DAVID SPEEDIE: Good evening, everyone. I'm David Speedie, director of the program on U.S. Global Engagement here at the Carnegie Council.
I would like to welcome you all this evening, this beautiful early summer evening, for a very special event—special in that we are joined by an extraordinary array of co‑sponsoring institutions: the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame; the Office of International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; Georgetown University's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs; Boston College; America, the Jesuit periodical; and the Nuclear Threat Initiative [NTI] is also participating.
This is, to say the least, a timely session. As I'm sure you all know, the Ninth Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), is going on in New York even as we speak.
Two things are true of these review conferences. First, much is expected of these in terms of deliverables. Secondly, all too often there is disappointment as to what is actually the follow-through. For example, there has been talk of a weapon of mass destruction free zone in the Middle East since 1970, and that certainly is something that weighs on us today.
I think that one of the most significant developments since the 2010 Review Conference has been the growing and welcome drumbeat of what has come to be called the Humanitarian Initiative, a series of joint statements on the humanitarian dimensions of nuclear disarmament.
I don't want to steal the thunder of the panel, because I'm sure this will come up in the discussion. But the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons was at the core of statements issued by the Holy See at a major conference on the Humanitarian Initiative in Vienna last year. It certainly shows the confluence of interests of the Church and of this organization that there were repeated calls for "a global ethic"—an ethic of responsibility, an ethic of solidarity, a morally responsible global future, and moving finally to the elimination of nuclear weapons.
I think this will be a major topic of the ongoing Review Conference. In fact, on the very opening day there was a quote by the foreign minister of Austria: "No state or international body is ready to address the uncontrollable destructive capacity of nuclear weapons use."
Finally, let me say that the importance of this reminder of the ethical principles at the heart of the nuclear weapons debate is underscored by a recent observation by a colleague, Patricia Lewis of Chatham House in London, where she observed that: "For the post-Cold War generation who did not live through this specter of nuclear annihilation, nuclear weapons are seen not so much as weapons as 'political instruments.'"
Obviously, these are not just policy instruments. The elimination of nuclear weapons is not just a bean-counting technical exercise. As the Holy See statement emphasized in Vienna: "Disarmament treaties are more than just legal obligations. There is here the most fundamentally ethical issue of human survival."
I will finish by quoting a prominent abolitionist, President Ronald Reagan, back in 1984, talking to the Soviet Union: "There is only one sane policy for your country and mine to preserve our civilization in this modern age. A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought." I think that is an excellent segue to our session.
I would like to introduce Gerard Powers, of the University of Notre Dame's Kroc Institute, who will be our moderator. Jerry, over to you.
GERARD POWERS: Thank you all for coming. Thank you, David, and thank you to Joel Rosenthal, the head of the Carnegie Council, and to all the wonderful staff who have helped put this event together. Let me reiterate David's thank-you to the co-sponsors, Notre Dame's Kroc Institute, the Nuclear Threat Initiative, the Bishops International Office, Georgetown's Berkley Center, Boston College, and America magazine.
The reason for this bevy of sponsors is that this event is one in a series of initiatives by this group related to a multi-year project on Revitalizing Catholic Engagement on the Issue of Nuclear Disarmament. This project was launched a year ago at a colloquium at Stanford that was hosted by former secretaries of state and defense George Shultz and William Perry, and included former senator Sam Nunn of the Nuclear Threat Initiative. Through conferences, publications, social media, this project is helping to educate and empower a new generation of Catholic bishops, scholars, professionals, and students on the ethical and policy challenges involved in reducing and eliminating nuclear weapons.
This evening we are fortunate to have four speakers who are deeply engaged in the nuclear issue and will help us understand evolving Catholic perspectives on nuclear deterrence, nuclear proliferation, and nuclear disarmament. I will introduce them in the order in which they will speak and, in order not to steal their time, I am going to be more brief than they deserve.
During the Cold War, religious leaders were ahead of political and military leaders in challenging the nuclear status quo and calling for a movement toward nuclear disarmament. Today, interestingly, political and military leaders are in the forefront of the movement for disarmament.
One of these leaders is Lord Browne of Ladyton. From 1997 to 2010, Des Browne was a Labour Party member of the British Parliament. He has served as secretary of state for defense, a member of the first joint committee on the National Security Strategy, and convener of the first joint committee, a convenor of the Top Level Group of Parliamentarians for Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation. Since 2014, he has served as vice chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative.
Archbishop Bernardito Auza is the permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations. In this capacity, he is one of the Vatican's principal spokesmen on nuclear weapons issues. A priest from the Philippines, he has served as the Apostolic Nuncio, which is akin to ambassador, in Madagascar, Bulgaria, Albania, and Haiti. His recent statements on nuclear disarmament in the NPT Review Conference have received widespread attention in the religious press and beyond.
Father Bryan Hehir is the Parker Gilbert Montgomery Professor of the Practice of Religion and Public Life at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. He has also served on the faculty of Georgetown University and the Harvard Divinity School. He was the principal architect of the Catholic Bishops' 1983 Peace Pastoral, which remains a seminal document on the ethics of nuclear weapons, and he received a MacArthur Genius Award for his efforts. For the past three decades, he has been one of the country's leading specialists on ethics and foreign policy.
Dr. Maryann Cusimano Love is associate professor of international relations at The Catholic University of America. She is a member of the U.S. Catholic Bishops' International Justice and Peace Committee and the State Department's Working Group on Religion and Foreign Policy. Her books include Beyond Sovereignty; Morality Matters: Ethics and the War on Terrorism (forthcoming); and, just to be different, her publications also include five New York Times best-selling children's books.
So is there a logic to this panel? Yes. Des Browne will provide the broader policy context for our conversation, Archbishop Auza will present the Holy See's position, Father Hehir will connect the policy debate and the moral debate, then Professor Love will connect the nuclear debate to the wider debate about peacebuilding.
We will begin with Des Browne.
DES BROWNE: Thank you very much, Jerry. I am delighted to be here this evening.
I should say I think we're not all Scots, by the way, who will be speaking here tonight. I think the purpose of David Speedie's introduction was to attune your ear to my accent. [Laughter]
I am delighted to be here as we work together towards revitalizing Catholic engagement on nuclear disarmament. The Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) is pleased to have the opportunity to support the tremendous work underway by the Kroc Institute at Notre Dame, the U.S. Conference of Bishops Office of International Justice and Peace, Georgetown's Berkley Center, and Boston College.
I am quite certain that everybody here recognizes that change is difficult, it is often challenging, and building engagement on challenging topics requires both patience and persistence through the project that Jerry spoke about to change the trajectory on nuclear issues and to revitalize Catholic engagement on the path towards disarmament. It, rightly, was born as a multi-year effort, but I will tell you that we at NTI are greatly encouraged by the progress made since it was launched a little more than a year ago, and we are proud to be partners in this important effort.
Thank you as well to the Carnegie Council. He was Scottish. I remember once asking the Carnegie [Corporation] for funding for a project I was involved in, and they said to me, "You're from Europe; why don't you get European money?" I said, "Where I'm coming from this is European money." [Laughter] Anyway, thank you to the Carnegie Council and to the periodical America for co-sponsoring tonight's conversation.
Which brings me to my fellow panelists, Archbishop Auza, Father Hehir, and Professor Maryann Love. I'm absolutely honored to share the stage with each of you for this discussion. All of you have provided tremendous leadership on nuclear issues, and I trust that you will continue to light the way.
I was asked to provide some of the policy context for the Church's engagement on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, and of course I'm happy to do that. I also feel compelled to encourage the Church to be bold as it sets out to revitalize its work on nuclear security.
Pope Francis has set the path with strong statements condemning nuclear weapons for posing an existential threat to our children and to our grandchildren, not to mention to our planet. It's true that nuclear weapons challenge our very humanity, and I believe that we all, but perhaps especially the Church, have a moral responsibility—indeed, an obligation—to speak out for change and to work for change.
