Volume 50, Number 2
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has begun a process of expanding its membership from 16 states to some unknown further number of states from among the 27 Partnership for Peace "associates." At a July NATO Summit, three or four new states, viz. Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and, perhaps, Slovenia, will be invited to apply for full membership. There is considerable unease below the political surface about this process. On February 5, 1997, former Ambassador George Kennan warned of the consequences to U.S.-Russian relations in the New York Times and, on the same day, Patrick Buchanan, in the Washington Times, warned against expanding the NATO tripwire. The FAS Council and Executive Committee share both points of view and will oppose further NATO expansion.
We believe that NATO expansion is a mistake from a variety of points of view and that it should be replaced by a new emphasis on NATO's Partnership for Peace (PfP). In particular:
*the Partnership for Peace, with 27 members outside NATO, ranging from Albania to Kyrgyz Republic, includes all possible future potential members of NATO and permits a very wide range of military, economic and political interactions; indeed, it permits all the cooperation of NATO expansion and lacks only the Article Five tripwire clause;
*Russia is a member of Partnership for Peace and has not objected to it. Thus some kind of Partnership for Peace Plus will not lead to such dangers as: a halt in Russian ratification of START II, a cessation of full Russian cooperation on other issues of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; on-going internal Russian turmoil over the alleged NATO threat; and constant problems in U.S.-Russian relations as the subject of new extensions of NATO arises. But NATO expansion does and will lead to all these problems, in larger or lesser degree. And it will do so whether or not the current Russian Administration of Boris Yeltsin reaches a compromise with our current Administration of President Clinton at the Helsinki summit;
*the Article Five clause in the NATO Treaty asserts that an attack on any NATO member is "an attack on us". This clause may well have been valuable for the United States when the danger at issue was a focused single attack from a determined and well-armed adversary. But in the present era, when problems may be as different from the previously envisaged Soviet invasion as was the collapse of Yugoslavia, it is not prudent or practical to announce, in advance--in a Treaty designed to last for decades--that any attack on any one of a growing number of Eastern European, and even Asian states, from any quarter and for any reason, is an attack on us. And it is not necessary to deter a threat from Russia;
*and if such a NATO expansion is to take place, we consider it essential that the remaining American nuclear weapons in Europe be removed to the United States in a world regime in which all nuclear weapons stay in the borders of the countries that own them. In the absence of such a situation, these nuclear weapons may, someday, prejudice the decision of the United States by forcing our hand. Now few in number, and mounted only on aircraft, they continue to reflect vestigial threats of crisis stability, of "use it or lose it" capabilities, and of requests for stationing nuclear weapons in other countries in some future crisis. Especially, if NATO is to be expanded, these weapons should come home.
Eyes Bigger than Stomach
Our generous Nation, in security terms, has eyes that are bigger than its stomach. When a specific request for forces arises, such as that of Bosnia, the debate turns on whether a single U.S. airman might be lost. And yet, now, in a solemn understanding for NATO expansion, the Administration is planning to ask the Senate to announce that, for decades on end, America will make the cause of Eastern Europe and, by extension, someday, the Partnership for Peace countries of Asia our own. How long these countries will remain democratic, in ever shifting world economic and political conditions, we cannot know. How well they have settled their differences with each other is, also, unpredictable. How sure can we be that an attack on one of them ought to be considered an attack on us?
NATO expansion is just the Partnership for Peace plus an automatic commitment of the United States to become immediately involved in whatever turns up. To bind our security, in a process without any end in sight, to the security of more and more ever less stable nations is both unnecessary and unwise. Why not stick just with the Partnership for Peace?
1). If we extend the NATO strategic and political tripwire into Eastern Europe, where will we draw the line at further extensions of this tripwire?
Article five of the NATO Treaty makes an attack on any member of NATO an attack on all. And this political commitment encourages requests for the stationing of troops and weapons on the territory of new members to make the commitment strategicallycredible. Where will we draw the line on extending these lines? Already, Slovenia--a part of the former Yugoslavia--is being added to the list of initial candidates that included Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary. The Baltic states would like to join, as would the states of Southern Europe such as Romania, Macedonia and Albania. No doubt the Ukraine would like to join, if it dared. Do we intend to say that an attack on any of these countries is an attack on us in a Treaty that is designed to last for decades?
