the short timelines for a determined adversary such as Iraq, with the requisite assistance, to acquire or develop and produce 1,000 km missiles. Iraq not only developed extended range Scud missiles but modified Scuds in order to develop several medium-range missiles, including the al-Abbas (900 km with small warhead), al-Hussein, and al-Hijira carrying a "kinetic" warhead of steel rods in concrete. Iraq's al-Hussein project time line is revealing. McCarthy said the project began in the spring of 1986, and Iraq conducted its first successful range test in August 1987. By early 1988, Iraq was producing missiles at the rate of one per day, and soon thereafter was producing three per day (for use in the "War of the Cities" against Iran) from Soviet-supplied Scud missile stock. McCarthy listed a large variety of Iraqi missile projects, including cruise and air-to-ground missiles, and chemical and biological warheads. Modifications of the Soviet-origin SA-2 surface-to-air missile (SAM) system allowed Iraq to develop a number of systems: the Fahad 300-kilometer and 500-kilometer range missiles, a possible second stage for the Condor-2, a possible third stage for the Bird SLV, and a second stage for the 2,000-kilometer Tammouz SSM. He noted that Iraq today is converting SA-2 engines for permitted missiles, such as the Ababil 100. For the future, Iraq's past programs are highly instructive, McCarthy concluded that Iraq's past program activities mean it has an extensive, indigenous missile production capability. Once the U.N. Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) departs, Iraq will gear up rapidly.

Robert Einhorn described recent U.S. missile non-proliferation measures--including multilateral (MTCR), bilateral, and unilateral measures. With regard to missile exports, Einhorn explained that since U.S. unilateral export control measures are tighter than other countries', the United States devotes considerable effort in bilateral channels to encouraging others to strengthen their own export controls. Information sharing that leads to interdicting objectionable exports is becoming routine (e.g., stopping 30 tons of ammonium perchlorate rocket fuel from getting to Iraq in 1994). Bilateral efforts are active with India and Pakistan. Bilateral initiatives were precursors to Russia and South Africa joining the MTCR, and may lead to Ukraine's entry as a full member. A bilateral initiative concerning both indigenous missile production and missile exports is underway with North Korea, and it is an issue that must be resolved before normalizing relations. He said the United States is waiting for dates to be set for these talks.

Incentives and disincentives are apparent in U.S. initiatives. Einhorn explained the MTCR-expansion rationale that led to U.S. accommodation of Russian and Ukrainian START-related interests in converting retired strategic ballistic missiles for commercial use in foreign space launch programs. With Russia, incentives have included permitting Russia into the market for boosting U.S. space payloads, and cooperation in the space station project, where Russian technology and expertise also make a valuable contribution. This compensates Russia for giving up the traditional markets Pikayev referred to. Similar SLV market incentives work in U.S. bilateral arrangements with Ukraine, and with Brazil, which has a good location for space launches. Along with carrots, Einhorn noted that the United States also uses sticks, particularly missile sanctions clauses in U.S. law affecting transfers to MTCR non-partners. Sanctions against Russia's Glavkosmos and the Indian Space Research Organization helped reorient the Russian approach to the market, and sanctions have been applied twice to China.

How effective has the MTCR been? After its formation in 1987, Einhorn argued that the first stage required integrating the original partners, putting the Western house in order, before looking outward to involve other supplier and transhipper states. The MTCR has since become far more effective than first expected, especially in establishing a missile non-proliferation norm. Proliferators now shop for missiles from non-partners, so we need to talk to transhippers, such as Malta and South-East Asian nations, Einhorn said. Today Russia accepts the norm established by the MTCR (the export of missile guidance equipment intercepted before reaching Iraq was not necessarily approved by the Russian government, but is an aberration that Russia needs to look into). Argentina, Brazil, and South Africa also have accepted this missile non-proliferation norm. Even China dropped plans to sell medium-range missiles to Libya and Syria after it had sold them to Saudi Arabia. Einhorn stated that Argentina, Brazil, and South Africa also have accepted the "non-possession" norm, the U.S. criterion for membership, namely that, except for China and Russia, new members renounce Category I offensive ballistic missiles. U.S. support exists for Ukraine joining the MTCR, like Brazil, without having to renounce the long-range SLV programs. In addition, the combination of U.S. and MTCR efforts have been quite successful in slowing the rate of missile proliferation, buying time for further efforts. Iran can soon produce Scuds, but not missiles as sophisticated as they would have been able to produce if there had been no MTCR. The combination of U.S. efforts and the MTCR have also reduced the capabilities that otherwise would be available to India and Pakistan, and prevented the Condor program becoming effective in Iraq. Einhorn acknowledged that there are tough remaining problems, the troublesome supplier behavior of China and North Korea, and the tendency of suppliers to be more permissive in exporting missile components and production technology than completed missiles. On balance, however, there have been many successes in slowing the spread of missiles and related technology.

