Ebook: Nuclear Doctrines and Strategies
Nuclear Strategies and Doctrines focuses on the overarching importance that nuclear strategies and doctrines continue to play in the modern world and in relations among the leading states. The nuclear doctrines of the recognized nuclear weapons states and the activities these policies entail – beginning with the acquisition and modernization of nuclear forces – inevitably influence the defense and foreign policies of those nations which are without nuclear weapons capabilities, as well as the policies of those nations that are considered to be de facto nuclear weapons states. The present unstable balance between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’ is becoming increasingly shaky. Many representatives of the latter countries consider this division to be illegal, immoral and unresponsive to the demands of their national security. The nuclear doctrines still support the notion that only nuclear weapons may serve as a ‘supreme guarantor’ of military security, despite the situation in which nuclear deterrence cannot fulfil its role effectively, especially against rogue states, and in view of new threats and dangerous regimes. Throughout this work it is emphasized that the existing policies of national security and military doctrines do not reflect modern realities and that nuclear deterrence, which still comprises the essence of nuclear doctrines of the nuclear-weapons states, cannot effectively fulfill its assigned role, especially in view of the new common threats posed by none-state actors and dangerous regimes.
This book presents the results of the NATO-Russia Advanced Research Workshop “Nuclear Strategies and Doctrines: National policies and International Security,” held in Moscow on October 15–16, 2007. Co-directed by Dr. Sergey Oznobishchev, Director of the Institute for Strategic Assessments (Moscow) and Mark Fitzpatrick, Senior Fellow for Non-Proliferation at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (London) and hosted by the International Federation for Peace and Conciliation, the workshop was sponsored by the NATO Science Programme. The workshop brought together policy experts and government officials from eleven nations and NATO for two days of exchanges on some of the most serious issues affecting national and global security.
The topic of the workshop was chosen in view of the overarching importance that nuclear strategies and doctrines continued to play in the modern world and in relations among the leading states. This introduction provides a summary of the workshop and the main issues that were discussed throughout the two-day event.
The nuclear doctrines of the recognized nuclear weapons states and the activities these policies entail – beginning with the acquisition and modernization of nuclear forces – inevitably influence the defense and foreign policies of those nations which are without nuclear weapons capabilities as well as the policies of those nations that are considered to be de facto nuclear weapons states.
The present unstable balance between the “haves” and the “have-nots” is becoming increasingly shaky. Many representatives of the latter countries consider this division to be illegal, immoral and unresponsive to the demands of their national security.
The declaratory aspects of nuclear doctrines and their provisions, which now even more than in the past do not exclude the use of nuclear weapons when the national security is considered to be in jeopardy, look extremely outdated in today's globalized world, when most countries are pursuing close cooperative and partnership-like relations. The nuclear doctrines still support the notion that only nuclear weapons may serve as a “supreme guarantor” of military security, despite the situation in which nuclear deterrence cannot fulfill its role effectively, especially against rogue states, and in view of new threats and dangerous regimes.
The non-declared “operational” aspect of nuclear doctrines, which, as a remnant of the old times of nuclear confrontation, still presupposes the presence of hundreds of nuclear targets on the territory of the opponent (primarily between Russian and American forces) serves as an additional destabilizing factor in relations between countries. Throughout the conference it was emphasized that the existing policies of national security and military doctrines do not reflect modern realities and that nuclear deterrence, which still comprises the essence of nuclear doctrines of the nuclear-weapons states, cannot effectively fulfill its assigned role, especially in view of the new common threats posed by non-state actors and dangerous regimes.
