- Frederick Kempe, President and CEO, Atlantic Council
- Chuck Hagel, Chairman, Atlantic Council, Co-Chairman, President’s Intelligence Advisory Board
- General Brent Scowcroft, Chairman, Atlantic Council International Advisory Board, Co-Chairman, Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future, Former U.S. National Security Advisor
- Ellen Tauscher, U.S. Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, U.S. Department of State
FRED KEMPE: Good morning. I am Fred Kempe, president and CEO of the Atlantic Council. Thank you all for joining us at quite late notice for this session and in the rain. And I think the fact that we have such a crowd at such late notice in such terrible weather underscores the importance of this issue and also the timeliness of the discussion.
Our panels come on the heels of President Obama and President Medvedev’s signing of a new START treaty in Prague this month. And as U.S. Congress gets ready for hearings to review the treaty and counterparts in Russia also prepare their own parallel process. We have got an all-star lineup here to talk about the negotiation and ratification.
I am particularly keen to hear from our speakers starting with Under Secretary Ellen Tauscher this morning on how this might also impact future relations with Russia and more broadly also crucial to non-proliferation issues going forward and further arms control efforts, both the NPT Review Conference and possibility of multi-lateralization of arms control talks. We can get into some of this in the Q&A because obviously this was never intended as an endpoint, but really as a starting point.
But without further delay, let me introduce you to our host for today’s discussion, our chairman, Sen. Chuck Hagel. And he will offer some comments here to start us off. He is co-chairman of the president’s Intelligence Advisory Board, a member of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future. He has also shown impressive leadership on nuclear security issues while he was in the Senate.
When President Obama was a senator from Illinois, Sen. Hagel accompanied him on his first congressional tour abroad. During that tour, then-Sen. Obama visited weapon sites in Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan. And Sen. Hagel later co-authored nuclear security legislation with then-Sen. Obama. It is important to note it also passed. So with that, I would like to welcome to the stage our distinguished chairman, Sen. Hagel.
CHUCK HAGEL: Thanks, Fred. Fred, thank you and good morning. And I add my welcome to each of you this morning. As Fred noted, we are living through one of these important defining times in our world. What the Senate will soon have before it in the way of a START II treaty is one of those defining documents that will help shape and frame a new world order. That new world order must be relevant to the challenges of the first part of the 21st century.
Today – (clears throat) – excuse me – we have over the next two hours an opportunity to hear from some of those who not only shaped the first START treaty, but those who will have a very preeminent role and have had a preeminent role in writing and shaping the current piece of legislation. It is nice to see you, sir.
MR. : I am sorry for interrupting you. I just talked to Margelov. They got stuck coming here from the Capitol Hill. They got stuck on the Pennsylvania Avenue, but they will arrive in 10 minutes.
MR. HAGEL: Well, then we will continue to filibuster – (laughter) – and dance and do what senators are most qualified to do.
MR. : Blame Sen. Lugar because they had an appointment with him.
MR. HAGEL: I would never blame Sen. Lugar. (Laughter.) I didn’t do it in 12 years and I am not about ready to start. There are some I would blame, but I wouldn’t blame Lugar.
MR. : Blame me.
MR. HAGEL: I will not blame you either. But thank you for your timely message. Kind of the Russian Paul Revere is what we have here. (Laughter.) Thank you. I don’t know if that was very diplomatic, but – (laughter) – the hell with it. I don’t have to worry about this anymore. (Laughter.) It is just I don’t embarrass Fred and Brent. That is all that they ask for. Not more than just every now and then.
So our Russian colleagues who you will meet are part of the morning’s activities. And their role will be particularly important because one of the things that we wanted to address this morning in the couple hours that we have was getting both sides of this issue – not in the sense that we are going to renegotiate what Ellen and her colleagues negotiated, but we all know, as I have noted, that this document must be approved by the Council Federation of the Russian government and as well as our –
MR. : (Inaudible) – both houses.
MR. HAGEL: And the Duma, as well as our simplistic version of just one house. That is the Senate. So we have launched a pretty successful document and effort, but it has a ways to go. And so that is why it is important this morning that we get a perspective from those who will have an awful lot to do with leading this effort in both the Russian Federation Duma and Council, as well as our Senate. So thank you.
