11 August 2004
Persistent Diplomacy Prerequisite for Nonproliferation Advances
Senator Lugar lists 12 breakthroughs to be pursued
for WMD security
Aggressive and persistent diplomacy is needed more than additional
funding to expand the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program
effectively, according to one of the program's authors.
Senator Richard Lugar, who along with former Senator Sam Nunn
wrote the legislation enacted in 1991, said that while he appreciates
that both U.S. presidential candidates are supportive of the program
and there have been calls to greatly increase its funding, "In
the short run, increasing funding does not ensure that Russia's
vast WMD arsenal will be reduced faster or more efficiently than
current capabilities." The Indiana Republican made his remarks
in a speech to the National Press Club in Washington August 11.
The original Nunn-Lugar program used U.S. technical expertise
and money to safeguard, deactivate, and destroy weapons of mass
destruction in countries of the former Soviet Union. In 2003, President
Bush signed the Nunn-Lugar Expansion Act which allows a portion
of the program's funding to be used wherever nonproliferation opportunities
"At this stage," Senator Lugar said, "diplomatic breakthroughs
with resistant Russian authorities are almost a prerequisite to
putting major funding increases to work." He explained that more
funding could be used to increase the missile dismantlement capacity
at Surovatikha, for example, but that would only be useful if Russia
was willing to deliver more than the four missiles a month they
currently turn over for destruction.
He noted that although the Russian government has opened many
facilities to the Nunn-Lugar program, others remain closed. "Convincing
Russia to accelerate its dismantlement schedules, to conclude umbrella
agreements that limit liability for contractors, and to open its
remaining closed facilities are the most immediate challenges for
Nunn-Lugar," he said. "Whoever wins election in November must make
the removal of these roadblocks a priority. As the roadblocks are
removed, Congress and the president, as well as our allies, must
commit the funds necessary to exploit the openings."
"This is an instrument begging to be used anywhere that we can
achieve diplomatic breakthroughs," he added.
The senator presented a list of 12 items toward which "the winning
presidential candidate ... must bring the full weight of U.S. diplomatic
and economic power to bear." The list, he said, is daunting and "illustrates
that the uncertain work of nonproliferation requires flexibility,
persistence, creativity, and allied cooperation."
The items include:
-- Achieving the complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantlement
of North Korean's nuclear program. Lugar named this the nation's
foremost nonproliferation priority;
-- Rallying the international community to apply significant pressure
on Iran to end its nuclear weapon ambitions;
-- Convincing Russia to bring its short-range, more portable,
tactical nuclear weapons into the Nunn-Lugar program;
-- Working with Russian authorities to end bureaucratic roadblocks
to nonproliferation and securing their ratification of the Nunn-Lugar
Umbrella Agreement, which protects nonproliferation contributions
from being taxed by the Russian government, and protects U.S. contractors
-- who are doing much of the most difficult work -- from liability
in case of an accident;
-- Convincing Russia to open all of its biological weapons facilities
and provide full disclosure if its chemical weapons stockpiles,
as well as finalizing a plutonium disposition agreement with them;
-- Using confidence-building measures and supporting cooperation
between India and Pakistan to bring about nuclear agreements there;
-- Controlling nuclear materials worldwide;
-- Urging our allies to meet their financial pledges for actual
nonproliferation projects in the Global Partnership Against Weapons
and Materials of Mass Destruction; and
-- Expanding the programs for employment of former weapons scientists
into the commercial sector of U.S. and European companies.
"The war on terrorism proceeds in a world awash with nuclear,
chemical, and biological weapons and materials," Lugar said. "The
minimum standard for victory in this war is the prevention of any
terrorist cell from obtaining weapons or materials of mass destruction."
Following is the text of the senator's remarks:
Since the fall of the Soviet Union, vulnerability to the use of
weapons of mass destruction has been the No. 1 national security
dilemma confronting the United States. After many years, the events
of September 11, 2001, and the subsequent public discovery of al-Qaeda's
methods, capabilities, and intentions finally brought our vulnerability
to the forefront.
The War on Terrorism proceeds in a world awash with nuclear, chemical,
and biological weapons and materials. Most of these weapons and
materials are stored in the United States and Russia, but they
also exist in India, Pakistan, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria,
Sudan, Israel, Great Britain, France, China, and perhaps other
We must anticipate that terrorists will use weapons of mass destruction
if allowed the opportunity. The minimum standard for victory in
this war is the prevention of any terrorist cell from obtaining
weapons or materials of mass destruction [WMD]. We must make certain
that all sources of WMD are identified and systematically guarded
The Nunn-Lugar Program
To combat the WMD threat in the former Soviet Union, our country
has implemented the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program.