2). What is wrong with the Partnership for Peace?
The Partnership for Peace (PfP), announced by NATO on June 6-7 of 1991, is a "Partnership with the Countries of Central and Eastern Europe" that permits everything one would want to accomplish in a NATO expansion but without the tripwire. At that time, in 1991, NATO was not talking of its expansion so its planners incorporated every possible kind of cooperation they could think of into Partnership for Peace. Why not stick with PfP? In 1991, NATO was saying that "Our common security can best be safeguarded through the further development of a network of interlocking institutions and relationships." NATO said then that it did not "wish to isolate any country, nor to see a new division of the Continent." And Russia was made eligible to participate in the Partnership for Peace and did not object to it. By contrast, NATO expansion will either eventually completely isolate Russia or else it would almost certainly produce a "new division of the continent" in which a Russian sphere of influence would extend to include the countries not in NATO. NATO was right in 1991.
Happily, PfP still exists and includes, counting the 16 members of NATO, 43 States. Under PfP, NATO was committed to work with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). It was committed to work to support reforms in Central and Eastern European states involving democracy, human rights and market-oriented economies. It was committed to support the expectations and legitimate aspirations of the Baltic peoples.
The U.S. was further committed to regular diplomatic liaison with the states of Central and Eastern Europe, to visits by their leaders and to strengthening of relations designed to promote both mutual reassurance and increasingly close ties. These included exchanges of views and information on security policy, military strategy, etc., intensified military contacts, participation of Central and East European experts in certain Alliance activities, gradual expansion of NATO information programs and encouragement of greater contacts between parliamentarians.
3). Under these circumstances, why should America agree to any further trip wires?
The Article 5 tripwire prejudices any future decisions by the Senate by boldly asserting that future attacks, of unspecified kinds and in unanticipated areas of the countries involved, are to be considered "attacks on us." For example, if we move far enough into Eastern Europe, we could see, in future decades, NATO powers attacking each other (as Greece and Turkey sometimes come close to coming to blows). We could be involved with NATO members who subsequently returned to communism. Some new members might divide into parts as Yugoslavia has broken up. It is unclear, in fact, whether "instability" is to be considered a trigger for NATO involvement--and not just aggression from outside a member state.
Worst of all, the Article 5 political tripwire risks being turned into a strategic tripwire through deployed weapons and troops that make prompt U.S. involvement unavoidable. In sum, these tripwires, invented to deter a massive Soviet invasion, are becoming trivialized in an era in which they are as dangerous as they are unnecessary.
It seems that America's eyes are bigger, in security matters, than its stomach. The country that took three years to get involved in Bosnia is mortgaging its future decisions on involvement on a wide scale front in Eastern Europe without any consideration of the contingencies involved.
4). Ought not, at least, the NATO nuclear tripwire be removed before the Alliance is expanded?
Today, nuclear bombs on U.S. aircraft are stationed in Germany. They are all that remains of the vast array of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons that once were positioned on the Cold War boundary between East and West. They are, today, more of a source of danger than they are useful and are there only to signal and ensure that the U.S. strategic nuclear forces would be triggered in any attack on the West. It will be more difficult, not less, to change this imprudent doctrine after new states are included.
Indeed, these new states are being required, as a condition of joining, to accept NATO strategic doctrine with its nuclear positioning and its first-use threats. These are among the reasons why former Ambassador, and former Arms Control and Disarmament Agency Director, Paul C. Warnke said that:
"As an immediate step, therefore, and whether or not NATO is to expand, the current NATO nuclear doctrine must be revised and all the remaining nuclear forces deployed for NATO support should be eliminated." (Disarmament Diplomacy, December 1996).
5). Will the expansion of NATO decrease, or increase, the dangers posed by Russian nuclear forces?
Today, and for the foreseeable future, the nuclear threat we face is not one of determined Soviet aggression, as once it was, but of "loose nukes" in Russia, inadvertent actions by Russian authorities, and a failure to get Russian cooperation both in disarmament and in dealing with nuclear dangers by others. In sum, today, the nuclear danger will recede in the face of better relations with Russia and more cooperation on the nuclear threat and it will increase otherwise.
