To terrorists trying to lay their hands on the stuff of atomic weapons,Russia's nuclear nerve center is a daunting fortress.
High, video-monitored concrete walls, bomb-proof steel gates, andhundreds of military guards protect the 247-acre site of Moscow'sKurchatov Institute, birthplace of the USSR's first atomic bomb andstill a beehive of research on fusion and on methods for storingradioactive materials left over from the cold war.
But experts say the institute is the Russian nuclear program's bestface. Flung across Russia's vast hinterland are 52 military storagedepots for the enriched uranium and plutonium from which nuclearwarheads are made. At those sites, security is often lax andweapons-grade materials are not closely accounted for.
"Active-duty nuclear weapons are well protected, but there are serioussecurity problems with stored warheads and other highly dangerousmaterials," says Sergei Yushenkov, deputy head of the State Duma'sSecurity Committee. "The key problem in Russia, which will not beresolved by the current Russia-US dialogue, is that we have no civilianoversight in the nuclear sphere. The glimpses we have are veryworrisome, but even in the Duma [Russia's lower house of parliament] wecannot get a full picture."
In addition, at the hundreds of civilian facilities around Russia, wherethousands of tons of spent reactor fuel and other nuclear wastes arestored, security is often nonexistent. While these materials might notbe easily fashioned into atomic weapons, they could provide theingredients for a so-called "dirty bomb" - radioactive substanceswrapped around a conventional explosive.
"Control over low-level nuclear wastes in this country is very weak,"says Dmitry Kovchegin, a nuclear-safety specialist at the independentPIR Center for policy studies in Moscow. "Terrorists could easilyacquire the means to make a dirty bomb in this country."
Last winter a group of Duma deputies, environmental activists and a TVcrew dramatized the danger by climbing through a broken fence andwalking into a medium-security nuclear- waste storage center in Siberia,where they spent six hours beside a building housing 3,000 tons ofradioactive spent reactor fuel.
"I was amazed at how easy it was," says Sergei Mitrokhin, one of thedeputies. "No one challenged us. Guards walked past us, and never askedwho we were or what we were doing."
Since the collapse of the USSR, the United States has spent an averageof $400 million a year to fund a range of measures known as theNunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program. Among other things, themoney has gone to upgrade storage, oversight, and security at storagesites, and to supplement the meager salaries of thousands of Russianphysicists and nuclear engineers who might otherwise be tempted topeddle their skills to third-world countries or terrorist groups.
Even at the Kurchatov Institute, where the average paycheck hoversaround 2,000 rubles (about $65) monthly, the subsidies have made adifference. "We have some of the world's top nuclear specialists here,earning less than what Americans spend on their lunches in a month,"says Andrei Gagarinsky, Kurchatov chief of research and development."Without extra sources of income, like those from Nunn-Lugar, we justwouldn't be able to continue."
Washington is pushing for an additional $20 billion, that would befunded by the US and fellow G7 nations, to help Russia neutralize thedanger posed by its nuclear materials.
So far, only about 40 percent of Russia's bomb-grade materials and lessthan a seventh of enriched uranium stocks have been secured, accordingto a report issued by Harvard University this week.
One major area of concern is the Russian Navy's nuclear-submarine fleet,most of which was hastily decommissioned following the Soviet demise. Atthe Kurchatov Institute, specialists are trying to devise ways toquickly dismantle and store the reactors and fuel rods from more than100 nuclear subs, many of which are rusting away in open harbors onRussian naval bases.
About five years ago, Gagarinsky says, a group of sailors in thenorthern naval base of Severodvinsk actually hijacked an entire reactorunit - complete with fuel rods - from a disabled submarine, hoping tosell it on the black market. "Of course they failed," says Gagarinsky."But there's no doubt this area needs a lot of attention."
No one is offering a guess at how much nuclear material may already bemissing. The former USSR had more than 20,000 strategic and tacticalnuclear weapons and as much as 650 metric tons of weapons-grade uraniumand plutonium, experts say. Russia still deploys about 6,000 strategicand 8,000 smaller tactical warheads. Thousands of others have beensafely dismantled over the past decade, and their materials stored, withmajor help from Nunn-Lugar funds. "The United States has paid for justabout everything that has been done to dismantle Russian nuclearweapons," says Alexander Goltz, a military expert who writes for theweekly Ezhenedelni Dzhurnal newsmagazine.
Meanwhile, some observers worry that Russia's Ministry of Atomic Power,which oversees both civilian and military nuclear programs and is a keyrecipient of outside funding, may be diverting the money to otherpurposes. Russia's State Accounting Chamber, a government watchdog thatanswers to parliament, charged in a report last year that $270 milliongiven to MinAtom by Norway and Sweden between 1998 and 2000 to helpprocess radioactive wastes simply disappeared. "That is the tip of theiceberg," says Maxim Shingarkin, a former major in the Russian DefenseMinistry's department of nuclear forces who now advises environmentalgroups. "We know that US aid is sometimes being used by MinAtom to fundnew nuclear research rather than retire old weapons ...," he says. "Inthe future there must be much tougher control over the disbursement ofsuch funds."
Mr. Yushenkov agrees. "Arms agreements are all very well," he says. "Butthe most urgent need is to enforce transparency and publicaccountability over Russia's nuclear establishment."
Ironically, the arms-control deal to be signed by Presidents VladimirPutin and George Bush on Friday will greatly increase pressure onRussia's dilapidated and insecure storage facilities.
Experts say Russia would probably scale back its strategic nuclearforces to about 1,500 warheads within a few years, with or without anagreement. "The delivery systems are old and must be retired," says Mr.Goltz. "Russia can't afford to replace them, so the warheads must bestored."
Russia will need massive assistance if it is ever to process thedisassembled warheads into forms that cannot be refashioned into weaponsone day. "These materials must be immobilized by being mixed withconcrete or glass, and then safely stored, or they must be burned inbreeder reactors," says Gagarinsky. "At the present time, we lack themeans to do either."
Vladimir Chuprov, a nuclear expert with Greenpeace-Russia, warns:"Stocks of plutonium in storage will skyrocket in the next few years. Noone should imagine that Putin and Bush have brought this under control.The dangers are not receding, they are multiplying every day. return to menu
2. Nuke Treaty's Link To Defeat Of Terror
May 23, 2002
(for personal use only)
Our position: Nuclear terrorism remains the world's worst nightmare, andSept. 11 did nothing to change that. President Bush in is Moscow to signa landmark treaty to cut U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals, as Americansgrapple with warnings of potential terrorist attacks at home.
