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Moscow Treaty

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, the Strategic Offensive Reduction Treaty that has been under consideration for a couple of days, also known as the Moscow Treaty, is, in my judgment, in the 18 years I have been here thinking about arms control and certainly as part of the debate in the Foreign Relations Committee and on the floor in the ratification of treaties, as flimsy a treaty as the Senate has ever considered. I believe its faults are many. At best, its defenders contend that it does no harm, but I find fault even in that assessment, and I find fault ultimately in this treaty.

The Moscow Treaty promises to reduce the deployed offensive weapons of the United States and Russia to a range of between 1,700 to 2,200 each by December 31, 2012. As far as the treaty goes, that is the highlight.

I think, under certain circumstances, one would certainly say that reducing its own number of deployed missiles is a worthy goal and something we want to achieve, but in the world we live in today, simply reducing their deployment, where they are sometimes under better control than they are going to be if they are not deployed, it may, in fact, be taking a dangerous situation and perhaps lending itself to the greater dangers of this particular moment of history.
In my assessment, regrettably, the treaty amounts to little more than a series of missed opportunities. Let me be precise about that point.

It does not mandate a reduction in total warheads. None must be dismantled. The treaty merely requires both parties to reduce the number of warheads in their operationally deployed arsenals. It provides no timetable for the planned reductions in deployed forces prior to the treaty's 2012 target date. It never requires the destruction of a single launcher.

In effect, the treaty allows each side to upload, download, and mix weapons in and out of storage. It contains no verification procedures, and the vast stockpiles of nuclear warheads in this country and in Russia remain unchanged.
Nuclear weapons, as we all know, are the legacy of the cold war, the most pressing single threat that we face today as we contemplate dealing with Saddam Hussein and as we wish we were dealing with North Korea. The most pressing threat, however, is really that nuclear weapons, or their lethal components, might fall into the hands of terrorists or irresponsible governments at the head of rogue regimes. This fact makes the provisions of this treaty even more troubling.

Instead of requiring the dismantlement of warheads or launchers, the treaty simply requires that on one day in 2012, the sides are to have no more than the 1,700 or 2,200 operationally deployed nuclear weapons. The remaining thousands of weapons will be held in reserve, stockpiled for some other unforeseen need, a need, I might say, in the context of the threats we are looking at in the year 2003 that is extraordinarily hard to explain, particularly when those stockpiled weapons become the risk of stolen, bartered, sold, or blackmailed materials. By their continued existence, they present a tempting target for thieves and for terrorists.

It is no secret that there are those who are eager to capitalize on a deadly market for weapons-usable nuclear materials. The GAO has documented numerous failed attempts to smuggle nuclear materials out of Russia. I say to my colleagues that out of 20 of these incidents over the last decade, the materials involved in 13 of the 20 that we know about, and possibly as many as 15, were traced back to Russian sources.

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I will tell my colleagues from my experience as a law enforcement official that if you know you caught 20 and you know you are operating with limited capacities to detect, anyone ought to be asking the question, How many did we miss and how many will we miss in the future?

The great security challenge of our day is to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of those who would do us harm, but this treaty only expands the stockpile of nondeployed warheads in Russia, and in this country for that matter. It may advance some old cold war calculus for arms control, but it is not a part of a broader comprehensive approach to our nuclear relationship with Russia, particularly in the area of threat reduction, and there I think the treaty runs the risk of increasing the danger of nuclear theft by stockpiling thousands of warheads.

Obviously, it is the task of all of us to try to make the world more secure, not less secure. As I have said previously, we need to revitalize the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program by giving it the sustained leadership, attention, and funding it deserves.

Over the last decade, the United States has spent about $7.5 billion to deactivate 6,000 warheads and destroy thousands of delivery vehicles. Why would we spend $7.5 billion to deactivate and destroy and then bring a treaty to the floor of the Senate which does neither? We have to make good on our pledge of $10 billion over the next 10 years to the G-8 threat reduction partnership, and we need to encourage the good faith participation of our allies. But we know that even those efforts are not going to be enough.

In 2001, the bipartisan Baker-Cutler commission concluded that for our efforts to secure Russia's nuclear weapons materials and expertise to succeed, we will have to spend $30 billion over the next 10 years. That is a challenge we ought to be meeting as a primary goal prior even to the implementation of this treaty.

The treaty's supporters have noted that its brevity is important, as if the length of a treaty somehow constitutes a real accomplishment, and that provisions in it are a reflection of our new relationship with Russia.

My question is, if we are in a new environment with Russia, then why not include verification and transparency measures that reflect that new environment? The treaty does not mandate the dismantlement or destruction of warheads or launchers. Yet the provisions of this treaty turn upon themselves and the very logic underpinning the treaty as argued by its proponents. For instance, they argue, as Secretary Rumsfeld did before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last summer, that no arms control treaty in the history of our country has ever required the destruction of warheads.

Well, if this treaty is based on the conclusion that we live in a different time, if this treaty is based on the conclusion that the cold war is really over, if this treaty is based on the conclusion that we have a new and better relationship with Russia and that we therefore can look to a new period, why then keep these warheads in storage for another day when the numbers we are reducing to under any SIOP or any warfighting plan we have ever seen are sufficient to destroy the world several times over? It simply does not make sense.

Why expand the stockpiles of stored nuclear warheads and materials when we know to a certainty, as the CIA tells us, we do not have the capacity today to safeguard those materials? Why would we do that when we are prepared to go to war against Iraq to prevent Iraq from illicitly receiving the very kinds of materials that we are about to encourage the capacity for others to seek out in the same way as we have seen others do in those 20 examples I cited a few moments ago?

