The Foreign Service Journal, July-August 2007

J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 0 7 / F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L 25 resident Bush has long regarded the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction as the major national security threat of the 21st century. His administration has built its response to that danger around a broad strategy of active nonproliferation, coun- terproliferation and defenses. Our approach has not been wedded to the conventional wisdom of the past, however. Rather, from the start we have combined the best elements of effective multilateralism with innovative new approaches. For example, while treaties are a critical element of the overall nonproliferation regime, we believe it is vital to employ a “layered defense” of reciprocally reinforcing elements. Indeed, without an ancillary web of individual and joint international efforts and commitments to sup- port nonproliferation goals, the treaties might quickly become dangerously hollow — empty formalisms inca- pable of affecting the behavior of those countries whose decisions it is most important to shape. Nevertheless, treaties help establish the overall norms toward which each tool in the international community’s toolkit is directed. Far from the “unilateralism” decried by our less- informed critics, we have made multilateral efforts the centerpiece of our approach to the seminal WMD chal- lenges that face the world today: Iran and North Korea. The role of the United Nations Security Council in addressing the continued refusal of a state to comply with its obligations was codified in the International Atomic Energy Agency Statute half a century ago. On that basis, we have involved the Security Council in compliance enforcement to help meet the challenge presented by Iran’s continuing contempt for its obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, its disregard for its safe- guards obligations, its refusal to comply with its obliga- tions under Security Council Resolutions 1696, 1737 and 1747, and its provocative and destabilizing actions in pur- suit of capabilities that would enable it to produce fissile material usable in nuclear weapons. We have also turned to the Council to respond to North Korea’s most recent provocations — which it has done, for instance, with Resolution 1718. And we have turned to diplomatic initiatives (e.g., the “P-5 plus one” Iran negotiations and the Six-Party Talks on North Korea) to develop ways to resolve these crises. Iran has been offered generous terms to abandon its enrichment and reprocessing activity, and North Korea agreed in February 2007 to a plan for the elimination of its nuclear programs and return to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and nuclear safeguards. Both countries need to be held to the terms of their obligations and commitments, but it cannot be said that we have been anything but F O C U S O N N O N P R O L I F E R A T I O N U.S. P OLICY : I NTERLOCKING AND R EINFORCING E LEMENTS T HE B USH ADMINISTRATION ’ S MULTIFACETED APPROACH HAS CONTRIBUTED SIGNIFICANTLY TO PREVENTING FURTHER NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROLIFERATION . B Y C HRISTOPHER A. F ORD P