Michael Klare
Michael Klare
Rogue States and Nuclear Outlaws:  America's Search for a New Foreign Policy
ISBN: 0809082438
Rogue States and Nuclear Outlaws
Michael Klare discussed his book, "Rogue States and Nuclear Outlaws: America's Search for a New Foreign Policy," published by Hill and Wang. The book focuses on the first full-scale critical analysis of Pentagon strategy in the post-Cold War era and shows how the Pentagon's planners have created a new agenda that will justify Cold War levels of spending.
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TRANSCRIPT
Rogue States and Nuclear Outlaws
Program Air Date: April 30, 1995

BRIAN LAMB, HOST: Michael Klare, author of "Rogue States and Nuclear Outlaws", how did you become defense correspondent for the Nation magazine?
MICHAEL KLARE: When I lived in Washington many years ago, I found myself doing a lot of research on military affairs and contributing articles to various journals, and I was asked to do this on a regular basis for the Nation. I continued to write for them on contemporary defense and military affairs.
LAMB: What were you doing in Washington at the time?
KLARE: I was working at the Institute for Policy Studies doing research on American foreign policy, militarization and the arms trade.
LAMB: Does Nation magazine have a defense policy you have to reflect in writing?
KLARE: Oh, absolutely not. Nation is America's oldest political magazine, and it mainly covers domestic affairs, domestic politics, usually from a critical point of view. I would say the Nation magazine does have a general view of being suspicious of high defense budgets and intervention in foreign affairs, but there is no official policy line or anything.
LAMB: We had David Korn on a recent program, and he said that Paul Newman owns part of the Nation these days.
KLARE: That's very recent. But this is a magazine that has a hundred year history, and he's just the latest of many distinguished people to come on ownership.
LAMB: Is there a slant to the Nation?
KLARE: Oh, I would say there certainly is. There's one that tends to be suspicious of Washington, of American elites that are seen as governing the country, historically big corporate interests, that sort of thing.
LAMB: Is there a liberal or conservative label you'd put on it?
KLARE: I would say it's definitely on the left end of the spectrum of political analysis, but within that there's a lot of differences. On the issue of intervention, for instance, many people who write for the paper believe the United Nations should play a more active role in Bosnia. I would favor that, for instance. Many others who work with the magazine think that that's a bad idea, that the U.S. shouldn't get involved in an interventionary way, in many ways reflecting what people on the right are saying. We have very strong differences on many issues.
LAMB: What's the genesis of the book? When did you start thinking about writing it?
KLARE: I started writing that when the fall of the Berlin Wall began. I could see American strategists sort of groping for a new raison d'ˆtre for American military policy and a foreign policy in a post-Soviet era. I saw them moving in this direction, and I got quite interested in this process of the redefining who America's enemies would be and how we're going to fight them. This happened before the war with Iraq broke out. I was already working on this book. That, of course, gave a lot of the momentum to this whole process.
LAMB: Where do you work at this process? Where do you study the defense issues?
KLARE: I work out of my office in Hampshire College, which is in Amherst, Massachusetts. But I come to Washington as frequently as I can to keep up with events, to attend hearings, to meet with other professionals in the field, interview people. You really do have to come to Washington for that. But I do my research and writing at my office up in western Massachusetts.
LAMB: Where did you get the title "Rogue States and Nuclear Outlaws"?
KLARE: We were fishing for a way to describe this. This is a process that really began before Iraq invaded Kuwait. Afterwards the term "outlaw" began to be used more and more. Now we find in current discourse that "rogue states" has become a common term to describe these new enemies we're preparing for. So we threw that out as the topic of the book.
LAMB: What does "rogue" mean?
KLARE: Rogue has been applied to different kinds of problem states in the past few years, but now it's being used to describe states that, for the most part, are engaged in illicit weapons proliferation activities and are hostile to the United States in some fashion. You need both, because there are states that are proliferating that are not subject to American hostility. The ones that have been called rogues -- Syria, Iraq and Iran -- are also viewed as hostile and proliferators.
LAMB: Are they the only three?
KLARE: No. Of course there's no official listing of rogue states. This is a manufactured term. But I think in Washington it's understood to include North Korea and Libya, as well as Iran, Serbia and Iraq. Other people would include Cuba or Serbia or perhaps other countries. It's a fluid term. I think we'll see countries drop in and drop out of this official list.
LAMB: If someone buys this book what do they get?
