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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

18 July 2002

"The New Strategic Framework," by Under Secretary of State John Bolton

(U.S. faces new international security situation, he says) (1140)
(The following article by Under Secretary of State John Bolton
appeared in the latest issue of "U.S. Foreign Policy Agenda" devoted
to the topic "Weapons of Mass Destruction: The New Strategic
Framework." This article and the rest of the electronic journal, which
was published on July 18, may be viewed on the Web at:
http://usinfo.state.gov/journals/itps/0702/ijpe/ijpe0702.htm. There
are no republication restrictions.)
The New Strategic Framework: A Response to 21st Century Threats
By John R. Bolton
(The New Strategic Framework is an "appropriate reflection not only of
the post-Cold War relationship between the United States and Russia,
but of the new security threats we face in the 21st century," says
John R. Bolton, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and
International Security. He says the framework, agreed to by Presidents
Bush and Putin during their Moscow summit in May, involves "reducing
offensive nuclear weapons, creating defensive systems that protect
against missile attacks, strengthening nonproliferation and
counterproliferation measures, and cooperating with Russia to combat
Since the tragic events of September 11, when the world was made
witness to the deadly ambitions of terrorists, the Bush administration
has moved rapidly to counter imminent terrorist threats and identify
future ones. While the attacks on New York and Washington were
delivered by relatively low-tech means, they inflicted enormous damage
and unprecedented casualties. As we combat the threat of terrorism, we
must be prepared for ever-escalating means of attack from weapons
designed to kill far greater numbers of people and wreak havoc on our
The risks posed by the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD)
have been with us for some time, but now, as the United States works
to rid the world of the terrorist threat, we must not discount the
real and added danger posed by chemical, biological, and nuclear
weapons falling into the hands of terrorists. As President Bush
warned, "Every nation in our coalition must take seriously the threat
of terror on a catastrophic scale -- terror armed with biological,
chemical, or nuclear weapons." Dictators in hostile states such as
Iran, Iraq, and North Korea already possess some WMD and are
developing others. Their terrorist allies are in search of such
weapons, and would waste no opportunity to use them against us.
As we survey the security environment, a strong link between
terrorist-sponsoring states and the spread of WMD becomes readily
apparent. We believe that with very few exceptions, terrorist groups
have not acquired and cannot acquire WMD without the support of
nation-states. Thus we are moving to end state sponsorship of terror,
and to expose those states that are acquiring WMD, often in violation
of global nonproliferation treaties.
In countering these urgent threats, the Bush administration believes
that the Cold War concepts of mutual assured destruction -- the threat
of an overwhelming retaliatory strike in response to provocation --
and containment are no longer appropriate. These tactics made sense
when our greatest threat came from a nuclear-armed enemy superpower.
But they do not make sense in a world where itinerant terrorists are
poised to do the bidding of dictatorial regimes hostile to the United
States and its allies. The international security situation has
changed, and we must adapt our defenses and resources to it.
In response to this new international security situation, Presidents
Bush and Putin agreed upon a comprehensive security strategy called
the New Strategic Framework during their May 2002 summit meeting in
Moscow. The New Strategic Framework involves reducing offensive
nuclear weapons, creating defensive systems that protect against
missile attacks, strengthening nonproliferation and
counterproliferation measures, and cooperating with Russia to combat
terrorism. It was created out of the belief that the more cooperative,
post-Cold War relationship between Russia and the United States allows
for new approaches to arms control issues.
Accordingly, Presidents Bush and Putin signed a historic document
pledging to reduce their countries' strategic nuclear forces over the
next 10 years to a total of between 1,700 and 2,200 operationally
deployed strategic warheads. This reduced reliance on offensive
nuclear weapons forms a key component of the New Strategic Framework,
along with a new concept of deterrence based on a limited missile
In June the United States formally withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic
Missile Treaty, allowing it to develop and deploy a system to protect
against the ballistic missile threat from rogue states. The ABM
Treaty, signed by the United States and the Soviet Union in 1972,
posed fundamental problems to the U.S. need to defend against the
growing missile threat -- a threat not in existence when the treaty
was written. The treaty also hampered the development of normalized,
constructive relations with the Russians, based as it was on the Cold
War notion of mutual assured destruction. The United States is now at
work on six underground missile interceptor silos in Fort Greely,
Alaska, and plans are under way to deploy layered defenses -- from the
ground, sea, and air -- that will provide protection against a limited
missile attack for our country, our friends, and our allies. We plan
to work with Russia and our allies on the research and development of
such a system, as the missile threat from rogue states lies on their
doorstep as well.
Stopping the spread of missile and nuclear technology through
nonproliferation efforts forms another critical element of the New
Strategic Framework. Presidents Bush and Putin have agreed to step up
cooperation on preventing the spread of WMD. We and the Russians have
reaffirmed our support for important global treaties such as the
Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the
Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), and the Chemical Weapons
Convention (CWC), and the United States will continue to insist upon
full compliance among their respective members. In addition to these
global treaties, multilateral regimes such as the Missile Technology
Control Regime (MTCR) and the Wassenaar Arrangement also play a
critical role in controlling the export of sensitive or dual-use
We have ongoing discussions with the Russians about our concerns over
the proliferation of missile and nuclear technology by some Russian
entities to countries like Iran. We have pledged to work with Russia
to insure that it makes strong efforts to stop proliferation by
enforcing export control laws and punishing violators. Above all, we
must insure that would-be proliferators are not allowed access to the
materials and technology needed to develop WMD.
The New Strategic Framework's comprehensive security arrangement is a
more appropriate reflection not only of the post-Cold War relationship
between the United States and Russia, but of the new security threats
we face in the 21st century. These will be characterized by
transnational terrorist threats that are harder to isolate and
identify, and by the very real dangers that biological, chemical, or
nuclear technology pose when hijacked by hostile forces. Partnership
and cooperation between the United States and Russia has been a key
objective of the Bush administration from the beginning, and our
countries will work together to halt the dangers that threaten us and
the rest of the civilized world.
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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