Rome, 20th-21st April 1993

Official Record

Office of the Clerk of the Assembly of WEU




Tuesday, 20th April 1993


(The sitting was opened at 2.40 p.m. with Mr. Lopez Henares, Chairman of the Technological and Aerospace Committee, in the Chair)

How to cope with the challenges


Future prospects for disarmament, arms exports control and non-proliferation

Mr. KARP (SIPRI, Sweden). - It is hard to recall, but as recently as the mid-1980s the threat of missile proliferation seemed remote if not fanciful. A few well-publicised launches had raised western awareness of regional interest in long-range rocketry. But any such concerns were trifling compared to the overwhelming dangers of superpower nuclear confrontation. While no one, to my knowledge, disputed the importance of the issue, only a handful of officials and analysts were prepared to take it seriously.

This situation changed suddenly only five years ago. In 1987-88 missile proliferation became a topic for discussion at the highest levels of government, at international summits, in the press and at conferences like this one. A rapid series of revelations forced the issue upon the international agenda. First came the disclosure of the Argentine-Egyptian-Iraqi Condor-2 intermediate-range missile programme; this was followed a few weeks later by the dramatic use of hundreds of ballistic missiles in the war of the cities between Iran and Iraq. Soon long-range rocket projects were discovered in virtually every region of the world.

In the eyes of many, missile proliferation is a symbol of the anarchy prevailing after the cold war. The problem appeared just as the superpower confrontation was receding. Not since the world learned of the atomic bomb in August 1945 has a major threat to international security appeared so abruptly. The discovery that dozens of regional actors possessed or were experimenting with large rockets was uniquely chilling.

Potentially armed with anything from conventional explosives to thermonuclear warheads, these new weapons threaten to recreate the balance of terror from which the world had just escaped.

Trends and capabilities

The discovery of missile proliferation in the late 1980s was such a shock for many observers that it led to exaggeration of the problem. Press reports contributed to the alarm and confusion by revealing dozens of previously obscure regional rocket projects, typically implying these had only recently started and were close to establishing complete regional strategic forces. Public officials in America and elsewhere wove these tales into a lurid picture of rockets out of control. The hype made it easy to overlook the fact that most regional rocket programmes had started years or decades ago and few showed signs of rapid progress.

The intervening years have helped separate the wheat from the chaff. There can be no doubt that missile proliferation poses a grave danger to international peace and stability. But it is misleading to view it as a uniform threat; the challenge of missile proliferation varies significantly from country to country. Missile proliferators themselves can be divided into three categories: those with substantial indigenous technical resources capable of creating their own strategic missile forces, those with sufficient resources to conduct rocketry development but only with large-scale foreign help, and those dependent on foreign suppliers for entire missile systems.

First-tier proliferators: The first category of missile proliferators, those capable of indigenously developing a complete strategic missile force, is very exclusive. Nor is it likely to grow very rapidly. Of all regional powers, Israel has both developed and deployed its own long-range, nuclear-armed missile forces. Israel has invested in rocketry research and development systematically since the early 1960s, culminating in the current Jericho II-Shavit series, which appears to be fully integrated into its strategic forces. Israel relied extensively on foreign technology - mostly from France - in the early years. Today it has the only truly indigenous regional rocket programme among all emerging powers, with little need for foreign assistance. Only political choice and military doctrine restrain its its missile forces, which almost certainly could be expanded to include ICBMs.

The only other regional power with comparable technical capabilities is India. The Indian research programme is as old as Israel's and considerably larger in scale, although it has not demonstrated equal coherence. With resources divided among several competing civilian and military projects, India has been unable to bring any but the smallest to completion (1) . Nor has New Delhi made strategic decisions establishing clear goals for these projects. Instead, India's rocketry programmes exhibit the symptoms of a vague experiment. Despite several test launches of large civilian and military rockets since 1980, little has been accomplished beyond showing long-run potential. Such demonstrations are not without impact; with the launch of the PSLV booster scheduled for this year, India will mark the ability to develop ICBMs.

North Korea is the only other nation known to be rapidly developing a strategic rocket force of its own. Although its engineering capabilities are more limited, North Korea stands out for its goals, as much economic as military. Work started in the early 1970s, but there was little progress until the early 1980s when the programme was wedded exclusively to Scud technology. By 1987 Scud copies were in series production and sold to Iran. An extended range version was transferred to Syria and Libya in 1992 and assembly arranged for Iran and possibly Egypt. With a 1 000 km version under development, North Korea has reached the limits of Scud technology and seems unlikely to make further advances unless a new source of technology can be found. Within the range of its capabilities, however, North Korea is the single most destabilising of missile proliferators, both mostly likely to use and most likely to sell its missiles.

