This is basically a civilian pact that eases restrictions on the trade of enriched uranium and nuclear components between the two countries. There are some geo-political implications as well, related to non-proliferation and, particularly, to Iran.
The agreement apparently clears the way for the U.S. to work with Russia on the proposed Uranium Enrichment Center – Putin’s mediating gesture in the ongoing diplomatic battle between the U.S. and Iran.
Iran, of course, is already doing their own uranium enrichment.
This seems like a smart move to me. I’m sure the nuclear industry loves it, but more importantly, in the chess match with Iran, this is a nice check; a smooth diplomatic maneuver. Shocking for the Bushies, huh? There must still be a few career pros out in Foggy Bottom.
Needless to say, Congress is expected to resist the agreement.
Update (8/25/08): With tensions arising from the Russo-Georgian conflict, the U.S. has put the deal on hold.