Once again, Bush's
may get us in deep
The American Spark
Is Bush Administration Gutting International Arms Control
By Cliff Montgomery - Mar. 12th, 2007
A January 29th, 2007 Congressional Research Service (CRS) report on international arms control has us
taking a hard look at Bush Administration initiatives, and how they may be causing more harm than good. We
quote from the report below:
"For much of the past century, U.S. national security strategy focused on several core, interrelated objectives.
These include enhancing U.S. security at home and abroad; promoting U.S. economic prosperity; and
promoting free markets and democracy around the world.
"In addition, the United States has used both unilateral and multilateral mechanisms to achieve these objectives,
with varying amounts of emphasis at different times. These mechanisms have included a range of military,
diplomatic, and economic tools.
"One of these core objectives--enhancing U.S. security--generally is interpreted as the effort to protect the nation’
s interests and includes, for instance, protecting the lives and safety of Americans; maintaining U.S. sovereignty
over its values, territory, and institutions; and promoting the nation’s well-being.
"The United States has wielded a deep and wide range of military, diplomatic, and economic tools to protect and
advance its security interests. These include, for instance, the deployment of military forces to deter, dissuade,
persuade, or compel others; the formation of alliances and coalitions to advance U.S. interests and counter
aggression; and the use of U.S. economic power to advance its agenda or promote democratization, or to
withhold U.S. economic support to condemn or punish states hostile to U.S. interests.
"In this context, arms control and nonproliferation efforts are two of the tools that have occasionally been used to
implement the U.S. national security strategy. They generally are not pursued as ends in and of themselves, and
many argue that they should not become more important than the strategy behind them. But many believe their
effective employment can be critical to the success of that broader strategy.
"Many analysts see them as a complement to, rather than a substitute for, military or economic efforts.
"Effective arms control measures are thought to enhance U.S. national security in a number of ways. For
example, arms control measures that promote transparency might increase U.S. knowledge about and
understanding of the size, make-up, and operations of an opposing military force. This might not only ease U.S.
military planning, but it might also reduce an opponent’s incentives for and opportunities to attack U.S. forces, or
the forces of its friends and allies.
"Transparency measures can also build confidence among wary adversaries. Effective arms control measures
can also be designed to complement U.S. force structure objectives by limiting or restraining U.S. and other
nations’ forces. In an era of declining defense budget resources, such as the 1980s and 1990s, arms control
measures helped ensure reciprocity in force reductions. Indeed, some considered such arms control measures
essential to the success of our national military objectives.
"Similarly, most agree that efforts to prevent the further spread of weapons of mass destruction and their
means of delivery should be an essential element of U.S. national security. For one reason, proliferation can
exacerbate regional tensions that might escalate to conflict and involve or threaten U.S. forces or those of its
friends and allies.
"Proliferation might also introduce new, and unexpected threats to the U.S. homeland.
"Furthermore, proliferation can greatly complicate U.S. national military strategy, force structure design, and
conduct of operations. And these weapons could pose a threat to the U.S. homeland if they were acquired by
terrorists or subnational groups. Hence, the United States employs diplomatic, economic, and military tools to
restrain these threats and enhance its national security.
"The [Bush Administration] has outlined many new initiatives in nonproliferation policy that take a far less formal
approach, with voluntary guidelines and voluntary participation replacing treaties and multilateral conventions.
"The Bush Administration has altered the role of arms control in U.S. national security policy. The President and
many in his Administration question the degree to which arms control negotiations and formal treaties can
enhance U.S. security objectives.
"For example...some in the Administration have noted that some formal, multilateral arms control regimes may go
too far in restraining U.S. options without limiting the forces of potential adversaries. Instead, the Administration
would prefer, when necessary, that the United States take unilateral military action or join in ad hoc coalitions to
stem the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
"The absence of confidence in arms control has extended to the State Department, where the Bush
Administration has removed the phrase “arms control” from all bureaus that were responsible for this policy area.
The focus remains on nonproliferation, but this is seen as [a]policy area that no longer requires formal arms
control treaties to meet its objectives."