A World Free of Nuclear Weapons? with George P. Shultz, William J. Perry and Sidney Drell. In conversation with Jane Wales, President and CEO of the World Affairs Council of Northern California.
Secretaries Shultz and Perry, joined by arms control expert Sidney Drell, discuss the uncertain state of nuclear proliferation in the world. Stating in their recent Wall Street Journal editorial (written with Henry Kissinger and Sam Nunn) "North Korea's recent nuclear test and Iran's refusal to stop its program to enrich uranium - potentially to weapons grade - highlight the fact that the world is now on the precipice of a new and dangerous nuclear era," both Secretaries show alarm at the direction the world is taking in its nuclear abilities, and criticize the political and diplomatic inability, or perhaps political will, to address this urgent issue.
Sidney D. Drell is a senior fellow, by courtesy, at the Hoover Institution and professor of theoretical physics (emeritus) at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC), Stanford University.
William J. Perry was the nineteenth United States secretary of defense, serving from February 1994 to January 1997. His previous government experience was as deputy secretary of defense (1993-94) and undersecretary of defense for research and engineering (1977-81).
Perry, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, is the Michael and Barbara Berberian Professor at Stanford University, with a joint appointment in the School of Engineering and the Institute for International Studies, where he is codirector of the Preventive Defense Project, a research collaboration of Stanford and Harvard Universities. His previous academic experience includes professor (halftime) at Stanford from 1988 to 1993, when he was the codirector of the Center for International Security and Arms Control.
George P. Shultz
George P. Shultz is the Thomas W. and Susan B. Ford Distinguished Fellow at the Hoover Institution.
He was sworn in on July 16, 1982, as the sixtieth U.S. Secretary of State and served until January 20, 1989. In January 1989, he rejoined Stanford University as the Jack Steele Parker Professor of International Economics at the Graduate School of Business and a distinguished fellow at the Hoover Institution.
He is a member of the board of directors of Fremont Group and Accretive Health. He is chairman of the J. P. Morgan Chase International Council and chairman of the Accenture Energy Advisory Board. He is also chairman of the California Governor's Council of Economic Advisors and co-chairman of the Committee on the Present Danger.
He was awarded the Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, on January 19, 1989. He also received the Seoul Peace Prize (1992), the Eisenhower Medal for Leadership and Service (2001), and the Reagan Distinguished American Award (2002). He is the recipient of the Elliot Richardson Prize for Excellence and Integrity in Public Service, The James H. Doolittle Award, and the John Witherspoon Medal for Distinguished Statesmanship.
The George Shultz National Foreign Service Training Center in Arlington, Virginia, was dedicated on May 29, 2002.
Jane Wales is vice president of philanthropy and society at the Aspen Institute, president and CEO of the World Affairs Council, and founder of the Global Philanthropy Forum.
Previously, Wales was a special assistant to President Clinton, senior director of the National Security Council, and associate director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
She also chaired the international security programs at the Carnegie Corporation and the W. Alton Jones Foundation and directed the Project on World Security at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
Wales is the former national executive director of Physicians for Social Responsibility.