Since enactment in late 1991, Nunn-Lugar has devoted American technical
expertise and money for joint efforts to safeguard and destroy
materials and weapons of mass destruction. To date, the weapons
systems deactivated or destroyed by the United States under these
-- 6,312 nuclear warheads;
-- 537 ICBMs [intercontinental ballistic missiles];
-- 459 ICBM silos;
-- 11 ICBM mobile missile launchers;
-- 128 bombers;
-- 708 nuclear air-to-surface missiles;
-- 408 submarine missile launchers;
-- 496 submarine launched missiles;
-- 27 nuclear submarines; and
-- 194 nuclear test tunnels.
-- 260 tons of fissile material have received either comprehensive
or rapid security upgrades;
-- Security upgrades have been made at some 60 nuclear warhead
-- 208 metric tons of Highly Enriched Uranium have been blended
down to Low Enriched Uranium;
-- 35 percent of Russia's chemical weapons have received security
-- Joint U.S.-Russian research is being conducted at 49 former
biological weapons facilities, and security improvements are underway
at 4 biological weapons sites;
-- The International Science and Technology Centers, of which
the United States is the leading sponsor, have engaged 58,000 former
weapons scientists in peaceful work;
-- The International Proliferation Prevention Program has funded
750 projects involving 14,000 former weapons scientists and created
some 580 new peaceful high-tech jobs;
-- Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan are nuclear weapons free as
a result of cooperative efforts under the Nunn-Lugar program.
These successes were never a foregone conclusion. Today, even
after more than 12 years of work, constant vigilance is required
to ensure that the Nunn-Lugar program is not encumbered by bureaucratic
obstacles or undercut by political disagreements.
[Former U.S. Senator] Sam Nunn [of Georgia] and I have devoted
much time and effort to maintaining the momentum of these programs.
We have worked in cooperation with uncounted individuals of great
dedication serving on the ground in the former Soviet Union and
in our own government. Nevertheless, from the beginning, we have
encountered resistance to the Nunn-Lugar concept in both the United
States and Russia. In our own country, opposition often has been
motivated by false perceptions that Nunn-Lugar money is foreign
assistance or by beliefs that Defense Department funds should only
be spent on troops, weapons, or other warfighting capabilities.
We also have encountered latent and persistent Cold War-attitudes
toward Russia that have led some Nunn-Lugar opponents to be suspicious
of almost any cooperation with Moscow. Until recently, we also
faced a general disinterest in nonproliferation that made gaining
support for Nunn-Lugar funding and activities an annual struggle.
Explaining and promoting the Nunn-Lugar program has been complicated
by the fact that most of its accomplishments have occurred outside
the attention of the media. Although progress is measurable, it
does not occur as dramatic events that make good news stories.
At Surovatikha, for example, Russian solid fuel SS-18 and SS-19
missiles are being dismantled at a rate of four per month. This
facility will grind on for years, until all the designated missiles
are destroyed. At Shchuchye, the United States and Russia are building
a chemical weapons destruction facility that will become operational
in 2007. It will destroy about 4.5 percent of Russia's currently
declared chemical weapons stockpile per year. This is a painstaking
business conducted far away from our shores. As such, building
a knowledgeable coalition in favor of nonproliferation programs
has never been easy.
Nunn-Lugar in the Presidential Campaign
Presidential campaigns are one of the best barometers of public
and media interest in a particular issue. By this measure, nonproliferation
enjoyed very little cachet prior to the September 11 attacks.
In 1995 and 1996 when I was running for the Republican presidential
nomination, I made combating nuclear terrorism a centerpiece of
my campaign. On the campaign trail, I spoke of the risks of nuclear
proliferation and explained what we were doing with the Nunn-Lugar
program. For example, like the other Republican presidential candidates,
I traveled to Dallas in August 1995 to bid for the backing of activists
at the "United We Stand America" Conference --- a convocation of
the independent political movement begun by Ross Perot during his
1992 presidential candidacy. I delivered a 20-minute speech on
nonproliferation, saying, "Nothing threatens the lives of American
citizens more than unsecured nuclear materials and weaponry in
the hands of Third World fanatics and terrorist groups."