As outlined in an introductory presentation by Dr. Alexander Nikitin, Director of the Center for Euro-Atlantic Security, Moscow State Institute of International Relations, the acute problems to be discussed at the conference included the correlation between the declaratory and the “operational” aspects of the nuclear doctrines, the “first use” or “no first use” concepts in the nuclear policies of the nuclear weapons states, the launch on warning issue, the contemporary “crisis” concerning US plans for ballistic missile defense in Europe, and the present status of the nuclear arms control. The discussion of the first topic – on the new threats and challenges to international and national security and on the role of nuclear weapons under present conditions – focused on the situation of the nations that have nuclear weapons at their disposal. In addition to the five nuclear weapons states recognized by the NPT, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea are considered to be de facto nuclear power. Beyond these states, about 20 other countries have the technological potential to develop nuclear weapons. Analyzing these issues, Dr. Alexander Khryapin, Senior Research Fellow from the Center for Military Strategic Studies, General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, acknowledged that whether or not these countries would use their potential is dependent not only on the political will of their leaders, but on the security environment in the world and in their regions and on the degree to which the nuclear powers exercise self-restraint.
Participants agreed that in contrast to the times of the Cold War, nuclear weapons are increasingly presented in official policy documents not as instruments of political containment but as combat weapons which may be physically used to deter the escalation of aggression executed even by conventional means. This situation was considered to be extremely dangerous.
Many experts expressed their concern that the most mighty nuclear arsenals (of Russia and the USA) are still, as in times of the Cold War, aimed at each other. This factor, as well as the left-over disposition inherited from the Cold War period of regarding the partner as a potential “nuclear opponent” strongly impedes prospects for achieving true and effective partnership.
An interesting and timely analysis was given by Dr. Harold Smith, Distinguished Professor at the Goldman School of Public Policy of the University of California, who presented a comparison of the Republican and Democratic Party policies towards nuclear weapons. His principal assessment was that differences between the parties are diminishing, as evidenced by the 4 January 2007 op-ed by Messrs. Shultz, Perry, Kissinger, and Nunn, which advocated steps toward “A world free of nuclear weapons.” Smith predicted that in matters nuclear, candidates from both sides will move toward multilateralism, legally binding treaties and international verification and enforcement; e.g. sanctions.
Professor Vladimir Baranovsky emphasized the new factors connected with nuclear weapons: the appearance of highly accurate weapons, the lowered possibility of regional conflict being escalated to the global level, and the crisis of the nuclear non-proliferation regime. A number of experts commented that in fact non-proliferation policies are subordinate to the status of political relations, the level of confidence between states and their ability to work cooperatively to achieve common goals. The deficit of partnership in many aspects of interactions between countries was acknowledged.
Dr. Edward Ifft, Adjunct Professor of Georgetown University, in analyzing several aspects of nuclear deterrence, acknowledged that this phenomenon still exists. Several participants emphasized that nuclear deterrence is no longer suitable in the situation of a declared partnership between the former adversaries (Russia and the USA, first of all), is not able to deter rogue states, poses a threat to international security, and is impotent to counter the most acute modern threats and challenges, particularly proliferation and terrorism.
Discussing the issue of Russia and US military strategies Major General (ret.) Vladimir Dvorkin, the former director of the principal institute of the rocket forces, also paid attention to the contradictory character of the present nuclear doctrines. He also emphasized the issue of transparency of the nuclear programs which are not open to the public in only two of the Permanent Five: Russia and China. His assessment was that Russia in the coming future will support the level of 2000 nuclear warheads, taking the course of MIRVing the Topol-M warheads. The experts discussing this issue expressed their opinion that Russia and US are interested in a new arms control treaty which should be more transparent. At the same time the opinion was expressed that the proposed enlargement of the INF Treaty to the “global” level does not seem to be possible in the near future.
In suggesting a cooperative approach to managing the U.S.-Russian Strategic Relationship, Dr. Lewis Dunn, Senior Vice President of Science Applications International Corporation, recommended that the USA should address Russian uncertainty about U.S. strategic intentions; that Russia should address U.S. uncertainties about Russia's commitment to preventing proliferation; and that both should find ways to build habits of cooperation in countering a terrorist WMD attack.