That said, I will tell you that today I am exceedingly optimistic about the possibility for progress on the vexing issues around nuclear weapons, as I know you all are as well. None of us would be working in this field or on these issues if we didn't see the opportunity for change.
Optimism, however, doesn't mean we are naïve about the difficulties ahead. In the modern parlance, to be naïve is the worst thing that you can ever be accused of being, by the way.
There is no question that the challenges we are tackling today—from the future of the non-proliferation and disarmament regime, to the Test Ban Treaty [CTBT], to the dangerous deterioration of security in the Euro-Atlantic region—feel particularly acute. But the recent framework agreement on Iran, fragile as it is, proves that progress is possible.
But the hard truth is that we are at a very precarious moment on a host of nuclear security fronts, and I want to take a moment to set the stage for our work.
As you all know, there has been—and there is, indeed, at this very moment—tremendous concern about the outcome of the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference taking place here in this very city. Part of its centerpiece, and a bargain struck more than 45 years ago, was that the then-recognized nuclear weapons states would work towards disarmament. Unfortunately, progress has been painfully slow. The non-nuclear-weapons states are rightfully angry about that.
It is difficult to see a path forward when the United States, my own country the United Kingdom, Russia, France, and China cannot even agree among themselves how to proceed. So it is too soon today to know how this 2015 Review Conference will end. But there is no question that challenge is about.
Meanwhile, the promise of peaceful nuclear use hasn't always panned out as we hoped it would. Today we have states expanding their nuclear arsenals, surreptitiously seeking nuclear weapons under the guise of civil energy programs, and detonating nuclear test devices in the face of international condemnation. We saw approval, however, of the New START treaty [Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty] during President Obama's first term—an important achievement, no question—but prospects for talks and additional reductions certainly don't appear imminent.
Relations between Russia and NATO, including the United States, are at a low point and further strained by the situation in Ukraine. The situation may serve—and is proving to do so for some—to boost the arguments of those who oppose reducing the role of nuclear weapons and NATO's security construct.
Decades after more than 2,000 nuclear tests were conducted worldwide, leaving a ghastly humanitarian and environmental legacy, efforts to ratify the ban on nuclear tests are stuck. Since the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty was opened for signature in 1996, 183 countries signed and 162 of them have ratified this treaty. But in the United States the process of ratification has been blocked in Congress and there is no sign of an unblocking. This key piece of our global security architecture is blocked elsewhere as well, including in China, importantly, which won't ratify until and unless the United States does first.
At the risk of utterly depressing everyone here, I want to add one more problem to the list. That is all the nuclear weapons states today have or are working to modernize their arsenals, sending a powerful and unfortunate message about their lack of enthusiasm for arms control. The United States alone is expected to spend a staggering $1 trillion over the next three decades modernizing and maintaining its nuclear arsenal, a project that flies in the face of the pledges President Obama made in Prague in 2009 when he laid out his agenda on nuclear weapons and security.
Indeed, as Archbishop Tomasi said in Vienna, billions are wasted each year to develop and maintain stocks that will supposedly never be used. "Can one justify such a high cost only for reasons of status?" he asked.
Now let me take the argument that we mustn't allow this negative state of affairs to drain our resolve through all our expectations or in any way forget our obligation to work to reduce the risk posed by these deadly and indiscriminate weapons. There is room for optimism.
Take Vienna, for example. It's not insignificant that the United States and the United Kingdom agreed to attend the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons late last year, becoming the first nuclear weapons states to attend and, I would argue, giving a significant boost to that important initiative—although that, I hasten to add, is not a universally shared view.
In recent weeks, as I mentioned, the outcome of talks with Iran has proved that it is not an impossible environment in which to work.
And when we think about overall prospects for progress, it also is important to remember that we will not always be in this moment. As the situation in Iran has demonstrated so clearly, the global security landscape can change unexpectedly and almost overnight.
Fortunately, history has shown that it can also change for the better. We can and we must work towards the day when it will change to favor our work and the work predicated by the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
But some of that work is under way. On Ukraine, for example, while there is an urgent ongoing need to stop the killing and to avoid the unintended escalation of the current situation, there also is a tremendous amount of work under way to develop a new approach to Euro-Atlantic security around that very conflict. A new task force is recommending steps to increase military-to-military communications and direct dialogue both inside Ukraine and between Ukrainian parties and other actors.
In addition, in an effort to develop a fresh approach, my own organization, the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), and a number of key international partners have formed a Young Generation Task Force of young people from across the Euro-Atlantic region, including Ukrainians and Russians, who have so far held two meetings, including last month in Latvia, as a start towards developing practical recommended steps to de-escalate the crisis and to advance an agenda for building a new Ukraine, and indeed a new Russia.
The Humanitarian Initiative, as I have already mentioned, is another area where we can build on recent progress, as Dr. Patricia Lewis of Chatham House has written: "I think this is sobering. The fact that it has taken decades to discuss the problem nuclear weapons create through a humanitarian framework demonstrates how adept our societies have become at forgetting, disguising, and denying the overwhelming and the terrifying." That must change.
That the United States and the United Kingdom attended the Vienna Conference in December is a step forward. But I'm sure you would agree that it is only a step and we must press for continuation of progress and greater participation. The upcoming 70th anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will provide impetus as a powerful reminder of the horrors associated with nuclear weapons use.
I take heart, too, and you should as well, because there are innovative ideas out there about how to tackle many of the issues, and there is a great deal of innovative work going on as well at present. As my good friend Dr. Lassina Zerbo, the very able head of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization, said in a speech last year, "It's a well-known fact that frustration often paves the way for innovation."
So may I offer you some areas where I think there are opportunities despite the challenging landscape?
Let's begin with the Review Conference. There is a broad agreement that all states need to reduce salience attached to nuclear weapons. And perhaps success this year will be written when countries take steps to reaffirm their commitment to non-proliferation, to narrow the conditions for the use of nuclear weapons, and to reduce nuclear materials and arsenals. That would be a great boost for a struggling regime.
The prompt-launch posture of U.S. and Russian nuclear forces is another area that is ripe for progress. A quarter-century after the end of the Cold War, each country still deploys hundreds of long-range ballistic missiles, land- and sea-based, with roughly 2,000 nuclear warheads promptly set to destroy each other. Each maintains large nuclear forces on day-to-day alert, ready for launch and capable of hitting their targets in less than 40 minutes. This launch-on-warning posture is set to ensure that there can be no advantage from a first strike.
But inherent in this posture there is the risk of an accidental or unauthorized launch by either side, as well as the risk that a deliberate decision to use ballistic missiles will be made in haste on the basis of faulty or incomplete data. And what's more, the risks posed by these forced postures are increasing, as cyber-threats and nuclear missile capabilities proliferate in other countries.
So what can be done? Well, just last week Global Zero released a very good report on the need to take these weapons off high alert. There is plenty of room for others, including the Church, if it chooses, to work to increase awareness about the risk and to keep the issue visible with governments and the public.
We need to make it possible for Moscow and Washington to see the political and diplomatic benefits, in addition to the security benefits, of acting on this issue, and we need to underscore to countries that might be considering adopting such forced posture in the future that they would decrease security and have no support in the international community.
The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which represented a high-water mark for multilateralism when it was adopted in 1996, offers an opportunity too. There is no question we have made progress over the past two decades, and the treaty has established a de facto global moratorium on testing. But we need to get the job done. I am confident that we can do it with a concerted, coordinated effort by governments, civil society, and the international scientific community.
All of us can do more to answer arguments about ratification of this treaty, and we can do it with answers based on not just critical thinking, but also on science. Among the arguments against the CTBT were that verification and monitoring wouldn't work. But now we have a state-of-the-art system in place and important improvements still being made.