A comprehensive list of countries capable of developing ballistic missiles would have to include more distant possibilities, countries lacking any intention to develop long- range ballistic missiles today but which could do so if compelled. Leading this list is Japan, whose M series solid- fuel space launchers could be adapted into IRBMs within a few months, although high-performance guidance and re-entry vehicles would require a few years for full development. Japan's liquid- fuel N and H series launchers could be adapted into ICBMs, but with greater difficulty. Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy and Ukraine have industries capable of developing large rockets within as little as five years, while Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland could do so in roughly ten years.

Second-tier proliferators: After these countries follow a second class that has experimented with large-scale rocket technology but, for one reason or another, has not been able to extend this work beyond the prototype stage. All relied extensively on foreign assistance and have had great difficulty since it became difficult to acquire in the late 1980s. Several dropped their programmes before the metal-cutting stage where expenses swiftly rise. Others probably were never committed to the idea of full-scale development and abandoned it after some initial experiments, as appears to have been the case in

Indonesia, South Korea and Taiwan. A few like Argentina, Brazil, Egypt and South Africa downgraded their programmes as regional tensions eased and to avoid antagonising outside powers, especially the United States. Others like Iran, Libya and Pakistan found it infinitely easier to rely on missiles purchased from China or North Korea. And one country - Iraq - was forced to stop by the military intervention of United Nations forces. With their own programmes moribund, several of these countries now fall to the third tier.

The overwhelming question in these moribund cases is what technology and what interest remain? Can they still develop long-range rockets within a decade or so? Or must they start virtually from scratch? One of the most daunting questions in assessing quiescent missile programmes is determining whether a project is over permanently, if technical resources have been shelved for future applications, or if design and development work actually continue. In countries where the armed forces and other agencies have substantial autonomy it is entirely possible for relevant work to continue in extreme secrecy, even without the knowledge or consent of the central government.

An extreme example of this ambiguity is the Argentine Condor II, which the Menem government declared at an end in April 1990. The decision prompted a tug of war with the Argentine air force which kept the project alive covertly, a dispute which also had to do with the question of who controls the Argentine military. After many conflicting announcements, in February 1992 the remnants of the project were formally transferred to a civilian agency. The saga seems doomed to continue so long as Argentina still has some rocket technology left to fight over.

Third-tier proliferators: A third and final group includes those countries relying entirely on foreign-supplied missiles. These countries are both the most susceptible to control and the most volatile; in lieu of foreign help there is little they can accomplish, but one shipment can give strategic clout overnight. The most extreme example is Iraq, which relied on foreign suppliers for all the ballistic missiles it deployed - its fifteen-year research and development programme failed to generate a single usable missile up to the moment that the United Nations Special Commission began to take it apart. Although Saddam has consolidated his remaining rocketry resources and started new projects, he has virtually no chance of deploying new missiles unless foreign suppliers can be found.

The scale of foreign missile transfers can be intimidating. Iraq received over 800 Scuds from Moscow, while Afghanistan took another 2 000. China furnished Saudi Arabia with approximately 60 massive DF-3 IRBMs. But these cases appear to be exceptional. Ordinary recipients got only token numbers during the cold war; from this perspective the small missile forces of countries like Algeria, Cuba and Yemen appear to be historical accidents, not harbingers of future trends. But Libya,

Pakistan and Syria have shown how the post-cold war diplomacy offers opportunities to buy from new suppliers if one is willing to endure the financial and diplomatic cost.

The threat these various countries pose to international security varies greatly, as does their susceptibility to international control. A few countries more may be able to build and deploy large rockets on their own in the long run. Their progress, however, tends to be so deliberate it is readily monitored and scrutinised. Consequently, they can be countered one way or another long before they become seriously destabilising, leaving time for regional arms control and outside reactions. The most immediate danger arises from short- range weapons like the ubiquitous Scud which still can be purchased from foreign suppliers. Unlike long-range rockets, which are extremely difficult to buy abroad and equally difficult to improvise, short-range missiles can be bought quickly in large numbers, instantly creating grave and permanent threats.

The market and foreign technology transactions

The mechanisms of missile proliferation range from sales of complete rockets to transfers of arcane bits of equipment. Uniting almost all missile proliferators, however, is reliance on foreign technology. No regional actor has deployed operational ballistic missiles or space launch systems without relying on foreign technology. A few of the most advanced regional powers - the first group above - have accumulated enough foreign assistance to become largely autonomous. Yet control over the transfer of technology remains the most effective instrument in efforts to control the spread of missiles, especially over the short run. Deprived of foreign technical assistance, the vast majority of regional missile projects have come to a halt. Even in the most advanced regional powers the rate of progress is slowing down significantly.

