Joint Working Group on Overcoming Impediments to Cooperation between the U.S. and Russia on Nuclear Nonproliferation (Moscow, June 2003)
The United States and Russian Federation are working closely together in many ways to address the threat of nuclear proliferation, in order to enhance both their mutual security and the security of the international system. But just as scientists in different countries need to work together more closely to address the technical challenges of the new security environment, new impediments to international scientific collaboration are emerging. Impediments to the implementation of joint nonproliferation and threat reduction programs are particularly problematic and counterproductive. These impediments to cooperation, and the political, bureaucratic, and structural problems that are behind them, are so complex and interwoven that no one solution will solve the problems. Instead, decision-makers need a variety of options upon which they can draw to address specific problems.
This joint U.S.-Russian academies project will identify and analyze existing impediments and problem areas in the whole set of relationships between U.S. and Russia on nuclear nonproliferation, and will explore how best to overcome those impediments in support of shared goals and the commitments made at the June 2002 meeting of the G8 nations. Instead of offering a series of specific recommendations to be adopted in toto, the report will provide policymakers—and those charged with implementing policy—with a set of tools that will facilitate their efforts to reduce the impediments to scientific cooperation. The following notes summarize the comments made and issues portrayed as needing attention in early project meetings. Government and non-government experts participated in the discussions in both Washington and Moscow.
I High-level Political Issues and Interests
A. Coordination of the U.S.-Russian bilateral projects on nuclear nonproliferation with the international system of collective security (UN) and the international multilateral cooperation on nuclear nonproliferation (IAEA).
B. U.S. and Russian relationships with third countries in support of peaceful uses of nuclear energy: The existence of such relationships has hindered bilateral U.S.-Russian cooperation in the past, but might present opportunities for more positive directions in the future, if differences in approach can be resolved.
C. High-visibility U.S.-Russian technical cooperation on nuclear energy and other topics: Could become a mechanism for building confidence in the relationship.
D. Residual Cold War mentality on both sides: In both countries, many of those who now run these programs spent much of their careers fighting the Cold War and mutual mistrust is still a problem. Setbacks and errors that occur in cooperative efforts often seem to vindicate negative stereotypes.
E. (For the U.S.) Appropriateness of using defense budget funding for nonproliferation and defense conversion programs.