The Nuclear Threat Initiative has also contributed with a two-year project entitled "Innovating Verification: New Tools and New Actors to Reduce Nuclear Risks." This project involved more than 40 technical and policy experts from a dozen countries collaborating to produce innovative new concepts in confidence-building and transparency measures. We are now in a partnership with the State Department of the United States to build capacity so that this can be done across the world. So we have very solid answers to the CTBT critics and we must dedicate ourselves to demand action from them.
These are just a few ideas about how to move forward. It wasn't intended to be comprehensive, but we have a limited amount of time. There are opportunities, I think, for groundbreaking solutions that can help make progress. One way to move that work forward is to have influential voices behind the work and ahead of those who would argue for the status quo.
I believe the Church can and must provide a voice that is stronger than ever. And I believe it can play a role that no other organization can fill. Among religious organizations, the Catholic Church owns the intellectual leadership on nuclear issues. It should lead the way and help develop a strategy for others, even as it forges its own direct path forward. The Russian Orthodox Church, with its extraordinary ties to the Russian government, is a good place to start.
With governments and with publics, the Church can exercise unrivaled influence. Expectations that the Church will lead on moral issues are enormous, and so is the obligation that it will, as well.
Again I congratulate you on your work thus far. You have already made a difference, and we are proud to be partners in this important effort. It's incumbent upon all of us to do more before a terrible accident, miscalculation, or deliberate detonation flattens another city and kills millions more.
Thank you again for inviting me to be on tonight's panel. I look forward to our discussion.
My own work in this field would not have been possible without a steady optimism about the possibility of progress, and the dedication of everyone here tonight gives me more cause for that optimism.
Thank you very much.
GERARD POWERS: Thank you, Lord Browne.
ARCHBISHOP BERNARDITO AUZA: My co-panelists, ladies and gentlemen, good evening. Thank you very much, Mr. Speedie, for hosting us here at the Carnegie Council. Thank you, Dr. Powers, for serving as our chairperson. Thank you to our sponsors and organizers for making this conference possible. And thank you all for your interest in the topic of this evening's discussion, "From Nuclear Deterrence to Disarmament: Evolving Catholic Perspectives."
As has been mentioned earlier, this evening's event comes while the 191 state parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons are in the ninth quinquennial review of the NPT. Their review is considering how best to build on the successes of the NPT to date, how modest it might be, as well as how to address the failures that continue to underlie the risk of catastrophic humanitarian consequences that can follow the use of nuclear weapons.
On the one hand, the Holy See appreciates the substantial reductions in nuclear weapon stockpiles on the part especially of two nuclear weapon states, and is aware of the remarkable reach that the treaty has on the 186 non-nuclear-weapons states who are parties to the treaty. The Holy See welcomes the continued implementation of the New START treaty and of the array of safeguards agreements governing peaceful uses of nuclear energy, which is also part of the NPT.
On the other hand, the Holy See notes, with frustration I would say, the lack of progress towards the realization of the commitment made by the parties to the NPT to pursue negotiations in good faith and effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control. That is Article VI of the NPT.
Moreover, given the inability of the Conference on Disarmament to begin negotiations on a treaty governing the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and the unstable situations in many regions of the world, like the Middle East, we have the potential for the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
I would like to develop my reflection on the topic this evening in three subthemes, namely: first, the popes' calls for the abolition of nuclear weapons—that is from Pius XII in 1943 to Benedict XVI in 2013—that is a period of 70 years; second, I would like to make a short focus on Pope Francis and the three conferences on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, and especially the one in Vienna last December 8 and 9; third, I would like to focus on some aspects of the moral cases against the possession and the use of nuclear weapons.
First, the popes and their calls for the abolition of nuclear weapons. I think the topic of this evening's discussion is rather tempting: Has the Catholic Church's teaching on nuclear weapons evolved? If yes, in what way? To attempt to shed light on these two questions, I would like to make a very brief summary of the teachings of the popes, as I have said, from Pius XII to Benedict XVI.
In February 1943, two years and a half prior to the Trinity test in 1945, Pope Pius XII, alerted to the discovery of nuclear fission, voiced deep concern regarding the violent use of nuclear energy. After repeated warnings, in his Easter address in 1954, Pope Pius XII called for the effective proscription and banishment of atomic warfare, citing "the vision of vast territories rendered uninhabitable and useless to mankind . . . transmissible diseases . . . and monstrous deformities." Those are the words of Pius XII. He called the arms race a "costly relationship of mutual terror."
Pope John XXIII succeeded Pius XII in 1958. One of his best-known documents is the encyclical—I am sure you have heard of this—Pacem in terris, which means "Peace on Earth," which was issued just a few months after the nerve-racking experience of the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962, an event some of you in this room lived through, although I wouldn't name names.
John XXIII was aware of the theory of deterrence, or we call it a strategy or a doctrine of nuclear deterrence. Rejecting it, he called for the abolition of nuclear weapons, for the cessation of the arms race achieved through a suitable disarmament program, with an effective system of mutual control. In short, the pope was very pragmatic.
It is notable that this approach foreshadows Article VI of the NPT, in which the abolition of nuclear weapons is placed within the framework of what we call "effective verification" and reaches to a global structure in which effective international control replaces the reliance on war.
John XXIII appealed that "everyone must sincerely cooperate in the effort to banish fear and the anxious expectation of war from men's minds. But this requires that the fundamental principles upon which peace is based in today's world be replaced by an altogether different one, namely, the realization that true and lasting peace among nations cannot consist in the possession of an equal supply of armaments but only in mutual trust." John XXIII's position that trust should be verified sounds like the forerunner of Ronald Reagan's "trust and verify."
Then, Paul VI was elected in 1963, in the middle of the Second Vatican Council. Like his predecessors, he rejected not only nuclear weapons but also the theory of deterrence. In his address and messages to the United Nations, especially his address in the first visit of the Pope to the United Nations in 1965, and in his address to the first General Assembly Special Session on Disarmament in 1978, in those messages Paul VI defined deterrence as "a tragic illusion."
I believe also that he was, being a pope of peace and development—one of his famous encyclicals was Populorum progressio ("The Development of Peoples")—he also used the argument of too much money put into the development and maintenance of nuclear weapons instead of being put into human development. He said that the "crying disproportion between the resources in money and intelligence devoted to the service of death and the resources devoted to the service of life is staggering."
At this point, I would like to cite the teaching of the Second Vatican Council. The Second Vatican Council is stuck there between John XXIII and Paul VI. But the full—you might say the most important—statement of the Second Vatican Council on the question of nuclear disarmament, to be specific, was or is contained in the document Gaudium et spes. Recall the pastoral constitution Gaudium et spes, or "The Joys and the Hopes." That was released in 1965.
That document says: "To be sure, scientific weapons are not amassed solely for use in war. Since the defensive strength of any nation is considered to be dependent upon its capacity for immediate retaliation, this accumulation of arms, which increases each year, likewise serves, in a way heretofore unknown, as deterrent to possible enemy attack. Many regard this procedure as the most effective way by which peace of a sort can be maintained between nations at the present time."
"Whatever be the facts about this method of deterrence," the Council continued, "men should be convinced that the arms race in which an already considerable number of countries are engaged is not a safe way to preserve a steady peace, nor is the so-called balance resulting from this race a sure and authentic peace. . . . Therefore, we say it again: the arms race is an utterly treacherous trap for humanity, and one which ensnares the poor to an intolerable degree." That is what the Second Vatican Council says, in short, about the argument.
And then, of course, after the 33-day reign of Pope John Paul I, we have the almost 27 years of Pope John Paul II, who was elected in 1978. One of the most cited passages of all the teachings of John Paul II on nuclear disarmament and a call for nuclear abolition is the one in 1982, in his letter to the Second Special General Assembly on Disarmament. At this time he kind of left the door temporarily ajar for a minimum temporary accommodation of deterrence, strictly within the framework of the process towards total abolition of nuclear weapons.