But NATO expansion imperils the Russian ratification of disarmament treaties and it threatens the nuclear cooperation we need with Russia. These are the reasons why Dr. Fred Ikle, former Undersecretary for Policy in the Defense Department, said that a major expansion of NATO "might make things worse" by bringing U.S.-Russian cooperation on nuclear issues to a halt and by encouraging Russia to delay more, rather than less, on nuclear weapons. Nuclear issues are, he would argue, still the most important ones but now they are issues whose "meaning has been turned upside down by the end of the Cold War." Now they need cooperation with Russia rather than "deterrence." (See his testimony before the Senate Subcommittee on European Affairs of April 27, 1995). If, later, Russia becomes strong and aggressive, we will have ample time to expand NATO to meet the threat. Why provoke Russia now?
6). Should NATO expansion begin without a determination of how far it is going to go?
The process of NATO expansion is being deliberately organized in such a way as to keep the answer to this question vague. If, for example, it were known now that NATO expansion would eventually include the Baltic states, the Ukraine, Southern European countries and even former CIS states in central Asia--who are in the Partnership for Peace--the Senate would not ratify the first stage of expansion of NATO, lest it feel impelled to move on to further expansion.
On the other hand, there are indications that this unlimited expansion is exactly what some NATO expansion proponents do desire. And certainly this is what the new Partnership for Peace members hope for. We are, by offering full membership in NATO to some, reinforcing that hope and, at the same time, downgrading the significance of Partnership for Peace membership alone.
And if constant expansion, and hopes for further expansion, is to be the rule, we will be keeping our relations with Russia in constant turmoil as each expansion of NATO infringes further on the Russian sense of insecurity and isolation, and further keeps U.S.-Russian cooperation at a low ebb.
7). In particular, with NATO expansion open-ended, how can the public and Congress determine what are the financial costs, and military logistic requirements, of accepting an initial expansion?
There are no definitive estimates of the costs, and no decisions on where American troops would be stationed, even for the initial expansion of Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary (and, perhaps, Slovenia). A fortiori, we cannot even guess at what is involved in our further expansions.
For example, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said expansion to the first three Eastern European countries will cost $61 billion to $125 billion through 2010. RAND Corporation estimated $14 billion to $110 billion over the next decade in its April study "Enlarging NATO: What Will It Cost?"--with the U.S. contributing $100 million per year. But these low end estimates assume that NATO pays only for infrastructure and that the East Europeans--who have no extra monies in fact--pay for improving their force structure. Should we enter into an expansion of military undertakings ("attack on one is an attack on all") without knowing more clearly what it might cost us in treasure and stationed troops and, in particular, who will pay for the improved forces?
And, obviously, as more countries press for NATO membership, with less desirable economies and strategic locations, the costs of bringing their force structure up to a suitable level can only rise. In the end, one is faced with Partnership for Peace countries wishing to join that simply cannot be defended effectively without tripwire defenses of great danger. These include the Baltic countries and they certainly include the Central Asian countries of the former Soviet Union. Where are the generals who are prepared to explain how to defend these places?
8). Similarly, should we not have in hand, and assess before proceeding with NATO expansion, the promised political deal with Russia that is so often put forward as the way to limit the political, strategic, and disarmament costs of quarreling with Russia over NATO expansion?
It is easy to assert that some kind of accommodation might be reached with Russian officials over NATO expansion but, Russia being in the disarray it is, it is not so easy to achieve it. And if the issue of expansion is a long-term one, one would want to see the nature of the accommodation to be sure that it would serve the long-term purpose of persuading the Russians that this expansion was not--as in fact it is--directed against Russia. In fact, if NATO expansion is to be open-ended, it is quite impossible to conceive of an accommodation with Russia made now that would stick indefinitely as the expansion proceeds to surround Russia from all sides.
9). Is not the issue of expanding NATO to maintain "stability" in Eastern Europe, or to encourage democracy, an entirely false issue? Isn't what the Eastern European states need, really, membership in the European Union?
One does not need a "tripwire" to help maintain stability or to encourage democracy. Stability within states can be helped along by economic and political means that do not require NATO and, if they do, can be achieved through the Partnership for Peace. Stability between Eastern European states can be dealt with in this way also. The truth is that "stability" is invented as a phrase to hide the fact that NATO expansion is balance of power politics at work. NATO is expanding to isolate Russia while Russia is weak, for fear it will later be strong and aggressive again. But NATO does not want to say this lest Russia be needlessly antagonized.
