15 Apr Who’s Sen. Lugar Working For, Anyhow?
April 15, 2004
By Cheryl K. Chumley, associate editor APC News Wire
American Policy Center
It’s getting to the point it’s hard to discern whether Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) is working more for the benefit of the United States or the United Nations.
That’s because in the past few weeks, Lugar has assumed the lead role in furthering two treaties that seem to place U.N. interests before those of America’s.
The first, of course, was the Law of the Sea Treaty, a U.N. scheme that was left dormant for years until Lugar resurrected the measure in February and pushed it through his Foreign Relations Committee, at the bequest of the White House, environmentalists, the U.S. Navy and the oil industry. The immediate fate of this treaty, which seeks to place 70% of the world’s mass under control of three global authorities, now rests in the hands of the Senate Committee on Select Intelligence, due to hear testimony on it within the coming weeks.
As if that’s not bad enough, now comes another Lugar-backed treaty that yet again strengthens the power of the United Nations over sovereign states.
Called the “Additional Protocol to the Agreement between the United States and the IAEA Regarding Safeguards in the United States,” or Treaty Document No. 107-70, Lugar urged this to ratification during a March 31 address to the Senate.
This is the gist of the security risk our nation now faces.
The IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency, touts itself as an “independent intergovernmental science and technology organization, in the United Nations family, that serves as the global focal point for nuclear cooperation.” IAEA agents come from United Nations member states and are tasked with helping nations develop nuclear technology for “peaceful purposes,” like electricity, and with verifying via inspections that states are complying with non-proliferation agreements.
This Additional Protocol agreement between IAEA and the United States that we can thank Lugar for pushing to ratification grants the international agency wider authority to inspect nations suspected of engaging in illegal weapons proliferation.
The question, of course, is whether that means these U.N. agents can inspect U.S. nuclear sites.
“Although there are increased rights granted to the IAEA for the conduct of inspections in the United States, the administration has assured the Committee on Foreign Relations that the likelihood of an inspection occurring in the United States is very low,” Lugar told the Senate on March 31.
So what we have is an admission that IAEA agents can legally inspect on U.S. soil followed by a flimsy attempt at convincing us the White House will prevent that from happening.
That’s just great. The future security and privacy of our nuclear technology, materials, stores and sites hinge entirely upon the ability of the sitting administration to uphold a verbal promise made in 2004. What Lugar failed to fully clarify and emphasize to the Senate, though, is that nowhere in the actual treaty are these verbal promises repeated.
The Additional Protocol agreement ratified in the Senate stems from a Model Protocol created by the IAEA in the late 1990s, to be used as the “standard for additional protocols” developed between the agency and any interested nations.
“Such protocols shall contain all of the measures in this Model Protocol,” reads the foreword of the 60-plus page document. The telling aspect of this brief mandate that Lugar conveniently neglected to mention comes next: “In case of conflict between the provisions of the safeguards agreement and those of this protocol, the provisions of this protocol shall apply.”
That means no matter what assurances Lugar received, in the form of administration statements or written guarantees in the Additional Protocol between the IAEA and United States pledging that America’s sovereignty and security interests will not be infringed, nothing ultimately can prevent IAEA foreign inspectors from, say, “conducting activities necessary to provide credible assurance of the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities at the local in question,” as the Model Protocol states. In other words, if the IAEA agents decide they must inspect U.S. nuclear sites, they have treaty authority to do so.
But we probably have nothing to worry about. We do, after all, have the promise of politicians that IAEA would never conduct inspections in our country. With a guarantee like that, what could possibly go wrong?
Sarcasm aside, the real issue to ponder is why the United States, the world’s “preeminent superpower,” as Lugar said, would enter this game of Russian roulette in the first place. This is his justification: While the United States is not required to accept any nuclear weapon safeguard agreements, our acceptance nonetheless sets an example for the world to follow.
So let’s get this straight. We’re the world’s superpower, we have no need to enter nuclear inspection treaties because we’re the world’s superpower, but we choose to sign inspection treaties in the spirit of altruistic sacrifice and expectation that the world will acquiesce and sign, too?
Logic alone should be enough to highlight the naivety of this argument. Just because we as a nation submit to a treaty that gives greater inspection authority to the IAEA doesn’t mean the rest in the world – especially those nations hostile to us – are going to suddenly about-face on clandestine proliferation efforts, ‘fess up and walk some honorable path of non-proliferation forever more.
But if logic doesn’t suffice, there’s always history.
Just look at Iran and the 2003 discovery of its secretive nuclear weapons proliferation attempts. Caught red-handed, Iran then signed an Additional Protocol agreement with IAEA in December, supposedly re-committing itself to abandon its proliferation efforts. But in January, “Iranian Foreign Minister Kharrazi appeared to hedge on Iran’s commitment by suggesting that Tehran had agreed to the suspension, not stopping, of uranium enrichment process,” Lugar admitted to the full Senate on March 31.
Perhaps what’s needed now is an official Addendum to the Additional Protocol, sort of like an extra promise, to ensure Iran toes the line.
“We don’t just promise to halt weapons proliferation activities,” the addendum for Iran could state. “This time, we really, really promise.”
Absurd, yes, but doesn’t this Iran example just prove that hostile nations are going to engage in proliferation efforts, regardless of what statements or agreements they’ve signed to the contrary?
Knowing that then, it seems basing the fate of our own national security and defense systems on verbal promises between U.N. authorities and U.S. politicians, especially when we cannot predict the mindsets of future presidents, administrations or IAEA agents, is truly foolhardy.
It’s also truly dangerous and, as key perpetrator of these internationalist policies, Lugar ought to be held accountable.