Political Factors in the Development and Implementation of Technology-Based Confidence Building Measures

Final draft published in Proceedings of the Conference on Technology-Based Confidence-Building Center for National Security Studies, University of California and the Los Alamos National Laboratory, July 1989 pp.413-426.

Politics and Confidence Building Measures

The second half of the 20th century has been characterized by the continuous development and improvement of weapons of mass destruction, including strategic bombers, missiles, chemical and biological agents, and of course, a variety of nuclear weapons. These weapons pose serious danger to a world which, politically, has not changed much since the days of Hobbes or even Thucydides. In contrast to the massive change in military capabilities brought about by the rapid development of science and technology, international relations is still dominated by relations between sovereign nation states and characterized by distrust, narrow interests, and a continuous war of "all against all".

At the same time that scientific developments created the foundation for the nuclear arms race, however, the scientific and technical community has also sought some antidotes. Technology-based confidence building measures (TBCBMs), designed to reduce international conflict, and to prevent nuclear war, have been proposed by scientists from the US and the USSR. These TBCBMs have taken a number of the forms, such cooperative research and development programs, joint panels and meetings of professional societies, and specially dedicated international forums, such as Pugwash. These have provided a meeting ground for the exchange of views among scientists from many different countries. In addition, a number of more direct forms of TBCBMs, such as satellite- based observation systems, and IAEA nuclear safeguards, have provided the foundation for non-intrusive national technical means of verification.

More recently, there have been a number of proposals to apply many of these technologies to the verification of conventional force reduction, arms control, and other confidence building measures in the context of regional conflicts in the Third World. An International Satellite Monitoring Agency has been proposed to develop space-based technologies such as observation satellites in order to increase stability and prevent the outbreak of accidental war in regional contexts such as the Middle East. As the rate of proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and advanced missiles and other delivery vehicles accelerates, the application of TBCBMs in regional conflicts is most urgent.

However, despite the development of various technology based safeguards and the development of joint research projects and other confidence building measures, the implementation of these measures has been quite limited when compared to the potential range of applications. The formal acceptance of satellite observation for the verification of significant arms control measures only began in 1972, more than a decade after the technology had been developed. For many years, orbital observation was denounced by the as being an intrusive violation of national sovereignty, a source of espionage, and the basis for the preparation of a first strike. Similarly, while the basic technology for regional monitoring systems exists, the potential for applying this technology in the contexts of regional conflicts has been ignored or even opposed by many of the countries involved. Links between scientists from countries involved in bitter conflicts in the Third World are generally tenuous, at best, and joint research programs are very rare. Even when such links or programs do exist, as in the case of Israel and Egypt, the "spill over" to the political realm is generally minimal.

To understand the essential problems inherent in the application and use of TBCBMs in various contexts, it is necessary to understand the links between the technology and political processes. It is clearly insufficient to have developed the technology necessary for CBMs, if the political leaders involved are unwilling or unable to implement them. Cooperative research and development projects involving energy, the environment, or space exploration may provide an opportunity for the amelioration of political conflict, but this process is far from automatic. It depends on a variety of political and technical factors, which must be understood in the context of the international system. Direct and Indirect Forms of Confidence Building Measures

While the term "confidence building measure" is now used quite widely, it is often used to describe different phenomena. In general, confidence building measures can be divided into direct and indirect efforts. Direct forms of confidence-building measures generally involve technology or processes which are explicitly linked to the political system, and in themselves contribute to the relaxation of tension, the avoidance of crisis, arms control, and the prevention of war. This category includes technical arms-control related measures, which are often "non-intrusive", such as reconnaissance satellites, IAEA safeguards, and seismic monitoring stations and systems. In addition, there are direct non-technical measures related to the reduction of international tension, arms limitation, or crisis avoidance, such as the exchange of observers in military exercises involving NATO and Warsaw Pact forces, or various communications measures designed to defuse crises and misunderstandings involving the US and USSR. Many of these direct, non-technical confidence building measures are defined explicitly in international agreements such as the Helsinki Accords (where the term "confidence building measures" officially entered the international lexicon) and bilateral agreements between the US and USSR.

