Consultations with Members of Congress and a Showcase Panel at the American Bar Association
May 3-4, 2007
On May 3 and 4, 2007, a delegation comprised of Ambassador Thomas Graham, Jr., Chairman of the Bipartisan Security Group, Jonathan Granoff, President of the Global Security Institute, and Dr. Hans Blix, Chairman of the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Commission, advocated timely policies on international security in the US Congress and to the International Law Section of the American Bar Association.
Specifically, the delegation discussed issues including: the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in 2010; Iran, North Korea, and Iraq; the new United States space policy and the need to prevent the weaponization of outer space and; the need for US leadership in a global, cooperative security regime.
Dr. Blix presented some of the recommendations contained in the report of the WMD Commission, Weapons of Terror: Freeing the World of Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Arms. Mr. Granoff presented the Middle Powers Initiative brief, Towards 2010: Priorities for NPT Consensus, and GSI’s newest Policy Brief, Advancing a Cooperative Security Regime in Outer Space. Ambassador Graham consistently reinforced the argument that fulfilling the non-proliferation and disarmament obligations under the NPT is simultaneously in the interest of both US and international security.
High-level consultations highlighted the contributions of non-governmental fora and institutions, such as the Article VI Forum of the Middle Powers Initiative and the Weapons of Terror report, in promoting the value of rule of law and cooperative norms. Such promotion and non-governmental support for global norms are, they argued, all particularly important during this period leading up to the NPT Review Conference in 2010.
The joint BSG/GSI/WMDC initiative represents the continuation of GSI’s commitment to address vital issues of nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament, arms control and space weaponization, both in the United States and internationally, complementing the work undertaken by the Middle Powers Initiative and the Parliamentary Network for Nuclear Disarmament, other programs of GSI.
Events at the United States Congress
Dr. Hans Blix, Chairman of the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Commission, Ambassador Thomas Graham, Jr., Chairman of the Bipartisan Security Group (BSG) and Mr. Jonathan Granoff, President of the Global Security Institute (GSI) met in private consultations with Senators Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Bob Casey (D-PA) to discuss nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, arms control and the weaponization of outer space.
The Congressional Bipartisan Task Force on Non-proliferation, co-chaired by Congressmen Ed Markey (D-MA) and Christopher Shays (R-CT), presented the BSG/GSI/WMDC delegation for a discussion entitled, “Nuclear Weapons: Resolving Iran, Reviewing Iraq.”
The panel presentation centered on critical issues of cooperative security in the areas of nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament, and arms control. Ambassador Graham and Mr. Granoff examined trends of United States foreign policy, drawing from the history of arms control agreements and the recent voting record of the US in the UN General Assembly. Dr. Blix, drawing from his experience as the Executive Chair of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) verification team in Iraq in 2003, discussed the value of verification regimes in assuring disarmament and non-proliferation goals.
The event was covered by Fox News and was posted prominently on the homepage of Congressman Markey’s website. (A cached page of Congressman Markey’s remarks can be found here.)
And finally in the Congress, the delegation met with senior staff members of the US Senate, including those on key committees, where they urged greater focus on challenges to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). They contended that disarmament must be the compass point of US policies, consistent with the argument set forth in the landmark Wall Street Journal (WSJ) op/ed by Schultz, Nunn, Kissinger et al, which draws from the wealth of practical suggestions of the WMD Commission and the Middle Powers Initiative, such as those included in their brief, “Towards 2010: Priorities for an NPT Consensus.”
Ambassador Thomas Graham, Jr., Chairman of the Bipartisan Security Group, promoted the recommendations set forth in the WSJ op/ed, “A World Free of Nuclear Weapons.” He drew from his long and distinguished career as a US civil servant, playing a lead role representing the United States in all major arms control treaties. Ambassador Graham also participated in the drafting of the WSJ op/ed at the Hoover Institution.
Specifically, Ambassador Graham called for the US to:
o Continue to reduce substantially the size of nuclear forces in all states that possess them;
o Initiate a bipartisan process with the Senate, including understandings to increase confidence and provide for periodic review, to achieve ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, taking advantage of recent technical advances, and working to secure ratification by other key states;
o Provide the highest possible standards of security for all stocks of weapons, weapons-usable plutonium, and highly enriched uranium everywhere in the world;
o Halt the production of fissile material for weapons globally; phasing out the use of highly enriched uranium in civil commerce and removing weapons-usable uranium from research facilities around the world and rendering the materials safe.
He highlighted the political significance of the op/ed, arguing that such bipartisan support for nuclear disarmament should forever put to rest the false notion that advocates for nuclear elimination are neither mainstream or practical.
Dr. Hans Blix, Chairman of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission, emphasized how well the international system functions when there is US support. In particular, Dr. Blix regards US leadership as indispensable in the field of arms control, security and the rule of law; without such American leadership, Dr. Blix stated, the system is challenged.
Dr. Blix also discussed the role of the NPT and a strengthened verification regime in promoting the rule of law and addressing regional concerns with North Korea and Iran.