Sen. Richard G. Lugar is right when he says Osama bin Laden would gladlyhave used nuclear weapons on Sept. 11, not airplanes guided by suicidebombers, if only he had them. Success in Russia must thus be seen as anessential step toward the defeat of al-Qaida and its kind around theglobe. The Senate should move quickly to ratify the treaty as a sign ofU.S. commitment to arms reduction. But Congress must do two other thingsif this treaty is to go beyond symbolism and make a substantive dent instockpiles.
First, it must continue to fund Russian dismantlement through theNunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program. Russia simply cannotafford to do so alone. Second, Congress must grant Bush authority toimplement arms control efforts, even if the U.S. government cannotdefinitively certify that Russia is complying with all existing treatiescontrolling germ and chemical stockpiles.
Under current law, the administration may not move forward with armsreductions until it has certified, on an annual basis, Russiancommitment to compliance with all treaties. As arms control experts havepointed out, the result is counterproductive: When Russian compliance isnot certain, nothing happens at all. This does not further the cause ofdismantlement, or peace. Yet some lawmakers oppose legislation givingBush the certification waiver authority he and Lugar have argued for.
"As President Bush is concluding and signing a treaty with Russia totake nuclear weapons levels down to near 2,000 (from 6,000), some inCongress are actively working to stymie his efforts to ensure timely andcomplete disarmament of Russian weapons stockpiles," Lugar recentlycomplained. "Congress must provide the president with the authority tocarry out, with the Russians' cooperation, the necessary destruction ofweapons in Russia."
To date, 5,896 nuclear warheads have been deactivated in the formerSoviet Union, thanks to the Nunn-Lugar program. That is 5,896 fewerweapons for Osama and Saddam to get their hands on. Politics, U.S. orRussian variety, must not get in the way of further reductions. return to menu
3. Playing with Fire
May 23, 2002
(for personal use only)
Let's assume that after signing the treaty in Moscow this week, RussianPresident Vladimir Putin opts to destroy the resulting excess 3,500-oddnuclear weapons that Russia still possesses. He will find his wayblocked--by the US government.
Under the Nunn-Lugar Act, we have long helped the Russians implementdisarmament agreements. We pay to cut up their nukes, a good deal allaround. But the Pentagon just quietly unplugged its Nunn-Lugar work. Theresult: Russia will store thousands of warheads it would rather destroy.
Each year, the Pentagon must "certify" Russia to be committed tononproliferation, or else roughly one-third of Nunn-Lugar activitiescontrolled by the US military shuts down. (Other Nunn-Lugar programs-forexample, to improve security around Russia's weapons-grade uranium andplutonium stocks-are unaffected.)
This spring the Pentagon told Russia not to expect certification becauseit is withholding information about its chemical and biological warfareinfrastructure. Partly for the same reason, the Pentagon has blockedconstruction of a plant in the Ural Mountains town of Shchuchye todestroy thousands of tons of nerve agents like sarin, the gas releasedin 1995 into the Tokyo subway. (Investigators say Aum Shinrikyo's sarinwas Soviet in origin.)
Jon Wolfsthal, a former Energy Department official now at the CarnegieEndowment, agrees the Russians haven't shared their full chemical andbiological weapons histories. But he questions the logic: "We're saying:'Because we don't think you've declared everything that you've got,we're not going to help you destroy everything we know you have.' "
Shutting down Nunn-Lugar work-on the eve of a Moscow summit, no less-isat odds with President George Bush's public enthusiasm for the programsand for Pootie-Poot, his nickname for Putin. Which perhaps explains whythe White House is now begging Congress for a Nunn-Lugar "waiver"-so thePresident can overrule his own Pentagon.
"It's the revenge of the hard-liners," says Joseph Cirincione, directorof the Carnegie Endowment's Nuclear Non-Proliferation Project. "There'sa group in the [National Security Council] and the Defense Departmentwho have long opposed the Nunn-Lugar programs and have tried to killthem, to cut funding. They lost that fight, and in fact the Presidenthas now embraced these programs. But issues never die in Washington, andthe hard-liners are fighting a rear-guard action."
It's odd that the same Pentagon wounded by American Airlines Flight 77could attack a program whose guiding spirit is to keep weapons of massdestruction out of terrorist hands. It's particularly ironic becauseeven as the Pentagon says the Russians aren't serious about cooperating,the Russians have quietly invited American experts to visit eightnuclear weapons storehouses and to recommend security improvements.
"Finally, we're at the point where we've got political clearance-andthey shut down the process!" says an incredulous Kenneth Luongo of theRussian American Nuclear Security Advisory Council, a privateorganization that advises the two governments. "After six, seven, eightyears, finally it's coming to fruition, and these guys pull the plug tomake an ideological point."
The consensus in Washington seems to be that this too shall pass. "I'man optimist," Senator Richard Lugar told The Nation when asked about thefuture of the program he and former Senator Sam Nunn authored. Nunn andLugar will also travel to Moscow this week to fight for this issue. Soit's likely the Administration will make its point, Congress will givePresident Bush his waiver, and Washington will congratulate itself on areturn to the Nunn-Lugar status quo.
But is the status quo good enough?
A grapefruit-size chunk of highly enriched uranium, or a soda can'sworth of plutonium, is enough for a nuclear bomb. Nunn-Lugar officialscan list many achievements-but there's still enough weapons-gradeuranium and plutonium, in more than 100 Russian buildings Nunn-Lugarexperts have never made security upgrades to, to make thousands ofnuclear weapons. Some of those buildings are protected by nothing morethan wood doors and padlocks-no fences, surveillance cameras, trafficbarriers or professional security staff.
Should they fall into terrorist hands, these materials represent thepotential to erase New York or Los Angeles. We could be using ourleverage with President Putin to tie them down. Instead, we're paintingthe Russians into a corner-forcing them to divert attention and securitytoward storing weapons we could instead dismantle. We're doing so eventhough carpet-bombing and wilding in Chechnya has created amini-Afghanistan-one whose Al Qaeda-friendly guerrillas are experts atgaming the corrupt side of Russia.
