Former Diplomats Salute Nunn, Lugar, for Efforts to Quell Nuclear Danger
By Ralph Dannheisser
Washington File Congressional Correspondent
Washington - The authors of the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat
Reduction Program have been honored for their diplomatic efforts even
as one of them, Senator Richard Lugar (Republican, Indiana), prepared
to leave on another trip to Russia to expand the reach of the arms
Lugar and former Senator Sam Nunn (Democrat, Georgia) jointly received
the annual Excellence in Diplomacy Award presented by the American
Academy of Diplomacy December 6 at a luncheon ceremony at the U.S.
Department of State.
President Clinton saluted the two for their "groundbreaking efforts to
reduce the nuclear danger and to help secure and dismantle weapons of
mass destruction in the former Soviet Union" in a letter read at the
ceremony by Joseph Sisco, chairman of the academy's board of
directors. Nunn and Lugar, Clinton said, "have worked with integrity,
skill and determination to advance America's ideals and to bring hope
and freedom to people throughout the world."
Since the two Senate colleagues founded the program in 1991, after the
end of the Cold War, it has been applied in deactivating over 5,000
nuclear warheads, and Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus - formerly the
world's third, fourth and eighth largest nuclear powers - have become
nuclear weapon-free countries. Nunn and Lugar also were nominated this
year for the Nobel Peace Prize.
The academy is a limited membership organization made up of men and
women who served as ambassadors at major embassies abroad or in senior
foreign policy positions in Washington. Its membership includes all
eight living former secretaries of state, several former secretaries
of defense, directors of central intelligence, national security
advisers and chairmen of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Lugar, in accepting the award, cited progress under the Cooperative
Threat Reduction Program as the "one constant" in a decade that has
seen "a series of high points and low points" in U.S. relations with
the former Soviet states, including a number of "disagreements and
diplomatic stalemates" with Russia.
The senator, just elected to a fifth six-year term, stressed that the
so-called Nunn-Lugar program is simply "a tool, a means toward an end
(that)...has prospered when U.S. policy toward Russia has been guided
by a firm hand and a logical policy prescription.
"Nunn-Lugar cannot take the place of coherent and effective policy; in
fact, it cannot operate without effective policy guidance. The program
has often borne the brunt of criticism for ineffective policy, but as
I often remark, we must not blame the shovel if the hole is dug in the
wrong location," he said.
Lugar noted that he will be leaving within days for a scheduled 12-day
visit to Russia to visit Nunn-Lugar sites and "work with our people
and the locals to jump start some of these programs."
"Specifically, I hope to gather enough information and experience to
convince my colleagues in Congress that we should move forward" in
such areas as chemical weapons demilitarization, dismantlement of
non-strategic submarines in the deteriorating Russian fleet, and the
redirection of scientists formerly involved in nuclear weapons
development, he said.
The senator pledged to "remain in a leadership role to ensure that the
Nunn-Lugar program continues to successfully adapt to the changing
political and strategic environment."
Nunn, in his remarks, stressed his belief that the United States has
an obligation "to continue to provide leadership" for peace in a world
beset by formidable challenges. He called for a policy that
encompasses "preventive diplomacy as well as preventive defense" and
asked his audience of present and former diplomats, "Can we develop a
preventive diplomacy fund in the State Department?" to be used for
The former Senate Armed Services Committee chairman said that
political divisions in the nation made obvious in the November
elections for both President and Congress provide "ample grounds for
pessimism." But he said he remains "cautiously optimistic" about
prospects for meaningful, cooperative action, not least because there
is "much historical evidence to tell us that weakened leaders often
reach for the middle ground."
Nunn said he is hopeful that progress will be forged by such
Republican senators as Lugar, Ted Stevens of Alaska and Pete Domenici
of New Mexico, all of whom he described as "governed by the facts,"
and their similarly-inclined Democratic counterparts, whom he did not
With such leaders in charge, he said, there is hope for the
proposition that "the facts should have some effect on our conclusions
and our actions in world affairs."
The academy also presented two awards for distinguished writing on the
practice of American diplomacy. Those went to Ambassador Herman Cohen,
who finished a 38-year government career in 1993 as assistant
secretary of state for African affairs, and Ambassador William
Gleysteen, Jr., U.S. ambassador to Korea from 1978 to 1981.
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