In his message, he said that "In current conditions [of the Cold War]"—this is 1982—"'deterrence' based on balance, certainly not as an end in itself but as a step on the way toward a progressive disarmament, may still be judged morally acceptable. Nonetheless in order to ensure peace, it is indispensable not to be satisfied with this minimum, which is always susceptible to the real danger of explosion."
As many of you would remember, in 1983 the USCCB [United States Conference of Catholic Bishops] released its document on nuclear disarmament, which in probably one of its most remembered passages repeated what John Paul II said a year before, that there is that door temporarily left a little bit open because circumstances, you might say, might at the minimum still contemplate deterrence as an acceptable, we might say, position.
Then, Pope Benedict XVI spoke out against nuclear weapons many times. In 2006, he said that the argument of nuclear weapons as a basis for peace is completely fallacious, and he said that nuclear deterrence is an illusion, in which he repeated the words of Paul VI.
At the end of this first section, I would like to make three brief conclusions.
First, the Holy See, through the proclamations or teachings of the popes, has taken a moral stance against nuclear weapons, even before the birth of nuclear weapons, and has always called for their abolition, and has worked, and continues to work, for a world not only without nuclear weapons but one that increasingly moves away from war. So the context is much bigger than nuclear disarmament.
Second, very early on the Catholic Church had always rejected a theory of deterrence as a reliable, much less permanent, basis for peace.
Third, the Holy See has voiced increasing impatience with the lack of progress in nuclear disarmament. I would like to start the second part of my reflection with this, because that is where Pope Francis and the Third Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons came in.
As Mr. Speedie said, after the 2010 Review Conference of the NPT, there has really been an increase among non-state organizations, institutions, and churches as well, especially in the Catholic Church, a kind of a reawakened interest in the question of nuclear disarmament, especially looking at it from the angle of its unacceptable humanitarian consequences.
This is my third point—Pope Francis and the documents that the Holy See presented in Vienna in December 2014: the Holy See has joined the states and non-state organizations involved with the Conferences on the Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons. The first conference, as you know, was held in Norway in 2013, the second in Mexico in February 2014, and the third in Vienna in December 2014.
At the Vienna Conference, the Holy See presented three policy statements. We might call them that way. Actually, just one policy but expressed in three different documents.
The first document was the personal letter that the pope addressed to the president of the Third Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in Vienna, Sebastian Kurz. The second was the statement of the Delegation of the Holy See to the Conference. The third, the more we might say elaborate one, was a paper presented as a contribution entitled "Nuclear Disarmament: A Time for Abolition." These three documents are squarely in the sequence of the earlier documents and interventions I have discussed, especially regarding the Popes' teachings, outlining the moral position of the Holy See for the abolition of nuclear weapons.
To lend further impetus to the nuclear disarmament effort, the Holy See's Mission to the United Nations here in New York sponsored and organized a conference last April 9, with the support of a number of organizations also including the USCCB. The speakers at our conference last April 9 were all religious personalities—no scientists, no politicians, no we might say great strategists—because we wanted to underline certainly the moral character of our argument. So we had on the part of the USCCB Bishop Oscar Cantú, the chairman of the International Justice and Peace committee of the USCCB, and then we had a rabbi, we had an imam, we had an Anglican Episcopalian bishop, and an evangelical pastor.
We intended to underline in that conference that we are not scientists, we are not nuclear scientists, we are not great political strategists, but our argument is above all based on our faith, based on our ethics, based on our position that even the possession, and above all the use, of nuclear weapons is not acceptable anymore in our times. I think that is where the evolving, we might say, perspective will be found.
The third point, the last point of my reflection, is some of the aspects of the Holy See's case against the possession and use of nuclear weapons. I would just like to point out five things.
First is, why are we saying that the doctrine of deterrence is not anymore acceptable, and why are we saying that the lack of progress on nuclear disarmament is unfair, is perpetuating the already unfair nature of the NPT?
First, nuclear disarmament vis-à-vis the international humanitarian law: Because of the incalculable and indiscriminate consequences of such weapons, their use is clearly against international humanitarian law. I need not explain or elaborate that further because everybody knows it.
Second, let's take the issue of what we call non-state actors today, terrorism, which has, sadly, become so prominent in our lives today. The prospect that non-state actors may acquire nuclear weapons is not going to be countered by reliance on nuclear deterrence.
Third, let's consider the question of poverty and underdevelopment. The investments in military forces, including nuclear weapons and their modernization, divert both financial resources and political will to fight poverty. I think it can be argued that the dollars spent on human development would be a much better weapon than a dollar spent on nuclear weapons.
Fourth, the lack of progress in nuclear disarmament threatens the credibility and ultimately the existence of the NPT. We always say pacta sunt servanda ("agreements must be kept"), which means it is not only a legal obligation but it also is a moral obligation. In the same case, the NPT is not just legal obligations but it is also a moral commitment based on trust among parties. Yet, the NPT's central promise of nuclear disarmament in exchange for nuclear nonproliferation remains a distant dream. The Holy See in the paper affirms that if commitments to nuclear disarmament are not complied with, the nuclear weapons proliferation will be a logical corollary.
Fifth, we believe that the lack of progress, or even a regression, in the aspect of nuclear disarmament will in the long run be untenable, unsustainable, because it would maintain what is already discrimination at the heart of the NPT, that on the promise of nuclear disarmament, non-nuclear states could not develop nuclear capabilities. So again, just like my fourth argument, if there is no progress on nuclear disarmament, there is no moral authority to say that others could not acquire nuclear capabilities.
Let me end with a quotation from Pope Francis's message conveyed to the Vienna Conference: "I am convinced that the desire for peace and fraternity planted deep in the human heart will bear fruit in concrete ways to ensure that nuclear weapons are banned once and for all, to the benefit of our common home." It is for us to make that happen—the sooner, naturally, much the better.
Thank you for your attention.
GERARD POWERS: Thank you, Archbishop Auza.
J. BRYAN HEHIR: Thank you.
Let me again express my appreciation to the groups sponsoring the conference. I am delighted to be part of this panel.
My assigned task, in a sense, is to work on the linkage between the first two talks, the empirical strategic debate and the Catholic voice in the discussion of nuclear weapons. What I will try to do, first of all, is not be repetitive of two comprehensive reviews that have been given, and the 15-minute limit will keep me in a coercive mode on that quest.
The Ninth Review Conference reminds us of 70 years of a unique chapter in the history of human warfare. That history, documented from at least the 5th Century B.C. in Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War, has found a new chapter unique in its significance beginning in 1945.
Since 1945, the nuclear age has been debated, it has been dissected, and it has been tested politically over that time. There are different judgments on how one should assess the history of the last 60-to-70 years. Thomas Schelling, in receiving the Nobel Prize award for his work on strategic thought and arms control, called the 60 years "an astonishing 60 years," simply because the weapons had not been used.
But from a 70-year perspective, there is a broader chorus of informed views that ask: Why run the risk at all of what nuclear weapons could do to the globe? An astonishing 60 years to be sure. Schelling was modest at the very end of the article. He said it might have been luck that we got through 60 years or it might have been intelligence.
The question that the 70-year review leads to is a certain assessment of how we stand: Should we draw hope and courage from 60-to-70 years without use, or is there a deepening doubt that we would survive another decade or another five decades?
My colleague at Kennedy School, Graham Allison, who has written on this question extensively, wrote an article in Foreign Affairs asking whether the nuclear order was falling apart. He raised it as a question, outlined the threats to the existence of nuclear peace, and offered a series of proposals that would be necessary to secure the debate between doubt and hope about the next 70 years. But his issues were extensive.
As I look back over this period of time and try to provide this link between the policy debate and the Church's voice, it seems to me that the 60-to-70 years is marked by analysis on the one hand, argument on the other, and then certain voices of authority that run through that history.