I found that this was not an issue that moved voters or generated
media interest. In December 1995, I ran a four-part series of television
ads dramatizing the dangers of nuclear terrorism. In those ads
I stated: "Ready or not, the next president will be forced to deal
with (nuclear terrorism)." Some observers denounced the ads as "fear-mongering." More
charitable commentators described my focus on nonproliferation
issues as an eccentric preoccupation of a candidate who was too
interested in foreign affairs.
The 1996 presidential campaign provides a benchmark of the slow
evolution of public attention to catastrophic terrorism. We had
already seen the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, the March
1995 sarin gas attack in a Tokyo subway by the Aum Shinrikyo cult,
the April 1995 Oklahoma City truck bombing, and the November 1995
incident in which Chechen terrorists threatened to detonate a package
containing radioactive Cesium 137 in a Moscow park. Despite these
frequent reminders of our vulnerability, neither the public nor
the media paid attention to proliferation issues.
The general disinterest in this topic was underscored by an April
11, 1996, Pew Research Center poll entitled "Public Apathetic About
Nuclear Terrorism." The poll found that 59 percent of Americans
surveyed professed "not to be worried" about nuclear terrorism.
Only 13 percent "worried a great deal" about the prospect. The
summary of the poll stated: "Most Americans acknowledge the fact
that terrorists could strike a U.S. city with nuclear, chemical
or biological weapons, yet few worry about the possibility ...
The poll confirms the lack of public engagement on this issue experienced
by Senator Richard Lugar, who made this the central issue of his
unsuccessful Republican presidential campaign."
Even by 2000 -- two years after the embassy bombings in Kenya
and Tanzania -- the presidential campaign was almost devoid of
discussion of nuclear terrorism and nonproliferation. In three
extensive presidential debates, the issue of nonproliferation never
came up except for brief mentions of the need to contain Iraq by
then-Governor George W. Bush. A comprehensive feature on the candidates
on the CNN website cataloged 121 stated positions of Al Gore and
105 of George Bush. None of these 226 positions dealt with nuclear
terrorism or nonproliferation strategies. The only mentions of
nuclear issues were the opposing positions of the candidates on
the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and Missile Defense and Vice
President Gore's statement that he would continue the Clinton policy
on North Korea.
I recall this history to illustrate how much political discourse
has changed since the September 11 attacks. We have turned a corner
-- the public, the media, and the candidates are paying more attention
now. Not only are both major 2004 presidential candidates supportive
of the Nunn-Lugar program, they have delivered major speeches on
counterproliferation and their representatives are sparring over
who is more capable in this area. During the recent Democratic
primary season, we even experienced a bidding war in which candidates
competed to offer the most effusive endorsements and the largest
funding increases for the Nunn-Lugar program and other nonproliferation
efforts. Howard Dean and John Edwards called for a tripling of
funds devoted to Nunn-Lugar, while John Kerry called for a "major" increase
in funding without specifying an exact amount. The recent 9/11
Commission Report weighed in with another important endorsement
of the Nunn-Lugar program, saying that "Preventing the proliferation
of [weapons of mass destruction] warrants a maximum effort -— by
strengthening counterproliferation efforts, expanding the Proliferation
Security Initiative, and supporting the Cooperative Threat Reduction
As one of the founders of the program, I am gratified that it
has become a featured issue in the debate over national security
policy. Although resistance to the program still exists in the
U.S. government, we have achieved a rough political consensus on
the need for Cooperative Threat Reduction Programs. Perhaps as
important, a much higher percentage of policymakers are taking
an interest in the Nunn-Lugar program and other nonproliferation
Nunn-Lugar On the Ground
But this emergence from relative obscurity has been accompanied
by misconceptions. Exuberant calls to triple funding for Nunn-Lugar
are appreciated for their enthusiasm, but they do not reflect how
the program works or what is needed most.
In particular, observers of the program must understand that in
our immediate future, funding is only one of the limitations on
our nonproliferation progress. I support all the funding for the
Nunn-Lugar Program that can be used effectively. Nunn-Lugar represents
an enormous value for our national security dollar. But in the
short run, increasing funding does not ensure that Russia's vast
WMD arsenal will be reduced faster or more efficiently than current
At this stage, diplomatic breakthroughs with resistant Russian
authorities are almost a prerequisite to putting major funding
increases to work. Although the Russian government has opened a
remarkable number of facilities to the Nunn-Lugar program, others
remain closed. Convincing Russia to accelerate its dismantlement
schedules, to conclude umbrella agreements that limit liability
for contractors, and to open its remaining closed facilities are
the most immediate challenges for Nunn-Lugar. Whoever wins election
in November must make the removal of these roadblocks a priority.