The trade in rocket technology has narrowed over the years as suppliers like Moscow and China became more circumspect. Today only North Korea still exports missiles with ranges over 300 km. With sources of large missile systems drying up, transfers of short-range missiles, components and manufacturing technologies have become the most important aspect of the trade. In these areas as well, most potential exporters have become increasingly restrictive. The missile technology trade has shrunk to a fraction of its dimensions five years earlier. What remains is mostly alarming exceptions, proof that vigilance never can be relaxed.

The only countries that continue to license major exports of ballistic missiles or related technology do so almost exclusively for economic motives. Income from such transactions tends to go directly to the agency making the sale, be it the armed forces or civilian space agency, subsidising their own undertakings. The temptations can be great; for supplying DF-3 IRBMs to Saudi Arabia, the Chinese army earned an estimated $2.5 - 3.5 billion, North Korea's sale of some 100 Scuds to Iran in 1987 was the largest part of a $500 million deal, while Russia expects to earn $250 million for furnishing India with space launch engines.

Although transfers of complete missile systems continue to pose a grave problem, the biggest problem today is the transfer of dual-use technology. Some of this, like engine nozzle fabrication equipment and fuel-processing facilities, has few other likely uses. But a vast array of equipment is required to develop a ballistic missile and much of this, like supercomputers and testing equipment, has numerous other applications. The growing trade in dual-use technology during the 1980s was not accidental; not only were would-be proliferators designing better procurement programmes, but supplier policy often favoured such exports (2) . The only way to cope with the dual-use problem is to change export policy, making restrictions as comprehensive as possible.

Extreme restrictiveness is not without cost. The market for dual-use technology is potentially large and stands to benefit industries of strategic importance to supplier nations. The total investment for completion of the Argentine-Egyptian-Iraqi Condor II, for example, has been estimated at $4.5 billion, mostly for foreign equipment and support. Unlike most arms deals or defence-related transactions, moreover, this is pure income, undiminished by countertrade or offset requirements. To demand that military contractors abandon these opportunities in a time of declining defence spending at home requires a vigorous national consensus.

As transfers to aid foreign rocketry programmes became more sensitive, suppliers went to great lengths to maintain discretion, sometimes concealing their activity through special subsidiaries and foreign brokers. But until the late 1980s transactions usually could be kept entirely legal. Indeed, even after the numerous revelations of European and North American firms in regional missile projects, prosecutions have been rare. Discretion was necessary, rather, to minimise other kinds of risks, illustrated by the attempted murder in 1988 of the European head of the Condor II and the assassination in 1990 of Gerald Bull, designer of Iraq's superguns and Al Abed long-range rocket. In both cases, it should be noted, the work skirted the law but remained legal, as illustrated by Britain's unsuccessful supergun prosecutions.

Perhaps most surprising is the small role played by espionage and the black market. Both certainly have been present, as shown by American prosecutions of the Egyptian spy Abdelkader Helmy in 1989 and the American businessman James Guerin in 1990. Despite their notoriety, the role of such rascals is marginal. Regional powers seldom depend on the small bits and pieces that the illegal trade can provide. Rocket programmes are enormous undertakings, involving the co-ordinated acquisition of vast arrays of designs, equipment and facilities. They usually require continuous foreign assistance of the sort available only from major contractors, firms with independent financial strength and the protection that only comes with government approval. The black market is more romantic than significant, forever on the fringes of the incomparably more lucrative and secure legal activity. The black market can, at great expense, risk and delay, provide particular pieces of technology. But it cannot form the basis of a serious rocket programme.

Of greater significance for control efforts is the pooling of technology among missile proliferators. This is a long- standing trend previously noted in other fields (3). Commonly and mistakenly seen as a reaction against the rise of the MTCR, the trade among regional powers in missile technology dates at least to the late 1970s, when Egypt exported Scuds to North Korea. Co-operation on the Condor II was fully organised between Argentina, Egypt and Iraq a year before the MTCR went into limited effect. In the mid-1980s Israeli support became crucial to the South African rocket programme, while Iran received Scuds from Libya and Iraq got technical help from Brazil.

The pooling of missile technology is potentially of great significance, enabling countries to circumvent multinational export restrictions. In practice it faces technical and political limits. Few regional powers have been able to go beyond Scud technology independently, and co-operation among themselves cannot overcome this natural limit; the levels of financing, expertise and foreign technology required for sophisticated rockets differ by orders of magnitude. Few regional actors have sufficient resources even if pooled. Although there may be technical benefits in the short run, in the long term such co-operation tends to combine weaknesses. Emerging exporters, moreover, must balance the diplomatic costs of their activity. In practice, many have abandoned the trade when pressed by outside powers. Having started with the Scud, regional co-operation alone appears to be insufficient to move beyond it. The need for foreign technology remains great, creating powerful opportunities for outside control.