This is such an obvious national security bungle that the BushAdministration is finally on the defensive. Unnamed US diplomatsreassure the summit-hungry press that a secret new $20 billionnon-proliferation program is in the works, to be announced next month ata G-8 meeting in Canada. Sounds promising - until you learn the plan isfor the US to kick in $10 billion over ten years, or $1 billion a year,which is less than the $1.3 billion we spend annually under Nunn Lugar.Another caveat: we kick in that $10 billion only if the rest of the Westalso antes up $10 billion as well.
The Administration also thinks Europe should come up with its share bypressuring its private banking sector to write off Russia's Soviet-eradebt. Having reported many years from Russia, I can assert withconfidence: there is no better way to bring a project to a screechinghalt than to involve it in Russia's torturous debt negotiations."Details of the plan have yet to be worked out," the unnamed diplomatstold Reuters this week. No kidding.
Perhaps the Bush Administration could not have stopped 9/11. But it hasall the intelligence it needs to see that America's highest nationalsecurity priority is to keep Russia from becoming a terrorist's HomeDepot. return to menu
4. Senators Push Nuclear Materials Safeguards
May 22, 2002
(for personal use only)
As the Bush administration raised the specter of terrorists usingweapons of mass destruction, a bipartisan group of senators on Wednesdayoffered a bill to tighten controls on nuclear weapons materials andtechnologies.
The bill calls for an additional $405 million a year to beef up about adozen nonproliferation programs, including strengthening security atnuclear facilities, accelerating the disposal of fissile materials inRussia and elsewhere, and developing protections against radioactive"dirty" bombs.
Sen. Pete Domenici, a New Mexico Republican, said with the bill "ourprograms to counter threats of nuclear and radiological terrorism willbe significantly strengthened, and risks to the United States and to ourinternational partners can be greatly reduced."
It was offered a day after Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld toldsenators at a hearing that "terrorists networks have relationships withterrorist states that have weapons of mass destruction, and ... theyinevitably are going to get their hands on them and they would nothesitate one minute to use them."
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden in a statementsaid he was not convinced that terrorists' use of weapons of massdestruction was inevitable, but said the United States was doing toolittle to contain weapons materials in Russia that could fall into theirhands.
"There is enough highly enriched uranium and plutonium in Russia to maketens of thousands of nuclear weapons," said Biden, a Delaware Democratand co-sponsor of the bill.
"Because of poor security and as many as 100,000 underemployed weaponsscientists in the former Soviet Union," he said terrorist groups orrogue nations could get materials or technology to develop weapons ofmass destruction.
The bill includes $200 million for plutonium disposal in Russia once itadopts a program to do that, as well as other programs to contain itsweapons material.
Lawmakers may try to add it to a $393 billion defense bill the Senate isto take up when it returns from a weeklong Memorial Day recess, theiraides said. return to menu
1. Bush-Putin: A Call To Action
Curt Weldon and Ian Bremmer
May 24, 2002
(for personal use only)
US President George W. Bush arrived in Moscow May 23 for a summit withRussian leader Vladimir Putin. The dramatic improvement in US-Russianrelations in the past months has the potential to be the single mostimportant geopolitical shift in the world since World War II. Astrategic alliance between our two nations, all but unthinkable a yearago, is a real possibility.
Following September 11, despite widespread internal opposition, Putindemonstrated his commitment to deepening relations with the UnitedStates. Russia openly supported America's military efforts inAfghanistan, shared and coordinated intelligence in the region,facilitated the opening of US bases in Central Asia, and unilaterallyclosed their own listening posts in Cuba and Vietnam. In the global waragainst terror, Russia has been one of America's most importantpartners.
President Bush has made a strong public commitment to Russia in return.Thanks to a pending Arms Control Agreement and NATO's announcement ofcloser cooperation between allied and Russian military forces, realprogress is being made.
Reduction of arms and cooperative military security are meaningfulprojects, however, it would be shortsighted if our work stopped there.
When President Bush and President Putin meet again in Moscow and St.Petersburg, the agenda for the summit should be taken further thandefense and security issues. There are many areas where a more active USpolicy could contribute to transforming President Bush's friendship withPresident Putin into a lasting alliance. Here, we focus on three of themost important - economic assistance, expanding energy partnerships andresolving issues surrounding the Caspian Sea region.
A combination of higher oil prices and cautious macroeconomic managementcontributed to a recovery of the Russian economy after the August 1998crisis. In addition to supporting Russia's bid to enter the World TradeOrganization, the United States should assist Russia with well targeteddirect economic aid and technical assistance, to support the structuralreforms aimed at sustaining the high growth rates that are necessary tosafeguard political and social stability.
United States support for initiatives aimed at reducing the heavy burdenof Soviet-era "Paris Club" debts would make a substantial difference.Upon the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia assumed over US $40billion of Soviet debts, primarily disbursed in the late 1980's andearly 90's by the export credit agencies of industrial countries in thewest. Russia's debt burden is heavy, amounting to $3.5-4.0 billion peryear through 2015. Payments this year alone exceed total Russian federalspending on education and are nearly equal total expenditure on thejudiciary and law enforcement.
To promote stability, the United States should work together withEuropean allies to establish a fund, jointly administered by Russia andParis Club creditor states, to be used to finance a variety of projectswithin Russia, in such areas as education, the environment and publichealth. Writing off these debt repayments would be a low-cost option forcreditor nations, while having a profound impact on Russia's developmentand stability in areas that currently receive inadequate funding.
Both international financial institutions and Western governments haveprovided Russia with valuable technical assistance during much of thepast decade. The scope of these efforts needs to be boosted, to supportthe Russian government's own structural reform agenda. American adviceand technical support in such crucial areas as tax policy, bankingsector reform and the design of targeted social programs would beinexpensive but tremendously valuable to ensure the success of ongoingreform.
In the last two years, Russia's role as an energy exporter has grownfaster than that of any other country. Until now Russia has been aEuropean energy supplier, but after rapid expansion of production andexports, Russia is emerging as a global energy power. Since the UnitedStates is the world's largest energy importer, both countries have acommon interest in energy cooperation and global energy security.
