Jeffrey LewisAlways Read The Fine Print: Sanders Sinks the CD

The text of Ambassador Sander/’s speech at the CD reaffirming US support for the FMCT actually represents a step backward for U.S. policy. Now I understand why the State Department sat on the full text for a couple of days. She states:

We believe an FMCT is ripe for negotiations and must have a clean mandate that is not linked to other unrelated proposals for CD Ad Hoc Committees.

A clean mandate is a retreat from consensus, not a move toward it. The previous U.S. position (articulated in February 2002) supported “a comprehensive program of work along the lines proposed by one of your most distinguished predecessors, Ambassador Celso Amorim of Brazil.” That proposal was articulated in CD/1624 (August 24, 2000), also called the The Amorim proposal.

Sounds like a summer blockbuster, doesn/’t it? Maybe Andy Garcia will play Celso Amorim.

Anyway, CD/1624 recommended the establishment of four ad hoc committees, including one to negotiate an FMCT and another to “deal with” preventing an arms race in outer space (PAROS). Amorim attached a draft presidential declaration stressing the CD/’s status as a negotiating forum and that the mandates should be viewed in this light.

The Amorim proposal has evolved into CD/1693 (January 23, 2003, revised 1693/Rev.1, June 2003), also called the The A5 initiative. Like Amorim, the A5 proposes four ad hoc committees, including one to negotiate an FMCT and one to “identify and examine” PAROS-related issues.

Sanders/’ call for a “clean” mandate appears incompatible with these proposals, which otherwise enjoy consensus support among the members of the CD.

Will Andy Garcia (left) play Celso Amorim (right) in The Amorim Proposal? Not if Jackie Sanders has anything to say about it …