This expansion is, also, motivated by a desire to give Eastern Europe something that is notmembership in the European Union--membership which would be expensive for Western Europe. For an analysis of this see the New York Times op-ed by Thomas L. Friedman "NATO or Tomato" in which he asserts that "NATO expansion is the bone E.U. members throw the East Europeans instead of letting them into the European common market, which is what the East Europeans really want and need" (January 22, 1977).
10). Does not NATO expansion, unlimited by its nature, encourage Russia to try to nail down its own sphere of influence before NATO expands into it?
Before we have the nerve to ask the Baltic states and Ukraine to join NATO, we may find that Russia recovers the strength to threaten them decisively not to. NATO expansion, if it is to be done, should be done, perhaps, once and for all. But there is no credible way to do this. Accordingly, it ought not be done at all without much better reason than has been given so far.
11). What will happen to the treaty on European Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) if NATO expands? And what will happen to NATO itself?
The CFE Treaty apportions force limits among countries based on military assumptions made at the time of its negotiation. If NATO expands, the military basis for this treaty would be entirely changed and the treaty could justly be criticized by the Russians as outmoded and requiring new negotiations.
As far as NATO is concerned, some strong NATO supporters believe that NATO expansion can, in the end, only dilute the Alliance and weaken it. Thus, in a January 11, 1995 New York Timesop-ed, "How To Ruin NATO", Fred C. Ikle said: "Far from solving an alleged crisis, expanding NATO now would fatally weaken it." He noted that it would split the Alliance into "two parts", one with U.S. forces integrated with European forces and one without. It would, he felt, "jeopardize the bonds that link America to Europe" and "might let in a Trojan horse" in politically less reliable states.
12). What does NATO expansion do for the United States in return for the costs and dangers it poses?
If the Cold War were on and Russia were still a hostile state, and if Poland and Hungary had just gotten their freedom, we might want to throw a NATO umbrella over them quickly to move the borders of our bloc into the former borders of the Soviet bloc. But, today, with Russia not a hostile state, why should we deal with it as if it were? What is the advantage in antagonizing Russia just to turn Poland and a few other states from Partners for Peace into NATO full members. And if the full membership is at the cost of our putting many more states under a tripwire defense against any possible attack from any possible direction, for an open-ended period of decades, what is the offsetting advantage that we get? What are the merits of NATO expansion? Or is it all costs?
This is a case where a few strategists, backed by U.S. citizens with relatives in the countries involved, are having an inordinate influence on U.S. policy for decades to come. In 1995, Senator Richard Lugar, then Chairman of the Subcommittee on Europe of the Committee on Foreign Relations, said something prophetic:
"Viscerally, superficially, one senses support in the Congress and the public for meeting the desires of the former Warsaw pact members to integrate with the West by joining NATO and the European Union. But what will be the response when the issue is joined by questions concerning the extension of security guarantees, the commitment of troops, and the allocation of resources to meet those commitments?"
Today, political points of view as different as George Kennan and Pat Buchanan have attacked NATO expansion. And these questions, above, have not yet been answered.
--Jeremy J. Stone
The highly placed North Korean defector, Hwang Jang Yop is, in fact, someone whom FAS has been inviting to Washington, without success, since 1991, when he hosted an FAS visit to Pyongyang. Indeed, FAS's April 1, 1996 invitation might conceivably have had something to do with Hwang's defection. Letters smuggled out of North Korea in November 1996 by Hwang reveal that he became the subject of criticism by his colleagues a month later, on May 9, and he realized he was eventually to be purged.
Since 1991, Stone made three major efforts to secure a visit for Hwang to Washington. In 1996, motivated by the new signs of hunger in North Korea, Stone offered a full expense visit to the United States for Hwang and a few aides. Packaged into the invitation was a letter from the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (Senator Claiborne Pell of Rhode Island) inviting Hwang to call on Pell if he came to America. Hwang was, by 1996, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Parliament.
