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Hastings International and Comparative Law Review

Abstract

This Article describes the conflicting policy interests the U.S. government pursued in relation to its nonproliferation interest, on the one hand, in the security of excess Russian weapons-usable nuclear material and protectionist trade interests, on the other in preventing importation of low-cost Russian uranium and the conditions for privatization of the Government-owned corporation processing uranium for use in nuclear power reactors. The Article draws on recent national security literature to argue that both the nonproliferation and protectionist interests involve national security concerns; it then employs public choice theory to demonstrate that the Executive Branch is more likely than Congress to pursue national security advantages. The Article next analyzes the particular predatory mechanisms employed by the Executive Branch, and it argues that, as predicted by public choice theory, Congress pursued less predatory policies than those advanced by the Executive Branch. It argues, however, however, that new international institutions and rules governing the relationship between trade and national security in the particular area of trade and national security at issue were necessary for the transfer from the Executive Branch to Congress of responsibility for resolving conflicting policies. Finally, the Article concludes that international rules can and should be strengthened to achieve the same results in a broader class of cases.

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