Other forms of confidence building measures such as cooperative research programs, and the exchange of data and of scientists are based on an indirect approach. Examples of this form include the US-Soviet Apollo-Soyuz space project, or the type of energy and environmental research projects discussed in this conference. While direct confidence building measures explicitly effect the political interaction between the states involved, the second depends on an indirect influence on the relationship. Direct forms of CBMs, such as satellite monitoring or the exchange of observers are political acts; they specifically effect the ability of each participant to prepare a surprise attack, and it precisely for this reason that such measures are directly linked to arms control and tension reduction processes. In contrast, indirect measures, such the exchange of scientists, data, and cooperative ventures, on a "spill-over" effect in order to influence political interaction. Under some conditions, there may indeed be "spill-over" and scientific or technical cooperation may lead or contribute to an easing of political tension. This is not automatic, however, and under different other conditions, this form of "confidence building" effort may have no political impact at all.

The acceptance and impact of each form of confidence building measure on international relations depends on the political processes and environment. Direct forms of confidence building, such as satellite reconnaissance or IAEA depend on the willingness of the states to adopt these measures, and their "interpretation" or application in the political arena. For example, the technology to monitor a Comprehensive Test Ban with a very high degree of confidence may have existed for some time, but the political factors and environment have been the primary factors in determining the progress towards a CTB. Similarly, technically, the system of nuclear non-proliferation safeguards currently used by the IAEA is far from the technological state-of-the-art, but political factors have prevented the implementation of these technologies.

The role of indirect measures, such as joint research projects, in reducing international conflict, depends on processes of "spill-over" from the technical to the political realms. The scientific and technological community have often placed major emphasis on these international efforts, invoking the "international language of science and technology", and the claim that science and technology are outside (or in some cases, beyond or above) the limitations of international boundaries and conflicts.

In international relations, the use of technical cooperation to achieve political ends is part of what is known as the functionalist approach.(Pentman, Deutsch) According to this theory, the development of joint working relationships and mutual interests outside of the political realm will eventually lead to a relaxation of tensions and the amelioration of political conflict. For example, this approach was used Western Europe in the development of the EEC. At the beginning, cooperative activity was restricted to limited functional efforts, such as the European Coal and Steel Community (what was considered of relatively minor importance) and has steadily sought to build on this cooperative base towards the more complex issues of economic, and ultimately, political unification.

In many cases, however, the spill-over or functionalist approach is poorly understood. Few efforts have been made to identify the dynamic processes and conditions necessary for the translation of scientific or technical cooperation into political change and conflict reduction. The evidence shows that such an approach is far from automatic; technical cooperation does not necessarily lead to political cooperation. For example, the 1957 International Geophysical Year (IGY) was, in many ways, a scientific success, but a political disaster. As one analyst has noted, the most spectacular result of the IGY was the launch of Sputnik, which "catalyzed the cold war", the missile race, and even was a factor leading to the Cuban missile crisis.(Bullis in CRS 6/76,p.53) The Apollo-Soyuz project seemed to be more of an affirmation of political change and the (temporary) detente of the early 1970s than a stimulant of further political change. When the period of detente ended abruptly, so did the variety of cooperative scientific and technical ventures between US and Soviet scientists.

In order to understand the interaction of political and technological factors in the evolution of both direct and indirect TBCBMs, it is important to analyze the results of efforts in this area to date. To this purpose, this study will focus on a series of case studies in which TBCBMs have been sought. Three cases of direct TCBMs are presented; satellite observation in the US-Soviet context, IAEA safeguards, and the efforts to promote an International Satellite Monitoring Agency (ISMA). In addition, the indirect efforts of the IGY and the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project are examined. By analyzing the political and technological evolution of these forms of TBCBMs, and the limitations of political obstacles on the implementation of the technology, some broader guidelines for the development of direct TBCBMs can be suggested.

The Interaction of Political and Technical Issues in Direct forms of TBCBM: Satellite Observation

The deployment of observation satellites represented an early example of a technology-based confidence building measure. The first US reconnaissance satellite (Discoverer 13) was launched in August 1960. Prior to this period, the US had used high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft such as the U-2 for photographic reconnaissance of the Soviet Union, and in May 1960, a U-2 had been shot down and its pilot, Francis Gary Powers, was captured, tried, and convicted. This incident led to an escalation of the conflict between the U.S. and the Soviet Union and a period of crisis in relations regarding Berlin, Cuba, and other points of conflict.