Henry Sokolski commented on the relationships among the START and ABM treaties and the MTCR framework, and argued against tight linkages among them. The goals of the MTCR, he suggested, would be subverted by tying the MTCR tightly to the START and ABM treaties. He concurred with Speier that the effectiveness of the MTCR may be undermined by admitting nations that continue to export Category I missile technology to objectionable destinations, and nations that are unwilling to drop projects previously targeted by the MTCR partners.

Sokolski took specific exception to the following logic:

Russian strategic arms reductions under START depend on the ABM Treaty remaining intact. This requires a tougher MTCR that prevents the spread of strategic missiles to Third World countries. If threatening missiles are non-strategic, theater missile defense will suffice, and TMD is unconstrained by the ABM Treaty.

Sokolski contended that this ABM-START linkage would support a treaty that bans military ballistic missiles yet encourages sharing of large missiles under the guise of safeguarded SLV cooperation. The mistaken notion that SLVs can be safeguarded successfully will waste precious diplomatic resources, and an agreement on that basis will only fuel missile proliferation.

Sokolski also objected to Russia's persistence in wishing to base stability on massive nuclear deterrence. He asserted that this was Cold War thinking that is now obsolete, and that Russia's path to greatness depends on political and economic reform, not military or nuclear forces. Both Russia and the United States should proceed, he argued, both with strategic offensive reductions and with strategic and theater missile defenses for protection against proliferators. Sokolski suggested that the MTCR will be served best by delinking it from traditional arms control and working to strengthen it on its own merits, as a frankly discriminatory regime that can be sustained by the natural appeal of its shared security benefits.

In the discussion period, Evan Medeiros asked Einhorn to elaborate on the Administration's strategy to engage North Korea on the missile export issues. Einhorn acknowledged that North Korea has not been responsive so far, but that the administration is making the case that North Korea's missile activities are not responsible. Expecting that North Korea would seek some sort of compensation, the United States had to make clear that for normalization to proceed, international norms must be adhered to. In response to a question about allegations that China had recently transferred missiles to Pakistan, Einhorn said that China has been sanctioned twice in connection with evidence of previous M-11 missile-related transfers to Pakistan, that is, technology and components and possibly entire missiles. In assessing allegations of recent transfers, the penalty for an overall deterioration in U.S.-China relations is so severe, he said, that the administration must demand a very high evidentiary standard before imposing sanctions once again.

Panel III: Role of the ABM Treaty and
National Missile Defense

The panel focused on a series of START and ABM Treaty-related questions including: Can NMD add stability to U.S.-Russian relations under post-START II forces? Under what conditions? Would TMD demarcation help, and can it be negotiated? Is there an ABM Treaty-compliant NMD deployment solution? Alternatives to extensive TMD and NMD? Political and technical conditions, and cooperative goals, that may justify bilateral ABM Treaty modifications?