A vision of an alternative future US nuclear policy was presented by Joseph Cirincione, Senior Vice President for National Security and International Policy of the Center for American Progress. In a document signed by several authoritative US experts on the Democratic Party side, a vision of such policy was presented. In their view, deep reductions in US and Russian nuclear arsenals are achievable. This would pave the way for the other nuclear states to join such reductions. Dr. Victor Mizin, Counselor, Analytical Division of the Russian Council of Federation of the Federal Assembly, reinforced many of these suggestions in his analysis of how to cure the inherent defects of the NPT.
At the same time the discussion of British and French nuclear doctrines indicated that joining in nuclear arms reductions is not necessarily on the agenda of both countries, particularly France. As was confirmed during the discussion of these issues, both countries go along the way of their own national oriented understanding of minimum deterrence.
The discussion segued to a presentation by Michael Rühle, Head, Speechwriting and Senior Policy Advisor, Policy Planning Unit of the Private Office of the NATO Secretary General, who gave his prognoses of the new NATO strategic concept which would appear rather soon. He paid attention to the fact that the situation in Europe concerning the providing of nuclear security is steadily improving and expressed the opinion that the nuclear doctrines of France, Great Britain and USA are developing in one direction towards the diminishing role of nuclear weapons in the whole defense doctrine.
Dr. Jeremy Stocker, Associate Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (London), assessed that the UK-USA relationship was of key importance in determining the UK's nuclear stance and that while the Soviet threat has been replaced by a less threatening but more uncertain strategic environment, nuclear ties with the US remain as important as ever for the UK. Dr. Petr Romashkin, Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations, expressed his point of view that the nuclear doctrines of the UK and France, like that of the US, reveal a break from the doctrine and rhetoric of the defensive nuclear deterrence of the Cold War period and a shift to preemptive and coercive use of nuclear weapons.
Special interest was devoted to the issues of Chinese nuclear preparations. Speaking on this topic, Dr. Jianqun Teng, Deputy Secretary General of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, emphasized that the term deterrence in connection with the national arsenal is not applicable to the understanding adopted among Chinese experts and politicians. He noted that China is not supposed to enlarge the number of warheads but would potentially go along the way of qualitative modernization. At present China consider the security situation around its borders to be the best in the last 50 years. Major General (ret) Pavel Zolotarev, Deputy Director of the Institute for USA and Canada Studies, agreed that Chinese nuclear strategy does not consider nuclear weapons to be battlefield armaments. China's commitment not to use nuclear weapons first and its proposal to the other nuclear powers to undertake similar obligations deserve support.
In analyzing Iran's nuclear program, Fitzpatrick described the factors that lead to a conclusion that Iran's nuclear program has a military dimension. Dr. Alexander Pikaev, Department Head of the Institute for World Economy and International Relations, presented the view that neither the sanctions nor the incentives employed by the international community to date have had any impact on Iran's stance, primarily because Washington has undercut the value of the incentives offered. Representative of the Iranian Embassy in Moscow expressed confidence that Iran has neither the intention nor the capability to construct nuclear weapons and that “minor disputes” should not impede Iranian-IAEA cooperation.
The example of North Korea was mostly treated as the successful case of cooperative efforts of the leading states. Dr. Jonathan D. Pollack, Professor of Asian and Pacific Studies at the US Naval War College assess the various strategies pursued to date to forestall North Korean acquisition of nuclear weapons, and noted that none of them have yet achieved definitive results. Discussion focused on the loopholes in the non-proliferation regime when a country can benefit from all the privileges of being within the NPT regime and then withdraw without punishment. The existence of the suspected nuclear arsenal in Israel, and the creation of arsenals by India and Pakistan outside the limitations of the NPT at present pose even more challenges to the NPT regime. Dr. Yair Evron, Professor of International Relations at Tel Aviv University, assessed that while Israel's ambiguous nuclear posture signals self restraint and caution, the policy has not in fact deterred armed violence against the state, and it was only a secondary factor in inducing Arab regimes to seek peace. Dr. Rajesh M. Basrur, associate professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University Singapore, explained that while India's rapidly growing international profile has raised concerns about the potential expansion of its nuclear capabilities. Indian strategic culture is minimalistic, the product of decades of slow growth and a firmly grounded policy of non-deployment. Pakistan's ambassador to Russia also stressed the minimum deterrence underpinning of his country's nuclear forces.