The issue of overhead reconnaissance was clearly of major importance. The the US and USSR were then in the process of producing and deploying ICBMs. The Soviets had shocked the US with the launch of Sputnik in October 1957 (demonstrating an ICBM capability) and Khrushchev proclaimed that the Soviets were "mass-producing" these weapons. According to some estimates, the USSR would have as many as 500 missiles by 1960. (Steinberg, p.25) This was also a period in which large scale nuclear tests resumed, and both sides tested multi-megaton weapons. During the 1960 US Presidential election campaign, the Democratic leaders charged the Republicans with allowing the Soviets to develop a "missile gap". (The evidence from the U-2 flights seemed to indicate that the Soviet production rate was far smaller, and that Khruschev was bluffing, but as of April 1960, the evidence was still inconclusive.) In response, the U.S. began to step up its own ICBM production and deployment programs, and to take a number of steps to prepare to respond to the threat of a Soviet first strike.

It was in this context that the first reconnaissance satellites were launched. Initially, the Soviets saw the Discoverer (which re-entered with exposed film to the earth's atmosphere and was captured in mid-air or on the surface of the ocean) and its successors as an illegal intrusion on sovereignty and another form of US espionage. There is little doubt that had the technological capability existed at the time, the Soviet Union would have prevented the continued activities of the US reconnaissance satellites. There is considerable evidence that the Soviet military began to develop an anti-satellite system primarily to destroy the US "spy satellites". Soviet diplomats in the UN sought to have space reconnaissance declared illegal, arguing that the US was using the satellites as another means of spying, and of identifying the locations of military and important economic installations for the purposes of preparing an attack.

Over a period of a few years, however, the Soviet attitude began to change. In the first place, the public visibility of the US satellite reconnaissance program was kept very low. At the beginning of the program, it received significant publicity in the press (Steinberg, p.41-43). In 1960, James Killian Jr., who headed the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, argued that publicity of the reconnaissance satellite launches would increase the probability of a Soviet response. Immediately upon taking office, the Kennedy Administration ordered a blackout on all publicity concerning these launches. While this blackout, which is still largely in effect, is often explained in terms of security considerations, the initial motivation was clearly to limit the degree of Soviet reaction. Civilians in the Administration censored articles and speeches of Air Force officials which dealt with these launches and capabilities. Since, as critics noted, the launches and orbits were easily observed, it is clear that the purpose of secrecy was political.) (Steinberg, p.58)

This policy was part of a broader effort by the U.S. to develop a "climate of legitimacy" for space-based observation. Civilian space flights in the context NASA's manned Mercury program as well as unmanned earth-observation satellites passed over many countries. As this became accepted, and as photos and other data from space became commonplace, space-based observation became more acceptable. Efforts to have and these systems declared illegal in the UN, or to develop a foundation for the use of anti-satellites in order to disable or destroy reconnaissance satellites decreased in intensity.

At the same time, the Soviet Union found that space-based observation could serve its interests as well, not only for monitoring the U.S., but primarily with respect to China. During the early and mid-1960s, the PRC was in the process of developing its own nuclear and missile capability, and this was a period of growing tension and military clashes between the USSR and PRC.

Most importantly, after a series of crises in Berlin and the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962, Washington and Moscow began to seek means of reducing the risk of accidental war, and preemptive strikes. In this context, the use of "observation satellites to promote international security" began to be discussed. US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Richard Gardner stated that "Space photography can contribute to the reduction of risks of war ... And it is a use of space which may prove important someday in monitoring disarmament agreements." (p.61)

A State Department official was more explicit: "Another important potential use of observation in space is the possibility of acquiring information about military preparations and thus help to maintain international peace and security. (One of the great problems in today's world is the uncertainty generated by the secret development, testing and deployment of national armaments and by the lack of information on military preparation within closed societies.) If in fact a nation is not preparing a surprise attack, observation from space could help us to know this and thereby increase confidence in world security which might otherwise be subject to added and unnecessary doubts."

The escalation of the nuclear arms race in the late 1950s and early 1960s, in which the US believed that the Soviets were expanding their ICBM capability significantly, led the US to increase its own missile force. This, in turn, contributed to Khruschev's decision to place missiles in Cuba, which triggered the Cuban missile crisis. Both sides feared that the other was preparing to launch a surprise attack, or at least develop the capability to do so, and both powers increased accelerated of missiles in response to such fears.

Following the Cuban missile crisis, the US and Soviet Union resumed efforts to reach agreements on limiting the nuclear arms race. Negotiations on limits to nuclear testing had been stalled for some years over the issue of on-site inspection. The introduction of satellite reconnaissance provided a means for non-intrusive verification that no tests were being conducted in the atmosphere. Tests in space and underwater could also be detected by technical means.

