|For Immediate Release||May 5, 1998|
I am delighted to address Business Executives for National Security,which has contributed so much over 16 years to strengthen the securityof the United States.
I will never forget your unofficial slogan -- coined by your founder,Stanley Weiss -- "Being dead is bad for business" -- although I'vealways felt there were exceptions to the rule. For example, ElvisPresley.
When you formed BENS in the early 1980's, nuclear weapons and armscontrol were hotly debated topics. Citizens were marching across thecountry for a nuclear freeze, and arms control disputes made theheadlines nearly every day. Many high school students could tell youthe difference between the Minuteman and Midgetman, the ALCM and theSLCM, the SS-18 and the D-5. A Pentagon official was telling reportershow to build a bomb shelter by digging a hole and covering it with doorsand dirt. Star Wars was not just a Hollywood fantasy but a Beltwayfixation.
The New Yorker magazine -- when it used to run long pieces -- ran evenlonger ones about the devastation that nuclear war would bring. A TVmovie warned of the agonies of the day after. Crowds thronged to "A Walkin the Woods," a stage play about the Geneva arms negotiations.
In that period of intense public concern about nuclear war, BENS playeda crucial role -- bringing the prestige and knowledge of businessleaders to bear on the debate and helping move the superpowers away fromconfrontational arms racing to lasting, verifiable arms control.
Unfortunately, some arms control groups faded away once the intensenuclear debate of the 80's had passed. But BENS has stayed in business-- pressing our Government to make the smartest possible choices withdefense resources and remaining vigilant and aggressive on arms controlmatters.
President Clinton and his national security team share your goals -- astronger, well-managed defense and enduring efforts to reduce arsenalsand prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction.
While the intensity of the 80's seems far away in this more hopefulperiod -- with the Cold War over and nuclear reductions well underway --the risks are no less real. Regional rivalries now drive dangerous armsraces. Terrorists seek weapons of mass destruction. And although wehave made considerable progress with a democratic Russia in reducingnuclear arsenals, we need to go further.
I want to talk this morning about what this President has accomplishedon arms control and -- more importantly -- our plans to do even more aswe seek to build a more secure future.
After years of confrontation, the Reagan-Bush Administrations madedramatic progress in arms reduction agreements with the Soviet Union.As you know, START I limited each side to 6000 strategic nuclearwarheads, and START II would lower the ceiling to between 3000 and 3500.Perhaps most importantly, these agreements banish forevermultiple-warhead land-based missiles -- the most powerful, the mostvulnerable, the most worrisome weapons on both sides.
We have built on these accomplishments with a comprehensive agenda.
Since 1993, the President has aggressively pursued efforts to halt thespread and testing of nuclear explosives. In 1995, working with othercountries, we succeeded in achieving an extension of the NuclearNonproliferation Treaty -- indefinitely and without condition. The nextyear, the nations of the world -- including the five declared nuclearweapons states -- signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. And lastyear, the President submitted the Treaty to the Senate, with safeguardprovisions to protect our national interests.
On strategic nuclear weapons, the President made entry into force ofSTART I and II, and the denuclearization of Ukraine, Belarus andKazakhstan, a top priority. START I went into force in December 1994,and with the continuing engagement of the United States, the lastnuclear weapons were removed from the three former Soviet republics byMay 1995. We made plans to structure our strategic forces to facilitateeven deeper cuts while maintaining an effective deterrent.
And we reoriented missile defense from expensive, technologicallyimprobable programs that would have undermined the 1972 ABM Treaty togenuinely achievable efforts to protect against shorter-range missileattacks -- along with sensible research and development on larger-scaledefenses. In March 1997 at Helsinki, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsinagreed on a framework for deeper cuts under START III. And in New Yorklast September, our two nations signed four very important agreementsconcerning START II and the ABM Treaty -- about which I will have moreto say in a moment.
Where do we go from here? By the end of the President's second term,our goal is to have in place a sound START III agreement that reducesstrategic nuclear arsenals by 80 percent from Cold War heights -- downto 2000 to 2500 warheads per side. Reductions will continue to focus onensuring a survivable nuclear force capable of deterring a hostileopponent.
Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin are paving the way to a safer future.But matters now lie very much in the hands of our two legislatures.
The future of arms control, as American administrations' Republican andDemocratic -- have pursued it over 40 years, could be decided in thenext several months as the Russian Duma addresses START II and theUnited States Senate debates and votes on, conceivably, five keyagreements: the Comprehensive Test Ban and the four agreements reachedlast year on START and ABMs. In the words of the late coach of theWashington Redskins, George Allen, the future is now. What happens willhave a profound effect on U.S.-Russian nuclear relations -- and on ourefforts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons around the world.
Let me discuss the Test Ban Treaty first. President Clinton has calledit the "longest-sought, hardest-fought prize in the history of armscontrol." It bans all nuclear explosive tests. We should pause andcontemplate this development: 149 nations have signed an accord tonever, or never again, test a nuclear device. We must not let thisextraordinary opportunity slip away.
