programs, the appropriations process is where some fights over cooperative programs occur. Individual members of Congress who are opposed to security cooperation with Russia can block funds, delay action through investigations, and attach to an appropriation conditions that undermine or complicate the programs.
Cold War attitudes may manifest themselves more subtly within cooperative programs. The attitudes may take the form of explicit or implicit disrespect or mistrust, as when participants believe that their counterparts are not capable or worthy of being peers and trusted partners in joint projects. An example of such disrespect is evident when American program managers make decisions affecting Russian interests without consulting their Russian counterparts. Similarly, some Russians believe that cooperative programs are merely a front for espionage. This attitude is apparent when, for example, American government staff take a previously-agreed trip to a Russian facility to check on progress, having followed all relevant U.S. and Russian procedures, and are refused entry at the facility because the local directors have security concerns.
The U.S. and Russian governments have succeeded in coping with these barriers and impediments to nonproliferation cooperation over the past decade, but it is clear that they have found no single solution, no “silver bullet,” to do so. Given the variety of barriers and impediments described in the preceding section, this should come as no surprise. The problems that have arisen vary in their legal status, in their political impact, in their technical aspects, and in their overall importance to the success of the joint projects. With some impediments, it has been possible to bump along, continuing—albeit with difficulty—project implementation. In other cases, impediments have stopped the cooperation cold.
Mechanisms found by program managers and others to resolve problems fall loosely into seven categories. Two of them involve steps that a government might take unilaterally, such as a change to national law or a governmental reorganization. The remaining five relate to bilateral steps, whether formal agreements or more informal “fixes.” In the following section, we describe these categories, provide examples of each, and consider how they might be applied in future.
1. Changes in National Law or Policy Procedures
When the United States and Russia embarked on the “cooperative threat reduction” or Nunn-Lugar program in 1992, they had few precedents to guide them. On-site inspections in the arms control process had begun only a few years before, with the implementation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. Prior to that time, there had been no routine way for Russians to visit U.S. military nuclear facilities, or vice versa. As far as the weapons laboratories were concerned, the nuclear scientists on each side had built up an enormous stock of respect for the work of their counterparts, but they had had few opportunities to interact with them directly, and no opportunities to visit each other’s facilities. Thus, the nonproliferation threat reduction programs were stepping out into virgin territory.