Opportunities for outside control

The ability of emerging powers to continue procurement of ballistic missiles without outside assistance varies greatly. Countries in the third rank, having relied entirely on foreign suppliers for complete missiles, cannot acquire additional weapons. Their existing arsenals, moreover, will deteriorate without foreign servicing and oversight, with the readiness of more complex, longer-range weapons deteriorating fastest. Such weapons are complex and delicate; liquid-fuelled IRBMs can become permanently unusable after a few weeks without care. Middle Eastern Scud operators can be expected to perform routine maintenance to keep their missiles serviceable for as long as several years. But without spares and regular overhauls even these relatively simple systems will become highly unreliable. Five years after a complet cut-off, only unguided, solid-fuel weapons like the Frog would be fully operational.

Second-rank countries, lacking full indigenous capabilities, also would be stuck with the missiles on hand, unable to continue production of whole rockets or development of new types. Their limited capabilities may be sufficient, however, to maintain their existing missiles more effectively and even perform some modification. Iraq, for example, apparently was able to continue extending the range of its Scud inventory by itself, but dropped its most ambitious variants (the 900 km al Abbas and 2000 km Tamuz-al Abed) when help was cut off. Without outside support, their forces will deteriorate over time, but not as rapidly as in less-developed countries.

Only the most advanced emerging missile powers can continue manufacturing large rockets and make technical progress without direct foreign help. Even their progress will slow down. More ambitious projects must be dropped in favour of gradual development of existing technology. As Israel has shown, over time this strategy can lead to highly capable systems. But even a country like India would have to make major concessions in its space launch plans and concentrate its resources on its least demanding projects to assure progress.

Without outside help, missile proliferators must contend alone with the technical hurdles that have impeded development of large rockets everywhere. Unless a country can replicate an enormous array of research and development work, investing tens of billions of dollars and wait over a decade, foreign help is essential. This must cover such diverse elements as missile aerodynamics, high-energy fuels, engine design, guidance and control systems, stage separation, re-entry vehicles, fusing and armament, systems integration, testing and support. No emerging power has tried to undertake such an effort alone (4) .

The MTCR and the structure of proliferation

The importance of outside technical assistance creates tremendous opportunities for export controls to slow or even halt the proliferation process. But the unco-ordinated efforts of dozens of potential exporters would not amount to much; left to themselves, as was the case before the mid-1980s, the market for missile technology would attract exporters convinced that "if I don't, someone else will". By establishing even standards for export controls, the missile technology control regime provided an alternative to this kind of competition.

Since it was publicly unveiled in 1987, the missile technology control regime has become an important and widely- accepted element of the new world order. It undoubtedly will continue to serve as an essential instrument of non- proliferation diplomacy for decades to come. Yet it remains extremely controversial. Officials have praised its success, especially in helping to terminate provocative missile programmes like the Argentine-Egyptian-Iraqi Condor-2. Others point to its mediocre performance dealing with established suppliers like China and its total inability to restrain the missile exports of North Korea. As in most things, the truth regarding the MTCR lies somewhere between. Neither panacea nor failure, it is only one element in a complete non-proliferation strategy.

Like older export control regimes such as Cocom, the London Nuclear Suppliers Group and the Australian Group on chemical weapons precursors, the MTCR does not have the power of an international treaty. Its commitments are formalised by trading diplomatic notes. The regime establishes "a strong presumption to deny" exports of rockets and cruise missiles capable of delivering a 500 kg warhead 300 km. Exports of major missile components such as engines and guidance sets are denied except under "binding government-to-government assurances", while facilities for their production "will not be authorised". Transfers of dual-use manufacturing technologies are permitted only with assurances that they will not contribute to long-range missiles (5).

If missile proliferation can be said to symbolise the dangers of the post-cold war world, the MTCR is typical of the international community's shaky response. Crafted in confidence by middle-level officials with only a hazy image of the missile proliferation threat (its basic provisions were completed in 1985, before missile proliferation was well understood), it is a modest instrument at best. But by focusing on the weakest link in missile proliferation it was relatively easy to negotiate and surprisingly effective, especially at first. By greatly diminishing western exports of relevant technology, it played an instrumental role in slowing large rocket projects in Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan and South Africa, projects that were subsequently dropped or set aside. It was not sufficient to stop the more self-sufficient programmes of India and North Korea, although it has clearly slowed their rocketry development.

The MTCR has become more effective over time through wider membership, better enforcement and tighter restrictions. Nevertheless, it appears that recent reforms and expansion have reached their practical limits. There is only so much that can be accomplished by export controls; a point of marginal returns has been reached, leaving policy-makers with no choice but to develop other non-proliferation mechanisms.

