16. Nuclear arms control
A number of positive developments in nuclear arms control highlighted 1993: the USA and Russia signed the START II Treaty; Belarus and Kazakhstan acceded to the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as non-nuclear weapon states; fewer nuclear explosions were conducted than in any year since 1959; and the international community reached a consensus for the first time that a multilateral comprehensive test ban treaty should be negotiated. In addition, international support for a ban on the production of fissile material for weapon purposes appeared to become universal as the world's governments became increasingly aware of the need to focus on controlling and disposing of nuclear materials as well as nuclear weapons themselves.
However, the `unfinished business' of the cold war remained unfinished in 1993 since neither the START I nor the START II Treaty entered into force. As the year ended, there were no binding international agreements in force which limited strategic offensive nuclear weapons. The US and Russian governments declined to adopt several important initiatives, including reciprocal monitoring of nuclear warhead dismantlement, comprehensive declarations of stockpiles of nuclear weapons and all fissile material with reciprocal measures to verify those declarations, and the separation of warheads from their deployed intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launchers.
In 1993 numerous important initiatives were taken to advance the nuclear arms control agenda, but there was little follow-through producing concrete results. This raises serious questions for future nuclear arms control and non-proliferation efforts. If the two major nuclear weapon powers are unable to bring the START treaties into effect, it will be more difficult for them to make the case at the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference that they are fulfilling their obligations under Article VI to bring an end to the nuclear arms race `at an early date'. Furthermore, if Ukraine ultimately becomes a new member of the `nuclear club', this would undermine confidence in the general effectiveness of international non-proliferation efforts. Thus, the new nuclear arms control agenda of non-proliferation could be undermined if the world fails to finish the old agenda.
The top priorities in 1994 have to be: completing the CTBT; bringing the START I and START II treaties into force; and making progress on a convention to ban the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons. Although this is a full agenda, it should not preclude renewed efforts to take three more initiatives. First, the USA and Russia should agree to a warhead dismantlement regime with reciprocal monitoring. Second, the nuclear weapon states should openly exchange data on the levels of their nuclear stockpiles, including data on their stockpiles of fissile material, with verification arrangements to confirm these declarations. Third, these states, particularly the USA and Russia, should not only de-target their ICBMs but also separate their warheads from all or at least most of their land-based missiles so that it would be impossible to launch those ICBMs quickly.
Appendix 16A. Documents on nuclear arms control