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DefenceTalk's Interview With David Krieger; president Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.

This is a discussion on DefenceTalk's Interview With David Krieger; president Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. within the Missiles & WMDs forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; Interview with David Krieger, President of Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. DefenceTalk's interview with David Krieger on Nuclear proliferation and Nuclear ...


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Old December 24th, 2008   #1
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DefenceTalk's Interview With David Krieger; president Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.

Interview with David Krieger, President of Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.


DefenceTalk's interview with David Krieger on Nuclear proliferation and Nuclear Arms Control. The interview was conducted by Ahmed Ali Shah on behalf of DefenceTalk. Ahmed is senior member and supermoderator at DefenceTalk Forums (known as SABRE). He holds a MSc. degree in Defence and Strategic Studies from Quaid-I-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan.

David Krieger is a founder of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, and has served as President of the Foundation since 1982. Under his leadership the Foundation has initiated many innovative and important projects for building peace, strengthening international law, abolishing nuclear weapons and empowering a new generation of peace leaders. Dr. Krieger has lectured throughout the United States, Europe and Asia on issues of peace, security, international law, and the abolition of nuclear weapons. He has received many awards for his work for a more peaceful and nuclear weapons-free world. He has been interviewed on CNN Hotline, MSNBC, NPR and many other television and radio shows nationally and internationally.

Dr. Krieger is the author of many studies of peace in the Nuclear Age. Read his full profile in PDF format.


Q&A

DT: Which nuclear states are more dangerous; the nuclear romantics (those seeking nukes for prestige) or nuclear realists (those seeking nukes for defence against other nuke states)? Nuclear Realists claim they possess nuclear weapons only because nuclear romantics create fear in them.

David Krieger: I don’t find the distinctions between nuclear romantics and nuclear realists to be helpful. All states possessing nuclear weapons have some mix of both qualities. In my mind, there is nothing romantic about nuclear weapons and it is detached from reality to believe that nuclear weapons can be held indefinitely in nuclear arsenals and their use threatened without being used again.

DT: Realists belief is that nuclear weapon free world is a Utopian idea. Even if nations completely disarm themselves their nuclear raw materials, nuclear scientists, engineers and nuclear facilities will continue to exist. Therefore; when they deem it necessary they can redevelop their nuclear weapons. And in such a case the possibility of usage of nuclear weapons is higher than it is now. How do you respond to this belief?

David Krieger: I think it is far more utopian to believe that some states can maintain nuclear arsenals without engendering nuclear proliferation and eventual use of nuclear weapons, by accident or design. If states would find it in their interest to seek to abolish nuclear weapons in a phased, verifiable, irreversible and transparent manner, it is likely that they would assure in the process that it is extremely difficult for any state to develop or redevelop nuclear weapons.

DT: NPT was signed during the Cold War. The 5 Nuclear States promised to disarm themselves on a future date. Today there is no Cold War and more states possess nuclear weapons then before. What is the future of NPT in your view? And do you believe a complete disarmament is possible on NPTs terms?

David Krieger: For the foreseeable future the NPT is necessary, but of course it has serious contradictions, such as the promise of nuclear disarmament on the one hand and the seemingly inconsistent position on the other hand that peaceful nuclear technology is an “inalienable right.” As states become more serious about abolishing nuclear weapons, the NPT should give way to a Nuclear Weapons Convention, which sets forth the roadmap for the phased, verifiable, irreversible and transparent elimination of nuclear weapons.

DT: The US congress passed a controversial Presslers Amendment which barred US government from selling F-16s and other military hardware to Pakistan because it was pursuing nuclear weapons. On the other hand US sold over 250 F-16s to Israel, who was already known to possess nuclear weapons at that time. Similar examples can be found on other accounts related to other countries. Do you think that the double standards on behalf of United States, on who should and who should not possess nuclear weapons, are pushing 3rd World Countries to acquire nuclear weapons?

David Krieger: I strongly oppose such double standards. I believe they are a provocation to nuclear proliferation. We need a unitary and universal standard leading to the abolition of all nuclear weapons.

DT: What are your views on Bush Nuclear Doctrine? Is the policy to pursue nonproliferation by force the right one? Or has it brought the world to a dangerous point? Has it in anyway made US a more secure country, even by a small percentage?

David Krieger: I think the orientation of trying to control proliferation by the use of force, including preemptive nuclear strikes, is extremely dangerous. It is an expression of imperial policy and an incentive to proliferation. I also believe that it is neither practical nor effective. It has not made the US more secure.

