Fear of a Weapons Brain Drain
Stirs International Action
Nuclear Scientists of All Friendly Countries, Unite. . . . The International Science and Technology Center Will Soon Be Established in Moscow.
Major M. Pogorelyi, Red Star, March 4, 1992
In the wake of the failed Moscow coup of August 1991, an increasing number of reports reached the West about Middle Eastern countries approaching Russian institutions in search of nuclear, chemical, biological, rocket, and related technologies. According to this information, the countries wanted technologies that could enhance their military capabilities to deliver lethal blows to nearby adversaries. Western concern centered primarily on transfers of technologies already embodied in the hardware for weapons systems; but the importance of foreign technical experts to help adapt, assemble, and maintain the equipment was very clear.
In December 1991, Time magazine published an article entitled "Who Else Will Have the Bomb?" that presented a graphic depiction of the routes of diffusion of nuclear weaponry throughout the world. The report warned that Russia "could sell nuclear equipment or provide technical aid by out-of-work scientists" to countries such as Iran, North Korea, Iraq, Algeria, Libya, and Syria. More ominously, Time underscored that China, which was soon to become one of Russia's closest collaborators and an international conduit in the nuclear field, was "recklessly peddling nuclear equipment and expertise to any nation willing to pay cash." 1
Also by the end of 1991, many formerly secret research and development (R&D) institutions in Russia had begun to open their doors to