Membership: The growth of membership is the most visible improvement in the regime. Since it was made public in 1987 the MTCR has seen its formal membership grow from 7 countries to 23, including all relevant western countries (6). Several East European countries and ex-Soviet republics have indicated their desire to join and undoubtedly will be admitted as soon as they have the necessary export controls fully in place. Other countries which do not intend to join for various idiosyncratic reasons have agreed to adhere to MTCR restrictions unilaterally, including Argentina, Brazil, Israel and South Africa. China also has stated its intention to respect MTCR guidelines but, with international confidence in Beijing low, it remains on virtual diplomatic probation. Only a few countries of any consequence remain to be brought within its framework. North Korea is the most conspicuous exception, the only country still exporting ballistic missiles beyond the MTCR thresholds.

Enforcement: During its first few years, the MTCR was weakened by the low priority of the issue and the unwillingness of many members to enforce it rigorously. Lacking an institutional home or secretariat, the MTCR has no enforcement agency or mechanism. Its members meet twice a year, share intelligence and conduct a lively diplomatic dialogue.

Enforcement, however, is the responsibility of individual members. At first France and Germany were noticeably hesitant to carry out their obligations; the French offer of Ariane engine technology to Brazil in 1989 and Bonn's continuing willingness to license exports of dual-use technology to India and Iraq led to major controversies. In practice, participants had to learn through experience. By 1989-90 enforcement had become more efficient and consistent, but lingering domestic disputes seem likely to ensure that controversies over missile technology exports will flare up in the future.

Three types of domestic disputes make it difficult for leading supplier countries to resolve their missile export issues once and for all. First, export control issues inevitably involve numerous government agencies and legislative factions. Such disputes are fuelled by rival interpretations of the national interest, in which trade needs are sometimes subordinated and sometimes superior to security requirements. Moreover, the national interest itself changes over time, as yesterday's adversaries requiring strict controls become today's allies calling for free trade, inviting further strife.

Restrictions: A final set of problems for the MTCR are the limits of its restrictions. The original Technology Annex represented a series of compromises between the desirable and the feasible. The participants agreed that it would be too difficult to control short-range missiles, a belief reinforced by their initial emphasis on missiles as nuclear delivery vehicles. The threshold for 500 kg payload, 300 km range missiles left out many of the conventional or chemically-armed ballistic weapons of greatest concern today, such as the Russian SS-21 and the Chinese M-11. The performance levels for dual-use technology also were set relatively high in order to permit established export trade. The lessons of Iraq and experience with India and other countries have shown that these limits must be tightened.

The Iraqi experience catalysed support for the first major revision of the MTCR, released on 4th November 1991. The expanded and tightened Technology Annex is a great improvement, applying the lessons of dozens of controversies (7) .

Previously limited to missiles able to carry nuclear warheads, it now covers chemical and biologically-armed missiles also. The revisions tighten controls on dual-use technology as well. There has been greater resistance among some members to proposals to reduce the missile range thresholds to 150 or 90 km, as has been widely suggested. Some influential members argue that the technology is too easily available for such measures to be effective. But there clearly will have to be a move in this direction if the MTCR is to continue responding to the problems of greatest current concern.

The normative basis for control

The MTCR will remain the foundation of efforts to stop ballistic missile proliferation for many years to come, continuing to gain support and effectiveness. Despite its strengths, however, the MTCR will never be able to create an image of fairness. Although it is a regime in the legal sense, its basis in adversarial delineations makes it more like an alliance politically. From the perspective of key regional spokesmen, of which India is the most vocal, the whole approach discriminates against the sovereign rights of regional governments to arm themselves as they see fit, to acquire a weapon accepted among other countries. The critique is important because it casts doubt on the legitimacy of North- South export controls in general.

This challenge ultimately is a question of world order. Will future international security affairs be dominated by the pursuit of distinct national interests organised only through us-against-them alliances, or will it give a greater role to collective security organisations based on universal principles? Most missile suppliers are divided on such issues, willing to sacrifice some self-interests, but not if it means providing potential adversaries with weapons like long-range ballistic missiles.

The normative issue in this instance focuses largely on regional space launch projects. India and Israel have reached important milestones toward creation of reliable domestic space launch capabilities. Other countries including Brazil and some East Asian countries are interested in doing the same. Although such projects make little sense commercially, they are of great importance as prestige symbols. Given the dual-use nature of long-range rocket technology, however, their direct military applications cannot be overlooked. The MTCR originally endorsed such endeavours, but official opinion clearly has grown less tolerant over time.

The revelation in April 1992 that Russia had previously agreed to provide engine technology for Indian space launchers showed that this question is not an abstraction. This deal, worth an estimated $100-250 million, was harshly criticised in Europe and North America. Although clearly intended to serve civilian objectives, it also will give India new military potential. The MTCR is not very helpful on this issue, since it permits members (which Russia is not) to transfer such technology with proper assurances. The dispute points to the need to resolve the larger issue of aid to civil space launch projects if the MTCR is to be fully consistent.

