HALTING THE NUCLEAR ARMS RACE (House of Representatives - May 20, 1998)

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The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from American Samoa (Mr. Faleomavaega) is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Mr. Speaker, last week India, the world's largest democracy, conducted five nuclear weapons tests setting off a barrage of international criticism led by our own Nation. It is feared that a South Asian nuclear arms raise with Pakistan shall have global implications, encouraging North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Libya and others to pursue nuclear ambitions.

Days ago, former President Jimmy Carter addressed the issue of India's nuclear tests in commencement speeches he delivered at Trinity College at the University of Pennsylvania. I found President Carter's remarks, as reported by the news wires, to be very enlightening and wanted to share them with my colleagues.

President Carter, the last American President to visit India, noted that the United States, a country that possesses thousands of nuclear weapons, fails to ratify a comprehensive test ban treaty and continues to deploy land mines is hardly one that has the right to demand the opposite from other nations such as India.

Pointing out the hypocrisy of U.S. nuclear policy, Mr. Carter stated, `It is hard for us to tell India you cannot have a nuclear device, while maintaining we will keep our nuclear weapons, 8,000 or more nuclear bombs, and we are not ready to reduce them yet.'

Mr. Carter continued, `We claim we are for a comprehensive test ban to prevent all testing of nuclear weapons, but we still have not ratified the treaty. We claim we want to reduce nuclear arsenals,' said Mr. Carter, `but many years later the START II treaty is still not in effect with Russia.'

In expressing concern about India's nuclear tests, Mr. Speaker, President Carter further states, `People look to the United States with great admiration but also for guidance. We have not been fair in trying to keep people from developing nuclear weapons.'

President Carter concluded, `If the United States wishes to halt the global arms raise, they must lead by example and not by condemnation.'

Mr. Speaker, President Carter's points are well taken. Many around the world are starting to conclude India's nuclear tests are in great part a direct result of the failure of the United States and the other four members of the nuclear club to seriously move forward towards nuclear disarmament.

[TIME: 1845]

Yesterday, at the United Nations, Secretary General Kofi Annan stated that, `Our senses have been lulled a little bit with regard to the nuclear danger, but I think what has happened in India has woken everybody up.' In discussing India and Pakistan, Annan said the five self-declared nuclear powers, the United States, Britain, France, Russia, and China, must take stock of their positions because, and I quote, `You cannot have an exclusive club who have nuclear weapons and are refusing to disband it and tell them now not to have it. The nuclear powers need to set an example for other nations.'

Mr. Dan Plesch, the director of the British-American Security Information Council, an arms control group, has asked, `How much longer can we hang on to our own nuclear weapons while trying to prevent others from getting them? Either we say nuclear deterrence is goods for all, or we carry out a realistic program to ban nuclear weapons.'

Mr. Speaker, in a world discriminating between nuclear haves and have-nots, there will always be the temptation for nuclear proliferation. Clearly, global nuclear disarmament is the only real solution to this madness.

In 1975, the international community, including the nuclear powers, outlawed the development, production, stockpiling and the use of biological agents for warfare through the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. In 1977, the international community supported the coming into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention, which likewise prohibited the development, production and use of chemical weapons throughout the world.

Mr. Speaker, because of their horrific and destructive nature, biological and chemical weapons have been declared immoral and illegitimate, and are not to be tolerated. However, Mr. Speaker, there is no weapon of mass destruction that is more horrific, more destructive or more deadly than nuclear weapons. The argument for the elimination of this incomprehensibly monstrous force that threatens the world's inhabitants and our very planet is self-evident.

It is time, Mr. Speaker, that the nuclear powers negotiate a nuclear weapons convention that requires the phased elimination of all nuclear weapons within a time frame incorporating verification and enforcement provisions. We cannot afford to squander the dangerous wake-up call sent by India's recent nuclear tests.

Mr. Speaker, I submit for the Record two news articles regarding this topic:

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The Wall Street Journal, May 19, 1998


Hypocrisy Is the Hallmark of the Nuclear Flap


At the wind-up of the G-8 summit in Birmingham Sunday, French President Jacques Chirac issued a stern warning to Pakistan: If you dare to test a nuclear weapon, the G-8 will use a communique `exactly identical to the one we put out on India.'

By `exactly identical,' which probably sounds less redundant in French, he meant that the G-8 would `express our grave concern.' That's what the G-8 lashed India with, so Pakistan had better watch out. No doubt the Paks reacted privately with the same degree of amusement that the Indians were unable to suppress over the posturing by the leaders of `the world's eight leading nations' in response to India's tests.

There is of course nothing funny about nuclear weapons, but the grandstanding in Birmingham had elements of comedy. The assemblage--relying no doubt on the same superb intelligence that had keep them all in the dark about India's testing plans--at one point was led to believe that even during their debate Pakistan had exploded a bomb somewhere. Had someone not set them straight, they might have fired that exactly identical `grave concern' communique at Karachi prematurely. The Paks were doing their best, with differing statements from different officials, to confuse the world about whether they in fact will match the tests by their neighboring archenemy.

Russian President Boris Yeltsin was among the summiteers expressing `grave concern.' He has been allowed to join the Group of Seven (G-7) leading member nations of the International Monetary Fund, so it now is routinely called the G-8. He can't mix in economic deliberations because Russia is on the IMF dole, but his country still is taken seriously as a military power. That may be because it has 877 nuclear ICMBs, able to strike anywhere in the world. That statistic is from that latest `Military Balance' published by London's International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) and doesn't begin to cover Russia's total capability. Many of its missiles have multiple warheads and it also has 452 submarine-based nukes. Mr. Yeltsin's grave concern apparently doesn't extend to preventing Russian nuclear and missile technology from leaking to would-be nuclear states, if U.S. suspicions are correct.

