CONSIDERING THE COMPREHENSIVE TEST BAN TREATY...

Published April 2003 by GlobalBeat, an independent news syndicate affiliated with New York University

A Panel Discussion with Brahma Chellaney, Research Professor at the Center for Policy Research at New Delhi, India, Ross Smith, Editor of the Debater's Research Guide, Michael Roston, Research Analyst at the Russian American Nuclear Security Advisory Council in Washington, D.C., Gordon Mitchell, Associate Professor of Communication at Pittsburgh University and Patrick Speice, Presidential Scholar at Wake Forest University.

Thousands of college debaters and coaches across the United States have been researching the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) to prepare for debate tournaments where they compete in discussions about foreign policy. These academic discussions have focused on the 2002-2003 national intercollegiate policy debate resolution, which calls on the U.S. to ratify certain international treaties:

"Resolved: that the United States Federal Government should ratify or accede to, and implement, one or more of the following: The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty; The Kyoto Protocol; The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court; The Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty; The Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Strategic Offensive Reductions, if not ratified by the United States."

Since this topic was selected by national vote in the summer of 2002, hundreds of American debate tournaments have been held at colleges and universities from Boston College to Pepperdine. The season finale will take place April 3-7, 2003, when Emory University will host eighty different teams at the National Debate Tournament. the National Debate Tournament in Atlanta, Georgia.

Several debaters and coaches recently interviewed CTBT expertBrahma Chellaney and generated a written transcript of the interview. The transcript is designed to inform contest round debates at the National Debate Tournament and to enrich wider public discussion by presenting readers of the Global Beat website with a novel exploration of U.S. nuclear policy that unfolds in interview format, where Dr. Chellaney takes positions on key questions relating to the CTBT and international security.

Participants in the panel discussion:

Brahma Chellaney. Research Professor at the Center for Policy Research at New Delhi, India. He is currently project coordinator and principal researcher for study groups on technology and security, and he has a long-term interest in the future of nuclear deterrence. He has written extensively on Indias national security strategy, nuclear proliferation, and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

Ross Smith. Debate coach at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and editor of The Debaters Research Guide, one of the most widely utilized high school debate annual research handbooks. His teams appear consistently atop the national rankings. Smith himself won many debates for Wake Forest when he represented the university in debating competitions as an undergraduate student in the 1970s.

Gordon Mitchell. Associate Professor of Communication and Director of Debate at the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He specializes in public argument, rhetoric of science, and critical pedagogy. He is author of Strategic Deception: Rhetoric, Science and Politics in Missile Defense Advocacy. Mitchell competed in tournaments as an undergraduate debater for Northwestern University during the 1980s.

Michael Roston. Research analyst at the Russian AmericanNuclear Security Advisory Council in Washington, D.C. He is also an assistant debate coach at George Washington University and hails from the city of Chicago. He graduated from the University of Iowa, where he competed as an intercollegiate debater for four years while earning a BA.

 

Patrick Speice. Undergraduate student at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC. He is a Presidential scholar, senior debater, and political science major who is currently ranked among the top ten two-person teams in the nation.

 

 

"Considering the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty"


Brahma Chellaney, interviewed by
Michael Roston, Patrick Speice and Gordon Mitchell
(Ross Smith, interview moderator and transcript editor)

