STRENGTHENING THE 1991 DECLARATIONS:
VERIFICATION AND TRANSPARENCY COMPONENTS
Ten years after the 1991 unilateral, parallel declarations of George Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev on tactical nuclear weapons (TNWs), the future of the regime they created is more precarious than ever. On the one hand, these declarations have resulted in the elimination and deactivation of thousands of nuclear warheads, and thus have succeeded better than any formal treaty. TNWs are no longer deployed on land and sea, while the number of air-launched short-range nuclear weapons has declined dramatically. Understandable enthusiasm about this method of nuclear arms reductions, however, is tempered by the steady increase of interest in military applications of tactical nuclear weapons while the regime itself remains informal and easy to withdraw from.
Inclusion of language pertaining to the reduction of TNWs in the Final Document of the 2000 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference was just about the only positive development in the last several years. Unfortunately, chances that it will be acted upon by the United States and Russia appear slim.
In both the United States and Russia arguments have surfaced in favour of the utility of TNWs and even of the development of a new generation of such weapons. Although the missions for TNWs proposed in Russia and the United States differ, all proposals include the use of tactical nuclear weapons in actual warfighting—whether vis-à-vis qualitatively and/or quantitatively superior conventional forces or for strikes against hardened targets in “rogue States. ” Nuclear laboratories in both countries advocate the development of new types of nuclear warheads for these “limited”