Thursday, May 27, 2010

Obama's one percent

“Officials regard the possibility of atomic sabotage as the gravest threat of subversion that this country, with its virtually unpatrolled borders, has ever faced...”; "... valise bombs. .."; “a saboteur could easily pose as a Mexican ‘wetback’ and get into the country without detection, presumably carrying an atomic weapon in his luggage”; etc. U.S. fears from... 1953.

Fast forward to today and we have:

  • President Obama, April 5th, 2009, included the following in his Prague speech: "... In a strange turn of history, the threat of global nuclear war has gone down, but the risk of a nuclear attack has gone up... Terrorists are determined to buy, build or steal one. Our efforts to contain these dangers are centered in a global non-proliferation regime, but as more people and nations break the rules, we could reach the point when the center cannot hold. This matters to all people, everywhere. One nuclear weapon exploded in one city – be it New York or Moscow, Islamabad or Mumbai, Tokyo or Tel Aviv, Paris or Prague – could kill hundreds of thousands of people. And no matter where it happens, there is no end to what the consequences may be – for our global safety, security, society, economy, and ultimately our survival.... Finally, we must ensure that terrorists never acquire a nuclear weapon. This is the most immediate and extreme threat to global security. One terrorist with a nuclear weapon could unleash massive destruction. Al Qaeda has said that it seeks a bomb. And we know that there is unsecured nuclear material across the globe. To protect our people, we must act with a sense of purpose without delay..."
  • Next, from the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review Report, see Executive Summary, "... As President Obama has made clear, today’s most immediate and extreme danger is nuclear terrorism. Al Qaeda and their extremist allies are seeking nuclear weapons. We must assume they would use such weapons if they managed to obtain them. The vulnerability to theft or seizure of vast stocks of such nuclear materials around the world, and the availability of sensitive equipment and technologies in the nuclear black market, create a serious risk that terrorists may acquire what they need to build a nuclear weapon..."
  • And from the just-released National Security Strategy, see III. Advancing Our Interests: Security: Reverse the Spread of Nuclear and Biological Weapons and Secure Nuclear Materials (pg 22) "... The American people face no greater or more urgent danger than a terrorist attack with a nuclear weapon..."
Looks a lot like the Cheney 1% Doctrine ("If there's a 1% chance that Pakistani scientists are helping al-Qaeda build or develop a nuclear weapon, we have to treat it as a certainty in terms of our response. It's not about our analysis ... It's about our response...") which ended up applied to "Iraq and WMD" has been adopted wholesale by President Obama, to be applied to "terrorists and WMD"...

NPR links and reactions:
2010 Nuclear Posture Review Report
Statement by President Barack Obama on the Release of Nuclear Posture Review
Excerpts From Obama Interview
The Pivot
The Obama nuclear doctrine
A Layman's Guide to Obama's Nuclear Posture Review
NYT: Obama Limits When U.S. Would Use Nuclear Arms
Obama's Nuclear Posture Review Reduces Role of Nuclear Weapons
Nuke Review: Deploying, De-MIRVing, and De-Targeting
Nuclear Dreams and Nightmares
Flanking the Right on Nuclear Policy
Grading the NPR: Transparency
Obama's Anti-Nuclear Crusade Will Mark His Presidency
Barack Obama's radical review on nuclear weapons reverses Bush policies
New START Nuclear Reductions Treaty Briefing Book
What’s Wrong with What’s Wrong with the Nuclear Posture Review
News Analysis: What Is a “New” Nuclear Weapon?
Disarmament Danger
Nuclear Arms Still Locked And Loaded
Debunking the Administration's Nuke Myths
The Obama Nuclear Manifesto: Death of Clarity
That Nuclear Posture Review: Not a Very Big Deal
Iran reacts to becoming a nuclear target
Despite new START, the U.S. and Russia still have too many nuclear weapons

Other links:
That was then, this is now
Terrorism experts can be alarmists too
Cold War Nuclear Fears Now Apply to Terrorists

Previous related blog entries:
Al-Qaeda and WMD - Jan 26th, 2010
Short update - Oct 28th, 2009
UNSC Resolution 1887 - Sep 26th, 2009
More nuclear disarmament - Apr 10th, 2009
OPED22 - Not your father's public radio - Mar 21st, 2002

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