Getting to Zero Update

In this issue:

BASIC and Getting to Zero (GTZ)

BASIC is delighted to announce the appointment of its new Program Director in Washington, Anne Penketh. She has a distinguished career as an international journalist, and was most recently Diplomatic Editor of the Independent (London). Anne began her reporting on nuclear weapons issues at the Geneva and Reykjavik Summits in 1985-6 between Presidents Reagan and Gorbachev. In recent years she has continued to work on disarmament and non-proliferation issues, including covering diplomatic maneuvers at the United Nations over Iran's nuclear program. Anne will start in August.

Nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament were on the agenda of both the G8 Summit meeting in L'Aquila, Italy and the US-Russia Summit in Moscow. Two weeks later, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown released his Road to 2010 report on nuclear energy and weapons, which was quickly followed by private briefings indicating that the design contract for the Trident nuclear weapons submarine system would be delayed until after the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in May 2010. See these BASIC publications and Update sections below for more information.

The UK government's Road to 2010
Paul Ingram, July 16, 2009

The START follow-on negotiations
Jonathan McLaughlin, July 1, 2009

The Shadow NATO Summit
Joint report by BASIC, ISIS-Europe, Bertelsmann Stiftung and NATO Watch, 23 July 2009.

 

Commitments to disarmament and arms control

Obama and Medvedev sign agreement on the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) follow-on

After months of preparations, US President Barack Obama arrived in Moscow on July 6 for a two-day summit with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev. The "reset" summit included both leaders signing a Joint Understanding for the START Follow-on Treaty, which commits the two nations to an agreement that will reduce the number of strategic nuclear warheads and delivery vehicles to a range of 1,500-1,675, and 500-1,100 respectively. Negotiating delegations are led by Rose Gottemoeller, US Assistant Secretary of State, and Anatoly Antonov, Russia's Chief of Security and Disarmament Issues. The 1991 START agreement, which expires on December 5, allows for a total of 6,000 warheads on 1,600 strategic delivery vehicles, and the 2002 Moscow Treaty - Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT) - set limits between 1,700-2,200 operationally deployed strategic warheads by 2012, but without verification. US and Russian negotiators met again on July 22 and 23. Reports from Geneva were positive, but had few details.

 

G-8 Summit in L'Aquila

Leaders at the Group of Eight (G8) Summit in L'Aquila, Italy (8-10 July) issued a statement on non-proliferation which declared, We are all committed to seeking a safer world for all and to creating the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons, in accordance with the goals of the NPT. The leaders supported US President Obama's desire to seek ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), and called for bringing the treaty into force. The statement urged Iran to engage diplomatically with the international community, and sharply criticized the May nuclear test in North Korea. At the G8 Summit, US President Obama presented his plan to host a Global Nuclear Security Summit on March 9 and 10, 2010, which would provide a platform for multilateral discussion on such issues as cooperatively combating international nuclear smuggling and nuclear terrorism.

 

IAEA selects new chief

On July 2, Yukiya Amano was selected by the IAEA Board of Governors to be the next Secretary-General. He replaces Mohamed ElBaradei, whose term will end in November 2009. Amano has been the favored pick of the United States and Europe, and will be the first East Asian to serve as Director General of the IAEA. The alternative candidate, South Africa's Abdul Samad Minty, was supported by the representatives of countries of the developing world who perceive tighter non-proliferation rules as undue limitations to their development of peaceful nuclear energy whilst nuclear weapon states avoid their own responsibilities to disarm. After the election, Amano asked for the solidarity of all the member states, and assured developing countries that the IAEA is not just a nuclear watchdog.

Further reading

Test ban monitoring: No place to hide (Summary - full article requires subscription)
Daniel Cleary, Science, Vol 325, no 5939, pp 382-385, July 24, 2009

Talking about nuclear weapons policy: Lessons from recent public opinion and messaging research
US in the World (USITW) presentation, summary and link to report available on the website of the Connect US Fund, July 2009.