Currently, Russia is not a part of the world energy security framework.The United States should seek to build a more balanced politicalrelationship with Russia that would acknowledge Russia's increased rolein US and global energy security. In particular, action should be takento involve Russia in the International Energy Association's energysecurity framework.
The United States should further assist Russia with investment indeepwater ports that would make it economical for Russian oil to beshipped to the Western Hemisphere, both from Europe and Asia, thusmaking Russia potentially a significant supplier to the United States.The United States should also consider more direct forms of economiccooperation in the energy sphere, including the purchasing of militaryfuel from Russia.
Before we lay the groundwork for this new energy partnership, we mustfind common ground with regard to the Caspian Sea region. US-Russianrelations in the Caspian Sea region has often been described as themodern "Great Game" - with Russia trying to maintain its monopolyposition in the area, and the United States' investments incircumventing Russian presence, leaving us at a fork in the road. Inlight of the shared geopolitical interests of both countries followingSeptember 11, attempts by both countries to exclude the other arecounter productive and cooperation will serve the interests of bothpowers.
The United States should make it clear that it views Russia as anessential strategic ally in the Caspian with an important role to playin bringing the region stability and prosperity. To this end, the UnitedStates should create a multilateral forum with Russia, together with thestates of the Caucasus and Central Asia, to discuss securityarrangements, pipeline issues and economic development in the Caspian.While avoiding condominium, America should stand ready to engage in anenergetic and constructive dialogue with Russia, both on areas of mutualinterest, as well as potential competition.
America should build off of recent NATO-Russia ties and expand therelationship with engagement in joint cooperation on issues of mutualsecurity concern in the Caspian. Such initiatives could include supportfor Georgia in combating terrorism, as well as the future of US CentralAsian military engagement.
Despite the turmoil in US-Russian relations over the past decade, theopportunity of 1991 to achieve a true alliance with Russia is stillavailable. With - at last - an attentive and disciplined foreign policygroup in Moscow, Mr. Putin has made his best offer. At this week'ssummit, it's time America returns the favor.
Ian Bremmer is President of Eurasia Group and Senior Fellow at the WorldPolicy Institute. Curt Weldon is a US Congressman (R - PA) and a memberof the House Armed Services Committee. return to menu
2. Mr. Bush's Most Excellent Exam Adventures
May 22, 2002
(for personal use only)
Logic and Problem-Solving 101 Yale University Midterm Examination
Multiple Choice: Read the problem carefully and choose one of the fiveanswers that follow.
You are the president of the United States. A formidable and highlymotivated terrorist group is seeking a nuclear bomb, which it would thenuse to destroy Washington or Los Angeles. Should the terrorists build orobtain such a weapon, there is, at this point in time, little chance ofpreventing its delivery by boat, either up the Potomac River or into,say, Marina del Rey. Naturally, you ask for a briefing: How can weprevent this? Your intelligence agencies tell you more than 600 tons ofweapons-grade uranium and plutonium sit in povertyicken Russia --enough, according to the U.S. General Accounting Office, to produce astaggering 40,000 nuclear bombs. Some of that material is pretty wellsecured. But the GAO reports that, incredibly, there are still "hundredsof tons" of weapons-grade uranium and plutonium -- i.e., enough forthousands of nuclear weapons -- stored in about 100 buildings in Russiathat lack such basic security as fences (!), surveillance cameras orreinforced doors. This is so despite years of weakly funded and largelyorphaned U.S. assistance programs to improve Russian nuclear securityand buy up excess weapons-grade materials. You are shown intelligencethat security is also lax around more than 10,000 warheads Russia has instockpile storage and in quasi-portable "tactical" status. And thenthere are "research reactors" -- which use some of the best bomb-gradeuranium and have some of the worst security. You are briefed onincidents in 1993 when separatists in Abkhazia overran a researchreactor in Sukhumi and made off with 2 kilograms of highly enricheduranium, and how scientists at a sister reactor in the town of Mtskhetadefended it with rakes and sticks. As it happens, the terroriststargeting the United States have ties to independence-minded Chechenrebels in Russia's south, and to their leader Shamil Basayev, who oncefought shoulder-to-shoulder with Abkhaz separatists. Small world. ThoseChechen rebels are experts at gaming the corrupt side of Russiansociety, so much so that they have bought weapons and ammunition fromthe very Russian troops they are battling in the field. All of whichsuggest that Russia's loosely secured nuclear weapons and weapons-gradematerials are vulnerable and available to the terrorists. However,Russia is your new ally. You have looked into the eyes of RussianPresident Vladimir Putin and seen his good soul. In fact, you have seenthat he is pretty much a doormat and will accept any arms control dealyou care to offer. The Russian president has expressed a desire for deepcuts in "strategic" nuclear weapons - the ones mounted on ballisticmissiles. You have 6,000, he has 5,500. You each only need about 200such weapons to provide a credible strategic deterrent. Were the UnitedStates to assume the financial burden of dismantling or securing allRussian weapons of mass destruction, it would cost billions of dollars-- but would still represent a mere fraction of annual U.S. defensespending. In fact, it would cost roughly what Congress has allocatedeach year for a national missile defense shield -- a shield that justweeks ago your Pentagon in essence admitted won't work, at least not assold so far, by sheepishly suggesting it might need to use U.S. nuclearweapons to shoot down incoming hostile missiles.
Logic dictates you should:
A) Offer to reduce your "strategic" nuclear arsenal to about 200 weaponsin return for a comparable Russian reduction -- but also in return forRussia publishing how many other kinds of nuclear weapons it has,agreeing to dismantle the vast majority of them and agreeing to workwith U.S. experts to dramatically improve security around them. Ifnecessary, point out that your government has only about 1,000 tacticalnuclear weapons, including about 180 in European nations, and put themall on the negotiating table.
B) Offer to cancel your ailing national missile defense program inreturn for Russia ending its nuclear flirtation with Iran -- and alsofor granting U.S. experts sweeping access to move in and secure Russia'sweaponizable nuclear, chemical and biological materials.
C) Tell the Russian president that the seven-year war in Chechnya is nolonger "an internal matter," as it now threatens U.S. security. Seek tobroker an immediate cease-fire, a withdrawal of Russian troops and apeaceful settlement of the conflict.