To illustrate how the international verification system has evolved and its successes, Dr. Blix drew from his experiences as the Executive Chairman of the UNMOVIC in Iraq, and from his service as Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency for more than fifteen years.
He discussed how disarmament and non-proliferation are best pursued through a cooperative, rule-based international order, applied and enforced by effective multilateral institutions. In discussing the nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, Dr. Blix stressed the need for Nuclear Weapon States to comply with their disarmament obligations under the “bargain” of the NPT, and that it was vital for states to begin preparing now for the 2010 NPT Review Conference.
Dr. Blix suggested that the establishment of an international body to assure a monitored supply of enriched uranium fuel and for the disposal of spent fuel would reduce incentives for countries to build national facilities and diminish the risk of proliferation. He highlighted the 60 recommendations of the Weapons of Terror report.
Dr. Blix spent decades as an international civil servant of law and diplomacy, and, like Ambassador Graham, helped build legal relationships to strengthen international security. These two outstanding pubic servants demonstrate the inextricable conjunction at this moment in history between international security interests and US national interests, based on global norms and the rule of law.
Echoing Dr. Blix’s call for US leadership in global arms control, Mr. Jonathan Granoff, President of the Global Security Institute, bemoaned the isolation of the US from the ever-growing global consensus. This isolation is evidenced by US votes in the General Assembly, where, during the most recent session, on ten resolutions relating to arms control, the US cast the only vote in opposition, including resolutions on:
o the illicit trade in small arms (where the vote was 176 to 1);
o on practical disarmament measures (179 to 1);
o on environmental norms in disarmament (175 to 1);
o on assurances to non-nuclear weapon states (119 to 1);
o on an arms trade treaty (153-1);
o on preventing an arms race in outer space (178-1);
o on telecommunications and international security (176-1);
o on disarmament and development (178-1);
o on surplus ammunition (175-1) and;
o on a Fourth General Assembly Special Session on Disarmament, (175-1).
In other instances, the US’s voice of opposition was joined by one or two countries. But having just two allies in voting against a Nuclear Weapon Free Zone in Central Asia is neither wise nor demonstrative of leadership in promoting peace and security. Mr. Granoff argued that US interests are best served when it leads in building international consensus, which advances cooperative security.
As an example of where global consensus presently resides, Mr. Granoff promoted the steps outlined in the MPI brief, Towards 2010. These steps, gleaned from a series of high-level consultations with over 25 middle power countries, represent the emerging consensus of international opinion as a way by which to effectively address non-proliferation, disarmament, and arms control, including:
o verified reduction of nuclear forces;
o standing down of nuclear forces (de-alerting);
o negotiation of a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty;
o bringing the comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty into force;
o strengthened negative security assurances;
o regulation of nuclear fuel production and supply;
o improved NPT governance.
He emphasized that these modest measures diminish no country’s security interests and simultaenously strengthen both disarmament and non-proliferation while reducing global threats.
Mr. Granoff also spoke of the importance of building consensus on peaceful cooperation in outer space, based on principles of global cooperative security such as those embodied in the Outer Space Treaty and the related conventions. He argued that such principles and our global security regime would be adversely impacted by a decision by the United States to weaponize this crucial realm.
American Bar Association Event
Dr. Blix and Ambassador Graham delivered a Showcase Presentation to the International Law Section of the American Bar Association (ABA) entitled “Addressing Weapons of Mass Destruction”. Mr. Granoff moderated the discussion, which was held during the annual Spring Meeting of the International Sections and attended by leading US and international lawyers with a variety of specializations, including those actively involved in international rule of law, public policy and security issues.
Sprinkling the presentation with anecdotal stories from their long and distinguished careers as civil servants, the panelists focused on the need for American leadership in promoting a global security regime based on the rule of law. It was noted that, within the US Congress and certainly amongst the leadership of the international community, there is strong support for advancing US security interests through diplomacy and treaty regimes which rest on the rule of law. The US alone, they argued, cannot realize its security interests without legally-bound cooperation and, likewise, the international community cannot fulfill its aspirations for peace and security without US leadership.
Counterfactually, US interests have not been well advanced by relying on the law of power in derogation of the power of law. US and international interests have been advanced when based on a core US value– that no nation or person is above the law. Such enjoined security interests can be achieved through core treaties such as the UN Charter and the NPT, which were created through strong bipartisan support at home and US leadership on the international stage.
It is the hope of the Global Security Institute and its program, the Bipartisan Security Group, that such American leadership, fortified by strong bipartisan support, can again strengthen the global disarmament and non-proliferation regime, based on the rule of law. Towards this end, GSI and the BSG remain committed to engaging members of the United States legislative community on issues of nuclear non-proliferation, arms control, disarmament, and the prevention of space weaponization. Through its network, GSI and BSG are able to connect members of Congress with experts and organizations of the highest caliber such as Dr. Blix and the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission.
“Towards 2010: Priorities for NPT Consensus,” Middle Powers Initiative paper for the NPT Preparatory Committee, Vienna, May 2007.
GSI Policy Brief: “Advancing a Cooperative Security Regime in Outer Space.”