USIS Washington File

06 June 2000

Text: Senator Kyl Outlines Opposition to CTBT Ratification

(Replies to Shalikashvili in Carnegie Endowment speech)(4600) 

A key Senate opponent of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) says
that the Senate refused to ratify the pact "on the merits" and not
because members lacked sufficient time to study its implications.

Senator Jon Kyl (Republican-Arizona) outlined his opposition to the
pact in a speech June 5 at the Carnegie Endowment for International
Peace in Washington. His audience included representatives of
embassies including those of Russia, China, Pakistan, Germany,
Ukraine, and the United Kingdom, as well as the U.S. departments of
State, Defense, and Energy and a host of non-governmental
organizations and public policy groups.

Kyl described his comments as a response to retired General John
Shalikashvili, who told a Carnegie audience in March that his task as
a special advisor to the president was to "lay the groundwork" for
ratification of the treaty sometime in the future.

Shalikashvili, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has been
working with legislators to gauge the nature of their objections to
the treaty and to build support for eventual Senate consent to its

Following is the text of Kyl's speech:

(begin text)

Remarks by Senator Jon Kyl
"Why the Senate Rejected the CTBT and the Implications of Its Demise"
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
June 5, 2000

Former Secretary of State George Shultz once complained about
Washington that, "Nothing ever gets settled in this town. [It's] a
seething debating society in which the debate never stops, in which
people never give up -- including me." Well, President Clinton has not
given up on his dream of a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)
despite its rejection by the Senate last October. In fact, you heard
from General John Shalikashvili in March that his new job as a special
advisor to the president was to "lay the groundwork for eventual
ratification" of the treaty.

Since the debate will presumably continue outside the Senate, and in
the belief that a good debate requires that both sides be represented,
I appreciate your willingness to hear another point of view today.

I agree with Governor Bush and the officials from previous
administrations who stood with him on May 24 that we need a different
approach to national security issues -- an approach that begins with
the premise that the U.S. must be able to act unilaterally in its own
best interests. This means, among other things, that no nation should
have a veto over U.S. deployment of missile defenses or measures to
protect the safety and reliability of our strategic nuclear assets. It
means, I believe, that we will work to secure peace and our safety
first through our own strength; second, through our relationships with
friends and allies; and third, through enforceable agreements which
may contribute to peace and stability.

With the Cold War at an end and a new century beckoning, the next
administration will have an opportunity to craft new policies and
strategies, including new strategies to deal with proliferation of
weapons of mass destruction. It will be appropriate to consider
whether the CTBT or any test ban treaty has a place in this new
construct. A good place to start is to reflect on why the CTBT failed
to win even a majority, let alone the required super majority in the

Process Used to Consider Treaty Was Fair

First, let's discuss process, and allow me to dispense with the canard
that the treaty would have been approved if only those slow
Republicans had had more time to think about it -- to be "educated."
Democrats must really be smart, because almost all of them came out
for the treaty at the beginning of the debate. Obviously they didn't
need more time.

The whole notion that the process used to consider the treaty was
unfair is silly. As many of you know, the business of the Senate is
usually established by unanimous consent, as was the case for the
CTBT. After badgering by Democrats, the Majority Leader finally
offered a unanimous consent proposal for consideration of the treaty.
Democrats objected, demanding more debate time. It was added. All 100
Senators then had an opportunity to object to the second unanimous
consent request and, thus, block that agreement from entering into
force -- none did. It was only after treaty supporters realized they
didn't have the votes that they reversed their position and called for
the Senate to rescind its scheduled vote.

In the two weeks before the full Senate debated the treaty, three
Senate Committees held five hearings and heard from over 30 witnesses,
including General Shalikashvili, the four appropriate administration
Cabinet secretaries, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and
the lab directors. Finally, the Senate spent more hours debating the
CTBT on the floor than similar treaties like the Chemical Weapons
Convention. In fact, the Senate spent more time debating the CTBT than
the START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty)-I, START-II, and CFE
(Conventional Armed Forces in Europe) treaties combined.

What proponents cannot admit is that this treaty was rejected on the
merits -- and soundly at that.

Key Arguments Against the Treaty

With regard to the treaty itself, Senator Richard Lugar summed up the
feeling of most Republican Senators when he said, "I do not believe
the CTBT is of the same caliber as the arms control treaties that have
come before the Senate in recent decades." He noted, for example, the
lack of even a pretense of enforceability. This treaty was so
deficient that it didn't even define the term "nuclear explosion" --
exactly what the treaty purports to ban -- because, as ...[Senior
Adviser for Arms Control and International Security] John Holum
explained in Senate testimony, the administration "decided at the
outset of negotiations not to seek international agreement on a
definition of 'nuclear weapons test explosion' in the Treaty text. The
course of negotiations confirmed our judgement that it would have been
extremely difficult, and possibly counterproductive, to specify in
technical terms what is prohibited by the Treaty."