Some experts lamented that “third states” are being presented with new incentives to acquire nuclear weapons. For instance, for many countries the US military campaign in Iraq served as an additional proof that only nuclear weapons may provide real security. The comment was made, for example, that “if Saddam Hussein really had nuclear weapons at his disposal Washington would not dare to intervene.” Hence the acute need for creating “security conditions” and collective security systems, including nuclear-weapon-free zones, if possible, in the most uneasy regions of the world. In this respect, Lt. Gen. (ret.) Vadim Grechaninov, President of the Atlantic Rada of Ukraine, argued that Ukraine's disarmament experience can serve as a positive example for the world today.
The workshop directors appreciate the contributions to the discussion of all the participants, including those not named above. Credit is due the NATO officials and staff who lent support, particularly Fernando Carvalho Rodrigues, Programme Director for Human and Societal Dynamics of the NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme, and Elizabeth Cowan, program assistant. Special gratitude is extended to Adelina Akhmentzyanova, Eugenia Andryushina, Eva Kharitonova, Oksana Novikova, Varvara Sinitsina, Yulia Starilova, and Bejanishvili Zurab for their contributions in Moscow toward the organization of the conference, and for their translation and editing of chapters of this book. We also wish to thank Erin Blankenship and Rachel Yemini in London for their skillful copy-editing and lay-out assistance in the preparation of this book. Above all, Alexander Nikitin deserves acknowledgment for inspiring the workshop and for providing strategic direction and organizational advice before, during and after the proceedings.
Sergey Oznobishchev and Mark Fitzpatrick
Deterrence policy was officially acknowledged as a constituent part of national policy after the advent of nuclear weapons and therein became a main instrument of military confrontation. The role of nuclear weapons as a means of deterring aggression will be preserved for the foreseeable future. Deterrence as the basis for strategic stability, however, may be endangered by various military developments, including by: the creation of the global anti ballistic missile system; attempts to reach strategic military dominance by re-equipping ballistic missiles with conventional warheads and retaining a nuclear potential; the possible lifting of restrictions on the deployment of weapons in outer space and the creation of military bases in zones of so-called “vital interests”.
The use of nuclear weapons by terrorists against urban targets is generally agreed to be the most formidable threat faced by the United States today. Yet, there is remarkably little discussion of the threat in the presidential campaigns, and for good reason: one doesn't win elections by frightening the voters – better to concentrate on domestic issues such as the economy or medical insurance or ethanol. Nonetheless, the populace is entitled to know what the candidates intend to do to protect the country from so formidable a threat. Insight can be found by studying the writings of key advisors on the general issue and applying their thoughts to programs that must be considered by the next administration, whether Republican or Democrat. In this case, modernization of the nuclear arsenal and ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty provide touchstones that separate the philosophical differences on these issues.
Nuclear deterrence continues to be an important concept in international relations, despite the dramatic changes since the Cold War. As efforts are made to reduce the number of nuclear weapons to very low levels, with the ultimate goal of elimination, it is important to consider issues such as who is entitled to have nuclear deterrence, how nuclear deterrence operates at very low levels, the proper role of ABM defenses and how to strengthen nonproliferation norms by assuring the security of states without nuclear weapons. One path to resolving these difficult issues may be a greater reliance upon collective defenses by groups of states, using conventional arms.
