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Dr. Browder Published in International Herald Tribune

By Sherry Kughn
JSU News Bureau

July 21, 2004 -- Jacksonville State University Eminent Scholar Glen Browder was recently published in the International Herald Tribune regarding the lack of progress in destroying chemical weapons.

In the article, Dr. Browder states that obstacles on several levels have slowed progress toward destroying weapons stockpiled during the Cold War between Russia and the U.S.

“More than a decade after the U.S.-Russia Chemical Weapons Destruction Agreement of 1992 and seven years after entry into force of the global Chemical Weapons Convention of 1997, progress on eliminating stockpiles of these arms held by the two countries has become tangled up,” said the article. The costs of destroying the chemicals for both countries has increased 1,000-fold more than what was originally projected. The original projected cost was $2 billion, which now may top $25 billion.

Neither the U.S. nor Russia, both of which possess 95 percent of the world’s known chemical weapons, “will meet the 2007 deadline set by the Convention for full destruction,” said Dr. Browder. Neither country will meet the “soon-to-be-extended 2012 deadline.”

The reasons for the lack of progress are expressed in terms, according to Dr. Browder, such as “public safety concerns,” “environmental controversies,” “technological difficulties,” and “mind-boggling costs.”

One assessment by the General Accounting Office is that Russia has no credible plan for destroying its stockpile. The U.S. has destroyed only one to two percent of its 40,000-ton stockpile.

Recent debates in Congress might renew a commitment to destruction of the chemicals and “should signal to domestic and worldwide observers the reality of the serious, mounting programs,” stated the article.

The world’s stockpiles are growing more dangerous, and fears concerning a 9/11-type attack are also growing.

“The world’s still dangerous chemical weapons must be abolished safely and efficiently now, not later,” said Dr. Browder.

Dr. Browder, a former U.S. Congressman from Alabama, is also visiting professor of national security affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.

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