Rebutting the standard arguments against disarmament
George Perkovich and James M Acton, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, July 15, 2009

A Flash of Memory
Issey Miyake, The New York Times, July 13, 2009

Plumage - but at a price
Charles Krauthammer, The Washington Post, July 9, 2009

START follow-on: What sort of agreement?
Hans M Kristensen, FAS Strategic Security Blog, July 8, 2009

Addressing the nuclear threat: Fulfilling the promise of Prague at the L'Aquila Summit
White House, Office of the Press Secretary July 8, 2009

L'Aquila Statement on Non-Proliferation
G-8 Summit July 8, 2009

Joint Understanding, Obama-Medvedev Summit
White House, Office of the Press Secretary July 8, 2009

Nuclear powers come in from the cold
Rebecca Johnson, Comment is Free, The Guardian, July 7, 2009

US and Russia agree nuclear disarmament road map
Luke Harding and Julian Borger, The Guardian, July 6, 2009

A chance for a nuclear-free world
James F Collins and Jack Matlock, Foreign Policy, July 6, 2009

Serbia, IAEA sign additional protocol on non-proliferation of nuclear weapons
China View, July 4, 2009

Global Zero Action Plan
June 29, 2009

 

Country reports

United States

Obama's commitment to nuclear disarmament

US President Barack Obama continues to show a serious commitment to nuclear disarmament, and has repeatedly focused on issues of arms control in his communications. Analysts have gone so far as to suggest that arms control is a fundamental part of his Presidential strategy, and that it is part of an emerging Obama Doctrine. The New York Times ran a major story on Obama's activism as a senior at Columbia University in 1983 on issues of nuclear disarmament, and argued that Obama has long been committed to a world without nuclear weapons.

 

Clinton says she considers disarmament a priority

At a presentation at the Council on Foreign Relations, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, We want to reverse the spread of nuclear weapons, prevent their use, and build a world free of their threat. Clinton reiterated that the United States stands ready to engage diplomatically with Iran, although she said that opportunity will not last forever, and also affirmed that the United States was pursuing "complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula." (See more information below on the latest reports from Iran and North Korea.)

Further reading

Influential Republicans could throw weight behind CTBT
Global Security Newswire, July 27, 2009

Senate warns against concessions on nuclear treaty
Jim Abrams, Associated Press, via Seattle Times, July 27, 2009

A Guide to the challenges facing President Obama's nuclear abolition agenda
Burgess Laird, Carnegie Council on Ethics in International Affairs, July 21, 2009

The Donald Report: Investigation into the shipment of sensitive missile components to Taiwan
A blog entry provides link to large report
Jeffrey Lewis, Arms Control Wonk.com, July 21, 2009

Obama puts arms control at the core of new strategy
Peter Spiegel, The Wall Street Journal, July 15, 2009

It is important to get nuclear weapons policy right
Lawrence Eagleburger, Wall Street Journal, July 15, 2009

Obama's Weapons Policy is Sensible
William D Hartung, Wall Street Journal, July 14, 2009

Russian nuclear agreement a good start
Senator Dianne Feinstein, San Francisco Chronicle, July 10, 2009

An Obama doctrine emerges in Moscow
Joe Cirincione, Huffington Post, July 8, 2009

Obama's big missile test
Philip Taubman, New York Times, July 8, 2009

Arms control amnesia
Keith B Payne, Wall Street Journal, July 8, 2009

Defending US leadership on disarmament
James Acton, Pierre Goldschmidt, George Perkovich, Proliferation Analysis, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, July 7, 2009

Russia presents test for Obama
Michael A Fletcher and Philip P Pan, The Washington Post, July 5, 2009

Obama's youth shaped his nuclear-free vision
William J Broad and David E Sanger, New York Times, July 4, 2009

US nuclear warheads, 1945-2009 (PDF)
Robert S Norris and Hans M Kristensen, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, July/August, 2009

Our decaying nuclear deterrent
Jon Kyl and Richard Perle, Wall Street Journal, June 30, 2009

Funding for US efforts to improve controls over nuclear weapons, materials, and expertise overseas: A 2009 update
Andrew Newman and Matthew Bunn, Report, Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, June 2009

 

United Kingdom

Road to 2010

The Cabinet Office released the cross-department report, The Road to 2010: Addressing the nuclear question in the 21st century, with proposals to smooth the route to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in May of 2010, highlighting in particular the importance of civil nuclear power programs. The report announced the creation of a £20 million Nuclear Centre of Excellence in the United Kingdom that would develop proliferation-resistant nuclear technologies, a meeting of major donors to discuss the future funding and capabilities of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and recommitment to hosting a Nuclear Weapons States conference in September. For more information, also see BASIC's analysis of the Road to 2010 report.