The impact of regional criticism of the discriminatory nature of the MTCR has not been great otherwise. Western leaders may feel some regret, but not enough to reconsider their policies. Contrary to the statements of regional spokesmen, there is no evidence of any country accelerating its rocket projects simply to spite the outside powers trying to slow them down; large rockets are too costly to pursue so frivolously. Indeed, erstwhile adversaries in Latin America and East Asia increasingly support the regime. Even in India there is growing awareness of the advantages of joining (8).

The limits of export controls

A more serious problem confronting export controls and the MTCR lies in the inherent limits of the approach. The regime has reached a point of marginal returns in its efforts; further development of the regime demands much greater diplomatic effort and cost, but will produce only slight improvements in proliferation control. The only quick and effective step of significantly upgrading it would be enlisting North Korea, a far-fetched development under present circumstances. Otherwise current membership and enforcement are about as good as can be expected.

The problem of marginal returns is clearest in debates over the tightening of dual-use technology restrictions. Expanding the MTCR's technology lists to cover smaller missiles has been difficult. Several members have resisted these efforts, arguing that the required technology lists either must be of enormous scope - seriously impeding trade - or must rely on case-by-case judgments, which would expose the process to political considerations. The controversy regarding the Russo-Indian engine deal illustrates the problem, raising a dispute that deals less with the inherent nature of the technology than the question of intentions and political relations.

As export controls reach beyond widely-accepted technologies, they inevitably become political instruments, subject to political judgments. The goals of the process cease to be simple non-proliferation and drift into much more flexible and general purposes of general diplomacy. While the process may still be worthwhile for many reasons, if pursued to such extremes it ceases to serve non-proliferation objectives. In the end one must conclude that there is more to controlling missile proliferation than endlessly tightening the MTCR. It is essential to find additional instruments to support non-proliferation.

Conclusion: beyond export control

Having reached a point of marginal returns, efforts to restrain missile proliferation must move beyond reliance on export controls alone. The MTCR is the most important element in our response to the problem and undoubtedly will remain so for a long time to come. Yet it clearly is not the whole solution. In some cases it may be possible to overcome regional resistance and bring additional countries into the regime, as was accomplished with Argentina and Israel. But stopping missile proliferation and dealing with its consequences where that is not possible will require other approaches. Future discussions seem likely to be dominated by the following five:

Incentives for non-proliferation. To make the loss of the missile option more palatable, it has been suggested that regional powers be offered compensation, either security guarantees or civilian space launch services (9) . While there is obvious merit in such proposals, they do not promise a general answer to missile proliferation. It is not clear that outside powers are able or willing to assume the costs and dangers of assuring regional stability sufficiently to reduce the demand for missiles. Nor are new space launch services likely to assuage regional aspirations for prestige symbols. Incentives may be more valuable in specific situations, rather, when a government is searching for a way to halt a controversial rocket project gracefully.

Regional initiatives seem more promising, especially if they involve confidence-building measures or arms control agreements. Unfortunately there is not much outside powers can do in this regard except offer encouragement. The key to such arrangements, as demonstrated by the experiences of the superpowers, in Europe and Argentina-Brazil, appears to lay in the resolution of regional political disputes. As often happens in post-cold war discussions of specific regional peace and security issues, this leads to the conclusion that the key to regional solutions lies not in the specifics of controlling ballistic missiles, but in the generalities of regional conflict resolution (10) .

Active defences clearly will have a greater role to play. The controversy over Patriot's performance defending cities against Iraqi Scuds cast doubt on the overall potential of defences (11). But regional governments appear to see a growing role for systems like Patriot for the less demanding task of defending military installations. Specially designed interceptors like THAADS and Arrow will be better suited to defence of cities against limited attacks. It is less clear whether SDI technology should be applied to defence of North America and Europe. Modest versions, relying on a few hundred ground-based interceptors, seem more likely to be deployed than the extensive space-based systems envisioned by SDI advocates.

A ballistic missile test ban is one way to ameliorate not only competitive pressures for regional missile acquisition, but also their prestige. Such proposals have been around since the Eisenhower administration, but won little support so long as ballistic missiles played a major role in great power forces (12) . Now that the United States and Russia agreed at the June 1992 Washington summit to eliminate all but a few hundred ground-based ICBMs, the prospects for a test ban are much better. Unlike nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles cannot be developed without extensive testing nor can operational missiles be kept reliable. Many serious problems would have to be resolved first, including differentiating allowable space launchers and the status of sea-launched missiles, but these do not seem insurmountable.