Also, we thought it was important to get some perspective and reflect on what happened during the first START I efforts, those who were most involved. We have our former national security advisor, Brent Scowcroft, who will be participating here in just a moment, who was in the middle of this at the time, who did an awful lot to shape and get this thing through, as well as the U.S. government’s senior START negotiator, the chief ambassador, Rick Burt. Frank Miller, who was in the National Security Council at the time, who was really one of the senior and most defining and most active government officials. So that perspective may well help us a little bit here, too.
And then we will get to where we are. Yes?
MR. : (Inaudible) – a few words about this delegation and what –
MR. HAGEL: All right. If you hang on a minute, I will exit and get off the stage. And then we will let you have – whatever Fred wants to do actually. So that is a little bit of what we are going to do today.
And then in the end, Ambassador Kislyak will tie it up with his remarks. And he will be here a little later. Joe Cirincione is here and we appreciate you and your work, Joe. Our former ambassador, U.S. ambassador to Russia, Ambassador Collins is here. Jim, good to see you again. Thank you. So we have a number of people here who will be on the program and not up here at the time that we will work through this in the next two hours, who all had a rather significant role in this.
So did you want to do – we will go right to Brent now and then we will do –
MR. : (Inaudible, off mike) – Q&A.
MR. HAGEL: Okay.
MR. : No, I wanted to say a few words – (off mike).
MR. : I think we can do that during our Q&A. I think we should stick with the agenda.
MR. HAGEL: Why don’t we do that? And then that will give you time to spend some time and put the appropriate focus on it. With that, ladies and gentlemen, the chairman of the Atlantic Council’s International Advisory Group, among six or seven other exulted titles he has held over the years, Gen. Brent Scowcroft. (Applause.)
LT. GEN. (RET.) BRENT SCOWCROFT: Thank you, Chuck. Good morning. This introduction is really déjà vu all over again. The last time our guest speaker was here, most of you were in the audience, she is still Ellen Tauscher, only more so. (Laughter.) I introduced her the last time. I am still Brent Scowcroft, only less so. (Laughter.) So here we go.
I am delighted to introduce Ellen. She is talk about eminently qualified for her job. She is under secretary of state for arms control and international security. She came into that job from the House of Representatives, where she was on the Armed Services Committee and chairman of the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces. I first met her at that policy wonks meeting, the Verkunde conference, which is now the Munich Security Conference. It is where people go to talk about every little detail of all of these things and mostly unintelligible language. And Ellen was a star year after year as a part of the U.S. delegation to that.
So I mean, she is, if anything, overqualified for anything we ask her to do. She was a member of Congress from California. She has two national labs in her district, Lawrence Livermore and Sandia, just for starters. So she comes deeply immersed in these issues. And she in the years she has been there has just done a fantastic job.
I have got to say, she was one of the first women to have a seat on the New York Stock Exchange when it was nice to be there. (Laughter.) Ellen, it is a delight to have you. (Applause.)
ELLEN TAUSCHER: Thank you. You are the best. Thank you. Good morning, everyone. Gen. Scowcroft, thank you so much for that wonderful introduction. You are irreplaceable and indefatigable. And –
LT. GEN. SCOWCROFT: Wow. (Laughter.)
MS. TAUSCHER: And my friend, which I am so honored to have you. And Sen. Hagel, you know, we left the Congress and what the heck happened? (Laughter.) And Fred, I am just always impressed by the Atlantic Council in the 21st century and your leadership and all of the great people that you have here and all of the great people that you bring into these environments so that we can talk about some of the most pressing public policy issues. So thank you for your friendship and I want to say it is an honor to be here with all of you.
You know, I just wanted to say that I am also happy that our Russian friends will be coming. Sergey, good to see you. Some of you know I spent much of the month of March at the negotiating table in Geneva. Having dedicated that much time and effort to working through the tough issues with our Russian counterparts and having served in Congress and worked on a few deals there, I think I know what a good bipartisan agreement actually looks like. And in my experience, such agreements enhance our national security. And that is what the new START agreement will do.
It will ensure and maintain the strategic balance between the United States and Russia at lower weapons levels. And it will promote strategic stability by ensuring transparency and predictability over the life of the treaty. Meanwhile, the United States will sustain a safe, secure and effective nuclear force to protect ourselves and our allies.
So let me just take a few minutes to explain to you why a new START treaty would enhance our national security. I want to make a case that it deserves bipartisan support. Much has changed since the first START treaty was signed by Presidents Bush and Gorbachev in 1991. Today’s leading threats, nuclear proliferation and terrorism, do not require the United States and Russia to deploy large nuclear arsenals.