 

Government officials signal Trident delay

Later on the same day, British officials indicated explicitly the government's intention to delay signing off on design contracts for the Trident nuclear system replacement until after the NPT Review Conference in May 2010 - a signal of the importance the UK government attaches to its success. This initial gate phase was scheduled to happen this fall. The following morning a government spokesperson said that the timetable for the project remains unchanged. Analysts speculated this was possible as the timetable had always included significant flexibility within it. The move to delay may have reflected concerns about tight defense budgets and the looming General Election.

 

Poll shows public support waning for Trident

Just before the release of the Road to 2010 report and news about a delay for Trident replacement, the Guardian published the results of its poll with ICM that showed 54% of UK voters were against renewing the UK system, and 42% were in favour. The results are in contrast to findings from two years ago that had 39% opposing and 51% in favour.

Further reading

Sense on Trident
Financial Times, July 19, 2009

Gordon Brown delays Trident work
Daily Telegraph, July 17, 2009

Trident poll: Disarming opinions
Editorial, Comment is Free, Guardian, July 14, 2009

Voters want Britain to scrap all nuclear weapons, ICM poll shows
Julian Glover, Guardian, July 13, 2009

UK willing to reduce nuclear arsenal, Brown says
Global Security Newswire, July 10, 2009

Talks could lead to cut in UK's nuclear stockpile, says Gordon Brown
Patrick Wintour, Larry Elliot and Julian Borger, Guardian, July 9, 2009

The Road to 2010: Addressing the nuclear question in the twenty first century (PDF)
Presented to Parliament by the Prime Minister, Cabinet Office, July, 2009

Shared responsibilities: A national security strategy for the UK (Executive summary available)
Ippr Commission on National Security in the 21st Century, June 30, 2009

Experts urge government to reassess Trident decision
Deborah Summers, Guardian, June 30, 2009

 

Iran

Uncertainty over future of P5+1 talks with Iran

The continued post-election crisis in Iran has thrown the future of multilateral negotiations on Iran's nuclear program into doubt. The United States and the European Union have pledged to continue to pursue diplomatic engagement on the issue of Iran's nuclear program. Leaders at the G8 summit in L'Aquila, Italy issued a joint statement reiterating their commitment to a diplomatic solution with Iran and strongly encouraging Tehran to comply with UN Security Council resolutions and to cooperate with the IAEA. In an apparent reaction to the G8 focus on Iran, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki had announced on July 13 that Tehran was preparing a political package to present to the west.

On July 16, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, Gholam Reza Aghazedeh, resigned. Although the reasons for the resignation are not entirely clear, Aghazedeh had been a long-time supporter of opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi and former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appointed Ali Akbar Salehi, former Iranian envoy to the IAEA, to be the new head of Iran's nuclear energy agency. In Salehi's first public announcement, he declared that the West needs to close the case on Iran's nuclear activity.

 

Clinton's remarks on Iran spark Israeli concern

Speaking in Phuket, Thailand on July 22, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned that if Iran pursues a nuclear weapons program, then the United States may extend a defense umbrella over allies in the Middle East, and said that ... it's unlikely that Iran will be any stronger or safer, because they won't be able to intimidate and dominate, as they apparently believe they can, once they have a nuclear weapon. Dan Meridor, Israel's minister of intelligence and atomic energy, reacted negatively to the comments, which he saw as suggesting that the United States has already accepted a nuclear-armed Iran. Clinton subsequently sought to dispel this notion, saying that she was simply reminding Iran that pursuing nuclear weapons would lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. On July 26, Clinton warned Iranian leaders that any search for a nuclear weapon capability would be futile and that Obama's administration would not allow Iran to produce its own nuclear fuel, even under safeguards. On a visit to Tel Aviv a day later, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates again reassured Israel that the United States was not about to compromise with Iran.