Keith Payne developed the propositions that nuclear deterrence is inherently unreliable. The problem is compounded in the emerging multipolar environment where cultural differences and decision making propensities are ill understood. As with Japan in 1941, efforts to deter Saddam Hussein and North Korea appear to be as likely to provoke as to deter. NMD is needed today both to cope with deterrence failure and to increase deterrence credibility. Precisely when the long-range missile threat will appear is a side issue; what matters is that the threat will emerge, and we need to be prepared. Effective defenses will be essential because otherwise the United States as a democratic and status quo power will be highly vulnerable to intimidation from long-range missile threats. The argument that a Third World state would not dare threaten or strike the United States is a red herring, Payne said; the real point is how the United States will be affected by the possibility of attack by weapons of mass destruction. U.S. power projection capability is likely to be paralyzed.

What are the implications for the ABM Treaty? If we are to maintain the prospects for U.S. deterrence and power projection over many years, Payne argued, the ABM Treaty must be interpreted to allow effective TMD and revised to allow effective NMD. His preference would be to make these treaty revisions in cooperation with Russia, frankly defining that level of NMD that is enough for third party threats and that will not upset mutual deterrence with the Russian Federation. The problem is not new. Payne noted that Secretary of Defense Harold Brown proposed in 1969 that the United States consider deploying between 100 and 1,000 ballistic missile defense interceptors against a third party threat at a time when the Soviet Union had fewer than 1,800 strategic missile warheads. Moreover, in the long run it would be better to move to a relationship not based on the premise of mutual annihilation. In the short run, the goal would be to balance defense and deterrence. There is reason to believe this can be done cooperatively, and steps in that direction were taken in the Ross-Mamedov group under the Bush administration. Payne concluded by noting the declaration of Russian Minister of Defense Pavel Grachev that Russia could not abide certain restrictions in the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty because it was made in a strategic environment and with a country (the Soviet Union) that no longer exist; Payne said the argument is equally applicable to the ABM Treaty, where the same flexibility as Russia has obtained vis-à-vis the CFE Treaty should be available.

Ambassador Nazarkin began with Payne's last remark, saying that current talks are on track to make adjustments to Russia's obligations in the flank areas, and that there is no threat to abandon CFE. In his view, Payne's analogy with the ABM Treaty is unjustified. With regard to the debate about linkage between START and the ABM Treaty, Nazarkin said there is a political and military linkage. Historically, the United States insisted on this when urging limitations on ABM systems that the USSR then preferred be unlimited, before agreeing to parallel negotiations on the ABM Treaty and SALT I accord.

Nazarkin then responded to arguments made in the United States by those who proposed radically revising the ABM Treaty: (1) On the proposition that the ABM Treaty was a product of the Cold War and now is obsolete, he said, the treaty was not a "baby of the Cold War" but rather a "baby of detente," conceived when both sides decided the Cold War was too dangerous to continue unabated. At that point, the ABM Treaty was created as the cornerstone of stability in the U.S.-Soviet (now Russian) strategic relationship. (2) On the claim that the ABM Treaty can be amended to permit NMD deployment, he acknowledged that the treaty has amendment procedures, and some amendments could be contemplated, but not ones that would vitiate the treaty's purpose and turn it upside down. MAS (mutual assured safety) sounds better than MAD (mutual assured destruction), to be sure, but if nuclear deterrence is in force, and it is, one cannot ignore the strategic balance and the conditions of strategic stability. (3) On the argument that the transition from a bipolar to a multipolar world negates the ABM Treaty premise of mutual assured destruction, Nazarkin acknowledged that Russia is not a superpower on the Soviet scale, but said that Russia maintains a large strategic arsenal that defense would affect and which cannot be ignored. This does not mean that either Russia or the United States are going to attack each other. Nowadays that confrontation has departed, and cooperation should take its place, but for the time being, it is a danger to stability to ignore the strategic balance. (4) On the view that "new realities" require an urgent revision of the U.S.-Russian relationship to allow a side to defend its whole territory against "limited, accidental and unauthorized attack," the notion used to justify this position that North Korea will possess an ICBM in five years that can strike Alaska is very doubtful. The danger from third countries is exaggerated. Recently a CIA report said that this threat is at least 15 years away. U.S. deployment of an ABM system against limited attack naturally concerns Russia because it provides the infrastructure for making the system bigger and thicker, and this would present a danger to strategic stability.

