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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 54, February 2001

Moderation in Excess: NATO's Arms Control Review and the NPT Action Plan

By Sean Howard

Introduction: NATO's Sub-Strategic, Non-Conceptual Review

In mid-December, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) released a study on 'Options for Confidence and Security Building Measures (CSBMs), Verification, Non-Proliferation, Arms Control and Disarmament'.1 The report was requested by Alliance leaders at the Washington Summit in April 1999 "in the light of overall strategic developments and reduced salience of nuclear weapons".2 In May 2000, a disarmament plan of action was unanimously agreed at the Sixth Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to which all NATO states belong.3 The action plan, part of a unanimously adopted Final Document, was widely heralded as a strong foundation upon which all relevant states and organizations could usefully chart their own course of action. NATO - the world's only nuclear-armed alliance - certainly ranks high on the list of relevant organizations. What course does its arms control review chart? Comparing the review's assumptions and recommendations with those contained in the action plan, this paper concludes that a major political and practical disjunction exists between the NATO and NPT views of disarmament, a divide which the Alliance's review underscores but does nothing to bridge.

In particular, two related characteristics of the review are singled out as standing in overt, even brazen, contradiction to the premises, spirit and letter of the NPT action plan: its insistence that, for NATO, nuclear weapons remain indispensable, both militarily and politically; and its assertion that NATO's own, positive valuation of the "unique" and "essential" qualities of nuclear weapons has no detrimental effect on international efforts to reduce and control them. The presence of these controversial propositions (from an NPT standpoint) was predictable, for NATO's own Strategic Concept - adopted at the same summit that commissioned the review - had already set them in stone. In a key passage, quoted in the report, the Strategic Concept states:

"To protect peace and to prevent war or any kind of coercion, the Alliance will maintain for the foreseeable future an appropriate mix of nuclear and conventional forces based in Europe and kept up to date where necessary, although at a minimum sufficient level. Taking into account the diversity of risks with which the Alliance could be faced, it must maintain the forces necessary to ensure credible deterrence and to provide a wide range of conventional response options. But the Alliance's conventional forces alone cannot ensure credible deterrence. Nuclear weapons make a unique contribution in rendering the risks of aggression against the Alliance incalculable and unacceptable. Thus, they remain essential to preserve peace."4

In its summary of the necessary 'Characteristics of Nuclear Forces', the Concept proceeds to establish four non-negotiable, non-reviewable tenets of Alliance policy: the contribution to deterrence made by all three NATO nuclear-weapon states; the importance of involving NATO's non-nuclear-weapon states in the nuclear-weapons dimension of the Alliance; the salience, political and military, of both strategic and sub-strategic nuclear forces; and the prudence of not specifying the conditions - other than stressing their currently dim probability - under which the Alliance would be prepared to use nuclear weapons. The relevant passages read:

"62. ... The supreme guarantee of the security of the Allies is provided by the strategic nuclear forces of the Alliance, particularly those of the United States; the independent nuclear forces of the United Kingdom and France, which have a deterrent role of their own, contribute to the overall deterrence and security of the Allies.

63. A credible Alliance nuclear posture... continue[s] to require widespread participation by European Allies involved in collective defence planning in nuclear roles, in peacetime basing of nuclear forces on their territory and in [nuclear] command, control and consultation arrangements. Nuclear forces based in Europe and committed to NATO provide an essential political and military link between the European and North American members of the Alliance. The Alliance will therefore maintain adequate nuclear forces in Europe. ...

64. ... The circumstances in which any use of nuclear weapons might have to be contemplated...are therefore extremely remote. ... Nonetheless, NATO will maintain...adequate sub-strategic forces based in Europe which will provide an essential link with strategic nuclear forces, reinforcing the transatlantic link."

