Monday, November 26, 2007

Debate on loose nuke risk in National Interest; important conference at Naval Academy in Annapolis

The current print issue of The National Interest (Nov/Dec 2007) has a couple of lively items about two of the most critical issues: nuclear threats, and supposed “resource wars.”

Earlier, John Mueller had published an article called “Radioactive Hype”, link here) (Subscription required to get entire essay). Mueller has other “devils advocate” pieces, like “Harbringer or Aberration?: A 9/11 Provocation” here.

The current issue has (on p. 12) detailed responses by Graham Allison (“The Three “Nos” Knows”), Joseph Cirincione (“Cassandra’s Conundrum”), and William C. Potter (“Nonj-Proliferation Parody”), as well as a rebuttal from Mueller, whose books include Retreat from Doomsday (1989), The Remnants of War (2004) and Overblown (2006). Allison (author of “Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe”, 2004) repeats horrific probabilities of the likelihood of a nuclear incident in the west each year and every ten years, making it look like a matter of time. (And he is talking about an actual nuclear weapon, not a contaminated conventional weapon). An already assembled “suitcase” nuclear weapon stolen from Russia or Pakistan (the kind deployed on the Fox “24” program) could, in some cases, be concealed in illegal drugs shipments. Cirincione writes that the current Bush administration has acquiesced to “management of” proliferation rather than its prevention.

On page 48 there is an essay “What Resource Wars” by David Vector, in which the writer plays down the international tensions that would likely result over oil shortgages and unequal sacrifices to prevent global warming. He believes that oil makes unstable governments even more unstable, and believes that China can become much more self-sufficient in oil.

The magazine’s site has a piece “Thoughts of the Annapolis Conference” about the summit at the Naval Academy this last week of November, here.

A couple of important films on the nuclear leak issue are "Last Best Chance" (from NTI, the Nuclear Threat Initiative) and "PU-239" from Picturehouse / HBO (recently shown on cable). Another new important book is "America and the Islamic Bomb" by David Armstrong and Joseph Trento, Steerforth Press, 2007.

News reports indicate the arrest this week of three persons in Eastern Europe by Interpol for trying to acquire radioactive substances from the former Soviet Union.

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