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The Relevance of Regimes

John S. Wolf, Assistant Secretary for Nonproliferation
Carnegie International Nonproliferation Conference
Ronald Reagan International Trade Center, Washington, DC
November 15, 2002

I understand that this is to be a talk about the regimes.  Well, there are several that we would like to strengthen -- MTCR [Missile Technology Control Regime], the ICOC [International Code of Conduct]  -- but more about those later.  There are also several regimes that we are less than excited about strengthening -- those regimes in Baghdad, Teheran, Pyongyang.

Where one stands is where one sits

        I have been on the road a lot, recently in Europe and South Asia to talk about the differences in perception, re WMD [weapons of mass destruction] threats.

        For U.S., WMD is a defining national security issue.  And the nexus with terrorism is a growing concern.  

        For the publics and many officials worldwide, the spread of WMD appears to be just one of many issues to balance and trade off.  And too much of our dialogue has devolved into debate on the architecture, a debate marked by numbing acronyms and too much acrimony.  Debate on Iraq took on many of these properties.

        I am not deprecating the multilateral instruments.  The problem is not the NPT, CWC, or BWC, and it's really not about the word "and" or "or" in Op 4 of a SC resolution. 

The proliferation threat is real, and it's getting worse

        Proliferation problem is getting worse, not better.  The problem is one of both demand and supply.

        More countries and entities are aggressively pursuing WMD, missile programs, and advanced conventional weapons.

        More countries initiating or considering WMD programs.

        More potential suppliers -- including countries that previously were only recipients of supply; proliferators are turning to each other for assistance.

        Threat is compounded because of the ties by certain states to non-state terrorist groups that are actively seeking unconventional, asymmetric capabilities.

        What's missing in today's international debate is some sense of outrage that norms are being violated from inside and out by countries with increasingly threatening capabilities -- capabilities made all the more horrific because of their disdain for the norms, our way of life, and because of their close ties to terrorist groups.

        Threat is from real countries, with real names, and real capabilities that pose real security problems for the U.S. and Europe.

        Iraq, North Korea, Iran, and Libya are all developing WMD with help from traditional and new suppliers.

        Risk remains that complacency, inertia, and timidity are preventing the international community from blocking attempted violations or reacting decisively to violations and allowing the maturation of capabilities that are directly threatening to the U.S., our friends, and allies.

        Ever growing complexity of trade, technological developments, movements of people, goods, and information.  All of these make it harder to track WMD and the materials needed to make them.

Make no mistake; the U.S. supports the multilateral regimes -- they remain relevant.

Treaties and agreements like the Missile Technology Control Regime or the new International Code of Conduct establish important global political and legal standards and norms. 

        They provide common standards facilitate coordination of efforts among countries.

        These international norms provide a benchmark by which nations can gauge themselves and shape their own legislation and policy.

        These norms are also a standard by which the international community can assess nations' behavior in the nonproliferation field.

        These Regimes, coupled with national laws and the entire spectrum of nonproliferation tools, make it more difficult, costly, and time-consuming to develop WMD, missiles, and ACW.

        Some regimes (e.g. MTCR, Australia Group, Nuclear Suppliers Group, Wassenaar Arrangement) facilitate cooperation among like-minded states in implementing export controls and pursuing other nonproliferation objectives.

        We've demonstrated international resolve in several recent instances: Ballistic Missile ICOC; consensus on MANPADs in Wassenaar Arrangement; negotiation of IAEA Additional Protocols; and on Iraq in the Security Council  and on North Korea at APEC and the Korean Energy Development Organization.

        In the MTCR, we continue to pursue outreach to non-members to increase their awareness of the missile proliferation threat, and encourage their support for international nonproliferation efforts.  We are also working diligently to implement the regime's new focus on limiting the risk of controlled items falling into the hands of terrorists.  That's what it is all about -- that is the bottom line on all of these efforts.

