No Nukes? WikiLeaks Roil the Waters of Statecraft

Monday, December 13, 2010

The current WikiLeaks saga has many in diplomatic circles either red-faced with embarrassment or laughing up their sleeves at what the cables revealed. International relations expert Lisa Baglione, Ph.D., chair and professor of political science at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, says that in the delicate dance between nuclear proliferation and containment, there is much more at risk than a loss of face.

Baglione says that cables related to the arms race show there are added reasons to be concerned about cooperation between North Korea and Iran. This relationship could enhance Iran's ability to deploy its weapons of mass destruction to Europe, she notes. Of particular concern is how Russia will react to leaks about its negotiations with Europe and the U.S. regarding North Korea and Iran’s growing relationship.

“Russia is among the nuclear nations that have been reluctant to follow the United States’ lead in taking tough measures against these ‘rogue’ states,” Baglione notes. “Recently, there were promising discussions among U.S., European and Russian powers to create a plan where Russia would aid in protecting Europe from ballistic missiles. These efforts at cooperation were all the more satisfying because Russia has previously been opposed to this missile shield, and because the talks integrated former nuclear foes.”

According to Baglione, the hope was that Russia would see the Iranian and North Korean threats as grave, and would use its relationships with both countries to exert additional pressure, forcing them to comply with global containment policies. “It would be extremely unfortunate if the leaks have embarrassed Russian diplomats and so deter them from further participation in these efforts,” she adds.

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Baglione is an expert in peace and reconciliation studies and in the transformation of the Russian polity. She can be reached for comment at, 610-660-1749, or by calling the Office of University Communications at 610-660-3240.

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