Russain Realities and the Illusion of Arms Control Moscow's Strategic Arms Are Controlled by a System on the Verge of Collapse

By Bruce Blair. Bruce Blair is a senior fellow Brookings Institution. | The Christian Science Monitor, September 19, 1995 | Go to article overview

Russain Realities and the Illusion of Arms Control Moscow's Strategic Arms Are Controlled by a System on the Verge of Collapse


Bruce Blair. Bruce Blair is a senior fellow Brookings Institution., The Christian Science Monitor


THE end of the cold war, an abortive coup in Moscow, and the breakup of the Soviet empire changed the nature of the nuclear danger posed by Russia. The threat of a deliberate attack receded, while the danger of anarchy grew. Preventing a breakdown of control over nuclear weapons and materials seemed more urgent and much harder than containing Russian imperialism and deterring aggression. Despite bipartisan US efforts to shore up nuclear control in Russia and other former Soviet republics, that control remains shaky. We can take some comfort from the denuclearization of Kazakhstan and the ongoing removal of weapons from Ukraine. We can also take heart that Russia, with American assistance, is improving safeguards on fissile materials at some major facilities. But apprehension persists about the smuggling of nuclear weapons or fissile materials to rogue states or terrorists; the unauthorized use of nuclear weapons by rouge Russian units; the loss of legitimate and competent control at the top of the chain of command; and the launch of nuclear forces on false warning. Smuggling grabs the headlines, as specialists and the media declare this the biggest threat to US security today. Yet scant evidence of smuggling exists. Since 1991, Russia has temporarily lost control over small quantities of weapons-grade material in a few cases. The most sensational incident involved a sting operation hatched by German intelligence that created artificial demand for the stuff. In all cases, Russian or European security agencies seized the diverted material. The record does not faze some purveyors of doom: A recent issue of Business Week, for instance, asserts that "contraband trade in weapons-grade nuclear material is thriving." The chorus crying wolf only distorts and discredits the reality that a serious risk of future leaks exists. The civilian nuclear institutes certainly have deficient safeguards, and custodianship has deteriorated across the board. Amateur crimes of opportunity as well as insider corruption remain a distinct risk at Atomic Energy and Defense Ministry sites. SUBSTANTIAL leakage of other sensitive dual-use technologies has already taken place. Lax enforcement of export controls continues to allow such technology to flow rather freely out of Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. Moreover, criminal conspiracies in this illegal trade have surfaced. In one foiled caper, criminals diverted beryllium from an institute that also housed a huge stockpile of weapons-grade nuclear materials. The risk of the unauthorized use of strategic forces by rogue commanders of the land-based rockets, submarine missiles, and bombers appears to be negligible today. Low-level commanders have little ability to do anything without permission from Moscow. Intercontinental rockets in silos have especially impressive safeguards. Any attempt by a local launch crew to pick the lock on their blocking devices would automatically be reported to the war room of the General Staff, which can electronically isolate the deviant launch center. Safeguards are weaker on submarines because of the crew's autonomy during long patrols at sea. A renegade crew might be able to circumvent the blocking devices. Even weaker safeguards are found on the bombs and cruise missiles for bombers, though to compensate, Russia keeps payloads separate from the aircraft and specially guarded. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Russain Realities and the Illusion of Arms Control Moscow's Strategic Arms Are Controlled by a System on the Verge of Collapse
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.