Report Urges U.S. and Allies to Recommit to Prevent Nuclear Proliferation
A new report by a task force chaired by Chuck Hagel, Malcolm Rifkind, and Kevin Rudd and convened by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, argues fraying American alliances and a rapidly changing security environment have begun to call into question the continued America’s nuclear security guarantees and threaten the long-term viability of the 50-year-old nuclear nonproliferation regime. The report offers specific recommendations and a framework to ensure America’s allies will continue to feel secure without requiring their own nuclear weapons.
“In the absence of U.S. leadership over the past four years, our allies are asking questions about the credibility of the American nuclear guarantee,” said project director Ivo Daalder, former U.S. Ambassador to NATO and president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. “A change in administration alone is unlikely to suffice in reestablishing U.S. credibility. The United States must do everything in its power to work with its allies to rebuild confidence in their joint framework for collective defense.”
“Recommitting to America’s allies requires recommitting to nuclear deterrence,” said Hagel, former U.S. Secretary of Defense. “President Biden must reaffirm America’s security commitments, reverse decisions that have harmed our relationships, and negotiate fair agreements that will ensure the U.S. can maintain troops in Europe and Asia.”
The report, “Preventing Nuclear Proliferation and Reassuring America’s Allies,” is the product of the Task Force on U.S. Allies and Nuclear Weapons Proliferation, a group of 16 former U.S., European, and Asian foreign and defense ministers and other national security and defense advisers who have been working together for 12 months to develop specific recommendations.
Task force recommendations include:
- Rebuild U.S. Leadership by reaffirming America’s security commitments, raising the importance of nuclear weapons issues in alliances, and building European and Asian defense capabilities.
- Strengthen European Defense Capabilities by ensuring Europe takes more responsibility for its own defense and security and focuses defense cooperation on real military capabilities. France and Britain should deepen their nuclear cooperation and extend their deterrents to European allies.
- Coordinate Multilateral Deterrence in Asia with the United States proposing the creation of an Asian Nuclear Planning Group to bring Australia, Japan, and South Korea into the U.S. nuclear planning processes.
- Expand Multilateral Arms Control with the five Permanent Members of the U.N. Security Council committing to a dialogue on nuclear weapons issues and negotiating nuclear confidence-building and transparency measures, and engaging China in all efforts to multilateralize nuclear arms control.
“While Chinese ambitions are a threat to the security climate, China is an essential part of the conversation,” said Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia. “These first steps could make a significant difference in quelling allies' fears and coordinating deterrence efforts.”
“Britain and France have a critical role to play in helping Europe build up the nuclear dimension of its defense and security efforts,” said Rifkind, former U.K. Foreign Secretary and Secretary of Defense. “By recognizing European security and vital interests are inextricably linked, the two countries can begin to develop a strong, European-oriented nuclear deterrent capability.”
In addition to the cochairs, the task force membership consisted of:
Task Force Members
- NobuyasuAbe, former Commissioner, Japan Atomic Energy Commission
- Carl Bildt, former Swedish Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs
- Rick Burt, former U.S. Ambassador to Germany and Chief Negotiator for START
- Espen Barth Eide, former Norwegian Foreign Minister and Defense Minister
- François Heisbourg, former Chairman, International Institute for Strategic Studies
- Wolfgang Ischinger, former German State Secretary of Foreign Affairs
- Nobukatsu Kanehara, former Japanese Deputy National Security Adviser
- Lee Sanghee, former Korean Minister of Defense and Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff
- Curtis Scaparrotti, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe
- Radek Sikorski, former Polish Foreign Minister and Defense Minister
- Sinan Ülgen, former Turkish Foreign Service Officer
- Byung-se Yun, former Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs
The John D and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation provided generous financial support that made this report possible.
The task force cochairs and project director are available for interviews upon request. To coordinate, contact Molly Meyer at email@example.com.