The Proliferation Security Initiative: A Vision Becomes RealityJohn R. Bolton, Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security
Remarks to the First Anniversary Meeting of the Proliferation Security Initiative
May 31, 2004
[Also: Under Secretary's remarks at press conference.]
I am pleased to be here representing the United States at this First Anniversary Meeting of the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI). Today marks an important milestone for PSI and the many states around the world that are working under its auspices to establish cooperative partnerships to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
It is gratifying to see so many countries represented here today to help celebrate what in a short twelve months has become an initiative synonymous with counter-proliferation cooperation. I want especially to thank the Polish Government for its work in organizing this meeting and providing us all an opportunity to commemorate what I hope will be the first of many anniversaries for PSI.
The Vision of PSI
As many of you know, President Bush announced PSI a year ago here in Krakow to address the growing challenge of WMD proliferation. The overwhelmingly positive response and enhanced awareness that PSI has fostered globally about real, practical steps that can be taken to defeat proliferation and proliferators is an important testament to the vision that President Bush had, a vision that is a growing reality.
In developing PSI, our main goal has been a simple one -- to create the basis for practical cooperation among states to help navigate this increasingly challenging arena. Our goal is based on an equally simple tenet -- that the impact of states working together in a deliberately cooperative manner would be greater than states acting alone in an ad hoc fashion.
We often say “PSI is an activity, not an organization.” This is not hard to understand, but is unusual. We think it is a fundamental reason for PSI’s success to date. PSI builds on existing nonproliferation treaties and regimes. In doing so, PSI reflects the reality that, even as we continue to support and strengthen the existing nonproliferation architecture, proliferators and those facilitating the procurement of deadly capabilities are circumventing existing laws, treaties, and controls against WMD proliferation. Through PSI, we create the basis for action to ensure that, if proliferators manage to place their deadly cargoes aboard a ship, plane, or truck, we are prepared to stop them in their tracks.
When PSI first emerged, it was criticized inaccurately as an initiative with a shaky legal underpinning. In fact, the foundation of our ability to act in support of PSI activities is our respective national legal authorities and relevant international frameworks. There is ample authority to support interdiction actions at sea, in the air, and on land. States around the world have concurred with this fact and lent their support to PSI. Importantly, the unanimous passage of UN Security Council Resolution 1540 establishes clear international acknowledgement that cooperation, such as PSI, is both useful and necessary.
The “Practical Steps” to Support the PSI
PSI was envisioned as a flexible instrument that would create the basis for rapid action between and among states, a network of partnerships. The PSI Statement of Interdiction Principles serves as the blueprint for PSI activities. It identifies steps that will facilitate effective interdiction. We welcome support for PSI, but political support is just the beginning. As PSI partners, we must work within our governments and with each other to establish the basis for cooperation when an interdiction activity requires our assistance. During the PSI meeting in Lisbon this past March, a set of “practical steps” were developed. These steps outline ways that states can make concrete contributions to building PSI’s operational capacity.
We are beginning to consider what mechanisms might better facilitate cooperation in air and ground interdiction arenas so that we can facilitate cooperation among states that will be most directly affected by proliferators using these critical transport methods.
Additional Steps to Consider
In addition to these practical steps, there are other actions states can take to help build PSI.
The Future of PSI
I have been asked many times to define “success” for PSI. There is an assumption that effectiveness is equal to the number of shipments stopped or proliferators put out of business. This is certainly one measure, but a difficult one to publicize due to the extremely sensitive nature of the information leading to PSI operations. Another barometer of success is the extent to which PSI works to deter proliferators. The deals not signed or completed, shipments not sent, insurance not extended, shipping routes no longer utilized -- all the result of PSI but, like the number of operations, not easily quantifiable, particularly publicly.
A tangible measure of PSI success is the foundation it provides for states to work together. It is truly remarkable for an initiative of this scope to have come so far in so short a time. We believe that PSI is succeeding first and foremost because of the international consensus that WMD proliferation is a threat to global peace and security, and also because PSI partners recognize that proliferation threatens their own national security.
PSI is also succeeding because it is based on practical actions that make maximum use of each country’s strengths to counter proliferation. The partnerships being forged, the contacts being established, the operational readiness being enhanced through PSI are all helping to create a lasting basis for cooperative action against proliferation.
Our vision for PSI is that a year from now we will have smooth, effective communication and operational procedures in place to interdict shipments and will have utilized them in specific cases; we will know more about how proliferators act and have devised strategies to work together to defeat them; we will have shut down the ability of persons, companies, or other entities to engage in this deadly trade; we will have undertaken effective outreach to the trade facilitation industry; and we will have made it increasingly difficult and costly for rogue states and terrorists to engage in their deadly work.
While PSI is helping stem the spread of WMD, their delivery systems, and related materials, serious proliferation threats remain. These threats must be met head on by active, concerted efforts through PSI cooperation and other available means. North Korea, Iran, and Syria, among others, are clearly states of proliferation concern; we believe that PSI partners should be ready to scrutinize shipments going to or from such states or terrorist groups.
PSI partners are laying a solid foundation for active cooperation to defeat proliferation. Our work sends a strong message that responsible members of the international community will not stand by while proliferators and those facilitating their efforts ply their dangerous trade. As PSI partnerships continue to expand, we are making a real difference. This was President Bush’s vision a year ago -- a vision that the collaboration by states gathered here today is making our common PSI reality.
Released on June 2, 2004