In 1972, over ten years after the technology was first used, the SALT I agreement formally and explicitly established the principle of non-interference with national technical means of verification. Article XII of the 1972 ABM Treaty, and Article V of the SALT I agreement, signed in Moscow in May, 1972, state:

  1. For the purpose of providing assurance of compliance with the provisions of this treaty, each Party shall use national technical means of verification at its disposal in a manner consistent with generally recognized principles of international law.
  2. Each Party undertakes not to interfere with the national technical means of verification of the other Party operating in accordance with paragraph 1 of this article.
  3. Each Party undertakes not to use deliberate concealment measures which impede verification by national technical means of compliance with the provisions of this treaty."

This system allows the US and USSR to monitor adherence to the agreements, and provides a basis for mutual assurance that neither side would interfere with verification. In addition to barring physical interference or destruction of satellite observation systems, this also means that facilities and deployments which are covered under the terms of these agreements cannot be concealed in a manner which would interfere with verification. For example, construction of SLBMs must allow for a means by which the number of launchers can be verified. The agreement also created the Standing Consultative Committee (SCC) which meets whenever disputes arise, including questions regarding possible interference with the ability to verify adherence to agreements and limitations. Thus, the satellite observation regime evolved into a system not only of passive non-interference, but one of active cooperation.

The IAEA Safeguards System

The IAEA was established in 1957 an an autonomous agency within the framework of the UN. It is charged with promoting the peaceful uses of atomic energy while also preventing the diversion of nuclear facilities and materials to military programs. To this end, the IAEA operates a system of safeguards which are designed to provide "timely detection" of any significant diversion, and thereby to deter such diversion, or to allow the international community to take action in response.

Under the 1967 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (which went into effect in 1970), signatories which are non-nuclear weapons states agreed to place all nuclear facilities and materials under safeguards. As critics note, however, the five nuclear weapons states recognized by the treaty are under no such limitations, but are required to conduct all transfers of nuclear materials and facilities through the IAEA and to place these transfers under safeguards.

A number of nuclear threshold states (or potential n-th countries) are not signatories to the NPT and have not accepted safeguards. These include India, Pakistan, South Africa, Argentina, Israel, and, Brazil.

The safeguard system has, in many respects, been a major international accomplishment. Safeguards include surveillance cameras placed to monitor facilities and materials, seals to detect tampering, accounting methods to determine whether diversion has taken place, and inspections. The Agency is responsible for safeguarding over 8,000 kilograms of separated plutonium, 13,200 kilograms of HEU, operates 325 camera systems, and inspects some 600 facilities. This is adequate for most of the states in the system, which, in any case, have no interest in developing nuclear weapons.

However, for those state which are not above suspicion, and, like Iraq or Libya, have sought to acquire nuclear weapons materials and facilities under the guise of a "peaceful" nuclear program, the system is not adequate. With respect to these states, the system is technologically obsolete, understaffed, and is far from providing the maximum level of safeguards. (The 1986 Safeguards Implementation Report states that "verification activities were incomplete, which means that the inspection goal could not be evaluated as even partially attained in 1986. In such cases, the level of assurance provided by agency safeguards is substantially below that applicable verification standards." Spector, p.314)

Perhaps more importantly, the safeguards system is enveloped in and subordinate to political processes. In general, the IAEA system is a compromise between the technical requirements of an effective set of measures to prevent diversion, and the political infringement on national sovereignty and the degree of intrusion which the non-nuclear weapons states are willing to accept. The safeguard agreements for every country and facility are the result of negotiations between the IAEA and the countries involved. In some cases, countries refuse to meet the requirements of the IAEA, or seek to negotiate less stringent safeguards. Spector notes that in 1981, in the case of Pakistan and India, the IAEA was unable to confirm that no diversion had taken place because these states did not allow the IAEA to install all the monitoring equipment deemed necessary. (p.456) In addition, the safeguards agreements and the data gathered by the safeguard system is secret (this was originally justified as a means of protecting proprietary commercial information, although this is no longer considered to be of significant importance.) The inspectors' reports and any indication of diversions are delivered to the IAEA Secretary General and Board of Governors, which then is authorized to determine whether indeed, a diversion has taken place, and then reports its findings to the UN Security Council.