Nazarkin said that Russia's policy for its relationship with the United States was often regarded as based on two important pillars, one pillar being ABM, the other SALT and START. In reality, it was based on three pillars, ABM, START and the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The NPT gave life to the SALT process, and then to the START process. The NPT was, in reality, a product of the bilateral process between the United States and the Soviet Union, and it continues to rest heavily on the commitments of both countries. Thus, to a large extent, revision of any one of these treaties would inevitably lead to the others, not only START I and II, but also the NPT. Affirming Pikayev's earlier point, Nazarkin suggested that the nonproliferation regime would suffer from an adverse change in the strategic relationship between Russia and the United States. It would strengthen the case of the nationalist extremists who would be eager to develop military relations with Iran and Iraq, for both commercial and geopolitical reasons.

Steve Cambone picked up on Nazarkin's last point, acknowledging that neither would benefit if the relationship deteriorated, and that it had been improving because both sides began deliberately in 1992-93 to change it for the better. In his view, these improvements transcended Russia's relationships with India, Iran or Iraq, which are likely to be there whether Russia's relationship with the United States improves or worsens. Cambone turned next to the agenda questions.

Can there be stability with defenses in the U.S.-Russian relationship? Cambone said his answer would be, yes, and this construct was introduced as the "Global Protection System" during the Bush administration. He alluded to analyses under the Bush administration that showed that Russia, with U.S. defense levels much higher than those contemplated by Congress today, would retain the ability under START II to penetrate U.S. defenses with an assured retaliatory capability. This would be true even under lower offensive levels identified with START III thinking. If this assured retaliatory capability is the basis for stability, there is a relationship between offense and defense which lends itself to stability.

Can TMD demarcation help, and is it negotiable? Cambone said surely it is negotiable, but, he wondered, on what terms? The U.S. position has changed, whereas Russia's has remained constant--not surprisingly, given that the U.S. took the position of demandeur and lost leverage. The real question is not whether a deal can be struck with Russia but whether it would be one the Republican majority in Congress can accept. He noted that the administration would prefer an "agreed statement" that does not require Senate approval, but this may not be possible if it deals with the multilateralization of the treaty too. Cambone's judgment was that Congress would react bitterly to an "agreed statement," unless it clearly took a form that did not foreclose current and future U.S. TMD options, and otherwise helped the sides get past the present impasse. He regretted that the Bush administration's view (set forth in a letter by Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney) had not been adopted by the Clinton administration. It implied unilateral adoption and test demonstration of TMD under the same compliance standard that has appeared in the Congressional bills (interceptors considered TMD, not ABM, if tested only against target vehicles that do not exceed 3,500-kilometer range or five kilometer-per-second velocity). Once tests using this standard had been conducted, the compliance standard would have been subjected to Russian scrutiny and consultation in the SCC, and any differences could have been worked out in the customary way.

Is it possible to deploy an ABM Treaty-compliant NMD? Obviously, Cambone said, the ABM Treaty allows the deployment of one site and 100 interceptors. The question is whether that would be useful. His analyses had indicated it would not. To be useful, a NMD today would require three to five sites with more than 200 interceptors. It would be possible to work this out at a technical level so that both sides could agree on what is required for a substantial level of confidence in a highly effective defense against a modest size attack. Even the numbers in the tens and twenties used by the current administration could not be successfully addressed from one site. The issue of sensors would also have to be worked, including sensors in space. The United States could deploy a "Brilliant Eyes" type of sensor system as an adjunct to NMD. Would a system of three to five sites with more than 200 interceptors and space-based sensors be compliant with the ABM Treaty as written now? No. But, would it be an affront to stability? Cambone said he did not believe so.

Is a cooperative approach possible? This Cambone said was the most important question. Yet, he added, the United States is not likely to get effective dialogue on this issue with Russia until it has decided domestically what it intends to do. At the moment, Americans are arguing internally. The first need is for a peace treaty on NMD between the Administration and Capitol Hill. On most aspects of the problem, they are not that far apart. The main difference is over the method by which the issue of demarcation is going to be decided. The Administration insists this must be based on a negotiated settlement. The Hill does not see this as a requirement. In conclusion, Cambone suggested the package could reflect a joint process of analysis of penetration with offenses below START II levels, against fewer targets, to determine the number of NMD sites and interceptors that would represent an acceptable, stable relationship between defenses and offensive capabilities.

