The difficulties facing U.S.’ leadership in nonproliferation efforts are due in large part to the fierce partisan divide that characterizes recent American politics. However, the historical record and declared positions of President Bush indicate that he may be willing and able to implement sweeping arms reductions and advance arms control measures more effectively than the Clinton administration.
Sea-based national missile defense systems have become the most discussed and least understood of all proposed missile defense projects. Proponents assert that Aegis destroyers and cruisers can quickly and inexpensively provide a highly effective defense.
U.S. and North Korean officials made no concrete progress after three days of talks in Malaysia. U.S. officials are hopeful that the next round would take place before the end of the year. However, no date has been set. The near-term goal of the talks is to solidify plans for a visit to Washington by Kim Yong-sun, who would be the highest-ranking North Korean official to visit the U.S. Capitol.
These are not happy days for global arms-control advocates. As far back as the early 1960s, policymakers warned that the true threat to the United States was not only that third-world despots might acquire the bomb but that advanced industrial countries might do so.
President Clinton announced new funding for an expanded threat reduction initiative in Russia. Unfortunately this new funding commitment still does not match the threat. The degradation in security of Russia’s nuclear weapon complex and the economic collapse in August 1998 has put the safety of nuclear materials and nuclear intelligence in jeopardy.
Iran’s growing weapons capabilities already pose a grave risk to U.S. allies and U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf region, but this threat could greatly worsen in coming years, as Iran graduates to even more potent weapons than it currently possesses, enlarges its missile arsenal, builds longer-range systems, and learns to mate its weapons of mass destruction with these advanced delivery systems.