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International Counter Proliferation Law: Strategy vs.Reality

SS-27  Stalin Topail  Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Weapon System
SS-27 Stalin Topail Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Weapon System

What is a “Super Power” and how does it equate within international legal framework?

The measure of a super power is based on a nations ability to project sustained show of Military , Economic and cultural strength in various theaters while maintain domestic political and economic stability and growth as defines Alice Laymen Miller a professor at the Navel Post graduate University .She is also the Author of the novel of Science and Dissent in Post Mao-China . The idea that the US alone posses the ability to project itself military in multiple theaters over extended timeframes alone should qualify it as a super power but it does not. The idea the US can not only operate in military but also define and redefine as it chooses the very legal framework of international law makes it a “Super Power”. Thus the issue of counter proliferation possesses a caveat to such a hypothesis. It was America alone that set the legal precedent of “Preemption” and it is America alone that possess the moral hazard to stand on with its outcome. Such is not the convenience when it come to the proliferation of destructive technologies. The 2008 U.S National Security Strategy outlines the Us objective is to support the objectives outlined in the NSS, including the need to strengthen alliances and build new partnerships to defeat global terrorism and prevent attacks against us, our allies, and our friends; prevent our enemies from threatening us, our allies, and our friends with weapons of mass destruction (WMD); work with others to defuse regional conflicts, including conflict intervention; and transform national security institutions to face the challenges of the 21st century(2008 National Defense Strategy). There has been great controversy in arena of public opinion as well in most legal circles as to legality of improvised techniques used to accomplish this objective. The argument is really about sovereignty and state hood and how to articulate such an issue in legal terms.

This brings me to the current situation in the Baltic. In case you have not heard the Russian Federation is currently resumed testing medium-range ballistic missiles. Why is this a problem you ask…. It is simple the particular type of medium range missile can be outfitted with a sub atomic warhead… yes you heard me correctly a “Nuclear warhead” thus transforming this easily neutralized medium range ballistic into a strategic nuclear ballistic missile. I know what you are asking yourself what is the striking distance of such a weapons and what recourse in the short term can be done to deter such behavior . A medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) is a type of ballistic missile with medium range, this last classification depending on the standards of certain organizations. Within the U.S. Department of Defense, a medium range missile is defined by having a maximum range of between 1,000 and 3,000 km. In modern terminology, MRBMs are part of the wider grouping of theatre ballistic missiles, which includes any ballistic missile with a range of less than 3,500 km. thus easily striking Baltic states. The question is with the start treaty in retrospect. Many have interpreted the Russian Federation international assertiveness and at times such as in 2008’s Georgia incursion even antagonistic as an indicator of Russia’s departure from the West and a vindication of their old fears about Soviet Union. Such a view disregards that Russia had to endure in silence and by some observers even swallow the war in the Balkans, two rounds of NATO expansion, the U.S. withdrawal from the ABM treaty, U.S. military presence in Central Asia, the invasion of Iraq and, now, plans to deploy elements of nuclear missile defense in Eastern Europe, along with the recent media war implicating Russia as a potential enemy. It is this overt and by Russian Standards hostile posture that creates and enflames the idea of assertive pragmatism

Other Regional Threats: Iran Ballistics: are also a clear and present Danger:

Iran does not fit into this multi-system, as it exists now. The controversy over Iran's nuclear programs centers in particular on Iran's failure to declare sensitive enrichment and reprocessing activities to the (IAEA) International Atomic Energy Agency. Not to mention the five United Nations Security Council Resolutions directing Iran to stop the atomic enrichment process and comply with IAEA inspections, non of which have been complied with as of current events. President Obama cited Iran’s capability and intent in 2009 when he stated that “ Iran’s capability has now has the ability to reach Europe.” Here in lies the problem for both Israel, the US and Europe. Iran’s program has not always drawn ire from the west, to the contrary it was established initially by the United States in the early 1950’s under the program of “ Atoms for Peace” started by President Eisenhower. During the 1970’s The Shah approved plans to construct, with U.S. help, up to 23 nuclear power stations by year 2000, this would never be seen to completion due the 1979 revolution. From the fall of the Soviet Union to year 2000 Iran would form joint research organization with Iran called Persepolis to achieve there current progress. Thus to the present day Iran has continued its quest to achieve the nuclear program despite opposition.

Iran nuclear ambitions are with risk. The West is concedes that no international legal precedent to keep a sovereign nation from obtaining nuclear technology, their are International measures to ensure that the program remains peaceful. According to the U.S State Department there are six UN resolutions that have been passed has given the West and Israel the legal foundation to Sanction and Isolate Iran. Resolution 1696, Resolution 1737, Resolution 1747, Resolution 1803, Resolution 1835, Resolution 1929 fundamentally lay out the restrictions on enrich and use of enriched nuclear material. I found that The Federation of American Scientists, an advocacy group that promotes disarmament and, a project of the conservative Claremont Institute to be reliable sources in researching Iran’s current ballistic capabilities. The Iranian arsenal can be divided in to three main categories Short-range Ballistic Missiles (up to 1,000 kilometers), Medium- and Intermediate-range Ballistic Missiles (between 1,000 to 5,500 kilometers), Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) (more than 5,500 kilometers).