We are honored to have before us of course three distinguished guests. Secretary former Secretary ofState George Shultz is known to you well. He is now at the Hoover Institution. But he served in is it,three or four cabinet positions, cabinet level positions, he were the Secretary of State, he wereSecretary of the Treasury, he were Secretary of Labor, he were Head of the Council of EconomicAdvisors and were no Head of OMB.Because you could you keep out?Let's see if we can get this light because this one in particular is bad. Let's see if we can dim that down, oh thank you.I think all I think I actually think all the way off means that they can't see us. So don't go quite thatfar but find a middle ground and that would be great. George Shultz has also taught in three of thecountry's major universities, at Stanford, at University of Chicago and at MIT. And of course he wasthe only non family member to be CEO of Bechtel Corporation. Secretary William -Oh well, would like to break news here, so much Bechtel's corporate membership at the WorldAffairs Council. Secretary William Perry is also a Statesman with a distinguished carrier in governmentand academia and the private sector as well. He served as the 19th Secretary of Defense under in theClinton administration and before that he was Deputy Secretary of Defense. He was Under Secretary ofDefense for research and engineering in the Carter administration and in that position was responsiblefor a systematic series of investments that our country made in information technology leading to theARPANET which of course is the precursor of the internet. He served for 10 years as LaboratoryDirector of General Telephone and Electronics. He founded or was a chief top executive of a numberof other companies including ESL, Hambrecht and Quist where he was Vice President and TechnologyStrategies and Alliances. He is currently also a Senior Fellow at Hoover Institution and a Professor atStanford University with a joint appointment in the School of Engineering and the Institute forInternational Studies where he co-directs the Center for the Prevention the Preventive Defense Project, got it right.Dr. Sidney Drell is a well known physicist and one of the nations various arms control experts. He ishe too is a Senior Fellow at Hoovers. So this is a bit of a Hoover cabal. He is Professor Emeritus oftheoretical physics at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center at Stanford. He has been an active advisorto the Executive and Legislature branches of government when it comes to national security and andthe defense technical issues. He is the founder he is a founder of JASON, which is a group ofacademic scientists who consult our government on issues of national importance. So please join me inwelcoming these three outstanding guests.Now we have asked them each to make brief opening remarks on the question of how whether andhow we can go about dramatically reducing the nuclear danger. And so we are going to start with BillPerry and then move to George Shultz and then finally ask Sid Drell to make some remarks. Then Iwill ask them some questions and then will entertain your questions which you will be sending up onyour question cards. Thank you so much. Bill.Thank you, Jane. At the peak of the Cold War, the Great Russian physicist Andre Sakharov wrote aletter to my colleague Sid Drell. It said among other things, reducing the risk of annihilating humanityand the nuclear war must carry an absolute priority over all other considerations. Reducing the risk ofannihilating humanity must carry an absolute priority and so it did. The principle means of reducingthat terrible risk was establishing a system of deterrence which came to be called Mutual AssuredDeterrence and of course got the acronym MAD. I was one of the Americans who worked during theCold War to strengthen that deterrence. But even if all of the system deterrence worked exactly asdesigned there were still we still faced two existential dangers. One of them was a nuclear war bymiscalculation and the other was a nuclear war by accident. And I want to tell you of two incidents,that I personally experienced during the Cold War that demonstrates the very real danger of either awar by accident or the war by miscalculation.In 1962 I was working for a defense electronics company and occasionally served as a scientificconsultant to the government on Soviet missile technology. In September that year I received a phonecall from an old classmate of mine at Stanford, Bud Wheelon, who at that time was the DeputyDirector of the Central Intelligence Agency. And he asked if I would come back and consult with himon a problem. And I said, sure I will rearrange my schedule and come back next Monday. He said no,you don't understand me. I want you to get back right now. So I boarded the red-eye that night, metwith him at eight O'clock the next morning. He took me into the Analysis Center they had there and Iwas stunned when he showed me pictures of Soviet missiles being deployed in Cuba. And he asked meif I would stay on and help the small team he had assembled to analyze those missiles. So of course Idid and everyday for the next 12 days I go in about noon and by that time we would have the picturesthat the airplanes have taken, that was flowing over Cuba that morning. We spent all day you know,or evening analyzing those and by midnight we had our analysis of that day's pictures done and wewould brief Bud Wheelon on our results. The next morning at seven O'clock he would then briefPresident Kennedy who would use that as