KLARE: They'll get a few things out of it. One thing, I think, is a better understanding of what we're paying $270 billion a year for on our military budget. There's been a lot of debate in Washington about the defense budget but little questioning of what is that money buying, what are we using it for. I try to show here that there is a strategy governing the defense budget, and it's oriented towards recurring conflicts with these states I've named. I have some very significant questions about whether that's a good use of our money. We could come back to that.Our readers will know what our money is being spent on. That's number one, and, number two, readers will get a sense of what the debate about proliferation is about. Proliferation plays a very key role in our policy today.
LAMB: What does that mean?
KLARE: Proliferation refers to the spread of weapons of mass destruction, which, in turn, means nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. So countries that, in violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty or other agreements, are pursuing weapons of mass destruction are considered proliferators, or violators, of that international agreement.
LAMB: One of the first names you read in the book is Colin Powell. How come?
KLARE: General Colin Powell, I think, is the man more than anyone else in the defense establishment who understood very early that the end of the Cold War was going to mean a tremendous collateralizing in the Department of Defense to what it was ordered to do, and he understood quickly that unless the Department of Defense had a new model for its role in a new era, it would be cut to pieces in the post Cold War downsizing of the military. He chose a group of generals and senior officers to devise a new strategy to replace confinement of the Soviet Union to have it ready when Congress came to the Pentagon, as it did, and said, "What are you going to do now that the Cold War is over?" He was ready with a plan he called new regional strategy to give it new purpose to the military.
LAMB: What did you learn about him in your study?
KLARE: I think he's an extremely intelligent and thoughtful person. I think better than, for instance, the secretary of defense, Dick Cheney, he understood Congress would not be satisfied with more of the same. Dick Cheney went on for two more years saying, "We have to defend against the Soviet Union." Fortunately, Colin Powell thought the world was changing and that we needed a new picture. He strikes me as a very thoughtful and intelligent man.
LAMB: How did you learn there was a difference between those two men?
KLARE: There is a Pentagon history in process, a history of what's called a base force, which is what Colin Powell called his proposed post Cold War military, a base force. That is the base to which we cannot go below. There is a history of the formulation of that. And in this Pentagon history, it comes out that there were private meetings between Powell and Cheney in which they argued about this. Cheney said, "No, we have to stick to the Soviet threat in our presentations," and Colin Powell, arguing again and again and eventually prevailing, that we had to have this new strategy, the regional strategy.
LAMB: Where did you find that history?
KLARE: It's a Joint Chiefs of Staff publication through their history branch offered for sale from the U.S. Government Printing Office. I doubt many scholars have consulted it, but I found it extremely revealing in this case.
LAMB: How did you find it?
KLARE: Listed in the Government Monthly circular of publications, which I check along with other documents to keep up with literature in the field.
LAMB: Would you not know that there was a difference between the two of them if you hadn't read this?
KLARE: I would have suspected that was the case from their public presentations but not that it was as intense a dispute as comes out of this document.
LAMB: And when did they have their differences?
KLARE: Between the fall of the Berlin Wall, which was November of 1989 and April or May of 1990. Now this was a crucial period for the U.S. because the Warsaw Pact was disintegrating and the United States was beginning to run into friction with Iraq. At the same time we still had a policy at that time of being friendly to Saddam Hussein. So it was like a giant supertanker turning course from an anti-Soviet oriented policy to one that would be directed at these Third World regional powers like Iraq with Colin Powell trying to push the boat faster and the president and Secretary Cheney trying to slow that down.
LAMB: Who won?
KLARE: Well, in the end, Colin Powell won. We know that because August 2, ironically, the day that Iraq invaded Kuwait, President Bush scheduled a speech in Aspen, Colorado, where he announced the new regional strategy that had been adopted under Colin's influence in May, June of 1990.
LAMB: Is this the same Aspen conference where Mrs. Thatcher told President Bush not to go wobbly on us?
KLARE: Exactly. That is the one. It was scheduled long before there was any indication that anything was going to happen in Kuwait. The speech was written weeks, at least, before that speech, the date of delivery for the president, so we know that the change in policy had occurred before Saddam Hussein showed up with his troops in Kuwait. So the U.S. was poised already at the time to shift gears to fight a new kind of enemy.
LAMB: Have you ever worked in politics?
KLARE: I have not worked in politics. I've certainly worked to support various candidates at different times.
LAMB: Who's your favorite candidate that speaks out on military issues?
KLARE: I have to say I live in Massachusetts and I'm a supporter of Ted Kennedy, who just assisted in his reelection locally campaigning for him. As a home boy, I think he does a very good job on this issue. It's not his primary issue, but he has spoken out historically against nuclear weapons and against intervention from Central America. So I would have to say I support him in particular.