March 26, 2003



Ross Smith
: I am Ross Smith, the debate coach at Wake Forest University. I volunteered to moderate this discussion, which is a primary research initiative to connect the intercollegiate policy debate community to the professional, or "real world" community, with which we share common subject matter. So it is a very interesting attempt, hopefully, and a new attempt, and we will see what we can do with it.
Fortunately for this first attempt we have with us Brahma Chellaney, Research Professor at the Center for Policy Research at New Delhi, India. He is currently project co-ordinator and principal researcher for study groups on technology and security, and he has a long-term interest in the future of nuclear deterrence. He has written extensively on Indias national security strategy, nuclear proliferation, and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty being one of the five treaties that the intercollegiate policy debate community is debating about this year. He is ideally suited, I think, and we are fortunate to have him with us. The questioners will be Gordon Mitchell, Associate Professor and Director of Debate at the University of Pittsburgh, where he specializes in public argument, rhetoric of science, and critical pedagogy. His book, Strategic Deception: Rhetoric, Science and Politics in Missile Defense Advocacy, recently won the National Communication Associations award for distinguished scholarship in rhetoric and public address. He also has had work appearing in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, and on websites hosted by the Federation of American Scientists, Peace Research Institute Frankfurt, and International Security Information Service. I will also add that his work, his book and his scholarship emanated from some of his interests that he got as an intercollegiate debater as an undergraduate. It has been his initiative that led to todays conference call. We have been very fortunate to have Gordon prodding us along in this effort. Also questioning today will be Michael Roston, an analyst at the Russian American Nuclear Security Advisory Council, or RANSAC, an interesting acronym, in Washington, D.C. He is also an assistant debate coach at George Washington University. He hails from the city of Chicago and graduated from the University of Iowa, where he also competed as a debater for four years. Our final questioner is Patrick Speice. He is a presidential scholar, senior debater, and political science major at Wake Forest University. He is a member of one of the nations top-ten ranked debate teams and is currently working on the intercollegiate topic, with the National Debate Tournament coming up next week where he will be arguing about the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, among the other five treaties. We will go ahead and jump right in with questions. The order of the questioners today will be first Michael Roston, then Patrick Speice, and then Gordon Mitchell. These will be the lead questioners each for fifteen minutes. But it is expected that any of them can follow up the lead. If things get off tangent and you are the leader, go ahead and insist on asking your next question, or I will try to help out as best I can. So we will go ahead and begin the questions with Michael Roston.

Michael Roston:
Thanks a lot Ross, a thanks a lot to Dr. Chellaney, I really appreciate the opportunity to discuss some of these issues with someone who is involved in the business that I am involved in and also willing to share some of his expertise directly with members of the debate community. My questions are going to focus on some regional questions with regard to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and I hope that you will find them to be of interest. The first question I would like to ask you is that states like Iran and North Korea have been able to develop significant nuclear capabilities in spite of the existence of stringent anti-proliferation export control regimes, especially in terms of limiting the technologies that they have been trying to get ahold of. We are just two years off now from the approach of the sixtieth year of the nuclear age and Im wondering, in your opinion, do you think that technological or political factors are more important in driving a countrys decision to go nuclear.

Brahma Chellaney:
Well, that is an interesting question. My response to that would be that normally, military technology remains top of the line only for ten, fifteen, twenty years, but nuclear technology has been the number technology in the military sphere for nearly six decades now. And that is rather unusual in terms of the history of technology. In fact, we do not see any other technology of mass destruction overtaking nuclear weapons as the technology that the major powers would like to acquire. But now with the advent of the information age, maybe in the years to come, especially with the research going on in different fields, including directed energy systems, lasers, and space-based platforms, that maybe a new mass destruction technology will emerge. But until it does, there is a strong incentive on the part of countries that are technologically weaker to acquire nuclear technology, and there is a political as well as technological incentive for these countries when they look at the might of countries like the United States, that are armed with high-tech conventional capability and when they see whats happening for example in Iraq today, and if I can bring Iraq into the picture, I think we need to discuss what impact the Iraq issue will have on the proliferation pressures that were already evident before this conflict began, and the question I ask myself is whether Iraq will accelerate the proliferation pressures.

Michael Roston:
It seems unlikely that the United States will severely cut back its conventional or nuclear capabilities in the near future in any way that will be substantial, so I am wondering what sort of political factors can emerge that might minimize the willingness of countries with weaker technological bases to develop nuclear weapons. Is it a hopeless pursuit, or do you think there is something that can be done in the absence of the United States giving up its nuclear arsenal, or scaling down its conventional capabilities?