U.S.-Russian strategic relations are approaching a turning point: a continued drift toward mutual suspicion, renewed military gamesmanship, and growing political-military confrontation or an opportunity provided by presidential elections in both countries to rethink and re-craft a non-adversarial relationship. Today's drift reflects many factors: past missteps; differences of interest and approach on specific issues; misperceptions; and the inherent difficulties of breaking free from the Cold War legacy. Among other issues on the agenda, action should be taken to address Russian uncertainty about U.S. strategic intentions; U.S. uncertainties about Russian commitment to preventing proliferation; and ways to build habits of cooperation in countering a terrorist WMD attack.
Three trends are converging to increase prospects for a fundamental change in global nuclear policies: the failure of the existing U.S. national security strategy to stem the growing proliferation threats; a nearly simultaneous global change in executive leadership; and a developing consensus across ideological lines for a renewed commitment to the elimination of nuclear weapons. Leading U.S. presidential candidates have endorsed nuclear disarmament and numerous experts and non-governmental organizations are developing comprehensive proposals, most prominently George Shultz, Henry Kissinger, William Perry and Sam Nunn. These campaigns have created political space for officials to embrace a more ambitious agenda than most previously had. There is a greater likelihood of historic change in global nuclear policy now than at any other moment in the past 15 years.
Due to a number of reasons, including the emerging crises in relations between Russia and the West, the urgency of global concerns regarding the proliferation of WMD and missiles appears to have diminished. But emergence of new threats brought back to life the key problem of global security: the survival of leading world powers. In the face of the new global security challenges, Russia and the West have revitalized the importance of non-proliferation. Still, the non-proliferation regime is suffering from intrinsic drawbacks and should be improved. Such improvement presupposes the close cooperation, or at least an accord, between the leading world powers as a core element.
NATO's 60th Anniversary Summit in 2009 is likely to launch the elaboration of a new Strategic Concept, to replace the 1999 document. The new Concept will have to reflect NATO's more operational nature and its more global orientation. It may also feature new language on nuclear matters, reflecting both the new proliferation landscape and renewed arms control concerns. Despite fundamental changes in these areas, and subsequent modifications of the nuclear doctrines and postures of the US, Britain and France, the statements on NATO's nuclear aspects are likely to remain conservative, with an emphasis on nuclear sharing and the maintenance of a small number of European-based tactical nuclear weapons.
In 2007 the British Government announced that the UK strategic nuclear deterrent is to be maintained until the 2050s, by which time Britain will have been a nuclear weapons state for almost a century. During the Cold War Britain need to deter the Soviet Union, but the UK's relationship with the United States was at least as important in determining the country's nuclear stance. Today the Soviet threat has been replaced by a less threatening but more uncertain strategic environment. Nuclear ties with the US remain as important as ever, and enable the UK to remain a nuclear power at modest cost.
Nuclear doctrines of the United Kingdom and France have their own specific features, but to a great extent reflect the national consent on principal issues. But in broader terms, the three allied nuclear powers – France, the USA and the UK – have in fact come out with a coordinated position which reveals a break from the doctrine and rhetoric of the defensive nuclear deterrence of the Cold War period and the shift to the doctrine of pre-emptive and coercive use of nuclear weapons. The position of these three states, at the same time, determines the outlook of NATO in this sphere.
Release of the 2006 Defence White Paper broke China's traditional silence and ambiguity regarding its nuclear policy and strategy, which continues to be founded on the principles of self-defense and global balance. China's emphasis on its commitment to a minimal deterrence capability shows that its nuclear forces are primarily a srategic political tool. The core elements of China's nuclear policy are that nuclear weapons must be the last resort for China and it is the quality not quantity that plays the key role. Beijing is unlikely to change its non-first use nuclear policy in the future. The most important aspect of Chinese nuclear transparency is a clear understanding of China's actual policies rather than its number of warheads.