LAMB: Where is your home originally?
KLARE: New York City. Grew up in New York City. Went to high school and college at Columbia University in New York, so I'm a New York boy.
LAMB: What was your major?
KLARE: Art history and architecture as an undergraduate.
LAMB: How many other degrees do you have?
KLARE: I was going to study architecture, and I went to graduate school in the field, got an M.A. in architectural history from Columbia and taught for a while at Parsons School of Design, but then with the influence of the Vietnam War, and my interest in promoting peace and disarmament were very strong, led me to this new direction of studying military policy.
LAMB: Do you have a Ph.D.?
KLARE: Yes, in political scienc from the Union Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio. It's a consortial school supported by other colleges and universities for adult learners like myself.
LAMB: And how did you get to Hampshire College?
KLARE: I actually worked for a consortium, a very interesting program. It's a consortium of five schools. Hampshire College, Smith, Mount Holyoke, Amherst College and the University of Massachusetts jointly have a five-college program of peace and world security studies, and I'm director of that program.
LAMB: Called the Five Sisters?
KLARE: No, we have two of the five sisters.
LAMB: Seven Sisters, that's right. Who are the other two?
KLARE: I have Mount Holyoke and Smith out of the sisters. Then Hampshire and Amherst College, which are coed, and University of Massachusetts. So we're really four colleges and one university.
LAMB: What's this institute, and how did it get its funding?
KLARE: The five colleges, which are all close to each other, have created a consortial program called the Five College Consortium to sponsor joint programs in areas none of them could afford separately -- peace and world security studies, Middle Eastern studies, Latin American studies, international relations -- and hire faculty who travel like an itinerant preacher, which is what I do. I go from campus to campus teaching in this field of peace and security studies. One of the other faculty in our group, the five-college professor of international relations, is Anthony Lake, who's now the president's science adviser, the president's national security adviser. He was involved in setting up the program that I direct.
LAMB: And so what kind of students would you have before you?
KLARE: I get very bright, very disciplined students who are interested in international affairs and also interested in peace and security types of issues. So I get very good students, and they are drawn from all of these five colleges. And many of them go on to study this in graduate school or come to Washington and work in various government or non-government organizations.
LAMB: You dedicated this book to your father, Charles Klare. Is he alive?
KLARE: He's still alive.
LAMB: What's he do?
KLARE: He's retired. He's a retired trade union organizer. He was based in New York City but worked for many years out of an office in Chicago, working for the national union of brewery and soft drink workers.
LAMB: You dedicate it to your son, Alexander, you call Sasha. But he has an interesting last name. You take your wife's name and your name and reverse it?
KLARE: Well, we include both of our names.
LAMB: Your name comes first, her name second, so it's Klare-Ayvazian. Why did you dedicate it to your son?
KLARE: I tried to hint in my dedication to the continuity in views that I hope would be passed on. My father was a trade union organizer and a supporter of the New Deal, grew up in the Depression in hard times and was very committed to democracy and to equality and viewed the trade union movement, as many union people did of his generation, as a way of promoting those kinds of values, liberal Democratic values, and he passed them on to me. I hope to be able to pass those on, in turn, to my son and that he also stand up for freedom and democracy and peace, the views that I believe in.
LAMB: How old is your son?
KLARE: He'll be 7 in a week.
LAMB: And your wife, what does she do?
KLARE: She also has a Ph.D. in ethnic studies, and she works with an organization known as Communitas, which does training and consulting with non-profit organizations and governmental agencies on how to cope with problems of institutionalized racism in their organization. She helps, like a school board, develop programs for multicultural development, for dismantling established racism in their ranks, and to help people cope, as all colleges and universities and churches are, with problems arising from racial friction.
LAMB: Which country in the world are you most concerned about and think we would most likely become involved?
KLARE: The place I worry about most -- although right now things are looking a little better -- is North Korea. I worry about North Korea because, at this time, there are more men and women under arms and poised to go to war than anywhere else on the face of the globe. That used to be the case in Germany during the height of the Cold War. There were more troops armed and ready to go on the East-West German border. With the end of the Cold War, that area has become much less militarized. But that Cold War atmosphere still prevails on the North Korean/South Korean border. There are about a million soldiers in the North Korean military, about 650,000 in the South Korean military. and the United States has about 35,000 troops right up by the DMZ.

