Fifteen years ago, the global effort to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons was dealt an enormous shock. In the aftermath of the dismantling of Libya’s nuclear weapons program, the world learned that Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of his country’s atomic bomb, had operated an alarming global proliferation network. He sold know-how and goods to build the world’s most dangerous weapons to the world’s most unsavory regimes. The international community, led by the United States, tried to patch the gaping regulatory holes that Khan exploited. Today, that effort is woefully lagging.
World leaders agree about the dire, and growing, threat to peace and security of the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). There are sophisticated international legal control regimes on the production and trade of WMD materials and carefully crafted diplomatic agreements governing proliferation. But where is the concerted global effort to stop the money trail?
A new Center for a New American Security report explains the yawning lack of political will and capacity to fight the financing of WMD proliferation around the world. Some jurisdictions have the resources, but their political leadership finds it more convenient to look the other way. Other states understand the danger of letting their banking and commercial sectors be exploited, but do not have the legal framework or technical capacity to act effectively. Proliferating states know exactly how to manipulate these gaps. The United Nations and major investigative journalists have pointed out how adept North Korea is in particular.
Read the full article in The National Interest.
More from CNAS
VideoU.S. Sanctions Compliance Weighs on Nonfinancial Companies
Elizabeth Rosenberg talks about the biggest shifts affecting compliance officers in the U.S. at an event in New York hosted by The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Risk &...
By Elizabeth Rosenberg
CommentaryTrump’s Boasts of an Economic ‘Boom’ Are Misplaced and Misguided
President Donald Trump this week laid out his most direct case yet for staying the course in the run-up to the 2020 U.S. presidential election. In a speech to the Economic Clu...
By Neil Bhatiya
VideoWeaponized Interdependence – Economic Networks, Sanctions, and State Coercion
Contrary to traditional arguments that globalization and economic interdependence will lead to increasing international cooperation, this episode discusses how states can weap...
By Elizabeth Rosenberg
CommentaryThe Travel Rule Is Not Enough If Crypto Gets Adopted
Last week, at a large fintech conference in Washington, DC, the head of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the arm of the U.S. Treasury Department that enforce...
By Yaya J. Fanusie