Will Obama-Biden administration national security
policies look remarkably like Clinton-Gore’s? On the basis of the Obama-approved
Hillary made to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at her confirmation hearings
last week, it sure looks that way.
After noting that "the gravest threat that America faces is the danger
that weapons of mass destruction will fall into the hands of terrorists,"
Obama-Biden-Hillary goes on to declare that
"The Non Proliferation Treaty is the cornerstone of the nonproliferation
regime, and the United States must exercise the leadership needed to shore
up the [associated nuclear-weapons proliferation prevention] regime."
"[W]hile defending against the threat of terrorism, we will also
seize the parallel opportunity to get America back in the business of engaging
other nations to reduce stockpiles of nuclear weapons...
"So, we will work with this committee and the Senate toward ratification
of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and reviving negotiations on a verifiable
Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty."
"We will also work with Russia to take U.S. and Russian missiles
off hair-trigger alert, [and] act with urgency to prevent [nuclear weapons]
proliferation in North Korea and Iran."
Lots of Luck, Obama-Biden-Hillary.
Because, the most important and enduring legacy of the Bush-Cheney-Bolton administrations
may be the virtual destruction of the international nuclear-weapons proliferation-prevention
regime, especially as it existed at the end of the second Clinton-Gore administration.
You see, it was a Clinton-Gore article
of faith that the 21st Century would see the end of the nation-state.
Believing that, Clinton-Gore proceeded to hand over to the United Nations –
the presumptive world government for the 21st Century – every semi-international
problem that arose, including gun control and women's reproductive rights.
In particular, President Clinton had hoped to make his legacy the
elimination of nuclear-weapons altogether, getting every nation – including
India, Pakistan and Israel – to become a signatory to (a) the Treaty
on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and (b) the Comprehensive
Test Ban Treaty.
In September 1993, President Clinton called for a multilateral convention banning
the production of fissile materials for use in nuclear weapons, and in March
1995 the Conference on Disarmament established a committee to begin drafting
the Fissile Materials
Next, at the 1995
NPT Review Conference Clinton got all signatories to agree to the NPT being
extended indefinitely, rather than requiring renewal every five years.
Clinton also tried to get every nation-state on earth to sign and ratify the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the enforcement of which would be entrusted to
The basic idea (since full-scale tests of new nuke designs were generally considered
absolutely necessary) was that without testing, nation-states such as Pakistan
– which had not then tested its nuke designs – could never develop nuke stockpiles.
Neither could nation-states such as India – which had tested some of its nuke
designs – upgrade their designs or test actual nukes.
Although President Clinton told Congress that our weapons labs could maintain
the integrity of our stockpile without testing, the rest of
the world was led to believe that – without full-scale testing – the reliability
of existing nuke stock-piles would soon be so suspect, that all nuke nation-states
would soon be effectively disarmed.
(Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has recently argued
before Congress that unless we are allowed to design and test a new generation
of nuclear weapons, we, too, will soon be effectively disarmed.)
Finally, President Clinton approved the "action
agenda" – which our Secretary of State played a significant role in
the drafting, thereof – of the 2000 NPT Review Conference calling for "systematic
and progressive efforts" to implement the NPT disarmament requirement.
Disarmament? Recall that the NPT has three "pillars":
- an affirmation of the inalienable right of all signatories to the peaceful
uses of nuclear energy "without discrimination"
- a mechanism for verifying to other signatories that nuclear energy was not
being diverted from peaceful to military purposes
- a promise by the weapons-states to eventually dispose of their nukes
The NPT required those signatories not yet having nukes to negotiate a Safeguards
Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency – an existing United Nations
agency already charged with facilitating the widest possible international transfer
of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes – for the "exclusive purpose"
of "verifying" that certain proscribed materials were not "diverted" to a military
The nuclear-weapons proliferation prevention regime which Obama-Biden-Hillary
just declared we must "shore up" – as a consequence of the largely
successful attempt by Bush-Cheney-Bolton to tear it down – is based upon what
the IAEA Secretariat is required to do in the event it discovers that some nuclear
materials subject to one of its Safeguards Agreements is "diverted to a
The IAEA Secretariat is required to report any such diversion to the IAEA Board
of Governors and to the UN Security Council. If the IAEA Board – by a two-thirds
vote – decides that the reported diversion appears to warrant it, it may recommend
that the Security Council make a determination (under Chapter VII of the UN
Charter) as to whether or not the reported diversion constitutes a threat to
the peace in the region.
As of this writing, the Security Council has never determined that a reported
diversion – including that alleged to have occurred in North Korea in the early
1990s – constituted a threat to the peace in the region.
And, as of this writing, the IAEA Secretariat has never reported to the IAEA
Board or to the Security Council that any Iranian NPT-proscribed nuclear materials
have ever been diverted to a military purpose. Not any; not ever.
Nevertheless, last September the Grand Pooh-Bahs of the Bipartisan Policy Center
released a report
that concluded Iran's refusal to suspend, indefinitely, its IAEA Safeguarded
programs "may pose the most significant strategic threat to the United States
during the next administration."
"We believe the only acceptable end state is the complete cessation
of enrichment activities inside Iran. We foresee no combination of international
inspections or co-ownership of enrichment facilities that would provide
sufficient assurances that Iran is not producing weapons-grade fissile material."
So, if Obama-Biden-Hillary really want to "shore up" the NPT and
its associated nuclear-weapons proliferation-prevention regime, the first step
is to begin to accept at face value – as the Bipartisan Grand Pooh-Bahs obviously
do not – the reports made by the IAEA Secretariat.
In particular, accept those concerning the "diversion" – or lack
thereof – of NPT-proscribed materials, subjected to Safeguards Agreements, entered
into by NPT-signatories "for the exclusive purpose" of verifying
that no such diversions have taken place.