The U.S.-Russia Nuclear Agreement

Richard Weitz’ roundup of the nuclear agreement signed last week between the U.S. and Russia is the most thorough I’ve read so far. I’d been under the impression that the agreement threatened efforts to reduce Russia’s stock of weapons grade uranium. But Weitz points out all the other ways that the agreement opens up areas of cooperative counterproliferation. Among the most convincing is that by offering Russia access to both the American domestic nuclear market and, via cooperative mechanisms, various foreign markets, the agreement provides a lucrative alternative to Russia’s nuclear cooperation with Iran. Ironically, that’s the very sticking point around which Congressional opposition seems to be gathering. Weitz offers the caveat of requiring Russia to dedicate some of the potential windfall towards nonproliferation efforts. But unlike the India 123 Agreement, where there were legitimate NPT concerns, the Russian agreement seems like a pretty good step towards improving cooperation in an increasingly strategic sector, with very little downside.

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