DT: In your paper Why Nations Go Nuclear you have pointed out 4 principle reasons to the question, while you say that North Korea seems to be pioneering the 5th one, that is: to use the weapons as a bargaining chip to gain security guarantees and financial concessions. How real is danger of such nuclear blackmail? Will more states be encouraged to follow this rout? If so, how can they be stopped?

David Krieger: I don’t see North Korea’s position as nuclear blackmail in the sense of threatening to use nuclear weapons. Rather, it is using the prospect of developing or maintaining a nuclear arsenal as a bargaining chip to gain security and development assistance. I think that North Korea fears the US use of force against it and certainly has great need of development assistance. I think it is well worth the bargain for the US to provide such security guarantees and development aid in exchange for North Korea giving up its nuclear arsenal. I think this situation is unique, and is unlikely to be a model for other states.

DT: In your paper US Leadership for Global Zero you say Barack Obama recognizes the importance for US and global security of achieving a world free of nuclear weapons. D.W. Eisenhower & Ronald Reagan spoke of General and Complete (C&G) Disarmament on different occasions but neither achieved it. In fact both pursued better nuclear delivery systems and counter nuclear missile technologies. G.W. Bush on the other hand pursued all this without even showing slightest interest in either disarmament or arms control. What makes you believe that Obama is or will be serious on complete nuclear disarmament or as you put Nuclear Zero?

David Krieger: President-elect Obama has made many statements that show he is deeply concerned about nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism. I think he recognizes that the US and the world would be far safer without nuclear arms. I am certain that he will take steps in this direction, but I imagine that they will be cautious steps and will emerge initially from negotiations with the Russians. I believe he will set the goal of global zero, but will not be able to achieve this goal within his possible two terms in office. I have high hopes that he will follow in the footsteps of Ronald Reagan in seeking global abolition, hopefully more successfully than Reagan. Much will depend upon Obama’s willingness to halt missile defenses in Europe, which the Russians have consistently opposed and continue to find provocative.

DT: Do you think that miniaturized low yield tactical nuclear weapons, with lower (very limited) contamination and destructive power, can (or should) be possible alternative to nuclear weapons with the capability of mass destruction?

David Krieger: I don’t see mini-nukes as an alternative to massive-nukes. Leaders could well be more willing to use low yield tactical nuclear weapons, thus breaking the taboo that has existed on nuclear weapons use since Nagasaki was destroyed. This could open a Pandora’s Box of proliferation and nuclear use.

DT: States like Pakistan and North Korea find themselves conventionally weaker against their rivals. They claim that only thing deterring their rivals is their nuclear arsenal. Iran seems to follow the same logic. Such states would be reluctant to disarm themselves. How can these states be encouraged to join the disarmament club, or as your say: Nuclear Weapons Convention, if Nuclear Zero takes place?

David Krieger: To convince these states to engage in nuclear disarmament will require a new global security environment. For these states, nuclear weapons now seem to be a military equalizer. The stronger states are going to have make commitments in the form of security agreements to convince these states to give up their nuclear arms. Such commitments will actually make the more powerful states more secure as well. Changing the global security environment will not be easy, but it will be greatly helped by the most powerful states giving clear signs that they are prepared themselves to go to zero.

DT: In case Iran produces a deliverable nuclear weapon, there is a risk that Saudi Arabia and Egypt will also seek to acquire nuclear weapons, while Israel will also go overt. How much will this affect proliferation control? What measures should be taken to prevent Iran or Middle East as whole from going nuclear?

David Krieger: Iran developing nuclear weapons would encourage more nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. Israel’s nuclear weapons already encourage such proliferation, by Iran and others. The UN has long called for a Middle East Nuclear Weapons Free Zone. This remains an important objective and pressure should be put on Israel by its allies to achieve this goal. In my view, no states, including the current nuclear weapons states, should be allowed to enrich uranium. Uranium enrichment should be universally banned. The reprocessing of plutonium should only be done under strict and effective international control.

DT: In your Briefing for the New President you wrote Deterrence is not defense against a nuclear attack. If it were, missile defenses would not be needed. If true then what deterred the two super powers of the Cold War from a nuclear exchange, especially during times of high tension like the Cuban Missile Crisis?