There were dozens of similar deficiencies in the terms of the treaty;
but the fact that the treaty was poorly crafted was only the
beginning. From a substantive point of view, most Senators believed it
would have little, if any impact on halting the spread of nuclear
weapons, but would seriously jeopardize our security by undermining
America's vital nuclear deterrent.

Treaty Would Undermine America's Nuclear Deterrent

I will first address concerns about the safety and reliability of our
nuclear deterrent.

The weakness of this treaty is illustrated by the fact that proponents
usually fall back on the argument that, while it may have many
problems, on balance, we're better off with, than without it. They say
it might help in other words -- and, in any event, it can't hurt.

The Senate Majority concluded it wouldn't help, and it could hurt.

Most Senators heeded the advice of six former secretaries of defense
who wrote that,

"As the Senate weighs whether to approve the CTBT, we believe Senators
will be obliged to focus on one dominant, inescapable result were it
to be ratified: over the decades ahead, confidence in the reliability
of our nuclear weapons stockpile would inevitably decline, thereby
reducing the credibility of America's nuclear deterrent."

We were aware of the fact that over the years, testing has been the
essential element that has maintained the viability of our stockpile.
As President Bush noted in a report to Congress in January 1993, "Of
all U.S. nuclear weapons designs fielded since 1958, approximately
one-third have required nuclear testing to resolve problems arising
after deployment." And in three-fourths of these cases, the problems
were only discovered because of ongoing nuclear testing.

America's nuclear weapons are the most sophisticated in the world.
Each one typically has thousands of parts, and over time the nuclear
materials and high explosive triggers in our weapons deteriorate. We
lack experience predicting the effects of these changes. We did not
design our weapons to last forever. The average shelf life was
expected to be about 20 years. In the past, we did not encounter
problems with aging weapons, because we continuously fielded new
designs as older designs were retired. But under the CTBT, we could
not field new designs to replace older weapons, because we could not
do the required testing.

Nor is it possible to simply replicate new copies of the old designs
without introducing significant uncertainty about the safety and
reliability of remanufactured weapons. Neither the materials nor the
manufacturing techniques would be the same. The degree of uncertainty
involved in trying to do so without testing would be intolerable in
any analogous context. In fact, the scientists at Los Alamos Lab
trying to reestablish our ability to make plutonium pits are
struggling with this very problem. We can currently make plutonium
that is more pure than what we previously produced. But we don't
understand the role played by existing impurities and whether they are
necessary to make the weapon work. And we can't test to confirm the
remanufactured weapon works as intended.

I disagree with General Shalikashvili's assertion that since nuclear
weapons play a smaller role in our defense strategy than they
previously did that we can accept less confidence in their safety and
reliability. A credible nuclear deterrent remains vital for U.S.
security. During the Gulf War, we successfully deterred Saddam Hussein
from using chemical weapons against American forces because he feared
nuclear retaliation.

Since there are now only nine weapon types in our enduring stockpile,
it is more important than ever that they each be safe and reliable. A
problem affecting even one or two weapon types could make a large
portion of our arsenal unusable. Today, the viability of each weapon
type is relatively more important, not less, because of the great
reduction in the number of designs in the arsenal.

General Shalikashvili also said in his speech that, "We have refined
tried-and-true techniques and developed new approaches to maintaining
stockpile safety and reliability without nuclear explosive testing."
But that is not really true. While I am a strong supporter of the
Stockpile Stewardship Program, because I believe it will help us to
better maintain our arsenal irrespective of whether we resume testing,
the fact is this program is not now and can never be a total
substitute for testing.

As Dr. James Schlesinger, who formerly served as secretary of defense
and secretary of energy testified, "no one now has either the
experience or the knowledge to judge the degree of success of the
Stewardship Program. When queried, DoD (Department of Defense) or
laboratory officials will indicate that there is 'a good chance' that
through the program we shall be able to maintain 'sufficient'
confidence in the stockpile. They also know that it will be more than
a decade before we can judge how successful the Stewardship Program
will have been, and they recognize that never before have we depended
on weapons as old as those steadily aging weapons in the stockpile. In
assuring weapon reliability, there is no substitute for nuclear
testing. How imperfect a substitute the Stewardship Program will prove
to be remains to be seen." (emphasis added)

Indeed, when asked during a Senate hearing on the CTBT when the
Stockpile Stewardship Program would be up and running, the director of
Los Alamos National Lab, Dr. John Browne, testified "somewhere in the
10 to 20 year period with the [current] plan."

