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2004 G8 Pre-Summit Conference
Security, Prosperity and Freedom: Why America Needs the G8
June 3–4, 2004
Indiana University, Bloomington, IN

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The Nonproliferation Carrots and Sticks of G8 Diplomacy
Igor Khripunov
Center for International Trade and Security
University of Georgia
Draft: May 22, 2004

Over the years it has become abundantly clear that carrot-and-stick diplomacy works best when the carrots are appropriately sweet and the sticks are appropriately painful. The nature of the actor applying the carrots and sticks is another important consideration. In the hands of an entity like the G8, which is less tangible than a single government, a balanced and rational use of these tools is likely to produce a substantial effect. Adept G8 diplomacy could help shore up an international nonproliferation regime that has sagged badly in recent years.

More Proactive Approach

The media regrettably underreported and underappreciated a recent landmark event that has the potential to enable the G8 to undertake a more forceful and proactive program of action in the area of nonproliferation. On April 28, 2004, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 1540, which pertains to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.[1] The resolution is innovative in that it provides — for the first time in a document like this — a comprehensive vision of what is needed to curb the supply side of the proliferation problem. If in the past most measures designed to counter proliferation were fragmented and isolated from one another, the new approach approved by the Security Council has all of the trappings of a future long-term strategy. What may be even more important is that Security Council resolutions issued under Chapter VII of the UN Charter — as resolution 1540 was — are binding on all UN members, making member states accountable under the Charter for implementing them. The United States acted as a major driving force behind the resolution, playing a key role in the effort to reach a unanimous decision. President George W. Bush stressed the need for such as resolution in his September 2003 address to the UN General Assembly and other policy pronouncements. At its forthcoming summit in Sea Island, Georgia, the G8 can erect its own nonproliferation strategy on the foundation provided by UN Security Council resolution 1540. In so doing, the G8 would integrate into its actions principles approved by the world organization — principles that are universal in scope — and thus help legitimize its proactive stance. The binding nature of the UN resolution would lend legal force to any future G8 documents relating to proliferation, making these documents more enforceable. It would be unrealistic to expect the G8 to substitute for the UN Security Council in matters of international peace and security, but its members can channel their uniquely vast human and material resources toward the implementation, promotion, and further expansion of nonproliferation measures authorized by the Council.

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According to the sequence and logic of Security Council resolution 1540, an integrated approach toward supply-side-based strategy of WMD prevention would incorporate:

  1. effective measures to account for and secure WMD items in production, use, storage, and transport.
  2. effective physical protection measures.
  3. effective border controls and law-enforcement efforts to detect, deter, prevent, and combat the illicit trafficking and brokering in such items.
  4. effective national export and transshipment controls, including laws and regulations to control exports, reexports, and transshipment of WMD-related materials; monitor these items in transit; and control the flow of WMD-relevant funds and services. An effective system would also impose end-user controls and provide for appropriate criminal or civil penalties for violations of export control laws and regulations.

The Sea Island summit has a unique opportunity to transform Security Council resolution 1540 into a powerful practical instrument rather than letting it join the host of directives gathering dust in the UN archives. The eight most influential industrial democracies can set a powerful example not only by committing themselves to implementing the resolution meticulously inside their own borders, but also by developing a plan to provide assistance to less affluent states.

One important piece is missing from the UN-approved anti-proliferation jigsaw puzzle: the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI). While the Security Council could not include the PSI in its comprehensive strategy for political reasons, the G8 as an informal group is in a position to fill this gap and thus strengthen the overall strategy.

First announced by President Bush in May 2003, the PSI seeks to deter, disrupt, and stop the flow of sensitive items through interdiction on the sea, in the air, and on land, in a focused approach relying upon existing legal authorities and, when necessary, strengthening of those authorities. The need for interdiction as a last resort when all other abovementioned tools fail has never been greater. For example, since export control regimes restrict only exports from member states, interdiction can help stop proliferation-related exports by states outside the regimes, as well as related activity by transit states and intermediaries. Interdiction deters suppliers and customers and makes proliferation more costly and more difficult.[2]

All G8 members except Russia currently participate in the PSI. Moscow seems favorably disposed towards the purposes of the initiative and is expected to join in 2004. Fourteen countries had signed on to the PSI by May 2004, and their number is growing. The U.S. administration has left the door open for UN Security Council authority over PSI activities. Though there are no immediate plans to seek formal backing from the Security Council for this initiative, the participants seem amenable to a Security Council resolution providing the requisite authority.

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Generous Rewards

On December 19, 2003, Libya announced it would dismantle its weapons-of-mass-destruction programs and open the country to immediate and comprehensive verification inspections. Libya pledged to:

  1. eliminate all elements of its chemical- and nuclear-weapons programs.
  2. declare all of its nuclear activities to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
  3. eliminate ballistic missiles with ranges exceeding 300km and payloads exceeding 500kg.
  4. accept international inspections to ensure its complete adherence to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).
  5. sign the Additional Protocol to the NPT.
  6. eliminate all chemical-weapons stocks and munitions and accede to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).
  7. allow immediate inspections and monitoring to verify all of these actions.

Since December 2003, Libya has moved ahead aggressively to comply with these obligations. Tripoli has also agreed to abide by the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) guidelines and signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

What prompted Libya to become a nonproliferation success story is a matter of speculation. The impact of the war in Iraq may have provided the main impetus, or more mundane reasons such as economics may have done so. The interception of a shipment of gas centrifuges under the PSI undoubtedly played a role. According to Mohamed ElBaradei, the director general of the IAEA, who spoke at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York on May 14, 2004, Libya concluded that, in the new international security setting, its WMD programs fell more in the category of a liability than an asset to national security.

Whatever Libya’s motivations were, it deserves praise and support. The G8 would be wise to include a statement in the Sea Island summit communiqué praising Libya’s decision, offering it appropriate recognition, and providing Tripoli assistance in its effort to improve infrastructure, medical care, and education. This would show other WMD-armed countries that benefits flow from giving up their unconventional armaments.

The G8 summits have contributed considerably to international security and nonproliferation. The June 2004 summit will be held in the United States amidst growing uncertainties in Iraq, the continuing erosion of major international treaties, and growing WMD challenges. Even more so than in the past, the G8 needs to use its annual summit to take forceful and practically oriented actions. It should seize this chance to make the international community’s carrots sweeter and the blows from its stick more painful.


[1]UN Security Council Resolution 1540, April 28, 2004, <> (May 2004).

[2]See for example Mark T. Esper and Charles A. Allen, “The PSI: Taking Action Against WMD Proliferation,” The Monitor: International Perspectives on Nonproliferation 10 (summer 2004), 4-6.

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Watch the live webcast of the conference.
(Download the free RealPlayer software.)

Register online

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