wants to buy four Global Hawk UAVs, for about $50 million each. The United
States wants to sell South Korea the UAVs. But Russia, and their lawyers,
insist that the sale cannot be made. The Russians claim that, according to the
Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the Global Hawk can, in theory, be
used as a delivery system for weapons of mass destruction. That makes Global
Hawk a "Category I system", under the MTCR, and thus illegal for the United
States to sell to a foreign country. Here's where it gets tricky. The MTCR was
established twenty years ago as an informal (no one signed anything) agreement
among industrialized nations, to prevent the transfer of technology that would
enable other nations to deliver weapons of mass destruction.
In theory, Russia is correct.
South Korea would be in a better position to deliver weapons of mass
destruction if it had the Global Hawks. The real reason the Russians don't want
the South Koreans to have Global Hawk is because they don't want such a
splendid reconnaissance vehicle operating in their neighborhood. The Russians
know that the North Korean communist dictatorship is going to collapse soon,
creating a united Korea with an economy much larger than Russias, and with
about half the population of Russia. It's an old Russian custom to be paranoid
about neighbors, and this is another manifestation of that. But Russia has
gotten with the times, and is deploying lawyers and publicists to keep the
Global Hawks away from their borders, rather than hauling out the traditional
tanks and warplanes.