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--> 6 Epilogue Advanced technologies are rapidly spreading to all corners of the globe. Many of these technologies can be great assets as the world continues to adjust to the ever-growing challenges of expanding populations, increasing demands for reliable sources of energy, dwindling agricultural lands, and escalating pressures on the limited biological resources that sustain life. At the same time, other advanced technologies can be used to threaten political stability, economic progress, and even human survival. Sometimes, the same technology can do both. Providing security for direct-use material and limiting international flows of technologies that could be diverted to support aggression should be the common interests of the United States, Russia, and the other successor states of the former Soviet Union (FSU). In the near term, however, there will be concern about the levels of expenditures by the successor states for materials protection, control, and accountability (MPC&A) systems in light of competing demands for funds and concern over the balance between trade opportunities and national security restraint. Sustained collaborative efforts in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakstan involving American specialists, however effective, cannot be divorced from the overall economic problems in the region. The many enterprises and institutes that are the repositories of the material, equipment, and technical information of proliferation concern continue to face enormous economic difficulties. Salaries. even for senior researchers, are low, and payment is often months late. The October 1996 suicide of the director of the Federal Nuclear Center at Snezhinsk
OCR for page 119
--> (Chelyabinsk-70) over his inability to pay his staff underscores the human dimension of the issue. These economic realities are a major force driving the governments of the FSU, which have responsibility for their citizens' economic well-being as well as the security concerns of the international community. Their commitments and abilities to contain technological prowess therefore will be understandably fragile. Nonetheless, the United States has come to important understandings with Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakstan on the best approaches to MPC&A and export control. During the past several years, American specialists have been warmly welcomed by FSU colleagues attempting to contain dangerous items in the region. As vociferous political debates over a variety of divisive political issues ensue in the governments of the region, and frequently with U.S. diplomatic envoys, American and foreign specialists have continued to work hand in hand to develop practical systems that enhance security. A remarkable degree of bilateral cooperation has developed to address the core national security issues of protecting direct-use nuclear material and controlling exports of military-related items—the very items each had developed to destroy the other. Without the American involvement, it is unlikely that the growing support in the region for upgrading MPC&A systems and for adopting the objectives of the international export control regimes would be realities. The job is far from done, however. Until the time comes when local institutions exercise adequate and responsible control over the technologies inherited from the Soviet Union (as well as discoveries in the years ahead), American specialists must play an important role in stimulating practical steps to achieve the goals of nonproliferation. Even beyond the end of U.S. Government funding for specific programs, these topics should remain a part of bilateral dialogues. Many more years of commitment and effort on the part of all of the governments is essential. During the Cold War, the United States committed billions of dollars to counter the Soviet nuclear threat, which was well defined technically and geographically. Now, proliferation of nuclear materials has the possibility of creating a broad range of nuclear threats to the United States. This, in turn, may necessitate large increases in counter terrorism spending. It is therefore in the interest of the United States to ensure that weapons-usable material in the FSU remains under control. In short, the need for continued progress in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakstan in both MPC&A and export control is great. Indeed, the national security interests of all the governments will be well served by a continuation of these relatively inexpensive programs. A small measure of cooperation now in encouraging these favorable developments may reap enormous benefits later. We should seize the opportunity.
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