As the roadblocks are removed, Congress and the president, as well
as our allies, must commit the funds necessary to exploit the openings.
Another limitation on the usefulness of increased funding in Russia
is the engineering dynamics of assembly-line dismantlement. Every
project has its own engineering challenges that require a specialized
infrastructure. In cases where that infrastructure is mature, incremental
increases in funding may be hard to absorb productively. For example,
the only way increased funding could be useful to the dismantlement
of SS-18s and SS-19s at Surovatikha would be to construct additional
dismantlement capacity to complement the current infrastructure
that can destroy four missiles a month. But at this stage, Russian
authorities have indicated that they are not prepared to deliver
more than four missiles a month to Surovatikha. Russian agreement
would be necessary both to construct a new facility and to make
such a facility worthwhile by supplying it with missiles at a faster
Complicating our efforts is the fact that the Russian government
is not a monolith. The president, the Foreign Ministry, the military,
local base commanders, and even local governments near dismantlement
sites all exert influence on the cooperation and access that we
receive. In my travels in Russia, I have often encountered situations
where Russian authorities have blocked or complicated visits to
sensitive sites. For example, in 2002, I led a small delegation
to the city of Kirov, to meet with personnel of a nearby biological
weapons facility. We had obtained permission to visit Kirov from
the Foreign Ministry. But after boarding our 12-seat aircraft in
Moscow, we were informed that we could not take off because the
runway at Kirov had not been inspected to determine if it could
handle our plane. We knew that the runway at Kirov routinely accommodated
airliners the size of 737s. Unnamed officials somewhere in the
Russian bureaucracy had tried to shut down our visit. We eventually
reached Kirov, but we were not allowed into the biological weapons
This fragmentation of government, however, also has worked in
our favor. I visited the Perm missile base in the foothills of
the Urals in 2003 to attempt to build support for the destruction
of liquid fueled SS-24s and SS-25s. The Governor of the Perm region,
Yuri Trutnev, has been a vocal advocate of using the missile base
as a dismantlement facility for the ICBMs. When I visited there
I witnessed an example of the evolution of Russian democracy. Governor
Trutnev arranged for a joint press conference with me at the airport
that was designed to underscore the regional economic benefits
of a missile dismantlement facility and to address environmental
concerns raised by local interest groups. Like most politicians,
he is hoping to draw jobs and money to his region, and he sees
a Nunn-Lugar dismantlement operation as a source of steady work
for his constituents.
Encouraging these positive forces within Russia is one of the
reasons why I have traveled frequently to Nunn-Lugar sites. Russian
military and political leaders as well as local economic interests
want to know that the U.S. is engaged and committed to the program.
The appearance of American officials strengthens the hand of Russians
who have embraced the Nunn-Lugar program and improves our chances
of gaining access to new dismantlement opportunities.
Taking Nunn-Lugar Global
The Nunn-Lugar Program has established a deep reservoir of experience
and talent that could be applied to nonproliferation objectives
around the world. The original Nunn-Lugar bill was concerned with
the former Soviet Union, because that is where the vast majority
of weapons and materials of mass destruction were. Today, we must
be prepared with money and expertise to extend the Nunn-Lugar concept
wherever it can be usefully applied.
I can attest to the energy and imagination of technicians, contract
supervisors, equipment operators, negotiators, auditors, and many
other specialists who have been willing to live in remote areas
of the former Soviet Union to get this job done. This is an instrument
begging to be used anywhere that we can achieve diplomatic breakthroughs.
The utility of the Nunn-Lugar concept rests not only with raw
numbers of weapons destroyed. It also has been an important vehicle
for communication and cooperation. The Nunn-Lugar Program continued
as a constant in the U.S.-Russian relationship even when other
aspects of the relationship were in decline. It has improved military-to-military
contacts and established greater transparency in areas that used
to be the object of intense secrecy and suspicion.
During the last Congress, I introduced the Nunn-Lugar Expansion
Act, which allows $50 million in Nunn-Lugar funding to be used
outside the former Soviet Union. President Bush signed the legislation
into law in 2003. This Act allows us to take advantage of nonproliferation
opportunities wherever they may appear. President Bush has embraced
the Nunn-Lugar concept and has endorsed efforts to apply it worldwide.