Let’s just start with the basics. The new START treaty includes a 30-percent reduction from the maximum limit on deployed strategic warheads from the Moscow treaty down to 1550. There is also an aggregate limit of 700 for deployed strategic delivery vehicles and a separate ceiling of 800 for non-deployed and deployed launchers. The verification regime builds on the knowledge of each other’s nuclear forces and practices gained from 15 years of implementing START. And it reflects the improved U.S.-Russia relations since the end of the Cold War.
It was designed to be effective, while at the same time, reducing the implementation costs and mitigating the operational disruptions that each side had experienced under START. It includes on-site inspections of both deployed and non-deployed systems at the same facilities that were subject to inspections from START, six-month data exchanges, exhibitions and extensive notifications.
Although telemetry from flight tests is not required to verify the limitations of the new START treaty, the treaty includes provisions for the exchange of telemetry as a means of enhanced transparency. Telemetry broadcast during missile flight tests will be exchanged on an equal agreed number of flight tests each year, up to a maximum of five.
This verification regime will help build trust and prevent misunderstandings and miscalculations. It will provide both sides with the confidence that each other is upholding its obligations. And the new treaty allows both sides to determine our own force structures, giving us the flexibility to deploy, maintain and modernize our strategic nuclear force in a way that best protects our national security interests.
Beyond what is in the treaty, getting the United States Senate’s advice and consent would allow us to build upon a constructive partnership will Russia. We have already reaped some diplomatic gains, notably improved relations with Russia, by doing the new START treaty. Disagreement over issues like missile defense remain, but we are now talking to each other as opposed to just talking past each other.
Our cooperation is a prerequisite for moving toward tough internationally binding sanctions in Iran. So will this agreement result in Iran and North Korea changing their behavior? It is very unlikely. But ratification of the new START treaty could help us persuade other nations to hold countries accountable. It would also demonstrate that the United States is living up to our obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. That is an important achievement as we head up to New York to the NPT Review Conference next month.
I want to say a word about missile defense because there has been a lot of vocal critics expending a tremendous amount of energy on this. While the treaty’s preamble acknowledges the interrelationship between offensive and defensive systems, which is nothing new because that interrelationship was also acknowledged in the START treaty, the new START treaty is about strategic offensive arms. The new START treaty does not constrain United States missile defense programs. The new START treaty does not constrain United States missile defense programs. (Laughter.) The new START treaty does not constrain United States missile defense programs.
The United States will continue to improve our missile defenses as needed to defend ourselves, our deployed troops and our allies and partners. I didn’t go to treaty school before I was sent to Geneva in March. But I have done a few deals in my life. I spent 13 years in Congress, part of it as a chairman of an important subcommittee that does a bill every year, so there is a little negotiating that you do there. I was on Wall Street as a very small child. Did a deal or two there.
And let me tell you what a treaty is for those of you that haven’t been up close to one. A treaty is like most contracts. It is a series of agreed statements. It is what the parties agree to. And they also include many times obligations that both parties have to each other. Unilateral statements are not agreed statements. And the unilateral statements that we have put into most treaties that we have signed, including the previous START treaty, is exactly that, a non-agreed statement. It is a statement by each government, ex-officio of the agreement in the treaty, which is agreed. And mostly these are statements that are political in nature, but sometimes they are not.
But what they are is not legally binding, although we have historically made them part of the package for ratification because we believe in transparency. So the unilateral statement that Russia put out on missile defense is not an integral part of the new START treatment, it is not legally binding and it will not constrain United States missile defense programs.
As the administration’s ballistic missile defense review, which is up on the Web, and our budget plans make clear, we will deploy the most effective missile defense possible. And the new START treaty does not impose any additional cost or inconvenience to those efforts. In fact, the president’s budget request for fiscal year 2011 is nearly $10 billion for missile defense, almost $700 million more than the current year’s funding.
Our Russian friends needed some assurances as it negotiated deeper reductions in the absence of an ABM treaty and that is why we were very careful to put those assurances both in the preamble and article five, paragraph three that there is an interrelationship between offense and defenses. But we also have made very positive statements, almost ad nauseam, that our limited missile defense systems are not targeted to the Russians at all. And frankly, they would be immediately overwhelmed by the capabilities of our friends in Russia. So we make this very clear as often as we can, although perhaps some people cannot be persuaded by the facts.