Brahma Chellaney:
I think the original bargain that allowed the five countries to keep their nuclear weapons while they worked toward complete nuclear disarmament, that bargain has fallen by the wayside. And it is very important for countries that aspire to acquire nuclear weapons technology that the best way to create disincentives is to ensure that the nuclear disarmament process is still in motion, that it has not stalled as it has in recent years. So one would be to get the disarmament process going. Second would be to ensure that there is regional stability. If there are regions where there is instability, political tensions, border disputes, and other problems, that by itself can act as a spur to proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. So regional stability is going to be an important driver of a how a country or countries respond to weapons of mass destruction. The third element is technological. I think that while it is possible today for a country to build nuclear weapons if it had the legal freedom, because the NPT really ties down most countries with the commitment not to pursue nuclear ambitions, so that is quite a constraint. The flipside of the technological element is that even if a country does desire to build nuclear weapons, there is a long gestation period required before it can acquire the infrastructure to build nuclear weapons. It will require at least five, six, seven, eight years before it can create the infrastructure to build nuclear weapons. So, nuclear technology, even though it is an old technology, in practical terms it is not easy to acquire it overnight. I think that also provides a time-lead on those who wish to dissuade a country from going down the nuclear route. So these are the three elements that I think work in terms of deciding whether there are going to be strong or weak proliferation pressures.

Michael Roston:
Does anyone else want to follow up on that line before I move onto another one?

Gordon Mitchell
: Quick follow-up. What would you say would be the most effective strategy either within, or across those three areas, Professor Chellaney?

Brahma Chellaney:
Elements one and two are very important regional stability and genuine efforts at international nuclear disarmament. When we have regional instability and lack of any disarmament progress, then it does create additional proliferation pressures.

Gordon Mitchell:
Do you think the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, would you categorize that as one of those efforts that might have the world community move more towards nuclear disarmament?

Brahma Chellaney:
It was conceived originally as a disarmament measure, but by the time it was concluded in 1996, it became essentially a non-proliferation instrument. In other words, it was intended to help the five declared or the five NPT nuclear weapons states to keep their nuclear weapons, and prevent other nations, including those states that have not signed the NPT from going down the nuclear route. It was a treaty with a very specific non-proliferation objective, and it is treaty that will go down in history as a treaty that backfired, that kind of undermined the very objective for which it was designed.

Michael Roston:
The next question I have is going to turn to North Korea. North Korea has refused to participate in any CTBT-related activities. I believe they have not attended a single preparation conference activity, they do not participate in the CTBTO, and on top of that, the North Koreans have recently made the decision to withdraw from the NPT. Given the stringent entry-into-force requirements spelled out in the CTBTs fourteenth article, the entry-into-force clause, does Pyongyangs intransigence doom the treatys prospects of full implementation?

Brahma Chellaney:
I do not think it is the North Korean intransigence so much that is holding up the treaty. The CTBT received a fatal blow when the US Senate rejected its ratification. And at the moment, the treaty is in limbo, essentially because of the US position. Ironically, it was the United States, though under a different administration, it was Washington that really pushed hard for this treaty, and in fact played the lead role in the completion of this treaty in Geneva. But the present administration in Washington has completely rejected this treaty and I think there is no hope in the foreseeable future that this treaty will be revived. The other aspect about the CTBT is that it kind of forcibly put some countries in Article XIV, the entry-into-force clause that you were mentioning, India is one example. It had forewarned before this entry-into-force clause was drafted, that if its name was mentioned in that clause as one of the countries whose signature was required before the treaty could come into force, India would actually veto that treaty draft in Geneva, because India, as a member of the CD (Conference on Disarmament), had a veto power. Every member of the CD has a veto power. But just to mock the Indian threat, eight days later, the entry-into-force clause draft was unveiled naming India as one of the countries whose signature and ratification was needed before the CTBT could come into force. And the Indians lived up to their threat and vetoed the conclusion of the treaty, and the treaty then had to be taken by the back door to the UN for approval. The North Koreans were also brought onto this list of countries whose signature and ratification was needed for the CTBT to come into force. My concern is that, why was this done? Why was it considered necessary to bring certain countries on the list? The treatys entry-into-force clause should have merely said that the treaty would take effect as soon as an X number of countries had signed and ratified the treaty. But by naming a whole list of forty-four countries, whose signature and ratification was required, the treaty gave each of these countries a veto power over the treaty actually taking effect. So we have a long process along the way for each of these forty-four countries, required to sign and ratify, and at the moment it seems like this will be a treaty that never will take effect.

Brahma Chellaney: . . . So we have a long process along the way for each of these forty-four countries, required to sign and ratify, and at the moment it seems like this will be a treaty that never will take effect.