The world's most populous nation, China, has more than 17 intercontinental and more than 38 intermediate-range nukes, according to the IISS estimate. It also has been accused by the U.S. of selling missile technology to Pakistan among others. And it also has tested its nukes when it pleased, thumbing its nose at the world at large. But Bill Clinton is so friendly with the Chinese that in 1996 he was willing to overrule State Department objections to letting them launch U.S.-made space satellites despite the danger of giving them valuable missile technology, according to reports in the New York Times over the weekend. He also seems to have been less than assiduous about preventing the Chinese from insinuating themselves into the U.S. political process through violations of the U.S. campaign finance laws, judging from testimony by erstwhile go-between and frequent White House visitor Johnny Chung made public last week.

Given the way the American president treats the two big non-NATO nuclear powers, should it be any surprise that Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee decided to go public with India's nukes? His BJP Hindu nationalist party leads a shaky new governing coalition and he smelled added popularity from showing that Indian can `stand up,' as Mao would have put it. He may have been right. TV footage showed Indians dancing in the streets on hearing the news. Beware of TV scenes, which often are staged, but it is not unbelievable that Indians might think that becoming the world's sixth declared nuclear nation will finally win them some respect.

It hasn't so far, of course. Mr. Clinton's reaction was to slap on sanctions, cutting off U.S. direct aid and threatening to veto further help from the IMF and the World Bank. But it's early times, and Mr. Vajpayee is smart enough to know that a cutoff of outside aid might be just the thing to help him with the politics of installing policies, such as opening the country up to more foreign investment, that will allow India to develop on its own. Just being noticed by those big-time guys in Birmingham, and the folks next door in China, he might figure, is almost worth the cost of losing handouts from the U.S., Japan, Canada, Australia and Germany, the countries that have applied sanctions.

What truly upset the folks in Birmingham, and Mr. Clinton especially, was not the fear that India will now shoot nuclear missiles at its neighbors. Two of those neighbors, China and Russia, could annihilate India in response and Pakistan, probably, could at least retaliate in kind. What troubles the leaders, and much of the global intellectual community, is this further evidence that arms control treaties do not control the spread of modern arms. The two Strategic Arms Limitation Treaties of the Cold War were full of holes and the Russian parliament has not ratified the successor, START II. In the CFE deal limiting conventional weapons in Europe, the U.S.S.R. got a loophole excluding `naval' troops, of which it turned out to have had quite a number who had never set foot on a ship. Iraq has not been at all inhibited by chemical and biological weapons limitations.

Attempting to apply nuclear controls internationally has run afoul of realities. We live in a world of nation states. Those states that do not feel threatened, do not want the expense of nukes and want to enjoy a pretense of virtue, have readily signed onto the antiproliferation and test-ban treaties. India and Pakistan, living in a rough neighborhood unprotected by NATO or other alliances, have put national security ahead of niceties. It's too bad, but that's the way it is.

Bill Clinton had every right to be shocked at this latest mugging by reality. He heads what some choose to call the world's most powerful nation. But it has no defense against nuclear missiles. In the harsh equation of war, the U.S.'s very wealth works against it should it ever be threatened by a poor country with nuclear missiles. It would have a lot more to lose, and even if it suffered a limited attack it would be reluctant to use its vast might against the impoverished masses of the attacking country. Maybe Mr. Clinton should think more about U.S. security.


From the New York Times, Tues., May 19, 1998


Keeping Nuclear Arms in Check

India's nuclear weapons test threaten to undo 35 years worth of work by the United States and other countries to limit the spread of nuclear arms. Instead of abandoning those efforts and improvising new approaches, a course recommended by some arms control experts, Washington and its allies should redouble their commitment to make the international control system work effectively.

As difficult as it may be, India and Pakistan must be persuaded to sign and abide by the 1996 test ban treaty that has now been signed by 149 nations. By joining the treaty, India and Pakistan would bind themselves to refrain from any future testing. Their inclusion would also make it easier to detect violations by permitting the installation of monitoring equipment at their nuclear test sites.

Enlisting India and Pakistan would be easier if the Senate ratified the test ban treaty, now irresponsibly held up by Senator Jesse Helms. Once again, the capricious chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee is holding the nation's interest hostage to his ideological whims. Ratification would allow Washington to participate in a review conference next year that will develop diplomatic strategies for bringing holdout nations into the treaty. Without American leadership, the treaty itself and the conference will be empty exercises.

The performance of American intelligence agencies should also be improved so that future test preparations by any country can be spotted in advance, giving diplomats the chance to intervene. The White House was given no warning about the Indian underground explosions. Some of the $400 million a year the Energy Department now spends on nuclear weapons detection research ought to be used to develop sensitive seismic measuring devices that can monitor low-yield tests from afar.

Non-nuclear countries are more easily dissuaded from developing atomic weapons when nuclear states restrain their own arsenals. Progress in this area has been slowed in recent years. Russia's parliament should long ago have ratified the nuclear missile cuts negotiated more than five years ago by George Bush and Boris Yeltsin.

If Bill Clinton does not want nuclear anarchy to be his foreign policy legacy, he must galvanize the Senate to act on the test ban treaty and use American influence to strengthen the world's arms control mechanisms. Without them, this planet would be a far more dangerous place.

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