D) Invest in a "reverse Manhattan Project" to shut down nuclear powerplants worldwide, on grounds they can be used to fuel nuclear weapons.Replace them with cleaner alternatives and develop technology andinfrastructure to identify nuclear weapons before they enter the UnitedStates' borders, whether delivered by truck or boat or backpack.
E) All of the above.
F) Cut taxes for the rich. Arbitrarily declare some days "red danger"days and others "orange." Wipe your feet on the Kremlin doormat bysigning a three-page "treaty" with Putin that comes into effect tenyears later -- at which time both sides can collectively have well over30,000 nuclear weapons of various stripes lying about. Place not asingle demand on Russia to report how many thousands of tactical weaponsit holds. And since you're giving up nothing, expect nothing in returnvis-a-vis biological weapons or chemical weapons. In fact, just forlaughs, quietly cripple existing programs to secure Russia's weapons ofmass destruction by jerking them around on the funding side, and usebureaucratic maneuvers like declining to "certify" Russia as seriousabout nonproliferation. Think of a catchy nickname for the Russianpresident -- Vlad man, the Vladster, Vlad the Destroyer,Vlad-to-Meetchya, Pootser, Pootie-Poot, Shake-Your Pootie, Pootin' onthe Ritz ... Put out the word, pre-summit, that you are "brushing up onDostoevsky."
A very few students got this question wrong by choosing answer A andreading no further. You alone selected answer F, which was included ascomic relief. I can only assume you chose it in that same spirit. I haveto say, now that I see it checked off, it's not so funny. We arebasically chuckling about Washington or New York being vaporized, whichwill seem absolutely impossible right up until the day it happens. Infuture years, out of respect for the dead of Sept. 11, I will notinclude this option on the Logic and Problem-Solving midterm. I am alsogiving you a failing grade. Please try to approach the final with a bitmore rigor and respect.
Matt Bivens, a former editor of The Moscow Times, is a Washington-basedfellow of The Nation Institute [www.thenation.com]. return to menu
3. Bush-Putin Summit Fails To Bury The Cold War
Ken Luongo and Ian Davis
May 22, 2002
(for personal use only)
The new nuclear arms reduction treaty to be signed by Presidents Bushand Putin is being hailed as the start of a new era in Russian-Americanrelations. The willingness of each side to reduce its long-rangenuclear warheads by two thirds in the next decade, to between 1,700 to2,200, coupled with the imminent creation of a new NATO-Russia Council,prompted Jack Straw to note that we are witnessing "the funeral of thecold war". But this characterization is deceptive, as the heart of thecold war nuclear danger is still beating.
At only three pages, the treaty is an important but minimalist documentthat significantly scales back oversized nuclear stockpiles but does notmandate permanent reductions. In keeping with the Bush administration'sdesire to preserve maximum nuclear flexibility, the deal contains norequirement to destroy retired warheads, places no prohibition onmissile defence systems, allows either side to return to any force levelit desires after 10 years, and lets either side pull out with 90 days'notice at any time. On the American side some of the weapons will bedismantled, but most will be placed in storage adding to an alreadybulging reserve stockpile.
While the danger of a nuclear exchange between Washington and Moscow mayrecede yet further, post Cold War security threats remain as real andpressing as ever. Top of the list of nuclear dangers is potential'leakage' of fissile material from Russia's vast and often ill-guardednuclear weapons complex, which reportedly has enough nuclear materialavailable for building another 40,000 nuclear weapons.
To accomplish the monumental objective of "liquidat[ing] the legacy ofthe cold war", as President Bush asserted, far more attention andresources must be devoted to help Moscow keep control of its nuclear,chemical and biological weapons and technologies.
Another acute worry is the security of Russia's arsenal of tacticalnuclear weapons. Following the precedent set by the arms controlnegotiations of the Cold War the deal struck by Putin and Bush places nolimitation on tactical nuclear weapons. Tactical or 'substrategic'nuclear weapons have smaller yields than strategic nuclear weapons andare designed for battlefield use. The United States has just over 1,000of these weapons while Russia's arsenal is not known but is believed tonumber between 4,000 and 12,000.
Concerns persist that the size, the lack of effective controls overtheir storage, and absence of a reliable inventory, make these weaponsvulnerable to theft by terrorist or criminal groups. These fears havemultiplied since September 11th with many analysts holding that onesource of an Al-Qaeda nuclear bomb would be Russia's arsenal of tacticalnukes. A recent CIA report argued that, "The [Russian nuclear weapons]security system . may not be sufficient to meet today's challenge of aknowledgeable insider collaborating with a criminal or terrorist group."
Resistance on the part of Moscow and Washington to limits on tacticalnukes reflects a common feeling that these weapons still have a role toplay in their respective military planning. The United States isseeking to assign new missions to its tactical arsenal, principally foruse against "rogue states" who may be developing chemical and biologicalweapons (CBW). The US Department of Energy is currently seeking fundingfor a new low-yield nuclear weapon for use against underground bunkersand CBW facilities. This thinking was laid out in the recently releasedUS Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), which calls for a smaller, but moreflexible, US nuclear arsenal. Russia seems to be relying on thesebattlefield weapons more as strategic arsenals are reduced. So, whilethe overall number of warheads will be reduced in the short term, themissions of the remaining weapons may be expanded.
The Bush-Putin Summit offers an historic opportunity for the twopresidents to further build on the post-cold war foundation ofcooperative security between the United States and Russia. Sadly itseems that this opportunity will not be fully exploited this week.Given that the Russian arsenal is lying on Europe's doorstep, Britainand the other EU Member States must now do more to assist with theimproved security and safe disposal of these remaining nuclear weaponsand materials. It would certainly be unwise to leave the job to Moscowand Washington alone.