According to, a project of the conservative Claremont Institute report that the Short range strategic Fateh-110 and the Shahab-2 which by western standards would most effective in across border conflicts such as a deterrent to navel attacks by US forces. The US and NATO forces could counter any attacks by the Fateh-110 and the Shahab-2 with cruise missiles. The Medium- and Intermediate-range Ballistic Missiles (between 1,000 to 5,500 kilometers) pose the true effect both could the short range and medium range ballistic missiles could retro fitted with nuclear warheads for offensive purposes i.e. short range attacks on neighbors , Israel, Saudi Arabia, and NATO forces in the Republic of Turkey. Such attacks can be defended with patriot missile used in the US/NATO Missile Defense System and the “Iron Dome” system in Israel. The Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles Program (ICBM) (more than 5,500 kilometers), which no can confirm weather or not Iran yet has this capability is the “doomsday scenario”. No one for sees that Iran has the technological capabilities nor the economy to maintain such capability and would not be allowed by the West.

Political and Legal Theoretical framework

From an empirical posture rational choice approaches have long suggested that reducing unwanted behavior requires raising the costs (or perceived costs) of a behavior through the threat of punishment a process commonly referred to as deterrence. In the eighteenth century, Beccaria ([1764] 1983) argued that the state should punish law-breakers just enough so that the burdens of punishment outweigh any pleasure derived from perpetrating the crime—an idea that directly informs U.S. criminal law, military strategy, and a host of other social policy domains. Scholars have since applied the notion of deterrence to a range of areas, including nuclear doctrine (Brodie 1959), as well as a broad range of offending behaviors (Matsueda, Kreager, and Huizinga 2006;Nagin 1998; Paternoster 1987), including terrorist violence (LaFree, Dugan, and Korte 2009). The clear appeal of deterrence theory is its parsimony, as well as the fact that punishment can be imposed with relative ease. Any application of rational choice theory assumes that actors make decisions designed to optimize their own well-being while minimizing costs (Bentham [1781] 1996). We argue that terrorist actors, despite the gruesome nature of their crimes, can be considered rational actors (Crenshaw 2001; LaFree and Ackerman 2009). Kruglanski and colleagues (2009) characterize the reasons for violent participation as a quest for personal significance; other scholars highlight the common terrorist goal of recognition and fame (Hamm 2004).

International Law on Counter Proliferation: Reality vs. Strategy

The Legal core of NPT revolves around the concept of state Sovereignty . At its core one can examine Articles I, II III, IV, VI,X. All of which create the legal framework by which the west can litigate its political stance. The problem arises in Article IV with the concept of research.

Article I: Each nuclear-weapons state (NWS) undertakes not to transfer, to any recipient, nuclear weapons, or other nuclear explosive devices, and not to assist any non-nuclear weapon state to manufacture or acquire such weapons or devices.

Here is lies the topic of verification and soverignty thou

Article II: Each non-NWS party undertakes not to receive, from any source, nuclear weapons, or other nuclear explosive devices; not to manufacture or acquire such weapons or devices; and not to receive any assistance in their manufacture.

Article III: Each non-NWS party undertakes to conclude an agreement with the IAEA for the application of its safeguards to all nuclear material in all of the state's peaceful nuclear activities and to prevent diversion of such material to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.

Article IV: 1. Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with Articles I and II of this Treaty. 2. All the Parties to the Treaty undertake to facilitate, and have the right to participate in, the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Parties to the Treaty in a position to do so shall also co-operate in contributing alone or together with other States or international organizations to the further development of the applications of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, especially in the territories of non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty, with due consideration for the needs of the developing areas of the world.

Article VI: The states undertake to pursue "negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament", and towards a "Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control".

Article X. Establishes the right to withdraw from the Treaty giving 3 months' notice. It also establishes the duration of the Treaty (25 years before 1995 Extension Initiative).

A sovereign state can unilaterally withdraw from the NPT, what legal framework would govern such a withdrawal, and what the legal implications of such a withdrawal would be. Article X of the Non Proliferation Treaty is similar to provisions of Article XXI of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) (the essential security clause) which provide for the state to make its own determination of when it’s security interests have been imperiled. There has legal precedent have been cases before international investment tribunals considering similar clauses in Bilateral Investment Treaties. NPT or Art. XXI of the GATT, and in fact the ICJ hinted at this in the Nicaragua case suggesting that a clause worded like Article XXI of the GATT would be self judging. And Article X of the NPT is like the GATT clause because of the “if it decides” phrase. In short. The United States and its European Allies to address specifically the Russian In the absence of an uniform Post 9/11 policy framework by which international policymakers can set measurable goals based on historical post Soviet regional conditions and thereby determining weather the efficiency of current post (OEF) Operation Enduring Freedom security initiatives have any degree of “measurable efficiency” in the Baltic, Balkins Afghanistan ,Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Specifically the current counterinsurgency strategy in producing a measurable reduction in the transfer of weapons of mass destruction, destructive technologies, and expertise to terrorist states or groups and non-state actors. The goal being to measure the efficacy and frequency of weapons trafficking and political violence in Eurasia and Post Soviet States. Due to the proliferation of isolated regional non state organizations and the inability of traditional powers to maintain sustained security campaigns due to budget constraints, and political Collective Security Policy The United States and European Union will alter its current approach to address priority security issues there by reducing the frequency of violence. The US will construct a permanent collective regional framework to post conflict security transition that differs from the rational “Realism” approach used in Europe during the Cold War, Korean War 1950, and the Persian Gulf since 1990 the United States will deviate from establishing permanent overseas military engagements, and will embrace a focused approach generally limiting intervention to areas where a “clear and present” danger to important United States and European Union interests exists while maintaining a “semi-warm” access infrastructure, building a targeted security programs of military-to-military contacts, and promoting interoperability this be a small but critical component of an overall U.S. policy of encouraging political and economic development in Central Asia while also working with other interested parties, particularly Russia, to ensure transparency of effort and collaboration wherever possible. This approach can ensure that U.S. and its allies efforts in the region are effectively integrated with broader policy goals, both in Central Asia and beyond.

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