Michael Roston:
To follow up on your remarks about how the United States has dealt a fatal blow to the treaty some authors have argued that some of the holdout states, like China, Iran, Israel, and so forth, take U.S. non-ratification of the CTBT as an excuse for them not to ratify on their own. If we were in a world in the future where the U.S. would ratify the treaty, are you of the opinion that countries like China and Iran and so forth would change their tune to some degree or is it likely that they would find other excuses not to ratify the treaty in their own countries?

Brahma Chellaney:
That is a very good question. First, I think that certainly they are using the U.S. reluctance to ratify the treaty as an excuse not to ratify the treaty themselves, so they are hiding behind the U.S. But if the U.S. had actually gone ahead and ratified the treaty, it would have put tremendous pressure on these countries to fall in line. I think that most would have fallen in line. China would have faced the agonizing issue of either actually doing a few more tests or ratifying the treaty. I think that the Chinese are very pleased that they did not need to decide on that issue and that the Americans bailed them out by rejecting the treaty.

Gordon Mitchell:Professor Chellaney, could you elaborate on a phrase that you used? You said that United States ratification of the CTBT would bring "pressure" on China and other nations to follow suit? What do you mean by "pressure"?

Brahma Chellaney:
Had the United States ratified the treaty, it would have generated a lot of pressure on the holdout states to fall in line, because each holdout state then would have been in the spotlight in terms of what it was trying to do on the test ban treaty. But when the U.S. Senate rejected ratification of the treaty, that by itself meant the death of the treaty. Other countries, whether it was China, North Korea, Israel or India, it became irrelevant whether they would sign or ratify the treaty.

Ross Smith
: Now we are re going to move onto Patrick Speices questions. Patrick?

Patrick Speice:
If there were pressure on India to ratify the CTBT following US ratification, what effect would that have on US-Indian relations?

Brahma Chellaney
: Well today the test ban treaty is not such a hot political issue in India. It was some years ago, especially when the treaty was concluded in 1996. And between 1996 and 1998 when the Indians actually tested five nuclear warheads, in that intervening two years, India had actually four different governments that came to office, two of them for very brief periods. All of these four governments came to the brink of carrying out nuclear tests. It was the last government that actually did the nuclear tests. So the CTBT generated a lot of pressure in India to use the closing window of opportunity and do the nuclear tests an issue with which India grappled with for nearly quarter of a century after having done one test in 1974. So the CTBT really helped to close the debate in India and push the government to go overtly nuclear. Now that India has actually become a self-declared nuclear weapons state, and it has done the tests that scientists wanted to do, the test ban treaty is no longer a sensitive issue in Indian politics or Indian academic discussion. I think that if the United States were to reverse its position on the test ban treaty, the Indians would be willing to at some point sign and ratify the treaty as long as China was willing to do likewise because if the Chinese were going to drag their feet, the Indians would drag their feet. So the Indians would be more looking at China, than what the US position on the treaty would be. Certainly if the US were to ratify the treaty, then it would force many countries, including India, to revisit this issue.

Patrick Speice:
You mentioned the tests that India conducted in 1998. Are those tests adequate for India to establish a deterrent posture, given that they have renounced nuclear first use against any threat? It seems that a survivable second-strike capability is what would be truly necessary for deterrence to be effective against Pakistan and especially China.

Brahma Chellaney
: Well first there is no pressure from Indian scientists for permission to do further tests. They were asked to do three different types of nuclear warheads. They are satisfied; in fact you mentioned they were satisfied with the results they got in 1998. Unless the government asked them to do a new type of nuclear warhead, they do not feel the need to test technology, since they have already done so. Secondly, the pressures that emanated as a result of CTBT have dissipated and there was an impression in India in 1996-97, that this was a closing window of opportunity. Now, if India wants to test again, the fact is that the CTBT is not going to take effect in any foreseeable future, so there is no closing window of opportunity. If the Indians wanted to take the risk, wanted to go against the international tide, they could renew nuclear testing, though it would actually adversely affect the growing relationship with the United States. And also, it would make the nuclear issue a hot international issue once again. But at the moment I do not see any pressure in India for renewed nuclear testing. Second, I think that the United States has acknowledged, at least in a de facto manner, that Indias nuclear weapons are there to stay. The relationship between US and India is progressing rather well in the strategic area. And in the years to come, these two countries are actually to be strategic allies. The third thing is, and that this is a technical element, which one has to recognize, that the Indians did the tests in the 1990s in the era of information technology. In contrast, the last American nuclear warhead was designed in the mid to late 1970s on computers, supposed supercomputers, which are slower than the PCs that you get in the market today. So the technology really had progressed tremendously in terms of the simulation between the 1970s and the late 1990s when the Indians had tested. The Indians did all their work on sophisticated computers. They did the simulation, the cold tests, et cetera, and are still continuing to work on these systems, based on results they got from the actual tests in 1998. So they do not feel the need to test again. And I think that view is echoed throughout the whole Indian establishment, that there is no need to test any further.

