Posted by: bklunk | March 25, 2007


And if it turns a profit, who could object?

Now it’s becoming clear

More news regarding Russia’s relations with countries in lower Asia and Africa. In a previous blog, I commented on Russian President Putin’s visits to countries in the Middle East and Africa with suspicion. Something just didn’t feel right to me. I’m sure the whole story behind Putin’s visit was not told. Well, this article from an engineering news site helped to clear some of the confusion I had.

Apparently, President Putin is a major proponent of building an “international uranium-enrichment centre” in Russia. This centre would use Russian technology to enrich the uranium for other countries who pay for the costs. This enables countries to have a program in nuclear energy while also reducing the risks of nuclear proliferation by terrorist groups.

South Africa is currently one of the countries intensely interested in participating in this program. Russia wants to work with South Africa in building a similar uranium enrichment centre in South Africa. Russia would supply the technology to power the nuclear cycle.

When it comes to Iran, Russia’s position is similar. Russia wants Iran to use the Russian centre to enrich its uranium for energy and peaceful purposes only. That is why Russia has been more lenient with Iran when it comes to its nuclear program. It does not want to alienate a potential ally who would pay for Russia’s services. This is an extremely smart idea. In my mind, this almost completely vindicates Putin. Almost.

Putin indeed wants to flex some muscle and show off some of what Russia has to offer. Improving relations with countries via a whirlwind tour (and perhaps by taking a swing or two at the world hegemon) will open the doors to more possibilities in Russia’s future.

I now have some more insight and knowledge on Russia’s motives and how they differ from the United States. And I am more at ease and relieved. Russia doesn’t want nuclear weapons to end up in the wrong hands any more than the U.S. does. It’s intentions are not devious. In fact, the intentions of Russia may be some of the most intelligent in the world today.

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  1. I found this report of Putin to be much more comforting than the last blog. I agree that Russia’s ideas of nuclear power and uranium enrichment are on the right track. It has been important for many years, and is continually important to halt nuclear proliferation. With the recent years of terrorism and governmental corruption it is important to continue our ideas of non-proliferation. However, in our warming world, we must also look for alternate sources of energy. Nuclear power could be a partial solution to warming problems, and all countries should have access to it. Russia has a good plan to spread nuclear power, but not weapons. Yes, the United States is unwilling to see Russia become rich and powerful, but then maybe we should have thought of it first! The United States also doesn’t want to see support of nuclear-anything in Iran, but this blog shows that Russia is using uranium enrichment for peaceful purposes, not weapons. If this plan were put into action, I believe the world would benefit, and although power may be pulled from the US, it would not negatively affect them militarily or economically.

  2. I am somewhat skeptical of Russia’s plans in regards to uranium enrichment and proliferating nuclear power. There is no doubt that Russia is trying to show the rest of the world that they are still one of the most powerful states in the world and will try to push the limit. I am hesitant, though, that Russia is being a little forward. I understand that their intentions are good, but who is to say that they have different thoughts in the back of their minds (undermine the U.S. and other actors’ campaigns to restrict who has access to uranium and nuclear power?). It seems as though that Russia’s plan could work, in which case it would be a very rational and responsible way to deal with the complicating issues regarding nuclear energy. However, who is to say whether there are terrorist organizations or even state governments that will use the capabilities that Russia provides for them for the wrong reasons. What kinds of repercussions will there be? What about the possibilities of UN sanctions? Will Russia, with veto power on the Security Council, exempt all the nuclear power plants that they finance from any inspection by the UN? If this plan is going to be accepted by the rest of the world, I think there need to me some serious discussion with the Russians and any number of organizations from other states to the UN in order to make sure such a bold plan will be executed properly.

  3. I think Russia is trying to prove itself as more of a world player by having the uranium enrichment center, and I believe it would be good for Russia to do so. I think Putin’s intentions are good so far in regards to how it would prevent nuclear proliferation by terrorists groups. That fact alone gives the idea a lot of potential to become more of a reality. The fact that building such a center involves so much debate between so many players makes it appear that any center would take quite a while to come into reality. The UN will have to have a serious look into Putin’s proposal, and I’m not sure whther the center would pass or not.

  4. Russia’s desire to improve inter-relations with other countries through a uranium enrichment program is very interesting. Russia is trying to regain visibility within the world with this program and as an effect is receiving a lot of negative attention. Russia is indeed very supportive of Iran and its nuclear development program. Yet, what does that say about the Russian government when they support an unstable country in a very unstable region by providing them and encouraging them to develop nuclear technology. Russia may have good intentions, but that does not mean that Iran will not pursue and achieve nuclear capabilities, such as warfare, through the uranium enrichment program which Russia is supporting. Iran’s current “research” in the nuclear field is strongly opposed by the United States and most of Western Europe. So in a sense, it seems that Russia is siding with Iran just to oppose the only superpower and their rival, the United States.

  5. I agree that Russia’s attempt to allow other countries to have access to nuclear power while keeping the uraniam enriching facilities within Russia is a great idea. This is a way to reach out to countries that some are skeptical of giving the ability to enrich unraniam. I think the United States should strive to offer a similar option to other countries. Russia and the United States both have reasons to fear terrorist attacks and nuclear weapons ending up in the wrong hands. It would be great to see the United States and Russia work together in this initiative to allow all countries access to nuclear energy without the threat of these countries turning their nuclear energy programs into a nuclear weapons porgram.

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