the basis for his decisions on what to do that particular day.Everyday, during those 12 days that I was in at that Center I believed it was going to be my last day onearth. Because I really believed we were about to go into a nuclear exchange. And to this day I believethat the principle way that nuclear war was avoided, was more by good luck than by good management.That was a war than an example of nuclear war that could have happen to a miscalculation.Now fast forward about 15-16 years, to 1978. This time I was in the government. I was the UnderSecretary of Defense Research and Engineering. In one morning at three O'clock I got a phone callfrom the General who is the Watch Officer at North American Air Defense command. And he told methat his computers were showing 200 missiles on the way from the Soviet Union to United States. Iimmediately woke up. This was of course a false alarm. But he had had only 15 minutes to make thatdetermination. He was calling me and hopes that I could get him help him figure out what had gonewrong. So that he would able to answer the questions that the President was going to ask him the nextmorning. Again I believe we avoided a nuclear war as much from good luck as we did from good management.Well of course, as these stories make absolutely clear, the risk that humanity could be annihilated in anuclear war was never academic to me. Indeed I lived face to face with that risk in the entire durationof the Cold War. And it made profound impression on me which lasts to this very day. Well now theCold War is over. And the whole world breathes easier. The ending of the Cold War brought aboutenormous geopolitical changes. Most of them for the good, some of them not so good. But it did bringabout one positive change of enormous importance. It did reduce to essentially zero risk of a nuclearwar resulting from miscalculation. There still exists however the danger of a nuclear war occurring byaccident. Both American and Russian missiles are still configured to launch with as little as 15 minuteswarning. And the inherent danger of this status is aggravated by the fact the Russian warning systemhas deteriorated considerably since the end of the Cold War. But the greatest danger today is that aterror group will detonate a nuclear bomb in one of our cities. Graham Allison in his seminal bookNuclear Terrorism describes this as the greatest danger facing the world today. He gives compellingevidence that Al-Qaeda and other terror groups are tying to get nuclear weapons and he argues that ifthey get one they will use it, and with devastating results. Of course, a nuclear detonation in one of ourcities would not be equivalent to a nuclear exchange during the Cold War which could have led to theextinction of civilization. But it still would be the worse catastrophe of our time, with hundreds ofthousands of deaths and with devastating economic and social dislocation. Allison drives his argumentshome by saying that he believes there is a 50-50 chance that the terrorists would set up a nuclear bombin one of our cities this decade. I cannot validate that number, but I do not believe that Allison is beingalarmist. Indeed I believe that if we stay on our present course we are headed for disaster ofunprecedented magnitude. So it is imperative we make a fund in manual change of course.And Secretary Shultz and Dr. Drell who follow me would describe to you the Stanford meeting held afew months ago that energized us to move forward towards such a fundamental change of course. Ofcourse that envisioned an elimination of nuclear weapons. Well I opened my comments by quotingAndre Sakharov on the existential danger of a nuclear war. I am going to close my comment by quotingElie Wiesel, on who has the responsibility for ending that danger. Mankind must remember, he wrote,that peace is not god's gift to his children; peace is our gift to each other. That is if we want to end theexistential threat that nuclear weapons post to a civilization we should not we should not be waitingfor divine intervention. We ourselves must take the necessary actions. Thank you.Some years ago Michael Gorbachev was visiting in Stanford. And he and I were sitting by ourselves inthe backyard of our home there talking and as he had left office by that time, and I said to him, whenyou and I entered office, the Cold War was about as cold as it could get. And when we left it was allover with the sharing. So what do you think was the turning point? And he didn't reflect, he answeredinstantly, he said, Reykjavik. He said, and what do you think was the turning point? I said well,Reykjavik was important but I thought when the NATO alliance was cohesive enough to deployballistic missiles, Pershing they were called in Germany, that you thought could reach Moscow, thatreally got your attention. And he said, well that got our attention but Reykjavik was still the mostimportant. And why? He said because for the first time the leaders sat together over an extended periodof time and discussed all the issues. And my mind could flashback to that little room in a place calledHÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¶fdi, House. The table we sat around was like two card tables coupled together. The room was aboutthe size of this platform. So it was a very kind of close setting. And we did sit there for two days andwe discussed all of the issues, particularly of course the control of nuclear weapons and the possibilityof ending them, of having a world free of nuclear weapons. It was a very exciting meeting. In the endwe couldn't come