The United States made a unilateral statement to clarify that our missile defense systems are not intended to affect the strategic balance with Russia, but would instead be employed to defend the United States and to defend our deployed forces, allies and partners against regional threats.
Let me talk about one more topic for those of you wearing the green eyeshades. The new START treaty counts the actual number of warheads carried on deployed ICBMs and SLBMs. Since the heavy bombers on both sides are no longer on alert, the sides agreed to an attribution rule of one warhead per heavy bomber rather than count heavy bombers at zero warheads. This strikes a balance between the fact that neither side has nuclear armaments on its bombers on a day-to-day basis and the fact that these bombers nonetheless have the capability to deliver nuclear weapons.
For many of us in the room, arms control and nonproliferation have been our life’s work. But with the Soviet Union and the United States no longer aiming thousands and thousands of nuclear missiles at each other, the public awareness has dissipated. Secretary Clinton even answered a question from a reporter three weeks ago about whether Americans’ eyes glaze over at the topic of arms control.
I know that won’t happen here, nor should it. President Obama, Secretary Clinton and Secretary Gates have all painted chilling pictures of what would happen if terrorists acquired nuclear material or a nuclear weapon. Even if the relationship between the United States and Russia does not generate the interest that it one did, a terrorist with a bomb does. Just look at the buzz over two new movies, “Nuclear Tipping Point” and “Countdown to Zero.” The treaty already has support from Gen. Scowcroft’s former colleagues, Republican secretaries of state, George Shultz, Henry Kissinger, President Clinton’s defense secretary, Bill Perry, and former senator to the Armed Services Committee, Chairman Sam Nunn.
In today’s political climate, that is considered news. But Republican and Democratic administrations traditionally have worked together with Congress to reduce the risk of nuclear war and to maintain a safe, secure and effective deterrent to protect the United States and our allies in Europe, the Pacific and elsewhere. The Senate approved the INF, START and Moscow treaties by healthy margins, all with over 90 votes.
The Obama administration negotiated an agreement that should enable that tradition to continue. We already have started working with senators to brief them and get them comfortable about what is in and what is not in the new START treaty. And on the issue of stockpile management, we have proposed significant spending increases. As we engage with the Senate as to let them know what is in and what is not in the treaty, we can achieve and earn a significant level of bipartisan support.
I hope to work with all of you in the coming months to do just that. Fred, thanks so much. And I am happy to take a few questions if you have them. (Applause.)
MR. KEMPE: Madame Secretary, it is wonderful to have you back at the Atlantic Council.
MS. TAUSCHER: Thank you, Fred.
MR. KEMPE: Thank you for your kind words. And Gen. Scowcroft, also wonderful always to have you at the Atlantic Council. Other than the redundancy in your address about missile defense, I thought it was actually a brilliant presentation.
MS. TAUSCHER: Thank you.
MR. KEMPE: But I think you made your point. I am going to ask – also, because of so much interest and because we have such limited time this morning, we are going to work through the break and go just 10 minutes longer on this panel than planned as we started a bit late. Let me start with one question for Secretary Tauscher and then one question for Gen. Scowcroft. Then I will go straight to the audience.
My question for you is this looked a little harder than some people thought in the beginning. And I wondered what you learned through going through that. President Medvedev talked about how he learned the word, “telemetry,” very well. And what does this say about the way forward both with Russia and with arms control?
And then my question for Gen. Scowcroft – and either one of you can pick up on the other question if you would like to – is this was meant to be part of a reset button. So I guess we would have called it a confidence-building measure in other times. Do you see it operating in that way with the Russians? Are you seeing movement that you find encouraging in any way, particularly regard with Iran or other issues from this?
MS. TAUSCHER: Thank you, Fred. Well, I think we have to go back to January of 2009, when President Obama took office and kind of remember the context of things. We had our relationships with Russia were not warm. The muscle memory of negotiating treaties had atrophied. We had some turbulence that summer. So you know, we had a lot of issues that caused us to have not the brightest prospects of moving quickly because we had the inconvenience of a treaty that was expiring on December 5, 2009, and not a lot to do with that.
A decision was made fairly quickly not to just extend the treaty, but to have a comprehensive reset that included warming the relationship for many reasons, not only because of the strategic balance that it creates when the United States and Russia are working well together, but to also use that warming – use the treaty to warm the relationship, to begin to have both President Medvedev and President Obama, Secretary Clinton, Minister Lavrov, the entire apparatus, nuclear national security apparatus of the Obama administration project itself with their partners in the Russian Federation to begin to create a relationship, one that had to take baby steps in the beginning, but moved forward.