And the Stockpile Stewardship Program has already fallen behind
schedule. For example, the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence
Livermore National Lab is one of the linchpin facilities in the
program. Without this facility, the Stockpile Stewardship Program
cannot succeed. We recently learned that the facility is more than a
billion dollars over budget and will be completed several years late.
Political support is wavering.

Finally, even if the Stockpile Stewardship Program achieves its goals,
confidence in the safety and reliability of our nuclear weapons will
decline without testing. Dr. Paul Robinson, the director of the Sandia
National Laboratory made this point in his testimony stating, "There
is no question that...actual testing of designs to confirm their
performance is the desired regimen for any high-technology device,
from cars and airplanes to and computers. For a
device as highly consequential as a nuclear weapon, testing of the
complete system, both when it is first developed and periodically
throughout its lifetime to ensure that aging effects do not invalidate
its performance, is also the preferred methodology. I and others who
are, or have been, responsible for the safety and reliability of the
U.S. stockpile of nuclear weapons have testified to this obvious
conclusion many times in the past." (emphasis added)

In short, it is impossible to conclude that our stockpile will not be
harmed by an absolute, permanent ban on testing. That ought to give
serious people pause for concern. That was one of the key reasons the
CTBT failed, and it will have to be taken into consideration in the
development of our strategic policies in the next few years.

Treaty Won't Halt Proliferation

The second point is that the treaty is not likely to do much good in
confronting proliferation of nuclear weapons. To argue otherwise,
you've got to believe that the likes of Kim Jong-il and Saddam Hussein
will suddenly begin playing by Marquis of Queensbury rules. General
Shalikashvili put the argument this way, "A global ban on nuclear
testing essentially rules out a renewed nuclear arms race...."

The fact is, this unenforceable ban rules out nothing. Although
nuclear testing is essential to maintaining the sophisticated nuclear
weapons in the U.S. arsenal today, it is not required to develop
relatively simple first-generation nuclear devices, like those sought
by Iran and Iraq. The U.S. bomb dropped on Hiroshima was never tested,
and the Israeli nuclear arsenal was built without testing. As CIA
(Central Intelligence Agency) Director George Tenet testified,
"Nuclear testing is not required for the acquisition of a basic
nuclear weapons capability (i.e. a bulky, first-generation device with
high reliability but low efficiency). Tests using high-explosive
detonations only ([with] no nuclear yield) would provide reasonable
confidence in the performance of a first generation device. Nuclear
testing becomes critical only when a program moves beyond basic
designs to incorporate more advanced concepts."

Moreover, even countries like Russia could continue to proliferate.
Despite its economic woes, Russia has continued to produce new nuclear
weapons to replace older weapons that have exceeded their design life.
Unlike the U.S., Russia designed its weapons with the need for
periodic re-manufacture in mind, so Russia could simply increase its
current weapons production rate without violating the treaty.

In his remarks, General Shalikashvili also asserted that, "Banning
tests slows the spread of nuclear weapons to more countries by
throwing another tough obstacle in the way of anyone who wants nuclear
arms." Tough obstacle? To be a "tough obstacle" it would, at a
minimum, have to define what it prohibits, and be verifiable and
enforceable, all deficiencies in this treaty. No, the CTBT will not
provide a tough obstacle to the acquisition of nuclear arms. In fact,
it will not even meet the more modest claim of proponents that it
establishes a new international norm against nuclear weapons testing
or possession. The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) ratified by
187 countries is supposed to have already established a norm against
nuclear weapons possession. As you know, the NPT calls for parties to
the treaty, other than the five declared nuclear powers, to pledge not
to acquire nuclear weapons. The CTBT will add nothing useful to the
international non-proliferation regime since nations, in effect, would
be pledging not to test the nuclear weapons they have already promised
never to possess under the NPT.