John Pike queried why the debate over NMD continues, since the fundamentals of strategic deterrence remain in place in the U.S.-Russian relationship and NMD would have destabilizing effects. He attributed the recent fascination with defenses to three factors: (1) a misreading of the lessons of Desert Storm; (2) interservice rivalry; and (3) the power of the defense industrial lobby.

On misreading Desert Storm, Pike asserted, first, that while there was a failure in a sense to deter Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, the larger lessons in retrospect are going to be seen as textbook examples of successful intra-war deterrence. Second, the perception that counterforce failed against mobile missile launchers is fundamentally misleading. In fact, the coalition Air Force pressure was so effective in keeping mobile launchers on the run or in hiding that they were unable to fire more than 20 per cent of their missiles--in effect, an extraordinarily high 80 per cent level of "virtual attrition." Third, when you look both at the capabilities of the threatening missiles, and at the capabilities of defensive systems, you find that the defensive systems that will work are not needed, and the defensive systems that are needed will not work. The current threats are from Scuds with high-explosive warheads, a medium-sized annoyance. New generation Patriot may be a suitable counter, and not that expensive. Long-range missiles with unconventional warheads today are virtually non-existent. If they ever become numerous, there is no foreseeable defense we are going to be able to deploy that will be sufficiently leak-proof to do anything useful about the risk-averse propensities of American decision makers.

Pike attributed an escalation of TMD requirements to interservice rivalry for missions, doctrinal primacy and budget share. This explains, he said, why the Navy Upper Tier has more robust performance capabilities than the Army's THAAD system. The Navy Upper Tier system itself is, he suggested, the result of expensive ships with missile launchers for Standard (SM-2) missiles that need a new mission now that the threat from Backfire bombers has receded. He ascribed the fact that THAAD is not politically controversial to the influence of major defense corporations, such as Lockheed-Martin and TRW. If much of what is being said and done in the defense field today is driven by these influences rather than genuine national security requirements, Pike concluded, it would be the height of folly to tamper with time-tested institutions such as the ABM Treaty, out of a fit of absent-mindedness.

In the discussion period, Michael Krepon asked Nazarkin whether he held the assumption that any level of defense, even a treaty-limited defense is threatening because it lays the basis for a heavier defense and, if so, whether there is any way to alleviate those concerns. Krepon ventured that a treaty-limited defense might stop the recurrence and divisiveness of the debate, which occurs because the United States has zero defenses. He added that, unless the threat grows, it would be hard for defenses to grow. He asked Cambone to explain how he derived his assessment that three to five sites and 200 or more interceptors were needed for an effective defense against limited strikes.

Nazarkin said revision of one treaty held the danger of revision to others. He acknowledged that Krepon might be right that defenses would not grow unless the threat grows, but Nazarkin emphasized the political importance in Russia of the issue of ABM infrastructure as a key argument for opponents of ratification of START II. This argument cannot be ignored while Russia is preparing to ratify START II.

Cambone acknowledged in response to Krepon's question that building a limited defense at several sites could be used as a foundation for enlarging the system. He pointed out, however, that agreements could be reached that would provide confidence to the sides that this would not be done. The ABM Treaty of 1972 itself, at first allowing two sites and 200 interceptors, was such an agreement.

Payne took issue with Pike's assertion that THAAD is not controversial, saying that it is, in fact, the only system that is having trouble being certified as ABM-compliant.

Pike said that the debate occurs because the range of things that are physically possible to do is much larger than the range of things that are worthwhile doing. So far, in the recurring debate on missile defense, the United States has chosen correctly, that it is not worthwhile to pursue an NMD. The fundamental question is whether it is plausible to assume we could achieve, afford, and enforce a damage-denial capability against a country that wished to pose a finite, existential deterrent threat against the United States. Pike said his own conclusion was that the capabilities of an NMD did not justify their cost. He remained skeptical that merely because the United States may have fielded three or four hundred interceptors, that Iraq, Iran or North Korea--if they intended to pose an existential threat to the United States--would say, I give up.