Russia will continue to be a major focus but emerging risks must
also be addressed in the Middle East and Asia. In addition, Nunn-Lugar
concepts and experience may be valuable in addressing specific
vulnerabilities involving radiological material that could be used
in dirty bombs. Nunn-Lugar has developed a unique capability to
meet a variety of proliferation threats. But the program needs
firm policy guidance and aggressive diplomacy to engage potential
Seeking Breakthroughs in Nonproliferation
So what is the nonproliferation agenda for the winning presidential
candidate? In my view, he must bring the full weight of U.S. diplomatic
and economic power to bear on pursuing at least the following 12
breakthroughs. Admittedly, this is a daunting list. No president
will achieve every objective enumerated here. He will have influence
over all of them, but he will have absolute power over none of
them. The list illustrates that the uncertain work of nonproliferation
requires flexibility, persistence, creativity, and allied cooperation.
It also illustrates how many different areas present grave risk
to our national security.
1. Achieve the Complete, Verifiable, and Irreversible Dismantlement
of North Korea's Nuclear Program. North Korea must be the No. 1
nonproliferation priority. It may have as many as six nuclear weapons,
and Pyongyang is notorious for selling its weapons technology to
anyone with ready cash. To achieve a complete, verifiable, and
irreversible dismantlement of its nuclear program, the North must
freeze and disable all its nuclear weapons, components, and facilities,
and place all of its fissile material under safeguards. We must
also pursue a phased, verifiable agreement to eliminate the weapons
program and terminate its export of ballistic missiles. In doing
so, we should insist that an exhaustive and creative verification
methodology is at the heart of any agreement. Realistically, I
do not expect North Korea to immediately embrace an intrusive inspections
and dismantlement program. But the Bush Administration has done
the right thing by suggesting using the Nunn-Lugar program as a
model for future action.
2. Establish International Will to End Iran's Nuclear Program.
Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program, no matter how loudly
they may deny it. Our challenge is to rally the international community,
which largely shares our views on that fact, to apply significant
pressure on Teheran to verifiably abandon its nuclear weapons ambitions.
If Iran does not immediately change course, we should insist that
the issue, now before the International Atomic Energy Agency, be
referred to the United Nations Security Council for action. To
compel Iran to abide by its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty, which includes submitting to full inspections and safeguards,
the Security Council must be prepared to impose the entire range
of sanctions -- diplomatic, economic, and military.
3. Bring Russian Tactical Nuclear Weapons into the Nunn-Lugar
Program. For all the successes we have had in dismantling Russian
intercontinental missiles and strategic warheads, Moscow refuses
even to discuss the issue of tactical nuclear weapons, which in
many ways may be even more dangerous. They're more portable, and
they're usually stored closer to potential flashpoints. Moscow
should fully account for its stocks of tactical nukes as a first
step toward bringing them into Nunn-Lugar.
4. Control Nuclear Materials Worldwide. The United States must
lead a new effort to contain the weapons-grade material outside
the former Soviet Union that poses a threat to international security.
We must help develop a comprehensive program that will address
each facility that possesses high-risk material, eliminate stockpiles
of spent reactor fuel that can be reprocessed, make a risk assessment
of the world's scores of research reactors and their vulnerability,
and promote efforts to convert research reactors to low-enriched
uranium fuel. The Bush administration has made an important start
with Secretary Abraham's announcement in May of the Global Threat
Reduction Initiative, which is aimed at securing a broad range
of vulnerable nuclear and radiological materials around the world.
This will compliment President Bush's Proliferation Security Initiative,
which expands our ability to interdict illegal shipments of such
5. Win India and Pakistan Nuclear Agreements. The border between
India and Pakistan has been called the most dangerous place in
the world. We must devote sustained efforts to promote confidence-building
measures and to support the encouraging steps these two nuclear-armed
foes have already taken on their own. We can promote exchanges
between Pakistani and Indian security experts, and offer assistance
on export controls, border security, and the protection, control
and accounting of nuclear arsenals. This will require some diplomatic
and administrative skill to stay within our NPT obligations.
6. Open Russia's Biological Weapons Facilities. We are making
progress in converting Russia's biological weapons facilities to
peaceful uses and in employing its former bioweapons scientists.