Each of these stages, from the negotiation of the safeguards agreement, through the selection of inspectors and other personnel in the safeguards division, to the deliberations of the Board of Governors, is essentially political. While states may not formally choose the inspectors assigned to their facilities, they have the right to veto inspectors from some states, so that India may refuse to admit Pakistani inspectors, and the reverse. This system, however, can be exploited by some countries to insure that only inspectors from certain "sympathetic countries" be assigned, and raises very serious doubts about the reliability of the system.

Even if a possible discrepancy is found, there is no assurance that it will be disclosed in "a timely manner". The disclosure of such a finding involves a political decision, which individuals such as the Secretary General, and the representatives of the states which constitute the Board of Governors, may be reluctant to make. Economically or militarily powerful states that are represented on the Board of Governors, states may use this position to cover up findings regarding their own discrepancies, or to fabricate claims regarding their enemies who are not represented on the Board.

In summary, the safeguard system has three major weaknesses:

  1. The nature of the technology which is employed, which, despite claims to the contrary prevents definitive confirmation that diversion has not taken place;
  2. The secrecy in which the safeguard data and the procedures employed for individual states is shrouded;
  3. The opportunities for political manipulation which exist in the system;

While the political restraints and the issue of secrecy are difficult to change (the NPT and the IAEA safeguards are ultimately voluntary undertakings, and each country is free to renounce either at any time), the technology applicable to safeguards can be updated and improved significantly. Technology is now available that would provide continuous real-time data on reactor power outputs, any form of tampering with nuclear material, and other aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle, but to date, most of the efforts to upgrade the safeguards to the state of the technological art have been resisted, essentially as a result of political factors. (USGAO May 1981, pp.42-48). In some cases, states have something to hide, and thus seek to limit the effectiveness of safeguards. In other cases, each improvement on the safeguards technology is considered a further intrusion, and an infringement upon national sovereignty. Here, the distinction between the nuclear weapons states, from whom no such intrusion is demanded, and the non-nuclear weapons states, is important.

The relationship between political conditions and the technology of safeguards can be illustrated in the case of the Middle East. Although Iraq is a signatory to the NPT, and placed its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards, the Iraqi government was clearly pursuing a nuclear weapons program before Israel destroyed its facilities in 1981. (The acquisition of a graphite reactor, which Iraq acquired from France, the hot cells from Italy, and other purchases were undisputed evidence of these intentions. see Spector, p.208) Subsequent testimony provided by former IAEA inspectors (Richter) indicated that the safeguards were not effective in the case of Iraq. In addition, had a diversion been reported to the Board of Governors, action might have been blocked by the Arab representatives on the Board sympathetic to or even supporting the Iraqi effort. Similarly, although Libya signed the NPT, Ghaddifi is still pursuing a nuclear capability. (Spector notes that Libya sought to extract nuclear technology from India by terminating oil sales.)

Given the continued hostility and threat from the Arab states, which, with the exception of Egypt, have been in a state of war with Israel for the past forty years, it is not surprising that Israel has expressed its lack of confidence in the current safeguard system, and is unwilling to agree to the NPT requirements. The current system does not provide Israel with "timely warning" of Arab nuclear weapons development or, as is clearly the case with Iraq and Libya, the assurance that no such development was taking place. Furthermore, Israelis note that the IAEA, like other UN organs, is exploited for anti-Israel propaganda. Should Israel accept safeguards, there is no guarantee that information gained from these safeguards will not be exploited by the Arab states, or that reports of diversion will not be fabricated (like reports of Israeli-South African cooperation which are published by UN agencies) in order to isolate Israel politically.

As a result, while Israel and the Arab states accuse each other of escalating the regional nuclear arms race (now linked to the production and deployment of chemical and biological weapons and missiles), the current IAEA safeguard system does not provide a satisfactory alternative. To generate confidence, the data from a safeguard system would have to available directly on an equal basis to all the parties "in a timely manner" (continuous real time monitoring of facilities and materials would provide such a system). Such a local system, based on mutual inspection and safeguards, without the intervention of politically constituted third-parties such as the UN or IAEA, could be encompassed within the verification system of a regional nuclear weapons free zone (NWFZ) such as has been proposed by Israel.