Joseph Cirincione said he had not heard the panelists explain why NMD is needed and asked Payne and Cambone whether they could be more specific about where, when and how big a threat would materialize that could justify NMD. Payne responded that he had not said the potential enemies are unknown but rather that unfamiliarity with their values and decision patterns makes deterrence unreliable. The threat was discussed extensively over the last year and a half and relates currently to North Korean missiles and several possible customers in the Third World. He cited public statements by intelligence officials that indicate the Taepo-dong II has a potential range to threaten Hawaii and Alaska, a range based on air mileage charts and arms control conventions that suggests an ICBM. In addition, threat assessments must take into account scenarios of trade in SLVs that could be turned into military ICBMs. He cited by way of example Indian statements claiming the need for long-range missiles to deter the United States from projecting conventional capability into its region, and noted India's missile development activities lend these statements some credence. Payne said he was less concerned whether the threat will materialize in 5, 10, or 15 years but rather that it would arrive, and that defense preparations be started because they will also take time to put in place, especially if this means cooperatively changing the ABM Treaty with Russia. Nazarkin added that while he understood U.S. concern about North Korea and that it might be the most feasible source of future threat, he noted that the process of Korean reunification is going on and he would bet the problem soon would disappear.

John Rhinelander alluded to an Arbatov comment in the first panel and asked the panelists whether they could foresee a TMD demarcation agreement, with no NMD allowed, that would be acceptable to the legislatures of both nations. Nazarkin said he shared Arbatov's view that a demarcation agreement would pave the way for ratification of START II in the Duma. If the terms of an agreement assured the deputies that TMD interceptors could not operate against strategic warheads, it would help ratification. Nazarkin added that he was not one of those who believed the ABM Treaty was untouchable; it was modified in 1974, and could be modified again. Personally he would be happy to see it changed to prohibit even a single site. Nazarkin said his main concern was that it must not be changed in such a way that it is "turned upside down."

On the START-ABM linkage and prospects for a demarcation agreement, Cambone said that many in Congress would resist a restrictive demarcation agreement since they believe no agreement on TMD is needed at all. Cambone pointed out that the United States when it negotiated START II explicitly rejected linkage and persuaded Soviet negotiators to drop the inclusion of linkage in the Treaty. Just a few days before, in approving START II, the U.S. Senate again rejected this linkage. In his view, Duma assertion of ABM linkage in the treaty, or inclusion in Russian ratification of demarcation conditions, would provoke an unnecessary and harmful fight.

Sidney Graybeal said, in response to Pike's rhetorical question on why the missile defense issues are still being debated, that the reason is the extreme polarization of the debate within the United States, and between the United States and Russia. One American extreme is that we must have NMD, the ABM Treaty has outlived its usefulness, and the sooner we get rid of it the better. The other extreme is that the ABM Treaty is the cornerstone of stability, and it cannot be touched, modified or updated. Very few focus on how we reach a solution of maintaining the ABM Treaty and at the same time achieving an effective NMD. If you read the press and listen to Congress, it seems clear that an NMD is going to be built in the United States. This NMD need not undermine the ABM Treaty or START. When the ABM Treaty was first negotiated, we debated three or four sites without upsetting strategic stability. Even when START II is fully implemented, the U.S. and Russian force levels will be essentially the same as they were in 1972. It is fair enough to say the rationale for the ABM Treaty remains, but this does not mean it cannot be brought up to date, with demarcation and post-Soviet multilateralization. If this path is not available, it will force a choice in the United States in which, in the current climate, the ABM Treaty is going to lose. The path to talk about and work on is the one that allows NMD and TMD to meet the requirements. The ABM Treaty will not fall apart if there are three sites in the United States, plus one in Hawaii and one in Alaska, with 100 interceptors per site, no rapid reload, and no multiple warheads. Look at a level of 500 interceptors. Compare it with about 3,000 Russian warheads. Suppose these were perfect defenses, it still means the 501st Russian warhead penetrates. THAAD will be necessary for effective defenses, particularly when third party submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) come on the horizon. Such an SLBM threat cannot be handled by any of the fancy calculations the Army and Air Force are doing from a single site. Graybeal concluded that the focus of the debate should be changed to a discussion of how we get from here to there, with missile defense, and without upsetting the ABM Treaty.

