The Foreign Service Journal, April 2022

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | APRIL 2022 69 sometimes more than we understand at the time. Our oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States is as solemn an obligation as any who have taken it will ever carry. This is a republic of laws, not men and women; and we cannot be a model and a mentor to other coun- tries if we get that wrong here at home. And finally, courage and integrity mat- ter, deeply, and their absence is corro- sive—and can undermine the foundations of our society. Eric Rubin is the president of AFSA. Dealing with Kazakhstan’s Nuclear Inheritance Atomic Steppe: How Kazakhstan Gave Up the Bomb Togzhan Kassenova, Stanford University Press, 2022, $95/hardcover, $30/paper- back, e-book available, 384 pages. Reviewed by Laura Kennedy Togzhan Kassenova’s review of 70 years of Kazakhstan’s history in Atomic Steppe is the definitive study of that country’s nuclear inheritance and its associated internal politics and international diplomacy (in which the United States played a decisive role). Nuclear affairs scholar Kassenova, a senior fellow at the State University of New York at Albany and the Carnegie Endowment, covers arms control, nonproliferation, environment, science, the quest for Kazakh nation- hood andmuchmore in this extraordinarily rich book. Kassenova starts with nuclear testing, in particular atmospheric testing, which has taken a toll on populations around the world, including in the United States. One of the world’s most damaging human and environmental legacies of nuclear testing, however, was compiled by the Soviet pro- gram from 1949 to 1989, largely carried out at the Semipalatinsk testing site (a massive area as large as Belgium) in the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan. The Soviet programwas carried out in great secrecy, and revealing its dimen- sions and ramifications took a decade of research by the author, who notes that Russia still refuses to share all of its data on the effects of testing with Kazakhstan, where the vast majority of nuclear blasts took place. Although a longtime resident of the United States, Kassenova is a native of Kazakhstan. She is equally concerned with the political repercussions of the nuclear testing there and how the testing protest movement intersected with developing national consciousness. Americans will note the ties between Kazakhstani activ- ists and fellow U.S. “downwinders” forged in the Nevada-Semipalatinsk movement. Over the decades of testing, medical professionals and activ- ists sought to document the resulting damage despite personal risk to Soviet citizens given the official climate of either ignoring or minimizing consequences. The author interweaves the story of these efforts with official steps to limit testing via negotiated international agreement or unilateral restrictions, including the 1963 Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty that ended the most damaging atmospheric tests. Kazakhstan succeeded in officially ban- ning all nuclear tests on its territory shortly before its independence in December 1991. (The United States halted its own testing in 1992 and signed the Compre- hensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, but has yet to ratify it.) A New Status for the Nuclear Arsenal Scholars of diplomacy will particularly appreciate Kassenova’s second focus: the history of the effort to negotiate a new status for the nuclear arsenal inherited by Kazakhstan after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The stakes were huge and were a focus of U.S. policy from the outset of this new era in Kazakhstan. At its independence, Kazakhstan inherited the world’s fourth-largest nuclear arsenal of warheads, ICBMs and heavy bombers; the world’s second-larg- est uranium reserves, and the facilities to process them; and a substantial stock of weapons-grade fissile material. Those stocks included 14 metric tons of highly enriched uranium and three metric tons of plutonium, enough for hundreds of nuclear weapons. While Soviet military installations had been heavily sequestered, internal accounting procedures were slipshod and post-USSR security became chaotic. All of this helped to raise U.S. concerns about nuclear security in the post-Soviet space to the top of the national security agenda. Congress contributed to a major (and bipartisan) U.S. foreign policy success with the passage and implemen- tation of a massive cooperative threat reduction program popularly known as the Nunn-Lugar Act. In view of the nuclear security stakes in Kazakhstan, the United States had the