And there were two critical meetings, one in April and one in July between President Obama and President Medvedev, where they framed the conversation on START and agreed to go forward. We have deployed our teams to Geneva, big teams of people with lots of experience. But at the same time, there was a lot of distrust that we had to deal with. So you are right. It was a difficult circumstance.
In the end, in November, the president decided wisely to not just have a treaty at expiration, but to get the best treaty. So we decided to work through the early part of this year. There were a number of issues that were fundamentally important to getting right. In the end, as there always are, there are policy issues and political issues that need to be worked. We had four or five of those at the end that were very important to get worked. President Obama and President Medvedev were involved very significantly and so was Secretary Clinton, Jim Jones, Adm. Mullen, a number of people were deployed.
And in the end, I believe that we have not only a treaty that works both for the relationship in a very longstanding way, creates the kind of transparency. It helps us live up to our article six NPT obligations in a very visible way, which is important because the president has made the nonproliferation treaty a central pillar of his nonproliferation strategy and disarmament strategy. And it also gives us a good partner on a number of issues, including things like Iran and other issues, where size does matter.
So I think that there are a lot of pieces to this. But I think in the end, it was a success not only to get this kind of treaty that I think is bipartisan ratifiable, but also because it helps us with a relationship that is fundamentally important.
MR. KEMPE: Quick, quick follow up and a quick answer to this because I know this one, you could go on for another hour. The American inspectors pulling out of Votkinsk. Are you satisfied that what you have got to fill in from that? I know some people aren’t. Are you satisfied that you have got what you want for inspections? And why did the Russians care that much about changing that?
MS. TAUSCHER: Well, I will let the Russians speak for themselves on why they cared. But the fact that they did is a fundamental part of a negotiation. And what you have to have is a verification package that matches the treaty. And we have that. We have a treaty that – keep in mind that this is a treaty that is a hybrid between the START treaty and what was then called the Moscow Treaty or SORT. And so we wanted the elements of both of those treaties. We wanted a very good disarmament treaty with a good verification package.
But at the same time, you know, this is modest in a sense of the kinds of reductions. But it is huge in the relationship and it is huge in the visibility and the optics that we put forward in the fact that we can put this treaty together as quickly as we did. START took a number of years to get done. This treaty took less than a year to get done.
So I think it speaks to the fact that everything is right sized. It is right sized for the size of the reductions and the verification is 21st century verification. And it also builds a lot of transparency.
MR. KEMPE: And Gen. Scowcroft, you can certainly answer the first question I posed to Secretary Tauscher. But the question of the reset, is the relationship reset? What are you seeing in other aspects that would either answer that yes, no or I am not sure?
LT. GEN. SCOWCROFT: Well, it is a big button. We are pushing on it. And I think we are seeing results now. But we started from a very, very difficult position. The relationship was scratchy to say the least. And there was a lot of hostility built up. And I think that what has happened in these negotiations is that hostility is gradually working its way out. And I think this treaty, you know, detractors will say, well, it isn’t anything. And some will say, well, it is too much.
But to me, it is a necessary step to go from START I and SORT, which were very different kinds of treaties, and mold them so that we can proceed on the whole architecture of arms control, which started in the Johnson administration. How do we do arms control? And it started out the first thing we have to do is freeze the forces so we don’t have things just going up willy nilly. Freeze them. Then look at the structure of the two forces. How can we compare them? How do they balance? And then when we agree, we stop the increase. We agree how to count things, how to compare the forces. Then we can get to how can we reduce them in a way, which increases their stability and reduces the incentive to a conflict and a crisis?
That is the overall process. Now, to me, this START treaty sort of gets us back on track again. The reductions aren’t big. They weren’t designed to be. If we had made it the next step, it would have gone on for several years. And the first thing we needed to do was to nail in place all of the counting rules, all of the telemetry agreements, all of those things because without them, we lose everything we have had before. And that is what this did.
And I think in the course of it now, I think my sense is without being close to the negotiations at all that the two sides feel better about each other, a lot better than they did before. So I think the stage is set now to move forward.
MR. KEMPE: How big of a test case will Iran be for that relationship, this new relationship?