Ken Luongo is Executive Director of the Russian-American NuclearSecurity Advisory Council (RANSAC) and Ian Davis is Director of BASIC. return to menu
4. U.S.-Russia Consider Joint India Initiative
United Press International
May 22, 2002
(for personal use only)
Even as India's Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee declared Wednesdaythat the time had come for the "decisive battle" againstPakistani-backed terrorism, U.S. and Russian officials are discussinghow this week's Moscow summit between Presidents George Bush andVladimir Putin could produce a joint initiative to stop an Indo-Paknuclear war. Earlier comforting assumptions that there would be no waruntil September, after the searing summer heat and the monsoon, havebeen jolted by India's escalating rhetoric and military preparations,including this week's order to all military units to consult their warbook. "India is forced to fight a war thrust on it and we will emergevictorious. Let there be no doubt about it," Vajpayee told cheeringtroops along the Kashmir border Wednesday. Britain's Tony Blair, who issending his foreign secretary to the region next week and has now pulledall non-essential British diplomats from Pakistan, is urging Bush andPutin to intervene directly with the Indian and Pakistani leaders. return to menu
5. Potemkin Village
May 22, 2002
(for personal use only)
So far this month, the Cold War has already ended twice: once when theRussian and American presidents announced an arms-cut treaty, and thenshortly afterward when Russia signed up to take an honorary place atNATO's table. Tomorrow, George Bush goes to Moscow to meet VladimirPutin, and before his four-day visit is done someone is bound to try toend the Cold War yet again.
Enough already. It's over with. Finito. The Cold War ended at least 11and maybe 13 years ago.
So why does everyone keep talking about it? Do they just like the way itsounds?
Sadly, no. Dredging up the Cold War, only to bury it again, is a way tofocus on Russia as a great power, as a nuclear heavyweight, and now as anew partner with the West. It's a way to pretend that this is all aboutgeostrategy and a lot of other mumbo-jumbo. It's a distraction, to keepattention away from what this summit is really about.
Mr. Putin, clearly acting in what he believed to be Russia's bestinterests, took an enormous gamble last fall when he aligned his countrywith the United States in its war on terrorism. It was a logical but byno means inevitable move. And it is too soon to say whether the gambleis going to pay off.
But it's already clear that Russia is going to need help. The economy,which grew the past two years, is crumbling. In the country's mostproductive regions - the Urals and along the Volga - output is down.Wage arrears are growing again. Some signs suggest the ruble may be infor another nose-dive. This is new territory for Mr. Putin.
What Russia wants from the United States is stability. This explains, inpart, why Russia conceded so much on the questions of missiles andnuclear arms. Russia badly needed a treaty, and gave up most of itsbargaining positions to get one. By slashing the number of nuclearwarheads, it will be able to reduce its ruinous military spending - and,incidentally, make itself look a lot more inviting to Western investors.
But Mr. Putin also doesn't want to see the United States go offhalf-cocked against the axis of evil. Mr. Putin apparently fears thatthe unintended consequences of an American attack on, say, Iraq couldend up giving Russia a severe case of whiplash (by way of variousunsteady neighbors and an Islamic terrorist or two).
The Kremlin has recognized that it can't fight the United States. Mr.Putin is going to have to try to sway Mr. Bush through charm andpersuasion. He has to make the summit look like Russia's grand re-entryinto the civilized world. He has to make it look like the end of theCold War.
The American president would do well to go along. Mr. Putin is stillpopular among ordinary Russians, but the sorts of people who infect theechelons of power are decidedly less enthusiastic about him. A foreignpolicy disaster or an economic debacle could set loose any number ofunhelpful forces. There are those within the Russian military who wouldbe only too happy to make trouble for American soldiers now in CentralAsia and Georgia.
An overtly hostile Russia would make U.S. foreign affairs indescribablymore complicated. Does this mean that Washington must tie its Russianpolicy to the fate of one man, a former KGB agent who rose precipitouslyto power? No, far from it. That has been America's mistake in Russia forfar too long. But here is a case where America's own interests will bestbe served if Mr. Putin's gamble turns out to be a winner. return to menu
6. Scoring The Summit
May 22, 2002
(for personal use only)
When scoring Olympic events like diving or figure skating, judges firstassess the difficulty of the maneuver before judging its execution. Ifwe follow that practice in scoring this week's Moscow summit betweenPresidents George W. Bush and Vladamir Putin, what may first appear aflawless performance will actually fall far short of a perfect 10.
The Bush administration has chosen to be cautious in its approach to thesummit. In Olympic terms, the program never leaves the low diving board.
The "centerpiece" of the summit will be a signing of an arms controltreaty that reduces deployed strategic warheads by two-thirds, to alevel of 1,700 to 2,200 over a decade. Puff aside, this reminds one ofChurchill's observation of a political opponent: "a modest man withmuch to be modest about." The treaty simply formalizes what each leaderhad previously announced he planned to do unilaterally. The fact thatthese plans are formalized in a treaty reflects Bush's willingness todefer to the wishes of Putin's older-thinking Russian associates. AsBush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, observed, this atleast demonstrates that "the president listened to his Russianpartner."
At current levels of strategic nuclear warheads, numbers are essentiallysymbolic. What really matters in this realm is the likelihood of use.Factors that affect likelihood that nuclear weapons will be firedinclude early-warning systems, command and control systems, and thedecision time available to each president in a crisis. Unfortunately,both sides appear to have agreed to avoid these difficult issues.
Moreover, the biggest danger in the nuclear arena is the threat ofnuclear terrorism. What stands between a nuclear terrorist attack onWashington or Moscow is Al Qaeda or Chechen terrorists stealing anuclear weapon or material from which a nuclear weapon could beconstructed. Despite their impressive cooperation to date in combatingAl Qaeda, aggressive action to secure Russian nuclear material haslagged behind. On this front as well, absent a last-minute surprise,high-sounding words at the summit will be just words.
On the economic front, thanks to the work of Secretary of CommerceDonald Evans and his Russian counterpart, German Gref, the quality ofthe relationship between economic agencies of both governments hasimproved dramatically. But, as the ad asked: Where's the beef?
Russia awaits designation by the United States as a "market economy" -a designation that will limit US antidumping constraints on Russianexports to the United States like steel. Russia also awaits US repeal ofthe Jackson-Vanik legislation, a Cold War restraint that has longoutlived its usefulness, but the administration has yet to applysufficient leverage to persuade congressional diehards to repeal it.Beyond that lies Russian entry into the World Trade Organization, wherethe United States regularly pledges support but with little substantiveprogress to show for it. Unfortunately, there are no indications thatany of these nuts will be cracked this week.
Putin's eagerness to integrate Russia into US-led Western institutionson their established terms was met with caution again when the UnitedStates settled for a new "NATO-Russia Council" that includes Russia ina separate but not-yet-equal security club. As Secretary of State ColinPowell candidly acknowledged, the challenge remains "to put meat on thebones" of the agreement.