The logic escapes anybody who stops to really think about what we are doing with this treaty. If we have really entered a new age and a new relationship with Russia—and I believe we have in fact—then neither Russia nor the United States should hedge on a commitment to real and meaningful arms reduction to an agreement that addresses in its very fabric the new and real threat of proliferation by theft or diversion. By doing so, we would send a signal to Saddam Hussein and to the rest of the world that we are not hedging our bets; that, in fact, we are serious and we are setting an example, and that the rest of the world is earning the justification for moving to disarm another nation for moving to nuclearization.

Those same supporters who say we need to hold on to vast stockpiles of nuclear warheads ironically argue that the profoundly changed nature of the relationship with Russia means we need not have negotiated verification regimes for this treaty.

There are still those in this country, as surely there are some in Russia, who continue to view our former cold war adversary with some measure of suspicion and distrust.

This treaty had the potential to deepen Russian-American cooperation and confidence building. If it had included verification measures, the treaty would have silenced skeptics of our new relationship by demonstrating mutual weapons reductions through inspection and verification. But, regrettably, it does not. Both sides understand that each has the potential to redeploy all of these weapons unless we can verify, at a minimum, their location. So by this feature alone, this treaty contains the seeds of future doubt and suspicion.

Verification ought to be a crucial aspect of our effort to secure nuclear weapons and materials, and if we cannot be certain that the numbers of deployed warheads have been reduced, we will not be certain of the magnitude of the challenge of securing those materials.

Since the height of the arms control negotiations, now almost two decades ago, the cry of many of my colleagues on the other side of this aisle—which I remember well for years as we tried to move through various arms control treaties—was appropriately, as Ronald Reagan said, "trust but verify."

This treaty exhibits a lot of trust but no verification. Accordingly, I am offering an amendment to help address the critical issue of verification. It is a very simple amendment, and it really ought not to present a problem to colleagues. If we are to have more confidence in this treaty, we should be working with the Russians now to achieve a viable regime to verify that reductions are indeed taking place on both sides and that they are taking place in a way that safeguards those materials. In the absence of any mutually agreed upon verification regime, we are left to rely on national means and methods to determine whether or not Russia is making the reductions promised on a reasonable schedule to meet the December 2012 target date.

My amendment adds a new condition to the Resolution of Ratification requiring an annual report prepared by the intelligence community on our ability to monitor Russia's compliance with the Moscow Treaty. For all those who have worried about trusting, verifying, and knowing what is happening, this is a very simple requirement, that we learn from our own intelligence community about our capacity to safeguard the interests of the United States of America. This national intelligence estimate must also provide an assessment of the ability of the United States to monitor compliance with the SORT treaty through the verification regime of the START I treaty and our ability to monitor compliance after the START I verification regime terminates in 2009.

Perhaps most notably, under my amendment the intelligence community is required to inform us of the mechanisms they need to verify treaty compliance with a high degree of confidence, including consideration of further agreements between the United States and the Russian Federation, mutual data exchanges between the two countries, improvements in the transparency of reductions that are called for in this treaty, technological improvements, and other appropriate mechanisms.

I have long viewed this treaty's lack of verification measures as a source of grave concern. I spoke out in the Foreign Relations Committee on each occasion that this treaty was considered. Last summer, when the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held hearings on the treaty, I noted the huge contradiction in it, the lack of verification and accountability in the reduction, and the fear that these weapons or materials might fall into the hands of terrorists.

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While I understand that we cannot mandate the dismantlement of warheads or the security of nuclear materials without renegotiating this treaty, it is critical we have an understanding, in order to protect the security interests of our country, of our own ability to monitor Russian compliance, where that ability might fall short and to understand a perspective on what we simply do not know. Without meaningful verification, there is a great deal that we will not know. And in this case, what we don't know can, indeed, hurt us in this dangerous world that we live in today.

Last month, I voted in committee to bring the treaty to the full Senate but not without reservation. At that time, I registered my serious concern about the treaty's lack of verification measures, about the lack of milestones or targets other than the 2012 date, and about the peculiarity of a treaty that expires on the very same day that it reaches its intended goal.

The amendment I offer today is intended to drive at the heart of the verification issue. I know several of my colleagues have offered or talked about other important fixes to address the shortcomings of this treaty, and I applaud their efforts, but at its heart this treaty represents a missed opportunity. It almost represents a treaty for the sake of a treaty without regard to the longer term security interests and strategic interests of the United States.

We missed an opportunity to help make the world safer for our children in the long term. We missed an opportunity to eliminate thousands of nuclear weapons for the long term, and not just to reduce deployed weapons for the short term. We missed an opportunity to advance American-Russian relations in a way that, in fact, builds a stronger foundation of trust between our two great countries.

By addressing the verification issue as envisioned in my amendment, I believe we can at least learn from our own intelligence community—which we ought to be willing to trust—what more needs to be done to provide the transparency and verification so essential to any agreement of this nature. If we are to make America safer, and we must, it will take more than cosmetic treaties that leave Russia's nuclear arsenal in place.

As Ronald Reagan told the Nation, "History has shown that peace will not come, nor will our freedoms be preserved, by good will alone."

We have work still to be done to meet today's challenges, and I believe one of those challenges is to fix the Moscow Treaty.

I yield the floor.

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