The first phase from the use of nuclear weapons, the only use, in 1945—the first phase from 1945 to 1958—was a period of time that the American historian of American foreign policy Ernest May described as "a time of confusion." There really was among the military, among scientists, and among politicians a sense of wonderment of what was before them when the capacity to threaten human life as a whole now rested in human hands.
The analysis, in a sense, took over then. From 1958 to 1962, there emerged a strategic consensus of how to manage the nuclear age. That strategic consensus was a mix of the doctrine of deterrence combined with arms control. That strategic consensus was undergirded by the political structure of power at that time, the political structure of power being the Cold War. So in a bipolar world with nuclear weapons in possession of the two major powers, the question was whether arms control and deterrence was the best one could do to manage the nuclear age.
The issue was always debated. Kenneth Waltz, one of the leading authors of this whole 70-year period, argued that nuclear weapons provided stability because it led statespersons to be exceedingly careful. On the other hand, the alternative argument was that you purchased whatever stability there was at the risk that one serious mistake would constitute a massive human, political, and moral tragedy.
If the strategic consensus and the political setting reinforced each other, the moral arguments were spread across a spectrum. Some rejected any thought of either use or deterrence. Others tried to shape use and deterrence within a moral framework. And others tolerated a situation that seemed unchangeable but was necessary to at least keep in viable form.
The Catholic Church, as the archbishop indicated, at various points was a voice in this ongoing discussion, and, as the archbishop indicated, the discussions always were about the fact of nuclear weapons, the outlawing of their use in any major way, and then a critique of deterrence.
The second phase of this history runs basically from the early 1960s up through the end of the Cold War. In fact, the analysis of deterrence and arms control held the middle ground in the debate. There were arguments from both sides of the spectrum of political strategic views about that consensus of arms control and deterrence. Views on the right always thought that arms control was undergirding an eroding nuclear deterrence. Voices on the left felt that far too much attention was paid to the deterrence piece and not sufficiently paid to the arms control piece.
Moreover, during this period from the 1960s until the end of the Cold War the emphasis was on what was called vertical proliferation, not horizontal proliferation, the topic that is the topic of the Non-Proliferation Review. There was a constant challenge to the consensus from both sides, left and right. There was a critique that was both strategic and political on the one hand, and then there was a more intensive moral critique that grew during the Cold War.
The archbishop traced Catholic voices, particularly in terms of the papacy, and my point is not to review that. I do think if you look at the logic of Catholic statements, the evolution reaches a point of major inflection with the statements in the past year about deterrence, to which I will return.
While there is analysis that goes back 60 years and arguments that have run through the nuclear age, there also have been authorities, people who spoke with a certain kind of weight in this debate. Many of them were not in government but outside, like Schelling, or Michael Howard from the United Kingdom, or Raymond Aron from France, or Michael Quinlan from the United Kingdom, a man who constantly dealt with his faith and his position in government.
And then there were the authoritative voices from the religious community. The archbishop has highlighted the Catholic role in that. We should stress the Catholic role was not the only role. In this country, no one wrote on this question more extensively, and perhaps more effectively, than Paul Ramsey from Princeton. One didn't have to agree with his conclusions all the time—I didn't—but one had to admire the intensity of the detail that he put into the argument. [Editor's note: Paul Ramsey wrote frequently for the Council's Worldview magazine, which ran from 1958-1985. For his Worldview articles, click here.]
Phase three is the phase that begins with the end of the Cold War and continues until today. It is marked by two characteristics. The first characteristic is the post-Cold War collapse of the structure of power that had existed during the Cold War, a bipolar world. The collapse of a bipolar world meant that half of the consensus that had existed no longer existed, namely that the mortal threat, if you will, between the two largest political powers in the world no longer provided the political sense that nuclear weapons had to be absolutely essential in their relationship.
Adjudicating the post-Cold War picture would have been a major challenge in itself, offering major opportunities. Indeed, there were assumptions that, with the collapse of the Cold War, arms control would be relatively simple.
But of course what happened was that the collapse of the major relationship of tension, the bipolar tension, opened up a much more likely possibility of proliferation. There is a long argument about why states proliferate. Some argue it's because Article VI has been unfulfilled. Others argue that states proliferate not for international reasons but for local reasons, or as it is put in the field, states proliferate because they live in a tough neighborhood where nuclear weapons seems to be the default position.
But adjudicating the post-Cold War period would have been complicated and offering opportunities that didn't exist before to be taken advantage of. But of course the post-Cold War period was then married to the post-9/11 world. So now the double challenge is the threat of proliferation, which has taken the primary place in the nuclear debate, along with the question of non-state actors, for the nuclear discussion, I would argue, was almost entirely a state-centric discussion until 9/11.
Hardly ever did the literature talk about terrorism in my experience of reading it over 45 years.
So the political foundation of the strategic synthesis shifted dramatically after the end of the Cold War. To some degree, it eroded the context in which the strategic synthesis made sense.
Secondly, the threat of non-state actors gaining access to nuclear weapons opened a whole different dimension of the chapter of events we have been looking at.
So, in the face of that, there then return analyses and arguments about how one should think about nuclear weapons.
The first thing one ought to say is that nuclear weapons and the nuclear debate now had to compete with other issues. If you look at the 183-to-190 nations that have signed this treaty, I would argue that the first issue most of them have on their mind is not nuclear weapons. That's not necessarily a good thing, given the danger nuclear weapons pose. But the nuclear question has had to contend for space in the international relations debate.
How then to think about where we are and where things go from here? With the combined threat of proliferation and non-state actors' access to nuclear weapons, surprisingly the arguments about how to manage nuclear weapons became more radical rather than more moderate—more radical in the sense that deeper proposals were made than ever received attention before.
Here you combine analysis with authorities. So in the United States at least, the proposal of the so-called "Gang of Four," four names who had shaped the nuclear history of this country—Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, Bill Perry, Sam Nunn—these were names that constantly were part of the nuclear debate from the 1950s on, four major figures. Their voice became an authoritative voice with a proposal that was much deeper than the arms control proposal ever was.
Secondly, they argued that we faced a nuclear tipping point. Now, for a world that had assumed that the post-Cold War world offered potential for major steps in arms control to hear the assessment of these four authoritative voices that the world was at a tipping point itself gave a kind of gravitas to the argument that others could hardly bring.
The Holy See's position, which the archbishop has summarized, I suggest in the past year has taken a step beyond what existed before. There were strong statements previously. But if you analyzed the intrinsic logic of the statements, as the archbishop indicated, there always was a door open that said "you might have to stay with deterrence if you were ever to get beyond deterrence and arms control to a world without nuclear weapons." So the fact that the Holy See has, in its own way, called for "going to zero," a position that is identical in its conclusion with the four major voices, in one sense that is not new news, as the Archbishop has indicated.
The contemporary discussion of the Holy See, in a sense, moves away from that. So its conclusion on going to zero is not new. Its conclusion about deterrence, which argues that it is not a sound moral way to even sustain the position that has been held earlier, is the major change. So it is those two things that have marked the statements of the past year.
Final point: there are always questions when you make a statement of radicality about how you will then answer the critiques—and there will be critiques.
There is the question of the transition. It is one thing to say that deterrence doesn't have moral fiber and going to zero is the objective. The question is how you get there. Strategists, when they question deterrence's viability, do it on the basis of prudence. When you do it on the basis of morality, the consequences for public policy and personal life become questions of a different nature than the prudential questions of strategists.
Secondly, there is the analysis authority argument. There is no question about the Holy See's authority to speak in moral and religious terms. There is no question that the authority of this pope has a kind of compelling character in the public debate that is almost unrecognizable in any of his predecessors.