The glaring cautiousness of this summit stands in sharp contrast to theboldness both presidents demonstrated in the immediate aftermath ofSept. 11. Together they have established a qualitatively newrelationship between themselves. On the fundamental question - "foe"or "friend"- the presumption has shifted decisively in the minds ofthe two presidents.
It is important to recognize that the two presidents' views are notfully shared within either government or either society. The summitpresents a unique opportunity for the Bush administration not just toseize a willing Russian leader who has unambiguously crossed the bridgeto join the West but to wrap Russia in such an extensive embrace thathis government - including opponents and doubters - cannot escape.
Conditions are ripe for initiatives as bold as those of Marshall andTruman in the spring of 1947 when they envisioned the Marshall Plan toreconstruct the nations of Europe, including German and Italian enemieswho had been killing American soldiers just two years earlier. Inanalogous circumstances, people we now revere as the "wise men"crafted a strategy of containment of the Soviet Union and built theinstitutions of NATO and Bretton Woods that provided a framework for 50years of peace and prosperity and ultimately victory in the Cold War.
Absent a major summit surprise, this Moscow summit will enter thehistory books as a major missed opportunity.
Graham Allison is director of the Belfer Center for Science andInternational Affairs at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. return to menu
1. Defanging Iran Could Solidify U.S.-Russia Ties
Los Angeles Times
May 23, 2002
(for personal use only)
There is a rub-your-eyes quality to the summit that kicks off tonightbetween President Bush and Russian leader Vladimir V. Putin in Russia.Erstwhile enemies are embarking on a historic new partnership. If theyseize the moment, they could parlay their new friendship into solving aproblem that has eluded them thus far: the defanging of Iran.
It is hard to escape the view that the traditional rivals arefundamentally refining their relationship and a U.S.-Russia entente isin full bloom.
Though the Cold War ended more than a decade ago, it took the tragedy ofSept. 11 to force the realization that these two former enemies mustwork together closely to combat the forces of extremism. The oldmentality of the Cold War lives among many who promote the spread ofRussian nuclear technology to Iran. But membership in the West has itsobligations, namely responsible international behavior. Secretary ofState Colin L. Powell calls the effort to halt the Russian flow ofnuclear technology to Iran a top foreign policy objective of the U.S.and those seeking to curb radicalism.
Yevgeny Primakov is a "Cold Warrior" who for decades was one of Russia'sleading Middle East strategists and recently was the country's primeminister. Strobe Talbott, the Clinton administration's point man indealing with Russia, viewed Primakov as an obstructionist when it cameto ties with Iran.
Talbott writes in "The Russia Hand," his just-released memoirs on histime in office, that "Primakov's view [was] that U.S.-Russia relationswere essentially and eternally a zero-sum game." In other words, if theU.S. is upset with Iran, Primakov must believe it is in Russia'sinterest to foster closer ties with Tehran.
Indeed, the U.S. has many reasons to be suspicious of Iran. A Jan. 30CIA report to Congress concludes: "Iran remains one of the most activecountries seeking to acquire weapons of mass destruction--indicating itsdesire to develop a domestic capability to produce various types ofchemical, biological and nuclear weapons and their delivery systems."
Despite the efforts of reformers, hard-liners dominate Iran, and nowTehran is working on a medium-range missile and is moving toward along-range missile that could hit the U.S. Can anyone doubt that a"nuclearized" Iran means the power struggle there will be tipped furtherin the direction of the mullahs and away from the moderates?
Moreover, a nuclear-armed Iran is bound to make the Middle East an evenless stable place, as evidenced by Iranian mischief-making throughoutthe region. If Iran gets a nuclear bomb and this is equated withregional primacy, what will be the effect on Arab countries such asEgypt- always super-sensitive to its position in the region?
Moreover, one cannot assume that Iran wants to go nuclear merely forreasons of prestige. Former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani openlyboasted in a sermon a few months ago that once Iran got nuclear weaponsit would be able to wipe out Israel.
Taken altogether, Tehran's behavior has earned it a place among threestates that Bush called the "axis of evil."
The Primakov approach is rendered antiquated by not only the fact thatthe countries are no longer locked for advantage in a global chessboardbut because Russia also is worried by the brand of Islamic radicalismIran represents.
There is another reason why Russia sells nuclear technology to Iran inspite of its worries: a desire to make a fast buck. Talbott says theU.S. has incontrovertible evidence that such technology transfer hasbeen orchestrated by successive Russian ministers of atomic affairs.According to Talbott, Al Gore, a key figure in U.S.-Russia relationswhen he was vice president, told Primakov a few years ago that Russiawas being at best penny-wise and pound-foolish since its attitude towardTehran meant it was forgoing billions of dollars in revenue from thecommercial launching of satellites and other deals with the West.
"You can have a piddling trickle of money from Iran or a bonanza withus," Gore reportedly said, "but you can't have both. Why do you keeptrying to have it both ways?"
Whether dealing with outdated ideas of Cold War geopolitics or driven byfinancial gain, Russia's approach to Iran is deeply misguided.
A joint Bush-Putin approach on the issue of nuclear technology and Iranthis week would be the best evidence that this new partnership holdspromise not just for the start of a beautiful bilateral relationship butalso in demonstrating key resolve in dealing with the roughestneighborhood in the world today--the Middle East.
David Makovsky is a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for NearEast Policy and a contributing editor of U.S. News & World Report. return to menu
2. Armenian Customs Chief Denies Dual Technology Sold To Iran
May 23, 2002
(for personal use only)
Armenian customs officials have not registered the export to Iran of anytechnology or equipment that could be used for the manufacture ofweapons of mass destruction, the daily "Haykakan zhamanak" quotedCustoms Service head Armen Avetisian as saying, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureaureported on 22 May. Avetisian further claimed that the United States hasno evidence to substantiate its allegations that the Charentsavan-basedLizin chemical plant exported dual-purpose technology to Iran. return to menu
1. Following The Script
May 23, 2002
(for personal use only)
Like most summits, the NATO-Russia summit President Bush is embarked onis a scripted success before it starts.
Bush will sign a strategic arms reduction treaty with Russian PresidentVladimir Putin and mark an agreement between NATO and Russia that willinclude Russia in a specially created cooperative council. There will bepositive joint statements on such issues as counterterrorism andeconomic relations.
