James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. June 12, 2012.
International law clearly requires an imminent threat of attack as a justification for the preemptive use of military force. However, the standard definition of an imminent threat was derived centuries before the development of nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons or ballistic missiles and other delivery systems that can reach their targets in a matter of minutes. Any use of force to alleviate threats posed by weapons of mass destruction (WMD) prior to tactical warning of the actual launch of such weapons falls into the legally and ethically controversial category of “anticipatory self-defense,” leaving decision makers potentially liable to prosecution for war crimes. Effective and ethical enforcement of nonproliferation therefore demands a standard for imminence of threat broad enough to allow military action as a last resort but sufficiently restrictive to prohibit indiscriminate action against suspected WMD programs. Following a critical review of selected literature and cases on preemption, the author proposes a new standard for preemptive military action: the existence of operational WMD, or a clandestine program to develop WMD, in contravention of international law. The author discusses the implications of this new proposed standard, which at the time of writing would permit preemptive attack against WMD-armed terrorist groups but prohibit it against all states except Iran and possibly North Korea. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/10736700.2012.691023 [PDF format, 14 pages].
Congressional Research Service. June 15, 2012.
The Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) was formed to increase international cooperation in interdicting shipments of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), their delivery systems, and related materials. The Initiative was announced by President Bush on May 31, 2003. PSI does not create a new legal framework but aims to use existing national authorities and international law to achieve its goals. Initially, 11 nations signed on to the “Statement of Interdiction Principles” that guides PSI cooperation. As of May 2012, 98 countries (plus the Holy See) have committed formally to the PSI principles, although the extent of participation may vary by country. PSI has no secretariat, but an Operational Experts Group (OEG), made up of 21 PSI participants, coordinates activities.
http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/193683.pdf [PDF format, 16 pages].
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. April 2012.
Leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will meet for a summit in Chicago this May to conclude their Deterrence and Defense Posture Review (DDPR), which was intended to be a vehicle for resolving key questions about the future role of nuclear weapons in NATO policy. However, NATO is unlikely to resolve the question of what to do about its forward deployed nuclear weapons before the summit. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
http://www.carnegieendowment.org/files/beyond_chicago_summit.pdf [PDF format, 54 pages].
The Brookings Institution. March 30, 2012.
Although both Beijing and Washington consider the U.S.-China relationship to be the most important in the world, distrust of each other’s long term intentions (“strategic distrust”) has grown to a dangerous degree. The coauthors of this path-breaking study lay out both the underlying concerns each leadership harbors about the other side and the reasons for those concerns. Each coauthor has written the narrative of his government’s views without any changes made by the other coauthor. Their purpose is to enable both leaderships to better fathom how the other thinks. The coauthors have together written the follow-on analysis and recommendations designed to improve the potential for a long-term normal major power U.S.-China relationship, rather than the adversarial relationship that might otherwise develop. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
In 2010, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA) Center for the Promotion of Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (CPDNP), and the Asan Institute for Policy Studies joined to form a Track 2 nuclear dialogue between the United States (US), Japan, and the Republic of Korea (ROK). After its first set of meetings, the group issued a statement in May 2011 which explores the ways in which US-Japan-ROK trilateralism might allow the three countries to strengthen nonproliferation efforts and help create the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons. This statement is the result of the second set of in-depth, off-the-record discussions among the group and attempts to focus on three tangible areas of trilateral cooperation: the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit, denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, and extended deterrence, assurance, and regional security. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
http://csis.org/files/publication/120207_US_Japan_ROK_Track_2_Statement.pdf [PDF format: 7 pages].