And to those who say the United States must lead by example -- that by
halting nuclear tests ourselves, we will persuade others to follow our
example, look at the history of the last eight years. Since the U.S.
and Great Britain halted testing in 1992, every other nuclear power
except Israel conducted nuclear tests: India, Pakistan, Russia, China,
and France have all tested; and a host of rogue nations have furiously
pursued their nuclear weapons programs. This whole notion is akin to
the cops offering to lead by example -- throwing away their guns in
the hope the robbers will do the same! Nations will act in their own
best interests irrespective of international norms. That is fact, not

Treaty Was Unverifiable

My remarks today are not intended to completely catalogue all of the
problems with the CTBT; but since I mentioned verifiability, just a
note about that. Credible evasion techniques like decoupling and
anonymous testing in open ocean areas would have permitted cheaters to
avoid detection and attribution. The treaty's provisions allowing for
on-site inspections are also deficient. A nation would have the right
to designate up to 50 square kilometers as off-limits to inspections,
a situation analogous to Iraq's efforts to bar U.N. inspectors from
"presidential palaces." As Sandia Lab Director Robinson said,
"compliance with a strict zero-yield requirement is
is very unlikely that the threshold for detection and yield
measurement in most parts of the world will ever reach the level to
identify these yields as nuclear tests, and hence as violations to the
U.S. understanding of the treaty's central obligation." So while the
U.S. would strictly comply, other nations could conduct useful low
level tests without consequences. At least one nation may already be
doing this. A treaty that cannot be enforced does not sustain the
utilitarian claim.

Treaties Are Not a Panacea
I'd like to return now to an observation I made at the beginning of my
remarks -- that a more successful and realistic strategic posture for
the U.S. would rely less on the goodwill of bad actors than what we
ourselves can control -- our own defenses. Experience show that we
can't even necessarily rely on our allies in holding treaty violators

In his remarks, General Shalikashvili placed great reliance in the
belief that treaties unite the international community to punish
violators and, hence, reduce the need for robust defense capabilities.
I submit that we have to be very careful to avoid relying on treaties
to safeguard our security, since the reality is they are rarely
enforced. Even when the evidence is clear, there are almost always
overriding national (usually diplomatic) reasons for treading lightly
on violators. Sometimes, its just a case of lack of will, witness the
most recent pathetic performance of our allies and the U.N. with
respect to Iraq's thwarting of the U.N. mandated inspection regime --
one would think that a U.N. Resolution like this is an even stronger
international commitment than a treaty.

Go back in time: what did the U.S. or our allies do when faced with
incontrovertible evidence of Iraq's use of chemical weapons against
Iran in the 1980s in violation of the 1925 Geneva Convention? The U.N.
Security Council passed a tepid resolution calling for both sides in
the conflict to exercise restraint. After Iraq used chemical weapons
again, this time against its Kurdish population, the Security Council
passed another resolution that repeated the earlier condemnation of
their use in the Iran-Iraq War, and failed even to mention the use of
chemical agents against Iraq's Kurdish citizens! International resolve
was so weak, that in when the U.S. proposed a resolution at the U.N.
Human Rights Commission in 1989 condemning Iraq's use of chemical
weapons against the Kurds, the initiative was defeated after a motion
offered by Iraq (to end action on the initiative) passed by a vote of
17 to 13.

The history of arms control agreements is replete with examples of
failure to enforce, including Soviet construction of the Krasnoyarsk
radar in violation of the ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missile) Treaty, chronic
Soviet and Russian violations of the BWC (Biological Weapons
Convention), Russian violations of commitments to the U.S. to halt
missile and nuclear aid to Iran, and violations of the NPT by North
Korea and Iraq. Some even strain the creativity of State Department
lawyers. We couldn't call the Chinese (our strategic partner, you
know) for a probable violation of their pledge to adhere to the MTCR
(Missile Technology Control Regime) because we couldn't be absolutely
certain that the M-11 missile canisters shipped from China to Pakistan
actually contained the missiles -- maybe the Pakistanis had some other
use for them the lawyers argued!

Honorable nations do not need treaty limits to do the right thing.
Rogue states will ignore legal requirements when it suits their
interests. We ignore this harsh reality at our own peril.

A Strong Defense Is Our First Priority

In crafting an effective national security policy for the 21st
century, I reiterate that we have to re-establish the proposition that
all component strategies must be based on a foundation of strong U.S.
military capability. We must be prepared for failures of treaties, for
failures of diplomacy and economic sanctions, for failures of
intelligence to accurately predict threats, and for failures of
deterrence. As Winston Churchill once observed, in history "the
terrible ifs accumulate."

When dealing with the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and
ballistic missile delivery vehicles, that means closing our increasing
vulnerability to missile attack. It's extremely disappointing that
nearly a decade after 28 Americans were killed during an Iraqi missile
attack in Saudi Arabia -- nearly a third of all Americans killed in
the Gulf War -- that we still have not fielded effective theater
missile defenses. And we are several years from fielding an effective
national missile defense system.

I am pleased, however, that in the wake of the Rumsfeld Commission
report and North Korea's launch of a missile over Japan, that a
consensus has emerged in the Intelligence Community and at the Defense
Department that we need missile defense for the U.S.