So the worry is that any breakdown in relations between North and South could produce a conflict that would be extremely destructive and deadly, where we'd lose a lot of people, the Koreans would lose a lot of people. It would be much more destructive, I think, than Operation Desert Storm. That's my biggest worry. At this moment in time, fortunately, there's a process underway of negotiation, and hopefully a compromise will be worked out over North Korea's nuclear weapons program, that the prospect of war in that area will diminish, and that will be, I think, a great relief for everyone. That aside, the area I worry about most is Iran. Iran appears to be building up its military capabilities in the Persian Gulf area, putting troops on these islands in the Persian Gulf, buying missiles, reportedly seeking nuclear weapons. So I worry about Iran as being seen as an emerging threat of tension, growing and, perhaps, precipitating a clash between the U.S. and the Iranians.

LAMB: What's the worst thing that could happen to this country today, given its state of readiness, or lack of readiness, depending on what you think?
KLARE: As I argue in my book, we're quite well prepared to fight another Operation Desert Storm. If Iraq were to start a fight with us, I think we could do a very good job of responding to that threat and doing a very credible job of defeating Iraq a second time, or in Iran if it came to that. What I worry more is that the kinds of security problems we're going to face in the years ahead are not replicas of Desert Storm but something that looks much more like Bosnia but spreading closer to home. What if Mexico were to break apart as a result of political and economic chaos and you had the kind of fighting that you see in Chiapas spreading to other parts of Mexico?

Even if the United States were not directly involved, the consequences would spill over in our border, or likewise in Europe if Algeria were to disintegrate as a result of current fighting or Egypt were to disintegrate as a result of similar stress from fundamentalist groups sending waves of migration spreading violence into Europe. That's what I worry about more. For those kinds of situations, our forces are not very well trained. The military has been resistant to taking on more of a peacekeeping, peace enforcement role which would be a very different situation than fighting a very mechanized army like Iraqi or Iranian military.

LAMB: You quote a couple of people from New Delhi. One is Raja Mohan and the other is it Subrahmanyan. The quote concerns the idea that advanced industrial nations have a right to develop sophisticated weapons while developing nations do not -- the attitude of white man's burden. What is the white man's burden?
KLARE: They're referring to the 19th century European colonial view that the white Christian races of Europe had a civilizing mission to take care of the less civilized, uncivilized peoples of African nations -- to raise them up, give them education. Implicit in that was the view that the peoples of African nations and Latin America weren't ready yet for civilizing and needed the white man's help. That was an attitude that was very strong in Britain in the 19th century and, of course, resented very greatly by the colonial peoples in those areas. I think what they're trying to say, and this is a view common to not all but some Third World countries, is that the nuclear nonproliferation project the U.S. supports through the Nonproliferation Treaty of allowing the five existing nuclear states to have nuclear weapons -- the U.S., the former Soviet Union, France, Britain and China -- but denying them to rising powers in the Third World, which India considers itself to be, is discriminatory, that that's like the white man saying, "Look, you people aren't ready for nuclear weapons. We are, but you're not. You can't have them." So they're trying to make that argument. I think that's a specious argument, but it has strong support among some of the elites in the Third World.
LAMB: When did you first get interested in military matters?
KLARE: During the Vietnam War period, like others of my generation.
LAMB: How old were you then?
KLARE: I was a college student.
LAMB: Were you active either for or against the war?
KLARE: I was active in the peace movement to end the conflict. I was at Columbia University, and I became particularly interested in the roles universities were playing in doing research for the military. At the time that was a very controversial issue. Should the universities be doing classified secret military research, in this case in a conflict that was quite unpopular, at least among college students and many faculty members? So I did a lot of work investigating the role, the connections between the university and the military trying to identify, expose these secret military projects, some of which were exposed and led to a general policy that continues to this day that most universities do not permit classified research on their campus, that there's a contradiction between classified military research and the open free academic environment that a university should have.
LAMB: If you could run the military establishment, run the country and change the way we deal with military and weaponry and what we buy, what would you do?
KLARE: What I would do in particular, I would begin with the issue of strategy, and I think Colin Powell was absolutely right that that's the beginning point from which all else comes. I would say, what are the threats to U.S. national security, what is the role of the military in dealing with those threats? -- because the military may not be the best response in some ways to the threats we face. Some of them are environmental, some of them are economic, and we need appropriate responses. But to ask, what are the jobs that the military is most likely going to have to do for us and develop the doctrine, the training, the equipment, the organization that will serve that. As I indicated, I think peacekeeping and peace enforcement and humanitarian rescue are destined to play a much bigger role in American foreign policy, military policy. I would have the military being much more prepared for that kind of activity than for fighting an infinite succession of Desert Storm-like wars.