The International Satellite Monitoring Agency

A number of analysts have argued that the technology and space-based satellites which are used to monitor and verify US-Soviet arms control agreements and other confidence building measures could also be usefully applied to other regions of the world and the conflicts which occur in those regions. Proposals for the development of a broad international monitoring agency have been discussed since the mid-1960s in the context of Pugwash and in other settings.(Jasani and Sakata,p.129) In the 1978 UN Special Session on Disarmament, the French government proposed the creation of an International Satellite Monitoring Agency for this purpose. According to this proposal, the ISMA would provide satellite data to states for the purpose of monitoring arms-control, separation of forces, and other agreements. In 1983, a UN Commission which investigated the proposal in further detail reported that such a system was technically feasible, and "could be built up in stages to include image processing, data transmission and satellite facilities." The report also concluded that such a system was not inconsistent with international law. However, the costs were estimated to be greater "than any previous international/ technical undertaking".(Krass)

A series of further international meetings were held and reports issued supporting the idea of international monitoring. France has continued to play a major role in this process, as part of its general international political strategy designed to find a global role between two super-powers, and also as a means of expanding or even financing its own observation satellite program. (The French government operates the SPOT earth observation satellite, and was developing the SAMRO (satellite militarire de reconnaissance optique) system until the costs of the latter become too great.) As Chairman of the EEC, French President Mitterand called for Europe to "launch it won manned space station allowing it to observe, transmit and consequently avert all possible threats".(Jasani and Sakata, 135) The issue was discussed in Pugwash symposia in France and Sweden, and at the 1982 UNISPACE conference, at special conferences in the Netherlands and Japan, as well as in meetings and of the Western European Union and the assembly of the Council of Europe. While the ISMA has been discussed widely, it is still far from implementation. Frequency spectrum, periodicity of the orbit, resolution, data distribution, etc, are all important factors in any such space-based system, and the technical details necessary for the operation of developing such a system in a regional context are complex.

More importantly, there are a number of major political obstacles to the implementation of this system on a world-wide or even regional basis. Neither the US nor the Soviet governments have shown much enthusiasm for the ISMA proposal. In the UN, the USSR voted against the establishment of such an agency, and the US abstained (Jasani and Sakata, p.129) The US has also rejected proposals to make US technology or data from US military reconnaissance satellites available for this purpose. (Krass, and Jasani and Sakata, p.117) While the US and USSR have recognized mutual interests in using satellite observation in the context of their relationship, they also have an interest in preventing the proliferation of this capability. For example, the US used its satellite reconnaissance information in planning its response to Libya's involvement in a number of terrorist attacks, and to monitor activities in the Persian Gulf while the US was involved in escorting oil tankers during the Iran-Iraq war. Had a similar capability been available to Libya or Iran, the US forces in the region would have been more vulnerable to attack. The Soviets, similarly, had their own reconnaissance satellite information for use in the conflict with the PRC and in Afghanistan. The establishment of an ISMA with independent capabilities would end the superpower monopoly in this area.

In addition, very few Third World countries have expressed much interest in the IMSA concept; on the contrary, many have expressed a degree of distrust or opposition.(Jasani and Sakata, p.130) In contrast to the case of the US and USSR, which operate their own satellite reconnaissance systems, the IMSA system and its satellites would not be under the control of the countries involved, but rather, as specified, under the control of an international agency. In many cases, particularly involving regional powers, there is little trust or confidence that vital national interests interests would be protected by an international agency (this is comparable to the perception of IAEA safeguards, as discussed above.) Thus, the proposals for a ISMA in the context of the UN or other international agency have made little if any progress to date.

Indirect TBCBM: The IGY and the Apollo-Soyuz Project

Scientists and the members of the technical community are often described and describe themselves as an international a-political society.(Wood) According to this view, science transcends the boundaries imposed by nationalism and politics, and while nations may quarrel, scientists, "speaking an international language", can continue their work on behalf of mankind, and even thereby help elevate politics to the level of cooperation and joint progress. In some cases, such as the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, and even, to a limited degree, World War I, the scientists from the opposing states continued their cooperation, despite the conflict. (Of course, other scientists helped develop weapons and military technology, but that is a different issue.) Furthermore, according to this this apolitical, transcendent approach to international relations, joint R&D efforts and international scientific cooperation, can actually change the political system and lead to a reduction of tensions, arms control, and even world peace.

Empirically, the results of this approach are mixed. some international efforts, particularly in the area of food production (the "Green Revolution"), and health measures (the campaigns against smallpox and polio) are very successful. Others, particularly those which touch upon politically "sensitive" areas, such as space exploration and atomic energy have proven to be less successful.

