In Containing Russia's Nuclear Firebirds, Glenn E.
Schweitzer explores the life and legacy of the International
Science and Technology Center in Moscow. He makes the case that the
center's unique programs can serve as models for promoting
responsible science in many countries of the world.
Never before have scientists encountered technology with the
potential for such huge impacts on the global community, both
positive and negative. For nearly two decades following the Soviet
Union's breakup into independent states, the ISTC has provided
opportunities for underemployed Russian weapon scientists to
redirect their talents toward civilian research. The center has
championed the role of science in determining the future of
civilization and has influenced nonproliferation policies of Russia
and other states in the region. Most important, the center has
demonstrated that modest investments can encourage scientists of
many backgrounds to shun greed and violence and to take leading
roles in steering the planet toward prosperity and peace.
Schweitzer contends that the United States and other western and
Asian countries failed to recognize the importance, over time, of
modifying their donor-recipient approach to dealing with Russia. In
April 2010 the Russian government announced that it would withdraw
from the ISTC agreement. After expenditures exceeding one billion
dollars, the ISTC's Moscow Science Center will soon close its
doors, leaving a legacy that has benefited Russian society as well
as partners from thirty-eight countries. Schweitzer argues that a
broader and more sustained movement is now needed to help prevent
irresponsible behavior by dissatisfied or misguided scientists and
Subjects: Political Science, History
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