Tracking Number:  227203

Title:  "Expert Sees NPT as Important Element in New World Order." Arms Control expert Leonard Spector, participating in a WORLDNET dialogue, said that widespread acceptance of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty worldwide is making it an important element in the new world order. (920511)

Date:  19920511


05/11/92 *

EXPERT SEES NPT AS IMPORTANT ELEMENT IN NEW WORLD ORDER (Spector discusses nuclear arms on Worldnet) (930) By Norma Holmes USIA staff writer Washington -- The widespread acceptance of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) worldwide is making it an important element in the new world order, a noted nuclear arms expert said May 11.

"Most countries in the world now belong to the treaty and most have renounced nuclear weapons," Leonard Spector, director of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said in a U.S. Information Agency Worldnet dialogue with correspondents in Dhaka, Bangladesh; Kathmandu, Nepal; and Colombo, Sri Lanka.

"What has happened quite recently is that countries ... outside the treaty, like South Africa, Argentina and Brazil, are taking very similar steps even though they have not signed the treaty. We're seeing the treaty gain support and gain legitimacy around the world because of its acceptance by countries quite voluntarily in renouncing nuclear weapons."

Spector said nations increasingly have come to see that military power is not the only way to international prestige. "Germany and Japan have made their mark on the world by virtue of their economic success, and in the developing world we're seeing a very similar phenomenon."

He said countries such as South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and others, through their economic accomplishments "are having regional influence and ... in trade areas on a global scale." While nuclear weapons remain to some extent an instrument for enhancing political prestige, he said, "they're no longer by any means the sole way that a country can move ahead and enhance its stature in the world."

Spector said American diplomacy "has proven rather successful in dissuading North Korea from continuing with what we think was a quest for nuclear weapons." He said Hans Blix, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, is now in North Korea beginning the implementation of a comprehensive inspection regime which may result in the dismantling of one of the most sensitive nuclear facilities that could produce plutonium.

South Korea, meanwhile, is also party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Spector noted. "North Korea is making a decision as we speak" to put its nuclear program under international inspection within an agreement permitting North and South Korea bilateral challenge inspections by each country. The result, he said, will make the Korean peninsula "one of the safest areas in the world."

Spector, who drafted the 1978 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act, the law governing U.S. nuclear policy today, acknowledged that while the worldwide problem of nuclear proliferation is gradually coming under control, agreement is not yet worldwide.

He said Israel, Pakistan and India remain uncommitted to the NPT and one has to be "very practical and sober about prospects in those regions.... In South Asia and the Middle East, it's a much, much more difficult situation."

In the Indian case, Spector said, the interests of safety for smaller states in the region are best served by encouraging states with nuclear capabilities to relinquish them or to bring them under increasing control.

"If the states in the region lend their voice to the efforts of the United States and others to try to bring these nuclear programs under control, that's a very important step forward," he said.

Additionally, he said, the U.S. should attempt to "find mechanisms and impose some form of sanctions akin to those that are now in place in Pakistan," should India's nuclear program move forward toward the development of a nuclear weapon.

"I think we ought to press both India and Pakistan to take the kinds of steps that I'm hoping the United States and Russia will take, which is backing away from a larger arsenal for a smaller arsenal ... taking things off alert status to reduce the risk of nuclear use, trying to find ways to reduce the risk of conflict altogether."

Spector said that for many years the United States made "virtually no effort" to bring the Israeli nuclear program under control. "Today, at least we have put forward an arms control proposal for the Middle East which says Israel should cap its nuclear activities where they are today." Spector said other countries should also "cap -- really renounce chemical and ballistic missiles. And we'll work on that basis toward a nuclear-free region."

American leadership in curtailing the development of nuclear weapons is also finding worldwide echoes of support from nuclear nations which have previously declined to adopt the pledge of nuclear non-proliferation, such as France and China, he said. "If you can't put the entire nuclear Genie back in the bottle, at least get to the point where use becomes much, much less likely."

"I think for now, the most serious advocates of nuclear restraints are urging a rapid build-down with reciprocal measures by other nuclear nations," he noted.

Spector said the fundamental U.S. policy concerning nuclear weapons "ought to be that the U.S. will use nuclear weapons exclusively for the purpose of deterring the use of nuclear weapons against us."

"As long as we have potentially hostile nuclear powers out there in the world, we would attempt to retain some nuclear weapons for deterrence purposes." Ideally, he added, any such use should be confined under circumstances that would make their use more difficult, such as taking them off alert status, ideally in very limited numbers.

"What I hope to see is that we will gradually move to a very precise policy that limits the whole purpose of nuclear arms to nuclear deterrence," Spector said.