One of the largest-scale efforts to translate the "international language of science" into concrete terms took place during the International Geophysical Year (actually July 1957 - December 1958). Tens of thousands of scientists from 67 nations took part in a variety of coordinated and cooperative efforts designed to enhance understanding of the Earth. Scientifically, the achievements of the IGY were very impressive. The political spillover of this cooperation, however was limited, at best. International cooperation in the context of the IGY did nothing to temper the Cold War or the nuclear arms race. Indeed, as noted above, the launch of Sputnik was perceived both by the Soviet Union and the USSR as a major political and military success for the Soviet Union, heightening tensions, and contributing to the American missile buildup which followed.

The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) and the "handshake in space" which it produced also provides a prominent example of technical cooperation which failed to contribute to political change, the easing of tensions, or conflict amelioration. The agreement which led to the ASTP and a number of other joint scientific and technological cooperative measures, was signed in Moscow in 1972, during the summit which also produced the SALT I and ABM accords. As Walter McDougall notes, "The ASTP was obviously a creature, not a cause, of detente, and it gave Soviet technicians the chance to traipse through U.S. space facilities and study the hardware and flight operations firsthand." Not long after the ASTP, and at the height of the exchange of US and Soviet scientists and other joint projects, detente failed and the Cold War returned. Only with a change in the political environment, and the rise of Gorbachev and "glasnot" were cooperative scientific and technological programs started again.

As in the context of the US-Soviet relationship, the application of TBCBMs to regional conflict depends fundamentally of political variables. While a number of joint or cooperative technical and scientific involving Israel and its Arab neighbors, including the joint development of water projects, political limitations, and, in particular, the absolute refusal of the Arab states to have any links with Israel, have blocked the implementation of these projects for over 40 years. In the decade since the peace accords were signed between Egypt and Israel, a number of joint and cooperative scientific and technical efforts have been initiated, and while there are some agricultural and health projects under way, they have not had any discernable impact on political links on the Egyptian government, and the "cold peace" which characterizes Egypt's policy.

Thus, the evidence seems to indicate that while such cooperative measures can enhance political cooperation, it is very difficult to generate a "spill over effect" onto the political environment. Politics, not technology, is still the independent variable.

Lessons and Implications

Technology-based confidence building measures are explicitly designed to alter the political climate. By generating or building "confidence", they are expected to contribute to the development of communications, and even trust between conflicting states. While such cooperative ventures, whether between the US and USSR, India and Pakistan, or Israel and the Arab states, might contribute to the overall development of scientific knowledge, or the improvement of the human condition, unless they further political progress, and contribute to conflict resolution, they must be judged as unsuccessful as confidence building measures.

From the evidence available, and summarized above, it would appear while, in general, all forms of TBCBMs are difficult to implement, on a relative basis, the direct measures, such as technology used to verify compliance with arms limitation agreements, are the most successful. The satellite observation regime, IAEA safeguards system, and similar measures have indeed contributed modestly to confidence building, arms limitation, and the amelioration of conflict. However, the success of these measures depends on the response of the political environment. It is important to recognize that technology-based confidence building measures are usually seen as intrusive, and indeed they usually are. The ability to observe military installations, bases, weapons and troop movements from space is an important factor in any country's national security considerations, and those states which are involved in intense conflicts are reluctant to allow this information to be disseminated. In most cases, the military and national security establishments see secrecy as a major military asset, and would view TBCBMs that would reduce the level of secrecy with suspicion.

Thus, application of proposed TBCBMs to regional conflicts, (such as the development of an International Satellite Monitoring Agency) would have to overcome fears that the data and information which it acquired and disseminated was not used for offensive or aggressive purposes, which would of course be counter the purpose of the TBCBM concept. For example, a means would have to be devised to insure that satellite data would not enable states to target their enemies, to prepare a first strike, or to exploit the information in other ways. Without these safeguards, the establishment of which are by no means trivial, far from serving the cause of peace and conflict prevention, the TBCBs could easily be turned into sources of instability and war.

As a result, as illustrated in the cases discussed above, the formal development and negotiation of a set of TBCBMs depends on the cooperation of the countries involved, and, in particular, _the realization among the leaders of these states of a common interest_ which can be served by the implementation of TBCBMs. In the case of satellite observation involving the US and USSR, this occurred in the wake of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis and the common fear of accidental war caused by instability and the mutual fear of first strike. Similarly, to the degree that IAEA safeguards have been accepted, this is a result of the common fear of the consequences of nuclear proliferation.

