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extrapolating the status quo will not achieve civil HEU elimination by 2015 or even on some lengthier timetable.

By acting boldly, the two sides can take responsibility for nuclear dangers for which they bear primary, though not sole, accountability. Further, they can serve as role models, enhancing their ability to engage third parties. Finally, the cooperation the two sides have realized to date in dealing with material in third-party states can provide the basis for cooperation on sites within Russia, as yet off the joint agenda. The United States and Russia are the indispensable partners in ameliorating the civil HEU threat.135

The foundation is in place; now the two sides need to build on it to ensure that civil HEU never ends up in a state, or worse, a terrorist nuclear bomb. It is often asked, the day after a nuclear terrorist attack, what will we wish we had done? The United States and Russia have a clear opportunity, today and in the coming years, to ensure that securing civil HEU is not the answer to that question.

135

Additionally, as one participant at Vienna observed, U.S.-Russian threat reduction cooperation is important not only for its threat ameliorating effects, but also because successful cooperation helps the relationship weather political tensions that may undercut cooperation in other domains.



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