Further Reading

US juggles two Iran timetables
Gerald F Seib, Wall Street Journal, July 21, 2009

Iran's crisis has nuclear fallout
Meir Javedanfar, The Guardian: Comment is Free, July 19, 2009

Mixed feelings: The Arabs' view of Iran
Economist, July 16, 2009

10 Weeks
Editorial, New York Times, July 10, 2009

How Iran could save the Middle East
Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic, July/August 2009

 

North Korea

North Korea launches more missiles, refuses resumption of talks

In defiance of UN sanctions, North Korea conducted more missile tests in early July. In response to these recent actions and the May 25th nuclear test, the UN Security Council expanded its sanctions against the country. New targets of sanctions include North Korea's General Bureau of Atomic Energy, trading companies, and individuals involved in the nuclear program, associated businesses and also weapons-related materials.

During her visit to Thailand for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum on July 22, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for a revival of the Six-Party Talks and urged ASEAN members to enforce the UN sanctions imposed against North Korea. Clinton said that the United States would be willing to offer North Korea a comprehensive package should it choose to denuclearize. She also mentioned concerns over the possibility that North Korea might be sharing nuclear technology with Myanmar (Burma). According to Japan's Kyodo News Agency, North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations, Sin Son Ho, said that Pyongyang would be willing to engage in direct dialogue with Washington, but rejected the possibility of agreeing to any package deals that would involve the resumption of North Korea's participation in the Six-Party Talks.

Further reading

North Korean missiles defy UN resolution
Evan Ramstad, Wall Street Journal, July 6, 2009

Ending North Korea's nuclear ambitions: The need for stronger Chinese action
Hui Zhang, Arms Control Today, July/August, 2009

Don't play nuclear chicken with a desperate pariah
Hui Zhang, Foreign Policy, June 2009

 

Russia

Bulava missile tests fail again

While the world was paying close attention to the Obama-Medvedev summit and the resulting commitments to a START follow-on treaty, Russia's Navy conducted successful tests of two submarine-launched Sineva-type ballistic missiles and another failed test of the new, nuclear-capable submarine-launched Bulava missile, which led to the resignation of the missile's design team leader. The Bulava missile is an upgraded design of the land-based Topol M, and is designed to both survive a nuclear attack and penetrate anti-missile defense systems. Despite six out of 11 launches of the Bulava ending in failure, Vice Admiral Oleg Burtsev of the Russian Navy stated, We are committed to this missile flying. Since its commissioning in 1998, a great deal of domestic political capital has been invested in the Bulava, promoted by Mr Putin as the new core of Russia's modernized nuclear forces.

The first Borey-class strategic nuclear submarine Yury Dolgoruky, designed to carry 16 Bulavas, completed its initial sea trials with more later in the year. Two more Borey class nuclear submarines, the Alexander Nevsky and the Vladimir Monomakh, are still under construction. Russia plans to have eight by 2015.

Further reading

Russian weapon is in need of rescue
Michael Schwirtz, The New York Times, July 15, 2009

Analysis: US, Russia have different views on nukes
Robert Burns, Associated Press, July 6, 2009

After the Reset: A Strategy and New Agenda for U.S. Russia Policy
Samuel Charap, Laura Conley, Peter Juul, Andrew Light, Julian L Wong,
Center for American Progress, July 2, 2009

 

India

US-India nuclear deal

During her mid-July visit to India, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced key agreements that will broaden cooperation between the two countries under the bilateral nuclear deal. Officials agreed on two sites for U.S. nuclear reactors. India will also purchase advanced U.S. conventional weapon systems, including fighter jets, raising concerns over the impact on the strategic balance with Pakistan.

On July 26, India ran a sea trial of its first domestically-produced nuclear-powered submarine, capable of launching nuclear ballistic missiles. The submarine is due for at least two years of testing before becoming operational. India would become the sixth country, after the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and China, to make nuclear-powered submarines.

