that, at least for the immediate future, few political constraints will be placed on local initiatives aimed at economic revival.

While in recent years countries throughout the world have undergone transitions to new forms of governance and to market economies, the national security dimension of the transitions in several countries of the FSU is unique. Russia possesses not only a ready inventory of nuclear weapons, but also the capability to develop, manufacture, and use other types of advanced weapons with sophisticated delivery systems. In addition, several other countries in the region have the capabilities to produce components that are core elements of such weapons and delivery systems. Also of great importance are the substantial quantities of direct-use nuclear material located at many sites in Russia and, to a lesser extent, in several other successor states.

The combination of political uncertainty, economic deprivation, and availability of advanced weapons technologies has raised genuine concerns in many western countries over the determination and capability of a number of the successor states to maintain control over sensitive material, equipment, and technical information.1 Anxieties initially centered on nuclear-related items but now include biological and chemical weapons technologies and components for missile delivery systems. These concerns have become particularly acute in light of the many reports of attempted theft by criminal elements of items that might be of interest to other states and to terrorist groups. While most reported thefts have never been substantiated and the several confirmed reports of greatest concern involve only small quantities of direct-use material, the large number of reports—together with observations by western visitors of inadequate security measures attendant to sensitive commodities—has raised the immediacy of the issue among western governments.

At the same time, the future political course in many of the successor states is far from clear. This is particularly troubling in Russia, where latent forces of nationalism and communism continue to raise the possibility of a return to the past. According to some political scenarios, Russia not only must mobilize existing forces but also might revive its dormant military production facilities, either for reasons of national security or national pride. Such action would undoubtedly be viewed as a hostile act by both near neighbors and distant foes of the past.2

1  

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) has called proliferation "the greatest threat to the national security of the United States" (Opening Statement of U.S. Senator Richard Lugar, Subcommittee on European Affairs, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, August 23, 1995).

2  

The "cold warrior" speech by Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev on December 14. 1992. outlined the possible foreign policy positions of a communist government. If his intent, as he later claimed, was to remind the West of the dangers, he succeeded. See New York Times, December 15, 1992, p. A 16:12. For other possible scenarios, see Daniel Yergin and Thane Gustafson, Russia 2010—And What It Means for the World (New York: Random House, 1993).



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