Chinese military policy, including nuclear strategy, should be considered not only in the context of the policy of the state as a whole but also in the context of this ancient country's culture. China's nuclear strategy corresponds to the conditions of the rising world order and this does not presuppose that China would give up the development of its nuclear forces. Still it should be stressed that Chinese nuclear strategy does not consider nuclear weapons to be battlefield armaments. China's commitment not to use nuclear weapons first and its proposal to the other nuclear powers to undertake similar obligations deserve support.
Iran has no known nuclear weapons or doctrine, other than an insistence on its right to sensitive fuel cycle technologies, which it asserts are for peaceful purposes. Yet Tehran's behaviour and the nature of its program provide reasons to conclude that the purpose is a nuclear weapons capability. The history of safeguards violations and of changing stories is one reason to doub that Iran's answers to the IAEA work plan warrant early closure of the file. Other reasons for concern are the economic illogic of its enrichment effort and at least ten indicators of military involvement in the nuclear program.
Prospects for the resolution of the Iranian nuclear problem are still dim. The disclosure of the secret Iranian facilities dealt a serious blow to Tehran's assertions that it had not pursued any illegal nuclear activities. The present approach to the solution of the Iranian nuclear problem has little chance for success. The position of the world community towards the Iranian nuclear program can be characterized as the policy without a stick and carrot. Fortunately, in terms of technology, the Iranian nuclear program does not have the capability to create a nuclear weapons program quickly, even if Iran's leadership had set this as its aim.
Over the course of 25 years, the U.S. and other states have employed four separate strategies to prevent or inhibit North Korea's pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability, none of which have yielded definitive success. The current efforts through the Six-Party Talks (also encompassing separate bilateral understandings between the United States and North Korea) seem likely to achieve measurable results, especially the capping of Pyongyang's inventory of fissile material. But a host of larger issues remain unresolved, including the dismantlement of North Korea's known nuclear infrastructure and (in a more long-term sense) the disposition of North Korea's weapons-related materials and technology, fissile material inventory, and any completed weapons.
Israel's ambiguous nuclear posture is basically a diplomatic fiction but it signals self restraint and caution. The main purpose of the Israeli nuclear image has been deterrence; however, the policy has not in fact deterred armed violence against the state, and it was only a secondary factor in inducing Arab regimes to seek peace. The policy has not contributed significantly to regional stability, but nor has it been a major factor in fostering instability. Currently, the probability of situations requiring the actual exercise of Israeli nuclear deterrence is extremely low. Iranian nuclearization will create a very different strategic environment, but whether Israel will have to change its ambiguous posture as a result remains to be seen.
India's rapidly growing international profile has raised concerns about the potential expansion of its nuclear capabilities, but such expectations are unfounded. Indian strategic culture is minimalistic, the product of decades of slow growth and a firmly grounded policy of non-deployment. Lack of doctrinal clarity about the requirements of minimum deterrence does provide space for expansion. A drive for nuclear enlargement could come from two sources: the military and the technical bureaucracy. But the former is under tight civilian control, while the latter is divided and lacks the kind of influence that will push policy-makers toward significant growth.
The catastrophic acts of terrorism against the USA in September 2001 clearly demonstrated the limits of the UN's capacity or even abilities of the USA as the only global superpower to ensure international security. Like-minded middle-range powers, among which the Ukraine might be considered, can to a certain degree compensate for what the UN, the USA and Russia lack, and thereby make a contribution towards stabilizing the world security situation. Ukraine's disarmament experience can serve as a positive example for the world today.
The nuclear doctrines and strategies of the nuclear weapons states remain mired in Cold War thinking and are based on a deterrence principle that is obsolete in the atmosphere of the declared partnership between Russia and the West. The provisions of these nuclear doctrines and strategies cannot provide an effective defense against modern threats and challenges, particularly, terrorism and the proliferation of WMD. In the face of these threats, a new level of cooperation between states is needed. This will be impossible to achieve without a broad and public cooperative discussion and at meeting of the minds among politicians and experts of the concerned countries concerning threat perceptions and the adequacy of nuclear strategies in the context of modern geopolitical realities.