LT. GEN. SCOWCROFT: It shouldn’t be a test case at all in my sense. Iran is important in a variety of ways. And the reset button itself will help the Iranian thing. But I wouldn’t get the START negotiations mixed up with Iran. They are different.
MR. KEMPE: Secretary Tauscher?
MS. TAUSCHER: Yeah, I think Brent is always right. (Laughter.)
LT. GEN. SCOWCROFT: I wish.
MS. TAUSCHER: This is a very big relationship and there are many, many, many different issues that we are dealing with all the time. Look, there were things that we flat out don’t agree with the Russians on. That is what – but this is a relationship that needs capacity. It needs a broad enough bench so that you can manage the things that you can plan for and those unattended things that you can’t plan for and just not have the relationship tipping over all the time.
It is a necessity for the stability, I believe, of the world for the United States and Russia to be able to work on big problems together and to have a relationship of trust where it doesn’t take a really long time to get things done. This is the 21st century. You have got to be able to get things done.
And at the same time, this is not about a race to the bottom where we just find the sweet spot, divide and conquer and agree. These negotiations were very, very tough. The Russian negotiators were absolute patriots. They held their positions. They worked hard. But I think that we had American patriots on our side. And what we did was we found the places where we could work. When we needed to kick it to the presidents, that happened – or the secretary or Jim Jones – but I think that in the end, we have a treaty that will survive time and will enhance the relationship.
MR. KEMPE: Thank you. Questions from the audience? I know, Sergey, you wanted to jump in. If you could – for those that don’t know you in the audience, if you could identify yourself and to whom you want to address your question. We actually are recording this. Thank you.
Q: I am Sergey – (inaudible) – Canada and I am the only member of the Russian delegation who came in time because well, I knew what the traffic be this morning. My question is to Secretary Tauscher concerning some innovations in this treaty. Unlike previous treaties, it does not provide for any sub-ceilings except in one case, something which never existed before. That is the ceiling for deployed launchers, 700 deployed launchers and the ceiling for deployed and un-deployed launchers, 800. So 100 un-deployed launchers gap.
What is the American explanation? Why it was necessary to have this quota of 100 of un-deployed launchers because previously it was never done. Thank you.
MS. TAUSCHER: Well, you know, I am not going to go into the gory details of these negotiations specifically. But I will tell you that in every case where limits were achieved, they were achieved for two primary reasons. The tenets of the treaty are very clear. Each side has the ability and the right and the necessity of making their own choices on what kind of forces they are going to deploy and how they are going to do it.
And because this is about strategic offensive weapons, launchers and other vehicles are very, very important because you have to pair them in order to get where you want to go. So it was important to have accounting rules that we could understand not only served, as Brent and Fred said, this treaty, but future treaties. Accounting rules are very important because you want to know apples are apples and oranges are oranges.
So in this case, it was important because we wanted to have a sense for how you match the warhead itself with the delivery vehicle. And we thought that this 700, 800 was a comfort level that the Russians had partly because of the mobility of your missiles. And it was important to have a kind of flexibility there. And that is where we thought that the 1550, 700 and 800 came together very nicely. There is a lot of transparency in those inspections are done.
So I think that once again, it showed that we were trying to have a 21st century treaty that dealt with the realities. We don’t have the same systems. We can’t match them one for one. You can’t pair them off and then take them away because we have a different force posture. So it is important for us – it was important for us to have that so that we could actually have the visibility and the kind of confidence that we wanted to build as to how you match the warheads with the vehicle.
MR. KEMPE: Thank you. Please.
Q: Hello, Tom Risen, National Journal. Where does the administration stand in its proliferation strategy on uranium enrichment? Some said that nations like Brazil attended the recent alternative nuclear summit in Tehran because they were afraid that a precedent would be set against nuclear enrichment for nuclear power in the whole proliferation strategy.
MS. TAUSCHER: Well, we are very clear, as the previous administration has been, that we do not want the Iranian regime to get a nuclear weapon. We want the Iranians to be more transparent and to be living up to their U.N. Security Council resolutions and cooperating with the IAEA. So what is clear is that we don’t like the trend lines in Iran. We don’t like their rhetoric. And we think that they have been – we found them cheating just in September on the Qom facility.
So you know, the Obama administration made very clear very early on that they were going to change tactics and offer a handout to engage with the Iranians. Up until now, that has been rejected. As the president said, he wanted to put a hand out, but not be met with a fist. And we think that the Iranians are being reckless because they are not creating this level of confidence both in the region and with the international community as to what they are actually doing. They are making some very verbose statements and claims about enriching up to 20 percent and other things.