David Krieger: Deterrence is not physical protection from nuclear attack. It is a psychological concept, which provides no assurance of effectiveness. There is no proof that deterrence prevented a nuclear war during the period of the Cold War. We know a nuclear war did not occur, but we do not know that it was fear of retaliation that was the cause of this. But even if the threat of mutual assured destruction (MAD) did protect psychologically against the use of nuclear weapons during the Cold War, it cannot be assumed that the same conditions would prevail in the case of other nuclear weapons states. Deterrence requires rational actors, and we surely know that not all leaders are rational at all times. I would not bet the future of one’s country or of the human race on reliance upon rationality. To do so would be irrational.


http://www.defencetalk.com/news/publ...ol30016825.php


Nuclear Age Peace Foundation: http://www.wagingpeace.org/
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Old December 24th, 2008   #2
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If anyone has any follow up question do let me know.

Feanor; question #8 is taken from your post.

Grand Danois; question #10 is related to yours I think (?)

Todjaeger; you were bit late to post your questions. I had already posted David Kreiger the questions. If I send any follow up questions I would add your questions to them. Hope some of your questions are answered abovein some way or another.

I am sending the link to both the forum and the main page where we have posted the interview. May be he can join us and give us answers himself, directly (but that is a big may be).
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Old December 24th, 2008   #3
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He dodged my question. I wanted to know not if he thought that it was a good thing, but whether he thought it was possible or likely that minituarized nuclear weapons would be used. If you do send follow-up questions please add that clarification to my question. I'm curious as to what he thinks?
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Old December 25th, 2008   #4
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He dodged my question. I wanted to know not if he thought that it was a good thing, but whether he thought it was possible or likely that minituarized nuclear weapons would be used. If you do send follow-up questions please add that clarification to my question. I'm curious as to what he thinks?
Well he answered in line with my question (I did modify your question). I'll send it again in follow-up questions (If I send any) but it would be better that I should ask this question from someone on the strategic and tactical side.

On the other hand; I think we should also wait for the Obama to review the Bush administrations "Nuclear Posture Review." It was in this NPR of 2001 that Bush admin came out with the idea of making mini or low-yield tactical nuclear weapons (LYT Nukes); Bunker Busts etc ... If Obama decides to ban them by offering an international treaty then we may see halt to their production (worldwide) and thus no usage. If otherwise than we are in for a big debate, especially the two of us

And to bring you back to our older discussion - let me add that I have never said that nuclear weapons will not be used. If LYT Nukes are built than the chances of their usage is higher then HY Nukes.

(We never acted on my advice to open up a forum on LYT Nukes ... its still on the table).
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Old December 25th, 2008   #5
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There is no need to open a forum dedicated to mini-nukes. There isn't enough discussion on them to warrant a forum. IMO if the WMD forum was overflowing with light-nuke discussion, then it would warrant a forum of it's own. As it stands I simply brought them up as a potential counter-example to your statement that nukes are not battlefield weapons.

And just because Obama offers a treaty doesn't mean other players will cooperate. Russia and China have much to gain from using nuclear weapons as military equilizers.
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Old December 25th, 2008   #6
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There is no need to open a forum dedicated to mini-nukes. There isn't enough discussion on them to warrant a forum. IMO if the WMD forum was overflowing with light-nuke discussion, then it would warrant a forum of it's own. As it stands I simply brought them up as a potential counter-example to your statement that nukes are not battlefield weapons.
Let me rephrase. I did not mean a forum but a thread in WMD forum.

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And just because Obama offers a treaty doesn't mean other players will cooperate. Russia and China have much to gain from using nuclear weapons as military equilizers.
Well what I meant was lets see what are the future developments going to be (after Obama takes charge). Lets wait and see if others reject the idea or not in future. But our concern is not their production. If HY nukes are being produced who can stop LYT nukes? Your/our focus is on their usage, isn't it?