to agreement and all of the things that we had talked about and sort of agreed out andwe were not able to agree because we thought what they were proposing was basically an end to theresearch on the strategic defense initiative. But in any case all of these subjects got into the air and in avery prominent way. I remember when we came back people thought we had been crazy. One of yourpredecessor James Slazenger, said we have dodged an awful bullet. And it turned out people lovedtheir nuclear weapons. Margaret Thatcher came over from Britain immediately and first she tookbrought me to the British Embassy and I got a woodshedding and then - she got it out her system withme and she then told President Reagan up in Camp David some of the same. But it was interesting tosee how people were attached to these weapons. But the arguments for taking a different course andseeing if we can't find our way to a world free of nuclear weapons are there very much so. And Bill Ithink, brought out very forcefully the reasons why.So we saw the coming of the 20th anniversary of the Reykjavik meeting. And Sid and I were discussingit. We thought we should have a meeting and get some really good people and talk about theimplications of what went on at Reykjavik. And Bill joined us and we put this together with a veryformidable, high powered group of people and we had about two days of pretty intense discussion. Oneof the people there was a man named Max Kampelman. And I can't he is very eloquent and I can't Ican't imitate that. But I will tell you what he said. He said, just because we are here doesn't mean weshouldn't talk about where we ought to be. Because the "ought" can be a motivator. He said, look at thepeople who framed our Declaration of Independence, all men are created equal. Are you kidding,slaves, all of them were slave owners, women had a substantially lower role in society, to vote you hadto have property. So the idea of all men are created equal was an odd. It was a long way from the years.But over the years the fact that we had that "ought" there has gradually changed the years and we havemoved much more toward what the Declaration of Independence says. And so Max argued, we shouldsee the "ought." We ought to try to find a world without nuclear weapons. And let's try to find our way to the years.And there are some powerful voices and let me read. Bill read some points from Andre Sakharov; letme read what President Eisenhower said. He pledged America's determination to help solve the fearfulatomic dilemma. To devote its entire heart and mind, to find the way by which the miraculousinvention of man should not be dedicated to his death or consecrated but consecrated to his life.President Kennedy, may be reflecting on the incident that you described, said the world was not meantto be a prison in which man awaits his execution. Rajiv Gandhi, addressing the UN General Assemblyback in 1988, nuclear war will not mean the death of a 100 million people or even a 1000 million; itwill mean the extinction extinction of 4000 million, the end of life as we know it on our planet earth.We come to the United Nations, where he spoke, to seek your support. We seek your support to put astop to this Madness. Ronald Reagan was very clear before he was president, but he saw it aboutnuclear weapons he thought the MAD doctrine was immoral and sought something else that was amotivation for the strategic defense initiative. But he called for the abolition of all nuclear weaponswhich he considered to be totally irrational, totally inhumane, good for nothing but killing, possiblydisruptive of life on earth and civilization. Well Mikhail Gorbachev, as it turned out, shared thoseviews and so when we had this intense discussion at Reykjavik, this came forward and when we talkedat our meeting at Stanford's Hoover institution, this idea took hold. And then we gradually put togetherthe op ed that you may have seen in the Wall Street Journal last January. And we got Sam Nunninvolved, Henry Kissinger involved and others who are listed there. And put forward the argument thatwe should be clear about the importance of the "ought", a world free of nuclear weapons. But weshould identify the steps that you need to take if you are going to get there. And in a sense it's aninteractive process, the vision cause for you to consider and take steps. I might say each I think worthwhile in and of itself. And the steps in turn, gives substance and achievability to the vision. So there isan interactive process there that we think is the key in moving forward and Sid is going to tell you about the steps.Thank you. So we developed in our minds what we thought were 10 major steps, each of a value in andof itself as George said. And we listed them in the letter. I want to go over them. Let me start by sayingwe are now engaged in a process growing out of the Reykjavik meeting of last October of putting moresubstance into what these steps really imply. So we can get to what the world ought to be from what itis. For starters we looked at the posture of our missile forces that Bill Perry mentioned and we said thathas to be changed. It's time to face the fact that in today's world this danger of having the mid ballisticmissiles on a posture of prompt alert is very dangerous. That means right now sitting here we are 30minutes away from a weapon launch now that would land here from the Soviet Union from Russia.And so the issue of how can we alter the Cold War posture of these missiles? And going on, with theCold War over with the Soviet Union now on the dustbin of