Given the rigid, pro-nuclear-weapons parameters of the Strategic Concept, there was only one sphere in which the review could attempt to progress the Alliance's arms control agenda: transparency and confidence-building measures. As we shall see, this theme duly dominated the report's findings and recommendations. While it is important not to belittle the importance of such measures, it is equally important not to assign primary significance to them in the overall context of the many arms control priorities facing a nuclear-armed organisation. Thus, when NATO's Secretary-General, Lord Robertson, arrives in Moscow proclaiming, on the basis of the review, that he is proud to present to the Russian Defence Minister "a substantial package of NATO proposals for Confidence and Security Building Measures in the nuclear field", it is important to appreciate that such measures are in large part designed to build public, political, and military confidence in that field - NATO-Russia security relations - remaining extensively nuclearised.5 This being the case, NATO should not seek or receive acclaim from pro-disarmament states and organizations for an overtly, vigorously pro-nuclear-weapons review.

Were any evidence needed of the reaffirmative, rather than reformative, nature of the review, it is succinctly provided in the following extract from a December 2000 communiqué issued by NATO Defence Ministers, following a meeting at which the nuclear-weapons sections of the report were, unsurprisingly, endorsed without question:

"We affirmed the continuing validity of the fundamentally political purpose and the principles underpinning the nuclear forces of the Allies as set out in the Alliance's 1999 Strategic Concept. NATO's nuclear forces are a credible and effective element of the Alliance's strategy... Nuclear forces based in Europe and committed to NATO continue to provide an essential political and military link between the European and North American members of the Alliance."6

Before detailing our NATO/NPT comparison, a number of provisos are in order. The paper's overall, negative assessment, summarised above, does not extend to every aspect of the review. The very fact there has been a review should be welcomed. Hopefully, it will provide a useful precedent and point-of-reference for those states, both within and outside the Alliance, seeking to lay emphasis on NATO's important responsibility to advance the global disarmament agenda. The process of the review, to no one's surprise, was secretive and exclusionary, but the nature of the product itself - a lengthy and detailed document - is to be applauded, and is perhaps more substantial than some critics, and even some NATO members, feared. Finally, although inspired by the desire of a number of NATO states to investigate systematically the Alliance's nuclear policies, the report deals additionally with chemical, biological and conventional arms control. For reasons of space and focus, these portions of the report lie outside the scope of this paper.

Dimensions of Change: the NPT Action Plan

Following the adoption of the disarmament plan of action at the 2000 NPT Review Conference, the broad international agenda for progress on nuclear arms control and disarmament issues has rarely, if ever, been more clearly established or articulated. In the context of an "unequivocal undertaking" by the nuclear-weapon states to "accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals leading to nuclear disarmament," the 187 NPT states have drawn up what might be called a three-dimensional agenda for change, identifying a range of priority issues for progress in (1) the multilateral/international context, maximizing the scope for nuclear and non-nuclear states to work together to reduce and eliminate the risks posed by the proliferation and presence of nuclear weapons, (2) the nuclear-weapon state context, detailing the basic, especial responsibility for reform and reductions falling on the existing possessors of nuclear mass-destructive capability, and (3) the conceptual and procedural context, securing maximal clarity and relevance for the principles and processes underpinning the overall international effort to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world.

Any consideration of NATO's nuclear review should be judged not just against the specific policy criteria set out in the action plan, but in terms of how far it either enhanced or retarded this three-dimensional approach. Did the review constitute an example of progressive debate in which the responsibility for disarmament was recognized as being common to all Alliance members? Was the review an example of progressive engagement by NATO's nuclear-weapon states with their own especial obligation to disarm? Was the review based on principles clearly commensurate with the goal of moving towards a nuclear-weapon-free world, and did it constitute a process designed to find ways of prioritising nuclear disarmament rather than rationalising and helping to perpetuate nuclear possession?

In terms of specifics, the priorities identified in the NPT action plan are as follows:

The multilateral/international dimension: intensified efforts at the Conference on Disarmament (CD) to conclude, within five years, negotiations on a treaty banning the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons; establishment of a CD subsidiary body to deal with nuclear disarmament issues; and efforts to ensure the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

The nuclear-weapon state dimension: a moratorium on nuclear testing pending entry into force of the CTBT; in the context of preserving and enhancing the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, a revitalisation of the START process, with entry into force of START II and speedy conclusion of START III; the earliest possible involvement of all nuclear-weapon states in nuclear reduction talks; increased transparency with regard to nuclear stockpiles and capabilities; further unilateral reductions of arsenals, including further reductions of non-strategic weapons; reduction of the operational status of nuclear weapons (longhand for de-alerting); doctrinal reform to de-emphasise nuclear weapons and diminish the risk of their use or indefinite possession; and placement of surplus military fissile materials under international control.