Patrick Speice
: Does anyone have a follow-up that theyd like to add?
Michael Roston: You mentioned that if India were to test again, that that would have an effect on its relationship with the United States. Do you think the converse is true? Do you think that if the United States were to make a decision to go ahead and test nuclear warheads again, that that would have any positive or negative impact on US-India relations?

Brahma Chellaney
: Not really. I think many in India expected the Bush administration to at least test its new earth penetrating nuclear warheads, but the Bush administration got caught in many other matters: Osama Bin Laden, Afghanistan, and now Iraq, so the nuclear tests never happened. But if that test had occurred, the Indian scientific community would have had the opportunity to ask the government for permission to test one or two nuclear warheads, if they wanted. But that was the only thing that could have come up. But I do not think the US tests would have impacted on the bilateral relationship with India.

Patrick Speice:
I think it is interesting that you brought up the position of the Bush administration. Given the current views of that administration on multilateralism and treaties in particular, do you think that a US ratification of the CTBT would be seen as a credible attempt by the international community to advance multilateral arms control?

Brahma Chellaney:
Well that is an interesting question. When the Bush team has rejected arms control, has rejected deterrence, has rejected containment, and espoused a doctrine of preemption, the theory of compellence, it is trying to reorder the world. Rather, remake the world in its own image. I think that nobody expects the Bush administration to do an about face on the test ban treaty. Even if there was a reversal of the US position on the test ban treaty, it would require a reversal of the US position on a number of other treaties or regimes, including the Biological Weapons Convention verification regime, and the Land Mines Convention, the International Criminal Court, and many other issues, before the world would think that the Bush administration has renounced unilateralism and is now espousing or accepting multilateralism.

Patrick Speice:
Do you think then, that US plans to build a National Missile Defense will complicate attempts by the US to bring other nations into the multilateral non-proliferation regime?

Brahma Chellaney:
I think the non-proliferation regime is passing through a critical time now. Its future is looking quite a bit shaky at the moment, because of a number of profound developments that have happened or are happening in the last few years. One is the rejection of arms control and disarmament by the Bush administration. Two is the rejection of international treaties that have already been negotiated or in fact have been concluded. Three is the present approach on Iraq of the Bush administration. I think these elements together generate a lot of pressures in terms of promoting nuclear ambitions in countries that already or at least have quietly aspired to be nuclear at some point in the future. Certainly these countries are now thinking more intently as to what they need to do in terms of acquiring nuclear capability.

Patrick Speice
: Do you think that if the US were to announce that it were making the current moratorium on nuclear testing permanent, that that would be a first step toward reaffirming the non-proliferation regime, since it is so shaky now?

Brahma Chellaney:
Well I think the test ban moratorium even if it were formalized, it can only be formalized if a test ban treaty takes effect, because a moratorium is always a temporary step, and a formal permanent arrangement to abjure testing means a treaty, a legal framework. So either they revive the CTBT or they negotiate another test ban treaty. But even if that were to happen, a test ban treaty will allow the existing nuclear weapons states, be it United States, France, Russia, China or India to keep their nuclear weapons, while disallowing other nation states from considering any plans to test a nuclear device,. it will perpetuate, in the eyes of much of the world, the present system of nuclear apartheid, where some states retain nuclear weapons, and others have to forego that option. So it will require much more than just a commitment to a formal test ban.