        Our support of the regimes is tangible.  For example, the U.S. increased its IAEA annual voluntary contributions by $14 million (to $50 million -- about a 40% increase) from 1997 to 2002.  Most of the increase for nuclear safety, safeguards, and technical cooperation.  Here, though, the real question is whether states will just play lip service to IAEA's mounting responsibilities or actually provide the muscle to get the job done.

        Regimes, and their components, like the IAEA, are only as effective as states make them through financial, technical, and political support.  Especially financial support.

        We have started a major initiative to bolster support, starting with a real increase in IAEA's regular budget for safeguards.  2003 will be a very interesting year for the IAEA.

        On the NPT, we have a well-defined and activist NPT diplomatic effort.  Our goals are to strengthen the treaty further, keep it effective, ensure compliance, and ensure that other states understand that their support for the treaty is critical to international security.

        Countries can support the NPT by honoring their obligations under the treaty, and by pressing other countries to comply with their own safeguards agreements.  We must also press the 50 or so countries that have not completed safeguards agreements to do so as soon as possible.  And every country with an NPT safeguards agreement should bring into force the Additional Protocol that further strengthens IAEA access and the development of information about nuclear programs worldwide.

Meeting the Nonproliferation Challenge

        Strengthened norms will make proliferation more costly -- politically and financially.  We need to work to make our walls stronger and higher to deal with both the demand and supply sides. 

        Even as we work to strengthen multilateral nonproliferation regimes, we need to focus on achieving verifiable results -- words without commitment and follow through are not a plus; we cannot build strong international structures on a foundation of defiance and breach.

        Proliferators need to know they face isolation and more if their efforts continue.  Ending the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction will send a powerful signal to other proliferators that the world will not stand idly by. 

        North Korea must not imagine it can blackmail the international community; Yesterday's strong statement at KEDO and the APEC leaders' strong statement at Los Cabos all signal to North Korea that it cannot blackmail the international community.  It must dismantle its nuclear weapons program in a transparent and visible way, or face increasing isolation.

        We are working with supplier states to urge restraint and implementation of effective export control policies: we hear authorities say they are not responsible, but companies and individuals in too many countries export dangerous technologies and goods to questionable intermediaries and even known WMD end-users. 

Other Tools

        Tightening regimes and improved enforcement are part of the answer, but again they are not sufficient


        Not a panacea, but properly planned and executed, interdiction enables us to intercept critical technologies en route to dangerous end users and lengthens the time that proliferators will need to acquire new weapons capabilities. Procurement efforts are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and our efforts must keep pace. 


        From our vantage point, companies have a choice:  sell to proliferators, or sell in the United States, but not both.  Where national controls fail, and where companies make the wrong choice, there will be consequences.   U.S. law requires that we impose sanctions on those who help proliferators' WMD and missile programs; and we will.    

Positive Measures:

        "Sticks" an inescapable reality in fight against proliferation.  So too are positive incentives. 

        G-8 Leaders' agreement on new Global Partnership is an important step; we hope the upcoming Evian Summit will take this and other nonproliferation initiatives forward. 

        The Global Partnerships reflects that nonproliferation work has been and remains underfunded, with the U.S. carrying the burden; more cooperation is needed from Europe and elsewhere.

        We also look to business community, which has an interest in stable foreign partners.  The same protection of intellectual property, and controls on illegal exports of technology, that they seek, are important tools in fight against proliferation.  Good corporate governance, transparency, rule of law, both government and the business community have a shared interest in seeing our partners strengthen the institutions that make the international marketplace transparent and predictable.


        Nonproliferation challenges are multiple and multiplying.   Need to focus on meat of the issue -- WMD and proliferation threats are the actual items that compose these threats -- and not lose the forest for the trees, in an avalanche of acronyms.

        Enhancing the nonproliferation dialogue with our worldwide partners is essential to success.  But dialogue is no substitute for concrete action, and where dialogue fails we will use other means -- whether multilateral, plurilateral, or unilateral.  This is at the heart of President Bush's National Security Strategy.

        There is lots of opportunity to make progress; we now need to transform opportunity into reality.

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