history and with our relations with theSoviet Union codified formally in document signed by Presidents Bush and Putin as being alliedagainst terrorists, why do we still have each deployed of the order of 5000 weapons. Of which 2000on ready alert in missiles that are 30 minutes away. Can we make more progress in reducing thisnumber? What are their targets? If the United States and Russia which agree we after all deploy morethan 90 percent of the weapons in the world, if we could agree on the measures to mutually pull downthat number. What are the targets? Can we get down to another let me .What would happen if there were a nuclear exchange with say 500 going in each direction? Whatwould be left at the United States? What would be left in Russia?If just one of them landed on San Francisco that's the end of San Francisco, one of the modern armswe call it Megatons, equivalent of a million tons of TNT.I think people have forgotten the power of nuclear weapons someway or other. I remember when Iserved in the Eisenhower administration back in 1955 we had drills you know, you will go to someplace and I will go to some place and so on. And we watch these tests and you had a feeling for howpowerful they are, but we - it gotten out of people's minds but it's nevertheless true.So, the next step was how to get on with serious reductions. There was also the need to pull back fromthe battlefield areas, the tactical nuclear weapons which exist in Europe. They should be eliminated.They are they are right there on the front. Many of them were brought back by the first PresidentBush, in dealings with both Gorbachev and Yeltsin. But some remain there. There is the question ofan important issue that was that was raised already, what about ratifying a Comprehensive Test BanTreaty. The Non Proliferation regime is built up on a treaty which says that, we will not continueunderground explosive testing to improve our arsenal. But we have yet to sign to ratify, we havesigned, to ratify a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, although we have not tested weapons for 15 yearsnow and although Russia and all NATO countries have ratified that treaty. That's another importantstep. How come we do better to bring the vast quantities of nuclear fuel that fuel bombs, when I sayfuel, I don't mean for reactors, I mean fuel for bombs. There is there are stores of those mostly thelarger stores in the former Soviet Union, but there are around the world, there are enough with almost a100,000 weapons that materially exists in the world today.We'll talk about one. George raised a question of 500. These is that material. The Nunn-Lugar Programcreated by Senators Nunn and Lugar have started us out and for the last, since 1992 we have providedbetter controls for more than half the material in the in the former Soviet Union. And now thecountries around the world have begun to expand this globally. These are the kinds of measures. Whatabout cutting off the production of fissile material and doing it in a verifiable way. What about the Imean these are the kinds of steps. What about the the providing, as the Non Proliferation Treatyguarantees fuel for countries that are not nuclear weapon states; so that they can have the benefits ofnuclear energy, either for electrical power or for research or for medicine. But not letting them becomesocieties with technologies that can make this material for themselves. With modern technology if youcan operate a reactor for power and and you have the fuel for it and make that fuel, you can make abomb. That's the big problem that has made proliferation, such a great concern that that we all talkedabout. Technology spread has increased this problem and so there are efforts underway for the nuclearsupplier nations, for the International Atomic Energy Agency to try and control this material butguarantee at the same time that the fuel will be available, under control, for countries that sign on.These are measures that, each one of which, we are making progress on slowly. But the question is howdo we accelerate that progress? How do we move ahead, so we don't just control a nuclear threatwhich, as we see in the world today with concerns about North Korea and Iran, is looking verydangerous. How do we get rid of that? And there are verification issues for compliance that have to beworked out. And then there are the political sides of the question. More intense efforts, diplomatic, tosolve resolve some of the tensions in regional areas that it lead and encourage aspirations for nuclearweapons. And then finally, the really major one, how can we develop a consensus among the leaders ofall the nuclear countries, eight eight of them now plus North Korea as the ninth one, which is by theway a very low number compared to you know, what were the dangers and worries of of back inthe times of Presidents Kennedy and his successors. What can we do to bring this issue of achievingMax Kampelman's "ought" from the "is" into reality by having the leaders of the countries gettogether, see this vision as a way of of importance so that they will make this a joint effort. It's not aUnited States effort, it's an international effort. Just like it's a non partisan effort, it's an internationaleffort to get free the world of nuclear weapons.With this vision the steps I have talked about are more compelling. And without those steps the visionhas very little meaning. That's the challenge we face now that we have just started as to address thesesteps, accomplish them and work toward realizing a very powerful vision. Thank you.