LAMB: What is the comparison with the number of men and women under arms that we had in 1989 versus what we have in 1995?
KLARE: It's declining from just under 2 million or so down to about 1.4 million.
LAMB: Is that enough?
KLARE: I think that that's still probably too many people to keep in uniform, but it's not only a question of numbers. It's how are they organized. The current plan calls for about12 Army divisions and 10 aircraft carrier battle groups, big, heavy, expensive units which are designed mainly to fight a high-intensity war against a Warsaw Pact-type force. We don't need that kind of force any more.
LAMB: How many people in an Army division?
KLARE: Oh, about 20,000, give or take.
LAMB: How many people in a carrier-- you say a task group?
KLARE: A carrier battle group. I don't know how many people. It's about 10 to15 ships, and the aircraft carrier itself has about 6,000 people on board. So we're talking about maybe 10 to 12,000 people.
LAMB: How much of what we do in the military is moved by industry?
KLARE: I think that a lot of what's happening now is being moved by industry's particular needs to maintain certain kinds of production lines going that, in my view, probably aren't needed any more; that is to say, we developed the military in the Cold War period that was optimized to fight a very powerful, capital intensive, high technology military. The Soviet Union had a lot of planes, a lot of tanks, and we developed a military that was well-equipped to fight that military. We needed a lot of aircraft manufacturers, tank manufacturers to produce that kind of equipment, but I just don't see in the future that it's likely that we're going to face an enemy like that, and we don't need so many aircraft manufacturers. The country can't afford to subsidize all of them. We may need other kinds of things-- transport planes that can go in and out of remote fields, hospital ships, helicopters for rescues -- so we'll have some needs, but we don't have the need for all of these supersonic jet planes that we now can produce. Industry, I think, is pushing very hard for maintenance of a military that has that high requirement, but I don't think that's the driving force behind policy.
LAMB: What is?
KLARE: I really do believe that is the institutional interests of the military, like any big organization, facing the prospects of downsizing and reduction, loss of the jobs, loss of prestige and also, psychologically, loss of a purpose. Colin Powell spoke to that in his comments, that he and his colleagues had devoted their whole life to the prospect of fighting World War III -- that's the way he put it -- with the Russians, and he saw that as his life's work. Suddenly this is swept away, and they really are, I think, desperate to find a new role that seems important, that the public will support. I think that's led to the strategy we have now.
LAMB: If Colin Powell announced for president or you saw him on the ticket, from what you know of studying him, what would your reaction be?
KLARE: I'd want to see what his policies really are. I think Colin Powell is a very thoughtful, intelligent man, and I think he's been really cagey about what he really believes. He hasn't thrown his hat into any ideological or party ring, really. I don't know what he believes about the future, of questions that affect us at home as well as abroad, but I certainly would look closely as his platform. I would not be predisposed against him.
LAMB: Not to over-characterize it, but you're somewhat critical of Les Aspin. Why?
KLARE: I'm critical of Les Aspin because he came in promising to take a fresh look at defense policy -- that's what he promised -- and he coins this term of "bottom-up review." We're going to look at things from the bottom up, start fresh, develop a whole new strategy for the United States in the post-Cold War era. Essentially he wound up buying the same policy that Colin Powell had developed for the Republicans without any changes really, any significant changes. I think he lost his nerve for some reason. Of course, he was under a lot of pressure in that early period for all kinds of reasons, debates over gays in the military and problems in Somalia, and he lost his nerve. He didn't conduct the kind of bottom-up review that he promised and that we really need.
LAMB: How would you characterize current Secretary of Defense William Perry?
KLARE: I think William Perry is a very thoughtful person, a good manager. I don't think he has the same kind of strategic depth and interests that Les Aspin did have but failed to bring to bear or that, say, Colin Powell has, or some of our other secretaries of defense who really have thought about strategy. Perry is a technology man and a manager, and he's very good at that.
LAMB: What about Bill Clinton's view of what the military ought to do?
KLARE: Bill Clinton I also fault, because he, too, said when he was elected that he would take a fresh look at defense policy, and I think he's just abandoned that altogether. Of course, he has other preoccupations, the health plan all last year and getting reelected. I don't think he's devoted the attention to this area that it deserves. I think he's delegated responsibility, and I think that's unfortunate.
LAMB: How much do you write for the Nation?
KLARE: I write every three to six months. I write for other publications as well.
LAMB: When you write something for the Nation, how do you decide what readers will be interested in?