Patrick Speice:
Do you think there is any prospect that China would ratify the CTBT? Maybe in a world in which the US was to ratify it they would be more likely to. I was just wondering if you could speak to those prospects.

Brahma Chellaney:
I think China is now at a stage where even if the United States were to magically reverse its stance on CTBT and actually ratify the treaty, China would still not ratify that treaty simply because they look at the US missile defense program as a very aggressive and threatening program, and they have said so in public a number of times, that missile defense will prompt them to renew nuclear testing, they will have to invest more in nuclear weaponry and in long-range ballistic missiles. So, fortunately their position is not an international issue at present, because the entire focus is on other issues, and they are quite pleased with the fact that they do not have to be in the spotlight and speak their opposition to the CTBT. But certainly, China would be a problem state even if the United States were to reverse its position on the test ban treaty.

Ross Smith:
All right. We are right on time to begin Gordon Mitchells questioning leadership.

Gordon Mitchell:
Thank you Ross. And if I do not get a chance later, I would like to express my sincere thanks to Professor Chellaney. It is getting quite late there in New Delhi and I appreciate you sticking with us. You mentioned "earth-penetrating" nuclear weapons. One prominent issue that has been explored in American intercollegiate policy debates on the CTBT this year has been the role of nuclear testing in development of such weapons, like the "robust nuclear earth penetrator," a modification of the conventional B61-11 "bunker buster." Is further nuclear testing necessary to develop such weapons, and what is your assessment of the effectiveness of such weapons as tools to counter terrorism?

Brahma Chellaney:
On the first part of your question, I do not think that technologically, testing would be needed to develop such "earth penetrating" weaponry, especially since the conventional aspects of that technology are already proven. The nuclear aspects of such a warhead would be easy to simulate and develop without an actual test. In any case, since the purpose of the "earth penetrating" nuclear warhead is to destroy underground command-and-control facilities, its real test could occur in actual combat. The second part of your question is the more tricky part. Could you repeat the second part Gordon, I lost the pattern of what you said. The second part of your question was what?

Gordon Mitchell:
What is your assessment of the effectiveness of such weapons as tools to counter terrorism?

Brahma Chellaney:
On terrorism, I think that such an "earth penetrating" nuclear warhead does boost the militarys confidence in rooting out the command-and-control centers of an enemy in the event of war. When you are fighting terrorism and you are fighting terrorists who are stateless or who are actually being encouraged or being sponsored by a state, but who are not really the leaders or the decision-makers of a nation-state, then what is the utility of an earth-penetrating nuclear warhead? It also raises the question as to why, at this point in time, so much effort has gone into developing such an "earth penetrating" nuclear warhead, as well as the emphasis on "mini-nukes" and "micro-nukes." That is what I have seen in the last couple of years. The other aspect is that even with conventional "earth penetrating" bombs, the record has not been very good, because such conventional "earth penetrating" warheads have been used, including the one that began the war with Iraq, the self-advertised "decapitation strike" that did not work. Such usage has not yielded the desired results, there being so many recent instances, including the 1999 air war on Yugoslavia and the effort to topple Milosevic and the effort in the summer of 1998 to kill Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. The use of such "earth penetrating" weaponry did not yield the political results that were desired. I think that they are not very effective tools to fight terror, even with conventional explosives.

Gordon Mitchell:
If I could pursue that point a bit further, one of the missions that has been posited for these types of weapons has been a deterrent mission, in terms of dissuading potential terrorists from trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction and build underground bunkers, because the strategic thinking is, if those bunkers could be destroyed using those "earth penetrating" weapons then there would be no need to make the attempt to acquire such WMD materil. What is your assessment of this strategic dimension of the "bunker buster" weapon?

Brahma Chellaney
: It is interesting you asked that question because the proponents of "earth penetrating" nuclear warheads are opponents of deterrence. And yet when they are forced to argue the merits of their case, they do at times talk about the value of deterrence. But I do not actually see how that can aid deterrence, simply because if you are fighting terrorists, I think the fight against international terrorism will go on for a long time, because that is a scourge that is not going to be easily contained, especially in the given circumstances. I believe that to fight terror will require much more than technological capability or the enhancement of present technical means. It will require, first and foremost, greater international consensus and concerted antiterror operations. What we lack today is an international consensus on how to fight international terrorism, making distinctions between "good" terrorism and "bad" terrorism that this terrorism is against them, and this terrorism is against us, we need to fight this terrorism. I think that is a political divisiveness that is an impediment in the fight against global terror. It is not the deficiency on the technical side that is weakening the fight against global terror.

