Not a Cold War…But

I’ve been remiss in plugging the excellent new blog by former Citizens for Global Solutions CEO Charles Brown. UnDiplomatic has been a daily read for me since it launched a few weeks ago. Brown brings a wealth of experience from the advocacy community and government. He is closely attuned with the inner-workings of international diplomacy.

Brown takes a look at the Administration’s decision to rescind the U.S.-Russia Agreement for Peaceful Nuclear Cooperation, (also called a “123 Agreement”). In the Washington Post, Michael Abramowitz describes the agreement as this:

The civil nuclear agreement was signed in Moscow four months ago, after two years of negotiations. Among other things, the deal would facilitate joint ventures between the Russian and U.S. nuclear industries, and would clear the way for Russia to import thousands of tons of spent nuclear fuel, a business potentially worth billions of dollars.

Not everyone see’s the utility of this move. Also from the Washington Post:

Robert J. Einhorn, a specialist on nuclear nonproliferation at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, expressed doubt that withdrawing the nuclear accord would provide much leverage with Moscow, noting that the deal is as much in Washington’s interest as Russia’s. He said the deal would make it easier for the countries to cooperate in fighting nuclear proliferation and in keeping nuclear material out of the hands of terrorists, both top priorities for the Bush administration.

Finally, Brown explains:

For those not familiar with 123 agreements, they are named after Section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, which requires that the U.S. government negotiate and sign an agreement with a given country before commerce in nuclear materials can be established.

Although 123 agreements can be controversial in and of themselves (as is the case with the U.S.-India pact), they also offer a way to help promote nonproliferation and the reduction of nuclear stockpiles.

The era of U.S.-Russian cooperation on nukes may have just come to an end.