Did you know we have a NSOI? Neither did I. But thanks to this September 30 US State Department press release, I do now.
Evidently Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Ednan Karabayev signed the Program of Cooperation between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic on Combating the Smuggling of Nuclear and Radioactive Materials.
This political agreement expresses the intention of our governments to cooperate to increase the capabilities of the Kyrgyz Republic to prevent, detect, and respond effectively to attempts to smuggle nuclear or radioactive materials. It specifies 20 agreed steps that the two governments intend to take for this purpose.
The governments agree they will proceed along parallel paths to implement this program. The Kyrgyz Republic intends to implement those steps that it is capable of carrying out on its own. For those steps where assistance is needed, the United States intends to seek to identify a source, from within either the US Government or the international community, to provide assistance. This assistance will complement and be carefully coordinated with the assistance the Kyrgyz Republic receives from various US and other assistance programs.
With this agreement, the US and Kyrgyz governments are significantly enhancing their collaborative efforts combating the threat that nuclear or highly radioactive materials could be acquired by terrorists or others who would use them to harm us.
This is the fourth agreement concluded by the US Government’s Nuclear Smuggling Outreach Initiative. Previous agreements were completed with Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Georgia, and we intend to conclude similar agreements with about 20 additional countries where the risk of nuclear smuggling is of particular concern. To date, eight countries and three international organizations have partnered with the US providing assistance specified by these agreements.
For more information on the Nuclear Smuggling Outreach Initiative, go to its website.
Now I am sure Dr Khan would argue what this has to do with him. He would undoubtedly say, to paraphrase Star Trek’s Dr McCoy, Goddamn it, Jim, I’m a patriot, not a scummy smuggler. Or, in Dr Khan’s case, at least an astute businessman.
Still, a blog devoted to exploring the nether regions of private sector proliferation doesn’t have the luxury of picking and choosing. After all, in a free market system suppliers have to meet demand. And not every customer may have the patience to build their own infrastructure. Building your own centrifuges isn’t easy. Just ask the Iranians. So, all private sector nuclear profiteers are worthy. Hmmm, might be a movie in that. I wonder if Nicholas Cage is ready for a sequel. He could call it Lord of the Nukes.