But there is the empirical reality that you at least have to answer. So I return to Schelling. Schelling is engaging not the Holy See but the Gang of Four. Schelling's argument is he has not yet been shown that the world will be a safer place with no nuclear weapons than with a few nuclear weapons that function in a deterrent mode. That is a reasonable question from a very skilled interpreter of the nuclear age.
When you make a conclusion, as we have made, you have to be ready to answer that question, because the nuclear debate does not hang only on normative questions, but on normative questions that have to be measured and encountered with empirical data. So that's a road ahead for any of us and all of us who are part of this debate.
But there is, as I say, to go back to authority, a unique authority in this pope which is somewhat different than the conclusions he draws, or it doesn't rest only on his conclusions, and that is a very important fact in itself.
GERARD POWERS: Thank you, Father Hehir.
Batting clean-up we have Maryann Cusimano Love.
MARYANN CUSIMANO LOVE: I'm going to change the focus a bit and look at these nuclear issues from a peacebuilding framework. In doing so, I think I will answer some of the questions that Bryan raises—how do you get there, and what new type of frameworks may be necessary for this new world we find ourselves in today?
Because I am the mother of three young children and teach a lot of undergrads, I'm going to give you my thumbnail summary up front and then I'll flesh it out. But basically, I am going to be looking at nuclear disarmament issues from a peacebuilding framework.
Most of the discussion during the Cold War period was from a just war framework. Just war tells you how to limit war. It doesn't tell you how to build peace. That's why you need a peacebuilding framework to give you both the principles of how to move to deeper levels of disarmament, but also what are some of the practices that work to get to a deeper level of disarmament. Just war tradition always implies just peace and asserts that you should be trying other things first, but it doesn't really flesh that out for you. So this is kind of filling in the blank of our tradition.
We need to use a peacebuilding perspective. To get to deeper disarmament we need to build deeper relationships. When I talk about just peace, I'm talking about how do you build right relationships based on participation, based on reconciliation, restoration, to build a sustainable peace.
Basically, the United States and Russia since the end of the Cold War have not used the peacebuilding toolkit of what we call DDR—disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration. Also with that third R can be reconciliation, restoration. That hasn't happened in the post-Cold War framework. I'll talk a little bit about why. But to get to deeper levels of disarmament, as Bryan said, you need to build those deeper relationships. We have the tools to do this. We have been successfully using this in many conventional wars. We are in a period of peace breaking out around the world so we have a track record of success. We need to bring those tools to this issue.
Basically, the current arms control and the disarmament treaties have focused on the "stuff"—on the weapons, the technologies, the materials—but not on the people, on building the relationships.
Francis tells us that peacebuilding is about people-building, and we really need to go to that focus, particularly at this time when relations are so strained between the United States and Russia. Getting more people involved in this will help move beyond these frozen politics.
Particularly, countries like Argentina and South Africa can take on greater leadership roles to break through this deadlock period. These are countries that have a track record in getting rid of nuclear arms programs in their own countries, so they have a great deal of credibility to speak on those issues.
I'll conclude with some ideas of how the Church practices what I call resurrection politics, taking an issue that is thought previously dead on arrival, raising it up to the political agenda, and how religious actors can use the tools that we have to be a forum for this type of deeper relationship-building and dialogue that's needed to get us to deeper levels of disarmament.
So that's it in a nutshell. Now I'll flesh it out a little bit.
What kind of peace do we seek? The Roman historian Tacitus, writing near the time of Jesus, described how the Pax Romana was experienced by people like the Celts, like the Jews, who were conquered by the Romans. He said, "They make a desolation and call it peace."
As Christians, this is not the sort of peace we seek. Jesus of Nazareth made it very clear that he was not in favor of this negative peace of a sort, of making a desolation and calling it peace, a peace of a sort that was based on the sword, based on military threats and power.
And Jesus really knew what he was talking about from personal experience. As a political scientist, here's how I read Jesus's experience with this. Jesus was born in a war zone. He was born under foreign military occupation in a period of very grave civil war and violent insurgency against a foreign occupying military power and a civil war between domestic leaders who cooperated with these foreign occupying military forces.
He and his family were refugees, according to the 1951 definition in the Convention on Refugees. They fled genocide, as described in the 1948 Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. So he knew war personally.
He lived his life practicing and preaching peacebuilding. All his ministry was a ministry of peacebuilding, of people-building, of relationship-building, of reconciling enemies, of participating in dialogue with enemies and the poor and marginalized persons, people who were poor and marginalized because of this war situation, raising up those marginalized people, healing trauma, healing people impoverished in their war-torn and war-impacted communities, driving out their demons, what we would call trauma healing today.
He established these prophecies of reconciliation and communion to draw people together in peace. He enjoined us to do the same.
So Jesus not only had a declaratory policy about peacebuilding, which he speaks about extensively throughout the Scriptures, but he also practiced it and shows us what these practices of peacebuilding are in a war zone.
For our Church, this tradition of just peace is not only something new that we have been rediscovering since Pacem in terris, since the Second Vatican Council, since the scandals of the Second World War, since the tragedies of Rwanda. Yes, it is all of those things, and we have been deepening our understanding and practice since these terrible tragedies of the 20th and 21st centuries.
But there is a much deeper track record here that has been hiding in plain sight. It is not a new development, although it has become more recognized and embraced in more recent decades.
So this Church teaching and practice of just peace were given to us by Jesus of Nazareth.
How does that apply to nuclear weapons? Well, in this area of nuclear weapons we have to move beyond this peace based on desolation, based on deterrence of mutually assured destruction, instead to a peace based on right relationships, on mutually assured reductions of nuclear arms, strengthening trust and strengthening right relationships.
There has been a lot of creativity since the end of the Cold War in how to do that. Our task today is to continue to find new, creative ways to build better, more resilient, sustainable peace based on right relationships, based on participatory processes, based on reconciliation and restoration, to have a sustainable peace that will endure.
What kind of peace do we seek? Wars end, but they do not always end well, and they do not always end with a positive peace of right relationships that we are called to build as Christians. Sometimes wars end in a desolation we call peace.
This year we mark 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the end of the Cold War. But we have seen the Cold War end with a very cold and separate peace, as we see in our relations today. The Cold War ended with a settlement of the Second World War's problems. The Cold War ended with a settlement of the borders of Germany and the unfinished business of the Second World War.
There was a surge of movement towards greater diplomatic engagement between the United States and Russia at the end of the Cold War on economic issues to cooperation in space. But there was not much reconciliation between the United States and Russia. There was not DDR, as we have seen used in other post-conflict scenarios.
There was no truth and reconciliation commission, no transparency, no accountability and public apology for crimes done, or acknowledgement of harms done during the war. There were no systems to re-integrate former foes. There were no symbolic politics to build a wider and deeper public support for peace with Russia either between the United States and Russia or between Russia and the former communist states or neighboring states. We see the tragedy of that today in relations between Russia and the neighbors.
After more than 45 years of stories, for example, of culture and politicians vilifying the Russians, there was no cultural engagement after the end of the Cold War, no Sesame Street characters, no action movie franchises, building public support for the idea of the good Russian, our friend. We did that after the Second World War. We engaged with German culture and people, we engaged with the Japanese culture and people, to make reconciliation between our countries real and durable.
Last Pearl Harbor Day I had the opportunity to be in Pearl Harbor and to see the wreaths of flowers that were delivered by the Japanese to commemorate our reconciliation. That's what the note said, to commemorate the reconciliation of our peoples.
We did not engage in that job after the end of the Cold War. We need to engage in that job. Deeper arms control, deeper disarmament, needs deeper relationships. So in peacebuilding terms, these are standard tools of DDR—disarmament, demobilization, reintegration, and reconciliation—this building of right relationships.
We did some disarmament; we did get to lower levels. We did a little demobilization, but not much, because, thankfully, the end of the Cold War did not end with foreign military occupation, without the big bang that we had feared. That's the good news. The bad news is that it ended with our force structures pretty much in that same hair-trigger alert posture, as Des Browne has discussed. So we did a little bit of the first two Ds of DDR, but we really did not do that last R, and that's what is needed to get to deeper levels of disarmament. That's most of what remains for us.
