Thursday, December 20, 2007

Recapturing The Genie

By Cernig

I'm still working on my post for Cheryl Rofer's "blog-tank" on nuclear policy, but in the meantime I wanted to flag up a new op-ed by Dick Lugar and Sam Nunn at Newsweek - Recapturing The Genie. They discuss current non-proliferation measures and give their advice to the next incumbent of the Oval Office:
In recent years the United States has focused most of its attention on military action in Iraq and Afghanistan and on thwarting terrorists around the globe. These are important projects. But the world remains awash with poorly controlled nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and materials. To be sure, there has been important progress with regard to securing weapons and related material in the former Soviet Union: under the 15-year-old Nunn-Lugar program, for instance, 7,000 nuclear warheads have been deactivated and hundreds of ballistic missiles dismantled.

Yet North Korea and Iran show that the nuclear genie won't be easy to put back into the bottle. Doing so will require sustained U.S. leadership. Washington's top priority must be to demonstrate to the world that it's prepared to work anywhere, any time, to defuse the proliferation threat.

...The next president must work actively with Pakistan and India, which are both nuclear armed and share perhaps the most dangerous border in the world. He or she should offer the two countries high-profile support for the difficult and time-consuming job of promoting confidence-building measures between them, to reduce the risk of war and end their arms race.

...The next president should also help establish an international nuclear-fuel bank in order to discourage the proliferation of uranium-enrichment plants (facilities that can be used to make reactor fuel or bombs). A fuel bank would help close the loophole in the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty—which allows civilian enrichment—that Iran is trying to exploit.

...Finally, important work remains to be done in Russia. The United States and Russia have worked well together under the Nunn-Lugar program. But vast stocks of weapons and materials remain unsecured and undisclosed.
Lugar and Nunn end by saying that "proliferation has already moved onto the U.S. public's agenda" - which is why, I suppose, things like Cheryl's "blog-tank" are even happening - and advise the next president to get serious, not just tough.

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