Gordon Mitchell:
Here in the United States, we are just starting to come to grips with our governments pursuit of a preemptive or preventive military intervention doctrine laid out in the 2002 National Security Strategy. First, I would like to ask you to comment on the distinction between preemptive and preventive military intervention. Do you see that as a meaningful distinction?

Brahma Chellaney:
I think the two terms "preventive" and "preemptive" have been deliberately mixed to mean one and the same, and they are not one and the same. Preemption is a doctrine that actually puts international law on its head. It is to preempt a prospect of threat. It is not even to preempt an existing threat, but to preempt a futuristic threat. I think that not only goes against international norms and international law. It raises troubling questions about the modern state order, about to where the world is headed, so it is not a surprise that the first attempt to implement that doctrine of preemption, as in the case of Iraq, has triggered such an international opposition. I think that those who propounded that doctrine in the report done by the Project on the New American Century, which became the blueprint for the Bush Administrations National Security Strategy, I think they did not factor in the international reaction to any preemptive strike that the United States would seek to carry out. Only now they are starting to realize that the doctrine of preemption comes with very serious international costs.

Gordon Mitchell:
Is one of those possible costs what you were talking about before, in terms of fracturing the consensus on international cooperation to fight terror?

Brahma Chellaney:
Exactly. Thanks to this doctrine of preemption, the global war on terror has been derailed. Nobody is talking these days about the global effort to stem terrorism. The debate has been completely overtaken by other events, and other concerns. What we are ending up with is a situation, which may actually spur further international terrorism, rather than be conducive to the containment and compression of international terrorism.

Gordon Mitchell:
There is some speculation that the United States posture, the preventive military intervention posture, could be modeled by other nations such as Russia, China, and even possibly India. What is your perspective on this issue, both in terms of whether the doctrine will be modeled, and the possible security consequences of its adoption by other nations?

Brahma Chellaney:
The model that the United States is setting up for other countries, that model is a very dangerous one, even if other states, at this point in time, are not considering adopting it. Because even if one state seeks to implement any of these ideas which are part of the National Security Strategy report unveiled on September 20, 2002, quite after 9/11, those ideas are going to destabilize the international environment. Increasingly, it is becoming clear that if the United States thinks that it is okay to preempt a prospect of threat, then other countries would be tempted to preempt existing threats. They could argue that they were only following the American example and actually try to reinforce their position by saying that they are being faced with a real and potent threat that needs to be dealt with. I think that if this conduct gets emulated, then we are certainly in a more troubled world.

Gordon Mitchell:
Do you think the constraints of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty would inhibit the development of space-based nuclear pumped lasers with antisatellite or antiballistic missile capability?


Brahma Chellaney
: I do not think the test ban treaty is going to impact the space-based research program of the United States. But certainly, if the intent is to put nuclear payloads on space-based platforms, maybe at that point in time, there may be a need to test those nuclear payloads. But the entire space-based aspects of technological development can and will proceed even if the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty were to take legal effect.

Gordon Mitchell:
What about underground nuclear testing to establish the survivability of space satellites? Is underground nuclear testing needed?

Brahma Chellaney:
Against satellites, antisatellite weapons?

Gordon Mitchell:
To test the survivability of US satellites against enemy countermeasures.

Brahma Chellaney:
I do not get the connection. You are talking of nuclear testing helping the United States to upgrade its satellite security?

Gordon Mitchell:
Correct. "Hardening" of satellites, say for example, to establish whether the satellite can survive an EMP blast.

Brahma Chellaney:
I am not really qualified to answer that question. I have no expertise on that subject, nor have I researched it. My simple reading of the situation was that space-based weaponry research would be unaffected by a deficit of any kind. The programs that we see being researched and developed right now would proceed uninterrupted even if the CTBT were to take effect.