So there are new and continued cooperative activities that really need to be given greater emphasis, whether these are activities in nuclear safety, in counter-proliferation, the proliferation security initiative.
There is a track record on cooperative engagement both between the Russians and the United States, the megatons-to-megawatts programs, the historic cooperative threat reduction program. But that needs to be expanded beyond the bilateral approach, so that if you have a frozen period of politics, all this comes to a screeching halt. You need more people engaged and to use more multilateral frameworks to be able to continue the momentum when you have a period of frozen politics.
Increasing the outreach of participation to countries such as South Africa and Argentina, which gave up their nuclear weapons programs, would ground these multilateral conversations in the connections between nuclear reductions and greater resources available for development. These countries have already walked this path and they have much to offer.
Increasing that multilateral capacity, that sharing and cooperation and coordination, should be pursued across a wide variety of issue areas, not just the narrow nuclear issues—issues from foreign consequence management, to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, to cooperation of militaries and governments and NGOs and religious actors. That can deepen and widen our bench and build these muscles for multilateral cooperation.
We have to do this because, as we said, we not only have new threats emerging, but these threats are very real.
Last summer ISIL [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] stole over 80 pounds, not of weapons-grade, but of uranium from Mosul University in Iraq. They have used chlorine gas attacks in Iraq. They have the ability to make really weapons of mass disruption, more than mass destruction.
But drone technology leads to many more opportunities for dirty radiological attacks that are going to require a lot more cooperation from a lot more countries. We can't have this fragile peace of just two countries in a frozen state.
In my field we talk about boomerang politics and we talk about forum shopping. When politics is blocked in one arena, you have to pursue alternate forums. Widening that net of relationship-building gives us a chance to forum shop and to use that boomerang politics.
Pope Francis offers us a way forward. In his Joy of the Gospel, which was much discussed for many reasons, what was often lost in that discussion was he lays out in that document his peace plan. His peace plan, in sum, is dialogue, dialogue, dialogue—among states, with other faiths, with the scientific community. He tells us peacebuilding is people-building; every person is called to this process; inequality and exclusion breed violence; development is the path to peace.
We can talk more perhaps in the Q&A about how he as a Jesuit and as someone from Argentina would be very deeply and well poised to pursue this very type of peace plan. This is not just idle words. He has lived this path of dialogue.
Jesuits, for example, that I was discussing with last week from Syria, talk about dialoguing with the devil in the name of building peace, that you need to be willing to talk to anyone, including people with blood on their hands.
The church and religious actors are well-positioned to foster this dialogue and reconciliation, to foster right relationships. Religious actors bring three I's: they bring institutions, they bring ideas, and they bring imaginations.
This forum before us is evidence of the institutions we bring, both our university institutions, the justice and peace commissions of the bishops, the presence of the Holy See diplomats. There is a deep institutional bench that religious actors can bring to these issues.
But, more importantly, they bring ideas and imagination that can often help to move when politics are frozen. There have been many times in recent years when the Church has been told politics on particular issues have been dead on arrival, from land mines, to debt relief, to many others that I could name. But the religious actors in partnership with civil society have been able to, instead, successfully practice resurrection politics, to take these issues thought previously dead on arrival and raise them up and bring new life in ways that can help the poor and marginalized people.
I think we can do it again in this area of nuclear weapons. Why am I optimistic about that? Because in an information age ideas matter, and religious actors have ideas.
Norms are us. When you are in a period when you are talking about norms, as a political scientist, that's when norms are moving. When you are not talking about them, that's when things are frozen. So the more we continue these discussions, though it can be challenging because it feels like we're talking and not getting enough action, simply talking is opening and creating the space that allows greater action. The importance of having these types of forums to continue these discussions is very, very important to get policy as well as normative change.
Finally, this question "What kind of peace do we seek?" presupposes agency. It presupposes that we have the ability to seek a positive peace based on right relationships with the poor and future generations based on an imagination that can imagine a peace that includes former enemies. The power of religious actors to bring change is often underestimated in a world of sovereign states, but we ought not to underestimate ourselves.
GERARD POWERS: Thank you, Professor Love, and thanks to all four of you for maintaining the logic of this panel. I think you did a great job.
We have some time for questions.
QUESTION: Thank you very much. My name is Susie Snider. I want to thank all of you for the presentations. I thought this was really interesting and fascinating.
One thing that I missed hearing, especially having spent the last couple of weeks at the NPT and listening to the conversations there, was the discussion around the legal gap that exists on nuclear weapons. It is something that came up very strongly in Vienna. There is a pledge that Austria put forward that has now been joined by over 83 states to fill the legal gap on this issue. I think it's an opening for a new legal instrument doing what has been called for, specifically prohibiting nuclear weapons. I wonder if the panel can address that idea. Thank you.
DES BROWNE: This is what we call a hospital pass.
I’m happy to answer this question because we had a conversation about this in Vienna. I am one of those people who thinks we can make progress on this step by step. It is unlikely to be a fully international treaty. It will be a convention of some description, because it is unlikely to be universally approved, on nuclear weapons, and in my view is a perfectly legitimate and appropriate device to advance this discussion.
I know that there is no possibility of the nuclear weapons states, where they presently are, engaging positively with this dialogue. I think some of those people who think that this is a way forward would actually welcome their exclusion from the discussion. I think that they will take with them a significant number of countries, for reasons to do with alliances and relationships which are existing.
I think the movement that calls for this ban is nonetheless legitimate and appropriate in these circumstances. But we all have a limited amount of energy that we can apply. I have decided where I am going to apply my energy, and it is partly to an incremental process and partly to step by step.
I enjoyed all of the contributions. I have a significant personal track record in peacebuilding, so I was delighted to hear what Maryann had to say. I know of my own experience in Northern Ireland, I know of experience I have had in other places in the world, and I know how important this is.
It is part of what we do with the organizations that I am involved in. We advance an agenda of what we call building mutual security. So we have just the sort of discussions about attracting engagement from governments and from people very close to governments on this issue and the space that is in my view most relevant to a world that is free of nuclear weapons, and that’s where most of these weapons are, and that’s the space that we occupy, which is the Euro-Atlantic region.
My response to your question is more strength to your elbow and those of you who are involved in this debate and discussion, but it’s not where I think I can get the best result from my energies and the voice I bring to this. But I don’t want anybody to think that I’m disparaging of it. I think it is a perfectly legitimate and appropriate debate to be had.
My concern about it is that it is a debate which would of necessity exclude the engagement of the countries that have these weapon systems.
QUESTION: My question is to the whole panel, but it was sparked by the comments of the last speaker, who I thought made a very interesting point, that while there was a deliberate effort at reconciliation and engagement with Germany and Japan after the Second World War, there was nothing commensurate with Russia toward the end of the Cold War. I agree that that was an incredible, very significant, and very unfortunate missed opportunity.
Today there are talks going on between powers in the West and China and Iran with regard to nuclear issues. Hopefully, they will pull together an agreement that works for everyone.
There is a lot of discussion about deal mechanics. I have previously asked people—I don't seem to hear or find anyone talking about if we get to the point where there is an agreement, how does one engage, how do both sides engage with each other and build rapport that actually leads to real understanding?
I'm curious, given the history of very significant discord between many countries in the West and Iran, whether the panel sees an opportunity for religious authorities to engage and, hopefully, stimulate and foster the kind of engagement that would be helpful in that situation.
J. BRYAN HEHIR: I think the answer to that is yes, particularly in terms of Iran. As a matter of fact, I think that the negotiations are an inter-state negotiation. If you watch the commentary, what is being said about them, at least on the U.S. side, is they are about nuclear weapons and there isn't an implication that it is going to go beyond that.