At the same time, the refusal of some states to place their nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards is based, in part, on the absence of a perception that this would increase their national security. As in the case of the US and USSR during the height of Cold War, political leaders in many countries do not see any possibility of cooperative action such as embodied in a system of TBCBMs which might reduce dangers for them as well as their enemies. In this sense, political detente and rapprochement is in many ways a pre-condition for the explicit expectance and cooperation with and application of TBCBMs.

Thus, it is very important to create these pre-conditions by making the leaders of regional powers aware of the existence of common dangers inherent in conditions of instability, mutual fear of first strike, etc, and to also understand the potential common interests in avoiding these situations. Such dangers are particularly important in the case of proto-nuclear weapons states (with bombs in the basement) and states with developing chemical and biological weapons and missile delivery systems. Such forces generally have not been tested extensively, if at all, and command and control loops systems are also unreliable. (absence of PAL systems). Once leaders are aware of these dangers and deficiencies, they should be more open to the consideration of TBCBMs, even at the cost of some intrusion on national sovereignty.

In the absence of such a realization of common interests, political limitations suggest that rather than seeking a formal international agreement to operate a TBCBM system in the framework of a UN-affiliated organization, informal, more gradual and unilateral or bilateral approaches are more likely to be successful._ This is also apparent from the histories of the development of the existing forms of TBCBMs, and the contrast between the US-Soviet reconnaissance satellite regime, and the IAEA safeguards system.

The strengths, as well as the weaknesses of this approach can also be examined in the case of the US efforts to impose full-scope safeguards on all of the recipients of US nuclear exports, to limit the transfer of plutonium from civil reactor programs, and in the case of the French SPOT observation satellite.

The prospects for success in indirect forms of TBCBMs, such as joint R&D projects, are even more limited. The evidence indicates that the scientific and technological community is not automatically apolitical, and any "spillover" must be carefully prepared and guided through the political minefields. To be successful, TBCBMs must work with knowledge of the political constraints, and within the given political environment, rather than ignoring these factors. For example, in the Middle East, proposals for measures requiring direct negotiations between Israel and Syria regarding missile limits must recognize that the Syrian government has refused to hold direct negotiations with Israel on any subject for over 40 years.

It is important, however, to see the intersection between these two forms of TBCBMs. In both cases, individual scientists play an important role. The importance of science and technology in the political system of any country has given members of the technological community access to the political leadership. Indeed, members of this community are increasingly becoming part of the political leadership. Scientists who can both understand the critical technical issues in areas such as weapons development, energy, and the environment, and can understand the language of politics can bridge these two worlds.

International scientific organizations and groups such as Pugwash can provide a link between the the world of politics and science. These professional and ostensibly apolitical platforms can provide a unofficial and indirect forum for the discussion of common interests, and on this basis, for the development of TBCBMs. If the scientific community can create an awareness of the mutual interests in dealing with common problems such as the dangers posed by the proliferation of advanced weapons of mass destruction, and by the threat to the global environment posed by the individual actions of separate states, they will have created the foundation for political action. This accomplishment of this first step would be a major contribution.

Furthermore, during a period of US-Soviet detente, and progress towards arms control, it is also important to turn efforts towards TBCBMs to regional conflicts in the Third World. Indeed, there have been a number of proposals to apply many of these technologies to the verification of force reduction, arms control, and other confidence building measures in these contexts. An International Satellite Monitoring Agency has been proposed to develop space-based technologies such as observation satellites in order to increase stability and prevent the outbreak of accidental war in regional contexts such as the Middle East. As the rate of proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and advanced missiles and other delivery vehicles accelerates, the application of TBCBMs in regional conflicts is most urgent.

The failure to implement regional TBCBMs such as the ISMA, to date is also a reflection of the critical role of political factors. Here, as in the case of the early clashes between the US and USSR over satellite reconnaissance, the fears of espionage and the use of satellite data for the preparation of a surprise attack is dominant. These conflicts are still largely seen in terms of "zero sum games", and the threat to all sides posed by the proliferation of missiles, and chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons is poorly perceived.

In this environment, discussion of technology-based confidence building measures in such contexts as Pugwash, and other such forums, could play an important role in creating an understanding of the common interests and mutual threats, and thereby building a the foundation on which TBCBMs could be adopted in regional contexts.