But there is a major gap in the program: four former Soviet military
facilities have not opened their doors to inspection. We must make
it a priority to close that gap.
7. Secure Full Russian Disclosure of its Chemical Weapons Stockpile.
While we have made hard-won progress in preparing for the destruction
of Russia's 40,000-ton stockpile of known chemical weapons, Russian
obstinacy has slowed the process. At Shchuchye, where destruction
won't begin until 2007, I saw nearly two million warheads and artillery
shells, many of which were so compact they could easily be concealed
in a briefcase. But Moscow refuses to disclose the full extent
of its chemical weapons stocks, casting a shadow over the program.
It makes certification under the Nunn-Lugar program problematic
and has required new legislation and presidential waivers to keep
funding on track.
8. Transform the Russian Bureaucracy to End Roadblocks to Nonproliferation
Cooperation. Even with adequate funding and high-level agreements,
the Nunn-Lugar Program still faces roadblocks erected by Russian
bureaucrats and military officers. They have denied access to sites,
refused to provide tax-free status to participating countries,
and failed to extend the necessary liability protections to G-8
partners, all of which stymies progress. Russia still has 340 tons
of fissile material that has not been adequately secured, and 70
warhead sites that need more protection. Our government must keep
pressure on President Putin to demand action and make the changes
necessary to get it.
9. Win Focused Commitment from U.S. and European Companies to
Engage Weapons Scientists. We have long recognized that economic
hardship and desperation could drive some weapons scientists into
the arms of well-financed rogue states or terrorist organizations.
The tens of thousands of scientists we have employed are mostly
working at government-sponsored or government-subsidized jobs,
but a number of American companies have shown the way forward by
employing some of these well-trained individuals. We must capitalize
on this success by commercializing the process and move many more
of these men and women into sustainable private sector jobs where
they can put their skills to profitable civilian use.
10. Secure Russian Ratification of the Nunn-Lugar Umbrella Agreement.
This agreement underpins all U.S. threat reduction programs in
the former Soviet Union. It protects contributions to weapons clean-up
from being taxed by Russian authorities, and protects U.S. contractors
-- who are doing much of the most difficult work -- from liability
in case of an accident or other mishap. Without these guarantees,
work would halt. We have negotiated an extension of the agreement,
successfully fending off Russian attempts to weaken it. Ratification
by the Duma is critical to maintaining a solid foundation for this
complex effort, and earlier this year Senator Joe Biden and I wrote
a letter to Russian leaders urging quick action. Yet President
Putin has so far failed to present the extension for a vote.
11. Finalize a Plutonium Disposition Agreement. Russia has 134
metric tons of dangerous, long-lived plutonium that is not currently
covered by any cooperative threat reduction program. An effort
to destroy this material is still blocked by the same issues of
liability, accountability, and access that once hindered the Nunn-Lugar
Program on weapons dismantlement.
12. Ensure the Fulfillment of Global Partnership Pledges. Under
President Bush's leadership, the G-8 summit in 2002 formed the
Global Partnership Against Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction,
nicknamed "10 Plus 10 Over 10." The United States agreed to provide
$10 billion in cooperative threat reduction funds over the next
10 years if our partners would add another $10 billion. We've done
our share, and many of our allies are off to an excellent start.
But overall, our partners' pledges are $3 billion short. Moreover,
not enough of the money that has been pledged has been allocated
for actual Global Partnership projects. We have identified important
dismantlement objectives, such as chemical weapons stocks and non-strategic
nuclear submarines, which need this funding. Our allies must turn
pledges into projects.
I am confident that whoever is elected in November would find
substantial public support for this set of initiatives. The American
public wants the president to engage in foreign affairs to improve
the security of the United States. A June 2004 New York Times/CBS
poll found that 38 percent of Americans surveyed said that foreign
policy was "the issue they most wanted to hear the candidates discuss
during the campaign." This compared to corresponding polls by the
same polling organization that found only one percent of Americans
in 1996 and three percent in 2000 viewed foreign policy as the
most important problem facing the country.
The American people expect their government to be working day
and night to find and eliminate weapons of mass destruction. So
do I. Our political leadership and nonproliferation experts must
engage Russia to unlock the last doors to the dismantlement of
its weapons programs. Further, they should scour the globe to identify
and create opportunities to dismantle dangerous weapons programs
outside the former Soviet Union. Persistent diplomacy at the highest
levels of our government is needed each day if we are to succeed.