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05 Margaret Peacock
Weapon Proliferation in Russia and the surrounding region and the West’s Apathy
The Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was an effort directly resulting from the faulty deterrence based animosity between the US and former soviet union during the Cold War. The internationally agreed upon policy (with few exceptions) helped settle tensions post-Cold War and also helped to prevent the spread of nuclear weaponry to rogue states and aide in the decommissioning of active warheads and nuclear fuel. Despite the document’s success in assuaging tensions and helping to prevent Nuclear proliferation, after the Fall of the soviet union in 1991, the burden that the NPT would place on Russia would be too much for the struggling republic to handle by itself. A lack of western and international support for Russia has left the country to deal with the task of implementing controls and preventing weapon proliferation by regional states such as the Caucasus and Balkans by itself. This is, at best, ineffectual and dangerous. At the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the USSR and the US were the two largest supporters of the Non-Proliferation treaty, in terms of financial support to programs focus on ending the spread of weaponry (Kesseler 30). The collapse of the soviet union meant intense infrastructure rebuilding and a shift to a semi-democratic nation . With focus turned on the most basic necessities for nation, Russia had little time or resources to focus on enforcing provisions
of the NPT domestically, let alone internationally among the recently created Common Wealth of Independent states. Although a great deal of nuclear fuel and weaponry was turned over to Russia by some of the commonwealth states, much still went un-accounted for (Anderson, Cassady, and Grillot 40). The result of the poorly implemented portions of this treaty is that nuclear fuel and materiel for WMD programs is now spread across the Central Asia and Caucasus region (Anderson, Cassady, and Grillot 42). The mere fact of nuclear materiel is readily accessible is not enough to cause great concern, or violate specifically the terms of the NPT, but the ease of access by which these nations can transport this material via smuggling to countries who possess the technology to develop these remnants of soviet warfare into WMDs, is quite troubling not only for the NPT, but for global safety. The inherent instability of some of the Commonwealth states due to failed post-soviet transitions and poor socio-economic conditions is perpetuating an intense fervor to possess and distribute weapon building materials. On top of this inherent instability, there is a perceived external pressure from the surrounding states such as Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine who have legitimate claim to possess nuclear weapons. Put bluntly, if a state possesses a nuclear arsenal, it significantly increases their geopolitical influence in the region; for countries who have weak, ineffective governments (such as the Caucasus region and the Balkans), this is their only source of diplomatic clout. Beyond the Confederation of Russian states, more concern is placed on the proliferation that is occurring with other close nations such as Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan. Attempts by the US to halt supposed proliferation and weapon development activities in Iraq brought about the second Gulf War, that is presently on-going. The debacle that the Iraq war became due to a lack WMD building evidence and flagrant unilateral actions,
seriously illegitimated the US’ ability to prevent proliferation (Jones 7). Along with recent cutbacks in non-proliferation program funding implemented by the Bush Administration (Mackenzie 2), Russia is now being given virtually to no support from the west in preventing proliferation along the Central Asia region. The real concern facing the region is not only the idea of nuclear weapons and WMDs falling into the hands of the leaders of unstable commonwealth states, but the export of these weapons to countries like Iran and North Korea. The most recent international proliferation issue came about when Iran refused when America and the UN demanded that it should disband all Uranium enrichment and weapons programs. Russia , who had been deepening its ties with Iran in the past decade (Anderson, Cassady, and Grillot 41). worked the hardest with Iran to work out a compromise to ostensibly allow for uranium enrichment for the purposes of using it as an energy source, while limiting weapon development programs, and calling for Iran to allow for international transparency and cooperation (Gottemoeller 2). The US and UN however have not been willing to give an inch of compromise in the situation, further alienating Iran and allowing, for the time being, unrestricted proliferation from Central Asia into and out of Iran. With the growing threat of Islamic fundamentalist based terrorism in areas like Chechnya and Iraq, the threat of these weapons falling into the hands of terrorists is all possible and frightening. The Russian-Iranian alliance should be the microcosm of how Russia should deal with the threat of proliferation by the former Commonwealth States and the rest of the region. It will be impossible however, without the support of the west and international organizations such as the UN and NATO. Although the UN and NATO have been more willing to work on these issues multilaterally with these nations, the clout that the US and its allies have in the security council
prevent any real progress from being made. If any progress is to be made in preventing the continued proliferation, it must be done multilaterally by implementing import-export controls in the Caucasus and the Balkans(Anderson, Cassady, and Grillot 43). These countries are vulnerable and do not have the infrastructure to implement these advanced controls on technology, which is why a multilateral effort is needed in this region, with Russia spearheading this project.
Works Consulted Arbatov, Alexi. "Russia and the Iranian Nuclear Crisis." Carnegie Endowment. 23 May 2006. Carnegie Moscow Center. 17 Mar. 2007 <http://www.carnegieendowment.org/ publications/index.cfm?fa=view&id=18364&prog=zgp&proj=znpp/%20>. Cassady, Craft, Suzette R. Grillot, and Liam Anderson. "The Dangerous Ground." Problems of Post-Communism Nov.-Dec. 2000: 1-13. Academic Search Premiere. EBSCO. St. Edward's University. 15 Mar. 2007. Epstein, William. "Voting by Abstention." Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Mar. 1999: 1-6. Academic OneFile. GaleGroup. Scarborough-Phillips Lib. 13 May 2007. Gottemoeller, Rose. "The Russia Card." The New York Times 03 May 2006. 19 Mar. 2007 <http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/03/opinion/03Gottemoeller.html? ex=1175918400&en=ecdff3c750766e66&ei=5070>. Johnson, Rebecca. "Troubled Treaties: is the NPT Tottering?" Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Mar. 1999. Academic OneFile. GaleGroup. Scarborough-Phillips Lib. 14 Mar. 2007. Jones, Christopher. "The Axis of Non-Proliferation." Problems of Post-Communism Mar. 2006: 3-16. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Scarborough-Phillips Lib. 14 Mar. 2007.
Kesseler, Carol. "Post--Cold War Effects on the Non-Proliferation Regime." Problems of PostCommunism Mar. 2006: 30-38. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Scarborough-Phillips Lib. 18 Mar. 2007. Mackenzie, Debora. "Bush Thinks Again on Funding for Non-Proliferation." New Scientist 12 Jan. 2002. Academic OneFile. GaleGroup. Scarborough-Phillips Lib. 13 Mar. 2007. Ouagrham, Sonia B. "What Non-Proliferation Policy for the Soviet Anti-Plague System?" Critica Reviews in Microbiology Feb. 2006: 65-67. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Scarborough-Phillips Lib. 16 Mar. 2007. "Treaty on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)." Naval Air Warfare Weapons Division. July 2001. U.S. Navy. 25 Mar. 2007 <http://www.nawcwpns.navy.mil/~treaty/NPT.html>. United States. Bureau of Verification and Compliance. Department of State. Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments. 30 Aug. 2005. 25 Mar. 2007 <http://www.state.gov/documents/ organization/52113.pdf>. Wolf, John S. "United States Approaches to Nonproliferation." DISAM Journal 2005: 51-55. Academic OneFile. GaleGroup. Scarborough-Phillips Lib. 12 May 2007.
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