Sunday, July 05, 2009

Not on the Agenda

When President Obama meets with Russian leaders in Moscow this week, arms control will be at the top of the agenda. Mr. Obama is anxious to hammer out a new strategic arms reduction treaty with Russia, resulting in further cuts in each nation's nuclear arsenal.

Meanwhile, there's another issue that deserves the attention of President Obama and his Russian hosts. During the 1990s, North Korea managed to acquire the SS-N-6, a submarine-launched ballistic missile developed by the former Soviet Union. U.S. experts believe the system's technology is being Incorporated into long-range missiles recently tested by Pyongyang. Making matters worse, Kim Jong-il has also sold the missile to Iran, which is expected to use the missile to improve its own designs.

Regrettably, neither President Clinton nor President George W. Bush pressed the Russians on this matter, and there's no reason to believe that Mr. Obama will, either. It's much easier to focus on "big-ticket" items like an arms control deal between Washington and Moscow. Meanwhile, serious proliferation issues--like the SS-N-6 deal--remain on the back burner. We can only guess what technologies have made their way to Pyongyang since that SLBM.

More on this topic in our current column for

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