The conceptual and procedural dimension: submission of regular reports by all NPT states on progress towards fulfilling the nuclear disarmament objectives of Article VI of the Treaty and the obligation to negotiate in good faith on nuclear disarmament reaffirmed in the 1996 Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice; enhancement of verification capabilities; application of the principle of irreversibility to all nuclear disarmament and related negotiations, measures and initiatives; and reaffirmation of the ultimate objective of general and complete disarmament.

On May 20, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan described the Final Document, containing the action plan, as an "historic consensus" extending the reach of the Treaty to "new efforts aimed at the total elimination of nuclear weapons".7 Addressing the opening of the Conference on April 24, Annan had presented a bleak picture of trends militating against progress towards this goal. Annan lamented: "Quite frankly, much of the established multilateral disarmament machinery has started to rust - a problem not due to the machinery itself but to the apparent lack of political will to use it. Indeed, over the past few years, we have witnessed the reaffirmation of the nuclear weapon doctrines of all the nuclear-weapon states. Some states retain first-use nuclear doctrines and some do not exclude the use of such weapons even against non-nuclear-weapon states."8

Clearly, what Annan hoped would prove "historic" about the plan of action was not merely that it would be remembered as an unexpected diplomatic success, but that it would assist in inducing major changes in nuclear policy, particularly with regard to nuclear-use and security assurances. Precisely such expectations explain why some of the nuclear-weapon states, particularly the United States, were wary of committing themselves to a programme of such far-reaching and self-evident specificity, and why the states which led the fight for such a programme - most prominently and effectively, the states of the New Agenda Coalition - were convinced they had achieved a politically significant, rather than merely refreshing, outcome. 9

Dimensions of Denial: the NATO Arms Control Review

Two months after the Review Conference, Jayantha Dhanapala, UN Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament addressed British MPs on the theme of 'Eliminating Nuclear Arsenals: the NPT Pledge and What It Means'. Dhanapala listed a number of questions raised by the plan of action, including doctrinal issues which, he clearly implied, cast grave doubt on the commensurability of NATO's Strategic Concept with NPT objectives:

"On nuclear weapons: If some countries continue to maintain that nuclear weapons are 'vital' or 'essential' to their security, how can they deny others that same right? Yet if every country adopted that logic, what would be the result for all? And with respect to 'sub-strategic' nuclear weapons, is it conceivable that such weapons could ever be used without having strategic consequences?

On nuclear doctrines: If countries join nuclear-weapon-free zones to be free from nuclear threats, how does a military doctrine providing for the first-use of nuclear weapons - or for their use against non-nuclear-weapon states - affect the incentives of states to create or maintain such zones? Do doctrines proliferate just as weapons?"10

NATO's review explicitly and fully endorses the NPT action plan: "NATO members support the entire Final Document of the May 2000 NPT Review Conference, including all...the...practical steps for the systematic and progressive efforts to implement Article VI of the NPT..." Yet at the same time, the review is demonstrably incompatible with the wider international understanding of the NPT Conference decisions and its identified priorities for change. At the heart of both the Concept and the review is the deep-seated belief that while NATO is entitled to nuclear weapons in order to maximise its military and political effectiveness, nobody else is entitled either to act together in the same way, or to view NATO's claim to this entitlement as a double-standard or a danger. By this assumption, NATO does not threaten, it can only be threatened - what connection, then, can there be between its nuclear doctrine and nuclear proliferation? Genuinely baffled, it seems, the report vigorously washes its hands of the wider, negative implications suggested by Dhanapala and others. Somewhat defensively, the review asserts:

"99. Nuclear proliferation remains a concern for both governments and publics. It touches on aspects of nuclear policy, nuclear arms control and disarmament policy, and traditional non-proliferation policy as well. Allies concerned have explored - in the broadest sense - the reasons why nations may be attempting to acquire, or already have acquired, nuclear weapons despite the provisions of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