KLARE: They expect me to be writing something that's critical of government policy, because that's what you would turn to the Nation for is a critical look. So, obviously, they're going to expect me to look at something. I try very hard not to provide confirmation of predigested ideas. I look very carefully at what the military is saying about what it's doing -- I believe there are many intelligent people there -- and try to show how even with their own arguments, they're not taking into account important issues that need to be addressed. My interest is bringing to the surface, airing important topics that tend not to get addressed in Washington.
LAMB: What do you use and read to understand what's going on with the military?
KLARE: I personally believe that you can't work in this field unless you're familiar with and understand what people in the military are saying. I subscribe to and receive a lot of military journals: Parameters, the Journal of the Army WarCollege, Military Review, the Journal of the Army Command and General Staff College, the Naval War College Review. I also see the Pentagon's daily clipping service of the press, called Current News, which often reproduces articles from the military press. I read these carefully. I read the Pentagon's annual report, which just came out recently, cover to cover, and I collect other Pentagon materials and try to talk to people in the military as well, so that when I talk about what the military's doing, it's not my prejudices that are supplying the information, but I'm really drawing on what they say.
LAMB: How do you rate press coverage of the military?
KLARE: I think that press coverage of the military is good on kind of the big-ticket procurement issues. When there's debate over a weapons system and it costs a lot of money, you're likely to have good coverage of it. I think that it's not very good on strategic questions, questions that have great importance for us. I think that the press has not gone deep enough into that kind of analysis.
LAMB: What do you find students that you teach interested in?
KLARE: I don't always know what they're most interested in, but students are interested a lot in the emerging world, how the world is changing. The Cold War, for them, is already distant history. I think for many of us in the field of security studies, Saddam and the Cold War is still terribly important. Nuclear missiles and nuclear bombers, my students aren't interested in those topics. They're interested in ethnic conflict. They're very concerned, many of them, about Bosnia; that's made a big impression on people. They worry about the Amazon and the indigenous peoples of the Amazon, deforestation. They worry about issues like population. Should it be controlled? Should it not be controlled? They're interested in a new emerging security agenda, people oriented, Third World oriented, far from the issue of how missiles does the other side have and what kind of weapons do we need to shoot down their missiles? That interest they don't have.
LAMB: How would you define their politics today?
KLARE: I would define their politics as skeptical of anything that comes from government leaders, whether the leaders are left, right or something else, from any government, not just ours; skeptical of government leaders, skeptical of large corporations and the promises that they make. Concern about the environment, but not particularly ideological. They wouldn't identify themselves as "I belong" as you would in the '60s; people would be in SDS or some other political organization. They don't have those kind of ideological identities. It's more a concern with problem areas, the environment, human rights.
LAMB: Where does this come from?
KLARE: I think it comes partly from a way in which -- especially in the Reagan era when these young people were growing up -- a tendency to look down on the '60s and the ideological ferment that produced on all sides, I mean, on all sides of the spectrum, a sense that that was nonproductive in that falling into niches is something you don't want to do. So it partly comes from that. I think it partly comes from them looking at the world that's emerging and seeing things that trouble them that may not trouble us quite as much. I come back to the environment a lot because I think they're much more worried about issues of the environment, say, than military threats to the United States.
LAMB: When you wrote this book, who did you envision reading it?
KLARE: I hoped that policy makers would read it. I don't know how successful we'll be at that, but I certainly hope that they would. I certainly hope that a lot of informed Americans with an interest in this topic would read it, and I hope that that would provoke people to at least ask more questions about defense policy, foreign policy. I don't expect people to agree with my conclusions about what should be done, but I do think the public has been deprived of an opportunity to debate these issues, and I hope that I'll stir up a little bit of interest on that.
LAMB: Why has the public been deprived?
KLARE: I think that there are a couple of reasons why. One of them is that the process in which these decisions were made were so far removed from public consciousness and discussion that, by the time the decision was made, nobody knew what had gone on. The discussions held behind closed doors in early 1990 were not reported, and people have no idea what took place. So I think that there's a little bit that they're just not aware of what went on.
LAMB: Was there no follow-up in hearings on the Hill?
KLARE: That I was going to come to. The second thing that happened was the Persian Gulf War broke out and so consumed people's attention that the debate promised around the new policy never actually took place. When the Persian Gulf War was over, everyone, Democrats and Republicans, more or less agreed this was what we were going to fighting more of so let's get on with it. It's a combination of a process just getting started and the Persian Gulf War coming around and people taking it for granted after, that we've never had this debate.