The trip is designed to celebrate the new warmth in U.S.-Russianrelations cultivated by Bush and Putin, two leaders who have provedremarkably simpatico.
The Russians don't like to be pushed - or at least seen to be pushed -but Bush must press Putin on Russia's sales of nuclear and militarytechnology to Iran. National security adviser Condoleezza Rice notedrather ominously on the eve of the trip that "some of the things theIranians are trying to acquire could only be aimed at American forces."
The unscripted part of the summit will be a success if Bush can makeprogress in two areas: safeguarding Russian weapons stocks andrebuilding NATO.
The United States spends $1 billion a year to help store and secure thesprawling detritus of the old Soviet military empire - nuclear, chemicaland biological weapons - before the terrorists get their hands on them.Bush will ask other nations to match that amount to speed up theprocess. Coming up with the money will be a test of the sincerity ofEurope's noisy anti-nuke activists.
In meeting with NATO leaders and in "bilaterals" with the leaders ofGermany, France and Italy, Bush must convince them to up their defensespending so that NATO is capable of rapid and long-range deployment. Ithas not been, a failing that became apparent in Bosnia and glaring inAfghanistan. The NATO nations were sincerely willing to help butconspicuously incapable of being much help.
In turn, Bush will take a beating from the Europeans and Russians overthe unilateral imposition of high tariffs on imported steel. TheAmerican president will have a lot of explaining to do to convince ourtrading partners that domestic politics will not override theirinterests and to regain his credibility on trade issues.
The differences shouldn't obscure the positives, particularly with theRussians. Said Rice, "They have been a stalwart asset and friend in thewar on terrorism and intelligence cooperation." When has a White Housenational security adviser ever talked like that before? return to menu
E. Russian Nuclear Waste
1. Russia Planning Nuclear Waste Burial Facility On Arctic Archipelago
May 23, 2002
(for personal use only)
Russia is considering plans to build a burial facility for nuclear wasteon an Arctic archipelago, officials said Thursday, denying that the sitewould become a dumping ground for spent nuclear fuel imported fromabroad.
Vitaly Nasonov, spokesman for the Atomic Energy Ministry, said theministry had approved tentative plans for the facility at a meetingWednesday. A "working design" for the project is now being developed, hesaid.
The facility would be located at Russia's Novaya Zemlya testing area.Russia uses the site to conduct subcritical test blasts of nuclearweapons, in which plutonium is blasted with explosives too weak to setoff an atomic explosion. Those tests are not prohibited by theinternational Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which Moscow signed in May2000.
Russia has observed a moratorium on full-scale nuclear testing since itslast test explosion in October 1990, but Moscow says the subcriticaltests are necessary to ensure the safety of its nuclear arsenal.
Nasonov said ecological studies have already been conducted on the site,and that visiting experts from the United States and Norway found itsuitable for a waste dump.
Officials moved quickly to allay fears that the planned burial facilitywould accept nuclear waste from outside Russia.
Last summer, President Vladimir Putin (news - web sites) signed a lawallowing Russia to import spent nuclear fuel from other countries forstorage and reprocessing.
Proponents of the plan say it could earn Russia up to dlrs 20 billionover the next decade, but environmentalists fear it will turn thecountry into the world's nuclear dumping ground.
"The transfer of radioactive wastes to Novaya Zemlya from outside theregion, not to mention from abroad, is just out of the question," saidAnatoly Yefremov, governor of the region, according to Interfax newsagency.
Last week, Russia's Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov strongly denied a U.S.report that the Kremlin was preparing to resume nuclear testing on thearchipelago. The New York Times had reported that an analysis by theU.S. Joint Atomic Energy Intelligence Committee indicated that Moscowwas moving forward with test preparations. return to menu
1. Text Of The Treaty Between The United States Of America And The RussianFederation On Strategic Offensive Reductions
Office of the Press Secretary
The White House
May 24, 2002
The United States of America and the Russian Federation, hereinafterreferred to as the Parties,
Embarking upon the path of new relations for a new century and committedto the goal of strengthening their relationship through cooperation andfriendship,
Believing that new global challenges and threats require the building ofa qualitatively new foundation for strategic relations between theParties,
Desiring to establish a genuine partnership based on the principles ofmutual security, cooperation, trust, openness, and predictability,
Committed to implementing significant reductions in strategic offensivearms,
Proceeding from the Joint Statements by the President of the UnitedStates of America and the President of the Russian Federation onStrategic Issues of July 22, 2001 in Genoa and on a New Relationshipbetween the United States and Russia of November 13, 2001 in Washington,
Mindful of their obligations under the Treaty Between the United Statesof America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Reductionand Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms of July 31, 1991, hereinafterreferred to as the START Treaty,
Mindful of their obligations under Article VI of the Treaty on theNon-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons of July 1, 1968, and
Convinced that this Treaty will help to establish more favorableconditions for actively promoting security and cooperation, andenhancing international stability,
Have agreed as follows:
Each Party shall reduce and limit strategic nuclear warheads, as statedby the President of the United States of America on November 13, 2001and as stated by the President of the Russian Federation on November 13,2001 and December 13, 2001 respectively, so that by December 31, 2012the aggregate number of such warheads does not exceed 1700-2200 for eachParty. Each Party shall determine for itself the composition andstructure of its strategic offensive arms, based on the establishedaggregate limit for the number of such warheads.
The Parties agree that the START Treaty remains in force in accordancewith its terms.
For purposes of implementing this Treaty, the Parties shall holdmeetings at least twice a year of a Bilateral Implementation Commission.
1. This Treaty shall be subject to ratification in accordance with theconstitutional procedures of each Party. This Treaty shall enter intoforce on the date of the exchange of instruments of ratification.
2. This Treaty shall remain in force until December 31, 2012 and may beextended by agreement of the Parties or superseded earlier by asubsequent agreement.
3. Each Party, in exercising its national sovereignty, may withdraw fromthis Treaty upon three months written notice to the other Party.
This Treaty shall be registered pursuant to Article 102 of the Charterof the United Nations.
Done at Moscow on May 24, 2002, in two copies, each in the English andRussian languages, both texts being equally authentic. return to menu
G. Links of Interest
1. On The Principal Provisions Of The New Russian-American Treaty OnStrategic Offensive Reductions (SOR) (Factsheet)
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