In the wake of new relationships between the U.S. and North Korea, the Department of State had advised Stone that a non-diplomatic visa would be granted. And an April 9 meeting with the North Korean Mission to the U.N. in New York went well. Minister Counselor Han Song Ryol said a letter authorizing Hwang's visit would arrive soon.
But weeks later, asked by Stone whether the failure of the letter to arrive meant that the invitation was being turned down, Minister Han became furious and said the question showed that Stone had a "bad attitude," and said the trip was off.
When Stone first met Hwang at a meeting in 1988 in Tokyo, Hwang was Secretary of the DPRK Communist Party ("Worker's Party") for foreign affairs and hence, in Communist protocol, higher in rank than the Foreign Minister. At the time of the visit in 1991, he was Secretary of the Party for Academic Affairs. More important, he was head of the Juche Institute and thus the philosopher-king for the DPRK's version of Marxist-Leninism.
FAS Invitation Sent
Following his defection, FAS sent an invitation to Hwang, through the South Korean Embassy in China, inviting him to the United States at FAS's expense. But it appeared that both the United States Government and the South Korean Government preferred that he go to South Korea, which he had requested. And, at press time, this seemed the likely outcome. (For more on Hwang's background, see page 11 of the November/December, FAS PIR for 1991.)
FAS also put out a press release on February 13 urging that Hwang be treated not just as a defector but as a possible interlocutor between North and South and suggesting that he had good intentions. A Washington Post editorial of February 16 echoed this by saying: "Mr Hwang could become, as some of his Western acquaintances suggest, not just a source but also a possible interlocutor..."
A campaign led by FAS to preserve the CIA's Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) successfully elicited a CIA commitment on February 4 that the FBIS will continue to provide its unique collection of foreign broadcasts and press reports.
Rumors had circulated over the past year that CIA was planning to drastically cut the FBIS budget and reduce its coverage of over 3,500 media outlets in 55 languages. Since FBIS translations are an essential resource for many non-governmental organizations, academic researchers, journalists, and foreign policy analysts inside and outside of government, these rumors created a groundswell of concern throughout the country.
To help mobilize that concern, FAS created a web page dedicated to FBIS at <http://www.fas.org/irp/fbis/index.html>. Along with numerous other resources, the web page provided an opportunity for FBIS users to offer their own estimation of the value of FBIS and the consequences of curtailing its operation.
A large group of politically and professionally diverse F`BIS consumers added their voices to this snowballing campaign on the world wide web, which
soon began to attract widespread media attention. Scott Cohen, himself a former FBIS editor and a former chief of staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who is now assisting FAS, skillfully briefed reporters and congressional staff on the state of FBIS. News articles profiling the issue appeared in the Washington Times (December 30), the Los Angeles Times (January 13), the Washington Post (February 6), and others. Supportive editorials ran in the Boston Globe(January 13) and the Washington Post (January 31).
Eventually it all became too much even for the notoriously taciturn CIA to ignore. FBIS will continue to provide "virtually 100 percent of the coverage we provide today," CIA spokesman Mark Mansfield told Reuters on February 4. Furthermore, he said, FBIS' goal is to make "more, not less, information available on line for direct public access."
As encouraging as that sounds, it is not necessarily the end of the story. For one thing, we intend to monitor the status of FBIS to ensure that the declared policy is implemented and that the budget allocation for FBIS is consistent with the plan to make "more, not less information available."
More generally, FAS believes that CIA has an important role to play in supporting national security by informing civic society. This role is becoming ever more important as the foreign policy of our society is
increasingly influenced and even shaped and implemented by non-governmental organizations, the media, corporations, and others engaged in international transactions.
The ability of intelligence to make a positive contribution to society at large is demonstrated, for example, by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, which provides original intelligence analyses for public consumption on its world wide web site. If the CIA were to structure more of its analytical work to provide unclassified summaries with classified appendices, the former could be placed on the world wide web at little or no incremental cost. Such a practice would not only improve civic society's ability to interact with foreign societies, but might invigorate CIA by providing it with a new set of customers and a new constituency. In particular, it would enhance CIA's ability to hire talented analysts who might otherwise find intelligence work too confining.
With this in mind, we plan an on-going project on "intelligence for society" that will advance
these and other approaches to improving the work of the intelligence community and its
relevance to post-cold war American life.