Why I am emphasizing on waiting on Obama is because if we are to discuss on the lines of "Nuclear Posture Review" by Bush admin than I would conclude that "yes, they can be used" - but I would still resist to say "yes, they will be used."
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Old December 25th, 2008   #7
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I don't know that they will be used. I simply think the possibility is there, regardless of the stance Obama takes. And hence why it's not appropriate to delineate all nuclear weapons as something that's not present on the battlefield. I also think that tactical nuclear weapons are also a form of deterrent, except not on the strategic scale but on the tactical scale. They prevent a low-scale confrontation between large powers, in a situation where neither side would be willing to engage in a strategic exchange, they prevent (on some level at least) the USA from intervening in a conflict like say the Georgian one.
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Old December 25th, 2008   #8
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I don't know that they will be used. I simply think the possibility is there, regardless of the stance Obama takes. And hence why it's not appropriate to delineate all nuclear weapons as something that's not present on the battlefield. I also think that tactical nuclear weapons are also a form of deterrent, except not on the strategic scale but on the tactical scale. They prevent a low-scale confrontation between large powers, in a situation where neither side would be willing to engage in a strategic exchange, they prevent (on some level at least) the USA from intervening in a conflict like say the Georgian one.
I'll open up a thread and put in extracts from Jonathan Schell's book (which I am reading nowdays) where he has analyzed the 'Nuclear Posture Review" by Bush admin. He has discussed role of LYT nukes (not specifically though) and other elements in the perception of Bush admin. Perhaps it will help us better in our understandings (although I believe anything that comes from Bush admin is just pure cr@p! ... nevertheless a reality). We do need a sort of research on the potential impact of LYT nukes and potential global response towards it both before and after its usage.
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Thanks for this. Whilst some of us may have an interest in the physical and mental aspects of nuclear weapons, his line "there is nothing romantic about nuclear weapons" is absolutely spot on.......
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Old January 2nd, 2009   #10
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There is no proof that deterrence prevented a nuclear war during the period of the Cold War. We know a nuclear war did not occur, but we do not know that it was fear of retaliation that was the cause of this. But even if the threat of mutual assured destruction (MAD) did protect psychologically against the use of nuclear weapons during the Cold War, it cannot be assumed that the same conditions would prevail in the case of other nuclear weapons states. Deterrence requires rational actors, and we surely know that not all leaders are rational at all times. I would not bet the future of one’s country or of the human race on reliance upon rationality. To do so would be irrational.
What is he saying here?

MAD or detterence, the only reason that region did not start a WWIII within 50 years seemed to me was due to these nuclear weapons.
The amount of military buildup in that region (with out the nuclear weapons) was scary.

There are also scenarios like the one in the subcontinent, India and Pakistan possessed nuclear weapons for some time before the tests, MAD was never a factor here, its not one even now.
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Old January 3rd, 2009   #11
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Deterrence requires rational actors, and we surely know that not all leaders are rational at all times. I would not bet the future of one’s country or of the human race on reliance upon rationality. To do so would be irrational
Which is true, no decisions are made just like that - it is generaly made on threat perception either real, percieved or injury commited or otherwise and oo sustained.

However there are certain nuc weapons capable players whose leadership for the same have been brought under the spotlight regarding the safety of their arsenal, for eg.. there were some reports that (cant find the source now) that someone in the US congress reportedly asked the Bush administration to purchase / take of its hands - all the nuc weapons of pakistan by offering a 100 Billion dollars (am not sure abt where i read it either).

In this light and given the murky dealings of Dr. Khan it is generaly considered that the Pakistani arsenal, technology and know how is most dangerous beacuse of leadership issues (most of the time it has been run by millitary dictators) as well as proliferation issues (dealings with China, North Korea and Iran as well as terror orgs such as Al Qaida - which had tried to get its hands on nuc-tech).

How can world community ensure that there will be no threat from proliferation of technology, material, scientific know how and designs etc from Pakistan to other countries or non state players.

Note: I dont intend to malign Pakistan as a country, however the threat is real
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Old January 3rd, 2009   #12
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What is he saying here?

MAD or detterence, the only reason that region did not start a WWIII within 50 years seemed to me was due to these nuclear weapons.
The amount of military buildup in that region (with out the nuclear weapons) was scary.

There are also scenarios like the one in the subcontinent, India and Pakistan possessed nuclear weapons for some time before the tests, MAD was never a factor here, its not one even now.
What he meant is that there is no empirical evidence that nuclear weapons deterred the two super powers from going to a nuclear war.

MAD stimulates Deterrence amongst nuclear states. MAD or Mutually Assured Destruction is use of nuclear weapons by one side followed by a similar response by the other side (nuclear exchange) resulting in a mass destruction on the both side.

MAD had always been the factor that deterred Pakistan and India before the 1998 [Read "4 Crisis and a Peace Process" co-authored by P.I. Cheema (Pakistani Scholar), P.R. Chari (Indian Scholar) and Stephen. P. Cohen (American Scholar)]. The reason for MAD stimulated Deterrence acting in India-Pakistan context (pre-1998) was perhaps due to the vague and ambiguous characters of the nuclear programs on both side.