LAMB: How would you rate American military in relation to other world militaries?
KLARE: We spend more on our military than the rest of the world spends combined on their military. So we have the most well-endowed military in the world. I think the people in the American military are very dedicated and very smart and believe that what they're doing is in the best interest of the country, and I think they're very good at what they do. As I argue, I think that the missions that they've identified to work on are not the missions that are most needed, but I think the way they're pursuing what they're doing is extremely competent and professional and thoughtful.
LAMB: Go over the things that you think are most needed.
KLARE: The things I think are most needed are multilateral, multinational peacekeeping and peace enforcement operation and humanitarian aid and rescue. The sort of thing that we've done in Rwanda and Haiti, maybe called in to do in Bosnia and attempted, not very successfully, in Somalia.
LAMB: Why should that be our mission? Why is it the role of this country to do that?
KLARE: I don't think it's the role of this country to do it by itself. Let me make that very clear. We should only do it as part of multinational UN or NATO sponsored response to problems that nobody can deal with where there's really no one in control. I think we have to be part of an international response, because if we are not capable of conducting these missions when appropriate, I fear that the chaotic impact of conflicts like Bosnia will spread and be more devastating, so we need to be prepared to engage them at the lowest possible level of intervention of violence. That's a very different work than what they're doing now.
LAMB: Do you have any problem with the American military being under the command of a U.N. commander?
KLARE: I have no problem of American soldiers being under the command of a U.N. officer if the United States has a role in the Security Council of choosing that commander. I think we should have a voice in that, but if we're prepared to serve under multilateral commanders in NATO, which has been policy for 30-odd years, I don't see any problem doing the same thing in the U.N.
LAMB: Earlier, you named the five countries that legally under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty can have nuclear weapons -- China, France, Great Britain, Russia and America. Why those five?
KLARE: Those are the countries that were the declared nuclear powers and had tested nuclear weapons when the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty was signed in 1968. Since then several other countries have emerged as de facto nuclear powers, but they, under the treaty, are not recognized as such.
LAMB: Who, in your opinion, has nuclear capabilities?
KLARE: The three de facto nuclear powers today are India, Pakistan and Israel. All of those countries are believed to have functioning nuclear weapons that you can load on an aircraft or a missile and deliver them.
LAMB: Do they admit it?
KLARE: They hint at it. They don't actually say it.
LAMB: Have they signed the treaty?
KLARE: They have not signed the treaty.
LAMB: They're not violating anything?
KLARE: They themselves are not violating, but if American companies or European companies or Russian companies sell equipment to those countries that's used for military purposes, then we would be in violation of the NPT. You cannot sell them all a wide range of nuclear technology that could be diverted to nuclear use, so they're covered by the treaty.
LAMB: In one way or the other, 3 billion of our dollars go to Israel every year. Money goes to Pakistan. Do we have any money that goes to India?
KLARE: We don't right now. We're not supplying Pakistan with aid. It's the one country that has been penalized under the nuclear nonproliferation act to be cut off from aid because of its pursuit of nuclear weapons. We do give funds to India, even though India is more advanced in the nuclear sphere than Pakistan is. This is the source of some hostility of the Pakistan government to the United States. They feel that India is getting a more favored treatment, and that comes up as a visit now of the prime minister of Pakistan raising that point.
LAMB: Now, what about other countries?
KLARE: Other countries have pursued nuclear weapons at one time or another -- most important, South Africa, which admits to having produced seven nuclear bombs. South Africa now has signed the NPT and has destroyed its nuclear capabilities under inspection, so they're a former nuclear power. Argentina and Brazil also pursued nuclear weapons, did not admit to having produced weapons but admitted to having pursued nuclear weapons in laboratories producing the material. They have not suspended that. Iraq, as we know, was vigorously pursuing nuclear weapons in the 1980s, and their capabilities have been destroyed either through Operation Desert Storm or the U.N. cease-fire action since the end of Desert Storm. North Korea is believed to have developed the technology to produce nuclear weapons. Nobody's sure if they have actually assembled a nuclear bomb, a debate about that, but they certainly acquired the technology to produce nuclear weapons.

They are now obligated under an agreement with the United States to dismantle that capability under supervision, though there's debate about what the quid pro quo is and whether that will be delivered on time. That's still a question mark, but the commitment is there to dismantle that. So that's about the view. There are claims now that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, and I suspect we're going to hear more about it in the years ahead and to bring pressure to bear on Iran to stop. I think there's a lot of debate about how far Iran has proceeded in this direction. They certainly are far behind where Iraq was in the 1980s. They don't have the infrastructure that Saddam Hussein did. So I think they're quite a way away from this. And there are other countries we have to worry about down the road. South Korea, Taiwan, have the capability to make nuclear weapons. They promised not to, they've signed the NPT, but they do have the capability.