Bruce McDonald observed that even the NMD title of the debate takes attention away from the more basic question: How do we defend against a threat regardless of how it is delivered? The real issue, he argued, is what happens when a rogue state gets its hands on a nuclear weapon. At that point, there will be many options for how it could be delivered. Covert delivery seems the most plausible. Developing an ICBM is very expensive and being able to count on it working effectively is a huge challenge. In contrast, smuggling would seem to be very effective. Moreover, even if you have NMD that works perfectly, it does not solve the political problem that Krepon referred to, to make the United States feel more secure if North Korea develops a couple of weapons. Does anyone really believe that once the United States has NMD, North Korea will say, "you got me, I give up"? Richard Perle mentioned more than a year ago that covertly delivering a weapon is feasible through an international charter flight that lands at a major U.S. international airport.

Offense-Defense Relationship:
Past and Future

In his luncheon address, Ambassador Ronald Lehman recalled historical as well as contemporary variations in the strategic offense-defense relationship, setting the current debate on strategic arms reductions, missile defenses and arms proliferation on a wider canvas. He reviewed recent milestones of U.S. thinking on nuclear deterrence and missile defense, contrasting the different assumptions of contending strategist schools, and comparing the objectives and images held respectively by strategic experts, military operators and the public in the nation's discourse on strategic arms control. From his vantage point as a former participant in the U.S.-Soviet strategic arms negotiations during the Reagan and Bush administrations, Lehman described the U.S. vision of an alternative offense-defense relationship, in the context of both sides' negotiating positions. In conclusion, he proposed both updating strategic terminology for post-Cold War conditions and pursuing a cooperative, broadened dialogue with Russia that would produce solutions for the current impasse consistent with some level of defense and enhanced stability under reduced levels of strategic offensive arms.

On the Nuclear and Space Talks in Geneva in the 1980s, Lehman described the Soviet interest in packaging INF, START and missile defense interrelationships, and the U.S. position that insisted on no formal linkages but acknowledged underlying offense-defense connections--including possible tradeoffs between agreement on strategic offensive reductions and constraints on strategic defenses.

Lehman emphasized the watershed of geopolitical changes that occurred rapidly in 1990-1991. Experts began to rethink strategic issues and relationships, including the requirements for nuclear stability in a post-Cold War era. This accounted for the Bush administration's shift in approach in January 1991 from the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) construct to much more limited strategic defenses -- the concept of a Global Protection Against Limited Strike (or GPALS) system. This was followed by START I signature in July and the August coup in Moscow. In September, Bush called for cooperation on strategic defenses, and Gorbachev replied in a positive vein in October. In January 1992, Yeltsin agreed the sides should discuss a global protective system and that it should be based on a cooperative approach. In that same environment, START II negotiation began, weighing heavily on all other bilateral discussion. At the June 1992 summit, the heads of state chartered what became known as the Ross-Mamedov group, to discuss strategic early warning, cooperation on defense technologies, nonproliferation, and the legal basis for (in the Russian phrase) a "Global Protection System." The legal discussion encompassed new treaties, and changes to other treaties, including the ABM Treaty, that might be necessary.