On the other hand, there have been ties on religious grounds, not only the USCCB's visit, the Catholic Bishops' visit, at Georgetown, and the Center for Christian-Muslim Understanding has had dialogues. So I think actually that that framework is a better framework.
I happen to have been part of a delegation to Iran a month after the hostages were taken, and there was no question you could carry on a discussion religiously that you couldn't carry on politically. So I think in that area China is a much larger and probably more complicated question to ask about that.
QUESTIONER: Do you think that people could actually do something with regard to the United States and Iran?
J. BRYAN HEHIR: I think people are already doing things regarding the United States and Iran. They are limited.
But my point would be I wouldn't try to mix the channels. The inter-state channel has its own internal logic, and this is a much larger picture. Maryann would be able to speak to that.
MARYANN CUSIMANO LOVE: I just would add one thing. I would agree with what Bryan said.
We have been part of a 10-year Abrahamic dialogue at Catholic University before the United States and Iran were directly involved in discussions. Part of this was because politics was so frozen, we didn't really even know how to speak to each other. A lot of what Track 2 can do is keep that ability to even learn how to speak to each other, what will play well, what won't play well.
There was a lot of kind of rehearsing of how to even frame a message or make an effective message that would later be voiced to politicians that you can do in that informal Track 2 setting that can make that engagement perhaps when it's time for the political engagement, for the different track to come on board, that can make it more effective and more robust if you have had some of these off-track discussions and engagements.
ARCHBISHOP BERNARDITO AUZA: I would just like to add that I think perhaps there was no single act or gesture that made the Iran negotiations with P3 + 3 or P5 + 1 more known throughout the world, especially outside the United States and Europe, than the intervention and the message from the Pope on Easter Sunday.
In diplomacy we always talk about Track 1 and Track 2 diplomacy, Track 1 being the official channels, the official negotiations. But sometimes what makes Track 1 diplomacy really gain traction in public and more acceptance is Track 2 diplomacy. That's really where religious figures and civil society work.
QUESTION: Hi. My name is Lana Jewin [phonetic]. I am a former weapons inspector in Iraq and I was in the disarmament area for more than 15 years.
As you can guess from my accent, I am Russian by background, but I am an American now. I am married to a WASP [White-Anglo-Saxon-Protestant] from Connecticut. For 15 years I had the great opportunity of comparing society's mentalities. I grew up in the Soviet Union, so my daughter calls me a Soviet woman, which is true, by mentality I am. But I have already lived in this society for so long and I am very blessed to live in this society because right now I can't imagine this discussion in Russia, for example. No religious leaders would be allowed to talk about nuclear disarmament issues just like that. It's a very controlled source of information there, as I understand from the Internet.
But, being a disarmament expert myself and being in the field in Iraq investigating, for instance, stolen radioactive materials, being in Jordan and doing all that, I also was thinking about a fundamental basis for two societies to discuss nuclear disarmament from a religious point of view. What I understand about Western Christian society is that religion is deeply rooted in the society, it is a very communal thing, it is everyday life. People know evil and good. People think like that. This is an underlying foundation for people in this society.
My husband is like that. He says, "This is evil, but this is good," things like that. He is Presbyterian and I am Russian Orthodox. We were married in a Presbyterian church. My husband did not want to become a Russian Orthodox person.
Anyway, in Russia, however, for over 70 years the religious feeling is not there. The church is not communal. Russian people on all levels, including high-level politicians, do not think the way people here think about evil and bad.
That's why my question is: With your level of understanding, with your advanced level of going into society with these issues, maybe there would be some way to address this, maybe consider a dialogue with the Russian church, because the role of the church could be very significant in Russian society but it is not right now.
That's my question.
J. BRYAN HEHIR: As a point of information, there certainly have been attempts in this way. The major person I know to do it is Jim Billington, who is the librarian of the Library of Congress. At the end of the Cold War, he managed to generate millions of dollars for a program of bringing Soviet citizens, and particularly religious leaders, to the United States in dialogue. There was a period of time in which he could tell you which Orthodox seminaries were more progressive about these issues and which were not. He tried very hard. I'm not positive it continues at this time, as you might guess.
DES BROWNE: I cannot speak with any authority on either the United States and its relationship with religion or Russia’s relationship with its religion. But I do know my own experience.
I was born in 1952. Our civic leaders were men mostly who had fought in the war. Some of them, like my father, had fought the whole war.
As I grew up in the 1950s and 1960s in a small west of Scotland town, our civic leaders were town-twinning with German communities. We had German people coming to visit us and living in our houses with us, and we were sharing cultural activities and relationships, including marriages and family unity, and longstanding friendships were built, immediately after, not a cold war, but a hot war in which many millions of people had been killed, because our civic leaders, having experienced that, knew that we had to prevent this from happening again and it would happen again unless we knew and understood each other.
We have in Europe, because of proximity, much more of an interchange with Russia. I think there are a couple of points that need to be made about this issue.
First of all, the Cold War was between the West and the Soviet Union and its allies. We have successfully integrated a significant amount of that cohort of nations into a greater Europe.
The irony, I think, of the current environment is that they are all the most hawkish voices about continuing the relationship with Russia, any form of the Cold War. What has become known as "Old Europe" in this environment is much more inclined to engagement and reconciliation.
I live a lot of my time in the city of London. We have 200,000 Russians living with us in London. During the Cold War, if I heard a Russian voice in the streets of London, it would be a dissident or a spy—maybe the same in one person. We now have 200,000.
We have sold significant parts of our culture to Russians. Most of the newspapers that we buy and sell—and we don’t buy many of them; they are given away free—are owned by Russians. The Chelsea Football Club. There’s a basketball club in this country. We’ve sold parts of our culture. We’ve always had exchanges at the high cultural level.
Whether we have these differences and whether we put this obligation on religious communities or not, fundamentally we need to behave as countries and institutionally the way in which people are behaving. Significant numbers of people are moving around this world in a way that they never did when these two blocs of communities were separated from each other, in some cases literally by a wall.
We need to do much more of that institutionally and we need to recognize what’s happening. The desire of people, your own personal relationships, is evidence of that. We need to recognize that that has happened and have our politics behave in that way.
And we need to stop talking about cultural differences and about differences of values. There are of course differences between us, but I could find people in this great free country who think very like many Russians that I know. Socially and every other way, I could find lots of people. There is diversity in every country I’ve ever been in. We need to stop talking about differences of values. There is no fundamental difference of values between me and the rest of Scotland and you. We want the same things and we believe broadly the same things.
So we need to stop talking like this and we need to start behaving in a way in which the younger generation are going on the Internet and other people are doing in this multipolar world. We need to start sharing our values much more with each other.
ARCHBISHOP BERNARDITO AUZA: I think the lady has made a really very practical and pertinent and deep observation about the role in society in Russia of the church. I think she was talking more about the institutional level at which we could influence or talk with the church over there.
I have heard of lots of very highly placed politicians, you might say, statesmen, as well as ordinary citizens, who think like you about the role of the Orthodox Church. The relations of the Orthodox Church to the state are certainly different from the relations of the churches, the Catholic Church in my case, with the governments or with the political system in the United States or in Western Europe.
I think you are very right there. How could we influence in a sense, how could we start a more substantial dialogue, in order to in this particular case bring about a certain autonomy, we might say, of the position of the church over there from the position of the state? I think that certainly is a very important and pertinent question.
As of now, we certainly try, and we will try. I am sure there are possibilities. Thank you.
GERARD POWERS: I'm afraid that we have run out of time. David, would you like to say a final word?
DAVID SPEEDIE: Only to thank you, Jerry, for running this show with four speakers who have given us a richly textured primer on the current state of nuclear non-proliferation, with warts and all. I just want to thank the participating institutions and the panelists for a wonderfully enlightening and rich evening. Thank you very much.