Further reading

Obama jeopardizing nuclear deal with India
Harsh V Pant, special to the Japan Times (editorial), July 25, 2009

Toward a nuclear freeze in South Asia
Daryl G Kimball, Arms Control Today, July/August, 2009

 

Pakistan

French visit to Pakistan raises expectations for nuclear cooperation

The recent July visit of French Minister for Foreign Trade, Anne Marie Idrac, had raised expectations that France was going to strike a large civilian nuclear energy deal with Pakistan. Back in May, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmoud Qureshi, had said that France was going to agree to an arrangement like the one struck between India and the United States. However, Idrac said on July 23 during a press conference in Islamabad that France would not establish a new nuclear reactor in the country and that any aid related to nuclear energy would be for securing and enhancing the safety of Pakistan's existing nuclear sites. France did agree to provide other types of assistance, including high technology military gear and weapons, such as combat helicopters.

Further Reading

The deal that wasn't
DAWN Editorial, July 25, 2009

Nuclear security in Pakistan: Reducing the risks of nuclear terrorism
Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, Arms Control Today, July/August, 2009

Nuclear Security in Pakistan: Separating Myth From Reality
Feroz Hassan Khan, Arms Control Today, July/August, 2009
http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2009_07-08/khan

 

Missile Defense

US missile defense in Eastern European sites were seen to be a principal sticking point in START follow-on negotiations prior to the Obama-Medvedev summit on July 6. At the summit press conference, Obama stated, "I believe that it is entirely legitimate for our discussions to talk not only about offensive weapon systems but also defensive weapon systems." The United States plans to finish its review of European missile defense by the end of the summer. Obama and Medvedev agreed on a special Joint Statement on "Missile Defense Issues," which iterated their commitment to seek out ways of cooperation on dealing with ballistic missile proliferation. The statement also noted that experts are again discussing the establishment of the Joint Data Exchange Center (JDEC), a project which has languished since the initial Russian-American memorandum of 2000 on the Center's establishment.

After the Obama-Medvedev summit, 22 intellectuals and former leaders of Central and Eastern Europe published an "open letter" to President Obama in the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza. The authors of the July 15th letter, who include Lech Walesa and Vaclav Havel, believe there remains a real threat from Russia. They assert that the project has become "a symbol of America's credibility and commitment to the region." The letter urges President Obama and NATO not to make decisions based on "unfounded Russian opposition. "

 

Further reading

Bargaining chip or gas mask: Prospects for missile defense
John Isaacs and Travis Sharp, Carnegie Council on Ethics in International Affairs, July 21, 2009

An open letter to the Obama administration from Central and Eastern Europe
Valdas Adamkus, Martin Butora, Emil Constantinescu, Pavol Demes, Lubos Dobrovsky, Matyas Eorsi, Istvan Gyarmati, Vaclav Havel, Rastislav Kacer, Sandra Kalniete, Karel Schwarzenberh, Michal Kovac, Ivan Krastev, Alexander Kwasniewski, Mart Laar, Kadri Liik, Janos Martonyi, Janusz Onyszkiewicz, Adam Rotfeld, Vaira Vike-Freiberga, Alexandr Vondra, Lech Walesa, Gazeta Wunprcza, July 15, 2009

Offense-defense nonsense
Peter Scoblic, The New Republic, July 12, 2009

Joint Statement by Dmitry A Medvedev, President of the Russian Federation, and Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, on Missile Defense Issues
White House Press Office, July 6, 2009

Joint statement on missile defense issues
Joshua Pollack, Arms Control Wonk.com, July 6, 2009

 

Additional Publications

Taking control of nuclear
Mohamed ElBaradei, New York Times, July 19, 2009

How to dismantle a nuclear bomb
BBC News, July 16, 2009

The long, hard road to nuclear safety
Bryan Bender, The Boston Globe, July 5, 2009

Four emerging issues in arms control, disarmament, and nonproliferation: Opportunities for German leadership (PDF)
Dennis M Gormley, Patricia M Lewis, Miles A Pomper, Lawrence Scheinman, Stephen Schwartz, Nikolai Sokov, Leonard S Spector, report Prepared for the Policy Planning Staff, Foreign Office, Federal Republic of Germany, The James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, July

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