At perhaps the most important Ross-Mamedov meeting, in September 1992, Lehman said, he made the following U.S. case: Circumstances have changed politically and technologically, opening the way to a new relationship. In this new relationship, would it not be better for the sides to cooperate in defending both populations instead of collaborating in maximizing their vulnerability? The U.S. team outlined its view of what needed to be done in early warning, technology and nonproliferation, and proposed effective but limited missile defenses along with amendments to the ABM Treaty. These U.S. proposals would let sensors run free, Lehman said, and would forgo space-based interceptors if Russia would accept the U.S. position on several hundred interceptors, perhaps 600, 700, or 800, in ground-based systems. The ABM Treaty needed amendments for other reasons, e.g., the breakup of the Soviet Union meant that elements of the former Soviet ABM system were dispersed in several sovereign states. The United States was prepared to help make the fixes necessary for the treaty to remain viable and effective in the context of getting agreement on defenses that were in the interests of both sides. This process showed, Lehman said, that the United States, indeed both sides, had already engaged cooperatively and specifically on changing offense-defense relationships to deal with new realities, and did so within the context of the ABM Treaty.

Lehman turned to the present and future, noting that as we approach the end of the millennium, having successfully extended the NPT, more and more people are addressing the question whether it is possible to go to zero nuclear weapons. It was a key question at Reykjavik in 1986: In what kind of world can you give up these weapons, and can you do so without defense dominance? This millennial debate is emerging on a nonpartisan basis, fragmenting old ideological and partisan splits, with many doubting that zero is feasible in a world without defenses. Now may be the time to rethink the whole question.

For the present, Lehman said he had four assertions based on what he heard at the conference and had seen in Moscow, for listeners to accept or reject: (1) if it were left just to the U.S. and Russian military, START II would have entered into force already; (2) if resources and budgets were comparable on both sides, NMD and the ABM Treaty would not have become such important issues as they have today, bearing in mind that Russia has an NMD with 100 interceptors; (3) many of the issues raised about START II and the ABM Treaty today are vehicles for expressing uncertainty about where the United States and Russia are in their relationship, and where they think they ought to be; and (4) the substantive uncertainties about START II and the ABM Treaty are being amplified by contextual anxieties, mostly of a domestic nature, on both sides, with new and reinvented players--not all of whom know the issues. As a result, a new and sometimes unhelpful vocabulary permeates the debate, suggesting again that we may need to step back, take a fresh look at what we are really talking about, find a better way to describe it, one that brings less baggage with it.

Some old rules of politics were set aside, Lehman noted. It once was a cardinal American rule that you do not take an arms control treaty to the Hill in an election year. But that rule was broken in 1987 with the INF Treaty, without harm in that case. Today we are in a much more difficult world, and in the middle of an election year, and must be careful. Lehman recalled Russian friends saying that their problem was Russia negotiated START II from weakness, and gave away too much. His own recollection was quite different, that the United States gave ground where it never would have considered doing so before--accepting the SLBM sublimit and tougher bomber counting rules, forgoing vast improvements in verification, and then accommodating SS-19 downloading and the allowance for SS-18 silo conversion--because the situation had changed in Russia, it was important to strive for a new relationship, and therefore it was in the interest of both that the United States show this flexibility. Now Russians should be aware of the risks in an election year, Lehman urged, of demanding that the U.S. president go to the Congress and look as if he is cutting deals with a foreign government in order to block the aspirations of the elected officials of the United States. They expect him to work with them to develop a united American position, and then to represent that bilaterally, or, at a minimum, to cooperate with Congress in a close, consultative process.

Lehman closed with recommendations and predictions. He proposed a concerted effort be made to think the strategic questions through in a fresh and less polarized way, with all important players, including some new ones, and to begin this after both countries' elections. Rather than a big, formal government-to-government negotiation, a series of track two processes should go forward, probably with legislators involved, perhaps initially informally and even anonymously, to review the balance of weapons and the bilateral relationship. As to predictions, Lehman ventured that defenses will be deployed in the United States, as they presently are in Russia. It may take longer than advocates recommend, and this will result in higher development costs. But the operational systems will cost less, not more, contrary to what people usually think, because the technology is advancing and the world is moving in that direction. The event that precipitates this may not have anything to do with Russia, and it may not even be, initially, an immediate threat to the United States. All it will take is a WMD-armed missile striking a city of a friendly nation, and the world will suddenly change the way it thinks about this equation. Debates we have been having will be washed aside by the force of events.