April 28, 2004

Berger's Vision: The Fisking XX

Sandy Berger was commissioned by Foreign Affairs to produce a foreign policy essay for the next president from a Democrat perspective.

This is much too long to analyze in one shot, thus the numbered title, Part XX is below:

A Democratic administration should seek to strengthen global rules against proliferation more generally. The existing Non-Proliferation Treaty (npt) established an important norm. Since 1975, South Korea, Argentina, Brazil, Taiwan, South Africa, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Ukraine, and now Libya have reversed course and given up their nuclear weapons programs under its auspices. But the npt remains flawed, because it permits countries to develop all the building blocks of a nuclear weapons program and then to withdraw from the treaty without penalty once they are ready to enrich uranium or produce plutonium for nuclear weapons.

We should press for a new bargain. Nuclear powers such as the United States should help non-nuclear countries develop nuclear energy and provide them with uranium. But they should maintain control of the fuel cycle, taking back spent nuclear material and storing it securely so it cannot be used to build weapons. (Clearly, there are risks associated with how and where fuel is stored, but there is no risk-free alternative.) Any country that seeks to escape this strict system of controls should be subject to automatic UN sanctions. To hope to convince non-nuclear powers to agree to this arrangement, the United States should lead by example. That means giving up the Bush administration's irresponsible plan to develop a new generation of low-yield nuclear weapons (which sends the message that nuclear weapons are a useful instrument of war) and joining the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

First, Libya gave up their WMD not because of the NPT but because the US led a coalition to go beyond the NPT inspection regime:

As a result of our penetration of the network, American and the British intelligence identified a shipment of advanced centrifuge parts manufactured at the Malaysia facility. We followed the shipment of these parts to Dubai, and watched as they were transferred to the BBC China, a German-owned ship. After the ship passed through the Suez Canal, bound for Libya, it was stopped by German and Italian authorities. They found several containers, each forty feet in length, listed on the ship's manifest as full of "used machine parts." In fact, these containers were filled with parts of sophisticated centrifuges.

The interception of the BBC China came as Libyan and British and American officials were discussing the possibility of Libya ending its WMD programs. The United States and Britain confronted Libyan officials with this evidence of an active and illegal nuclear program. About two months ago, Libya's leader voluntarily agreed to end his nuclear and chemical weapons programs, not to pursue biological weapons, and to permit thorough inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. We're now working in partnership with these organizations and with the United Kingdom to help the government of Libya dismantle those programs and eliminate all dangerous materials.

But the problem of peaceful nuclear development can be solved without having to import designs or expertise from current nuclear powers. What justification is there for interfering with a country that is creating their own nuclear program without outside aid or outside fuel? The reality is that there is nothing wrong with a free, stable nation developing and maintaining a nuclear program. It provides new competition in the nuclear field. The fundamental problem is and has always been the quality of national leadership and national institutions. As time goes on, unstable countries will gain the ability to gain the bomb. In fact, with Pakistan as a nuclear power we have arguably already crossed that threshold. The cure for this is not a new treaty but a new relationship with these countries, creating the conditions for them to join the Functioning Core. As they do so, the concerns we naturally have will dissipate as their stake in the maintenance of the present order grows.

Posted by TMLutas at April 28, 2004 10:55 PM