Four former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff -- Shalikashvili,Powell, Crowe, and Jones -- plus all six current members of the JCS --agree that the Treaty is in our national interest.
The directors of our three national nuclear weapons labs and numerousoutside experts have said we can maintain a reliable deterrent withoutexplosive testing. The public strongly supports the Treaty, as it hasfor 40 years, since President Eisenhower first proposed it.
The Treaty will constrain the development of more advanced and dangerousnuclear weapons by the nuclear powers -- and limit the possibilities forother states to acquire such weapons. It will also enhance our abilityto detect suspicious activities by other nations.
With or without a CTB, we must monitor such activities. The Treatygives us new tools to pursue this vital mission: a global network ofsensors to supplement our national intelligence capabilities and theright to request short-notice, on-site inspections in other countries.
If the Senate rejected or failed to act on the Test Ban Treaty, theagreement could not, by its terms, enter into force for any nation. Wewould open the door further to regional nuclear arms races and a muchmore dangerous world. In sum, the Senate needs to do what the Presidentasked in his State of the Union address: provide its advice and consentto the Test Ban Treaty this year.
Our legislatures must also go forward on strategic arms control.President Yeltsin's government has placed new emphasis on START IIratification. That is a hopeful sign. We also see more support in theDuma, reflecting a growing recognition that START is in Russia'sinterest as well as ours.
Once the Duma ratifies START II, we can present the Senate with theaccords reached last year in New York. These agreements seem highlytechnical, and their signing received little attention. But they areessential.
Some Russian lawmakers have worried that we are on a fast path tobreaking out of the ABM Treaty. Some are also concerned about theexpense for them of destroying so many weapons so fast. The New Yorkagreement on START II addresses these concerns by extending to the year2007 the deadline for destruction of weapons.
How do we benefit from this extension? It greatly weakens the argumentsraised by opponents of START II in the Duma. So we are more likely toget START II, and at little strategic cost, because the new agreementstill requires that the subject Russian weapons systems be disabled bythe year 2003.
The second New York agreement serves our interest by clarifyingpost-Soviet Union responsibilities under the ABM Treaty.
By including Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine as parties to the ABMTreaty, this new agreement aids us in working with those nations to keepexisting agreements on strategic and intermediate-range nuclear weaponsin place.
The final two agreements at last provide clarity as to what theatermissile defense systems are permitted under the ABM Treaty -- so we cankeep working seriously to protect our troops and allies from rocketslaunched by regional powers without upsetting the U.S.-Russian strategicequation.
The agreements achieve this balance by defining the speed and range ofthe target missiles that theater defense systems are permitted to shootdown in tests.
These accords will not hamper any of the theater missile defenseprograms active at the Pentagon. They will, however, ban both sidesfrom deploying theater defense interceptors based in outer space. Thisprovision was essential, because there is no way to distinguishspace-based interceptors aimed at theater missiles from space-basedinterceptors aimed at long-range missiles, already banned by the ABMTreaty.
Further progress on START -- meaning full implementation of START I andSTART II and the conclusion of START III -- won't happen unless weadhere to the ABM Treaty. There is no reason to believe that Russianpolitical and military leaders will agree to sharply reduce strategicnuclear missiles in the absence of the ABM Treaty's constraints ondefenses against those missiles.
So the agreements reached in New York are necessary. But just asimportant as the composition of the arsenals is their safety.
We will continue to work with the Russians to find the appropriatebalance between survivability and protection against accidents. Webelieve Russian nuclear forces remain under firm command and control.But to protect our citizens we must work to see that these weapons aresecure.
As our commitment to the CTB demonstrates, U.S.-Russian nuclear arsenalsare far from our only concern. We also must guard against the spread ofmass destruction weapons to others.
Two weeks ago, with the United Kingdom and the Republic of Georgia, wehelped secure a small amount of highly-enriched uranium in Georgia thatcould have posed a proliferation risk if it fell into the wrong hands.This kind of success is the result of strong multinational cooperation-- and bipartisan support from Congress for the nonproliferation programcreated by Senator Lugar and then-Senator Nunn -- one of the wisestinvestments ever made in our national security.
We also need to slow the spread of chemical and biological weapons toprotect our populations and our troops. At the President's urging, lastyear the Senate ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention. BENS played acrucial role in the ratification effort -- and we are very grateful. Inthis year's State of the Union address, the President announced a newinitiative to bolster the Biological Weapons Convention by establishinga strong system of inspections to deter and detect cheating. We areactively working with other nations and with U.S. industry to create aframework, by the end of this year, for such a system.
All of these efforts are essential if our children are to grow up in asafer world. President Clinton has extended the challenge. He hassaid, "Let us work harder than ever to lift the nuclear backdrop thathas darkened the world's stage for too long now. Let us make thesesolemn tasks our common obligation, our common commitment." Now, withthe support of the American people, and with leadership of the Senate,we can fulfill our responsibilities and build a better future.
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Business Executives for National Security, May 5, 1998