Policy Memos

Iran and Russia - U.S. Non-Proliferation Dialogue

Policy Memo:

314

Publication Date:

11-2003

Author(s):

Description:

The war waged by the United States and Great Britain against Iraq this spring has played a nasty trick on the global nonproliferation architecture, which can cause real drama when it wants to. On the one hand, the acronym “WMD” is now widely disseminated in the mass media, and the long and cumbersome word “nonproliferation,” thanks to ubiquitous television coverage of Iraq, has become commonplace in every household. Now, it seems, every household must be concerned about, or at least aware of, such an acute problem as weapons of mass destruction (WMD) proliferation. On the other hand, the concept of proliferation is closely associated in the mass consciousness with Saddam Hussein. But there is a hitch: after Saddam’s overthrow and the U.S.-British occupation of Iraq, no WMD arsenals have been found in Iraq. Playing host to British prime minister Tony Blair in Moscow, Russian president Vladimir Putin asked him jokingly where he thought Saddam had hidden his deadly arsenals. Putin’s irony during the Russian-British dialogue reflected the sentiments of the average man in the street, not only in Russia but also, and to an even greater extent, throughout Europe: the Americans and the British are trying to catch a black cat in a dark room, even if there is no cat present. [...]