A PRINCIPLED POLICY TO COMBAT NUCLEAR
The U.S. has a leadership responsibility
with respect to lessening the threats that nuclear arms can pose to
international security and stability. Fulfilling this
responsibility depends, first and foremost, on having a considered
policy for addressing the threats posed by these weapons in the
post-September 11 world. The following are the principles that
should stand behind such a considered policy.
U.S. military and arms control responses to proliferation should
be based on a damage limitation strategy.
The Cold War policy of offense-dominant
deterrence--and particularly the variant known as mutually assured
destruction (MAD)--no longer applies in a world where larger
numbers of states with unpredictable leaders and non-state actors
possess nuclear weapons. During the Cold War, the U.S. came to
accept a relationship with the Soviet Union that was predicated on
the Soviet ability to destroy the U.S. In the post-Cold War world,
the U.S. should reject the idea that the U.S.-Soviet relationship
should be multilateralized with some undetermined number of states,
much less non-state actors.
What the U.S. should seek is a combination
of military and arms control steps that reduce the likelihood of
attack, that place restrictions on the scope of any attack, and
that enhance defensive measures in order to limit both the risk of
significant damage and the scope of any damage that could otherwise
be inflicted on the U.S. and its allies by hostile forces. While
the Bush Administration's National Strategy to Combat Weapons of
Mass Destruction uses the term defense and mitigation to describe
these capabilities, damage limitation is more apt because it
describes the goal more precisely.
It is necessary to point out that this
damage limitation strategy represents an abandonment not of the
broad concept of deterrence, but only of the narrower variant
applied to U.S.-Soviet relations during the Cold War. Deterrence
will continue to be a necessary element of the damage limitation
strategy by serving to reduce the risk of attack. Indeed, defensive
forces should serve to enhance and strengthen deterrence by
creating doubt in the mind of any would-be aggressor that an attack
against the U.S. would be effective.
The U.S. should seek a balance of offensive and defensive military
forces in accordance with the requirement for damage
The offensive forces should be designed to
hold at risk, and if need be destroy, the targets necessary to
launch a nuclear attack. This is why the Bush Administration's
policies of military transformation, preemptive actions, preventive
war, and even regime change are important contributions to
post-Cold War security policy.
Given the destructive power of nuclear
weapons, defensive forces should be designed to intercept the means
for delivering nuclear weapons. This does not mean, however, that
there is no role for civil defense. Civil defense measures are
necessary, but we must recognize that any attack with a nuclear
weapon will result in catastrophic damage to the U.S. or any allies
that are subject to that kind of attack. It is worth noting that
the Nuclear Posture Review already moves U.S. defense policy in
The adoption of a damage limitation
strategy also implies both different and more stringent standards
for U.S. military capabilities. During the Cold War, U.S. military
capabilities were organized around maintaining a survivable
military force sufficient to impose unacceptable damage on things
of value to the Soviet leadership. Today, the U.S. should seek to
maintain the military capabilities necessary to destroy the means
of attack on the U.S. and its allies and mitigate any losses that
would otherwise be imposed on either.
This is a more stringent standard both
because it requires bringing military force to bear at earlier
junctures in crises, on shorter timelines, and with more accuracy
than in the past and because it seeks to ensure that things of
value to the U.S. and its allies will survive an attack. The people
of the United States are no longer willing to accept the notion
that the destruction of a significant portion of their society
should merely serve as a justification for retaliation, and the
same is true for America's allies.
It is this shift in demands on the
military that may be the single most important source of friction
in U.S.-South Korean relations. South Koreans likely want a
national security policy that gives them reasonable assurance that
they will not lose much of what they have gained over the past four
Perhaps the most profound impact of a
damage limitation strategy is on the concept of military
transformation. This is because such a strategy may provide
guidance for military transformation. Specifically, the need to
meet the requirements for damage limitation can lead to a list of
tangible goals for transformation. Limiting damage from certain
kinds of attacks is all but certain to require incorporating new
technologies into the military and better organizing the military
to exploit those technologies.
A modern, capable U.S. nuclear force discourages proliferation; it
does not provide a role model for it.
Some, and most particularly those in favor
of abolishing nuclear weapons, argue that the proper answer to the
proliferation problem is for the U.S. to set a good example by
putting itself irreversibly on the road to complete nuclear
disarmament. Some proponents of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
(CTBT) saw it as the vehicle for setting this example.
