CSIS/TCU Schieffer series Nunn/Schultz/Drell/Sanger event recap

As part of the ongoing "Schieffer series" here at CSIS (and co-sponsored by TCU), journalist Bob Schieffer moderated a discussions last night (video current on the CSIS homepage here) that featured George Schultz, Sam Nunn, Sidney Drell, and David Sanger.  The discussion revolved primary around the recent momentum, spurred in large party by the "Four Statesmen" op-ed, for moving towards a world without nuclear weapons.  Some of the most interesting points raised at the event include: -The role of young people/the sense of urgency-  Schieffer gave each speaker one last final statement and Sam Nunn closed the event by saying that the great opportunity before us is a call for young people to play an important role in doing the necessary work to figure out all of the complicated deals of every step involved in moving towards zero.  Schutlz's concluding statement also talked about the urgency with which there needs to be the productions of reports, conferences, revisions to those reports, etc.  He also mentioned how the importance of having scientists involved in all aspects of this process. The mountain analogy- George Schutlz talked about how the task of moving to zero is like climbing a mountain and the peak where there is completely clear air is not even close to our sight.  In fact, we may have to "climb down the mountain and set up base camp" in the short-term which may mean taking actions to deal with urgent nuclear threats that are not condusive to getting to zero in the short term but necessary to establish the cooperation and equal footing to begin the ascent up the mountain.  The mountain analogy is also important because if the United States can forcefully argue that it is completely committed to the vision, even though is merely a vision, of zero that it will do a great deal for getting others on board. -The role of diplomacy-  like it or not, diplomacy will have to play a vital role in any move towards a world without nuclear weapons. The U.S. must toe the line of being a leader without appearing to force a U.S. initiative upon other countries.  For Sidney Drell, he said the number 1 issue in the short term for moving towards zero is restarting strategic talks with Russia (including START talks).  As the two largest nuclear arsenals in the world by a great deal, these two countries must jointly send a signal to the world they are serious about massive reductions to help get the ball rolling towards zero. Chester Crocker's book on the diplomatic side of moving towards zero was mentioned with great praise. -Specific international initiatives- some of the proposals specifically mentioned that could greatly help setting the stage for massive reductions included: cooperative missile defense between the U.S./Russia (and other countries from there) and Russia's Angarsk facility as an example of an international type of fuel bank that can guarantee supply but still have safeguards. -The priority and likelihood of nuclear terrorism.  Sidney Drell said talked about how lucky we have been and said that it is "very likely" there will be some sort of high explosive attack.  He  emphasized the importance of CTR and Sam Nunn followed up in the Q&A by talking about the feasibility of CTR (it could be done ni 4 years) and the need to expand the CTR baseline to include other sources.

I'm a bit skeptical of the

I'm a bit skeptical of the idea of missile defense cooperation with Russia. I don't actually have much confidence in missile defense that doesn't hit at the boost phase but that doesn't mean that there isn't a lot of advanced technology there.

I'd suspect that we could assuage Russian concerns just as easily by getting out of the Eastern Europe missile defense business. I'm sure we would take a wide range of precautionary measures if we did cooperate, but why take the risk in the first place?