Ross Smith:
All right. We have about eight minutes left in our allotted time for I guess what I would call free-for-all, or if anybody has a question that they would like to jump in with?

Michael Roston
: While we are on the topic of space. I know that India has been involved in development of its own space program. In terms of the development of its own nuclear deterrent, some economists and security thinkers believe that the development of this kind of advanced military-industrial system, that you see throughout the United States and Western Europe, will be essential to India making the transition to be a fully modern economy. Do you think that this is true, that the pursuit of these kinds of systems, the development of this kind of technological base, is necessary for India to solve problems like poverty, or do you think that it actually distracts India from dealing with a lot of its economic difficulties?

Brahma Chellaney:
All of the space research in India is being put to economic use. Satellite imagery, for example, is being used for agriculture or forecasting weather patterns; it is being used for public health programs, and India has been at the forefront of space satellite research activity in the developing world. India has been able to derive some early benefits from such technology. Certainly I think there are many in India who believe that satellite imagery and satellite-related systems would be critical for Indias economic development. There is a recognition in government and in academia that satellite systems mean much more than national security.

Michael Roston:
To follow up on that, do you think that the pursuit of a stronger military as well, for trying to establish, for instance, stronger nuclear-based systems, stronger naval systems, air force, and so forth, detracts from those efforts or do you believe in some of these thinkers who believe that an advanced military-industrial capability is necessary for Indias economy?

Brahma Chellaney:
India is a democracy and the debates here are endless. There are all schools of thought in this country. I am telling you what the mainstream thinking here is, which is that India needs both the military capability and the economic capability to be an important country in the world. After all, India is one-sixth of the human race and there is a strong feeling here that Indias current voice in the world does not come any way near its actual size, and that India really has to enlarge its strategic space internationally, so that it has a role to play proportionate to its size. The mainstream thinking is that India has to focus both on being secure and prosperous because the two aspects feed on each other. You cannot be prosperous unless you can be secure, that is unless you can safeguard your prosperity. And unless you are prosperous, you cannot generate the money to develop militarily. So the focus here, even in terms of policy, is both on economic and military development.

Ross Smith:
Patrick, do you have one last question? We have about three minutes.

Patrick Speice:
To go back to when Gordon was asking questions about "earth penetrating" weapons, it seems that the focus was a bit on their application in antiterrorism, and I was wondering if you thought there were any benefits to those weapons in other contexts?

Brahma Chellaney:
Certainly, "earth penetrating" weapons potentially could be useful in conflicts between states, and that targeting command-and-control centers and targeting leadership is perceived to be an instrumental aspect of war. Certainly, a country with "earth penetrating" capability would be in an advantageous position against a rival that lacked such a capability, because the only way that you can build secure command-and-control centers would be to build them underground. That is the thinking in the world. But if underground structures are going to be vulnerable to a missile strike, then certainly the country that is able to do that strike an underground command-and-control post would put themselves militarily in a much stronger position.

Ross Smith:
Speaking of rivals, we have not heard the word Pakistan this entire time and was wondering if you had any comment on what seems as if it is daily or weekly provocations, including missile firings, and underground bunkers and nuclear weapons regarding Pakistan.

Brahma Chellaney:
Well the Pakistan thing is also tied up to terrorism, because Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden and the Taliban, and Pakistan, these are all things that go together because, as you know, the single, top Taliban leader, and the top Al Qaeda leader, the really top Al Qaeda leadership, is still intact. And the entire Taliban leadership, along with Al Qaeda elements, which are supposed to be holed up somewhere in Pakistan. Pakistan also is a nuclear-armed state. It is a hotbed of Islamic extremism; it is Indias neighbor, closest ally of China, which is also an adversary of India. So certainly, when you look at Pakistan, you look at a state that is really troubled, it is a state which is broadly recognized as a failing state. Any reading of the situation in Pakistan does not at the moment encourage any optimism because the trend in Pakistan in the last fifteen years and more has been toward greater extremism. I think that the war in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq are unlikely to reverse that trend.

Ross Smith:
We are at the end of the hour. I would like to thank everybody, Professor Chellaney especially. I hope this has been useful and encouraged a lot more thought.

Gordon Mitchell:
Thank you very much for moderating Ross.