In addition to missile defense, we also need to be sure our military
forces can fight and win on the battlefield when faced with chemical
or biological weapons. For example, in some cases our pilots cannot
wear their protective suits and still operate their aircraft; and
studies have uncovered deficiencies in the effectiveness of our suits
against some agents. In short, effective defenses against ballistic
missiles and chemical and biological weapons need to be a critical
part of our counter-proliferation strategy.

Increased Emphasis Needs to be Placed on Our Alliance Relationships

In looking back on the history of the Nuclear Age, it's seems clear to
me that, in addition to our own military capabilities, strong
alliances are the primary reason more countries have not developed
nuclear weapons in the more than 50 years since Hiroshima. Many
countries had the technical and financial wherewithal to develop such
weapons, but didn't. In Asia, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan were
persuaded to terminate or forgo nuclear programs in return for U.S.
security guarantees. The same was true in Europe, where our NATO
allies also agreed to live under the U.S. nuclear umbrella; and,
except for Britain and France to a limited degree, to not develop
nuclear weapons of their own. This is one reason everyone in the world
must have confidence in the U.S. nuclear deterrent. Strengthening ties
to our key allies should be our next priority after establishing
strong defense capabilities.

It's extremely troubling to me that the Administration has fanned
fears at home and abroad that the U.S. is retreating into "Fortress
America," and that the Senate is full of neo-isolationists. Instead of
fanning such fears, our government should be assuring our allies that
we intend not only to protect ourselves, but to extend protection to
those that want it, and undertake other considerable non-proliferation
efforts with their heretofore missing help.

For example, in the wake of North Korea's Taepo Dong 1 missile launch,
Japan has agreed to co-develop the next version of the Navy Theater
Wide missile defense system. We should also sell such defenses to
Taiwan, which has asked for them; and we should extend such protection
to South Korea.

In the Middle East, Israel and the U.S. have jointly developed the
Arrow system over the past decade. We should explore additional
cooperative ventures, and should explore similar cooperation with
other countries in the region like Turkey.

And, we must address the divergence between American and European
views on missile defense. The Clinton administration should not be
surprised that now that it is attempting to sell a limited NMD system
our European allies are expressing fears of a "decoupling" of security
interests and Russia calls it "destabilizing." Those were precisely
the arguments the Administration spun during the seven years it
opposed deployment of a national missile defense system. Even now, the
president is unwilling to commit to our allies that we will share the
full capability of missile defenses with them. Why aren't we offering
to build ground-based NMD (National Missile Defense) sites in Europe
or offering to sell sea-based defenses to allied Navies? We face a
common threat, and in the spirit of NATO, we should pursue common
measures to deal with the threat.

More Aggressive Enforcement of Nonproliferation Agreements Needed

The final element of an effective nonproliferation strategy involves
marshaling the support of our allies for more effective enforcement of
existing nonproliferation agreements before entering into more
agreements. For example, for several years the Clinton administration
has issued countless diplomatic pleas for Russian restraint in aiding
Iran's nuclear and missile programs. Although Russia has committed to
curtail or halt such assistance in the past, it still continues. We
need to be more aggressive in halting this kind of assistance to rogue

The U.S. provides billions of dollars in IMF (International Monetary
Fund) loans to Russia, we have provided billions of dollars of
bilateral assistance and funding for Nunn-Lugar programs, we have
provided democracy building assistance, agricultural aid, and we are
partners in the international space station. This deep involvement
with Russia should give us leverage. We should use it. Our allies that
have been missing in action on this issue and many others, and need to
be persuaded to help us.

The issue of enforcement extends to treaties as well. I was
disappointed that at the recent NPT Review Conference in New York, the
U.S. did not rally the support of friendly nations to focus on the
primary threat to that laudable treaty -- the need to enforce it.
Instead of devoting sessions to the fact that North Korea, Iraq, and
Iran are attempting to develop nuclear weapons in violation of the
central principle of the treaty, the U.S. instead spent most of its
time explaining how we are on a path toward steep nuclear arms

Unenforceable and unenforced treaties are worse than none at all,
because they cause nations to relax defenses against tyranny in the
belief that they've done something significant merely by signing the
document. Until the world community demonstrates that reliance on
treaties is warranted, I believe the U.S. Senate will prefer to rely
on U.S. capabilities and strengthening ties to allies to meet common
threats, including more cooperation in enforcing nonproliferation


In many ways, the threats we face now are more complex than those of
the Cold War world. With the right leadership and effective
strategies, however, I am confident we can successfully meet these
challenges. I appreciate your interest in these issues, and your role
in seeing that, as Secretary Shultz put it, "the debate never stops."

(end text)

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