And I think what is important is that there is a growing sense in the international community that the destabilizing activities of the Iranians need to be met with a very, very strong series of U.N. Security Council resolutions. And we are working very hard to build a coalition to do that.
Q: Would that extend to Brazil if they wanted to make nuclear power?
MS. TAUSCHER: Well, everyone has the right, especially NPT parties have the right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The question of enrichment and reprocessing is about the additional protocol and what we want people to agree to do. We believe that it is important that having nuclear power and access to cheaper electricity is certainly a sovereign right. But at the same time, we believe that it is important that countries are not enriching and that we don’t – that we have a way of managing that and that we have the visibility through the IAEA on that.
MR. KEMPE: Gen. Scowcroft, I wonder if you could pick up whatever part of that you would like, but specifically the way forward with Iran and the hope that sanctions will bring the desired result. Do you share that hope?
LT. GEN. SCOWCROFT: Well, do you really want to talk about Iran now? (Laughter.) I am willing to, but I think that diverts us to a very different – in a very different direction.
MR. KEMPE: Well, maybe in the context of the question.
LT. GEN. SCOWCROFT: The question, I think the whole issue of uranium enrichment is one that we have to proceed forward. We are right now dealing with it in the course of Iran. But the question, Brazil and so on. And I think eventually, we, and hopefully in conjunction with the Russians, will come up with a system where we will provide enriched uranium as nuclear fuel to anybody who wants – who meets IAEA criteria and who wants nuclear power.
But to say willy nilly, if you are a good guy, you can go ahead and enrich uranium, if you are a bad guy, you can’t. In the end, it won’t work. But we are not there yet. That is a step forward. And that is something that I think we need to work carefully with the Russians. They are doing part of it. We are doing part of it. But we haven’t put it together in something we are prepared to present to the U.N. And I think that is what we need to do.
MR. KEMPE: Let me take two more questions here. I see Jan first and then Harlan. We will take both of the questions and come back.
Q: Hi, Jan Lodal, Atlantic Council, other things. Madame Secretary, the Nuclear Posture Review was just released. It says that what we should focus on now are the terrorist threat and non-proliferation and more or less explicitly says that the Cold War standoff between the U.S and Russia is no longer a threat. Some have argued that the treaty doesn’t look like a treaty between two powers don’t think each other as a threat. And other than improving the relations, which might then lead to more help on these problems of terrorists acquiring a weapon and proliferation, it doesn’t have any direct impact on that.
How would you respond to that?
MR. KEMPE: Let me pick up Harlan as well.
Q: I am Harlan Ullman. My question is for Ellen Tauscher. When do you think the Senate might actually vote on this treaty? And what do you think the benefits and costs will be of that particular timing regarding U.S. and Russian relations?
MR. KEMPE: Can we hit the December timeframe?
MS. TAUSCHER: Well, you know, let me just say that this is an election year, so the number of voting days left in the election year is always up to speculation. But both the House and the Senate are meant to be in through October. We expect to have the treaty ready to go up to the Senate next month, early next month. And we are, you know, in consultations with Sen. Kerry and Sen. Lugar, Sen. Levin and Sen. Feinstein and other committees that want to have hearings. And then the administration will be talking obviously to Sen. Reid about the floor time that will be needed.
But I think that, you know, the decision is that we would like to try to get it done this year. And that means sooner than later because as you go into the election year in the fall, you know, there is no predictability of how long the Senate will be in before the election. And then there is always a question of whether there will be a lame duck session or not. So we cannot bank on the fact that we are going to get more than one chance. So you know, the decision to go forward will be a decision that the White House will make. But we are going to be ready to deliver the treaty in the next few weeks.
And as far as the NPR and the non-proliferation issues and the relationship, I would say that this is – this new START treaty is the right treaty for right now with the relationship that we have with Russia. It is not an end state. It is a start. And it is the beginning of what we hope will be a growing level of trust and opportunity to create – you know, to move away from what was mutually assured destruction to mutually assured stability.
And that change is not one that you can just – it is not like a light switch. A reset is not a light switch that you flip on and off and goes to full power. It is more like little vacuum tubes that are heating up and coming up. And that is where we are. And I think that we have a treaty that is right for now. It is well – we got everything we could get. Both sides got everything they could get considering the atmosphere and the force levels that both want to maintain and the kind of threats we perceive both strategically and regionally. And I think that this is a bipartisan agreement that can be supported in a bipartisan way.
