. "Appendix C Cooperative Threat Reduction Negotiations: Lessons Learned, Susan Koch." Strengthening U.S-Russian Cooperation on Nuclear Nonproliferation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2005.
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Strengthening U.S.-Russian Cooperation on Nuclear Nonproliferation: Recommendations for Action
or more provisions; the long stalemate in U.S.-Russian plutonium disposition negotiations may be a case in point. In the CTR case, however, a large number of cooperative activities was at stake, including strategic arms elimination, chemical weapons destruction, nuclear warhead and material storage and transport security, defense and military contacts, and other efforts. The costs of failure were much higher than they would have been for a single-project agreement.
Second, and closely related, the substance of CTR cooperation had evolved over time, so that the sides’ interest in the effort did not diminish, even as some initial important motives for the program were no longer relevant. The Umbrella Agreement was drawn broadly enough to encompass work that had not been envisaged when it was first negotiated. Thus, for example, CTR’s initial work in nuclear security was intended primarily to facilitate denuclearization in Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan and warhead dismantlement in Russia. By 1999, nuclear security work had actually increased, designed to prevent proliferation from Russia as well as warhead reduction. Overall, the emphasis of the program was shifting from arms reduction to nonproliferation; that trend has accelerated since 1999, reflecting major changes in the U.S.-Russian relationship and shared threat perceptions.
Third, and just as closely related, the breadth and importance of cooperation under the CTR Umbrella Agreement meant that there were several important CTR stakeholders among Russian agencies. In contrast, only one or two agencies might benefit directly from a single-project agreement, with correspondingly less weight in the Russian government decision-making process. Moreover, the benefit to the Russian government from ongoing CTR projects was real and measurable. Failure to extend the Umbrella Agreement would mean the loss of major ongoing efforts which addressed stated Russian priorities, rather than of hypothetical future possibilities or of efforts which Russia had not identified as priorities.
In addition, the Russian government, and likely especially the Foreign Ministry, had an overall political interest in the continuation of the cooperation. Although the general political motive regarding the U.S. and Russian relationship which underlay CTR cooperation had changed greatly since 1992, it was still important. For both the United States and Russia, expiration of CTR cooperation would have been a real political failure.
Finally, the success of the extension negotiations owed much to the human factor. The Russian negotiators were extremely skillful in forging and maintaining consensus within their own government and in devising a creative solution to the impasse in the negotiations. It is difficult to imagine alternatives to the “provisional application” approach that would have been equally acceptable to both the United States and Russia. It is also difficult to speculate on the internal Russian process that led to its development. But it worked.
In sum, the key factor behind the success of the negotiations of both the CTR Umbrella Agreement and its Extension Protocol was the strong common U.S. and Russian interest in their conclusion. The sources of that common interest can be many. On the substantive side, it appears necessary to have either a strong political incentive and expectation of future benefit (as in the 1992 negotiations) or a practical interest in ongoing cooperation that carries measurable, important benefits that address both sides’ priorities (as in the 1999 negotiations). Procedurally, intragovernmental support for the cooperation is also required. A forcing function like a presidential summit is very useful, but not essential, if the necessary consensus within and between governments can otherwise be achieved.