Fifteen years ago, the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union produced unimaginable opportunities for enhancing global peace and security. But it also produced new dangers. Most worrisome to many U.S. policymakers was the possibility that the vast Soviet arsenal of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons would fall into the wrong hands.
Fortunately, lawmakers such as Sens. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.) and Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) were quick to recognize and address the danger. Since then, the Cooperative Threat Reduction program has succeeded in destroying and decommissioning many of these weapons. But as Paul F. Walker points out in this month’s cover story, the program still has much more to do, yet is suffering from waning enthusiasm both in Russia and the United States.
Despite these problems, however, the security of nuclear weapons and nuclear warheads is at least high on the U.S.-Russian agenda. By contrast, the subject has not received the same degree of attention in the bilateral relationships the United States has with India and Pakistan. Kenneth N. Luongo and Isabelle Williams argue that Congress should rectify this shortcoming during consideration of the pending deal to promote U.S.-Indian civilian nuclear cooperation.
Pakistan played an important, if indirect, role in pushing the UN Security Council two years ago to pass Resolution 1540. The resolution was intended in part to prevent the recurrence of black market nuclear networks like those run by Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan and extend the nonproliferation regime to nonstate actors, such as terrorist groups. Scott Jones offers an assessment of how well the resolution has met its goals in the crucial area of export controls.
Another major international arms control initiative has stalled in the past decade. Ten years ago, countries began signing on to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Steve Andreasen reviews Keith Hansen’s insider’s account of those negotiations and the subsequent failure of states to bring the nuclear test ban into force.Our news section includes the latest developments affecting the U.S.-Indian nuclear deal and the nuclear standoff with Iran. It also looks at whether developed countries have lived up to their promises to do their part in securing or destroying the former Soviet nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons arsenal.