100. Allies concerned have concluded that the primary motivations for proliferants' pursuit and development of nuclear weapons remain 'local' threat perceptions, regional ambitions, and global prestige. The idea that proliferant states would assess the broader military and security environment in deciding to develop weapons of mass destruction is only common-sense. However, no evidence was found that proliferant nations acquire nuclear capabilities based on the fact that NATO maintains nuclear weapons in Europe for ensuring the security of the Alliance. NATO's residual sub-strategic nuclear arsenal - which has been dramatically reduced and its land-based forces de-alerted and de-mated - is not responsible for nuclear proliferation."

What NATO is responsible for, according to the report, is pursuing and encouraging all appropriate and prudent arms control measures other than those which would breach the cordon sanitaire thrown around its doctrine and practices by the Strategic Concept. As the review frequently repeats, the nuclear weapons of the US, UK and France have been reduced substantially since the end of the Cold War, and further reductions are devoutly to be wished. This process has thus far had no affect on NATO nuclear-sharing arrangements, the Alliance's 'requirement' for both strategic and sub-strategic means of mass destruction, or its ultimately free scope to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons when and as it sees fit.11 The objective for the Alliance is thus clear: to perpetuate this 'best of both worlds' situation in which it can support a nuclear disarmament process to which its own planning and posture remains immune. And assisting in this process - helping to sustain this scenario by building confidence in it - is the fundamental purpose of the review.

Section 5 of the NATO report sets out the specific options the Alliance should consider pursuing in order to enhance its evolving, pro-arms control role. Three main category of options with regard to nuclear weapons are identified: proposed confidence-and-security-building measures (CSBMs) with Russia; transparency measures; and measures to reduce the risk of nuclear proliferation.

The first category consists entirely of measures designed to maximise and regulate the mutual confidence of Russia and NATO in each other's continued possession and active deployment of large numbers of nuclear weapons. Four specific proposals are outlined:

"A. Enhance and deepen dialogue on matters related to nuclear forces,

B. Exchange information regarding the readiness status of nuclear forces,

C. Exchange information on safety provisions and safety features of nuclear weapons,

D. Exchange data on US and Russian sub-strategic nuclear forces."

The purpose of the proposed dialogue here is not just to reduce nuclear dangers arising from misunderstanding and mistrust, but to reduce the political danger to the status quo arising from disquiet over a nuclear relationship devoid of a cooperative, data-exchanging dimension. Such CSBMs are part and parcel not only of playing the nuclear-weapons game properly and professionally, but also of being seen to be doing so.

The second category - transparency measures - develops this theme of the practical and political benefits of visible proficiency. Its public-relations orientation is explicitly spelled out as follows: "The general aim of transparency is to contribute to confidence and security building and non-proliferation and to foster public and political support by explaining the rationale of NATO's nuclear policy and posture." Of "particular importance" in this regard are the following three areas: "the role of nuclear weapons in the post-Cold War security environment" - a chance to extol the bracing, good-neighbourly virtues of nuclear burden-sharing12; "NATO's force posture since the end of the Cold War" - providing scope to reiterate the "drastic" extent of the reductions and the "significant relaxation of readiness levels" which have occurred; and the "safety, security, and survivability of nuclear weapons" - an opportunity to confirm that nuclear "procedures are designed to ensure that weapons are safely and securely stored and handled".

What the report's self-congratulatory treatment of these matters has to do with transparency, in the sense of increasing public information and interaction with the Alliance, is unclear. The review insists that "NATO is committed to meaningful public outreach to interested individuals and groups" and "equally committed to discussing the Alliance's policy of support for nuclear arms control and disarmament." We further learn that "the Alliance will continue to broaden its engagement with interested non-governmental organizations, academic institutions and the general public and will contribute actively to discussion and debate regarding nuclear weapons and nuclear arms control and disarmament issues." Alright: but outreach is not transparency, either. What additional information (in the form of an annual NATO Nuclear Report, perhaps) relating to the actual extent and cost of the Alliance's forces and plans does the review suggest making available? None. Maybe it should ask civil society groups to help it draw up a transparency action-plan, elaborating mechanisms and procedures for 'inreach' into the organisation from outside.

