The news was buried on inside pages of America’s newspapers and all but ignored by the TV news. Yet it sent shock waves of concern rippling through the world’s nuclear and anti-terror cognoscenti.
In an era when global terrorists are aggressively seeking weapons of mass destruction for just one purpose — to use them — President Vladimir Putin’s Foreign Ministry quietly issued a statement on its website, on the evening of Oct. 10: Russia will not renew its Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction partnership with the United States when the present agreement expires next June.
While the news reports seemed to signal the end of one of the modern era’s most successful peacekeeping programs, reports of the Nunn-Lugar program’s demise, at age 20, may well prove to be not just greatly exaggerated but flat-out wrong (as we’ll soon explain).
The United States spent billions of dollars under the Nunn-Lugar program to help secure, dismantle and destroy thousands of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, materials and delivery systems that suddenly became vulnerable when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.