LAMB: Does the NPT have a sunset?
KLARE: The NPT does have a sunset. It's coming up very quickly. It's in May of this year. The 25th anniversary of the NPT will come up, and the member states of the treaty would be meeting in New York City under U.N. auspices to vote on whether to extend the treaty or not. And the question now is whether they'll vote to extend it indefinitely or only for another 25 years, as this one ended after at 25 years, whether it should be continued for another 25 years or forever. That's what the debate will be about.
LAMB: You talked about your days at Columbia and protesting the Vietnam War. In your opinion, is there a legacy as a result of the Vietnam War in this country?
KLARE: I certainly think there's a legacy. I think we really haven't come to terms in this society with the divisions this conflict produced. We know there were divisions, but we really haven't come to terms with them. I think some progress has been made in recent years to appreciate the plight of Vietnam veterans, the fact that they came back to a society that, because of its discomfort with the war in Southeast Asia, was not prepared to extend to them the kind of greetings that former veterans have received, and I think that's a very tragic situation. But I think our society has made much more of an effort to appreciate the particular kind of suffering and lack of support they received and I think they deserve. I don't think our society has come to terms with the protestors' side and the impact it had, which I think was generally a positive force in American society but was not given the same sort of recognition the veterans have now received. I think the overwhelming majority of protestors believed what they were doing was in the best interests of the United States. That's how I would characterize my feelings, that we shouldn't have been in Vietnam and our country would be better off if we weren't. So I think that that contribution also should be recognized.
LAMB: Have you ever served in the military?
KLARE: I have not. I've spent a lot of time with people in the military, and I respect them a great deal. I've gone as a journalist on military maneuvers around the world and lived and worked closely with people in the military, but I've not served myself.
LAMB: How long have you been at Hampshire College?
KLARE: Ten years.
LAMB: When was the college formed?
KLARE: The college was formed 25 years ago. We're celebrating our 25th anniversary this spring. Hampshire is an interesting college, by the way. It was formed by the other four schools in the consortium. They worked together to create a college that would be experimental and innovative, that would try out new modes of teaching, and it's been very successful. It's like a laboratory college for these others that now has its own identity and alumni and so forth.
LAMB: You mentioned the others being Amherst and Smith?
KLARE: Mount Holyoke and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
LAMB: Do they own Hampshire?
KLARE: No, originally they supplied many of the people on the board of trustees and supplied a lot of the original administrators, but it's an independent school with its own trustees.
LAMB: What's unusual?
KLARE: Well, Hampshire's probably most noted -- it doesn't give grades. Instead, students receive written evaluations of their work. So there isn't this pressure to score a high grade on a test, but we believe in learning anything.
LAMB: Do you have any pass-fail at all?
KLARE: No pass-fail. However, you can't graduate without passing a number of hurdles or examinations. Our seniors have to write a thesis that's often equivalent to graduate-level work. They cannot graduate without writing the equivalent of a senior thesis that's of a publishable quality.
LAMB: What are most of the degrees in? What do they study?
KLARE: A lot of the students are interested in the arts and humanities. I think that would be our strongest, most well-known suit. In particular, Ken Burns, the noted documentary film maker, is a graduate of Hampshire College. But also work in social sciences, communications, computer thinking. We're not strong on technological things, big laboratories, but on original, cognitive research.
LAMB: From your experience are there any drawbacks to this kind of a school?
KLARE: I think that it's a problem for students who cannot be self-directed in their work. It's ideal for young people who come in who have a strong interest in the arts and literature and history and are able to draw on the very rich resources of the five colleges to develop a program that's suited to their interests. You can do very well. Somebody who doesn't know quite what to do who needs a structure -- "here's what you're going to have your first year" -- will have trouble here.
LAMB: Where is it located?
KLARE: It's in Amherst, Massachusetts.
LAMB: And how many students do you have?
KLARE: Eleven hundred.
LAMB: The author is Michael Klare, Rogue States and Nuclear Outlaws. Thank you.
KLARE: It's been my pleasure.


Copyright National Cable Satellite Corporation 1995. Personal, noncommercial use of this transcript is permitted. No commercial, political or other use may be made of this transcript without the express permission of National Cable Satellite Corporation.