The review's treatment of the third category of options - measures to reduce the threat of nuclear proliferation - starts with the handwashing quotation given above, extricating NATO from the moral and political maze interlinking nuclear possession with nuclear emulation and acquisition. The extent to which NATO has done everything it possibly could have in terms of reducing "the operational/military focus" of its nuclear weapons - even though such actions, according to the Alliance, have little relevance to proliferation issues - is then detailed once more. Even this account, however, contains ringing endorsements of the enduring, "fundamentally political" role of the Alliance's nuclear weapons, the maintenance of adequate levels of which, we are informed, "enhances the security of the Euro-Atlantic region and beyond". Without blinking, the section then reaffirms the commitment of all NATO states to the NPT, including the action plan: "Allies confirm their commitments made at the NPT Review Conference and will contribute to carrying forward and implementing the conclusions reached there."

Referring the specific options outlined in the review back to our three-dimensional NPT schema, how can we summarise the extent of progress made?

1. The multilateral/international context, maximizing the scope for nuclear and non-nuclear states to work together to reduce and eliminate the threat

The report merits muted applause for its determination to engage with Russia to reduce nuclear dangers generated or accentuated by misunderstanding and mistrust. Avoiding for the moment the potential of US NMD plans to leave such good intentions in tatters, this emphasis disguises, from the perspective of the NPT plan, two serious deficiencies. Nowhere does the report suggest that NATO and Russia work together to eliminate the fundamental danger inherent in the possession of nuclear weapons. And nowhere does the report suggest that nuclear and non-nuclear states within NATO stop collaborating on nuclear-weapons-related defence and deployment; on the contrary, the report repeatedly advertises the benefits of a 'common nuclear burden', the legality of which is contradicted by the NPT, in spirit if not (arguably) in letter.

2. The nuclear-weapon state context, detailing the basic, especial responsibility for reform and reductions falling on the existing possessors of nuclear mass-destructive capability

The report misleadingly portrays the inevitable, steep reductions in nuclear weapons after the dissolution of the Soviet Union as evidence of an enduring commitment on behalf of the United States, France and Britain to a process of radical disarmament. In 1994, the Clinton administration's Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) identified a minimum number of strategic warheads required by nuclear targeting and warfighting plans at 2,000-2,500. Presumably out of deference to these plans, the US continues to maintain such weapons on hair-trigger alert. Britain - both before and following a major Strategic Defence Review13 - and France have made plain their reluctance to enter disarmament negotiations until the level of US-Russian warheads has been drastically reduced (certainly to well below the US NPR figure). Examples of other excessively moderate or persistently extreme policies and plans could fill another paper. Suffice to say here that the NATO review was not used as an occasion for London, Paris and Washington to formulate new measures or discard dangerous stances; rather, the three states were showered with plaudits from their allies, which seems to beg the question of why an NPT plan of action was considered so necessary by everyone else.

3. The conceptual and procedural context, securing maximal clarity and relevance for the principles and processes underpinning the overall international effort to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world

The report can be seen as almost a direct inversion of this dimension of the action plan: a systematic effort to secure maximal clarity and relevance for the principles and processes underpinning the Alliance's overall effort to maintain the basic, inviolable parameters of its nuclear-weapons status quo. Broadening and deepening the dialogue on that status quo with Russia and others only acts to declare more forcefully the independence of the NATO arms control world-view from that of the NPT.

Dreamland, or What NATO Could Have Agreed

If the NATO review had genuinely oriented itself around the NPT action plan, what policy reforms might it have chosen to adopt? Considering this question focuses attention not merely on what could have been achieved, but what should have been attempted.