So I think that we should go forward with it. But it does leave open the door of what is next.
MR. KEMPE: Gen. Scowcroft –
Q: (Inaudible) – Sen. Shaheen is going to be here this morning, obviously – Sen. Shaheen is going to be here this morning on one of the panels, so obviously can address that as well.
MR. KEMPE: Gen. Scowcroft, this question of a treaty between countries that are not calling each other adversaries. I don’t know whether you want to comment on that or more the question what comes next. Do we now need the multilateralization or arms control? Does it have to get out of the bilateral sphere?
LT. GEN. SCOWCROFT: Well, I think eventually we do. But, you know, the U.S. and Russia have 95 percent of all the nuclear weapons. So we have to come to some kind of an understanding, an accord and then branch out. So we have got a long way to go bilaterally before we are prepared to present to the world what we think is a most stabilizing structure to deal with the fact that we have a nuclear world.
MR. KEMPE: This panel is out of time. But I am going to throw a 30-second question to you and you can make very brief answers because this is a little bit where you started. You, Gen. Scowcroft, push important issues through Congress. Sen. Tauscher, you have been in Congress. Will this be a partisan knockdown drag-out fight in the spirit of where Washington is right now? We don’t like that to happen on national security issues by and large. Or is this going to be a national security health-care fight?
LT. GEN. SCOWCROFT: I hope not. These arms control treaties have never been Republican-Democrat. They have been conservative-liberal. But they have never been very partisan. My guess is we won’t have a 90 vote. But I hope and I think gradually coming – this is a technical treaty, which really sets the stage to moving forward. It doesn’t do any of the drastic things that people talk about.
Eventually, for example, we have to bring missile defense in. You can’t ignore the relationship between offense and defense. Our defense systems are not designed to deal with the Soviet Union, which is when they started. But those are for the future. And right now this sets the stage for us to move forward. And it should not be controversial no matter how liberal or conservative you are.
MS. TAUSCHER: The most important thing is many of the people in the audience work for NGOs and think tanks and other organizations – I see Daryl Kimball – that really are very important for us to amplify the message here. When I talk about muscle memory, I am really not kidding. It has been a very long time, a decade, since the American public has been focused on this issue and really understands the intricacies of it.
We all know because of – for lots of reasons. I happened to go to work in 1996 for 10,000 people that live in Livermore, California, that work at the national labs. And I actually took my job seriously and thought I had to know what they did. And that is how – no good deed goes unpunished, and that is how I am sitting here. (Laughter.)
But the key here is these are issues that for many Americans and frankly, publics and parliaments around the world, they believe these things have been settled. They don’t know that the United States hasn’t ratified the comprehensive test-ban treaty. And so when they find it out, they are kind of a little alarmed about it. And what we need is the political will to get things done. This is once again about political will. This is about the political will of the American people to let their senators know what they want them to do. And part of this has to be a public debate.
So I really encourage you, those of you that are blogging and writing, to help us get this message out as to what this treaty is about and do it as much as you can in a non-biased way and put the facts out. The treaty will be up on the Internet. The debate will be certainly part of a very visible C-SPAN thing. But we are going to need the political will of the American people and other people, publics and parliaments in the future, if we go to a multilateral track to get the support to make these kinds of reductions and have the transparency in these agreements and the verification regimes that we want.
MR. KEMPE: Thank you. I am sorry. We are out of time for this panel. But before I have you all thank Gen. Scowcroft and Secretary Tauscher, let me just tee up the next group because as you are applauding, I want Frank Miller to bring his group to the stage.
And we are going to have three distinguished panelists, Ambassador Rick Burt, former U.S. chief negotiator, original START, and star last week of the Daily Show, which we at the Atlantic Council hold above all things. And Vassily Boriak, the senior counselor at the Embassy of the Russian Federation and former Russian representative to START implementation. And then Frank Miller, former special assistant to President George W. Bush and senior director for defense policy and arms control. In his career, he was very influential during the negotiations on START I and START II treaty. So – sorry, on the START I and new START treaty. So it is going to be a great panel. But you got us off to a wonderful start.
MS. TAUSCHER: Thank you.
MR. KEMPE: Thank you for laying the topics out for us, Gen. Scowcroft, Secretary Tauscher. (Applause.)