Post-1998 or rather post 2008 shows that though MAD based deterrence is underestimated in the South Asia, especially by India, but it still remains to operate unless and until its counter or alternative is finally introduced.
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Old January 3rd, 2009   #13
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How can world community ensure that there will be no threat from proliferation of technology, material, scientific know how and designs etc from Pakistan to other countries or non state players.

Note: I dont intend to malign Pakistan as a country, however the threat is real
I'll take your word that you are not maligning Pakistan. However, the threat is no longer real but your fear is logical & rational.

I have posted extensively on this issue. You can go back and search some of my posts. The proliferation activities may have been supervised by A.Q. Khan but it was not being done under the State of Pakistan's directions. A.Q. Khan, though a state employee, acted as a non state actor in these dealings. As I said A.Q. Khan was the supervisor, the other men were usually Europe, Malaysia and Dubai based. They supplied all the physical material as well as attempted to offer fissile material. The Pakistani fissile material had always been out of the hands of A.Q. Khan. The ones KRL (A.Q. Khan's lab) had were being checked upon. A.Q. Khan has since been brought under State of Pakistan's scrutiny and punishment, although no law exists (rather existed) that can apply any criminal charges on him. Domestically laws were applied only when A.Q. Khan had already done for what he is blamed and internationally he cannot be punished as Pakistan is not a member of NPT. Moreover NPT does not talk about activities of Non State Actor or Activities. Europeans on the other hand have not taken much serious action on A.Q. Khan’s partners as they too have or had no laws for these crimes. Last I heard many of the European members of proliferation involved got away with just 3 years of punishment. A.Q. Khan’s house arrest was revoked but he cannot move anywhere without the proper authorization and authorities escort.


Just for information:

> A.Q. Khan is not even a nuclear scientist. He is PhD Metallurgist and self expertise in centrifuges. There are 12 steps in making a nuclear bomb and Khan knows only one. So A.Q. Khan alone is/was not the actual danger but rather his partners who had weapon designs. Khan might have (according to some reports he did) acquired the weapons design but he himself could not work on them. He would still need his friends from Europe, Malaysia and Dubai – the ones who got away with few years of imprisonment.

> No proliferation to Iraq took place by Khan.

> He is said to have sold P2 variant Centrifuges to Iran only - which under the NPT is not illegal for Iran to purchase and certainly not illegal for Khan or Pakistan to sell since it’s not a member of NPT.

> The proofs show that North Korea (DPRK) moved away from plutonium based program to uranium based program where Khan is an expert. However, unlike Iran, no tangible products have been revealed in possession of DPRK that came from Khan’s lab. But several visits by Khan did take place to DPRK or DPRK authorities did meet him in Dubai or/& elsewhere.

> The real troublesome events that finally pushed int. community and Pakistan to take action took place in Libya where Khan was caught red handed.

Since 2001 a new Command & Control System called National Command Authority (NCA) has been set up. NCA's two extended tires include Strategic Plans Division (SPD) & Strategic Force Command. The SPD is the secretariat of NCA and has taken many measures directed towards controlling proliferation (making sure it does not take place) as well as measures to counter terrorist threats to Pakistan's nuclear arsenal.

I wrote the following seminar paper sometimes ago. Its not the complete report I submitted but has the information which might help you get your answer. Mostly it focuses on threats to nuclear weapons from terrorists but may also give you some input on counter proliferation efforts by Pakistan also.

http://www.defencetalk.com/news/uplo...AK_S_NUKES.pdf
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The idea is, that any nation at war with another, and both with a number of nuclear bombs, if one defeats the other, then the victor has to contend thereafter, whether a nuclear device might be brought into the nation, and ignited, later. Who is responsible then, in the nation whose military has been defeated, and with no government responsible, due to military defeat, and the possible resulting government transition? What action would the U. S. take, if this happened, if she was the victorious nation? Would she order the legal prosecution of leaders not in power, when and if this happened? Would the surrendered army be acountable? Interesting questions, because people wonder if I might take a different course, about cyber warfare. Cyber security is a misnomer, and people feel The U. S. is at risk, when cyber security is a concept, and a perpetual work in progress. There must be at least umpteen times, the cyber data is backed up, in connection to the Federal Bank, and the electric grid. What then, of the situation mentioned, earlier?
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Dude, this post had been dead for 6 years.

Lets at least try current material, there's no shortage of it


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