The Alliance could have issued its own set of Principles & Objectives and Plan of Action, along the lines of those adopted at the 1995 and 2000 NPT Review Conferences,14 setting out both its general intent to evolve into a non-nuclear organisation, and the specific steps it intends to take to move in that direction. The principles, objectives and plan of action would be reviewed at NATO meetings on a regular basis, and Progress Reports and Statements of Intent stemming from these deliberations could be submitted at future NPT meetings, and other relevant fora such as the Conference on Disarmament and the UN First Committee and General Assembly.

In terms of NATO organisational structure, the current Nuclear Planning Group (NPG) could be reconstituted as a Nuclear Disarmament Planning Group (NDPG), entrusted with facilitating and coordinating progress in meeting the Alliance's disarmament objectives; such a body could provide for non-NATO, non-governmental, and other civil society input and participation. The three NATO nuclear-weapon states could issue a separate Disarmament Declaration, again subject to internal and external review, undertaking to translate the spirit of their NPT commitments into doctrinal and practical reforms. Strong candidates for such reforms would include:

  • all nuclear weapons taken off alert
  • adoption of a policy of no-first use
  • bolstered security assurances guaranteeing no-use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states under any circumstances
  • the phased, irreversible, unilateral elimination of all non-strategic nuclear weapons, coupled with efforts to secure reciprocal Russian measures
  • the termination of all nuclear-sharing arrangements within the Alliance, both between nuclear and non-nuclear members, and among the three nuclear members
  • a range of transparency and confidence-building measures with regard to stocks and capabilities (perhaps establishing a Nuclear Weapons Register and inviting China and Russia to participate)
  • increased financial support for international non-proliferation and disarmament efforts, particularly the IAEA safeguards regime
  • endorsement of the NPT action plan call for the establishment of a subsidiary body on nuclear disarmament, backed by a commitment to provide discussion papers and other input
A Nuclear Policy Baseline Pledge could be drawn up on the basis of such a reform package, in which the Alliance commits itself (1) not to increase, and to work constantly to decrease, its nuclear capability, (2) not to involve or implicate any non-nuclear NATO states in the basing and operation of US, UK and French nuclear weapons, and (3) never to deploy nuclear weapons on the territory of new member states.

A Return to Reality: Why NATO Refused the NPT Challenge

While being strongly critical of the actual NATO report, we have yet to fully examine the reasons (other than the straightjacket of the Strategic Concept) why it bore no resemblance to the NPT-compatible, pro-disarmament review sketched above.

The Alliance was divided about the need to commission an arms control report in the first place, with a majority of members wary of the precedent it might set and the allegations of nuclear conservatism and double-standards it might provoke from critics. Thus, the review was not conducted on the basis of a shared perspective, or even a general awareness of the requirement for a better fit between NATO policy and NPT promises. A small number of non-nuclear members - an often timid species we might call the lesser-spotted 'doves' - would have liked to have seen a significant reformulation of NATO doctrine and practice. During the NPT Review Conference, Canada, and a grouping of five NATO states (Belgium, Germany, Italy, Norway and the Netherlands) severally argued the case for a progressive and responsible Alliance engagement with the evolving non-proliferation and disarmament agenda. After the Conference, Canada, under the direction of now-retired Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy, took the leading role within NATO in pushing the case for reform. There remains, however, a general, traditional fear among many non-nuclear NATO members - the common 'ostriches' - that significant reform risks loosening the hallowed nuclear bond 'coupling' the United States and Europe. The nuclear-weapon states - the great 'hawks' - are themselves at odds over US missile defence plans, but united in their desire not to have their own nuclear doctrines and practices publicly criticised or questioned by their closest allies.

Thus, two necessary conditions for implementing the NPT action plan - a commitment to radical nuclear disarmament on the behalf of NATO in general (the multilateral dimension), and on the part of the US, UK and France in particular (the nuclear-weapon state dimension) - are currently lacking. In such a context, it is not surprising that a further necessary condition - the structured facilitation of pro-disarmament debate and policy-formulation (the conceptual and procedural dimension) - is also lacking. In place of these basic requirements, we find instead the apparent, general desire to present the Alliance as seriously reviewing its nuclear policy and thus fulfilling its obligations as an organization composed solely of NPT members.