The most straightforward and extreme answer to missile proliferation would be an outright comprehensive ballistic missile ban. Previously students of missile proliferation have gone no further than to advocate a global INF treaty, banning the missiles of greatest danger in most regions. But this does not satisfy regional demands for equal treatment since it would leave great power ICBMs and SLBMs (13). The Bush-Yeltsin Washington summit, however, made the universal elimination of ballistic missiles seem feasible for the first time. The biggest obstacles are the independent nuclear forces. Tailoring a proposal to permit some SLBMs would meet the objections of Britain and France, but Chinese and Israeli resistance mayr to overcome (14). While a ballistic missile ban remains distant, it can no longer be dismissed as fanciful.

The experience of the last few years has shown that missile proliferation remains a serious challenge. It has also shown that missile proliferation is far from inevitable. To the contrary, the 1987 INF treaty, subsequent Russo-American agreements and the fate of long-range missiles can be reversed. It may be true that the battle against missile proliferation cannot be won in an absolute sense, for there will always be future threats, but nor need the battle be permanently lost.

Mr. COMPARD (Aerospatiale, France), referring to the only operational anti-ballistic missile system in the world, i.e. the one protecting Moscow, which he believed was a system which used nuclear means to destroy incoming missiles, wished to hear the views of the Soviet authorities regarding the future of this system. Was it to be dismantled or was it to be developed into a non-nuclear system?

Dr. FITUNI (Director of the Centre for Strategic and Global Studies, Academy of Sciences of Russia, Moscow) thought this was not so much a question for an academic or a researcher but rather for somebody who represented a more official line of post-analysis and practical action. In his conversations with representatives of official bodies, he thought one line of thinking could be heard from representatives of the ministries or those close to the Presidential team, and another line might be heard in discussions with military experts or people closer in their thinking to the line of the legislative body.

He believed that there had not been any official change in the position towards the ABM Treaty and other treaties signed by the Soviet Union. He stressed, however, that this knowledge or this position might change in a couple of days or might be maintained. Perhaps Mr. Tchuvakhin might be able to add something to this response.

Mr. CONTE (Alenia, Italy) wished to make a few comments in response to the various speakers. He believed Dr. Payne's view of the threat in the year 2000 was rather pessimistic and did not necessarily correspond to reality. Mr. Karp had circumscribed the threat of proliferation and that future threat justified the GPALS initiative. With regard to General Graham's views, he wondered how much time would be necessary and how much it would cost for European industry to catch up technologically with the GPALS programme.

With regard to the global protection system, he was convinced that the approach mentioned by the Russian speakers of tackling the problem from a conceptual, legal and political point of view would avoid the problem being handled in a NATO framework.

Dr. PAYNE (Professor of National Security Studies, Georgetown University, President of the National Institute for Public Policy, United States), responding to the comment that he had a pessimistic view of the threat of proliferation which did not correspond to reality, said that the threat figures given in official United States public documents were not very different from those given by Mr. Karp. The development of a comprehensive arsenal of militarily-effective missiles would be fairly slow. Conversely, a modest number of weapons that could be used for deterrence, coercion or terrorism could be achieved far more rapidly.

In 1992, the former Head of Central Intelligence had said he could not see a missile threat to the United States within ten years, but the new Director had been more realistic, perhaps more pessimistic, in saying he was unable to give precise dates because nobody knew when missile threats would mature. Whether it would be in eight, ten or twelve years' time would depend on the pattern of imports and exports which might help countries to develop and deploy missiles more quickly. He and Mr. Karp had not been very different in their assessments in that they had been talking about two different types of arsenals.

Mr. KARP (SIPRI, Sweden) recalled that other speakers had referred to 32 countries trying to obtain ballistic missiles including large artillery rockets. There were about 22 or 24 countries working on ballistic missiles and rocket engines alone. In 1989, the Central Intelligence Agency estimate was 15 countries able to build ballistic missiles by the end of the century. Two years later it was 15 countries that possessed them and a smaller number capable of building them. The threat diminished the more one analysed it. The threat could be fairly clearly identified and resources could be allocated very scientifically to deal with the most severe manifestations of that threat.

Lt. General GRAHAM (Director of High Frontier, United States) wished to comment on the option of trying to control ballistic missiles by agreement. Very severe lessons had been learned in the last few years by trying to control weapons by agreement. Iraq had signed the non-proliferation treaty but observers had noted the tremendous effort being pursued there to acquire ballistic missiles. North Korea had recently announced its withdrawal from the treaty and was building nuclear weapons. The only reason for withdrawing now was to prevent this fact being confirmed.

