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do not exclude the use of nuclear weapons when the national security is considered to be in jeopardy, look extremely outdated in today's globalized world, when most countries are pursuing close cooperative and partnership-like relations.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