Conclusion

Where the NPT action plan sought to apply a multi-dimensional focus to a single objective - nuclear disarmament - the Alliance's review was inspired only by a minority desire to challenge a one-dimensionally pro-nuclear policy and mentality. To the extent that the review has been used both for PR purposes and as an endorsement of such thinking, it constitutes a setback to global disarmament efforts. To the extent that it may also mark the beginning of a serious process of reflection within NATO on the role and purpose of nuclear weapons, it constitutes a potentially valuable first-phase development, no matter how disappointing the concrete results. The extraordinary fact is that the issue of updating the basic parameters and principles of nuclear policy barely flickered in Alliance deliberations in the 1990s. Now that the topic has at least been seriously broached, if not embraced, if is hard to imagine a return to such somnolence.

Notes and References

1. Report issued as NATO Press Release M-NAC-2(2000)121, December 2000 (release date, December 14). See Disarmament Diplomacy No. 53, December 2000/January 2001, for substantial extracts and related documentation. For the report in full, see the NATO website, http://www.nato.int/docu/pr/2000/p00-121e/home.htm.

2. NATO Report, paragraph 4.

3. For a detailed analysis of the NPT Review Conference, and the full-text of the plan of action included in the Final Document, see Rebecca Johnson, 'The 2000 NPT Review Conference: a Delicate, Hard-Won Compromise,' Disarmament Diplomacy No. 46, May 2000.

4. Quoted in NATO Report, paragraph 72. For the full Strategic Concept, see NATO Press Release NAC-S999)65, April 23, 1999.

5. Speech by Lord Robertson, Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), February 21, 2001.

6. Final Communiqué, Meeting of the Defence Planning Committee (DPC) and Nuclear Planning Group (NPG), NATO Press Release M-DPC/NPG-2(2000)115, December 5, 2000.

7. UN Press Release SG/SM/7409, May 22, 2000.

8. UN Press Release SG/SM/7367, April 24, 2000.

9. The New Agenda states are Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa and Sweden. On November 20, 2000, the UN General Assembly adopted, by 154 votes to 3 with 8 abstentions, a resolution (55/33C) entitled 'Towards a nuclear-weapon-free world: the need for a new agenda'. Introduced by Sweden on behalf of the New Agenda states, the text incorporated the NPT action plan. The resolution was opposed by three non-NPT states, India, Israel and Pakistan (Cuba, the other non-NPT state, voted in favour); only one NATO state, France, was among the abstainers, joined by another nuclear-weapon state, Russia. The UK was fulsome in its praise of the resolution, while China and the US expressed some reservations. In 1999, the New Agenda's resolution of the same title (54/54G) had been adopted by 111 votes to 13 with 39 abstentions. 13 NATO states abstained, while the rest - including France, the US and UK, together with Russia - voted against.

10. 'Eliminating Nuclear Arsenals: the NPT Pledge and What It Means,' speech by Jayantha Dhanapala to the All-Party Group on Global Security and Non-Proliferation, House of Commons, London, July 3, 2000. For full text, see Disarmament Diplomacy No. 47, June 2000.

11. For a critical analysis of these aspects of NATO nuclear practice, see Karel Koster, 'An Uneasy Alliance: NATO Nuclear Doctrine and the NPT,' Disarmament Diplomacy No. 49, August 2000.

12. NATO Report, paragraph 98: "[T]here is a clear rationale for a continued, though much reduced, presence of sub-strategic forces in Europe. This is consistent with the Alliance's fundamental guiding principle of common commitment, mutual co-operation and collective security, [and the belief that] the burden and risks of providing the nuclear element of NATO's deterrent capability should not be borne by the nuclear powers alone."

13. For extensive analysis and coverage of the SDR, see Disarmament Diplomacy No. 28, July 1998.

14. For an analysis of the Principles & Objectives and the context of their adoption, see Rebecca Johnson, 'Indefinite Extension of the Non-Proliferation Treaty: Risks and Reckonings', Acronym Report No. 7, 1995.

Dr. Sean Howard is editor of Disarmament Diplomacy and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Politics, Government and Public Administration at the University College of Cape Breton, Canada.

© 2001 The Acronym Institute.