Regarding the missile technology control regime, ballistic missiles and space boosters were practically the same thing. It would be difficult for countries with a space capability to deny their knowledge to technologically-emerging countries. If some countries did so, others might not as had happened between Russia and India with technology for the space programme. This was the flaw in paper agreements but they were at least one way of discouraging some countries from trying to develop missiles but any country really determined to develop a ballistic missile capability could certainly get around such agreements as North Korea and Iraq had done.

Mr. RAIMONDI (EIR, Germany) asked Mr. Fituni for more details about the Trust project for co-operation between the United States and the USSR and the plasma weapons project. What could be the spin-off for technological research, for the SDI and also for industry in Europe?

Dr. FITUNI (Director of the Centre for Strategic and Global Studies of the Academy of Sciences of Russia, Moscow) said this possible line of co-operation had been discussed by Mr. Yeltsin and Mr. Clinton at their last summit meeting. The plasma weapons project had been one of the lines of secret Russian research as a response to SDI. Several years ago, the Soviet authorities had stated that Russia would try to respond to SDI not necessarily by putting armaments into space, but by finding new or standard ways of countering the possible threat of SDI. The plasma weapons project was probably a possibility then envisaged. It was a project followed by several research institutions such as the research institute of experimental physics. Technically, the plasma weapon was concentrated not on the target itself but on the trajectory of the flying target, ionising the area in front of the flying target, thus destroying its aero-dynamic possibilities, be it a missile or a plane, for moving along this trajectory. At present it was technically impossible to assess the capabilities of this system so it had been proposed to stage a joint experiment, possibly with the help of several vessels of the Russian navy, a Russian aircraft- carrier and land facilities on United States bases. Surface plasma modules would be involved and rockets were to be launched both from American and Russian territory. No decision had yet been taken and a stalemate had been reached since neither the Russian nor the American weapons producers were very happy about this project. The question was still on the agenda, however, and might be a qualitatively new aspect of the defence system.

(The sitting was suspended at 4.45 p.m. and resumed at 4.55 p.m.)


(1) Current Indian projects include three space launchers, the ASLV, PSLV and GSLV, and two ballistic missiles, the Agni and Prithvi, as well as many other smaller missiles. The largest system actually approaching deployment is the Prithvi, a tactical missile for the Indian army and technically the least ambitious of all Indian rocketry projects. Based on a propulsion system borrowed from the Soviet SA-2 Guideline SAM, it comes in 150 km and 240 km versions and could be fully operational in the mid-1990s.

(2). An example is the American tilt toward Iraq in 1983, which made possible large sales of dual-use technology for Iraq's ballistic missile projects. Kenneth R. Timmerman, The death lobby: how the West armed Iraq (London: Fourth Estate, 1992), Chapter 12.

(3). William C. Potter, International nuclear trade and non- proliferation: the challenge of the emerging suppliers (Lexington: Lexington Books, 1990).

(4). Even Britain, with extensive American help, was unable to complete its Blue Streak IRBM at an acceptable cost and schedule, abandoning it in 1960.

(5). Statement by the assistant to the President for press relations (Santa Barbara: The White House, 16th April 1987), and Missile technology control regime: fact sheet to accompany public announcement, ibid.

(6). The original members were Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States. They have been joined by Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

(7). The numerous changes in the revised Technology Annex can be read as a kind of catalogue of previous disputes among the MTCR members.

8. Gautam Adhikari, Requiem for non-alignment, Times of India (New Delhi), 26th May 1992; Dilip Mukerjee, The nuclear option: ambiguity difficult to maintain, ibid., 9th June 1992.

9. Janne E. Nolan, Trappings of power: ballistic missiles in the third world (Washington, D.C.: Brookings, 1991), pages 164- 66.

10. The author makes this point more thoroughly in Controlling ballistic missile proliferation, Survival, November/December 1991, especially pages 525-29.

11. Theodore A. Postal, Lessons from the Gulf war experience, International Security, winter 1991/92; and the refutation by Robert M. Stein, Patriot ATBM experience in the Gulf war (Lexington: Raytheon, 1991).

12. The Eisenhower administration's consideration of a missile test ban was brought to my attention by George Rathjens. The only full-length study in print is by peace researcher Udo Schelb, Raketenzielgenauigkeit und Raketenteststopp (Marburg: Interdisziplinaeren Arbeitsgruppe Friedens- und Abraestungsforschung, UniversitaetMarburg, 1988) who examines the idea as a way of stopping the MX ICBM. See also Robert Sherman, Deterrence through a ballistic missile flight test ban, Arms Control Today, December 1987, pages 8-13, with a rejoinder by Walter B. Slocombe.

13. Bailey, Doomsday weapons, op. cit., pages 197, 127.

14. Jasit Singh, Director of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses in New Delhi, has suggested that India might agree to a global missile ban but only if it also prohibited sea- and air-launched cruise missiles.