certain at best. The current political leaders in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakstan appreciate the importance of improved MPC&A and export control systems. They are aware of the vast quantities of inadequately protected items with military significance located in the region—particularly in Russia. They acknowledge the deficiencies in current regulatory and security systems and recognize the benefits of engaging U.S. specialists in helping to upgrade their systems.
However, the leaders in these countries could easily change, and new personalities may not have the same outlook toward the importance of cooperation in such sensitive fields. Indeed, future leaders could terminate bilateral programs abruptly. Thus, if these cooperative programs are effective, the importance of moving forward with them while the political doors are open is clear. Indeed, the deeper the base of support for cooperation in the four successor countries—support nurtured through working side by side—the greater the survivability of the programs in the midst of rapidly evolving political forces in the countries.