Preventing Catastrophe: The Use and Misuse of Intelligence in Efforts to Halt the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction

By Thomas Graham Jr.; Keith A. Hansen | Go to book overview

Appendix F
Supply vs. Demand: Two Sides of the Proliferation Coin

Any effort to monitor or limit proliferation must deal with both the supply and demand sides of the issue. Supply-side action requires focusing on countries that either because of capabilities or instabilities are most likely to be a source of WMD expertise and materials. However, even benign assistance in the field of nuclear technology for legitimate purposes, such as for research or power reactors, can lead to clandestine misuse of nuclear expertise and material. Most first-tier nuclear countries, including the United States and France, bear some responsibility for supplying technology that has led to the development of nuclear weapons. And the recent US-Indian nuclear technology agreement, while it helps to bring India into the nonproliferation mainstream, has raised concerns in some quarters that it rewards an overt proliferator and might undermine efforts to halt nuclear proliferation in other countries.

Fears regarding the relative lack of security and accounting for nuclear material during the breakup of the Soviet Union led to calls for increased collection and analysis of information on the activities surrounding the former Soviet nuclear arsenal and infrastructure, which became resident in four newly independent states. The Cooperative Threat Reduction Program was a key policy response to the threat of former Soviet nuclear material, if not nuclear devices themselves, being sold or stolen. In addition, the world has witnessed an increasingly active Russian Federation selling nuclear expertise and technology to countries such as Iran. As the market (demand side) for nuclear power grows, Russia appears ready to meet that demand. Unfortunately, this readiness raises the odds that technology and material will be misused by recipient states. Moreover, efforts to halt state-to-state proliferation transactions can and have been undermined by activities of black markets, such as the A. Q. Khan network.

China's traditionally loose controls were also of concern to those trying to strengthen the nonproliferation regime, especially after it became known that China had assisted Pakistan with its nuclear program in the 1970s and 1980s. Although China later joined the Nuclear Suppliers Group in 1998 and has recently

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