Entry into force of the CTBT, however,
certainly would not bring additional pressure against proliferating
states because it would only bar them from testing weapons they are
already prohibited from possessing under the NPT. In reality, an
atrophying U.S. nuclear force is likely both to encourage
proliferation by states like North Korea because they will view it
as a source of U.S. weakness and to result in more serious
consideration of the nuclear option by countries like Japan because
they will be less certain of U.S. security commitments.
The current vulnerability of the U.S. and its allies to nuclear
attack by means of ballistic missile must end.
Delivery by ballistic missile is the only
means by which an enemy could attack the U.S. today without
encountering a significant defensive barrier. Consistent with a
damage limitation strategy and a military posture that balances
offensive and defensive forces, both the U.S. and its allies need
to erect a significant defense against ballistic missile attack.
Further, both should work to improve their defenses against the
other means for delivering nuclear weapons, including terrorists,
artillery, aircraft, cruise missiles, and ships.
On the arms control side, the U.S. should seek diplomatic outcomes
that, along with military steps, support the broader damage
These steps should be designed to limit
the scope of proliferation in order to reduce both the likelihood
of attack and the possible scope of an attack.
Principle #6: Use a two-track approach to
Traditional diplomacy regarding nuclear
proliferation has been conducted in a track established by the NPT
for over 30 years. Recent actions by India, Iran, Iraq, North
Korea, and Pakistan in particular have made this NPT track a less
favorable venue for achieving non-proliferation goals.
As a result, it is necessary to open a
second diplomatic track to address these issues. This second track
should attempt to create broad regional security discussions and
negotiations that address the underlying problems that are driving
proliferation. The opening of the second track does not imply the
abandonment of the first. Rather, the second track should be seen
as a means for improving the chances of returning to progress in
the first track.
There should be no new de jure nuclear powers.
Not abandoning the first (NPT) track means
that the U.S. should resist any attempt to add to the current list
of five states that the treaty acknowledges as nuclear powers.
While some may argue that amending the NPT in this way would return
realism to international non-proliferation policy, in fact it would
signal its abandonment. The best policy for addressing the
emergence of new nuclear powers is to continue to hold out the
prospect of rolling back these states' nuclear weapons programs,
even though it entails traveling a long, arduous road and holds no
guarantees of success.
Multilateral stability should be the immediate goal for diplomacy
conducted in the second track.
Even in the context of a unipolar
strategic setting, regional diplomacy in the second track will be a
multilateral undertaking. As a result, the political goal for these
regional diplomatic initiatives should be to enhance multilateral
stability. During the Cold War, stability was the goal in a
bilateral setting. The bilateral stability calculations applicable
to U.S.-Soviet military forces and arms control negotiations are
not applicable here.
This was the conclusion of a November 2001
study conducted by Science Applications International Corporation
for the Office of the Net Assessment in the Department of
Defense. This study
looked at the broader Asian region. A new stability formula should
be developed for these multilateral settings that is based on an
assumption of a multipolar regional setting and n-player games. In
particular, this formula should account for the possibility of
rapid transitions in either de facto or formal alliance structures
among the three or more states (players).
Diplomatic initiatives should be seen as a tool for confrontation
as well as cooperation.
The U.S. is engaged in a war in Iraq over
what, in large measure, is a disarmament and non-proliferation
issue. Given Iraqi defiance, using arms control as a means to
confront the threat that Iraq poses to the U.S. and the region was
an appropriate approach. It may be used in the future.
Regime change can be the ultimate answer
to realizing non-proliferation goals, particularly when rollback is
necessary for the realization of those long-term goals. It should
be noted, however, that war is but one means for changing a regime.
South Africa is proof of this fact.
Military and diplomatic steps must be balanced and complement each
Diplomatic initiatives that serve to
undermine the U.S. damage limitation posture should be avoided.
Likewise, military initiatives, at least in part, should be
designed to produce non-proliferation incentives for those opposite
the U.S. at the negotiating table.
The diplomatic initiative can serve to
bolster support for taking necessary military steps, as when the
Reagan Administration's "zero option" proposal for
intermediate-range nuclear forces provided an argument for
deploying Pershing II and Ground-Launch Cruise Missiles in Europe.
With the zero option, the reverse argument was then made that
deployments served to bolster diplomacy.